“W,” 4th Alabama Infantry, On the Battle and Casualties

5 01 2022


All honor to the brave and gallant men of this noble Regiment! Every Alabamian had reason to be proud of their self-sacrificing patriotism and undaunted valor in the battle of Sunday, July 21st, at Manassas. Every one who can appreciate the highest achievements of courage, must have his bosom to swell with admiration at the contemplation of the cool, firm, dauntless courage, with which the officers and men of the Fourth Alabama, in open field, maintained their ground, without breastworks or entrenchments, for two hours, under the galling fire of three Regiments of United States Regulars (sixteen hundred men), and three Regiments of Volunteers – numbering together about six thousand men, all well equipped with the best arms, having the vantage of ground, and attacking them in front and on both flanks simultaneously. So fixed was their determination to conquer or die, that they stood their ground for an hour after an order had been sent from Gen. Johnston or Bee for them to retreat. – High upon the roll of their country’s heroes, indelibly on the tablet of their country’s memory, deep in the recesses of their country’s heart, will be inscribed their “noble deeds and daring high!”

Surprise has been expressed that the newspapers and their reporters have almost entirely ignored the important part that was performed by the Fourth Alabama in the achievement of the glorious victory at Manassas. It has, generally, been dismissed with the mere notice that it fought gallantly and suffered terribly, adding the names of the wounded regimental officers. We learn, indirectly, from high authority, that this Regiment stayed the progress of the enemy, and prevented their turning our left flank, until the opportune arrival of Gen. Kirby Smith, with four Regiments from Winchester, caused a panic in the enemy’s ranks, put them to flight and gave us the victory. We cannot, therefore, believe the omission to give the Fourth a promi…[line missing]… but has arisen, probably, from two causes: that Gen. Bee commanding the brigade to which the Fourth belonged, was killed, and all the regimental officers, Col. Jones, Lieutenant Colonel Law and Major Scott, were all badly wounded, and could make no report, and the Regiment had no newspaper reporter in its ranks. We doubt not that official reports and newspapers will yet do our gallant boys full justice.

We return our thanks to a distinguished Alabamian, recently from Richmond, who sent us the following communication, in which he gives the only full list, we have seen, of the number of killed and wounded in the Fourth Alabama regiment, and pays a just and glowing tribute to these gallant defenders of our rights, liberties and lives. It will be perceived that the loss in killed and wounded, amounts to one hundred and eighty two – about one-fifth or one-sixth of the whole number, bearing mournful attestation to their unconquerable courage and desperate determination to win the day:

Richmond, July 29, 1861.

Although this Regiment suffered more than any other that was engaged in the battle, and covered itself and the State with immortal honor, but little has as yet been said about it in the papers. The following is a correct statement of the numbers of killed and wounded in the different companies:

Companies (K = Killed, W = Wounded)

Capt. Goldsby, Dallas County, 7K, 17W

Capt. Mastin, Perry County, 1K, 4W

Capt. Clark, Perry County, 3K,17W

Capt. Tracy, Madison County, 6K, 14W           

Capt. Dawson, Dallas County, 4K, 17W

Captain McFarland, Lauderdale County, 10K, 23W

Captain Bowles, Conecuh County, 3K, 17W

Captain Lindsey, Jackson County, 1K, 7W

Captain King, Perry County, 0K, 5W

Captain Dryer, Marengo County, 1K, 12W

Total, 36K 143W

All three of the field officers, Colonel Jones, Lieutenant Colonel Law and Major Scott, were wounded; making total killed thirty-six, sounded one hundred forty-six; together one hundred and eighty-two.

Among the killed are the following officers: Capt. Lindsey, of Jackson; First Lieutenant J. C. Turner, of Huntsville; and First Lieutenant John Simpson, Jr., of Florence.

Owing to its particularly exposed position, Capt. McFarland’s company, from Lauderdale county, suffered more severely than any other of the Regiment, or, indeed, in the whole army. Out of fifty-eight men in line when the battle began, ten were killed on the field and twenty-three wounded, leaving but twenty-five unhurt, and of those nearly every man was either struck by a spent ball or had holes shot through his hat or clothes. The following is a list of killed and wounded in this company:

Killed – First Lieutenant John Simpson, Jr. Privates Lucius Lorance, W. T. N. Smith, Z. Joes, F. G. Bourland, R. T. Borough, Wm. Andrews, Thos. Stone, Pulaski Calicut, and J. Zills.

Wounded – Orderly Sergeant H. O. Pettus. Corporal McDonald (badly). Privates James Jackson (severely). N. F. Briggs, C. D. Stewart, Marion Horne (badly). S. B. Waite, C. Weems, W. Moss, R. W. Foster, Alex. McAlexander (severely), Thos. Kirkman, Jr., John C. Posey (severely), Muncel Rice, Robt. Andrews, Jason Hendrix, Henry Richardson, Geo. Weaver, C. Rowell, Wm. Scott, B. B. Foster, — Whitten and — Terry.

Throughout the battle, the whole Regiment, both officers and men, behaved nobly. The disadvantages of their position were terrible. – Owing, it is said, to some mistake in the transmission of an order from Gen. Bee, they were made to assume a position in front of the enemy outnumbering them four to one, and with every conceivable disadvantage of ground against them. In the face of thus fearful odds, they stood for three hours under the murderous fire which the enemy, with his overwhelming numbers and from his comparatively protected position, poured upon them. With heroic constancy they held their ground, held in check the advancing column of the enemy; not a man left the ranks, and no thought of retreat was given to retire. It may be safely asserted that never did veterans of a hundred fields exhibit more undaunted courage and more unshaken firmness. Col. Jones greatly distinguished himself by his cool and collected courage and fearless exposure of his person, throughout the conflict. His horse was shot from under him and a ball passed through his hip, wounding him severely, but not mortally. Lieutenant Colonel Law and Major Scott was, also, conspicuous – they were both wounded and disabled.

For the first time in her history, the soldiers of Alabama have stood under the fire of the enemy, and nobly have they sustained the honor of the State. Since the battle, Gen. Beauregard has been known to speak warmly in terms of special praise for the heroic firmness and gallant conduct of the Fourth Alabama Regiment. The troops opposed to them were the very flower of the Northern army – the Seventy-First New York and Rhode Island Regiments and some companies of United States Regulars. The thinned ranks of those troops will show how well our brave boys handled their guns. We do not doubt that all of our Alabama Regiments will do well wherever an opportunity presents, but we may venture to predict that none of them will ever surpass the Spartan constancy, the heroic courage, displayed by the gallant Fourth on the bloody field of Manassas.


Capt. T. Fearn Erskine, who has just returned from Richmond, has favored us with the following list of killed and wounded in the Huntsville Companies, in the Manassas battle:

North Alabamians, Capt. Tracy.

Killed – James E. Keys, Wm. T. Landman, Geo. T. Anderson, Jas. A. Preston, J. J. Buffington and Wm. H. Arnold.

Wounded – Lieutenant J. A. Lanier, Edward Spence (since died), Fielding Bradford, James Bailey, Wm. Forester, Wm. M. Lowe, J. R. Hawkins, Peyton King, P. Lee Hammond and Crawford M. Humphrey.

Huntsville Guards, Capt. Mastin

Killed – Lieutenant Jas. Camp Turner.

Wounded – Lieutenant Wm. H. Taylor, G. D. Wilkerson, Jas. N. Drake, Thos. Barham, Jas. Stone, Robt. Hilburn and Frank Trainer.

By the latest accounts, the wounded, generally, were doing well.

The (Huntsville, AL) Democrat, 7/31/1861

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