[The Daily Sun. (Columbus, Ga.), March 20, 1864, page 2.]
The men will follow Longstreet anywhere, some of them facetiously have re-enlisted "for forty years or the war," others "for this war and three years of the next one." By March of 1864, three years had passed since many Confederate soldiers had originally enlisted and their terms of service were coming to an end. Re-enlistment enthusiasm was all over the newspapers. First one regiment, and then another, claimed to have been the first to re-enlist "for the war." Not to be outdone, Humphreys' Mississippians took it a step further. First reported in the newspaper on March 11, 1864, it seems Humphreys' brigade initiated a wave of re-enlistments in excess of "three years or the war."
It was a long, cold winter in East Tennessee for the men of Humphreys' Mississippi brigade. Brigadier General William Barksdale had been killed at Gettysburg. The brigade was shipped West with Longstreet, arriving just in time to participate in the Battle of Chickamauga under newly promoted Brigadier General Benjamin G. Humphreys. Then there was the siege of Knoxville and the ill-fated assault on Fort Sanders November 29, 1863. On December 18, Lafayette McLaws, commanding their division, was relieved of command and charges were preferred against him. Based in East Tennessee through the rest of the winter of 1863/1864, Longstreet's army endured - winter clothing, blankets, and shoes were in short supply.
Evidently, Humphreys' brigade, and other brigades of the division, were not adversely influenced by the challenges that had befallen them. All four regiments of Humphreys' brigade re-enlisted, but not for the traditional term of "3 years or the war." Instead, the men of Barksdale's old, now Humphreys' brigade reportedly re-enlisted "for forty years or the war." Other brigades re-enlisted for forty-one years, ninety-nine years, and even "for this war and three years of the next one."
[The Daily Confederate., (Raleigh, NC), March 28, 1864, page 2.]
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