David E. Twiggs
|David E. Twiggs|
February 14, 1790|
Richmond County, Georgia
July 15, 1862 (aged 72)|
|Place of burial||Twiggs Cemetery, Augusta, Georgia|
United States of America|
Confederate States of America
United States Army|
Confederate States Army
|Years of service||
Brevet Major General, USA|
Major General, CSA
|Commands held||Department of the West|
Abraham C. Myers (son-in-law)|
John Twiggs Myers (grandson)
As commander of the U.S. Army's Department of Texas when the American Civil War broke out, he surrendered his entire command to Confederate commissioners, with facilities, armaments and other supplies valued at $1.6 million. Dismissed from the US Army and described as a traitor, he was commissioned as a general of the Confederate States Army in 1861. But, recognizing he was in poor health, he quickly resigned his commission that year. He was the oldest Confederate general to serve, even briefly, in the Civil War.
Twiggs was born in 1790 on the "Good Hope" plantation in Richmond County, Georgia, son of John Twiggs and his wife. A general in the Georgia militia during the American Revolutionary War, the senior Twiggs was the namesake for Twiggs County, Georgia. He was the nephew, through his mother, of David Emanuel, Governor of Georgia.
Early military career
In 1828, he was sent to Wisconsin to establish a fort, at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. With three companies of the First Infantry, his forces built Fort Winnebago around what has come to be known as Fort Winnebago Surgeon's Quarters at Portage, Wisconsin. This was a base of operation during the Black Hawk War.
Twiggs was commissioned as Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons in 1836 and served in the Seminole Wars in Florida, where he earned the nickname "Bengal Tiger" for his fierce temper. He also decided to act offensively against the Seminole rather than wait for them to strike first. Some of the Seminole moved deep into the Everglades, evading US forces. They never surrendered, and the US government finally gave up on hopes of removing them to Indian Territory.
During the Mexican-American War in 1846-1848, Twiggs led a brigade in the Army of Occupation at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1846 and commanded a division at the Battle of Monterrey. He joined Winfield Scott's expedition, commanding its 2nd Division of Regulars. He led the division in all the battles from Veracruz through Mexico City. He was wounded during the assault on Chapultepec. After the fall of Mexico City, he was appointed military governor of Veracruz. Brigadier General Twiggs was awarded a ceremonial sword by the Congress on March 2, 1847. He was an original member of the Aztec Club of 1847, a military society of officers who had served in the Mexican War.
Commander of the Department of Texas
After the Mexican-American War, Twiggs was appointed brevet major general and commanded the U.S. Army's Department of Texas. He was in this command when the Civil War broke out. He was one of four general officers in the US Army in 1861, along with Winfield Scott, John Wool, and William Harney. As there was no mandatory retirement at this time, all four men were over the age of 60 and three had served in the War of 1812, half a century earlier.
Twiggs's command included about 20% of the Army guarding the Mexican border. As the states began to secede, he met with a trio of Confederate commissioners, including Philip N. Luckett and Samuel A. Maverick, and surrendered his entire command, which included the Federal Arsenal at the Alamo, and all other federal installations, property, and soldiers in Texas, to the Confederacy. Along with him went 20 military installations, 44 cannons, 400 pistols, 1,900 muskets, 500 wagons, and 950 horses, valued at a total of $1.6 million. He insisted that all Federals retain personal arms and sidearms, and all artillery as well as flags and standards. Already, shortly after the secession of South Carolina in December 1860, Twiggs had written a letter to Winfield Scott proclaiming that Georgia was his home and he would follow the state if she should leave the Union.
David Twiggs was subsequently dismissed from the U.S. Army on March 1, 1861 for “treachery to the flag of his country.”  He accepted a commission as a major general from the Confederate States on May 22, 1861. He was assigned to command the Confederate Department of Louisiana (comprising that state along with the southern half of Mississippi and Alabama), but he was past the age of 70 and in poor health. He resigned his commission before assuming any active duty. He was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell in the command of New Orleans, and retired on October 11, 1861.
Death and burial
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 538.
- Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 775.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- "New York Times, March 4, 1861'
- John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 64
- "Family Burying Ground on Good Hope Plantation". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
The site of Good Hope Plantation, home of the Twiggs family, was developed as Bush Field, the Augusta municipal airport. It is located less than a half mile northeast of the cemetery.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
- "New York Times, March 4, 1861'
- Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4.
- Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.
- Winters, John D. The Civil War in Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963. ISBN 978-0-8071-0834-5.