Deserter: Brigade down to 800 men

With the end of our last known diary by a 13th Regiment soldier [i.e. the Spartan Band’s William H. Hill] or, for that matter, any Humphreys’ Brigade soldier, we’re left to use the words of those outside either unit in order to get a sense of what the men were experiencing.

Thus the following, by Union Colonel William J. Palmer, commanding a cavalry unit in Anderson’s Cavalry, reporting to his East Tennessee headquarters on Jan. 10, 1864:

“I have the honor to report that 2 deserters belonging to the Twenty-first and Eighteenth Mississippi Infantry….came into my lines this morning.

“They are both remarkably intelligent men and their stories coincide entirely on a separate examination….Humphreys Brigade has 800 muskets for duty, known….being naked and starving…

“One of these deserters has his stockings on the ground and says two-thirds of the men of his regiment are worse off than himself….

“These men say they do not consider their division to be fit for duty, nor the rest of Longstreet’s army, and that if they are energetically pressed they can be ruined.”

It’s worth noting that if the “800 muskets for duty” for the brigade is accurate, that’s about 400 less than the size of the 13th Regiment alone at the start of the war.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Humpreys Mississippi Brigade, The Spartan Band, William H. Hill Diary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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