Waul's Legion was a combined arms force from Texas that fought for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Raised in the spring of 1862 near Brenham, Texas by Brigadier General Thomas Neville Waul, the legion originally consisted of twelve infantry companies, six cavalry companies, and a six-gun battery of artillery.
Waul's Legion at Vicksburg
Waul's Texas Legion is famously known for repelling the Union Army breach of Confederate lines during Ulysses S. Grant's largest and final organized assault on the "Fortress City" of Vicksburg, on the 22nd of May 1863. After Union troops, most notably the 77th Illinois, under command of John Alexander McClernand successfully penetrated Confederate defenses, McClernand urged Grant to follow with his own assault. Unsure of the accuracy of the message, Grant failed to follow suit. Waul's Legion, seeing the Union breach, rushed to aid the waining lines. After hours of intense hand-to-hand combat, the Legion put the Union troops to flight and captured two Union banners which had been placed on the fortress parapets. By the time Grant realized there was a definitive breach of enemy fortifications it was too late, Waul's Texas Legion had seized the day. The angered Grant, believing McClernand was recklessly chasing glory and thus caused an unnecessary loss of Union soldiers, relieved the politician-general from his post. Being that this was the 3rd failed assault to capture Vicksburg by force, Grant had to resort to starving the Army of Mississippi into the submission. After 47 long days cut off from food and supplies, the defenders of Vicksburg were forced to surrender to Grant's Army of the Tennessee on the 4th of July, 1863.
Composition of Waul's Legion at Vicksburg:
- 1st Infantry Battalion, Maj. Eugene S. Bolling
- 2nd Infantry Battalion, Lt. Col. James Wrigley
- The Zouave Battalion, Capt. J.B. Fleitas
- Cavalry Detachment, Lt. Thomas J. Cleveland
- Co. of Artillery, Capt. John Q. Wall
- Attached Companies: Company C. 1st Tennessee Cavalry, Capt. Richard S. Vandyke, Botetourt Virginia Artillery, Capt. John W. Johnston, Lt. Francis G. Obenchain, Signal Corps Detachment, Lt. C.H. Barrott.
- Confederate Military History, Vol. 7, Chapter IX (Waul's Legion at Vicksburg)
- U.S. Civil War Regimental Histories, Library of Congress (Composition of Waul's Legion at Vicksburg)
- Entry for Thomas Neville Waul from the Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas published 1880, hosted by the Portal to Texas History.
- "Official Records of the War of The Rebellion"
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