The 3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment was formed in Alabama in April of 1861 and served until it was surrendered by Lee at Appomattox. It mustered 1,651 men during the Civil War, of whom about 260 were killed or mortally wounded and 119 died of other causes.
|April||Organized at Montgomery by Colonel Jones M. Withers (West Point Class of 1835), Lieutenant Colonel Tennent Lomax, Major Cullen A. Battle, and Adjutant Charles Forsyth.|
|May 4||Sent to Virginia. Over 1,000 men were mustered in at Lynchburg, the first Alabama regiment mustered into Confederate service. It was assigned to the Department of Norfolk.|
|July 10||Colonel Withers was promoted to brigadier general and returned to Alabama to take command of state forces.|
|July 31||Lieutenant Colonel Lomax was promoted to colonel and Major Battle to lieutenant colonel.|
|August 15||Adjutant Forsyth was promoted to major.|
|November||Assigned to Mahone’s Brigade|
|December 28||Part of Company G transferred to the artillery|
|April||The regiment reenlisted for the duration of the war.|
|May 5||Evacuation of Norfolk. The regiment was withdrawn along with the rest of the troops of the Department of Norfolk to Petersburg.|
|mid-May||The troops of the former Department of Norfolk were attached to the Army of Northern Virginia as Huger’s Division.|
|May 31||Colonel Withers left for the Western Theater, where he would be promoted to Brigadier General on July 10. Tennent Lomax became colonel of the regiment, Major Forsyth was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain Robert M. Sands of Company A was promoted to major.|
|May 31 –
Battle of Seven Pines
The regiment was in reserve on the first day. On June 1 Colonel Lomax and 37 other men were killed and 122 men were wounded. Lt. Colonel Cullen A. Battle was wounded. He was promoted to colonel shortly after the battle but would be on convalescent leave due to his wound until September.
|June 15||Transferred to Rodes’ Brigade of D.H. Hill’s Division|
Battle of Malvern Hill
The 2rd Alabama made it to within 200 yards of the Federal lines in the attack up Malvern Hill. It lost 197 men killed and wounded out of 345 engaged. Six color bearers were lost and Captain Richard Holmes was wounded.
|July-August||Recruiting returned the regiment’s strength to 300 men.|
|September||Colonel Battle returned to the regiment after recovering from his Seven Pines wound.|
Colonel Battle was lightly wounded. General Rodes praised the Third Alabama for its admirable conduct.
|November||Assigned to Rodes’ Brigade, D.H. Hill’s Division, Second Corps|
Colonel Battle was injured when his horse fell on him. He stayed with the regiment in an ambulance, but when he tried to mount a horse to lead an attack he was unable to stay mounted and General Rodes sent him back to an ambulance. Mortified, Battle offered to resign but Rodes refused to hear of it.
|May 1 -2||
The regiment was commanded by Captain Malachai F. Bonham. It suffered 24 killed and 125 wounded, and captured two stand of Federal artillery colors. Captain Powell was captured.
From the report by Colonel O’Neal, brigade commander:
The Third Alabama, under the command of Capts. M. F. Bonham, John W. Chester and Watkins Phelan (and other regiments), though passing through a dense and tangled forest for a mile, all the regiments moved in a regular, unbroken line, the officers exhibiting the greatest coolness and daring, cheering on their men by both voice and example. Capt. Watkins Phelan was wounded in this charge. He, with Captain Bonham, who commanded the regiment, and Captain Chester, commanding the right wing of the Third Alabama, acted most gallantly. Each regiment did its whole duty. I am also greatly indebted to Adjts. A. H. Pickett and Samuel H. Moore, of the Third and Twenty-sixth Alabama regiments, who acted as aides, for valuable services in fearlessly carrying and delivering orders.
(OR, Vol. XXI No. 39)
Nicholas Weeks of the 3rd Alabama is quoted on a wayside marker on the Chancellorsville battlefield:
“…our line melted away as if swallowed up by the earth…. Every man went on his own hook, crawling over and under everything before us… The woods were afire, and … there was a rush for the clearings and road, and then we stood huddled together under the pitiless rain of canister and shell till the flames swept by…[The Yankees’] charred bodies dotted the ground and we could see by the ashes where they had scratched the leaves away in a vain attempt to save themselves from the more awful fate of burning alive.”
|May 7||Assigned to O’Neal’s Brigade, Rodes’ Division, Second Corps|
The regiment fought on Oak Ridge on July 1 and at Culp’s Hill on July 2 and 3. It was commanded by Colonel Cullen A. Battle and brought 27 officers and 323 men to the field. It suffered 17 killed and 74 wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Forsyth was wounded in the ankle, and Major Robert Sands was wounded in the knee. Lieutenant Albert Wilcox was killed, and Lieutenant William N. Kedyard was wounded and captured. Generals Ramseur and Early both commended Colonel Battle for his leadership.
From the monument to O’Neal’s Brigade at Gettysburg:
July 1. Soon after arriving at this position three regiments attacked the Union flank, the 5th Regiment being ordered to guard the wide interval between the Brigade and Doles’s Brigade in the valley on the left and the 3rd Regiment joining Daniel’s and afterwards Ramseur’s Brigade. The three regiments were repulsed with heavy loss but the entire Brigade took part in the general attack soon made by the Confederates which finally dislodged the Union forces from Seminary Ridge.
July 2. The Brigade in position all day in or near the town but not engaged.
July 3. The 5th Regiment lay in the southern borders of the town firing upon the Union artillery with their long range rifles. The other regiments moved to Culp’s Hill to reinforce Johnson’s Division.
July 4. Moved to Seminary Ridge. At night began the march to Hagerstown.
|August 20||Colonel Battle was promoted to Brigadier General. Lt. Colonel Charles Forsyth was promoted to colonel and took command of the regiment. Major Robert Sands was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Captain Richard H. Powell of Company D was promoted to Captain.|
|August 25||Assigned to Battle’s Brigade, Rodes’ Division, Second Corps|
|October 26 –
The regiment suffered 1 killed and 1 wounded.
The regiment suffered 5 casualties.
Commanded by Colonel Forsyth.
Colonel Forsyth was wounded in the thigh and Major Powell was wounded in the calf.
|June 13||Transferred to the Shenandoah Valley and assigned to Battle’s Brigade, Rodes’ Division, Army of the Valley.|
Battle of Lynchburg
|June 19-21||Pursuit of Hunter|
|June 26||At Stanton|
|June 30||At New Market|
|July 1||Marched through Winchester|
|Juy 5-6||Crossed the Potomac at Boteler’s Ford|
|July 11-12||Battle of Fort Stevens|
|August 31||Captain Watkins Pheland was in command of the regiment|
|September 20||Major General Ramseur took command of the division after General Rodes was killed.|
The regiment was attached to Battle’s Brigade, Ramseur’s Division, Army of the Valley
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Sands retired.
|October 20||With the death of General Ramseur, Brigadier General Bryan Grimes took command of the division.|
|November 30||Colonel Forsyth was in command of the regiment.|
|mid-December||The division left the Shenandoah Valley and returned to the Richmond defences as part of the Second Corps.|
|December 31||Colonel Forsyth took command of the brigade. Captain Watkins Pheland then took command of the regiment, but was killed. Captain Benjamin F. K. Melton took command.|
|January 27||Colonel Forsyth, still commanding the brigade, was granted 30 days leave to his home in Alabama. This would be extended in February and he would not return to Lee’s army. The regiment continued to be commanded by Captain Benjamin F. K. Melton|
|February 22||Major Powell retired to the Invalid Corps.|
|April 9, 1865||
The 3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment surrendered 9 officers and 93 men under the command of Captain Cornelius Robinson, Jr.