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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/176

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168 Southern Historical Society Papers.

I5th Mississippi, then commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. Walthall, and the 2Oth Tennessee, under Colonel Joel A. Battle. These fought with superb gallantry. At one time these two regi- ments bore the brunt of the entire conflict and received the attacks of all the Federal forces then engaged. Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall exhibited that splendid courage which subsequently secured for him rapid promotion and unstinted praise on many battlefields. His regiment had a terrific mortality, losing something over 40 per cent, of the men engaged. The i5th Mississippi suffered a loss of 54 killed ontright, 153 wounded and 29 missing.

The 2Oth Tennessee also acted superbly and had 33 killed, 59 wounded, and 13 missing. The igth and 25th Tennessee had each 10 killed; the lyth Tennessee, n; the 28th Tennessee, 3; the 29th Tennessee, 5, and the i6th Alabama, 9, all with a propotionate number of wounded. The Federals had 39 killed on the field and something over 200 wounded. By 10:30 all the Confederate forces were withdrawn and fell back ten miles to the fortifications on the bank of the river. During the night, with the aid of a small stern- wheel steamer and two barges, all the troops were transported across the Cumberland river, but the artillery, cavalry horses, ammunition and arms were left, and were captured by the Federal forces on the following day. The dead and wounded were left in the hands of the enemy. Owing to the dampness and rain the flintlock guns were fired with great difficulty, and this disheartened in the very opening of the action the Confederate troops. At one time during the battle the 2oth Tennessee retired in perfect order to pick their flints to get their guns to fire at all. All did the best they could under the circumstances. They were subjected to almost insur- mountable difficulties even for veterans; for raw and untried troops they acquitted themselves most creditably, but the army suffered a humiliating and complete defeat. On other fields these regiments won imperishable glory. The i5th Mississippi at Baton Rouge, Chickamagua, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, in the Atlanta campaign, at Franklin and Nashville, carved out magnificent records. Its commander, General Walthall, who afterwards became Colonel of the 29th Mississippi, was made a brigadier-general in 1862, a major-general in 1865, was with Joseph E. Johnston at the final sur- render in 1865, and was a member of the United States Senate at the time of his death in 1898.

The 2oth Tennessee at Missionary Ridge, Murfreesboro, Chick- amauga, won glorious immortality, while the I9th, 25th, 28th and