Digital regimental now in paperback and ebook


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 , | 14 Comments

Monument-Rich Mississippi Is Vulnerable

Practically every cemetery in the state, and nearly every county courthouse lawn bears a marker or monument to the Confederacy, usually but not always to the enlisted soldiers.

It’s sad to think they might become the victims of ahistorical mob destroyers as the lone Rebel sentinel was on the courthouse lawn in Durham, North Carolina. But in our Selfie age, where Social Media promotes feelings over facts, such destruction may be inevitable. And so too the inevitable backlash.

Thus Mississippi State Rep. Karl Oliver is begging for a state law blocking vandalism, which would only be useful for prosecutions after the fact. But first he let loose his invective for the mob, saying anyone pulling down a Confederate monument should be lynched. He duly apologized, but sat stone-faced as 11 black colleagues castigated him.

“The Confederate monuments have been in place for almost a century and a half, and it is unreasonable to make an issue of them today,” writes David Goldman at PJMedia. “But people are not in the market for reasonable.”

Indeed they are not. We can only hope that the decent men who fought can be separated from their wicked cause and the majority of the markers and statues left alone. It may be too much to hope for.

Posted in Mississippi, Slavery | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gettysburg Protests

“Civil War re-enactors and the National Parks Service are bracing for Anti-Confederate—and Antifa—protests July 4th weekend as Gettysburg battlefield and memorial in Pennsylvania celebrates the 154th anniversary of the pivotal battle.

“According to local media, rumors are swirling that several groups affiliated with anti-Confederate monument protests across the south are targeting the Civil War battlefield. That site hosts its own Confederate memorial and Confederate cemetery, alongside more than a thousand other memorials marking one of the bloodiest battles in American history.”

There is, of course, no Confederate cemetery at Gettysburg, only impromptu individual graves, unmarked and long ago forgotten. Like that of Private Newton Nash of the Minutemen of Attala, and his comrades-in-arms, on the third day of the battle.

But there are monuments, such as this one for the charge of Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade (including, of course, the 13th Mississippi Regiment) on the second day. Fortunately they are too big or too close to the ground to be in much danger. Strange times we live in.

Posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Gettysburg, Nimrod Newton Nash, The Minute Men of Attala | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Reprise: One of the Immortal Six Hundred

While the 13th regiment was in the Shenandoah Valley, on Sept. 7, 1864, Third Lieutenant Absalom H. Farrar of the Kemper Legion arrived at Morris Island in the harbor opposite Charleston, SC. He was to become one of what the Southern newspapers of the day called “The Immortal Six Hundred.”

They were Confederate officers, prisoners of war, who were held as human shields on the island at the mouth of the harbor, in federal retaliation for 50 Union officers similarly held inside the South Carolina city.

The Union officers were supposed to be proof against Union bombardment of civilians in Charleston, while the “Immortal Six Hundred,” were supposed to block the fire of Rebel artillery in Fort Sumter upon Union positions near Fort Wagner and elsewhere.

Farrar had been captured at Gettysburg. He was left in a field hospital with a severe gunshot wound in his foot when the army retreated. He had enlisted as a private in 1861 and was promoted to first sergeant in 1862. A year later, he was a third lieutenant. He was a 24-year-old single farmer from Gainesville near Grenada when he enlisted, according to independent historian Jess McLean.

Like the other Six Hundred, Farrar had arrived at Morris Island on the federal prison ship Crescent from their POW camp at Fort Delaware. At Morris Island they were guarded by the subsequently-famous 54th Massachusetts (Colored) Regiment, subject of the Hollywood movie Glory.

The daily Morris Island menu for the POWs, according to the postwar memoir The Prison Life of Major Lamar Fontaine, consisted of 4 worm-eaten hardtack crackers for breakfast, a half-pint of watery and sandy pea soup for dinner and “all the ocean air they could inhale” for supper. Later, Fontaine wrote, their fare changed to rotten corn meal and pickle rations.

When their political and military usefulness was done, the Six Hundred were transferred from Morris Island to Savannah, and then to Hilton Head Island, and finally shipped back to Fort Delaware.

Farrar was exchanged in December, 1864, according to federal records, but apparently did not return to the 13th Regiment.  There are several conflicting entries on Google suggesting he may have been in poor health, died in 1865 and was buried in Augusta, Georgia.

Posted in Battles: Gettysburg, The Immortal Six Hundred, The Kemper Legion | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Pvt Joseph Pearson Sanders

Sanders, aka Josiah P. Saunders, was one of the oldest living veterans of the 13th Regiment, dying in 1927 at the age of 96. Buried in the Beauvoir Confederate Cemetery, one of six 13th veterans buried there. McLean lists him as a member of first the Wayne Rifles and subsequently of the Lauderdale Zouaves, but Howell has him only as one of the Wayne Rifles. Which is also the story at Find-A-Grave by his great grandson Jeff Grenier. McLean lists Pvt Joseph Smith Waldrop, of the Spartan Band, as the longest living veteran, dying in 1936 at age 92.

Posted in The Lauderdale Zouaves, The Spartan Band, Wayne Rifles | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“Official Records” now in Kindle

Independent historian Jess McLean, whose book The Official Records of the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment inspired my own, alerts us that his book is now available for Kindle users.

Posted in Jess N. McLean | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Christmas 1861


The 13th regiment spent its first Christmas Day, 1861, in camp near Leesburg.

Private Mike Hubbert of the Minutemen of Attala wrote in his diary: “Camp is in quite a stir this morning. The boys all feel gay from the effect of the fashionable old drink Egg Nog.”

Meanwhile, back home in Jackson, Mississippi, according to The Weekly Mississippian: “We would call attention to the splendid entertainment gotten up by the ladies of Jackson, to come off at the Concert Hall on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Tree, loaded with its rich gifts, for Christmas presents, will be a sight well worth seeing. Each person buying a ticket of admission will be entitled to a prize, corresponding to the number on the ticket. Tickets only fifty cents, half tickets for children, twenty-five cents, all of which will draw a prize.”

The latter via Mississippians In The Confederate Army

Posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Mike M. Hubbert Diary, Mississippi | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Secession Again?

“Secession is in the air again, ironically for the same reason the South seceded in 1860—dissatisfaction with the results of the presidential election. In 1860 it was Abe Lincoln; in 2016 it’s Donald Trump. And it’s not the South this time (which seems quite happy with the result), it’s California, which is not. Just as the Unionism of many in the South was overridden by a small group of rich planters, the would-be secessionists are a small group of rich Californians, mostly in Silicon Valley.”

Worth remembering that the hated (at least in the South) Abraham Lincoln lost the “popular” vote in 1860. He only won because he won the electoral vote.


Posted in Slavery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wig Wag flags at Fort Sanders

Artillery supported the 13th Regiment’s charge against Fort Sanders at Knoxville in the ice and snow of winter, 1863. The big guns were spread out so far around the southern curve of the battlefield that their commander had to use signal flags to tell them when to cease firing.

The commander, Gen. Edward Porter Alexander, had learned the wig wag signal flag system as a U.S. Army officer before the war under Albert J. Myer, an army surgeon.

“I was one of the very few, if not the only Southern officer who knew Myer’s system of signals,” Alexander wrote in his memoir Fighting For The Confederacy.

“Both the Union and the Confederacy,” writes Trevor at Fold3, an online archive of military records, “developed an army Signal Corps during the Civil War. The job of the Signal Corps in both the North and South was to quickly and accurately relay information and orders between the commanders of different units within the two forces (which was especially crucial during battles). The main way they did this was through the use of a flag system called wig-wag…”

At Knoxville Alexander used them for signaling his widely-spread artillery when to cease firing. The ceasing had been planned in advance by Gen. Longstreet, whose troops had dubbed him the Bull of The Woods a few months before after the Battle of Chickamauga.

“The Bull of The Woods has decided there will be no long artillery bombardment of the fort before the attack as previously planned,” my fictional Private Bird Clark of the Minutemen of Attala says in my historical novel Knoxville 1863. “Our infantry are to make the assault a big surprise attack, all by our own selves.”

And so it went in the historical record, with Alexander wig-wagging his batteries to cease fire as the attack got underway. Not long into the attack, however, Alexander had a change of heart and threw his red and white wig wag flags into motion again. He signaled his batteries to recommence the fire support, apparently on his own initiative, despite his superior’s orders to the contrary.

Posted in Battles: Chickamauga, Battles: Fort Sanders, Gen. James Longstreet, Siege of Knoxville, The Minute Men of Attala | Tagged , , | 1 Comment