This document for personal use only!
Posted February 17, 1997 by Steven L. Driskell.

2. Organization by Captain Wilson P. Howell

Organization of the Ten Companies of the 25th Alabama Regiment and later the forming the regiment in 1861

This regiment was composed of ten companies: the companies approximately containing one hundred men each.

Major John D. Loomis of ---------- Alabama (Coosa County) organized the first Alabama Battalion of Infantry composed of the following companies:

Company A

Captain M. Harpers Company which was known as Company A in the organization of the regiment was raised in Covington County.  Captain Harper was killed in our first battle Shiloh.   This company was commanded after that for a while by a German by the name of Charles Corege and later by Bushrod W. Bell, till the close of the war.

Company B

Company B was raised by Captain John B. Curtis of Pike County. Captain Curtis did not remain long with the regiment.   His successor was Captain N. B. Rouse who was promoted to Major just before the close of the war.

Company C

Company C was raised in Shelby County, at and near Columbiana by Captain Wiley H. Pope.  His Lieutenants were Willis Pledger, Scofield, and Gardner.  Scofield was killed in the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee in December 1862.  Captain Pope being an old man and too frail to stand the service, soon resigned and Willis Pledger became his successor and remained in command of the company until the close of the war.

Company D

Company D was raised in St. Clair County by Captain A. W. Nixon.  The Lieutenant was H. Lewis Morris.  Captain Nixon soon resigned and Lt. Morris [1] became Captain and remained in command till the end.

Company E

Company E was raised in Pickens County by Captain D. M. Richards [2].  This company was organized at Providence in the above said county in September 1861.  The Lieutenants were W. C. Gibson, J. J. Richardson, and W. Shilton.

These companies were organized in the First Alabama Battalion at Ft. Gaines, Alabama in September 1861.  Mustered into the service of the Confederate Army by Major John D. Loomis who had served in the war with Mexico.

Wm. B. McGlellan of Talladega who before the war was a Brigadier General in the State Militia organized at Newoka Campground (Talladega County) in October 1861 a battalion of four companies to wit.

Company F

Company F as it was known in the regiment was raised by the popular and now well known Wm. A. Handley [3] of Roanoke, Alabama.  This company was organized at Louina (?) in Randolph County by Captain Handley.   The Lieutenants in this company were David Harris, J. T. Manning (?) and Gasden.

Captain Handley resigned the second year of the war and his brother F. M. Handley [4] a Cadet from the State University became Captain of the company and remained on till the -----.

Company G [5]

Company G was organized at Millerville (then Talladega County - now Clay County) by Captain Joseph D. McCann in the summer of 1861.  His Lieutenants were: Archibald A. Patterson 1st Lt. who was killed at the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee in December 1862; T. G. Slaughter 2nd Lt. who has been in the itinerant Ministry of the M. E. Church, South continuously since 1864 and Daniel Brown 3rd Lt.

Company H

Company H was organized by Captain Edwin C. Turner in Talladega County in the summer of 1861.  I can only call to mind now Lt. William Spence, Jr. of that Company.  I think as well as I remember Captain Turner resigned about the middle of 1862 and the Company was commanded by Captain Spence. [6]

Company I

Company I was organized at Oak Level then Calhoun now Cleburne County in July 1861 with Matthew Alexander as Captain, W. P. Howell 1st Lt., Lie Adams 2nd Lt. and James L. Roberts 3rd Lt. [7]

These companies were organized into a Battalion by W. B. McClellan and mustered in the Confederate States Army by General McClellan at Newoka Campground ten miles south of the City of Talladega the 14th of October 1861.

I remember and recall the name Walker Reynolds of that community (a wealthy planter) to whom we were much indebted for supplies (up to the time we were organized into a Battalion, our rations came from the voluntary contributions of the citizens).

On being mustered into the service, General McClellan (as he was called) furloughed the men for six or eight days to visit their homes before taking final leave for the field of actions.

At the end of this time, we reassembled at Newoka and in a day or two embarked for Auburn, Alabama to go into camp of instruction.  The 4 companies boarded the train at Alpine 10 miles below Talladega and ran down to Selma there by boat to Montgomery (there was no railroad from Selma to Montgomery then).  We remained in camp north of the city a few days and over there at the meeting of the Legislations of 1861.  From there we went by rail to Auburn and went in camp of instructions.

Captain Alexander of Company I joined us there.  I, as 1st Lt. having been in command of the company from the time of leaving Oak Level, 24 September.

Colonel John Q. Loomis whose Battalion had been in camp at Fort Gaines and General McClellan (we called hime General because he had been for years Brigadier General of the State Militia) had made arrangements to unite the two Battalions and form a regiment and go in camp together at Mobile.

So the day before Christmas 1861, we struck tents and boarded the train for that place by way of Montgomery.  We reached Montgomery in the early part of the day and remained there till late in the evening. Captain Alexander while in the capital city met an old time friend in the person of Chief Justice Walker of the Supreme Court of Alabama and up this time we had drawn no clothing or blankets from the government neither.  Money and winter was before us, but Judge Walker came generously to our relief by taking Captain Alexander to one of the merchants of the city and purchasing an entire outfit of woolen blankets for the entire company, with the understanding he was to be reimbursed when the men drew their pay from the government which was done in the course of a few months.

Late in the afternoon on Christmas eve, we boarded the train for Mobile (soldiers were transported mainly in freight cars, not in passenger coaches) .  Some of the men were left sick at Auburn and others had taken measles on the way and after traveling all night in box cars without fire (the weather was cold) we reached Mobile early on Christmas morning and we were marched around to some large empty cotton warehouses to spend the day.  And it was the saddest day most of us had ever seen.  We were all intensely home sick and many of the men were sick with measles and camp diseases and our minds would naturaly revert to Christmas we had enjoyed in days gone by at our homes, with family, kindred and friends.  All those things contributed to intensify our grief.

Remaining there a few days we were transferred by steamboat down the bay to the mouth of Dog River and up the river to a suitable camping ground 14 miles southwest of Mobile.  Here the two battalions were united and made the 25th Regiment Alabama Volunteers with John Q. Loomis Colonel, Wm. B. McClellan Lt. Colonel and George D. Johnston who was prior to this time a member of the famous 4th Alabama Regiment in Va., Major.  As well as I now remember a man by the name of Keen was Adjutant.  Here we joined the 19th Alabama Regiment commanded by Colonel Joe Wheeler, who became a cavalry General and went high up the ladder of fame not only as a Confederate Soldier but by his valor and leadership in the Spanish American war.

The 22nd Alabama Regiment also was in camp here. Commanded by Colonel Z. C. Deas who after the Battle of Shiloh was made Brigadier General.  Honorable H. J. ---------- now one of the Federal Judges of Alabama was I believe Major of that Regiment.  These Regiments were formed into a Brigade and commanded by General Gladden who fell mortally wounded at the first attack at Shiloh and soon died and Colonel Deas took command of the Brigade.

Our Regiment up to our camp on Dog river had but 9 companies.  Captain Pierre D. Costello [8] had raised a company in Coffee and Pike Counties and joined us at this place and his company was lettered K.

Here we remained till the first of March 1862.  I am not sure but I think the 26th Alabama Regiment afterword numbered 50th Alabama joined us and commanded by Colonel J. G. Coltart while we were at Mobile [9].

Up to this time, not a single gun had been fired at a Yankee by any member of this command, but our ranks had been thinned out very much by disease and discharges.  I am safe in saying that 75% of the men had not had measles before going to the army and when they broke out in camp, everybody who had not had them at home took sick and a good percent died and many others were disable and discharged.  Among other fatalities we had there, there came a storm one night which killed several men and wounded others.

There was so much sickness among the men that each Regiment had built a temporary hospital.  These buildings were two stories high.  The storm blew down one of these buildings and scattered it like a bird trap (?) and while there were 30 sick men in the second story, not one of them was killed, but several badly wounded.  A sentinel who was on post on the opposite side from the storm was killed out right.

I omitted to mention in the proper place that old Doctor Reese of Selma, Alabama was our Regimental Surgeon who was the father of the well known Warren Reese of Montgomery after the war and who was Mayor of that city several times.

About the 1st of March we were ordered to Corinth, Mississippi. Rosecranns, a federal General, with a heavy force was threatening that place which was an important point to us. The crossing of two main track lines of railroad.  The Mobile and Ohio by the Charlestown and Memphis railroad.  So off we went to Corinth and it was but a short time till a strong force was concentrated there.

Our brigade was attached to General Withers Division. [10]  Federal troops were being concentrated near Pittsburg landing on the Tennesee River 20 miles above us.   And the war clouds grew thick and dark.   The weather was extremely bad and the sickness and death among the soldiers increased.

One little incident I will record here which occured while at Corinth.  Company I which I commanded (Captain Alexander had gone home one leave of absence) was detailed for provost guard in the town.  Among other things, we guarded some Yankee prisoners who had been captured by our scouts.  Among them was a young man above the average in point of intelligence and culture and who was very communicative and gave his name of Frank Sullivan and a Kentuckian.  He expressed an attachment to me and a willingness to take the oath of allegiance and join our army if he could be allowed to join my company.  So after submitting his request and desire to Colonel Loomis he was mustered into the service of the Confederate Army and assigned to my company and soon after the Battle of Shiloh he behaved and fought so gallantly that he was made Orderly Sergeant and was one of most efficient non-commissioned officers the company ever had while he remained with us.  In the summer following when General Bragg started to move his army around to Chattanooga, preparatory to making his Kentucky Campaign, we left Mississippi and traveled by rail by way of Mobile, Montgomery and Atlanta to Chattanooga.

On the way we stopped in Montgomery for a day or two and while there Frank Sullivan our Orderly Sergeant one day got a pass to go in the city and borrowed my watch and hat (I was wearing a citizens summer hat) and he went off to town and from that good (evil) day I have not heard from hat, watch nor Sullivan.

We remained at Corinth till the 1st of April during which time a number of soldiers died and were discharged and quite a lot of the officers of the line resigned.  Among whom were Lieutenants Adams and Roberts of Company I, Lt. Colonel W. B. McClellan resigned about this time on account of his advanced age and disability and Major George D. Johnston became Lt. Colonel. During our stay here the army suffered much from camp sickness coupled with home sickness.

Lt. General Albert Sidney Johnson took command of the army at Corinth.


Notes:

[1] Lewis Morris was wounded and captured at Murfreesboro, wounded at New Hope, and at Franklin.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[2] Captain D. M. Richards was wounded and captured at Missionary Ridge.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[3] Captain Wm. Handley was wounded at Murfreesboro and resigned.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[4] Captain F. M. Handley was wounded at Franklin, Tennessee.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[5] Silas P. Bradford became Captain of Company G.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[6] Captain Spence was wounded at Chickamauga.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[7]  Captain Matthew Alexander resigned; Captain W. P. Howell was wounded at Atlanta and Bentonville.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[8]  Captain Pierre D. Costello was wounded at Shiloh and killed at Murfreesboro.  Daniel C. Monroe succeeded as Captain and was wounded at Chickamauga.  (Alabama Infantry Commands)

[9] The narrative fails to show an organization reported in Official Records, Serial 6, page 819, where the Army of Mobile, on February 1st, 1862, is under command of Brig. Gen. J. M. Whithers.

[10] See Official Records, Serial 11, page 307 and Serial 10, page 383 regarding Army of the Mississippi.  Names of the officers, Official Records, Serial 10, page 538.