A Sketch of the History of the Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment:
Background and Introduction: Part 1
"An Army is not merely a large aggregation of men with guns in their hands. To make an army, you must have men and you must have guns, but there is an additional, intangible ingredient which is the deciding factor in its success or failure. An army has a personality. It has a character of its own, totally aside from the character of the individuals who compose it." Stanley F. Horn, The Army of Tennessee
Representing a microcosm of the army of which it is the basic building block, the Civil War regiment also epitomizes these words of Stanley Horn. Although there existed, of course, famous brigades, divisions, and even corps, the individual Confederate fighting man always identified most closely with his regiment. This is the story of one such regiment, the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Volunteers, that served in the Army of Northern Virginia. It fought in most of the Virginia army’s major battles, being detached and absent only at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. The 2nd Mississippi met its final demise a week before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox when it was overwhelmed by the Federal breakthrough of the Petersburg defenses on April 2, 1865 along the banks of a stream called Hatcher’s Run.
Although the regiment has a character of its own, apart from the individuals who comprise its ranks, the characteristics of those individuals are important to gain a full understanding of its history. Just who were the individuals who flocked to the banner of the 2nd Mississippi? Unfortunately for historians, the men of the regiment were apparently of the belief that “actions speak louder than words.” Primary source material is scarce. For a variety of reasons, not even one regimental “after action” report is included in the Official Records, and references to the regiment in other regimental, brigade and divisional reports, Confederate or Federal, are few and scattered. Unlike its “sister” regiment, the Eleventh Mississippi, the Second did not include a company composed mainly of college students like the University Greys. Had such been the case, more written source material might now be available to help reconstruct the regiment’s historical record. Within these limitations then, the principal materials utilized in this paper in an attempt to gain some insight into the makeup of the regiment consisted, to a large extent, of the surviving individual Compiled Military Service Records obtained on microfilm from the National Archives.
From these thirteen rolls of microfilm, more than 2,800 names were obtained. Of these names, however, only 1,888 individuals were identified (the rest of the names were AKA’s for these same individuals). Some individuals were identified only by Federal prisoner of war records, and it became obvious that several of these are misidentified. For example, there was also a 2nd Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, a 2nd Mississippi Infantry Battalion, and a 2nd Missouri Infantry Regiment, which were sometimes incorrectly identified in the Federal records because of identical abbreviations in the record “headers.” Some of these therefore ended up in the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment records (as an example, “2 Miss” as a record header is not a unique unit abbreviation unless additional details are available for clarification). Where possible, these mistakes were noted in the “comments” section of my complete roster summaries . However, these types of errors were relatively few in number so a good estimate for the total number of men who actually served in the regiment (or its precursor state companies) at some point in time probably lies between 1,750-1,800 individuals.
 Stanley F. Horn, The Army of Tennessee (Norman, OK, 1993), p. XI.
 U.S. War Department, War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1880-1901), Series I, vol. 2, p. 868-869, hereinafter cited as O.R. All cites are to Series I unless otherwise noted.
 Steven R. Davis, “‘...Like Leaves in an Autumn Wind’: The 11th Mississippi Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia,” Civil War Regiments: A Journal of the American Civil War 2, no. 4 (1992), p. 270.
 Compiled Military Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who served in the 2nd Mississippi, National Archives Microfilm Pub. M268, rolls 111-123. Washington, DC: National Archives and Record Service, 1959, hereinafter cited as CMSR.
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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.