Saturday, December 13, 2014

Matthew Duncan Ector: Being in the front of the battle


Confederate Brigadier General Matthew Duncan Ector

       Matthew (sometimes spelled Mathew) Duncan Ector was born in Putnam County, Georgia on February 28, 1822. He was educated in La Grange, Georgia and Danville, Kentucky and became a lawyer in Georgia in 1844. He was a lawyer and a state legislature. He served during the Mexican War and while stationed in Texas, he fell in love with that state. In 1849, he moved to Henderson, Texas where he practiced law and became a Texas state legislator. 
       He enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War and was soon elected a lieutenant in a Texas cavalry regiment. He fought in the Battle of Wilson's Creek where he was cited for gallantry throughout the fight. He was again cited for gallant bearing during the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (or Pea Ridge) in March of 1862. By April he was serving as Brigadier General Joseph Hogg's adjutant and sent to Corinth, Mississippi. Brigadier General Hogg died in Corinth of disease in May of 1862 and the 14th Texas Dismounted Cavalry elected Ector as their colonel. His regiment was sent to join Edmund Kirby Smith in his invasion of Kentucky in the fall of 1862. They were engaged in the attack on Richmond, Kentucky where serving under Patrick Cleburne (overall under Kirby Smith), he "particularly distinguished himself, being in the front of the battle and cheering on his men." 


General Braxton Bragg who always found a scapegoat for his failures

       Following the Kentucky Campaign, Ector was promoted to brigadier general to rank from August 23, 1862. He served in McCown's Division at the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones's River for you Yankee's), where he was praised in the report of General McCown. He actually pursued the fleeing enemy for 4 miles before being recalled. McCown's Division seems to have gotten lost in its pursuit of the enemy and McCown received all the blame for Bragg's failure at Murfreesboro. Following all of Bragg's battles, he immediately found a subordinate to blame for his failures. 
       In Central Mississippi, Ector's brigade participated in Joseph E. Johnston's fruitless campaign against Grant's besieging army at Vicksburg. His brigade was sent back to Bragg's Army in time to participate in the Battle of Chickamauga. Following that bloody battle, his brigade was ordered back to Mississippi, yet somehow they remained attached to the Army of Tennessee throughout the Atlanta Campaign. 
        He was directing artillery fire in a redoubt on the edge of Atlanta when he received a wound to the left knee by Federal artillery fire. At the time, he was serving with but a single staff officer. He had attempted to lead his men with undaunted bravery and his lead his brigade with great honor. He lost his leg to amputation and managed to return to Texas to recuperate. He luckily missed the battles of Franklin and Nashville and returned to his brigade during the Carolina's campaigns against Sherman. 
       Following the war, he resumed his law practice in Texas and eventually became a judge there. He rests today in Greenwood Cemetery, Marshall, Texas. He died at the age of 57. His brigade probably earned more distinction than he did during the war, because they fought on while he was wounded, and they saw action in the bloodiest battle of the war at Franklin, Tennessee, while he was still recuperating. 

Matthew Duncan Ector

Grave of Ector in Marshall, Texas



4 comments:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

    ReplyDelete
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