HISTORY OF THE 39TH
Hood's men began crossing the Tennessee on November 2 but were delayed by bad weather and high waler, and it was not until three weeks later that the crossing was completed. Hood then advanced against Columbia, hoping to seize the Duck River bridges there and cut off a large Federal force under General John Schofield south of the Duck at Pulaski. After a difficult march during which they encountered rain, sleet, and snow, Hood's men arrived at Columbia to find Schofield's force awaiting them. Hood then attempted to flank the Federals by crossing the Duck east of Columbia, whereupon Schofield, narrowly escaping entrapment as Spring Hill, withdrew to Franklin.
Closely followed by Hood, who blamed the Federals escape on the lethargy of two of his corps commanders, Schofield arrived at Franklin on the morning of November 30 and, finding his crossing of the Harpeth River would be delayed until bridge repairs could be completed, formed a defensive line. On the day of the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, the 39th Regiment was detailed to guard the army's pontoon train. Thus the regiment missed some of the bloodiest and most desperate fighting of the war. Hood ordered his men forward in a frontal assault which, after some initial gains, was driven back with murderous losses. Hood's army of approximately 24,000 men suffered about 6,000 casualties while Schofield, with about the same number of men, lost 2,000.
Schofield withdrew to Nashville and united hIs command with that of Thomas, while Hood, bloodied but still advancing, moved in behind Schofield and began entrenching in the hills south of Nashville Outnumbered by a margin of better than two to one, Hood hoped to entice Thomas into attacking him in a defensive position. General French having received a leave of absence, his division, which was small, was attached to that of General WaIthall Ector's brigade was ordered to the left to support the cavalry, but just before the battle is was recalled and placed in reserve behind the left of WaIthall's line,
On December I5 Thomas launched a massive attack against the Confederate left, which was held by Stewart's corps. Ector's brigade was sent to assist in the defense of the Hillsboro Pike but was forced to withdraw When the redoubts of WaIthall's left fell to the Federals. Cut off from WaIthall's division by the enemy advance, Ector's men then took up a position on the left of the division. The brigade was relieved that night and moved to a point near the Granny White Pike as Hood fell back to a new defensive line.
The next day a new Federal assault smashed into the corps of General Benjamin F. Cheatham, which had been moved from the right so the left of the Confederate line during the previous night, and sent it fleeing in confusion. Ector's brigade was ordered to the left to help stem the attack and was later reinforced by Daniel H. Reynolds's brigade. Although strong enough to keep the enemy in check, the two brigades were unable to regain control of the Granny White Pike pass. Shortly thereafter the Confederate center, under Stewart, also began to fall back in great disarray. Only a gallant rearguard action by the corps of Stephen 0. Lee and a heavy rain permitted the badly beaten Confederates to escape down the road to Franklin. General Stewart reported that the conduct of Ector's brigade during the battle was "characterized by the usual intrepidity of this small but firm and reliable body of men." (Official Records, Series I, Volume XLV, part I, page 710.) General WaIthall stated in his report that Ector's men, along wish those of Reynolds, had for a time held open "the only passages through which many detachments of the army were afterward enabled to reach the Franklin pike" and make their escapes. (Official Records, Series I, Volume XLV, part I, page 723.)
Although Hood had managed to save a part of his army, the battles of Franklin and Nashville were an irredeemable catastrophe for the South. The men who were killed or captured could no longer be replaced, and the demoralized and decimated Army of Tennessee, although capable of defensive operations, would never again take the field with any real hope of victory. The casualties of the 39th Regiment during the Tennessee campaign were not reported.
Hood began recrossing the Tennessee River near Florence, Alabama, with what remained of his army on December 26. On that date the men of Ector's brigade took part, together with the cavalry of General Nathan B. Forrest, in a rearguard action as Sugar Creek, Tennessee. The 39th Regiment was the last infantry unit to cross the river on the 28th, Hood then moved his army through Tuscumbia, Alabama, to luka, Mississippi, and from there proceeded to Corinth and then Tupelo, where he went into camp on January 10, 1865, Soon after reaching Tupelo, French's division was sent to Mobile to reinforce the garrison commanded by General Dabney H. Maury. Ector's brigade was stationed at Spanish Fort on Mobile Bay, which came under siege by Federal forces under the command of General Edward Canby on March 27. Ector's men, supported by a small gunboat, were on the left of the Confederate line near the marshes of Bayou Minesse. Shortly after dark on April 8 the Federals broke through on the Confederate left and captured some of the defenders, including a number of soldiers from the 39th Regiment. The garrison evacuated the fort via a treadway over Bayou Minette later that night, some of the men retiring to nearby Fort Blakely and some to Mobile. When Fort Blakely fell on April 9, General Maury abandoned Mobile and retired with his command to Meridian, Mississippi, where he awaited word on the negotiations to surrender the troops of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. On May 8, 1865, General Richard Taylor, commander of the department, surrendered all of the forces under his command, including the remnants of the 39th Regiment N.C. Troops.
FIELD AND STAFF
Resided in Buncombe County and was by occupation an attorney prior to enlisting at age 37. Appointed Major on December 10. 1861. Promoted to lieutenant Colonel on February 16, 1862. Promoted to Colonel on May 19, 1862 Wounded in the leg as Murfreesboro, Tennessee. December 31, 1862, Returned to duty prior to May I, 1863 Reported present during May-October, 1863, and January-February, 1864 Paroled at Shreveport, Louisiana, June I5, 1865. He was a man of "surpassing gallantry in the field" who displayed "unsurpassed heroism" as Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. At Chickamauga, Georgia, during the capture often enemy cannon, "he himself. . . rushed first of all into the enemy's battery."
DAVIDSON,HUGH HARVEY Previously served as Captain of Company C of this regiment. Elected Lieutenant Colonel on May 19. 1862, and transferred to The Field and Staff. Resigned on December 4, 1862, by reason of "hernia" and "chronic diarrhoea." Resignation accepted on December 29, 1862; however, he had not been notified of the acceptance of his resignation on December 31, 1862, when fighting broke out at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Wounded in the arm, resulting in the loss of his arm.
Captured at or near Murfreesboro on or about January 5, 1863. Confined at Louisville, Kentucky. Transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio, where he arrived on March 26. 1863. Transferred to Fort Delaware, Delaware, where he arrived on April 12, 1863. Paroled at Fort Delaware and transferred to City Point. Virginia. where he was received on May 4. 1863, for exchange. Went into retirement on an unspecified date.
Nominated for the Badge of Distinction for gallantry at Murfreesboro. He was a man of great strength of mind and firmness of character and had the faculty of inspiring confidence and affection beyond that of most men."
REYNOLDS, FRANK A.
Resided in Virginia. Graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1861. [He graduated next-to-last in his class, just ahead of George A. Custer.] Previously served in the Confederate Army as a cavalry officer under General John B. Floyd and as Assistant Adjutant General under General Samuel U. French. Appointed Major of this regiment on May 19, 1862. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on December 29, 1862. Present or accounted for during March-October, 1863 Reported absent without leave in January-February. 1864. Hospitalized at Meridian, Mississippi, January 25, 1865, with an unspecified disability. Paroled at Meridian on May 9, 1865. [He was the son of Confederate General Alexander W. Reynolds. After the war, both father and son served as officers in the Egyptian Army.]
Appointed Major on February 15, 1862. Defeated for reelection when Coleman's Battalion was reorganized as the 39th Regiment N.C. Troops on May 19, 1862.
Appointed Adjutant [Ist Lieutenant] on December 10. 1861. No further records. [May have served later as lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd Regimens NC. Troops]
HARDEN, JAMES D.
Previously served as Private in Company C of this regiment. Appointed Adjutant [1st lieutenant) on November 18, 1862, to rank from May 20, 1862, and transferred to the Field and Staff. "Shot through the neck" at Chickamauga, Georgia, September 20. 1863. and was "left for dead on the field as his comrades swept forward in the charge. Returned to duty on an unspecified date, Appointed Assistant Quartermaster (Captain) of this regiment on January 27, 1864, to rank from December 10, 1863. [See Assistant Quartermasters section below.]
This company was raised in Cherokee County and was enlisted as Murphy on September 24,1861. It was then ordered so Camp Patton, Asheville, and Was designated Company C of Major David Coleman's Battalion NC. Troops when that unit was organized on December 10, 1861. When the battalion was reorganized as a regimens on May 19, 1862, the company became Company C, 39th Regiment NC. Troops. After joining Coleman's Battalion and the 39th Regiment the company functioned as a part of those units, and its history for the remainder of the war is reported as a part of the history of the 39th Regiment.
[Because the period of its existence was brief, no separate history and roster for Coleman's Battalion will be published in this series. The history and roster of Coleman's Battalion have been incorporated into the history and roster of the 39th Regiments.]
The information contained in the following roster of the company was compiled principally from company muster rolls for February I April 30. 1862, and November, 1862- October, 1863. No company muster rolls were found for May-October, 1862, and for the period after October, 1863. Valuable information was obtained from primary records such as the North Carolina adjutant general's Roll of Honor, discharge certificates, medical records, prisoner of war records, and pension applications. Secondary sources such as postwar rosters and histories, cemetery records, and records of the United Daughters of the Confederacy also provided useful information.
DAVIDSON, HUGH HARVEY
Born in Haywood County and resided in Cherokee County where he was by occupation county sheriff prior to enlisting in Cherokee County at age 47. Elected Captain on September 24, 1861. Reported present during February April 1862. Elected Lieutenant Colonel on May 9. 1862, and transferred to the Field and Staff of this regiment.
MOUNT, SAMUEL. C. Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 25. Elected 1st. lieutenant on September 24, 1861. Reported present during February-April, 1862. Elected Captain on May 19. 1862. Reported present or accounted for during November, 1862-April, 1863. left sick at or near Yazoo City. Mississippi. June 13, 1863. Reported present but under arrest in July-August, 1863.
Reason he was arrested not reported Released from arrest on October 14. 1863. and returned to duty. Killed at Spanish Fort, Mobile, Alabama. April 8. 1865.
DAVIDSON,JOHN Mitchell, 1st lieutenant
Born in Haywood County resided in Rowan County or in Tennessee. Unlisted at Clinton, Tennessee, as age 32, 1862. for the war. Mustered in as Private. Elected 1st lieutenant on May 19, 1862. Reported present during November, 1862-August, 1863. Reported on duty as acting Assistant Quartermaster of this regiment in September-October, 1863. "Continued on active service until the close of the Atlanta campaign [on or about September 2, 11641 when. because of declining health, he was invalid and put on light duty . By his exalted sense of duty and devotion he attracted the attention and commanded the respect and confidence of his superiors.." [Clark's Regiments. Volume II. page 704.] Paroled at Salisbury on June 3, 1865. Took the Oath of Allegiance at Salisbury on June 3. 1865.
FARMER, SYLVESTER, BENJAMIN M. 3rd Lieutenant
Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 22. Elected 3rd Lieutenant on September 24, 1861. Defeated for reelection when Coleman's Battalion was reorganized as the 39th Regiment N.C. Troops on May 19, 1862. Reenlisted in the company with the rank of Private on June 10, 1862.
HAIL, GEORGE, 3rd Lieutenat
Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 31, September 24, 1861. Mustered in as Private. Reported present during February-April, 1862. Promoted to Sergeant prior to May I, 11163. Elected 3rd Lieutenant on May 19, 1862. Reported absent on detached service during November. 1862-October, 1863. Name appears on a letter dated November 14, 11163, and signed by the temporary commander of the 39th Regiment, Captain William Allen of Company I), which reads in part as follows:
"Application is hereby made to drop from the rolls of this Regiment . . . lieutenant George HaIl of Company C. He was detached by order of Gen[era] [Gideon J.] Pillow in the early part of this year on recruiting service. There is good evidence that for five or more months past he has been serving with the enemy. He has been acting with [Goldman]] Bryson. a notorious Bushwhacker in Cherokee Count North Carolina. and in East Tennessee Dropped from the rolls of the company on or about December 14, 1863.
HUGHES, PASCHAL C., 2nd Lieutenant
Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 26. Appointed 2nd Lieutenant on September 24, 1861. Elected Captain on February 14, 11162, and transferred to Company G of this regiment.
MOSS, JEPTHA C., 2nd Lieutenant
Resided its Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 30, September 24, 1861. Mustered in as Private. Reported present during February-April, 1862, Elected 2nd Lieutenant on May 19, 1862. Reported present during November-December, 1862. Sent to hospital at Cleveland, Tennessee, February 11, 1863. Reported absent sick through April, 1863. Returned to duty in May-June, 1863. Reported absent without leave on October II, 1863. Captured by the enemy in Cherokee County on February 18, 1864. Confined at Nashville, Tennessee. Transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, February 27, 1864. Transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio, February 29, 1864. Transferred to Foes Delaware, Delaware, March 25, 1864. Released at Fort Delaware on June 16, 11165, after taking the Oath of Allegiance.
SUDDERTH, DAVID THEODORE, 2nd Lieutenant
Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 20, September 24, 1861. Mustered in as Private. Elected 2nd Lieutenant on February 19, 11162. Defeated for reelection when the regiment was reorganized on May 19, 1862.
WHITAKER, HARRISON BENJAMIN, 2nd Lieutenant
Resided in Cherokee County where he enlisted at age 22, March 30. 1862. Mustered in as Private. Reported present during February-April, 1862. Promoted to Sergeant on May 19, 1862. Sent to hospital at Atlanta, Georgia, January 22, 11163. Reported present during March-August, 1863. Promoted to Sergeant on August 31, 1863. Elected 2nd Lieutenant in January, 1864. Resigned on or about August 22, 1864; however, his resignation was apparently either withdrawn or rejected. Captured at Spanish Foes, Mobile, Alabama, April 8, 1865. Sent to Ship Island, Mississippi. where he was received on April 10, 1865, Transferred to Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 28, 1865. Confined at New Orleans, Louisiana, April 30, 1865. Paroled at Meridian, Mississippi. May 9, 1865.