Chapter IV "A little soap and a chew of old flat" Texas, 1865

In January, 1865, drill was stepped up to one hour of company drill in the morning and two hours of battalion drill in the afternoon. General King drilled the entire brigade on the 3rd, one mile east of camp. On the 4th and 6th, march orders were issued but abandoned because of rain, and the Texans remained at Minden through the 12th. At 9:00 A. M. on the 13th, Polignac's division moved south toward Natchitoches. King's men had covered approximately sixty-five miles by January 17 when they camped at Grabbs Bluff just upstream on the Red River from Grand Ecore. There they remained until the 24th. The Texans then marched down to Grand Ecore, established new winter camps, and began work on the town's fortifications. Camp life on the Red River, interspersed with rain and entrenching, continued through February, 1865.1

Elsewhere changes were in the planning stage, for a shortage of forage forced Kirby Smith to dismount nine cavalry regiments in February. Two new infantry brigades were to be formed under William Steele and James E. Harrison, who had just returned from Richmond with a brigadier's wreath around the stars on his collar. Harrison was sent to Houston, Texas, on February 7 to assist Wharton in dismounting the cavalry. King's brigade was ordered split on the 16th to provide a hard core of trained infantry around which to create the new brigades. A change of orders at the same time left King in charge of one brigade and Harrison the other.2

No immediate action was taken, however, except to order the Texas regiments into Texas on the 20th. After a week's delay, the Texas brigade, minus the 34th Texas which was retained for King's new brigade, began the movement west on March 1. The Texans

____________________
1
Record Book, Company F, 22nd Texas, January 1 - February 28, 1865; A. L. Nelms to M. J. Nelms, Mary B. and J. A. Nelms, February 18, 1865, Weddle Collection.
2
S. Cooper to E. Kirby Smith, December 23, 1864, Official Records, Series I, Vol. XLI, Pt. 4, 1122; J. F. Belton to S. B. Buckner, February 7, 1865, ibid., Series I, Vol. XLVIII, Pt. 1, 1371; Belton to John A. Wharton, February 7, 1865, ibid., 1371-1372; W. R. Boggs to Buckner, February 16, 1865, ibid., 1390.

-53-

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