6th Mississippi Infantry Regiment
The Carolinas and the Surrender
At the end of January, 1865, marching orders were received to go to West Point, MS, some 50 miles south of Tupelo. At West Point, the army boarded the train and rode to Meridian, MS. Many of the men of the 6th on fuloughs and it was hoped by high command that they weould meet up with the army at Meridian. A few did, but most did not.
With not time to wait, the soldiers boarded the trains and headed to Augusta, GA, then marched to Newbury, SC. A week later, the 6th, still in Loring's Division, road the cars to Smithfield, NC. On March 9th, the 6th left for Kingston, NC, via train and arrived the same day. With little action in that area, the army went back to Smithfield.
A week later, the 21,000 Confederates in the Smithfield area were sent to nearby Bentonville. Of these 21,000 men, approximately 270 were from the 6th. On March 19th, the Stewart's Corp's, of which the 6th part of, hidin the thick woods alongside a road. A Union force marched down the road and did not notice the Confederates hiding in the thickets and woods.
The hiding soldiers could hear the Union attack, but stayed silent in the woods. At approximately 3:15 p.m., the men in the woods were ordered to attack. They hit the ill-prepared Union line so hard and feriously that the Blue line broke and ran. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting broke out. After several hours of heavy fighting, the Union army fell back and was pursued by the Confederates for quite a distance. By dark, the Union army had reorganized and successfully held the Confederates back.
Under the cover of darkness, the Confederates pulled back to where they started that morning. Confederate casualties for the day was over 2,600.
In the following days, the Confederates successfully repulsed the Union attacks. By March 22, the Confederate position was almost completely surrounded by the Union army, so the Confederates marched back to Smithfield. The 6th provided rear guard and made it back to Smithfield the first week in April.
General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox, VA on April 9, 1865. Before word of the surrender reached the army in NC, General Johnston, commander of the troops in NC, issued Special Order No. 13 which reorganized the Army of Tennessee. Seven of the 6th companies were incorporated with the 14th and 43rd Mississippi Infantry Regiments to form the 14th Mississippi Consolidated Regiment and was under the command of Colonel Robert J. Lawrence.
The other three companies of the 6th were consolidated with the 15th, 20th and 23rd Mississippi Regiments and became the 15th Mississippi Consolidated Regiment. The commander of this regiment was Lieutenant Colonel Thomas B. Graham.
As a result of Special Order No. 13, the 6th Mississippi Infantry Regiment ceased to exist. This was disheartening to the men who had been in the 6th since it's inception. Disgusted with this order, several men left the army and began the long march to Mississippi.
Early on April 12th, the reorganized army left Smithfield for Greensboro. During this march, more men of the 6th slipped from the columns, left the war behind them and headed home.
With thinning ranks, Johnston's army struggled for a few more weeks. During that time, President Lincoln was assassinated and President Jefferson Davis had fled Richmond and was on his way to Greensboro. By April 16th, the Confederate army was camped near Durham Station. On the 18th, a cease fire was ordered.
Ten days later, the official surrender was signed between General Johnston and General Sherman. 155 men from the old 6th surrendered at Durham Station. 146 surrendered at Citronell, AL on May 4th.
With the war officiall over, and the men so far from home, they began the long journey homeward. Most walked home to start over again.
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