David E. Twiggs

David E. Twiggs

Brigadier General David E. Twiggs
Nickname(s) "Bengal Tiger"[1]
Born February 14, 1790 (1790-02-14)
Richmond County, Georgia
Died July 15, 1862 (1862-07-16) (aged 72)
Augusta, Georgia
Place of burial Twiggs Cemetery, Augusta, Georgia
Allegiance United States of America
Confederate States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Confederate States Army
Years of service 18121861 (USA)
1861 (CSA)
Rank Brevet Major General, USA
Major General, CSA
Commands held Department of the West

Mexican-American War

Relations John Twiggs Myers (grandson)

David Emanuel Twiggs (February 14, 1790 July 15, 1862) was a United States soldier during the War of 1812 and Mexican-American War and a general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was the oldest Confederate general in the Civil War.


Early life

Twiggs was born on the "Good Hope" estate in Richmond County, Georgia, son of John Twiggs, for whom Twiggs County, Georgia was named and a general in the Georgia militia during the American Revolution, and a maternal nephew of David Emanuel, Governor of Georgia.

Early military career

Twiggs volunteered for service as a captain in the War of 1812[2] and subsequently served in the Seminole Wars. In 1828, he arrived in Wisconsin to establish a fort, at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. With three companies of the First Infantry, they built Fort Winnebago around what has come to be known as Fort Winnebago Surgeon's Quarters at Portage, Wisconsin.[3] This was a base of operation during the Black Hawk War. He became Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons in 1836 and served in the Seminole Wars in Florida, where he earned the nickname "Bengal Tiger" for his fierce temper. He also decided to act offensively against the Seminoles rather than wait for them to strike first.

Mexican-American War

During the Mexican-American War, he led a brigade in the Army of Occupation at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1846 and commanded a division at the Battle of Monterrey. He joined Winfield Scott's expedition, commanding its 2nd Division of Regulars and led the division in all the battles from Veracruz through Mexico City. He was wounded during the assault on Chapultepec. After the fall of Mexico City, he was appointed military governor of Veracruz. Brigadier General Twiggs was awarded a ceremonial sword by the Congress on March 2, 1847. (The sword was taken when New Orleans was captured in 1862 and returned to the Twiggs family in 1889.) He was an original member of the Aztec Club of 1847 - a military society of officers who had served in the Mexican War.

Commander of the Department of Texas

After the Mexican-American War, Twiggs was appointed brevet major general and commanded the U.S. Army's Department of Texas. He was in this command when the Civil War broke out. He was one of four general officers in the US Army in 1861 along with Winfield Scott, John Wool, and William Harney. As there was no mandatory retirement at this time, all four men were over the age of 60 and three had served in the War of 1812, half a century earlier. Twiggs's command included about 20% of the Army guarding the Mexican border. As the states began to secede, he met with a trio of Confederate commissioners, including Philip N. Luckett and Samuel A. Maverick, and surrendered his entire command, which included the Federal Arsenal at the Alamo, and all other federal installations, property, and soldiers in Texas, to the Confederacy. Along with him went 20 military installations, 44 cannons, 400 pistols, 1,900 muskets, 500 wagons, and 950 horses, valued at a total of $1.6 million. He insisted that all Federals retain personal arms and sidearms, and all artillery as well as flags and standards. Already, shortly after the secession of South Carolina in December 1860, Twiggs had written a letter to Winfield Scott proclaiming that Georgia was his home and he would follow the state if she should leave the Union.

Confederate service

David Twiggs was subsequently dismissed from the U.S. Army on March 1, 1861 for “treachery to the flag of his country,” [4] and accepted a commission as a major general from the Confederate States on May 22, 1861. He was assigned to command the Confederate Department of Louisiana (comprising that state along with the southern half of Mississippi and Alabama), but he was past the age of 70 and in poor health, thus he resigned his commission before assuming any active duty. He was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell in the command of New Orleans.[5] and retired on October 11, 1861.

Death and burial

Twiggs died of pneumonia in Augusta, Georgia on July 15, 1862 and is buried in Twiggs Cemetery[6] at "Good Hope" Plantation in Richmond County, Georgia.

See also


  1. Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 538.
  2. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 775.
  3. http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/por/mckay/images/00000004.pdf
  4. "New York Times, March 4, 1861'
  5. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 64
  6. "Family Burying Ground on Good Hope Plantation". Retrieved 27 December 2015. The site of Good Hope Plantation, home of the Twiggs family, is now Bush Field, the Augusta municipal airport. It is located less than a half mile northeast of the cemetery.


External links

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