Ector's Brigade was formed during the reorganization of Gen. Braxton Bragg's command in November 1862, which resulted in the Army of Tennessee. Gen. Mathew D. Ector was the original commander of this Civil War brigade and served until he was wounded in July 1864. Other commanders were Gen. William H. Young, Col. C. R. Earp, Col. David Coleman, and Col. Julius Andrews. The original units of the brigade were the Tenth, Eleventh, and Fourteenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry, and the Douglas Battery (see DOUGLAS, JAMES P.). The Fifteenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry (the Thirty-second Texas Cavalry) joined the brigade soon after it was formed. The Eleventh Texas Cavalry, commanded by Col. William C. Young, was remounted after the battle of Murfreesboro, and its place in line was taken by the Ninth Texas Infantry. The Douglas Battery also left the brigade in early 1863. The Twenty-ninth and Thirty-ninth North Carolina Infantry regiments were transferred to the brigade in August 1863 and May 1864 respectively and remained with it until the end of the war. Units that served briefly in the brigade were the Fortieth Alabama Sharpshooters, the Forty-third Mississippi Sharpshooters, and McNally's Arkansas Battery.
Ector's Brigade participated in the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and took part in the initial assault on the Union right on the morning of December 31, 1862. In one day of fighting the brigade suffered thirty-eight killed and 308 wounded. They did not take part in the fighting on January 2, 1863. The brigade marched to Mississippi and joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's forces in an attempt to relieve the besieged Confederates at Vicksburg. After the surrender of that city they participated in the siege of Jackson (July 10–17), before returning to the Army of Tennessee and fighting in the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, on September 19–20, 1863. At this battle the brigade had fifty-nine killed, 239 wounded, and 138 missing.
In September 1863 Ector was again ordered to march his brigade to Mississippi, and after reaching General Johnston's army it joined Gen. Samuel French's division in the Army of Mississippi. After Johnston assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, Gen. Leonidas Polk took command of the Mississippi army and assembled his forces at Meridian to contest Gen. William T. Sherman's When the federals moved, Polk transferred his troops to Demopolis, Alabama, where they remained until they joined the Army of Tennessee in Georgia in May 1864.
Ector's brigade reached Rome, Georgia, in time to defend the town from Union troops on May 16 before joining Johnston's army at Kingston, Georgia. It participated in the long retreat toward Atlanta, taking part in numerous skirmishes and being lightly engaged at Dallas (May 25-June 4) before seeing action at the Lattermoure House and then at Kennesaw Mountain on June 25 and Smyrna on July 2–5. After Gen. John Bell Hood took command of the Army of Tennessee on July 17, Ector's troops remained in their trenches at Atlanta until they were lightly engaged in the battle of Peach Tree Creek on July 20.
Once Hood had abandoned Atlanta, French's division was ordered to attack the federals at Allatoona, Georgia, where Ector's brigade saw heavy fighting. As a result of this action the brigade had forty-three killed, 147 wounded, and eleven missing out of about 400 troops and did not reach Hood's army until after the battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.
Ector's brigade marched north with the Army of Tennessee and participated in the battle of Nashville (December 15–16) before retreating to Mississippi. During the retreat the brigade formed part of the rear guard that ambushed a federal force at Sugar Creek on Christmas Day.
After General Johnston resumed command of the Army of Tennessee, Ector's Brigade was detached and ordered to Mobile, Alabama, where it joined other Confederate soldiers defending Spanish Fort (March 27-April 8, 1865). It was forced to evacuate the city and finally surrendered at Meridian, Mississippi, on May 4, 1865.