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, December 22, 2012

The battle draws nearer for the 32nd Miss. Regiment

According to historian Dunbar Rowland, on this date in 1862,
Colonel Lowrey, with his regiment and the Third Confederate, was guarding the line of railroad between Normandy Station and Fosterville, and General Breckenridge was ordered to send a regiment, not less than 250 strong, to relieve him. But it does not appear that the Thirty-second had an opportunity to take part in the battle.
Apparently, at this time the 32nd Mississippi Infantry, in which Great Grandfather Oakes was serving, was operating as a unit separate from the rest of Wood's Brigade, which did have an active part in the battle. According the the Official Records,* Gen. Hardee ordered Lowrey and the 32nd Regiment to be relieved on today's date, of guarding the railroad between Normandy Station and Fosterville, south of Murfreesboro, and to rejoin the brigade near Hardee’s headquarters near Eagleville. In his post-war autobiography, Gen. Lowrey explains that his regiment was detached from Wood's Brigade for this special duty, and was not relieved in time to engage in the first day's fight on the 31st. However, according to Lowrey, the regiment did take an active part in the skirmishing that followed, and Lowrey was put in charge of leading Wood's brigade in the army's retreat from Murfreesboro.

* The organization of the army, which is undated in the Official Records, Vol. 20, Part 1, but is placed in the Stones River Campaign section (note at bottom of page indicates that it was “compiled from the reports”), Wood’s Brigade (Fourth) is listed without Lowrey's 32nd Mississippi Regiment. This is likely because the regiment was counted as being on detached duty at the time, guarding bridges and supporting Gen. Wharton's cavalry.

Sources: Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898, Dunbar Rowland; Official Records, Vol. 20, Part 2; Lowrey's Autobiography; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly

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