April 15, 1862 — Loachapoka, AL
THE THIRTY-FOURTH ALABAMA INFANTRY.
The Thirty-fourth Alabama infantry was organized at Loachapoka,
April 15, 1862, went to Tupelo to join General Bragg's army, and
was attached to Manigault's brigade, which assignment, with the
Twenty-fourth and Twenty-eighth, it retained throughout the war,
being at the end consolidated with these regiments.
It proceeded with the army into Kentucky, but being on the
reserve did little fighting. Its first battle experience -- and
it was a bitter one -- was at Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862.
The regiment went in early spring to East Tennessee; was at
Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, 1863; at Missionary Ridge,
November 25th, many of the command were made prisoners.
In the winter of 1863-64 it recruited at Dalton, and next was in
all the severe engagements from thereto Atlanta where, July 20th
to 28th, its losses were heavy. It did not take part in the
worst of the fight at Franklin, November 30th, but at Nashville,
December 15th and 16th, it was almost annihilated.
Going into the Carolinas it fought at Winston, March 14, 1865,
and at Bentonville, March 19th. Consolidated with the Twenty-
fourth and Twenty-eighth, it was surrendered at High Point, not
more than 100 men being left of the regiment that started out on
that bright spring morning, three years before, with overflowing
Lieut.-Col. John N. Slaughter and Capt. John S. Burch were
wounded at Atlanta; Capts. R. G. Welch at Chickamauga, W. G.
Oliver at Jonesboro, W. H. Holstein, J. Maury Smith and Jno. R.
Colquitt at Atlanta. Capt. J. B. Bickerstaff was killed at
Field officers: Col. Julius C. B. Mitchell, Lieut.-Cols. James W.
Echols, J. C. Carter; Majs. John N. Slaughter and Henry McCoy.
Source: Confederate Military History, vol. VIII, p. 164
Chickamagua after battle report:
Report of Maj. John N. Slaughter, Thirty-fourth Alabama
HDQRS. THIRTY-FOURTH ALABAMA REGT., ETC.,
Missionary Ridge, October 6, 1863.
CAPT.:I respectfully submit the following report of the
participation of the Thirty-fourth Alabama Regt. in the battle of
Friday, September 18.--I formed the regiment in line of battle
south of Chickamauga Creek, half a mile northwest of Mrs.
Hunt's residence, in a field. By orders from the brigadier-general
commanding, I threw out as skirmishers Companies E and H,
commanded by First Lieut. Colquitt and Capt. Carter. I was
ordered to conform to the movements of the Twenty-eighth
Alabama Regt. on my right. My command remained in this
position two or three hours, when it was marched by the right
flank and formed line of battle; retired 150 yards from the
Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt. to avoid the fire of the enemy's
artillery, which swept the field in our front. In this position it
rested upon arms for the night.
Saturday, September 19.--Under your order and direction, the
regiment moved to the front in line of battle through the open
field between one-quarter and a half mile, then by the left flank
into a body of woods, and formed line in support of Capt.
Garrity's battery, which moved up to our front. My command
was 150 yards to the left of the Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt.,
and I kept up communication with it by a sentinel.
The regiment remained in this position until 3 or 4 p. m., when
it marched by the right flank in rear of Mrs. Hunt's residence to
Hunt's Ford, on Chickamauga Creek, 3 miles below, and crossed
it by wading, and thence to the field of battle, where we formed
in line. After a number of maneuvers my command moved
forward with directions to conform to the movements of the
Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt. and gradually swing to the right.
After marching to the front a quarter of a mile in this way, the
brigade commenced forming in line of battle. We were ordered
to give way to the left, and I directed Second Lieut. Cobb, acting
assistant adjutant, to conduct the regiment to the left until we had
It was now becoming dark, and while moving in this direction,
four companies having entered the field, they were fired upon by
enemy's skirmishers at a distance of 40 paces, wounding
7 men. The companies lay down and returned the fire, and the
enemy quickly retired out of range. I immediately ordered Capt.
Wood's company (B) to the front as skirmishers, and formed the
regiment in line to the field, and turned three companies of the
left wing back down the fence to protect them. Hearing the
enemy advance again in the darkness, and deeming my
skirmishers too weak in front, I threw out a small company (C)
under Lieut. Hannon, and they had just gained their position
when the enemy again opened a brisk fire upon them, which they
returned with vigor, causing the enemy to retire again. We had
two men wounded in this last affair. We were not again
molested, and retired soon and formed in rear of the
Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt., in column by battalion, and rested
for the night.
Sunday, September 20.--My command was early formed in line
of battle. Our companies (E and H) joined us this morning.
Having been deprived of the services of Capt. Fielder, as acting
major, by an accidental wound, I appointed Capt. J. C. Carter,
next senior captain, to the position by order of the
At 10 a. m. we moved forward under the same orders of the
evening previous, Capt. Wood's company (B) having been
thrown forward as skirmishers. We marched in line of battle
across the Chattanooga and La Fayette road near an old house,
charged through a field in front to the woods beyond, where we
received a desultory fire from the enemy's skirmishers, thence
through the woods to a second field, and through it over the
enemy's breastworks into a second body of woods, some 50
yards in advance of the Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt., and
Finding the position a strong one, having a ravine, and short,
low bluff in front, over which the men could rise and fire and be
protected while loading, I concluded to form the regiment, and
did so, in the ravine. I had commenced reconnoitering the
enemy's position, when I received orders from Capt. Huger,
inspector-general, to retire with the Twenty-eighth Alabama
Regt., with which we fell back to the [Chattanooga and La
Fayette] road, formed, and were placed temporarily under the
command of Col. Reid. All these movements had been
performed at a run, and our men were very much exhausted,
some so much so that they could not return with the regiment,
and were captured.
In falling back we lost 2 men killed, 28 wounded, and 28
My men were much chagrined at being compelled to fall back,
and it was difficult to urge them back, stopping and rallying at
every favorable position for defense.
We remained in our new position for some hours, when we
moved with the brigade in a northwesterly direction and formed
in line near the base of Missionary Ridge. Moving forward
across the abrupt spurs of this ridge, we ascended the steep and
high hill on which the enemy were posted, formed in line, and
lay down some hundred paces from the top of the hill. While
lying in this position, Deas' brigade marched forward and formed
60 paces to our front, his right regiment overlapping the left of
mine six companies, and lay down. Previous to this I had thrown
out Lieut. Colquitt's company (E) as skirmishers to our front.
The enemy's position was a strong one, as the
accompanying diagram will show. The ridge on which they were
posted divided, and
the apex was where three ridges met. The left of the
Twenty-eighth Alabama rested on the one to my right, Deas'
brigade extended over the one to my left, and the enemy
occupied the one in my front, his battery being placed some 100
or 150 paces from the apex, being in a slight depression of the
ridge which protected him from our fire. My regiment occupied
an inclined plane between the first two ridges. The ground was
such that the right and left of the regiment was exposed to a fire
for 100 paces before the center. The moment the men appeared
above the ridge they were exposed to a sweeping fire of the
enemy's artillery and musketry. We received orders at this
juncture to move forward and govern ourselves by the
movements of the Twenty-eighth Alabama, on our right, and
Deas' brigade on our left. The regiment had moved forward with
firmness some 50 or 60 paces up the hill when they were met by
the right regiment of Deas' brigade falling back in disorder, they
having come under a severe fire of canister and musketry, as did
also the right companies of my regiment, which caused it to
falter and fall back in confusion. I attempted to rally them, and
with the assistance of some of my officers a number were rallied,
who moved forward with the colors, and kept their position with
the Twenty-eighth Alabama Regt. during the remainder of the
battle. The rest became so confused with Deas' men, and
continued to fall back down the hill, that I could not rally them
until they reached the top of the opposite hill. I ordered Capt.
Carter to the top of the hill, where, with assistance of other
officers, he succeeded in rallying and forming them again. I was
about returning to my position in line when I was ordered by the
brigadier-general commanding to retire near my first position of
I would here state that Capt. Huger, inspector-general, rendered
me valuable assistance, and I would add my testimony to his
gallantry on the field. Riding fearlessly amid the shower of
canister and Minie balls, waving his sword and calling upon the
men to rally, and encouraging them by his heroic daring, he fell
pierced through the heart and died almost instantly. We rejoice
to know that he died as the patriot and soldier would wish to
die-in the stern performance of duty-yet we mourn that one so
young, so gallant, so full of promise, should be cut off int he
morning of life and at the threshold of his usefulness and be lost
to his family, and his invaluable services lost to his country in
this her hour of peril.
The regiment moved forward under orders and rested for
the night near a battery on the hill in front of a small farm.
Monday, September 21.--We were ordered to join the brigade in
front this morning and then moved back near the little farm,
stacked arms, and sent out details to bury our dead.
We would add briefly the causes of the regiment falling back on
the hill: First, nearly half of the regiment had not had a drop of
water for twenty-four hours, and the balance but a scantly
supply, in consequence of the loss of our canteens the evening
previous; second, being on the left and swinging flank, my
regiment performed all movements at a brisk run in the morning.
It ran a mile in the first charge, and without time to rest it ran
back to the La Fayette and Chattanooga road. This was done
with their knapsacks and blankets on, a portion of the time under
heavy fire without being able to return it. We were also
compelled to move at a brisk pace over the rugged spurs of
Missionary Ridge to our last position in order to keep up with the
line, the consequence was the almost complete exhaustion of a
great majority of the regiment; third, they were confused by the
falling back and mixing up with Deas' men; fourth, the enemy's
artillery was so situated that as our men arose above the hill they
were swept by canister and musketry without being able to return
the fire, and owing to the steepness of the hill they were
compelled to advance slowly. To denote the severity of the fire,
although we were not under it more than two minutes, and the
right companies mainly exposed, yet we lost 38 killed and
wounded, and the right company, though small, 13 of these.
In closing this report, I have the general remark to make that the
men acted well under the circumstances. The officers were
prompt and energetic, and it is hard to distinguish who
performed their duties best where all did well; but I feel it
incumbent upon me to notice some special instances of gallantry.
I would mention the names of Capt. Burch, First Lieut. Mitchell,
Second Lieut.'s Lambert, Oliver, Crockett, and Bickerstaff.
Among the non-commissioned officers and privates, Sergeant
Carlton, Company A, who was killed; Color Corporal Ferguson,
Company C; Color Corporal Willingham, Company D, who was
wounded while bearing the colors; Private Adams, Company B,
wounded; Riddle, Company B; Bone, Company F; Salmon,
Company G, who was killed while leading in a charge on a
I was ably assisted by Acting Assistant Adjutant Cobb and Capt.
Carter, acting major, and would recommend them to your
JNo. N. SLAUGHTER,
Maj., Comdg. Regt.
Capt. C. I. WALKER,
Source: Official Records
PAGE 351-51 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. [CHAP. XLII.
[Series I. Vol. 30. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 51.]
Fought on 28 Jul 1864 at Ezra Church, GA.
Fought on 28 Jul 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 31 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
- (x) Cadenhead, I. B., "Some Confederate letters of I. B. Cadenhead, Co. H, 34th Alabama infantry regiment," in Alabama Historical Quarterly, XVIII, no.4 (Winter, 1956), 564-71
- (x) Maxwell, James Robert. Autobiography of James Robert Maxwell of Tuscaloosa, Alabam[a] (New York : 1926)
- (p) Warrick, Thomas. "I Have Seen the Monkey Show" : the Civil War Letters of Thomas Warrick of the 34th Alabama Volunteer Infantry, Including a History of the Regiment as it Related to my Family History.Elaine Hendricks, ed. (Dadeville, AL: Elaine Hendricks, 2004)
- Crittenden, John [1st Sgt., Co. "E"]. Papers, in Auburn University, Archives and Special Collections Dept., RG 765 [a collection of these letters was compiled for a college course and titled: Civil War Letters, John Crittenden, 34th Alabama Regiment to his wife Bettie Browning Crittenden, 1835-1864]
- Galloway, Armstead L. [Co. "E"]. Papers, in Auburn University, Archives and Special Collections Dept., RG 780
- Mitchell, James B. [1st Lt., Co. "B"]. Papers, in Library of Congress
- Olivers, William G. [2nd Lt., Co. "C"]. Papers, in Birmingham Public Library
- (x) Tilley, Kenneth Eric. History of the Thirty-fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. (Master's thesis, Virginia State University, 1994)