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.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Covering the army's retreat | Cleburne's Division

On July 3rd, Gen. Patrick Cleburne's Division, in which Great Grandfather Oakes served, covered the army's retreat from Tullahoma. On today's date in 1863, the division held the Bethpage bridgehead as the army crossed the Elk River. From the high ground, 2 miles above the railroad bridge, Cleburne's men commanded the bridge with artillery placed behind hastily constructed embrasures, while weary troops trudged southward onto the heights of the Cumberland Plateau. The soldiers had to manhandle the wagons over the rough spots before they can bivouac in the open air of the Cumberland Plateau. This was the first time in weeks that the men could light fires and cook a warm meal without concern for rain or the enemy. Cleburne's Division followed to bivouac with the army near the University of the South at Sewanee.

With Hardee’s Corps in front and Cleburne’s Division leading, Bragg's army will march to Chattanooga, arriving there on July 7. The army will "rest" in the vicinity of Chattanooga during July and August, and also receive much needed reinforcements from Mississippi.

Sources: Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell and Elizabeth Purdue


  1. Mr. Dolan,
    As a descendant of two soldiers (father and son) of Co. G, 'Sons of Liberty', I have to say I appreciate your effort to trace the actions of the 32nd Mississippi. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment! Glad to hear from another ancestor of this renowned regiment. Do you have much info about your relatives during the war?

  2. First, I need to apologize because I got my regiments crossed/confused. My ancestors were in the 34th out of Tippah County. However, I believe they were in the same campaign with the 32nd. I'm currently reading the book "Honor Without A Stain" about the 34th and have reached the point just before Chickamauga. There were Street's in the 32nd, but cousins I'd think. Frankly, some researchers have the blue with white spot battle flag shown for the 34th as well. That, and other things, make it hard to track these Mississippi units.

    I know some about my 2x great grandfather, George M D Street who was just a teen when he went with this father James Joseph and uncle John Waller Street in April 1862. George made it home, married, and moved to Grayson Co, TX then Oklahoma. James and John were both captured at different points and were POW's until the end of the conflict.

    But, again, thank you for this blog. It's very well done.