13th Mississippi Infantry

 

(from Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898"; company listing courtesy of H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand’)

 

Company A -- [Co. B first year] Winston Guards (raised in Winston County, MS)

Company B -- [Co. C first year] Wayne Rifles, aka Wayne Guards (raised in Wayne County, MS)

Company C -- [Co. F first year] Kemper Legion (raised in Kemper County, MS)

Company D -- [Co. E first year] Newton Rifles (raised in Newton County, MS)

Company E -- [Co. A first year] Alamutcha Infantry (raised in Lauderdale County, MS)

Company F -- [Co. G first year] Lauderdale Zouaves (raised in Lauderdale County, MS)

Company G -- [Co. I first year] Secessionists (raised in Clarke County, MS)

Company H -- [Co. K first year] Spartan Band (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)

Company I -- [Co. D first year] Minute Men of Attala (raised in Attala County, MS)

Company K -- [Co. H first year] Pettus Guards (raised in Lauderdale County, MS)

 

Colonels -- William Barksdale, promoted as Brigadier-General June 27, 1862, killed at Gettysburg July 2; J. W. Carter killed at Gettysburg July 2; Kennon McElroy, killed at Knoxville. Lieutenant-Colonels -- M. H. Whitaker, to reorganization; J. W. Carter promoted; Kennon McElroy, promoted; John M. Bradley, died of wounds; A. G. O'Brien. Majors -- Isham Harrison, to reorganization; Kennon McElroy, promoted; J. M. Bradley, wounded at Gettysburg, promoted; G. L. Donald. Adjutants -- E. A. Miller, E. P. Harman. Surgeons -- J. T. Gilmore, promoted as Brigade Surgeon; L. M. Austin, died; John Clopton, transferred; S. Baruch. Assistant Surgeons -- A. C. Anderson, A. N. Ballinger J. C. Shinks, M. McManning, H. D. Green. Quartermaster -- J. H. Turner, promoted to brigade staff. Commissary -- D. P. McAllum, R. C. Topp. Chaplain -- Farish, T. S. West. Ensign -- A. T. Harvey.

The above companies were ordered to Corinth and enlisted in the Confederate service May 13-15, 1861, for twelve months. The date of organization of the Thirteenth Regiment is May 14, 1861, William Barksdale being elected Colonel. Soon afterward the regiment was ordered to Union City, Tenn., where it remained attached to the army under General Polk until ordered to Lynchburg, whither the regiment started July 14. Immediately on reaching Lynchburg they were ordered to Manassas, and reached the railroad junction during the night of July 20 and the morning of the 21st, the day of the battle. As soon as possible they were advanced to the field, with much marching and countermarching in the intense heat and stifling dust. The orders were to report to General Longstreet, but for convenience they were attached to Jubal A. Early's brigade, which was stationed in the rear of Beauregard's line on Bull Run, near McLean's ford. The famous battle of the 21st was brought on by the Federals attacking on the Confederate flank, behind the run. This battle raged from ten o’clock, and General Early did not get orders to participate in it until two, when he immediately marched to the scene of conflict. "This brigade," Beauregard reported, "was marched by the Holtham house across the fields to the left, . . . and under a severe fire into a position in line of battle near Chinn's house, outflanking the enemy's right. At this time the enemy had formed a line of truly formidable proportions. The woods and fields were filled with their masses of infantry and cavalry. It was a magnificent spectacle as they threw forward their cloud of skirmishers on the slopes of the ridge for another attack. But as Early formed his line Elzey's brigade and other regiments advanced, almost simultaneously, with great spirit from their various positions. At the same time, too, Early resolutely assailed their right flank and rear." It was then the rout began.

Casualties: 6 wounded in the Thirteenth.

After this the regiment was assigned to the brigade tinder Gen. N. G. Evans, including the Seventeenth and Eighteenth, stationed in the vicinity of Leesburg. October 20 they marched from Goose Creek to Fort Evans, on the Potomac. October 21 a force of the enemy crossed the river from Maryland, under Colonel Baker, and after the first encounter had been sustained by a company of the Seventeenth Mississippi, four detached companies, including Fletcher's of the Thirteenth became warmly engaged and drove back the Federal advances. While the other regiments met the Federal advance from Ball's Bluff and achieved a famous victory, Barksdale's remaining nine companies held back the other columns of the enemy at Edwards ferry, remaining there after the others had gone back to Leesburg with the Federal prisoners. Next day Barksdale attacked the Federals who had crossed the river on his front and drove them to the river with heavy loss. The loss of the regiment was 4 killed, 2 wounded, 1 missing. Eckford's and Randall's companies were the advance line in this engagement. The Attala men, under Fletcher, were distinguished in the Ball's Bluff battle, several of them being among the first to reach a Federal battery, which was captured.

The winter camp was at Catoctin Mountain, near Leesburg. The regiment was assigned to the Mississippi brigade organized under Gen. Richard Griffith, who took command at a brigade review at Camp Carolina December 9, 1861.

After the retreat to Culpepper and transfer to Yorktown, the regiment was reorganized for three years of the war, April 26, 1862. They were not in battle on the Yorktown line or during the retreat, and though under fire at Seven Pines, were not actively engaged.

Before the seven days' battles before Richmond, June, 1862, Griffith's brigade included with the Thirteenth, the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-first, and was part of Magruder's division, which first went into battle on the 29th, on the railroad near Savage Station. In the opening of this action General Griffith was mortally wounded, and his place was taken by Colonel Barksdale. The Thirteenth was employed during this battle as reserve for McLaw's division. At the battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, the brigade was formed in line of battle in a wood, under fire of batteries and gunboats, after which, at about six o'clock in the evening, they made a charge, attempting to carry the Federal batteries. Here Lieutenant-Colonel Carter was wounded, and Major McElroy took command. Colonel Barksdale praised the conduct of Major Inge, Adjutant-General, and Captain Costin, Aide-de-Camp. Major Watts and Hawkins, of the brigade staff, were required to attend the dying General. The Thirteenth gained an advanced position and held it for nearly an hour without support.

The loss of the Thirteenth in both engagements was 28 killed and 107 wounded.

McElroy, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, commanded the regiment in the Maryland campaign September, 1862. With McLaw's division they diverged from Lee's column to cooperate with Jackson's corps in the capture of Harper's Ferry. On the 12th Barksdale's and Kershaw's South Carolina brigade began to scale the Maryland heights, Major J. M. Bradley commanding the pickets on the left of the line, skirmishing with the Federal troops on the mountain. Next day Kershaw attacked the entrenched line in front and Barksdale on the flank and rear, and possession of the mountain was secured after severe fighting. The Thirteenth was left on the mountain as a garrison when the brigade moved to Brownsville to meet an expected attack, and thence to join the main army. They reached the battlefield of Sharpsburg after the battle had been raging for several hours. The brigade had been on constant duty for five or six days, marching throughout two nights, and many of the men had succumbed to fatigue. The brigade went into battle with less than 900 men and officers, formed line of battle in an open field swept by a terrible fire of artillery, advanced and drove the enemy from a wood in front, and held that position, the Thirteenth and Eighteenth defeating a flank attack. McElroy, though wounded, remained in command of his regiment. Surgeon Austin was honorably mentioned for faithful attention to the wounded. The regiment, taking 202 into battle, lost 6 killed, 54 wounded, 2 missing.

At Fredericksburg, December 11, 1862, Colonel Carter marched his regiment to Carolina Street at five o'clock in the morning, where they remained until four P.M. to support the Seventeenth at the river side. Ten sharpshooters were sent to assist Colonel Fiser, but no other service was required of the regiment. But they were all the time under a very heavy and destructive fire from the Federal batteries. After the enemy effected a landing, the Thirteenth, holding Princess Anne Street, by a determined fight held them back for two hours. Capt. G. L. Donald, in command of several companies, was commended by the Colonel. Capt. J. L. Clark was killed by a solid shot early in the morning. Capt. T. W. Thurman was dangerously wounded and captured. Lieut. J. M. Stovall, missing, was supposed to be dead. The total loss was 7 killed, 59 wounded

14 captured.

April 29, 1863, part of the Federal army crossed the Rappahannock at Deep Run, and Barksdale's brigade was left with Early's division to observe them, while the remainder of Lee's army moved toward Chancellorsville. Early was moving in the same direction when the Federal troops made another crossing at Fredericksburg. Barksdale had a line of three miles to cover, with the Thirteenth on the right. After a desperate resistance against the entire Federal advance, Barksdale's line was broken, when he moved the Thirteenth and Seventeenth in position to check the enemy and protect the rear, which they did, with the aid of artillery. The loss of the regiment was 7 killed and 43 wounded. They were quartered at Fredericksburg until June 3, when they began the march to the valley and Pennsylvania.

At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863, the Thirteenth, in Barksdale's brigade, fought in the battle against the south wing of the Federal army. At six in the evening, when Sickles still held the peach orchard after a terrific fight, McLaws ordered an assault, and the storming columns of Barksdale and Wofford, "yelling like demons, black with smoke and lusting for hand-to-hand conflict," soon opened a gap in the line of blue. The Federals fell back toward and across Plum Run, toward the base of Round Top, and the onslaught was continued. "Barksdale, conspicuous on horseback, led his Southern riflemen, who singlehanded had barred the passage of the whole Federal army at Fredericksburg, right into the hostile masses, where he fell mortally wounded, and whence the remnants of his gallant troops cut their way back with difficulty through the enveloping masses of Blue infantry." (Battine's "Crisis of the Confederacy.") Barksdale's loss in killed and wounded was the heaviest of any brigade in Longstreet's corps and the heaviest of any in Lee's army, except two North Carolina Brigades and Davis' Mississippi brigade. The loss of the Thirteenth was 28 killed, 137 wounded, of whom 86 were left in the field hospital when the army retreated.

After the return to Virginia the regiment participated in the movement of Longstreet's corps by way of Richmond and South Carolina to Atlanta and North Georgia, reaching Ringgold after the battle of Chickamauga was begun. By a night march they arrived on the field on the morning of September 20 and went into battle in support of General Hood, who broke the Federal line. Their last fighting that day was at Snodgrass Hill, where the victory was completed at dusk. Casualties, 1 killed, 7 wounded.

Advancing toward Chattanooga they were on duty during the siege until November 4, when they left the base of Lookout Mountain for the campaign in East Tennessee. They crossed the Tennessee River, skirmished at Campbell’s Station November 16, and were in line for the siege of Knoxville about November 20. Under the command of Colonel McElroy, with the Seventeenth Regiment, and supported by three Georgia regiments, all under the command of Gen. B. G. Humphreys, they made the famous assault upon Fort Loudon, November 29, 1863. After working their way through a tangled abatis, they charged the works, through a wire netting and a deep ditch, and clambered up a parapet ten or twelve feet high, slippery with ice. Some of the officers and men gained the summit of the parapet but they were shot down and dragged others down in falling. All the time they were under a furious fire from another part of the fort. Here Kennon McElroy was killed. "The loss of the heroic McElroy is irreparable," wrote General Humphreys . "He was shot at the angle of the wall at the head of his regiment," wrote General Longstreet. "He was a man of very fine courage, united to a self-possession on all occasions, with a knowledge of his duties and a natural capacity for command which inspired confidence and made him always conspicuous."

After leaving Knoxville the brigade was sent, December 16, to Clinch Mountain Gap, where a body of the enemy fled at their approach. Major Donald, commanding the Thirteenth, was sent in pursuit, and he captured the camp and outfit of the One Hundred and Seventeenth Indiana, which was very welcome.

The winter quarters were at Russellville, Tenn., whence they moved in the last of March to Bristol. At Gordonsville, Va., May 3, they received orders to join General Lee on the Rappahannock. May 6, with the advance of Longstreet's corps, they went into battle in the Wilderness, Major Donald commanding, winning new renown on that bloody field. They were in almost constant action and frequent battles throughout the campaign of 1864, at Spottsylvania Courthouse, May 8-12; at, Hanover Junction, May 27; at Cold Harbor early in June, and at Petersburg June 19. In the latter part of July they were sent from the Petersburg lines to support Early in the Shenandoah Valley, where they were in the engagements at Berryville, Charlestown, Rockfish Gap, and Cedar Creek.

In the Wilderness battles the regiment had 18 killed, 61 wounded, 12 missing. Among the severely wounded were Lieut. William Davis (Company C), Captain Currie, Lieut. R. C. Kelly (Company I).

The returns, in October, after this battle show Major Donald in command of the brigade.

At the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, the brigade was conspicuous in taking the Federal position in the early part of the battle. When the return attack was delivered by Sheridan the brigade met the advance coolly and with an effective fire. It was not until their flank was exposed by the panic in other commands that they yielded.

November 20 they returned to Richmond and during the winter they were posted at Garnett's farm and on the Darbytwn and Newmarket roads. April 1-2 they marched through Richmond and began the retreat to Appomattox Courthouse.

In the final returns the remnant of the heroic Thirteenth was commanded by Lieut. W. H. Davis.

 

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