Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant and Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry

Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant and Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry

Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant and Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry

Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant and Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry

Synopsis

Only eighteen years old when he marched off to war, young Confederate Robert Campbell already possessed the keen, perceptive eye of a seasoned journalist. After fighting with the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment in the famed Hood's Texas Brigade, Campbell recorded the first months of his service for the benefit of future generations of his family. Now editors George Skoch and Mark W. Perkins bring Campbell's riveting eyewitness accounts from the frontline to the public in Lone Star Confederate: A Gallant and Good Soldier of the 5th Texas Infantry, a lively and telling glimpse into a Johnny Reb's life.

This young Confederate's tale of battle begins with his introduction to the unit in Virginia and continues through to his furlough home after he suffers a serious battle wound at Second Manassas. Among the thousands who served in what arguably was the most renowned combat unit in the Southern army, Hood's Texas Brigade, Campbell holds the dubious distinction of being the most wounded man, sustaining six wounds during the course of the war.

Campbell praises Southern women who cared for soldiers along the railroad line from Richmond to Montgomery and recalls eating ten ears of green corn after three days of short rations and a hard day of fighting. He recounts falling asleep on picket duty despite the fear of punishment by death, and describes being under cannon fire and suffering a painful leg injury. The terrible conditions of battle-eating and sleeping too little, marching and drilling too much, cleaning weapons and standing watch in the rain and cold-are vividly real under Campbell's pen, which also praises his leaders, Lee, Jackson, and other Confederate officers.

Skoch and Perkins have supplemented the record of Campbell's wartime service with his letters written during and after the war. His remarkable firsthand account of life in the 5th Texas will find a permanent niche in the literature of the Civil War.

Excerpt

The battlefield behavior of legendary leaders and units from all across the South through four years of war wove a fabric that became the story of Robert E. Lee’s redoubtable Army of Northern Virginia. No organization in that army ever won more widespread renown than Hood’s Texas Brigade; none deserved more.

Texans almost universally labor under the immodest notion that nothing is quite so grand as their state, its people, and its history. Such regional jingoism, of course, is not confined to Lone Star latitudes. Texans have, however, the justly earned reputation of working harder and longer at it than most. That they should be immensely proud of the famous brigade is therefore not surprising. That so many non-Texans agree on its prowess is worthy of note.

In January, 1862, commenting on a now-long-forgotten skirmish along the Potomac River, a South Carolinian colonel wrote home to his wife: “Those Texians are number one men… gallant and brave.” Five months later, after the Texas Brigade demolished an enemy line near Richmond to win Robert E. Lee’s first great offensive battle, no less an observer than the exacting Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson commented: “The men who carried this position were soldiers indeed.” in mid-1863 Lee himself observed that “the enemy never sees the backs of my Texans.”

Perhaps the most telling compliment to the brigade came from Lee in a letter to a member of the Confederate Congress. Hood’s men had proved their mettle again in a crisis at the Battle of Sharpsburg on September 17, 1862. Four days later the army commander implored a Texas senator to raise more regiments in his home state and lead them to Virginia. “I need them much,” Lee . . .

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