Submitted by C.J. Johnson
One of the earliest units formed in Old Choctaw County was the Choctaw Rebels, Company K, 24th Mississippi Infantry, at Greensboro on July 6, 1861. The following history of the 24th comes from Dunbar Rowland’s “Military History of Mississippi, 1803 – 1898,” with additional information from Grady Howell.
“The regiment was made up largely of very young men, and the companies were organized under a proclamation of Governor Pettus calling for enlistments for three years. The companies assembled at Marion Station and were mustered into the Confederate States service in September and October. The field officers were elected November 6, 1861—Dowd, of Monroe County; McKelvaine, of Kemper; and [William C.] Staples, of Choctaw.
The Twenty-fourth Regiment, Colonel Dowd, was ordered by the War Department, November 22, 1861, to report to Gen. Robert E. Lee at Savannah…then in command of that coast department, [and] was instructed to furnish the men with arms. As they were enlisted for the war, General Lee gave them arms intended for Georgia, which State had no troops to offer except for twelve months.
In December, General Lee ordered the regiment to Fernandina, which was exposed to the Federal naval expeditions. The abandonment of that coast soon followed, and the 24th was ordered, late in February, 1862, to Tennessee. They were not able to start, on account of limited railroad transportation, until late in March. March 31, ordered detained at Chattanooga with command of General S. B. Maxey.
April 9, Maxey ordered to Corinth with 24th Mississippi… Regiment brigaded with Forty-first Georgia and Ninth Texas, under Gen. S. B. Maxey, in Polk’s Corps, at Corinth during the siege. Corinth was evacuated May 29-30, and the army fell back to Tupelo, under command of General Bragg.”
In early July, the 24th marched into Kentucky, where they were likely attached to Col. T. M. Jones’ Brigade, which was in the battle of Perryville, October 1862, suffering heavy casualties. “The Mississippi graves at Cave Hill, Ky., are mainly of the Twenty-fourth and Forty-first Regiments. After this battle the army retreated…to East Tennessee, was transferred to Chattanooga, and thence advanced toward Nashville.”
The 24th was part of Hardee’s Corps through mid-December, when the 24th was moved to Polk’s Corps. About the same time, General E. C. Walthall’s Mississippi brigade was formed, which included the 24th, along with the 27th, 29th, and 30th Regiments.
The men from the 24th were sent to Chattanooga in the summer of 1863. By August, they were in Georgia. In mid-September at Chickamauga, the 24th and the rest of Walthall’s Brigade suffered heavy casualties. Major Staples was severely wounded. Next, these men were in Chattanooga, and by November, at Lookout Mountain.
“…Winter quarters were in the vicinity of Dalton, Georgia. During the Atlanta campaign the 24th and 27th were commanded by Col. Robert P. McKelvaine and Lieut.-Col. William L. Lyles…At the opening of the campaign, Walthall’s Brigade was a part of the division of General Hindman, in Hood’s Corps. Gen. S[tephen]. D. Lee took command of the corps July 27…
After this, through the early days of August, the skirmishing along the division front amounted to almost an engagement for a week, according to Gen. S. D. Lee… From this intrenched line west of Atlanta, the Mississippians moved with Lee’s Corps, August 30, to meet Sherman’s flank march to Jonesboro, where they were in battle August 31….Brantley’s Brigade shared the operations of Lee’s Corps during the October, 1864 campaign against the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad…”
From there, they were with Lee’s Corps in Tennessee – at Columbia, Spring Hill, and then to Franklin on the Harpeth River, where on November 30, Hood made his assault.
“The brigade, after untold hardships, crossed the Tennessee River December 26, and marched to winter quarters near Tupelo, Miss., and was furloughed until February 12, 1865. ..
April 9, Brantley’s Brigade, the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth and Thirty-fourth Mississippi Regiments consolidated in the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Col. R. W. Williamson commanding. This regiment [and others]…constituted the brigade of Gen. W. F. Brantley in D. H. Hill’s Division of S. D. Lee’s Corps. The army was surrendered April 26 and paroled at Greensboro, N. C., soon afterward.”