The Ninth Texas Infantry Regiment was organized from ten companies raised in Northeast Texas on November 4, 1861. They were mustered into Confederate service on December 1, 1861, under Col. Samuel Bell Maxey of Paris, Texas. Colonel Maxey was a graduate of West Point. The other original field officers of the Ninth Texas were Lt. Col. William E. Beeson and Maj. Wright A. Stanley. The Ninth Texas has the distinction of having served in the Army of the Mississippi/Army of Tennessee longer than any other Texas infantry regiment.
On March 4, 1862, Colonel Maxey received a promotion to brigadier general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States of America. Major Stanley was promoted to fill the vacancy of colonel, and James Burnet was promoted to the rank of major.
On March 26, at Corinth, Mississippi, the Ninth Texas was placed in J. Patton Anderson's Brigade, Ruggles's Division, Bragg's II Corps. The other units in Anderson's Brigade were the First Florida Battalion, the Seventeenth Louisiana Infantry, Twentieth Louisiana Infantry, the Confederate Guards Response Battalion, and the Fifth Company, Washington (La.) Artillery. Due to sickness and the detachment of two companies, the Ninth carried only 226 officers and men into the battle of Shiloh, where Colonel Stanley's horse was shot from underneath him. The loss to the regiment was reported as fourteen killed, forty-two wounded, and eleven missing.
On May 8, 1862, the Ninth Texas was reorganized in response to the Confederate Conscription Act. The new field officers of the Ninth Texas were Col. William Hugh Young, twenty-four years old and recently graduated from the University of Virginia; Lt. Col. Miles A. Dillard, a Mexican War veteran; and Maj. James Burnet, a Scottish immigrant.
The Ninth Texas was placed in Cheatham's Tennessee Division and fought at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, on October 6, 1862. On December 31, 1862, Bragg's Army of Tennessee fought Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In hard fighting, Bragg's men drove the Union Army several miles. The Ninth Texas, fighting in Vaughan's Brigade of Cheatham's Division (the Ninth Texas was the only non-Tennessee regiment in the division), participated in the attack which drove the Union Army from the field. The price was heavy: of the 323 officers and men the Ninth Texas took into battle, 18 were killed, 102 wounded (including Colonel Young), and 2 men captured or missing.
Regarding their participation in the battle, Quartermaster Thomas H. Skidmore wrote:
Gen. Cheatham rode up to Col. Dillard and ordered him with the regiment to take a battery which was being planted on a hill not far distant. Col. D. expostulated and said there was not a cartridge in his reg't., to which Gen. C. responded with his characteristic oath and style that it made no difference as the reg't. would take it with Barlow knives if the order was given and to charge with fixed bayonets. The order to charge was given and the battery brought in.
Writing years after the war, Lieutenant Colonel Dillard stated following the charge, "General Cheatham was eulogizing the boys, and someone remarked, 'General, you must think you have some troops.' He replied, if I had 50,000 such men, I could whip the whole Federal army."
In his official report of the battle, Colonel Vaughan stated, "Colonel Young seized the colors of his regiment in one of its most gallant charges and led it through."
On January 21, 1863, the Ninth Texas was placed in Ector's Brigade, which contained the Tenth, Fourteenth, and Thirty-second Texas cavalry regiments, dismounted. The Ninth Texas remained in this organization for the remainder of the war. They stayed near Shelbyville until May 1863, when they were ordered to proceed by rail to Jackson, Mississippi, where Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was trying to build a force to end the siege of Vicksburg. The Ninth Texas participated in Sherman's investment of Jackson in July 1863.
On September 19–20, 1863, the Ninth Texas fought in the battle of Chickamauga. Ector's Brigade, in Gist's Division, was under the temporary field command of Nathan Bedford Forrest and opened the battle. A charge was ordered against a battery of artillery, which was taken. Two fresh divisions of Federals counterattacked, forcing the Texans to leave the field. The Ninth Texas had 145 men in the assault, and 6 were killed, 36 wounded, and 18 captured or missing, for a loss of 41.4 percent of those engaged. Included in the casualties were Col. William Hugh Young, who suffered a serious chest wound.
Following Chickamauga, Ector's men were sent back to Mississippi, where they spent the winter. Ector's Brigade was reassigned to Polk's Corps and the division of Samuel G. French, a West Pointer and New Jerseyan by birth. On April 6, 1864, 1st Lt. Jesse Bates of Company G, Ninth Texas, noted a significant event in the history of the regiment: "The boys has all reenlisted and in good spirits."
The Ninth Texas opposed Sherman in the Atlanta campaign, where from May 1864 to September 1864, fighting almost daily, they lost sixteen killed, thirty-nine wounded, and one man captured. One of the casualties was General Ector, who was wounded and lost his leg in July 1864. Colonel Young of the Ninth Texas was promoted to brigadier general and brigade command.
On October 5, 1864, the battle of Allatoona was fought. This was some of the most desperate hand-to-hand fighting of the war. Regarding the battle, Cpl. John E. Logsdon of Company C stated, "We went with our guns loaded, or rather ran, like we were in a foot race, to the edge of the ditch and shot right down on them, then clubbed our guns and had a regular hand-to-hand fight." Of 101 men in the regiment who participated in the fight, 43 were killed or wounded and 2 were listed as missing.
Brig. Gen. William H. Young, commanding the brigade, was severely wounded in the foot, which later had to be amputated. Young was left to the discretion of the enemy. He was captured two days later and sent to Johnson's Island, Ohio. He was not released until mid-July in 1865. Young's conduct at the battle did not go unnoticed. In his official report, General French stated, "Most gallantly he [Young] bore his part in the action. I am indebted to Young for his bravery, skill, and unflinching firmness."
Ector's Brigade missed the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864, as they were guarding the pontoon bridges of the army, but fought at Nashville on December 15 and 16. Hopelessly outnumbered and almost surrounded, they were beaten and forced to flee back through Franklin and Columbia to the Tennessee River. Compliments for the Ninth Texas continued, in spite of the rout in Tennessee. Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, their corps commander, referred to Ector's Brigade as "a small but reliable body of men."
On April 8, 1865, in the last major land battle of the Civil War, Union troops under Maj. Gen. Edward Richard Sprigg Canby assaulted the lightly defended forts and lines of earthworks at Spanish Fort and Blakely. Many Confederates fired one or two volleys and fled. Some were bayoneted in the trenches. Hundreds were forced to surrender.
What remained of the Ninth Texas, under Maj. James H. McReynolds, was paroled with the rest of Ector's Brigade at Meridian, Mississippi, on May 11, 1865. At the surrender, the Ninth was consolidated into two companies under the command of Capt. R. Milton Board of Company I and Lt. John Jenkins. There were just 8 officers and 79 men—a mere fraction of the 1,018 men who had served with the Ninth at one time or another.
At the surrender, the various regiments there were required to surrender their arms as well as colors. Not so for the Ninth Texas. Years after the war, Corporal Logsdon noted that "C.P. Mathews cut the flag from the staff, crammed it into his shirt bosom, and brought it home with him. Charlie has the old flag yet (1909)." Lieutenant Jenkins was noted to have retrieved the flag-staff.
There were several notable events after the war that involved former members of the Ninth Texas. Sam Bell Maxey, who rose to the rank of major general in the Confederate Army, became a United States senator after Reconstruction. His service in the Indian Territory came in handy as a senator, as he spent a great deal of his time in the Senate on Indian relations.
William Hugh Young, minus the foot he lost at Allatoona, became an attorney and practiced law until his death in San Antonio in 1901. Captain Board returned to McKinney, Texas, where he remained for the next sixty-plus years of his life, operating his freight and mercantile business. He finally "crossed the river" on April 10, 1931, at the ripe old age of ninety-three, one of the last of the veterans of the old Ninth Texas. When R. B. Whisenant died on January 1, 1937, the last of the old veterans of the Ninth Texas "crossed the river to rest 'neath the shade of the trees."