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6th Mississippi Infantry Regiment

 
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After Vicksburg

 

After hearing the news that Vicksburg had surrendered, they marched to Jackson and took up position on the Confederate right flank in the defense of the city. General Sherman and his army arrived on the 9th. Jackson had been fortified well enough to prevent a successful attack by the enemy and the Union army began a siege. Jackson was continuously shelled with a few skirmished. During this time, the Sixth was held in reserves.

On July 16th, the army in Jackson silently abandoned the city and headed east, through Brandon and finally stopped at Morton. Upon receipt of the news that the Confederates had abandoned Jackson, Sherman sent General Frederick Steele in pursuit. Steel's Division made it as far as Brandon, where they ransacked the town, then returned to Jackson a few days later.

Without the threat of Union pursuit, the Confederates who fled Jackson stayed at Morton until the first week of August when they marched further east to Newton where they stayed until the first week of September. Adams' Brigade marched to Meridian where most of the army set up winter quarters.

At the end of September, the Sixth went to Brandon. Two weeks later, they marched north to Canton where they went into winter quarters. By that time, General Leonidas Poll was the new commander of the Army of Mississippi.

In early February of 1864, General Sherman began moving his army. The Confederates at Canton, including the Sixth, made preparations to move and marched to Demopolis, Alabama. Sherman marched as far as Meridian, then withdrew back to Vicksburg.

Central Mississippi had been destroyed by the Union army. This demoralization of the people brought out the worse of mankind. Deserters, draft-dodgers, bushwhackers, and the like became a nusiance to the citizens especiall in Jones, Smith and Covington counties.

General Polk assigned the task of ridding these counties of their harassers to Colonel Lowry and the Sixth. Since many in the Sixth knew the area, the Sixth was the logical choice for this duty. This was an assignment that none of the men were looking forward to.

On March 20th, the Sixth, accompanied by the 20th Mississippi Infantry, left Demopolis for Smith County. At Raleigh, they captured several stragglers at a church service, then set up camp and sent patrols out into the surrounding countryside of Smith, Newton, and Covington counties. These patrols resulted in the capture of many deserters and draft-dodgers.

In mid-April, Colonel Lowry left Raleigh and headed to Jones County. Part of this county was calle the Free State of Jones and was a lawless place. The leader of the riff-raff was a man named Newt Knight. Colonel Lowry's goal was to capture him.

Many of Knight's men were captured and hanged or shot, but Knight eluded them. They did capture a man named Knight. Thinking it was Newt, he was hung. Sadly, the man's wife told them he was Ben Knight, Newt's cousin and he was a Confederate officer home on furlough. They found his furlough papers in his pocket.

By the end of April, the army had rounded up many and relieved the citizens of the renegades. In early May, they were ordered back to Demopolis.

Not long after joining the army in Alabama, preparations were began to move to Georgia. They arrived at Resaca, Georgia on May 11th and took their place on the Confederate line of battle. General Polk's army became the Third Corps in the Army of Tennessee.

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This page was last updated on August 8, 2000.