Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brigadier General Thomas Neville Waul

Born in South Carolina in 1813, Thomas Neville Waul died in Hunt County, Texas, in 1903. He started heading westward as a young man by first becoming a school teacher in Alabama; next, he was in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was admitted to the bar in 1835. Waul’s next move was to Gonzales County, Texas, where he established a plantation and practiced law.

For a relatively brief time, Waul served in the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy, and then he recruited “Waul’s Legion, a true legion with infantry, artillery, and cavalry…in late spring 1862” (Ralph A. Wooster, Lone Star Regiments in Gray, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 2002, p. 100). He served as commander of this unit until its surrender at Vicksburg in July 1863. Brigadier General Stephen D. Lee praised Waul in his after action account—“Col. T. N. Waul, commanding Texas Legion, by his dashing gallantry and coolness, inspired every one around him with confidence, and handled his Legion with skill” (Official Records, v. 24, pt. 2, p. 351). Authorities promoted Waul to brigadier general after his exchange, and eventually he became commander of a brigade in Major General John G. Walker’s Texas division. Waul served during the Red River campaign and fell wounded at the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. Following the war, he became involved in Reconstruction politics in Texas and eventually took up farming near Greenville in Hunt County. According to Ezra J. Warner in Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Waul had “no blood relatives” when he died and “was the last of his line” (p. 329). You can see Waul’s final resting place not far from Khleber Miller VanZandt’s grave site in Oakwood Cemetery in Fort Worth. To see a photograph of Waul as well as his grave site, click on the link.

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