Digital regimental now in paperback and ebook

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A 366-page paperback narrative of this digital regimental is now available for sale at Amazon here, and also here as an ebook.

Both contain some additional material not found in this Web version but otherwise are faithful reproductions of it. The title comes from Private Thurman Early Hendricks of the Minutemen of Attala. He wrote in a memoir that, in early 1863, its veterans called the regiment “The Bloody Thirteenth.”

An advantage of the paper and ebook formats, in addition to providing lasting, personal copies of the history, is that they can be read from beginning to end instead of finish to start as is the format of a blog. Much easier to read in the usual way. The ebook also is searchable and the paperback has an index of many of the regiment’s soldiers, for the convenience of descendants wishing to see what’s available about their ancestor. Enjoy!

UPDATE:  The ebook version has been reformatted to the interior appearance of the paperback to make it easier to read. The reformatting eliminated the index but, of course, it’s still searchable. And a mere 99 cents! Don’t be confused by Amazon’s “look inside” feature for the ebook. It still retains the old formatting.

Posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, The Bloody Thirteenth, Thurman E. Hendricks Diary | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Private Edward P. Stanley

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My great grandfather Edward P. Stanley in an iPhone camera copy of a tintype photo taken in the late 1850s-early 1860s. The image, as with all tintypes, is reversed. E.P. was a private in the Minutemen of Attala from the inception of the 13th Regiment in 1861 until the May, 1864, Battle of the Wilderness where he lost part of one leg to a bounding cannonball.

After the war Edward became a circuit-riding Methodist minister and farmer who married and begat four children. He was a friend of Newt Nash, another Minuteman, who mentioned Edward in one of his letters home as having joined the Methodist church in the popular religious revivals at Fredericksburg in the winter of 1862-63. Born in 1837, he died in 1900, possibly from complications of his wartime amputation which was not an uncommon problem. He’s buried in Lexington, Mississippi.

Posted in Nimrod Newton Nash, The Bloody Thirteenth, The Minute Men of Attala | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Firing the 1861 Springfield

A Hungarian fellow who styles himself capandball on the Internet has a really thick accent but if you listen closely you can get the gist of his description of the 1861 Springfield percussion rifle-musket he’s firing here.

The South imported thousands of the British Enfield Pattern 1853 and most Confederates, if not, indeed, most Yankees who obtained orphaned ones off the battlefield, preferred the Enfield to the Springfield. But both were employed by both sides.

Indeed, after the Rebels captured the Federal Armory at Harper’s Ferry in 1862 (with the assistance of the 13th Regiment’s emplaced Parrott cannon on Maryland Heights above), thousands of copies of the Springfield were made. They were dubbed the Richmond Rifle. So it’s probable that the 13th Regiment’s soldiers carried one or the other.

Pity capandball is not shooting at night so you could watch the impressive 3-feet of flame the black powder produces out the rifled-musket’s business end.

Via TOCWOC

Posted in Armament, Battles: Maryland Heights, Gen. Lafayette McLaws | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Legacy of war

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This crutch belonged to Joseph W. Weatherly of the 13th Regiment’s Minutemen of Attala, a private from his 1861 enlistment, according to independent historian Grady Howell, to when one of his legs was amputated after the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862.

Independent historian Jess McLean found that Weatherly  was 17 when he enlisted at Camp Barksdale, near Union City, Tennessee, in June, 1861. He was a native of Attala County.

Many returning veterans were amputees. Confederate casualties in the war were at least 28% of military age men (though most of them died from disease rather than in battle), and historians are revising the casualty numbers upward every year.

The crutch is in the Museum of Mississippi History collection at the Mississippi Archives in Jackson, Mississippi whose Web site is here.

Posted in Battles: Fredericksburg, H. Grady Howell Jr., Jess N. McLean, The Minute Men of Attala | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kennon McElroy: Poet

Mayst purest pleasures ever be thine,
A [something] holy, pure, chaste, divine,
Richest of all treasures I’d wish thee given,
Youth, beauty, happiness – a home in Heaven.

So then-Captain, later Colonel, Kennon McElroy , of the 13th’s Lauderdale Zouaves, wrote in an elaborate, decorative hand to “Miss Mary” on Dec. 27, 1861. It was two years and almost a month before his death leading the regiment in its attack on Fort Sanders at Knoxville, Tennessee.

Miss Mary was the pretty, 20-year-old Mary Elizabeth Johnston of Leesburg, Virginia. In the winter of 1861, the regiment was camped on the Fairgrounds near her home on Loudon Street.  McElroy, a 21-year-old University of Mississippi graduate and a farmer of Lauderdale Springs, Mississippi,  must have been a romantic figure in his elaborate Zouave uniform of billowing, red pantaloons, embroidered blue jacket and low, white turban hat cocked on the back of his head.

Miss Mary may have mourned him when he died at just age 23. She  outlived him by 47 years. But McElroy apparently was only one of her Mississippi suitors. She also inspired at least two other men of the regiment to write her poems. She kept all three poems in a “remembrance” album passed down to her descendants. The album may have been a gift to her from then-Captain McElroy who may have known her before the war.

Via Find-A-Grave

Posted in Battles: Leesburg, The Lauderdale Zouaves | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mississippi Governor Benjamin Grubb Humphreys

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This is the official painting from the online site of the Mississippi State Archives, from Humphreys’ brief tenure as Mississippi’s twenty-sixth governor immediately after the war, which has a curious history.

He was a wealthy Delta planter and slave owner who formed a company in 1861 that became part of Barkdale’s Mississippi Brigade’s 21st Regiment, was later elected to be the regiment’s colonel and, after Barksdale was killed at Gettysburg, was promoted by Richmond to brigadier and took over the brigade. Which he maintained until he was disabled at Berryville in late 1864 and went home to his Delta plantation on wounded furlough.

Where he found the invading Yankees had burned everything and run off many of his slaves.

Humphreys was elected governor in October, 1865, six months after Lee had surrendered at Appomattox, by the surviving white men of the state. He served until his re-election in June, 1868, when occupying federal troops removed him on orders from Washington. They replaced him with Adelbert Ames, a Union general from Maine who commanded the occupation.

While Humphreys was governor, the Mississippi legislature passed the Black Codes, which limited the civil rights of the freed slaves and denied them the right to vote. The codes were the forerunner to the Jim Crow segregation laws. The Legislature also refused to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery. Both actions contributed to Humphreys being removed.

Curiously, the National Governors Association’s Humphreys bio today has him “seriously wounded” at Gettysburg, which he was not. Presumably they never heard of Berryville. The association’s bio also says Humphreys “resigned” from office. There is no hint that his departure was forced by the federal government.

Posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Berryville, Gen. Benjamin G. Humphreys, Humpreys Mississippi Brigade, Slavery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Captain Lorenzo Dow Fletcher

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Captain Fletcher, a veteran of the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Mexican War and a post-war gold-rush Forty-Niner, organized and recruited the Minute Men of Attala, the first company from Attala County. He led them in the Battle of Leesburg, particularly at Ball’s Bluff where they were the only participating unit of the 13th Regiment which gave him the chance to write an after-action report for Colonel Barksdale.

The federal 1860 Slaves Schedule Census apparently names him as owning 18 slaves, ranging in age from a 2 yr old male to a 50 yr old male.

The photo is from a family Web site, possibly taken after the war, though he is said to be wearing his Confederate uniform. Proof that if you wait long enough, all sorts of valuable things turn up on the Internet. Fletcher commanded the Minute Men until the regiment’s reorganization in the spring of 1862 when he apparently was not re-elected captain and took an officer’s privilege of going home. The family site has no hint of what he did for the rest of the war.

His brother Private Isaiah D. Fletcher was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.

UPDATE:  13th Regiment descendant Elaine F. Boatin, who wrote a novel that includes Fletcher at Ball’s Bluff, sent a document showing that in October, 1862, Fletcher was appointed a first lieutenant “drill master” at a camp of instruction for conscripts at Brookhaven, Mississippi, east of Natchez.

He still may have been there in April, 1863, when Grierson’s Raiders (about 1,700 Union cavalry from Iowa and Illinois) sweeping Mississippi from north to south in Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign, defeated about 500 Brookhaven Rebels, half of them armed conscripts from the camp. The raiders burned the camp, and tore up the railroad that ran through town and burned its cars and telegraph. Fletcher survived. The 1870 census, Elaine says, has him a married Attala County farmer with six children.

Posted in Battles: Leesburg, The Minute Men of Attala | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bradley brothers at Gettysburg

The Civil War blog Battlefield Back Stories has a poignant tale of the Bradley brothers, John and George, who were killed at Gettysburg. Both had started out in the Winston Guards of Louisville, Mississippi, as had their younger brother, Joseph, who’d been slain at Malvern Hill the year before.

All three were officers but John Marion Bradley, who began the war as captain of the Winston Guards, had risen the highest, to lieutenant colonel, leading the regiment as second-in-command to Colonel James W. Carter. Carter, originally captain of the Kemper Legion, had replaced Colonel William Barksdale when he was promoted to brigadier general after Malvern Hill. Barksdale commanded the Mississippi brigade of the 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st regiments at Gettysburg.

John Marion was 36, and his elder brother Second Lieutenant George W. Bradley of the Winston Guards was 44 when they died. John Marion was killed leading the regiment from the front beside Col. Carter. George, in front of the Winston Guards, was seriously wounded, left behind when Lee’s army retreated and died a week later. The Guards’ designation as Company A meant it was in the center of the regiment’s battle line.

John Marion, then a major, was commended by General Joseph B. Kershaw in his after-action report on the Battle of Maryland Heights in September, 1862: “…I am much indebted to [the 13th’s] Major Bradley for his brave and efficient handling of our advanced skirmishers….”

Five days later, Bradley would be seriously wounded, shot in both legs, at the Battle of Sharpsburg. Yet he was sufficiently recovered a year later to take part in the 13th Regiment’s share of the famous but fateful charge of Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade on the Union lines at Gettysburg.

Posted in Battles: Gettysburg, Battles: Malvern Hill, Battles: Maryland Heights, Battles: Sharpsburg, The Kemper Legion, The Winston Guards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Lauderdale Zouaves

Zouave troops were common on both sides of the Civil War, ordinary Americans who chose to distinguish themselves by unusual and presumably expensive uniforms: baggy red pantaloons, embroidered jackets and fez or low turban hats cocked on the backs of their heads.

The 13th Regiment had its own unit of them in the Zouaves of Lauderdale Station, Mississippi. One of them, Michael Quinn, apparently is the only 13th Regiment soldier who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Their original captain was Kennon McElroy, in 1861 a 21-year-old University of Mississippi graduate who would command the regiment after Gettysburg and be killed at Knoxville, Tennessee on Nov. 29, 1863.

Their romantic uniforms commemorated the French colonial soldier who distinguished himself in the Crimean War of 1855. Of which it was written in 1862:  “…he knows he is looked upon by his officers, by France, and by the world, as a soldier to whom nothing should be impossible; and he would rather die than disappoint the expectation formed of him; his is a corps d’elite, and every Zouave considers himself a ‘death or glory man.’”

Via The Zouave Archives.

Posted in Battles: Fort Sanders, The Lauderdale Zouaves | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment