In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Texas Secedes, 1861

On this date in 1861, Texas became the 7th state to secede from the Union, joining South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  Not all Texas leaders agreed. Hero of the war for Texas independence from Mexico and current governor Sam Houston, objected. An avowed Unionist, Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. Consequently, he was deposed from office in March 1861, when Texas joined the Confederate States of America.

More than 90,000 sons of the Alamo's defenders saw military service in the Confederacy during the War Between the States. About 2,000 Texans also served in the Union army. Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war. The state provided 45 regiments of cavalry, 23 regiments of infantry, 12 battalions of cavalry, 4 battalions of infantry, 5 regiments of heavy artillery, and 30 batteries of light artillery for the Confederacy.

The last battle of the Civil War was fought in Texas at the Battle of Palmito Ranch on May 13, 1865, weeks after Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston surrendered their armies in the east.

Texans have gone to great lengths to memorialize their Confederate dead. Several cities and 26 counties in Texas have been named for Confederate generals. Many of these namesake locations are associated with generals under which my Great Grandfather Nathan R. Oakes served,* including (John B.) Hood County (as well as Fort Hood), in addition to the towns of (Patrick R.) Cleburne and (Hiram B.) Granbury. Monuments, statues, and plaques are ubiquitous, from the statehouse and the campus of the University of Texas, to small town squares like the one in the town in which I live.

Photo by Mark Dolan, 2014
Commemorative plaque on the main floor of the Texas State Capital Building

Photo by Mark Dolan, 2014
The Confederate Soldiers Monument on the south grounds of the Texas State Capitol.
A statue of President Jefferson Davis stands at the top with 4 statues below,
 each representing the infantry, cavalry, artillery, and navy.

Photo by Mark Dolan, 2014
One of the inscriptions on the base of the Confederate Soldiers Monument,
erected in 1901 by survivors and comrades.

While he served in a Mississippi regiment, the 32nd Mississippi Infantry, Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes moved to Texas years after the war. He is buried in the Santa Ana Cemetery in Coleman County.