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Re: Col J.W. Speight's Brigade
In Response To: Col J.W. Speight's Brigade ()


Here is a hastily cobbled together chronology of events for the time period you requested. This comes from a variety of sources including The Alexander Papers, an inactive regimental web site, The Official Records, and Polignac's Texas Brigade by Alwynn Barr. Pardon the abbreviations, but these are from my own handwritten notes.

Barr's book contains more details, but I will have to transcribe them for you at a later date if you are interested.

10/8 or 10/9 Orders from Hdqrs. District of Arkansas Little Rock announces death of BGen Nelson
Funeral escort to be Col Speight regt Texas infantry Edgar Texas btry and Morgan sqdrn

11/4/62 [Captain Henry C West’s Arkansas Battery]-Camp on Big Mulberry-receipt for camp equipage-signed Capt West cdg battery 2nd bgde

11/25 Hindman to Roan-enclosed is order organizing your division-
the three regiments and one bn of dismtd Texans are about 1400 effectives-I think you should have 3000 infantry-law requires that brigades should be of troops from same state
I will apply to Holmes for enough Texas infantry to supply the deficit and also for a Texas btry if he can’t send them I propose giving you an Arkansas brigade of Infy and Arkansas btry though that would interfere considerably with the organization of the other divisions. This would give you a solid rallying point to the other troops of your command and whip any feds that invade Ind terr.
In Cooper’s command there will be about 2400 Texas cavalry though as yet not above 1600 are armed soon I will give muskets to the dismtd Texans- Enfields if they can be had for flank cos
The so called btry put with Cooper is but an arty company- I shall apply to Holmes for a 6 gun btry for them
Demorse’s Texas regiment is now at Clarksville, Texas, or marching from there to Fort Smith under Holmes order-Intercept it and place it under you in Cooper brigade
The new regt is to be made of Lane’s extra companies and the various unattached companies... I am sending a copy of this to Holmes so he may know of plan...

Prairie Grove order of battle-
3rd Brigade: Colonel Emmett MacDonald (commanding 807 men on the battlefield)
• MacDonald's Missouri Cavalry - Lt. Colonel Merrit L. Young (202 men)
• Crump's Texas Cavalry - Lt. Colonel R. Phillip Crump (544 men)
• West's Arkansas Battery - Captain Henry C. West (61 men, one 6 pound smooth bore cannon, two 12 pound field howitzers)

12/26 Camp near Van Buren-Hindman to Frost & Fagan-telling them to distribute the regiments of the late Texas brigade now under your command among the other troops

1/7/63 reference to Speight’s brigade

1/10 Speight’s brigade moved via Spadra per Holmes’ orders who was then at Hindman’s hdqtrs. Since the date Speight crossed Spadra Creek, Steele’s division ceased to be of the 1st Corps in accordance with orders from Holmes

1/10 Second bgde-Speight cmdg.
Speight regt Tex Infy
Bass regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Stevens regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Alexander regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Guess Bn Tex dismounted cavalry
West’s Ark battery

1/16 Hindman to Holmes giving report indicating command structure-per request
1st Division-Gen Steele
2nd Brigade-Col Speight
Speight regt Tex Infy
Bass regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Stevens regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Alexander regt Tex dismounted cavalry
Guess Bn Tex dismounted cavalry
West’s Ark battery

[The following was taken from a web site that I can no longer locate for proper credit]

Regimental Journal [15th Texas Infantry]

Left camp Nelson, Ark on 23 Nov 1862-Marched three days -Total distance marched 17 miles. Encamped at Camp Bayou Metre near Brownsville Ark on 25 Nov 1862

Early December 1862
Orders were given to march towards Vicksburg. After marching east three days [through Little Rock] the orders were countermanded. On the 14th the regiment was given orders to march west to reinforce Hindman’s army retreating from Prairie Grove. They met up with Hindman and marched, without their baggage, with the retreating army to Clarksville, where they set up a defensive position, on January 7th, covering the entire town. They awaited for a Federal attack that never came. (Polignac’s Texas Brigade)

1/1/63 Met the retiring army east of Van Buren & fell back with Hindman to Clarksville

1/7/63 At nearby Piney Bayou, the four demoralized Texas [dismounted cavalry] regiments were put under Col Speight…
20th Texas
22nd Texas
31st Texas
34th Texas
And 15th Texas infantry

• January - March 1863
Assigned to Speight's Brigade, Indian Territory

• January 14, 1863
J.F. Crosby reports to Col R.C. Newton that Col. Speight reported, "20 men of his rear guard captured 15 miles south of here [Fort Smith Ark.] on the Louisiana Railroad." They were captured by Capt. Martin D. Hart,a renegade Texan with a 30 man company. (WOR, vol. 22, pt 2, 772)

• January 15, 1863
Brig. Gen. W.M. Steele writes from Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Colonel R.C. Newton that "Speight has arrived in this vicinity with his command". He described how snow was nearly one foot deep and this prohibited the further movement of the troops. "His animals are completely broken down, and there is not a particle of forage to be had in this vicinity" (WOR, vol. 22, pt. 2, 773).

• January 27, 1863
J.F. Crosby, Asst.-Adj. Gen. reports, "Colonel Speight's command left ... with inadequate transportation and supplies. His route will be to Blackburn's, and thence to Doaksville" (WOR, vol. 22, pt. 2, 776).
Camped near Doaksville under the "assumption that supplies breadstuffs had been brought to the Johnson Depot” (WOR vol. 22, pt 2, 777)

• January 28, 1863
Speight's request for supplies and rations are turned down by Brig. General Steele, for lack thereof. Steele admits his knowledge of the poor conditions of the brigade. Letter from Steele to Speight (WOR vol 22 pt 2, 779)

• February 1863
Returned to Ft. Smith where the Texans were in a horrible state. “lived for three weeks on cold flour (parched corn, ground to meal) and water. No tents, no blankets, hardly anything to keep life and soul together. Many and many of night have I slept with on the frozen ground with nothing around me but a blanket with a lump of ice for a pillow. By day I limp along in my rundown boots, holes wearing in my feet. At night, my feet swelled and I could not stand. Men died every day. They laid themselves down. They would not move and died.” (Texas Military History II, 276)

• March - April 1863
Assigned: Speight's Brigade, Indian Territory, District of Arkansas, Trans-Mississippi Department.

• March 24, 1863
Brig Gen. C.J. Polignac and staff will, "report to Alexandria, La., and report to Lt. Gen. E.K. Smith…" JNO Withers Assistant-Adjutant General (WOR vol.15 pt.1, 1023)

• April 19, 1863
The men are ordered to proceed to Alexandria, Louisiana via Shreveport, Louisiana to oppose Union advance into Texas. After, "being on the march northward for some time now," Speight was ordered to march southward to Louisiana with West's battery. (WOR vol. 15, pt 1, 28-33)

• April 26, 1863
A letter to Brig. Gen. W.M. Steele reported Speight's regiment to be within a week of Little Rock, Arkansas.

• May 1, 1863
Brig. Gen. Steele writes to Col. S.S. Anderson, Asst.-Adj. Gen. that he had received intelligence reporting Speight's brigade en route for Alexandria. "The withdrawal of these troops will have a bad effect upon our Indian troops, who are so badly armed and have so little ammunition that they do not count for much", Steele added (WOR, vol. 22, pt. 2, 833-834).

• May 6, 1863
Lt. Col. James E. Harrison reported from camp, en route for Alexandria. He wrote that he had shortly before reported with his regiment, the Fifteenth Texas, to Col. Speight near Clarkesville, Texas (WOR, vol. 22, pt. 2, 839).
Col. Speight informs Brig Gen Steele that he cannot obey his order to return to Indian Territory, because his orders to move to Shreveport came from Gen. Smith. (WOR, vol. 22, pt. 2, 839)

• May 13, 1863
Arrived at Jefferson and boarded steamers to be transported to Shreveport.
• May 14, 1863
A letter from Brig. Gen. W.M. Steele to Brig. Gen. W.R. Boggs requests the arrest of Col Speight for disobeying an order to return to Indian territory (WOR, vol. 22, pt.2 839).

• May 14, 1863
A letter from Brig. Gen. W.R. Boggs to Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor states that Speight's brigade was "now arriving" at Shreveport. It had an aggregate, of which the Fifteenth was a part, of 1650 men. The letter said that 600 of these men were unarmed (WOR, vol. 15, 1083).

1. Ashcraft, Allan C., Texas In the Civil War: A Resume History, West Texas Office Supply, Odessa, Texas, 1969.
2. Fitzhugh, Lester N., Texas Batteries, Battalions, Regiments, Commanders and Field Officers: Confederate States Army 1861 - 1865, Mirror Press, Midlothian, Texas, 1959.
3. Journey to Pleasant Hill: The Civil War Letters of Captain Elijah P. Petty, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A., ed. Norman D. Brown, intro by O. Scott Petty, U.T. Institute of Texan Cultures, 1982.
4. Roberts, O.M., Confederate Military History, vol. 11, ed. Gen. Clement A. Evans, Confederate Publishing Company, Atlanta, Georgia, 1899.
5. Sifakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas, Facts on File, New York, New York, 1995.
6. War of the Rebellion, The, 128 vols.
7. Wright, Marcus J., Texas In the War 1861 - 1865, ed. Harold B. Simpson, Col., USAF (ret.), Hill Junior College, Hillsboro, Texas
8. Muster Rolls, Companies A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I, 15th Texas Infantry, Texas Historical Collection, Baylor University
9. William E. Sawyer and Neal A. Baker Jr., eds., “A Texan in the Civil War,” Texas Military History II.
10. Grisamore, Silas, “Reminiscences” Weekly Thibodaux Sentinel, May 15,1869
11. Barr, Alwyn, Polignacs Texas Brigade, Texas A&M University Press,College Station, Texas 1998.

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