The Civil War in Mississippi
After Beauregard evacuated Corinth May 29, and Bragg moved the main body of the army to Chattanooga in July, the Thirty-seventh was part of the Fourth Brigade (John D. Martin's) of Little's Division (afterward Hebert's) of the army of Gen. Sterling Price, left for the protection of Northeast Mississippi. Martin's Brigade also included the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-eighth Mississippi. In September Price moved to Iuka, hoping to cut off Rosecrans, posted there, and captured much of Rosecrans' stores, though the troops eluded him. Price then set out to make a junction with VanDorn's army at Rienzi, when Grant threw Rosecrans in his path and marched another column to Iuka, hoping to compel his surrender. Hebert's and Martin's Brigades encountered the head of Rosecrans' column of two divisions of brigades on the Jacinto road, September 19th, and a fierce battle followed, in which General Little was killed. The Thirty-seventh was detached from Martin's command, and was not ordered into the fight until about dusk of the evening. In going over a fence they received a heavy crossfire, and were thrown into confusion, but were soon rallied by Colonel McLain and Lieutenant-Colonel Holland. General Rosecrans reported: "Here the rebels made a last desperate attempt with two Mississippi Brigades As the first came bearing down upon the Eleventh Missouri, and when within twenty paces an officer of the rebel ranks sprang forward and shouted, 'Don't fire upon your friends, the Thirty-seventh Mississippi.' He was answered by a volley which drove them back in confusion." The loss of the regiment was 5 killed, 27 wounded, out of 453 engaged.
Price joined VanDorn, who returned and attacked Rosecrans at Corinth October 3-5. On the first day, as the brigade was carrying the outer line of works, Colonel Martin fell with a mortal wound while leading a charge against an angle of the Federal line, and Colonel McLain was given command of the brigades. In the attack upon the inner batteries and the town, on the 4th, McLain was severely wounded. Next day at the Hatchie River the brigade engaged and repulsed a body of Federal skirmishers, of the pursuit. The regimental casualties in this disastrous battle were 19 killed, 62 wounded.
The next campaign was Grant's advance from Memphis down the Central Railroad in November and December. At the last of December General Maury took his division to Vicksburg to reinforce General Lee, arriving after the battle of Chickasaw Bayou. The regiment was reported 420 strong in February. Division headquarters at Snyder's Bluff. General Maury, with Moore's Brigade and the Thirty-seventh, joined General Loring at Fort Pemberton, April 1 and his command constituted the left wing of the Confederate line. The Federals attempted to build a battery in his front, which his sharpshooters prevented. On the 4th Colonel Holland, with his regiment and the First Battalion of sharpshooters, drove in the pickets and found the Federals still in force along the Tallahatchie, but they soon re-embarked. Maury returned to Haynes' Bluff April 10 with Holland's Regiment.
Hebert's Brigade was at Snyder's Bluff when Grant's army was landed below Vicksburg, and was held there until Pemberton retreated across the Big Black from the disastrous battle of Baker's Creek, when on the night of May 17-18, 1863, Hebert marched to Vicksburg and by 8 o'clock next morning was in the trenches across the Jackson road and along to the Graveyard road just in time to meet the advance of Grant's army along the latter road. The Federal artillery fire began that evening and was continued for forty-eight days and nights. About 10 o'clock on the 19th a determined attack was made on the Graveyard road, extending along Smith's Division and the front of the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Regiments and Seventh Battalion. The batteries aided in checking this assault, which was renewed, however, with persistence, but so often repulsed with heavy loss. On the 22d another serious attempt was made to carry the works, the Union troops charging three times on the Graveyard road, a small number gaining the outer ditch, and a few scaling ladders being brought up but not planted. "By dark the enemy had fallen back, severely punished and discomfited." (Hebert.) June 25 the redan of the Third Louisiana of this brigade was blown up by a mine explosion and July 1 the main redan, on the left of the Jackson road, was destroyed in the same way. The brigade, though sheltered by the works, had one-fourth its numbers killed and wounded during the siege. The casualties of the Thirty-seventh were 17 killed, including Lieutenant J. F. H. Trussell, and 56 wounded. The men served continuously in the trenches, exposed to the scorching midsummer sun and often to chilling nights. There were no troops to relieve them and afford them an opportunity to rest. July 4, in accordance with the terms of capitulation, the brigade stacked arms in front of the lines, evacuated the trenches and were marched to bivouac in the rear of the works, where they were paroled.
The brigade, in parole and exchange camp at Enterprise, was commanded by Gen. W. W. Mackall for a time, until he was made Chief of Staff of Johnston's army in Georgia, February, 1864. General Polk, commanding the Army of Mississippi after December, 1863, ordered the brigade to Mobile as Sherman was advancing on Meridian early in February, and the brigade was listed as 1,908 present and absent in Maury's army of that department. By act approved February 17, 1864, the thanks of Congress were tendered to the officers and men of the Thirty-ninth (meaning the Thirty-seventh) Mississippi Regiment for their patriotic determination to continue in the service until the independence of these States shall have been firmly established.
While in the Mobile department Col. Claudius W. Sears, Forty-sixth Regiment, Baldwin's Brigade, was promoted as Brigadier-General and assigned to command of the brigade April 1, by General Polk. Sears arrived with most of the brigade at Selma, April 13, from Mobile. General Maury reported that the Thirty-seventh was detached in West Florida. "Colonel Holland having been recommended to command the Mississippi Brigade, and another having been appointed its Brigadier, together with the attendant facts, have caused so much feeling amongst the officers that it would be best for the service, I think, that he should not return to the brigade." The Thirty-seventh was, however, the first in the field in Georgia.
The Thirty-seventh, commanded by Col. Orlando S. Holland, Lieut.Col. William W. Wier, Maj. Samuel H. Terral, was brigaded with the Seventeenth, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-ninth Alabama, under General Cantey, at Pollard. The brigade was put in a division with the brigades of Reynolds and Quarles, in the Army of Mississippi, commanded successively by General Polk and General Loring, and later known as A. P. Stewart's Corps, Army of Tennessee. General Cantey commanded the division until General Walthall was assigned to the command in the latter part of May. The Thirty- seventh was the only Mississippi regiment in Walthall's Division.
May 5-8, 1864, Johnston's army was fighting the advance of Sherman in the neighborhood of Dalton, and Maj.-Gen. Will T. Martin's cavalry was posted along the Oostenaula River from Resaca to Rome. Cantey's Brigade reached Resaca May 7 and was halted there. Next day part of the Federal army, under General McPherson, appeared at Snake Creek gap and advanced toward Resaca. Cantey attacked May 9th, and drove them back, but in this fight the Thirty-seventh, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wier, was flanked right and left and had 5 killed, 45 wounded, 21 missing. Johnston immediately sent reinforcements under General Hood, and Loring's Division arrived May 10-12. The main battle of Resaca was fought May 14-15, but the first check given the enemy was most important. The companies were commanded in this battle as follows: A, Captain Evans; B, Capt. D. W. Hopkins; C, Lieut. Q. C. Heidelberg; D, Capt. F. S. Pickle; E, Lieut. John L. Hough: F, Lieut. A. Covington; G, Lieut. J. P. Ward; H, Capt. B. F. Loper I, Capt. C. H. McLemore; K, Lieut. J. C. Ellis.
In the latter part of May the brigade was actively engaged in the battles on the line of New Hope Church, near Dallas, Ga., and on Kenesaw Mountain. General Walthall reported the brigade, under Colonel O'Neal, held its ground firmly, inflicting a heavy loss on the enemy. In the battle of Peachtree Creek, July 22, 1864, the brigades advanced until they found themselves flanked by the irregular Federal line. The Thirty-seventh wheeled to meet the necessities of the movement and delivered a telling fire, but the lack of support compelled the brigade to retire. A second advance was made with like results. "We drove the enemy nearly a mile, captured some of his works and had punished him severely when compelled to fall back," Colonel O'Neal reported. In the battle of Peachtree Creek Lieutenant-Colonel Wier was wounded, Ensign S. W. Jones killed. Company A, Second Lieut. G. W. Raemer commanding, 1 killed, 4 wounded; Company B, Second Lieut. E. P. Harris commanding, Second Lieut. W. H. Craft and 4 others wounded; Company C, Capt. M. L. Moody commanding, Second Lieut. John West and 3 others wounded; Company D, First Lieut. J. L. Peters commanding, 7 wounded; Company E, Second Lieut. C. C. McEachern commanding, 3 wounded; Company F, Capt. C. C. Ferrell commanding, Ferrell, Lieut. D. F. Lott and Private Hudson wounded, 1 missing; Company G, Lieut. T. J. McCaugns commanding, 1 killed, 4 wounded; Company H, Lieut. D. P. English commanding, 3 wounded; Company I, Capt. C. H. McLemore commanding, 3 wounded: Company K, Lieut. William McCurdy commanding, 3 wounded, 1 missing.
Major Terral commanded the regiment in the battle of July 28, near Atlanta, where the brigade made a desperate attempt to break the Federal line, but failed to do so, though some parts of the brigade gained a footing in forty or fifty yards of the enemy. After this the brigade was on duty on the Atlanta lines until the evacuation September 1.
They were in the October, 1864, campaign on the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad, under Walthall, going as far north as Dalton, moving thence through the mountains to Gadsden, Ala., and later to Tuscumbia.
Walthall’s Division crossed the Tennessee River November 20, 1864, and moved to Columbia, where his skirmishers were engaged with Shofield’s troops until they fell back across the river, November 27, when Walthall's skirmishers occupied the town. November 29 they made a forced march to Spring Hill, crossing the Duck River; on the 30th they followed the retreating enemy to Franklin and in the evening joined in the assault upon the works. In crossing the open plain, after driving back the Federal advanced line, the troops were exposed to the most deadly fire of small arms and artillery that they had ever seen men subjected to, said Walthall. But the men moved on without faltering until they reached an abatis fronting the works. "Over this no organized force could go, and here the main body of my command was repulsed in confusion; but over this obstacle, impassable for a solid line, many officers and men, among them General Shelley (commanding Cantey's Brigade), made their way, and some, crossing the ditch in its rear, were captured and others killed or wounded in the effort to mount the embankment. Numbers of every brigade gained the ditch and there continued the struggle with but the earthwork separating them from the enemy until late in the night." Among the wounded in crossing the open field were Capt. W. R. Barksdale, General Walthall's AdjutantGeneral and his Aide de-camp, Capt. H. Powell, mortally. Major S. H. Terral commanded the Thirty-seventh, return of December 10, when the regiment was on the line before Nashville. In the battle of Nashville General Walthall’s position, though well defended, was carried by the Union troops December 15. In the battle next day General Walthall held his ground until the line gave way on his left. At Columbia, on the retreat, General Walthall was given command of the infantry rear guard, including his own brigades and others, seven in all, but not including Cantey's. They crossed the Tennessee River December 28.
The regiment, Maj. Q. C. Heidelberg commanding, was attached to the brigade of General Featherston, order of April 9, 1865, in the Carolina campaign.
The army was surrendered by General Johnston to General Sherman April 26, and paroled at Greensboro.
Colonels -- Robert McLain, wounded at Corinth; Orlando S. Holland. Lieutenant-Colonels -- Orlando S. Holland, William W. Wier, Samuel H. Terral, William S. Patton. Majors -- John McGee, William W. Wier, Samuel H. Terral, Q. C. Hiedelberg.
Assistant Surgeon -- P. B. Freeman.
Here's what's available.
Smith County Mississippi in the war between the states - 154 pgs.
|Hooker, Col. Charles E.|
- Confederate Military History - Mississippi Volume - 288 pgs.
|Rigdon, John C.|
Historical Sketch and Roster of the Mississippi 37th Infantry Regiment
|Rigdon, John C.|
The Civil War in Mississippi
|Rigdon, John C.|
Mississippi Civil War Soldiers Index
|The Southern Historical Society Papers|