Horace Randal, Confederate brigadier general, son of Sarah McNeil (Kyle) and Dr. John Leonard Randal, was born on January 1, 1833, in McNairy County, Tennessee. In 1839 the family moved to Texas and settled near San Augustine. In 1849 Horace Randal and James B. McIntyre became the first Texas appointees to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Randal spent five years at the academy because of a deficiency in mathematics and English and thus was the second Texas graduate from West Point. He graduated on July 1, 1854, and was brevetted second lieutenant in the Eighth United States Infantry. On March 3, 1855, he was transferred to Company G, First Dragoons, with the substantive rank of second lieutenant. He subsequently served continuously on frontier duty in Indian Territory, Arizona, New Mexico, and at Fort Bliss and Fort Davis in Texas. Randal resigned from the United States Army on February 27, 1861, went into the Confederate service, and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the cavalry on March 16, 1861. He first served in Gen. Braxton Bragg's quartermaster corps at Pensacola, Florida, and was later transferred to the Army of Northern Virginia; on November 16, 1861, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith. He was commissioned a colonel of cavalry on February 12, 1862, and recruited the Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry regiment (Dismounted) in and around Marshall. Randal recruited his father, brother, and brother-in-law as members of his regimental staff. On July 9, 1862, the regiment of twelve companies paraded through Marshall and left for Little Rock, Arkansas, to join what later became the Second Brigade of Gen. John G. Walker's Texas (Greyhound) Division. As a colonel, Randal was appointed brigade commander on September 3, 1862, and served in Arkansas and Louisiana. He led the brigade at Milliken's Bend during the Vicksburg campaign in June 1863, and in repulsing Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's Red River campaign in the spring of 1864. He was appointed brigadier general by Gen. E. Kirby Smith on April 8, 1864, but his promotion was never confirmed by the Confederate government.
Randal was first married to Julia S. Bassett, on June 2, 1858, in New London, Connecticut. She accompanied him to the southwestern frontier and was living with him in 1860 at Fort Buchanan, New Mexico Territory, fifty miles southeast of Tucson. Julia was unable to withstand the rigors of frontier life and died in the fall of 1860. They had no children. Randal married Nannie E. Taylor on July 8, 1862, in Marshall, on the eve of his departure with his new regiment. They had one son, Horace Jr., born in December 1863 in Fort Worth. Horace Randal died of wounds received at the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas, on April 30, 1864. He was first buried at the hamlet of Tulip, Arkansas, near the battlefield, and later his remains were removed to the Old Marshall Cemetery at Marshall. A state marker was erected at his grave in 1962. Randall County was named for him.