There were Irish immigrant communities in river towns such as Natchez, Vicksburg and Port Gibson, and in railroad centers like Holly Springs in the northern part of the state. In the 9th Mississippi Infantry Regiment (enlisted March 1861, reorganized March 1862), some 60 or so Irish names - probably workers on the Mississippi Central Railroad - could be found on the rolls of CaptJohn P. Holalian's Co B (tile Home Gtiards from Holly Springs), with smaller numbers in (x>s D and E. The 9th Mississippi saw heavy combat in the Army of Tennessee (e.g. in Patton Anderson's Bde. Hindman's Div of the Left Wing at Chickamauga): Holahan was seriously wounded at Kennesaw Mountain in June 1864.

The regiment's companies (many of them volunteer militia) left home wearing their distinctive uniforms. The regiment was issued a uniform at Pensacola. probably in June 1861 but before February 1862: "long pea jacket coming well over the hips, loose pants - Zouave style - with Zouave cloth gaiters, caps with brass letter of company & brass figure (9)." This was probably a shell jacket cut longer than usual, color unknown, with loose pants, white gaiters, and forage cap with brass letters.

Captain William McKeever's Port Gibson Rifles (Co C, 10th Mississippi Infantry) boasted a strong Irish component. J.D. Edwards photographed the company in civilian clothes at Pensacola in April 1861. when at least one man appears to be wearing a forage cap and a dark-colored frock coat.

Unlike most Irish-American companies, which tended to be formed in coastal or river ports with large immigrant communities, the Jasper Grays (Co F, 16th Mississippi Infantry Regiment) came from Paulding, a farming community in the central pan of the state. Captain James J. Shannon, a newspaper editor and the son of an Irish immigrant, raised the company and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the 16th Mississippi, which served with the Army of Northern Virginia (e.g.. in 2nd Bde. 1st Div of I Corps at Chancellorsville). Companies A, D, & I also contained a large number of Irish Americans. Distinctively dressed at first, these companies later received standard Confederate clothing.

Mississippi Infantry Regiment

Members of the 5th Confederate Infantry; Irish Americans from Memphis, Tennessee, filled this regiment, which was Cleburne's favorite. Shown here (left to right) are Capt Charles W. Frazier; Capt James H. Beard, killed at Chickamauga; Maj R.J. Person; Capt W.E. Smith; and Cpl Robert Coleman, said to have fired the shot that killed the greatly admired Federal general James Blrdseye McPherson at Atlanta on July 22, 1864. (Military Annals of Tennessee, 1886)

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment