Polignac's Brigade

By: Alwyn Barr

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: May 1, 1995

Col. Robert H. Taylor's Twenty-second, Col. Trezevant C. Hawpe's Thirty-first, and Col. Almerine M. Alexander's Thirty-fourth Texas Cavalry regiments were raised in the winter of 1861 and the spring of 1862 in North Texas. In the spring and summer of 1862 they were ordered into Indian Territory and Arkansas, where they were organized into a brigade with some Indian regiments under Col. Douglas H. Cooper. In the fall of 1862 the brigade fought at Shirley's Ford and at Newtonia, Missouri, before being driven back into Arkansas, where they were dismounted for service as infantry. The brigade was joined by Col. Thomas Coke Bass's Twentieth Texas Cavalry, served under several commanders, and fought at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, in the late fall and winter of 1862. In January 1863 the Fifteenth Texas Infantry under Col. Joseph Warren Speight joined the brigade, which marched through snow back to Texas under Speight's command, leaving the Twentieth Texas in Indian Territory.

In the spring of 1863 the brigade was sent to Louisiana, where the Twenty-second and Thirty-fourth were retrained as infantry, while the Fifteenth and the Thirty-first were joined by the Eleventh Texas Battalion in skirmishes and the battles of Stirling's Plantation and Bayou Bourbeau. In the fall of 1863 the brigade was reunited under Gen. Camille de Polignac, with the addition of the Seventeenth Texas Consolidated Dismounted Cavalry and the later loss of the Eleventh Texas Battalion. The brigade skirmished at Vidalia and Harrisonburg, Louisiana, in early 1864 before joining Gen. Richard Taylor's army to defeat federal forces in the Red River campaign in April and May. Polignac became division commander after the battle of Mansfield and was succeeded by several brigade commanders, including Robert Dillard Stone, who was killed at Yellow Bayou, Wilburn Hill King, and Richard E. Harrison. In the fall of 1864 the brigade moved into Arkansas and then back to Texas, where it disbanded in May 1865.

Alwyn Barr, Polignac's Texas Brigade, Texas Gulf Coast Historical Association Publication Series 8.1 (November 1964). Robert S. Weddle, Plow-Horse Cavalry: The Caney Creek Boys of the Thirty-Fourth Texas (Austin: Madrona, 1974).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Alwyn Barr, “Polignac's Brigade,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/polignacs-brigade.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995

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