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51st Regiment, Alabama Partisan Rangers

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For profiles of the unit, see 51st Regiment, Alabama Partisan Rangers, United States Civil War

51st Regiment, Alabama Partisan Rangers

51st Regiment, Alabama Partisan Rangers organized at Oxford, Alabama, in August, 1862. Its members were from the counties of Calhoun, Pike, Talladega, Dallas, Saint Clair, Tuscaloosa, Perry, Mobile, and Montgomery. It was assigned to Wheeler's command and served principally in the brigades of W W Allen and J Hagan. The unit took an active part in the conflicts at Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Chickamauga, Maryville, Knoxville, Decatur, and Jonesboro. Later it moved through Tennessee, aided in the defense of Savannah, and was involved in the campaign of the Carolinas. Its strength was greatly reduced when it surrendered with the Army of Tennessee. The regiment was commanded by Colonel John T Morgan, Lieutenant Colonels M L Kirkpatrick and James D Webb, and Majors James T Dye and Henry B Thompson. [1]

51st Alabama Partisan Rangers Colors
Alabama State Capital

History

It was organized by Lt. Col John T. Morgan, who was an Alabama state senator and lawyer. He had grown up in Calhoun County and made friends with the area Indians. The 51st were assigned to Nathan Bedford Forrest for a time and then transferred to the command of now General Morgan and assigned to the Army of Tennessee.

It was first ordered to Tennessee, and placed under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. They first saw action in the fight at Lavergne.

A few weeks later, it was assigned to Gen'l Joseph Wheeler's command and served during the war principally in the brigades of Gen'l William W. Allen of Montgomery, or Gen'l James Hagan of Mobile.

It was engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro with light loss, and it was in the raid down the Cumberland River in January with like result. The regiment was engaged in frequent skirmishes while protecting Gen'l Braxton Bragg's communications.

During the Battle of Shelbyville, nearly half the regiment was killed or captured.

The 51st fought at Tracey City and Chickamauga with few casualties.

After this, Wheeler was asked to do what seemed impossible. He took his cavalry and crossed the river under fire, and started what became known as the Great Sequatchee Valley Raid, in which 1,000 wagons laden with stores were destroyed, and 4,000 mules were butchered.

The regiment was part of the force that captured 400 of the enemy at Maryville, and soon after it was part of the investing force at Knoxville. During the remainder of the winter of 1863/1864, the 51st was arduously employed in East Tennessee.

It took its place on Gen'l Joseph E. Johnston's flank in the retreat to Dalton and fought nearly every day for three months. At Decatur and Jonesboro, the 51st was fully engaged, losing severely. It moved into Tennessee shortly after, then wheeled about and harassed Union Gen'l William T. Sherman's march into the Carolinas with much effect.

About a week before the capitulation, the 51st captured the 1st Alabama (Union) Regiment (This did not happen, only 88 members of the 1st Alabama (Union) had become POWs during the entire war, out of around 2,000 men. It is much more likely that they had captured several members of that regiment.). As part of Gen'l Hagan's Brigade, the regiment laid down its arms near Raleigh at Durham Station, 26 April 1865.

Field and Staff Officers

Cols. John T. Morgan (Dallas; promoted);
Milton L. Kirkpatrick (Montgomery);
Lt. Cols. James D. Webb (Greene; KIA, Elk River);
Milton L. Kirkpatrick (promoted);
Majors Henry Bradford Thompson (Pike; resigned);
James T. Dye (Talladega; captured, Shelbyville);
Adjutants Charles Force (District of Columbia; transferred to line);
David Shaw Bethune (Pike)

Captains and Counties from which the Companies came

  1. Co. "A"(Calhoun) -- Daniel P. Forney; William H. [M.?] Hames (resigned, 5 Dec 62); Hy. T. Snow;
  2. Co. "B", Thompson's Artillery [assigned to 51st AL Partisan Rangers, 14 July 62; acting as artillery] (Pike) -- Henry B. Thompson (promoted, Major); Lee W. Battle (wounded, east TN and near Fayetteville)
  3. Co. "C"(Talladega) -- James T. Dye (promoted, Major); Thomas W. Curry
  4. Co. "D" (Calhoun) -- Robert W. Draper (resigned, 7 May 63); William White (wounded, Sequatchee Raid, Bentonville)
  5. Co. "E" (St. Clair) -- William A. Edwards (resigned, 29 April 63); Charles F. Force (captured, Shelbyville); 1st Lt. J. W. Lapsley
  6. Co. "F" (Talladega) -- Nelson D. Johnson (captured, Shelbyville); 1st Lt. Amos Moss [Augustine Mose?]
  7. Co. "G", First Partisan Rangers (Tuscaloosa) -- Hampton S. Whitfield (resigned, 9 Dec 62); Daniel T. Palmer (resigned, 3 Aug 63); William R. Walker
  8. Co. "H" (Montgomery) -- Milton L. Kirkpatrick (promoted, Lt. Col.); Sydenham W. Cowling (captured); 2nd Lt. Joseph G. Allen (wounded, Farmington, Fayetteville)
  9. Co. "I" (Dallas, Perry) -- John Robbins (resigned, 7 May 63); Joseph J. Seawell [Sewell?](wounded, Farmington); 2nd Lt. H. C. Reynolds; 2nd Lt. B. C. Harrison
  10. Co. "K" (Mobile) -- L. R. Smoot (resigned, 14 Aug 62); Walter H. Ratcliff

Sources

  1. National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database.




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