History of Fourth Texas
Organised in summer of 1861, the first Colonel appointed to the Regiment was R T P Allen, but he was not liked by the men and a protest was signed - so Colonel Allen was replaced by Colonel John Bell Hood and from then on after, his promotion up to Lt. General, they were always termed 'Hoods Texas Brigade'. When Hood was promoted to Brigadier General in March 1862, Colonel John Marshall took command.
Bradfute Warwick was appointed Major at 23 years of age. Warwick being a Virginian, wounded the State pride of the men and they grumbled a bit. Warwick, a polished, handsome man, won the reputation in battle that he would not send a private soldier where he himself would not cheerfully go.
Colonel Marshall was shot (killed) from his horse and Warwick became Colonel but only for 30 minutes! Of the ten original Captains who went to Virginia with the Fourth in 1861, 6 were lawyers, 2 merchants, 1 farmer and 1 stockman. Of 30 Lieutenants, nearly one third were lawyers. Of 50 Sergeants, 15 were lawyers and of the 40 Corporals, nearly one third were lawyers. Of 1500 men who served in the Regiment from beginning to end, there was no end to the lawyers and law students. There is no discount on the courage and patriotism of the legal fraternity.
The Regiment's first taste of battle was at Elthams landing opposite West Point on May 7, 1862, where they put the Yankees to flight (naturally). On May 31, 1862, the Regiment did it's part at the Battle of Seven Pines, with a 4,000 loss compared to the Yankee losses of 10,000.
At the Battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862, General Hood led the Fourth Texas into the charge at Gaines Mill where the Fourth really made its name. Here Colonel John Marshall was shot from his horse leading the charge, and Bradfute Warwick was mortally wounded when making one of the most brilliant charges known in history. Savages Station, Frasers Farm, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Freemans Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Manassas, Boonboro Gap - the Fourth Texas fought and died. At Antietam (Sharpsburg) whilst attempting to eat their first hot meal in five days around Dunker Church, they were pushed back into the line to repel a Yankee advance. The Fourth were so mad at having their meal interrupted that they charged into the enemy waving skillets, tin plates and cook pots and routed them, but their own fervour carried them into the muzzles of Yankee cannon and they were decimated. (Colonel J C G Key led them then). We re-enacted this against Bill Purcell's cannons at Tatton Park in 1978, when we regularly fielded 30 troops.
Fredericksburg was the next battle for the gallant Texans. Here Burnside's Yankees lost 18,000 to Lee's 3,000. Had the Yankee artillery not bombarded the city and slaughtered the civilians, they would not have made the Reb Regiments so fighting mad, and make just retribution.
At the Battle of Gettysburg the Fourth fought to the death on the slopes of Little Round Top (Major John Bane, later Colonel) and amidst the rocks at Devils Den they held their position throughout the third day and after Pickett's disastrous charge with his Virginians, made an orderly retreat. In the campaign from The Wilderness to Appomattox, the Texas Regiments have insufficient mention in the meagre reports of 1864 - 1865. Many official reports were lost or destroyed. At its last service, the Fourth was commanded by Lt. Col, Clinton M Winkler. At Appomattox, 64 Officers and 553 men were the survivors of the paroled Texas Brigade.
The Mustang Greys 'F Company' were recruited in Bexar County, Texas and commanded by Captain Ed Cunningham and became the left hand flank in Fourth Texas. The Fourth's first battle flag was carried from Elthams Landing to Antietam. Five hundred men died in its wake. The battle scars of 65 balls and shot, besides the marks of three shells were proudly borne.
Quote from Dyers' Hood's Texans:
These Texans Hood understood, and they in turn, understood Him. Save for the almost fanatical response of Forrest's Brigade to the leadership of 'Old Bedford' there appears to be no Brigade in the Confederacy which there was no greater 'Espit De Corp' and more mutual understanding between men and their leader than in Hood's Texas Brigade. Hood treated his men as men and not as automatons whose only duty was to do and die. The Texans proved on many a Virginian battlefield that he could and would die if necessary but he was individualist enough to want to know why. Hood never commanded his men. He led them. As a Regimental Commander, and later a Brigade and Divisional Commander he had no equal in the Confederacy as a feudin', fussin', cussin', fightin' man. Alas on his promotion to Lieutenant General in command of the Army of Tennessee, He met with nothing far short of disaster. However 'Hood's Texans' will live forever in history.
The Fourth Texans' compatriots in arms were the First and Fifth Texas and Third Arkansas. These four Regiments made up a Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Hood and then later by Robertson. On his promotion to Major General, Hood became the Division Commander, which also included regiments from Alabama and Georgia. This division of Hood's was part of Lt. Gen. Longstreet's First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
On a personal note may I add that I have put together these facts on the History of the Fourth Texas in an attempt to instil in our members a proper identity and sense of belonging and build up enthusiasm for being part of this historic Regiment.
Len Boardman, CS Staff.
The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, April 1998