A Sketch of the History of the Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment: Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor
Unfortunately for Lee, Grant’s reverses in the Wilderness fighting did not result in a Federal withdrawal back North to refit and regroup as had been the case with other Union commanders. Instead Grant once more attempted to pass the Army of the Potomac around Lee’s right flank. Lee again countered by shifting his forces to Spotsylvania Court House and beat Grant to his objective. The new Confederate line rested its left on the Po River near the Block House Bridge and faced northwest, while the right flank curved around to the south beyond the Fredericksburg Road and faced generally east. The 2nd Mississippi occupied a position with Heth’s Division in reserve behind the far-right flank.
Grant, on the morning of May 10th, sent Hancock’s II Corps across the Po River in an attempt to turn the Confederate left flank. This venture would appear to have offered little chance for success however, for the Po turned south beyond the Confederate flank and would have to be crossed a second time by the Federals in order to reach the Confederate rear. When Hancock found that the closest bridge across the Po that led to the rear of the Southern lines was well guarded, he dispersed his troops in search of another crossing place.
Lee dispatched Major General Jubal Early, temporarily commanding the Third Corps, to engage the Federals probing his left flank. Early put together a combined arms task force consisting of Heth’s Division reinforced by additional cavalry and artillery. From the right of the Confederate line they marched entirely across the rear of the Army of Northern Virginia and crossed the Po River well south of the area recently occupied by the Federal II Corps. Heth deployed his division in a line facing north with Davis’ Brigade on the left.
Although Grant had ordered Hancock to bring his men back across the Po, Brigadier General Francis C. Barlow’s Division was still south of the river at 2:00 p.m. when it was struck by Early’s troops. The 2nd Mississippi supported several assaults against Barlow in the area of Talley’s Mill. These attacks were unsuccessful until the Confederates were able to infiltrate troops around the Federal flank and rear. The Federals then fell back across the river with the Confederates in pursuit. The action came to a halt when the Southerners came within artillery range of the Union guns across the river.
Mission accomplished, Early returned to the right end of the Confederate line on the afternoon of May 10th. On May 12th, the day of the Federal assault on the “Bloody Angle,” Davis’ and Walker’s Brigades of Heth’s Division were unsuccessfully attacked by the Federals, probably by Major General Thomas L. Crittenden’s division of Burnside’s IX Corps.
With Grant’s army continually trying to move around the Confederate right, the next fighting occurred along the North Anna River from May 23rd to May 26th. Davis’ Brigade, near the left end of the Confederate line, saw little action at this time. Another move by Grant around the Confederate right brought the two armies to a new set of lines that overlapped those of the old Gaines’ Mill battlefield of 1862. Here Grant foolishly ordered a series of assaults that were bloodily repulsed by Lee’s entrenched Confederates at Cold Harbor on June 3rd. Again, the 2nd Mississippi, stationed with Heth’s Division at the far left of the Confederate lines near Bethesda Church, was not involved in the heaviest fighting although it did suffer some additional losses. For the combined losses of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor, the 2nd Mississippi reported 24 killed and 107 wounded. Its strength at the beginning of The Wilderness is unknown, but based on statistical estimates using a portion of the bimonthly muster roll data, the regiment probably had about 280 effectives in its ranks.
 O.R., 36, pt. 1, pp. 63-64; William D. Matter, If It Takes All Summer: The Battle of Spotsylvania (Chapel Hill, 1988), p. 129, 132-133; Supplement, 6, pt. 1. p. 706.
 O.R., 36, pt. 1, p. 65; Matter, Spotsylvania, pp. 131-135.
 O.R., 36, pt. 1, p. 1029; Matter, Spotsylvania, p. 134. Gordon C. Rhea, The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864 (Baton Rouge, 1997), p. 136. The exact disposition and composition of Early’s command on May 10th is unknown. It is assumed that Davis is again in personal command of his brigade since he reported back for duty on May 6th and took command of elements of his brigade that had become separated from Colonel Stone at that time.
 O.R., 36, pt. 1, pp. 191, 357; Matter, Spotsylvania, pp. 141-148; Rhea, Spotsylvania Court House, p. 140.
 Supplement, 6, pt. 1, p. 707; Matter, Spotsylvania, pp. 235-237; Rhea, Spotsylvania Court House, p. 299.
 Supplement, 6, pt. 1, p. 708. CMSR.
Michael R. Brasher
Besides being the self-published author of Civil War books, I am the great-grandson of Private Thomas Benton Weatherington, one of the 1,888 Confederate soldiers from northeast Mississippi that served in the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. A lifelong Civil War buff, I grew up near the Shiloh battlefield in West Tennessee. I received my MA in Civil War Studies from American Military University. I also hold degrees in Electrical Engineering and an MBA which I draw upon to help shape my own unique approach to researching and writing Civil War history. As former president and co-founder of InfoConcepts, Inc., I was the co-developer of the American Civil War Regimental Information System and Epic Battles of the American Civil War software. I developed and maintained the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment website from 2002 until 2015 and now maintain the 2nd Mississippi Facebook page. I am also writing a regimental history to be released in the near future. I am a retired Air Force officer and now reside in Huntsville, Alabama.