Brig. Gen. William Hugh Young

AUG

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William H. Young 1.jpg

I've already posted some info on Young in my 9th Texas Infantry thread, but thought he would also be a good addition to the Other Notable Bios forum.

William Hugh Young was born in Boonville, Missouri, January 1, 1838. He and his parents moved to Red River County, Texas, in 1841 and later to Grayson County. Young attended Washington College in Tennessee, McKenzie College in Texas and, between 1859 and 1861, the University of Virginia. After returning home to Texas in summer of 1861, he initially served as aide-de-camp to Governor Edward Clark. Young then raised a company in Grayson County for Confederate service, later organized as Company C of the 9th Texas Infantry (Maxey's) by fall of that year.

Mainly recruited from Northeast Texas, the 9th Texas was transported across the Mississippi River and would serve in the Western Theater as part of the Army of the Mississippi/Army of Tennessee throughout most of the war. Engaged at Shiloh in April 1862, the regiment lost 67 of the only 226 men engaged.

Following the Conscription Act, the regiment was reorganized at Corinth, Mississippi, on May 8, 1862. Young was then elected colonel by the men. At only 24 years old, he would command the regiment for the next two years.

Young had the misfortune of being wounded five or six times throughout the war:

1. He was wounded in the right shoulder at Stones River/Murfreesboro, Dec. 13, 1862, having two horses shot out from under him.

2. Received a flesh wound in the right thigh during the siege of Jackson, Mississippi, July 13, 1863, and was disabled for thirty days.

3. Was shot through the left chest at Chickamauga, presumably on Sept. 19, 1863, though he managed to recover and resume command of the regiment by February 1864.

4. Wounded in the neck and jaw at Kennesaw Mountain, June 1864.

5. Was shot through the left ankle and had his horse shot out from under him at Allatoona Pass, Oct. 5, 1864, later having his foot amputated.

In his first major battle commanding the regiment, Stones River/Murfreesboro, Young proved himself an able commander.

In the area later known as the "Slaughter Pen" the 9th Texas was separated from the brigade (Vaughn's) and ran up against the 35th Illinois. Charging forward to within fifty paces of the Illinoisans, their fire, combined with enfilading fire from the flank, staggered the Ninth for a second. Young knew that he had to drive the enemy to his front and get his men out of that cross fire. His horse shot, he then ran down the line from company to company, notifying each of his intention, then, grabbing the colors, ordered them forward with a shout, "both of which they did a la Texas," successfully driving back the 35th Illinois. With the subsequent advance of other troops to their right and left, the Federal line at the Slaughter Pen collapsed. Col. Young and his men's actions were later complimented by Gen. Frank Cheatham in his report.

The 9th Texas again suffered heavy losses, with 122 casualties out of the 323 engaged. They would never again rebuild their strength back up to 300 men.

On Jan. 21, 1863, the regiment was transferred from Cheatham's mostly Tennessee division to Brig. Gen. Matthew D. Ector's brigade of three other Texas regiments: the 10th, 14th, and 32nd Texas Cavalry (dismounted). Some units from other states also served in the brigade at various times.

During the Atlanta Campaign on July 27, 1864, Gen. Ector was wounded by a shell fragment in the lower left thigh, necessitating its amputation and permanently removing him from the field. Apparently, Young recovered from his latest wounds at Kennesaw Mountain in time to assume command of the brigade and was promoted to brigadier general on Aug. 15, 1864.

Following the close of the campaign with the Federal capture of Atlanta, Hood moved north against Sherman's supply line. Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French's Division, containing Ector's Brigade, attacked the fortified Federal supply depot at Allatoona Pass, Georgia, Oct. 5, 1864. This was the only major battle in which Young commanded the brigade.

Forming up in support of Cockrell's Missouri Brigade in an attack on a Federal strong point (Rowett's Redoubt), Maj. James H. McReynolds, acting commander of the 9th Texas, reported that the "men were addressed in a few brief words by our gallant brigadier-general (Young), telling us what was expected of us and directing us what part of the enemy's lines to charge."

allatoonapass1020amhighres.jpg

(http://civilwarvirtualtours.com/allatoonapass/allatoona.html)

Though partially defended by Federal troops armed with Henry repeating rifles, the Missourians and Texans (respectively known as Jakes and Chubs in the AoT) successfully charged and overran the Federal line after an intense few minutes of close-range combat, driving them into a small fort (Star Fort) beyond that. According to one Missouri officer, "The federals stood right up to their work, and we, for a few seconds, had what the boys call 'a —— of a time.' Our Texas friends in the second line—Ector's brigade—caught up and went over with us. As our boys swarmed over the parapet the bayonet was freely used by both sides, officers firing their pistols, and many throwing sticks and stones. This melee was quickly ended by the surrender of most of the defenders, very few of whom reached their large fort in the rear."

Despite their initial success, they could not capture the fort and reports of enemy reinforcements eventually compelled French to withdraw from the field. Young's horse was shot from under him at some point in the charge, but he continued to lead the men on foot until shot through the left ankle. Though he survived the battle, the ambulance carrying him was unfortunately captured by Federal cavalry near New Hope Church the following day, Young wounding up a prisoner. His foot was amputated in a Federal hospital and he was imprisoned at Johnson's Island, Ohio, for the remainder of the war, not released until July 1865.

After the war Young returned to Texas, moving to San Antonio where he was a successful attorney and real estate investor, as well as owner of the San Antonio Express. He and his father later organized a transportation company that hauled freight between San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico. He also organized the Nueces River Irrigation Company and acquired considerable ranch and farm property. He married Frances M. Kemper in 1869, and they had one son, Hugh Hampton Young, born in San Antonio in 1870.

William Hugh Young died in San Antonio on November 27, 1901, and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery there.

young-william-hugh-csa.jpg
 
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AUG

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Another interesting fact about Young is that he traveled to Richmond on March 31, 1864, possibly in an attempt to have the brigade mounted. This is according to the diary of Charles B. Douglas in the Tennessee State Library. Although unsuccessful, he returned on May 10 and presented a new flag to each regiment. These were square Confederate Battle Flags from the Richmond Clothing Depot (Fourth Bunting Issues), largely used in the Army of Northern Virginia but not issued to troops in the Army of Tennessee. So, thanks to Young, Ector's Brigade was quite possibly the only brigade in the AoT to carry Richmond Depot battle flags.

There's a good article on the 9th Texas's flag here: https://davidrreynolds.org/flag_of_the_9th_texas_infantry.php
 

AUG

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Col. William H. Young's official report of the battle of Stones River/Murfreeboro:

JANUARY 6, 1863.​
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my regiment while separated from the brigade in the action of December 31, 1862:​
The regiment advanced in its proper position with the brigade until the brigade entered the corn-field in front of the original line of battle occupied by it. Here the regiment by its position, was immediately on the left of the field when the brigade became engaged. There being no enemy in my front, I moved forward, by order of Captain Cluskey, to the top of the next hill, when the enemy appeared off to my right-oblique about 200 yards. I ordered the regiment to fire, upon which they poured two volleys into the enemy; but perceiving that the brigade had obliqued to the right and knowing that my fire would be more effective by a nearer approach to the enemy, I moved by the right flank until my right was near the Twenty-ninth Tennessee; I then moved by the left flank and took position behind a tall fence and opened fire on the enemy, who was posted about 100 yards immediately in my front, behind a ledge of rocks and a fence.​
Here General Wood's brigade, which was on my left when Captain Cluskey ordered me forward, came up on my left again and opened fire; but seeing that our combined attack had but little effect toward dislodging the enemy, I ordered my regiment to cross the fence for the purpose of charging the enemy's position, which they did, but, mistaking my intention, advanced 50 paces and again halted and opened fire. Here, while endeavoring to get them to hear my command "forward," my horse was shot, as well as that of the lieutenant-colonel, and for five minutes the regiment received a most murderous fire, which killed and wounded more than 100 of my men, including nearly all of the commissioned officers. Seeing that we were suffering from a cross-fire, I resolved to charge and rout the enemy from his position. Passing down the line, I notified each company of my intention, and then, taking the colors, I ordered the regiment to move forward with a shout, both of which they did a la Texas.​
It was at this juncture that Captain Cluskey, who had been with the regiment all the time since it became engaged, rode off to the balance of the brigade. Charging with a yell through the cedar brake in our front, the enemy fled at our approach. Having halted at the position formerly occupied by the enemy, we poured a fire into them as they retreated (with great loss) through the open woods which make up into the field in which is situated the first Abolition hospital we passed; but seeing they were getting out of range, and thinking the brigade had advanced on my right, I crossed the second fence and pursued after the enemy, who were completely thrown into confusion in the immediate front of my regiment and Wood's brigade, which had been advancing steadily after my regiment on the left.​
Here I discovered an extended line of battle moving across the open field a short distance in advance up the slope the sun revealed their blue coats, and we opened on them. They, as well as the line (rather mass) in our front, continued to retreat until they entered a wood about a quarter of a mile beyond the hospital above named. We followed them, advancing as far as the upper edge of the woods which make up into the field. Here some half a dozen batteries opened on us from almost every point of the edge of the woods opposite, and, seeing that the troops on the right were not advancing, we fell back a short distance after Wood's brigade and reformed.​
Here I dispatched a messenger in search of the brigade, but he failing to find it, I advanced with a battalion of sharpshooters, which had attached itself to my left, moving to the right-oblique across the open field and past the Abolition hospital above named some considerable distance, when a staff officer notified me that Cheatham's division was advancing in my rear, and that Maney's brigade, from whom I was concealed by the buildings of the hospital, would fire on me for the enemy's sharpshooters if they saw me. So, requesting him to ride back and notify that brigade, I fell back and formed on General Maney's left, where our own brigade found us upon advancing.​
I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of my officers and men. My commissioned officers all did their duty bravely, so I will not specify any in particular. Lieutenant-Colonel Miles A. Dillard was conspicuous for the zeal, energy, and bravery he displayed during the whole day. My loss has been furnished numerically in another report.​
With much respect, I am, captain, your obedient servant,​
WM. H. YOUNG,​
Colonel, Commanding Ninth Texas Infantry.​
 

luinrina

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Definitely a good addition. Thank you for posting!

I'm surprised how small the regiment was. 300 men - that would theoretically be only 3 companies. Or 30 men per company with ten companies.
 

AUG

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Definitely a good addition. Thank you for posting!

I'm surprised how small the regiment was. 300 men - that would theoretically be only 3 companies. Or 30 men per company with ten companies.
300 men actually wasn't that unusual for an experienced regiment by that time. At Chickamauga the 9th Texas only had 145 men engaged and suffered 60 losses. And at Allatoona Pass it went into action with only 101 and lost 45.
 
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#6
Definitely a good addition. Thank you for posting!

I'm surprised how small the regiment was. 300 men - that would theoretically be only 3 companies. Or 30 men per company with ten companies.
300 men actually wasn't that unusual for an experienced regiment by that time. At Chickamauga the 9th Texas only had 145 men engaged and suffered 60 losses. And at Allatoona Pass it went into action with only 101 and lost 45.
Correct. I believe the average strength of a confederate regiment at Chancellorsville was about 307. And that is with priority replacements.
 

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