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Archive for July, 2007

Adjutant Robert B. Hurt, Jr., 55th TN is buried in Tennessee Section 51, plot #2.

Robert B. Hurt, Jr., 55th TN was killed at Franklin.

According to military records, Hurt enlisted when he was eighteen years old, as a private in the 6th TN Infantry, Company H (Southern Guards), in Jackson, TN, in May 1861.

In October 1863 Hurt became an adjutant for the 46th/55th TN Infantry at Mobile, Alabama. His regiment joined Quarles Brigade in the defense of Atlanta. He somehow managed to escape the disaster at Ezra hurch his regiment saw, however, he would not be so lucky at Franklin (30 November 1864).

The commanding officer of the 55th TN – Maj. Joseph E. McDonald – also went down with Hurt.

Source for picture: Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil War, McCaslin, 2007: p. 240.

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The 15th Mississippi was part of Gen Adams’ Brigade. This map shows the advance of Adams’ men on November 30, 1864 against the far left flank of the Union men defended by Casement and Stiles’ Brigades.

Defense of the Eastern Union flank at Franklin

The assault of the Confederate men under Gen. Loring (Scott, Featherston and Adams) was extremely brutal and punishing for the Confederates. Besides the strategic positions maintained by Casement and Stiles against the railroad track, the 1st & 6th Ohio Battery guns were placed on a small hill behind Reilly’s Brigades and had a field-day pummeling the Loring men with grape and cannister. Many boys from Mississippi and Alabama lost their lives that evening and are now buried at McGavock Cemetery.

The following boys from the 15th Mississippi (Adams’ Brigade) are identified as buried in McGavock Confederate Cemetery according to Jacobson.

Section 22

#1 Col. Michael Farrell

The final man bearing the flag of the 15th Mississippi was shot as he reached the top of the Yankee parapet and then pulled inside. Both he and the flag were captured. Lt. Thaddeus O. Donoghue of the 14th Mississippi was killed near the guns of the 6th Ohio Battery. Col. Michael Farrell of the 15th Mississippi was horribly wounded in both legs and lost his left to amputation. Farrell, a popular officer, did not have a single living relative nor did he have any money or own any property before enlisting. Those who knew him admired him and said he fought for ‘principle and constitutional liberty.’ Col. Farrell’s injuries eventually led to his death on Christmas Day.
For Cause and for Country, Jacobson, p. 362.

Section 28

#105 Charles R. Hemphill Company I | View marker

#107 Sgt. Elias P. Keeton Company K | View marker

#108 Elisha N. McGuire Company K | View marker

#109 Edward K. Harper Company G | View marker

#111 Lt. John L. Greenhaw Company G | View marker

#112 Lt. Thomas W. Allen Company E | View marker

#113 Captain James T. Smith Company E | View marker

Section 39

#270 Theodore A. Shillinger Company F | View marker

Section 41

#291 Cpl. Joseph H. Reese Company F | View marker

#300 William M. Lott Company E | View marker
(see Jacobson, For Cause and Country, p. 361)

Section 46

#370 Sgt. James P. Campbell Company H | View marker

Section 47

#377 John C. Williams Company C | View marker

#378 Benjamin C. Gregory Company I | View marker


The Mississippi section at McGavock Confederate Cemetery

Miscellaneous info on the 15th Mississippi

“Crossing the river November 20, they marched with Stewart’s Corps to Columbia and on November 29, joined in the flank movement to Spring Hill. Following closely upon the Federal retreat from Columbia to Spring Hill, they were heroic participants in the bloody assault of the evening of November 30. general Adams was killed while leading his men against the second line of works, his horse falling across the parapet. Col. Robert Lowry, who succeeded to brigade command, reported that the flag of the fifteenth regiment was lost, four men having been shot down in bearing it forward to the works. Colonel Farrell, a brilliant officer, was mortally wounded, and Lieut.-Col. Binford took command of the regiment. Lieutenants Young and Allen were killed; Lieuts. Shuler, Irish, Campell, Hale, Tribble, wounded. The casualties of the brigade were 44 killed, 271 wounded, 23 missing. The effective strength of the brigade after the advance to Nashville was a little over 1,000, including six regiments. The position of Stewart’s Corps in front of Nashville was distinguished for steadiness in forming a new line to check the enemy and on the next day they repelled all assaults until the line broke over their left. In the last days of December they recrossed the Tennessee River and early in January the corps went into camp near Tupelo.”
http://www.choctawgrays.com/links.html

Recommended Read

Ben Wynne (Ph.D., 2000)
A Hard Trip: A History of the 15th Mississippi Infantry, CSA
(Mercer University Press, 2002)

The history of the 15th Mississippi Infantry in the social context of the western theater of the Civil War. Not strictly a military history, Ben Wynne examines in this book the social components of Confederate service in the context of the experiences of a single regiment. Wynne begins with a general overview of the political climate of the 1850s, localized to the region that produced the 15th Mississippi, then covers the regiment’s movements through the western theater, and ends with a localized treatment of the post-war social climate and the rise of Lost Cause mythology. The emphasis in this insightful and new approach to the Civil War focuses on the experiences of the men who served in the regiment, including their intrinsic connection to their communities, reasons that they enlisted, reactions to their first combat, views on conscription, accounts of major battles in the western theater, the ebb and flow of morale, desertion, and the post-war status of the men as heroes in a culture struggling to rationalize defeat.

Using first person accounts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and other primary materials, the book sets the 15th Mississippi in a personal context. The narrative is chronologically arranged by the events of the western theater of the Civil War. Emphasizing the real war and not a romanticized version, the story of this unique regiment follows a group of men who entered the war with visions of glory and honor but within one year came to recognize the true nature of the conflict.

Ben Wynne is an Assistant Professor of History at Gainesville State College.

Web links

Company A – Long Creek Rifles – site

Company K – Choctaw Grays – site

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I picked up this handy resource at the Carnton gift shop recently.

It records the name and places of final restings of all Williamson County, TN, Confederate soldiers.

I found at least two more soldiers who died at Franklin and are buried at McGavock I previously did not have a picture of. Hurray!

They are:

  • Sgt. Thomas Lindsey Murrell, 6th TN Infantry; TN sec 52, plot #7
  • Pvt. William A. Thomas, 31st TN Infantry; TN sect 66, plot #219


Murrell, 6th TN

Thomas, 31st TN

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The 24th South Carolina served with Gist’s Brigade, Brown’s Division at Franklin. 1st Lt. James A Tillman served as an officer for the 24th South Carolina.

The 24th also fought at Franklin with the 46th and 65th Georgia; the 2nd Georgia Sharpshooters Battalion, and the 16th South Carolina.

The 24th was part of the regiments who clashed with the Union Brigades of Opdycke and Strickland near the Carter House, on the west side of the Columbia Pike.

Fifteen of Tillman’s comrades are known to be buried at McGavock Cemetery.

Picture credit: The Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 169)

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The 29th AL faced the Union left flank of Casement’s Brigade on the Federal line at Franklin.  The 29th was part of Cantley’s Brigade, Walthall’s Division, on the eastern Union flank.

Here is Crew’s kepi he wore in the war, including at Franklin.

Picture credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 163)

At least six of Crew’s comrades are known to be buried at McGavock Cemetery.  One can only wonder how may young men from Alabama were buried after the Battle of Franklin with kepis on their head just like this one.

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This is the overcoat worn by Col. Ellison Capers, of the 24th South Carolina, Gist’s Brigade, Brown’s Division.  Fifteen (15) 24th SC boys are buried at McGavock Cemetery.

Picture credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 150).

Regarding action Capers and the 24th saw at Franklin, Jacobson writes:

From the west side of the Columbia Turnpike, the sights of the artillery fire smashing into A.P. Stewart’s men was unforgettable. Everywhere the sights were incredible, almost breathtaking. Col. Ellison Capers was in the 24th South Carolina west of the pike and his regiment,  part of States Rights Gist’s Brigade, was on John Brown’s left flank. Some distance in advance and to the left of the South Carolinians stood magnificent Everbright mansion, home to the widowed Rebecca Bostick. But it was what Col. Capers saw to his right that he never forgot. At Capers and his fellow Palmetto Staters began to crest the rising terrain around Privet Knob, the ground stretching from the Columbia Pike to the Lewisburg Pike opened up into view. Capers wrote that ‘we beheld the magnificent spectacle the battle-field presented – bands were playing, general and staff officers and gallant couriers were riding in front of and between the lines, 100 battle-flags were waving in the smoke of battle, and bursting shells were wreathing the air with great circles of smoke, while 20,000 brave men were marching in perfect order against the foe.'”
Jacobson, For Cause and For Country: p. 278-279.

South Carolina head marker at McGavock.

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The 4th Missouri carried this flag which was presented to them in April of 1862 in Springfield, Missouri.  The 4th fought for Cockrell’s Brigade, French’s Division alongside the:  1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th Missouri Infantry, and the 1st Missouri Cavalry (dismounted) and 3rd Missouri Cavalry Battalion (dismounted).

Cockrell’s Brigade fought to the immediate Confederate right of Cleburne’s Division, assaulting the Federal line at Franklin where the Union Brigades of Reilly and Casement came together.

Picture credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 260).

There are five known-identified 4th MO soldiers buried at McGavock, a light number compared to the other infantries it fought with.  It is likely that there are several 4th MO boys buried as ‘unknowns’ at McGavock.

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John L. Russell fought with the 6th Arkansas Company C., at Franklin. He was part of Cleburne’s Division, Govan’s Brigade. Company C was known as the Dallas Rifles.

The 6th Arkansas also fought with the 2nd-15th, 5th-13th, 7th, 8th, and 19th-24th Arkansas regiments. This regiment saw heavy action around the Coton Gin at Franklin.

The 6th Arkansas regimental flag looked like this is in the Autumn of 1862.

Picture Credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 259).

Forty-three of Govan’s Brigade are buried at McGavock, fifteen of those are from the 6th Arkansas; the most of all the Arkansas regiments.

Speaking of the action the Arkansas regiments saw at Franklin, including Russell’s 6th, Jacobson writes:

“Rebel troops, likely from Cleburne’s Division, pounced on the battery’s four guns [i.e., the guns of the 1st Battery, Kentucky Light Artillery] and hurriedly began turning them around to fire on the Federals. But the Confederates had a serious problem on their hands. When the Yankee artillerists had bounded away, they took with them the friction primers needed to fire the rifled guns. The crafty Southern infantrymen looked to improvise. A Federal officer nearby saw them pouring gunpowder ‘from their musket cartridges’ into the vent holes.”

A friction primer (above) was a small brass tube filled with powder, inserted in the vent and used to ignite the main charge.

John Russell, 6th Arkansas

Frank Gray and John Russell of Co. C. 6th Arkansas Infantry.  Twenty Nine year old John Russell was the Uncle of 21 year old Frank Gray.  They are buried side by side in the Arkansas Section, Grave 12 & 11 respectfully.  Source attribute for this info: T. Burgess.

Extra notes:

According to this web site: John L. Russell was a private when he enlisted on 3 June 1861 at Little Rock, Arkansas; in the Dallas Rifles. He was transferred from Co I, 30 June 1862. Russell was captured 10 October 1862 at Harrodsburg, KY. Then sent to Vicksburg, MS for exchange 5 Dec 1862. He was 26 years old when he was exchanged 22 Dec 1862.

Additional reading:

Calvin L. Collier, First In – Last Out: The Capitol Guards, Arkansas Brigade (Unit history and muster rolls for Company A.)

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The 6th Mississippi Regimental flag, Company D, also known as Lowry’s Rifles. The 6th was in Adams’s Brigade, Loring’s Division. The 6th saw action to the right of Cleburne’s Division, assaulting the Federal line facing fire from Casement’s and Reilly’s Brigades.

There are three known-identified 6th MS boys buried at McGavock. It’s very likely there are numerous more unknown buried at McGavock as their known dead is a very low amount for Mississippi regiments, and considering the 6th MS saw action to the Union left of the Cotton Gin.

Picture Credit” Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 259).

“The casualties of the corps,” reported Lieut.-Gen. Stewart, “were something over 2,000 in killed, wounded and missing. Among them were many of our best officers and bravest men. Brig.-Gen. John Adams was killed, his horse being found lying across the inner line of the enemy’s works.” The casualties of Adams’ Brigade were the heaviest of the division — 10 officers and 34 men killed; 39 officers and 232 men wounded, 23 missing. Col. Robert Lowry took command of the brigade, which, on December 9, reported an aggregate present 1,769, effective 1,047, prisoners of war 50. 

Dunbar Rowland’s “Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898

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The 14th MS fought with Adams’s Brigade, Loring’s Division. The 14th faced heavy casualties near the Cotton Gin. As the 14th MS assaulted the Union line at the Gin, the colors displayed a picture of Lady Liberty holding a picture of Jefferson Davis.

The 14th also fought with: 6th, 15th, 20th, 23dand 43d Mississippi regiments. Many boys from the 14th MS are buried at McGavock. One wonder show many young men and boys saw this flag emblem in the final moments of their lives as the died on the Franklin battlefield.

There are at least ten young men from the 14th MS buried at McGavock Cemetery.

There’s a fascinating story behind this particular emblem/patch see below. Color Bearer Andrew S. Payne of the 14th Mississippi cut this emblem away from the rest of the flag when the 14th surrendered at Ft. Donelson and sewed the patch into the interior lining of his coat to keep it from falling into Federal hands. When Payne and his fellow comrades were paroled in October 1862 he returned the shield to his regiment.

Picture credit: An Illustrated History of the Civil War, (p. 136).

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