Monday, July 30, 2012

Mississippi at Antietam: Honoring Those Who Fought Here

On Wednesday July 25, 2012, 54 days short of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, which saw more casualties than any other single day in American history, a monument was erected by the Mississippi Memorial Association on private land to the 11th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry.  The 8 foot tall 2.5 foot wide monument, crafted from Georgia light blue-grey granite, is south of Cornfield Avenue, placed on ground the 11th Mississippi shed blood and died on 150 years ago.  It is a fitting tribute to the valor of the southern soldier and joins the Texas and Georgia Monuments in honoring and remembering those who fought for the Confederate States of America on this most hallowed ground.

The 11th Mississippi Volunteer infantry, recruited from northern counties of the state, was organized in Corinth, Mississippi  and mustered into Confederate service on May 4, 1861.  At least two of the regiments ten companies, the University Greys and the Lamar Rifles, were comprised, in part, of students from the University of Mississippi.  By mid May the 11th Mississippi and a sister regiment the 2nd Mississippi, were in route to the eastern front, arriving in Harpers Ferry, Virginia on May 16, 1861. The regiment saw action at the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, 1861.  They fought with the Army of Northern Virginia throughout the spring and summer campaign in Virginia before marching into Maryland in early September 1862. 

 At Antietam the 11th Mississippi was brigaded with the 2nd Mississippi and a regiment from Alabama and North Carolina as part of Colonel Evander M. Laws Brigade of Brigadier General John Bell Hood's Division.  On September 17, 1862, " Law's Brigade advanced from the woods at the Dunkard Church at 7 A.M. and relieved Trimble's Brigade across the Smoketown Road south of the cornfield. Gradually gaining ground to the left, its center on the open ground and its right in the East Woods, it assisted in repulsing the advance of Ricketts' Division, First Corps. Supported on the right by the 21st Georgia of Trimble's Brigade and the 5th Texas of Wofford's Brigade, it advanced to the northeast corner of Miller's Cornfield and the woods adjacent, from which it was dislodged by the advance of the Twelfth Corps. It withdrew to the fields south of the Dunkard Church and was not again engaged" (text from War Dept tablet # 330).   

                                            (from Antietam on the Web)

Both the 2nd and 11th Mississippi was in the thick of the fighting on land in and around D. R. Miller's famous cornfield at Antietam on September 17, 1862.  The 11th Mississippi battle flag was captured by the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  The 2nd lost 27 killed and 127 wounded while the 11th lost 8 killed and 96 wounded.  The 11th's losses included Colonel Philip F. Liddell (mw), L. Colonel Samuel F. Butler (mw), and  Major Taliaferro S. Evans, killed. 

                                                 (from Lamar Rifles website)

According to the Monroe Journal the 11th Mississippi Monument is scheduled to be dedicated on August 19, 2012 at 4:00 p. m.   Dignitaries from the state of Mississippi and Antietam National Battlefield will speak at the dedication.  

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