Waul, Thomas Neville (1813–1903)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 3, 2020

Thomas Neville Waul, Confederate States Army officer, was born to Thomas and Annie Waul near Statesburg, Sumter District, South Carolina, on January 5, 1813. After three years at South Carolina College, he taught for a time at Florence, Alabama, and then studied law in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was admitted to the bar in 1835, and on November 15, 1837, he married America Simmons. By 1850 they had moved to Gonzales County, Texas, where he established his practice as well as a cotton plantation on the Guadalupe River. Waul ran unsuccessfully against Andrew J. Hamilton for the United States Congress in 1859 but was appointed by the Secession Convention to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, where he took his seat on February 19, 1861. Waul favored a broad range of emergency legislation and introduced legislation designed to strengthen the frontier defences of Texas. He also favored a constitutional guarantee of the right to import slaves from any location except Africa. He ran for a seat in the Confederate Senate in November 1861 but was defeated. Waul returned to Brenham and in the spring of 1862 recruited Waul's Legion , for which he was commissioned colonel on May 17. He and his command were captured at the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, but he was soon exchanged. Waul was promoted to brigadier general on September 18, 1863, and given command of the first brigade, formerly that of Brig. Gen. James M. Hawes, of Maj. Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division, which he led during the Red River campaign of 1864. After the battles of Mansfield (April 8, 1864) and Pleasant Hill (April 9, 1864), Waul and his brigade were transferred to Arkansas, where, at the battle of Jenkins' Ferry on April 30, 1864, they helped to repulse federal major general Frederick Steele's attempted invasion of Texas and where Waul was wounded in action. After returning to his Gonzales County plantation at the war's end, Waul was elected to the state Constitutional Convention of 1866. Thereafter he practiced law in Galveston before retiring to his farm near Greenville, Hunt County, in 1893. There he died on July 28, 1903. He is buried in Fort Worth.

Ezra J. Warner and W. Buck Yearns, Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975). Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Waul, Thomas Neville,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/waul-thomas-neville.

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August 3, 2020

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