Granbury, Hiram Bronson (1831–1864)

By: Palmer Bradley and Bob Kent

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: July 31, 2020

Hiram Bronson Granbury, Confederate general, was born in Copiah County, Mississippi, on March 1, 1831, the son of Nancy (McLaurin) and Norvell R. Granbury, a Baptist minister. He was educated at Oakland College. In the 1850s he moved to Texas and lived in Waco, where he was admitted to the Bar; he served as chief justice of McLennan County from 1856 to 1858. On March 31, 1858, Granbury married Fannie Sims of Waco; they had no children. At the outbreak of the Civil War he recruited the Waco Guards, which became a unit in the Seventh Texas Infantry in Brig. Gen. John Gregg's brigade of the Confederate Army. In November 1861 at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the regiment elected Granbury as major. He was captured with the command at the battle of Fort Donelson on February 15, 1862, and was paroled that same year in an officers' exchange. Upon his release he was promoted to colonel. In April 1863 Granbury was at Port Hudson, Louisiana, and in May he participated in the battle of Raymond, Mississippi. Shortly thereafter he joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army, assembled for the relief of Vicksburg. Granbury commanded the Seventh Texas in Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson's brigade of Gen. John B. Hood's corps at Chickamauga, where he was wounded. He participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge, where his commanding officer was James A. Smith; shortly thereafter he succeeded to brigade command. During the retreat from that battle he was particularly distinguished for his conduct at Ringgold Gap, where he commanded his own brigade. Granbury was commissioned brigadier general on February 29, 1864. During the ensuing Atlanta campaign, he served in Cleburne's division of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee and was again particularly distinguished at the battle of New Hope Church. After the fall of Atlanta, Granbury led his brigade in Hood's disastrous invasion of Tennessee, and at the battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, he was killed in action. Granbury was first buried near Franklin, Tennessee. His body was later reinterred at the Ashwood Church Cemetery south of Columbia. On November 30, 1893, his remains were removed to Granbury, Texas, seat of Hood County, as the town was named in his honor.

The correct spelling of the general's name has long been debated. He attended Oakland College under the name Granberry, but after graduating and moving to Texas he changed the spelling to Granbury. Why he changed the spelling of his name is unknown. His sister, Mrs. Nautie Granberry Moss, stated that he changed the spelling of his name based on a peculiar whim. The official records and correspondence of the Civil War show his named spelled as Granbury, although many Texas newspaper articles at the time referred to him as General Granberry. When he was killed at the battle of Franklin and buried in Tennessee, the name on his tombstone was spelled Granberry, perhaps because that was the spelling of the family name in the area. When he was exhumed and reburied in Granbury in 1893, the name on the tombstone was spelled Granberry. Apparently, however, the reburial opened a debate on the proper spelling of his namesake city, and a letter by one J. N. Doyle in the Dallas Morning News reviewed the history of the general’s name and concluded by pointing out that deeds for lots in the city, veterans who had served with him, and local citizens all used the spelling Granbury. In 1913, when a statue was erected on the Hood County courthouse square, the name was spelled Granbury. In 1996 a new tombstone with the name spelled Granbury was put in place, and after almost 150 years, the spelling of the general’s name on his tombstone, statue, and name city became uniform as Granbury. See also GRANBURY'S TEXAS BRIGADE.

William Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army (Marshall, Texas, 1876; rpt., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987). James M. McCaffrey, This Band of Heroes (Austin: Eakin Press, 1985). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Dudley Goodall Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Scarff, 1898; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1986).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Palmer Bradley and Bob Kent, “Granbury, Hiram Bronson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

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July 31, 2020

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