Hoods Texas Brigade

Austin, Texas




The reunion of the Hood Texas Brigade Association at Austin on October 27 and 28 was notable for the large attendance of survivors, the delightful hospitality extended, and the happy and appropriate service of dedicating the brigade monument. An excellent report of the proceedings and incidents is given in the Austin Statesman. It is given without embellishment.
A person happening in on the old soldiers in the Senate chamber before the House was called to order would have been impressed anew with the strength of the tie that binds together men who have campaigned and fought and slept side by side through four years of bloody war. The enduring tenderness of that tie is a proverb, but it is necessary to attend a reunion of these old men to get the full force of the statement. The handshakes, the joyous exclamations at the sight of a long-absent comrade, the glad tears and fond embraces all attest the deep sincerity and genuine warmth of feeling welling up in the hearts of these survivors of a glorious era.
Gathered together were the majority of the two hundred and fifty surviving veterans of Hood’s Texas Brigade, tottering old men, come from the four corners of the State, and some of them from beyond its borders, they and their wives, daughters, and sons, drawn by the common impulse of love and sentiment. Old and young, men and women, entered into the spirit of the occasion, for all honored the cause and admired the heroism of the men who fought for it. * * *
Some of the best things that happen at a Confederate reunion are those spontaneous and unforeseen incidents of which the printed program gives no hint. Such an incident was that when the aged Gen. W. L. Cabell, of Dallas, entered the hall shortly after the exercises were begun, and was escorted to the speaker’s stand. His presence plainly was unexpected to the majority. He was greeted with a lusty Rebel yell, the audience rising as one man to do honor to “Old Tige,” the Trans-Mississippi fighter and octogenarian, who made a journey of two hundred miles to be with his comrades of the Virginia Army.
The address of the President, William R. Hamby, was well received. Especially pleasing was his earnest declaration that it was not a “lost cause” for which the Southern soldier fought, but that its principles were being vindicated with the passing years. “If the men of the North fought to preserve the Union,” the speaker declared, “the men of the South fought to preserve the principles on which the Union was founded.”
The old soldiers were welcomed on behalf of Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter, U. D. C., by the Chapter President, Mrs.
W. T. Wroe. Mrs. Wroe referred touchingly to her own sacrifice of a father and a mother to the Southern cause, and affirmed her undying interest in all persons and things connected with the Confederacy.
Ex-Gov. Joseph D. Sayers was introduced, and in extending welcome declared that Austin had a peculiar interest in the Hood Brigade, not only because its monument stands here, but because of the gallant Carter and his Tom Green Rifles, who marched away from Austin in the opening days of the conflict. Most of his address was devoted to a review of the brigade’s war record for a period of three months, from June to September, 1862. The losses of the three Texas regiments at Gaines Mill, he declared, were two hundred and seventy- five, or fifty-five per cent of a total of four hundred and twenty-eight men; at Fraser’s Farm the 1st Texas lost heavily: at Second Manassas the losses were three hundred and sixty- six, and at Sharpsburg sixty-three per cent of a total of six hundred and five fell. In this battle, the speaker said, the ist Texas lost one hundred and eighty-six out of a total of two hundred and twenty-six, or eighty-two and one-third per cent. “Hood’s was the greatest brigade that ever enlisted under any flag in any cause in any country, and they certainly have long deserved a monument.”
A response to the addresses of welcome was made by Maj. A. G. Clopton, of Jefferson, who spoke in glowing terms of Austin’s proverbial hospitality. Speaking of General Hood, he declared that Hood was opposed to the surrender at Appomattox, favoring a fight to extermination. He added that if General Hood had lived till now he would completely reverse it, for he would see that the cause for which he fought, States’ rights, still lives.
Maj. F. Charles Hume, of Houston, also delivered an eloquent address in response.
The program was interspersed with music, and a medley played by Mrs. Cecilia Townsend, of Austin, pleased the audience immensely.
The Senate chamber was appropriately decorated with Texas, Confederate, and United States flags, also palms and ferns.
The afternoon of the first day was a continual feast of things good for the soul. There was the reading of telegrams and letters from distant comrades. Letters from W. A. George, in whose possession the 5th Texas flag had been for forty years, were of particular interest. This flag, with the torn banners of the other two Texas regiments, was presented to the association. Telegrams from Mike Powell, colonel of the 5th Regiment, and Hon. 0. B. Colquitt expressed regret. An interesting address was made by General Cabell.
The memorial address was delivered by Capt. W. E. Bary, of Navasota, and at the end of his speech he called attention to the fact that one of the two survivors of the battle of San Jacinto, W. P. Zuber, was in the house, and amid much enthusiasm the aged man was assisted up on a table. He thanked them for the honor, but said that he took it rather as a proxy for those who have preceded him “across the river.”
The poem, “Hood’s Texas Brigade,” was read with much feeling by Judge West, of Waco, father of Miss Decca Lamar West, who was unavoidably absent.
Several excellent musical selections were rendered, the routine business was transacted, and the veterans and ladies took a trolley ride to the Confederate Home.
At night a delightful musical program was rendered, and an address by Mrs. Mary Hunt Affieck, Vice President of the Daughters of the Confederacy from San Antonio, was enjoyed. A band concert during thq reception followed, at which the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy acted hostess.
 The reputation of Hood’s Texas Brigade had become so noted that the Librarian of Congress wrote to General Hamby in seeking information, and stated: “The known statistics of these regiments are so remarkable that if missing figures can be obtained it will establish a record equaled by few, if any, organizations in the Civil War or indeed in modern warfare.”