History - Part III
 
 


Photo of marker at mass Confederate grave at Iuka, Mississippi.
Among the more than 260 Confederate soldiers buried here is Private John Durell of Company C, 37th Alabama


THE ALABAMA 37TH REGIMENT OF VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA:
A NARRATIVE HISTORY & CHRONOLOGY


PART III: September - December 1862


September 1862 - The 37th Alabama, with an effective strength of only 304 men at this time, is assigned to the 4th Brigade under the command of Colonel John D. Martin in Brigadier General L. Henry Little’s 1st Division (Little’s-Hébert’s) of Major General Sterling Price’s Corps of the Army of Western Tennessee, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.


Army of the West ("Price’s Corps"): Major General Sterling Price, Commanding
1st Division: Brigadier General Lewis Henry Little
4th Brigade: Colonel John D. Martin
37th Regiment of Alabama: Colonel James F. Dowdell


September 3, 1862 - Private William P. Spratling (Co I) departs for home after employing a "Substitute" to take his place in the regiment. This practice of hiring someone to serve in one's place is common – and expensive for those paying the price. A substitute’s asking price is often more than $1,500. Despite being physically absent, a substitute allows his benefactor’s name to remain in place on a company’s rolls.

Spratling doesn’t go home empty handed. He takes with him all the excess baggage the men and officers of the regiment have been ordered to rid themselves of.

The Regiment is showing all the signs of preparing for battle.

September 4, 1862 - The ammunition stores that Lt. T.J. Carlisle brought back from Tupelo are loaded on wagons and dispersed. Carlisle works himself ragged and still suffering from "Camp Fever," he must be relieved from his post as Brigade Ordnance Officer and is hospitalized on September 6.

As an officer, and to his very good fortune, Carlisle is quickly sent out of the deplorable hospital conditions to the private home of a "Mr. McCulloch" in the nearby countryside to aid in his recuperation (possibly, Samuel McCollum, instead, of adjacent Fayette County, Ala., just upstream along the "Loaxapattila River" noted on 1860 Census and period county maps - no McCulloch, or variations were found in 1860 Mississippi census, although the family could have arrived in Lowndes County prior to 1862).

Other officers from the regiment, Captain Joel C. ("Jack") Kendrick and Lieutenant James Burnett (both of Co C), are housed nearby at the home of "Mrs. McCoy" (likely Mrs. Elizabeth McCoy, head of household in the 1860 Census of Lowndes County, Miss.) Lieutenant Tom Harrell (Co G) soon joins Carlisle at the McCulloch home.

By September 10, the regiment is on the move. Under orders to march 2 miles, rest for 10 minutes, then repeat the process, the column of men is virtually unceasing in its progress north. The exhausted men begin to discard their heavier baggage along the road. Coats, bedrolls and even their limited rations of food litter the line of march. The heat and choking dust begin to take a physical and psychological toll, as well.

Private Sylvanus L. Burney
(Co G) later described the brutal conditions of the march:
"... To add to our fatigue and discomfort, the weather was very warm and dry, so that all the creeks and branches had dried up except now and then a hole of water in the larger creek beds. The dust was something awful to experience. We were at times almost famished for water. I remember on this trip a little shower of rain fell, enough to make puddles in low places and we hailed it as a God-send. While this water was muddy as mud, we drank it greedily and gladly. ..."

Known Deaths from Disease during September 1862:
- Private W.C. Clark (Co C) of unnamed disease at Columbus - Sept 1
- Private Stephen A. Tucker (Co D) of
unnamed disease - Sept 3
- Private George M.T. Johnson (Co B) of
"Typhoid" at Columbus - Sept 11
- Private George H. Mitchell (Co D) of
unnamed disease - Sept 11
- Private Freeman B. Peavy (Co B) presumably died of disease - Sept 11
- Private Jesse T. Woodyard (Co I) of "Typhoid" in hospital at Lauderdale Springs, MS - Sept 12
- Sergeant J.B. Beasley (Co F) of "pneumonia" and buried at Okolona, MS - Sept 12
- Private Henry J. McCormack (Co I) of Typhoid at Saltillo, MS - Sept 14
- Private Henry C. Worthy (Co B) of unnamed disease and buried at Okolona, MS - Sept 15
- Private Rufus Woodyard (Co I) of
unnamed disease - Sept 17


September 14, 1862 - Price’s Corps, which includes the 37th Alabama, enters Iuka, Miss., which has been hotly contested by both sides earlier in the year. Iuka is strategically located near the Tennessee border. It is an essential logistics base for any Confederate designs in Tennessee; conversely, it is perfect for launching any Federal campaign into the heart of the Confederacy.

Price’s superior officer, General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi, is leading an offensive strike deep into Kentucky. He orders Price to prevent Union Major General William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Mississippi from moving into middle Tennessee to reinforce Nashville. Price has about 14,000 men, and is instructed that, if necessary, he can request assistance from Major General Earl Van Dorn, commanding the Confederate District of the Mississippi, headquartered at Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Major General Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Federal Army of the Tennessee, fears that Price intends to go north to join Bragg against Nashville. Grant plans for his left wing commander, Major General E. O. C. Ord, and his men to advance on Iuka, Mississippi from the west. Rosecrans’ forces are to march from the southwest; arrive at Iuka on the 18th, and make a coordinated attack the next day to trap Price and eliminate the perceived threat against Nashville.


September 18, 1862 - The 37th Alabama is engaged in the "Battle of Iuka:"
Army of the West ("Price’s Corps"): Major General Sterling Price, Commanding
1st Division: Brigadier General Lewis Henry Little (killed on Sept. 19)
- command of the Brigade passes to Brigadier General Louis Hébert
4th Brigade ("Martin’s): Colonel John D. Martin
37th Regiment of Alabama: Colonel James F. Dowdell (wounded)


Ord arrives on time and skirmishing ensues between his reconnaissance patrol and Confederate pickets about six miles from Iuka before nightfall. Ord sends Price a message demanding that he surrender the town. Price refuses. At the same time, Price receives dispatches from Van Dorn suggesting their two armies rendezvous, as soon as possible at Rienzi, Miss., for attacks on Federal forces in the area.

Price informs Van Dorn that the situation has changed and he cannot leave Iuka immediately. He does, however, issue orders for his men to prepare for a march the next day, to rendezvous with Van Dorn.

Rosecrans does not arrive at Iuka on the 18th but begins his march at 4:30 the next morning.

September 19, 1862 - Rosecrans’ army marches early, instead of using two roads as directed, he follows the Jacinto (Bay Springs) Road only. After considering the amount of time that Rosecrans requires to reach Iuka, Grant decides that he probably will not arrive on the 19th. He orders Ord to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates.

As Rosecrans advances on Iuka, his men fight actions with Confederate troops at points along the way. About 4:00 p.m., just after ascending a hill, the Union  column halts because the Confederates are well-placed below in a ravine, filled with timber and underbrush. The Confederates launch attacks up the hill, capturing a six-gun Ohio battery, while the Federals counterattack from the ridge.

Private S.L. Burney (Co G) continue
s his account: "... the battle commencing in the evening on our left some mile or so away. Very soon we had orders to march to that point. This we did in double quick time to the support of the 3rd Louisiana Regiment – a part of our Brigade. We found them hard pressed and in much need of our help. ..."

[Click here for Iuka battlefield map enlargement, at left, and deeper discussion of casualties]

Colonel Martin's brigade after-action report describes the scene on the hill :

"... Upon arriving near the top of the hill, within 30 or 40 paces of their line, the enemy with three regiments rose and poured a volley upon us. Though the fire was terrific the fatality was not great, they overshooting us, owing to the cover of the hill. We returned their fire, advancing slowly, the enemy stubbornly disputing every foot of the ground. After a fight of three-quarters of an hour it began to grow dusky from the smoke and coming twilight. By pressing and cheering the men on we had driven the enemy to the brink of the hill, where they obstinately disputed every inch of the ground. Here, noticing that General Hebert's brigade had ceased firing, I went down his line and requested Colonel Colbert to give one more volley to the front, to demonstrate that we were there in force, when the Thirty-sixth Mississippi and the Thirty-seventh Alabama, with fixed bayonets and a cheer, charged, capturing several prisoners, from whom we learned that the regiments we fought were the Fifth Iowa, Third Michigan, and First Missouri. The enemy now gave way and fled in confusion from the side of the hill and the old field, when the fighting ceased a little after night. ..."
The fighting, which Gen. Price later stated he had "never seen surpassed," continues until after dark; the Union troops camp for the night behind the ridge.

Price re-deploys inactive troops from Ord’s front to fight against Rosecrans’ men. Ord still does nothing - later stating that he never heard any fighting and, therefore, never engaged the enemy; Grant also remarked that he had heard no sounds of battle. This "sound dampening" effect, due to the hilly terrain and prevailing winds, would hamper troops on both sides from participating in battles throughout the war.

The day's most intense fighting centered on an Ohio battery. Scores of men were killed defending and attacking the guns, along with the artillery's draft animals. The heat of the day soon gave way to a bone-chilling night. Pvt. S.L. Burney described the scene that settled on the battle grounds after dark:
"... Soon everything was silent but the groans of the wounded men and horses that had been shot down around a battery of Yankee guns some 50 yards to my right. The groans of the horses were in some cases more distressing than those of the men. ... During the long and anxious night the men suffered much from cold. ... Not a drop of water nor a mouthful to eat could be had.  ..."
Following the fighting on the 19th, Price decides to reengage the Yankees the next day, but his subordinates convince him to march to join Van Dorn, as earlier planned. At the same time, Rosecrans re-deploys his men for fighting the next day. Price’s army escapes via the uncovered Fulton Road, protects itself with a heavy rearguard and sets off in hopes of joining with Van Dorn.

Although Rosecrans was supposed to traverse Fulton Road and cover it, he stated that he had not guarded the road because he feared dividing his force; Grant later approved this decision. Rosecrans’ army occupies Iuka and then mounts a pursuit; the Confederate rearguard and overgrown terrain prevent the Union pursuit from accomplishing much. The Federals should have destroyed or captured Price’s army, but instead the Rebels join Van Dorn at Ripley, Mississippi.

The Confederate 1st Division’s commander, Brigadier General Lewis Henry Little, is killed instantly by a bullet to the head while meeting with Major General Sterling Price and other officers during the battle. Command of the division passes to Brigadier General Louis Hébert of Louisiana.

The 37th Alabama suffers tremendous casualties at Iuka. Officially, 12 men are killed and 43 are wounded out of the mere 304 then-present in the regiment. Colonel, James F. Dowdell and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander A. Greene are both among the wounded, Greene, the more seriously of the two. With its two ranking officers wounded, command of the regiment falls to Major William F. Slaton himself shot from his horse, (in its panic the break-away horse injures Captain Moses B. Green and Private William R. Kelly, Jr., both of Co A).

In his after-action report, their brigade commander Colonel Martin states:
" ... I regret the necessity which demanded the separation of my brigade, as it placed two regiments of my command entirely beyond my view and control. I deem it but simple justice to notice the cool gallantry and daring of Colonel Dowdell, commanding the Thirty-seventh Alabama, who was slightly wounded but did not leave the field. He was most gallantly assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Greene, who was in the thickest of the fight and very severely wounded near its close, and by Major Slaton, who acted bravely and nobly. ..."

Slaton (pictured above) is also singled out and commended for his performance and bravery by General Steele in his report of the battle.
Following the action, apparently due to the wounds inflicted upon its ranking officers, the regiment is apparently placed in a temporarily combined command with the 36th Mississippi regiment under Colonel W. W. Witherspoon.


Known Deaths from the Actions at Iuka, Mississippi:
- Private William Banister (Co A) Killed in Action (KIA) at Iuka - Sept 19
- Private James Castleberry (Co F) at Iuka - KIA - September 19
- Private William Dias (Co H) mortally wounded at Iuka, died of wounds (DOW) - Sept 19
 - Private John Durell (Co. C) KIA at Iuka - Sept 19, and reportedly buried in mass Confederate grave his father stated was located "in a ditch" at Iuka
- Private "Jim" Galloway (Co. A) DOW on Oct 12 from wounds received at Iuka
- Private James P. Hollis (Co. K) KIA at Iuka - Sept 18/19
- Private Harry Miller (Co. H) KIA at Iuka - Sept 19
- Private Floyd Nall (Co. A) DOW - 14 Nov at Columbus MS (wounds from Iuka/Corith/Hatchie)
- Private Jeremiah ("Jerry") Pearson (Co B) KIA at Iuka - Sept 19
- Private B.F. Richards (Co H) KIA/DOW at Iuka - Sept 18
- Private James M. Richards (Co H) KIA/DOW at Iuka - Sept 19
- Private William C. Sims (Co C) KIA at Iuka - Sept 19


The mass Confederate grave is located in the cemetery on Spring Street in downtown Iuka MS. Although only Durell has a marker placed by his family, all of the above-named men of the 37th Alabama killed outright in the battle are presumed to be buried here.  Photos courtesy of Charles R. East

Known Wounded at Iuka, Mississippi
- Colonel James F. Dowdell - WIA (wounded in action) Sept 18
- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander A. Greene - WIA
- Major William F. Slaton - shot and fell from his horse
- Captain Moses B. Green (Co A) WIA by Slaton’s startled horse
- Private William R. Kelly, Jr. (Co A) WIA by Slaton’s horse
- Sergeant James T. Brooks (Co D) - WIA two fingers shot off Sept 18 or 19
- Private Isaac W. Sessions (Co F) - WIA seriously on Sept 19
- Private Robert J. Farnel (Co F) - WIA at Iuka - Sept 18/19



September 24, 1862 - Major General Sterling Price marches his army from Baldwin, Miss., to join with the Confederate forces under Major General Earl Van Dorn now at Ripley, Miss., for a combined assault on the Federals occupying Corinth.

As Van Dorn is the senior officer he assumes command of the combined force, now numbering about 22,000 men.

September 28, 1862 - The 37th Alabama within Hébert’s Division alongside Maury’s Division arrives in the vanguard of the army and is in place outside Corinth.

October 1, 1862 - The remainder of the combined Confederate forces of Price and Van Dorn march to Pocahontas, Tennessee, just north and west of Corinth, and then move southeast toward the city. They hope to seize Corinth and then sweep into middle Tennessee.

Since the siege of Corinth in the spring, Union forces garrisoned there have erected fortifications including an inner and intermediate line to protect Corinth, an important transportation center. With the approach of the Rebels, the Federals, numbering about 23,000, occupy their outer line of fortifications and position men out in front of their breastworks.

October 3, 1862 - 10:00 a.m. - The main body of the combined Confederate army, now designated the "Army of Tennessee," is closing to within three miles of Corinth, Mississippi.



October 3-4 - the 37th Alabama is engaged in the "Second Battle of Corinth"
Army of Tennessee: Major General Earl Van Dorn, Commanding
1st Division: Brigadier General Louis Hébert (suddenly ill)
-command of the Division passes to Brigadier General Martin E. Green
4th Brigade*: Colonel John D. Martin (mortally wounded)
- command of the Brigade passes to Colonel Robert McLain (also wounded)
37th Alabama & 36th Mississippi: Colonel W. W. Witherspoon
* 4th Brigade losses: 41 killed, 203 wounded = 244


Van Dorn’s men move into some old fieldworks that the Confederates themselves had erected during the earlier Union siege of Corinth. The fighting begins, and the Confederates steadily push the Yankees back from their positions. A gap occurs between two Union brigades which the Confederates, including the men of the 37th Alabama, exploit around 1:00 p.m.

Samuel Singletary (Co A) wrote of these activities in 1902:
" ... Our boys moved steadily forward under a deadly fire right up to their work and some of our company were in the act of mounting the works when they fired a Napoleon gun in their faces, but in their hurry and eagerness to take the company they aimed the gun too low and the canister struck the works and went over their heads. One canister shot struck James M Gray on the head and cut out a lock of hair and he could not be made to take that position again during the war.

Our boys were soon in possession of the works and the two guns - one the Lady Richardson and the other a brass Napoleon gun. We failed to put a guard over the guns and some other command got the credit of capturing them. Our boys, in the excitement of battle, imprudently shot down the horses and we had no way to bring them off ... "
The Union troops move back in a futile effort to close the gap. Price attacks and drives the Federals back further still; the Confederates drive the Union troops into their inner lines. By evening, Van Dorn is sure that he can finish the Federals off during the next day. This confidence - combined with the heat (well into the 90°s), fatigue and water shortages - persuade him to cancel any more operations that day.

Rosecrans regroups his men to be ready for the attack he’s sure will come the next morning. Van Dorn plans to attack at daybreak, but Brigadier General Louis Hébert’s sudden sickness postpones action until after 9:00 a.m. Brigadier General Martin E. Green assumes command of the 1st Division from the stricken Hébert.

As the Confederates move forward, Union artillery sweeps the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continue their advance. They storm Battery Powell and close on Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensues. A few Rebels fight their way into Corinth, but the Yankees quickly drive them out. The Federals continue, re-capturing Battery Powell, and forcing Van Dorn into a general retreat. His men now exhausted from the heat and heavy fighting, Rosecrans postpones any pursuit until the next day. As a result, Van Dorn’s force is defeated, but not destroyed nor captured.

October 4, 1862 - Beaten, Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn retreats back the way he came - to the northwest away from Corinth.

Following the death of Colonel John D. Martin at Corinth (and the wounding of his replacement in the battle, Colonel Robert McLain) - command of the 4th Brigade which contains the 37th Alabama, 42nd Alabama and 2nd Texas is given to the Texan, Brigadier General John Creed Moore. The Brigade is reassigned to Major General Dabney H. Maury’s Division of Price’s Corps, Army of Tennessee; Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

The officer corps of the 37th Alabama is hit hard at Corinth: Captain W. W. Meadows (Co G) is killed in the battle, and command of his company passes to Lieutenant S. M. ("Sledge") Robertson who is also wounded in the fighting. One of the 37th Alabama’s Majors, William F. Slaton, is also wounded, as are Captains Moses B. Greene (Co A), John O. Davis (Co B), Joel C. Kendrick (Co C), and Marion C. J. Searcy (Co H).

Officially, four enlisted men are also killed and a total of 41 men are wounded out of the regiments, including the above-mentioned officers. Another 30 men are missing, many of them are known to have been captured. Many more (at least eight additional men) are also known to have been killed, or died from their wounds than were officially reported.

Sledge M. Robertson (Company G) resigns his commission in February 1864 stating he’d lost his left arm to amputation following his wound at Corinth and command of Company G passes to C. E. Evans at that time. Private William Dorman (Company I) also has his left arm amputated due to a wound at Corinth.


Private William Washington Culpepper is among those captured and is perhaps also one of the wounded at the Battle of Corinth:

W W Culpepper Pvt Co B 37 Ala
Appears on a List of paroled Confederate Prisoners wounded and nurses, delivered at Iuka, Miss., to Surgeon J.B. Bond, C.S. Army, on account of his Government; captured at the battle of Corinth, October 3rd and 4th, 1862.
List dated Oct. 19, 1862



October 4-5, 1862 - Van Dorn is pursued by Federal forces and retreats overnight to the "Davis Bridge" on the Hatchie River. Defense of the bridge falls largely to the men of the 37th Alabama Regiment.




October 5, 1862
- The 37th Alabama is engaged at the "Hatchie Bridge"
Army of Tennessee: Major General Earl Van Dorn, Commanding
1st Division: Brigadier General Martin E. Green
4th Brigade*: Colonel Robert McLain
37th Alabama & 36th Mississippi: consolidated command under Colonel W. W. Witherspoon (36th Mississippi)


Between 7:30 and 8 a.m. - Van Dorn’s force runs headlong into Union Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut’s 4th Brigade. Reinforced by Ord, who takes command of the now-combined Union forces, Van Dorn and Price’s men are pushed back about five miles to the Hatchie River and back across the Bridge.

After accomplishing this, Ord is wounded and Hurlbut assumes command. While Price’s men (including the 37th Alabama) are hotly engaged with Ord’s force, Van Dorn’s scouts look for and find another crossing of the Hatchie River. Van Dorn then leads his army back to Holly Springs, Mississippi. Ord has forced Price to retreat, but the Confederates again escape capture or destruction.


Known Deaths from the Actions at Corinth and at the Hatchie Bridge
- Private Stephen Eason (Co B) Killed (KIA) - Oct 3 (Corinth)
- Private John W. Elmore (Co H) KIA - Oct 4
- Private Benjamin Harral (Co C) Died of wounds (DOW)
- Private John Holland (Co A) DOW
- Captain James M. Kendrick (Co D) KIA - Oct 4/5 (Hatchie Bridge)
- Private George W. King (Co A) DOW - Nov 14 from Corinth wounds
- Captain Warner W. Meadows (Co G) KIA - Oct 4
- Private George C. Parmer (Co A) KIA - Oct 3 (Corinth)
- Private S. Sims (Co C) - Died of currently unknown cause, his body forwarded to Confederate Authorities on Oct 9
- Private James M. Smith (Co I) KIA - Oct 5 (Hatchie Bridge)
- Private John L. Hilson (Co A) Died of disease marching during the retreat - Oct 5 at Ripley MS
- Private William A. Gillmore (Co I) DOW - died following amputation of an arm
- Private William Whittington (Co K) KIA at Corinth - Oct 3


Van Dorn’s headquarters at Holly Springs, Miss., becomes the base of operations for the Army of Tennessee for the fall and winter. The 37th Alabama is posted to Grenada, Miss., approximately 60 miles to the south.

October 19, 1862 - On its way to Vicksburg, Miss., the train carrying a number of men from the regiment derails at Duck Hill, Mississippi, after the troop train runs headfirst into another engine traveling at a high rate of speed on the same track. Several passengers are killed and more are badly injured. The trains were pulled by engines named the "James Brown" and the "A.M. West."

Somehow, none of the members of the 37th Alabama are among the dead, but three men are injured. Jeptha Perryman (Co A), J.M. Stanley (Co F) and Jefferson Tidwell (Co K).

From October through November, 1862 at least 16 more men from the regiment are numbered among the dead at various hospitals in the region surrounding Vicksburg, Mississippi or while at home on sick furloughs.


Known Regimental Deaths October-November 1862
- Private John Blackmon (Co C) - died of unknown cause at Abbeville, AL (this could also be misread for Abbeville, MS) on Nov 24
- Private William Blair (Co G) - died of unknown cause at Lauderdale Springs, MS, Nov 24
- Private James Cook (Co B) - died of unknown cause in Nov at unknown location
- Private John Croskey (Co K) - died of unknown cause Oct 16 at Lauderdale Springs, MS
- Private W.N. Grimes (Co K) - died of unknown cause Nov 12 at Durant, MS
- Private Eli Laney (Co B) - died of unknown cause Nov 11 at an unknown location
- Private John Lee (Co C) - died of
unnamed disease Nov 29 at Jackson, MS
- Private Cornelius Malear (Co B) appears on list of those killed or who died of wounds or disease dated Nov 2   cause/location unknown
- Private Thomas M. McLendon (Co K) - died of unknown cause Nov 11 at Waterford or Abbeville, MS
- Private Merrill Nall (Co A) - died of "fever" Nov 14 at Oxford, MS
- Private E.B. Owens (Co C) - died of unknown cause Nov 30 at Meridian, MS
- Private Christopher C. Pearson (Co B) - died of unknown cause Nov 6 at unknown location
- Private George Price (Co C) - died of
unnamed disease Nov 20 at Oxford, MS
- Private George W. Sadler (Co G) - died of
unnamed disease during the fall/winter of 1862 according to claim for deceased soldier filed March 30, 1863
- Private Robert F. Tucker (Co D) - died of unknown cause Nov 28 at unknown location
- Private William E.M. Wilkerson (Co I) - died of unnamed disease Nov 22 at Montgomery, AL while en route home on furlough



By December, the 37th Alabama is moved closer Vicksburg, Miss., to help fend off Ulysses S. Grant’s explorations around this strategic port city controlling the Mississippi River. The regiment, still without its own wounded senior officer corps, is briefly commanded by a tandem of Colonels, William T. Withers (according to Withers' report from Chickasaw Bayou, the 37th Alabama composed a portion of his "right wing") and Allen Thomas (commander of the 28th/29th Louisiana), inside a Provisional Division under Brigadier General Stephen Dill Lee and Major General Dabney H. Maury in the 2nd Military District, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

December 1, 1862 - Private Thomas Harrell (Co G) dislocates his knee as he jumps from a bridge over the Tallahatchie River that he and other members of the regiment had just set ablaze in an effort to slow Union troops advancing toward Abbeville, Miss. The next day, December 2, Private William H. Parker (Co E) is taken prisoner.

December 3, 1862- More members of the regiment become POWs, as well. Privates Calvin Hays and James R.E. Sellars (both Co E) are captured at Taylor’s Station, Miss. Another POW, Private Thomas F. Leggett (Co A) is sent to Holly Springs after being captured where he died overnight on December 31 of Smallpox.

December 4, 1862 - Actions around Water Valley, MS, claim several more POWs from the regiment.


Prisoners Taken at Water Valley, Mississippi - December 3-4, 1862:
- Private Benjamin Balcomb (Co A)
- Private James D. Carroll (Co K)
- Private James M. Dawsey (Co A)
- Private William J. Hutte (Co A)
- Private James A. Maddox (Co G)
- Private William R. Parker (Co E)
- Private Martin Sanders (Co K)
- Private James J. Edmondson (Co H)


December 26, 1862 - The 37th Alabama is engaged at "Chickasaw Bayou" north of Vicksburg, Mississippi:
Forces of Vicksburg: Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, Commanding
Provisional Division: Brigadier General Stephen Dill Lee & Brigadier General Dabney Herndon Maury
37th Regiment of Alabama: Colonel William T. Withers & Colonel Allen Thomas
The day after Christmas, three Union divisions, under Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, disembark at Johnson’s Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth lands upstream on the next day.

December 27, 1862 - The Federals push their lines forward through the swamps toward Walnut Hills, (also called Walnut Heights) which is strongly defended.

December 28, 1862 - Several more futile attempts are made to get around the strong Confederate defenses.

December 29, 1862 - Sherman orders a frontal assault that is repulsed with heavy Union casualties. Sherman withdraws. This Confederate victory frustrates Grant’s attempts to take Vicksburg through the well-guarded "backdoor." As Major General Sherman withdraws from the field, skirmishing continues until January 3, 1863.


NEXT: History - Part IV

 

37th Alabama Regiment of Volunteer Infantry CSA
2300 Cottondale Lane Little Rock, AR 72202
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© Copyright 2007 C.C. (Chip) Culpepper