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.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Special duty: Guarding the railroad

By November 24th, Hardee's and Polk's corps reached Bragg's headquarters at Tullahoma, Tennessee, prior to moving into position at Murfreesboro.

From November 26 to December 27, the 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment was assigned to guard the bridges south of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to prevent Union Gen. Rosecrans from resupplying his army in Nashville. Col. W.H.H. Tison has been left in command of the regiment while Col. Mark P. Lowrey is recuperating at home in Mississippi from a wound received in the Battle of Perryville.*

From the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 20, Part 2:
Special Orders, No. 1
Headquarters Hardee’s Corps

Shelbyville, November 26, 1862.

The Thirty-second Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Tison commanding, is detailed on special duty, to guard the stations and bridges on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, between Normandy and Fosterville stations. Colonel Tison will establish his headquarters at Wartrace.

* * * * * *

By command of Lieutenant-General Hardee:
T.B. Roy
Chief of Staff.

* In contrast to the hardships of the previous months in Kentucky, the regiment must have been faring much better. In a letter home (dated 12/4/12), one of Great Grandfather Oakes's comrades in Co. D, Thomas Settle, wrote: "I am quite well and have enjoyed better health since I wrote to you than I have ever done in all my life. The Boys all very often remarked that I am more fleshier than they ever saw me." Settle also comments on Col. Lowrey's absence and hopes that his commander will return from his recuperation with news from home.

Sources: Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Official Records, Vol. 20, Part 2; "Settle Letters," a transcription of which was generously shared with me by descendant Raymond Settle

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