Horace Randal was born on January
4, 1833, in McNairy County, Tennessee, the son of Dr. Leonard and Sarah (Kyle)
Randal. His parents moved to near St. Augustine, Texas, in 1838, where his
father, a doctor and army surgeon, was elected Texas congressman. Appointed to
West Point in 1849, the young Randal graduated five years later, forty-fifth in
a class of forty-six. Posted to the infantry, Randal transferred to the 1 st
Dragoons in 1855. With the 1st he fought Indians on the southwest frontier. In
1857 then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis recommended that Randal receive a
brevet promotion in recognition of Randal's "gallant and meritorious conduct in
affairs with the Apache Indians."
Lieutenant Randal was in Washington, D.G, the week before President Lincoln's inaugural. Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, who thought highly of him, allegedly offered Randal a commission as major in the regular army to keep him loyal. However, Randal followed his state, resigning from the U.S. Army on February 26,1861. On March 26,1861, Randal was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Confederate regular army, to rank from March 16. On April 25, 1861, Randal (by now a captain) was ordered to Pensacoia, where he served as quartermaster on the staff of General Braxton Bragg. In the summer of 1861 Randal resigned his commission. Randal had complained to President Davis that others, junior to him in the old army, had been promoted ahead of him. Randal intended to return to Texas and raise a regiment. However, at the request of his brother-in-law, Major General G. W. Smith, who had recently been given command of a corps in northern Virginia, Randal postponed that trip in order to serve on Smith's staff. For six weeks he acted as a volunteer aide-de-camp, while Smith begged the president to give Randal a formal appointment. President Davis was reluctant to reappoint an officer who had so recently resigned, but eventually reappointed Randal lieutenant and aide-de-camp. He was the inspector general of Smith's corps throughout the winter of 1861. An especial favorite of General Joseph E. Johnston, the army commander, Randal was often "given the most important duties and authotity." A fellow staff officer remembered him as "in some respects the most remarkable man I met during the war." Randal was, among other talents, "a most remarkable horseman," continually riding at a full gallop no matter what the terrain. It was said that Randal's close friend and West Point roommate, General John B. Hood, "always predicted that he would be the cavalry leader of the war if he got a chance." On December 19,1861, Randal was authorized to organize a regiment of cavalry out of companies then being raised in Texas. On February 12, 1862, he was commissioned colonel of cavalry. Returning to Texas, he was given command of the newly recruited 28th Texas Cavalry, a unit that fought dismounted most of the war. By December Colonel Randal was in charge of a brigade of infantry in Brigadier General Henry McCulloch's division. His brigade was left in reserve during the June 25, 1863, attack on Milliken's Bend. On November 8, 1863, General Kirby Smith recommended Randal for promotion to brigadier general. However, the brigade at the time was not large enough to justify having a general to command it. At the Battle of Mansfield (April 8, 1864) Randal's brigade crushed the Union line and led the pursuit, capturing five hundred prisoners and the Union wagon train. The army commander reported that "in vigor, energy and daring Randal surpassed my expectations, high as they were of him and his fine brigade." Five days after that battle General Kirby Smith assigned Randal to duty as brigadier general, the commission to date from April 8. Randal had only two weeks to enjoy this honor. While leading his brigade in a charge at the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry in Arkansas on April 30,1864, Randal was mortally wounded. He died of his wounds on May 2. First buried near the battlefield, his remains were later removed to Old Marshall Cemetery in Marshall, Texas. Randall County, Texas, is named (or rather misnamed) after General Randal.
Wright, SHSP, CMH, Heitman, Wood, and CV all list Randal as a general.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.