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, August 3, 2014

Lowrey's Brigade moves to East Point

Shortly after the Battle of Atlanta, with a depleted army of only about 30,000 effectives, Gen. John B. Hood realized he could not continue to hold his extended line around the city. So he ordered Gen. William Hardee's Corps back into the defenses on the east side of Atlanta.

Then on the evening of today’s date in 1864, my Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes’s brigade, Brig. Gen. Mark Lowrey’s, posted in Hardee's Corps near Gen. John B. Hood's headquarters on Ashby Street, was relieved by a brigade of the Georgia militia. The next morning Lowrey marched his men toward East Point, about 6 miles southwest of Atlanta, and bivouacked there for 2 days. On the evening of the 6th, he was ordered to move again, farther in the direction of East Point, where on the morning of the 7th, they took position near Conley’s Mill, about 2 miles from East Point. At this point, his brigade with Patrick Cleburne's Division was on the extreme left of the Confederate line near the Sandtown Road.

Gen. Lowrey ordered his troops to construct a strong line of defensive works where they remained until the evening of the 29th. Lowrey reported, “The time spent here was remarkably quiet. There was some shelling and slight skirmishing, from which I lost 2 killed and 6 wounded.”

Essentially for the rest of August, Cleburne's Division will be ordered to move almost constantly, entrenching in front of Federal Gen. William T. Sherman's army as he sought a way around the Confederates near East Point. During this period, Cleburne's men were the subject of nighttime shelling, so they were compelled to sleep in their trenches. Their trench works extended to the rear through which they carried supplies along with the wounded and dead.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Official Records, Vol 38, Pt. 3

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