Archive for July, 2012

The Whitfield – Ross CB Blog

John Wilkins Whitfield, Brigadier General and Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, Brigadier General were the two commanders of the Brigade. There were others but usually as acting or stand-in. Ross often had to do this for his commanders. He stood in for Colonel Phifer at Hatchie Bridge, on several occasions he sat in for other brigade and division commanders.  This blog is an outlet for the brigade to show its colors and become known,

I built the site at the old Yahoo.geocities.com several years ago. Some of the files go back to 2002. Then Yahoo decided to close geocities. I needed a good platform that I was familiar with. Yahoo Site Solution was very similar to that in Geocities so I chose Yahoo. The map I made, the flags I borrowed and I chose a color scheme that was somewhat western. Everything went well and I soon had all the formats modified to work on Yahoo. I was and still learn about HTML and HTM files from word and excel. And you can still find my mistakes and over runs and miss spellings.

I began to modify the files of the rosters of the 3rd Texas Cavalry, because the roster at Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge) was somewhat complete. I was beginning to work on the 6th Texas and Stephen Kirk came out with a book on the 6th and one on the 9th. People kept asking questions about the  27th, so I read Hatley’s book on the Legion and I started to work on the rosters. First I changed the format from the 3rd to that I used with the 27th. I was just getting into the swing of it when Chip Culpepper asked me to help with the Iuka Mass Burial project. That was about January two and one half years ago. That project helped me to know what I was looking for. I soon modified the rosters again.  And I may do it again. When I look at the data at the rear of each company roster, I find more things I could have spelled out and data that would have really told the story.

I finished and published the 27th. Oh! you want to know what the Iuka project was  and why me. Well, I had the 3rd and the 27th underway and both were the point at Iuka. The 3rd lost 22 and the 27th lost 19 men in just a few short hours. Because Van Dorn was being prompted to go toward Corinth, it was decided to not resume the battle the next day and to withdraw. This caused the Confederate force to leave all its dead and wounded on the field with the exception of General Little. This battle occurred on the 19th of September. By 1 October 1862, due to the heat, these bodies needed to be buried. The young Union captain in charge had 99 bodies that were found on the battle field. He also found another 162 bodies behind the Methodist Church that had been piling up behind the hospital all summer. The Captain buried a total of 265 bodies in the Mass Grave at Shady Grove.  The 4 that were added came from soldiers who died between the 19th and the 1st. The Iuka project was to name all of the 103 plus one more probable. On soldier had died on the 17 due to an accident. He was also probably buried and was from the 27th.  Going through the National Archives for the soldiers who died and were wounded and died took three weeks. Then more time proving each. But finally the project was complete and  104 men in the grave were known. We could go through the hospital records and eventually identify most in the grave, but we would have to go through the records of all the units in North Eastern Mississippi and that area just north of the line in Tennessee. It would take years. Hopefully one day all records will be digital and more accurate data can be obtained. It was hard work.

Back to the 27th. I have played with both HTM and HTML records for the rosters. I am slowly going toward HTML so that all records are seen on line. With HTM it downloads, and you have it on your computer. It does not take long, and it works, but the digital display is easily at hand in HTML and it is not that difficult to correct. I can go into HTML and make small corrections. With HTM I can not. All corrections have to be made in Excel and then up loaded.

Yes, this is more than you wanted to know about how this website and blog occurred. I forgot the blog. One day I noticed that the site included a blog. All you had to do was set it up. World Press is not that difficult, though I am learning more each day. To write when you have the great amount of data that I have accumulated is not difficult. I have also read a lot of books and other material on the Brigade and the regiments. Plus I have studied the Indians and several other regiments along the way, plus writing my on Great Grandfather’s story and that of his brother. I also have a great deal about Company I of the 6th Texas and H of the 9th Texas, and then a lot about Ras Stirman’s Arkansas Sharpshooter Regiment which included these two companies for three months. You might say about some things, I know a lot more than anyone else.  My charge is to use it correctly.

PS: I am using the Yahoo.Small Business System and World Press 3.4.1 .org. I have not used any other blog platform. I am also using World Press 3.4.1. on two other blogs. The blog at my camp stove website is written into the program so I do not know its editor. But it does work similar to World Press so I am able to use it.

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The 27th Texas Cavalry Black Day at Carter Creek

On the 27th of April 1863, the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment (the Legion) tarnished its image by failing to maintain vigilance during a picket duty on the Carter Creek Road (Parkway) a road southwest of Nashville. The site is near what is now called the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is beautiful country today, and may have been to good then, because the regiment let down its guard.  With a little over 350 men at the site, 128 are known to have been captured along with 300 horses, mules and cattle. Almost all the trains and gear was lost.

The 6th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment (Union) managed to get to the boundary of the camp before being detected. At that time the Union Brigade Commander Colonel Louis D. Watkins called charge and a route was on. Some soldiers ran as they were. Some did nothing but stand there, others snatched up gear and a horse, others just grabbed a horse and left everything. Some ran into the bushes and managed to hide. The Union Brigade had to move fast, for they knew that Ross Brigade, Forrest and Van Dorn were near by. Quickly they grabbed all the gear, drove the horses and other animals, loaded wagons with prisoners and carried it all into Nashville. We know that a couple of wounded were left on the ground. One soldier was left behind to care for a wounded soldier. This lowered the amount that went through Union prisons by one. From records, I identified 127 captured. Of course one day I may come across one more from another regiment. In essence one regiment captured another, because of negligence.

The troops were not held in the prison in Nashville. They were quickly moved by cars (train) to Louisville, Kentucky and later to Baltimore, Maryland. On May 10th (13 days later) the group was turned over at Ft McHenry, Maryland (several hundred miles to the east)  for parole. From there they went to Richmond, then by train back to Grenada, Mississippi. At Richmond most needed new clothing, and basic gear before they could travel. They would not get horses and such till they were back in Mississippi.

Was the trip easy? Probably not. We know some died of disease. One at least went over to the enemy on an Oath of Allegiance. Some escaped, and made their way back. Their was one escape off the boats carrying them to Ft McHenry. Once they were on cars going back to Mississippi many being on parole papers, just went on back to Texas. Of this group, some did not come back to the Legion. The reasons were many. But many did come back. Some were back in the Regiment before the 1st of June. Some went home for gear, weapons and horses. With a government horse, you lost pay.

Colonel Edward Hawkins was on leave with eye problems and Lieutenant Colonel Broock’s was so ashamed that he spent the whole war making up for the regiment’s failure. He vowed that he would never let this happen to the Legion again. He was right. When General Kilpatrick brought his Union Cavalry Division against the 27th during the Atlanta Campaign, they fought hard against a superior force, before retreating. They did not retreat until the 3rd was in place behind them, then they bugged out to the rear to set up again behind the 6th and 9th. This leap frog defense kept up until an Infantry Brigade was in place to stop Kilpactrick and divert his attack and cause it to be a failure.

This is one of the few black days on the brigade and as far as the 27th was concerned, its losses in the face of Union Divisions at Iuka and Hatchie Bridge and its later actions more than offset the shame.

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The Fourth of July

Hillsdale College has suggested that we read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th. I like that, but you should also watch Independence Day and the Longest Day and maybe Midway and a few more John Wayne movies. I love the feeling that I get from all of these activities. That feeling of pride in my country. Way back in 1957 during an NCO school (that stands for Non-Commissioned-Officer school) I was assigned a speech of 5 minutes duration on the meaning of America. It was an easy speech for me.  I had been brought up in an Archie Bunker home. Many of you will not remember Archie. He was a man with a good heart, but he sounded like a racist. All of the words out of his mouth were wild and racial, but in reality he was kind to most people and never really bad. That was my dad.

During World War II we were taken to all the War Bond Shows, bought Savings Stamps, raised a Victory Garden and learned the meaning of love of our Soldiers. I received a $2 bill in the Mail every month from my Uncle in the Navy. He was the only close relative in the War. He served as the chief engineer on a deep sea tug boat. I did not know what that meant but I have since learned. These were the boats that pulled or pushed our great battle ships back home for repair. This year I learned all about a  distant relative that died in the torpedoing of a ship in the English Channel.

I found the book that had been written on this incident, and learned about how he died. It was not like attacking a machine gun or taking a round or grenade for your buddies, but his death was also a hero death. This ship was of foreign registry, commanded by a foreign crew, contracted to carry US troops to France. These soldiers were being carried to support the US forces in the Battle of the Bulge.  The torpedo hit only five miles from the French coast. The crew left in the life boats and the soldiers had to fend for themselves. This they did. Many heroic deed was accomplished that night in the cold waters of a Christmas Eve in 1944. But soldiers did go into the water in temperatures cold enough to cause extreme exposure. This is what happened to my kin. He was in full combat gear and in the water for sufficient time that when he was pulled out he was near death. I pray that someone was with him when he died. Others were pulled from the water frozen or dead from being crushed between boats that came to help.

You and I were not allowed to learn of this in the 1940s, 50s and so on. It was kept top secret for a long time until a writer gained access to secret documents. The Army, the Navy, the US Government, the French Government all kept  it hush hush because they did not want to harm the war effort, nor report that they had all screwed up in the saving of these soldiers. I have learned from this book that several Texas soldiers died in that ships sinking. Many states have honored their lost ones, but I have not found that Texas has honored her dead. It is a goal I will accomplish this year.

This is my country, theses are my people. Today I look at a man who is trying to end all that these people gave their lives for. We have a Declaration of Independence that cries out against many of the things that our government is doing today. In 1860 the South cried out against tyranny of a government that was over taxing, under developing, and not fairly treating. We use a Declaration modeled on that of the first Declaration. Even the Constitution was modeled after that of the United States, because of what we believed. Some words were altered concerning slavery, trying to resolve that problem. As were the original framers of the Constitution, they continued the mistake. They should have ended slavery. The North would then have had to fight 5 million additional soldiers, and the war may have ended differently. It is funny that the slaves held it against the plantation owners, and shop owners that held slaves, but have never condemned the investors and buyers of the North who paid for the system of Slavery to exist and even provided for its start in America. Only the Southerner is a fault. I guess that is also one of the results of winning the war of Northern Aggression.

This is a United States, forged that way by an oppressive Northern Government, but today we are one, and the flag of the United States flies over all. I fought for that flag and I love the flags of the South. How can that be? It can be because of our Declaration and Constitution. Today many new citizens were brought into our family as is normal each 4th of July. Many of these people are very proud to be citizens of the greatest country in the world. How sad we have an apologetic President who goes around the world bowing to others saying things about something he does not understand. He stands with his hands over his crotch instead of his heart. His wife is bored waiting for patriotic ceremonies to  end.  Why did we allow ourselves to be conned into such a situation. Give me a Man like Herman Cain before an Obama. Give me many other men of color rather than what we have. Yes I am Southern and American and damned proud of it!

Is this the last 4th of July?

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The 27th Texas Cavalry – Yazoo Pass February 16-20, 1863

You might say I am hot on a cold trail. In January 1863 the Texas Brigade, under the temporary command of Colonel John Griffith, 6th Texas Cavalry was ordered to Tennessee under the command of General Van Dorn. As this was a cavalry operation, it was decided that a good portion of the trains would stay in Mississippi at Jackson. A detachment was left to guard the train.

The 27th Texas Cavalry battle list a battle from February 16-19 1863 at Yazoo Pass, Mississippi. I have found one website (<a href=”http://www.mycivilwar.com/campaigns/630200E.html”>Yazoo Pass Expedition</a>) that describes this action, but not the actions of the 27th Texas Cavalry. The regiment was under command of Colonel Edwin Hawkins and Lt Col John Broocks. The action of the regiment in this battle is not known. The Union force under Major General Ulysses S. Grant was involved in the first Vicksburg Campaign. It purpose was to attack from the south of Vicksburg thru the rivers and canals and capture General Pemberton’s Confederate Army. At the listing of this battle in the 27th battles I have added the link above, to give a little light on the operation.

I am finding listings of Union regiments, that were involved. They were basically from Indiana, Ohio and Missouri. I have found one Mississippi artillery unit. At Fort Pemberton, in March 10 cannons kept the Union force from advancing or capturing the fort. At this point, I will guess that the 27th was assigned to screen and delay Union forces that tried to land and capture the southern forces.  I will also guess that they left when the Fort was completed so they could get to Tennessee.

From the above link the First Vicksburg Campaign is known to have been a failure and a southern win. I will go into the Southern Historical Records and see what I can find. Maybe there is more info. Just remembered my problem with the Southern Historical Papers. So many good articles about the Civil War. It slows you down, because you have to stop and read. Plus it not easy to search. Their are only 52 volumes in digital Adobe format. I will also see if any of the Civil War History portal states have any data. Usually, Texas and Mississippi have helped me in the past;

Following the battle the regiment, moved out for Tennessee and were there for the Battle at Thompson Station on the 5 of March 1863, 15 days later. This in itself was a pretty good march.

After the Battle of Thompson Station, the regiment was assigned to picket near Franklin and Nashville. This is where they suffered their worst embarrassment of the war. More on that in a later post.

It is the start of another great 4th of July, let us pray it is not our last.  This post will be continued.

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