January & February Private William Meek Furr listed as present on the Company E Muster Roll.
On January 14, the 19th Miss was assigned to the Potomac District under General Beauregard, Smith's 2nd Division, Wilcox's Brigade. Company E was "in Winter Quarters during the months of Jany & February and did no duty save picket duty on picket twice distant about five miles."
March & April Private William Meek Furr listed as present on the Company E Muster Roll.
In March, General Johnston began to move his forces to the defense of Richmond and the Virginia Peninsula. On April 4, General McClellan began his "On to Richmond" march with two separate columns marching up the Virginia Peninsula. The Confederate forces had by this time established three lines of defense on the Peninsula. The last of these was the Warwick line from Lee's mill pond to Yorktown and in front of Williamsburg.
On March 8, the 19th Miss left their winter quarters near Centreville and marched through New Baltimore, Warrenton, Jefferson, and Culpepper Courthouse to Orange Courthouse. On March 24, they went by railroad to Richmond. On March 26, they marched to Rocketts, outside Richmond, boarded boats for City Point, where they again took the train, this time to Weldon, NC. Returning to City Point, by train, they again boarded boats that took them to Kings Mill wharf. On March 30, they marched to Lebanon Church, five miles from Yorktown.
On April 1, Company E was again mustered into Confederate service for the duration of the war. Until April 30, the 19th Miss manned the trenches and performed picket duty in the area between Wynns' mill pond and Dams No. 2 and 3. The remains of the Confederate earthworks and the dams are now located on the White Oak Nature Trail in Newport News Park, Virginia.
Company E manned the works at the "headwaters of the Warwick River at Dam No 2." On April 6, with Companies A & F, they engaged a regiment of Union troops. "No men in the Company were killed or wounded. We left dam no 2, 8th & went to upper Dam where we remained 13 days receiving daily a shower of shell & grape from the enemies batteries, two men slightly wounded, we were relieved & ordered back in Camp near Lebanon Church 30' of April."
May & June Private William Meek Furr listed as present on the Company E Muster Roll.
"During these two months, Company E has participated in the battle of Williamsburg, Seven Pines, and the recent engagement before Richmond, and I am happy to say on all occasions exhibited that Daring & Chivalry which characterizes the Mississippi Soldier. Out of One hundred & ten men aggregated, Company E has in the battles above named sustained a loss of sixty (61) one killed & wounded."
At the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5), the 19th Miss was assigned to Longstreet's 2nd Division, Wilcox's 4th Brigade. They left Yorktown on May 4 and marched toward Williamsburg. The regiment of some 800 men was commanded by Colonel Christopher H. Mott who was killed during the battle. Command then passed to Lieutenant Colonel L.Q.C. Lamar. Due to details such as guarding the regiment's wagon train and sickness, only 501 men participated in the battle.
The 19th Miss had just passed through Williamsburg when they were ordered back to the line of redoubts held by General Longstreet. They marched under the screen of a ravine to a forest near a Union battery, followed by the 9th and 10th Alabama. Companies A and B went forward as skirmishers and after a spirited skirmish returned with several prisoners. The 19th Miss then advanced, supported by the 38th Virginia and formed the center of the attacking force. The battle began about 11:00 a.m. and raged until dark. They found the Union forces strongly posted behind a fence and piled logs. After a few minutes of very close musketry, less than 30 yards, they charged and drove the Union forces from the works. As an example of gallantry in this charge, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar cited Company E that went forward over ground covered with fallen logs. Color Sergeant Peebles bore the colors in front and when shot down held them up until Private Meaders took them from his hand. When a rifle ball pierced his arm, he passed the colors to Private Halloran of Company C. Lieutenant Jones of Company E then took them and carried them until he triumphantly planted the colors on the Union forces' cannon. Together with the 9th Alabama, the 19th Miss overran and captured the 12 guns of Battery H, 1st U.S. Artillery and of the 6th New York Battery. The guns were so deeply bogged down in the mud that they were able to dig out only four of them. According to Lieutenant Colonel Lamar, "From the time the order to advance was given [8:30 a.m.] until the conflict terminated [8:00 p.m.] this regiment was under fire, and through it all both officers and men bore themselves with an intrepidity which merits the highest commendation." The 19th Miss lost 15 killed and 85 wounded, 11 mortally. Captain J. M. Macon, Company A, was mortally wounded. According to General Wilcox, Captain Macon's wound occurred "while skirmishing in advance of his regiment. To his report as to the position and strength of the enemy is due in great part our success in driving him out from the standing timber from behind the fences." Captain Chesley H. Coffey, Company D, was severely wounded. Following this battle, the 19th Miss marched to the banks of the Chickahominy where they camped for one week before moving to the outskirts of Richmond. Following the battle, Colonel Mott's faithful servant, Dick, carried his body on horseback to Richmond and delivered it to his wife who was then visiting in Richmond.
In the middle of May, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar suffered another apoplexy attack while reviewing his regiment and "fell as if he had been shot." He was placed on a litter, covered with the regimental flag and carried to Richmond by ambulance. He was later taken home to Mississippi and then to Macon, Georgia, where his mother and sister helped his wife and daughter nurse him back to health. By the fall of that year it became apparent that he would not be able to return to active military service. "In October [effective November 24] he resigned his colonelcy, though the officers and men in general assembly suggested that he retain his command in absence with the expectation that he might some day resume his leadership of the regiment. He, however, feeling that such a course would work an injustice upon the other officers, declined the suggestion. N. H. Harris, his successor in the colonelcy, afterward a brigadier general, later wrote that 'the soldiers of the regiment regarded him as a heroic leader and felt deep sorrow at his resignation; that great and lasting mutual affection existed between the men and himself'."
On May 26, President Davis wrote to General Johnston concerning the assignment of the 19th Miss and other Mississippi regiments to two all Mississippi brigades. He stated, "I had heard of objections to the restoration of the Seventeenth Regiment, and the Nineteenth was supposed to be one which especially required to be in a brigade of Mississippians for reasons more likely to be communicated to me than yourself. I am confident they would be more effective in battle for being thus associated."
At the Battle of Seven Pines (May 31-June 1), the 19th Miss was commanded by Major John B. Mullins*. On May 31, after "wearisome marches and countermarches," they reached the battlefield of Seven Pines late in the evening. They were positioned as pickets three or four hundred yards to the east of the main line on the Williamsburg road, thus occupying the most advanced point reached by the Confederate forces on that day. On Sunday, June 1, in this exposed position, they were "briskly attacked." After they repulsed the Union advance, they were ordered to withdraw. During the night, they marched back to their camp near Richmond. Their brigade lost 110 killed and wounded.
[*John Bailey Mullins was born in Tennessee in December 1829. He was appaoined to West Point in 1854. He resigned his US commission on March 16, 1861. He was commissioned Captain, C.S. Cavalry and was scheduled to be Major, 5th Virginia Cavalry, but that unit was never fully organized. He was appointed Major, 19th Miss on December 11, 1861, lieutenant colonel on May 5, 1862, and colonel on November 24, 1862. These last two promotions were later nullified since he never returned to the 19th Mississippi after being wounded during the Seven Days Battles. He resigned in July 1864 because of the effects of a severe abdominal wound. After the war, he lived in Norfolk, Virginia, and died on October 3, 1891. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk.]
On June 1, General Robert E. Lee took command of and reorganized the Army of Northern Virginia. On June 12, President Davis wrote to General Lee concerning the action of Major Mullins, then commanding the 19th Miss. He was concerned about the changing of the relative ranks of the captains in this regiment and the arrest of Captain Martin (Company B) for refusing to recognize this illegal change. General Lee was requested to investigate this matter and to see that Captain Martin was released from arrest. He was also reminded of the agreed upon, yet not accomplished, establishment of a second Mississippi brigade that would include the 19th Miss.
At the Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1), the 19th Miss was assigned to Longstreet's Division, Featherston's* (June 18, 1862 to January 15, 1863) 6th Brigade (12th, 19th Miss, 2nd Miss Battalion--later renumbered the 48th Miss, and 3rd Richmond Howitzers). They were commanded by Major John B. Mullins, who "displayed coolness, courage, and skill in the command of his Regiment," and was severely wounded at Gaines' Mill on June 27. After Major Mullins was wounded, they were commanded by Captain Nathaniel H. Harris of Company C until he too was wounded on June 30 at Glendale.
[*Winfield Scott Featherston, "Old Swet," was born near Murfreesboro, Tennessee on August 8, 1820. He fought in the Creek War at the age of seventeen and was later admitted to the Mississippi bar. He was elected a Mississippi Congressional Representative in 1847 and served four years. A resident of Holly Springs in 1861, he was elected Colonel, 17th Mississippi Infantry. He was commissioned brigadier general on March 4, 1862. On January 19, 1863, he was transferred to the Army of the West where he served until paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, in May 1865. Returning to his law practice in Mississippi, he became an important person in the fight to overthrow the carpetbag regime of Governor Adelbert Ames and served several terms in the state legislature. Appointed to the bench in 1882, he was a member of the constitutional convention of 1890. He died in Holy Springs on May 28, 1891, and is buried there.]
About 10:00 p.m. on June 26, the 19th Miss crossed the Chickahominy near Mechanicsville. Marching with their brigade at the head of General Longstreet's Division, they passed through Mechanicsville and halted not far on the other side. At 2:30 a.m. on June 27, Featherston and Pryor's brigades relieved Ripley and Colquitt's brigades on Beaver Dam Creek. According to General Featherston, "Between daylight and sunrise on the morning of the 27th the enemy opened a very brisk fire of musketry on my brigade from the right to the left. We were anticipating the attack. Three companies of skirmishers had been thrown out to the front of my lines, and the entire brigade had been ordered to rest in line with guns in hand. The brigade advanced in line of battle a few steps only in the direction of the creek, and were halted in the edge of the woods near the open field and returned the enemy's fire. Here they remained in position about one hour, during which time the firing was rapid on both sides and continuous. The enemy appeared to be in greatly superior numbers, judging from the firing, and obstinate and determined to drive us back, if possible. As soon as the sun arose and I saw the nature of the ground in front and the position of the enemy beyond the creek, I directed Captain Smith's battery (Third Richmond Howitzers), attached to my brigade to be placed in position 200 yards from the left wing on my brigade, and return the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was then playing on us sharply. This was the most elevated and practicable position on the field for artillery. I then ordered my men to charge the enemy's lines. This order was promptly executed from right to left, the men moving forward in an unbroken line and with great rapidity, driving the enemy before them until they reached Beaver Dam Creek. This creek could be crossed at only a few places, a fact unknown to me, but known to the enemy. Finding it impossible to cross the creek in line on account of its precipitous banks, the command was ordered to halt at the creek, where it was to some extent protected by the bank of the creek and its skirting. The impossibility of passing the creek in line for the reason stated, and the consequent necessity of reforming under the enemy's fire from his breastworks and rifle pits, now in easy range, would have involved a loss so heavy that I was induced to halt the men in this partially protected position. From my position on the creek a very heavy fire on both sides was kept up for an hour or an hour and a half, when the enemy retired from his works and retreated rapidly in the direction of Gaines' farm, or Cold Harbor, down the Chickahominy."
After an old bridge over Beaver Dam Creek that had been torn up by the Union forces was rebuilt, Featherston's Brigade crossed about 11:00 a.m. They moved forward with the rest of General Longstreet's Division in pursuit of the retreating Union forces. After meeting stiff resistance, particularly from Union artillery, they sought the protection of the woods in the rear of the Gaines' house to await further orders. According to General Featherston, "Here they [Featherston, Pryor, and Wilcox's brigades] remained until almost 4 o'clock in the evening, when they were ordered to advance and unite in a joint attack upon the enemy, who were posted on our side of the Chickahominy, southeast from Gaines' house. These three brigades--Wilcox's, Pryor's, and my own-- constituted the extreme right of our attacking column, and were separated some distance from the balance of our attacking forces. General Wilcox was the senior brigadier present, and directed well the movement. The three brigades were thrown in line of battle near a ravine, where they were partially protected in front from the fire of the enemy. After they formed in line of battle they were ordered to move rapidly over the field in front, some 600 to 800 yards in width, to the edge of the woods where the enemy was posted. During this advance they were exposed to a raking fire from the enemy's artillery in front, as well as from his long range rifles. The advance was rapidly made with unbroken lines, displaying an order and discipline that would have been creditable to the oldest veterans. A more dangerous charge could not be made by troops than the one made by these three brigades on this occasion. The woods were reached with considerable loss in our ranks. A murderous fire was opened upon the enemy by the men and they were driven back. Our men encountered, on entering the woods, ditches and ravines, and in pursuing the enemy through the woods had to ascend a steep hill, but their course was onward and steady. The enemy, fighting with great desperation, were driven gradually back from one position to another; first from the edge of the woods back behind their works on the top of the hill, then their works were stormed and taken. Hard pressed, they were compelled to abandon their artillery, four pieces of which were passed over by my brigade and a number of prisoners taken by them, and finally to flee in wild confusion. Our troops held the ground and occupied their encampments that night." The artillery pieces captured by Featherston's Brigade were probably those belonging to Captain Hezekiah Easton's Battery A, 1st Pennsylvania Artillery. Captain Easton, after declaring that "the enemy shall never take this battery but over my dead body," was killed as his battery was overrun.
Many years later, Private L.R. Burress of Company K, 19th Miss remembered the following incident. "After the battle [Beaver Dam Creek] was over, Major Mullens [sic] called to Private Jim Moser, of Company K, to take the flag that was still in the grasp of the fallen color bearer. Jim replied: 'Major, every man that ever carried that flag into battle has been killed, and I has rather keep my musket.' Answering, Major Mullens said: 'True, every one has fallen; but a regiment without a flag exhibits a want of chivalry. If you will bear the colors, a brave soldier will lead us.' After a moment's hesitation, Jim in sublime affection said: 'Let me tell my company good-by.' He approached the remaining comrades, taking each by the hand and bidding them be courageous and honor the flag under which he was to fall. He approached the writer of this sketch and, embracing him affectionately, said: 'Write to mother and tell her how I fell.' The flag borne by Jim was soon on its way to Cold Harbor, or Gaines' Mill, another field soon to be baptized by a crimson tide from both gray and blue. The battle line was formed. General Wilcox, commanding this division of Longstreet's Corps, recognized Jim and, calling to him, said: 'Jim, do you see the crest of the hill beyond this open field? When the command to charge is given, carry the flag to the top of that hill.' It is well to say that the hill pulsated with chivalric life clothed in blue, fortified by three lines of intrenchments [sic] and an abatis seemingly impossible had there been no foe to face. The command, 'Forward, double-quick, march!' was given. The colors obeyed. The men hesitated. They were urged to follow the flag. The lines then began to move, but wavered some. The flag was far out in front when some one called out: 'Jim, bring the colors back to the line.' To this Jim answered: 'Bring the line up to the colors. The colors are going where commanded.' The words were distinctly heard, as firing has not begun. Such spirit bearing aloft our banner begat [sic] such enthusiasm that the lines no longer hesitated; but, like lightning from Jove, they leaped out to follow the flag. Terror seized the lines in blue, and as they fled their abatis proved a very abattoir. On rushed the gray; but Jim, alas! has fallen, and never did a winding sheet more beautifully wrap the dead than that flag shrouded him. Our company had numbered sixty-seven in the beginning of the Seven Days' battle. In the end, after Malvern Hill, only two of us were left, John Saunders and the writer. We put aside our muskets and slept in each other's arms." According to Captain Robert S. Abernathy, Commander Company G 19th Miss, "the Regiment particularly distinguished itself in the terrible charge of 27th June." Thus ended the bloodiest of the Seven Days.
On June 30, Pryor and Featherston's brigades arrived on the Glendale* battlefield in a piecemeal fashion. They were immediately met by fresh Union reinforcements from General Kearny's Division that had been posted on the right of General McCall's Division. General Featherston was wounded in the shoulder. His brigade became widely scattered and was forced back. At some point, Captain West, 14th SC Regiment, "found General Featherston in the undergrowth wounded, who informed him that the enemy's skirmishers were all around him, that he was in danger of being captured, and that if any Confederate troops were near at hand they should advance at once."
[*Also known as the Battle of Frayser's Farm, Nelson's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Crossroads, and White Oak Swamp.]
General Featherston's official report on this battle states, "On Monday morning, June 30, General Longstreet's division engaged the enemy to the left of the Darbytown road, some 15 miles from this place and not far from the James River. This was about 4 o'clock in the evening. The engagement soon became general from his right to his left. My brigade was held in reserve at the beginning of the fight, but about 5 o'clock in the evening was ordered to attack the enemy on the left of General Longstreet's division. As I passed up to the place designated, I found the contest was becoming very hot on the left, and I thought the enemy advancing. On reaching General Pryor's brigade, which was then on the extreme left of General Longstreet's division, I was requested by General Pryor to bring my brigade to the support of his. I immediately saw the necessity of doing so, threw my men into line of battle, and marched them in. On looking to our extreme left I saw that an attempt would be made by the enemy to flank us, probably with a very heavy force, and immediately sent back one of my aides (Lieutenant Sykes) to General Longstreet, requesting him to hurry up the re-enforcements. General Longstreet had informed me on our march to the field of action that re-enforcements would be sent forward."
"My brigade was advanced to the front lines to or near a fence at the edge of the field. Here they opened a steady fire on the enemy's lines, and the enemy poured a well-directed fire into our ranks, and seemed not to be giving way, but inclined to advance. My first determination after giving them a few fires was to order a charge, but believing the force in front to be vastly superior to ours, and seeing that a flank movement was contemplated by the enemy, I declined to do so, for the reason that it might have resulted in having my small command surrounded and cut off before the re-enforcements sent for could come up to our support. At this time I received a painful wound in the shoulder and was compelled to retire from the field. When I left the field General Gregg's [South Carolina] brigade had reached it and was but a short distance in rear of mine, forming in line."
During these battles, the 19th Miss lost 63 (58) killed, 209 (264) wounded, and three missing. Lieutenant Marion B. Harris, Company C, was mortally wounded and Second Lieutenant John R. Sirles, Company B, was killed on June 27. Captain George Norris, Company B, was mortally wounded on June 30. Concerning these battles, Major General Longstreet stated, "No battle-field can boast of more gallantry and devotion. The severest trials were encountered by Wilcox's, Featherston's, and Pryor's brigades."
The Seven Days Battles ended the Peninsula Campaign, and the war front in Virginia again moved to the Manassas area.
July & August Private William Meek Furr listed as present on the Company E Muster Roll.
On July 13, the 16th Miss was transferred to Featherston's Brigade which then consisted of the 12th, 16th, and 19th Regiments, and the 2nd Miss Battalion. During this period, General Featherston was absent from his brigade recovering from his wound. Colonel Carnot Posey, 16th Miss Regiment, commanded the brigade. These regiments would remain brigaded together under Generals Featherston, then Posey, and finally Harris until the end of the war.
On July 15, the 16th Miss joined the rest of their brigade in camp on Cornelius Creek, near Strawberry Hill, two miles east of Richmond on the Charles City Road. During this time, they were inactive except that "the old and much disliked practice of drilling is again inaugurated. Blackberries and huckleberries constitute our luxuries." On July 28, they marched to Darbytown and camped.
After midnight on August 12, the 19th Miss formed and marched to Richmond. They boarded a Central Railroad train and arrived in Gordonsville at 3:00 p.m. They camped a half mile from town. On August 14, they formed in the morning and marched five miles southwest of Gordonsville and camped. The brigade wagons arrived on August 15. The men were ordered to cook three days rations and left a little before noon on August 16, passed through Gordonsville, and marched northeast. On August 19, they were in the rear of the column near Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan. On August 20, they moved toward Kelly's Ford on the Rappahannock and camped six miles from the Rapidan.
On August 21, they "started this morning at the 'crack o' day' on a rapid march for Kellysville." General Wilcox reported the gallant action of the 12th and 16th Miss near Kelly's Ford on the Rappahannock. Supported by the other regiments, the 12th Miss repulsed the charge of a large body of Union cavalry, "the deadly fire of the Mississippians throwing the enemy into great confusion." "The Wilkinson Rifles and Smith Defenders of the 16th were thrown out as skirmishers under Lt Col Shannon but were driven in by the superior force of the enemy's cavalry which made a dash upon the regiments in line of battle protected partly by a growth of scrub pines. Reserving their fire until within short-range, they poured a volley into the enemy which put a sudden stop to their onslaught and forced them in retreat across the river." They camped that night at Stevensburg.
The 19th Miss continued the march toward Manassas, camping at Brandy Station (August 22), and three or four miles beyond Salem (August 27). On August 28, they camped near Hopewell Gap.
At the 2nd Battle of Manassas/Bull Run (August 28-30), the 19th Miss was assigned to the Confederate right wing under Longstreet, Wilcox's Division, Featherston's Brigade. On August 29, "Off by day, on a forced march towards Manassas. Brisk cannonading in that direction, and we understand that Jackson is being hard pressed. Passed through Haymarket & Gainesville admist clouds of dust and the perspiration pouring off us in torrents. The country is now more open and the display of Longstreet columns is very imposing. Jackson may breathe easy, for powerful aid is close at hand. After reaching the edge of the battlefield, we halt, load and form line on the left of the pike [Warrenton Pike]. After advancing 1/2 mile in line of battle, we again halt in support of the advance line. Excessively hot and marching in close order of battle is almost too much for human flesh & muscle to endure. The firing in front is now more slack and desultory. The clouds of dust, concentrating to Jackson's rear, may have admonished the assailants to be prudent. In the evening, our brigade is withdrawn to the right of the pike and march up the old railroad embankment, but only as reserves. At dusk, Hood's Texas Brigade are sent to the front on our left, deliver a much musical volley in the enemy's face, and follow it up rapidly. The increasing distance tells who are giving way. We then march back to the left of the pike, and advance by right of companies to the front a mile or two--but meet no obstacle, except ravines & fences. Halted in a cornfield till after midnight, then retire to the rear & sleep in some woods till day. A force of cavalry attempted to charge down the pike tonight, but a volley from our lines stopped their clamor & when it died away, only groans could be heard." Featherston's Brigade spent this night near Antioch Church.
August 30 to October 30 Private William Meek Furr listed as present on the Company E Muster Roll.
On August 30, "One day's rations of meat & bread was distributed around this morning, and after relieving hunger, the brigade formed, marched down the turnpike & filed left to take its position for the day. Formed line in some woods, and rested; sending forward a line of skirmishers. Ere long, we march a few hundred yards to the front, and occupy a stone fence, under Major Walten's artillery. The sharpshooters are busily employed, and occasionally a battery opens. There is one of these about 1,200 yds in our front, which occasionally speaks to us & the artillery behind us, but in the main behaves very civilly. Clouds of dust, approaching from the enemy's rear, show that they too are reinforcing & maneuvering. The day is sultry, and about noon, almost a calm settles down on the field. The rattling of musketry has nearly ceased, and our troops are reclining, many asleep, some conversing and watching the signs in front."
At 3:45 p.m. following General Jackson's repulse of the Union attack against the Confederate left along the unfinished railroad, General Featherston was ordered to attack the retreating Union forces. According to General Wilcox, "Seeing these successive lines and regiments of the enemy checked and finally driven back, and yet their front line quite close upon Jackson's line, thus leaving an interval of more than 600 yards between them and the broken retreating lines, I ordered General Featherston to move his brigade by the flank rapidly down the slope in his front, and thus take in rear or intercept the retreat of the enemy that were so closely engaged with Jackson. This order was repeated three times and in the most positive and peremptory manner, but it was not obeyed.* At length the front line of the enemy, sadly thinned by the close fire of Jackson's men behind the railway bank, broke and fell back with great precipitancy and disorder, followed by a portion of Jackson's troops. Featherston now descends the slope in his front and joins in the pursuit across the open field." Featherston and Brig Gen Pryor's brigades pursued the retreating Union troops until they reached the eastern edge of Groveton Woods. There they could see a dozen or more Union batteries looking down at them from nearby Dogan Ridge. They remained there with the rest of Wilcox's Division awaiting further orders. At 4:50 p.m., General Wilcox was ordered to join the attack on the Union right south of the Warrenton Turnpike. Wilcox directed Featherston and Pryor to move against the Union forces on Dogan Ridge while he moved the rest of his division south. Around 6:00 p.m., shortly after the general retreat order reached the Union right, Jackson attacked leading with Featherston on the left, Archer to his right, then Pender, and Pryor on the right. (Note that Featherston and Pryor belonged to Longstreet's forces.) Featherston's Brigade struck the flank of the 104th and 105th New York, broke these regiments apart, and exposed the rest of Union General Duryee's Brigade to flank fire. As Duryee's troops withdrew, Featherston's men rushed in and captured three guns belonging to Thompson's Pennsylvania Battery. By 7:00 p.m., the Union forces on the right had completed their withdrawal to the heights east of Sudley Road.
[*Featherston had previously been criticized by Major General Daniel H. Hill who reported to General Lee his dissatisfaction with Featherston's performance following the Battle of Seven Pines. The reasons for this dissatisfaction were not recorded in any surviving records, but are speculated to be Featherston's frequent absences.]
"Suddenly about 3 p.m. the earth fairly quivers from the shock of artillery and in a moment, the soundest sleeper is all attention. The enemy lines, 3 in number, have emerged from the timber, on the left of our front, and are coming on with fixed bayonets and flying colors. But our artillery is making sad havoc in their dense columns. Every shot falls right in their midst & bursting strews the ground with blue. Attention! is heard for miles, up & down our line. Volleys of musketry rattle along our battalions on the left & the enemy breaks in confusion & seek shelter in the woods behind them. Forward, Guide Center! is the next command, and the long lines of gray, with its battle flags proudly floating, a most potent engine of death, starts on its mission. The battery in our front gave us its special attention, but the undulating character of the ground, saved us from much damage. Our direction is left oblique. From this time till night, the scene is sublime indeed, and many a soul is sent to its last account. Musketry rolls its incessant volleys, mingled with the deeper-toned thunder of artillery; the swift meshing of shells, the hissing of shrapnel and canister, all combine to make a symphony much sublime. The enemy are everywhere routed & night stops the carnage and our advance. We rest in arms on the field." They marched toward Sudley's Mills and camped for the night. From August 23 to 30, Featherston's Brigade had 26 killed and 142 wounded, including Captain Nathaniel H. Harris of the 19th Miss who did not return to his unit until October 5, 1862.
On September 1, the 19th Miss marched from Manassas to Fairfax Courthouse, Dranesville, Leesburg (September 5), crossed the Potomac, to Frederick City, Maryland (September 10), Middleton (September 10), Burkittsville (September 11), and Brownsville (September 12). They then marched to Harpers Ferry where they "guarded the gap at the river between the Maryland and Louden Heights until the enemy surrendered" (September 14-15). "Very few symptoms of sympathy observable today. The houses are generally closed up, as if deserted. In Frederick, there were some indications of favor, but the awe of being reported to the Yankees when we leave, no doubt, kept the manifestations of feelings in check. Whenever a flag or handkerchief was waved, the holder was standing far back in the house. Our soldiers greeted them very loudly. Middleton was entirely Union, and some of the ladies expressed their opinions quite freely."
On September 16, "Marched down through Sandy Hook, crossed the Potomac on a pontoon bridge, a novel structure to us, took the Charlestown Pike, passed the Yankee prisoners & camp, halted 2 or 3 miles from town by the wayside & remained till evening. Our teams are busily engaged hauling the captured stores back toward Winchester. The off[icial] report says we captured 11,500 prisoners, 73 pieces artillery too. In the evening we start through the country towards Shepherdstown, make slow progress till after[noon], this way becoming clear ahead, we push forward rapidly. March till after midnight, then being very much fatigued, we halt. In about an hour, we are aroused & again urged forward--much straggling."
At the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam (September 16-17), the 19th Miss was assigned to Longstreet's Corps, Anderson's Division, Featherston's Brigade (commanded by Colonel Carnot Posey*). At 10:30 a.m. on September 17, Anderson's Division was moved up to support Major General Daniel H. Hill. As they were moving into position, Major General Anderson was severely wounded before he could put his men into action. Near noon, Posey's Brigade attacked the Union line in front of the Sunken Road. This location was also known as Bloody Lane because there were some 4,000 casualties along this road during about three hours of fighting. They advanced toward the Union line, past the Piper farm barn and cornfield, under heavy fire of artillery and firearms, until they came upon two Confederate brigades lying down in a road. They passed over them and confronted the Union forces in line of battle. During this assault, the 16th Miss suffered tremendous casualties and "disappeared as if it had gone into the earth." Of 228 men and officers present, the 16th Miss lost 27 killed and 117 wounded. This was the 13th highest Confederate regimental loss ratio in a single battle for the entire war. "Colonel Posey made the mistake of trying to extricate his Mississippians from the lane to relieve the crowding that was making it all but impossible to maintain a battle line. The move was soon out of his control, and word spread quickly through the ranks that a general retreat was on. The three brigades of reinforcements from Dick Anderson's division -- Pryor's, Featherston's, and Wright's -- that had advanced into or near the Sunken Road all broke for the rear through the Piper cornfield and orchard. 'The slaughter was terrible!' one of Wright's Georgians wrote." The 19th Miss lost six killed and 52 wounded.
[*Carnot Posey was born in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, on August 5, 1818. He obtained his college education in Jackson, Louisiana, after which he studied law at the University of Virginia. He occupied himself as a planter for some years, and then practiced law at Woodville, Mississippi. He served as 1st Lieutenant, 1st Mississippi Rifles during the Mexican War. He was appointed US district attorney for the southern district of Mississippi and held this post until 1861 when he recruited the Wilkinson Rifles and was elected captain. He was elected colonel upon the organization of the 16th Mississippi Infantry at Corinth in June. He fought at 1st Manassas and Ball's Bluff (Leesburg). He was appointed brigadier general on November 1, 1862. He was wounded at Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863 and died in Charlottesville on November 13. He is buried on the grounds of the University of Virginia.]
On September 17, "Day dawns on us entering Shepherdstown. We march down to the ford and cross the river, making no unnecessary delays, and start by nearest units for Sharpsburg. Artillery opens at sunrise. Tired and sleepy, we still march on, and as we come in proximity of the battleground, the scores of wounded passing to the rear remind us that bloody work is getting on. A little further on, to the left of the pike, we halt & 'load at will.' No sooner done, then on again. The enemy's batteries give us shot & shell in abundance, causing many muscular contractions in the spinal column of our line. But all the dodging did not save us. Occasionally a shell, better aimed than the rest, would crash through our line, making corpses & mutilated trunks. A piece gave me a severe burn on the shoulder. The brigade is halted in front of an old barn. Until dark, the battle rages in the most sublime fury. Neither side gaining decided advantage. Our command suffers severely, but maintains its ground. Our Army was very weak in numbers from stragglers & barefooted men left in VA. McClellan's very numerous. No advantage in position. The ground is broken by ridges, offering many excellent positions for artillery. The enemy used it very powerfully. Night stopped the flow of blood, and the Army reposed on the battlefield."
The 19th Miss recrossed the Potomac on September 19 and marched to Martinsburg. On September 27, they marched toward Winchester and camped five miles from there until October 30. The weather was getting very cold and unpleasant. On October 21, their division participated in a Grand Review for General Lee.
On October 25, the officers of Featherston's Brigade sent a petition to President Davis requesting their brigade be transferred to Mississippi for the winter (see pages 49-50). President Davis asked General Lee for his opinion and received the following reply, "This brigade has done excellent service & has earned a well deserved reputation in every battle. The advantages presented by a transfer of service to Mississippi viz: the facility of recruiting its thinned ranks & the comforts that it would secure to the men are apparent. But the same reasons would withdraw every regiment from the Army except those from Virginia to their own state & divide us up into thirteen detachments. The very thing our enemy desires. I do not anticipate an idle winter for the Army of Northern Virginia & think it will require every support. I cannot therefore recommend the transfer of so gallant a brigade as the Mississippi brigade." Based on this endorsement, President Davis denied the request stating, "Answer to Col Posey stating substance of General Lee's endorsement and expressing sympathy with the feelings expressed in connection with defense of Mississippi, but reminding that it may be best effected by attacking & defeating the enemy's best army where ever found."
On October 27, General Featherston was absent sick from his command, and General Lee recommended Colonel Carnot Posey for promotion to command Featherston's Brigade.
On October 30, the 19th Miss marched to within three miles of Front Royal ("24 miles march this day with many stragglers"). The next day they passed through Front Royal ("now a deserted looking village"), crossed the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap and camped near Flint Hill (October 31). They camped near Culpepper Courthouse (November 1-18). "In making this march of 90 miles in 3 days, we were only given 1 lb of flour each to subsist upon while making the trip." On November 1, Colonel Carnot Posey was appointed Brigadier General. This appointment was not confirmed until April 22, 1863. On November 4, Captain Nathaniel H. Harris of the 19th Miss was appointed Major with a May 5, 1862 date of rank. According to General J.E.B. Stuart, on November 6, "The enemy moved over two brigades of infantry to Jeffersonton, and kept a large force of cavalry, with a strong infantry support, at Amissville. With a view to dislodge the latter, I concerted a simultaneous attack with Hampton's and Lee's brigades on the enemy there, supported by two regiments of infantry, under Col. Carnot Posey, of the Sixteenth Mississippi. Hampton did not receive the orders in time to co-operate, but the remainder of the force advanced upon the enemy, dislodged him from his position, and he was rapidly retiring when a large force of infantry came to his rescue. The command was, therefore, leisurely returned to camp."
On November 6, General Lee wrote to President Davis stating, among other things, "I find on my arrival that Colonel [Brigadier General] Featherston has returned to his brigade. As I do not know what disposition to make of him, I shall have to withhold the commission of Colonel Posey unless he can be placed on service in Mississippi." On November 7, President Davis replied, "Will endeavor to arrange about Posey so as to meet your views."
"On this march, not half the Army has kept up. Straggling has become a practice that needs to be visited by severe punishment. It has gone so long unpunished that it has become popular. The stragglers will range through the country in the wake of the Army & sometimes ahead of it, living off the citizens, plundering & pillaging & when they come back to their commands, are the lions of the day, while relating their . . . ." On November 19 they continued their march, passing through Culpepper Courthouse, crossing the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, passing through Chancellorsville (November 21), and arriving in Fredericksburg on November 22. "Just as we came in view, the Yankees shelled back a train approaching from Richmond. The enemy's camps and wagons in plain view across the river. Many families from town passed us going to the rear. Filed to left of plank road & camped in line of battle. Received orders to have our guns unloaded & dried out. On account of the many rains to which we had been exposed, few of these would fire."
On November 24, Lt Col Lucius Q.C. Lamar formally resigned his commission and command of the 19th Miss. On November 19, the officers of Featherston's Brigade send a petition to the Confederate Secretary of War recommending Colonel Posey be promoted to brigadier general at once. (citation?)
November 30 to December 31 Private William Meek Furr listed as sick at Lynchburg Hospital.
At the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 13), the 19th Miss was assigned to Longstreet's 1st Corps, Anderson's Division, Featherston's Brigade. The cold, rain, snow, and ice made life very unpleasant. At 5:00 a.m. on December 11, Featherston's Brigade was moved into position on Anderson's right between the Plank Road and Hazel Run. On the 12th, they moved to the left of the Plank Road below Marye's Heights in a cornfield behind the Sunken Road between Ransom and Perry's brigades. Their position until December 15 extended from the left of the Plank Road to the Taylor house. The 19th Miss was in line of battle and under artillery fire throughout the battle. They lost one man killed and seven wounded. General Featherston reported, "The small list of casualties under so heavy a converging fire from the enemy's numerous batteries can only be accounted for under Providence by the fact that the men were kept lying down closely on the ground, taking advantage of every hill and crest as a protection. During the engagement of five days and nights, both officers and men manifested great patience and endurance under the hardships and privations, and were eager to the last for a continuation of the fight."
On December 17, General Featherston wrote General Samuel Cooper, the Confederate Army Adjutant and Inspector General, concerning the officer manning of the 19th and 48th Miss regiments. At the time General Featherston wrote this letter he did not know that commissions had been sent promoting Lieutenant Colonel John B. Mullins, Major Nathaniel H. Harris, and Captain Ward G. Vaughn of the 19th Miss effective November 24, 1862. This was the same day of Colonel Lucius Q.C. Lamar official resignation. His letter stated, "Sir: Your Communication of Dec 9th has been received [contents unknown]. The 'Second Mississippi Battalion' was organized into a Regiment some two or three weeks since. Capt Manlove was promoted to the office of Lieut Colonel & Capt L.C. Lee to that of Major of which your Dept was advised through General Lee. Lieut Col W.S. Wilson died on the third day of December 1862. Major Lee was wounded in the fight here before Fredericksburg and will not be fit for duty for some time. It is important that a Colonel be appointed for this Regiment at once. The attention of the Department has been called to the fact that the 19th Miss Regiment in this brigade has neither a Colonel nor a Lieut Colonel."
The 19th Miss remained in camp near Fredericksburg, with occasional picket duty on the Rappahannock, until the middle of February. Then under General Posey, they were stationed at United States Mine Ford with Mahone's Brigade to guard that important crossing on the left of Lee's army.