Decimated by disease

From early June, 1861, when the 13th Regiment left Mississippi for their camp of instruction at Union City in northwestern Tennessee, through their journey to Virginia and their July 21 blooding at First Manassas, and on, three months later, to Oct. 21 near Leesburg, 113 of them died of disease.

They died alone and in twos and threes. Sometimes from the measles epidemics that swept the Rebel armies. Sometimes from the typhoid fever that had plagued armies for centuries. They died in camp, and at makeshift “hospitals” in Tennessee and Virginia towns. If they were very lucky, they died at home in Mississippi where they had been furloughed, among their loved ones when the end came.

This approximate decimation of the 13th’s original eleven hundred recruits, according to McLean’s collected muster rolls, affected the regiment’s ten companies this way:

A, The Winston Guards: 25 sick, 16 dead.

B, The Wayne Rifles: 11 sick, 6 dead.

C, The Kemper Legion: 18 sick, 10 dead.

D, The Newton Rifles: 14 sick, 8 dead.

E, The Alamutcha Infantry: 16 sick, 10 dead.

F, The Lauderdale Zouaves: 15 sick, 10 dead.

G, The Secessionists: 27 sick, 8 dead.

H, The Spartan Band: 18 sick, 8 dead.

I, The Minutemen of Attala: 14 sick, 7 dead.

K, The Pettus Guards: 14 sick, 5 dead.

That only adds up to 88 dead, however. The rest of the 113 dead were noted by quartermaster clerk Hill on the day, or soon after it, that they died, but not by name or company.

There were also many more than the 168 sick counted by company on the muster rolls. At one time or another Hill tallied more than 900 sick—which means that, during the period from June to late October, almost every man in the regiment was sick for at least a short while.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Jess N. McLean, Newton Rifles, The Alamutcha Infantry, The Journey, The Kemper Legion, The Lauderdale Zouaves, The Minute Men of Attala, The Pettus Guards, The Secessionists, The Spartan Band, The Winston Guards, Wayne Rifles, William H. Hill Diary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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