...Forward, men, forward! Let it never be said that Texans lag in a fight!  

1861 - 1865

The men of the "Waco Guards" who left Waco, Texas, in September 1861, were armed with whatever weapons they had managed to collect at home. As far as possible, every volunteer was expected to furnish his own firearm, since the Confederate army had not yet established a logistical organization. Thus, Granbury's boys left their homes with double-barrelled shotguns and various civilian hunting rifles. But supply was limited, and many had to leave entirely unarmed.

The regimental rendezvous was Marshall, in far eastern Texas, bordering Louisiana. Nine companies of volunteers arrived here during the first week of October 1861, in response to the call of John Gregg and Jeremiah M. Clough. They were immediately directed to Memphis, and from there to Clarksville, Tennessee, where they arrived about the first of November.

At Clarksville the firearms of all of Gregg's companies were inspected by Confederate military authorities. A large number had to be turned in because of faulty mechanisms and/ or because they were useless as infantry weapons. Granbury's company actually had to hand in all of their arms. Some of the other companies were, however, allowed to retain a number of shotguns and hunting rifles, as there were no replacements available.

The stay in Clarksville lasted only a few days. The Texans marched on to Hopkinsville in southwestern Kentucky, where they were finally allowed to go into camp and complete their regimental organization. On November 7, Colonel John Gregg wrote a report to his superiors pointing out, among other things, the regiment's lack of weapons. The best armed company was Company F (Captain W. H. Smith), which had 69 US M1842 muskets (smoothbore, cal. .69), followed by Company C (Captain E. T. Broughton) with 31 US M1842 muskets. These had been obtained from the state of Louisiana.

The 7th Texas remained in Hopkinsville until February 1862, where they were rigorously drilled in infantry combat and tactics. Late in November a major shipment of arms arrived, and Gregg's regiment (with the possible exception of Company F) were issued brand new Enfield guns. This was the British made Enfield Pattern 1853 Rifle Musket (cal. 577), which was imported in great numbers by both the Union and the Confederate army. From being among the worst armed units in the army, the 7th Texas now became one of the best.

Private Robert Reid Haynes of Company D wrote:
"The Gregg Regiment is now armed with the Enfield rifle. They are marked on the locks "London," and "Tower," and dated "1861."...If my experience entitles me to an opinion, they are the best gun extant...They shoot with immense force and accuracy. It is needless to say we are delighted with our guns."

As it turned out, however, the Texans did not have much use for their new weapons. In February they were dispatched to reinforce Fort Donelson in Tennessee. After bitter fighting, the entire garrison became prisoners of war when the fort surrendered on February 16.

The men of the 7th Texas were finally exchanged in September 1862. But disease and harsh prison conditions had severely reduced the regiment, so much that a number of officers had to return home to recruit more men. Eventually, in February 1863, the 7th Texas Infantry Regiment was reorganized as a combat unit. The next great battle in which the Texans took part was at Raymond, Mississippi, on May 12, 1863. In his report of the battle, Colonel Hiram Granbury mentions that the whole of Company A was armed with Enfield rifles. The report further states that Company A with its Enfields is the best armed of all the companies in the regiment at this point. This would imply that there were various models of weapons in use by the other companies, but no specific details are given, although there must have been a number of Enfields among the others as well. However, Granbury does point out that the regiment lacks bayonets for the muskets.

In September 1863 the 7th Texas was transferred to the Army of Tennessee in Georgia. A couple of months later they were placed in a brigade consisting only of Texas regiments, afterwards commanded by Granbury. We do not have any specific descriptions of weapons used by the 7th Texas from this period, but we do know a good deal about what was common in the other regiments of Granbury's Texas brigade. However, there is little doubt that in Company A, where all men were issued Enfields prior to May 1863, Enfield remained the standard weapon from 1863 until the end in 1865.

From May 1863 to May 1864 ordnance reports show that the most common longarm in the Texas regiments which made up Granbury's brigade was the model 1854 Lorenz Rifle Musket (cal .54). The Lorenz was imported from Austria in large numbers, and was widely used in the Army of Tennessee. However, during the battle of Pickett's Mill, Georgia, May 27, 1864, Granbury's brigade captured over 1700 Springfield and Enfield rifle muskets from the Union army. This was enough to exchange all the brigade's Lorenz and Mississippi rifles, as the Springfield and Enfield were justly considered better.

For infantry officers the standard armament consisted of a revolver and a saber. However, sources do not reveal which models were used in the 7th Texas, with one exception: In 1864 several of the regiment's officers purchased Spiller & Burr revolvers from the army's arsenal in Macon, Georgia. Spiller & Burr made a copy of the Whitney cal. .36 "Navy" revolver, with a brass frame. Generally speaking, though, Colt and Colt-copies were the most common revolvers in the CS army, and infantry officers tended to prefer cal. .36 ("Navy") models. Thus, chances are that some of these would have been used by officers in the 7th Texas Infantry.

- War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,
series I, vol. 4 and vol. 24 (Washington, D.C., 1889)
- Robert Reid Haynes, "Letter from the Bass Grays", dated Hopkinsville, Kentucky, 5 December 1861.
Published in the Texas Republican (Marshall, Texas), 21 December 1861.
- James L. Newsom, Intrepid Gray Warriors: The 7th Texas Infantry, 1861-1865 (Ph.D. dissertation, Texas Christian University, Forth Worth, 1995)
- James M. McCaffrey, This Band of Heroes: Granbury's Texas Brigade, C.S.A. (Austin, Texas, 1985)

The Forgotten Boys of the South


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