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Chapter 10:

The return of the army which General Johnston had collected at Jackson for June 25th shows the following organization:

Division of Maj.-Gen. John C. Breckinridge—brigades of D. W. Adams, Helm and Stovall, aggregate present, 6,884. Division of Maj.-Gen. S. G. French—brigades of N. G. Evans, McNair and Maxey, aggregate present, 7,466. Division of Maj.-Gen. W. W. Loring —brigades of John Adams, Buford, and Featherston, aggregate present, 7,427. Division of Maj.-Gen. W. H. T. Walker—brigades of Ector, Gist, Gregg and Wilson, aggregate present, 9,571. Cavalry division, Brig.-Gen. W. H. Jackson—brigades of Cosby and Whitfield, aggregate present, 4,373. Camp of direction, 247; reserve artillery, 294. Grand aggregate present was reported at 36,315; effective total, 28,154.

Breckinridge's division was ordered forward to Clinton from Jackson, June 30th, and on the evening of July 1st Johnston's army encamped between Brownsville and the Yazoo river. Col. Wirt Adams, reconnoitering near Edwards, reported that the Federal line was weakest south of the railroad, and that the Federal army was suffering greatly from disease, and quite discouraged by its heavy losses. ‘Many citizens,’ he said, ‘express the confident belief that the climate alone will cause them to [162] raise the siege if our garrison could hold out three weeks.’

On July 3d Johnston sent a messenger to advise Pemberton that he was about to make an attack, and he was making preparations to reconnoiter south of the railroad when he was advised of the capitulation. He then fell back to Jackson, reaching thereon the 7th; and on the 9th Sherman, with three corps of the Federal army, appeared in strong force before his works. Johnston expected an immediate assault and posted his forces on the intrenched line: Loring on the right, then Walker, French and Breckinridge to the left, while the cavalry under Jackson observed the fords of Pearl river above and below the town. Sherman, instead of attacking at once, began intrenching and constructing batteries, finding hills from which he could throw a cross fire of shot and shell into all parts of the town. There was spirited skirmishing with light cannonading on the 11th, and Johnston telegraphed President Davis that if the position and works were not bad, want of stores would make it impossible to stand a siege. ‘If the enemy will not attack, we must, or at the last moment withdraw. We cannot attack seriously without risking the army.’

On the 12th there was a heavy cannonade from the Federal batteries, and a feeble assault was made on Breckinridge's line, which was vigorously repulsed, the Federals losing about 500 men, including 200 captured, and the colors of three Illinois regiments. The bombardment was kept up during the following days, the Federals meanwhile extending their lines to Pearl river north and south of the town, and destroying the railroad. On the night of the 16th Johnston withdrew his army toward Meridian, where he subsequently made his headquarters. His loss during the siege was 71 killed, 504 wounded, 25 missing. The Federal loss, 130 killed, 762 wounded, and 231 missing.

According to Sherman's account he captured the heavy guns and 400 prisoners. He immediately set to work destroying [163] the town and ravaging the surrounding country, in order to make the place untenable by Confederate forces. On the 18th he reported to Grant: ‘We have made fine progress to-day in the work of destruction. Jackson will no longer be a point of danger. The land is devastated for thirty miles around.’ After sending an expedition against Canton, the troops started back to Vicksburg. On the 21st Sherman sent word to Grant that he had promised 200 barrels of flour and 20,000 pounds of pork, or equivalents, to the inhabitants, as there were about 800 women and children who would perish unless they received some relief. Grant promptly honored the requisition.

On July 13th a Federal expedition under General Herron arrived at Yazoo City in transports, accompanied by a gunboat flotilla. Commander Isaac N. Brown was there, with the few boats that he had improvised, and a small garrison in the fortifications. He repulsed the gunboats at first, and blew up the Federal ironclad De Kalb, with thirteen guns, by a torpedo explosion, but was forced to burn his own flotilla and evacuate the position. At Natchez on the same day, Brigadier-General Ransom landed and occupied the town, whence he made expeditions to destroy military property at Liberty, and a cotton factory and railroad transportation at Woodville. But this field of destruction was soon restricted by the approach of J. L. Logan's cavalry in Mississippi and Harrison's cavalry on the west bank of the river.

During the siege of Vicksburg there had been various raids and reconnoissances in northern Mississippi from the Federal posts in Tennessee and at Corinth. General Chalmers was also active in the northeast, embarrassing the enemy's transportation on the river. Col. Wirt Adams engaged Federal gunboats with his artillery at Liverpool Landing, May 20th-23d. Col. R. McCulloch's cavalry fought with an expedition from La Grange in the Senatobia swamp, May 23d. Colonel Slemons, about the [164] same time, after firing on Federal transports near Austin, had a severe encounter with the cavalry under Ellet, who burned the town of Austin. On June 13th-22d there was an expedition under Colonel Phillips from La Grange, which was defeated severely by Colonel Barteau and Capt. R. G. Earle in a fight near Rocky Ford, on the Tallahatchie.

The most formidable incursion was under Colonel Mizner and Major Henry from Tennessee. Chalmers, who had been bombarding the Federal steamers as they passed Dale's Point, promptly attacked Henry's command near Hernando on the 18th, and routed it, capturing Henry and 87 others and killing and wounding a large number. Though compelled to fall back then, south of Panola, the Federal retreat was followed promptly, and Colonel McQuirk punished the enemy severely at Hudsonville. Colonel George reported of this expedition that its members stole every horse, mule, buggy, carriage and wagon they could seize, and every slave they could entice or force away; burned corn-cribs, mills, etc., and in many instances robbed citizens of clothing and furniture.

On June 21st Lieut.-Col. R. C. Wood defeated a body of the enemy at Jones' plantation, capturing his cannon and thirty-three prisoners. On June 25th forty Federal raiders at Brookhaven, burning railroad cars, were pursued eighty-six miles by a force of thirty-five old men and boys, and captured. These little affairs, and many more that might be collected, illustrated the fact that while the United States forces had possession of the borders of the States on three sides, yet the interior was not for them a safe abiding place.

On August 17th an expedition from La Grange, after a severe skirmish, took possession of Grenada, after the Confederates had fired the bridges, and set to work burning cars and buildings; but this was checked by the arrival of Colonel Winslow, commanding an expedition which Sherman had sent [165] out with orders that they should pay for supplies, and that ‘it is now to the interest of the government that plundering and pillaging should cease.’ Winslow continued north to Memphis, fighting at the Coldwater with some of Chalmers' force, and Phillips returned to Tennessee, reporting a large amount of destruction in spite of Winslow's interference.

After this no affairs of importance occurred in Mississippi for a considerable period. There was a skirmish at Holly Springs, September 7th; one near Jacinto on the same day; and an expedition from the Big Black near Vicksburg to Yazoo City was spiritedly combated by the cavalry brigades of Generals Whitfield and Cosby.

In August, Maj.-Gen. S. D. Lee had been given command of all the cavalry in Mississippi, including the brigades of Jackson, Cosby, Chalmers, and Richardson. Early in October General Chalmers was ordered to take his own and Richardson's brigades and make a raid on the Memphis & Charleston railroad, to divert attention from another movement contemplated by Lee. After some minor operations he fought a considerable action near Salem, on October 8th, in which the commands of McQuirk and Major Chalmers, and McCulloch's Missouri cavalry, bore the brunt of battle. The enemy retired, and Chalmers, being now reinforced by Richardson's brigade, skirmished with the Federal cavalry toward La Grange. Early on the 11th he attacked Collierville, Tenn., which General Sherman had just entered with his staff and a battalion, increasing the garrison, previously composed of 240 men of the Sixty-sixth Indiana, to 480. Sherman took command and refused Chalmers' demand for surrender. A four hours fight followed, in which Chalmers took and burned the cavalry camp, but, on account of the strength of the works, was unable to capture the enemy. Retiring toward Byhalia Colonel Richardson had a brisk fight next day, and the command fell back to Ingram's Mill. On the 13th Chalmers fought a battle at [166] Wyatt, in which the loss was considerable on both sides. The expedition of General Lee's which Chalmers covered was made along the Memphis & Charleston railroad in Alabama, with orders from General Johnston to cut the railroad between Chattanooga and Nashville; but the cooperation of General Wheeler, which was desired, was delayed on account of the exhaustion of his command consequent upon the famous McMinnville raid.

On October 14th, General McPherson, commanding at Vicksburg, started on an expedition toward Canton with 6,500 infantry and Winslow's cavalry brigade. His advance was gallantly checked by Cosby's brigade under Col. Wirt Adams, and Logan's brigade, on Bogue Chitto creek, and the expedition turned back considerably short of its destination. On October 26th, Gen. Samuel F. Ferguson, with a small command, attacked and routed the First Alabama (U. S.) cavalry, near Bay Springs.

Gen. Leonidas L. Polk was assigned to the command of the army of the Mississippi, October 23d, General Johnston retaining his position at the head of the department. Early in November, when Grant, now in supreme command of the United States forces between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies, was making a desperate effort to hurry Sherman to the relief of Chattanooga, besieged by Bragg, Chalmers was ordered by Johnston to harass the rear of Sherman's corps and destroy the railroad behind him. Chalmers sent Colonel Richardson, assisted by General Gholson, of the Mississippi militia, to tear up the road between La Grange and Corinth, while he made a demonstration between Memphis and La Grange. His force comprised Colonel Slemon's brigade, the Thirty-third cavalry, and George's Fifth cavalry; and Colonel McCulloch's brigade, the First Partisan Rangers, Eighteenth battalion and Second Missouri. Major Mitchell, with two companies of the Eighteenth, drove in the enemy's pickets at Quinn's mill on the night of the 1st, and Chalmers crossed there on the 3d, [167] capturing the picket of 27 men. He then attacked the Federal force at Collierville, but found it heavily reinforced, so that the gallant charge made by his men was of no avail. Colonel George, leading the attack of Slemons' brigade and riding into town, was captured. The chief surgeon, Dr. W. H. Beatty, was also taken, and 24 others, and 69 were killed or wounded. Meanwhile a small force, under Col. J. J. Neely, destroyed the railroad near Middleton. On November 22d Major Ham's battalion of State troops skirmished with the First Alabama (U. S.) near Corinth.

Toward the close of November Chalmers was ordered by General Lee to demonstrate again between Memphis and La Grange, while Lee, with Ferguson and Ross, advanced to the east and united with General Forrest, who had been assigned to command in West Tennessee. The movement began on December 1st, and on the 4th McCulloch's brigade moved to support Ross in burning the Wolf river bridge near Moscow. A severe fight followed, in which McCulloch and his Mississippians were distinguished for gallantry. The Federal loss was heavy including Colonel Hatch—who had been conspicuous for a long time in Northern Mississippi raids—severely wounded. In the meantime Colonel Slemons had burned the railroad trestle over Grisson's creek.

About this time Loring's division was at Canton, Whitfield's and Cosby's brigades of cavalry were covering Vicksburg from Brownsville to Raymond, and Wirt Adams, promoted to brigadier-general, was operating at the south. The latter made a demonstration against Natchez, occupied by a considerable Federal garrison, early in December, but the Federals were promptly reinforced by the brigade of Gen. Walter Q. Gresham.

In the last days of the year Major-General Forrest, having gathered a force of about 5,000 men, fought several spirited combats with the enemy on the Memphis and Corinth line; and, cutting his way through into Mississippi [168] with half his command, made his headquarters below the Tallahatchie for the purpose of organizing his men and preparing for that brilliant defense of Northern Mississippi which confirmed his fame as one of the greatest generals of the age.

At the close of 1863 the Federal troops in Mississippi were stationed as follows: 4,000 under Gen. J. D. Stevenson at Corinth; about 16,000 at and near Vicksburg, 2,500 cavalry at Hebron, and 150 at Natchez, under General McPherson. At Memphis and La Grange, Tenn., were about 20,000 of Hurlbut's corps.

On the Confederate side, in the latter part of 1863, there were still about 2,500 men present in the parole camp at Enterprise, under command of General Forney. General Loring's division, with headquarters at Canton, contained the brigades of Buford, Featherston and John Adams. Featherston's brigade, entirely Mississippian, was made up of the Third regiment, Col. T. A. Mellon; Twenty-second, Lieut.--Col. H. J. Reid; Thirty-first, Lieut.-Col. M. D. L. Stephens; Thirty-third, Col. D. W. Hurst; First battalion sharpshooters, Maj. James M. Stigler. Adams' brigade included the Sixth regiment, Col. Robert Lowry; Fourteenth, Lieut.-Col. Washington L. Doss; Fifteenth, Col. M. Farrell; Twentieth, Lieut.-Col. Wm. N. Brown; Twenty-third, Maj. G. W. B. Garrett; Twenty-sixth, Col. Arthur E. Reynolds; First Confederate battalion, Lieut.-Col. George H. Forney.

French's division still included the brigades of Ector, McNair and Cockrell. In Forney's division Baldwin's brigade had been exchanged and armed: Fourth Mississippi, Col. Thomas N. Adair; Thirty-fifth, Col. William S. Barry; Thirty-ninth, Lieut.-Col. W. E. Ross; Fortieth, Col. W. Bruce Colbert; and Forty-sixth, Col. C. W. Sears. In the brigade of W. W. Mackall, the Forty-third, Col. Richard Harrison, was reported organizing at Columbus, and the Thirty-sixth, Col. W. W. Witherspoon; Thirty-seventh, Col Orlando S. Holland; Thirty-eighth, Lieut.- [169] Col. W. L. Kiern; and the Seventh battalion, Capt. Lucien B. Pardue, not exchanged. The First regiment, Col. John M. Simonton; First light artillery, Capt. James J. Cowan; and the Vaiden artillery, Capt. S. C. Bains, were also attached.

The cavalry corps of Maj.-Gen. Stephen D. Lee was composed of the divisions of Brig.-Gens. W. H. Jackson and James R. Chalmers. Under Jackson were Cosby's brigade, later under Colonel Starke, which included the Fourth Mississippi, Maj. J. L. Harris; Twenty-eighth, Col. Peter B. Starke; Col. John G. Ballentine's regiment; First regiment, Col. R. A. Pinson; Gen. L. S. Ross' Texas regiment; and Brig.-Gen. Wirt Adams' brigade, which held but two Mississippi regiments, his own, under Col. Robert C. Wood; the Fourth, Maj. T. R. Stockdale, and Capt. Calvit Roberts' battery. The Fourth was subsequently transferred from Starke to Adams.

General Chalmers' division was made up of three brigades. That commanded by Col. W. F. Slemons contained, in addition to an Arkansas and a Tennessee regiment, Col. John McQuirk's Third regiment State troops; the Fifth regiment, Col. James Z. George, and Capt. J. M. McLendon's battery. Col. Robert McCulloch's brigade held, in addition to his own Missouri regiment, the First Partisans, Lieut.-Col. L. B. Hovis; Eighteenth battalion, Lieut.-Col. A. H. Chalmers; and the Buckner battery, Lieut. H. C. Holt. The brigade of Col. Robert C. Richardson embraced for a time the Twelfth Mississippi, Col. W. M. Inge. A brigade under Col. L. S. Ross was also for a time under Jackson, and then included Colonel Pinson's regiment. Ferguson's brigade, operating in northeast Mississippi, included the Twelfth cavalry, Col. W. M. Inge, and later was assigned to Jackson's division. The effective strength of these brigades rarely exceeded 1,000 each. Maj.-Gen. Samuel J. Gholson was in command of State troops.

General Johnston reported November 7th: Present for [170] duty, 1,400 officers and 15,809 enlisted men, out of a grand total of 36,000 enrolled. Nearly half of these were cavalry. The organizations represented were sixty-one regiments, nine battalions and twelve batteries.

Maj. W. H. Dameron, chief commissary of subsistence, was finding trouble in obtaining supplies, and made a contract with a reliable person to purchase hogs within the enemy's lines. Col. Frank P. Powers, commanding cavalry in southwest Mississippi, reported that trade in cotton was being carried on between Confederate citizens and soldiers, and the enemy. This procedure was not unknown to other parts of the State and was defended by General Chalmers, who declared that the Federals were essentially a trading nation, and would sell gunboats, he believed, and he was in favor of using the cotton to secure needed supplies for the army.

There now remains to be noted the services of Mississippi soldiers in the battles of 1863 of the army of Tennessee, and the career of those who served in the army of Northern Virginia.

In the cavalry operations in Tennessee early in 1863, the First and Twenty-eighth Mississippi cavalry regiments and the Fourth, Col. James Gordon, took a prominent part in Van Dorn's defeat and capture of Coburn's brigade at Thompson's Station, March 5th. Later in the same month the Fourth cavalry shared in the brilliant capture of the Federal force at Brentwood, by Forrest's command.

At the organization of Bragg's army preceding the battle of Chickamauga, the Fifth Mississippi, Lieut.-Col. W. L. Sykes, and the Eighth, Col. John C. Wilkinson, formed part of the brigade of John K. Jackson, Cheatham's division, Polk's corps. The artillery of this division, under command of Maj. Melancthon Smith, included Smith's battery, under Lieut. W. B. Turner, and Stanford's battery, Capt. Thomas J. Stanford. The Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi, under Col. M. P. Lowrey, and the [171] Fifteenth battalion sharpshooters, Maj. A. T. Hawkins, were part of Wood's brigade, Cleburne's division, D. H. Hill's corps. In Breckinridge's division Mississippi was represented by the headquarters escort, the cavalry company of Capt. H. L. Foules. In W. H. T. Walker's reserve corps was Capt. M. Pound's battalion of sharpshooters, with Ector's brigade. Walthall's brigade of Liddell's division, same corps, was entirely Mississippian, containing the Twenty-fourth regiment, Col. R. P. Mc-Kelvaine; Twenty-seventh, Col. Jas. A. Campbell; Twenty-ninth, Col. W. F. Brantly; Thirtieth, Col. Junius I. Scales; Thirty-fourth, Maj. W. J. Pegram. The artillery of Liddell's division was commanded by Capt. Charles Swett and included his battery, under Lieut. H. Shannon. Another Mississippi brigade was that commanded by Gen. Patton Anderson in Hindman's division, composed of the Seventh regiment, Col. W. H. Bishop; Ninth, Maj. T. H. Lynam; Tenth, Lieut.-Col. James Barr; Forty-first, Col. W. F. Tucker; Forty-fourth, Col. J. H. Sharp; Ninth battalion sharpshooters, Maj. W. C. Richards. Here also was a brigade of Mississippians who had come with Longstreet from the army of Northern Virginia, under Brig.-Gen. Benjamin G. Humphreys, in McLaws' division, Longstreet's (Hood's) corps, comprising the Thirteenth regiment, Lieut.-Col. Kennon McElroy; Seventeenth, Lieut.-Col. John C. Fiser; Eighteenth, Capt. W. F. Hubbard; and the Twenty-first, Lieut.-Col. D. N. Moody. Capt. Putnam Darden's battery was in the artillery of Buckner's corps. Capt. W. C. Raum's cavalry company was attached as escort to Hill's headquarters.

In the attack of Hill's corps at Dug Gap, September 11, ‘the sharpshooters of Wood's brigade, under the gallant Major Hawkins,’ to use Hill's words, ‘advanced in handsome style, driving in the Yankee pickets and skirmishers.’ In the attack upon Thomas, September 19th, Wood's brigade fought in the center of Cleburne's division, driving the enemy to his works and sustaining the severest [172] loss of the division. The Mississippians under Colonel Lowrey were particularly distinguished. On the 18th, Walthall's Mississippians after a sharp fight took Alexander's bridge on the Chickamauga, the Twenty-ninth making the attack in front and losing heavily. The Thirty-fourth also suffered no little.

On the morning of the 19th, part of Walker's division having been handled roughly in an assault on Thomas' line, Walthall went in with a shout, breaking the first and second line of the enemy, passing over two full batteries and capturing 411 prisoners. But one gun could be removed, the horses having been killed. This fight lasted an hour, when Walthall was compelled to retire by flanking movements of the enemy. Colonel McKelvaine and Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan were severely wounded. Cheatham's division had meanwhile moved to the assistance of Cleburne, and now Walthall joined in the fight on the right of Jackson's brigade, still against Thomas. In the severe engagement Saturday afternoon, Major Pegram, of the Thirty-fourth, was severely wounded, and Captain Bowen assumed command. Major Staples, commanding the Twenty-fourth, was also severely wounded and Captain Smith slightly. Captain Turner commanded the next day.

On the left of the army on the next day, Sunday, September 20th, the brigades of Anderson and Humphreys, the latter having just arrived from Virginia, had a conspicuous part in the rout of the right wing of Rosecrans' army. In their first charge the brigade captured three pieces of artillery, and a little further on the Forty-first captured a battery of five guns. Several stand of colors were also taken and many prisoners. In this report, Anderson testified to his ‘high appreciation of the valor, courage and skill displayed by the officers and troops on this memorable field. Without a single exception, so far as my knowledge at this time extends, they have borne themselves gallantly and added fresh laurels to [173] those so nobly won upon the former fields of Shiloh, Munfordville, Perryville and Murfreesboro.’ The brigade numbered 156 officers and 1,709 enlisted men on the morning of the 20th. The loss was 558, of whom 80 were killed, 454 wounded and 24 missing. Among the killed was Maj. John C. Thompson, of the Forty-fourth, a noble patriot, who had commanded his regiment with gallantry at Murfreesboro. On the night of the 20th, Col. J. H. Sharp took command of the brigade, General Anderson having been called to command Hindman's division. Humphreys' brigade took part in the assault upon Thomas' right, and captured during the day over 400 prisoners, five stand of colors, and 1,200 small arms. On the 22d a detachment of thirty men from the Eighteenth captured 9 officers and 120 men on the mountain near Rossville.

Walthall's brigade on Sunday moved first toward the left and came under a severe fire, in which Colonel Reynolds was killed and Major Johnson was wounded. Toward evening the brigade was sent to the extreme right of the Confederate line, and advanced with skirmishing across the Chattanooga road, between Thomas and that city. Here the brigade suffered severely from the enfilading fire of three batteries, and was compelled to withdraw. Col. J. I. Scales was captured here, and Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, Twenty-seventh, wounded. But three of the field officers of the ten which went into action Saturday remained on duty. The brigade reformed and held the road that night. The strength of the brigade at the beginning of the battle was 1,827, and the loss was 705, of whom 69 were killed, and 12 mortally wounded.

Col. M. P. Lowrey and Major Hawkins again took prominent part in the fighting of the 20th, on the right of the enemy. The brave Hawkins and Maj. F. C. Karr, of the Thirty-second, were among the mortally wounded. On the morning of the 20th, Lowrey's command having gained the crest of a ridge near the enemy lost one-fourth [174] of its members in a very short time. Nineteen men were buried in one grave where the colors stood, all killed near that spot. They had orders to go forward, so they stood and returned the fire till their ammunition was exhausted. The regiment lost 25 killed and 141 wounded.

In Jackson's brigade the Fifth Mississippi regiment lost its commander, Colonel Sykes, on the 19th, Maj. John B. Herring then taking command. The regiment went into the fight with 225 muskets, and lost 4 killed and 46 wounded on Saturday, and 25 wounded Sunday, and captured 30 prisoners and 200 rifles.

The Eighth regiment on Saturday brought off the field three pieces of artillery, and fought bravely Sunday afternoon, losing Lieut.-Col. A. McNeill, Capt. J. W. White and eight others killed, and 84 wounded.

In the arduous campaign against Knoxville, Humphreys' Mississippi brigade shared not only the sufferings of the Confederate troops in the ice and mud of that most inclement November and December, marching with scanty rations, often without shoes and poorly supplied with blankets and clothing, but such honors as belonged to the campaign were won largely by the sacrifice of their blood.

In the assault at daylight, November 29th, upon Fort Sanders at Knoxville, Humphreys' brigade and Bryan's Georgians were selected as the storming party. The Eighteenth and Twenty-first being on picket duty, the Thirteenth and Seventeenth led the assault, followed by three of Bryan's regiments, advancing in columns of regiments. The men forced their way under a terrific fire through a tangled abatis for about 150 yards, and made a rushing charge upon the fort. Then there came a fatal check at the edge of a ditch about six feet wide and ten feet deep, fringed with a network of wire, at the foot of the Federal parapet. This parapet, ten or twelve feet high, descended smoothly, without the ordinary berme to give a foothold, into the ditch, and was slippery with [175] ice. As the indomitable Mississippians struggled to make their way over this barrier, they were under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry from all points of the works; and hand-grenades, billets of wood, axes, and all sorts of missiles were hurled over the parapet, killing and mangling them. The pickets soon silenced the artillery and sharpshooters on the south, but a raking fire continued from the west side. The storming party had with them no ladders or fascines; so, leaping into the ditch, they bridged it with their bodies while their comrades, scrambling over their shoulders, planted the battleflags of the Fourteenth and Seventeenth Mississippi and the Sixteenth Georgia upon the parapets. But every man who rallied to them was either killed, wounded or captured. The fight lasted but forty minutes, but it was as gallant and heroic an assault as was made during the four years war. As General Alexander has said: ‘Nowhere in the war was individual example more splendidly illustrated than on that fatal slope and in that bloody ditch.’ Colonel McElroy was killed at the head of his regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser, commanding the Seventeenth, lost an arm while endeavoring to scale the parapet. Five other officers were killed and eight wounded among the Mississippians. The total loss of the Thirteenth and Seventeenth was 140 killed, wounded and captured. After this bloody struggle the two regiments fell back behind the pickets, the Thirteenth rallying under Major Donald and Captain Brown, and the Seventeenth under Captain Wright and Lieutenant Greene.

General Longstreet in his official report commended the courage and energy of General Humphreys, and recommended him for promotion; and as one among the best and bravest men whom the country had to mourn, mentioned the brave Colonel McElroy, ‘a man of very fine courage, united to a self-possession on all occasions, with a knowledge of his duties and a natural capacity for command which inspired confidence and made him always [176] conspicuous.’ The gallantry of Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser, and Captain Cherry of the Seventeenth, wounded, and the timely services of Donald, Brown, Wright and Greene, Captain Barksdale, adjutant-general, and Captain Hobart, inspector-general, were also noted. About the middle of December this brigade was sent against the enemy at Clinch Mountain gap, who decamped at its approach and was pursued by Major Donald to Notchey gap.

Meanwhile, Walthall's Mississippi brigade had fought the famous battle of Lookout Mountain, ‘above the clouds,’ as it has been called with poetic license, opposed to the army corps of Joe Hooker. Walthall's brigade was under arms all night, before November 24th, in a line extending on the west slope of Lookout toward the north side which faces Chattanooga; while his pickets, under Lieut.-Col. McKelvaine, covered the creek of the same name at the base of the mountain for two miles from its mouth. He was aware of a considerable movement on the part of the enemy, concealed by a dense fog, and as it lifted from the valley a brigade was seen to go into action against his pickets. The Thirty-fourth was sent to strengthen the picket line, and the Thirtieth and Twenty-ninth were posted to meet the threatened attack, and parts of the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-fourth held in reserve. The Federals opened a heavy artillery fire, and attacked in front, while Geary with his division and part of another came up on the left. The gallant Mississippians fought from crag to crag, some of them holding their positions until surrounded and captured; but they were scarcely more than a skirmish line, and were steadily forced back. As the Federal advance came up to the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-fourth, those regiments delivered a scorching fire that withered the enemy's lines and staggered them for a moment; but they poured on around the flanks of the Confederates, and the remnant [177] of the latter retired. Meanwhile three companies of the Twenty-fourth, under Capt. J. D. Smith, as sharpshooters, were holding the ridge on the north side of the mountain under fire from the Moccasin Point batteries, to cover the retreat of the brigade. When Colonel Dowd reached the ridge, nothing but a handful of his men remained. The remnants of the other regiments gained this point, and formed line of battle south of the Craven house, but the pickets on the right, under Col. J. A. Campbell, were cut off and mostly captured. Being reinforced, the brigade fought in their new line, holding back Hooker from executing his desired movement against Bragg's left flank until night, the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth and a remnant of the Thirty-fourth fighting under Colonel Brantly. The loss was very heavy. Four companies of the Twenty-fourth, on picket under command of Lieut.-Col. McKelvaine, were killed, wounded or captured; the Thirtieth lost 130, and the others similar numbers. The brigade was about 1,200 strong, and lost 100 killed and wounded, and 845 captured. The remnant of the brigade served with credit next day on Missionary Ridge, losing 28, among them General Walthall, severely, and Adjutant Campbell, of the Twenty-ninth, mortally wounded.

In the battle of Missionary Ridge Lowrey's brigade and Swett's artillery battalion shared the creditable work where Cleburne, fighting all day, bloodily repulsed the enemy. ‘Swett's battery was hotly engaged the whole day and lost some noble officers and men.’ But on Taylor's Ridge, near Ringgold, where Cleburne made his famous stand, saving the army and winning the thanks of Congress, Lowrey's Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi, under Col. A. B. Hardcastle, and the Fifteenth battalion sharpshooters, under Capt. Daniel Coleman, were particularly distinguished. During the battle, General Cleburne reported, ‘General Lowrey brought up the Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi in double time, and threw them into the fight at a critical moment. The [178] enemy gave way and went down the ridge in great confusion.’ In this movement the sharpshooters and the two Mississippi regiments were the head of Lowrey's column, and went into the fight with a terrific ‘rebel yell.’ The attack upon them was renewed, but the Confederates held their ground. ‘When my ammunition was nearly exhausted,’ Lowrey reported, ‘my men and officers gave me assurance with great enthusiasm that they would hold the position at the point of the bayonet and with clubbed muskets if the enemy dared to charge them.’

The record for 1863 may be closed with a review of the service of Mississippians in the army of Northern Virginia. At the battle of Chancellorsville there were two brigades of Mississippians, both in Longstreet's corps: One in McLaws' division, under Brig.-Gen. William Barksdale, made up of the Thirteenth regiment, Col. J. W. Carter; Seventeenth, Col. W. D. Holder; Eighteenth, Col. Thomas M. Griffin; Twenty-first, Col. B. G. Humphreys. This is the brigade whose gallant work at Knoxville has already been mentioned. The other in R. H. Anderson's division, and commanded by Brig.-Gen. Carnot Posey, was composed of the Twelfth regiment, Lieut.-Col. M. B Harris, Maj. S. B. Thomas; Sixteenth, Col. Samuel E. Baker; Nineteenth, Col. N. H. Harris; and the Forty-eighth, Col. J. M. Jayne. When the force at Fredericksburg was depleted by Jackson's flank movement, Barksdale's brigade was given a front of three miles to hold on Sunday morning, including Marye's hill, where was posted the Eighteenth regiment and three companies of the Twenty-first, at the historic stone wall. After a terrific cannonade and the repulse of two attacks, Barksdale's whole line was assailed by 20,000 Federals, and after a bloody and determined resistance the enemy, fully twenty to one, got a foothold on Marye's hill, overwhelming Griffin. ‘A more heroic struggle,’ said Barksdale, ‘was never made by a mere handful of men against overwhelming odds. According to the [179] enemy's accounts, many of this noble little band resisted to the death with clubbed guns, even after his vast hordes had swept over and around the walls.’ The brigade lost, in killed and wounded, 226.

While Barksdale was left to defend Fredericksburg, Posey's brigade was fighting brilliantly at Chancellorsville. Posey and Mahone had been stationed at United States ford, and were among the first to confront the enemy on his crossing the river. One of Mahone's regiments and five companies of the Nineteenth Mississippi were left to hold the ford, while the remainder of Posey's brigade fell back to Chancellorsville and thence, after withdrawing the guard at the ford, to a point midway between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, where they intrenched. This was the extreme right of Lee's army up to Jackson's flank movement. Thence, on May 1st, Posey's men marched on the plank road, leading Jackson's advance, and sending out the Twelfth regiment as skirmishers developed the enemy's line on the Furnace road. This was broken by the vigorous onslaught of the skirmishers, but Colonel Harris fell severely wounded. Posey then pushed on to the enemy's line of works. The skirmish line was engaged all day on Saturday, defeating the enemy's attempts to advance; and on Sunday, the Federals having disappeared from his front on account of Jackson's success on the left, Posey advanced, capturing many prisoners and arms, to a point on the extreme right, where he formed line of battle and charged through a dense wood, over a wide abatis and into the trenches of the enemy, capturing many prisoners. Colonel Baker attacking on the extreme left, then Colonel Jayne, Major Thomas and Colonel Harris on the right, simultaneously swept the enemy from their front. Jayne was wounded in the charge. Chaplain T. L. Duke, of the Nineteenth, fought in front with his musket during the series of engagements and mainly directed the skirmishers of his regiment. Lieut.-Col. Thomas B. Manlove gallantly [180] led a line of skirmishers in the fighting Friday morning. The loss of the brigade in killed and wounded was 212.

After this battle Posey's brigade was assigned to Hill's corps, but the two Mississippi brigades fought in the same line on the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, in the fierce attack when Hood on the extreme right stormed Little Round Top. Posey charged on the left of Anderson's division, and Barksdale on the right of McLaws. Posey on the extreme left of the advancing column drove back the enemy beyond the road; and Barksdale, gallantly leading his men in the terrific fight at the peach orchard, fell mortally wounded. The last words of that ardent patriot to fall on one of his own countrymen's ears were: ‘I am killed. Tell my wife and children I died fighting at my post.’

Maj.-Gen. Lafayette McLaws, in a paper read before the Georgia Historical Society on Gettysburg, some time in 1878, had this to say of the performance of Barksdale and his men on that day:

Barksdale, who, as I have said, had been exceedingly impatient for the order to advance, and whose enthusiasm was shared in by his command, was standing ready to give the word, not far from me: and so soon as it was signified to me I sent my aide-de-camp, Capt. G. B. Lamar, Jr., to carry the order to General Barksdale, and the result I express in Captain Lamar's words: ‘I had witnessed many charges marked in every way by unflinching gallantry—indeed, I had had the honor of participating when in the line with the First Georgia regulars, but I never saw anything to equal the dash and heroism of the Mississippians. You remember how anxious General Barksdale was to attack the enemy, and his eagerness was participated in by all his officers and men, and when I carried him the order to advance his face was radiant with joy. He was in front of his brigade, hat off, and his long, white hair reminded me of the ‘white plume of Navarre.’ I saw him as far [181] as the eye could follow, still ahead of his men, leading them on. The result you know. You remember the picket fence in front of the brigade? I was anxious to see how they would get over it and around it. When they reached it the fence disappeared as if by magic, and the slaughter of the red-breeched zouaves on the other side was terrible.’

A Federal account of the action says that twenty-five guns were concentrated on the Confederates to hold them in check while the abandoned guns could be brought off. ‘When, after accomplishing its purpose, all that was left of Bigelow's battery was withdrawn, it was closely pressed by Colonel Humphreys' Twenty-first Mississippi, the only Confederate regiment which succeeded in crossing the run. His men had entered the battery and fought hand to hand with the cannoneers; one was killed while trying to spike a gun, and another knocked down with a hand-spike while endeavoring to drag off a prisoner.’ The loss of Barksdale's brigade was 105 killed, 550 wounded and 92 missing, the greatest casualties, except in missing, of any brigade of Longstreet's corps.

Col. Joseph R. Davis, of the Tenth Mississippi, aide-de-camp on the staff of the President, had been promoted to brigadier-general in September, 1862, and assigned to the command of a Mississippi brigade, composed of the Second, Eleventh and Forty-second infantry, and this command, after serving on the Richmond and Blackwater lines, was ordered to Goldsboro, North Carolina, in December. It served under Longstreet in the Suffolk campaign, and in May was transferred to Heth's division of A. P. Hill's corps, and went to the front in Northern Virginia early in June. The Second was now commanded by Col. John M. Stone; Eleventh by Col. F. M. Green; Forty-second by Col. H. R. Miller. The Fifty-fifth North Carolina made the fourth regiment of the brigade. On the 1st of July, 1863, after Pettigrew's brigade of the same division had discovered the enemy at Gettysburg, [182] the Eleventh was detailed as guard for the wagon train, and the other regiments of the brigade joined in the bloody but successful attack upon Reynolds' corps. General Heth's report says, Davis, on the left, advanced driving the enemy before him and capturing his batteries, but was unable to hold the position he had gained. The enemy concentrated on his front and flanks an overwhelming force. The brigade maintained its position until every field officer save two was shot down and its ranks terribly thinned. Among the officers of this brigade especially mentioned as displaying conspicuous gallantry on this occasion were Col. John M. Stone, commanding the Second Mississippi regiment; Lieut.--Col. H. Mosely and Maj. W. A. Feeney, Forty-second Mississippi regiment, severely wounded while gallantly leading their regiments to the first charge. The gallant Lieut. A. K. Roberts, of the Second Mississippi, with a detachment from the Second and Forty-second, after a hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy, succeeded in capturing the colors of a Pennsylvania regiment, but was killed in the struggle. ‘The good conduct of the brigade on this occasion merits my special commendation,’ General Heth added. General Davis also commended the service of his aides, Lieut. H. B. Estes and Captain Lowrey, who had their horses killed, and Capt. W. B. Magruder, Lieut. T. C. Holliday and Cadet James D. Reid. The Forty-second captured 150 prisoners, and other regiments did equally well.

On the third day of the battle General Davis commanded the division, which participated in the charge on Cemetery Hill. While waiting in line of battle immediately in the rear of the Confederate batteries, Davis' brigade lost 2 men killed and 21 wounded. About three o'clock they advanced in line with Pickett's division on their right, and when about three-fourths of a mile from the Federal line were met with a heavy fire of grape, canister and shell, which pitilessly thinned their [183] ranks. With great gallantry they pressed steadily forward, closed up the gaps made by the enemy's musketry and finally gained the famous stone wall, where they were met by a storm of shot and shell that ended their struggle forward and the lives of many of the brave men that had so far survived. Every field officer in the brigade was killed or wounded. In the three days battle the brigade lost 180 killed, 717 wounded; the Second losing 232, Eleventh 202, Forty-second 265.

General Davis having to write the division report, and every field officer in the brigade participating in the battle having been cut down, there was no one to make special mention at the time of the gallantry displayed by the three Mississippi and one North Carolina regiments in that celebrated charge. Mr. Rietti (Annals of Mississippi, p. 148) writes as follows: ‘As it was, the Union line proved too strong for the attacking force, and remained unbroken save the place where the brigade of Gen. Joseph R. Davis pushed into it at the historic fence and there halted for breath. At this point Lieut. A. J. Baker and Lieut. Tyler Hester, both distinguished Mississippians, fell severely wounded, and Capt. J. R. Prince, of Noxubee county, after trying in vain to find a superior officer, and learning that strong reinforcements were moving up from the Federal rear, gave the order for retreat. Lieutenants Baker and Hester were left on the field and were taken prisoners and carried to the Union rear, where there was disorder and confusion at this point.’ Captain Prince, in a recent letter which sounds like an echo from Balaklava, says that after giving the order to retreat the brigade retired, about 300 in number, in passably good order, to their original position; and that Lieutenant Hester informed him that a reputable Federal officer told him (Hester) that dead Mississippians were found higher up the hill, after the battle, than soldiers of any other command. 1Dr. B. F. [184] Ward, than whom no man stands higher for character and intelligence, now living at Winona, in a letter dated January 15, 1889, says, that he remained for three weeks. ‘on the battlefield of Gettysburg under an order from Gen. Harry Heth, in charge of the wounded of his division,’ and that the fire of Cemetery Hill having been concentrated on Heth's division, he saw no reason why North Carolinians, Mississippians, Tennesseeans, Alabamians, should not participate in whatever honors were won on that day, for, says he, ‘all soldiers know that the number killed is the one and only test of pluck and endurance.’

The brigades of the army of Northern Virginia which lost most heavily in killed and wounded at Gettysburg were first, Pettigrew's North Carolinians; second, Davis' Mississippians and North Carolinians; third, Daniel's North Carolinians; fourth, Barksdale's Mississippians.

The ‘Honor Roll’ of that most memorable, if not decisive, battle of the war shows that in the commands named the following Mississippians were singled out for conspicuous gallantry: Second Mississippi regiment infantry-Private Micajah Paris, Company A, July 1st; Sergt. M. J. Bennett, Company B, July 1st; Corp. J. P. Ticer, Company B, July 3d; Private H. H. Story, Company C, July 1st (killed July 3d); Private W. D. Bazemon,* Company C, July 3d; Private J. Fullton, Company D, July 1st; Private W. T. Moore, Company D, July 3d; Private C. L. Humphreys,* Company E, July 1st-3d; Private W. L. Luna, Company F, July 1st; Private L. J. Blythe, Company F, July 3d; Private Patrick McAnally, Company G, July 1st; Private J. J. Donalson, Company G, July 3d; Corp. A. J. Raines, Company A, July 1st; Private H. McPherson, Company H, July 3d; Private W. D. Cobb,* Company I, July 3d; Private M. Yeager,* Company I, July 3d; Private W. J. Condrey,* Company K, July 1st; Private James L. Akers,* Company K, July [185] 3d; Private D. M. White,* Company L, July 1st; Private O. F. Carpenter,* Company L, July 3d; Jeff Davis Legion cavalry—Maj. W. G. Connor.* The starred were killed in action.

1 Rietti Annals, p. 149.

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