Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863
The battle of Chickamauga began on Sept. 19 when federals tried to destroy an
isolated Confederate bridge on the west side of the creek just below Alexander's Bridge,
left lower center. However, the battle guickly developed as both sides rushed more and
more divisions to the scene, Bragg moving up east bank of the Chickamauga, and Rosecrans
up the opposite side. Opposing divisions went into the line facing each other almost
simultaneously, stretching the battleline northward, until it extended almost five miles.
The Ninth TX At Chickamauga
On September 19, 1863, Gist's division, under the temporary field command of Nathan Bedford Forrest, opened the battle of Chickamauga. Lt. Stephen Tanner, of Company A, noted that of the picket line of the 9th Texas, all but himself were captured. Included in those taken prisoner was 2d Lt. George W. Bedford, of Company K. Bedford, of Paris, would become a doctor after the war, and would live to the ripe old age of 79, but for the present time was worried about staying alive. Dr. Bedford sat out the remainder of the war at Camp Douglas, Illinois-an excruciatingly slow 20 months!
Ector's brigade, including the 9th Texas, was ordered to charge a battery of artillery, which was taken. Two fresh divisions of Yankees counterattacked, forcing Gist to leave the field, with his reduced division, now numbering about 1,000. The Georgians and Texans were forced to leave the field for the day, leaving many of the wounded behind on the field of battle. As at Mufreesboro, the 9th Texas assisted in the capture of artillery, but once again, their losses had been frightful. The 9th only had 145 men in the assault, and of that number 6 were killed, 36 wounded and 18 captured or missing, for a loss of 41.4% of those troops engaged. Included in the losses were Col. William Hugh Young, who suffered a serious chest wound. Overall, the brigade suffered losses of over 40%. On the following day, Ector's brigade, numbering only about 500 effectives after their heavy losses of the previous day, took the field and assisted Southern forces in routing the Union army, which retreated all the way back to Chattanooga.
Regarding the part played by Ector's Brigade in the battle, Major Gen. W.H.T. Walker, commanding the Reserve Corps, Army of Tennessee, stated: "General Ector is absent, his brigade having been ordered to Mississippi, and I have no report from him, but his brigade acted with the greatest gallantry." Regarding Gen. Ector himself, Walker stated, "To the division and brigade commanders-...I have only to say that the brigadier-generals fought with a gallantry that entitles them to division commands." General Gist, commanding Walker's division, noted Ector's and Wilson's "judicious and efficient support."
Following the battle of Chickamauga, Ector's men were sent to Jackson, where they remained briefly until being ordered to proceed to Meridian, Brandon, and Lauderdale Springs, Mississippi. Here, the 9th Texas spent the next seven months, resting and refitting for the tough campaign of 1864. Ector's brigade was reassigned to Polk's Corps and the division of Samuel G. French, a West Pointer and New Jerseyian by birth. French had two other brigades assigned to his division, a Missouri brigade under Francis Marion Cockrell and a Mississippi brigade under Claudius W. Sears. Both brigades had been captured, and later exchanged, at Vicksburg.