9th Battalion Mississippi Sharpshooters

(aka 8th Battalion 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 -- Capt. Tucker’s/Capt. O.F. West’s Company (county of origin not specified)

Company B -- Capt. Brownrigg’s Company (county of origin not specified)

Company C -- Capt. Richards’ Company (county of origin not specified)

 

Major -- William C. Richards, promoted to Colonel Ninth Regiment, consolidated.

Organized by General Bragg, in Chalmer's Brigade, at Corinth, May, 1862. Listed as Eighth Battalion in Adjutant-General's report, 1863. No muster rolls returned to State department.

The battalion was with Chalmers' Brigade, in Polk's wing of the army, during the Kentucky campaign of 1862, including the attack at Munfordville, October-September 14. When the Federal pickets were encountered, Company A and Company C were deployed. Under the first fire from the Federals Major Richards was severely wounded, and Capt. O. F. West took command. Capt. T. W. Richards charged with his company and fell wounded, and Lieut. J. D. Nesbit led the company until he was dangerously wounded. Lieut. J. T. Fant, of the Ninth infantry, took command of the company until he was wounded, when it was attached to Company A, under Lieutenants Day and Jones. Capt. T. Brownrigg's company formed the second line. The battalion had 130 men in the fight and had 9 wounded. On the 16th when another attack was made with a larger force, the sharpshooters were the only portion of the brigade engaged, losing 3 men wounded. The casualties of the battalion were 12 wounded.

Under the command of Capt. O. F. West, the battalion participated in the battle of Murfreesboro, and lost 7 killed and 22 wounded. "On the evening of the 29th December," General Withers, Division Commander, reported, "skirmishing commenced between Chalmers' admirable battalion of sharpshooters and the enemy." On the 30th the Federals were aggressive, and Chalmers' Brigade was under a heavy artillery fire. On the 31st Bragg's left wing began its swinging assault, with Chalmers, near the Round Forest, as a pivot, and Chalmers was not ordered to attack until the day was nearly half past, when he was repulsed and himself seriously wounded. At daylight, January 1, Chalmers' sharpshooters were sent forward to feel the enemy in this formidable position, and moving out fearlessly they drove in the skirmish line, and found the position abandoned. But the Federal forces reoccupied it later in the day, driving out the sharpshooters. For this position a battle raged through the two days following, the Confederates holding it when the army was withdrawn. Sergeants M. Murphy and Joseph B. O'Brien were chosen to represent Company A on the Roll of Honor. Companies B and C declined to make selections.

General Anderson, commanding the brigade in July, 1863, reported that at Bridgeport, July 26, the company of Capt. W. W. Tucker repulsed an attack upon the steamer Paint Rock.

In the retreat from Chattanooga September 8, 1863, the campaign in McLemore's Cove September 10-11, the march from Lafayette, Ga., to the battlefield of Chickamauga, September 17-18, and the battle of the 20th, the battalion, under the command of Major Richards, shared the gallant performance of the brigade, which is narrated in the sketches of the regiments. The battalion was, of course, in the front of the famous charge through Sheridan's Division in the morning, and at the opening of the battle with Granger in the evening, Richards developed the position of the enemy and then was ordered to the rear. He reported that the men of his command behaved nobly. After this the battalion served on the line of Missionary Ridge and took part in the battle of November 25, 1863. Capt. Thomas Brownrigg was reported in command of the battalion at the close of 1863, when the brigade was in winter quarters around Dalton, Ga. In the Atlanta campaign Major Richards was in command, succeeded by Lieut. J. B. Downing and he by Lieut. John Thomas Oliver. Lieut. Montgomery A. Nelson was mortally wounded at Resaca, May 15, 1864. The battalion shared the services of its brigade through the battles of Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta and Jonesboro. In the fighting near New Hope Church, May 25 to June 5, Company A had 5 wounded, including Lieut. Joseph Day; Company B had 6 wounded, including Lieut. Thomas Howard; Company C had 2 killed, 5 wounded. The campaign, from May 8 to September 2, was one requiring the sharpshooters to be constantly engaged, often at close range, nearly all the time in rifle pits or behind barricades of rails or logs. The only report made for the battalion is of the battle of June 28, 1864, near Atlanta, by Lieutenant Downing. In this fight the battalion was distinguished in a brilliant charge, driving the Federal skirmishers and losing 4 wounded. In September, the Tenth and Forty-fourth Regiments were also under the command of Major Richards. In October the battalion shared in the operations of Lee's Corps during the campaign on the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad, the investment of Resaca and the holding of Snake Creek gap against Sherman's army. The brigade crossed the Tennessee River October 30, and gained the Florence and Huntsville road after a sharp battle.

At the battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, Sergt. L. W. Peaster commanded the fragment that remained, and was killed. Two others were wounded. Some remained, doubtless, to participate in the battle of Nashville, and the retreat to Mississippi.

A fragment of the brigade accompanied Gen. S. D. Lee to the Carolinas in March, 1865.

The organization of the army near Smithfield, N. C., March 31, 1865, shows the Tenth and Forty-fourth Regiments and Ninth Battalion commanded by Major Richards.

On April 9, Sharp's Brigade -- the Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Forty-first and Forty-fourth Regiments and Ninth Battalion -- was consolidated as the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, Col. William C. Richards commanding. Sharp's Brigade included this regiment, also the Eighth Mississippi Battalion, representing the consolidation of Lowrey’s Brigade, and the Twenty-fourth Alabama and Nineteenth South Carolina, the consolidation of Manigault's Brigade. This consolidated brigade was part of the division of Gen. D. H. Hill, in S. D. Lee's Corps.

The army was surrendered April 26, and paroled at Greensboro, N. C.

 

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