Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00 AM
On March 8, 1862, the men of the 11th Mississippi and the rest of Whiting's brigade left Camp Fisher near Dumfries, after a winter stay of almost six months, and marched to the southwest, about twenty-eight miles distant.
They established a new camp about two miles to the south of the Rappahannock River, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, and named it Camp Bartow in honor of another hero at Manassas, Colonel Francis S. Bartow, commander of the second brigade at that battle.
As Bartow and his color sergeant, carrying their regimental banner, led the remnants of the 7th Georgia Infantry in an all-out counter attack on Henry Hill, a bullet struck Bartow near the heart. In his last words he begged his soldiers to hold their banner at all costs.
"They have killed me; but boys," he implored, "never give it up." On Friday, April 4, 1862, on the peninsular southeast of Richmond, Federal General George McClellan moved slowly toward Yorktown, his massive Army of the Potomac confronted only by fifteen thousand Confederates and a frail line of fortifications along the Warwick River.
In the meantime, General Joe Johnston shifted southward his principal army In Virginia from the line on the Rappahannock to bolster the blocking force on the peninsula, commanded by Major General John Bankhead Magruder.
As McClellan was preparing his siege line around Yorktown to the consternation of Lincoln and the War Department, one of the new recruits of Company D, the Neshoba Rifles, arrived to join Magruder's small force.
On that Monday, April 7, 1862, Private Charles A. Ridout, a twenty-nine year old, married, straight-laced school teacher from the western section of Kemper County, wrote to his wife, Annie Hardy Ridout; "I attended the Methodist Church... yesterday, and heard a very excellent Sermon. The Soldiers are very wicked, the most profane men I ever Saw in my life. I have a great many trials to undergo, but am determined by the help of God to live the life of the Christian... I heard yesterday that Lincoln had offered to acknowledge our independence if we would give up Kentuckey [sic] and Misoria [sic], if that be true I think he will give up soon. As for my part I am not in favor of giving up a foot of Secession Soil."
After only a few weeks in camp, the Kemper County school teacher and father of a young son, Charles Ridout, again reflected in a second letter to his wife, the life of a soldier, far from home and family: "Although we are Separated in person yet you are never absent from my thoughts: and it is my continual practice to recommend you to that Being, whose eyes are on all his creatures, and to whom the Secrets of all hearts are open. Here I am, far away from home, and my loving wife and child; from all that makes life dear to me. Camp life has no charms for me; nor would I Seek the battle field fort its own sake. To dwell with you at home would be far more agreeable to every feeling of my heart. But if God Spares my life and health, here I intend to be, until my country no longer needs the work I am doing. I did not volunteer for a holiday amusement. I did not come to camp Seeking ease. I came to aid a good cause in danger, and while the danger continues I will be here. What if others prefer to Stay at home and make money, while I am passing through these Toils. Their failure to do their duty will not excuse me from mine."
Ridout correctly assessed the situation. The first winter had passed. The soldiers had re-enlisted for the duration of the war, and the regiment had reorganized. The Mississippians were ready for a war that was only ten days away. Nothing could prepare the soldiers, however, for the carnage that was to come.
Civil War Veterans
Franklin, Alexander Hamilton -- Captain to Lieutenant Colonel; Private to Major; mustered on April 13, 1861 at Neshoba Springs in the Neshoba Rifles; age thirty-five; farmer; served as captain of the Neshoba Rifles; elected captain of Company D at organization, April 24, 1861; re-elected captain at re-organization, April 21 1862; received $1,727.25 for subsistence for fifty-five new members of Company D for forty-one days (amount included $36.00 for "waggon" hire), February 17 and June 17, 1862; appointed to the regimental staff as lieutenant colonel, January 12, 1863; dismissed from Confederate service, February 1863; enlisted as a private in Company G of the 6th Regiment Mississippi Cavalry at DeKalb, Mississippi, November 28, 1863; probably participated, as a part of General Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry command, at the Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, July 13 to 15, 1864; later promoted to second lieutenant in Captain Reuben P. Hutton's company of Worthington's Battalion; later served as a major in a partisan cavalry unit in Confederate service; over the past few years, several of Franklin's personal effects, including an ivory handled knife and initialed pistols used during his Confederate service, were purchased from his great-great granddaughter by a local Neshoba County resident.
World War II Veterans
Franklin, Earl J. -- Private to Private First Class; enlisted on February 2, 1944, at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in the United States Army; age seventeen; farmer; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations; served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations as a longshoreman with the 135th Portage Company, August 1945 to December 1945; participated in the campaign on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands; awarded the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal; discharged on Okinawa, December 15, 1945, to enlist in the Regular Army; re-enlisted on December 15, 1945, on Okinawa; served again in the American Theatre as a duty soldier with Squadron F at the 2621st Base Unit with the Army Air Corps; discharged at Barksdale Field, Bossier City, Louisiana, January 31, 1947, convenience of the government; described as five feet eleven inches tall, weighing 146 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum
Steven H. Stubbs, Curator
303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Monday thru Friday