A Sketch of the History of the Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment:
The Gettysburg Campaign: Part IV: The Retreat: Williamsport and Falling Waters
The 2nd Mississippi and the rest of Davis’ Brigade were not quite finished fighting even after Lee began his retreat from the battlefield. Upon arriving at Williamsport, Maryland on July 6th, Lee set up a defensive perimeter while constructing bridges over which to cross the Army of Northern Virginia back into Virginia. Major Belo of the 55th North Carolina described the situation at Williamsport in his memoirs:
"On arrival at Williamsburg [Williamsport], on the river, I found the whole wagon train of General Lee’s army held by high water. A portion of the Federal cavalry made a demonstration with some artillery and shelled the train. Colonel [J. M.] Stone of the Second Mississippi, Major [R. O.] Reynolds of the Eleventh, and myself, went around and got all the able-bodied men to take places in the trenches in front of us. Besides these, numbers of teamsters and detailed men, soldiers retiring for sick leave, furlough, etc., were drawn up, and checked the Federals and saved the wagon train."
Acting as Lee’s rear guard and covering the withdrawal at Falling Waters, Heth’s battered division was attacked by two Federal cavalry divisions on July 14th in the early morning hours.
At Williamsport, the regiment suffered an additional three casualties (one mortally wounded and captured, one wounded and captured, one wounded). At Falling Waters where the 2nd Mississippi anchored the extreme right flank of the rear guard perimeter on July 14th, another 20 casualties were inflicted on what remained of the regiment. Two men were killed, six wounded (two of these were also captured), and fourteen, including two of the wounded, were taken prisoner. If the casualties from July 1-5 are added to those from July 6-14, the 2nd Mississippi lost between 411-434 men of an estimated 492 (between 84%-88% of its strength on July 1st). Along with other units belonging to Heth’s Division, the 2nd Mississippi had the dubious distinction of participating in both the opening and closing combat actions of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Gettysburg Campaign.
 Boatner, Civil War Dictionary, pp. 273-274; Stuart Wright, ed., Memoirs of Alfred Horatio Belo, Masters Thesis, (Winston-Salem, 1980), p. 55. One of these men was the author’s great-grandfather. Still apparently recovering from wounds suffered at Antietam, he missed the fighting at Gettysburg where his older brother was killed, but was present with the army and pressed into action at Falling Waters during Lee’s retreat.
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.