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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cleburne's Division at Mud Creek/Darby's Farm

For the past couple of weeks of 1864, Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne's Division, Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes's, had been stationed on the northeastern side of Kennessaw Mountain at Gilgal Church. On the 15th, the division skirmished with Hooker's corps of Thomas's army, which soon retreated.

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
On today's date in 1864, William Hardee's Corps, which included Cleburne's Division, was ordered to a new position about 2.5 miles southeast along Mud Creek, facing Darby's Farm. There Cleburne ordered his men to dig rifle pits on the ridge with embrasures for his batteries.

Soon, a Federal force moved up to Darby's Farm and began shelling Cleburne's troops. A fierce cannonade followed between the lines. While establishing his new line on the 17th, one of Cleburne's generals and close friend, Lucius Polk, was seriously wounded by an exploding shell. Polk, whose uncle, Gen. Leonidas Polk, was killed 2 days earlier on nearby Pine Mountain, was unable to return to service. Polk's Brigade was broken up and reassigned to other units in the army.

Cleburne's men will remain on duty, skirmishing along Mud Creek, until the 18th, when they will be moved to the slopes of Kennesaw Mountain.

Sources: Patrick Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Official Records, Vol. 38, Pt. 1

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