Len, your reference to the 37th Virginia and the Army of the Northwest got me to thinking about the 3rd Arkansas Regiment's time in purgatory in western Virginia.
The 3rd Arkansas got off to a shaky start at Lynchburg in July 1861, and didn't get a chance to show its stuff until over a year later at Sharpsburg. The authorities in Virginia saw those Arkansas volunteers as a bunch of ignorant, undisciplined hicks. Richmond newspaper accounts printed some pretty demeaning stereotypes about the Arkansas boys, although that wasn't their intent. They were portrayed as noble savages who routinely killed grizzly bears with their knives, and God help the Yankees when they meet these boys from the "wilds" of Arkansas. In fact, the men of the 3rd Arkansas were all from the comparatively genteel southern part of the State. Also, the authorities perceived Colonel Rust as a sort of buffoon. Rust was a bit of a blowhard, but he was no idiot. The only way Richmond would accept the 3rd Arkansas into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States was with "reliable" leadership, so Virginia born-and-bred Seth Maxwell Barton was brought in to serve as lieutenant-colonel, VMI alumnus Thomas Middleton Semmes was brought in as adjutant, etc. Even the cotton-pickin' chaplain was a Virginia appointee.
The regiment's reputation wasn't helped by their first combat mission, the fiasco known as the "Cheat Mountain Expedition," where Colonel Rust and his Arkansas boys immediately got lost and wandered around the mountains for three days, and never did find the Yankees they were supposed to attack.
They incurred the wrath of Stonewall Jackson by their seeming incompetence, their unruly behavior and their supernatural ability to find and dispose of whiskey in even the most remote parts of western Virginia. The final straw for Jackson came when the officers of the 3rd Arkansas sent a petition for redress of grievances to the War Department over one of Jackson's command decisions. Jackson threw them out of his command in a rage.
At this low point, no one would have predicted that the disgraced 3rd Arkansas Regiment would ever amount to a hill of beans. But a couple of fortunate events occurred that changed all that. First, Colonel Rust resigned and returned to Arkansas; Major Manning was elected colonel; and the regiment was placed in Walker's North Carolina Brigade.
The first big test for the 3rd Arkansas after all these events was the battle of Sharpsburg, where the regiment earned undying glory as the "Heroes of the Bloody Lane." I can never read the account of that part of the Sharpsburg fight without bringing tears to my eyes. The 3rd Arkansas, indeed, fought like savages, suffered extraordinary casualties, and forever distanced themselves from their doubtful past.
In the army reorganization after the battle, the War Department ended its tradition of mixed brigades, and thereafter organized brigades on a State basis, i.e., all the regiments in each brigade would be from the same State. That's how the 3rd Arkansas ended up in the famed Texas Brigade formerly commanded by John Bell Hood. There were three Texas regiments and one Arkansas regiment, and, needing four regiments to make up a brigade, these four western regiments were placed together. It was a match made in heaven. When the 3rd Arkansas arrived at the camp of the Texas Brigade, its Sharpsburg reputation had preceded it. After looking over the Arkansas regiment, one Texan said, "Them Arkinsaw toothpick boys will do to tie to." Later, after fighting side-by-side in some of the fiercest battles of the war, the Texans bestowed the highest honor they could on the 3rd Arkansas, and nicknamed them the "3rd Texas."
And the rest, as they say, is history.