Misc. entries from Confederate Veteran about 36th Alabama  

Miscellaneous Recollections of Soldiers
about the
36th Alabama Regiment
Conferate Veteran



  Confederate Veteran, March 1907:  [Comrade Cribbs writes a personal note, saying: "I am not able to renew my subscription, yet I am loath to do without the VETERAN. I have been reading it so long. I am too old to work (seventy one years) and can't see to read much, so I will have to give it up for the present, but it grieves me to say good by, old friend. My heart is with you and all the good wishes for success and prosperity an old comrade can wish. May Heaven's richest blessings ever be with you, protecting and supporting you in vindicating the truth and the rights of the Confederate cause!  Good by and God bless you!"]

    In the December VETERAN, page 551, S. A. R. Swan made some mistakes which I think ought to be corrected. He states that General Tracy was killed at Grand Gulf. I was second lieutenant of Company K, 20th Alabama Regiment, Tracy's Brigade. He was killed at Port Gibson. Col. Isam Garret commanded the 20th Regiment, Alabama Infantry, and United States Senator E. W. Pettus at that time was our lieutenant colonel. When General Tracy was killed, Colonel Garret took command of the brigade, and heroically led us through the battle of Baker's Creek and into the trenches around Vicksburg. Colonel Garrett was killed in the works at Vicksburg.

    The 36th Alabama Regiment lost all their field officers and most of their line officers at Port Gibson and Baker's Creek and at the blow up in the redoubt at Vicksburg, and Gen. Stephen D. Lee, our division commander, put Lieutenant Colonel Pettus in command of the 36th, which at that time was completely demoralized, being cut down to less than one hundred men and without an officer above the rank of lieutenant. Gen. S. D. Lee ordered Colonel Pettus to rally his men and retake the redoubt, but they wouldn't rally. Colonel Waul's Texas Legions were in reserve at the rear of our lines. Colonel Pettus called on Colonel Waul for sixty volunteers to retake the works and drive the Federals out of the redoubt, which he did. Right here let me say that that act of gallantry made two brigadier generals of E. W. Pettus and T. N. Waul.

    Col. E. W. Pettus was captured at Port Gibson, but escaped like an eel in the backwater and rejoined the regiment before the battle of Baker's Creek. When the old 20th congratulated him for his promotion to brigadier general, he complimented us by saying that it was the men in the line rather than his own valor that he was indebted to for his success.

    Now these are the facts as I remember them. I may not be altogether correct myself in some respects, but in the main I know I am right.



    Confederate Veteran, April 1908: In the November (1907) VETERAN, pages 508, 509, Comrade H. K. Nelson, of Adairsville, Ky., writes correctly that what is told by the veterans must be told now. I was in that campaign, and his article brought events so vividly to mind that I add my testimony to his article. The suffering of the winter of 1864 65 which was by these veterans encountered cannot be forgotten.

    I was a private in Company B, l8th Alabama Infantry, Holtzclaw's Brigade, Clayton's Division, and S. D. Lee's Corps. Comrade Nelson did well in reporting this campaign, but he left out much that was indeed interesting.

    The battle of Franklin, Tenn., was the bloodiest conflict I engaged in during the war, and I was in many hotly contested places. Comrade Nelson told but little of the battle at Nashville and the stampede that we encountered at that place. My command was on the left of the Franklin Pike, my regiment on one side and the 36th Alabama Infantry on the other. The enemy charged us with negro troops several times on the 16th of December. Our faces were behind a stone fence, and we had head logs for breastworks, and there was "tanglefoot" of brush in front about twenty five paces from the works. There was no chance to see the enemy till they were within eighty or ninety yards of our works. They charged our works with one line of negro troops, which was repulsed. They charged us the second time, with the same result. They next came with two lines of these negro troops, and another repulse followed. Later they came with three lines, three stands of colors, six negroes deep, and they got to the tanglefoot and a few got over it, but they did not live long. Here I witnessed the most daring deed that I saw during the entire war. A lieutenant of the 36th Alabama Infantry (whose name I have forgotten) sprang over our works, ran into the negro troops, captured a stand of colors, and ran back into the works uninjured. I still remember the inscription on the flag, which was this: "19th Indiana Colored Infantry, presented by the colored ladies of Murfreesboro." The 36th Alabama had this stand of colors when we got back to Tupelo, Miss. If the lieutenant is still living who captured this flag, I would be pleased to hear from him. In this engagement we lost but few men. It was said these negroes were drunk. I don't know. They failed to charge us any more. The ground was almost covered with those dead negroes, and in other places they lay in heaps.

    Late in the evening all were rejoicing at the victory won, when news came that our line was broken on the left and we were being surrounded. This news made a lot of sad faces. We were told to be quiet, that orders would be received. We finally saw our line breaking when orders came "Every man take care of himself." Many surrendered at the works, but most of the men tried to escape. When soldiers are in a stampede, they are without control, and this was our condition. I succeeded in making my escape, my brother was captured. Many of our troops were captured by the Federal cavalry before they reached Franklin, and many were killed and wounded after leaving our works.

    The distance from Nashville to Franklin is twenty miles, but after passing through fields, woods, and wading streams at night, I reached the town of Franklin about daylight on the morning of the 17th. There we reorganized as best we could, and that night we were attacked by the Federal cavalry.

    Our division formed a hollow square, and by so doing prevented our capture. This was the only time I saw this tactic used to any benefit during the war. When our troops arrived at Bainbridge, my brigade on the 24th of December was ordered to the Tennessee River to protect our pontoon bridge gang, who were preparing for us to cross as soon as possible. The Federal cavalry was trying to drive the bridge gang away from their position. Our brigade en route to the river had to cross Shoal Creek without delay, so we proceeded to ford this creek, about one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards wide, very swift, and rocky bottom, with some ledges of rock on the bottom. The depth was from knee deep to the arm pits perhaps. It was bitter cold, and when we had gotten across, our clothes were frozen stiff. We halted long enough to build fires of cedar rails and thaw our clothing, and then proceeded to our destination. Our surgeon, in crossing this noted creek, was riding a small mule, and he made his way well enough till the donkey stepped into a hole or crevice, when the doctor fell head foremost into the creek. Rider and mule came up in different places. Of course we yelled, bad as it all was.

    It was a touching scene to witness a thousand and more of our boys without shoes and leaving their bloody footprints on that cold and frozen ground as they trudged their weary way. Cut off from supplies, they could not get clothing. Many of the poor fellows got shoes after the battle at Franklin. At Tupelo, Miss., shoes were issued to the barefoot men. But many could not wear them because of their sore feet.

    Gen. J. E. Johnston was the greatest general that commanded an army, North or South, during that war.

    I still know that our cause was just, and desire to honor it as best I can. I would be much pleased to hear from any member of the l8th Alabama Infantry. I was wounded in the battle of Chickamauga, and again wounded at New Hope Church, Ga. I had three brothers in the same company, but when the surrender came. I was the only one.


    Confederate Veteran, Sept. 1909: On June 17, 1909, the monument to "Our Confederate Heroes" was unveiled at Livingston, Ala. There was a large attendance, estimated at from fifteen hundred to two thousand. Nearly all the old veterans from the county were present. A brass band from Meridian, Miss., furnished music for the occasion, playing "Dixie," "Bonnie Blue Flag," and other war time pieces.  The exercises were opened with prayer by Rev. W. C. dark, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Livingston. The address of welcome was made by Hon. John A. Rogers, of Gainesville, Ala. The monument was then presented to the veterans by Mrs. C. J. Brockway, President of the Daughters of the Confederacy of Livingston. It was accepted by Judge S. H. Sprott, who was a captain in the 40th Alabama Regiment,

    Judge James A. Bilbro, a veteran from Gadsden, Ala., was the orator of the day. After Judge Bilbro's address, on motion by one of the veterans, it was unanimously requested that the Daughters of the Confederacy of Livingston be requested to take charge of and care for the monument. This they readily agreed to do, accepting the trust through Hon. John D. McInnis, who was a member of Company A, 36th Alabama. Mr. McInnis, by the way, was with Bennett H. Young in the celebrated raid on St. Albans, Vt., in 1864.


    The height is twenty six feet six inches, base, eight feet square, weight, 40,000 pounds. It is built of white Georgia marble, mounted with an imported Italian marble statue of a Confederate soldier on picket duty. The monument is en circled with a retaining wall twenty five feet in diameter, with marble posts and vases at the entrance. On this monument are 1,125 names, of these, one hundred and thirty two are in panels on the shaft, showing company and command. These are the names of soldiers from Sumter County, Ala., for the war of 1861- 65.

    It was the purpose of the Daughters to have the name of every soldier who went to the war from Sumter County on the monument, but lapse of time and difficulty in getting complete rosters of the different commands rendered this impossible, as quite a number were left off. Sumter sent out during the war nearly fifteen hundred men.

    While all of the Daughters of the Confederacy of Livingston deserve praise for their unselfish labors in the erection of this monument, to Mrs. C. J. Brockway, President of the Daughters, a daughter of Capt. Ben B. Little, who fell at Jonesboro, Ga., is entitled to and receives unstinted praise for her earnest and untiring labors in the erection of this beautiful monument.  (to Co. A Muster Roll of soldiers from Sumpter Co., Ala.)

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