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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Refitting Bragg's army

During the months after the Battle of Murfreesboro, both the Union and Confederate armies needed to build up the numbers of troops and materiel. Of course, the Union had the vast population and resources of the Northern states to draw on. Bragg's options, however, were limited.

The Army of Tennessee had been plagued by men leaving the ranks of the Confederate army during the winter of 1863. Many men were simply weary of the war following the retreats from Perryville and Murfreesboro. Numerous soldiers found the hard conditions of camp life too much to bear. Others left the army for homes and families that had fallen behind enemy lines in Kentucky and Tennessee. Of this number of absentees, most would return for service as summer neared. However, the large numbers of furloughs at Tullahoma, had an adverse effect on organization and military discipline. So, by the end of January, Bragg and his superior, Johnston, took action.

Instead of being sent home on furlough, sick and injured troops were assigned to hospitals where their progress could be monitored. Men on furlough were recalled to active service or would face discipline. Gen. Gideon Pillow was assigned to round up recruits covered in the Conscription Act. Many free blacks were also hired to manage assignments to free up fighting troops. In other areas, women were hired to work in clothing factories to outfit the soldiers. By early May, Bragg had brought up his effective fighting army to 52,855. By the time of renewed fighting in June, Bragg will be much stronger than he was on his retreat from Murfreesboro, although his army still will be short ammunition and firearms.

On the Union side, Rosecrans was hardly idle. He used the rest of winter and spring rebuilding his army and building up his armaments, in most ways superior to the Confederate force opposing him at Tullahoma.

Source:  Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, Michael R. Bradley

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