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Confederate Defenders at Fort Gregg: April 2, 1865 by Bill Furr

Editor’s Note: Bill Furr, who owns and operates the excellent 19th Mississippi Infantry Regiment web site, was kind enough to grant me permission to publish his research into the names of men who defended Fort Gregg.  Bill spent a great deal of time reading through primary sources to find the names of men who could be positively identified as having defended Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865.  He then cross-referenced those sources and listed which sources gave specific soldiers’ names.  Bill also corresponded with John Fox while Mr. Fox was writing The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg’s Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865.

UPDATE August 2020: 12th Mississippi researcher Shelly Liebler has built on this work and produced an updated list for the 12th Mississippi.


I summit the following summary of my research regarding the defenders of Fort/Battery Gregg.  Various sources list the Confederate forces defending Fort/Battery Gregg as follows:

Harris’s Brigade

12th Miss

16th Miss


Lane’s Brigade

33rd NC

37th NC


Thomas’ Brigade — various units


Third Company Washington Artillery

Chew’s 4th Maryland Battery

Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Artillery

Walker’s Supernumerary Artillerists (aka Walker’s Mules)

Surgeon George W. Richards


Cross referencing the various references to casualties and prisoners, I have calculated the total force as 216 (57 killed, 129 wounded, and 30 unhurt).  The various claims as to who was there add up to much more than that as follows:


Harris’s Brigade — 10 to 250

Lane’s Brigade — 75 to 180

Thomas’ Brigade — 20

Artillerists — 64-65


An admittedly incomplete list of defenders follows (the numbers after the name indicate the source):


12th Miss

Capt A. K. Jones (2, 15, 20)

Capt R. R. Applewhite (8)

Lt Glasscock (20)

Sgt Barlow (20)

Sgt J. D. Bridger (15)

Sgt Fred J.V. LeCand (15, 20)

Sgt C. R. Nesmith (15)

Cpl H. K. Fuller (20)

Cpl Murray (20)

Private H. M. Colson (15, 20)

Private W. W. Coutch (20)

Private W. H. Dromgoole (15)

Private J. F. Girault (15)

Private L. B. Harlin (15)

Private John W. Owen (15)

Private H. H. Owing (15)

Private H. W. Porter (20)

Private Thomas M. Rea (15)

Private James G. Robbins (15)

Private John H. Roberts (20)

Private A. J. Sevier (20)

Private G. W. H. Shaiffer (Shaifer) (15, 20)

Private J. H. Sins (Simms) (15, 20)

R. B. Thetford (8, 15)

Private W. R. Thompson (15, 20)

Private Neftel Underwood (20)

Private Joseph Vandyke (20)

Private Pearson Wells (20)

Private West (20)


16th Miss

Lt Col James H. Duncan (1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19)

Color Guard B. F. Chisholm (15)

Sgt J. B. Thompson (7)

Private Buxton Conerly (2, 3)

Private Harry Dey (15)

Private H. Gilmore (15)

Private A. M. Girault (15)

Private R. H. McElwaine (15)

Private John A. Shields (15)

M. G. Turner — 16th Miss (7)

Private John W. Walters (15)


33rd NC

Lt George H. Snow (11, 12)

Lt F. B. Craige (12)

Lt A. B. Howard (12)

Color Bearer James Atkinson (12)


37th NC

Lt D. M. Rigler (12)

Lt Orman (12)

A. A. Garrison — 37th NC (2)


Thomas’ Georgia Brigade

Capt William Norwood (11, 12)

Adjutant M. Newman — 49th Georgia (10)


Third Company Washington Artillery

Lt Francis (Frank) McElroy (1, 2, 4, 12, 13, 18, 19)

Berry (18)


Chew’s 4th Maryland Battery

Captain Walter S. Chew (2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 18, 19)

Corporal Pindar (5)


Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Artillery

C. J. Savoy (19)

G. Charlet (19)

O. Delmer(19)

John S. Mioton (18, 19)


Walker’s Supernumerary Artillerists (aka Walker’s Mules)

A. E. Strother — Irwin Artillery, Cutt’s Georgia Battalion (9)

Surgeon George W. Richards (2, 6, 7)



1.  William Miller Owen, In Camp and Battle With the Washington Artillery of New Orleans, Boston:  Ticknor and Co., 1885.

2.  Davis, Burke, To Appomattox Nine April Days 1865.  New York:  Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1959.

3.  Buxton R. Conerly, “How Fort Gregg Was Defended April 2, 1865,” History of Pike County, Mississippi also in Confederate Veteran, Vol 15, 1907, pp. 505-507.

4.  Nathaniel H. Harris, “Nineteenth Mississippi Regiment,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 6, 1898, pp. 70-71.

5.  E. C. Cottrell, “Chesapeake Battery at Fort Gregg,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 7, No 5, 1899, p. 200.

6.  Unknown, “Defenders of Fort Gregg,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 25, No 1, 1917, p. 23.

7.  J. E. Gaskell, “Last Engagement of Lee’s Army,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 29, 1921, pp. 261-262.

8.  R. B. Thetford, “Commands Holding Fort Gregg, Confederate Veteran, Vol 29, 1921, p. 335.

9.  A. E. Strother, “Battle and Capture of Fort Gregg,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 29, 1921, pp. 425-426.

10.  M. Newman, “The Old Forty-Ninth Georgia,” Confederate Veteran, Vol 31, 1923, p. 181.

11.  W. Gordon McCabe, “Address by Captain W. Gordon McCabe Before the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, November 1, 1876,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 2, No 6, Dec 1876, p. 301.

12.  James H. Lane and others, “Defence of Fort Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 3, No 1, Jan 1877, pp. 19-28.

13.  Napier Bartlett, “The Defense of Fort Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 3, No 2, Feb 1877, pp. 82-86.

14.  C. M. Wilcox, “Defence of Batteries Gregg and Whitworth, and the Evacuation of Petersburg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 4, No 1, Jul 1877, pp. 18-33.

15.  Nathaniel H. Harris, “Defence of Battery Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 7, No 10, 11, 12, Oct, Noc, Dec 1880, pp. 475-488.

16.  James H. Lane, “The Defence of Battery Gregg–General Lane’s Reply to General Harris,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 9, pp. 102-107.

17.  C. M. Wilcox, “Battery Gregg–Reply to General N. H. Harris,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 9, pp. 168-178.

18.  William Miller Owen, “The Artillery Defenders of Fort Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 19, Jan 1891, pp. 65-71.

19.  Unknown, “The Battle of Fort Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 28, Jan-Dec 1900, pp. 265-267.

20.  A. K. Jones, “The Battle of Fort Gregg,” Southern Historical Papers, Vol 31, Jan-Dec 1903, pp. 56-60.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Calvin Sibley November 20, 2018, 11:09 pm

    I read with interest Mr. Furr’s article regarding Fort Gregg and who fought there. My Greatgrandfather, William Wallace Sibley, fought for the Confederacy in the 12th Mississippi and was captured on April 2nd 1865. The 12th Mississippi, being in Petersburg for some time I feel like he was among the captured at Fort Gregg the day of it’s capture. He was sent to Point Lookout Maryland where he was until his release in August of that year. While I have no other documentation other than that gathered on muster rolls to document his location of capture other than Petersburg I feel he must have been at Fort Gregg.

  • Brett Schulte November 21, 2018, 9:39 am


    I highly recommend that you purchase the book Confederate Alamo by John Fox III. In one of his appendices, I believe he tries to identify who was there. Your ancestor was almost definitely captured in the vicinity of Fort Gregg, and possibly in the fort itself, given the date of his capture and his unit.


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