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"Texas Tough: The Rough and Ready William Howdy Martin" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2021 9:35 p.m. PST

"On paper, there is little to differentiate William H. Martin from other junior officers in Texas when the Civil War began. In his early 30s, he was a practicing attorney and a former state senator who lived comfortably in the middle-class community of Athens, Texas, with the one notable exception from his peers in that he does not appear to have been a slave owner. Like many of his fellow Texas officers, Martin was not a native-born Texan, but he identified with white Southerners who were sufficiently concerned by the growing power of the Republican Party, its efforts to limit the extension of slavery, and the election of Abraham Lincoln to enthusiastically support secession.

As a leading resident of Athens who organized a company in the spring of 1861, it's not surprising that the men elected Martin their captain. What is noteworthy, however, is how he earned their respect in the early days of the war when men shifted from enthusiastic volunteers to citizen soldiers bristling at the idea of submitting to military authority. In an effort to speed this transition and prepare the men for war, most of the companies that would later form the Texas Brigade, including Martin's, drilled in the Texas heat that summer of 1861 and later near Richmond, where officers emphasized drill, order, and a respect for their commanders. This, they argued, was the way to turn raw recruits into disciplined soldiers…"
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