WILLIAM BRAKE, Danville Mounted Riflemen


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

William Brake is enumerated as a seven-year-old boy in the census of Polk County, Texas, in 1850. He was born in Texas and was living in the household of Elisha Vickery, born in Tennessee, and his wife, Elizabeth, born in South Carolina. There were no other children in the family. Elisha was 27, his wife was 37. William was a child of Elizabeth by her prior marriage to Joseph Brake.

A document posted on the Polk County Genweb site, transcribed from Probate Minutes Book D, shows that Elizabeth was the surviving widow of Joseph Brake, and that William B. Brake was the only surviving child of Joseph and Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Elisha Vickery (guardian of William B. Brake) asked the court to partition Joseph Brake's land between Elizabeth and her son William. This document was filed July 28, 1852.

At some point, William moved to Montgomery County. It is likely he had relatives in the area, but we do not know who they were. The closest Brake family in 1860 was in Bastrop County.

By September 13, 1861, William was a resident of the Danville area. He joined Captain S. D. Wooldridge’s Danville Mounted Riflemen, a militia organization of the Seventeenth Brigade, Texas State Troops. His name is on the muster roll as a private.

William was eighteen when he enlisted in Second Texas Lancers at Danville on March 29, 1862. It was fifty miles from his home to the place of rendezvous, Camp Carter at Hempstead. His horse was valued at $100.00 and his equipment at $20.00. This was at a time when an acre of good cotton land could be purchased for $6.00.

William went to Camp Carter for cavalry training and was listed as present on the muster roll that was taken there on April 28th. He was also present for the roll of August 31, at which time the men were stationed at Camp Holmes near Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

By this time they had been dismounted and the regiment was attached to the CSA and became the 24th Regiment, Texas Cavalry, (Dismounted.) The horses were sent home in care of a few of the soldiers, and the men were sent to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post to serve as infantry.

William was counted present on the October muster roll at Arkansas Post, where the troops were building fortifications and winter cabins.

On January 11,1863, the fort was attacked by Union Soldiers. W. B. Brake was captured along with the other Confederates and was transported up the Mississippi to the Union prison at Camp Butler, Illinois.


His name appears on a Union Roster of Troops Captured and also on a Roll of Prisoners of War.

W. B. Brake’s death on March 4, 1863, at Camp Butler, is recorded on a Union report. No cause of death is given, and there is no mortuary certificate, meaning that he probably wasn’t in the hospital at the time of his death. His name is also on the rolls of those who died at Camp Butler, published in news accounts of the day and extracted for publication by L. L. White in Their Last Full Measure: Texas Confederate Casualty Lists.

W. B. Brake was buried the next day in the Camp Butler Cemetery in the Confederate Section, Grave #398.

William B. Brake's marker at Camp Butler National Cemetery

Thanks to Gene Schnierle of Illinois for taking the photos. See photos
Twenty-Fourth Texas Cavalry Burials at Camp Butler National Cemetery.

His death was not recorded by his Confederate regiment until after the troops were exchanged in Petersburg, Virginia, later that spring.

The above was compiled from the Compiled Service Records, housed at the National Archives, and accessed on microfilm at the Confederate Research Center at Hillsboro, Texas. Also consulted was Their Last Full Measure by L. L. White, and the web site of the Camp Butler Cemetery. Updated in 2012 with information from Polk County Connections, hosted by Rootsweb.

For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at fjohnson@wt.net.

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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