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.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Skirmish for the 32nd Regiment

Awaiting the inevitable conflict with Union forces from the north following the Battle of Shiloh, Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes’s 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in Gen. William Hardee's Corps, participated in a minor fight with the enemy on the Payne farmAnother northeast of Corinth, Mississippi. According to the regiment’s colonel, Mark P. Lowrey, while not having yet seen action, the regiment did act as skirmishers on while on outpost duty here in 1862. Lowrey reported that on this date, 2 privates were wounded and captured—1 from Great Grandfather's Co. D, John Dilworth, and another from Co. C, James Spain, who later died.* The next day the 32nd Mississippi was called back to the town.

Photo by Mark Dolan, 2007
By the 28th, it was clear that the Federals had advanced to within a few hundred yards of the Rebel entrenchments around Corinth. Con-federate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard authorized Hardee to conduct a reconnaissance of Federal move-ments. Hardee sent Gen. Patrick Cleburne with 4 regiments out the Farmington road where they engaged in heavy skirmishing with the enemy.

By now, Gen. Beauregard decided to abandon Corinth and will evacuate on the 29th.


Photo by Mark Dolan, 2007

The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center is operated by the National Park Service as part of the Shiloh National Battlefield. The exhibits of both the Siege and the later Battle of Corinth are helpful and informative (and it's much more attractive inside than the architecture at first reveals). However, it was the research library that was the most useful to us when we visited a few years back in our search for Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes in the 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

We were allowed extensive use of the center’s collection of new and reprinted volumes of the period of the War Between the States. Ranger Tom Parson was exceptionally helpful and made copies of several pages of books we were interested in. Pat took this picture of me in front of the library wall in the research room.

* A number of men from the regiment died of sickness and disease in the early days at Corinth. However, the death of Pvt. James Spain, following his wounding at Bridge Creek, was likely the first death resulting from wounds received in battle.

Source: 32nd Regimental Return, June 1862Corinth Herald, May 17, 1902; Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds

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