The Sixth Alabama Infantry Regiment
The Sixth Alabama infantry was organized at Montgomery, May, 1861. Its first colonel was John J. Seibels, who had commanded a battalion in the Mexican war. Its first service was at Corinth. It was soon ordered to Virginia, and during the winter of 1862 was stationed far in front of the army, at Manassas Junction. Its first serious battle was at Seven Pines, May 31 to June 1, 1862, where the regiment was greatly distinguished, losing 102 officers and men killed and wounded, including Lieut.-Col. James J. Willingham, Maj. S. Perry Nesmith, and Capts. Thomas Bell, Matthew Pox, W. C. Hunt, Augustus S. Flournoy and John B. McCarty.
The Sixth served in nearly all the battles of the army of Northern Virginia, including Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862; Cold Harbor or Gaines' Mill, June 27th and 28th: Malvern Hill, July 1st to 5th; Boonsboro, September 15th; Sharpsburg, September 17th; Fredericksburg, December 13th; Chancellorsville, May 1-4, 1863; The Wilderness, May 5, 6 and 7, 1864; Spottsylvania, May 8th to 18th; Winchester, July 24th, and all the numerous battles and conflicts around Petersburg, September, 1864, to April, 1865.
Lieut.-Col. Augustus M. Gordon was killed at Chancellorsville; Adjt. J. Whitt Thomas at Spottsylvania; Adjt. Edgar Watson at Farmville. Capt. W. C. Hunt, wounded at Seven Pines, was killed while gallantly leading his men at Cedar Creek. Capts. Matt. Fox, Thos. H. Bell and Augustus S. Flournoy were killed at Seven Pines, and Capt. Thomas Lightfoot at Winchester. Among the other distinguished officers of the regiment were Lieut.-Col. James M. Lightfoot, Lieut.-Col. B. H. Baker, Lieut.-Col. George W. Hooker, Maj. Walker H. Weems and Maj. Isaac F. Culver. But probably the most distinguished officer was John B. Gordon, who entered the regiment as a captain, passed rapidly through the grades of lieutenant-colonel and colonel, was appointed brigadier-general May 7, 1863, and major-general May 14, 1864. At the close of the war in 1865 he was in command of an army corps in Northern Virginia.
Extracts From Official War Records
Vol. 11--(440, 469) With Ewell's brigade occupying position in vicinity of the Union Mills ford, August, 1861. Beauregard's report, engagements from July 16 to 21, 1861. (537) General Ewell in his report of Manassas mentions Seibels' Sixth Alabama. (944, 1000) Assignment as above, general orders No. 20, June 20th, and No. 169, July 25th.
Vol. V--(737) Mentioned in letter of E. J. Allen, January 27, 1862. (825) Assignment as above, August 31, 1861. (1029) In Rodes' brigade, General Beauregard's district, January 14, 1862.
Vol. XI, Part 1--(971-976) Gen. R. E. Rodes' report of battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines, May 31 to June 1, 1862, says: Wound in his arm so painful that he was compelled to turn over command of brigade to Colonel Gordon, of the Sixth Alabama. "The regiment," he says, "lost more than half its force." Ninety-one killed and 277 wounded. "Lieutenant-Colonel Willingham and Major Nesmith, of the Sixth Alabama, and Capt. C. C. Otey, of the heavy artillery, who had been conspicuous for their gallantry and efficiency, fell while pushing forward with their men into the thickest of the fight. Among the living whose gallantry and coolness entitle them to distinction, I beg to mention Col. J. B. Gordon." Also speaks of Captains Fox and Bell of the Sixth as distinguished. "The Sixth Alabama lost nearly 60 per cent. of its aggregate force. The right company was engaged at such close quarters with the enemy that its brave commander, Captain Bell, after having fallen mortally wounded, was able to use his revolver with effect upon the enemy. The loss of his company was 21 killed and 23 wounded, out of a total of 50." (979, 980) Report of Col. James B. Gordon, commanding brigade, battle of Seven Pines: "Captain Fox, no less brave than accomplished, was killed." Colonel Gordon praises his regiment in the most unqualified terms for their unswerving and dauntless heroism in the face of the enemy "In this charge my fearless and efficient field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Willingham and Major Nesmith, fell, nobly doing their whole duty. To me their loss at this trying hour was great indeed--to the regiment it is almost irreparable .... Company A, under command of Capt. Thomas H. Bell, than whom a more gallant officer never gave his life for love of country. In a sheet of fire, and within a few rods of overwhelming numbers, this company stood until the last officer and non-commissioned officer, except one corporal and 44 men of the 56 carried into action had fallen. Yet when General Rodes gave the order for his regiment to fall back, the few survivors were loading and firing all undaunted amid their fallen comrades. In my judgment history does not record an instance of greater courage and more steadiness of nerve than was exhibited by this entire regiment .... Of Captains Flournoy and McCarty, and each man that fell, I can say he died at his post."
Vol. XI, Part 2--(484) Rodes' brigade, Jackson's corps, engagements around Richmond. (507, 975, 976) Casualties, 3 killed and 13 wounded, June 27, 1862, and 8 killed and 39 wounded, July 1st. (625) Mentioned in report of Gen. D. H. Hill. (630-633) Report of Gen. R. E. Rodes, battle of Gaines' Mill: "I was compelled (from a wound) to turn over the command of brigade to Colonel Gordon of the Sixth Alabama. I desire to call especial attention to the conduct of the above-mentioned officer; it was distinguished for all a soldier can admire." (635, 637) Report of Col. J. B. Gordon, battle of Gaines' Mill.
Vol. XI, Part 3--(426, 445) Gen. A. J. Dickinson mentions the Sixth. (482) Johnston's army, 1,100 strong, April 30, 1862. (532) Rodes' brigade, Johnston's army, near Richmond, May 21st. (601) Mentioned in circular of Col. J. B. Gordon, June 15th. (650) Assignment as above, army of Northern Virginia, July 23d, Colonel Gordon in command of regiment.
Vol. XIX, Part 1--(272) Report of Gen. T. Seymour, U.S. A., battle South Mountain, September 14, 1862. (808) Assignment as above during the Maryland campaign. (950) Mentioned in report of Captain Durham, Twenty-third South Carolina, Boonsboro and Sharpsburg. (1023-1028) General Hill, in his report of operations from June 23d to September 17th says: "Colonel Gordon, the Christian hero, excelled his former deeds at Seven Pines in the battles around Richmond. Our language is not capable of expressing higher commendation. [Sharpsburg] Col. J. B. Gordon, the Chevalier Bayard of the army. Lieu-tenant-Colonel Lightfoot of the Sixth was wounded at Sharpsburg." General Hill also speaks in high terms of Lieut. P. H. Larey and Sergt. J. B. Hancock, of the Sixth. (1034-1038) Report of Gen. R. E. Rodes, battles of Boonsboro and Sharpsburg, says: "The men generally did well, but Colonel Gordon, Sixth Alabama, deserves special mention for admirable conduct during the whole fight." He gives great praise to this regiment throughout his report.
Vol. XXI--(541, 1073) Rodes' brigade, Second corps, General Jackson, army of Northern Virginia, December, 1862. (560) Report of medical director, 1 killed and 7 wounded, Fredericksburg.
No. 39--(792) Colonel Lightfoot in command of regiment, April, 1863. (807) Medical director reports 24 killed and 125 wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville. (943-939-940) Report of Gen. R. E. Rodes of battle of Chancellorsville: "The fighting on the center and left was of a most desperate character, and resulted in the loss of many valuable officers; among them and most to be regretted was Maj. A. M. Gordon, of the Sixth Alabama (May 3d), a young officer of great promise and purity of character." (948) Casualties reported. (949) General Rodes says that the regiment captured a battery flag at Chancellorsville. (951) Captured 105 prisoners, May 2d. (952, 954, 955) Mentioned in General O'Neal's report, and Colonel Hall's (commanding brigade). (959, 960) Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot's report says: "In a word, my officers and men all acted exceedingly gallantly; 22 killed and 135 wounded. Maj. A.M. Gordon killed at the head of his regiment; his vacancy cannot be filled in the regiment." (976, 986) Mentioned by Gen. H. Colquitt and Gen. Alfred Iverson. (1053) Roll of honor: Private Matthew Benton, Company A; Private W. H. Digby, Company C; Sergt. E. O. Baker, Company E; Private H. L. Jones, Company G; Private James W. Evans, Company I; Sergt. H. W. Hale, Company L; Sergt. J. C. Gamble, Company B; Private H. H. Moore, Company D; Corp. G. P. Jones, Company F; Sergt. D. Madigan, Company H; Private H. I. Price, Company K; Private D. W. Moorer, Company M.
No. 44--(287) Second corps, Gen. R. S. Ewell; regimental commanders, Colonel Lightfoot and Capt. M. L. Bowie, July, 1863. (322, 342) Casualties at Gettysburg, 18 killed and 113 wounded. (336) 2 wounded in skirmishes en route from Pennsylvania. (545-553) Mentioned in report of Gen. R. E. Rodes. (563) Colonel Lightfoot and Maj. J. F. Culver wounded, July 1st. (592, 693) Report of Col. E. A. O'Neal. (599-600) Report of Capt. M. L. Bowie, from June 2d to July 3d, says: "The conduct of the men of the regiment was highly commendable, entitling them to the confidence of their commanding officers, and reflecting credit upon the name and character of the Sixth Alabama regiment;" 350 carried into battle; loss 162.
No. 48--(399) Assignment as above, September 30, 1863. (412) 1 killed and 1 wounded in Bristoe campaign, October 10th to 21st. (818) Battle's brigade, Second army corps, Colonel Lightfoot in command of regiment, October 31st. (890-891) Report of Maj. Isaac F. Culver; operations along Mine Run, November 27th to December 3d.
No. 60--(1149) Joint resolution of thanks from Congress to Battle's brigade, February 6, 1864. [See Extracts under Third regiment.]
No. 67--(545, 553, 561, 567) Mentioned in reports of General Warren, Col. Wm. S. Tilton and Maj. Mason W. Burt, U. S. A. (1024) Assignment as above, May, 1864. (1083) Mentioned in report of Gen. C. A. Battle, operations May 8, 1864. (1093) Report of Gen. N. H. Harris, operations May 12th and 13th, says: "The adjutant of the Sixth Alabama, with a few noble men, joined me and did heroic service. I asked his name on the field but do not remember it. A braver or more daring officer I never saw, and, I regret to say, sealed his devotion with his life blood."
No. 89--(1194) Battle's brigade, army Valley district, October 31, 1864, Capt. R. M. Greene in command of regiment. (1246) Assignment as above, Colonel Lightfoot in command, November 30th. (1364) Battle's brigade, Second army corps, Captain Greene in command, December 31, 1864.
No. 90--(564) Battle's brigade, Ramseur's division, at battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. (1002, 1013) Rodes' division, Early's army, August 31st.
No. 95--(1270) Assignment as above, Appomattox campaign, Maj. J. F. Culver commanding regiment.
No. 96--(889) Mentioned by Gen. G. K. Warren, March 8, 1865. (1172, 1181, 1270) Assignment as above.
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