Company G, 1st Arkansas Regiment
The Jackson Guards were organized in May of 1861 by Captain Alexander Corbin Pickett in the town of Jacksonport, Arkansas, along the White River. The town of Jacksonport was then an important river town, laden with trade riverboats headed to St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. When the cry of war broke out among the country, Captain Pickett organized a company of men to go off to fight. The company numbered 111 men strong at its original mustering in on May 5,1861. On this day, in a pouring rainstorm, the company formed up and marched off to the Presbyterian church in the center of Jacksonport where it was presented with a gorgeous flag made by the ladies of Jacksonport. The flag, in the stars and bars pattern was of beautiful silk and was embroidered with the name of the company, the Jackson Guards. The company was made up of mostly young men barely the age of twenty, sons of wealthy merchants, lawyers, druggists, doctors, etc.. Following a tearful departure from family and loved ones, the company marched down to the White River and there boarded the steamer "Mary Patterson". They were soon on their way to Memphis,TN. And then off to the seat of the war in Virginia.
At Memphis, the company was organized into the First Arkansas Infantry Regiment, of which James Fagan was elected its first Colonel. The Jackson Guards were enlisted for a term of one year on May 10, and the line officers and NCOs were elected (appendix 1). From Memphis, the regiment boarded trains and traveled to Lynchburg, Va.. The 1st ARK arrived in Richmond on June 1 and went into camp at the fair grounds about one mile out of the city. Soon the 1st was off to Fredricksburg, and camped there in the city briefly and then continued on to Brooks Station where it was assigned to Ruggles brigade in the Department of Fredricksburg, under General Theophilus Hunter Holmes. At Brooks Station, along Aquia Creek, the men established Camp Jackson. Here they were drilled by cadets for 8 hours a day. They also heard their first enemy firing at Camp Jackson, as Confederate batteries along the river engaged Federal warships. During this time the troops suffered heavily from measles and diarrhea. The 1st lost over 50 men at this time. By June 28 the 1st was in place at Marlboro Point, still along Aquia Creek.
On July 17, the 1st was ordered to cook 3 days rations and was soon off on the march towards Mannassas Junction. July 21st saw the 1st ARK encamped in an orchard near Union Mills Ford on Bull Run. All afternoon the 1st waited in line of battle listening to the distant firing, itching to get into the fray. Then finally the 1st was ordered to double quick eight miles in the scorching heat to reach the battlefield. They were immediately placed in reserve of Purcells battery upon their arrival. The battery was tearing apart the fleeing masses of bluecoats. The 1st had arrived just too late to be actively involved in any of the action at Manassas. On July 22nd, they were withdrawn from the battlefield, and were soon in quarters at Camp Holmes near Evansport. In September, the 1st ARK was placed in Gen. John G. Walkers brigade with the 2nd Tennessee and 12th North Carolina regiments. During the encampment at Evansport, the 1st was involved in the construction of river batteries along the Potomac and spent the winter blockading and picketing the river. The troops had things rather well here at Evansport, living in well constructed log huts, and being fed plenty. The health and discipline of the regiment was also vastly improving. The men were becoming soldiers. The only action seen at Evansport was the ceaseless artillery dueling between the artillery batteries on opposite sides of the river. Fortunately no one of the 1st was killed throughout the winter by this. On Christmas day 1861, the 1st ARK was ordered to a new position back at Aquia Creek. Here the soldiering was easy, referred to by many as "Sunday Soldiering". The town of Fredricksburg was nearby and many men of the 1st took the opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of the town. They spent the rest of the winter guarding the Potomac River. In middle January, the regiment was placed in a brigade with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd North Carolina and 30th Virginia regiments and Cookes and Walkers batteries once again under Gen. John G. Walker.
In February 1862, all but 6 members of Company G reenlisted for the duration of the war. On February 28 the 1st was relieved by the 3rd Arkansas regiment and were ordered to rendezvous at Memphis,Tn. on March 15. Upon arrival at Memphis, the regiment immediately went to Corinth. On March 17, at Corinth, the 1st Arkansas was reorganized and new officers were elected(appendix 2). The 1st was then assigned to Col. Randall Gibsons brigade with the 4th 13th and 19th Louisiana regiments and Vaders Mississippi battery. They were now designated the first brigade(Gibsons) first division(Ruggles) second corps(Bragg) in the Army of the Mississippi, commanded by Albert Sydney Johnson. On April 4, the regiment moved in the direction of Pittsburg Landing, and Shiloh.
The 1st ARK arrived in Shiloh in the late afternoon of April 5. At 4:00 a.m., April 6, the regiment begin its march toward the enemy, loaded with 3 days rations, 40 rounds of ammunition and full marching equipment. The 1st plowed into the unsuspecting Yankee camps and sent the Federals running, abandoning all their equipment in their scurry to the rear. Members of the 1st picked up a great deal of Union money and supplies as they overran the abandoned camps. The regiment then advanced nearly another mile before encountering any sort of organized Federal resistance. Soon, the boys of the 1st found themselves squarely facing the heart of the Union line at the Sunken Road. The regiment marched across a wheat field, into a dense thicket of undergrowth, down into a ravine, and to a hill beyond. Company G found itself in a bit of confusion at one point over a command to march forward or at the right oblique, and Captain Shoup, thinking his men were faltering, stepped in front of the company, unsheathed his newly captured Union sword, and told the men to follow him. Just as he did this the sword was shattered in his hand by a minie ball. With this, the inspired men rushed forward into the fury of the Hornets Nest, or the Butchers Pen, as the Arkansans called it. The fighting here was absolutely furious, the bullets flying in such volume and intensity to remind the soldiers of a constant swarm of hornets buzzing around them. Three times the men of the 1st ARK charged back into this swirling cauldron of violence. In this fight the men of the 1st lost 364 killed and wounded, well over one-third of the regiment. Company G lost 4 men killed, 18 wounded, and 1 missing. The regiment fell back that night to bivouac in the captured Union camp.
The 1st ARK fell back into line about 7:00a.m. on the morning of April 7. They immediately were thrown back into the action. They overran and captured a gun of Thurbers Missouri battery(U.S.), but soon were forced to relinquish it to great numbers of Union reinforcements concealed in the woods beyond. The brigade was then ordered to fall back. The brigade was soon after thrown against the Union line near Water Oaks Pond, but failed to break through and eventually fell back from the pressure of the overwhelming Union numbers. The entire Confederate army was pushed back and retreated to Corinth to regroup and await reinforcement. Overall, at Shiloh, Company G lost 2 killed, 2 captured, 21 wounded, and 1 desertion, the companys first of the war. The 1st was again involved in another reorganization, and certainly not to be their last, at Corinth. The 1st ARK was now placed in the Fourth Brigade, under Col. J.C. Moore. The brigade also included the 2nd Texas and the 51st Tennessee regiments. Throughout April and May of 1862, the 1st spent time on picket and outpost duty around Corinth. Several skirmishes occurred during this time, most notably being the engagement at Farmington on May 9. On May 29 Gen Beauregard withdrew his army from Corinth, and during the withdrawal Company G lost 6 more men to desertion.
By June 9 the army had moved fifty miles south to Tupelo, Ms. Here there was more reorganizing of the Army of Mississippi. Now the 1st Arkansas was under the command of Col. John W. Colquitt, former major of the regiment, who began the war as a lieutenant in Company I. They were in Gen. L.M. Walkers brigade, with the 13th, 21st, and 38th Louisiana and Crescent(Louisiana)Infantry regiments and Lumsdens Alabama battery, Barretts Missouri battery, and an independent Tennessee regiment. August 7 witnessed the arrival of the 1st in Atlanta, having traveled via Mobile and Montgomery. From Atlanta they headed off to Chattanooga for the beginning of Braggs Kentucky campaign and, once again, more reorganizing. The 1st ARK would now be in Col S. Powells third brigade(with the 45th Ala, 24th Miss., 29th Tenn., and Barretts battery) of Gen. Andersons second division of Hardees second corps. From Chattanooga, the regiment headed north through central Tennessee and into Kentucky. The 1st arrived in Glaskow,Ky. On Sept. 14, 1862. September 18 witnessed Braggs army surround and capture a garrison of 6000 Union troops at Munfordville,Ky.. The 1st then continued north and marched to Danville,Ky.. It was a very hard and strenuous march and the men arrived at Danville extremely worn out and foot-sore. On October 7, the regiment was encamped at Perryville,Ky.. At dawn on October 8, the 1st was drawn up in line of battle, and that day went into the fighting at the battle of Perryville, although they were not very heavily engaged any more than some artillery and sharpshooter fire. The regiment was withdrawn through town and soon the entire army was retreating back into Tennessee. Although both sides lost heavily, the battle at Perryville was inconclusive and the Confederate army retreated without having achieved its goal of reclaiming Kentucky. Throughout the months of October and November, the army kept in motion constantly, moving from Kentucky to Knoxville, then on to Chattanooga. On November 20, the Army of the Mississippi officially became the Army of Tennessee. The 1st ARK arrived at the Duck River, near Shelbyville,TN. on November 25. The army was once again reorganized at this time, but the 1st was not immediately effected. On December 4, the regiment was moved to College Grove, near the village of Eagleville, 20 miles west of the town of Murfreesboro,Tn..
On December 12, Gen. Andersons division, to which the 1st belonged, was disbanded. The 1st ARK still commanded by Col. Colquitt, remained in Hardees corps but was now placed in Gen. Patrick Royayne Cleburnes second division, and in Brig. Gen. Lucius E. Polks brigade. Also in Polks brigade were the 13th and 15th Arkansas(consolidated), 5th Confederate, 2nd Tennessee, 5th Tennessee, and Calverts Arkansas battery.
To counter a move on Murfeersboro by Rosecrans Federal army, the division was ordered to Murfreesboro on Dec. 28. The regiment camped along the Stones River on the extreme right of the Confederate army. After dark on the 30th, the 1st ARK was shifted to the extreme left flank of the army, and camped without fires in a rough cedar woods. The weather for the past three days had been miserably cold, with freezing rain, hail, and numbing winds. The 1st waited throughout the night as the order to attack, as soon as it was light enough to see, was given. When the attack was begun on the early morning of the 31st, the 1st formed part of the second line of attack, behind the division of Gen. McCown. The brigade was third from the left in the line of Cleburnes division, and the 1st was second in line from the left within the brigade. The men fell into line that morning without breakfast, only a small ration of whiskey was given to the men. At 6:20a.m. the attack began.
The 1st ARK stepped out across an open field toward the Union lines. The enemy concealed behind a rail fence opened on the men and the loss was great, but the men pressed on and soon had the Federals on the run. The losses to the Federals was also great. The 1st kept on, driving the bluecoats for nearly 3 miles through rough and hotly contested forests of rough cedar and limestone outcroppings. Eventually the men ran into a strong line of Union artillery and infantry that they could not advance upon, as their ranks had been so depleted by 7 hours of continuos fighting. The regiment fell back about 400 yards to reform and replenish ammunition. The men lay in line of battle through the night, awaiting a possible counterattack. The next day the battle was renewed but the 1st was not seriously tested and remained where it was until Jan.2. In a last attempt by the Federals to break the line, the troops were scattered and overrun. The regiment was ordered to fall back to its position of December 30th. From Murfreesboro, Braggs army retreated south to Tullahoma, where it spent the remainder of the winter. The retreat from Stones River was one of the most difficult marches of the war for the men of the 1st. After fighting an extremely violent, grueling battle for 3 days in the worst possible weather conditions, the regiment retreated by night, nearly starved, in a relentless, cold, cold rain. If the men stopped they would fall over of exhaustion. This march pressed the men to their limit, as far as human nature could go.
Winter quarters in the winter of 1863 was a welcome respite for the men of the 1st ARK. They again had tents to sleep in and received good rations. Their corps commander, Gen. Hardee, author of Hardees Tactics, and their division commander, Gen. Cleburne, were sticklers for drill and the men drilled for hours a day at Tullahoma. Gen. Hardee hosted company drill contests to boost the spirit of the men. Company G finished third in the division in drill. The spirit of the fighting men was again high as a result of winter quarters.
Throughout the spring and into the early summer, the 1st was active constantly. They moved around every day, not staying anywhere for more than three. They covered area from north and west to Murfreesboro and south and east to Chattanooga. The 1st was in Tullahoma with the rest of its brigade on June 24. June 29 and 30 saw the first in the entrenchments around Tullahoma awaiting a Federal attack. The evening of the 30th, they retreated to Alsonia without engagement. By July 9 the 1st had reached Tyners Station outside of Chattanooga. The entire army had withdrawn under the pressure of Rosecrans army. The regiment remained at Tyners Station until August 17th. While encamped at Tyners, General Cleburne kept the troops busy by drilling and by constructing forts and earthworks. On July 31, the 1st underwent yet another reorganization. They were now in the corps of Lt. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill, and their brigade, still under Gen. Polk, was made up of the 3rd and 5th Confederate(consolidated), 2nd Tenn., 35th Tenn., 48th Tenn. And Calverts battery. On August 17, the regiment marched 6 miles south to Graysville. On the 23rd they began to move north for the first time in a long while, when they marched 14 miles north to Gardenshires Ferry, where they remained until September 10th, when they again retreated south to Lafeyette, going by way of Chattanooga. On September 11, the regiment moved north to Dug Gap as part of an intended attack by Bragg, but the attack was never made, and the regiment was left to guard the gap against a possible federal attack. The next day, the regiment pressed on to Rock Springs Church, 12 miles north of Lafayette, to oppose another possible federal advance that never happened. They then returned to the Lafeyette area to only return on September 18, as the division took position along the Chickamauga Creek, a few miles east of the Lee and Gordon Mills.
September 19, 1863, the battle of Chickamauga was at hand. The first was initially placed in reserve, but soon after the battle opened, Cleburnes division double-quicked in the direction of the firing. As the men approached Chickamauga Creek, they stopped to remove their shoes and trousers before plunging into the stream, with that Gen. Cleburne road up shouting, "Boys, go through the river, we cant wait!" The men plunged through the stream and at near the head and right flank of the division, were among the first to be engaged, instead of being reserves. As they moved north along the Chickamauga Creek, they passed the soldiers of Walkers corps, lying prone on the ground, who cheered the men of Cleburnes division, recognizing them by their distinctive blue flags. The regiment continued north along the Jays Mill road, until it halted near Jays Mill. The division was formed in one single line of battle facing west. The first was the third regiment from the right flank, in the center of Polks brigade. Gen. Cleburne spent about half an hour getting his division in line properly before beginning the attack. At 6:00p.m., with only 10 minutes of daylight remaining, the advance began. They advanced into the dark forest, all the while passing the dead, wounded, and disoriented of the mornings battle that had raged here. The men of Polks brigade swiftly and decisively overran their federal opposition, the only clearly victorious section of Cleburnes night attack. The fighting was intense, confusing, and frightening all along the line this night, it was no easy work for the men of the first. The men slept on their arms in line through the night.
At 10:00a.m., September 20, the fighting resumed for the 1st ARK. They moved off in line forward, then obliqued to the left, then obliqued back right. The units began to lose their alignment, and before they could be rectified they ran into stiff artillery fire from union batteries. They continued to advance for another 500 yards, enduring this horrific fire. The regiment then crested a ridge and came within 125 yards of the federal works. The works were so well camouflaged with brush and felled trees that they were nearly invisible to the confederates. Then the federals opened fire, and the effect was galling. Three tightly packed union brigades released their fury upon the men of Polks exposed brigade. 4000 union rifles laid out volleys with parade ground precision into the 1100 men of Polks brigade. The federals, 4000 strong lost only about 40 wounded, and three killed, Whereas Polks brigade lost nearly 400 of 1100 men. The 1st ARK, with the rest of the brigade, was quickly ordered to fall back behind the ridge. From there, they tried to continue to return the fire of the federals, but it was useless and they were ordered 300 yards to the rear where the division was reforming. Around 5:00 p.m., the order to advance was again given. This time it was coordinated with several other divisions, and the Confederates succeeding in taking the union works at Kellys Field. The men of the 1st charged up the hill to the first line of works in an "enthusiastic and intrepid charge", and as they streamed over the works they sent the retreating federals running in complete rout. The men pressed on, overrunning three lines of union works before receiving the order to halt. The tired, thirsty men were halted and reforming ranks along a road when a tremendous cheer of victory went up all along the line. In the two days fighting at Chickamauga, the 1st Ark lost 13 killed and 180 wounded, and Company G lost 2 killed and 10 wounded. Following the battle, Col. Colquitt, and Capt. Shoup were named to the Confederate Roll of Honor, for their conspicuous "courage and devotion on the field of battle". This honor was given in lieu of a medal of honor.
Following the battle at Chickamauga, the regiment moved towards Chattanooga, as Bragg pushed his army in pursuit of the retreating Union army. They moved to Red House Ford on the night of Sept. 21, and bivouacked there. The next day, the division moved to a site on the crest of missionary ridge, where it encamped. The men were put in a line of battle at the foot of Missionary Ridge, where they remained, with little action, for the next two months. The men underwent a great deal of hardship on Missionary ridge, as they were much exposed to rain and cold because of a great shortage of tents, blankets, and shoes. The men of Company G did receive an issue of shoes, and a few other articles of clothing on September 30, to help make it more bearable. In late October, the division moved about a mile southward on Missionary Ridge. November 23, the regiment left with its brigade to guard the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad bridge at Chickamauga Creek. On the 25th, as the rest of the army was pushed off Missionary Ridge, the first was ordered to fall back as the rear guard of the army. They were ordered to destroy the commissary stores at Chickamauga Station, as they retreated. In their anger of having to destroy this vast supply depot, while they had been so deprived over the previous two months, the men loaded themselves down with all the food they could carry. The rear guard of the defeated army was more in the condition of a human supply train than a fighting army.
As the Union army pressed on the Confederates fell back in the direction of Dalton, Ga.. The regiment crossed over Ringgold Mountain on the morning of the 27th, but soon as they had crossed over they were ordered back to White Oak Mountain help drag some artillery pieces to the top of the mountain. Soon the regiment was ordered to deploy at the top of the mountain to secure the right flank of the defending force there. The first arrived just in the nick of time, beating the federal skirmishers by merely 50 yards from the top. The men fell in behind a fallen tree to use as shelter and opened up quite effectively on the troops pushing up the opposite side of the hill. The union troops could not hold for long and when they began to falter and break the 1st ARK charged down the slope after them, capturing the colors of the 76th Ohio and 20 prisoners. The soldiers of the 1st ARK were praised by Gen. Cleburne for their gallantry at White Oak Mountain. The federal troops were repulsed at all attempts to take the crest of White Oak Mountain. The regiment was pulled out of its position and placed in the line of defense one mile to the rear at Ringgold Gap. Once again, the federals were sternly repulsed, and they did not press an attack here. The regiment fell back to Dalton, where it soon after settled into winter quarters. In December, Joseph E. Johnston replaced Bragg as commander of the Army of Tennessee, a welcome change for the men, who generally despised Bragg and were very fond of "Uncle Joe" Johnston. In late February, 1864, the entire corps was moved in the direction of Alabama to counter a possible union advance there. Cleburnes division returned to Atlanta on February 24-25. The regiment then went back into camp at Mill Creek, three miles east of Dalton. While at Mill Creek, a man of the 1st ARK was executed for persistent desertion, the only execution to occur in Cleburnes division during the war. After a snowstorm in late march, the 1st participated in the great snowball fight between Polks and Govans brigades.
In April, the 1st Arkansas, it ranks severely depleted was consolidated with the 15th Arkansas under the command of Lt. Col. William Martin, who had begun the war as captain of Company F of the 1st ARK. He had been severely wounded at Ringgold Gap. The brigades other units included the 5th Confederate, 2nd Tenn., 35th Tenn., and the 48th Tenn.. May 8 witnessed the beginning of the campaign for Atlanta.
May 8, the regiment was faced with federal pressure, and May 9, the regiment moved in the direction of Resaca, but on the 10th, the regiment turned around and marched 33 miles back to Dug Gap, at Rocky Face Ridge. They arrived near sundown, and went into bivouac, without tents or shelter of any kind in a torrential downpour. They were so exhausted from the days grueling march that they simply laid down among the rocks and fell asleep, oblivious to the weather. At dawn, they were again on the march to Snake Creek, where they constructed earthworks, only to leave them and continue to fall back further, arriving in the area of Resaca on May 13. From Resaca, the regiment was continually skirmishing, retreating, building breastworks, marching, skirmishing, building works,etc.. With no camp, no tents, with little or no food, in a constant rain and mud, the grueling campaign wore on. On May 19th, the 1st joined the rest of the army at Cassville, prepared to give fight. Once again, facing overwhelming numbers, the army continued to fall back. The regiment participated in a series of marches, countermarches, and bivouacs that brought them to New Hope Church on May 26th. At New Hope Church, the 1st was near the extreme right of the Confederate line, which was anchored at New Hope Church. The majority of the federal attack at New Hope Church fell upon Cleburnes division. The federals advanced on the Confederate works, in this part of the line, seven lines deep. Cleburnes men fought off the attack, with great losses on both sides. In this fight, the section known as Picketts Mill, the portion of the line manned by Polks brigade and the 1st ARK, was not engaged actively. Following the fight at New Hope Church, the 1st found itself in position on the northwest edge of Pine Mountain. Several shifts of position found them finally placed on the west side of the mountain on a slight rise, with the federals on a rise opposite, with a gully of about 10 yards separating the two lines. The line was spread very thin, "lonesome" in the words of one soldier. The rain fell again in absolute torrents for the days the men spent on this line. Gen. Lucius Polk, the brigade commander, was killed here while out reconnoitering on June 14. Soon following, his brigade was broken up and the 1st and 15th ARK was moved to the brigade of Gen. D.C. Govan. The night of June 18th, the regiment withdrew to the line at Kennesaw Mtn.. The march again was miserable in the fierce rain, but the men endured it and pressed on, arriving at Kennesaw on the 19th.
Once in the Kennesaw line, the men threw up works to protect themselves. The union line was merely 400 yards away, separated by only a shallow valley, and a small ravine. In front of their works, they faced an open field. Abatis was constructed by using sharpened sapling, fence rails, and felled trees to create a wall so impenetrable "it would have been an uphill business for a rabbit to get through". The soldiers of the 1st created an arrangement with the federal unit that faced them to not fire upon one another unless they came out of their works in line of battle. The unit that faced them was the 19th Ohio, a unit they had encountered many times in battle since Murfreesboro, and had great respect for. The men passed the days on Kennesaw talking and playing cards with the boys of the 19th between the lines. On June 27 the federals came out in line of battle.
The union troops pounded themselves against the Confederate line, only to be repeatedly repulsed with great loss. The dry leaves and underbrush in front of the line caught fire and many union wounded were being burned alive. At the sight of this, Col. Martin mounted the works waving a white handkerchief, and called for the union troops to stop firing long enough to get out their wounded before the flames. The firing stopped, and the wounded were hauled off by the soldiers of both armies. After the wounded were collected and the fires put out, the futile federal advance continued. The entire division lost only 2 killed and 9 wounded in the attack. The federal losses were great. 1st Lt. Allie Walthall was killed in skirmishing following the main battle. On June 29, a truce was called for the burial of the federal dead, and the men and even generals freely milled about between the lines, having a great time of it all. The night of July 2, the troops withdrew from Kennesaw by cover of darkness. On July 5 they withdrew into an extensive line of redoubts and fortifications along the banks of the Chatahoochie river. On July 9, they once again fell back, to the works on the outskirts of Atlanta. Since the beginning of May the men had seen some sort of fighting or skirmishing daily, as the armies were almost constant sight of one another. On July 17, John Bell Hood replaced Gen. Johnston as commander of the AOT. The men were questionable of Hoods capabilities, and they all admired and loved Johnston.
The 20th of July brought with it the battle at Peach Tree Creek. Just before the 1st was to be thrown into the fray, Cleburnes division was ordered several miles southeast to Bald Hill to reinforce a cavalry division there. They marched by way of Atlanta, where they stopped for a two hour rest, before continuing to Bald Hill. They arrived at Bald Hill at daybreak of the 21st. The entire day was some of the bitterest fighting the 1st would see throughout the war. They managed to hold on to Bald Hill, and as a result contributed to saving Atlanta. That evening they again marched back to the works outside of Atlanta. At dawn the following day, the regiment was again on the road, marching southeast in the direction of Cobbs Mill. Then they turned around and marched back to the northeast to strike at the federal force nearing Atlanta, in what would be known as the battle of Atlanta. The 1st attacked the federals in works on Bald Hill, the position they had just the previous evening. The 1st ARK led in the attack nearly all day. They distinguished themselves by successfully taking the union works, and along the way capturing two union cannon and forcing the surrender of the 16th Ohio regiment. The men fought hand to hand with the federals clubbing and bayoneting them in the works. The fighting was ferocious. The 1st ARK went into the battle with only 144 men and lost 59% of the regiment, 15 killed, 67 wounded and 3 missing. The confederates fell back at nightfall, and soon returned to Atlanta, which then went into a month long siege. During the siege, the brigade moved about, bivouacking at several sites around the outskirts of the city. In late July, the army was also reorganized. Govans brigade, which only counted 534 troops was now an all-Arkansas unit, consisting of the 1st and 15th consolidated, the 2nd and 24th consolidated, the 5th and 13th consolidated, the 6th and 7th consolidated, the 8th and 19th consolidated, and the 3rd confederate. As both Col. Colquitt and Col. Martin had been lost to wounds, Capt. Felix Lusk, of Company K, commanded the 1st ARK. He would soon be replaced by Capt. A.C. Hockersmith.
August 31, the regiment headed out of Atlanta and marched to Jonesboro. The next day, they threw up breastworks and fought in the battle of Jonesboro. The federals charged the works and soon were swarming around the regiment on all sides. The company commander Clay Lowe, seeing his boys wavering, leaped atop the works, waving his pistol, and calling for the boys to hod on. He was atop the works just moments and he was shot down. Only one commissioned officer, Lt. John Loftin, remained in the company. Only darkness kept the regiment from being swallowed by the union troops. The flag of the regiment was captured at Jonesboro by the 14th Michigan Regiment. The brigade commander, Gen. Govan, was also taken captive, although he was exchanged a week later. Atlanta was taken the next day.
The regiment had withdrawn by rail to Lovejoys Station on September 2. The 1st moved to Palmetto, Ga. on September 18, and the regiment finally got an opportunity to rest. The army left Palmetto on September 29, as it began to journey north to take part in the Franklin-Nashville campaign. On September 30, Gen. Frank Cheatham replaced Hardee as the 1st ARK corps commander. Throughout the month of October the army kept moving arriving at Decatur, Al on October 28. The army continued on, marching in bitter cold, freezing rain, and snow to arrive near Columbia, Tn. November 26. They then continued north in the direction of Nashville.
At 4:15 a.m. on November 29, the division began to advance upon the federal troops at Spring Hill. In the late afternoon, the troops finally attacked the union works. Gen. Cleburne rode alongside the soldiers of Govans brigade in the advance. Many men pulled their hats down over their eyes as if to shield themselves from the bullets. They soon rolled over the union trenches and sent the enemy into retreat. The division was suddenly halted and the union army slipped away to Franklin. The battle of Franklin was fought on November 30.
At just about 3:00 p.m. on November 30, the members of the 1st ARK were drawn up in column on Breezy Hill, overlooking the plain just south of the town of Franklin. At the other end of the plain, three lines of very formidable entrenchments, filled with union infantry and artillery awaited. At 4:00 the advance was ordered.
The lines advanced, with parade ground precision, until they came within 400 yards of the enemy works. Here they halted and quickly deployed into line for the final charge against the works. They charged to within 100 yards of the works before the federals finally opened up on them. One soldier referred to the fire as if "hell itself exploded in our faces". The soldiers fought through the hailstorm of lead and lodged themselves against the enemys works. Furiously fighting hand to hand with the union soldiers on the massive works. Muskets firing literally in each others faces, bayonets and musket butts crashing into each other. The soldiers held on and fought as long as humanly possible, but it was useless. The fighting continued on until midnight, the slaughter horrific. During the night, the federal army withdrew to Nashville. The confederate losses were staggering. Company G was consolidated with Company B, and the two together barely made up one small company. The whole regiment now only consisted of six small companies. The division also suffered the loss of its beloved commander, Gen. Cleburne, who was killed in the assault.From December 2 until the 14th, the army occupied itself with skirmishing and preparing works around Nashville. On December 15, the union army attacked.
The regiment was near the right flank of the army during the attack at Nashville. The confederates repulsed the attack on the 15th, but fell back that night to reorganize and prepare to meet another attack. On the 16th, the regiment was switched to the left flank of the army, and the whole brigade was spread to cover an area intended to be covered by an entire division. The confederates were overrun. Many men of Company G were captured during the attack. That night they were withdrawn to Franklin. The following day to Spring Hill. The regiment continued on. A fierce snowstorm ensued as many men suffered on the march without shoes or adequate clothing. The men slept on the frozen ground and continued marching on bleeding, frozen feet. Such was the state as it arrived in Pulaski on December 21st. On December 22, the men left Pulaski, and continued their to Corinth, Ms., arriving there on December 31. There were not many men of the company left. By the time they arrived at Corinth, the company had lost 102 out of 144 men who had served throughout the war. After 9 days at Corinth the men continued south to Tupelo, arriving on January 13, 1865. Here, Gen. Hood was relieved of command, and Gen. Richard Taylor filled his place. On January 20, the men were ordered to begin the journey to South Carolina, where Gen. Johnston was organizing an army to oppose Gen. Shermans forces in the Carolinas.
The 1st ARK arrived in Augusta, Ga. on February 9. The journey to join Gen. Johnston in the Carolinas was an arduous trip. By February 25, the men had neared the vicinity of Charlotte, N.C., where Johnston was trying to concentrate his army. At this point the remains of the AOT were a demoralized mob at best, but were happy to be back under Gen. Johnston. On March 11, the 1st found itself bottled up in Salisbury, N.C., awaiting railroad transportation to Smithfield,N.C.. On March 19th, the regiment arrived at Bentonville from Goldsboro. The regiment, now commanded by Capt. William Scales, was part of a massive consolidation of Arkansas regiments under the command of Col. E.A. Howell. They belonged to Govans brigade, under Col. Peter Green, and Cleburnes division, under Gen. James Smith. They were part of Cheathams corps, commanded by Gen. William Bate. The AOT was commanded by Gen. Alexander Stewart, and the whole bunch was under the command of Joseph E. Johnston.
As the brigade arrived on the field on March 19th, they deployed into line and were ordered to lie down as the enemy bullets began to fly past. The federal lines soon began advancing toward the hidden confederate lines. The men of the 1st, lacking any sort of breastworks, kept up their fire until the federals pressed steadily to within 50 yards and charged. With this the men of Govans brigade abandoned their position to fall behind stronger lines of entrenchments. This once glorious men of the brigade fled and put the right flank of the army in peril. The union line began to falter, and seeing this the brigade rushed back into the breach, and pushed back the federals. The union troops fell back and began to reform and entrench, and while they did this the soldiers of the brigade rushed out to plunder the bodies of the fallen federals and to collect the wounded of both sides.
Around 2:45p.m., the Army of Tennessee was ordered to advance. This would be the last great charge of the Army of Tennessee. The 1st advanced in relative safety through the woods approaching the federal line. As the brigade to the right of the 1st began to tangle up with theirs, the federal troops facing them opened up with a devastating volley. The men pressed on once again. When the troops reached the tree line marking the ravine that lay 100 yards in front of the enemy line, they charged down into the ravine toward the union line. They pushed ahead and overcame the defenders, sending them streaming to the rear. The attack gradually lost its full momentum and was halted. At dusk the order came to advance again, but the attack quickly failed. Late on the evening of March 19th, the regiment returned to its starting position of that afternoon. They remained in position, entrenched, until March 21, when a concentrated federal attack sent the entire confederate line into retreat.
Early morning of March 22 brought the overall evacuation of the confederate army from Bentonville. By dawn, the regiment was on the move to Smithfield. Once again tremendous rains pounded the defeated Army of Tennessee as it marched away from defeat.
The 1st Arkansas continued to march on, fleeing the pursuing union army until April 26, when the regiment was surrendered at Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina with the remains of the once glorious Army of Tennessee.
COMMANDING OFFICERS 1ST ARKANSAS REGIMENT(IN ORDER): COL. JAMES FAGAN, COL. JOHN COLQUITT, LT. COL. WILLIAM CRAWFORD, MAJ. ATKINSON LITTLE, LT.COL. WILLIAM MARTIN, LT.COL. DONELSON MACGREGOR, LT.COL. JAMES MONROE, LT.COL. JOHN THOMPSON
APPEDIX 1:COMPANY G OFFICERS ELECTED MAY 10,1861 FOR TERM OF 1 YEAR:
APENDIX 2:COMPANY G OFFICERS ELECTED MARCH 17,1862 FOR DURATION OF WAR
COMPANY HISTORY WRITTEN BY RICHARD HEISLER