The Twenty-Sixth Alabama Infantry Regiment
The Twenty-sixth Alabama infantry was organized at Tuscumbia in December, 1861. Its companies were recruited from the counties of Fayette, Marion, Walker, Winston, and the upper portions of Tuscaloosa county.
While yet in camp of instruction at Tuscumbia, two of its companies, under the command of Maj. John S. Garvin, were ordered to Fort Donelson, where they were captured; but, being released, rejoined their command in the spring, the regiment having in the meantime been transferred to the army of Northern Virginia and attached to Rodes' brigade of immortal memory, and served under Stonewall Jackson and R. E. Lee.
Many of the officers had already seen service in the Fifth Alabama, Colonel Rodes, and they were glad to be associated with their old command.
From the siege of Yorktown, April 5 to May 3, 1862, in which it took part, until the close of the war, the regiment was always in the battle front and won imperishable renown. It fought in the battles around Richmond. The regiment was led in the battle at Williamsburg, May 5th, by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. It was distinguished at Seven Pines, May 31st and June 1st. It fought at Mechanicsville, June 26th; Gaines' Mill, June 27th and 28th; Frayser's Farm, June 30th; Malvern Hill, July 1st. In these engagements nearly half the regiment were killed or wounded. It was in the van of the army when it moved over the Potomac, and fought at Boonsboro, September 15th, and at Sharpsburg, September 17th. At Fredericksburg, December 13th, it displayed its accustomed valor, and led by Lieutenant-Colonel Garvin, its gallant Colonel O'Neal being in command of the brigade, it shared the honor with the Fifth Alabama of being the first to charge and win the enemy's works at Chancellorsville, capturing three batteries. Forced to fall back, it lost its colors, but returning, drove the enemy back and recovered them. The praise of the Twenty-sixth was on every tongue and every report teemed with commendation of its valor. It was at Gettysburg, July 1 to 3, 1863; Kelly's Ford, August 1st; and Mine Run, November 26th to 28th.
In the spring of 1864, the regiment was ordered on special duty to Dalton, Ga., and afterward assigned to General Johnston's command. It took part in the Atlanta campaign, always preserving its reputation and winning fresh laurels with every battle. The regiment was in Tennessee with Hood and was badly crippled at Nashville, only a small remnant being left to surrender at Greensboro, N. C.
Its colonels were William R. Smith, who resigned his commission to take a seat in the Confederate Congress; Edward A. O'Neal, afterward brigadier-general and twice elected governor of Alabama, a gallant officer who was wounded at Seven Pines, Boonsboro and Chancellorsville.
The lieutenant-colonels were John S. Garvin, William H. Hunt and William C. Reeder; the majors, R. D. Redden and David F. Bryan. Lieutenant-Colonel Garvin was wounded at Chancellorsville and Franklin. Capt. Sidney B. Smith was wounded seven times. Capt. Thos. Taylor and Lieut. R. K. Wood were killed at Chancellorsville; Lieuts. John Fowler and W. L. Branyon were killed at Gettysburg.
Extracts From Official War Records
Vol. VII--(137) Alabama battalion, Major Garvin, a detachment of the Twenty-sixth regiment, mentioned among the troops at Fort Henry, February 12, 1862, by General Tilghman. (148-150) Mentioned in Colonel Heiman's report of fall of Fort Henry and surrender of Fort Donelson. (358-364) Report of Gen. Bushrod Johnson of capture of Fort Donelson, mentions two companies of Twenty-sixth Alabama in Colonel Drake's brigade, among the troops surrendered February 16th.
Vol. XI, Part 2--(484) In Rodes brigade, Hill's division, Stonewall Jackson's corps, during the engagements around Richmond. (505) Medical director reports 18 killed and 109 wounded, June 26 to July 1, 1862. (625) General Hill's report of battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27th, says that the Fifth and Twenty-sixth captured a battery in their front. He also quotes from General Rodes' report. (630-633) General Rodes' report of same battle says: "The Fifth and Twenty-sixth Alabama were especially distinguished for their great courage; no troops ever acted better;" also says: "The Fifth and Twenty-sixth always in the lead, under its brave Colonel O' Neal." Gives in list of casualties, 4 killed, 28 wounded, at Gaines' Mill; 13 killed, 73 wounded, at Malvern Hill. (634, 635) General Gordon's report of battle of Malvern Hill calls especial attention to the conduct of Col. E. A. O'Neal; gives casualties, 10 killed, 76 wounded. (638) Mentioned in Col. B. B. Gayle's report of Gaines' Mill.
Vol. XI, Part 3--(393) The Twenty-sixth Alabama, Colonel Smith, ordered to report to General Magruder at Yorktown, March 24, 1862. (404) Magruder informed that Twenty-sixth Alabama, unarmed, will join him at Yorktown and be armed by him. (427) General Wilcox informed that the Twenty-sixth Alabama, Colonel O'Neal, will be sent to reinforce Yorktown, April 7th. (482) Two hundred and eighty-three strong within post at Yorktown, April 30th. (533) In Rains' brigade, Johnston's command, May 21st. (650) In Rodes' brigade, Stonewall Jackson's command, July 23d.
Vol. XIX, Part I--(808) In Rodes' brigade, Jackson's corps, army of Northern' Virginia, September, 1862. (1018-1030) General Hill's report of Maryland campaign makes several mentions, and says that Colonel O'Neal, who was wounded at Seven Pines, was again wounded at South Mountain and Sharpsburg, and Major Redden, wounded at South Mountain: says that these officers are especially deserving of mention. (1033-1039) General Rodes' report of battles of Boonsboro and Sharpsburg refers several times to regiment.
Vol. XXI--(541) Assignment as above, July, 1862. (560) Medical director reports 4 wounded, battle of Fredericksburg. (1073) Assignment as above, December 20th.
No. 39--(792) Assignment as above, May, 1863. Commanders, Col. E. A. O'Neal, Lieut.-Col. John S. Garvin and Lieut. M. J. Taylor. (807) Medical director reports 13 killed, 85 wounded, battle of Chancellorsville, May 4, 1863. (939-950) In General Rodes' report he praises the regiment in high terms: "In this charge the gallant Lieut.-Col. John S. Garvin fell desperately wounded, inside the works." Casualty returns, 12 killed, 77 wounded. Capt. Thomas Taylor and Lieut. R. K. Wood killed. (950-953) Col. Edward A. O'Neal's report of operations of Rodes' brigade from April 29th to May 6th. (954, 955) Col. J. M. Hall's report of battle of Chancellorsville says:" Justice demands that I should mention Lieut.-Col. John S. Garvin, commanding the Twenty-sixth Alabama, who was severely, if not mortally, wounded while gallantly leading his regiment, and giving the highest evidence of that coolness and skill which should ever characterize the true soldier." (958, 959, 961) Mentioned in Capt. T. M. Riley's and Samuel B. Pickens' reports. (964, 965) Col. John S. Garvin's report notices the bravery and gallantry of Maj. D. F. Bryan and the bravery of Lieuts. John Fowler and Willis Keenum; also the gallantry of Mr. G. M. Reek, a guest, who entered the ranks as private and did good service. (965, 966) Report of Lieut. M. J. Taylor (commanding regiment after the lieutenant-colonel and major were wounded) says: "It is hard to say who acted the most noble part. Some among the bravest fell at the redoubts." (1053) Roll of honor, battle of Chancellorsville: First Lieut. E. S. Stuckey, Company B; Privates L. Walters, A; Jos. H. Bounds, B; Sergt. J. H. Lockwill, C; Privates J. C. Pennington, D; Joseph Munsel, E; James H. Dowdle, F; Corp. Jesse Parsons, G; Private D. H. Spraddle, H; Sergt. B. Butler, I; Private B. F. Smith, K.
No. 44--(287) O'Neal's brigade, Rodes' division, army of Northern Virginia, July, 1863. Lieut.-Col. John C. Goodgame commanding brigade. (332, 342) Medical director reports 5 killed, 41 wounded, battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d and 3d. Regimental reports give total loss 130. (545-553) Mentioned several times in General Rodes' report. (563) Lieuts. John Fowler and W. L. Branyon killed at Gettysburg. (592, 593) Col. E. A. O'Neal says: "On July 23d, about 3 o'clock, the Fifth, Sixth and a part of the Twenty-sixth Alabama regiments, with the corps of sharpshooters, under Major Blackford, assisted in repelling three separate and distinct charges of the enemy." (601, 602) Col. John C. Goodgame says: "I was detailed to take command of the Twenty-sixth Alabama regiment on June 26th at Chambersburg, Pa." Gives loss, 7 killed, 58 wounded.
No. 48--(399, 818) Battle's brigade, Rodes' division, Second army corps, Lee's army, September and October, 1863. (412) The Bristoe, Va., campaign; casualties, 3 wounded. (891) Mentioned by Maj. A. Proskaner in his report of battle at Mine Run, November 26th and 27th. (892,893) Col. J. S. Garvin's report of same.
No. 58--(629) Letter from General Polk to Colonel Jack, January 28, 1864, says that "O'Neal's Alabama regiment is to go to Montgomery." (726) Special order, No. 36--Colonel Swanson's regiment will form part of Battle's brigade to relieve Colonel O'Neal's regiment of same brigade.
No. 60--(1133, 1134) Reply to General Lee, January 31, 1864, to Hon. Thomas J. Foster and others, who ask that the Twenty-sixth be transferred to that State: "This regiment has done most excellent service and is worthy of any compliment the State can bestow upon it. ,I do
not see how the good of the service can be promoted by detaching this regiment and breaking up a veteran brigade which has just set the glorious example in this army of re-enlisting for the war If Colonel O'Neal desires duty in some other army, I will interpose no objection ... I have a just appreciation of his gallantry and worth ... General Rodes' whole division acted at Chancellorsville with distinguished gallantry." (1149) Joint resolution of thanks from Congress to Battle's brigade, February 6, 1864. [See Extracts under Third regiment.] (1176) General Winder, February 15, 1864, orders Colonel O'Neal's regiment to furnish guards to convey prisoners to Camp Sumter, Ga.
No. 66--(484, 487) General Cooper, May 14, 1864, orders Twenty-sixth Alabama, then at Andersonville, to be sent to Dalton. (496) Twenty-sixth Alabama has left Andersonville for Montgomery, May 22d, before order to go to Richmond arrived.
No. 67--(1024) Reported as belonging to Battle's brigade, Rodes' division, army of Northern Virginia, May, 1864.
No. 68--(1011) Twenty-sixth Alabama, Colonel O'Neal, ordered to proceed immediately to Richmond, May 15, 1864.
No. 74--(646, 653, 665, 671) In Cantey's brigade, army of Mississippi, June to August, 1864. (940) Colonel O'Neal (commanding brigade), reporting battle of June 27th, says: "The enemy attempted to charge our line of skirmishers commanded by Capt. Sid. B. Smith, but did not succeed in approaching more than from 30 to 100 yards and were handsomely driven back. In this affair we had none killed and but 8 wounded. Captain Smith, his officers and men behaved with great gallantry and firmly held their line." (941, 942) Colonel O'Neal's report of engagement at Peachtree. Creek, July 20th, gives loss 279 killed, wounded and missing. (942, 943) Colonel O'Neal's report of engagement, July 28th, says: "I cannot close this report without acknowledging my obligations to Capt. Sid. B. Smith, acting on my staff." List of casualties, which was large, not found.
No. 75--(704, 728, 762) Col. E. A. O'Neal ordered to report with his regiment to General Johnston.
No. 93--(666) In Cantey's brigade, General Shelley commanding, Walthall's division, army of Tennessee, Gen. J. B. Hood commanding, December 10, 1864.
No. 100--(773) General order, No. 13, April 9, 1865, leaves regiment in Shelley's brigade, near Smithfield, N.C.
No. 104--(1134) Gen. P. D. Roddey, March 20, 1865, says he had requested transfer of regiment to his command.
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