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BG William Polk “Gotch” Hardeman

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BG William Polk “Gotch” Hardeman

Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. William Hardeman was born into the influential Hardeman family on November 4, 1816 in Williamson County, Tennessee. His father and uncle were Thomas and Bailey Hardeman, respected frontiersmen and soldiers during the War of 1812, and his mother Mary was the aunt of United States president James K Polk. Brought up in privilege, he attended the University of Nashville and in 1835 moved with the rest of the large Hardeman clan to Texas. Like his relations, he quickly became involved in the Texas secession movement, first fighting in the Battle of Gonzales, then as part of a relief troop sent to the Alamo, albeit arriving after the Alamo had fallen. He fell ill during an assignment to recruit more troops, keeping him from participating in the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. Once Texas had won its independence, he signed on with the Texas Rangers and fought Indians in the west Texas frontier from 1837 to 1842, notably at Wallace's Creek, the Cordova campaign and the Battle of Plum Creek. Once Texas was annexed into the United States, he joined the Guadalupe Valley Rangers under Zachary Taylor as a scout and fought in the Mexican War at Encarnacion and Buena Vista. Once a truce was declared, he headed home to his plantation in Guadalupe County and worked his estate. In 1861, Texas voted to side with the Confederate cause during the U.S. Civil War, and William returned to military service after fifteen years of retirement. He built a force of over eight hundred men from his neighboring counties, forming the Fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment under General Henry Sibley. He fought at Valverde and was twice wounded when he charged the artillery battery, successfully commanded the defense of the Albuquerque supply depot against a much larger Union battalion, and after his efforts in the Red River campaign he was given command of the Fourth Texas Cavalry. After two more successes at Yellow Bayou and Franklin, he was promoted to brigadier general. With the surrender of the South at Appomattox, he was forced to flee to Mexico and served for a time as a commander in Maximilian's army. Returning to Texas in 1866, he helped found Texas A&M University and worked as a railroad inspector until he died on April 8, 1898 of Bright's disease. In recognition of his service to the Republic, he was laid to rest with full honors at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

Bio by: Screwtape


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10888
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for BG William Polk “Gotch” Hardeman (4 Nov 1816–8 Apr 1898), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10888, citing Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .