This coming Monday and Tuesday will mark the 153rd anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War for the Confederate military unit from Conecuh County.
On Sept. 19-20, 1863, Confederate forces under the command of Braxton Bragg clashed with U.S. forces under the command of William Rosecrans at the Battle of Chickamauga in northwest Georgia. This battle resulted in a Confederate victory but was costly for Co. E of the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Also known as the “Conecuh Guards,” this unit was organized at Sparta on April 1, 1861.
At the Battle of Chickamauga, a total of 3,969 men on both sides of the fight were killed and another 24,430 were wounded. More than a few members of the Conecuh Guards were among those numbers.
According to B.F. Riley’s 1881 book, “The History of Conecuh County, Alabama,” four members of the Conecuh Guards were killed at the Battle of Chickamauga – George Downs, Thomas Briley, James Dubose and John D. Shaver. Frank Kirk, a former member of the Conecuh Guards, was also killed that day while serving with the 38th Alabama Regiment.
Five other members of the Conecuh Guards were wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga, but all of them would live to see the end of the war. Among the wounded were First Sergeant Andrew J. Mosley, Color Sergeant G.R. Boulware, Sgt. John Q. Dunham, W.D. Booker and John D. Hyde.
Mosley must have been one tough character because his wounds at Chickamauga were among many he received throughout the war. During the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, he was wounded in the head and arm. Almost two years later, on July 2, 1863, on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was again wounded. Almost a year later, on May 9, 1864, at the Battle of Spotsylvania, he was wounded again. Despite his many wounds, he did survive the war and eventually moved to Falls County, Texas.
Boulware was wounded in the side and arm and had his left arm amputated at Chickamauga. Boulware returned to Conecuh County to recover from his wounds. Many men would have put up their marching boots at that point, but instead, records show that Boulware joined the Confederate Secret Service on Dec. 1, 1863 (some sources say Jan. 11, 1864), and he served with that clandestine organization all the way through the end of the war in April 1865. He died on Sept. 28, 1922 and is buried in the Brooklyn Baptist Church Cemetery.
Booker’s wounds from Chickamauga were severe and disabled him for life. He was able to eventually return to Conecuh County.
Hyde, who’d been wounded in June 1862 at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill and would again be wounded in 1864 during a skirmish near Richmond, Va., also returned to Conecuh County after the war. Dunham survived the war and died in Madison County, Fla. in 1878.
Also during the Battle of Chickamauga, 1,468 Confederates were listed as captured or missing. Among their number was Isadore Goldstein of the Conecuh Guards, who was taken prisoner and remained in prison until after the war. Once the war was over, he moved to Pennsylvania.
Also at the Battle of Chickamauga was Lewis Lavon Peacock of Rocky Head in Dale County, who turned 19 years old on the second day of the battle. Serving with Hilliard’s Legion, which lost more than half of its number at Chickamauga, he survived the battle without a scratch. He lived to the ripe old age of 75 and is buried at Flat Rock. (If he’d been killed at Chickamauga, someone other than his great-great-great-grandson would have written this column.)
In the end, if you’ve got any other information about the men mentioned above, I’d like to hear about it. You can contact me at The Courant at 578-1492 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me by mail at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401.