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 31, 2015

The Consolidated 8th & 32nd Mississippi Infantry

At its new base at Smithfield, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army numbered about 28,000. Johnston's opponent Gen. William T. Sherman, on the other hand, had 90,000 troops at his disposal. However, if Johnston were to unite with Gen. Robert E. Lee in Virginia, their combined forces would total a formidable 80,000. While Johnston awaited a decision from Lee on this date in 1865, he reorganized his army to accommodate troop losses and the resignations of officers who were now in surplus.

Still serving in the remnants of Lowrey's Brigade,1 now commanded by Lt. Col. J.F. Smith,2 were Great Grandfather Nathan R. Oakes and Great Uncle William D. Turner. Due to its decreased size and strength, the 32nd Mississippi Regiment was forced to undergo a consolidation with the 8th Mississippi. The new 8th and 32nd Regiment was placed under the command of Capt. H.W. Crook. Capt. Joshua Y. Carmack was given command of my great grandfather's Co. D of the consolidated regiment. The brigade was still in Cleburne's Division (commanded by Brig. Gen. James A. Smith) in Cheatham's Corps.

By this point, the once renowned 32nd Mississippi Infantry already had lost most of its identity as combat unit. And in the major reorganization to come on April 9th, it will lose its name, officially ceasing to exist as a unique entity.

The distinctive divisional battle flag, a version of which flew
over Lowrey's Brigade and his formidable and distinguished
32nd Mississippi Infantry from Corinth to Bentonville.

The Official Records, Vol 47, Pt. 3, incorrectly spells the name as "Lowry's" (apparently mistakenly attributed to Robert Lowry) rather than Lowrey's Brigade, so named for their commander, Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey.
Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey had been commanding another division since the Battle of Nashville. In North Carolina, separated from the men of his old brigade and seeing the Cause as all but lost, Lowrey chose to resign his commission.

Sources: Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898, Dunbar Rowland; Official Records, Vol. 47, Pt. 3; Capt. Joshua Y. Carmack's Service Records

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