3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment

"The Glorious Third" Alabama's first volunteers

The Washington Light Infantry, Roster: April 23, 1861

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The 101 officers and men (age and rank) of the Washington Light Infantry, Captain Archibald Gracie, as of boarding the steamer St Nicholas, April 24, 1861, bound for Montgomery.

Adams, Homer,  26

Adams, Quintus Sertorius,  22

Bagby, John Hampden,  19

Bagby, Simon Connell,  24

Baird, Henry Clay, 3CPL,  22

Bancroft, Sydney S.,  21

Battle, James M.,  16

Battle, Samuel G. Jr.,  19

Bird, Albert Galliline,  19

Boullemet, Milton Hyman,  17

Bowers, George Florian,  16

Bridges, George Rodney,  24

Burnham, Charles Edward,   ?

Burton, John Thomas,  23

Byard, Edward Hogan,  22

Chester, John Wood, 1LT,  29

Childers, James Edward,  17

Cleveland, James Brown,  25

Cocke, Thomas Watt,   ?

Cocke, William Gustavus,  20

Coleman, Fountain Pitt,  21

Coleman, James LaFayette,  CPL,  ?

Coleman, Wiley Theophilus,  21

Crawley, John J.,  20

Dalton, Edmund Richard,  23

Dargen, Edward Pickens,  20

Dean, William Edward,  21

Donaldson, James,   ?

Donoho, Osceola Charles,  23

Donovan, William G.,  33

Drish, Archibald Rye,  27

Ellison, George H.,  4CPL,  19;

English, David Crawford,  25

Foley, John Sylvester,  [21]

Foster, Aaron Whitney,  28

Foster, David Alexander,  2CPL,  [25]

Gilmore, John Young,  24

Goldsmith, Leo,  ?

Gordon, Jesse A., [22]

Gracie, Archibald Jr., Captain,  29

Gwin, George Bailey,  19

Heddon, William Henry,   ?

Heirs, William Andy,  18

Hemstag, William,  25

Hill, Van Courtland,  21

Hodges, William Harrison, [4]SGT,  20  (Hodges actually enlisted in Montgomery, 4-28-61)

Hooks, Alfred B.,  23

Hopkins, Robert,   ?

Huggins, John Thomas, 1SGT,  24

Hull, H. Edgar,  18

Irwin, Richard Learn F. “Lee,” 1CPL,  20

Johnson, Robert Bruce,   ?

Jones, George C.,   ?

Jones, Harvey Ellis,  3SGT,  19

Keough, Arthur Magee,   ?

Latham, Mortimer Aldridge,  26

Lenoir, Thomas Middleton,  22

Levy, Julian Camden,  2SGT,  27

Massey, Wright Stanley,  21

May, Charles Henry,   ?

McDonald, Thomas Anthony,  19

McGillivary, William Stuart,  26

McKeon, Daniel Valentine,   ?

McLaughlin, Thomas Jefferson,  21

McVoy, Cornelius,   ?

Meldrum, George Sterling,   ?

Miller, Duncan James,   ?

Murrill, Charles Washington “Walter,”  20

Myer, Franklin Samuel,  22

Needy, John Albert,  24

Nicolson, George William,  19

Norris, William Young,  20

Oppenheim, Edward Lewis,   ?

Owen, Franklin Alexander,  20

Parham, Rutledge Thomas Blessingame,  17

Patten, William Thompson,   ?

Peabody, Horace M.,  19

Porter, Charles S. D.,  [18]

Reynolds, Hugh,   ?

Riley, James Augustus,  19

Rutherford, John S.,  20

Shearer, Walter W.,   ?

Sherwood, John J.,   ?

Simon, James Julius,  20

Skates, Henry Schuyler,  20

Sloan, Joseph R.,   ?

Smith, Chandler Starr, 2LT,  27

Smith, Edward,   ?

Smith, James Xavier,  23

Steed, George Edward,   ?

Stephenson, William Henry,  22

Toulmin, John Francis,  18

Turner, Samuel Coote,  36

Vail, William Benners,  20

Waltz, William Christopher,  39

Watt, James N. Jr.,  [22]

Westfeldt, Charles/Class Fleetwood, 3LT,  22

Wilcox, Robert H.,  18

Williams, John Parey,  32

Woodward, John Gosee,  [22]

Wyckoff, Cornelius Peter,  26


The Mobile Rifles: Roster, April 23, 1861

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108 Officers and men (age and rank) of the Mobile Rifles Militia; Roster as of their boarding the steamer Selma, bound for Montgomery, April 23, 1861.

“It must have been with no ordinary feelings of pride that Woodruff led forth from the Armory Hall (where he dressed their ranks with as accurate an eye as if they were to be inspected by the President), the brave followers whom he had so faithfully and skillfully trained in the use of arms…With them are associated a large number of the new recruits, selected from numerous applicants who sought admission to the Corps, well-knowing they were about to come under the command of one who tolerates no infringement or neglect of military rule. It is the strictness which has made the Rifles the pride of Mobile.”

— The Mobile Register

Adams, James K. 3LT,  35

Atkins, William Thomas, 19

Aubert, Aristide Louis,  26

Bailey, John Chaucer,  ?

Baumer, Joseph, Drummer, 14, (ward of Capt. Woodruff)

Bryant, Jacob, 23

Buford, John Crittenden 1SGT,  26

Burton, Horatio/Horace,  25

Butt, Melville C.,  23

Campbell, Bayles Earle, 19

Cherry, William W.,  22

Child, Dr. Duff D.,  27

Childress, Jeff V.,  ?

Clark, Charles H.,  22

Colburn, John H.,  26

Collier, Charles Crowe,  22

Cooper, Thomas E.,  20

Crawford, W.D.   ?

Crowder, Eli H.,  29

Daily, James,  2SGT,  32

Dawson, Joseph G.  ?

DeBell, Robert Francis,  22

Donaldson, Henry, “Shanghai”  34

Duffie, George G.,  26

Dunlap, George Hamilton Jr.,  22

Ellis, John Beach,  22

Ellis, William L.,  22

Foster, James Fleetwood,  18

Fowler, John D., 2CPL, [26]

Gardner, William H.,  28

Garrow, William M.,  19

Gazzam, William P.,  [21]

Geaudreau, William A., 3SGT,  [25]

Goodloe, George,  27

Goodman, Leonard H., 22

Goodwin, John W., 5SGT,  33

Gould, James Perine,  16

Greenwood, Wm. Henry H.,  27

Grist, William B.,  21

Harwell, Charles R.,  18

Haughton, Robert H.,  24

Henry, Thomas Jr.,  24

Hodges, John C. Jr.,  22

Howard, James E. M.,  @19

Hoyt, James Henry, 19

Hoyt, John Keais, 4SGT,  20

Hurter, John Christopher,  19

Hutchinson, Francis S.,  [21]

Inerarity, John W.,  22

Innerarity [sic], John E. DeVilliers,  20

Jackson, Joseph A.,  [27]

Jenks, John Matthew,  23

Johnston, G. Floyd,  [19]

Jones, William M., (20)

Jordan, Richard Bartholomew,  21

Keeler, Charles Alfred,  27

Keith, John H.,  27

Labuzan, Charles Jr.,  21

Lake, John Jemison,  23

Lathrop, George F.,  20

Lavender, Wright H.,  20

Lecesne, Thomas Jr.,  20

Loper, William E.,  @28

Manning, James,  19

Marrast, John Calhoun, 1LT,  35 (Servant John C)

Maybrey, Peter L.,  27

Mayrant, Robert Woodruff,  32

McDonald, William M. Jr.,  22

McGuire, Albert Galister,  27

Moore, John F.,  [21]

Mosby, B. McRae,  19

Mosby, Edward Chamberlayne Jr.,  24

Monelle, Robert A.,  19?

Neville, Samuel Alexander,  18

O’Brien, William J.,  24

Pairo, Samuel H.,  19

Parker, Arthur C.,  ?

Pope, Charles H.,  17

Post, James B.,  28

Powers, William H.,  20

Punch, Archibald Malloy,  18

Robeson, William B.,  21

Roper, Benjamin Franklin,  25

Ryder, Corbet Autin,  28

Simonton, Gilbseath F. Jr.   ?

Singleterry, Frank C.,  29

Skinner, Joseph Harvey,  25

Smith, Thomas M.,   ?

Smith, William G., 1CPL, [@26?]

Smoot, Alfred E.,  27

Sullivan, William Henry,  19

Swain, Harvey Jr.,  17

Taylor, David S.,  17

Taylor, Joseph H.,  [19]

Thompson, Archibald Simpson “Sim,”  21

Thompson, Joseph Savier,  22

Treat, William Hamilton,  20

Vidmer, John,  25

Watkins, Charles W.,  18

Weedon, John, 2LT,  25

Whitehurst, Charles C.,  28

Williams, Isaac S.,  20

Williams, Robert H.,  @24

Williamson, Daniel H.,  [24]

Wilson, Henry Felix,  24

Woodcock, Benjamin S.,  25

Woodruff, Lewis T., CAPTAIN,  45

Yeates, Joseph James,  22

The Mobile Cadets: Roster, April 24, 1861

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Struck by lightning, this bust is all that remains of the life size figure that topped the Mobile Cadets column at Magnolia Cemetery.

Struck by lightning, this bust is all that remains of the life size figure that topped the Mobile Cadets column at Magnolia Cemetery.

127 Volunteers, (age and rank), of the Mobile Cadets, Captain Robert M. Sands –– as of their departure from Mobile aboard the Steamship St Nicholas, bound for Montgomery –– April 24, 1861.

        “At the wharf a halt and a ‘rest’ were ordered, and then came the last leave-taking of mothers, sisters, sweethearts, wives; the handshaking of friends and companions, the blessings of old men, the final exhortation of father to son, the sobs and tears of agonized women. There was a feeling of relief when the command ‘Attention’ cut short the painful scene. A few minutes later, the two companies [the Cadets shipped out with  Captain Gracie’s Washington Light Infantry] had formed again on the upper deck of the steamer…the whole population of Mobile had assembled to bid ‘God speed’ to the brave young hearts…Now the shrill whistle of the steamer, the splash of revolving wheels, the booming of salute guns…”  – Henry Hotze

Allen, Thos. B.,  27, Bookkeeper, Saunders & Sons

Armistead, Edward Herbert,  22, Clerk: Moore, LeSeuer & Darden

Armistead, Robert B.,*  34, Attorney

Austill, William Henry,  21, Civil Engineer

Averill, William H.,  27, Merchant

Bacon, John P.,  22, Clerk

Baker, James/Joseph McC. Jr., 23, Clerk

Battle, Samuel G., 19, Clerk: Rives, Battle & Co.

Berry, Daniel P.,  26, Merchant

Brieglet, Julius,  26, Accountant

Broun, James Harleston 5SGT,  31, Cotton Weigher, A. Broun & Son

Brown, Thomas P. 3LT,  28, Clerk: O. Mazange & Co.

Burke, John A.,  25, Accountant: McDowell, Withers & Co.

Burns, John,  21, Clerk

Carter, William Cecil,  19, Student

Caulfield, William M.,  16, Clerk: Eckford & Weaver

Cavallero, J. Gasper S.,  23, Fireman’s Insurance Co.

Chidsey, Strong Minor,  28, Clerk: J. Hesse & Co.

Chighizola, John Batiste,  18, Clerk

Clarke, John or Joseph G. Jr.,  19, Student

Cleveland, Joseph A.,  22, Cotton Weigher

Cohen, Jacob H.,  26, Bookkeeper: S.I. & I.I. Jones

Colsson, Edward,  23, Clerk: J.B. Fellows & Co.

Coming, William A., 26, Clerk

Coster, Robert Dickson,  20, Bookkeeper: Coster & Co.

Cullum, Ambrose R.,  33, Clerk

Davis, Edward/Edgar William,  23, Clerk: Goodman & LeBaron

Deas, Henry A.,  33, Cotton Weigher

Dickinson, Dr. William B.,  24, Physician

Drummond, William L.,  35, Steamboat Clerk

Dunlevy, A.F.,  35, Merchant

Dunn, Columbus,   27, Clerk: John Reid & Co.

Easton, Edwin William,  21, Law student: Univ. of Virginia

Emanuel, Thomas King,  25, Clerk: H.O. Brewer & Co.

Eskridge, Joseph N.,  22, Clerk

Evans, Vivian Rutherford,  20, Clerk: Evans Cotton Press

Fearn, John Walker,  29, Yale ’51, soon transfers to the CSA Diplomatic Corps.

Forsyth, Charles M.  2LT,  25, son of Editor John Forsyth, Mobile Register

Fowler, William P.,  27, Clerk

Foy, Frederick D.,  23, Clerk: Mobile & Ohio R.R.

Foy, Henry H.,  17, Clerk

Fry, Thomas Slaughter,  23, Clerk: Walsh, Smith & Co.

Gazzam, George G., 3Cpl,  28, Iron foundry

George, Edward “Ned” V.,  34, Cotton Broker

George, Stephen “Jack” G.,  28, Cotton Broker

Goldthwaite, Henry,  19, Student: Princeton

Gunnison, Van Buren,  29, Clerk

Hamilton, William Patrick,  24, Clerk: Alabama Mutual Insurance

Harrison, James M.,  28, Cotton Merchant

Hartman, William “Zou,” Drum Major,  37, Silk Dyer

Hastings, Joseph S.,  23

Hearn, Robert W.,  27, Clerk

Herpin, Theodore J.,  32

Higley, John Hunt 1LT,  30

Holcombe, George C.,  21, Clerk

Holt, William Bolling,  24, Clerk

Hotze, A. Henry,  26, Associate Editor, Mobile Register

Huger, Daniel Elliott 1SGT,  26, Cotton Classer: Z.C. Deas & Co.

Hurxthal, John W.,  24, Clerk: Dade, Hurxthal & Co.

Ingraham, Charles LeBaron,  22, Accountant

Johnston, Archibald S.,  25, Accountant

Jones, T. Oscar,  26, Clerk: S.I. & I.I. Jones

Kelly, William Harrison Jr.,  24, Furniture Merchant

Keeler, Oliver L.,  29, Clerk

Krebbs Rene L. P.,  22, Accountant

LeBaron, Richard deCantlin 2Cpl,  21, Clerk: Bank of Mobile

Ledyard, Erwin,  20, Clerk: Ledyards & Schroeder Cotton Factors

Ledyard, William M.,  26, Merchant

Leslie, Franklin A.*, 42, Watchmaker, Jeweller

Lockwood, Paul S. Lee,  30, Bookkeeper: Harrison & Bostwick

Lyon, John,  28, Lawyer

Macartney, Thomas M.,  21, Law Student

Maguire, Henry A.,  20, Clerk

Manning, Reeder,  ?, Bookkeeper: J.O. Cummings & Co.

Mathews, Fletcher Few,  @16, Student

Mathews, Robert M.,  25, Clerk

McNeill, William Stoddard 3Cpl,  22, Clerk: Geo. Martin & Son

Moffatt, Robert M.,  23, Clerk

Mordecai, Jacob Granville,  21, Marker: A. Broun & Son

Moreland, William S., Sgt Major,  33, Bank Teller: Bank of Mobile

Mulden, James Michael Jr.,  25, Merchant: Muldon & Sons

Murray, Alfred R. 4SGT,  31, Clerk: Hinson & Holt

Neville, William Jr.,  24, Clerk

Nicholl, Thomas A.,  23, Clerk

Nott, Dr. James Deas,  24, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Heidelberg: Surgeon

Oliver, Starke Hunter,  23, Clerk

Pippin, John H.,  26, Clerk

Pollard, Joseph,  21, Student: Univ. of Alabama

Preston, Simon Franklin,  22, Clerk

Price, Jacob E.,  21, Clerk: Price Hardware

Prichard, Cleveland M.,  21

Quinn, Robert M.,  29, Bookkeeper: Roulston & Gardien

Redwood, John Marshall,  19, Student, Univ. of Virginia

Reynolds, Bejamin F. Jr.,  28, Accountant: Goodman & LeBaron Grocers

Reynolds, James C.,  23, Hardware Merchant

Richardson, Wilson E.,  24, Clerk

Roberts, James A.,  20, Clerk

Rohmer, William Bell,  19, Student, Springhill College

Roudet, Pierre “Pete” C.,  26

Sands, Robert Martin, Capt.,  35

Scott, Thomas James,  24, Lawyer

Sengstacks, Henry “Harry” Herman,  30, Cotton Buyer

Smith, J. Morgan,  19, Planter’s Son; Student, Univ. of Georgia

Soto, John A.,  28, Druggist

Spotts, Samuel W. B.,  22, Clerk: Rives, Battle & Co.

St. John, Alexander Pope,  21, Clerk: St John & Co. Exchange Brokers

Steedman, John Lemuel,  23, Clerk: Averill, Rice & Co.

Stewart, Frederick G.,  28, Cotton Broker

Stewart, James G.,  28, Steamboat Captain

Stockley, William H.,  21, Bookkeeper

Stuart, Charles C.,  23, Clerk

Toomer, Wiley Gaither,  21, Clerk: Richards, McGinnis & Co.

Toulmin, Harry Theophilus,  26, Univ. of Virginia; Lawyer

Vass, Douglas,  2SGT,  30, Merchant

Walsh, George Washington,  32, Clerk

Waring, S. Bartlett,  24, Clerk

Waterhouse, Edward K.,  24, Jeweller/Watchmaker

Waters, William,  24

Weeks, Nicholas Jr.,  18

Wetherby, Thomas O.,  20, Clerk

Wheeler, Daniel Jr.,  19, Clerk

Willis, William Byrd,  25 (joined at Lynchburg, 5-7-61)

Witherspoon, Thomas Casey  3SGT,  25, Accountant

Woodcock, Andrew B.,  23, Druggist

Wylie, John H.,  31, Shipping Merchant

Yniestra, Brunaugh F.  4SGT,  26, Jeweller: Pearce & Co.

Yniestra, Moses Gonzalez,  24, Jeweller

* Omitted from the roster at Lynchburg, 5-4-61 due to size restriction of companies in the Confederate army.

3rd Alabama Volunteers

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The 3d Alabama Regiment of Volunteers was organized at the Montgomery Fairgrounds, north of the Capitol, April 27, 1861.  It was assembled from existing militias of the Alabama Volunteer Corps (AVC) and despite the designation “Third Alabama” it was actually the first regiment deployed outside the state and the lowest numbered regiment to exist intact for the duration of the war. The 1st Alabama and 2d Alabama Regiments were designations of relatively short duration. Many of the men in these regiments were sent to Tennessee and were surrendered at Fort Pillow in February 1862. Those repatriated were absorbed into other units.

The organization of 3d Alabama at Montgomery was:  Jones Withers of Mobile, elected Colonel; Tennent Lomax of Montgomery, elected Lieutenant Colonel; Cullen A. Battle of Tuskegee, elected Major. This distribution of Field Officers, from various parts of the state, satisfied the major voting blocs within the regiment. The largest bloc (of four militias), was from Mobile; Mongomery was represented by two (The True Blues, and The Metropolitan Guards) and were allied with the Lowndes-Beauregards and the Wetumpka Light Guards. Major Battle represented the more rural Macon County interests: The Tuskegee Light Infantry and the Southern Rifles (of Union Springs––located in Macon County at that time).

The gloriously named militias were now consigned to the alphabet:

Co A: The Mobile Cadets, under Capt. Robert M. Sands, age 36

Co B: The Gulf City Guards (Mobile), Capt. William Hartwell, 41

Co C: The Tuskegee Light Infantry (Macon Co.), Capt. William Swanson, 45

Co D: The Southern Rifles (Macon Co.), Capt. Richard H. Powell, 39

Co E:  The Washington Light Infantry (Mobile), Capt. Archibald Gracie, 28

Co F: The Metropolitan Guards (Montgomery), Capt.F. Winston Hunter, 42

Co G: The Montgomery True Blues, Capt. William G. Andrews, 35

Co H: The Beauregard-Lowndes, Capt. M. Ford Bonham, 33

Co I:  The Wetumpka Light Guards, Capt. Edward S. Ready, 27

Co K: The Mobile Rifles, Lewis T. Woodruff, 45

To avoid confusion in written orders, there was no Company “J” in either army.

Early on there was great rivalry between the militias: before the war city-wide and annual state-wide competitions recognized the best drilled, best marksmen, best equipped, etc. In Montgomery, at the organization of the regiment, the militias were assigned to guard various points around the city. The Mobile Rifles were given the plum assignment of guarding the Capitol. Governor Moore made them his personal pet. When he asked Captain Woodruff  “What do you wish for your Company?” he assumed the old merchant would request some item the volunteers were in need of. Instead, Woodruff merely replied “Marching Orders.”
“What…” the Governor said, “Do you want nothing in the way of arms, accouterments, etc.?”
“Nothing but marching orders,” repeated the captain.    
“Would that all could say as much…you shall have them.”

3rd Alabama: In Norfolk

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The regiment stood in a pouring rain at Lynchburg Depot and  before dawn, boarded wet cattle cars for the journey eastward to Norfolk.   Twelve hours later, they had covered the hundred miles to Petersburg, where they gratefully accepted a banquet provided by the citizens. Afterwards they re-boarded the same cars (now swept out and relatively clean) and finished the final eighty miles to Norfolk, arriving on the outskirts at 4 AM.

Yankee crewmembers from the Sloop of War USS Cumberland––anchored at Newport News––had crossed Hampton Roads and torched Gosport Naval Yard (located south of Norfolk) some days before in an attempt to destroy all materiel useful to the Confederacy. They fired several frigates, including The Merrimack, which was under construction. Several of the buildings were also smoldering ruins. Little Billy Mahone had curtailed the destruction by cleverly running his locomotives back and forth along his lines, leading the Yankees to believe a huge deployment of angry rebels was descending upon them. Thanks to that ruse, 1200 Dahlgren guns––large smoothbores for coastal defense––were saved from destruction, and these would protect many southern ports over the next four years. 3d Alabama was among the first reinforcements to reach Hampton Roads, and insured there would be no more Yankee incursions. The Norfolk area would be their base for the next twelve months.

Their first bivouac was at Doyle’s Farm until May 18, when they moved across the Elizabeth River and a couple of miles east of Norfolk to Harrison’s Farm. Soon after, 300 “hands”, i.e. slaves, began construction on a two-mile, chest-high palisade across the land between Broad Creek and Tanner’s Creek––blocking the likely invasion route from a Yankee landing. This “entrenched camp” became the brigade’s line of defense until well into November. Ironically, it was the use of blacks to construct this fortification (and others, like the shore batteries around Sewell’s Point), that led General Butler at Fort Monroe to declare escaping slaves who came to him, “contraband.” Because the slaves had been used as a military asset by the South, i.e. as manpower, Butler declared them confiscated; the first step taken in the slow but inevitable march towards Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves.

At Norfolk, Colonel Withers’ regiment fell under the departmental command of General Benjamin Huger, a West Pointer of “the old school.” They were brigaded with the 6th, 12th and 44th Virginia under Brigadier Billy Mahone. Surely, it must have rankled Withers, a West Point graduate himself, to be under Mahone (the tiny Railroad President stood no more than 5′ tall and weighed under 100) so Withers set about politicking for a promotion and transfer. He spent little time with his regiment––which did not pass unnoticed by his troops, especially the Mobilians who had worked so hard to elect him over Tennent Lomax. By July 1, to no one’s sorrow, Withers was made Brigadier and transferred back to command at Mobile. The Volunteers overwhelmingly elected Lomax and Battle as their new colonels. The election to fill the open position of major was not so straightforward.

Written by boothma

November 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

3rd Alabama Regiment: The Mobilians

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Many in the 3d Alabama were, as it once was common to say, “to the manor born.”  This was especially true of two militias from Mobile: The Cadets and the Rifles. These were the oldest local militias and the pride of the city.  Their captains: Robert Sands of the Cadets and Lewis Woodruff of the Rifles were the senior captains of the regiment, and when the command structure was penciled in in Montgomery, the Cadets and Rifles were placed on the right flanks of their respective battalions, meaning they occupied the “positions of honor.” (all positions in a regiment’s battle line were assigned by the seniority of the captains, spreading them out in a logical manner) The Cadets were designated Company A; the Rifles: Company K.  Likewise, the remaining two Mobile militias were split: The Gulf City Guards under Hartwell, and the Washington Light Infantry, captained by Archibald Gracie.  

Gracie, 27,  was not only the youngest of these four, but also by far the youngest captain in the regiment. As a graduate of West Point, however,  his abilities were not in question, nor were his loyalties. A Northerner who had married a Richmond girl, after his active duty commitment was fulfilled, he settled in Mobile to work for the Gracie family interests, and wound up as captain of one of the local militias. His allegiance to the south split his family, his parents never spoke to him again. (Gracie mansion is  still in use as the Mayor’s residence in Manhattan).

Robert Sands at 36, Lewis Woodruff at 45, and William Hartwell at 41 were almost too old for this game. The role of a Civil War captain (captains and lieutenants were known as officers “of the line”) would be a vigorous one, and by the next Spring, promotion or disability  (or lack of  popularity) would readjust company commands throughout both armies.  For the time being, though, these “old men” served as the necessary father figures to hundreds of exuberant spirits. In a culture where age inferred respect and rank conferred authority, the Mobile captains still had their hands full controlling their respective commands. It would be fair to say the young gentlemen in their charge knew their business: marching, drilling, maneuvers and marksmanship. It is also fair to say they  thought––with the perquisite bravery of course––little more  would be necessary. These Mobilians were young men of independence––highly educated, many of them––traveled and cultured. A number were lawyers, physicians or merchants well established in their professions.  The younger set were clerks, university students or “gentlemen of leisure,” with the standing and wherewithal to belong to socially advantageous organizations, i.e. militias, Mardi Gras crews and the like.  What’s more, in the highly social setting  that Mobile was then and is still today––they were expected to belong.

Expectations are at the mercy of many things. The Cadets, The Rifles, The Guards, and The Infantry, all elected their members and their officers––in a manner not unlike modern day college fraternities. Because a militia company had to conform to certain size restrictions, each organization had a waiting list for membership. As vacancies occurred, prospective members were proposed and elected, or returned to the wait-list. Wealth was probably not a factor in their deliberations, but character certainly was. Each group had a democratic sprinkling of those men from humbler circumstances, their expenses covered by others as necessary.  In the Cadets there was William Hartman, better known as “Zou” – 37 year old Alsatian––hired to be drum major to the regiment; and Daniel Wheeler, a 31 year old seaman; The Rifles included carpenter James Daily; in the G.C.G.’s Edward Couch, 19, was a brick layer by trade and son of a minister; William Comegys was a harbor pilot. Amongst the Washington Light Infantry was Edward Byard, a young seaman, and John Gilmore, a printer. Thomas McDonald was listed as “laborer” on the 1860 census.

But these were the exceptions.  The Gulf City Guards also included Private Ed Dargan, son of a confederate congressman;  Privates John and Simon Bagby, sons of the former Governor; the Rifles (Co K), had Private Howard Evans in their ranks. His sister Augusta Evans, was one of the most widely read authors in the country, famous for “Beaulah” and “St. Elmo.” Ten Cadet privates of Mess “Number Five” had the panache (or audacity) to throw a dinner party shortly after their arrival at Norfolk, in May of 1861. One of them, James Deas Nott, had recently returned from Heidelberg, interrupting his surgical studies. Dinner was catered at 2 PM, wine was served until 6 PM, when the hosts excused themselves to attend dress parade. Private Edward Waterhouse and Sergeant  Bruno Ynestra, were jewellers; Thomas Emanuel, Harry Toulmin, Henry Sengstacks, Henry Goldthwaite, John Innerarity, James Broun, Nick Weeks, all represented “old” Mobile families.

The following quote may be descriptive of all departures, the New Orleans Picayune ran a piece on the Gulf City Guards on 4-28-61:  “This is a fine and gallant company, of the flower of Mobile. Verily has Mobile contributed 400 of her best and most chivalrous youth in the four companies that have gone North…at 5 o’clock, the Guards moved from the armory, and marched up Royal to Dauphin, and down Dauphin to the steamer ‘Selma’, on board of which boat they took passage…”

On the passage upriver to Montgomery and the subsequent rail trip north to Lynchburg and Norfolk, were 600 pounds of gold,  property of the Mobile Cadets and under the guard of 2LT Charles Forsyth, son of the prominent editor of the Mobile Register.  With an uncertain economy facing the seceding states, this gold made the Mobile Cadets very welcome in Norfolk.

3rd Alabama Musters In

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Sgt. John K. Hoyt Mobile Rifles Co K, 3rd Alabama Regt.

Sgt. John K. Hoyt
Mobile Rifles
Co K, 3rd Alabama Regt.

The twelve-month volunteers of the 3d Alabama Regiment got their first reality check when they were mustered into the service of the Confederate Army at Lynchburg, May 4, 1861. Since some of the original militia men had enlisted as early as April 15, it came as a bit of a shock to learn their service had been essentially “gratis” to this point.

In Montgomery, on April 27, ten militias companies were combined to form the 3d Alabama Infantry Regiment. Election of regimental officers followed. Behind the scene, the machinations of Private Henry Hotze and 2LT Charles Forsyth of the Mobile Cadets insured a politic outcome: Jones Withers, a West Pointer (and current Mayor of Mobile) was elected Colonel, thus satisfying the honors deemed necessary to the largest bloc of men: the four Mobile militias; next elected was LTC Tennent Lomax, of Montgomery, who became the true guiding spirit of the regiment; and Cullen Battle of Tuskegee, was elected Major, thus giving the rural militias their due.

The next day they started north: distributed over three trains. On April 30, The Mobile Rifles (Co K) became the first “allied” troops to arrive in Virginia.  All the more impressive to the citizens of Lynchburg: they arrived in uniform, and, more importantly, they arrived armed––a distinction not universal at this early stage of a volunteer army. Also, these volunteers were not a rabble. They marched from Lynchburg depot to the old fair grounds outside of town as a unit––not as gawking sightseers. These were troops who knew drill. The older Alabama militias had been in existence for 20 years or more and had competed against each other for statewide honors. In 1860 they were formally organized as the Alabama Volunteer Corps (AVC) and numbered at that time more than 8000 troops. The Governor presented each commissioned officer with a Navy Colt revolver. The 3d Alabama’s senior officers were veterans of the Mexican War: Jones Withers had led the First Alabama Regiment; Tennent Lomax had been captain of a company of Georgia volunteers. They knew war. The rest were more than ready to learn.

So, May 4th, marked a true turning point in their lives. There was grumbling over the date of their service to be sure. Some were not even allowed to muster, as the Confederate States Army companies were expected to conform to a maximum size of 113 officers and men. But those left off the rolls this day, while perhaps temporarily abashed, were assured attrition and vacancies would occur. They did of course, rapidly.

They spent less than a week in Lynchburg. Drilling and marching––weather permitting–– under the eyes of Lomax and Battle. But they were also quite the curiosity and many young women and older gentlemen (the local boys had already departed for Richmond) came to visit the camp.  A sergeant of the Mobile Rifles, John Hoyt, may have been the most fortunate of men: he was in the right spot at the right time when a carriage drove up. Inside he saw two of the most beautiful young women he had ever seen (chaperoned by their mother). He wrote:  “I made a dive for the carriage, helped them out, and in so doing took hold of a couple of pair of hands that set my heart to dancing [and] obtained a view of four ankles any one of which was enough to turn a man’s head.”

These two were daughters of Colonel Langhorne. Hoyt escorted the party around the camp, allowed a friend to take the arm of one of the sisters, while he made himself agreeable to the other: “[I] commenced a desperate flirtation with her immediately.”  For his attentions, the next morning a large basket of fruits, pickles, cakes and ham arrived, with a note. When the girls next visited the camp they brought their father who invited them out to their home. And the sisters invited the sergeant to sing in the choir at St. Paul’s on Sunday, as all the baritones were off to war. The sergeant concluded his letter home: “Taking all things in consideration, I am having a most glorious time. Camp life agrees with me splendidly.”

All good things come to an end; the weather changed: it began to rain incessantly; they received orders for Norfolk, and in the pre-dawn hours of May 8th, they struck their tents and headed down to the depot.

Written by boothma

June 16, 2011 at 2:24 am