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Book: The Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry and the 45th Mississippi Regiment - A Civil War History by David Williamson

Book: The Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry and the 45th Mississippi Regiment - A Civil War History by David Williamson

categories: Book, 3rd Mississippi Battalion, 45th Mississippi Infantry, Aaron B. Hardcastle, S.A.M. Wood, Patrick Cleburne, Shiloh, Perryville, Kentucky, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, Franklin, Tennessee, Civil War


David Williamson, Ph.D.

about this book: This is the story of Hardcastle's Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry from their organization in December 1861 to the end of the war, including their mid-war incarnation as the 45th Mississippi Regiment.

Before the war, Hardcastle served as a 1st Lt. in the U.S. Army of the West, commanded by then US Army Brig. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. In June 1861, Hardcastle, a protégé of Johnston and fellow Southern sympathizer, resigned from the U.S. Army to accompany Johnston on his quest to join the Confederate Army. Following the issuing of arrest warrants against pro-Confederate U.S. Army officers in California, Hardcastle accompanied Johnston and his band of pro-Confederate officers and Southern sympathizers on their storied trek across the southwest desert to Texas and the Confederacy.

After being appointed General and Commander of all Confederate Armies in the West, Johnston brought Hardcastle to his command in Tennessee and later that year assigned him the task of organizing a battalion of Mississippi infantry volunteers, which would become the Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry.

Hardcastle's battalion would subsequently fire the open shots at the Battle of Shiloh, add three more companies, become the 45th Mississippi Regiment, fight at Perryville and subsequently in all the major battles of the Army of Tennessee in Patrick Cleburne's fabled division--Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, the Atlanta Campaign, and finally at Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville, Tennessee.

This book came about after my future wife asked me to find out what her great-great-grandfather, Pvt. William B. Johnston, had done during the war. After we discovered that he had enrolled in the Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry, I began searching the available records to find out where they had fought. I was also researching my great-great grandfather, Pvt. Ferdinand Kirkbride's U.S. Army regiment, the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, believing at the time that they would be two completely separate histories.

We soon noticed, however, that their paths began to converge in the winter of 1863-1864 prior to Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. After nearly crossing paths several times during that campaign, they began to close in on each other when John Bell Hood moved his army into Tennessee after the fall of Atlanta and Sherman sent troops, including the 104th Ohio, to chase after him.

As luck would have it their paths would finally cross at the decisive Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, when Hood sent them charging with Cleburne's division up the eastern edge of Columbia Pike and directly into the guns of the 104th Ohio, stationed behind breastworks in front of the Carter family's cotton gin.

More than recounting the Third Battalion/45th Mississippi's battle history, this book shows through first-hand accounts how their path crossed with the 104th Ohio and what soldiers in both regiments went through before and during their fateful encounter at Franklin.

This book also focuses on both the volunteer soldier's life in the Confederate Army and on civilian life in war-torn Mississippi, featuring, among others, the diary of Pvt. James T. Kern, the prison diary of Lt. Samuel Asbury, and Pvt. William B. Johnston's correspondence with family members back home in Mississippi.

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