General J. W. Whitfield was born in Williamson county, Tennessee, in the year 1818, and received

such limited education as the "log school-house" of the time afforded. Early in life he pursued the calling of

a farmer, but his strong individuality, and marked character, soon called him to public station; and, for

eighteen years with scarce an intermission, he represented his district in both branches of the State

Legislature. He served, with marked gallantry, through the Mexican war, and upon its cessation, was

appointed Indian Agent to the wild tribes in Kansas. General Whitfield was a resident of Kansas at the

inception of the slavery troubles attendant upon the application of that State for admission into the Union,

espousing the pro-slavery side of the controversy. Whitfield was the first delegate sent from Kansas to the

Federal Congress, defeating the anti-slavery candidate, Reeder, by a handsome majority. In the turbulent era of murder and pillage that ensued, the greater portion of his property was swept away; and when, finally,

Kansas was given over to abolitionism, Whitfield, impoverished, removed to Lavaca county, Texas, and

resumed the avocation of a farmer. The rude blast of internecine war however, soon broke upon the quiet

scene of his pastoral life, and the brave old veteran responded by buckling on his sword, and summoning his neighbors to follow him. Starting out as a captain of a company, his command was augmented to a battalion of four companies by the time he reached General McCulloch’s quarters. During, and after the campaign that culminated in the battle of Elk Horn, his battalion was increased to a legion of twelve companies, than which, there was not a braver, or more efficient, organization in the Confederate army. General Whitfield relinquished the command of the brigade in 1863, and retired to the Trans-Mississippi Department. In personal appearance, General Whitfield was marked, being over six feet in height, and straight as an arrow—he looked every inch the soldier. Of his service in the Trans-Mississippi Department, the author has no data upon which to predicate a narrative.

After the termination of the war, General Whitfield continued to reside on his farm, near the village

of Vienna, in Lavaca county, Texas, engaged in peaceful pursuit through the evening of life, until the

autumn of 1879, when he responded to the summons of the specter with the hour-glass and scythe, and took

up his solitary march across the river into that undiscovered country in which his departed comrades had

pitched their silent camp. There, with Van Dorn, McCulloch, McIntosh, Jones, and others, he awaited the

arrival of the rear-guard upon the scene to complete the grand re-union of the Texas Brigade, in the shade of the lotus-trees of the Summerland.


Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. ","


Whitfield’s Legion

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. ","