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, April 3, 2013

6th Tennessee Cavalry in action at Snow Hill, Tennessee

From late winter through the spring, most of the military action that occurred between the Union and Confederate armies in Middle Tennessee was fought by the cavalries of the 2 forces. While Great Grandfather Oakes's 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment was stationed at Wartrace with the Army of Tennessee encamped around Tullahoma, another ancestor, Great-great Grandfather David Crockett Neal, was serving in the 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment nearby.

According to one regimental historian, on this date in 1863, the 6th Tennessee Cavalry saw action at Snow Hill near Woodbury, Tennessee. In a move to go after the Rebel cavalry under Gen. Morgan headquartered at McMinnville, Union Gen. Rosecrans sent Brig. Gen. David Stanley's cavalry, along with an infantry force of 1,500, on a reconnaissance toward Liberty. Col. Richard M. Gano, the senior Confederate in the area, had taken a defensive position on a series of ridges and deep ravines known as Snow Hill. It would have been a good position for the Confederates had there been defensive works or natural cover. As it was, the slopes could not provide adequate protection for his 2 brigades. Union artillery fired on the Rebel cavalry with devastating effect, while its left flank was attacked by enemy troops. Col. Gano was compelled to pull out his command.

Sources: 6th Tennessee Cavalry (unpublished manuscript), John F. Walter; Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, Michael R. Bradley; Cavalry of the Heartland, Edward G. Longacre; Official Records, Vol. 23, Pt. 1

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