Which Confederate Brigade Suffered the Highest Percentage of Losses in One Battle (and where)?

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Jan 6, 2013
Buford, Georgia
From Shiloh Military Park

Did you know? -- Which Confederate Brigade Suffered the Highest Percentage of Losses in One Battle (and where)?
Brigadier General John Creed Moore was a native Hawkins County, Tennessean and graduated 17th in the West Point class of 1849. His men liked him, but because he was a stern disciplinarian they never loved him. One of them described him as, “A brave and gallant officer, but not a Christian, for he was red headed, red-bearded, red faced, and extremely high tempered.”
At the beginning of the Corinth campaign his infantry brigade consisted of the 42nd Alabama, 15th and 23rd Arkansas, 35th Mississippi and the 2nd Texas. It was a large brigade, one of the biggest in Van Dorn’s army and boasted a total of 1,892 men. Less than half of them were veterans but that was about to change.
On the morning of October 3rd it was Moore’s brigade that found the big gap in the Union lines, the key to breaking the enemy’s first position along the old “Beauregard Line” of earthworks. Later in the day they came across a strong line of Union soldiers near Battery F.
The fighting at Battery F was tough; Moore’s men were pushed back by the Federals but counterattacked and advanced toward the small earthwork. Here they found a fresh Union brigade and for 45 minutes the Confederates clashed with the four Iowa regiments of Col. Marcellus M. Crocker’ s brigade. Crocker was holding his own when he was ordered to fall back and the exhausted Confederates were able to rest. Scores of Moore’s men had been wounded or killed and the next day promised more fighting.
When the battle resumed in the morning it was worse than anything the Confederates had seen the day before. It was Moore’s bad luck to be in the position to attack the Federal stronghold at Battery Robinett. Twice the brigade charged the fort and was driven back. The Federal artillery “cut roads” through their ranks. Lt. Charles Labuzan of the 42nd Alabama noted, “The men fell like grass. I saw men, running at full speed, stop suddenly and fall upon their faces, with their brains scattered all around.” The third and final charge, led by Col. William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas, came close to succeeding but was driven back after the most desperate fighting. Rogers was left dead on the field.
The Confederate army was driven away from Corinth and Gen. Van Dorn chose the men of Moore’s Brigade to lead the retreat. The next morning, at Davis Bridge on the Hatchie River, Moore’s men were hurried forward to blunt the advance of a Union division marching to the relief of Corinth. In a fight that lasted only minutes, Moore’s Brigade ceased to exist.
After the stragglers had returned and the numbers were tallied, it was found Moore had lost 53 killed, 230 wounded and 1,012 captured for a total of 1,295 casualties, an unbelievable loss of 68.4% of what they had started with. During the four years of the Civil War, no other Confederate brigade suffered a higher percentage of casualties in a single battle as did Moore’s Brigade at Corinth.
(Image John C. Moore and Battery Robinett one day after the grand assault)
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