One day after the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, 53 men of Neshoba County formed an infantry company named the Neshoba Riflemen, later shortened to the Neshoba Rifles.

Within days, over 100 men of the County, including 67-year-old Daniel Parker and 59-year-old Lemuel W. D. Phillips, marched from beneath a large oak tree on the south-east corner of the court square, northeast, toward Shuqualak, Miss., to board rail cars for Corinth, Miss.

There the Confederate Army regimented the Rifles with nine other companies and designated the unit as Company D, Eleventh Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

This company, with 209 total men in uniform, was by far the largest of the ten companies of the regiment, one that would fight its way into the annuals of history.

The Neshoba Rifles also included the regiment's second tallest soldier, six-foot-five inch Joseph Wilson, Jr.; were the oldest company, averaging twenty-five years of age; were the second tallest company with an average of five-feet-nine and five-eight inches; lost the greatest number of men to disease with thirty-two deaths; witnessed the largest total number of deaths, sixty-three; and suffered the largest number of total casualties with one hundred and fifty-one, or over 72 percent of enlistments.

Many considered the Eleventh Mississippi the best in Robert E. Lee's famed Army of Northern Virginia.

The Eleventh fought in every major battle in the eastern sector from First Manassas to Appomattox Courthouse, with the exception of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, when detached with General James Longstreet's corps to Goldsborough, N.C.

At Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, only 21 men and one horse of the famed regiment were present, with only one Neshoba Rifle in attendance, Private William Henry George.

In 2000, Dancing Rabbit Press, Inc. published a 948 page account of the history of this unit, one that provided biographical sketches of over 1,500 men, including over 200 from Neshoba County (for details visit website:

Other Neshobans rushed forward to present themselves for Confederate military Service.

The soldiers-to-be raised six other infantry companies along with a few small cavalry commands.

Joining the Fifth Infantry Regiment were Company B, "Bogue Chitto Rangers," and Company K, "Scotland Guards."

The Fortieth Mississippi Infantry boasted three units from the county, "Steam Mill Rangers," Company E, "Mississippi Tigers" (aka "Neshoba Tigers"), Company F and "Dixie Rangers," Company G. The "Cumberland Guards," Company A, fought with the Thirty-Third Infantry Regiment in the Battle of Corinth, Miss., in Oct. 1862, and in the Vicksburg, Miss., campaign, specifically in the encounter at Baker's Creek, May 1863.

The Thirty-Fifth Infantry, which included the "Muckalusha Guards," Company E, fought in the battles at Stones River, Tennessee, Dec. 1862, Chickamauga, Ga., Sept. 1863, and in the disastrous foray into Tennessee, Nov. 1864.

The Fifth Mississippi participated in the fights at Shiloh, Tennessee, April 1862, Stones River, Chickamauga and the struggles against Major General William F. Sherman's "march to the sea" through Georgia in 1864.

The Fortieth Infantry engaged the "damn Yankees" at Iuka, Miss. and Corinth, Sept. and Oct. 1862, and endured the siege at Vicksburg, in June and July 1863.

Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum Steven H. Stubbs, Curator 303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday