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WHITFIELD'S LEGION. Whitfield's Legion, also known as the First Texas Legion and as the Twenty-seventh Texas Cavalry, was one of the two legions that Texas provided to the Confederate States Army. The other was Waul's Legion.qv Though a legion was properly a regiment of mixed arms, generally composed of infantry, cavalry, and artillery battalions, Whitfield's was purely a cavalry unit. Its nucleus was a company recruited in Lavaca County in 1861 by Capt. John Wilkins Whitfieldqv and assigned to Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch'sqv Army of the West at Fort Smith, Arkansas. There it was combined with three other independent cavalry companies from Texas-Capt. E. R. Hawkins's from Hunt County, Capt. John H. Broocks'sqv from Saint Augustine County, and Capt. B. H. Norsworth's from Jasper County-and with one company from Arkansas to form Whitfield's Battalion, sometimes called the Fourth Texas Cavalry Battalion. Whitfield was promoted to major and assigned as the battalion's commander. After its participation in the battle of Pea Ridge or Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas, on March 7-8, 1862, the battalion was dismounted and transferred east of the Mississippi River. There it was assigned to the Army of West Tennessee and fought as infantry in the battles of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and Corinth (October 3-4, 1862). Later that year the battalion was augmented by the recruiting of eight new companies from Texas. The Arkansas company was transferred to an Arkansas regiment, and the battalion was redesignated as Whitfield's Legion or the Twenty-seventh Texas Cavalry. Its first field-grade officers were Whitfield as colonel, Hawkins as lieutenant colonel, and Broocks, Cyrus K. Holman, and John T. Whitfield as majors. The regiment was then remounted and assigned to with the 3rd, 6th and 9th Texas Cavalry Regiments. Whitfield was made the brigade commander until his health failed in 1863. Then Brig. Gen. Lawrence Sullivan Ross'sqv became commander, the famed Ross's Texas Cavalry Brigade (see ROSS'S BRIGADE, C.S.A.) of the Army of Tennessee. The regiment fought in battles in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee during 1863 and 1864. When Whitfield was promoted to brigadier general on May 9, 1863, he was assigned to command the Texas Cavalry Brigade, Hawkins was promoted to colonel and elevated to command of the regiment.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861-1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Thomas W. Cutrer

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/WW/qkw3.html (accessed July 31, 2006).

(NOTE: "s.v." stands for sub verbo, "under the word.")

 

 

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Last Updated: June 6, 2001
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