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Re: Col J.W. Speight's Brigade
In Response To: Re: Col J.W. Speight's Brigade ()

Thanks Danny! That is much more than I had found.

I had completely forgotten about the book "Polignac's Texas Brigade" by Alwyn Barr.

    On December 14, new orders had started the disappointed regiment [15th TX Inf] west to reinforce Hindman's army retreating from Prairie Grove. Speight's men met the retiring Confederate forces east of Van Buren on January 1, 1863, and fell back with Hindman to Clarksville. p.13

    At nearby Piney Bayou on January 7, the "four demoralized Texas [dismounted cavalry] Regts were put under Col Speight" creating the brigade with all of the basic units it would retain throughout the war, the 22nd Texas Dismounted Cavalry, the 31st Texas Dismounted Cavalry, the 34th Texas Dismounted Cavalry, and the 15th Texas Infantry, along with the 20th Texas Dismounted Cavalry. p.13

The dismounted cavalry were under Bradfute, Roane's Div, at Prairie Grove.

    At Piney Bayou, General Holmes met Hindman's army and on January 11 he ordered the Texas brigade through Fort Smith to reinforce Brigadier General William Steele, the new commander of the Indian Territory. Back trudged the Texans in varying degrees of cold winter rain and snow, short of wagons, across a country already stripped of forage for men and animals. Snow piled up eight to ten inches deep in places, and a hundred mules from the teams for the supply wagons and an artillery battery froze to death. Cattle and oxen were broken to harness to meet the emergency and to bring the guns and supplies through.

    Colonel Speight went ahead to meet General Steele as the brigade neared Fort Smith. In his absence on January 13, a band of Union guerrillas struck the Confederate supply train by surprise, disarmed its small guard detail, and captured much needed corn and some of the better wagon stock. Most of the corn was quickly recaptured, and Lieutenant Colonel Harrison of the 15th Texas pursued with ten mounted men and a company of infantry on January 14, covering over thirty miles through snow. He located the raiders but could not close with them because they were mounted. Texas cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel R. P. Crump solved that problem soon after their arrival next day by capturing the guerrillas including their captain, Martin D. Hart, a Unionist and former state senator from North Texas, who was hanged on January 20 for the brutal acts of his men against civilians in western Arkansas. p.14

    Speight's brigade camped near Fort Smith on January 15 in terrible condition from the grueling march, reduced by desertion, sickness, and battle to 1,432 men. Because of poor roads, swollen streams, and a lack of equipment and forage to get them through, Steele held the half-starved, ill-clothed infantry a few days on the Arkansas River. For lack of subsistence to maintain the Texans he then ordered the nearly destitute regiments south to winter quarters at Doaksville, except for the 20th Texas which was retained at Fort Smith for garrison duty. p.15

I am particularly interested in their movements in the Indian Territory under Steele. Though they didn't see any "action" in the Indian Territory, their movements and accounts provide information about the IT that doesn't exist elsewhere. I began studying this brigade while trying to decypher the locations of "Canadian Depot (Johnson's Place), Camp Johnson, Johnson's Depot, Johnson's Station, Johnson's and Johnson's on Brushy [Creek]". Correspondence between Steele, Cooper, and Speight use these names and it appears switch the names at times. I believe that Canadian Depot, Camp Johnson, and Johnson's Depot are the same place near the Texas Road on the south side of the Canadian River (south of present Eufaula OK). I believe "Johnson's on Brushy" and Johnson's Station are the same place and the same as Blackburn's Station on the Butterfield Road (aka Ft Smith-Boggy Depot Road or Overland Road). However, I think Steele at times calls Johnson's Station "Johnson's Depot", adding to the confusion.

I believe, and am trying to confirm, that Steele sent Speight toward Cooper's headquarters at Canadian Depot/Johnson's Depot/Camp Johnson on the "south side of the South Canadian" but learning there was insufficient subsistence there he reroutes Speight via Blackburn's/"Johnson's on Brushy" on the Butterfield Road and hence to Doaksville where Speight establishes Camp Kiamichi at the mouth of the Kiamichi River on Red River... all in the Choctaw Nation.

Ken

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