General Hiram Brinson Granbury was one of the most popular and colorful leaders in the Confederate Army.
There has always been confusion about the spelling of his name. His statue on the courthouse lawn in Hood County which was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, General Granbury Chapter No. 683, has it spelled "Granbury". His tombstone in the Granbury Cemetery has it spelled "Granberry".
In November 1866, the legislation organizing Hood County specified that the county seat be named "Granberry"; and the legislation incorporating the town in May 1873 spells it that way.
On the 1850 U S Census when Hiram was living with his father in Copiah County, Mississippi, the name was spelled "Granberry". However, on the 1860 Census for McLennan County, TX, the name is spelled "Granbury".
We Hood Countians have always had the story that it was an error in setting the type when the Legislature created the county to be named for General John Bell Hood with Granbury, the county seat, to be named for General Hiram B. Granbury who served under General Hood.
However, at the time of his internment in Granbury in November, 1893, his sister, Mrs. Nautie Granberry Moss who lived in Brownwood at the time and attended the reinternment, said that the name had always been spelled Granberry, but, because of some peculiar whim, General Granbury, on arriving at maturity, insisted on spelling his name "Granbury". She said that she even had letters from him signed "Granbury".
General Granbury was 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighed about 160 pounds, well built, stately and commanding.[(1) The Granbury News; Granbury, Hood County, TX; November 30, 1893; Vol 8, No. 33; p 1.]
From his picture, he appears to have had ruddy cheeks.
Hiram Brinson Granbury was born in Copiah County, Mississippi, March 1, 1831, the son of Norval R. and Nancy McLaurin. He was the son of a Baptist minister as was his grandfather and great-grandfather. He graduated from Oakland College, a Presbyterian college, located in Rodney, Mississippi.
Soon after graduation, he came to Texas and opened a law office in Seguin in about 1851. However, business was poor and in order to take care of his expenses, he began building concrete houses. Later he left Seguin and went to Waco village. Here he met and married Miss Fannie Sims. He was admitted to the bar and served as chief justice, today's county judge, of McLennan County in 1856 to 1858. The courthouse was a clapboard building and was the only house on the east side of the square. In his spare time he assisted with the editing of the first paper in Waco village. He was considered to be a profound scholar and a fluent writer. On March 4, 1861 when the matter of secession was growing, General Granbury answered the call to arms which everyone thought would be over in six months. He entered the Army of Tennessee and organized the Waco Guards.
In October he was promoted to major of the 7th Texas Infantry. He was captured and exchanged at Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862 and imprisoned at Johnson's Island.
Another tragedy came into General Granbury's life at this time. His beautiful and accomplished wife left Waco with him and was with him at Fort Donelson. To be near him, she went to Johnson's Island as near the "prison walls" as possible. Her health failed because of the severe northern winter and Johnson Island exposure. She became an invalid and had to return to the south, living at Mobile. After seven months in prison, General Granbury was exchanged and joined his wife for a short while just before her death.
Major Granbury returned to duty. He became colonel of the 7th Texas and served in the Vicksburg campaign, Jackson, Raymond, Chickamauga and Chattanooga where he was highly complimented by General Pat R. Cleburne. For his valor at Ringgold Gap, Colonel Granbury was promoted to Brigadier General and became Cleburne's strong right arm. They became close friends.
In July 1862, General Granbury was wounded in the left arm which he lost use of.
Dug Gap was left unguarded except for a small force of Kentucky cavalry and Arkansas infantry. They were attached by a Federal Division. General Granbury's and General Lowerey's brigades were sent to the scene where the Texans found the Kentuckians' horses at the foot of the mountain, and "with a wild whoop" they sprang into the saddles and were mounted once more.
After the Battle at Dug Gap, much confusion prevailed in the Sixth Infantry. On February 29, 1864, and at the request of officers and men, General Granbury was commissioned brigadier general. The brigade became known as Granbury's Texas Brigade. He took the Tenth Infantry from the Sixth, Tenth and Fifteenth Consolidated Texas Regiment. He made some consolidations and reorganization and formed the Sixth into six companies, consolidated the two regiments and called them the Sixth and Fifteenth Consolidated Texas Regiment. He led the Texas brigade through the Atlanta campaign and into Tennessee, serving under General John Bell Hood for whom our county is name.
The flag that was carried into this battle was The Sixth and Fifteenth Texas. That is the flag design that we have used in our Chapter flag. The original is in a small gray box in the Texas State Archives.
Brigadier General Hiram Brinson Granbury and his Texas Brigade were one of the best and proudest brigades in the Confederate Army serving under Major General Patrick Cleburne for whom the town of Cleburne is named.
The battles in which General Granbury served were defeats as well as victories. They all attest to the courage and valiant leadership of Hiram Granbury.
Through the center ran the Columbia Turnpike and the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. On that warm, lazy Indian summer afternoon of November 30, 20,000 Confederates marched toward death against Union General William T. Sherman in an effort to protect Tennessee and Alabama in what is considered one of the most magnificent charges in military annals. On November 29, General Hood had hoped to cut the Federals off from the road to Franklin and Nashville at Spring Hill. Even though the Federals were driven back, General Hood felt that an opportunity had been lost.
At the Battle of Franklin which began about 4:00 p.m. on November 30, 1864, General Granbury led his brigade against the Federal lines. The Federals were entrenched on a hill opposite Winstead Hill where Hood's infantry and cavalry were planning the assault.[(2)Dyer, John P, The Gallant Hood (New York: Konecky & Konecky, 1950), p 291.]
Union General John McAllister Scofield was entrenched in the vicinity of the Franklin-Columbia road near Franklin. In perfect alignment with regimental and brigade colors of the Sixth and Fifteenth Texas flying in the breeze, General Granbury and General Cleburne quickly stepped until they were within firing distance and then broke into a slow trot. The vicious hand-to-hand fighting in the bloody attack was done with everything from bayonets to clubbed muskets, revolvers, broken gunstocks, hatchets and even bare hands. Slowly and with heavy losses, the Confederates were beaten back. In places bodies were piled seven deep.
The Confederates carried the advance outpost which was held by two brigades. General Cleburne's men were in a bad position and when he was delayed by George Wagner. As he led his men on foot,[(3) Ibid. pp 292, 293.] he was caught in heavy cross fire and was killed about fifty yards in front of the breastworks with a minie ball striking just below his heart.
Near Columbia Pike, General Granbury was on foot, urging his men on when he was shot. According to Wiley Sword's book, "Embrace An Angry Wind" which is a biography of Hood, a bullet shot General Granbury just under the right eye, passing through his head and carried off the top of his head.[(4)Biffle, Kent, "Texana", The Dallas Morning News, (March 18, 1992), p 47, 50.] According to reports, General Granbury threw both hands to his face and sank to his knees in death.[(5)Ibid.]
It was 9:00 p.m. before General Hood halted the attacks and firing continued until after midnight. Schofield was able to leave Franklin and move toward Nashville.
The Confederates had between 20,000 - 27,000 in action in this battle, with 1,750 being killed, 3,800 wounded, and 702 missing for a total of 6,252. Five Confederate generals were killed outright: Major General Pat Cleburne, Brigadier Generals Hiram B. Granbury, States Rights Gist, John Adams, and Otho F. Strahl.[(6) Brown, Norman D; One Of Cleburne's Command; p 148.]
The next day his body rested temporarily on the porch of the Carnton mansion, along with his friends, Major General Cleburne, Generals Adams, Gist and Strahl. They were laid on the back porch of the McGavock House on Cranton Plantation.
General Granbury was buried in a pauper's grave in Ashwood Cemetery in Columbia, TN. Twenty-nine years later, Granbury Mayor J. N. Doyle organized the ex-Confederate soldiers in the Hood County area who pooled their resources to bring General Granbury's remains to the town named for him. Mrs. Nautie Granberry Moss, General Granbury's sister who lived in Brownwood, was contacted and agreed wholeheartedly.
Mayor Doyle made the trip to Tennessee and accompanied the remains to Fort Worth. He found only bones and the buttons from General Granbury's uniform, which read "Waco Rifles".
When the remains arrived, Granbury was not prepared for the ceremony for the reinternment of General Granbury's remains. They were kept in the vault of the First National Bank of Fort Worth for two weeks.[(7) Myres, Sandra L,; Force Without Fanfare: The Autobiography Of K. M. Van Zandt. ] Major K. M. VanZandt, one of General Granbury's officers, was president of the bank; and he liked to tell the story that he had a General of the confederacy locked in a vault.
On November 30, 1893 about 5,000 were in Granbury for the ceremony. Many Confederate veterans came to Granbury for his reburial in the Granbury Cemetery. Eleven Union veterans came. This showed the esteem that both Confederates and Federals held for General Granbury.
General Granbury's tombstone, first erected at his grave in Columbia, was moved with his remains to Texas.[(8)Warner, Ezra J, Generals In Gray (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1993), p 175.]
Col. M. D. Herring, a friend of General Granbury said at his reinternment ceremony that the freedom of the Negro was not the issue of the war. The Southern soldier did not fight for slavery. The Confederates--the rebels as they were called-- fought for a principal. They fought for the equal and reserved rights of the states.[(9) Fort Worth Daily Gazette; Vol. XVIII, No. 3; November 1, 1891.]
Our hero, General Granbury, was a gallant man who laid down his life in striving for what his conscience told him was right.
I would like to close with a poem which was written by Col. Goodwin when Maj. M. D. Herring was hearing a trial in Waco.
The bullet of the enemy one cold day in November,
Deprived the Confederates of a brave defender.
With chivalrous valor columns were led
On Franklin's bloody field where thousands fell dead.
He proved his devotion to the cause that was lost,
And falling like a hero at the head of his host.
His memory, still green in the heads of his friends,
Will never grow less till life shall end.
And Granbury! Proud Granbury! named for him,
May thy honor and thy glory never grow dim.
In ages unborn let thy people point at the grave,
Of the hero who died, his country to save.
And instill in the minds of her children his worth,
As one of the patriots and heroes of earth.
[(10) Ibid; p. 1]
Brown, Norman D. One Of Cleburne's Command.
Dyer, John P. The Gallant Hood. New York: Konecky & Knockey, 1950. 383 pp.
Myres, Sandra L. Force Without Fanfare. The Autobiography of K. M. Van Zandt. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press.
Biffle, Kent. "Texana," The Dallas Morning News, March 15, 1992, pp 47, 50.
Barr, James. "The Battle of Franklin," Southern Bivouac; October, 1885.
Fort Worth Daily Gazette, November 1, 1891, Vol XVIII, No. 3.
The Granbury News; November 30, 1893, Vol. 8, No. 33, PP 1-2, 5-6.
Warner, Ezra J. Generals In Gray. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press. 419 pp.