English's Independent Company of Mounted Infantry
Note: This newspaper article comes from a photocopy of the article at the archives, transcribed by Robert McMillan. The actual date of the article is unknown.
The photo is of Thomas Cassander English, 1819-1884, Captain of English's Cavalry. Used by permission of Patti Hall (photo originally from Charles J. Torrey III).
***Tri State News Section of The Mobile Register*****
SURVIVOR OF FINAL CIVIL WAR BATTLES TELLS OF HEROISM OF CONFEDERATE MEN
CH Driesbach, of Baldwin County. One of the Few Veterans Left, Relates how Flag Bearer, Although Mortally Wounded, Held His Banner Aloft and Tried to Give Famous Rebel Yell, Gives Graphic Description of Closing Combats In Alabama
Special to the Register: Bay Minette, Ala., Jan 27- With his form as erect as the day when he first donned the uniform of Gray to fight for a cause he believed was right, but with father time gradually lessening the virile resistance that once characterized this Son of the South, CH Driesbach, of Baldwin County, and one of the few survivors that marked the closing of the Civil War, graphically relates events leading up to what was said to be the last battle in this section.
History relates to the generation that followed the war descriptions of the decisive battles, but as Mr. Driesbach says, little is said about some of the closing combats that proved vital to the South and where many Alabama Heroes 'went west', whose names are cherished by those who survived, but whose identity has been lost in the cataclysm that followed. It was on April 11, 1865, according to Mr. Driesbach that one of the last battles of the Civil War was fought near here and although strongly outnumbered by the federal troops, a strong resistance was put up. It was in this battle he recalls, that Harry Davis, the flag bearer of the Confederate Soldiers, although mortally wounded propped himself up against a tree and held his flag aloft and vainly tried to give the 'Rebel Yell'. The Battle occurred in Monroe County when what was estimated 3000 federal troops under the command of Lucus clashed with the 15th Cavalry commanded by LT Col Myers and a company of Mounted Infantry, commanded by Capt TC English. Captain English was a brother to General McClelland, It was English' company Mr. Driesbach was a member of and one of the few survivors after the engagement.
"Our Company was guarding a bridge on Little River, between Baldwin and Monroe counties", Mr. Driesbach says, "while the 15th Cavalry, or rather part of it was at Claiborne, Monroe County. On the morning of April 11, 1865. General Lucus and his men were coming up the Highway from Stockton. The Confederate Troops came together at what is now known as Eliska. The federals numbered about 3000 and the Confederates had something like 200. Arrangements had been madebetween Captain Barlow and Colonel Myers that Capt Barlows company should make a detour and reach the rear of the enemy and advance in echelon formation. The strength of the enemy was not known at the time. Colonel Myers decided to wait and attack the enemy in front."
"Shortly after Barlow left on his mission, Arrington's company of the 15thCav, used as an advance Guard met the enemy and it was plainly seen they were outnumbered. Col Myers then gave the command to charge and at the same time the 'rebel yell' went up. We drove the advance guard back to about 1/4 of a mile when we came in contact with the enemy consisting of about 3000 men.The fighting was fierce, continued for about 20 minutes, when we were forced to retire. Harry Davis the flag bearer was shot in about 20 feet of where I was at, and getting off his horse, sat down by a pine tree and was last seen holding the flag aloft".
Several were killed.
"Besides several being killed about 50 of our men were captured. In the retreat William HH Greenwood and myself accompanied the few of the REGT, which was left to a rendezvous near Claiborne, Al. About April 20 all troops in south Al were ordered to Gainesville to be paroled. Davis the Flag bearer was buried on what is now known as the home of Capt CA Marriot." "My experience during the war, like many another rebel, has been sometimes dark and sometimes bright. I sometimes hear the boys who have gone before tapping on my chamber door calling 'Come o're, Come o're'.
Following is the official muster roll of Capt English's company that participated in the final battles:
Oct 3 1864
TC English, Capt:
TP Atkinson, 1st LT:
Jonathon English, 2nd LT:
Joseph Booth 3rd LT:
JF Boyles, 1st SGT:
Joel Bullard, 2nd SGT:
H McKenzie, 3rd SGT:
TJ Booth, 4th SGT:
John H Fry 5th Sgt.:
James Earle. 1st CPL:
James Singleton, 2nd Cpl.:
Charles Engish, 3rd Cpl:
TR Dean 4th Cpl.
John R Coone,
John Greenwood Jr,
John A Norwood,
John W Shomo,
A McG Weatherford,
John L White,
John D Weatherford,
Note from Robert McMillan:
I Hunted all of my life on the plantation of Capt Marriott, where the Flag Bearer is said to be buried. Capt Marriot was a Yankee carpetbagger who came down after the war. Local story goes that he took a southern girl back up north after the war, and that she was not happy up there so he bought the plantation between Eliska and Purdue Hill and brought her south to try and make her happy. Story goes that no one would help them with transportation between the railroad at Atmore(?) and their home in Monroe Co. The Capt is buried outside his old home, which we used for a camp house. I did not know about the Confederate when we hunted up there, but I plan to go and see if there is a stone for him in one of the few graveyards on the property. If there is not, I plan to try and get one.Sometime in the future Fort Blakeley Camp #1864 SCV will have a dedication service, if permission is granted from the current landowner.