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The Langley brothers of the 1st Texas Infantry

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by AUG, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. AUG

    AUG Captain Forum Host

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    William and Thomas Langley, Co. E, 1st Texas Infantry 1.jpg

    Brothers, William L. & Thomas H. Langley

    In spring of 1861 the Langley brothers joined the Marshall Guards in Harrison County, Texas, later organized as Company E of the 1st Texas Infantry after the regiment was formed in Richmond that summer. A college student before the war, Thomas enlisted as a sergeant. He came down with typhoid fever a year later and was discharged, though he enlisted again on May 3, 1863, as a private in the same company.

    Brother William was spared from many of the major battles in 1862, having been hospitalized due to illness on a couple occasions and detailed for commissary duty in November 1862; however, he was in the ranks at Gettysburg. In Hood's advance on the afternoon of July 2, 1863, while the 1st Texas crossed Rose Run and ran up to the base of Houck's Ridge, William took a shot through the head, dying instantly. He fell into the arms of Pvt. James Bradfield, who carefully laid him down. Thomas made it out unscathed and fought on until Appomattox. He returned to Texas where he later married in 1885, dying in Marshall on March 4, 1914.


    Here's Thomas's memorial on Find A Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15592384/thomas-horace-langley


    Excerpt from Pvt. James O. Bradfield's account of Gettysburg:
    "About two o'clock in the afternoon, the order was given to advance all along the line. We moved quietly forward down the steep decline, gaining impetus as we reached the more level ground below. The enemy had already opened fire upon us, but we did not stop to return it. 'Forward—double quick,' rang out, and then Texas turned loose. Across the valley and over the stream that ran through it they swept, every man for himself. The first man down was my right-file man, William Langley, a noble, brave boy, with a mini-ball straight through the brain. I caught him as he fell against me, and laid him down, dead."
    (Hood's Texas Brigade: Its Marches, Its Battles, Its Achievements by J.B. Polley, pp. 168-69.)


    I posted this photo before in the recesses of another thread but I thought it would be a good addition to the Gettysburg forum. Its probably one of my favorite images of Hood's Texans. And I know the above information is brief but sometimes there is only so much out there on the enlisted men (at least that I could gather in this case); however, there was certainly more to their lives than the few bits mentioned here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018

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  3. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore Sergeant Major

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    Do you know what college Thomas attended?

    William was once thought to be the Confederate "sharpshooter" in Devil's Den, in the image by Timothy O'Sullivan.

    (extract from July 8 letter of James Henry Hendrick, Private, Company E, 1st Texas, to mother; Brake Collection, U.S. Army Military Heritage Center, Carlisle, PA) ... lost ... in my company ... Bill Langley killed, wounded - Burman Camell [J. D. or J. B. Campbell], W. [William] D. Haynes, George Heard, Thomas Longintt [Longino, 2nd Sergeant], S. F. Perry. Poose [?] was slightly wounded by a piece of shell. I was struck twice with a piece of shell but did not hurt me. Both were spent that struck me. None of the company are dangerously wounded.

    Minor wounds, like that sustained by Privates James Henry Hendrick, S. F. Perry and "Poose," were not officially reported as a wound.
     
    NH Civil War Gal, 22ndGa and AUG like this.
  4. AUG

    AUG Captain Forum Host

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    Tom Elmore likes this.
  5. AUG

    AUG Captain Forum Host

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    Here's a photo of Third Lieutenant Benjamin A. Campbell, Co. G, 1st Texas. He was also killed at Gettysburg in the fighting on Houck's Ridge. From Military Images Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 3, summer 2017.

    Third Lt. Benjamin A. Campbell, Co. G, 1st Texas Infantry.jpg

    Campbell enlisted in the Reagan Guards at Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, at the outset of the war; was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in May 1862; and was sent back to Texas on recruiting service in October to December 1862.

    At Gettysburg Campbell was in command of Company G. As the 1st Texas fought its way up Houck's Ridge a gap started to form between it and the 3rd Arkansas on its left, so Lt. Col. Philip A. Work sent Campbell with his company to plug it. As he fulfilled that task Campbell took a shot through the heart and was killed instantly.

    Lt. Col. Work says in his official report:
    "While this regiment was closely following our skirmishers, and had reached to within about 125 yards of the enemy's artillery, the Third Arkansas Regiment, upon my left, became hotly engaged with a strong force of the enemy upon its front and left, and, to preserve and protect its left flank, was forced to retire to a point some 75 or 100 yards to my rear and left, thus leaving my left flank uncovered and exposed, to protect which I halted, and threw out upon my left and rear Company G, commanded by Lieut. B. A. Campbell (some 40 men), which soon engaged the enemy and drove them from their threatening position to my left and the front of the Third Arkansas. It was while in the execution of this order that Lieutenant Campbell, a brave and gallant officer, fell, pierced through the heart."

    Inscribed inside the case, behind the image is: "Likeness of B.A. Campbell taken in Richmond, Virginia 1861 and presented to his wife Eppi Campbell."
     
  6. Phiip McBride

    Phiip McBride Corporal

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    Lt. Campbell's image as the 3rd Lt of Company G is a grim reminder that after the Texas Brigade's three big battles of 1862--Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, and Antietam, that the company's fourth-ranking officer was now commanding Co. G. And he somehow survived the morning in Miller's cornfield at Antietam where 0ver 80% of his regiment fell dead or wounded, only to fall at Gettysburg.

    On a technical level, he sure looks young, and he is wearing both shoulder straps used early in the war as a carry-over officer rank designation from the US Army and the new collar bars of the new Confederate army.
     
  7. AUG

    AUG Captain Forum Host

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    I don't know the exact date, but Campbell was born in 1842 so he was only about 19 years old when he had that photo taken, although he looks even younger. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in May 1862 and commanded Company G on a few other occasions after the captain was either on leave or serving as acting major and the 1st lieutenant was wounded at Gaines' Mill and Antietam.

    Out of the 40 or so officers and men in Company G engaged at Gettysburg, there were 11 men reported killed or wounded - Lt. Campbell and Cpl. William A. Duvall being the only two killed in action.
     

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