Ross's Brigade

Although known by the name of its most famous commander, Lawrence Sullivan Ross,qv the Texas Cavalry Brigade was under the authority of three other officers during the War between the States. The first commander was Col. John W. Whitfield, who, on October 23, 1862, was given command of a newly formed brigade composed of four dismounted Texas cavalry regiments-the Third, Sixth, Ninth, and his own Twenty-seventh. (The Third, Sixth, and Ninth had previously been brigaded together under Gen. James McIntosh in Benjamin McCulloch's Army of the West and had seen action at the battle of Pea Ridge or Elkhorn Tavern in March 1862.) These regiments, recruited mainly from twenty-three central, northeastern, and north central counties, were veterans of campaigns in Indian Territory, Arkansas, and Missouri as well as in the battles of Iuka and Corinth. As part of Gen. Earl Van Dorn's cavalry division, the remounted Texas Brigade raided the federal supply base at Holly Springs, Mississippi, in December 1862, an action that halted Ulysses S. Grant's land advance to Vicksburg. On March 5, 1863, the brigade, operating in Tennessee, captured a large Union reconnaissance force at Thompson's Station. Later, it participated in the first battle of Franklin (April 10, 1863). Ross's Brigade, one of the most famous Texas military units of the Civil War,qv was also one of the most active. It was not, however, distinguished for its discipline. Its members were described as "rollicking, rascally, [and] brave" and appreciated for their dependability. Gen. Stephen D. Lee called the Texans the "most reliable" troops under his command. In 1875 survivors of the unit organized the Ross Brigade Association.

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