Civil War – 5th MS Infantry’s History through 1863

Submitted by C.J. Johnson


Company D (New Prospect Grays), 5th Mississippi has been profiled earlier; however, here is a history of the 5th Mississippi Infantry through year-end 1863, from Dunbar Rowland’s Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898, and company listing courtesy of H. Grady Howell’s For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand.

Original company listing with primary county of origin: Company A – Red Rovers (Monroe County); B – Bogue Chitto Rangers (Neshoba); C – Lauderdale Springs Greys (Lauderdale); D – New Prospect Greys (Winston); E – Pettus Rebels (Winston); F – Winston Rifles (Winston); G – Barry Guards (Chickasaw & Choctaw); H – Noxubee Blues (Noxubee); I – Kemper Rebels, aka Kemper Guards (Kemper); and Company K – Scotland Guards (Neshoba). Initial enlistment totaled 736, originally enlisting for twelve months and re-enlisting in 1862.

“These companies formed the Fifth Regiment, Fourth Brigade, of Mississippi Volunteers, known as the Army of Mississippi, and the organization of the regiment was completed by the election of field officers 5 September, 1861, at Enterprise.

The first service at the front was at Pensacola, where the Fifth was reported as part of the command of Gen. Sam. Jones, February 1, 1862. Thence transferred to the interior after the fall of Fort Donelson, and regiment mentioned in the official correspondence as part of Chalmers’ command and somewhere east of Iuka, when the advance of Grant’s army landed March 12, at Crump’s landing.”

The 5th, with “Col. Albert E. Fant, commanding, [was] in Chalmers’ Brigade of Withers’ Division, Bragg’s Corps, at battle of Shiloh. It was the fourth regiment in the brigade column and was left behind in the first charge…but the Fifth soon came up, took position next the Tenth (which was the leading regiment), and was an active participant in the hard fighting during the rest of the day. Toward evening…Captains R. J. Armstrong and T. C. K. Bostick were killed while gallantly leading their companies. Colonel Fant and Major Stennis, Chalmers reported, were conspicuous in the thickest of the fight…

May 28, 1862, Captain D. B. Lattimore was detailed as Adjutant-General of brigade, Col. R. A. Smith commanding. The regiment was at Corinth during siege, and after the evacuation was transferred with Bragg’s army to Chattanooga. The Fifth was not with Chalmers’ Brigade in the Kentucky campaign, being brigaded with the Eighth in John K. Jackson’s Brigade of Withers’ Division, Polk’s right wing, Army of the Mississippi, General Bragg commanding.

The regiment was at Harrodsburg during the battle of Perryville, after which they returned by way of Cumberland Gap and Chattanooga to Bridgeport, Ala.

Jackson’s Brigade was in line with Breckinridge’s Division on the east side of Stones River December 31, 1862, when Jackson’s and Adams’ Brigades were ordered across to support the attack where the Mississippians of Chalmers’ and Walthall’s Brigades were engaged. Jackson advanced, passing Donelson’s Brigade, and part of Chalmers’ and Coltart ‘s. General Polk reported that Jackson assailed the enemy’s line with energy and after a severe contest was compelled to yield and fall back…

Jackson reported that he was engaged for three hours. He had 874 men in all, and lost 41 killed and 266 wounded. Among the severely wounded was Lieut. Col. W. L. Sykes, commanding the Fifth Regiment, and the gallant Captain J. H. Morgan was killed. The total casualties of the regiment were 6 killed, 74 wounded…

The army fell back to the Tullahoma line, and thence, after some skirmishing, in the summer of 1863, to Chattanooga, and thence into Georgia when Rosecrans made the flank movement across the Lookout Mountains.

The regiment, Lieut. Col. Sykes, commanding, with Jackson’s Brigade, Cheatham’s Division, at the opening of the battle of Chickamauga, September 19, 1863, supported Walker’s Corps, in which Walthall’s Mississippians were conspicuous, and after Walker was driven back, the attack of the Union forces fell upon Jackson’s Brigade and then along Cheatham’s whole line. Returning vigorously the fire, the Fifth pressed forward and pushed back the Federal line nearly a mile. They and the Eighth were holding this advanced position firmly when the rest of the line gave way.

While falling back and reforming to hold the enemy in check, the gallant commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Sykes, was killed. Major John B. Herring took command, and a new brigade line was formed in which the regiment found its place after dark, with some skirmishing. The regiment went into battle with 225 men in line and had 4 killed and 46 wounded, the Adjutant mortally wounded. Next day, Sunday, the 20th, the regiment took 144 muskets into the battle, lost 25 wounded and captured 30 prisoners. On this last day they were in line of battle against the log breastworks of General Thomas, and behaved with great gallantry. The aggregate effective of the regiment was 404…

Gen. J. K. Jackson was in command of the Confederate troops in the battle of Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863, but his brigade was removed to the foot of the mountain on the right, two days before, and did not participate in the fighting. In the battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25, the regiment shared the record of Cheatham’s Division.”