15th Alabama Infantry Regiment

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15th Alabama Regiment
15th Alabama Regiment.jpg
Colonel William C. Oates

This regiment organized at Fort Mitchell in the summer of 1861, and moved at once into Virginia. Joining the main army near Manassas, it was brigaded with the 21st Georgia, 21st North Carolina, and 16th Mississippi, under Gen. G. B. Crittenden of Kentucky; Gen I. R. Trimble succeeding Crittenden in December. When the army moved over to Yorktown, the Fifteenth remained on the Shenandoah, in Gen. T. J. Jackson's division. It was engaged with slight loss at Front Royal and Winchester, but lost 9 killed and 33 wounded, out of 425, at Cross Keys. Moving over to Richmond, in Jackson's flank movement on McClellan, it entered the first battle of Cold Harbor with 412 men, and lost 34 killed and 110 wounded. Five days after, it suffered lightly at Malvern Hill. On the march in Maryland, it was engaged at Hazel River and Manassas Junction with a loss of 6 killed and 22 wounded. A day or two later, the Fifteenth participated in the second and greater battle of Manassas, losing 21 killed and 91 wounded out of 440 men engaged. At Chantilly the regiment lost 4 killed and 14 wounded, and took part in the investment of Harper's Ferry, with trivial loss. At Sharpsburg, of 300 engaged, 9 were killed and 75 wounded. Under fire at Fredericksburg, the casualties were one killed and 34 wounded. The Fifteenth was then placed in a brigade under Gen. Law (with the Fourth, Forty-fourth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Alabama regiments), Longstreet's corps. At Suffolk it lost 4 killed and 18 wounded. It took part in the grand assault of Hood's division on Gettysburg, and within a few minutes lost 72 killed, 190 wounded, and 81 missing out of 644 men engaged. The Fifteenth suffered lightly at Battle Mountain, and, transferred to the West, bore its colors proudly at Chickamauga, where it lost 19 killed and 123 wounded, out of 425 engaged. In the fierce fights at Brown's Ferry and Lookout Valley, the regiment lost 15 killed and 40 wounded. Six killed and 21 wounded at Knoxville, and light casualties at Bean's Station, closed the operations of the regiment in Tennessee. It took 450 men in at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, and lost 18 killed and 48 wounded. At Hanover Junction and the second Cold Harbor the loss was 6 killed and 16 wounded, and then the regiment took its place in the "last ditch" at Petersburg. At Deep Bottom a third of its 275 men present were killed or wounded, and at Fussell's Mill the loss was 13 killed and 90 wounded. The Fifteenth took part in the subsequent severe fighting, and surrendered at Appomattox 170 strong. Of 1633 on the rolls, over 260 fell in battle, 440 died in the service, and 231 were transferred or discharged.

Field and Staff

Colonels - James Cantey of Russell; promoted. John F. Treutlen of Barbour; resigned. William C. Oates of Henry; wounded at Brown's Ferry. A. A. Lowther of Russell; wounded at Fussell's Mill.

Lieutenant Colonels - J. F. Treutlen; promoted. Isaac B. Feagan of Barbour; wounded at Gettysburg; retired.

Majors - J. W. L. Daniel of Barbour; resigned. A. A. Lowther; wounded at Wilderness; promoted.

Adjutants - Locke Weems of Russell; transferred to line. DeB. Waddell; transferred to line.

Captains, and Counties from Which the Companies Came.

Russell - A. A. Lowther; promoted. Locke Weems; mortally wounded at Gaines' Mill. F. K. Shaaf.

Barbour - Isaac B. Feagan; promoted. R. A. Wright; wounded at second Manassas; retired. Noah B. Feagan.

Macon - Peter V. Guerry; killed at first Cold Harbor. J. H. Ellison; killed at Gettysburg; .... Guerry.

Barbour - .... Worthington; died in the sevice. B. A. Hill; killed at Fussell's Mill.

Dale - E. Brooks; resigned. W.A. Edwards; resigned. G. A. C. Mathews; wounded near Richmond; retired. .... Glover; killed at Petersburg.

Pike - B. F. Lewis; resigned. Geo. Y. Malone; wounded at first Cold Harbor; retired. DeKalb Williams.

Henry - W.C. Oates; promoted. Henry C. Brainard; killed at Gettysburg. John A. Oates; died of wounds received at Gettysburg. DeB. Waddell.

Barbour and Dale - W. N. Richardson; captured in east Tennessee. Benjamin Gardner; resigned.

Pike - Frank Park; killed at Knoxville. W. H. Strickland; wounded at Fussell's Mill.

Barbour - Henry C. Hart; transferred to department duty. W. J. Bethune; wounded at Gettysburg.

Pike (March 1862) - .... Hill; killed at Cross Keys. Lee Bryan; wounded at first Cold Harbor; retired. Jas. Hatcher.

Losses by Engagement
BATTLE/SKIRMISH:              DATE:                      CASUALTIES:
Front Royal                           May 23, 1862            Slight Loss

Winchester                           May 25, 1862            Slight Loss
Cross Key                            June 8, 1862              9-k, 33-w, 426 engaged

1st Battle of Cold Harbor        June 27-28 '62           34-k, 110-w, 412 engaged

Malvern Hill                           July 1, 1862              Slight Loss

Hazel River and                     Aug. 30, 1862            6-k, 22-w
  Manassas Junction  

2nd Battle of Manassas         Aug. 30, 1862            21-k, 91-w, 440 engaged

Chantilly                               Sept. 1, 1862             4-k, 14-w

Investment of                                                        Slight losses
  Harper's Ferry

Sharpsburg (Antietam)          Sept. 17, 1862            9-k, 75-w, 300 engaged

Fredricksburg                       Dec. 15, 1862            1-k, 34-w

Suffolk                                 May 1863                  1-k, 18-w

Gettysburg                          July 1-3, 1863             72-k, 190-w, 81-m, 644 engaged
Battle Mountain                                                     Slight losses

Chickamauga                      Sept. 19-20, 1863        19-k, 123-w, 425 engaged

Brown's Ferry &                   Oct. 27, 1863               6-k, 21-w
  Lookout Valley

Knoxville                             Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 1863     6-k, 20-w

Bean's Station                     Dec. 14, 1863              Slight losses

Sources: archives.state.al.us; Ohio State University


Recommended Reading: Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates, by Glenn W. LaFantasie. Booklist: This excellent, scholarly biography deals with a man best known as Joshua Chamberlain's principal opponent on Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Like his famous opponent, the 15th Alabama Regiment's commander, William C. Oates, knew the art of the infantry officer. Born when much of his native Alabama was still frontier, he survived six wounds, including the loss of his right arm. After the war, he was a distinguished and eventually wealthy lawyer and state politician as well as a thoroughly unreconstructed rebel with a notoriously hot temper. Continued below…

Yet he made a scandal at the end of his career when, at a state constitutional convention, he advocated no racial limitations on voting rights… A valuable addition to the Civil War shelves. About the Author: Glenn W. LaFantasie is the Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History and the Director of the Center for the Civil War in the West at Western Kentucky University. He is the bestselling author of Twilight at Little Round Top. He has also written for several magazines and newspapers, including American History, North & South, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, The New York Times Book Review, America's Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, and The Providence Journal.

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