Monday, November 9, 2009

Colonel Horace Randal

Horace Randal, a 1854 graduate of the United State Military Academy, was the first commander of the 28th Texas Cavalry, a unit that authorities dismounted after only a few months of service. Before commanding the 28th Texas, he served for a time in Virginia on General Gustavus Woodson Smith’s staff. A fellow staff officer, John Cheves Haskell, wrote in a postwar memoir: “He [Randal] was a classmate of Stuart at West Point, but had more physical dash than Stuart. His other classmates, Hood among them, always predicted that he would be the cavalry leader of the war if he got a chance.” Randal went on to command an infantry brigade in Walker’s Texas Division and fell mortally wounded at the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry on 30 April 1864. Randall County, Texas, is named for him.

This prewar photograph of Horace Randal and his wife [probably his first wife Julia Bassett] is from the Special Collections Division of the U.S.M.A. Library at West Point, New York.


  1. I received this comment from Dan McCown and am posting it with his permission:

    Several years ago I was walking through the old city cemetery in Marshall, Texas when I happened upon Randal’s grave. I became curious about his story so I ordered his service records. I received reams of paper from the National Archives. Seems he was Braxton Bragg’s quartermaster while stationed in Florida. He signed everything. Your book “Widows by the Thousand,” mentions some interesting observations about Randal’s wife by Mr. Perry. It’s funny that the county named after him is spelled with two L’s.

  2. It has always disturbed me that Randall County is spelled with two L's... During the war, though, Randal's name was often misspelled in that way. The photograph posted on the blog may actually depict Randal with his first wife, Julia Bassett. Randal is wearing his prewar Dragoons uniform, and Julia died sometime in 1860. In 1862 he married Nannie Taylor, and she accompanied him to war.