The Seven McElroys

Of the Thirteenth Mississippi Infantry C.S.A.

             Seven men named McElroy,served in the Thirtheenth Mississippi Infantry,an elite regiment in the Army of Northern Virginia,which participated in many of the major battles of the war.At the time of enlistment the youngest McElroy was 19,the oldest 27.
They were mostly from Lauderdale County,Mississippi,from such places as Marion, Alamucha,Lauderdale,and also from Sydenham,across the state line in Alabama.With few exceptions,at least one McElroy was with the Thirteenth Mississippi in every one of it's engagements from Manassas to Appomattox.

           Of the seven,only one remained with the regiment during the surrender at Appomattox Court House on the 9th April 1865.Two were killed, four became prisoners of war,(one was exchanged to fight again),and one resigned from the service.Five were officers,the highest ranking becoming colonel of the regiment.They suffered between them a total of eight wounds.Four were put out of action in a single day a Gettysburg from wounds and capture.

          When volunteers were called for by the Confederate government in March 1861.local companies were formed with such interesting names as the Winston Gaurds,Wayne Rifles,Kemper Legion,Newton Rifles,Alucha Infantry,Lauderdale Zouaves,Secessionists,Spartan's Band,Minute Men of Attala and Pettus Guard.The plantation of Peter Bozeman,Captain of the Alamucha Infantry,became the mustering point of the regiment.They assembled in May 1861 to hear the patriotic speeches by Peter Bozeman and others.Miss Sophronia McElroy pesented a flag to Bozeman,s company to carry into battle.

           Three of the McElroys were members of Captain Bozeman,s company.Three others joined the Pettus Guard,named after the governor of Mississippi.The seventh,Kennon McElroy,was captain of the Lauderdale Zouaves.Popular among militia companies before the war,the Zouaves organizations were modeled oh the French troops of North Africa.They wore colourful uniforms consisting of bright red baggy trousers,white gaiters, a short jacket and aturban or red fez.They were noted for their spectacular drill tactics and their ability to load and fire lying down.Many wore this uniform while marching to the front and some for the entire war,but it is not known whether this was true for the Lauderdale Zouaves.

         The regiment was intially commanded by William Barksdale,a prominent newspaper editor and member of Congress from Mississippi, who although a civilian with some Mexican War experience,earned a brilliant record in the army and rose to the commanderof a brigade in June 1862, known and admired throughout the Army of North Virginia as Barksdale,s Mississippians.It consisted ot the Thirteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-First Infantry regiments. General Barksdale served gallantly and efficiently until his mortal wound at Gettysburg.He was replaced in command of the brigade by Colonel Benjamin G. Humphreys,formerly Colonel of the Twenty-First Mississippi Infantry,who later became govermor of Mississippi.

          The battle flag of the Thirteeth Mississippi Infantry must have been covered with names that shone brightly in the history of the Confederacy, for it participated in over twenty battles during the war.The regiment was part of the brigade that turned the tide at the first great battle of Manassas. During the 1862 Peninsular campaign,known as the Seven Days Battle around Richmond, the Thirteenth was present at Seven Pines and fought at Savage Station,where Barksdale took over command after it,s commander was killed.In the final battle of the campaign at Malvern Hill,the thirteenth was conspicuous and Major Kennon McElroy assumed regimentel command when Colonel j.w. Carter was wounded.

            The thirteenth was the last regiment to leave Maryland Heights after the capture of Harper,s Ferry during the 1862 Maryland campaign.
It arrived on the field at Sharpsburg while the battle was in progress and there engaged Federal troops in the West Woods.Kennon McElroy was wounded but remained in command of the regiment.

          At the first battle of Fredricksburg in December1862 the Thirteenth fought in the streets of the town and was then posted behind the famous stone wall at the foot of Marye,s Heights until relieved.In the second battle of Fredricksburg,during the Chancellorsville campaign,Barksdale,s brigade held a line three miles long and was heavily engaged.When the line was finally broken,the Thirteenth served as rear gaurd to check the Federal advance.

           One of the thirteenth's greatest moments of glory was on the second day at Gettysburg where they were immortalized in the assault at the Peach Orchard.Here th gallant Barksdale fell at the head of his brigade and Kennon McElroy,though wounded again,took over command of his regiment after the death of Colonel Carter,who had return to duty.McElroy was promoted to full colonel in the field and given permanent command of the regiment.The losses of Barsdale's brigade at Gettysburg was the fourth largest of any brigade in the Army of North Virginia.The thirteenth suffered 25 killed and 137 wounded,including 86 left behind in a field hospital after the battle.All four of the McElroys present for dity at Gettysburg were among the wounded and captured.

Peach Orchard Today

               After the Gettysburg campaign.Lieutant General James Longstreet's First Army Corps,of which the thirteeth Mississippi was a part,was temporarily transferred to the western theater of operations.There,Colonel McElroy's men participated in Longstreet's hammer like blow against the Federals resulting the great Confederate victory at Chickamauga.

         After paticipating in the siege of Chattanooga,which followed Chickamuaga,Longstreet's command was sent to East Tennessee and attacked Fort Sanders at Knoxville.Fort Sanders consisted of an earthen fortification with a sharply slanting walls,fronted by a ditch 12 feet wide and from 4 feet to 10 feet deep,beyond which were wire and other obstructions.The Thiteenth led the assault and sustained heavy casualties,Colonel McElroy,at the head of his men,was killed.Some of the men,in the absence of scaling ladders,climbed on the shoulders of others to plant the flag of the Thirteenth on the parapet,but all were killed or captured.

          "The loss of the heroic McElroy was irreparable,"his brigade commander wrote.His corp commander,General Longstreet, also payed him tribute"He was a man of very fine courage,united to a slf possession on all occasions,with aknowledge of his duties and a natural capacity for command which inspired confidence and made him always conspicuous."

      On the return of Longstreet's command to the Army of North Virginia,the Thirteenth Mississippi saw action in the battle of the Wilderness and the famous defence of the Confederate salient known as the Mule Shoe,or the Bloody Angle,at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
The regiment also served at Cold Harbor and in defence of Petersburg.The Thirteenth was the temporarily transferred to the Shanandoah Valley where,under the command of Lieutant Juabal A. Early,it fought at Berryville,Charlestown,Rock Fish Gap and the climatic battle Cedar Creek.

        After Cedar Creek,the Thirteenth returned to Longstreet's command north of the James River around Richmond.It took part in the evacuation of the Richmond and Petersburg fronts and the retreat which ended with the surrender of the Army or North Virginia at Appomattox Court House. The Thirteenth was part of Major General Joseph Kershaw's division which was finally overwhelmed and forced to surrender at the battle of Sayler's Creek in the last days of the Appomattox campaign.What was left of the regiment was commanded by a lieutenant and included the last surviving McElroy's on active duty.

Mclean House at Appomattox Today

              The Thirteenth Mississippi suffered casualties of at least 50% during the war,including 260 who were killed,250 who died of disease and 200 who were taken prisoner.Thea figures do not include the wounded and those who were seperated for other reasons.
              The following biographies of the seven McElroys were prepared from their individually compiled military service records at the National Archives in Washington D.C.

             George W. McElroy enlisted in May 1861 in Captian Peter Bozeman's company at Alamucha,Mississippi.He was 21 years old,single,a native of Alabama.He enlisted as aprivate and was promoted to sergeant in April 1862.He participated in the battles of First Manassas,Seven Pines, Savage Station,Malvern Hill,Sharpsburg,First Fredricksburg and Second Fredricksburg.At Second Fredricksburg,he was severely wounded on May 3rd 1863 and died several days after the battle.In his record is the notation,"purer blood never stained a battle field."

          Issac P. McElroy also enlisted in May 1861 in Captain Peter Bozeman's company at Alamucha Mississippi.He was 21 years old,probably single,a native of Alabama and a student whose residence is given variuosly as Sydenham,Alabama and Alamucha,Mississippi.He enlisted as a private and was elected second lieutenant in November 1863.He was present at First Manassas,Seven Pines,Savage Station,Malvern Hill, Maryland Heights,Sharpsburg,First Fredricksburg and Second Fredricksburg where he was severly wounded.He was on furlough,recuperating from his wound,from May until August 1863 and subsequently missed the battle of Gettysburg.He returned to duty in time to participate in the great western battle of Chickamauga,the seige of Chattanooga and the easr Tennessee campaign,including the battle of Knoxville.During partof this campaign,he was in command of Company B.He fought in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Court House where he was captured 10th May 1864 and sent as a prisoner of war to Fort Delaware near Wilmington.He was released 6th June 1865 upon taking the oath of allegiance.
Issac P. McElroy's service record is one of the few which contains a brief desciption,which is always of interest to descendents if no photograph is known to exist.He is described as being 5'10" tall and dark complexion with brown hair and eyes.The record of his capture states that he was"a good officer and a brave soldier."He was Hospitalized for illness three times during the war.

        John J. McElroy enlisted in May 1861,in Captain Peter Bozeman's company at Alamucha Mississippi.He was 27 years old,married with an infant son.and was a merchant in Alamucha.He was a second lieutenant at enlistment and was promoted to first lieutenant on September 1861.He served in the the battle of First Manassas and resigned from the service in September 1861.

       John M. D. McElroy enlisted as a private in Captain Samuel Randall's company,the Pettus Guard at Fredricksburg Virginia on 20th December 1862 just after the First Fredricksburg.He was 24 years old,single,a native of Georgia and a farmer whose residence is variously listed as Marion and Lauderdale Mississippi.He was hospitalized due to illness shortly after his enlistment,but returned to duty in time to participate in the battle of Second Fredricksburg during the Chancellorsville campaign.He was wounded and captured at Gettysburg on 2nd July 1863 and sent as a prisoner of war to Fort Delaware where he spent the remainder of the war.He was paroled 5th June 1865 upon taking the oath of allegiance,at which time he gave his place of residence at Lauderdale.
There is a description of John M. D. McElroy in his service record.He was 5'8",light complexion and had dark hair and grey eyes.

          Kennon McElroy was mustered into service in May 1861 as Captain of the Lauderdale Zouaves,he was 21years of age,a native of Mississippi and a farmer with residences listed variously as Marion and Lauderdale Mississippi.He participated in the battles of First Manassas,Seven Pines,Savage Station,Malvern Hill,Maryland Heights,Sharpsburg,First Fredricksburg and Second Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga,siege of Chattanooga and the east Tennessee campaign.He was promoted to major in April 1862,lieutenant colonel in June 1862 and colonel in July 1863.Colonel McElroy was 23 years of age when he was killed in the assault on Fort Sanders at Knoxville Tennessee.

           Robert Bruce McElroy enrolled as a private in the Pettus Guard at Marion,Mississippi in May1861.He was 18 or 19 years old,single and a mechanic.Although born in Alabama,he was then a resident of Marion,Mississippi.He was present at First Manassas,Savage Station,Malvern Hill and Maryland Heights.there is conflicting evidence during the battle of Sharpsburg.He participated in the battles of First Fredricksburgand Second Fredricksburg,Gettysburg where he was captured in the fight at the Peach Orchard on the 2nd July 1863.He was sent,as a prisoner of war to Fort Delaware and was exchange on the 30th November 1864.Robert Bruce McElroy rejoined his regiment during the Shenandoah Valley campaign and was present at the battle of Cedar Creek.He was also present during the Appomattox campaign and apparently was one of the few survivors of the Sayler's Creek for his compiled military service record indicates that he was paroled at Appomattox Court House on the 9th April 1865.he was hospitalized due to illness during the summers of 1861 and 1862.

           William Wallace McElroy enlisted in the Pettus Guard in May 1861.He was 23 years old,a native of Georgia and a farmer residing in Marion Mississippi.He enlisted as a private,was promoted to third lieutenant April 1862,second lieutenant July 1862 and first lieutenant in October 1862.In 1864 he is listed as captain and assistant of the regiment.He was present at Seven Pines,Savage Station,Maryland Heights, Sharpsburg, First Fredricksburg and Second Fredricksburg,Chickamauga,the siege of Chattanooga,Knoxville,the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House where he was wounded.He missed First Manassas and Malvern Hill due to illness and Gettysburg because of an attack of nephritis and an assignment to escort prisoners to Mississippi.The wound received at Spotsylvania Court House incapacitated him for the remainder of the war and he was paroled at Meridan Mississippi on the 11thMay 1865.His parole paper included his compled military service record.

         The information below is correlated from the data in the soldiers compiled military records with that contained in the Federal Census of 1860 and other genealogical sources available.The parentel and sibling relationships,established or implied follow:

        The Federal census of Sumter County Alabama cotains four McElroy families grouped together in the Sydenham area.Issac R. McElroy Jr. of Sydenham and Alamuchs Mississippi was the son of Colonel Issac R. McElroy Sr. a prosperous Sydenham farmer.George W. McElroy appears to be the G.W. McElroy in the family of John I McElroy Sr. whose farm was next to that George W. McElroy,who were probably first cousins,both enlisted in the same company.
        This leaves the Kennon McElroy as the only one of the seven not reasonably identified.There was no record of him in the 1860 census of either Lauderdale County Mississippi or Sumter County Alabama.When mustered into the service ot the Confederacy he was shown as a resident of Lauderdale and captain of McElroy's company of Lauderdale Zouaves.Kennon appears to be a family name but no evidence of Kennon McElroy relationship.
        He was listed as single at the time of his enlistment.No records of a marriage were found.No claim for his state pension was made in either Mississippi or Alabama nor is there a record of a newspaper obituary or of his burial in Lauderdale County.It is possible he was buried on the field of the battle of Knoxville Tennessee and that his body was never returned to Mississippi.

Other McElroys in other Mississippi Regiments

         Dr Carroll Jackson McElroy of nearby Newton County Mississippi was a captain in the Thirty Ninth Mississippi Infantry and a prominent physician inNewton.He enlisted two other McElroy's William J. And P.D. McElroy in his company which was known as thw Newton Hornets.

I hope you have found this story of the McElroy's interesting and it shows
how much one family gave to a cause they believed in.

                                       This information was given to me by someone in our Society I do not know of it's origin

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