David Twiggs

David Emanuel Twiggs (1790 - 1862)

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General David Emanuel "Bengal Tiger" Twiggs
Born in Good Hope Estate, Richmond County, Georgia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married about (to ) [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Augusta , Georgia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Nov 2016
This page has been accessed 457 times.

Categories: Battle of Chapultepec | United States Army Generals, Mexican-American War | Confederate States Army Generals, United States Civil War | Notables | United States Army, War of 1812 | United States Army, Mexican-American War | Confederate Army, United States Civil War | Wounded in Action, United States of America, Mexican-American War | Texas Project-Managed.

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General David Twiggs served in the United States Army in the War of 1812
Service started:
Service ended:
General David Twiggs served with the United States Army during the Mexican-American War
Service Started: mmm dd, 1812
Service Ended: Mar 1, 1861
General David Twiggs served in the United States Civil War.
Enlisted: May 22, 1861
Mustered out: Oct 11, 1861
Side: CSA
Regiment(s): Commander of Confederate Department of Louisiana
General David Twiggs was WIA at the Battle of Chapultepec, storming the castle walls during the Mexican-American War.
David Twiggs is a part of Texas History.
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Nicknamed 'The Bengal Tiger' because of his temper.

Early Life

General David Emanuel Twiggs was the son of Revolutionary General John Twiggs, of Georgia. He was born in Richmond County, Georgia, on February 14, 1790. Twiggs' mother was Ruth Leigh Emanuel, who was the daugther of David Emanuel Sr., and sister of David Emanuel, Jr., the 24 th Governor of Georgia.[1]


David Twiggs married Elizabeth Hunter in 1830. Their union produced four daughters, but only one -- Marion, born about 1838 -- survived to maturity. His wife, Elizabeth died in 1840. In 1853, David Twiggs married Talitha Hunt of New Orleans. Talitha died after giving birth to a son, John Washington Twiggs, in March of 1855.

Military Career

War of 1812

Twiggs volunteered for service as a Captain in the War of 1812, and subsequently served in Seminole Wars.

Surgeon General's Quarters at Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin.

General Twiggs established [Wikipedia:Fort_Winnebago | Fort Winnebago]] around the Surgeon's Quarters at Portage, Wisconsin.[2]General Twiggs commanded Augusta Arsenal during troubles with South Carolina in 1832.[3]

Fort Myers, Florida

While stationed in Florida, in the early 1850s, David Twiggs had on his staff an officer to whom he took a great liking -- Abraham C. Myers, who was born about 1811 in Georgetown, South Carolina. David liked Myers so much that he renamed an old military post after him, Fort Myers, Florida.

Fort Myers was named after David Twigg's son-in-law.
David then allowed his teen-age daughter, Marion, possibly as young a 15, to marry Myers, who was 42, in 1853. Confederate President Jefferson Davis like Myers too, and made him the first Quartermaster General of the Confederate Army.[4]

Mexican-American War

General Twiggs led a brigade in the Army during the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Plama. He also commanded a division at the Battle of Monterrey. Later, Twiggs joined Winfield Scott's expedition, and commanded a division of army in all the battles from Veracruz through Mexico City.

The Battle of Cerro Gordo

Twiggs' division took the hill on 17 April, advancing up the slopes to El Telegrafo. Santa Anna reinforced El Telegrafo with Brigadier General Ciriaco Vasquez's 2d Light, 4th, and 11th Infantry. Captain Edward J. Steptoe set up his battery on Atalaya Hill and Major James C. Burnham set up a howitzer across the river.
The Battle of Cerro Gordo by Paul Nebel.
At 7:00 am on 18 April, Twiggs directed William S. Harney's brigade to move against the front of El Telegrafo while Bennett C. Riley attacked from the rear. The combination easily took the hill, killing General Vasquez, and Captain John B. Magruder turned the Mexican guns on the retreating Mexicans. Simultaneously, James Shields' brigade attacked the Mexican camp and took possession of the Jalapa road. Once they realized they were surrounded, the Mexican commanders on the three hills surrendered and by 10:00 am, the remaining Mexican forces fled. Wikipedia:Battle_of_Cerro_Gordo

Military Governor of Veracruz

After the successful capture of Mexico City, he was appointed military governor of Veracruz.[5][1]

The Battle of Palo Alto, by Carl Nebel, commissioned by U.S. Army

General Twiggs fought in the following battles of the Mexican-American War:

Commander of the Department of Texas

Commander of the Department of Texas 1857 - 1861.
After the end of the Mexican-American War, Twiggs was promoted to Major General and appointed the Commander of the Department of Texas, from May 18, 1857, to February 19, 1861, which commanded about 20% of the Army guarding the Mexican border.

The Camel Corps

The following is copied from The Camel Military Corps

Two years later, the Army imported seventy-seven North African camels and a Syrian camel driver named Hadji Ali. Based at Camp Verde, Arizona, some two hundred miles from Quartzsite, the Corps was charged with establishing mail and supply routes westward to California and eastward to Texas.
The Camel Corps was under the command of General Triggs.

Although the camels thrived in conditions that would fell any horse, the experiment was not without its problems. The animals did not adapt well to the rocky terrain. They scared other pack animals such as horses and burros. Soldiers found them foul smelling and bad tempered and complained about camels spitting at them. Nevertheless, the new Secretary of War, John Floyd, was impressed and asked Congress for a further 1,000 animals. But tensions between the North and South were rising and the Congress couldn’t be bothered with the distant lands of the Southwest. Moreover, upon being appointed Commander of the Texas Army, Major General David E. Twiggs, sometimes known as “The Horse” (but also as “Old Davy” or “the Bengal Tiger”) was horrified to discover the Camel Corps in his charge and successfully lobbied Congress to be rid of the beasts. Perhaps it is just as well: Twiggs would soon surrender his command and, with it, the Texas Army to the Confederacy.

Texas in the American Civil War

The U.S. State of Texas declared its secession from the Union on February 2, 1861, and joined the Confederate States, replacing governor Sam Houston when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.[6]

Texas votes overwhelmingly to secede from the Union.

Because of this, General Twiggs sent word to Washington D.C., that if ordered to do so, he would never fire on his fellow citizens of Texas, and that he would turn over all government property in his possession after Texas seceded. General Twiggs was relieved of command. However, he was determined to march his troops out of San Antonio, taking all munitions and supplies with him. Union troops prevented his departure and eventually General Triggs surrendered. He was dismissed from federal service and immediately thereafter was commissioned as the senior major general in the Confederate States Army.[7]

Civil War

David Twiggs was subsequently dismissed from the U.S. Army on March 1, 1861 for “treachery to the flag of his country,” and accepted a commission as a major general from the Confederate States on May 22, 1861. He was assigned to command the Confederate Department of Louisiana (comprising that state along with the southern half of Mississippi and Alabama), but he was past the age of 70 and in poor health, thus he resigned his commission before assuming any active duty. He was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Mansfield Lovell in the command of New Orleans and retired on October 11, 1861.[1]

Triggs Trivia

  • In early 1861, General Twiggs wrote to General Scott: "I am a Southern man...As soon as I know Georgia has separated from the Union I must, of course, follow her."
  • Neither charming nor charismatic, Twiggs was unpopular with both officers and men, and extremely "sensitive about his age," which he did not reveal even to his closest associates.
  • William W. Mackall wrote, "All the arts of the barber and tailor were employed to give the General the appearance of youth."
  • General Twiggs was a tall, powerful cavalery officer. His scarlett face was framed by a thick head of hair and a heavy beard, both gleaming white.[8]
  • The 24th Governor of Georgia, David Emanuel, served in the Revolutionary War under the command of General David Trigg's father, General John Twiggs. The Governor also married his commander's daughter, General David Twiggs' mother.
  • General Twiggs was the oldest Confederate General in the Civil War.
  • David Triggs was more famous than his father, General John Triggs of the era of the Revolutionary War. However, he is described as "a large, foul-mouthed and intemperate...one that had the respect of his men--if not their affection". He was often called "Old Davy," "the Horse" or the "Bengal Tiger. His superiors and peers disliked and mistrusted him, but he could command men and maintain discipline.[9]

Death and Burial

General Twiggs died of pneumonia, in Augusta, Georgia on July 15, 1862. He is buried in the Twiggs Cemetery on the Good Hope Plantation in Richmond County, Georgia.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wikipedia:David E Twiggs
  2. Portage Public Library; General David E. Triggs
  3. Triggs family roots run deep; the Augusta Chronicle; October 14, 1999; by Special to The Chronicle.
  4. The Augusta Chronicle; David E. Twiggs; 14 Oct 1999
  5. University of Michigan Library
  6. Texas in the American Civil War
  7. Texas Staate Historical Society; David Emanuel Twiggs
  8. Army Regulars of the Western Frontier, 1848-1861; page 69; by Durwood Ball
  9. The Augusta Chronicle; October 14, 1999

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General David E. Twiggs
General David E. Twiggs

Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger

The Battle of Palo Alto
The Battle of Palo Alto

Fort Winnebago Surgeon Generals Quarters
Fort Winnebago Surgeon Generals Quarters

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