Friday, January 24, 2020

The Colonels of Spring Grove - Philip Noland Luckett

Flag of the 3rd Texas Infantry, commissioned by citizens of Brownsville, said to have been sewn in Havana, Cuba
Tucked away in Section 36 of Spring Grove lies yet one additional colonel, Philip Noland Luckett.  His story is a bit different than the other colonels I have discussed at Spring Grove, in that he was a Confederate.  Yes Virginia, there are Confederate soldiers within Spring Grove.  Many of the Confederates buried there came from Camp Dennison, where they were being treated for wounds while being held as prisoners of war.  Those that died were buried initially at Camp Dennison before being moved to Spring Grove.

Luckett is an interesting character.  Born in Augusta County, Virginia in 1824 (some accounts say 1823), and by age six was living in Chillicothe, where his father served as county recorder.  The younger Luckett attended West Point in 1841, but left before graduating.  By 1847 Philip had moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he would act as a surgeon in the Texas Rangers, having attended the University of Louisville Medical School some time before his move to Texas but after his exit from West Point.  

In January 1861, Luckett was voted to represent Webb and Nueces Counties in the state secession convention.  He was noted as "a handsome man...well informed and agreeable, but most bitter against the Yankees."  He would help negotiate the surrender of Federal forces in Texas, then serve as quartermaster and commissary general of the state.  By the fall of 1861 Luckett would form the 3rd Texas Infantry Regiment where he would serve as its colonel.  The 3rd did not see much action during the war, having stayed in the Lone Star State during the course of the war.  In a stop at Houston in 1863, the city's residents remarked that the Third was "the best drilled regiment in the state."  Arthur Fremantle, during a tour of Texas in April 1863, would remark:

Lieutenant-Colonel Buchel* is the working man of the corps, as he is a professional soldier.  The men were well clothed, though great variety existed in their uniforms. Some companies wore blue, some grey, some had French kepis, others wideawakes and Mexican hats. They were a fine body of men, and really drilled uncommonly well. They went through a sort of guardmounting parade in a most creditable manner. About a hundred out of a thousand were conscripts.​
During all my travels in the South I never saw a regiment so well clothed or so well drilled as this one, which has never been in action, or been exposed to much hardship.​

Luckett's pistol, presented by the citizens of Bexar County in 1861
In June 1863 Luckett was made an "acting" brigadier and commanded the Eastern Sub-District of Texas.  

In April 1864 the 3rd Texas was assigned to Brig. Gen. William R. Scurry's brigade of Walker's Texas Division.  After Scurry was killed at the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, Luckett took command of the brigade.

After the war Luckett fled to Mexico.  Returning to Texas in November 1865, Luckett was arrested and imprisoned at Fort Jackson, Louisiana.  Pardoned some months later, Luckett remained in New Orleans.  His ever-delicate health shattered, he was unable to engage in business.  After his release he remained for a time in New Orleans before joining relatives in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Luckett died of bronchial disease on May 21, 1869 in the suburb of Avondale.

Luckett is buried in Section 36, Lot 57.

*Augustus Buchel, a lieutenant colonel in the Third, was a Hessian soldier who fought in the Carlist War in Spain and was knighted by Queen Maria Christina for his bravery in battle. He fought in the Turkish army and served in the Mexican War after arriving in Texas in 1845. He died while attached to a different regiment at Pleasant Hill. 


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