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.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
|Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith|
Later, Confederate Cavalry Gen. Wheeler will write about that period: “So worn and wearied was the condition of our army that [Bragg, Polk, and Hardee] did not feel justified in attempting an aggressive movement [against Buell].” Soon, Polk will feel compelled to withdraw. His decision will move the army toward a climatic battle at Perryville in a few days.
Bragg and Smith could agree about taking Louisville. Instead, a clever ruse by Union Gen. Buell will compel them to move their forces out of the region toward Harrodsburg.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Southerners, too, resisted the legislation requiring men to serve in the army. But volunteer troops were most rankled by conscription laws. Understandably, men in units like the 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, who had enlisted for military service in defense of their country, were resentful about conscripts who only served under compulsion.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
With only three days of provisions, we marched to this place (59 miles) and reached here after some privation and suffering. It is a source of deep regret that this move was necessary as it has enabled Buell to reach Louisville, where a very large force is now concentrated.
My troops are concentrated at this place. They have made long and rapid marches and require clothing, which is being issued today. I shall immediately advance against the enemy.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
The grave question uppermost in men's minds was whether the Union could be saved at all; but, slowly evolving out of the doubts and perplexities of the situation, and beginning to assume definite shape, was another, destined to overshadow all other questions, whether it were best to try to save the Union with slavery or to try to save it without. The Radicals declared that it must be saved without slavery, but Lincoln hesitated and seemed to be groping his way.
My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it—if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it—and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save this Union.
1 Indeed, Lincoln's will issue his executive order on January 1, 1863, recalled today as the Emancipation Proclamation.
2 Actually, Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the nation's capital when he signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862.
Source: Civil War Times, 1861-1865, Daniel Wait Howe
In nearby Louisville, the citizens were in a panic at the prospect of battle between the 2 opposing armies gathering there. Union General Nelson issued an evacuation order on the 22nd, in anticipation of an attack. Southern forces reached to within 2 miles of the city, but did not invade it. Having been beaten by Buell in the march to Louisville, and being refused by Gen. Smith to join forces in an attack on that city, Bragg eventually withdrew his army without a fight.
Friday, September 21, 2012
|Bragg's Kentucky Campaign, 1862|
Source: Civil War Trust
Civil War historian James Lee McDonough notes, "[Bragg's] soldiers were inspired by the capture of [Munfordville] and might well expect to find Buell's men correspondingly depressed." It is generally understood now that Bragg would have been in a good position to fight Buell at Munfordville, with likely success. But his failure to do so ended up being one of the biggest disappointments—and greatest lost opportunity—of his Kentucky Campaign.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
after promotion to general
* In the months ahead, an ancestor of mine, Great-Great Grandfather David Crockett Neal, will fight in a the 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment under Gen. Wheeler.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
|Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner|
In an interesting side note to history, while growing up in Munfordville, Buckner’s closest friend was Thomas J. Wood, later a classmate at West Point, who became a career officer in the Union Army. Wood just missed being present at Munfordville in September, or the two old friends would have met in battle on their childhood playground. As Providence will have it though, Wood will soon oppose Buckner at the climatic Battle of Perryville, and, again, in the great Battle of Chickamauga.
|Gen. Simon Buckner, Jr.|
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
By the afternoon of the 19th, Bragg had made up his mind to join his force with Gen. Kirby Smith near Louisville. In an attempt to uncover Buell's position, Bragg sent Buckner's division, in which my great grandfather was serving, to the front to feel out the enemy. Buckner will report nothing of importance on his front, so Bragg will continue with his plans to meet up with Kirby Smith's army and face Buell another day.
Bragg sent his supply trains on to Bardstown. On the morning of the 20th, he began moving his Army of Mississippi north to Nolin, then moved off the Louisville pike onto the Bardstown road. His hesitation at Munfordville cost him 3 days, enough time for the enemy at Louisville to prepare.
Monday, September 17, 2012
When it was over, Gen Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North had failed, and the important border state of Maryland would remain loyal to the Union. The Confederates were forced to retreat into Virginia. Lincoln’s announcement of his Emancipation Proclamation, changed the complexion of the war, and effectively ended the Confederacy’s hope of foreign recognition, a factor which well might have meant success for the Confederacy.
By command of Major General Hardee, “Chalmers brigade, Withers’ division, and Wood's Brigade, Buckner’s Division, will be present at the surrender of the garrison of Munfordville at Rowlett’s Station at 6 a.m. to-day.”
But Bragg will have one more opportunity to confront the Federal army in early October, in an unexpected encounter in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky.
* Wilder will return to fight a portion of Bragg's army at the Battle of Hoover's Gap, Tennessee, on June 24, 1863. In that attack his mounted infantry, for the first time on a battlefield, will make use of Spenser repeater rifles in a decisive outcome for the Union. He will also have a significant role in the Chickamauga Campaign later that year.
Sources: War In Kentucky, James Lee McDonough; The Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry and the 45th Mississippi Regiment: A Civil War History, David Williamson; Official Records, Vol. 16, Pt. 2
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Source: Civil War Trust
Friday, September 14, 2012
|The Battle of Munfordville, Kentucky, from Harper's Weekly|
Thursday, September 13, 2012
On today's date in 1862, a Confederate cavalry brigade under Gen. James R. Chalmers approached Munfordville, and unaware that they were outnumbered, demanded the surrender of the garrison. The next day, more Confederates arrived, bringing his force to 1,900. But unbeknownst to Chalmers, his was still too small of a force to take the fortified Union garrison.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
|Gen. Robert E. Lee|
* To take a virtual tour of the battlefield visit the Civil War Trust webpage, Antietam 360.
Monday, September 3, 2012
|Kentucky's Capital Building Cir. 1862|
During Frankfort's occupation, Gen. Bragg installed a provisional Confederate government. However, he was only able to hold Frankfort for less than a month. Union Gen. Don Carlos Buell ambushed the inauguration ceremony on October 4, and drove the provisional government from the state. Frankfort, along with Kentucky, will continue to have strong sympathies for the Union, and the Confederate government will continue only in shadow until the end of the war.