Black, Harvey H. (1832–1862)

By: Jennifer Bridges

Type: Biography

Published: March 17, 2011

Harvey Black, Confederate officer, was born on June 29, 1832, in Kentucky. He was the son of Alexander Black (1803–1882) and Eliza Bell Anderson (1789–1838). By 1860 Black moved to Jefferson, Texas, in Marion County. He was a stock raiser and owned one female slave, aged thirty-two. At the onset of the Civil War, Black enlisted as a captain in Company A, First Texas Infantry Regiment—also known as Captain Black's "Marion Rifles." He enlisted on May 16, 1861, at New Orleans and was promoted to major on December 12, 1861, and to lieutenant colonel on January 2, 1862.

Company A (Marion Rifles) were the first troops from Texas to be mustered into Confederate service. There were originally more than 100 men, but they surrendered only three men at Appomattox as the remainder were either dead, POWs, or deserters.

Black's company was a part of Hood's Texas Brigade, and in late January 1862 Black led one of the most audacious scouting forays conducted by the Texans. In a small boat, he led five of his men across the Potomac with the purpose of spiking the guns of one of the Federal batteries near Cook's Ferry, Maryland. They came within ten paces of the enemy before they were detected when the gun of one of the assaulting party accidentally discharged. The noise brought out the battery guards who then clustered about the guns and made an excellent target for the Texans. They took advantage of the enemy's consternation and confusion and poured fire from five muskets and Black's revolver into the artillerists. After killing or wounding seven of the Federals, the Confederates "sliced down the bank, took to their boats, and landed safely on [their] own side without a scratch."

Harvey H. Black, filled with potential and promise, was a rising star in the Confederacy, but he was killed at the battle of Eltham's Landing, Virginia, on May 7, 1862. In George T. Todd's history of Company A of the "Marion Rifles," Black is remembered fondly:

We buried Col. Black who had been the Capt. of Company A in a private graveyard on the hill, and the burial service of the Episcopal Church was read at the grave by a lady to whom the premises belonged. He was a native of Indiana, having moved to Texas before the war, and a noble and gallant gentleman and soldier.

Lucille Blackburn Bullard, Marion County, Texas, 1860–1870 (Jefferson, Texas, 1965). Joe E. Ericson. Marion County, Texas: In the Civil War (Nacogdoches: Ericson Books, 2009). George T. Todd, Sketch of the History of the First Texas Regiment, Hood's Brigade (1909?; rpt., as First Texas Regiment, Waco: Texian Press, 1963).

  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jennifer Bridges, “Black, Harvey H.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 17, 2011

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