Hood's Texas Brigade was organized on October 22, 1861, in Richmond, Virginia. It was initially commanded by Brig. Gen. Louis T. Wigfall and composed of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas Infantry regiments, the only Texas troops to fight in the Eastern Theater. The First was commanded by Wigfall and Lt. Col. Hugh McLeod, the Fourth by Col. John Bell Hood and Lt. Col. John Marshall, and the Fifth by Col. James J. Archer and Lt. Jerome B. Robertson. On November 20, 1861, the Eighteenth Georgia Infantry, commanded by William T. Wofford, was attached. On June 1, 1862, eight infantry companies from Wade Hampton's South Carolina Legion, commanded by Lt. Colonel Martin W. Gary, were added, and in November 1862 the Third Arkansas Infantry, commanded by Col. Van H. Manning, joined the brigade. Both the Georgia and South Carolina units were transferred out in November 1862, but the Third Arkansas remained until the end of the war.
Wigfall resigned command of the brigade on February 20, 1862, and on March 2, Hood was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command. Because of his daring leadership the brigade became known as Hood's Texas Brigade, despite his brief service of only six months as commander. The brigade served throughout the war in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and in James Longstreet's First Corps. It participated in at least twenty-four battles in 1862, including Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, and Sharpsburg (Antietam). In October the Third Arkansas regiment replaced the Eighteenth Georgia and Hampton's Legion. On November 1, 1862, Brig. Gen. Jerome B. Robertson became brigade commander, and Hood was elevated to command of the division in which the Texas Brigade operated.
In April 1863 the brigade moved to North Carolina; in May it rejoined Lee's army; and on July 1, 2, and 3, it took part in the battle of Gettysburg. In Georgia the brigade fought on September 19 and 20 at Chickamauga, where Hood was wounded and forced to leave his division, ending his official connection with the brigade. In Tennessee the brigade joined in the sieges of Chattanooga and Knoxville. Gen. John Gregg became commander when the brigade returned to Virginia in February 1864. In the battle of the Wilderness, General Lee personally led the Texans in one of the charges. After Gregg was killed in October the brigade was temporarily led by Col. Clinton M. Winkler and Col. F. S. Bass. At the surrender at Appomattox on April 10, 1865, Col. Robert M. Powell commanded the brigade, Capt. W. T. Hill the Fifth regiment, Lt. Col. C. M. Winkler the Fourth, Col. F. S. Bass the First, and Lt. Col. R. S. Taylor the Third Arkansas.
It is estimated that at the beginning of the war the Texas regiments comprised about 3,500 men and that during the war recruits increased the number to almost 4,400. The brigade sustained a 61 percent casualty rate and, at its surrender, numbered close to 600 officers and men. It was praised by generals Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson, James Longstreet, and Robert E. Lee and by high officials of the Confederacy.
The Hood's Brigade Association was organized on May 14, 1872. Sixty-three reunions were held between that date and 1933, when the last two physically-able veterans, E. W. B. Leach and Sam O. Moodie, both ninety-one, met for the last time in Houston. Through the efforts of the association a monument in memory of the brigade was erected on the south drive of the Capitol in Austin on October 27, 1910. The monument is a thirty-five-foot marble shaft with a bronze statue of a brigade infantryman on top, mounted on a sixteen-foot base carved with the names of all the battles fought by the brigade. The association was reactivated at Hill Junior College in the summer of 1966 with a membership of Hood's Brigade descendants. It is an activity of the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill Junior College and meets in even-numbered years.