46th Mississippi Infantry

[formerly 6th Battalion Mississippi Infantry (Balfour’s)]

 

(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’)

 

COMPANIES OF THE 6TH BATTALION MS INFANTRY (BALFOUR’S):

 

Company A -- Gaines Invincibles (raised in Wayne County, MS)

Company B -- Covington Rebels (raised in Covington County, MS)

Company C -- Yazoo Pickets (raised in Yazoo County, MS)

Company D -- Rankin Farmers (raised in Rankin County, MS)

Company E -- Jeff Davis Rebels (raised in Warren & Yazoo Counties, MS)

Company F -- Lauderdale Rifles (raised in Lauderdale County, MS)

Company G -- Singleton Guards (raised in Smith County, MS)

 

COMPANIES OF THE 46TH MS INFANTRY:

 

Company A -- Gaines Invincibles (raised in Wayne County, MS)

Company B -- Covington Rebels (raised in Covington County, MS)

Company C -- Yazoo Pickets (raised in Yazoo County, MS)

Company D -- Rankin Farmers (raised in Rankin County, MS)

Company E -- Jeff Davis Rebels (raised in Warren & Yazoo Counties, MS)

Company F -- Lauderdale Rifles (raised in Lauderdale County, MS)

Company G -- Singleton Guards (raised in Smith County, MS)

Company H -- Raleigh Farmers, aka Raleigh Rangers (raised in Smith County, MS)

Company I -- Southern Rights (raised in Newton County, MS)

Company K -- Kemper Guards, aka Mississippi Rangers (raised in Kemper County, MS)

 

 HISTORY OF THE 6TH BATTALION MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY (BALFOUR’S):

 

Lieutenant- Colonels -- John W. Balfour, transferred; W. K. Easterling. Majors -- John W. Jones, to December, 1862; W. H. Clark. Adjutants -- J. M. Sublett, G. W. Tiller, Thomas E. Williams. Surgeon -- P. J. McCormick. Chaplain -- W. W. Keep.

Companies A-E assembled at Meridian in April, 1862, and the battalion was organized April 19, J. W. Balfour, not a member of the companies, being elected commanding officer, and J. W. Jones, Company E, as Major. Companies A and E had been in the Confederate service at New Orleans, which was evacuated about this time. May 18 the battalion was ordered to Vicksburg, where it was on duty at Smede's Point during the bombardment of May 10 to July 27, 1862, under the command of Gen. M. L. Smith, who had charge of the river defenses. The battalion suffered much from sickness and want of drinking water, and many died. The returns of July showed 17 officers and 161 men present for duty, aggregate present 555, present and absent 818.

Meanwhile Companies F-K were mustered in and joined the original five at Vicksburg.

Company K had gone to Virginia in July, 1861, had been attached to the Fifty-ninth Virginia, served in West Virginia, took part in the battle of Roanoke Island, N.C., February 8, 1862, was captured and had returned to Mississippi on being exchanged.

Col. J. F. Girault was assigned to command in November, But on account of a protest of the Captains, the assignment was annulled. December 1, yet at Vicksburg, the battalion elected W. K. Easterling Lieutenant-Colonel, Balfour having been absent since August, and W. H. Clark Major. Clark had served under Col. Jefferson Davis in Mexico, enlisted in this battalion as a private, and was later Colonel of the Forty-sixth Regiment, until killed at Allatoona. On the same day, the order was received designating the command as the Forty-sixth Regiment (see following).

 

HISTORY OF THE 46TH MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY:

Colonel -- Claudius W. Sears, promoted Brigadier-General March 1, 1864; William H. Clark, killed at Allatoona. Lieutenant-Colonels -- William K. Easterling, resigned December, 1863; William H. Clark. Majors -- William H. Clark, Constantine Rea, died in Georgia; T. D. Magee. Surgeon -- P. J. McCormick. Assistant Surgeon -- R. L. Dunn. Quartermaster -- W. R. Sheppard. Adjutant -- John Porter, killed at Vicksburg; John McRae. Ensigns -- R. H. Wilder, W. P. Chambers. Sergeant-Majors -- R. H. Wilder, S. S. Griffin.

The organization of this regiment from the Sixth Battalion is described in the sketch of that command [see above]. The original companies had been on duty at Vicksburg from May to December, 1862. The order designating the command as the Forty-sixth Regiment was received December 2, 1862. December 21 the regiment was reviewed by President Davis and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. On the 27th they were ordered to the scene of battle at Chickasaw Bayou, north of the city, where General Sherman was attempting to gain a position, from the river. Three companies, Hart's, Sublett's and Rea's, had been on picket duty along Chickasaw Bayou three weeks before the battle. The Forty-sixth was mentioned by General Pemberton as one of the commands entitled to the highest distinction in the defeat of Sherman by Gen. S. D. Lee's command at Chickasaw Bayou, December, 1862. Two companies under Capt. J. B. Hart, Company E, were with the Seventeenth Louisiana and Wofford's howitzer, in the successful skirmish at Lake’s plantation. At Blake's levee, on the 28th, General Lee reported the demonstration of the enemy, in force, with artillery, was handsomely held in check by Colonel Withers, with the Forty-sixth Regiment and Johnston's section of artillery. Nine companies were in this fight, under Lieutenant-Colonel Easterling, and rendered service of great value. Casualties, 1 wounded. Along the levee Withers reported the Federal advance was held in check all day long by the Forty-sixth Mississippi, Lieutenant Johnston's section and Bowman's Battery. Paul Hamilton, Adjutant-General of the brigade, was killed on the 29th.

Col. C. W. Sears was assigned to command of the regiment, which never had a Colonel selected from its own Captains. He took command January 31, and retained it, though the men petitioned him to resign. About this time the regiment was about 400 effective. As a battalion the regiment had been a part of the command of Gen. M. L. Smith, commanding at Vicksburg. After the arrival of Gen. S. D. Lee it formed part of his brigade, with three Louisiana Regiments. February 20, 1863, Brig.-Gen. W. E. Baldwin was assigned to command of a brigade, including the Fourth and Forty-sixth Mississippi, Seventeenth and Thirty-first Louisiana, Wofford's and Drew's Batteries and Haynes' and Smythe’s Companies. March 25 the regiment started to the lower Deer Creek region, in Issaquena County, and after some time at or near Haynes' landing on the Yazoo, returned to Vicksburg April 16. Company E, left on Deer Creek as scouts, did not rejoin the regiment until November, 1863, having meantime taken part in the battle of Jackson, Miss., and the campaign culminating in the battle of Chickamauga.

The regiment, with the brigade, marched over 100 miles April 29 to May 4, Vicksburg to Port Gibson and return, and was engaged in battle with the advance of Grant's army on the Rodney road, before Port Gibson, May 1. In this action the Forty-sixth was posted as reserve and in support of a battery, at first, but later was put in position to make a charge when General Baldwin withdrew the order on account of the evident great strength of the enemy in front. Subsequently four companies reinforced the line of the Seventeenth Louisiana, the regiment of Baldwin's Brigade most seriously engaged. Casualties of brigade, 60 killed and wounded. Mention of Capt. S. D. Harris, Inspector-General; Lieut. P. Hamilton, Aide, and Capt. A. B. Watts, Volunteer Aide, who had three horses shot under him, and was wounded.

After the return to Vicksburg the brigade was posted at or near Hall’s ferry, until May 15, when they moved to Mount Alban, and General Baldwin was commander of the forces on the Big Black. On the 16th the Forty-sixth advanced to Bovina. and that night news came of the disaster at Baker's Creek, after which the brigade was advanced to the Big Black bridge, to cover the crossing of troops. Baldwin's Brigade brought up the rear on the march to Vicksburg, and on the 18th, occupied the outer line of works north of the city where they sustained and repulsed an assault, and then were withdrawn to the inner line to a position where the brigade right was near the Riddle house. Colonel Sears commanded the regiment through the siege "and merited," said Baldwin, "favorable notice." Lieutenant-Colonel Easterling and Major W. H. Clark were also honorably mentioned.

Of the surrender General Baldwin wrote: "My command marched over the trenches and stacked their arms with the greatest reluctance, conscious of their ability to hold the position assigned them for an indefinite period of time. During the whole siege the entire command had exhibited the highest degree of patience, fortitude and courage, bearing deprivations of sufficient food, constant duty in the trenches under a broiling sun by day and heavy fatigue and picket duty at night, without a murmur, willing to bear any hardships, confident in sustaining the brunt of any assault, in the hope of anticipated relief and ultimate triumph. The command was daily aroused and under arms at 3:30 A.M., to guard against surprise, and nightly our pickets were in advance of our defences and nearly contiguous to the sentinels of the enemy. The loss in killed and wounded was severe."

The order for march of the division from Vicksburg at 4 P.M., July 11, 1863, on the Baldwin's Ferry road, was as follows: 1, Baldwin's Brigade; 2, Shoup's Brigade; 3, Vaughn's Brigade; 3, Harris' State troops; the division under the command of Gen. Shoup, Gen. Smith remaining at Vicksburg to fulfill the capitulations. The regimental colors, originally the flag of the Gaines Invincibles, were brought out by Captain Sublett, wrapped around his body under his shirt. The paroled men were furloughed for sixty days, to report at Enterprise.

October 24 the Fourth and Forty-sixth and General Pemberton and staff were announced exchanged.

Baldwin's Brigade, at Enterprise, November 20, included, exchanged and armed, 2,279, the regiments being the Fourth, Thirty-fifth, Thirty-ninth, Fortieth and Forty-sixth. General Johnston was ordered to send the brigade to reinforce Bragg at Missionary Ridge, November 2, but the brigade did not receive marching orders until the 21st. They arrived at Dalton, Ga., too late for the battle of November 25, and were ordered to Resaca, and Sugar Valley. They were listed as part of W. H. T. Walker’s Division, Hardee's Corps. The brigade was returned to General Polk January 15-16, and sent to General Maury at Mobile. Maury sent them to Meridian February 7, and Polk sent them to aid Polk [sic; should read "S.D. Lee"?] in meeting Sherman’s raid to Meridian, but Polk immediately ordered them back to Mobile. The experience was discouraging to the men, and the regiment did not contain more than 146 men on its return to Maury. General Baldwin was killed by accident February 19, and Colonel Sears was promoted Brigadier-General. This resulted in a disorganization of the brigade. It was reorganized to include the Fourth, Thirty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, Thirty-ninth and Forty-sixth Regiments and Seventh Battalion.

The brigade was moved to Pollard, Ala., in April to Selma, and early in May to Anniston, whence they moved to Adairsville, Ga., joining the army of General Johnston just after the battle of Resaca. With the smaller brigades of Cockrell's Missourians and Ector's Texans and North Carolinians, they were under the division command of Gen. S. G. French, a Mississippian, one of the four divisions of Lieut.-Gen. Leonidas Polk's Army of the Mississippi, after his death Lieut.-Gen. A. P. Stewart's Corps, Army of Tennessee. From that time until September 6, they were every day but one under fire. In the early part of the Atlanta campaign the companies were commanded as follows: A, Capt. N. Pace; B, Lieut. J. S. Duckworth; C, Lieut. W. L. Stanford; D, Capt. James Boswick; E, Lieut. Smith; F, Capt. T. Wiggins; G, Capt. D. D. Heslip; H, Lieut. David Anderson; I, Capt. T. Burgess; K, Capt. D. C. Durham. D.C. Chamberlain was Acting Adjutant. The casualties of the regiment were: at Cassville, 4 wounded; at New Hope Church, 3 killed, 6 wounded, 1 missing; at Latimer House, 1 killed, 1 wounded, 1 missing; at Kenesaw Mountain, 9 killed, 26 wounded, 20 missing; at Smyrna, 5 wounded; at Chattahoochee, 2 killed, 4 wounded, 3 missing; in front of Atlanta, 7 killed, 25 wounded, 7 missing; at Lovejoy's Station, 1 killed, 2 wounded. Total, 7 killed, 21 wounded, 82 missing. The casualties named in front of Atlanta occurred August 4, when the Forty-sixth, under Colonel Clark, constituting the main picket line of the brigade, charged the enemy and drove him back, regaining our position against heavy force, and taking 21 prisoners. "The gallantry of the Forty-sixth was highly commended in this affair," wrote General Sears. Colonel Clark had, occupied the ditches with his regiment and 120 of the dismounted cavalry, in all 420, the night of August 2, and his advanced vedettes were driven in August 4. In his charge Clark was supported by another Mississippi regiment. August 27 the regiment joined in the reconnaissance to the Chattahoochee River, and in the night of September 1 they marched out of Atlanta as the rear guard, the final fighting of the campaign being at Lovejoy's, September 2-6.

During this campaign Major Rea commanded the detail of sharpshooters until mortally wounded near the Chattahoochee River, July 9. He was acting Lieutenant- Colonel, Captain Magee Acting Major.

General Hood advanced the army northward of Atlanta late in September. Stewart's Corps moved to Lost Mountain, October 2, and tore up the railroad near Big Shanty, after which French's Division marched on the night of the 4th to fill the cut at Allatoona. This place was defended by three redoubts and a star fort on the ridge at opposite sides of the cut. French attacked and a bloody struggle followed for three or four hours. General French reported: "Among the killed from Sears' Brigade is Col. W. H. Clark, Forty-sixth Mississippi. He fell in the advance near the enemy's works with the battle-flag in his hands. He was an excellent and gallant officer." Three officers of the regiment were killed, 1 wounded, 4 missing. Total of the regiment, 18 killed, 26 wounded, 56 missing.

After this, Stewart's Corps destroyed the railroad between Resaca and Dalton. French's Division captured the blockhouse at Tilton, October 13, and next was in battle at Decatur, Ala., October 26-29, moving thence to Tuscumbia.

They crossed the Tennessee River, November 20, marched against Schofield's Federal command at Columbia, and on November 29 moved with Stewart's Corps toward Spring Hill. Following the Federal troops to Franklin, on the Harpeth River, Stewart's Corps attacked about four in the evening, November 30, on the right of the Confederate line, French's Division on the left of the corps next to Cheatham's Corps. The first line was carried, but to reach the second line of works, Sears' Brigade was exposed to a destructive crossfire of artillery. Maj. T. D. Magee, commanding the Forty-sixth, was among the wounded before the works were reached. Some were able to reach the ditch in front of the works, where they remained until next morning, when the Federal troops were withdrawn. Among these "foremost of the forlorn hope," were the following of the Forty-sixth. Company A -- Capt. Nicholas Pace, Privates C. L. Nichols, Isaac Whatley. Company B -- Lieut. J. T. Duckworth. Company D -- Lieut. W. H. Barnett, Sergt. J. W. Pennington, Privates W. Deavers, J. S. Hill, A. Phillips, J. C. Phillips, J. M. Ross, R. H. Sewell. Company E -- Sergt. D. Hildebrand, Corporal A. Screws (wounded). Company F -- Capt. T. P. Wiggins, Sergts. W. M. McElroy, W. W. Harvey (wounded severely at main ditch), Private J. W. Kittrell. Company G -- Lieut. J. A. Epting, Corporals W. Warren, A. M. Anderson, J. M. Eakin, Privates J. Drummond (w), S. B. Windham (w). Company H -- Private J. B. White. Company I -- Capt. T. Burgess (wounded twice severely near main ditch). Company K -- Private T. A, Florence. There were only five men of Company C left at the time of this battle, under Sergeant Blakeman. Corporal William Chew was killed and the Sergeant and James Cattle and William Hagan were wounded, leaving John Bowen for duty.

The casualties of Sears' Brigade were said to be 30 killed, 168 wounded, 35 missing. The remnant marched to Nashville. Some were detached with Bate's Division to support Forrest in the siege of Murfreesboro, and were in battle at Overall's Creek, December 4, and before Murfreesboro December 7. December 9 the brigade effective was 210 men. Marching back to Nashville over icy roads, many barefooted, they fought in Walthall’s line, December 15-16. Walthall's remnants of two divisions were almost surrounded before they gave way.

"Brigadier-General Sears, late in the day, lost a leg, and subsequently fell into the enemy's hands." (Stewart). "A solid shot passed through his horse and struck him just below the knee; the lower part of his leg was amputated. It was found impracticable to bring him out, so he was left near Pulaski. Captain Henderson and Lieut. Harper were both very badly wounded and left in the enemy's hands. I was slightly wounded in the foot by a shell." (E. T. Freeman, of French's staff). Walthall’s command crossed the Tennessee River, December 26, and marched to Tupelo. "My shoes fell from my feet between Franklin and Columbia, and I was forced to march all the way down to Tupelo, a distance of about three hundred miles, barefooted, in a constant snowstorm and sleet the like of which I never saw before or since," writes Lieut. R. N. Rea.

Major Freeman wrote, January 10: "The whole army cannot muster 5,000 effective men. Great numbers are going home every day, many nevermore to return, I fear. Nine-tenths of the men and line officers are barefooted." W.P. Chambers wrote, in his journal, January 15: "The regiment numbers about 150 men, about half of whom are barefooted. All are ragged and dirty and covered with vermin. There are, perhaps, twenty guns, but not a single cartridge box in the regiment. The men are jovial enough regarding their condition, but when one speaks of the prosecution of the war they are entirely despondent, being entirely convinced that the Confederacy is gone. Captain Heslip, of Company E, is in command of the regiment. Major Nelson, of the Fourth, commands the brigade, which is attached to Walthall's Division. I do not think there is a stand of colors in the brigade." January 19 Captain Hart assumed command of the regiment.

French's Division was ordered to report to General Maury at Mobile, February 1, 1865. The return of March 10 showed Sears' Brigade commanded by Col. Thomas X. Adair, the Forty-sixth Regiment commanded by Capt. J. A. Barwick. General Steele, commanding the Union expedition from Pensacola, reported that on April 1 an outpost four and a half miles in front of Blakely was carried by assault and the battleflag of the Forty-sixth Mississippi and 74 prisoners taken. This was about half the regiment. When Fort Blakely was captured, April 9, 1865, another portion of the regiment because prisoners of war. They were taken to Ship Island and paroled in May. Another portion escaped and about twenty-five represented the regiment at Cuba Station, Ala., when informed of the capitulation of Lieut.-Gen. Richard Taylor, commanding the department, at Citronelle, Ala., May 4, 1865.

Authorities: Register of Officers, History of Regiment by W. P. Chambers, notes by Robert Bowman and R. N. Rea.

 

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