A Sketch of the History of the Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment:
Background and Introduction: Part V
Another interesting aspect of the makeup of the 2nd Mississippi is the place of birth of its members. Surprisingly, of the 983 records (52.2%) that pro-vided place of birth information, only 25.3% listed Mississippi. 22.3% gave Alabama; 19.5% listed Tennessee; 13.8% South Carolina; 7.6% Georgia; 4.5% North Carolina; 2.0% Virginia; and 1.5% Ireland. These numbers are illustrated in the histogram above.
An intriguing question is raised from an examination of the average and median age of members of the regiment, grouped by place of birth. On performing the basic statistical analysis, the plot above is obtained.
As indicated by the previous plot, the majority of the members of the regiment came from the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Of note here is the mean age for the members of the regiment born in Mississippi. At only 20.5 years of age, it is far below the overall mean of 24.6. Also, the median age for this group is only 20 years of age! As a matter of fact, if the native-born Mississippians are excluded from the age statistics, the mean age for the remainder of the regiment jumps to 26.7 and the median to 25 years of age. At first, this appeared to be some sort of mistake in the analysis or an anomaly in the data from the compiled service records. However, with some additional research into the early history of northeastern Mississippi, a plausible explanation was found.
Prior to 1832, the northeastern part of the state belonged to the Chickasaw Nation. On October 20, 1832, the Chickasaws signed the Treaty of Pontotoc which ceded their territory to the state of Mississippi and provided for Chickasaw relocation in the West. However, it was 1837 before tribal leaders made a final decision on where to relocate. Throughout this period, white settlers had been unlawfully settling on Chickasaw lands. By the early 1840’s, most of the Chickasaws had been relocated, and the influx of new settlers increased with the organization of nine counties from the former Indian lands. Thus, it could be said that most of the military aged residents who were native born within Tishomingo, Tippah, Pontotoc, and Itawamba counties, would have been born no earlier than the late 1830’s to early 1840’s. This would explain the age variation when compared with the older “pioneer settlers” from Tennessee, Alabama, the Carolinas, and Georgia.
Although a much more exhaustive statistical analysis could be carried out on compiled service record data, for the purposes of this paper, a presentation of some of more important descriptive statistics was felt to be sufficient. Additional analysis is planned for the “book-length” version of the regimental history in the future.
This brief introduction with some statistical information from the compiled service records probably provides no “earth-shattering” insights into the makeup of the regiment or the motivating factors of the individuals who joined the 2nd Mississippi. However, hopefully it will help provide, even to a small degree, a somewhat better understanding of their regiment from its creation to its ultimate destruction almost four years later.
 A Concise History of Early Itawamba County, Itawamba County GenWeb Internet site, 1998.
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.