The First Alabama Infantry Regiment
THE First Alabama infantry was the first in Alabama to enlist for one year, the first to re-enlist, and has the distinction of having served, though several times reorganized, from the beginning to the end of the conflict. Enlisting in March, 1861, it assembled at Pensacola and immediately began the hardest of work--in preparing for defense. It was assigned to the batteries and soon earned the title, "Bragg's best artillerists." Col. Henry D. Clayton served during the year 1861; at the end of one year the regiment reorganized under Col. Isaiah G. W. Steedman. It took part in the battle of Santa Rosa, and was in the bombardment of Pensacola, where it earned high renown. Ordered to Memphis, March, 1862, it saw constant service until at Island No. 10, where a large part of the regiment was captured; the remainder were in the battle of Corinth.
In September the Island No. 10 prisoners were exchanged and the regiment was ordered to Port Hudson, where most of them were again captured. The enlisted men, 610 strong, were exchanged, and under command of the officers who escaped capture, fought at New Hope and Kenesaw, where a brilliant record was made; Peach Tree creek, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, Averasboro, and Bentonville. The regiment was greatly distinguished, suffering many losses in these battles, including Major Knox, the commander, who fell while leading his troops in the battle of Franklin.
Extracts From Official Records
Vol. VI--(460) Report of General Anderson of battle of Santa Rosa, October 8, 1861 (492) General Bragg's report of bombardment of Pensacola, November 22-23, 1861, says: "Col. H. D. Clayton, First regiment of Alabama volunteers, whose entire regiment served both days at the batteries, has received the just commendation of. the general. This gallant regiment has toiled for nearly ten months in the construction and garnishment of the works they almost despaired of using. Having been the first on the ground, much the largest portion of the labor fell to their lot. When least expected, the opportunity has been offered to test their skill, and most nobly have they' availed themselves of it." (784) General Bragg calls it "a well-instructed body of artillery." (819) In Gen. Suni Jones' brigade, Bragg's army, February 1, 1862. (838) General Jones, Pensacola, March 5, 1862, says: "First Alabama leaves for Memphis this evening."
Vol. VII--(915) Ordered to Fort Pillow under command of General Withers. Memorandum of General Beauregard, March 3, 1862.
Vol. VIII--(129) Colonel Steedman's First Alabama regiment rendered gallant and efficient service on the 17th of March, 1862.--Report of Gen. J. P. McCown. (161) Commended in report of Capt. E. W. Rucker, regarding Madrid Bend and Island No. 10. (174-175) Report of Col. I. G. W. Steedman, Island No. 10: "Lieutenants Owens and Sanford acted gallantly as men could act." Lieutenant Clark killed, 5 men wounded. (778) "I sent you the First Alabama regiment two clays ago; they are Bragg's best artillerists."--Gen. Leonidas Polk, March 13th.
Vol. XV--(276-277) Report of Gen. Frank Gardner, Port Hudson, March 14, 1863: "Battery served by 4 companies of Colonel Steedman's regiment; the other companies posted as sharpshooters. Gallant conduct of men at batteries deserving of highest praise." (278) One officer wounded, Port Hudson, La., March 14, 1863. (841) Aggregate present for duty 312--report of Gen. Wm. N. R.. Beall, Port Hudson, October 22, 1862. (1033) Heavy artillery, Colonel Steedman commanding, March 31, 1863. (1062) Heavy artillery, Lieut.-Col. M. B. Locke commanding.
Vol. XVII, Part 2--(600) Abstract from statement of troops at and about Grenada, Miss., June 14, 1862. Aggregate 169, commanded by General Villepigue. (661) Aggregate 193, with General Van Dorn at Vicksburg, July, 1862. (726) "Steedman's regiment at Port Hudson."--General Ruggles' letter to Van Dorn, October 11, 1862. (815) With General Pemberton in Mississippi, December, 1862.
No. 38--(613) In heavy artillery brigade, department of Mississippi, General Pemberton. (707) Same assignment, April 20, 1863, Col. I. G. W. Steedman.
No. 41--(36-37) Report of Lieut.-Col. M. B. Locke of operations near Port Hudson, May 17, 1863: "Capt. J. G. Stubbs, Company C, held the enemy in check until nearly surrounded." Captain Pruett and Lieutenant Creg-nies mentioned. One man wounded. (143) Paroled at Port Hudson, July, 1863. (144) Lieut. Thomas Frank killed at siege of Port Hudson. (147) Killed 2, wounded 2. Casualties in General Beall's brigade up to June 1, 1863. (156) Killed 2, wounded 8. Report of Colonel Steedman, operations May 25th to July 7th, Port Hudson. (157) Report of Colonel Steedman, May 26th, mentions Lieuten-ant-Colonel Locke. (161) Report of Colonel Steedman, June 10th, mentions Capts. J. F. Whitfield and James D. Meadows, also Maj. Samuel L. Knox. (156-163) Reports of Colonel Steedman, June 29th, Major Knox commanding. (163) April 20th, Colonel Steedman says: "The fine discipline and buoyant spirits of the regiment were conspicuous during the entire siege. In their exposed position they were assaulted incessantly, almost every day and night, but never successfully." (166) Mentioned in Lieut.-Col. J. H. Wingfield's report. (551) Report of Gen. Wm. Dwight, U.S. A., before Port Hudson, says: "First Alabama is 500 strong."
No. 42--(18) Letter of Lieutenant-Colonel Locke, commanding, May 25, 1863. (104) Letter of Capt. J. P. Jones, Port Hudson, July 5th, states: "First Alabama 585 strong." (431) Letter of Gen. Dabney H. Maury, Mobile, November 21st, speaks of expected arrival of First Alabama.
No. 56--(630) Ordered to Meridian, Miss., November 4, 1863.
No. 58--(563) Asked for by General Maury, January 15, 1864. (583) January 20, 1864, aggregate, 745. (703) General Maury asks General Polk, February 10th: "Please send me Colonel Steedman's regiment to serve as heavy artillery." (734) "I shall send you the First Alabama regiment, General."--Polk to Maury, February 13th. (769) "First Alabama has arrived."--Maury to Polk, February 19th.
No. 59--(861) Major Knox commanding, with troops in district of the Gulf, April 30, 1864.
No. 65--(425) Mentioned by General Ashboth, U. S. A., affair at Bayou Grand, August 7, 1864. Spoken of as First Alabama artillery, number 400.
No. 66--(89) General Ashboth, U. S. A., Barrancas, May 9, 1864, says: "First Alabama infantry is at Pollard."
No. 74--(646) In General Cantey's division, Second brigade, army of Mississippi, July 10, 1864. (653) Walthall's division, June 30th, Major Knox commanding. (660) Same assignment. (665) In Quarles' brigade, General Walthall's division, Stewart's corps, army of Tennessee, July 31st. (671) Assignment as above, August 31, 1864. (894) Gen. D. H. Reynolds, of Walthall's division, in front of Atlanta, July 19th, says: "Major Knox arrived with his regiment." (923) General Walthall, September 3d, says: "Major Knox in command of the First Alabama regiment, a fine officer and veteran regiment, reports that the enemy came within 30 yards of his lines at almost all points," battle of Kenesaw, June 27th.
No. 74--(930) Gen. William A. Quarles, writing July 1, 1864, of the same operations, says: "To the First Alabama is due the whole credit of the most brilliant affair it has ever been my fortune to witness. I respectfully and most earnestly recommend the promotion of Major Knox. He has exhibited his capacity for higher rank on the field where commissions are most worthily won." (932) August 6th, General Quarles says: "Colonel (Major) Knox, of the First Alabama, well known as one of the most promising officers in the army, was severely and dangerously wounded in the early part of the action. It is praise enough of him to say that up to the time of his fall he sustained his former reputation." (933) "And to Lieutenant Neal, acting assistant-surgeon, First Alabama, I am much indebted for the zeal and promptness of [his] conduct." (934) Major Knox in report of same operations says: "We captured 18 prisoners, one of them Captain Wakefield, of the Fifty-third Indiana. We lost 1 sergeant killed and 5 privates wounded." (937) Mentioned by Gen. D. H. Reynolds in his report of same.
No. 78--(855) September 20, 1864, same assignment, regiment commanded by Maj. Samuel L. Knox; inspection report gives Acting Lieut.-Col. Richard Williams.
Vol. XCIII--(666) Same assignment in army of Tennessee, Gen. S. D. Lee; Lieut. Charles M. McRae commanding regiment December 20, 1864. (685) Maj. S. L. Knox wounded and captured at Franklin. (725) Colors of First Alabama among others lost, color-bearers either killed or captured at Franklin.--General Walthall's report of battle.
Vol. XCVIII--(1063) Shelley's brigade, Stewart's corps, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, as constituted after April 9, 1865 (consolidated with Sixteenth, Thirty-third and Forty-fifth Alabama), under Col. Robert H. Abercrombie.
Vol. C--(735) Quarles' brigade with Seventeenth and Twenty-ninth, commanded by Capt. Benjamin H. Screws, March 31, 1865. (773) Assignment as above.
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