January & FebruaryOn January 7, the Mississippi Secession Conventionmet to decide if Mississippi should remain in the Union. LuciusQ.C. Lamar*, one of two delegates from Lafayette County,drafted the Ordinance of Secession adopted on January 9. Mississippithus became the second state, after South Carolina, to secedefrom the Union.
* [The biographical information contained inthis and subsequent notes came primarily from the following sources: Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the ConfederateCommanders. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UniversityPress, 1959 and Krick, Robert K., Lee's Colonels: A BiographicalRegister of the Field Officers of the Army of Northern Virginia,3rd edition, revised. Dayton, OH: Morningside House, Inc., 1991. Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar was born in Eatonton, Georgia,on September 17, 1825. Before the war, he practiced law in HollySprings, Mississippi, was a Mississippi Congressional Representativeand a professor of metaphysics at the University of Mississippi. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel on June 11, 1961 and colonelon May 5, 1862. Because of ill health, he resigned on November24, 1862. He was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse as Colonelof the 3rd Corps Military Court. After the war, he was a UnitedStates Senator from Mississippi, United States Secretary of theInterior, and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He died in Vineville, Georgia, on January 23, 1893 and is buriedat St. Peter's Cemetery, Oxford, Mississippi.]
On February 4, delegates from the states that hadalready seceded met in Montgomery, Alabama, to formally establishthe provisional government of the Confederate States of America. They elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as its Presidenton February 5. On February 28, the Confederate Congress directedPresident Davis to call for not more than 12 months as many volunteersas required to protect their newly established country.
March & AprilShortly after the provisional Confederate Governmentwas established, two law partners in Holly Springs, Mississippi,Christopher H. Mott* and Lucius Q.C. Lamar began torecruit an infantry regiment. "The quota of men was quicklyraised; indeed, so fast did volunteers pour in--particularly afterthe gray dawn of April 12th heard the booming of the first cannonof the war at Sumter--that soon no more could be accepted. Mottwas elected colonel while Lamar took the lieutenant-colonelcy. This regiment, the Nineteenth Mississippi, as it was designated,was the first from the State raised for service 'during the war'." Thus began the heroic service of a brave group of Mississippians,including my greatgrandfather, William Meek Furr. ColonelMott was killed at the Battle of Williamsburg. Lieutenant ColonelLamar survived the war to become a respected public servant. William Meek Furr also survived the war to become a leader inhis community and, together with Mary Haseltine Pickens, to raise11 children including my grandfather.
[*Christopher Haynes Mott was born in LivingstonCounty, Kentucky, on June 22, 1826. He attended TransylvaniaUniversity, was a Mexican War veteran, and before the war practicedlaw in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He was appointed a brigadiergeneral in the Army of Mississippi by the Mississippi SecessionConvention but resigned to be commissioned Colonel, 19th Misson June 11, 1861.]
May & June
By the middle of May, Lieutenant Colonel Lamarwas in Montgomery, Alabama, offering the services of his regimentto the Confederate Government. On May 20, the Confederate capitalwas moved to Richmond, Virginia. On May 25, the 19th Miss (PopeWalker Legion) was ordered to rendezvous at Oxford, Mississippi. As soon as it was organized and prepared, it was to go on toRichmond.
On the night of June 1, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar was at the SpottswoodHotel in Richmond with President Jefferson Davis. Here he delivereda "ringing challenge for a united and determined policy ofresistance." He said, "the time has arrived when .. . the deliverance of this State depends not upon argument, notupon eloquence, not upon statesmanship; but upon the fightingmanhood of the people of this country, upon the courage whichdares strike a braver blow for the right than the enemy dare strikefor the wrong . . . . This very night I look forward to the daywhen this beloved country of ours--for, thank God! we have a countryat last--will be a country to live for, to pray for, to fightfor, and if necessary, to die for."
On June 8, Company E (Captain J.W.C. Smith's Company of MississippiVolunteers) mustered into Confederate service for the durationof the war as a part of the 19th Mississippi Regiment at the oldfairgrounds, now Monroe Park, Richmond.
On June 29, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar suffered an apoplectic attackand was taken to Richmond to recover. Mrs. Mary Chesnut*wrote in her diary on that day, "Poor Mr. Lamar has beenbrought from his camp--paralysis or some sort of shock." As a result, he was not able to accompany his regiment to thefront. On July 13, Mrs. Chesnut recorded, "Lamar is outon crutches. His father-in-law . . . bore him off to-day . .. . Mrs. Lamar and her daughter were here." They carriedhim home to Oxford, Mississippi, where he remained for three anda half months.
[*Mary Boykin Chesnut is perhaps the best knowof the Civil War diarists. She was married to James Chesnut,Jr., whose position in the Confederate Government, as a congressman,general, and aide to Jefferson Davis, brought her into the innersocial circles of the Confederacy. This biographical sketch takenfrom Stewart Sifakis' Who Was Who in the Civil War.]
July & AugustOn July 4, the 19th Miss joined General JosephE. Johnston's forces in the upper Shenandoah. They were brigadedwith the 9th, 10th, 11th Alabama, 38th Virginia, and Thomas' Batteryunder Brigadier General Edmund K. Smith* (July 12-22,1861).
On July 18, the 19th Miss left Winchester, camped on the bankof the Shenandoah that night, crossed the next day, and marchedto within about a mile and a half of Piedmont Station. Here theyhalted and were ordered to cook a day's rations. Before theycould finish, they were ordered to continue to Piedmont Station,arriving near nightfall on July 19. They remained at PiedmontStation until the morning of July 22, when they were ordered toManassas/Bull Run. They were assigned to the 5th Brigade (9th,10th, 11th Alabama, and 38th Virginia) under Colonel John H. Forney**(July 22 to December 20, 1861). The collision of 2 railroad trainson July 20, caused the delay at Piedmont Station.
[*Edmund Kirby Smith was born in St. Augustine,Florida, on May 16, 1824. He graduated from West Point in 1845and served in the Mexican War and in the Indian campaigns on theTexas frontier. As major of the 2nd Cavalry in 1861, he refusedto surrender Fort Colorado to the Texas militia. Nevertheless,he resigned his commission on April 6 when Florida seceded fromthe Union. He entered Confederate service as a lieutenant coloneland served in the Shenandoah under General Joseph E. Johnston. On June 17, 1861, he was commissioned brigadier general and wasseverely wounded at 1st Manassas. He rose to the permanent rankof General and surrendered his troops of the Trans-MississippiDepartment on May 26, 1865. The last survivor of the full generalsof the Confederacy, he died in Sewanee, Tennessee, on March 28,1883, and is buried there.]
[**John Horace Forney was born in Lincolnton, NorthCarolina, on August 12, 1829. He graduated from West Point in1852. Since his parents had moved to Alabama, he entered Confederateservice as Colonel, 10th Alabama Infantry. He was promoted tobrigadier general on March 10, 1862 and major general on October27. After the war, he was a farmer and civil engineer. He diedon September 13, 1902 and is buried in Jacksonville, Alabama.]
The 1st Battle of Manassas/BullRun was fought on July 21.The 19th Miss reached Manassas about 11:00 a.m. on July 22."Stood in the rain at Manassas Junction about two hours, and thenstarted to Bull Run. After winding about for several hours in the rainarrived at camp on the westbank of Bull Run about sun-down on the 22d July. Remained incamp at Bull Run, drilling regularly in company and battaliondrill, up to the morning of the 5th of August. On the 5th Augstmoved from Bull Run to Broad Run, near Bristoe Station, VA., adistance of some seven miles."
On August 19, William Meek Furr (age 20) enlistedat Oxford, Mississippi, as a Private in Company E (McClung Riflemenof Lafayette County), 19th Mississippi Regiment. He was listedas present on the Company E Muster Roll.
September & OctoberPrivate William Meek Furr listed as present onthe Company E Muster Roll.
During the past two months, Company E "changed location fromBristoe Station to camp two miles east of Centreville, thenceto three miles west of said town where it is now stationed, hasbeen three times on picket duty, twice in the vicinity of Centrevilleand once beyond Fairfax C.H., the period of time we were out varyingfrom one to five days."
According to Private Mathew J. Davis, Company K, "Along inthe fall our regiment was sent to the front to locate the enemy. We took up the line of march late in the evening along the FairfaxRoad, passing thru that place late at night in the midst of aheavy rain. We camped for the daylight and took up our marchat sunup. After going a mile or two and marching in a lane upa hill we came to a cross road in front, or east of which wasa field. Being near the head of the Regt. I located the Yankees,all of them, I thought just at the far side of the field somefive or six hundred yards from us and in plain view, thousandsof Yankees were in camp, ignorant of our proximity until thatmoment. The boldness of our movements, which were caused moreby ignorance than anything else, caused them to break camp andfall back."
"We were in a critical place and knew it, for the recentrains had swollen the numerous mountain streams behind us andwashed away the bridge across Acquiton Creek, a considerable streamwe had crossed. Our Colonel concluding boldness his best cardto play at this time, filed to the right down the south end ofthe cross road and at right angles to the direction we had beentraveling, which threw our course parallel to the whole frontof the Federals and in plain view for near a mile. All this timethe long roll was beating and the Yankees were hurrying into line."
"To have seen Col. Mott as he leisurally [sic] rode downthe lane at the head of his Regt. one would have thought thathe was on no more important errand than going to the mill whichwe passed soon after. I was not a bit scared tho I did have troublein keeping my cap on my head. After the road carried us intotimber and beyond the sight of the enemy, we again filed to theright through a dense pine ticket and headed for our friends. Here our hopes, which had somewhat revived was again dampenedby coming to a creek too deep to wade, too swift to swim and toowide to jump and the bridge gone. We were called together sothat the Col. could talk to all at once and while he was in themidst of his talk, explaining the critical condition we were inand our liability to capture and enjoining strict silence in thehope of eluding the enemy, until we could recross the creek, amost ludicrous, as well as fortunate incident happened, whichI am sure, contributed largely to our safety."
"Just then, as I said, when everybody felt impressed witha homesick feeling and praying inwardly 'that this cruel war wasover', a large wild turkey which had been distributed somewhere,came flying through the thick timber and lit in our midst. Inthe novelty of the incident, the boys, for we were but boys, forgotfor the moment all danger, and such a yell as went us over thetops of the pines never was heard before or since emanating fromthe same number of throats as they broke in a mad rush for theturkey, which was so surprised it forgot to fly and after dodginga few times, the poor bird was captured but the loud and joyfull[sic] cheering convinced the enemy that we were receiving reinforcementsand we were not molested."
November & DecemberPrivate William Meek Furr listed as present onthe Company E Muster Roll.
On November 1, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar returned to Richmond,"dragging a lame left leg, but unable to resist the impulseto get again to work." On November 9, Colonel Mott wroteLamar requesting he look into supply matters in Richmond. ColonelMott also stated, "Our regiment has suffered severely fromsickness; had improved greatly until out on picket in bad weatherwithout tents or fires, the number of sick increased again. Therehave been three deaths within the last thirty-six hours." Near the end of November, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar rejoined hisregiment then camped near Centreville.
On December 3, at the direction of President Davis, Special OrderNo. 252 was issued. This order directed that the "regimentsfrom Mississippi now serving in the Potomac District will withoutdelay be organized into brigades." The 19th Miss (with the12th, 16th, and 21st Miss) was to join the 5th Brigade under BrigadierGeneral Richard Griffith. This was the first in a series of attemptsby President Davis to have the Mississippi regiments serving inVirginia organized into all Mississippi brigades. On December6, General Johnston wrote to General Samuel Cooper, the ConfederateArmy Adjutant and Inspector General, requesting a suspension ofthe execution of this order. General Johnston stated "thesubtraction of so considerable a force, even for one day, at thiscrisis, would of itself be attended with extreme peril. I respectfullyassure the Department that the mischief consequent upon the immediateenforcement of Special Orders No. 252, cannot well be exaggerated." On December 9, Judah P. Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary ofWar, wrote to General Johnston concerning his letter of December6 that "has been submitted to the President, who instructsme to reply that he adheres to his order, and expects you to executeit. Full two months have elapsed since the President's verbalexpression of his desires that the will of the Congress on thissubject should be obeyed. Six weeks or more have elapsed sinceorders were formally issued from this Department, to be executedas early as in your discretion it could be safely done, and thePresident now finds the Mississippi regiments scattered as farapart as it is possible to scatter them." As subsequentevents demonstrated, General Johnston never carried out theseorders.
On December 21, the 19th Miss was assigned to the brigade of BrigadierGeneral Cadmus M. Wilcox* (December 21, 1861 to June18, 1862) with the 9th, 10th, 11th Alabama, 38th Virginia, andAnderson's Virginia Battery.
[*Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox was born in WayneCounty, North Carolina, on May 28, 1824, but grew up in TiptonCounty, Tennessee. He attended the University of Nashville beforehis appointment to West Point in 1842. He graduated from WestPoint in 1846 and served with distinction in the Mexican War. He published Rifles and Rifle Practice in 1859. On June8, 1861, he resigned his commission and fought at 1st Manassasas Colonel, 9th Alabama Infantry. He was promoted to brigadiergeneral on October 21, 1861. He was promoted to major generalafter the Gettysburg campaign. After the war, he settled in Washingtonand in 1866 was appointed land chief of the railroad divisionof the Land Office, a position he held until his death on December2, 1890. He was universally esteemed in the North as well asthe South. Four of the pallbearers at his funeral were formergenerals of the United States Army and four were general officersof the Confederacy. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.]
Company E "has been stationed near Centrevillefor the last two months, has been on picket duty three times,about four days each time, is now located near Bull Run Battlefield,building Winter Quarters, about four miles from Manassas Junction,has been in no engagement, but would like exceedingly to try themettle of their guns in an affair of this kind."
Colonel Mott reported that during November and December, "MyRegiment has been in no action. Went on Picket to Post No. 19on the 10 day of November 1861 from Camp on Cub Run one mile westof Centerville and returned to a point near Centerville. My encampmenthaving been moved thence during my absence on picket; Nov 15,61 - again on picket at same post; from Nov 25 to Nov 30, 61. From Dec 10, 61 till Dec 15 the Right Wing of my Regiment wason picket at the same post and from 25 Dec until the 28, 61 theLeft Wing of my Regiment was on picket at the same post. Duringthe absence of the left wing on picket, viz Dec 26, 61 the RightWing of the Regiment removed to the site near the Pringle House,about 6 miles west of Centerville, assigned for the erection ofWinter Quarters where we are now engaged in the construction ofsuitable huts. I might add my present location is about (3) threemiles N.E. of Manassas."
Shortly after Christmas, General Johnston proposed to LieutenantColonel Lamar that he be recommended for advancement to the rankof brigadier general. Lamar refused stating he would never acceptpromotion over the head of Colonel Mott to whom he requested thepromotion be given. This suggestion was accepted, but the untimelydeath of Colonel Mott was to come before he could be commissioned.
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