The Lamar Rifles


Unit History

With the Civil War looming on the horizon, the young men of Lafayette County, Mississippi, organized a militia company in December 1860. The unit was formed in Oxford, Mississippi, and practiced military maneuvers and rifle tactics. The company decided to adopt the nickname, "Lamar Rifles" in honor of L.Q.C. Lamar, who was a popular local congressman. They also adopted the motto, "Semper Paratus," or "Always Ready!". The Lamar Rifles were enlisted into the Mississippi state service in February 1861 after Mississippi seceded from the Union and started organizing it's forces. After war was declared, Governor Petus ordered the Lamar Rifles to Corinth where the company was mustered in on April 26, 1861. On May 4, 1861, the Lamar Rifles were mustered into the 11th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment and designated Company G.



Private William H Delbridge
Private William H Delbridge

Shorty after that they were transported to Virgina, where on May 13, 1861, the regiment was mustered into the Confederate States army for one year. In April 1862, the regiment was remustered into the Confederate service for three years or the war. The regiment was primarily composed of men living in the northern Mississippi area. Most were sons of prosperous professional men, planters, and merchants and many were also students at the University of Mississippi.

The 11th served for the duration of the Civil War and participated in nearly all of the major campaigns in the East. Battles include First Manassas, Seven Pines, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, Falling Waters, Bristoe Station, Wilderness, Talley's Mill, Spotsylvania Court House, Hanover Junction, Bethesda Church, Weldon Railroad, Davis' Farm, Hawke's Farm, and Hatcher's Run. In all, the Lamar Rifles participated in 30 battles.


When first mustered into service, the Lamar Rifles uniform consisted of gray frock coats with red trim on the collar and cuffs, and eight red chest bars with buttons at each end. They also wore gray trousers with red stripes down the legs. They wore "Hardee" style black hats with one side turned up and with a brass infantry bugle on the front. Most were armed with 69 caliber smoothbore weapons, such as the 1842 Springfield musket and 1816 Springfield conversion muskets. Most of the men were Southern born. 86 were from Mississippi, 13 from North Carolina, 8 from Virginia, 8 from Alabama, 8 from Tennessee, 4 from South Carolina, 4 from Georgia, 1 from Ohio, 1 from Illinois, 2 from Ireland, 1 from Germany, and 3 were of unknown nativity.

The Lamar Rifles in Oxford, MS
The Lamar Rifles in Oxford, Mississippi shortly after forming

 

Company G Statistics


Total Soldiers Who Served: 139
University of Mississippi Attendees or Grads: 16

Average Age: 21.2 years
Oldest 42
Youngest: 16

Average Height: 5ft, 8-3/4in
Tallest: 6ft, 2in
Shortest: 5ft

Married: 3
Single: 136

Killed/Died of wounds: 32
Died of disease: 9
Died of unknown causes: 1
Wounded/Wounded and captured: 48
Captured/Surrendered unwounded: 11
Missing in action: 0
Discharged - Disabled/Conscript Act: 25
Transferred: 1
Resigned/Retired: 1
Deserted: 3
Non-casualty/Incomplete record: 8

Casualty Rate: 72.7%

OCCUPATIONS
Total: 139
Student: 47
Planter/Farmer: 51
Clerk: 20
Merchant/Salesman: 5
Professor/Teacher: 3
Mechanic: 3
Lawyer: 3
Medical Student: 2
Deputy Sheriff: 1
Minister: 1
Physician: 1
Telegraph Operator: 1
Tombstone Agent: 1



Private Walter S Buford
Private Walter S Buford

 

Private Franklin L Hope
Private Franklin L Hope




Private Goodloe W Buford
Private Goodloe W Buford Jr

The regiment earned a hard fighting and dependable reputation, but they were also somewhat unruly. For these reasons they were often put in positions of vital military importance. During the Battle of Gettysburg the 11th filled the left flank of Pickett's charge and was one of only a few units to breach the Union lines. The 11th's soldiers were also reputed to have been excellent marksmen, and the men of Company G considered among the finest. Because of this prowess, they were often deployed as skirmishers for the regiment. Company G was the last company of the Confederate army to cross back into Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg.

July 3, 1863 during the Pickett/Pettigrew charge at Gettysburg, the 11th Mississippi had 386 men present in the ten companies and regimental staff. The 11th suffered a total of 336 casualties during this charge (87% of the men fell). The 11th Mississippi Regiment sustained the highest casualty percentage of any regiment at the battle of Gettysburg, North or South.


In the Lamar Rifles, there were 68 men wounded in action, accounting for 105 total wounds. At their first battle, Seven Pines, 86 men were present for duty. By Gettysburg only 34 men were in the ranks, and at their last battle, Hawkes Farm, 26 men remained. Of the men that were in any battle, 20 were never wounded; 30 were wounded more than once; one man was wounded eight times; and one man made it through twenty-five battles without sustaining any wounds.




Companies in the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment

Company A - The University Grays
Company B - The Coahoma Invincibles
Company C - The Prairie Rifles
Company D - The Neshoba Rifles
Company E - The Prairie Guards
Company F - The Noxubee Rifles
Company G - The Lamar Rifles
Company H - The Chickasaw Guards
Company I - The Van Dorn Reserves
Company K - The Carroll County Rifles

 

Soldiers from Mississippi regiments frequently wore a star on their uniforms as a symbol of their identity. To these men the star represented sovereign states rights. As the war progressed, Mississippians adopted the eagle as their official symbol and placed this effigy on their belt buckles and cartridge box plates.

 

For a complete book written on the history of the 11th Mississippi Regiment, look to: Duty, Honor, Valor. The Story of the Eleventh Mississippi Infantry Regiment by Steven H. Stubbs.

This is truly an outstanding blog about one of our own. Our most sincere gratitude to the Author for sharing this treasure with the public!

Parham Morgan Buford's letters

 


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