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Thirteenth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Thirteenth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war.

The regiment organized on July 29, 1861, in Greene County with companies from Phillips, St. Francis, Poinsett, Lawrence, Greene, Crittenden, and Craighead counties. One company in the regiment was from Missouri. James Tappan was selected as the first colonel of the regiment.

The regiment moved to Belmont, Missouri, and camped on the banks of the Mississippi River across from Columbus, Kentucky. The unit saw its first action at the Battle of Belmont on November 7, 1861, when Brigadier General Ulysses Grant attacked the camp. The regiment’s original organizational papers were lost during this engagement.

Moving east of the Mississippi after the battle, the regiment joined a brigade of three Tennessee groups under the command of Brigadier General Alexander Stewart. Tappan led the regiment at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, and the unit suffered twenty-three killed, seventy-four wounded, and three missing. The lieutenant colonel was killed and the major wounded during the battle.

Retreating to Corinth, Mississippi, after the battle, the Confederate army reorganized during the months of April and May. James McNeely, previously the major of the regiment, was elected to serve as colonel. He resigned in May, and Lieutenant Colonel A. R. Brown took command of the regiment. The regiment fought at the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky on August 29 and 30, 1862. The unit lost six men killed and twenty-three wounded during the engagement. Next seeing action at the Battle of Perryville, the regiment fought while consolidated with the Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry in a brigade commanded by Brigadier General Patrick Cleburne. The regiment lost three killed and nineteen wounded in the engagement. Colonel John Josey of the Fifteenth Arkansas commanded the unit.

With the promotion of Cleburne to division command, Brigadier General Lucius Polk took command of the brigade, which also consisted of the First Arkansas and the Fifth Confederate Infantry regiments and two units from Tennessee. At the Battle of Stones River, the regiment lost four killed, fifty-nine wounded, and five missing.

The unit fought in the Tullahoma Campaign in the summer of 1863, losing eight killed and eighteen wounded at the Battle of Liberty Gap. By September 19, the Thirteenth Arkansas had been consolidated with the Fifth Arkansas. Colonel Lucius Featherston of the Fifth Arkansas commanded the unit. The Fifteenth Arkansas consolidated with the Second Arkansas. These units served in a brigade with the Eighth Arkansas and the consolidated Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Infantry regiments, alongside a regiment from Louisiana. The brigade was commanded by Brigadier General St. John Liddell and later by Brigadier General Daniel Govan. Fighting at the Battle of Chickamauga, the regiment lost thirty-eight killed, 131 wounded, and thirty-three missing, for a total of 202 casualties out of an approximate strength of 450. Featherston was killed in the battle, and Lieutenant Colonel John Murray took command of the unit.  

At the Battle of Ringgold Gap, the regiment lost two killed, sixteen wounded, and three missing. During the Atlanta Campaign, the regiment saw action in a number of battles, most notably the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. The regiment lost sixteen killed, eighty-nine wounded, and seven missing during the battle. This left only 120 men ready for service the next day. Murray was killed in the battle, and Colonel Peter Green took command of the regiment. Part of the regiment was captured at the Battle of Jonesboro on September 1 but was soon exchanged.

On October 16, the regiment was consolidated with other Arkansas units due to heavy losses. The new regiment, known as the First Arkansas, consisted of the remaining troops from the First, Second, Fifth, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Arkansas Infantry regiments. Green commanded the new regiment.

Next seeing action in the Franklin and Nashville campaigns, Green took command of the brigade when Govan was wounded. Lieutenant Colonel E. A. Howell took command of the regiment. The consolidated Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Infantry regiments were added to the unit on March 15. After the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina in March 1865, the regiment underwent one final consolidation. This final unit consisted of the remnants of the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Arkansas Infantry regiments and the Third Confederate Infantry.

The Confederate Army of Tennessee surrendered in North Carolina on April 26, 1865. A total of thirty-five men of the Thirteenth Arkansas were paroled.

For additional information:
Barnhill, Floyd. The Fighting Fifth—Pat Cleburne’s Cutting Edge: The Fifth Arkansas Infantry Regiment, C.S.A. Jonesboro, AR: Floyd Barnhill, Sr., 1990.

Noe, Kenneth. Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001.

Stephenson, Philip. The Civil War Memoir of Philip Daingerfield Stephenson, D.D. Edited by Nathaniel Hughes Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998.

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated 7/17/2017

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