Bibliography of Hood's Texas Brigade
One of the advantages of reenacting Hood's Brigade is the vast array of available source material for this famous unit. The following bibliography provides a comprehensive look at book-length sources. Check Simpson's Hood's Texas Brigade: Lee's Grenadier Guard for a listing of periodical literature.
Many Texans wrote memoirs of their war service. Our most famous commander's personal account is J. B. Hood, Advance and Retreat (orig. pub. 1880, repr. Indiana U. Press, 1959, available). Also interesting is G. A. Coco, ed. Recollections of a Texas Colonel at Gettysburg (Thomas Publications, 1990, available), which contains the memoirs of Col. R. M. Powell of the 5th Texas.
Our brigade was one of the few to have a book published about it during the war. In 1863, N. A. Davis, chaplain of the 4th Texas, issued The Campaign from Texas to Maryland (repr. The Steck Co, 1961, scarce). This became a major source for all later works on the brigade.
Four enlisted men published especially useful memoirs. W. A. Fletcher, Rebel Private Front and Rear (orig. pub. 1908, repr. U. of Texas Press, 1954, available) is an excellent account of soldier life, both in the 5th Texas and the 8th Texas Cavalry, while J. B. Polley, A Soldier's Letters to Charming Nelly (orig. pub. 1908, repr. Butternut Press, 1984, available) and Mary Lasswell, ed. Rags and Hope: The Memoirs of Val Giles (Coward-McCann, Inc. 1961, scarce) contain the detailed accounts of service in the 4th Texas. J. C. West, A Texan in Search of a Fight (By the author, 1901, reprinted 1995) is my favorite wartime account.
There are other less useful enlisted memoirs. J. W. Stevens of the 5th wrote his Reminiscences of the Civil War, (orig. pub. 1902, repr. Derwent Books, 1982, available), but they contain little of interest. Despite the name, J. M. Polk, Memories of the Lost Cause and Ten Years in South America (J. M. Polk, 1905, very scarce) is a moderately useful account by a soldier of the 4th, and O. T. Hanks, History of Captain B. F. Benton's Company, Hood's Texas Brigade(Morrison Books, 1960, very scarce) is an brief memoir by a member of the 1st.
J. R. and C. A. Heller, The Confederacy Is On Her Way Up the Spout (U. of Ga. Press, 1992, available) has the letters of various members of the 18th Georgia, which served with the Brigade in 1862. Wartime letters also appear in R. W. Glover, ed. Tyler to Sharpsburg: The War Letters of Robert H. and William H. Gaston (W. M. Morrison, 1960, very scarce.)
Mrs. A. V. Winkler, The Confederate Capital and Hood's Texas Brigade (orig. pub. 1894, repr. Butternut & Blue Press, 1991, available) is fun for the wartime experiences of the author, wife of the Lt. Col. of the 4th.
A. J. L. Freemantle, Three Months in the Southern States (orig. pub. 1864, repr. U. of Nebraska Press 1991, available) is unique. Not only does it describe the author's wartime travels in Texas, but also has his first-hand accounts of observing the Texans on the road to Gettysburg.
At the turn of the century, J. B. Polley, a veteran of the 4th, was commissioned by the survivors to write a brigade history. The result was the excellent Hood's Texas Brigade (orig. pub. 1910, repr. Morningside Bookshop, 1976, available).
Polley's mantle as brigade historian was later assumed by H. B. Simpson. His Gaines' Mill to Appomattox (Texian Press, 1963, available) covered Co. E of the 4th and led to his monumental Hood's Texas Brigade: Lee's Grenadier Guard (Texian Press, 1970, reprinted 1994).
Simpson's many other works include Hood's Texas Brigade: A Compendium (Hill Junior College Press, 1977, very scarce), which is a complete brigade roster, and also The Marshall Guards (Port Caddo Press, 1967, scarce), a history of Co. E of the 1st. Simpson also edited G. T. Todd, First Texas Regiment (Texian Press, 1963, very scarce).
J. Spencer, From Corsicana to Appomattox (The Texas Press, 1984, available) is a history of Co. I, 4th Texas, which relies heavily on Simpson. D. H. Hamilton, History of Company M, First Texas Volunteer Infantry, Hood's Brigade (W. M. Morrison, 1962, very scarce) is a slim work.
C. L. Collier, They'll Do To Tie To (Eagle Press, 1959, available) is a good overview of the Third Arkansas.
T. Jones, Hood's Texas Brigade Sketchbook (Hill College Press, 1988, available) has excellent sketches made from wartime photos of brigade members. Beware of its comments about the evolution of clothing and equipment, as many are challenged by recent research.
There are many works on life in Texas before and during the war. Two of my favorites are F. L. Olmstead, A Journey Through Texas (orig. pub. 1857, repr. U. of Texas Press, 1978, available) and R. L. Kerby, Kirby Smith's Confederacy (Columbia U. Press, 1972, available).
Biographers have neglected our principal leaders. A. L. King, Louis T. Wigfall, Southern Fire-eater (Louisiana State U. Press, 1970, available) touches only briefly on the military career of our first general. R. M. McMurry, John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence (U. of Kentucky Press, 1982, available) is the standard biography of our most famous commander. Gerald J. Smith, "One of the Most Daring of Men" (Southern Heritage Press, 1997, available) is a shallow study of William Wofford. Apparently, Brigadiers Robertson, and Gregg have not been the subject of full-scale biographies.
A variety of recent studies provide authoritative accounts of the service of the Texans in particular campaigns. Here is what Co. H recommends.
On 1862, S. W. Sears, To the Gates of Richmond (Ticknor & Fields, 1992, available) covers Eltham's Landing and Gaines' Mill, while J. J. Hennessy, Return to Bull Run (Simon & Shuster, 1993, available) deals with the Texans' assault at Second Manassas. S. W. Sears, Landscape Turned Red (Ticknor & Fields, 1983, available) is an excellent account of the fighting in the Cornfield at Sharpsburg.
The Texans' attack on Little Round Top is well-covered in E. B. Coddington, The Gettyburg Campaign (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1968, available) and H. W. Pfanz, Gettysburg: The Second Day (U. of North Carolina Press, 1987) (available). P. Cozzens, This Terrible Sound (U. of Illinois Press, 1992) describes the Texans' role at Chickamauga.
Surprisingly, 1864 has been less well documented. The best descriptions of how the Texans saved the day in the Wilderness are still found in D. S. Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1944, available) and R. E. Lee (same publisher, 1935, available). These works of course contain much other material about the operations of our brigade. The standard accounts of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania are Gordon C. Rhea, The Battle of the Wilderness (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1994, available) and The Battles of Spotsylvania Courthouse and the Road to Yellow Tavern (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1997, available). W. D. Matter, If It Takes All Summer (U. of North Carolina Press, 1988, available) also covers Spotsylvania. No complete study of the Texans in the Richmond/Petersburg siege has been published, but R. J. Sommers, Richmond Redeemed (Doubleday, 1981, available) covers their role in the crucial fighting around Ft. Harrison, and briefly mentions their last important battle at the Darbytown Road.
Note that works shown as "available" are either currently in print or available at reasonable prices from second-hand specialty stores. If you're in the second-hand book market, I strongly recommend Olde Soldier Books, 18779 B North Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20879, (301) 963-2929. Tell them Lee Rainey sent you.
New site member Jay, a veteran reenactor who was a member of Company A of the 5th Texas at the 125th Gettysburg reenactment, has added the following books to our Recommended Reading page:
-Tyler to Sharpsburg: War Letters of Robert H and William H. Gaston, Company H, 1st Texas Infantry Regiment, Hood's Texas Brigade, 22 pages, Waco Press, 1960. A review from Jay: " There are only 22 pages, little more than a booklet, but they are a touching read, giving a close look at the lives of two soldiers, brothers. The letters end with Sharpsburg and one brother missing, (dead) the other transferred from Virginia. An excellent 1st person study."
-Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant & Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry, Edited by George Skoch & Mark W. Perkins, Texas A&M University Press, 2003,163 pages, plentiful notes, bibliography and indexed. Edited from reminisces of one Robert Campbell of the 5th Texas who served from the beginning to 2nd Manassas invaliding home with the distinction of being the most wounded survivor on Hood's Brigade with 6 wounds.
-Confederate Guns of Navarro County, by John W. Spenser (Author of "From Corsicana to Appomattox"). This book focuses on all Navarro County's Confederate soldiers and briefly touches on Texas Brigade Companies E of the 1st Texas, and I of the 4th Texas. It gives a roster and brief history of those men from Navarro County.
-Simpson Speaks on History, Harold Simpson, Hill College Press, 1986. Of this book Jay says: "That is Col. Simpson, and as the title implies, He touches on a number of items from our history rather a collection of lectures than printed history. But there are some items of particular interest for the reenactor; He touches on our beloved Brigade in "Hood's Texas Brigade, Lee's dependable expendables. Another item is Camels, Jeff Davis & Texas. Yet another is "Lee West of the River." "Robert E. Lee in Missouri, Mexico & Texas. Finally, there is "Thunder on the Frontier, the 2nd US Cavalry in Texas, 1855-61. This unit contained many officers later prominent in the Confederacy including Hood. The unit was sometimes referred to as "Jeff Davis own." So many future CS notables were in it that Davis has been accused that he was accused of intentionally stacking the roster to give needed combat experienced to those officers. This has never been proven. This lecture is skimmed from a book of his with the same title."
Jay also recommends two historical fiction books related to the Texas Brigade:
-The Barefoot Brigade, about two brothers and their mess mates in the 3rd Arkansas. The book follows them through to Appomattox. Of this book Jay says: "One I have read many times. It gives a good feeling of the effect of the war from early victories through turning tide to final despair and tragedy. So too befalls the members of the mess as they fall by the wayside wounded, killed or captured."
-Interrupted Lives: Hood's Texas Brigade, by Bob Cheney and Diane Holloway, 252 pages, iUniverse, 2000. Here is a product description of the book from Amazon.com: " Hoods Texas Brigade was one of the most distinguished fighting units in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, participating in virtually all of the major battles and campaigns from Elthams Landing through Appomattox. This book, although a work of fiction, is faithful to the movements of the brigade, including its detachment to Bragg's command and the resultant battle at Chickamauga. Prominent in the book are Hood, Lee, Longstreet, and Stonewall Jackson, as well as many lesser but real personalities.The book is basically about Caleb Walker, a Texas farm boy who enlists after First Manassas and remains with the Texas Brigade throughout the war. It includes Caleb's companions, most of whom will be killed or wounded; the ribald humor of enlisted men; Caleb's letter exchanges with his girlfriend; homosexual advances; non-combat related murder; the life, leisure and horror of the common soldier; and the leadership, sometimes inept, often inspiring, of non-coms and officers. Each chapter opens with an account in the Dallas Spectator of the war's progress and problems in all theaters of the war, and the home front, and illustrates the typical Southern editors' willingness to criticize as well as praise, without fear of retribution." Read the mixed reviews on this book before purchasing it. It seems like it may be a good fictional account of a fictional soldier in the Texas Brigade.