I pride myself on keeping up with Civil War literature, and so I was a bit humbled when I recently found out about Baptism of Fire: The 44th Missouri, 175th Ohio, and 183rd Ohio at the Battle of Franklin by Eric A. Jacobson and Richard A. Rupp, a book published three years ago. This book interested me primarily because my lone Union ancestor served in theOhio, but also it piqued my interest because it is partly about a trans-Mississippi unit. Regiments raised late in the conflict rarely receive much attention partly because many served in unglamorous yet important roles such as guarding railroads and serving as garrison troops. Some, though, experienced a significant amount of combat duty.
Officials authorized Major General William S. Rosecrans, the Union commander in Missouri at the time, to raise eleven new regiments of infantry. They were created due to the possibility that Sterling Price would move his men into the State and because of continuing guerrilla warfare. These new regiments were numbered as the 39th through the 49th and were raised from the late summer of 1864 to early 1865. These fresh troops experienced a wide range of service from the prosaic to the dramatic. The 39th Missouri Infantry has been featured before in a couple of my blog postings. Several companies of this unfortunate regiment were decimated by guerrillas at Centralia, Missouri, resulting in perhaps the highest loss by any Union infantry regiment in a single action. Here are thumbnail sketches of the others:
40th Missouri Infantry: service in the 1864 Tennessee campaign and the siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley. The regiment lost ten killed or mortally wounded and 58 men died of disease.
41st Missouri Infantry: garrison duty in St. Louis. The unit lost one man killed and 34 men died of disease.
42nd Missouri Infantry: garrison duty in Missouri; guarded railroads in Missouri; operated against guerrillas in Tennessee and northern Alabama; garrison duty in Tennessee. Six men were killed or mortally wounded and 124 men died of disease in the regiment.
43rd Missouri Infantry: operated against guerrillas in Missouri; part of the regiment fought at the battle of Glasgow, a skirmish a Little Blue River, and a skirmish near Lexington. The 43rd lost eleven men killed or mortally wounded and 53 men died of disease.
44th Missouri Infantry: fought in the battle of Franklin and the battle of Nashville; involved in the siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley. Sixty-five men were killed or mortally wounded and 173 men died of disease in this regiment.
45th Missouri Infantry: Duty in Missouri and then served at the battle of Nashville; garrison duty at Spring Hill, Tennessee. Four men were killed or mortally wounded and 82 men died of disease.
46th Missouri Infantry: regiment divided into detachments for service in various towns in southwest Missouri; operations in Arkansas in February 1865. The unit lost eight men killed or mortally wounded and 18 men died of disease.
47th Missouri Infantry: regiment divided into detachments for service in various towns in southeast Missouri; part of the regiment were involved in the action at Ironton; the regiment retreated from Pilot Knob and were involved at Fort Davidson; garrison duty in several towns in Tennessee. Ten men were killed or mortally wounded and 82 men died of disease.
48th Missouri Infantry: guarded various blockhouses in Tennessee; guard duty at Camp Douglas; escorted Confederate prisoners to City Point, Virginia. One hundred and twenty men died of disease.
49th Missouri Infantry: guarded railroad lines in northern Missouri; participated in the siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley. Four men were killed or mortally wounded and 96 men died of disease.
Thumbnail sketches of the regiments are based on Frederick H. Dyer’s A Compendium Of The War Of The Rebellion, vol. 2, pages 1336-1338.