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David E. Twiggs

David Emanuel Twiggs (1790 – July 15, 1862) was a United States soldier during the War of 1812 and Mexican-American War and a general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was the oldest Confederate general in the Civil War.



Twiggs was born on the "Good Hope" estate in Richmond County, Georgia, son of John Twiggs, a general in the Georgia militia during the American Revolution and a nephew of David Emanuel, Governor of Georgia and the first Jewish Governor in the US, making him ethnically Jewish. Twiggs volunteered for service in the War of 1812 and subsequently served in the Seminole Wars and the Black Hawk War. He became Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons in 1836.

During the Mexican-American War, he led a brigade in the Army of Occupation at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1846 and commanded a division at the Battle of Monterrey. He joined Winfield Scott's expedition, commanding its 2nd Division of Regulars and led the division in all the battles from Veracruz through Mexico City. He was wounded during the assault on Chapultepec. After the fall of Mexico City, he was appointed military governor of Veracruz. Brigadier General Twiggs was awarded a ceremonial sword by the Congress on March 2, 1847. (The sword was taken when New Orleans was captured in 1862 and returned to the Twiggs family in 1889.)

After the Mexican-American War, Twiggs was appointed brevet major general and commanded the Department of Texas. He was in this command when the Civil War broke out. Twiggs's command included about 20% of the U.S. Army guarding the border of the U.S. and Mexico. As the states began to secede, Twiggs met with a trio of Confederate commissioners, including Philip N. Luckett and Samuel A. Maverick, and surrendered his entire command, which included the Federal Arsenal at the Alamo, and all other federal installations, property, and soldiers in Texas, to the Confederacy. He insisted that all Federals retain personal arms and sidearms, and all artillery as well as flags and standards. Though Twiggs was later accused of not resisting, and giving up without a fight, most modern sources believe he did all in the most honorable way available to him, to avoid bloodshed.

Twiggs subsequently was dismissed from the U.S. Army for treachery to the flag of his country, [1] and accepted a commission as a major general from the Confederate States. He was appointed to command the Confederate Department of Louisiana, but his advanced age and health kept him from pursuing an active command. He was replaced by Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell in the command of New Orleans.[2] and retired on October 11, 1861. He died of pneumonia in Augusta, Georgia, and is buried at "Good Hope".

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