A Sketch of the History of the Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment:
Following Malvern Hill, Hood’s Division recuperated in the vicinity of Richmond for several weeks. Concluding that Richmond was no longer in danger from McClellan’s forces still on the Peninsula, Lee decided that Major General John Pope, commander of the newly formed Federal Army of Virginia, needed to be “suppressed.” On August 13, 1862, Hood was ordered north to take part in Lee’s new offensive. Lee hoped to strike Pope before the balance of McClellan’s troops could be brought back from the Peninsula as reinforcements. Lee sent Jackson around Pope’s right flank and followed with Longstreet’s command as the Federal commander “took the bait” and moved north in pursuit of Jackson.
After destroying the Federal supply depot at Manassas on August 26th, Jackson established a defensive position along an unfinished railroad cut near the old Manassas battlefield. Pope, after finally locating Jackson, began launching attacks against the position on the evening of August 28th. At about 10:00 a.m. the following day, Lee and Longstreet joined Jackson, while Pope remained oblivious to their presence. Jackson’s men were exhausted and running critically low on ammunition. Longstreet advanced his wing northeasterly along the Warrenton Turnpike, Hood’s Division in the vanguard. Longstreet spent much of the day methodically deploying a massive assault column to smash into Pope’s left flank. Hood positioned his old Texas Brigade to the right of the turnpike and Law [click to read his official report] to the left. Law’s Brigade thus became the leftmost infantry command in Longstreet’s line, almost, but not quite, linking with Jackson’s right, the gap being covered by Confederate artillery.
About 6:00 p.m. Hood’s men were preparing to conduct a reconnaissance to their front, when two Federal brigades with attached artillery and cavalry, obviously unaware of a Confederate presence, came down the turnpike. Pope, who was convinced that Jackson was in retreat and ignorant of Longsteet’s arrival, had prematurely ordered a pursuit of the supposed retreating Confederates. Hood’s men ambushed the Federal column and pushed them back up the turnpike more than half a mile. At one point a Federal counterattack threatened to throw the Confederates back. Brigadier General Abner Doubleday’s Federal brigade was threatening to turn Law’s right flank.
Law countered this move by aligning the 2nd Mississippi along the road, at right angles to the rest of his line. The Mississippians raked Doubleday’s men with an enfilading fire and forced them to retreat to the top of the ridge. As the Confederates continued to advance and engaged the Federals in the failing light atop the ridge, the fighting degenerated into a confused, bloody brawl. Finally however, the Confederates swept the remaining Union infantry and artillery off the ridge. By this time, only dead and wounded Federals remained. Doubleday’s and Colonel Timothy Sullivan’s (formerly Brigadier General John P. Hatch’s) Federal brigades had become a disorganized mob, heading rearward. Officers rode among the men, trying to rally them in hope that they might at least cover a retreat long enough so that some of the wounded could be brought off.
After unsuccessfully berating several groups of retreating Federal troops, Major Charles Livingston of the 76th New York finally came across a regiment marching, as the Seventy-sixth’s historian put it, “in tolerable order.” Livingston ordered them to halt and turn about, “giving emphasis to the command by earnest gesticulations with his sword, and insisting that it was a shame to see a whole regiment running away.” An officer of the regiment in question, apparently annoyed that a stranger would presume to usurp his command, challenged Livingston: “Who are you sir?”
The reply came back, “Major Livingston of the Seventy-sixth New York.”
“Seventy-sixth what?” asked the officer.
“Seventy-sixth New York.”
“Well, then,” replied the officer, probably with more than a little bemused satisfaction, “you are my prisoner, for you are attempting to rally the Second Mississippi.”
As darkness fell and it was only with difficulty that friend could be distinguished from foe, Hood disengaged and fell back to his original position. By midnight, the 2nd Mississippi was back in line just north of the Warrenton Turnpike near the Brawner Farm.
With the morning of August 30th, Lee awaited Pope’s renewed attacks. However Pope spent the morning arguing with his subordinates that the Confederates were in retreat and not, as was actually the case, massing for a counterstroke. Finally at 3:00 p.m. Porter’s V Corps launched a final attack on Jackson’s position, allowing Longstreet’s artillery to pour a deadly enfilade fire into the left flank of the assault column. The Federal attack swept from southeast to northwest diagonally across the front of Hood’s Division. During this final Federal attack, the men of Hood’s division were essentially just spectators. Finally, Longstreet, seeing that Porter’s attack had been repulsed and that Pope had committed his reserves, sent his own massive assault column of 25,000 gray infantry forward, Hood’s Division in the lead, in a smashing counterattack.
With Hood’s Division designated the “column of direction” for Longstreet’s assault, Law, in theory, was to have advanced on the Texas Brigade’s left flank, just north of the turnpike. Theory had long since fallen victim to dust, death and confusion, however. Law lost contact with the Texans almost immediately. His advance instead amounted to a series of moves from one rise to the next in support of some of Hood’s batteries. By about 5:30 p.m. Law had worked his brigade into position in some timber along Young’s Branch at the base of Dogan Ridge. On the ridge above them, Law’s men could see what was left of Major General Franz Sigel’s Union corps, along with a number of batteries, including Captain Hubert Dilger’s, which had proven to be a particular annoyance to the Southerners during their advance. Law decided to attack. Although successful in putting the 45th New York Infantry Regiment to flight, Law’s pursuit was checked by the 2nd and 7th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments – Iron Brigade units – backed by artillery. Thinking this was a situation his brigade should not tackle alone, Colonel Law decided to break off the engagement and return to the base of the ridge. The 2nd Mississippi reported losses of 22 killed and 87 wounded for the two days of fighting. Its strength at Second Manassas was not reported, but the regiment may have carried as many as 450-500 men into action.
The beaten Army of Virginia limped back to Washington where it was absorbed into the Army of the Potomac, once more under McClellan’s helm. Lee now decided to take the fight north into Maryland. Potential foreign recognition, fresh recruits from pro-Southern Marylanders, and improved subsistence for the army from Maryland’s unravaged countryside all played a part in the decision to launch his raid. The Army of Northern Virginia left the vicinity of Manassas on September 2nd, crossed the Potomac north of Leesburg, and on September 7th occupied Frederick, Maryland. Lee decided to split his forces in order to capture the large Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry. The bulk of Longstreet’s troops, including the 2nd Mississippi, marched west to Hagerstown while Jackson’s men with assorted other army detachments took various roads south. Shortly after their arrival at Hagerstown, word came that McClellan had left Washington and was uncharacteristically pressing aggressively upon Lee’s rear guard and screening forces.
 The army was created by combining the three Federal commands that Jackson had bested during his Shenandoah Valley Campaign – the commands of Shields, Banks and Fremont.
 O.R., 11, pt. 3, p. 675; John J. Hennessy, Return to Bull Run (New York, 1993), pp. 138-139, 144-146, 163.
 O.R., 12, pt. 2, p. 605; Hennessy, Bull Run, pp. 289-290.
 Ibid., pp. 295-296, 298-299. The 2nd Mississippi officer in question was not identified.
 O.R., 12, pt. 2, p. 623; Hennessy, Bull Run, p. 303.
 O.R., 12, pt. 2, pp. 565-566; Hennessy, Bull Run, pp. 339-342, 350-351, 362-365.
 O.R., 12, pt. 2, p. 624; Hennessy, Bull Run, pp. 425-426; David G. Martin, The Second Bull Run Campaign (Conshohocken, 1997), pp. 246-247.
O.R., 12, pt. 2, p. 625. CMSR.
 O.R., 19, pt. 1, p. 839, 922, pt. 2, p. 183, 590-592, 603-604; James V. Murfin, The Gleam of Bayonets (Baton Rouge, 1965), pp. 88-90; John Michael Priest, Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle (New York, 1989), p. xxiii; Stephen W. Sears, Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam (Boston, 1983), pp. 63-67, 90-92. CMSR. Few new recruits joined the regiment following the spring of 1862.
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.