Earl Van Dorn achieved the rank of Major General. He was the nephew of President Andrew Jackson and was noted for his ego and an adequate field commander. Van Dorn was a "ladies man" and this fault was to be his undoing. He was stalked a jealous husband who Van Dorn had angered by having an affair with his wife. The husband sought him out and shot him dead on the afternoon of May 7, 1863. General Van Dorn was 42 years old. The 3rd Texas Cavalry was among those that attended the funeral.
With Van Dorn dead, Bragg divided up his command and the Texas Brigade was now under the command of Brigadier General John W. Whitfield and consisted of 1,815 troops of the 3rd Texas, 9th Texas and 27th Texas Cavalry Regiments. The other brigade of the division consisted of about a thousand Mississippians and was commanded by Brigadier General George B. Cosby. These two brigades formed a cavalry division that was commanded by General "Red" Jackson. On May 19th 1863, General Bragg ordered the cavalry division, consisting of 3,019 horsemen to proceed to Vicksburg to help defend the city. The troops rode more than 375 miles in two weeks. This was, at times, more than 35 miles a day. The main body arrived at Canton Mississippi on June 3rd. Vicksburg was under siege by General Grant and there were some 71,000 Federal troops taking part.
John Wilkins Whitfield was born in Franklin Tennessee on March 11, 1818. He fought as a Captain in the Mexican War of 1847 with the Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Whitfield came to Texas in 1861 and entered the Confederate army as a Major and commander of the 4th Texas Cavalry, which later merged with the 27th Texas Cavalry. This consolidation became known as Whitfield’s Legion. He was promoted to Brigadier General on May 9th 1963. After the war he was a delegate to the constitutional conventions of 1866 and 1875. He died in Hallettsville on October 27, 1879.
By the time Jackson’s Cavalry Division arrived, General Joseph Johnston has decided that the forces around Vicksburg were to large to attack head on. Johnston, instead planned diversionary attacks in the rear with the hope of weakening certain points of Grants line and allowing for a possible break out of Confederate forces in Vicksburg. The first action was to attempt to chase some of Grants Cavalry after they had plundered Mechanicsburg. The Texas Brigade was unsuccessful but did pursue as close and as long as they could have.
As the Confederate Forces probed the rear of the Yankee lines for a soft spot in which to attack, there was time to reflect. Religion took the forefront in most of the camps. Leisure time was spent listen to religious leaders and reading the bible. There was a surge of evangelism among the men and Sunday congregations grew. This refection of the spirit soon grew and helped the spirit of the men as the war went on.