15th Alabama Infantry Regiment

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

15th Alabama Infantry Regiment
The 15th Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort Mitchell, Alabama, in August 1861, with eleven companies recruited from Barbour, Dale, Henry, Macon, Pike, and Russell counties. With over 900 men, the regiment was moved into East Tennessee and then Virginia. It joined the main army near Manassas and was brigaded with the 21st Georgia, 21st North Carolina, and 16th Mississippi Regiments under Maj. Gen'l G. B. Crittenden of Kentucky (Brig. Gen'l Isaac R. Trimble succeeded Crittenden in December). When the army moved over to Yorktown, the 15th remained on the Shenandoah in Maj. Gen'l Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson's Division to participate in the Valley Campaign. It was engaged with slight loss at Front Royal (23 May 1862) and Winchester (25 May), but it lost 9 killed and 33 wounded out of 425 engaged at Cross Keys (8 June).
Moving over to Richmond in Jackson's flank attack against Union Maj. Gen'l George B. McClellan, the 15th entered the first battle of Cold Harbor (27-28 June) with 412 men and lost 34 killed and 110 wounded. The regiment suffered slightly at Malvern Hill on 1 July. It was engaged at Hazel River (22 August) and at Manassas Junction with a loss of 6 killed and 22 wounded. The 15th Alabama participated in the 2nd Battle of Manassas (30 August), losing 21 killed and 91 wounded out of 440 men engaged. At Chantilly (1 September), the regiment lost 4 killed and 14 wounded and took part in the investment of Harper's Ferry, with trivial loss. At Sharpsburg (17 September), of 300 men engaged, 9 were killed and 75 wounded. Under fire at Fredericksburg on 15 December, the regiment had casualties of one killed and 34 wounded.
The 15th Alabama was placed in the Alabama Brigade under Gen'l Evander McIver Law (with the 4th, 44th, 47th and 48th Alabama regiments) on 19 January 1863.
On detached duty at Suffolk until May, the regiment lost 4 killed and 18 wounded. Later that summer, the regiment took part in the assault on Gettysburg (1-3 July) with Hood's Division, and within a few minutes lost 72 killed, 190 wounded, and 81 missing of the 644 men engaged. The 15th suffered lightly at Battle Mountain, and, transferred to the West with Braxton Bragg's army, fought at Chickamauga (19-20 September), where it lost 19 killed and 123 wounded, out of 425 engaged. In the fierce fights at Brown's Ferry (27 October) and Lookout Valley, the regiment lost 15 killed and 40 wounded. At Knoxville (17 November-4 December), 6 were killed and 21 wounded; at Bean's Station (14 December), losses were slight.
In 1864, the 15th took 450 men into the fight at The Wilderness (5-7 May) and Spotsylvania (8-18 May) where it lost 18 killed and 48 wounded. At Hanover Court House (30 May) and the 2nd Battle of Cold Harbor (1-12 June), the loss was 6 killed and 16 wounded. During the Petersburg defense, the 15th lost a third of its 275 men at Deep Bottom (14-18 August), and at Fussell's Mill, the loss was 13 killed and 90 wounded. The 15th took part in the subsequent severe fighting and surrendered 170 men at Appomattox. Of 1633 on the rolls, over 260 fell in battle, 440 died in the service, and 231 were transferred or discharged.
Field and staff officers: Cols. James Cantey (Russell County; promoted); John Fletcher Treutlen (Barbour County; resigned, 28 April 1861); William Calvin Oates (Henry County; wounded, Brown's Ferry); Alexander A. Lowther (Russell County; wounded, Fussell's Mill); Lt. Cols. John Fletcher Treutlen (promoted); Isaac Ball Feagin (Barbour County; wounded, Gettysburg, retired, 7 Dec 1864); Majors John Wilhite Lewis Daniel (Barbour County; resigned, 25 Jan 1862); Alexander A. Lowther (wounded, The Wilderness; promoted); and Adjutants Locke Weems (Russell County; died in service, 16 July 1862); D. B. Waddell (transferred to line)

Captains (and the counties from which the companies came)

  • Co. "A", Cantey Rifles (Russell County) -- Alexander A. Lowther (promoted); Locke Weems (mortally wounded, Gaines' Mill); Francis Key Shaaf
  • Co. "B", Midway Southern Guards (Barbour County) -- John Wilhite Lewis Daniel (promoted); Isaac Ball Feagin (promoted); Richard E. Wright (wounded, 2nd Manassas; retired, 8 Aug 1863); Noah B. Feagin
  • Co. "C" (Macon County) -- Peter V. Guerry (KIA, 1st Cold Harbor); James H. Ellison (KIA, Gettysburg); LeGrand
  • Co. "D", Fort Browder Roughs (Barbour County) -- Worthington (died in service); Blanton Aabram Hill (KIA, Fussell's Mill)
  • Co. "E" (Dale County) -- Esau Brooks (resigned, 8 Feb 1862); William A. Edwards (resigned, 28 Aug 1863); G. A. C. Mathews (wounded, near Richmond; retired); Glover (KIA, Petersburg)
  • Co. "F", Brundridge Guards (Pike County) -- Benjamin Hutchinson Lewis (resigned, 7 Feb 1862); George Y. Malone (wounded, 1st Cold Harbor; retired, 18 March 63); DeKalb Williams
  • Co. "G" (Henry County) -- William Calvin Oates (promoted); Henry C. Brainard (KIA, Gettysburg); John C. Oates (mortally wounded, Gettysburg); D. B. Waddell
  • Co. "H", Glenville Guards (Barbour and Dale Counties) -- William N. Richardson (captured, East Tennessee)
  • Co. "I" (Pike County) -- Benjamin Gardner (resigned, 15 Dec 1861); Frank Park (KIA, Knoxville); W. H. Stricklan (wounded, Fussell's Mill)
  • Co. "K", Eufaula City Guard (Barbour County) -- Henry C. Hart (resigned, 13 Sept 1862); William J. Bethune (wounded, Gettysburg); John E. Jones
  • Co. "L" (Pike County) -- Robert H. Hill (KIA, Cross Keys); Lee E. Bryan (wounded, 1st Cold Harbor; retired, 28 March 1863); James J. Hatcher

15th Alabama Infantry Regiment Bibliography

  • Boyd, Casper. "Casper W. Boyd, Company I, 15th Alabama infantry, C.S.A. A casualty of the battle of Cross Keys, Virginia. His last letters written home," in Alabama Historical Quarterly, XXIII (1961), 291-299
  • Cody, Barnett Hardeman. "Letters of Barnett Hardeman Cody and others,1861-1864," in Georgia Historical Quarterly, XXIII (1939), 265-299, 362-380
  • Ellison, Joseph M. "War letters (1862)," in Georgia Historical Quarterly, XLVIII (1964), 229-238
  • Houghton, Mitchell Bennett. From the beginning until now. Montgomery, 1914
  • Houghton, William Robert, and Houghton, Mitchell B. Two boys in the Civil War and after. Montgomery : Paragon Press, 1912 [Reprinted, microfiche]
  • William C. Jordan. Some events and incidents during the Civil War. Montgomery : Paragon Press, 1909 [Reprinted, microfiche]
  • Lary, Samuel D. "Sam Lary's 'Scraps from my knapsack,'" in Alabama Historical Quarterly, XVIII (1956), 499-525
  • McClendon, William Augustus. Recollections of war times, by an old veteran while under Stonewall Jackson and Lieutenant General James Longstreet. How I got in and how I got out. Montgomery : Paragon Press, 1909 [Reprinted, Carrollton, MS : Pioneer Pub Co., 1997; reprinted, microfiche]
  • Oates, William C. "Gettysburg, the battle on the right," in Southern Historical Society Papers, VI (1878) 172-182
  • Oates, William C. The War between the Union and the Confederacy and its lost opportunities, with a history of the 15th Alabama regiment and the forty-eight battles in which it was engaged. New York : Neale Pub. Co., 1905 [Reprinted, Dayton, OH : Morningside Press, 1985; reprinted, microfiche]
  • Youngblood, William. "Unwritten history of the Gettysburg campaign," in Southern Historical Society Papers, XXXVIII (1910), 312-318

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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