Location: Wayne County, MS.
Surnames/tags: Wayne, Mississippi, Graham Name Study 8th Mississippi Infantry, US Civil War] Wayne County, Mississippi
|Mississippi Sate Flag|
My Great-great Grandfather
I grew up listening to my grandfather, Mabry E. Graham, Sr. tell me of his grandfather, Elbert D. Graham - who had fought against the Yankees in the Civil war. Unfortunately, my grandfather knew few details of "Elbert and the war". As a young boy, I would visit Elbert's Confederate tombstone at the Clear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery between Waynesboro and Shubuta, Mississippi. I would stare at it and my mind was full of questions. What did he do? Where did he go? What kind of things happened? I promised myself that one day I would discover the answers. Elbert Graham became a focus in the journey to discover my ancestory. Since Elbert had been a Confederate soldier, it seemed like the most exciting place to start. I have always been sensitive to the issues concerning slavery and rasicm - both of which I firmly detest. Yet, the Civil War still bubbles in the blood of people to this day...especially Southerners. That striking socio-economic difference between the North and South still lingers. This cultural difference between the North and South spawned the states' rights issues that surfaced decades before the first shot at Ft. Summter and manifests itself still today. It is important that we all realize the terrible tragedy of this war...of slavery...of racism...and condemn the residual hatreds that still exist today. What would we become? Like the Irish and the British? The Jews and the Palestinians? Such hatreds only wreak destruction. Love and forebearance to everyone should be the foundation we stand upon.
However...it doesn't mean that one must forget the men, the battles, the places, the dates...the emotions of the fight...the things our ancestors must have experienced while on the battlefield. It must be understood that the thousands of ordinary soldiers like Elbert did not fight to defend "that peculiar institution" of slavery. Rather - it was because their places of birth - their homeland, issued a call to arms. No one thought of doing otherwise - for liberty from "Northern Oppression" was the popular mood in the South.
Upon reaching adulthood, I wrote the Mississippi State Dept. of Archives & History to get more information...and that started an incredible journey for me where I realized that I had many ancestors who had fought in the Confederate armies...imagine that!
|Elbert Graham's Confederate grave marker|
Elbert Graham Enlists
Although Elbert lived in the "Davis Community" of Wayne County, MS., it was the town of Shubuta in Clark County that was the closest enlistment point. On August 25, 1861 at 15 years of age, Elbert Graham enlisted under Capt. James Gates. He was told that within the next few months, a new regiment would be formed and his group of enlistees would become part of that regiment. The rendezvous point would be at Enterprise, MS and the date set was the second week of October. Enterprise was a major mustering point for many regiments of central/east MS and central/west AL because it was on the main rail line (Mobile & Ohio R.R.).
On October 18, 1861, at rendezvous in Enterprise, the enlistees, some 800 strong were designated the 8th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Elbert's group from Shubuta was designated as Company F, officers were selected and a nickname was chosen: "The Clark County Rangers". My great-great grandfather would remain within this regiment until the surrender of the Southern armies and parole at Greensboro, NC in April 1865. In all there were 10 Companies created. They are listed below. The links will send you to a text-file roster for that particular company:
ROSTERS: MISSISSIPPI 8th INFANTRY REGIMENT
- Company A: "Yankee Terrors": Raleigh (Smith Co.)
- Company B: "Pinckney Guards": Pinckneyville (Newton Co.)
- Company C: "True Confederates": Raleigh (Smith Co.)
- Company D: "Moody True Blues": Enterprise (Clark Co.)
- Company E: "Tallahoma Hard Shells": Holder's Church (Jasper Co.)
- Company F: "Clark County Rangers": Shubuta (Clark Co.)
- Company G: "Tolson Guard": Buckley's Store (Jasper Co.)
- Company H: "Southern Sentinels": Marion (Lauderdale Co.)
- Company I: "Confederate Guards": Rushing's Store (Lauderdale Co.)
- Company K: "Ellisville Invincibles": Ellisville (Jones Co.)
Organization & Consolidations: Organized in 1861. Field-consolidated with the 32nd Infantry Reg. in July 1864. On April 9, 1865, further consolidated with the 3rd Infantry Battalion and a portion of the 5th Infantry Reg. to become the 8th Mississippi Infantry Battalion.
- Army of Pensacola, Dept. of Alabama & W. Florida. (Jan-Mar 1862).
- Dept. of Alabama & W. Florida (Mar-Apr 1862).
- As part of Jackson's Brigade:
- Withers' Div., Rt. Wing, Army of Mississippi (Aug-Nov 1862).
- Withers' Div., 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (Nov-Dec 1862).
- Army of Tennessee (Dec 1862-Aug 1863).
- Cheatham's Div., 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (Aug 1863-Feb 1864).
- Walker's Div., 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (Feb-Jul 1864).
- Gist's Brigade, Walker's Div., 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (July 1864).
- Lowery's Brigade, Cleburne's Div., 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (July 1864-April 1865).
- Murfreesboro (Dec 31, 1862-Jan 3, 1863)
- Tullahoma Campaign (June 1863)
- Chickamauga (Sep 19-20, 1863)
- Chattanooga Siege (Sep-Nov 1863)
- Chattanooga (Nov 23-25, 1863)
- Atlanta Campaign (May-Sep 1864)
- Peach Tree Creek (July 20, 1864)
- Atlanta (July 22, 1864)
- Franklin (Nov 30, 1864)
- Nashville (Dec 15-16, 1864)
- Carolinas Campaign (Feb-Apr 1865)
- Bentonville (Mar 19-21, 1865)
The 8th Regiment Field History:
After rendezvous at Enterprise, MS. in August,1861, the 8th Regiment was mustered into Confederate service in early October and immediately sent to Pensacola, FL. along with the 5th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. As part of Gen. Braxton Bragg's forces, they camped opposite of Union-held Ft. Pickens through the fall & winter of 1861 where severe artillery engagements occurred between Fts. Barrancas and Pickens. A return shows the Regiment at "Camp Burt near the Warrington Navy Yard, FL." from Oct. 18 - Dec. 31, 1861. A return for Jan. and Feb. 1862 shows the Regiment at "Camp Jones near O'Bannonsville, FL." A further return for March and April shows the Regiment encamped at Warrington, FL. Although not ordered to Corinth as were the Ninth and Tenth Regiments they remained in the Pensacola, FL area until May of 1862 where they were evacuated to Ft. Morgan near Mobile, AL under the command of Lt.-Col. J. Gates. During the summer of 1862, the 8th was sent by rail to Chattanooga, TN as Bragg prepared his offensive into Kentucky which would be part of the overall battles for Chattanooga. It was at this time the 8th was assigned to Gen. J.K. Jackson's Brigade, Whither's Division, Polk's right wing along with the 5th Mississippi and the 5th Georgia Inf. Regiments. Although the 8th participated in the advance into Kentucky (Bardstown near Louisville) they were not engaged at the Battle of Perryville (KY - Oct. 8, 1862) where Bragg was compelled to fall back into Tennessee. A return for Sept. and Oct. 1862 shows the regiment stationed in Knoxville, TN., preparing for the great battles to occur in Tennessee which would culminate with the loss of Chattanooga, the fall-back into Georgia, the return to Tennessee with Hood for the slaughter at Franklin and "the end in the Carolinas" where the Army of Tennessee surrendered in April 1865.
Battle of Murfreesboro
Although Gen. Braxton Bragg had manuevered Union Gen. Buell out of Tennessee, his defeat at Perryville, KY in October 1862 forced him to retreat to Murfreesboro, TN and there his forces dug in. The Union Army of the Cumberland, now commanded by Gen. William S. Rosencrans (who had replaced Buell) had been in light pursuit of Bragg and was back in Tennessee occuppying Nashville. The federal forces finally advanced out of Nashville on Dec. 26, 1862 and found Bragg's forces and the 8th Mississippi waiting at Murfreesboro - about 30 miles away from Nashville. Although the Federals had made the advance from Nashville, the Confederates made the attack. Here, the 8th served in line with Breckinridge on the east bank of Stone's River at the opening of the Battle of Murfreesboro on Dec 31, 1862. They accompanied several units sent across the river to attack Palmer's Division after other divisions had failed, yet this attack also failed. The fighting was so fierce that one officer and three enlisted men from Co. K refused to go to the front line. Of the 874 total from the brigade engaged in this attack, the returns from the 8th Regiment show 20 killed and 113 wounded. Bragg's army withdrew from Murfreesboro on the night of Jan 3 and proceeded to Shelbyville - falling back to the so-called Confederate "Tullahoma Line". Rosecrans did not pursue and no major engagements were seen until Rosecrans finally moved his army out of Murfreesboro 6 months later on June 24 - here began Rosecran's "Tullahoma Campaign". Returns show the 8th encamped "on the river" at Bridgeport, AL until July 1863. There they were engaged at times with hunting deserters and bushwackers in northern Alabama. It was during this time that Bragg was compelled by Rosencrans to fall back to Chattanooga as Rosecrans pushed through the "Tullahoma Line". As Rosecrans advanced on Chattanooga in August, the 8th was brought in to help reinforce Bragg's position. A return on August 27th shows that three men from the 8th Regiment were killed and one wounded by a shell that exploded, having been shot from enemy batteries on Waldron's Ridge. Later returns show the 8th with Bragg at Chattanooga and retreating with him to Lafayette, GA - at the time that Rosencrans' flanking movements through the mountains were underway. Since the Confederates still held Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the Federal position was tenuous. Bragg received much needed reinforcements by rail from Longstreet's Corps (of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia) as Rosecrans was involved in a series of deceptive ploys by separating his army into three groups trying to confuse Bragg and also locate the bulk of Bragg's army and hopefully deliver a decisive blow. Rosecrans hastily tried to reunite his separated army when he realized that the Confederates were amassing themselves along with Longstreet's reinforcements and both armies found themselves maneuvered about 8 miles east of Chattanooga near the banks of a little creek named Chickamauga (a Cherokee name meaning "River of Blood") - the Federal and Confederate main bodies were now lying too close together to avoid contact. Manuevering and skirmishing occurred during the days and nights of Sept. 17th and 18th. On the night of Sept. 18, 1863, Bragg's forces had sufficiently crossed the creek and set up positions for an attack.
Battle of Chickamauga
In the great Battle of Chickamauga which began about 8 am on Sept. 19, 1863, the 8th Regiment, commanded by Col. John C. Wilkinson, shared the right side of the Confederate line and were distinguished in the gallant advance of Cheatham's Div. which occurred around noon. In this battle, the 8th was placed alongside the 5th Miss. Infantry Regiment (the 5th Mississippi usually always had the same assignments as the 8th). The 8th captured and brought off the field several pieces of artillery and some horses belonging to the enemy who was being commanded by Gen. Thomas. This booty had been originally captured earlier in the day by Walker's Corps, but was recaptured by Thomas' forces. Later, the 8th lost the forward ground attained on the 19th but later again advanced close to Federal positions on the Chattanooga Rd. Under heavy fire, the 8th held their ground until the enemy was driven back. It was at this point that Elbert's first cousin, Col. Adin McNeill of Co. F was killed and Col. John C. Wilkinson of Co. F was wounded. Also killed was my great-great-great granduncle, Capt. J.W. White of Co. G and his nephew Wm. Oscar Chatham. The following description of Capt. White's death was supplied to me by Kay Armstrong Lee, a "newly found" distant cousin (original source "Records of Jasper County, W.P.A. Source Materials"): On the 2nd day of the Battle of Chicamauga, about 4 pm on Sunday evening the 8th Miss. Advanced close to Thomas' position on Chatanooga Rd. and held their place, driving the Federal Army from it's last position.....the soldiers were loading their guns, (when) Capt. White...was struck by a shot. It cut the button at the neck of his shirt, entering his neck, came out at his shoulder blade, cutting through his knapsack. He ran about 100 yds just as hard as he could, shooting as he ran. With outstretched arms, he fell to the ground, face down, where his mouth filled with dirt. The orders were given to fire, and it was therefore impossible... to go to him. Ms. Lee continues with this anecdote from the family history: Upon hearing the news of the deaths of Captain John White and his nephew, William Oscar Chatham, their families traveled to Chickamauga, exhumed the bodies, loaded them in the back of a wagon under a load of coal and brought them home for burial at the Hopewell Methodist Church Cemetery in Jasper County. The casualties for the 8th for the 2 days of fighting were: 10 killed and 84 wounded out of 252 engaged. Col. Wilkinson said, "...all men in the regiment did their duty nobly...". Adin McNeill and several of his family members who fought and died with the 8th Regiment are buried at the McNeill Family Cemetery outside of Shubuta, MS. The memorial on my cousin Adin's tombstone reads: Dear brother, too hard it seemed that just at the close of the struggle in which thou hast striven so bravely and the victory won from the foe, flying balls thy life which promised so well should take but thus it was. And as the sun in silence hid his face and the enemy in confusion fled, and the den of battle lulled into stillness three shots thy body pierced. And ended the life of one of whom we were proud and sent thy spirit to realms of glory."
Withdrawal to Atlanta
The 8th Regiment was part of Jackson's Brigade holding a position on Chattanooga Creek during the Battle of Lookout Mountain (Nov 24, 1863). They were a part of Cheatham's Div. the next day in the Battle of Missionary Ridge where many of the regiment were captured. From there in retreat, the 8th proceeded to Dalton, GA. and went into winter quarters. Bragg would not again return to Tennessee with his army. Jefferson Davis replaced Bragg with Gen. Joseph Johnston - a very able general, but a man who Davis had never really gotten along with. Now the Battles for Atlanta would begin. In Feb 1864, the 8th became part of Walker's Division composed of mainly units from GA. When Gen. W.T. Sherman advanced, the 8th served with Cleburne's Div. and was then in action at Calhoun on May 14, 1864, at Reseca May 15, at Adairville May 17, at New Hope Church May 27 and along the line at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain up until July 2. Near Pine Mountain, Lt.-Col. J.F. Smith was killed. The 8th was then temporarily attached to Gist's Brigade. A roll dated June 17 has my great-great grandfather admitted into the "Floyd House and Ocmulgee Hospitals" in Macon, GA with dysentery and then furloughed on June 22. At this time, Jefferson Davis relieved Gen. J. Johnston and handed the Army of Tennessee to Gen. J.B. Hood. Davis could not forgive Johnston for allowing the western front to push itself into Atlanta...the very heart of the Confederacy. Unlike Johnston, who preferred manuevering for position, Hood, believed in open frontal assaults which in the upcoming months, would allow the Federals to chew up much of the Army of Tennessee. Hood, who himself had lost use of an arm at Gettysburg and had lost a leg at Chickamauga, is still a controversial figure in the history of the Army of Tennessee, which unlike the Army of Northern Virginia, was unable to find a leader with the charisma of Robert E. Lee.
Battles for Atlanta
At the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, 1864 - the fight for the city of Atlanta commenced. The regiment had considerable casualties as did other units engaged, e.g., Gen. Loring's Confederate troops faced horrendous losses of over a 1000 men in only a few minutes. Even worse for the 8th was the fighting that occurred during the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. The 8th was again with her "sister-regiment" - the 5th Mississippi and were part of Lowery's Brigade which lost half it's numbers that day, having in battle a total of 1200. Forgoing sleep for 2 days and nights in excessive summer heat, the men were completely exhausted. Nevertheless, they made a gallant charge against the Federal rifle pits. It was at this time that Col. John C. Wilkinson was killed, Adjutant J.S. McCaskill missing, and Lt. A.E. Moody wounded. Gen. Lowery said, "The 8th Mississippi lost their gallant Colonel, Adjutant and many other valuable officers and men near the works". Three companies of the 6th Iowa Regiment repulsed the charge of the 8th Mississippi and "secured their dead and wounded with some prisoners". On this day, the 8th's Division commander, General W.H.T. Walker was killed. Also for the first time in the western theatre, a Union general was killed: Gen. MacPherson, whom Sherman had personally mentored. The regiment had been 408 strong when it left Dalton on May 10 and by July 22 had tallied 36 killed, 190 wounded and 14 missing, leaving 208 fit for battle. It was at this time that Sherman began a seige of Atlanta. While the city was under seige, the 8th Mississippi served in the works of the fortifications that had been built and also at East Point. The brigade was moved to Jonesboro to face Sherman's troops there. At the Battle of Jonesboro (just outside of Atlanta), the 8th made a gallant fight, driving the enemy across Flint River on Aug 31. However Sherman, who had swung the bulk of his army south of Atlanta succeeded in capturing Jonesboro, effectively cutting-off Confederate railroad support. At Jonesboro, the Army of Tennesse lost 10 men to each Union soldier killed. This would not be the last time Gen. Hood would demand blood sacrifice from the Army of Tennessee. At Lovejoy's Station on Sept. 2 as Hood abandoned Atlanta, the 8th assisted in the repulse of Wood's Union Division with heavy losses to the enemy, but also with considerable casualties within the 8th Regiment. Atlanta was now lost and it was at Lovejoy's Station that the Army of Tennessee's tattered elements reorganized. As Sherman settled into Atlanta, Hood's Army moved north, hoping to lure Sherman out of Atlanta to fight him in the mountains to the north. Hood had persuaded Beauregard to let him try this stategy, for even if Sherman stayed in Atlanta, Hood could then try to break Sherman's supply lines coming down from Tennessee and even reclaim Tennessee itself, in it's relatively open position. Sherman, who entertained no notion of leaving Atlanta, ordered Federal General J.M. Schofield to depart with his army and link-up with Gen. Thomas' forces in Nashville and from there, protect Tennessee, the supply-line to Atlanta and also deal with the Confederate Army of Tennessee "once and for all". Sherman had other plans: the burning of Atlanta, then carving a 60-mile wide swathe through the South as he burned his way to Savannah - his infamous "March to the Sea". As the Army of Tennessee moved north chasing and trying to lure Schofield into a fight, the 8th took part in operations along the Chattanooga & Atlanta RR, including the capture of Dalton AL, then on to Gadsden AL, skirmishing before Decatur and then crossing the Tennessee River on Nov 13, 1864. On Nov 21, they marched in a snowstorm from Florence to a position of battle at Spring Hill against Stanley's Federals, in the rear of the Union positions at Columbia in preparation for the Battle of Franklin. Schofield had been avoiding a fight all along, but now that he was close to Gen. Thomas' and his forces at Nashville, an encounter was eminent. Hood knew he had to try to do something before the two armies linked up. As the Federals firmly entrenched themselves at Franklin in preparation for a possible Confederate attack, Hood made it known to his generals that a frontal assault over exposed ground would be the order of battle. In disbelief, Hood's subordinates objected, informing Hood that the attack was suicidal. No amount of persuading could compel Hood to change this plan. Division commander Gen. Patrick Cleburne, an illustrious leader under whom the 8th Regiment served, commented bitterly to his friend and subordinate, Gen. D.C. Govan, "Well, Govan, if we must die, let us die like men."
Battle of Franklin
At the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, Hood launched an massive assault against Schofield's army in what would be one of the Army of Tennessee's worst battles. The 8th was part of the memorable assault upon the fortified Union breastworks in which Division Commander Cleburne was killed as well as Gist and also 60 other brigade and regimental commanders being either killed or wounded. As an example, Company B of the 8th Mississippi brought in 27 men on this sacrificial charge and lost 10 killed at the breastworks, 7 wounded and 4 captured. At the McGavock Cemetery , 25 men killed at the Battle of Franklin from the 8th Regiment are buried. In this 5 hour battle, Hood lost 6,250 men (more than both sides lost at Shiloh). Federal losses were 2,326. That night, Schofield retreated into Nashville, leaving his dead and wounded on the field and linked with Thomas, as Sherman had originally planned. Hood ordered his wounded army to follow and at this time, the 8th Regiment numbered 837 men. Taking up positions in a hilly area south of Nashville Hood prepared his remaining 23,000 soldiers for the battle. These soldiers, recovering from the blow of Franklin, were ragged...more than 1/3 of them without shoes in this December winter. So ill-equipped and provisioned, a Tennessean said, "We can see our ragged soldier with sunken cheek and famineglistening eyes." The Federals, on the other hand, were amassing over 70,000 men. Gen. Thomas knew this would be the opportunity to finally destroy the Army of Tennessee. Thomas took so much time preparing for a total victory that Grant decided to replace him - but Thomas, at the last minute, launched the attack on the foggy morning of Dec. 15, 1865.
The Final Battle: Nashville
At the Battle of Nashville on Dec. 15-16, the 8th, under the corps command of Nashville's own Gen. B.F. Cheatham, was involved in the repulsions of the enemy's "mostly colored" units assaulting Hood's right (eastern) flank during the 15th. The repulsions left Union dead and wounded by the hundreds scattered on the battlefield. The only Confederate casualties in Cheatham's corps that day were those from Federal sharpshooters. That night, Cheatham's corps was marched west to station themselves on the right of Stewart's Corps, along the western flank. On the 16th, the Federal assault on Shy's Hill resulted in a breech in the Confederate line along the west flank. The 8th, as part of Lowrey's Brigade, was at the center of the Division's (Cleburne's) line - which was under the command of Gen. J.A. Smith, who held command after Cleburne's death at Franklin. Lowrey was immediately ordered to relocate to support the western flank just as it fell through. As the Federals pressed on, the Confederate line futher gave way and a confused retreat towards the Granny White Pike ensued. Cheatham ordered that Lowrey's and Granbury's Brigade check the Federal advance. It was here that the 8th was involved in the disastrous fighting near the Granny White Pike. The routed Confederates reorganized in the hills several hundred yards southwest of the abandoned line of battle. After Nashville, Hood was pursued by the Federals for the next 10 days. As Hood retreated southwest - the destination being northeast Mississippi, a rear guard was formed under Gen. N.B. Forrest to protect the army from attack by the Union pursuit. Forrest had gained such success and notoriety with his quasi-guerilla tactics, that Sherman hinted at his assasination in a letter to Thomas in Jan. 1865 saying, "...I would like to have Forrest hunted down and killed...". Through Christmas of 1865, the Army of Tennessee and the 8th Mississippi marched through snow and frozen mud through northern Alabama and finally reached Corinth, Mississippi - where they stayed for a week and then on Jan 23, retired to Tupelo where Gen. Hood resigned command. The Army of Tennessee and the western theatre was brought to a close. Hood, in his report, stated that he brought about 15,000 men into Mississippi, not including approximately 3,000 Tennesseans given furlough. This means that during the Battle of Nashville and the subsequent retreat to Mississippi, the Army of Tennessee lost approximately 5,000 men either killed, wounded, captured or missing. For the entire campaign under Hood, since receiving command at Atlanta, Hood himself estimated his losses at an incredible 10,000 men (in only 2 months!). Actual losses surely were higher, at Franklin alone, Confederate losses were over 6,500. Add to that the 5,000 that can be determined from Hood's own report concerning the Battle of Nashville and subsequent retreat, then add the losses at Jonesboro and the subsequent chasing of Schofield into Tennessee, it would be more accurate to estimate losses of 15,000. Defending his decisions to the bitter end, he wrote in his official report to Richmond concerning the campaign and particularly, the breech at Shy's Hill during the Battle of Nashville: "Were I again placed in such circumstances I should make the same marches and fight the same battles, trusting that the same unforseen and unavoidable accident would not again occur to change into disaster a victory which had been already won." The remaining elements of the Army of Tennessee were then transported by rail to the eastern theatre.
The End in the Carolinas
The 8th proceeded to take part in the Carolinas Campaign during which the Battle of Bentonville was fought on March 19 - 21. It was during this time that, according to Union war records, the regimental flag of the 8th Mississippi was captured. The flag was captured by Pvt. Richard C. Mangam of Co. H, 148th New York Infantry Regiment. This occurred on April 2, 1865 at Hatcher's Run, VA. For this, Mangam received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1888. This event, which is part of Union records is being disputed by a descendant of one of the members of the 8th Regiment. On April 9, 1865, remnants of Lowery's Brigade, the 5th, 8th and 32nd Infantry Regiments and the 3rd Battalion were consolidated as the 8th Mississippi Infantry Battalion commanded by Capt. J. Y Carmack. The Battalion was made a part of the brigade commanded by Gen. Sharp of D.H. Hill's Division of General Lee's Corps. The 8th Mississippi Infantry Battalion surrendered and was paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865. We Shall Remember So ends the story of the 8th Mississippi Regiment and the great Army of Tennessee as they met their end so far from where they started. In review, it would be unjust to blame the disintegration of the Army of Tennessee solely on Hood with the loss of Atlanta, the Battle of Franklin and the route at Nashville. It is certain that the army was usually outnumbered by a better-equipped foe who seemed to have endless supplies of materials and men. Of course, some circumstances existed to balance the scale: the Army of Tennessee was fighting on it's home-turf among it's own populace who did much to support their army. There existed a chance that the Federals, even with the superior numbers and better equipment could have been defeated. Bragg, Johnston and Hood did what they thought was best to effect that end but it was to no avail. Compared to the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee and the battles fought are not as much part of general "Civil War knowledge" as they should be. In summing up the entire war, it should be realized that this "Lost Cause" was just that - a lost cause - forged from the desire to perpetuate a way of life, of commerce and of agriculture which relied on slavery. It simply could not have prevailed. Notwithstanding the "higher" rights and wrongs, it remains left to us, the descendants of these fighting men, to keep the memory of what they did, where they went and what kinds of things happened to them, alive.
After the war, my great-great grandfather returned to his home east of Shubuta, MS (where I was also born) and married Nancy Laurette Woodward, daughter of James Madison Woodward of the Mississippi 5th Infantry, which was like a "sister infantry" to the 8th Regiment, often sharing the battlefront together. Nancy's mother was Priscilla White (sister of Capt. John White - see Battle of Chickamauga above). On Sep 6, 1921, Elbert and "Nannie" filled out a pension application as an "Indigent Soldier or Sailor of the Late Confederacy", honorably discharged, "...indigent and unable to earn a support by (his)...own labor". Elbert helped establish the Clear Creek Baptist Church and left behind a great legacy in a place where my family still lives to this day. "Nannie" died in 1928 and Elbert died in 1931 at 85 years old.
Elbert's Confederate grave marker at Clear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Shubuta, MS.
Other ancestors of mine who fought for the Confederacy:
John S. Waller: Co. D, 40th Alabama Infantry Regiment - Great-great grandfather. His daughter married Elbert's son. John S. Waller is buried with Confederate marker at Waller Ridge Assy. Of God Cemetery in the Davis Community of Wayne Co., Mississippi.
James Madison Woodward: 5th Mississippi Infantry Regiment - Great-great-great grandfather.
Elbert Graham's father-in-law. Died during the siege of Vicksburg, MS (in hospital) on Dec. 3, 1862. Buried in the Vicksburg City Cemetery, Confederate Section. His sons, William Ira Woodward and Thomas Jefferson Woodward both fought for the Confederacy.
Thomas Jefferson Woodward: Co. E, 37th Mississippi Infantry Regiment - greatgreat granduncle.
Son of J.M. Woodward. Wounded in the Battle of Corinth (Oct. 1862). Was discharged November 1862 due to having been wounded and only being 16 years old. His mother, Priscilla (White) Woodward petitioned his discharge. Eventually married Elbert Graham's sister, Martha Ann Graham (we keep it in the family!) William Ira Woodward: Co. A, 14th Mississippi Infantry Regiment - Great-great granduncle.
Also a son of J.M. Woodward. Taken as a POW at the defeat of Fort Donelson (Tenn.) Feb. 1862. Died in the prison hospital at Camp Douglas , outside Chicago, Illinois due to fever on Mar. 2, 1862 at 21 years of age. Buried at the Confederate POW Cemetery there.
Capt. John White - Co. G, 8th Mississippi Infantry Regiment - Great-great-great granduncle. Killed at Chicamauga (Sept. 1863). Uncle of Elbert's wife, Nannie. Was the brother of Priscilla (White) Woodward (wife of James Madison Woodward). Priscilla White, my great-great-great grandmother should be remembered for having lived with the loss of her husband (died at Vicksburg), her son (died while a POW in Illinois) and her brother (killed at Chicamauga) and another son wounded (at Corinth)