Joseph Lewis Hogg, political leader and Confederate general, was born on September 13, 1806, in Morgan County, Georgia. In 1818 he moved with his parents to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, where his family established a prosperous plantation and where Hogg studied law, served as a colonel in the militia, and dabbled in politics. He married Lucanda McMath in Alabama. In 1839 he moved to Cherokee County, Texas, where he established a law practice near Nacogdoches. Soon after his arrival he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Eighth Congress of the republic, in which he served in 1843–44 as a strong supporter of Sam Houston. Adolphus Sterne, on first meeting him at this time, thought Hogg "much more of an Intelligent man, then I had at first sight taken him for." Hogg was a delegate to the Convention of 1845, where he advocated annexation. He was elected to the Senate of the First Legislature in 1846, but at the outbreak of the Mexican War he resigned and stood for election as colonel of the Second Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers. He was defeated by George T. Wood but remained with the regiment as a private in Capt. William F. Sparks's Company E and participated in the capture of Monterrey.
Hogg was president of a railroad convention in Palestine in 1854. When his parents died he inherited some twenty slaves and by 1860 had achieved a position of substantial prominence in Texas. Records of the eighth United States census showed that he owned twenty-six slaves, $9,000 in real estate, and $22,000 in personal property. He was elected to the state Secession Convention in 1860 and cast his vote to take Texas out of the Union. When Texas entered the Confederacy, Hogg ran for a seat in the Confederate Congress and lost to Franklin Barlow Sexton. He was, however, elected captain of the Lone Star Defenders, which became Company C of the Third Texas Cavalry regiment. Hogg's son Thomas E. Hogg served as a private in the company. Sgt. Samuel B. Barron of his company described Joseph Hogg as "a fine specimen of the best type of Southern manhood-tall, slender, straight as an Indian, and exceedingly dignified in his manner." Hogg soon resigned the command of his company to accept a colonel's commission from Governor Edward Clark and began the organization of East Texas troops for the Confederacy.
On February 14, 1861, he received an appointment as brigadier general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States and was ordered to report to Gen. Benjamin McCulloch's Army of the West near Fayetteville, Arkansas. He arrived after McCulloch's death at the disastrous battle of Elk Horn Tavern in early March 1862. There he was given command of a brigade consisting of Col. Elkanah Greer's Third, Col. Matthew F. Locke's Tenth, and Col. William C. Young's Eleventh regiments; R. P. Crump's battalion of dismounted Texas cavalry; Maj. Dandridge McRae's battalion of Arkansas infantry; and John J. Good's Texas battery. The brigade was transferred to Corinth, Mississippi, to reinforce the army of Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard. Hogg arrived soon after the battle of Shiloh and took formal command of his brigade. Barron, who was serving at his headquarters in the quartermaster's department, found Hogg to be "rather an irritable man" whose "suspicions were easily aroused," and Beauregard soon ordered him arrested for recklessly endangering a trainload of supplies that Hogg thought imperiled by imagined treachery and nonexistent enemy soldiers. Very soon thereafter Hogg fell victim to the dysentery that was ravaging the camp. He was moved to a private home some two or three miles from the camp and nursed there by his body servant, Bob, but died on May 16, having never donned a Confederate uniform. His brigade was later commanded by generals William Lewis Cabell and Matthew D. Ector. Mrs. Hogg died a year later, leaving four sons and two daughters.
General Hogg was buried near the Mount Holly School House in northeastern Mississippi. His remains were removed to the Confederate Cemetery at Corinth, where they were reinterred in 1918. His son, James Stephen Hogg, was governor of Texas from 1892 to 1896.