George Washington Higginbotham
Served in the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry during the war for Southern Independence
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Pvt. George Washington Higginbotham
3rd. Alabama Cavalry, C.S.A.
I am the last surviving grandson of Confederate Pvt. George Washington Higginbotham (3rd. Alabama Cavalry) who is buried in Hopewell Cemetery, near DeRidder, Louisiana. We made the arrangements with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to have a memorial placed on his grave in December, 2001. The article below was published in the Lake Charles American Press Newspaper, dated December 16, 2001 as follows:
"HIGGINBOTHAM, George Washington. (Private, Company �E� 3rd Alabama Cavalry) Honored at memorial service by the Southern Guard, Semmes Battery, Order of the Black Rose, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Order of the Rose and Sons of Confederate Veterans in the Hopewell Cemetery in Hopewell Louisiana.
George W. Higginbotham was the second son of Moses and Martha Higginbotham, born in Mobile County, Alabama on February 20, 1841. His father died when he was about 9 years old. The rest of his family eventually moved to Marion County, Mississippi, near the town of Columbia - some 65 miles to the north. The 1860 census shows him to be a mail carrier at age 19.
Confederate Service Records of Marion County, Mississippi show that George Washington Higginbotham was enlisted in the 7th. Mississippi - 46th Battalion, called "Steed's Cavalry." George's older brother, William and his younger brother, John were enlisted in the same unit at the same time - although, they were in the "Jeff Davis' Sharpshooters Unit." No one knows for sure the reason why George changed from the 7th Mississippi to the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry. It is however, known that he sustained a very bad injury to his right leg when he was a child. The story passed down in my family was that their old home had a tree stump by the kitchen door, which was used as a step. One evening, when he was called to supper, he ran to the house, tripped and hit the edge of the stump with his right leg, ripping off a large section of skin. The injury was severe and never healed. He had trouble with it the rest of his life. We believe there is a possibility that he may have been relieved of his duty in the Mississippi Unit because of his injuries. Perhaps, by the time he enlisted in the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry, the manpower shortage was so severe, that they accepted him back into service. This is only a guess as to what happened.
George volunteered into the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry on March 4, 1863 in Mobile, Alabama, at the age of 23 years. He served under Captain James C, Brown in Company E. The Third Alabama Cavalry was part of John Morgan�s Cavalry Brigade, which consisted of the 1st. 3rd. 4th. (Russell�s,) 9th and 51st. Regiments.
This brigade fought with Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Stone's River Campaign at Murfreesboro, (1862-63), and at Chickamauga, where they routed the Yankees under Rosecrans. The Union Army advanced on Chattanooga, Tennessee. In a strategic move, Confederate General Bragg evacuated the city and withdrew southward into Georgia. Rosecrans pursued him rashly. On September 19-20, 1863, General Bragg fell on Rosecrans savagely. In a two day battle, the Union Army crumbled and broke completely. They fled in a panic stricken retreat back to Chattanooga, Tennessee. General Nathan B. Forrest was furious because General Bragg called off the attack when the enemy was in full retreat. After that, General Forrest refused to serve under Bragg again. General Forrest was a military genius and should have had rank over Braxton Bragg. Things may have turned out differently.
The 3rd. Alabama fought in the Atlanta Campaign, which lasted from May 1st. until September 2, 1864. This was a series of battles in which Southern forces were constantly forced to retreat until Atlanta fell. The 3rd. Alabama Cavalry skirmished constantly with the Sherman�s army on his "march to the sea."
Sunday, December 11, 1864 was a dark, dreary and most depressing day. As freezing rain, sleet and snow fell throughout the area, my grandfather, George Washington Higginbotham received an Honorable discharge from service by reason of disability, in camp, near Springfield, Georgia. A major cold front had came through a few days earlier and lasted an entire week. Also, on that day, Sherman�s troops reached Savannah, on the Atlantic Coast. By that time, everyone knew the situation was hopeless for Southern Independence.
After receiving his disability discharge, George refused to sign a loyalty oath to the Union, and became a temporary citizen of the State of Georgia, until the Confederate Forces finally surrendered. He then returned to his wife in Mobile.
I still have my grandpa's handwritten Honorable Discharge from the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry. Below is a printed copy. Part of the original discharge papers have deteriorated from age and parts of it in the folds are unreadable:
Certificate of Disability Discharge
I certify that the within named George W. Higginbotham of Capt. Jas. C. Brown .......?...... Co. E. 3rd. Alabama Cavalry - age 24 years - 5 ft. 9 inches is his height. Occupation when enlisted a farmer, born in Mobile County, Alabama. Enlisted by Capt. Jno. W. Smith, at Mobile County, Alabama on the 4th of March 1863, to serve for the war, is hereby entitled to an honorable discharge by reason of disability of long standing.
In camp near Springfield, Georgia. December 11, 1864
(Signed) J. C. Brown, Captain, Co. E.
We certify that we have carefully examined Pvt. George W. Higginbotham of Co. E, 3rd. Alabama Cavalry and find him entirely unfit for any of the duties of a soldier because of a chronic ulcer upon his right leg........?.......long standing.
This man has been in service two years and the greater portion of that time an inmate of hospital. Treatment in camp and hospital has been of no avail. We therefore recommend his discharge from service.
(Signed) M. W. Francis
Sen. Surgeon Hosp. Brig.
John W. Collins, Surg. 3rd.AlabamaCavalry.
The article below was taken from web link; http://www.tarleton.edu/~kjones/morgan.html
The Third Alabama Cavalry Regiment was organized at Tupelo, MS, 1 July 1862, by companies that had been in the service some months, and several of which, such as "Murphy's Battalion," had fought at Shiloh. These companies were from Autauga, Calhoun, Choctaw, Dallas, Mobile, Monroe, and Perry counties. The regiment accompanied the army into Kentucky and was engaged in daily conflicts with the enemy, particularly at Bramlet's Station and Perryville. It fell back with the army and was on constant and arduous duty during the remainder of the war, protecting its communications, guarding its rear and flanks, and often raiding upon the enemy's trains and outposts. It was part of the brigade composed of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 12th, and 51st Alabama cavalry regiments, commanded first by Gen'l William Wirt Allen of Montgomery, subsequently by Gen'l James Hagan of Mobile. The 3rd was engaged at Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Chickamauga, Kingston, Knoxville, Mossy Creek, Strawberry Plains, losing continuously in casualties, and suffering severely during Gen'l James Longstreet's winter campaign. In the Dalton-Atlanta campaign, it performed arduous service, fighting with severe loss at Decatur, and helping to capture US Gen'l George Stoneman's column. In front of US Gen'l William T. Sherman, the regiment shrouded Hood's movements, then harassed the former on his march, participating in the fights near Macon, at Winchester, Aiken, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. Reduced by its losses to a skeleton, the regiment was surrendered at Durham Station, Orange County, North Carolina on 26 April 1865.
Field and staff Officers: Cols. James Hagan (Mobile; wounded, Franklin, Kingston, TN); Josiah Robins (Wilcox; wounded, near Fayetteville.); Lt. Cols. S. Jennings Murphy (Mobile; transferred); Tyirie H. Mauldin (Monroe; resigned); Josiah Robins (promoted); John D. Farish (Wilcox; wounded, near Fayetteville); and Majors Frank Y. Gaines (Choctaw; retired); Josiah Robins (promoted); John D. Farish (wounded, Coosa Valley); and D. P. Forney (Calhoun)
Captains, and counties from which the companies came:
On August 13, 1863, George W. Higginbotham married Hannah Elizabeth Barrow in Mobile County, Alabama, where their first two children were born. They eventually moved to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, in about 1876 where their last four children were born. They lived at Sugartown, near DeRidder, which was in Calcasieu Parish until 1913, when Beauregard Parish was formed. All of their children grew up in that area.
After the war, he became a Baptist preacher. In 1875, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was organized on the east side of DeRidder, Louisiana, and in the early years he served as their preacher on a quarter time basis - preaching every fourth Sunday. This Church was a considerable distance to travel in a wagon, and probably took several hours to reach the Church. No night services were held because most of the people were farmers with work to do and many of them had to travel long distances.
The first building was a small pine pole structure, but was soon replaced by a hewed-log building. These buildings were located in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. The Church used Bundick's Creek for Baptizing, walking there and back, sometimes during the course of regular services. Preaching usually lasted about two hours. An interesting feature of the new modern Church on Highway 171 is that the original steeple from the old building was restored and installed atop the new building.
Later, George became the regular preacher at Hopewell Baptist Church, which is located near his home. The Hopewell Church records were destroyed in a fire, and the dates he preached there is unknown.
He eventually had to have his leg amputated when he was about 64 years of age. In the fall of 1903, Doctor Singleton from Sugartown arrived in his horse drawn buggy and amputated grandpaw's leg on the front porch of their home.
I was told by one of my cousins who lived near them, who was an eyewitness to the amputation (From a distance) She said before Doctor Singleton started the operation, he ordered all of the children to "leave and show respect at what had to be done. The kids went some distance from the house, but they could hear my grandpaw's screams as his leg was removed. Of course at that time, they had no anesthesia.