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THE 12TH TEXAS INFANTRY is dedicated TO PORTRAYing THE 
war between the states

Walker's Texas Division

Part One
Order of Battle
 

In October of 1862, Brigadier General Henry McCulloch was assigned the duty of making a general organization of the Texas Volunteer Infantry that were encamped at Camp Nelson, Arkansas into a division. The division consisted of four brigades, with a battery of light artillery attached to each brigade. Major General John G. Walker relieved McCulloch from command about three months later, and would command the division until June of 1864. McCulloch was assigned command of third brigade. This all Texan division would be the largest Confederate outfit composed of troops from a single state. It has been said that Walker's division did less fighting and more walking than any other outfit in the war. While it is true that the division didn't see as much combat as some in the east, they faced distances and hardships unheard of on the other side of the Mississippi. Union troops would honor the division with the name we most often refer to today, "Walker's Greyhounds." This is in respect to the rapid, long distance, forced marches which put Walker's men anywhere in Arkansas or Louisiana where the blue suited horde threatened. Walker's Greyhounds were the backbone of Confederate military force in the Trans-Mississippi Department.

 

This is how the division was organized in October 1862.
 

First Brigade
Colonel Overton Young

12th Texas Vol. Infantry
13th Texas Dismounted Cav.
18th Texas Vol. Infantry
22nd Texas Vol. Infantry
Halderman's Battery

Second Brigade
Colonel Horace Randal

28th Texas Dismounted Cav.
11th Texas Vol. Infantry
14th Texas Vol. Infantry
Gould's TX Infantry. Battalion
Daniel's Battery

Third Brigade
Colonel George Flournoy

16th Texas Vol. Infantry
16th Texas Dismounted Cav.
17th Texas Vol. Infantry
19th Texas Vol. Infantry
Edgar's Battery

Fourth Brigade*
Colonel James Deshler

18th Texas Dismounted Cav.
10th Texas Vol. Infantry
15th Texas Dismounted Cav.
25th Texas Dismounted Cav.

* The fourth brigade was only temporarily attached to the division. They were quickly detached for service at Arkansas Post, where they were captured on January 11, 1863. After exchange they finished out the war east of the Mississippi River.

In March of 1865, the 2nd Texas Partisan Rangers, 34th Texas Cavalry, 29th Texas Cavalry, and Well's Texas Cavalry were dismounted, attached to the division, and a new fourth brigade was formed.

It might be good to point out that during the war, a dismounted cavalry unit fought as infantry. Infantry tactics, infantry weapons, infantry gear. What we see most often at reenactments as "Dismounted Cavalry" should probably be better described as "cavalry, fighting dismounted." We will pretend that they got horses hidden in the trees.

Confederate Military Organization

Company at full strength
4 Officers - Capt. & 3 Lts.   9 NCOs    2 Musicians   100 Privates

Battalion.  Two or more companies, less than ten, usually five.

Regiment.  Usually ten companies.

Brigade.     2 - 5 regiments, 4 is most common.

Division.    2 - 5 brigades, 4 is most common.

Corps.        Usually 2 Divisions.

Army.         Usually 2 corps,

Cavalry.    Basically the same as infantry, sometimes the company
                   is referred to as a troop.

Artillery.  Batteries had both 4 and 6 guns assigned, most often
                  6 guns of mixed caliber.

Legion.     Sort of a combined arms force. Usually consisted of one or two battalions
                  of infantry, one battalion of cavalry, and a battery of light field 
  
                  artillery.

Part Two
Division Battle History
 

The division was organized in October of 1862 at Camp Nelson near Little Rock AR. Fifteen hundred (1500) died of measles and pneumonia that first winter, before they had a chance to see the elephant. By the end of December they were marching and countermarching between Camp Nelson and Pine Bluff following orders that reversed themselves every few days, opposing real and imagined Federal threats. On January 11, 1863 they were ordered to Arkansas Post, unaware that the post had fallen that very day. The Division stayed in the Pine Bluff area until the end of April when they were ordered to Alexandria, Louisiana.

From Alexandria the Division went into action at Perkins Landing, Milikins Bend and Young's Point in the Vicksburg area. After the fall of Vicksburg, the Division was ordered down to south Louisiana to oppose the Yankee menace. The rest of the year brought more marching, fighting and dueling with Federal gunboats in the south Louisiana bayou country, capped by the battle of Bayou Boudreaux, the Atchafalaya Bayou expedition and Yellow Bayou.

1864 would prove to be a long one for the men of Walkers Division. By March, General Banks had a force of over 40,000 Yankee scumbags poised to march up the Red River to Shreveport and beyond Texas. Walkers Greyhounds were forced to fallback in the face of such overwhelming odds, fighting small skirmishes along the way. On April 8th General Taylor had pulled together every Confederate unit from three states to make a stand near Mansfield. This would be the hottest fight of the war for Walkers Greyhounds and they did the job quite well. The Yankees were beaten back with heavy losses in both men and equipment in a fight that lasted all day and into the night, as the Yankees skedaddled back down the road to Pleasant Hill. The 12th Texas was right in the middle of things, playing a pivotal role in the capture of the Nimms and Chicago Mercantile Battery.

Fighting resumed the next morning at Pleasant Hill. Yankee reinforcements and Southern exhaustion more or less led to a push, but the Yankees "advanced to the rear" the next morning. This would not be the end of it for the Greyhounds. Up in Arkansas, General Steeles Yankees were making a move on Shreveport from their base in Little Rock. The call came for the Texans and Walkers men were on the road to Camden Ark. to face these Yankees. On April 30, they met Steeles force at Jenkins Ferry on the Saline River in a very hot fight which once again found the Yankee horde "advancing to the rear".

With Steele on his way back from where he comes, the Greyhounds were once again ordered to Alexandria, Louisiana. Banks and his gunboats were "surrounded" and the Texans were needed to finish him once and for all. Banks evacuated Alexandria on May 19th after doing some river engineering to get the navy out, a few days before the arrival of the Greyhounds.

With Banks no longer a threat, the Texas Division was marched to the Mississippi River with some thought of crossing over but it was not to be. Instead the Greyhounds were marched back up into Arkansas. The Shreveport area would host the Division until the first of March, when orders came to return to Texas.

On April 15, 1865 the Division marched into Camp Groce, near Hempstead, Texas. The men were tired of war. News of Robert E. Lee's April 9th surrender of the Army Northern Virginia added to the gloom. The bigwigs of the Trans-Mississippi Dept. had ideas of continuing the war in spite of the Confederate collapse in the east but the men that did the fighting and dying had had enough. On May 19th of 1865 Walkers Greyhounds went home. They didn't surrender, they weren't captured, and they had just seen enough of war to know when it was over. On May 19th the men mutinied, seized all transportation and supplies and carried off to their homes everything they could get their hands on. When Kirby Smith surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department, his army no longer existed.

Walkers Texas Division, like most of the rest of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi era, has been largely ignored by history. These men are our great great grandfathers, uncles and other kin. Their nation called and they answered. We must not let what they went through be forgotten, this is the least that we owe them.  

The government of the Confederate States of America got underway in the Spring of 1861, not totally prepared to uphold the independence it had declared. The call went out for all able bodied men. Texas answered with men from all backgrounds. The 8th Texas Volunteer Infantry originated at Hempstead, Texas on November 15, 1861, with orders to proceed to Little Rock, Arkansas. After General John G. Walker assumed command of all the Texas units, the 8th Texas was formally redesignated as the 12th Texas Infantry. As Walker's Texas Division, the unit marched throughout Arkansas and Louisiana to defend the states west of the Mississippi River. The 12th Texas Infantry honored themselves in such battles as Milliken's Bend, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry. At Mansfield, the 12th Texas Infantry captured a Federal battery and turned the cannons back on the Federal troops. In April of 1865, the 12th Texas Infantry was disbanded after the surrender at Appomattox. The devotion and sacrifices that these Texas men endured should not be forgotten. 

Walker's Texas Division Battle Flag

 This flag, from an unidentified Texas regiment, is inscribed with battle honors "Mansfield, April 8th 1864" and "Pleasant Hill, April 9, 1864." This flag is important for two reasons. First, it was carried by a Texas unit in the two desperate Louisiana battles that turned back Union General Nathaniel Bank's Red River Expedition, thus saving east Texas from conquest. Second, it is one of only two so-called Taylor battle flags still in existence. [Taylor flags are named for General Richard Taylor, son of President Zachary Taylor, and Confederate commander in western Louisiana.] The Taylor flags are unusual because they are Saint Andrews cross rebel flags with the colors reversed, i.e. a blue field instead of the famous red field, and a red rather than blue cross with white stars.

 

 
 
 
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