The Civil War in Mississippi
This regiment was organized at Holly Springs, April, 1862, and was ordered to Corinth April 30. Samuel Benton, elected Colonel, had served one year as Captain in the Ninth Regiment.
The regiment was known as the Thirty-seventh for some time. It was assigned to Patton Anderson's Brigade, with the Thirtieth and Forty-first Mississippi, and had its first field service during General VanDorn's attempt to drive back the Federal army advancing from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth. VanDorn's movement resulted in the engagement at Farmington, Tenn., May 9, 1862. Lieut. John H. Morgan, commanding the skirmishers, was wounded. Colonel Benton and Lieutenant-Colonel Wright served with credit and General Anderson particularly commended the behavior of the regiment.
For services during the evacuation of Corinth the regiment received honorable mention from Adjutant-General Samuel Cooper.
The regiment accompanied General Bragg's army to Chattanooga in July, 1862, marched in the latter part of August through Middle Tennessee into Kentucky, with Hardee's Corps, and participated in the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862. The regiment was distinguished in the most desperate fighting of the day, making repeated charges against Parson's Battery, supported by Gen. James S. Jackson's Division, and finally carrying it, but at a frightful cost. Jackson died with his guns. The Thirty-fourth lost heavily under a crossfire, all three of the field officers being wounded, the Lieutenant-Colonel and Major permanently disabled. Company K had but seven men left for duty at the close of the battle. In the latter part of October the army marched through Cumberland Gap on the retreat to East Tennessee. In November they advanced from Chattanooga to Shelbyville. Anderson's Division was broken up, and the Thirty-fourth Regiment, which had been in Col. T. M. Jones' Brigade of that division, was transferred to Polk's Corps and assigned to the new brigade of Col. E. C. Walthall. The regiment, under Major Reynolds, was left at Shelbyville when the brigade advanced December 6, but was ordered up to Murfreesboro December 27. It does not appear that it was ordered into the battle of December 31. (See Twenty-ninth Regiment).
In the Chickamauga campaign Walthall's Brigade was part of W. H. T. Walker's Reserve Corps, so called, which was one of the first commands in battle, fighting on the second day in the woods between the position where General Thomas made his famous stand, and the creek, and on the third day crossing the road between Thomas and Chattanooga. The strength of the regiment was Maj. W. G. Pegram, commanding; Adjutant Miller acting as field officer, one staff officer, 24 company officers and 28~ enlisted men when it went into the first fight at Alexander's bridge over the Chickamauga, September 18, where 24 were wounded, 2 mortally. Finding the bridge destroyed, the brigade crossed at Byram's ford. Next day they moved to the north and finding a large part of Walker's Corps defeated made a gallant charge which caught King's Brigade of United States regulars in the act of changing front. They were swept back with the loss of three or four hundred prisoners and Battery H of the Fifth United States Artillery. One gun of this battery was brought away by two men of the Thirty-fourth before Walthall was in turn forced back. Here the regiment had 5 killed and 54 wounded out of 583 engaged. Among the killed was Sergeant Morrison, Company D, color bearer, whose place was taken and gallantly filled by Private Felix Holland, Company G. Lieutenant Morrow, Company A, and Adjutant Miller were wounded. Patrick Beaty, Company F, compelled an officer of the regulars to surrender, taking his sword. In the evening of the 19th the brigade had another battle in which the Thirty-fourth had 2 killed and 5 wounded. Major Pegram, a gallant officer, was severely wounded, and Captain Bowen took command. Sunday, September 20, with no field officers left, the regiment of 177 had two more battles. In the morning they advanced and came under a severe enfilading fire from Thomas' log works, under which Lieutenant-Colonel Reynolds, assigned to temporary command, fell mortally wounded. In the evening they were again ordered forward, between Thomas' main position and Chattanooga, on the State road, and were enveloped by the fire of a semicircle of artillery. The casualties of the three days were 15 killed, 91 wounded,19 missing.
At the battle of Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863, the Thirty-fourth, Col. Samuel Benton commanding, was ordered out, about eight in the morning, to strengthen the picket line at the foot of the mountain on the west side, extending along its base about two miles. At about 10 o'clock the enemy, in four lines closely closed up, drove the left of the picket line, and so rapid were their movements that the center and right of the picket line were cut off and eight colors had passed by the pickets, when nearly all surrendered. A small number of the pickets made their escape up the river through the cliffs and cut timber below the Craven house, and reported to their brigade and were in the engagement east of the Craven house from four in the evening until eight, when relieved by Clayton's Brigade. (Report of senior Captain H. J. Bowen). The reported casualties of the regiment were 4 wounded and 231 missing, among which, ' doubtless, were a number killed and wounded.
The brigade passed the winter in camp near Dalton, Ga., and as spring opened and the brigade was called out to Alt's Gap, May 7, to meet Sherman's advance, Colonel Benton was in command of the three regiments, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth and Thirty-fourth, consolidated. He was in command of the Thirty-fourth alone at the battle of Resaca, May 14-15, throwing up breastworks of logs and earth on the morning of the 14th, and receiving and repelling the Federal assaults in the evening. The brigade position was flanked by a ridge on which Federal cannon were posted, and there were few if any instances during the war of greater losses from artillery fire than those of Walthall's Brigade at Resaca. But the brigade was immovable and defended the position of the division artillery throughout the two days. The casualties of the regiment were 4 killed, including Capt. H. J. Bowen, and 11 wounded, out of 20 officers and 178 men on duty. The regiment was next under fire at Cassville, and they participated in the heavy skirmishing for weeks along the lines of New Hope Church and Kenesaw Mountain. Colonel Benton had command of the brigade in June and July, after General Walthall was promoted to division command, and was commissioned Brigadier-General July 26, 1864. The brigade continued in Hindman's (Patton Anderson's) Division of Hood's Corps, commanded by S. D. Lee after July 27. At the battle of Atlanta, July 22, General Benton commanded the brigade, and was severely wounded, causing the loss of his right leg. He died in hospital soon afterward. Companies A and I, Lieut. J. W. Norton commanding, 1 killed, 4 wounded; Companies B and K, Capt. Thomas Spight, 3 killed, 7 wounded, including Spight; Companies C and E, Capt. D. W. Rogers commanding, 2 wounded; Company D, Capt. W. G. Jeffries commanding, 2 killed, 2 wounded; Company F, Capt. J. H. Morgan commanding, 1 killed, 2 wounded; Companies G and H, Lieut. B. C. Butler commanding, 3 wounded. (Newspaper account). Capt. T. S. Hubbard commanded the regiment in June and July, and Capt. Benjamin F. Houston at the last. Hubbard, in reporting the battle of the Lickskillet road, near Atlanta, July 28, mentioned Sergt. Andrew J. Hamilton, Company D, who advanced within a few steps of the Federal line, after it had been driven beyond the rail works, and shot down an officer who was trying to rally his men. In this battle the regiment had 2 killed, 9 wounded, 7 missing. After fighting on the Atlanta line until August 30, the regiment took part in the bloody assault upon Sherman's line at Jonesboro, August 31. Captain Houston, commanding the regiment, Capt. J. H. Morgan, Lieut. A. E. Stokes, were severely wounded, the total wounded being 19.
General Benton was succeeded in brigade command by General Brantley. Brantley's Brigade shared the operations of Lee's Corps during the October, 1864, campaign against the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad, the investment of Resaca and the holding of Snake Creek gap against Sherman's army while Hood retreated behind the mountains. Brantley's men were engaged in sharp skirmishing at the gap October 15. Thence they moved to Gadsden, Ale., and crossed the Tennessee River on the last days of October. The division was then commanded by Gen. Edward Johnson. They encountered Schofield's troops at Columbia November 26. Schofield fell back to Franklin, on the Harpeth River, and Hood ordered an assault on the fortified line November 30. In the terrible night battle Brantley's Brigade had 76 killed, 140 wounded, 21 missing. The Federal troops were concentrated in the works around Nashville, under General Thomas, and Brantley's Brigade was encamped in Hood's line about that city, December 2-15. December 15 Thomas attacked and Brantley's Brigade was sent to the support of Stewart's Corps, which gave way. Next day, December 16, the brigade was detached from Johnson's Division and sent to the right of Lee's line, where they repulsed the Federal attack. When the Confederate line yielded on the left of Lee they fell back to Brentwood. The army crossed the Tennessee River after untold suffering, December 26, and moved to the vicinity of Tupelo, Miss., for winter quarters.
The brigade was furloughed until February 12, 1865. Under orders for the Carolinas, 152 of the brigade assembled at Meridian February 14. They started east on the 18th and were detained some time at Montgomery by the Mobile campaign. In March they proceeded to Augusta and thence to North Carolina. April 3 the aggregate present of the brigade was 283.
In the organization at Smithfield, N. C., March 31, 1865, the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-seventh and Thirty-fourth Regiments were under the command of Capt. M. M. Rowan.
April 9, 1865, the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth and Thirty-fourth Mississippi Regiments were consolidated in the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Col. R. W. Williamson commanding brigade of Gen. W. F. Brantley, in D. H. Hill's Division of S. D. Lee's Corps.
The army was surrendered April 26, and paroled at Greensboro, N. C., soon afterward.
Colonel Samuel Benton; Lieutenant Colonel Daniel B. Wright; and Majors Thomas A. Falconer, Armistead T. Mason, and William G. Pegram
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 34th Infantry Regiment
|Rigdon, John C.|
The Civil War in Mississippi
|Rigdon, John C.|
Mississippi Civil War Soldiers Index
|The Southern Historical Society Papers|