Philip Noland Luckett

(Need photo)

Philip Noland Luckett was born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1824, the son of Otho Holland Williams and Elizabeth (Graham) Luckett. The Lucketts were an old Virginia-Maryland planter family, many of whom served in the U.S. Army. The elder Luckett, a soldier in the War of 1812, moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, by 1830 and became the county recorder. From that state in 1841 Philip Luckett was appointed to the United States Military Academy, but left West Point before graduating. In 1847 he emigrated to Texas and settled in Corpus Christi. Having studied medicine, he established a medical practice in that town. In 1850 Luckett served as surgeon to the Texas Ranger companies in south Texas.

In January, 1861, the voters of Webb and Nueces counties elected Luckett ("a handsome man... well informed and agreeable, but most bitter against the Yankees"') a delegate to the state secession convention, where he supported the secession of Texas. On February 4, 1861, the convention appointed Luckett one of three commissioners to negotiate with U.S. military authorities for the surrender of Federal forces in Texas. After that mission was successfully accomplished Luckett briefly served as quartermaster and commissary general of Texas. In the fall of 1861 Luckett formed the 3rd Texas Infantry Regiment at Brownsville, Texas, and on September 4, 1861, he was commissioned its colonel. Luckett commanded the District of the Lower Rio Grande from December, 1861, through 1862, making his headquarters at Fort Brown. In the summer of 1863 the 3rd was transferred to Galveston. Sometime between June 17 and 25 in 1863, Colonel Luckett was made "Acting Brigadier General" (probably by District of Texas Commander General Magruder) and assigned to temporarily command the Eastern Sub-District of Texas in the absence of its regular commander. Luckett led a brigade-sized force guarding the Houston-Galveston area. Upon the return of the district's regular commander, Brigadier General William Scurry, Luckett returned to his regiment. In April, 1864, the 3rd was attached to Walker's Texas Division. Luckett led the 3rd at the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry on April 30, 1864. After the brigade commander was killed in that battle, Luckett temporarily took over the brigade, but failed to win promotion to permanent brigade command. Luckett spent the last months of the wat detached from the 3rd, as a member of the military court inquiring into the conduct of Price's Missouri Raid.

After the war Luckett, like many Trans-Mississippi Confederate leaders, fled to Mexico. Returning to Texas soon thereafter, Luckett was arrested and imprisoned at Fort Jackson, Louisiana. Finally pardoned some months later, Luckett remained in New Orleans. His ever-delicate health shattered, he was unable to engage in business. Luckett died in New Orleans of bronchial disease on May 21, 1869, and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Luckett does not appear on any of the postwar lists of Confederate generals. The omission is curious, given that his status as "acting" brigadier general is in the OR and that the same status was sufficient to get other officers listed.' Perhaps his service in an obscure theater and his death soon after the war caused Luckett to be forgotten. General Magruder, for one, thought highly of Luckett's abilities; in 1863 he recommended that Luckett be promoted to brigadier general of the PACS, calling him "an officer of talent.. . . [who] will make a good general."

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Reference:  More Generals in Gray.  Bruce S. Allardice.  A companion volume to Generals in Gray.  Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.