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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The army at Smithfield

Having withdrawn his forces from the Bentonville battlefield overnight March 21-22, 1865, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston led them toward Smithfield, North Carolina, about 15 miles to the north. There he planned to rest and refit his men and also ready them for further action against Union Gen. William T. Sherman.

Not looking for another full engagement with Johnston, Sherman chose not to follow up on the retreating Confederate army. So, after moving his Confederates throughout the 22nd, Johnston delayed his march a day to give his exhausted men a brief but welcome rest.

On the march again on today's date, Johnston's men crossed the Neuse River at Turner's Bridge and passed through Smithfield, halting 3 miles north of town, near Mitchener's Station on the North Carolina Railroad. For the next 3 weeks, Smithfield will be the new Confederate base. Its location is strategic for stopping Sherman if, as expected, he advances toward Richmond.

Sources: This Astounding Close, Mark L. Bradley; Official Records, Vol. 47, Pt. 1

No comments:

Post a Comment