-List of Civil War Battles <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_Civil_War_battles>
-Mississippi Units in the Civil War: <http://mississippiscv.org/MS_Units/mississippi_history.htm>
-Battle of Vicksburg, Confederate Order of Battle: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicksburg_Confederate_order_of_battle>
My Confederate Ancestors
Histories are generally written by the winners. Thus, we can easily learn the disposition of the Federal forces who were engaged in the many battles of the Civil War. While compiling these vignettes of the many Confederate Regiments, the task is to put together the dispositions of the enemy forces--our veterans-- who were engaged, creating a historical narrative.
The history of the 1861-1862 Mississippi State Troops [MST] is not found in the Military History of Mississippi (1803-1898), dtd 1908. <http://mississippiscv.org/MS_Units> 18 May 2015.
The facts contained in the following narrative were gleaned from multiple sources including personal correspondences over many years.
The State Troops Regiments were envisioned as a Civil War version of the Revolutionary War's Minute Men for the State of Mississippi. Men who may not have qualified for service in regular Confederate regiments enrolled in their local company and attended drill. And when the need arose, the Regiment would be assembled.
The 5th Mississippi Infantry Regiment (State Troops) [5th MST] was organized 10/16/1861 at Enterprise MS. And in April of 1862, the Regiment was ordered to active service. The Regiment marshaled at Meridian MS and deployed by rail west through Jackson and across the Big Black River Bridge to Vicksburg where they were instrumental in repulsing Gen. Sherman's Corps at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou on 12/27/1862.
Vicksburg Campaign (See below)
During the siege, the 5th MST was assigned to BG Baldwin's Brigade in the center of the northern salient of the Vicksburg perimeter. In the north, they helped to repulse two frontal attacks by Sherman's Corps and withstood sporadic artillery bombardment from the Federals on land and from the Brown-water Union Navy in the river.
Having suffered through months of starvation and depredation, the entire Army of Vicksburg was surrendered on 7/4/1863. The Regiment was paroled. And, the surviving citizen-soldiers returned home. Many of the veterans of Vicksburg re-enrolled in the many active duty regiments. And, many did not; as their war was over.
|05/1862 to 07/1863
ORGANIZATION OF CONFEDERATE FORCES
Mississippi State Troops
3d Battalion, MST, Lt. Col. Thomas A. Burgis
In December of 1862 having repulsed Confederate General Bragg at the Battle of Shiloh, MG Grant moved south with the main body of his army from the railhead at Grand Junction TN and sent MG Sherman's Corps by boat down the Mississippi to affect a coordinated attack from the river. Grant's Army of the Tennessee marched south toward Vicksburg. But, Confederate MG Van Dorn blunted Grant's advance and BG Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry cut Grant's supply lines back to Tennessee. These attacks compelled Grant to withdraw back to Memphis. And, Grant's withdrawal gave the Confederates time to rush disparate units, including the 3rd and 5th Miss Infantry (State Troops) to Vicksburg.
When the 5th Mississippi Infantry Regiment (State Troops) arrived by train from eastern Mississippi, the regiment was posted to the northern salient with BG Baldwin's Brigade. And by 12/27/1862, the Regiment, along with the 46th Mississippi Infantry, was pushed forward just in time to repel MG Sherman's attack along the banks of Chickasaw Bayou, north of the city. This is where our forefathers, the citizen-soldiers of lower Mississippi, enter the picture. Sherman reported the action writing, "I reached Vicksburg at the time appointed, landed, assaulted and failed."
On 5/1/1863, MG Grant and the bulk of the Army of the Tennessee attacked Grand Gulf MS and crossed the Mississippi south of Vicksburg. Many units were rushed out of Vicksburg in an attempt to block two of Grant's Corps and maintain the Confederate supply line by rail over the Big Black River to Jackson. And, that's where the 5th MST were posted, right on the bridge over the Big Black River.
With the defeat at Port Gibson, MG Sherman pushed his Corps towards the City of Jackson and MG Grant slammed the other two Corps against the hastily assembled Confederates at Champion Hill. With the horrific defeat at Champion Hill, the entire Confederate Army fled back toward Vicksburg. The 5th MST fought and held the bridge until ordered to destroy the bridge and retreat, leaving many Confederate units on the wrong side of the river. As the 5th MST retreated down the road back to Vicksburg, they were reassured that their friends and neighbors from the 46th Miss Infantry were covering their retreat.
Back inside the fortified perimeter at Vicksburg, the 5th MST returned to the northern salient where they withstood two frontal assaults from MG Sherman's Corps on May 19 and May 22. Finding the fortified City of Vicksburg impregnable, MG Grant settled for a siege stating, "Let them starve."
The siege was punctuated by sporadic bombardment from the Federal Army on land and from the Brown-water Navy in the Mississippi River. And, the Regiment settled down to a routine. The following is a quote from the commander of the 46th Miss Regiment which was dug in just yards to the west of the 5th MST:
Of the surrender General Baldwin wrote: "My command marched over the trenches and stacked their arms with the greatest reluctance, conscious of their ability to hold the position assigned them for an indefinite period of time. During the whole siege the entire command had exhibited the highest degree of patience, fortitude and courage, bearing deprivations of sufficient food, constant duty in the trenches under a broiling sun by day and heavy fatigue and picket duty at night, without a murmur, willing to bear any hardships, confident in sustaining the brunt of any assault, in the hope of anticipated relief and ultimate triumph. The command was daily aroused and under arms at 3:30 A.M., to guard against surprise, and nightly our pickets were in advance of our defenses and nearly contiguous to the sentinels of the enemy. The loss in killed and wounded was severe."
46th Mississippi Infantry, Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans <http://mississippiscv.org/MS_Units/46th_MS_INF.htm> 19 May 2015.
Through May, then June, and into July, the soldiers of the Army of Vicksburg and the citizens of the town did starve. The civilians dug caves into the levee. The soldiers dug trenches where they slept below ground to survive the bombardments. And, many times, the soldiers were effectively digging their own graves. With no options left, Gen. Pemberton surrendered the Army on 7/4/1863. And, the Army was paroled, able to reenroll after about 60 days.
1. PVT Simeon Thomas Lewis [KIA] (aged 42) served in Co B, 5th Mississippi Infantry (State Troops). During MG Grant's Siege of Vicksburg, this unit was stationed on the north side of the Vicksburg salient. And, two of Grandpa Simeon Thomas' teenaged sons, Walden (aged 17) and Jacob (aged 15), served with him. In son Jacob's obituary, we learn that "his father [Simeon Thomas] was killed by his [Jacob's] side." Simeon Thomas was killed 6/6/1863 at Vicksburg and is buried in an unmarked grave under the road leading to the Union Army Cemetery. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/vick/city_cem/sldrsrest.htm>
4. PVT Robeson Lee (aged 44) served in Co H, 5th Mississippi Infantry (State Troops). This unit was envisioned as a Civil War version of the Revolutionary War Minute Men for the State of Mississippi. During MG Grant's Siege of Vicksburg, this unit was stationed on the north side of the Vicksburg salient in reserve for Smith's Division. Grandpa Rob was paroled after the surrender of Vicksburg. Some veterans re-enlisted in Regular Confederate units, but most returned home after being paroled. Grandpa Rob returned home and reportedly fought rear-area Union troops as a Confederate Partisan.