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

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

Americus Mitchell Gill


Gill was a private of the Kemper Legion who was captured twice, the first time at Fredericksburg in 1862, and, after having been exchanged, again at Spotsylvania in 1864. That time he spend a year at Fort Delaware prison until taking the oath at war’s end in June, 1865. His stone above is at Clinton, in Hinds County. More on his service here from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

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More Miniatures

13th MS

The 28mm Thirteenth on the march, judging from their right-shoulder arms.

Via an Arizona wargamer’s blog.

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The Yankee leader of the Regimental Band


Professor T. Dwight Nutting, a Vermont native and Ohio college graduate who was teaching music in Mississippi when he organized the regimental brass band in 1861. In the spring of 1862 the ensemble performed to acclaim from the Army of Northern Virginia on the Virginia Peninsula. Two years later, with the army and the Confederacy in serious decline, Nutting apparently was demoralized.

The 38-year-old professor was then a federal prisoner at Memphis, where he took “the Oath of Amnesty” on March 22. The oath was a pardon issued in exchange for the signee swearing to faithfully defend the constitution of the United States and support and abide by all proclamations of the government.

He wasn’t a soldier, after all, and Memphis was so close to Mississippi where he had lived before the war. Later in 1864 he moved to Illinois where he taught in several institutions, including the Illinois Conservatory of Music. He died there in 1889 and is buried in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Via Find-A-Grave.

Posted in Mississippi | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Alamutcha Infantry Uniform


The provenance here is missing, and the Alamutchas of Lauderdale County were only Company A until the 1862 reorganization (when they became Company E until the war ended) but I like the tricorn hat with the star. Unless the wounded fellow kneeling on the ground is meant to be of the 13th.

Have no idea whether either uniform is accurate, but since the Confederates often identified themselves with the soldiers and civilians of the American Revolution, the tricorn is creditable. Likewise the short, black stovepipe hat, as a contemporary preference. And the blue uniform, signifying that they didn’t all wear gray, which was a post-war notion. According to Jess McLean, this company originally came from Alamutcha in Lauderdale County but was finally named the Alamutchie Infantry.

Posted in Mississippi, The Alamutcha Infantry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Tin Soldier: Another Barksdale


Not at his most flattering, this tin representation of General B. and three of his 13th Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg. At least they got his bald top and long side hair right.

Posted in Battles: Gettysburg, Gen. William Barksdale, The Battle Flags | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

New Brit site on the 13th at First Manassas

The messenger sent to General Longstreet returned and informed me that the General said there was a regiment in the pines to my left which had been ordered to report to him, and that I could take that regiment instead of the companies of my own, to save time and prevent the exposure of both to the fire of the enemy’s artillery in passing to and from Blackburn’s Ford. In this arrangement I readily concurred, and soon found, to my left in the pines, the 13th Mississippi Regiment under Colonel Barksdale, which had very recently arrived.

Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early C.S.A.: Autobiographical sketch and narrative of the War Between the States, with notes by Jubal Anderson Early

Worth a look.

Posted in Battles: First Manassas, Gen. William Barksdale | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Another charging Barksdale


Seems unlikely Gen. B would lead a charge with his hat, as this painting by Western artist Gary Lynn Roberts has it. But there have been other fanciful notions about him. More troubling would be his rather short hair on the sides while thick on the top. Most contemporary remarks on his charge have his long white hair billowing, and we know he was bald on top without his toupee, which he was unlikely to have worn then, even if it would have stayed on.

Posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Gettysburg, Gen. William Barksdale, The Commanders | Tagged , , | 4 Comments