A History of Co E
15th Alabama Infantry Regiment

 

     Co E was raised at Westville, Dale County, Alabama, in July of 1861. The town of Westville was about a mile west of Lake Tholocco, and just south of Haw Ridge. Both Westville and Haw Ridge are now within the bounds of Ft. Rucker military reservation, their buildings long demolished and their cemeteries either moved or destroyed. 
     "I well remember the day when my company assembled at old Darian Church in Dale County, Alabama, where we bade good bye to our loved ones and took up our march to the battle front in answer to our country’s call. I remember the first night we camped on the banks of Pea River and bathed in its waters and spent this our first night in joyous hilarity."  
                                                                        -- Sgt. Ambrose Newton Edwards, Co E, 15th Alabama Inf. Regt.
    
Darien Church no longer remains. It was listed as a member of the Judson Baptist Association, organized in 1851. The company departed from Westville on 15 July 1861 with 86 men, after a mustering in parade behind the store of Mordecai White (which was also the local post office). During the war, a total of approximately 240 would serve, and only 100 would return. The men who left Westville were outfitted in uniforms made by their wives and mothers, of white osnaburg cloth with blue stripes down the trousers and jacket sleeves. 
     "I remember after three days march we reached old Fort Mitchell near Columbus, Georgia, where we were organized into the 15th Alabama Infantry, my company being known as Co E. Then after a few weeks of company and regimental drill we had orders to go to Virginia, and this was for me a matter of exquisite thrill and interest which cannot be well depicted here."  -- A. N. Edwards

Fort Mitchell is located about 8 miles south of present Phenix City, in Russell County. It was rebuilt by the U.S. army and garrisoned from 1825 until shortly after the Creek War and the Indian Removal. 

     Adjoining Ft. Mitchell was the plantation of James Cantey, the first colonel of the 15th (and later Brigadier General). The regiment was trained on the grounds of the fort.
     Over 900 strong, the 15th moved via train to Virginia, where it joined the main army near Manassas. The men had an opportunity to view the battlefield of 1st Manassas, and the hastily dug graves of the casualties of that battle, some of which had been washed out by the rains. The 15th spent the winter of 1861-62 in Virginia, brigaded with the 21st Georgia, 21st North Carolina, and 16th Mississippi, under Maj. General Crittenden of Kentucky, and after December, Brig. General Isaac R. Trimble. 
     In mid-April of 1862, Ewell's Division, including the 15th Alabama, moved west from Manassas Junction to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in May crossed the ridge into the Shenandoah Valley. There it joined General "Stonewall" Jackson in his illustrious Valley Campaign. Losses were minimal at Front Royal (23 May 1862) and Winchester (25 May); the 15th saw its first real combat at Cross Keys (8 June), where 9 were killed, including Lt. Wesley B. Mills of Co E. 
     Moving to Richmond in late June of 1862, the 15th participated in Jackson's flank attack on McClellan's forces. Losses at 1st Cold Harbor (27-28 June) were 34 KIA and 110 wounded. Four days later, the 15th lost 4 KIA at Malvern Hill. It was engaged at Hazel River and Manassas Junction on the 22nd of August, suffering 6 killed; and again at 2nd Manassas (30 August), losing 21 KIA. On 1 September at Chantilly, the 15th lost 4 KIA, then took part in the investment of Harper's Ferry with slight losses. At Sharpsburg (17 September), there were 9 KIA and at Fredericksburg, 1 KIA. The regiment had lost all of its field grade officers at 2nd Manassas, and at Sharpsburg, the 15th was commanded for the first time by Capt. William Oates (it was briefly commanded by Capt. Isaac B. Feagin of Barbour's Co B, until he was wounded). In 1862, the regiment had marched over 1000 miles and participated in 17 engagements. 
    In January of 1863, the 15th was placed in Gen. Evander McIver Law's Alabama Brigade, along with the 4th, 44th, 47th and 48th Alabama Regiments. It lost 4 killed and 18 wounded on detached duty at Suffolk through May.
     In July, the regiment took part in the assault on Gettysburg (1-3 July) with Hood's Division. Within a few minutes, it lost 72 KIA, 190 wounded and 81 MIA of 644 men engaged. The following is Col. Oates' official report:

June 3-August 1, 1863 -- The Gettysburg Campaign.
No. 444.--Report of Col. William C. Oates, Fifteenth Alabama Infantry.

AUGUST 8, 1863.

     SIR: I have the honor to report, in obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, the participation of my regiment in the battle near Gettysburg on the 2d ultimo.
     My regiment occupied the center of the brigade when the line of battle was formed. During the advance, the two regiments on my right were moved by the left flank across my rear, which threw me on the extreme right of the whole line. I encountered the enemy's sharpshooters posted behind a stone fence, and sustained some loss thereby. It was here that Lieut. Col. Isaac B. Feagin, a most excellent and gallant officer, received a severe wound in the right knee, which caused him to lose his leg. Privates (A.) Kennedy, of Company B, and (William) Trimner, of Company G, were killed at this point, and Private (G. E.) Spencer, Company D, severely wounded.
     After crossing the fence, I received an order from Brigadier-General Law to left-wheel my regiment and move in the direction of the heights upon my left, which order I failed to obey, for the reason that when I received it I was rapidly advancing up the mountain, and in my front I discovered a heavy force of the enemy. Besides this, there was great difficulty in accomplishing the maneuver at that moment, as the regiment on my left (Forty-seventh Alabama) was crowding me on the left, and running into my regiment, which had already created considerable confusion. In the event that I had obeyed the order, I should have come in contact with the regiment on my left, and also have exposed my right flank to an enfilading fire from the enemy. I therefore continued to press forward, my right passing over the top of the mountain, on the right of the line.
     On reaching the foot of the mountain below, I found the enemy in heavy force, posted in rear of large rocks upon a slight elevation beyond a depression of some 300 yards in width between the base of the mountain and the open plain beyond. I engaged them, my right meeting the left of their line exactly. Here I lost several gallant officers and men.
     After firing two or three rounds, I discovered that the enemy were giving way in my front. I ordered a charge, and the enemy in my front fled, but that portion of his line confronting the two companies on my left held their ground, and continued a most galling fire upon my left.
     Just at this moment, I discovered the regiment on my left (Forty-seventh Alabama) retiring. I halted my regiment as its left reached a very large rock, and ordered a left-wheel of the regiment, which was executed in good order under fire, thus taking advantage of a ledge of rocks running off in a line perpendicular to the one I had just abandoned, and affording very good protection to my men. This position enabled me to keep up a constant flank and cross fire upon the enemy, which in less than five minutes caused him to change front. Receiving reinforcements, he charged me five times, and was as often repulsed with heavy loss. Finally, I discovered that the enemy had flanked me on the right, and two regiments were moving rapidly upon my rear and not 200 yards distant, when, to save my regiment from capture or destruction, I ordered a retreat.
     Having become exhausted from fatigue and the excessive heat of the day, I turned the command of the regiment over to Capt. B. A. Hill, and instructed him to take the men off the field, and reform the regiment and report to the brigade.
     My loss was, as near as can now be ascertained, as follows, to wit: 17 killed upon the field, 54 wounded and brought off the field, and 90 missing, most of whom are either killed or wounded. Among the killed and wounded are 8 officers, most of whom were very gallant and efficient men.

Recapitulation.--Killed, 17; wounded, 54; missing, 90; total, 161.

               I am, lieutenant, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                                 W. C. OATES,
                                                                 Colonel, Commanding Fifteenth Alabama Regiment

Lieut. B.O. PETERSON,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A COMPILATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES. SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII--IN THREE PARTS. PART II--REPORTS. S# 44. pp. 392-3.


     Losses were slight at Battle Mountain, after which the 15th transferred to the West and fought with Braxton Bragg's army. The regiment lost 19 KIA at Chickamauga (19-20 September), and 15 KIA at Brown's Ferry (28 October) and Lookout Valley. At Knoxville (17 November-4 December) there were 6 KIA, followed by slight losses at Bean's Station on 23 December.
     In 1864, the remaining 450 men of the 15th joined the fighting at The Wilderness (5-7 May), and Spotsylvania (8-18 May), suffering 18 KIA and 48 wounded. At Hanover Court House and 2nd Cold Harbor (1-12 June), casualties were 6 KIA. In the defence of Petersburg, the 15th lost a third of its 275 men at Deep Bottom (14-18 August), and at Fussell's Mill, 13 KIA and 90 wounded. 
     Of 1633 men, over 260 were KIA, another 440 died of disease and other causes, and 231 were transferred out or discharged. 170 men of the 15th surrendered at Appomattox. 2nd Lt. James R. Edwards commanded Co E at the surrender. 

Field and Staff Officers

Col. James Cantey Russell County Promoted
Col. John Fletcher Treutlen Barbour County Resigned 28 April 1861
Col. William Calvin Oates Henry County Wounded Brown's Ferry
Col. Alexander A. Lowther Russell County Wounded Fussell's Mill
Lt. Col. John Fletcher Treutlen Barbour County Promoted
Lt. Col. Isaac Ball Feagin Barbour County Wounded Gettysburg, retired
Maj. John Wilhite Lewis Daniel Barbour County Resigned 25 January 1862
Maj. Alexander A. Lowther Russell County Wounded The Wilderness, promoted
Adjutant Locke Weems Russell County Died in service 16 July 1862
Adjutant D. B. Waddell   Transferred to line

 

Co.

Nickname

County Captains
A Cantey Rifles Russell Alexander A. Lowther
Locke Weems
Francis Key Shaaf
Promoted
Mortally wounded Gaines Mill
--
B Midway Southern
Guards
Barbour John Wilhite Lewis Daniel
Isaac Ball Feagin
Richard E. Wright
Noah B. Feagin
Promoted
Promoted
Wounded 2nd Manassas & retired
--
C   Macon Peter V. Guerry
James H. Ellison
// LeGrand
KIA 1st Cold Harbor
KIA Gettysburg
--
D Ft. Browder Roughs Barbour // Worthington
Blanton Abram Hill
Died in service
KIA Fussell's Mill
E Beauregards Dale Esau Brooks
William Archibald Edwards
G. A. C. Matthews
// Glover
Resigned 8 February 1862
Resigned 28 August 1863
Wounded near Richmond, retired
KIA Petersburg
F Brundidge
Guards
Pike Benjamin Hutchinson Lewis
George Y. Malone
DeKalb Williams
Resigned 7 February 1862
Wounded 1st Cold Harbor, retired
--
G Henry Pioneers Henry William Calvin Oates
Henry C. Brainard
John C. Oates
D. B. Waddell
Promoted
KIA Gettysburg
Mortally wounded Gettysburg
--
H Glenville Guards Barbour &
Dale
William N. Richardson Captured, East Tennessee
I Quitman Guards Pike Benjamin Gardner
Frank Park
W. H. Strickland
Resigned 15 December 1861
KIA Knoxville
Wounded Fussell's Mill
K Eufaula City Guard;
Eufaula Zouaves
Barbour Henry C. Hart
William J. Bethune
John E. Jones
Resigned 13 September 1862
Wounded Gettysburg
--
L Pike
Sharpshooters
Pike Robert H. Hill
Lee E. Bryan
James J. Hatcher
KIA Cross Keys
Wounded 1st Cold Harbor, retired
--

Battles and Skirmishes - 15th Alabama Infantry

ENGAGEMENT

DATE

Rappahannock River

April 1862

Front Royal

23 May 1862

Winchester

25 May 1862

Cross Keys/Port Republic

8-9 June 1862

1st Cold Harbor/Gaines Mill

27-28 June 1862

Malvern Hill

1 July 1862

Cedar Run

9 August 1862

Rappahannock River 12 August 1862

Hazel River & Manassas Junction

22 August 1862

Groveton 28 August 1862

2nd Manassas

29-30 August 1862

Chantilly

1 September 1862

Harper's Ferry

 14-15 September 1862

Sharpsburg

17 September 1862

Shepherdstown 19 September 1862

Fredericksburg

13 December 1862

Suffolk

28 April - 3 May 1863

Gettysburg

2-3 July 1863

Battle Mountain

 24 July 1863

Chickamauga

19-20 September 1863

Browns Ferry & Lookout Valley

28 October 1863

Campbell's Station 16 November 1863

Knoxville

17 November - 4 December 1863

Bean's Station

23 December 1863

Dandridge 16 January 1864
The Wilderness 5-7 May 1864
Spotsylvania 8 - 18 May 1864
Hanover Court House 25 May 1864
Ashland 31 May 1864
Mechanicsville Rd. 1 June 1864
2nd Cold Harbor 1-12 June 1864
Chester Station 17 June 1864
Petersburg 18 June - 25 July 1864
Deep Bottom 14 August 1864
Fussell's Mill 16 August 1864
Fort Gilmer 29 September 1864
Fort Harrison 30 September 1864
Darbytown Rd. 7 October - 10 December 1864
Appomattox Court House 9 April 1865

Confederate Monument, Ozark, Dale County
Erected in 1903 by the Stonewall Jackson Chapter
of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.