The Mississippi State Convention, on the twenty-third of January in eighteen sixty-one, adopted an ordinance to regulate the military system of the state. It was essentially a revision of the Law of 1860, but under the name "The Army of Mississippi," and it gave the generals their proper rank and powers. After that the generals and the governor constituted the Military Board.
| | HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF MISSISSIPPI|
| Jackson, Mississippi, May 21, 1861
The companies will provide themselves with cooked rations sufficient to subsist them to Corinth. The several railroads will furnish transportation, and the companies will proceed by the nearest route. An officer from each company will be sent forth with the report to these headquarters the condition and strength of their companies. The captains of the companies above mentioned are charged with the execution of this order.
W. H. Brown
Adjutant and Inspector-General
Shortly after those orders Daniel R. Russell and others organized regiments to serve the state in times of the impending problem. He organized the Twentieth Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment, among which included Adams' Rifles (which became Company E and was organized at Handsboro, Harrison County, on the twentieth of May) which was mustered into the service of the Confederate States of America during June of eighteen sixty-one. The brigade commanded was by Col. Russell and the company commanded by Capt. Fleming W. Adams. They were called into service of the Provisional Army under the provisions of the Act of Congress passed on February __, 1861 by ____________ for the duration of the war unless sooner discharged. The muster-in form was signed by Samuel E. Baker, Mustering Officer.
Company A- Captain William N. Brown
The company underwent a short period of training, probably near Corinth under the direction of Brig. Gen. Charles Clark, and then was stationed at Iuka. When enough companies to form a regiment had joined the camp, sometimes in July of eighteen sixty-one, the regiment was ordered to Virginia, arriving in Lynchburg on the twenty-seventh. They remained encamped at Camp Davis, near Lynchburg, from July twenty-seventh until the thirty-first of August.
On the seventeenth of September Col. Russell received orders from Richmond to report to Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd at Lewisburg. That order read in part, "It is important you should join General John Buchanan Floyd with the least possible delay. ... Avail of the transportation tomorrow, and if possible take subsistence as far as Lewisburg. " They arrived at Sewell Mountain in the Kenawha Valley on the twenty-sixth, where Gen. Floyd had been driven back before their arrival and Gen. Robert E. Lee had been assigned to command in the field on the twenty-first. Upon arrival the Twentieth Mississippi Volunteer Infantry regiment had the distinction of being the first Mississippi unit to serve under the command of that great general officer.
The Twentieth, under command of Gen. Lee, took position at Meadow Bluff, where Gen. Rosecrans had advanced to his front on the twenty-eighth of September and reconnoitered the positions of the Confederates before falling back.They then spent eleven days on a ridge near the summit of Big Sewell Mountain some sixteen miles from Meadow Bluff. The regiment then spent some time in camp at Cotton Hill near Gauley Bridge in October and early November while some artillery work was done. Under Gen. Floyd the regiment retreated, after skirmishing at Laurel Creek on the twelfth and at McCoy's Mill on the fourteenth of November.
Throughout the campaign in the west Virginia Mountains the men were exposed to inclement weather, were without adequate food or shelter, suffered much, and lost many from sickness and death. In his report of his march from Sewell to New River, Gen. Floyd referred to them as the flower of his command, "the fine regiment from Mississippi under Col. Russell." On November seven of eighteen sixty-one the brigade crossed New River. They marched to Fayette County and Raleigh County where they encamped with the right flank completely protected by the cliffs of New River and the gorges of Piney for the distance of some forty miles.
In a report on the inspection of Gen. Floyd's Brigade near Newbern, Virginia, dated at Richmond on the fourteenth of December in eighteen sixty-one, Assistant Inspector-General George Deas stated:
The aggregate strength of this command present and fit for duty is about 3500 and there are absent, sick in hospitals in various places, about 1500. More men are arriving daily to join their respective regiments. The troops have suffered a great deal of hardship and exposure during the active campaign in Western Virginia, and now feel the effects of the measles and its consequences; but they are evidently improving, and, with a little rest, they will soon be able to engage in any service which is required of them.
To judge of these men by what is said of them by their officers, they are certainly brave and reliable. To the eye of the critical inspector they present the appearance of raw, undisciplined levis. Their instructions in the most simple evolutions is entirely wanting. Indeed, they have had no opportunity to receive any instructions, having been constantly engaged in the most active of operations since the month of August past. Yet these raw countrymen have certainly gone through a campaign which would be credit to any force however perfect in might have been in its composition, and, I am told, that all their hardships have been borne without a murmur.
I am not aware of what disposition it is intended to make of the command of general Floyd, but I certainly would recommend that he be ordered to establish a winter camp of instruction not far from where he now is. Dublin Depot is not a good place, but the general has such a perfect acquaintance with the region of country in which he is now stationed, that he could at once select a suitable place.
I would recommend that the Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, Phillip's Legion, and the Twentieth Mississippi Regiment be ordered into a milder climate. The severe winters of Western Virginia will be fatal to these southern men. The arms of the command are in good order, but in some of the regiments there is a mixture of rifles, flint locks, and percussion guns. This can be remedied when the time comes for filling requisitions which have already been made. The clothing in some instances is bad, but supplies are arriving daily, both from the public stores and from private contributions. Medical supplies are deficient, but this has been the complaint through the campaign.
The larger portion of the men have not been paid for six months. A paymaster should be sent there at once. Many of the men have families who are really suffering for want of support. The discipline of the command seems to be good. The general impression made upon me by this inspection is, that the men having just come from a most fatiguing campaign, and having suffered considerably from camp diseases, they are just at present in a somewhat enfeebled condition, but it is evident that they will improve by repose and the improvement in their daily rations, and in a comparatively short period of time they will recover their usually healthy condition.
With food and instructions they could soon be made more apt in their evolutions. Without such minute instructions reliance must be placed, as heretofore, upon their steady aim and good pluck.
| | ADJT. AND INSP GENERAL'S OFFICE|
| Richmond, Virginia, December 17, 1861
By command of the Secretary of War:
On the seventeenth of December the War Department detached the regiment and two other units from General Floyd's command and transferred it to South Carolina, where Gen. Lee had been transferred after the retreat of Gen. Rosecrans in late September. The detachment order said that for the protection of Greenbrier County and Monroe County a regiment of troops accustomed to the rigors of the winter climate in Western Virginia should be stationed at or near Lewisburg. The Mississippians took the train and traveled one entire day to their destination, and, upon arrival, were notified that the order had been countermanded and that they were to rejoin Gen. Floyd whose brigade had been sent to Kentucky to reinforce Gen. A. S. Johnston. The regiment arrived at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the first day of eighteen sixty-two and was hurried along to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where a great battle was expected.
Instead the troops were called upon to meet Gen. Grant's advance up the Cumberland River, which had made it necessary for the Confederate forces to abandon their position at Bowling Green. Gen. Floyd's troops were sent to Russellville and then to Clarksville, and as soon as Fort Henry fell, they were hurried to Fort Donelson. The Twentieth Regiment arrived at Fort Donelson at daylight on the morning of February thirteenth and on that day one man was killed and three or four wounded by cannonading while the regiment was stationed in reserve. On the thirteenth Gen. Floyd assumed command from Gen. Gideon J. Pillow at Fort Donelson.
At midnight they were put in the trenches, which they had to clear of water and snow, in relief of Col. John Gregg's Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment. At the time of entrenchment a brisk firing was going on , induced by the Federal sharpshooters. The remainder of the night was spent in strengthening the trenches. At one o'clock in the afternoon on the fourteenth the regiment, under the command of Maj. William N. Brown and attached to Col. William E. Baldwin's Fourteenth Mississippi Infantry Brigade, made an advance against the Federals.
On the fifteenth they again fought under Col. Baldwin and with Drake's Fourth Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Brigade, and were the last troops to be recalled after the attack. In Col. Baldwin's report, which he filed from Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, on March twelfth of eighteen sixty-two, covering the events at Fort Donelson, he wrote that Major Brown and the Twentieth Mississippi were entitled to honorable mention, his left wing thrown in the early part of the day into an extremely exposed position by an ill-advised order, held its ground until recalled, and afterwards the whole regiment was among the foremost in every advance. Gen. Pillow's ill-advised order caused them to take position in a field on the left, where they were openly exposed to a destructive fire, which they were not able to return with effect. They were soon recalled, but not before they suffered heavy loss on the left.
At one o'clock on the morning of February sixteen Gen. Floyd informed Maj. Brown that the fort was to be surrendered, but that Floyd, himself, would not surrender but would escape before the surrender. Maj. Brown was ordered to place a strong guard around the steamboat landing at Dover, Tennessee, where Gen. Floyd planned to make his escape. The boats being detained until nearly daylight caused many to flock to the landing as word of the surrender spread among the troops. During all the panic and confusion the Twentieth Mississippi stood like a stone wall in a semicircle around the landing in order to protect Gen. Floyd and his Virginia regiments while embarking.
According to Maj. Brown's report, when the last hope of getting aboard had vanished, and "we realized the sad fate that we had been surrendered, the regiment stacked arms in perfect order, without the least intimidation, but full of regret." Maj. Brown was unable to state why Gen. Floyd had left on the boat with four Virginia regiments, while leaving behind the Mississippi regiment which had stood guard for him and had remained faithful to the last.
The command was unconditionally surrendered at three o'clock on the morning of the sixteenth by Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, who shared the fate of his command. After surrendering the force was taken on transports with the rank and file separated from the officers. Most of the men were taken to Cairo, Illinois, and from there to Chicago. Most of the officers were confined at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, and later to Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. The officers were exchanged on an individual basis (Maj. Brown was exchanged for Dr. E. H. R. Revere of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment on the tenth of April), and the men were exchanged on the eighteenth of September at Vicksburg, Mississippi, after spending some six months at Camp Douglas in Chicago.
In Maj. Brown's Recapitulation he showed an aggregate engaged of five hundred troops, with twenty being killed, fifty-eight wounded, and four hundred fifty-four surrendered.
|SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS|
| | HDQTRS. DISTRICT OF CAIRO|
| Fort Donelson, Tennessee: February 16, 1862
By order of Brigadier General U. S. Grant:
JNO A. RAWLINS,
According to family history, Pvt. Adam Blumer of Handsboro, Mississippi, and Pvt. John Popp of New Orleans, Louisiana, were captured by the Federals at Fort Donelson and held in prison camp in Chicago. They escaped from that camp on Easter night by tunneling out. They made it back to Confederate lines with the assistance of Southern Sympathizers, and rejoined the Confederate Army and remained therein until the end of the war.
Most of the information in this short history came from:
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