“The Bloody Fifth”- The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Vol. 1: Secession to the Suffolk Campaign

Courier Book Reviewed by Duane Benell

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The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment was one of only three Texas Infantry Regiments, the 1st, 4th and 5th, that were sent to Virginia to fight with General Robert E. Lee’s army. This book covers in great detail the recruiting and forming of the regiments which were made up primarily of local volunteers who formed companies with names such as “The Dixie Blues, “The Bayou City Guards,” etc. The 5th was formed on June 30th, 1861, with men mostly from east and central Texas. After some limited training, small groups began leaving for Virginia by various means of transportation, including walking. The regiments were officially organized and mustered into the Confederate Army “for the war” at Richmond, Virginia in September 1861. Deemed to be adequately trained, the 5th was assigned to a defensive position on the east side of the Potomac River, going into winter quarters until March 1862. Not being used to the cold and snow of Virginia the Texans suffered greatly with the regiment loosing 261 due to sickness; 132 died and 124 were discharged or permanently furloughed.

The 5th’s first real taste of combat occurred in early May of ‘62 in a small battle along the York River opposing Union troops at the start of the Peninsula Campaign, which ended in a Confederate victory. The 5th took part in all of the Seven Days Battles leading to the Union Army’s retreat from their effort to capture Richmond. The regiment also saw action in the battles of Second Manassas, where they earned their enduring nickname; Antietam; Fredericks-burg and the Suffolk Campaign. As Hood’s Texas Brigade, the 1st, 4th, and 5th Texas Infantry Regiments proved themselves to be hard fighters and their reputation as such was earned on the battlefield and admired by all – military and civilians alike. General Lee referred to the Texas Brigade as “an example of daring and bravery.”

The book is well researched with many never before used primary sources. It covers the regiment in detail, including first hand information taken from the men’s diaries, letters and records of army life in camp and in combat. Appendix A has organization profiles for all 10 companies and Appendix B has short biographies for 86 members of the regiment. There are 13 maps and 14 photographs. The book is recommended for all Civil War readers, especially those with an interest in Confederate units. The second installment, Gettysburg to Appomattox, will complete the history.

Title: “The Bloody Fifth” – The 5th Texas infantry Regiment, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of

Northern Virginia - Vol. I

Author: John F. Schmutz

Publisher: Savas Beatie

Pages: 335

Price: $32.95

Hard Cover