Military History of Mississippi: 1812 – 1836
(taken from “Military History of Mississippi 1803 – 1898” by Dunbar Rowland, 1908;
1978 Reprint, The Reprint Company, Publishers, pp. 3-14)
Submitted by Tim Harrison
WAR OF 1812, INCLUDING WAR WITH CREEK INDIANS
Governor David Holmes, at the town of Washington, then the seat of government of the Mississippi Territory, which included what is now Alabama as well as the present State of Mississippi, received, on Sunday, the twentieth of June, 1812, letters from the Tombigbee region assuring him that part of the Creek Nation of Indians was determined on war. These letters were from Col. James Caller, Col. Joseph Carson and Maj. John McGrew, officers of the Territorial militia. They were dated June 14, and had come to the Governor by express, a horseman charged to travel with the greatest possible speed. The route lay through the Choctaw Nation, whose attitude in case of war was open to doubt. Governor Holmes had also to consider this time the organization of the Spanish coast country between the Pearl River and Perdido, annexed to his territory by Act of Congress, also the revolution in and about San Antonio, in which some Mississippians were actors, and above all, the danger of war with Great Britain. He had, before the addition of the Mobile strip, a military organization representing thirteen regiments of militia. In the Tombigbee-Alabama settlements, threatened by the Creeks, Col. Jas. Caller was the commanding officer of militia. At Fort Stoddart, in the same region, there was a detachment of United States troops under Maj. John Bowyer, and at Cantonment Washington, near the Governor, was the headquarters of Col. Leonard Covington, whose advice the Governor immediately asked. The action taken by Holmes and Covington, which began the participation of Mississippi in the War of 1812, was to request Major Bowyer to send out a full company of regulars to an advanced point on the frontier. Another dispatch to Colonel Caller instructed him to send a party of mounted militia with the regulars, also to detail from the Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Twelfth Regiments of militia one Major, six Captains, six Lieutenants, six Ensigns and 360 privates, with the competent number of non-commissioned officers “to be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice. This detachment is intended to unite and act with the regular troops in case the Indians should enter the country in considerable force with hostile intentions.” The militia was generally unarmed. Colonel Caller was directed to obtain 200 stands of arms from Major Bowyer. The rendezvous of the militia was to be at Fort St. Stephens. It does not appear however, that this battalion was called into the field. The Creeks were yet under the control of the peace party, the murderers of white settlers had been punished and quiet was restored for a year on that frontier.
The express from James Monroe, Secretary of State, announcing the declaration of war with Great Britain, was addressed to Governor Holmes on the nineteenth of this same June, and received by the Governor, by way of Cantonment St. Tammany, July 11, 1812.
On July 14th the Governor issued his general orders announcing the declaration of war, and as Commander-in-Chief of the militia “making such a disposition of the militia of the Territory as he may deem best calculated to protect the citizens thereof, to maintain order, and to make war upon the enemy with all the effect that our force and situation will permit.”
THE FIRST DETACMENT OF MISSISSIPPI MILITIA IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES
In this order the Governor called for details from militia regiments as follows: From the First Regiment (Amite County), one company; from the Second Regiment (Wilkinson County), one company; from the Third Regiment (Adams County), three companies, including the volunteer companies of Captains Becket and Painboeuff; from the Seventh Regiment (Baldwin County), one company; from the Fourth, Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh and Thirteenth Regiments (Jefferson, Claiborne, Warren, Franklin, Marion Counties), each parts of a company. The previous orders to the Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Twelfth Regiments (Washington, Baldwin, Wayne and Greene), exempted those counties from this detail. In addition to these details the cavalry troops were ordered to be in readiness to take the field whenever ordered.
Ferdinand L. Claiborne, recently appointed Brigadier-General of militia, was entrusted with the execution of the order, and General Wilkinson, in command of the United States Military Department, was asked to supply the necessary equipment. General Claiborne reported August 18, 1812: “It will be particularly gratifying to your excellency to be informed that the requisition has been filled principally by voluntary enrollment. The counties of Wilkinson, Jefferson, Claiborne, Warren and Marion had no occasion to resort to draft; Amite and Franklin for but a few privates. Adams was completed by draft principally.” The arms, ammunition and camp equipage were delivered at Natchez landing by steamboat September 19, 1812, and a little later in that month about 600 men were in camp at Cantonment Washington. A further detail of 300 was then called for. November 3d the regiment began its march to Baton Rouge, with General Claiborne in command with the rank of Colonel. Capt. A. H. Holmes, brother of the Governor, was inspector of the regiment during its organization. The period of service of this command, which was known as “the detachment of Mississippi militia in the service of the United States,” was six months. This was spent in camp at Baton Rouge or vicinity. The Legislature that winter by resolution acknowledged and praised the response to the public call. When the term of service was near expiring many of the members of this command enlisted in the regiment next to be mentioned.
Another organization under the orders of the Governor in the year 1812 was a battalion in the Mobile region under Col. Joseph Carson. At Natchez a volunteer company was formed by men legally exempt from military duty, which the Governor assigned to patrol duty.
FIRST REGIMENT MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY UNITED STATES VOLUNTEERS.
This regiment was organized at Baton Rouge beginning in January, 1813, with the re-enlisting members of the Mississippi regiment above mentioned as a nucleus, recruited by volunteers from the Territory. Cowles Mead was first commissioned as Colonel and Joseph Carson as Major, but Mead soon resigned and Carson was made Colonel and Daniel Beasley, General Claiborne’s aide, was appointed Major. Lieut. W. R. DeLoach was Adjutant; Lieut. B. F. Salvage, Quartermaster; William R. Cox, Surgeon’s Mate. The companies were commanded by Captains Philip A. Engle, Archilaus Wells, Randall Jones, William Jack, William C. Mead, Benjamin Dent, Hutton Middleton, Abram M. Scott, James Foster, L. V. Foelckil, C. G. Johnson, Hans Morrison. The First Lieutenants were James Bailey, Richard Bowman, A. L. Osborn, William Morgan, J. D. Rodgers, W. R. DeLoach, Theron Kellogg, A. Montgomery, John Camp, Alexander Calvit, John Allen, Robert Layson, Benjamin F. Salvage. Second Lieutenants, Kean Caldwell, Charles Moore, Charles Baron, S. M. Osborn, N. Lockridge, R. C. Anderson, George Dougherty, Robert Swan, James Luckett, George H. Gibbs, Robert Burton, D. M. Callihan. Ensigns, Stephen Mays, Y. R. McDonald, Benjamin Blanton, Benjamin Stowell, William S. Britt, Isaac W. Davis, Robert Davis, Charles West, Samuel Guest, Richard Smith (Register of the Army, 1813). A morning report dated at Liberty, July 18, lists the Captains as Jack, Engle, Jones, Mead, Painboeuff, Dent, Scott, Middleton, Johnson, Foster, Brandon, and Morrison, with an aggregate present and absent of 402. (Claiborne’s MS Collection).
This regiment and a Louisiana regiment organized at the same time and place, formed a brigade, which Gen. Ferdinand L. Claiborne, of Natchez, was assigned to command, he being commissioned Brigadier-General of Volunteers in the United States service in March. On his staff were Capt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Brigade Major; Lieut. Alexander Calvit, Aide, and Dr. John Kr, Surgeon. In the latter part of June the regiment was ordered to the Tombigbee River because of Indian hostilities. Colonel Carson and his men reached Mount Vernon, Alabama late in July. General Claiborne, upon his arrival, stationed the companies for the defense of the settlements. The companies of Captains Jack and Middleton were sent to garrison a stockade east of the Alabama River, called Fort Mims. This detachment, including six or seven commissioned officers and about 100 non-commissioned officers and privates, were killed by the Indians, who took the stockade August 30th. Two private soldiers alone escaped.
This massacre was avenged by the campaigns into the Creek country from the northward, under General Andrew Jackson, while General Claiborne and his men remained in the vicinity of Mobile charged with the duty of guarding against attack by the British. Late in the year 1813 General Claiborne led the regiment into the Indian country and destroyed the camp at Holy Ground December 23d. This affair ended the record of the regiment, which was marked by great privation and suffering, with no opportunity for service or renown. January 14, 1814, General Claiborne wrote from Mt. Vernon: “My volunteers are returning to their homes with eight months’ pay due them, and almost literally naked. They have served the last three months of an inclement winter without shoes or blankets and almost without shirts, but are still devoted to their country and properly impressed with the justice and necessity of the war.”
REGIMENT OF MISSISSIPPI MILITIA IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES
Previous to the Fort Mims massacre Governor Holmes ordered five companies of infantry and all the cavalry to be in readiness to move at the shortest notice. The Dragoons, as elsewhere noted, were the first to go to the field. “In consequence of a representation from the commanding General that a further force was necessary,” Governor Holmes wrote in this message of December, 1813, “I ordered the five companies of infantry and two companies of mounted riflemen to rendezvous at the most convenient points, and to proceed immediately to the eastern frontier. The order was promptly obeyed, and these corps are now acting in that quarter of the country.” The seven companies were ordered to Fort Stoddart in October, and two other companies were detailed to be held in readiness, the whole to constitute a regiment under the command of Col. George H. Nixon, of Marion County. The regiment was preceded in its march to the Tombigbee by the Third Regiment, U.S.A., Col. Gilbert C. Russell, which had been recruiting at Cantonment Washington for several months. Colonel Nixon reached Mount Vernon November 25, 1813. Two companies, Downs’ and Bond’s, marched with Russell to Alabama Heights, a garrison was placed at Pierce’s stockade, and with the balance Colonel Nixon was ordered to co-operate with the troops below in case the British should attempt to land, as was reported. Most of the regiment was mustered in December 30, 1813.
The muster roll of the “Detachment of Militia of the Mississippi Territory ordered to the Eastern Frontier,” etc., preserved in the Department of Archives and History shows the following officers of the field and staff: George H. Nixon, Lieutenant-Colonel; Henry Cassells, Major; Nathan Swayze, Major; Robert Alexander, Adjutant; Philo Andrews, Quartermaster; Richard Roach, Surgeon; Malcolm Gilchrist, Sergeant-Major; Samuel S. Montgomery, Second Quartermaster; Oliver W. Fuller, Senior Musician; and Captains Robert Swilley, Samuel Bachellor, Parmenas Briscoe, John Lowry, John Bond, J. Downs. In December, 1813, John F. Bowie was “Adjutant and inspector of a regiment of Mississippi militia in the service of the United States,” this command.
Two more companies were sent to the regiment in February, 1814, one from Colonel Nixon’s regiment (Amite County) and Captain Rapalje’s company from Washington. When the term of enlistment expired in April, 1814, the regiment was recruited. March 20, 1814, the Governor wrote to Colonel Russell, Third United States Infantry: “I have ordered six companies of infantry to be drafted and marched to the eastern frontier as expeditiously as possible.” To Nixon the Governor wrote: “These six companies, with the two that marched under the command of Major Swayze, and as many as can be prevailed upon to remain of those now in service, will form your command. Major Smoot is detailed to act as one of your Majors. Major Cassells will return with such of the troops as have a right to be discharged in April next, and who will not voluntarily consent to stay longer.” (Journal of Governor Holmes.)
On July 16, 1814, Nixon’s command marched from the Alabama River with a part of the Thirty-ninth regulars, under Col. Thomas H. Benton, to hunt out the refugee Creeks on the Escambia River. Later in 1814 they were stationed at Pierce’s stockade, whence Captain Bachelder was sent out against Creek marauders December 16.
It is said in Pickett’s History of Alabama, “During the Creek war Colonel Nixon, at the head of a considerable force, scoured the swamps of the Perdido and other streams and frequently killed and captured Indians. After he had accomplished all he could he marched to the head of the Perdido, where he divided his command, sending Major William Peacock, with the troops of the Thirty-ninth (U.S., Col. John Williams) to the boatyard on Lake Tensaw, while he marched the remainder of the command to Fort Claiborne. He was an excellent officer and served in the war until its conclusion.”
The companies were raised sometimes by volunteering and sometimes by draft. There is a paper in the Mississippi Archives entitled “Muster Roll of the Company order to be Drafted from the Fourth Regiment of Militia, M. T., August 27, 1813,” and signed by David Carradine, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding.
It seems from correspondence in the Archives that Nixon’s regiment had not been formally discharged in April, 1815, though disbanded. “On the 14th of March, 1815, a general order was issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Seventh Military District, directing the whole of the militia of the Mississippi Territory to be discharged.” (Lette3r of Maj.-Gen. E. P. Gaines to Col. G. E. Nixon, April 14, 1815, Mississippi Archives.)
The militia organization in 1814, as given in the Natchez Almanac, was as follows: Ferdinand Lee Claiborne, Brigadier-General; Andrew Marschalk, Adjutant-General; Aides-de-Camp to the Governor: Joseph Sessions, Thomas Percy, John Haines, Charles K. Blanchard. John Wood, Aide-de-Camp to General Claiborne. Lieutenant-Colonels commandant: David Nielson, First Regiment, Amite County; Samuel Stocket, Second Regiment, Wilkinson County; David Fleming, Third Regiment, Adams; David Carradine, Fourth Regiment, Jefferson; Raymond Robinson, Fifth Regiment, Claiborne; James Caller, Sixth Regiment, Washington (Ala.); Peter Perkins, Seventh Regiment, Madison (Ala.); James Powell, Eighth Regiment, Baldwin (Ala.); James Patton, Ninth Regiment, Wayne; Henry Manadere, Tenth Regiment, Warren; Robert Witherspoon, Eleventh Regiment, Franklin; Josiah Skinner, Twelfth Regiment, Greene; George H. Nixon, Thirteenth Regiment, Marion; John Hinson, Fourteenth Regiment, Mobile (Ala.); Reuben Saffold, Fifteenth Regiment, Clarke (Ala.); Charles Burris, Sixteenth Regiment, Madison; William Bates, Seventeenth Regiment, Jackson; Jordan Morgan, Eighteenth Regiment, Hancock.
CALL OF 1814
“Conformably to the requisition made by the President of the United States upon the Executives of the several States and Territories for a corps of 93,500 militia, orders were issued early in September last for the quota assigned to this Territory, being 500 infantry, to be organized and rendezvoused at points from whence they could be most conveniently marched to Mount Vernon. This force was formed into five companies agreeably to the military establishment of the United States, and were directed to repair to their place of destination without delay. In addition to these corps I furnished for the service of the United States, upon the requisition of Major-General Andrew Jackson, four full troops of dragoons. The entire force is now acting under the orders of that distinguished commander.” (Message of Governor Holmes, November, 1814, Mississippi Archives.) These companies were ordered to rendezvous at Washington, Liberty and John Ford’s, on Pearl River. Jackson sent in haste for the infantry and cavalry September 14th. The British fleet was then off Mobile point. On the 20th General Jackson wrote to the Governor thanking him “for the promptitude with which you have assembled and marched your quota of troops. Captain Doherty’s troop is composed of fine young men and calculated to endure hardship.”
THE MISSISSIPPI DRAGOONS
The cavalry battalion was organized in September, 1813, after the Fort Mims massacre, of the Jefferson troop, Capt. Thomas Hinds; the Adams troop, Capt. James Kempe; the Madison (Alabama) troop, Capt. J. G. Richardson; the Amite troop, Captain Dunn, in all about 200 men. Captain Hinds was promoted to Major commanding. the battalion set out from the town of Liberty September 23, 1813, accompanying the Third United States Infantry. “The arrival of these troops rendered the entire force on the eastern frontier efficient and reputable,” wrote Governor Holmes in his subsequent message. “The commanding General of the district accepted the service of the cavalry and ordered them to do duty with the volunteers in the service of the United States, and it gives me satisfaction to inform you that while they were employed upon the frontier they rendered to the company essential service.” They were not, however, mustered into the United States service. After two and a half months they returned home.
In January, 1814, the Governor wrote to the Secretary of War: “The cause of their returning from the frontier before the expiration of the term of service, which was six months, is explained in a report made by the commander of the squadron and in the correspondence between General Flournoy and myself.”
In September, 1814, they returned to the field at the moment of danger, mobilizing from their homes and moving with great rapidity to the support of General Jackson at Mobile, after which they took part in the campaign against Pensacola, where they were under fire of the forts and British ships. Below Pensacola Lieut. Alexander Murray, second in command of the Adams troop, was shot by an Indian and instantly killed.
General Jackson’s next movement was to New Orleans, where the dragoons were ordered to report as soon as possible. “They marched to Liberty, Amite County, where as many as desired it were furloughed for three days to get a remount, and rendezvous at Camp Richardson in Wilkinson County. The march was pushed on day and night, the weather very cold and wet, the roads exceedingly bad. They entered the city on the night of the 23d of December, at 2 o’clock, and bivouacked on what is now known as Lafayette Square.” (Mississippi Archives.) The date of arrival was given by a survivor, Anthony Campbell, writing in 1837, as December 18 – 20. Their first fighting was on the night of December 23, when Jackson attacked the advancing British and checked them with such vigor as to indicate the outcome of the campaign. In this very important and decisive engagement Coffee’s riflemen and Hinds’ Mississippi Dragoons formed the advance in the line of Jackson’s march. “About nightfall the troops were formed in line of battle, the left composed of a part of Coffee’s men, Beale’s Rifles, the Mississippi Dragoons, and some other mounted riflemen, in all about 700 men, General Coffee in command, Colonel Laronde as guide.” The Dragoons were 107 strong, according to Latour. Jackson, in command of the right of his battle line, opened the attack at about eight o’clock in the evening, following the bombardment by the gunboat Caroline. “Meanwhile Coffee’s troops, from the rear of Laronde’s plantation, were moved to the boundary limits of Lacoste and Villere, with a view of taking the enemy in the rear. Coffee extended his front and ordered his men to move forward in silence and fire without orders, taking aim as best they could. They drove the enemy before them and took a second position in front of Lacoste’s plantation. Here was posted the Eighty-fifth Regiment of the British Army, which was forced back by the first fire toward their main camp. Coffee’s Division finally took a last position in front of the old levee near Laronde’s boundary, where it harassed the enemy as they fell back, driven by Jackson on the right.” (The Battle of New Orleans, by Zachary F. Smith, 1904.)
In this fight the Mississippians had no opportunity for cavalry work, the field being cut up with ditches. On the next day “the Mississippi mounted riflemen and the Feliciana Dragoons, with the Seventh Regiment, were left at Laronde’s in order to observe the enemy’s movements.” Skirmishing followed until the British line broke and the troops returned to camp. “Nothing of importance took place in the course of the three following days. Parties of our troops frequently went out to reconnoitre. Major Hinds with his cavalry several times displayed in sight of the enemy, who never ventured out of his position. On the evening of the 28th the British moved forward, driving in our advance guards. “Major Hinds, with the cavalry and the Second Regiment, had neglected no opportunity of harassing the enemy, and the advanced sentries and piquets had often exchanged with him a few shots.” On the 30th “Major Hinds, at the head of the cavalry, went out on reconnoitreing toward the enemy’s advanced posts on the right. His troops sustained the fire of all the outposts and three dragoons were wounded. (Latour’s Historical Memoir.) This was the famous event of the ditch or canal, filled with British soldiers, whose presence Hinds and his men disclosed by charging. “They leaped the ditch, which was crowded with soldiers, made a circuit in front of the British lines and charged over the ditch a second time, each dragoon firing his pistol on the astounded soldiers as they bounded over. . . . They recovered in time to give us a general volley, which wounded several of the troops and tumbled over a number of horses. L. C. Harris and Charles E. Jourdan each got a bullet in the right shoulder.” (M.W. Trimble, quoted in Claiborne’s Mississippi.)
In the battle of January 8th the cavalry was held in reserve. “On the morning of the 19th it was perceived that the enemy had evacuated, not a single man appearing.” A letter was received from General Lambert asking care for the wounded left behind. “Doctor Kerr, Surgeon-General of our army, was immediately sent with the British doctor to Jumonville’s Plantation. . . . Shortly after, General Jackson ordered Colonel Hinds, commanding the cavalry, to repair with all speed to Villere’s canal and proceed along it as far as possible, harrassing the enemy on his retreat. . . . Colonel Laronde, accompanied by Colonel Kemper and a detachment of Major Hinds’ cavalry, went in pursuit of the enemy through the prairie. They took four prisoners . . . and advanced within a mile of the forks of Bayou Bienvenue. . . . On the night of the 25th of January Colonel Hinds, with his troop of horse, General Humbert and the engineer Latrobe, went once more to reconnoitre the enemy’s position, which they found he had not changed. Colonel Hinds had one man killed and two wounded by the cannon of the enemy, and finding it impossible to execute for the present the object he had in view, which was to erect a battery on Bayou Bienvenue in the place best calculated to oppose the enemy, should he be disposed to revisit the Mississippi, he returned with his detachment.”
By a resolution of the 2d of February the Legislature voted thanks to the troops of Tennessee, Kentucky and the Mississippi Territory, to their commanders, Generals Carroll, Coffee, Thomas and Adair, and also to Colonel Hinds, for their services in the defense of the State.” (Latour’s Historical Memoir.)
In his address to the army, below New Orleans, January 21, 1815, General Jackson said: “The cavalry from the Mississippi Territory, under their enterprising leader, Major Hinds, was always ready to perform every service which the nature of the country permitted them to execute. The daring manner in which the reconnoitred the enemy on his lines excited the admiration of one army and the astonishment of the other.” The battalion was mustered out in March, 1815.
NATCHEZ VOLUNTEER RIFLEMEN.
The Natchez Volunteer Riflemen, under Captain James C. Wilkins, “by the most strenuous efforts reached the city on the 8th, at an early hour in the morning. They were hurrying to the battlefield when they perceived the American forces on the opposite bank of the river in great confusion retreating before a British regiment. Having received no orders it occurred to Captain Wilkins that the best service he could render would be to cross over and reinforce our defeated party. A couple of plantation ferry boats enabled him to cross, and he immediately took a strong position behind a ditch and sent Lieutenant Bingaman to report to General Morgan. A number of fugitives joined him here. While calmly waiting, determined there to check the enemy or to die, Colonel Thornton, who had been driving our disorganized forces before him, suddenly fell back. He had just been apprised of the disasters on the other side and ordered to recross the river.” (Claiborne’s Mississippi.) This company of volunteers returned to Natchez February 14.
Major Henry Chotard, a gallant Mississippian of the Third U.S. Infantry, Adjutant-General on the staff of General Jackson, was wounded by a shell in the British bombardment of the Chalmette plantation buildings January 8. (Latour.) In his report of the battle of December 23 Jackson wrote: “Colonels Butler and Piatt and Major Chotard, by their intrepidity, saved the artillery.”
Judge George Poindexter served on the staff of General Carroll, commanding the Tennessee militia.
After the battle many of the British prisoners were guarded at Cantonment Washington until escorted to Natchez for embarkation March 1, by Capt. James Green’s company of militia.
THE LAST CALL, 1814-15
Other detachments of militia were called out for United States service in December, 1814, but the information so far discovered in the Archives is very fragmentary. One muster roll has been found “of a company of mounted infantry of the militia of the Mississippi Territory in the service of the United States, commanded by Captain Alexander Calvit from the 31st of December, 1814, to the 4th of February, 1815.” Dr. James A. Maxwell, Greenville, applied for a commission as surgeon December 29, 1814. He wrote: “I was informed yesterday that another regiment of militia was to be raised immediately.” (Mississippi Archives.)
Following the battle of New Orleans General Jackson received reinforcements which he stationed on his fortified line to resist an expected second attack from the British, who were encamped on Bayou Bienvenue and Lake Borgne. In his account of these operations in the latter part of January, 1815, Major Latour writes, in his “Historical Memoir,” “The number of troops encamped on Lafon’s plantation had been augmented with Colonel Nelson’s regiment of volunteers from the Mississippi Territory, four hundred and fifty men strong.” This was doubtless Colonel David Nielson of the First Regiment, Mississippi militia, Amite County, but no data are at hand regarding the troops under his command.
P. Dorkins, writing to Governor Holmes from Camp Mandeville, February 6, 1815, said: “The troops at this place are sickly. We are a little upwards of two thousand strong and upwards of three hundred on the sick report. We bury on an average one a day. I have had command at this place for some time past, but the brigadiers begin to come on so fast I shall be succeeded in a few days. Ever since I reached headquarters I have been so fortunate as to have a separate and honorable command. My service has been as pleasant as I could wish, except the anxiety which we have to be with the army at New Orleans during the last forty days. . . . In a few days more we leave service without ever seeing an enemy.”
In the Archives (through the courtesy of Mrs. Kate B. Watson, of Fayette, Miss.) is a monthly return of one of the commands at Camp Mandeville, “Capt. Samuel Bullen’s company of Mississippi militia now in the service of the United States.” The date is January 31, 1815, and the time and place of last inspection are given as Fort Charlotte (Mobile Bay), 1st December, 1814.
It is estimated that six or seven hundred Mississippians took part in the defense of New Orleans December 23 to January 8. The record of the War Department of the United States shows the total enrollment from Mississippi Territory during the war: Cavalry—officers, 44; men, 442; mounted infantry—officers, 51; men, 738; riflemen—officers, 21; men, 326; spies—officers, 1; men, 13; total, 1,1667. In a letter to the Secretary of War, June 2, 1815, Governor Holmes wrote: “Almost every man in the Territory liable to perform militia duty served a tour of six months during the late war, either by person or by substitute. Very few have received any compensation.”
In the regular army General Leonard Covington, regarded as a citizen of the Territory, fell in Canada, and Major Andrew Hunter Holmes, brother of the Governor, was killed at Mackinac.
Doubtless a considerable number of Mississippians enlisted in the United States regiments, particularly the Third, stationed at Cantonment Washington, where an effort was made to secure recruits early in the war. Later, other United States regiments were recruited in the South.
In 1812 a battalion of Choctaw Indians joined General Claiborne, and about 150 of them, under the command of Pushmataha, were with Claiborne in the expedition to Holy Ground. Later in the war Pushmataha commanded fifty or more warriors attached to Major Blue’s command, in the Pensacola and Mobile operations. When New Orleans was threatened General Jackson appealed to this faithful nation for assistance. Silas Dinsmore, Indian agent, under orders from General Jackson, writing to Governor Holmes from “Camp Pearl River, 30th January, 1815,” said: “It is probable that in two weeks four or five hundred Indians will be ready for service, say one hundred and twenty already at or near Mobile, one hundred here, one hundred from the upper towns, fifty from Chickasawhays and one hundred from the lower towns.” (Mississippi Archives.)
SEMINOLE WAR, 1836
After news had reached Gen. E. P. Gaines at New Orleans of the Dade massacre in Florida, December, 1835, that General called for volunteers from the militia of the adjoining States, including Mississippi, and organized a regiment in Louisiana, with which and a battalion of regulars, he sailed to Tampa in February, 1836. Several companies were formed in Mississippi which did not go, as Gaines’ requisition was unauthorized. One company of sixty was organized at Yalobusha County and marched to Vicksburg, where it was disbanded by order of the President. The State expended $6,135 in calling out volunteers.