Summary

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Confederate) 1
Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Birth:
1819 2
Death:
11 Jul 1863 2
Gettysburg PA 2
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Personal Details

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Person:
George W Bradley 1
Age: 42 1
Birth:
1819 2
Male 2
Death:
11 Jul 1863 2
Gettysburg PA 2
Cause: Mortally Wounded at the Battle Of Gettysburg 2
Burial:
Hollywood Cemetery Richmond VA 2
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Civil War (Confederate) 1

Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Enlistment Date:
1862 1
Military Unit:
Thirteenth Infantry, B 1
State:
Mississippi 1

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  1. Civil War Soldiers - Confederate - MS [See image]
  2. Contributed by bruceyrock632
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Stories

As the afternoon waned into evening on July 2nd, 1863, Major John M. Bradley, age 36, waited with the rest of the 13th Mississippi for the order to advance. For an hour or more, the 13th lay in Pitzer's Woods as shot and shell crashed through the trees from a fierce artillery duel raging between the Confederate batteries in their front and Federal artillery in and around the Peach Orchard. Not far from Maj. Bradley, his older brother, 44-year-old 2nd Lieutenant George W. Bradley rested with the rest of the men of Company A. Finally, sometime around 6 p.m., the orders came and the 13th hopped over a stonewall and formed for the assault. General Barksdale rode in front of the 13th - his old regiment - urged them to do their duty, and shouted the orders to move forward. As the two brothers stepped out of the woods and toward the Emmitsburg Road, perhaps they spared a thought for their younger brother, Joseph L. Bradley, who at the age of 26 was killed at Malvern Hill, almost exactly one year before.

The three Bradley Brothers of the 13th Mississippi were all sons of B.H. and Janthe Bradley. John and George were born in North Carolina, Joseph in South Carolina. By 1850, the Bradley family had settled in Winston County, Mississippi. The 1850 Census listed B.H. Bradley as a farmer. Along with his wife, Bradley's household in 1850 included John, and two daughters, Nancy (18) and Mary (16). The same census listed George W. as a merchant and head of his own household, in which 15-year-old Joseph also resided. A look at the slave schedules for 1850 reveal that B.H. Bradley owned four slaves, while his eldest son George owned two. By the 1860 Census, all three Bradley brothers boarded at a hotel in Louisville, Mississippi, with George and John listed as merchants and Joseph as a clerk. The 1860 Slave Schedule for Winston County indicates that neither B.H. Bradley nor his sons owned any slaves at that time. None of the brothers had married.

In March of 1861, John became captain of the Winston Guards. Both he and Joseph were mustered into state service on March 16, and in May the company was organized for Confederate service at Corinth as Company B, 13th Mississippi. Their service records tell us that John stood 6 feet tall, and Joseph - a lieutenant -  5'10". In April of 1862, the 13th was reorganized and Company B became Company A. That same month, George caught up with his brothers and enlisted into the regiment at Lee's Mills, Virginia. On July 1, 1862, the 13th participated in the Battle of Malvern Hill, and Joseph was killed. Around this time, John received a promotion to Major. In September, he was wounded at Antietam, shot through both legs. John was transported to Winchester, Virginia, and received a 40-day medical furlough. He returned to the regiment that winter, after the Battle of Fredericksburg. George's records indicate that he received a furlough to recover from a wound in December of 1862, presumably suffered at Fredericksburg. Despite their wounds, both Bradley's were with the 13th when the march northward began in June of 1863.

As the 13th Mississippi moved forward on July 2, led by General Barksdale, they raised a terrifying rebel yell. A fence in their way disappeared as the men forced their way through to confront the Federal infantry and artillery awaiting them in the farmyard of Joseph Sherfy. The battle line headed straight for the 12-pounder Napoleons of Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn's Battery E, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, which spewed iron at them as they advanced. As the battery limbered up to escape the on-rushing Mississippians, the 13th met a line of red-legged zouaves advancing to meet them across the Emmitsburg Road, the 114th Pennsylvania. After a brief but violent collision the 114th found itself flanked and began to stream back across the road. Behind the 114th awaited the 2nd Fire Zouaves of the Excelsior Brigade, sent in an emergency to lend a hand to the crumbling line. For a detailed look at this action from their point of view, you can visit my post written back in January. It was likely at some point during this initial combat along the Emmitsburg Road that Major Bradley fell with a severe wound. His brother George continued with the regiment as it drove the Federal forces from the Emmitsburg Road and began to push toward the Northeast.

As Daniel Sickles' forward line collapsed, the 13th Mississippi pushed forward, and the line eventually made it to the Plum Run Swale between the Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge. The men were worn out and disorganized from their successful attack. At this time, a brigade of New Yorkers under the command of Colonel George Lamb Willard approached the swale from the east. The New Yorkers closed on the Mississippians and unleashed a deadly volley. General Barksdale fell mortally wounded. Lieutenant Bradley likely fell wounded during this exchange as well, a bullet wound penetrating his right side. The New Yorkers had halted and turned back the Mississippians grand charge. For a detailed look at this counterattack, you can visit a post I wrote last year.

Major John M. Bradley somehow made his way back to a Confederate field hospital. The John S. Crawford farm along Marsh Creek served as the field hospital for Barksdale's brigade, 3 miles behind its line of battle. It is likely that he was taken there. Crawford reported that his house, barn, and outbuildings were filled with Barksdale's wounded, and that his dining room table served as an amputation table. John remained at the brigade hospital throughout the day on July 3. In the early morning hours of July 4, all wounded well enough to move were loaded into ambulances and other wagons in preparation for the long journey back to Virginia. Throughout the day on July 4, as rain fell in torrents, wagons filled with Lee's wounded soldiers filed into the fields along the Chambersburg Pike. The trains began to move out toward Cashtown Pass at about 4 p.m. According to historian Kent Masterson Brown, the column was 17 miles long. For the next 36 hours John and other wounded soldiers faced a horrific ordeal - traveling non-stop in springless wagons up over South Mountain, and then down the Cumberland Valley towards the Potomac River. Scarcely any received medical attention during this time, and many went without food. All the while, the column was harassed by Union cavalry, and even northern citizens.

The column reached Williamsport, Maryland on July 6, where some medical care could be administered and the slow process of evacuation could proceed across the swollen Potomac River. But for John, the evacuation never came. His condition worsened, and when the Confederate army recrossed the Potomac River for good on July 14, he was left behind with other soldiers unfit to continue on. His service record indicates that he passed away on July 28, 1863. His record also indicates that he received a posthumous promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, dated July 2nd. A search on Find A Grave shows that Bradley was originally buried in Riverside Cemetery in Williamsport. After the war he was moved to Washington Confederate Cemetery in nearby Hagerstown.

George W. Bradley did not make it back to a Confederate field hospital. Like General Barksdale, George was captured as Willard's men took control of the Plum Run Swale. With a bullet wound in his right side, he was carried back to a Union field hospital. His record indicates that on July 4 he was admitted to the 6th Corps field hospital at the John Trostle House east of Rock Creek. Here, he died on July 11. His record however, has an interesting bit of correspondence attached. On October 5, 1863, L.W. Oakley, a surgeon from the 2nd New Jersey, wrote a letter to the Army of the Potomac's Medical Director, Jonathan Letterman:

Camp "Letterman"
Genl. Hospt.
Gettysburg, PA
Oct 5th, 1863

Doctor,
Your communication of the 3rd inst. requesting me to forward to Genl. [Seth] Williams through your office the money intrusted to my care by Lieutenant Bradley of the 13th Mississippi (not "18th") Co. E. [sic] has just been received.

I send to you by mail (registered) Thirty Dollars in gold, Twenty Six Dollars in script. Five cents in silver, and One Dollar and five cents in [illegible].

I am very glad thus to be relieved, as I did not know what would be the proper disposition to make of this money. It is just as I originally received it. 

I remain, very respectfully,
Your obt. servt.
L.W. Oakley
Surg. 2nd Reg. N.J. Vol.

Also attached to George's file is a scan of what appears to be the back side of the above letter, complete with information as to what became of the money:

[Oakley's writing]
Camp Letterman Gettysburg Pa
October 5th 1863
LW Oakley
Surg 2 NJ Vols

Forwards money left in trust by Lieut. Bradley
13th Miss. Vols Confederate
Wounded at Gettysburg
Since died
P. of War
Personal
[Different handwriting]
Head Quarters A.P.
Med. Directors Office
October 28, 1863

Respectfully forwarded to Genl. S. Williams
A.A.G.

[Signed] Jona. Letterman
Med. Director


[3rd handwriting style]
For. letter to Genl Lee
Nov 5/63.
Army of Potomac

As he lay dying at the 6th Corps hospital in Gettysburg, Lieutenant Bradley hoped that the money he carried would find its way home to his father. The record seems to indicate that it got as far as General Lee's headquarters in November of 1863.  Within the brothers' service files are three records filed by the clerk of the Probate Court in Winston County. On October 8th, 1863 B.H. Bradley appeared with a supporting witness to certify the death of Joseph and John in order to claim any back pay or bounties that the government owed his two sons. Over a month later, on November 26th, 1863, he appeared again to file a similar petition for George. Though George died before John, news of his death in Union hands would have traveled more slowly.

If the money George sent made it back to Winston, Mississippi, it likely was small solace to the father who had lost all three of his sons in battle in one year.

13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment

1861

May

Organized in Corinth, Mississippi

May 14

Mustered in for 12 months service under Colonel William Barksdale, Lieutenant Colonel M.H. Whitaker and Major Isham Harrison

 

Moved to Union City, Tennessee and attached to General Polk's Army.

July 14

Ordered to Lynchburg, Virginia, then to Manassas.

July 20

Arrived Manassas Junction during the night before the battle

July 21

First Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run

The regiment was assigned to Longstreet's Brigade but were under the tactcal control of Early's Brigade near McLean's Ford. The regiment marched across the rear of the battlefield and attacked the Federal right flank near the Chinn house. It regiment lost 6 men wounded.

 

Assigned to Brigadier General N.G. Evans' Brigade alomg with the 17th and 18th Mississippi.

October 20

Marched from Goose Creek to Fort Evans on the Potomac near Leesburg.

October 21-22

Battle of Leesburg (Ball's Bluff)

Captain Fletcher's company was detached and fought at Ball's Bluff while the nine remaining companies of the regiment held Edward's Ferry against a Federal Crossing. The regiment lost 4 killed, 2 wounded and 1 missing.

Winter

The regiment went into winter camp on Catoctin Mountain near Leesburg.

December 9

Brigadier General Richard Griffin took command of the Mississippi Brigade

1862

Spring

Retreat to Culpeper and movement to Yorktown. The Mississippi Brigade was attached to General Magruder's Division.

April 26

The regiment reorganized for three years service, reporting 640 effectives. Colonel Barksdale continued to command the regiment while Captain James W. Carter of Company C was elected Lieutenant Colonel and Captain Kennon McElroy of Company F was elected major.

June

Not engaged at Yorktown or during the Seven Days, although under fire at Seven Pines.

June 29

Battle of Savage Station

Brigadier General Griffin was mortally wounded, and Colonel Barksdale took command of the brigade. Lieutenant Colonel Carter took over the regiment.

July 1

Battle of Malvern Hill

The regiment took part in the charge in the early evening, advancing to an exposed position and holding it under intense artillery fire from batteries and gunboats. The regiment lost 28 killed and 107 wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Carter was wounded, and Major McElroy took command of the regiment.

August

Colonel Barksdale was promoted to brigadier general and given permanent command of the brigade, which was assigned to McLaws' Division. Lt. Colonel Carter was promoted to colonel, Major McElroy to lieutenant colonel and John M. Bradley to major.

End of August

McLaws' Division was ordered north from Richmond to join Lee's army near Manassas. Lieutenant Colonel McElroy commanded the regiment as Colonel Carter was still recovering from his wound.

September

Maryland Campaign

The regiment crossed the Potomac and camped outside Frederick, Maryland. McLaws' Division was given the mission of attacking the Union strongpoint at Harpers Ferry from the north while defending the southern pass through South Mountain.

September 12

The regiment began to scale Maryland Heights from the north.

September 13

Attacked Federal entenchments on Maryland Heights from the flank and rear, taking the position after heavy fighting. The loss of Maryland Heignts blocked the line of retreat and doomed the Federal garrison in Harpers Ferry.

September 14

The 13th Mississippi was left on Maryland Heights as garrison while the brigade moved to Sharpsburg.

September 17

Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)

The regiment moved to Sharpsburg, arriving on the field after the battle had begun. They were committed to the fighting around the Dunker Church. The regiment brought 202 men to the field and lost 6 killed, 54 wounded and 2 missing. Lt. Colonel McElroy was wounded but remained in command, and Major Bradley was wounded.

 

From the brigade marker on the Antietam battlefield:

"September 17, 1862.

 

Barksdale's Brigade crossed the Potomac at Blackford's Ford about daybreak of the 17th and halted in the western suburbs of Sharpsburg until nearly 9 A.M. It then advanced to the rising ground southwest of this point and formed line in the left center of McLaws' Division, Kershaw on the right and Semmes on the left.

 

In the general advance of the Division it encountered the enemy's line at the edge of the West Woods at this point and, supported by Ransom's Brigade of Walker's Division, forced it back through the woods to the fields beyond, where it was checked by the destructive fire of the Federal Artillery and compelled to retire to the protection of the hill and ledges of rock in this vicinity.

 

Later in the day the Brigade reoccupied a portion of the ground from which it had been driven and, with Ransom on the right and Early on the left, held the position until the night of the 18th when it recrossed the Potomac."

 

Fall

Colonel Carter returned to command of the regiment.

December 11

Battle of Fredericksburg

The 13th Mississippi was deployed on Carolina Street in the town in support of the 17th Mississippi along the river bank, sending ten sharpshooters to assist the 17th. After Federal forces crossed the river the regiment held Princess Anne Street for two hours. Captain G.L. Donald, who commanded several companied of the regiment, was commended by Colonel Carter. The regiment lost 7 men killed, 59 wounded and 14 captured. Captain J.L. Clark was killed by a solid shot ealy in te day, Captain T.W. Thurman was badly wounded and captured, and Lieutenant J.M. Stovall was missing and supposed dead.

1863

May 3

Second Battle of Fredericksburg (Chancellorsville campaign)

While the majority of Lee's army moved toward Chancellorsville to contest the Union advance, Barksdale's brigade held out against overwhelming Federal forces in a three mile defensive line on the ridge at Fredericksburg, with the regiment on the right of the line. When the line was finally broken the 13th Mississippi was part of the rear guard that slowed and contained the Federal advance. The regiment lost 7 men killed and 43 wounded.

May

At Fredericksburg

June 3

Began the march to Pennsylvania

July 2

Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment continued to be commanded by Colonel James W. Carter. It brought 481 men to the field. Barksdale's brigade made a stunning charge in the early evening that tore through Federal lines north of the Peach Orchard and was only stopped on the slopes of Cemetery Ridge, where General Barksdale was mortally wounded.

 

The regiment lost 28 killed and 137 wounded, of whom 86 were left behind in field hospitals when the army retreated on July 4. Colonel Carter was killed, Lt. Colonel McElroy was wounded, Major John M. Bradley was mortally wounded, and 2nd Lieutenant Abslom H. Farrar was wounded and captured. McElroy was promoted to colonel after the battle and Major Bradley was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

 

From the brigade's monument on the Gettysburg battlefield

"July 2. Arrived about 3 P. M. and formed line here. Advanced at 5 P. M. and took part in the assault on the Peach Orchard and adjacent positions vigorously pursuing the Union forces as they retired. The 21st Regiment pushed on past the Trostle House and captured but were unable to bring off 9th Mass. Battery and I Battery 5th U. States. The other Regiments inclining more to the left pressed forward to Plum Run where they encountered fresh troops and a fierce conflict ensued in which Brig. Gen. Wm. Barksdale fell mortally wounded.
 
July 3. Supported artIllery on Peach Orchard Ridge. Withdrew from the front late in the afternoon.

July 4. In position near here all day. About midnight began the march to Hagerstown.
 
Present 1598, Killed 105, Wounded 550, Missing 92, Total 747"

July 28

Lieutenant Colonel John Bradley died in Williamsport of his Gettysburg wound.

July 29

Captain George L. Donald of Company G was promoted to major.

September

Movement of Longstreet's Corps by rail to North Georgia via Richmond and South Carolina.

September 19

Arrived at Ringgold after the battle had begun and marched through the night to the battlefield.

September 20

Battle of Chickamauga

Went into support of Hood's Division, who broke the Union line, then fought at Snodgrass Hill. The regiment lost 1 killed and 7 wounded.

September 22-
November 4

Siege of Chattanooga

November 4

Left Lookout Mountain for Knoxville

November 15

Crossed the Tennessee River at London

November 16

Skirmish at Campbell's Station

November 20

Siege of Knoxville

November 29

Assault on Fort Sanders

Colonel McElroy was killed at the head of the regiment during the charge on Fort Loudon. The attackers had to force their way under heavy fire through a tangled abatis, over telegraph wire strung to trip attackers, through a deep ditch and up an icy twelve foot parapet. The attack failed and Longstreet abandoned the siege, removing General McLaws from command. The division would be commanded by Joesph Kershaw until the end of the war.

 

Major George L. Donald took over the 13th Mississippi after the death of McElroy.

December 16

The 13th Mississippi were sent to pursue Union forces at Clinch Mountain Gap. They captured the camp and equipment of the 117th Indiana infantry, a welcome prize at the start of winter.

Winter

Went into winter quarters at Russelville, Tennessee.

1864

March

Moved to Bristol, Tennessee

May 3

Moved to Gordonsville, Virginia,

May 6

Battle of the Wilderness

Marched to rejoin the Army of Northern Virginia, which had fought off Union attacks on May 5 but was dangerously near collapse. Longstreet's men arrived as the Confederate line was breaking and immediately launched a counterattack which held the line. The 13th Mississippi was commanded by Major Donald and lost 18 killed, 61 wounded and 12 missing, including Captain Currie and Lieutenants William Davis, and R.C. Kelly.

May 8-21

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

May 27

Hanover Junction

June

Battle of Cold Harbor

September

The 13th Mississippi with Kershaw's Division was sent to reinforce Lieutenant General Jubal Early's Army of the Shenandoah

October 19

Battle of Cedar Creek

November 20

Returned to the Richmond Front, posted at Garnett's Farm and on the Darbytown and Newmarket Roads.

1865

April 1

After the collapse of the Confederate defenses, retreated through Richmond and to the west.

April 9

Appomattox

Surrendered 4 officers and 81 enlisted men, commanded by Lieutenant W.H. Davis

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