1st Lt. & Adj., 1st Texas Legion (27th Texas Cavalry) and

Pvt., Co. B, 43rd Battalion, Mosby's Virginia Cavalry

By Bill Atwell

William (Bill) and Linda Atwell

11401 Ridge Lane

Monrovia, MD 21770

Benjamin was born on Nov. 13, 1835 in Prince William County, Virginia, the oldest of 7 to James Addison and Sarah Jane Spindle. He moved from Virginia to Texas around 1856 with his new bride, H. Adelaide (Addie) (Rose) Spindle, who was 16 and he was 21. They had only been married 3 years when she died on Dec. 30, 1859. When the Civil War started, he was still in Texas where he enlisted on Jan. 1, 1862 in Hallettsville, Texas. His TEXAS Civil War records show that he was in the 27th Texas Cavalry that was first organized as the 4th Battalion Texas Cavalry on Nov. 12, 1861 with 4 companies, A to D. Benjamin was a Private in Co. D. It was increased to a regiment of 13 companies Apr. 12, 1862 and reorganized May 8, 1862. He transferred to Co. M. on Apr. 14, 1862, where he was promoted to Orderly Sergeant on May 24, 1862. Later, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant on Mar. 8, 1863 by order of Lt. Col. J. H. Broocks.

Here is a short history of the 27th Texas Cavalry:

The 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment (also called the 1st Texas Legion or Whitfield's Legion) was organized during the spring of 1862 using Captain John W. Whitfield's 4th Texas Cavalry Battalion from Lavaca County as its nucleus. Whitfield was promoted to major and placed in command of this cavalry battalion. Whitfield's Legion took part in the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas on Mar. 6-8, 1862. After fighting at Elkhorn Tavern as a battalion, only 9 officers and 111 men were present. The unit moved east of the Mississippi River and was dismounted in mid-summer 1862. It fought in the Engagement at Iuka, Mississippi on Sept. 19, 1862 and in the Battle of Corinth in Mississippi on Oct. 3-4, 1862. The latter part of 1862 the Legion was remounted and assigned to a brigade that later was to gain fame as Ross' Texas Cavalry Brigade. Besides Whitfield's 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Ross' Brigade consisted of the 3rd, the 6th, and the 8th Texas Cavalry Regiments. This brigade participated in the major military campaigns engaged in by the Army of Tennessee during 1863 and 1864. The 27th Texas Cavalry participated in more than 75 various types of engagements during its career, one most notably being the Siege of Atlanta, Georgia from Jul. 23 - Aug. 25, 1864. The Atlanta Campaign was over on Sept. 8, 1864 - the effective date of my Great Grandfather's resignation - when he left his Texas unit and returned to Virginia.

I could not understand why my Great Grandfather would want to leave his commission as an officer to become a private again with Col. Mosby until I read a book entitled "Ross' Texas Brigade" by Victor Rose - now I really understand what he might have been feeling!

He appears on a Roster of General Staff Officers and Commissioned Officers of Ross' Brigade, Jackson's Cavalry Division dated May 10, 1864.

He appears on a list of Staff Officers and Acting Staff Officers serving with Jackson's Cavalry Division in Atlanta, Georgia dated Aug. 28, 1864.

He appears on a register containing Rosters of Commissioned Officers, Provisional Army Confederate States as resigning as Adjutant on Sept. 8, 1864.

The following 2 letters seem to explain what might have caused him to resign and return to Virginia.

Letter 1 -- dated Dec. 15, 1863 requests his own Company of Cavalry.

Letter 2 -- dated Aug. 24, 1864 tenders his resignation as 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant.

Both letters were sent through the chain of command and the action that was taken is written on the backs of each letter. It appears that Benjamin's request for his own Company was neither approved nor denied, while his letter of resignation was approved.

Letter 1:

Headquarters 1st. Texas Legion

2nd. Brigade, Jackson's Cavalry Division

Camp Jackson, Mississippi

December 15, 1863


I respectfully ask that authority be granted me to enlist a Company of Cavalry inside the enemies lines in Northern Virginia where I resided for a number of years and to serve during the existing war between the United States and the Confederate States.

Hoping that my application will meet with the approval of the President.

I am General

Very Respectfully

Your Obedient Servant

Benjamin T. Spindle

1st. Lieutenant & Adjutant 1st. Texas Legion of Cavalry

To -

General S. Cooper

Adjutant & Inspector General

Richmond, Va.

Letter 2:

Headquarters 1st. Texas Legion

Ross' Brigade, J. C. Division

Army Tennessee, In Field Georgia

August 24, 1864

General S. Cooper


I herein tender my resignation as 1st. Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 1st. Texas Legion, Ross' Brigade, Jackson's Cavalry Division, unconditional and immediate for the following reasons: "To Wit".

My present situation is not only very unpleasant, but, too extremely disagreeable to be longer endured. Therefore, I greatly prefer serving as a private in another command to remaining an officer in my present position.

I hereby certify that I am indebted to the Confederate States nothing; that have no Government property in my hands; am not under charges and know no reason why should be; and that have never been absent from my command without proper authority.

Hoping my application may be approved.

I am General

With Due Respect

Your Obedient Servant

Benjamin T. Spindle

1st. Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 1st. Texas Legion

To -

General S. Cooper

Adjutant & Inspector General

Richmond, Va.

In the fall of 1864 (Sept. or Oct.), he joined the 43rd Battalion, Mosby's Virginia Cavalry, Co. A. as a Private, and later transferred to Co. B. He was probably present when Mosby and his men attacked workers on the Manassas Gap Railroad at Salem on Nov. 6, 1864. His VIRGINIA Civil War records state that he was 5 ft. 6 1/4 in. tall, had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes. I have several books on John Singleton Mosby and the 43rd Battalion, and mentioned in a number of them is a temporary base camp dubbed "Camp Spindle" located north of Hopewell Gap in the Bull Run Mountains in eastern Fauquier, 7 miles or so east of The Plains and roughly 15 miles north of Warrenton. Since this is near where Benjamin and his brothers and sisters grew up, there may be some connection.

Benjamin was captured by Union forces on Mar. 14, 1865 in Fauquier County, Virginia and sent to Old Capitol Prison, Washington, DC on Mar. 17th, where he was branded a "Guerrilla". He was then sent to Fort Warren (Boston Harbor), Massachusetts on Mar. 24, 1865 and received on Mar. 25th. He was released on Jun. 16, 1865 after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the Stars and Stripes.

After the war, Benjamin married Martha E. Lynn in 1866 and they resided in Centreville, Virginia, where he was a farmer, and later was a wheelwright and ran a Blacksmith Shop. They had at least 4 children with the first being my Grandmother, Martha Adelaide (after the first wife) (Spindle) Lee. He was a member of the John Q. Marr Camp, U.C.V., and he died on Aug. 7, 1898 and is buried at St. John's Episcopal Church in Centreville, Virginia.

Two of Benjamin's brothers also served in the Civil War:

Great Great Uncle Robert L. Spindle (Born 1840) -- Enlisted Oct. 1, 1863 in Fauquier County, Virginia and was a Private in Co. B., 43rd Battalion, Mosby's Virginia Cavalry. He was captured in the spring of 1864 and sent to prison in Wheeling, Virginia, then transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio, and later transferred to City Point, Virginia for exchange, where he gave his Oath of Allegiance. After the war, he also married, had a family, and joined the John Q. Marr Camp, U.C.V. Later on, he entered into politics and today there is a street in Centreville, Virginia named after him. He is also buried at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Great Great Uncle Spotsylvania C. Spindle (Born 1842) -- Enlisted Apr. 25, 1861 just 8 days after Virginia seceded (Apr. 17th), at the age of 19 in Fairfax County, Virginia as a Private in Co. D., 17th Virginia Infantry. He was at the battle of "Antietam" in Sharpsburg, Maryland on Sept. 15-17, 1862. He was wounded twice -- the 1st time on May 31, 1862 at the battle of "Seven Pines" and sent to the hospital with an arm wound -- 2nd time was on May 16, 1864 at the battle of "Drewry's Bluff", where he was sent to the hospital and the bottom-third of his right leg was amputated. However, he stayed in the Civil War by joining the Invalid Corp, and he received a full disability in Jan. 1865. After the war, he was a harnessmaker, did marry and have a family. He is buried in the Manassas Confederate Cemetery in Manassas, Virginia.

©Ron Brothers and Bill Atwell, 1999, All Rights Reserved.

May 21, 2000

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