A descendant of Private Thurman Early Hendricks, of the Minutemen of Attala, sent me a copy of his undated post-war memoir which is available at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
In it, Hendricks said the men of the regiment called it the “Bloody Thirteenth.”
Hendricks had a varied career in the war. He enlisted in Attala County in the spring of 1861 and was with the Minutemen through the regiment’s organization in Corinth, training in Tennessee, and all of its battles, including Leesburg/Ball’s Bluff, until right before Fredericksburg in December, 1862.
There, he was captured by Union forces on Dec. 11, before the major fighting began, on what he wrote was a scout ordered by Gen. Barksdale. While he was a POW, a portion of his feet were frostbitten, a matter alluded to in his official records, according to independent historian Jess McLean.
Hendricks eventually was moved to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington City, where, according to his POW records under remarks: he “wishes to remain in O.C. until his feet get better & then take the oath & be released.”
Instead, he was parolled on Dec. 20 and “transferred,” he wrote, “to the western department and joined with the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry under Colonel Faulkner.
“The first battle we were in was with General Forrest at Paducah, Kentucky. We charged down the streets like wild indians and drove all the Federal soldiers into their forts a little distance out of town. They hustled to their forts, leaving the town to us.”
Soon after, Hendricks wrote, he was “elected Captain by Kentucky and Tennessee volunteers and was ordered to scout western Kentucky and gather up stragglers and recruits.”
On an unspecified date, he was again captured by Union forces and sent to a federal POW camp at Cairo, Illinois, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
In the summer of 1864, he and several other men escaped through a tunnel they dug under their prison barracks. Hendricks swam the Ohio back to Kentucky, joined up with old friends from the Ninth and fought on through Tennessee and Alabama.
Hearing of Lee’s surrender in Virginia in April, Hendricks also surrendered and was paroled on May 13th, 1865, at Corinth, Mississippi.
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