The second Mississippi at Manassas


1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Apr 18, 2019
Upstate New York
As told by J K P Stovall -

"W. C. Bromley was elected as delegate to the convention from Itawamba. He was opposed to secession, but when the ordinance of secession was passed, he, like all other patriots, joined ad gave himself to his State and offered his services to Gov. Pettus and obtained a commission as captain and came home and raised a company and he, having had some military experience (by reason of having been with Jeff Davis in Mexico) was elected captain and I remember well his reply to the boys who were all greeners and said they would flay the Yanks before breakfast and be back home before the dinner horn blew, he told them it might be late bedtime before we got back, and he was surely right."

"Well, the boys would halt and absolutely refuse to go until we could get passenger coaches to ride in at first and the captain would say "Boys, you will be glad to get flats after a while." But our real military life never begun until about the time we left Harper's Ferry, and were getting very anxious to have a chance to whip the Yanks and go back home and we really thought that we were going to have it right now. We were drawn up in full battle array, and the couriers were dashing back and forth with orders and conducting regiments to a position until nightfall and we were ordered to sleep on arms. We of course thought that we would have the chance for our before-breakfast-spell the next morning. So the matter was easily explained by Col. Faulkner and Capt. Bromley, who said armies were so large that they could not get in position in time to fight to a finish before night and so we were to sleep every man with gu in hand, expecting to meet the Yanks next morning and about two hours before day we were ordered up and took a beeline to the turnpike road to Winchester, and the Yanks were going on the other end of the same road for Williamsport, Johnson giving McDowd the slip and vice versa and I never saw a madder set of boys in my life: but the captain said, "Boys, you will all be glad for a chance like this before this is done with."

"So military life went on with drilling and making believe that we were going to fight until the evening of the 18 of July we were ordered on forced march to Manassas and after marching all night and all day the 19, we camped at a little station on the Manassas Gap R.R., sleepy, hungry, footsore from marching on pike roads, and sure enough, as the captain said, we were all glad to ride on flat cars down to Manassas on the 20th. We went out on the front line and camped and as we passed on we saw many of the boys who had had some experience on the 18th at Bull Run. We guyed and taunted the boys and they would reply, "Here, you fellows may have our place." We struck camp on the fighting line about sundown. With loaded guns in hand we slept that night and were woke up next morning by Winfield Scott's signal gun and after eating some hard tack, salt meat and coffee, we put in the day maneuvering and double quicking from one point to another, every fellow holding out as long as he could stand it until about 3 we found a place where the Yanks were driving some Georgia Crackers off and we had a chance to show what kind of stuff we were made of, and in speaking of it afterward Capt. Beck of Co. D said that he took 80 men up to the muzzle of long Tom and left 90 of them lying there and when he had nobody to protect him he thought it was high time for him to get out. Co. C did not fare so badly as Co. D was said to have fared, but we got enough i that battle to make the captain's prophecy come true and after that we were always glad when the time came to turn the other way, although we always waited for orders and went back in good order: but the ardor of the boys for fighting was considerably cooled down ad they never refused a chance to ride on any kind of vehicle and some feigned sickness to get to ride."

James Knox Polk Stovall wrote this narrative and several following pieces for the Tupelo Journal in 1907. Stovall, born in 1840 in Tennessee, volunteered in February of 1861 to join the Town Creek Rifles, Captain William C. Bromley's Company, which became Company C of the Second Mississippi Regiment. Stovall fought through much of the War and was captured at Petersburg in April of 1865. He returned to Mississippi after the War and had a farm. He and his wife had six children. He died in 1912.

Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Member of the Month
Jun 1, 2018
Northern Alabama
Just happen to have a post-war pic...