Enterprise - April Articles
 
 
The following two articles originally appeared in April 1902:

WEEKLY ENTERPRISE
{VOL. 4.}
ENTERPRISE, ALABAMA, THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 1902 {NO. 28}

History of the 37th Alabama Regiment
BY T. J. CARLISLE

CHAPTER 1.
DEPARTURE FOR THE WAR.


In a few days after the organization of the regiment orders came to Coll J F Dowdell from Gen Braxton Bragg to take up the line of march for Corinth, Mississippi, on Monday following the 27th day of April, 1862. The regiment being in a bad condition to march on account of measles, etc., was allowed to remain at Auburn until Thursday following.

When Thursday came all the regiment, able for duty, took the cars for Corinth, via Montgomery. The regiment, then numbering twelve hundred and fifty-seven, was able to leave with but seven hundred and twenty-two, rank and file, in consequence of sickness. The regiment arrived at Montgomery at about 5 o’clock p m, the same day - pitched tents and remained there until Monday next. On Sunday Rev Frank Calloway, an aged minister, well and favorably known in Chambers county, preached to the regiment in a grove near the camp. His gray head, faltering tongue and sage advice on that occasion, made an impression on the hearts of many soldiers.
On Monday the command was ordered to strike tents and march to the war, preparatory to taking the boat (Selma) for Corinth, via Mobile. Just before leaving the landing at Montgomery, Co "I" was made to mourn the loss of one of its members, Arthur Gilmer, who {illegible word} over-board {illegible section} encumbered with heavy clothing, rations, he kept his head above the surface of the water but a few seconds, when he sank beneath the waves to rise no more. A large crowd of soldiers and citizens stood upon the bank in breathless silence and saw him go down so quickly that no aid could be tendered him. Col Dowdell wrote a short note to Judge Bibb, of Montgomery, who was a personal friend of W B S Gilmer, the adopted father of the unfortunate young man, informing him of the sad occurrence and requested him to look after the body of the departed soldier boy. The writer does not know that his body was ever recovered. Arthur Gilmer had just been mustered out of the service of the Confederacy, having served twelve months in the 7th Alabama Regiment. Was a member of Capt Jackson’s company, the first company that went out of Chambers county to Pensacola at the beginning of the war. Remaining at home but a few days, he went to Auburn and joined Co "I" 37th Alabama Regiment, and was a soldier for the war. The boat soon moved off from the shore, but not a huzzah came from the soldiers as she glided down the stream of the proud old Alabama, a thing very unusual when troops are going to the scene of action.

We left Montgomery at ten o’clock a m, Monday the 2d day of June; arrived at Selma about sunset the same day. Nothing of importance or strange happened during the day, except to those who are not accustomed to traveling on water. Remained at Selma but a short time.

As the darkness of the night began to cover us, a general feeling of calmness and solemnity began to prevail, whilst every soldier was discussing "where will I sleep tonight?" We were very much crowded, the boat being a small one. We then began to realize some of the improvised accommodations of a soldier’s life. The writer, however, was fortunate enough to get a berth, he having one little stripe upon his collar. The writer, after all of the officers and men of the regiment had gone to the land of morpheus, was sitting alone, indulging in the reflections caused by the surroundings. In the unbroken silence and stillness of the night save by the noise and convulsions of the waters, caused by the huge wheels which propelled the boat along to her destination, sat the writer whose imagination was drawn out upon the grand achievements of man in the improved modes of traveling and was {unknown word} making a comparison of the present with the far back past, he was almost led to exclaim, "what is it that man can’t do?" After these reflections the mind naturally recurred to home, dear ones and friends and everything else which tends to endear one’s heart to the land he loves so well. We then retired and joined the brotherhood until the inviting rays of the sun of next morning bade us arise and take up our blankets.

-April 10, 1902.
Dear Comrades:- You will see from the above partial history that it only lacks seventeen days being forty years since we received orders to leave Auburn for Corinth, Miss. Now if you read these sketches which were written by me as they occurred, you will doubtless be reminded of many other incidents which happened along those days, and all I ask of you is to write me at once and I will include same as reminiscences of those times. I have been corresponding with Col J W Portis, 42d Ala, who was engaged in writing up his command., and as both regiments belonged to the same brigade we intended giving each other the benefit of all facts common to both regiments. But now I see from the papers that he died a few days ago and I suppose the history of that gallant old regiment will never be written.

Mr. J O Perry, Co I 37th Ala, {illegible section} Ala. I spent several nights with him during the past ten years and he enjoyed so much talking over the war. Now he is gone.

You may think you have no time to write what you recollect, but you once had four years to spare for the good of your country, and now can’t you make some sacrifice to perpetuate the history of those trying times

T J Carlisle


{Sidebar item}

37th Alabama Survivors


You will read in this issue of the paper a history of the regiment from Auburn to the morning we left Montgomery being the 5th of June 1862. It will be sometime before I take up the history of the regiment as I propose to give each company’s history up to organization of the regiment followed by muster roll of each company in its order.

I have just received the organization of Company A, written by Sergt S M Singletary (known as Tup Singletary). The next issue will have muster roll of Co A at time of regimental organization. A great many joined the regiment later on and their names will appear as furnished by surviving members. I will try to get the last muster rolls on file at Richmond, Va, and will give same as an appendix to the final history.

ANSWERS TO LETTERS.

Adjt T L Samford died about two years since at Loachapoka, Ala.
Joe Green was living in Georgia when we last heard.
Don’t know where White (the ambulance boy) of Co E is.
The circular letters sent out gives the order in which the company’s histories will come.
Yes. If you have been so unfortunate as you say, you can get our paper.

The last answer above reminds us of what Sergt Forney Renfro, Co G, said to me a few years before he died while we were talking about writing up the history of our regiment and companies, as we are now proposing. He said he would send a check for fifty dollars to have the paper sent to his old company, he furnishing the names. Forney made a success of life in a business way after he returned from the war, which was in accord with his life as a brave soldier.

The above article transcribed by C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, March & April 1999 from Xeroxed copies of the original text supplied by Herb Griffin. Editor’s (Culpepper’s) marks/comments are indicated by the use of italic type within brackets, e.g. {italicized words}, otherwise the text appears as it was written by T.J. Carlisle in 1902.




WEEKLY ENTERPRISE
VOL. 4. ENTERPRISE, ALABAMA, THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 1902 {No.29}

Formation of the "Henry Volunteers"
Which Became Co. A, of the 37th
Ala. Reg’t. at its Organization.

-----
Early in the second week of March 1862, Moses B Green, W E Bradley, Robert L Phipps, J V Perryman and Dr James M Saunders began to enlist men for the company. Green and Bradley worked in Abbeville and west into Dale county getting the larger part of men in that locality. Phipps and Perryman recruited in the eastern portion of the county and Dr James Saunders and Thomas Armstrong worked in the lower end of the county, getting the second largest batch of recruits. On Saturday preceding the 18th of March they had their first meeting to decide when we should leave and the 18th agreed upon. There was no other business of importance transacted at this meeting.

The 18th was ushered in amid torrents of rain but this did not retard us for a moment. We had to travel by private conveyance to Fort Gaines which is fourteen miles away. The trip was made through the rain and the hardest I have ever seen fall. Every rivulet and gulley was full to overflowing. Finally we reached Franklin, which is on the west side of the Chattahoochie, opposite Fort Gaines. The bridge across the river had washed away and we had to cross on a flat. I went across with the first batch of men on the first trip that flat made, as we had to wait for it to be launched. When about midway the stream the flat dipped water and the men became uneasy and began to move around quite lively and no doubt would have sunk the flat had it not been for J V Perryman, who was an experienced ferryman and who reassured the boys; and we landed on the east bank of the river amid torrents of rain, and the river the fullest I had ever seen it.

Some of the relatives who went along to see their boys off would not risk recrossing at the Fort but went to Eufaula to cross on the bridge, which is twenty-five miles north of the Fort. Fort Gaines is situated on the east side of the river on a high bluff which we had to climb on our way to the old College which was to be our camp for the night. I and Joseph M Murphy made the trip up this hill together, and when about half way up he lost his footing and rolled off down the hill at the same time remarking, "We are in it, Sam are we not!" I told him it looked like he was. We reached the old college which was a large old building very much dilapidated, with the glass all broken out of the windows by the smart boys of that time. The railing around the gallery had been torn away and a man by the name of Mills who was on his way to Pensacola, walked off and fell about twelve feet to the hard floor below which disabled him for the balance of the war. But I have learned that he recovered soon after the war closed, thanks.

After supper it was announced that we would to into the elections of company officers and M B Green and W E Bradley were put in nomination for Captain. {illegible word/torn section} Bradley declined because Green had been most instrumental in raising the company and he was elected without opposition. Bradley and R L Phipps were candidates for first Lieutenant. Phipps beat Bradley a few votes and was declared elected. Bradley then declared himself for second Lieutenant and was elected. Then the friends of J V Perryman and Dr Jesse Bruner put their names in nomination and Perryman was elected by a small majority. Dr Bruner then declined to go with the company and returned home. It was then announced that we would elect an Orderly Sergeant and J M Murphy was put in nomination and elected without opposition. This completed the organization of the company except the appointment of non-commissioned officers, which the captain did soon after our arrival at Auburn which was as follows: Henry A Yonge, 2d Sergt; Thomas O Knight, 3d Sergt; George W Bruner, 4th Sergt; W E Saunders, 5th Sergt; James D Murphy, 1st corporal; James W Vaughn, 2d corporal; John B Buxton, 3d corporal; James M Gray, 4th corporal.

After the election was over in the old college the boys pitched in to paint things red about the old building, for it rained so hard till they could not get out to paint the fort. The old men who went over to see the boys off whiled away the night in games of poker. Some of the boys tried to sleep but could not from the strangeness of the situation and the bad ones that were in the crowd. I don’t think I spent another night that served me so bad during the war; it being my first experience, it went hard with me.

Early on the morning of the 19th we were up and in the fort seeing things as they existed there. About ten o’clock we bid our relatives and friends adieu and boarded the train and were soon on our way to Fort Valley where we had to change cars for the west. There was but one incident that occurred on that day that is worth relating aside from some bad wash-outs which delayed us for sometime.

Capt Greene got off the train at one of the little stations and loitered around there till the train pulled out and left him. My attention being called to it, I looked down the road and saw the old fellow in a trot following us about a quarter behind. The train stopped and he came aboard and was with us to the end of the journey.

We arrived at Fort Valley late in the afternoon and had to lie over till four o’clock in the morning and wait for a train westbound. Consequently we had to camp and having no tents we had to occupy porches and plazas, and I being a sonambulist, especially when my usual rest had been broken, was surprised to be abruptly awakened with my mouth full of mud. I had got up and walked across the railroad and run into an embankment, and I lost no time in getting back to my quarters.

The train arrived on time from Macon and we boarded her and went to Columbus, where we arrived at about sun-up. The good people of that town had been apprised of our coming and had prepared to give us breakfast which was a treat to us as we had eaten nothing since the morning of the nineteenth. After breakfast it was learned that we would not leave for a couple of hours so some of the boys went on a lark down town and some weeks later they suffered for their folly. Finally we boarded the train and went to Auburn where we arrived in the afternoon and quartered in the old academy, the citizens feeding us till the 22d when we were mustered into service and drew tents and camp equipage, and moved out south of town to camp of instruction.

This brings up the organization of the Regiment and I will leave that to be told by some one that is better prepared than I am.

Samuel M. Singletary,
Ord. Sergt Co A, 37th Ala Reg.
March 7, 1902

Transcribed by C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, March 2003 from Xeroxed copies of the original text supplied by Debra Denard. Editor’s (Culpepper’s) marks/comments are indicated by the use of italic type within brackets, e.g. {italicized words}, otherwise the text appears as it was written by T.J. Carlisle in 1902.

 

37th Alabama Regiment of Volunteer Infantry CSA
2300 Cottondale Lane Little Rock, AR 72202
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