"Run right over them and give them Hell"

Louisiana, 1863

From Boggy Creek the brigade moved in mid-February to Camp Kiamichi near Doaksville in the Indian Territory just north of Clarksville, Texas. At that point Speight granted numerous furloughs to help restore morale and ordered all men absent from the brigade for any other reason to report immediately. Speight then returned to Waco for a short time, leaving the brigade under Colonel A. M. Alexander. Harrison also took leave of the brigade and returned to Arkansas in an effort to persuade General Holmes to send the 15th Texas to a combat area.1 Without a definite answer Harrison returned to his regiment in late March. There, despite his personally apprehensive views of the war and of various morale problems at home, he began to drill the 15th Texas "three times a week in Battalion Drill and every day in Company drill,2 to ensure its readiness for active duty.

In the Indian Territory where the season for campaigning began early in the spring, Steele started to collect his army by ordering forward the Texas infantry brigade on March 20, 1863. Lacking confidence in the recently demoralized Texans, Steele countermanded the order on March 31 and wrote Holmes in an attempt to replace them with more reliable troops. The Union Army refused to cooperate and Steele was forced to call for his infantry brigade again on April 9, because of a Federal troop concentration north and west of Fort Smith. Alexander delayed, however, apparently because Speight and many of the troops had not returned from leave. Impatient for reinforcements, Steele prodded Alexander on April 16 with orders to send the 15th Texas to Muddy Boggy Creek and to follow with the rest of the brigade as quickly as

Dallas Herald, February 25, 1863; General Orders No. 16, Headquarters Speight's Brigade, February 20, 1863, Clarksville Standard, March 7, 1863; General Order No. 19, Headquarters 2nd ( Speight's) Brigade, March 12, 1863, ibid., March 14, 1863; Hamilton Diary, February 13-15, 1863; James E. Harrison to Dear Ballinger, March 23, 1862 [ 1863], Ballinger Collection.
James E. Harrison to Dear Ballinger, March 31, 1863, ibid.


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Polignac's Texas Brigade


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