On October 2, 1861, at Marshall, Texas, nine infantry companies were organized into a regiment. The driving force behind this organization was John Gregg, a district judge from Fairfield, Texas. Gregg had received a colonel’s commission and authority to raise an infantry regiment. The regiment was sent by train to Shreveport and then marched to Memphis, Tennessee. By November 10, 1861, the regiment was at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where they were mustered into Confederate service as the Seventh Texas Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The lieutenant colonel of the regiment was Jeremiah M. Clough, previously, the district attorney of Harrison County. The major was Hiram Bronson Granbury, formerly a Texas Ranger and chief justice of McLennan County.
The regiment suffered severely due to inclement weather in Hopkinsville, and by mid-February 1862, more than 130 men had died of disease. On February 9, 1862, the Seventh marched to Clarksville, Tennessee, and by February 13, 1862, arrived at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Two days of fighting ensued, in which the regiment lost twenty killed and forty wounded. Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel Clough. On February 16, 1862, the garrison of Fort Donelson surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, including the balance of the Seventh Texas; however, many of the men escaped and served with Terry’s Texas Rangers or with the Ninth Texas Infantry.
More than 300 officers and men of the Seventh Texas were sent north to prisons, where sixty-five of them died. In September 16, 1862, they were exchanged at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The next few months were spent at Port Hudson, where the regiment was stationed. The Seventh Texas was so reduced in numbers that it was consolidated with the Forty-ninth and Fifty-fifth Tennessee regiments, which had also been captured at Fort Donelson.
Colonel Gregg was promoted to brigadier general effective August 29, 1862. Major Granbury was promoted to colonel. William L. Moody, a merchant from Fairfield, was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and Khleber M. Van Zandt, a young lawyer from Marshall, was promoted to major.
The regiment received enough recruits in January and February 1863 to regain its own regimental status and was placed in Brigadier General Gregg’s brigade, which also contained the Third, Tenth, Thirtieth, Forty-first and Fiftieth Tennessee regiments; the First Tennessee Battalion; and Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery. On May 12, 1863, the brigade was sent to Raymond, Mississippi, where the Seventh Texas lost 22 killed, 66 wounded, and 70 captured, out of a total strength of 305, for a loss of over 50 percent. Gregg’s brigade had fought so well, the Federal commander believed he had been attacked by a division.
In July 1863 the brigade was sent to Jackson, Mississippi. Here, Lieutenant Colonel Moody was severely wounded and disabled for further field service. Afterwards, the brigade was sent to north Georgia, where on September 19–20, 1863, the great battle of Chickamauga was fought in which the Seventh Texas lost 8 killed, 78 wounded, and one man captured, out of 177 engaged. The Seventh participated in the final charge that drove the Union Army from the field into siege at Chattanooga.
Colonel Gregg was severely wounded at Chickamauga but, in a strange twist of fate, was rescued by members of Hood’s Texas Brigade. After recovering from his wound, Gregg was called upon to command the famous brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia. General Gregg was killed in battle on the Darbytown Road near Richmond in October 1864.
After Chickamauga, the Seventh Texas was placed in the brigade of James A. Smith, of Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne’s division, which contained the Sixth and Tenth Texas Infantry, and the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry regiments, dismounted. The Seventh would remain in this organization to the war’s end.
On November 25–26, 1863, the battle of Missionary Ridge was fought. There, the Seventh Texas helped defend the Confederate right. General Smith and his second-in-command were both wounded, elevating Colonel Granbury to brigade command. After Bragg’s center and left collapsed, the army retreated. Cleburne’s men occupied the post of honor, the rear guard. On November 27, 1863, Cleburne won additional glory at the battle of Ringgold Gap. For their action in the campaign, Cleburne’s Division won the thanks of the Confederate Congress. In addition, on February 29, 1864, Colonel Granbury was promoted to brigadier general and command of the brigade.
Beginning about May 14, 1864, the Army of Tennessee opposed Sherman’s advance on Atlanta. Fighting for over 100 days, the Seventh Texas gained new glory at places like Pickett’s Mill, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesboro, and Lovejoy’s Station. During the campaign, the Seventh Texas lost seventeen killed, seventy-six wounded, and seven men captured or missing.
On November 30, 1864, the Seventh fought at Franklin, Tennessee. Charging, without the benefit of artillery, entrenched Federal positions, the Seventh was basically finished as an effective fighting force, losing at least eighteen killed, twenty-five wounded, and twenty-two captured. Brigadier General Granbury and Major General Cleburne were among the killed. The commander of the Seventh Texas, John William Brown, was captured, and at the end of the day Capt. Edward Thomas Broughton of the Seventh Texas commanded the brigade.
The Confederates pursued the Federal army to the environs of Nashville, where on December 15–16, 1864, two days of battle ensued. The Seventh Texas and the rest of the brigade fought well but were forced back and driven from the field, with the rest of the army, to Franklin. Two officers were wounded, and at least twenty-three members of the Seventh Texas, mostly wounded or sick men left at Franklin, were captured after the battle.
After crossing the Tennessee River, the army’s men received furloughs. At least one-fourth of the Seventh Texas was furloughed. The regiment accompanied the Army of Tennessee into the Carolinas, where on April 26, 1865, they surrendered to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. The Seventh Texas had two surgeons, six officers, and only fifty-seven men—a mere fraction of those who had served in the regiment.
After the war, many of the men of the Seventh Texas distinguished themselves as business and civic leaders, particularly, William L. Moody and K.M. Van Zandt. The people of Texas memorialized John Gregg, as Gregg County in East Texas is named in his honor. Granbury in Hood County is named in honor Gen. Hiram B. Granbury.
The last known survivor of the Seventh Texas was Charles W. Trice, of Company A. Trice, who had lost an arm at Kennesaw Mountain, died in Lexington, North Carolina, on December 1, 1936.