The War for Southern Independence:
Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi,
courtesy of H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll
Take My Stand")
Company A -- Bankston Guards (raised in Choctaw County,
Company B -- Attala Yellow Jackets (raised in Attala
Company C -- Red Invincibles (raised in Carroll &
Holmes Counties, MS)
Company D -- Paris Rebels (raised in Lafayette County,
Company E -- Stephens Guards (raised in Carroll County,
Company F -- Sons of the South (raised in Calhoun
Company G -- Nelson Grays (raised in Holmes County, MS)
Company H -- Carroll County Rebels (raised in Carroll
Company I -- Benela Sharpshooters (raised in Calhoun
Company K -- Center Marksmen (raised in Attala County,
These companies were organized at Grenada as the Fourth
Regiment, Second Brigade, Army of Mississippi, and enlisted
for twelve months. The Colonel and Major were elected
September 11, 1861, and Layton, AdjutantGeneral of the
brigade, was elected Lieutenant-Colonel September 21, in camp
near Trenton, Tenn.
The Fourth was among the troops posted at Fort Henry on the
Tennessee River, under General Lloyd Tilghman, when General
Grant's land and river expedition approached in February,
1862. Colonel Drake and Colonel Heiman were Tilghman's brigade
commanders, and the Fourth was under the command of Major
Adair. Fort Henry was so badly located that it could not be
defended, and Tilghman put his entire infantry command in the
rifle pits surrounding the camps of the Fourth Mississippi and
Tenth Tennessee, the only regiments at all prepared for
service. Captain Red was in command of the outpost. After the
naval attack compelled the surrender of Fort Henry on February
6, Drake and Heiman retreated to Fort Donelson. The Fourth was
under fire in the trenches at Donelson from the 13th, and
participated in the sally of the 15th. Gen. Bushrod Johnson
reported that Drake's Brigade, under its very gallant, steady
and efficient commander, moved in admirable order, almost
constantly under fire, driving the enemy slowly from hill to
hill until about 1 p. m., when he was instructed to return to
the rifle pits, leaving Drake's Brigade for a time
unsupported. Col. N. B. Forrest went to Drake's support and
advised him to fall back, which he did without disorder. The
surrender followed and the regiment became prisoners of war,
at Camp Chase, Ohio, until exchanged. Nearly 100 died in
military prison, mainly at Indianapolis. The number of killed
and wounded was not reported. It is said that Colonel Drake
broke his sword and threw it in the river when told of the
surrender. He was imprisoned at Johnson's Island, and when
exchanged, retired. He was too old for active service.
Lieutenant-Colonel Adair and his brother, Lieutenant Adair,
escaped in a dugout across the Cumberland River and reported
for duty to General Johnston at Murfreesboro.
After exchange, 279 of the Fourth were reported on duty at
Ponchatoula, La., October, 1862, when a Federal expedition was
setting out from New Orleans. In the reorganization at
Ponchatoula, Layton was elected Colonel, Adair
Lieutenant-Colonel, Gee Major.
In the latter part of November the regiment was transferred
to Vicksburg. The Fourth, under command of Colonel Layton, was
at Snyder's Mill, on the Yazoo, under Gen. S. D. Lee, at the
opening of Sherman's campaign against Vicksburg, December,
1862. When it became apparent that Sherman's main attack was
at Chickasaw Bayou
the regiment was ordered to that point in time to aid in
the repulse of the main assault, December 29. It was attached
to the brigade of Col. Allen Thomas. Casualties, 4 wounded.
Gen. S. D. Lee, commanding the brigade, including Fourth
and Forty-sixth Mississippi, Smith's Division, January, 1863.
January 3, 34 officers and 470 men effective; in February, 455
effective present. Gen. W. E. Baldwin was assigned February 20
to command of brigade including Fourth and Forty-sixth
Regiments, Wofford's and Drew's Batteries, Haynes' and Smyth's
partisans, and Seventeenth and Thirty-first Louisiana.
In the battle of Port Gibson, May 1, the regiment was
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Adair. Baldwin's Brigade
marched through Vicksburg after dark on April 29, and after
some delay for orders, reached the suspension bridge over the
north fork of Bayou Pierre at midnight before May 1, at
daylight on which morning they resumed the march with sound of
battle ahead, and moving two miles at double-quick they went
into action on the Rodney road, the Fourth being placed on the
left of the center of the line, its right forming part of the
defense of a triangular wood, separated from the Seventeenth
Louisiana by a deep ravine, its left extending along a skirt
of woods. An advance against the Fourth was checked with
artillery fire. About four in the evening General Baldwin
attempted to advance the Fourth across an open field in its
front, but the regiment encountered a heavy fire of artillery
and musketry that compelled it to resume its former position.
Federal skirmishers then advanced against the Fourth, and the
Confederate batteries, opening on them, killed and wounded
several men of this regiment. The brigade was soon afterward
ordered back across Bayou Pierre. The Seventeenth Louisiana
and Fourth Mississippi were so posted as to bear the severest
part of the conflict. Regimental losses not given; brigade, 6o
killed and wounded. The command reached Vicksburg at 5
o’clock on the evening of the 4th, having in less than five
days marched over 100 miles.
The regiment was stationed out from Vicksburg toward Hall's
Ferry until the 15th, when, and at that ferry, General Baldwin
being given command of all forces guarding the railroad
bridge, the brigade moved to Mount Alban. On the 16th Baldwin
sent the Fourth to reinforce General Vaughn in the works east
of the bridge. News of the disaster at Baker's Creek came that
night, and in obedience to the orders of General Pemberton, on
the 17th, Baldwin attempted to withdraw the Fourth, but it was
then in battle in front of the Big Black bridge. "This
regiment," said Baldwin, "gallantly held its place
until left alone, when the remnant escaped by swimming the
river." Many were captured, including Major Gee.
The brigade fought gallantly in the outer line of works
around Vicksburg, May 18, Major J. W. Anderson, Baldwin's
Chief of Artillery, being killed there. This advanced position
they were withdrawn from before dawn on the 19th to take a new
position on the inner line, the right of the brigade at
Riddle's house. Here the attack of the 19th was sustained by
the Louisiana regiments mainly. Another attack was made on the
22d, when General Baldwin was wounded. June 28
Lieutenant-Colonel Adair was severely wounded. "He had
displayed," said Baldwin, "the highest qualities of
a soldier and merited especial notice." Other officers
honorably mentioned were Captains J. B. Moore and T. P.
Nelson, acting field officers, The brigade marched out of
Vicksburg at the head of Smith's Division on the evening of
July 11, 1863.
In the parole camp at Enterprise, Baldwin's Brigade
included the Fourth, Thirty-fifth, Fortieth and Forty-sixth
Regiments. The Fourth was declared exchanged October 16, 1863.
November 20 the brigade reported 2,279 exchanged and armed,
the regiments being the Fourth, Thirty-fifth, Thirty-ninth,
Fortieth and Forty-sixth. General Johnston was ordered to send
them to reinforce Bragg at Missionary Ridge, November 2, but
the brigade did not receive marching orders until the 21st.
They arrived at Atlanta too late for the battle of the 25th,
and went into winter quarters at Resaca, as part of W. H. T.
Walker's Division, Hardee's Corps. They were returned to
General Polk January 15-16, and assigned to Maury at Mobile.
Sent to Meridian February 1, and back to Mobile.
On February 19, General Baldwin was thrown from his horse
and killed. He was buried at Mobile with great honors and much
sorrow. April 1, Brig.-Gen. C. W. Sears was assigned to
command of brigade, including, as reorganized, the Fourth,
Thirty-fifth, Forty-sixth and Thirty-sixth and Seventh
Battalion of Hebert's Brigade. The brigade was with the troops
under Brig.-Gen. James Cantey at Pollard, Ala. Sears' Brigade
was sent to Selma April 13. Capt. T. G. Elmore, Company G, was
one of the examining board of Cantey's Division April 1. April
30, Col. T. N. Adair commanding regiment, Sears' Mississippi
Brigade, and the smaller brigades of Cockrell's Missouri and
Ector's Texas and North Carolina troops, formed the division
of Gen. Samuel G. French, formerly Chief of Ordnance of the
Mississippi State troops. Polk's Army of the Mississippi was
moved to Georgia to reinforce Johnston against Sherman, and
Sears' Brigade reached the scene of conflict near Resaca, May
16. The Fourth was under fire on the Cassville line, and for
weeks along the New Hope Church line and at Pumpkinvine Creek,
Lost Mountain and on the Kenesaw Mountain line. General
Johnston announced June 14, "Comrades, you are called to
mourn your first Captain, your oldest Companion in Arms,
Lieutenant-General Polk fell today at the outpost of this Army
-- the Army he raised and commanded, in all of whose trials he
shared, to all of whose victories he contributed."
Major-General Loring took temporary command, succeeded by
Lieut.Gen. A. P. Stewart. On the occasion of Sherman's
assault, June 27, French's Division was post on the Marietta
road, thence on and over Little Kenesaw and partly up Great
Kenesaw. "Whatever credit is due for the complete repulse
of the assaulting column led by Gen. M. L. Smith,"
General French wrote, "belongs exclusively to the brigade
of General Cockrell and the left of General Sears', the
Mississippi Brigade then being commanded by Col. W. S.
Barry." Fifty-one pieces of artillery were brought to
bear on the division during this assault. At the battle of
Peachtree Creek, July 10, Sears' Brigade was on the extreme
left of the army at the railroad bridge over the
Chattahoochee, and was not seriously engaged on account of
delay in bringing on the action, though it was the plan of
battle that Walthall and French should make the flank attack.
July 21 the brigade began fortifying a line at the Turner's
Ferry road on the west side of Atlanta.
They made a demonstration against the Federal line in their
front July 23. After that there was a continual battle, day
and night, of sharpshooters and artillery, with an occasional
sally or reconnaissance, particularly August 4-6, when the
regiment lost 34 men. August 27, French marched out with
Sears' and Ector's Brigades and found no enemy except the
Twentieth Corps strongly fortified on the Chattahoochie River.
Hood sent his troops south to meet Sherman’s flanking
movement, and on August 31 French's Division was the only part
of the army in front of Atlanta. After dark, September 1, they
were the rear guard of the evacuation, marching all night, and
all day the 2d, and on the 3d taking position in the fortified
line at Lovejoy's Station, relieving Bates' Division. The
campaign closed with Sherman's withdrawal to Atlanta,
September 6. General French said that his division, during all
this campaign, was, with a single day's exception, constantly
under fire of the enemy. "The labor they performed, their
gallantry, and the privations they endured are lasting
evidences of their valor and patriotism." The casualties
of the Fourth were 2 wounded at Cassville, 5 at New Hope
Church, 1 at Latimar House; 3 killed, 20 wounded, 24 missing
at Kenesaw Mountain; 1 killed, 2 wounded at Smyrna; 3 killed,
12 wounded, 14 missing at the Chattahoochee; 2 killed, 21
wounded, 3 missing before Atlanta; 2 wounded at Lovejoy's
Station; total, 9 killed, 65 wounded, 41 missing, According to
a Federal report, near Vining's Station, July 9, 1864, the
Fourth Regiment was in a fight with the Twenty-first Ohio, and
lost several killed and wounded and 17 prisoners.
August 26, the enemy appearing to be withdrawing, Colonel
Adair, with the Fourth, advanced and found the third line
strongly held, losing 2 officers killed and 4 men wounded.
General French, in report of Atlanta campaign, named among
the killed of his division: Captains Bradford Keith, Samuel A.
Kennerly; Lieuts. J. R. Mothershead, J. B. Caryy, J. B.
Ferrell, L. Deboard, F. M. Sherrill, J. P. Norman, D. R.
Balding, W, T. West; Majors Sanders, Shingleur, Morey, Derring;
and Captains Danner and Kent, of staff, honorably mentioned.
Also Lieuts. James R. Yerger, Wiley Abercrombie and W. H.
Cain, aides; Captain Henderson, provost marshal; Lieut. E. T.
Freeman, inspector general; Dr. William B. Harrison, chief
At the beginning of General Hood's movement to destroy the
railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Stewart's Corps
crossed the Chattahoochee late in September, camped near Lost
Mountain, and tore up the railroad near Big Shanty, after
which French's Division was sent to fill up the cut at
Allatoona. Arriving near the cut at 3 o’clock in the morning
of October 5, 1864, Colonel Adair, with the Fourth Mississippi
and one piece of artillery, was left near the blockhouse at
Allatoona Creek, with orders to capture the garrison and
destroy the bridge, while French proceeded with the remainder
of his force to the memorable assault upon the fort at the cut
held by General Corse. About four in the evening, when this
assault had failed, General French was informed by Colonel
Adair that the blockhouse had not been taken, though the
Fourth had burned the railroad bridge and the duplicate
bridge. French brought up Kolb's Battery from his reserve, and
the blockhouse was compelled to surrender. The casualties of
the Fourth were 4 wounded. Following this, Stewart's Corps
destroyed the railroad between Resaca and Dalton. French's
Division captured the blockhouse at Tilton, October 13, and
next encountered the enemy at Decatur, Ala., October 26-29,
moving from there to Tuscumbia.
Sears' Brigade crossed the Tennessee River with Stewart's
Corps November 20, and marched against Schofield's Federal
command at Columbia. November 29 the corps was moved toward
Spring Hill, with the intention of cutting off Schofield's
retreat. Through some confusion in the night march Stewart did
not .reach the point of intended attack, where Stanley's
Division held back Forrest's cavalry, and Cheatham's Corps.
They led in the pursuit of Schofield, November 30, to
Franklin, and took part in the assault, on the left of
Stewart's line. The battle raged from four in the evening
until after dark, with skirmishing until two in the morning.
After carrying the outer line, the men advanced across an open
space, swept by a murderous crossfire of artillery. Colonel
Adair was shot twice in the head, twice in the right shoulder
and knocked down by a shell within ten steps of the inner line
of fortifications. General Sears published the following list
of those "foremost among the forlorn hope," who
reached the trenches of the main Federal line: Company A --
Sergt. J. B. Smith (wounded); Privates W. J. Butler, W. J.
Pearson, W. W. Nations, Isaac McCafferty. Company B --
Corporals G. G. S, Patterson, J. T. Thornton; Privates A. J.
Strickland, W. H. Cook. Company C -- Corporal J. J. Cowey
(killed); W. B. Smith; Privates J. J. Graham, W. D. Thompson.
Company D -- Captain L. O. Paris (killed); Sergeants W. E.
Brasher (w), Wyatt Brasher (w), M. J. West; Corporal C. C.
Clements (w) ; Privates W. H. Patton (k), G. H. Satlain (k),
J. W. Stevens (w), Henry Counts (w), W. Counts (w), C. W.
McCain, J. M. Levain. Company E -- Second Lieutenant O. E.
Townsend; Sergeant E. P. Holmes (w), W. M. Nabors; Corporal S.
W. King; Privates W. H. Lowriman, John Stafford, John Boland,
L. J. King, J. S. Yellington, P. S. Webb, John A. Pyron (w),
W. A. Stafford. Company F -- First Lieutenant Samuel Fox;
Sergeant H. L. Bailey, Private J. M. Hastings. Company H --
Sergeant G. D. Taylor (k) ; Corporals G. W. Kerr (w), J. W.
Russell (k); Privates R. W. Anderson, W. E. Black, Jesse
Riddle, J. B. Minter, H. J. Russell (w). Company K--Sergeant
W. S. Massey; Corporals J. E. Bowie (w), W. S. Dulin, A. C.
McComb (w) ; Privates T. T. Bates (w) , J. P. Garner, W. H.
McComb, S. T. L. Ramage. The casualties of Sears' Brigade were
30 killed, 168 wounded, 35 missing.
On the line about Nashville, the brigade was detached to
accompany Bates' Division to assist Forrest in the siege of
Murfreesboro. At Overall's Creek, December 4, the brigade had
2 killed, 19 wounded. They were in battle before Murfreesboro
December 7. A return of the brigade dated December 9 shows
2,306 on the roll, of which 496 were prisoners, 396 present
and 210 effective. This remnant took part in the battle before
Nashville, December 15-16, under the command of Walthall. The
capture of the flag of the Fourth was reported to have been
made on the 16th by Adjutant Thomas P. Gore, of the Fifth
Minnesota, the colors of which regiment were shot down four
times in the final charge. Waltball's men were almost
surrounded when they gave way, and many were captured and sent
to military prisons in the north. The few who remained to
represent Sears' Brigade crossed the Tennessee River with the
army, after services of the most arduous character, many
marching barefooted over the icy roads, and went into winter
quarters near Tupelo.
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 N. Adair, the Fourth
Regiment by Maj. Thomas P. Nelson. The Fourth was with the
garrison of Fort Blakeley, east of Mobile, captured by Canby's
expedition April 9, 1865. "The few of our company who
escaped capture at Nashville," wrote Sergt. L. A. Powers,
of Company C, "together with some who were absent without
leave, got together, and were finally surrendered at Mobile,
and carried to Ship Island." They were paroled after the
capitulation of Lieut.-Gen. Richard Taylor, commanding the
department, at Citronelle, Ala., May 4, 1865.