The Civil War in Mississippi
Whole number, including field and staff officers, 737.
This was raised as the Second Regiment, First Brigade, Army of Mississippi, under the command of Brig.-Gen. Alcorn, of the State troops. The original Second went to Virginia in May, 1861. The companies, assembled in camp of instruction at Iuka under the orders of August, 1861, by Governor Pettus, and field officers were elected September 5, Davidson, Colonel; Wells, Lieutenant-Colonel; Duvall, Major. When Gen. A. S. Johnston asked for troops at the front in Kentucky, Alcorn's Brigade was started September 19. The service during the next few months was more fatal than that of the regiments in Virginia. Many died of the camp diseases, such as measles and typhoid fever, at Hopkinsville, Clarksville and Russellville. Forty-five of this regiment are buried at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
While on service in Kentucky the regiment was known as the Third Mississippi. Gen. Charles Clark was in command at Hopkinsville, in the winter, of a brigade including the First and Third. A great battle was expected along the line established by General Johnston, but Grant advanced with an army and gunboats from Paducah down the Cumberland River, compelling the abandonment of the Confederate positions. Part of Johnston's command was thrown into Fort Donelson while the remainder fell back toward Nashville. At Fort Donelson, the First and Third, with two other regiments, formed the brigade commanded by Colonel Davidson, February 9 to 15. They were under fire in the trenches after Grant began his attack on the 13th, and on the 15th, Colonel Davidson being ill, the brigade went into battle under Colonel Simonton. They were near the extreme left of Pillow's wing of the Confederate forces, and were warmly engaged with troops of McClernand's Corps, making a gallant charge which gained the crest of a hill in front, and pressing on for a mile or more, after being reinforced. Later in the day, when Grant was regaining the lost ground, they were recalled to the trenches, and were included in the surrender that followed. Lieutenant-Colonel Wells commanded the regiment, assisted by Captain J. H. Kennedy as Acting Lieutenant-Colonel and Captain E. M. Wells as Acting Major, and Lieut. C. N. Simpson as Adjutant, in place of the sick or wounded officers. "Surgeon N. W. Moody and his assistant, J. N. Thompson, were at their posts and acted nobly." The casualties were 5 killed and 26 wounded, among the latter Lieut. N. W. Roach.
The morning after the battle, it seems to have been not generally known in the Federal army that capitulation had been arranged between General Grant and General Buckner in the night, Gen. Lew Wallace, commanding one of Grant's divisions, was preparing to attack, when a white flag appeared. Wallace wrote in his report: "The result was that I rode to General Buckner's quarters, sending Lieutenant Ross, with Major Rogers of the Third Mississippi Regiment, to inform General Grant that the place was surrendered and my troops in possession of the town and all the works on the right."
Of the Third Regiment, 546 were engaged in the battle and 561 were surrendered. As prisoners of war they were confined at Springfield, Ill., Indianapolis, and Camp Douglas, Chicago, where a considerable number died and are buried. A considerable number also escaped from the surrender. Among these was Lieut. W. T. Stricklin, Adjutant, who was made Acting Inspector-General on the staff of General Chalmers, and received honorable mention for services at the battle of Shiloh. The final statements show that the regiment lost in this first campaign, 91 died of disease in Kentucky and Tennessee; 93 died at Indianapolis and Chicago in military prisons; 6 killed or died of wounds.
The number of the regiment was changed to Twenty-third by order of the War Department, November 19, 1861.
After being exchanged in the fall of 1862 the regiment was reorganized and recruited and re-enlisted for the war. The home country of the greater part of the original regiment was then in the possession of the Federal army, and was considered outside the Confederate lines. The new field officers were Colonel Wells, Lieutenant-Colonel McCarley and Major Carroll.
The Twenty-third, under Lieutenant-Colonel Moses McCarley, was part of the command of Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, which, after the retreat from the Tallahatchie River, administered a severe check, at Coffeeville, December 5, 1862, to the pursuing cavalry brigades under Colonel Dickey. Tilghman selected an admirable position and by the suddenness and vigor of his attack drove the large force opposed to him back a mile and a half, in some confusion, and with a loss of 10 killed, 63 wounded and 41 captured. Tilghman reported that the brunt of the battle was borne by the Ninth Arkansas, Eighth Kentucky, Twenty-third Mississippi and Twenty-sixth Mississippi. "I have seldom seen greater good judgment and impetuous gallantry shown by any officers or men." The Twenty-third had 2 killed, 14 wounded, 4 missing.
April 15, 1863, Rust's Brigade was added to Tilghman’s, which was ordered to Tullahoma, Tenn., but the order was countermanded after the running of batteries at Vicksburg, and Tilghman was ordered to the vicinity of Vicksburg. The Twenty-third shared the services of Tilghman's brigade at the battle of Baker's Creek, May 16, not being engaged until after they left their position facing the advance of Logan's Division. On their return, after a futile attempt to reinforce the battle line of the right, they found the Federals in their position, and skirmishing and artillery work followed, in the course of which, after five in the evening, General Tilghman was killed by a shell while directing the fire of his battery. One of Logan's Brigades got in position to cut off Loring's Division from the rest of Pemberton’s army, and Tilghman's Brigade, under the command of Col. A. E. Reynolds, moved westward seeking another ford, and finally in the night marched to Crystal Springs and thence to Jackson. Casualty report, 1 killed, 1 wounded, 5 missing. There followed in June the advance to the Big Black River, under the command of Gen. J. E. Johnston, the retreat to Jackson after Vicksburg was surrendered, the defense of Jackson against Sherman July 9-16, and the retreat thence to Morton, after which army headquarters were at Canton. In the organization o[ January, 1864, the regiment, Major Garrett commanding, is listed in Adam's Brigade, Loring's Division, Army of the Mississippi, General Polk commanding. When Sherman advanced from Vicksburg in February to Meridian, Loring's Division moved to Morton to join French's Division, and from there the Confederate infantry fell back to Demopolis, Ala.
In April, 1864, the movement to Georgia began, to reinforce General Johnston in opposition to Sherman's advance from Chattanooga to Atlanta. The regiment, Col. Joseph M. Wells commanding, arrived at Resaca, Ga., with the brigade May 11 and served in the trenches there, and later on the Dalton and Kenesaw Mountain lines, participated in the battle of July 28, near Atlanta, and was in the trenches around Atlanta until the evacuation September 1. The division was commanded by General Featherston after July 28, and after General Polk was killed at Kenesaw Mountain the Army of the Mississippi became known as A. P. Stewart's Corps, Army of Tennessee.
Major George W. B. Garrett commanded the regiment during the North Georgia and Tennessee campaigns. Loring's Division, including Adams' Brigade, captured the garrison at Acworth, Ga., October 4, marched as far north as Dalton, thence through the mountains to Gadsden, Ala., made a demonstration against Decatur, and moved to Tuscumbia. Crossing the river November 20 they marched to Columbia and participated in the attempted rear attack at Spring Hill on the 29th. November 30 they followed closely the Federal retreat to Franklin, and in the evening joined in the assault upon the works. General Adams was killed upon the parapet of the inner line and his brigade had 44 killed, 271 wounded, 22 missing, the heaviest loss of any brigade of the corps. After reaching the line around Nashville, the effective strength of the brigade of six regiments was a little over 1,000. Loring's Division was distinguished for gallantry in the battle of Nashville, December 15-16, and complimented in the report of the Lieutenant-General commanding the corps. The remnant of the Army of Mississippi crossed the Tennessee River December 28, and early in January, 1865, headquarters were established at Tupelo.
About the first of February, 1865, the remnant of Loring's Division began the movement to the Carolinas. February 25 they were ordered forward from Augusta, Ga., to Newberry, S.C. In the campaign under General Johnston against General Sherman they took part in the battles of Kinston, March 10, and Bentonville, March 19-21. In the latter the division was distinguished by a gallant and successful charge. But Stewart's entire corps had but 890 effective. Brig.-Gen. Robert Lowry was in command of the brigade. Organization of army of Gen. J. E. Johnston, near Smithfield, N. C., March 31, 1865, shows Major-General Walthall in command of Stewart's Corps, Adams' Brigade commanded by Col. Richard Harrison, the Twenty-third Regiment by Capt. N. L. Dazey. By order of April 9, the Sixth, Fifteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-third Regiments were consolidated as the Fifteenth, Lieut.-Col. Thomas B. Graham commanding.
Hostilities were suspended April 18, the army was surrendered April 26 at Durham Station, and paroled at Greensboro
Colonel -- Thomas J. Davidson, died at Fort Warren, Mass., April 29, 1862; Joseph M. Wells. Lieutenant-Colonels -- Joseph M. Wells, Moses McCarley. Majors -- John R. Duvall, died 1861; W. E. Rogers, George W. B. Garrett.
Here's what's available.
|Hooker, Col. Charles E.|
- Confederate Military History - Mississippi Volume - 288 pgs.
|Rigdon, John C.|
Historical Sketch and Roster of the Mississippi 23rd Infantry Regiment
|Rigdon, John C.|
The Civil War in Mississippi
|Rigdon, John C.|
Mississippi Civil War Soldiers Index
|The Southern Historical Society Papers|