Our Brig[ade] sent out to engage the enemy to hold him in check - Every indication of a battle - My company with another is sent out as skirmishers - We can hear the Cavalry videttes in front cracking away - We look every minute to engage them ourselves - we move forward short distances and halt - but no enemy appears - Night comes on - we assemble the skirmishers in groups of fours - one watches while three sleep - 9 o’clock at night - What does that constant rattling of weapons mean - Can it be that they are evacuating Tullahoma - surely not - It must be artillery moving over to the right - 12 m -Order comes - assemble skirmishers & move towards Tullahoma - understand now the rattling of weapons - the retreat has begun - Oh God - and must we leave our homes and our loved ones to the mercy of the ruthless foe again and that too without an effort to prevent it -
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.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
As Union forces were approaching Shelbyville, the Confederates were withdrawing. Outside of town Gen. Joseph Wheeler's Confederate cavalry held off the Union advance for a couple of hours, but then withdrew to a ring of defensive works around Shelbyville. There they attempted to make a stand, only to be forced back into town.
. . . were much wearied by the watching and fighting in the front of the gaps, for it rained incessantly during most of that the time. The men had no changes of clothing, no tents, and could not even light fires to dry themselves. Many had no shoes, and others left their shoes buried in the deep mire of the roads.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
|Monument to A.P. Stewart's Division|
at Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery
Source: Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, Michael R. Bradley
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Brig. Gen. St. John Liddell’s Brigade of Arkansaians defended against the enemy's advance, elements of Brig. Gen. Alexander McCook's corps. While the Rebels put up a furious defense in pouring rain, Gen. Patrick Cleburne was compelled to order his outnumbered and outflanked Confederates to withdraw out of the pass, across the Wartrace Creek to the next line of hills about a mile in his rear. There they took up a defense on the ridges where they held their ground against the Federals.
Hills marking the entrance to Liberty Gap, now State Route 269
|The fields of Liddell's counterattack|
|Marker at Willow Mount Cemetery in Shelbyville, TN|
to Commemorate the fallen from Cleburne's Division
Monday, June 24, 2013
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Alexander McCook was to provide a diversion for Crittenden's movement by attacking Liberty Gap with his division. As soon as Thomas left Hoover's Gap, McCook was to follow him out of Liberty Gap. To complete the move, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger would lead the Reserve Corps down the Shelbyville Pike, toward Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk's Corps, to attract additional attention toward the area of Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley's all-day cavalry skirmish around Unionville. Granger was to build campfires to give the impression of a large infantry advance in that direction. His ruse succeeded in holding Polk at Shelbyville for 2 days.
About noon, Brig. Gen. Robert Mitchell was ordered to attack the Confederates at Middleton with his cavalry division and then to await support. Accordingly, Mitchell pulled back to Eagleville and turned east to attack Middleton. However, Mitchell came under attack by Confederates posted about a mile west of town, including 3 Confederate cavalry units, which forced him to fall back. Col. Robert Minty's cavalry brigade joined Mitchell's division, and the Federals pulled back northeast to Christiana on the main road from Murfreesboro to Shelbyville. So much for the Federal cavalry action on this date.
|Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell|
Cleburne, who by now was on the scene, personally ordered a withdrawal across the Wartrace Creek to the next line of hills about a mile back, where the rest of Liddell's men were waiting. Behind them, almost all the way to Bell Buckle, was a series of defensive ridges and narrow valleys. There the Confederates held their ground against the Union advance. Unfortunately, Cleburne's attempts to win back the gap throughout the next day were unsuccessful. Brig. Gen. S.A.M. Wood's Brigade, in which Great Grandfather Oakes was serving, provided protection for the Confederates as they fell back to Bell Buckle.
By the conclusion of the fighting, Liddell's troop losses were high. In his detailed after-action account he reported 120 casualties from the battle, 25 of whom died in the fighting at Liberty Gap. Others would die later as a result of wounds received here.
|Marker at Willow Mount Cemetery in Shelbyville, Tenn|
Source: Genealogy Junkie
|Col. John T. Wilder, USA|
1 Pocahontas was the birthplace of my great grandfather, Nathan R. Oakes, who was at this moment stationed near Liberty Gap. The Oakes family migrated south to Kossuth, Mississippi, where as a 16-year old, Great Grandfather Oakes enlisted in Co. D. of the 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, under Col. Mark. P. Lowrey. His uncle, Capt. F.S. Norman, commanded his company of volunteers. Serving alongside him was his future brother-in-law, William D. Turner.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Rosecrans had an elaborate plan. While Bragg's attention was focused on what he expected to be the main attack on his strongly defended poison at Shelbyville, Rosecrans would attack Bragg's right flank at Hoover's and Liberty Gaps, which were defended by Lieut. Gen. William J. Hardee's Corps.
Leading the Union cavalry on a demonstration toward Shelbyville, Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley advanced a strong force from Triune down the Lewisburg Pike. His troops were first to encounter Confederate resistance. Outside of Eagleville the Federals ran up against units from Wheeler's cavalry. In the fighting, the Confederates fell back from hill to hill, making the Federal advance difficult. The fight eventually reached the village of Rover, where Union troops took the abandoned Rebel post. The Federal force then pushed on near to Unionville, where it ran up against the main line of the infantry corps of Gen. Leonidas Polk.
|Source: Civil War Maps by Hal Jesperson|
Sources: Tullahoma: The Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, Michael R. Bradley; The Army of Tennessee, Stanley F. Horn
Saturday, June 22, 2013
The 2 opposing armies were separated by a range of foothills, almost mountainous in height. Through these hills ran roads that connected Murfreesboro (where Rosecrans's army was headquartered) and Tullamoma (where Bragg's army was centered). The roads crossed these hills in 3 steep gorges: Hoover's, Guy's, and Liberty Gaps. These gaps in the mountains soon will become strategic points in the imminent conflict. It will be through Hoover's and Liberty Gaps that Rosecrans's main force will strike the right and rear of Hardee's Corps in which Great Grandfather Oakes was serving.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|Source: Touring Ohio|
"Morgan's Ohio Raid" by Mort Kunstler pictures Morgan and his Raiders
entering the town of Montgomery, Ohio. I've driven past the Universalist
Church (pictured) on Montgomery and Remington Roads many times. The
building, with its unique brick columns, looks today much as it did when
Gen. John Hunt Morgan raided through the town on July 14, 1863.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
We have very little that is worth sharing here to send in a letter to you as camps here are just like ever other place filled with rumors & very few that are correct. I am completely at a loss to know when how or which way we will move from here. I made a guess when we were here only a few days that we would stay here until the last of May. I am now a little inclined to think the same thing. Rosen Crans [sic] may advance on us but I don't think he will. We are fortified here but not very strongly...
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
On today's date in 1863, Bragg ordered a reconnaissance toward Murfreesboro by Hardee’s Corps to determine the enemy’s intention. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne, in whose division my great grandfather, Nathan Oakes served, moved 2 columns over a narrow muddy road in hard rain, through the 4-mile length of Hoover’s Gap, to within 4 miles of Murfreesboro. The gap was guarded by a regiment from Gen. John A. Wharton's Calvary Division, in which Great-Great Grandfather David C. Neal was serving. Cleburne's men drove in Federal pickets, had light skirmishes with the enemy, then returned to Wartrace the next day.