Hodges, Robert Samuel
Manuscript Diary of Sgt. Robert Samuel Hodges, Co. I, 1st Mississippi Cavalry of the Confederate Army, kept while in the field, 1861-1863

folio, 6 manuscript pages of diary, (plus blanks), entries written in ink, in a legible hand, bound in half black leather, marbled paper covered boards, wear to tips of spine, corners and edges of boards worn through, otherwise good, dated 29 May 1861 to 17 July 1863. There are also 4 manuscript pages of memorandum notes, and genealogical data (births, deaths) of members of Hodges family, a copy of a letter, financial accounts, etc. Unclear who kept the four pages that do not contain diary entries they appear to be written by a later hand from about 1888-1932, and after Hodges death, he died in 1885. The diary contains short entries does not contain entries for every day. The period of 27 December 1862 to 10 June 1863 he keeps no record. During this time Hodges was on medical leave from service. He was wounded on 20 December 1862 and was out of service for some time, returning six months later in June of 1863, when he resumes his diary for another month.

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Sgt. Robert Samuel Hodges (1841-1885)

     Sgt. Robert Samuel Hodges was born about the year 1841 in Mississippi. He was the son of Thomas Jefferson Hodges and his wife Mahulda, who had moved to Mississippi from Virginia sometime before the year 1840, when their first child was born in Mississippi. Thomas J. Hodges was a farmer and owned a slave family in 1860 made up of a 24 year old black female, a 10 year old black female, a 3 year old mulatto male, and 1 year old black female.

 

         Sgt. Hodges appears on the muster roll for Company I, 1st Mississippi Cavalry. He enlisted as a private on 2 June 1861 at Union City, Tennessee and served for the duration of the war, mustering out as a sergeant. He was wounded at Holly Springs, Mississippi, on 20 December 1862, and was considered not fit for duty. However, by 1 July 1863 he is seen back in uniform under Capt. Dillard of Company I, 1st Mississippi Cavalry. On 4 May 1865 the regiment surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama. He was paroled on 16 May 1865 and appears to have gone back home to Pontotoc County, Mississippi, where he married on 5 October 1865 to Nancy E. Wood (1848-1921). She was born in Pontotoc County. The couple eventually moved to Brown County, Texas, sometime between the years 1874-1880, where Hodges died on 1 December 1885. His widow N.E. Hodges applied for a pension. She died in 1921 and was buried with her husband at the Greenleaf Cemetery at Brownwood, Brown County, Texas. While in Texas, Hodges appears to have been a successful rancher, owning large properties and amounts of stock. He and his wife had at least three children: James, Silas, and Bertie.

         The First Battalion of Mississippi cavalry was organized in the spring of 1861 at Union City, Tennessee, under the command of Capt. John H. Miller, who had been Captain of the Pontotoc Dragoons organized for the Mexican War. Capt. Miller had become a Presbyterian Minister and had organized companies for the new unit, for which he was selected as Major. The men were armed with Maynard Carbines, a breech loading carbine developed by a Baltimore dentist. Senators Jefferson Davis and Jacob Thompson had contracted with the Maynard Arms Company to purchase 800 of these weapons for Mississippi in December 1860.

     The unit fought skirmishes in Missouri and Tennessee, and was in the Battle of Belmont on November 7, 1861, as recorded by Hodges:

            “Nov. 7 fight at Belmont, our company went to Elliot’s mill.”

          As additional companies were added Capt. Miller was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Just before the Battle of Shiloh on April 2, 1862, one more company was attached to the unit and Col. Andrew J. Lindsay was appointed Colonel. The regiment had already started toward Shiloh when Col. Lindsay caught up with them at Monterey, Tennessee. Miller was offended by the appointment of Lindsay over his head, but stayed with the unit through the upcoming battle.

          Lindsay’s 1st Mississippi Cavalry remained in support of infantry units in Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham’s command until the afternoon on April 6, 1862. After the surrender of Prentiss’ command that afternoon, Lindsay was ordered by Gen. Leonidas Polk to take command of all the cavalry he could gather and cut off the Union retreat. While Col. Lindsay searched in vain for other mounted units, Lt. Col. Miller led the regiment forward and at 5:30 PM captured four guns of Capt. William H. Ross’s 2nd Michigan Light Artillery along with 49 men. The prize was taken to the rear by Major Herndon, with a detachment of Capt. A. B. Cole’s Pontotoc Dragoons, and delivered to General Bragg.

         Col. Lindsay took a detachment and charged a retreating artillery battery across a deep ravine and captured an artillery caisson, probably from Mann’s Missouri Battery. The unit remained on picket duty that night until midnight and on April 7 assisted in covering the retreat of Gen. William Hardee’s Corp from the battlefield. Col. Lindsay had been slightly wounded in the battle.

         After Shiloh, Lt. Col. Miller resigned his commission and began raising a new unit. While traveling to Ripley, Mississippi to preach, Miller was captured by cavalry from Col. Fielding Hurst’s 6th Tennessee U.S. Cavalry. Apparently, a struggle ensued after Miller surrendered, and he was shot in the head and heart. They robbed his body of $60, a gold watch, gold spectacles, silk hat, sermon, and a set of artificial teeth leaving his dead body lying in the road.

 

        When the 1st Mississippi Cavalry Regiment was reorganized, Col. Lindsay was not re-elected and he spent the rest of the war as a chief or ordnance in Louisiana and Texas. Capt. Richard A. Pinson of the Pontotoc Dragoons was elected Colonel of the Regiment on June 10, 1862 and would lead it until captured at Selma, Alabama on June 2, 1865.

        The 1st Mississippi participated in numerous skirmishes in Mississippi and Tennessee. They were part of Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s command during the battle of Corinth and the raid on Holly Springs, Mississippi on December 20, 1862. It was during this raid that Sgt. Hodges was wounded. The regiment fought in the Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Nashville campaigns in 1863-1864. Most of the unit was captured attempting to defend Selma under Gen. N.B. Forrest’s command on April 2, 1865.

     Sample Quotations from Diary:

    The diary begins with the signature of “R.S. Hodges.” A later hand has penciled “R.S. Hodges 1st Ms. Cavalry” on the front fly leaf. Internal evidence proves that it was R.S. Hodges diary and he did indeed serve with the 1st Mississippi Regiment Cavalry.

    The diary contains short entries, sometimes being every day, other times Hodges skips days. The diary begins on 29 May 1860, but this appears to be a mistake, and should read 29 May 1861, as this would be the time that Hodges enlisted in service at Union City.

“R.S. Hodges

May the 29th 1860 left home got to Union City June the 2d left Union City July 27th got to New Madrid the 29 I left Union City Aug the 1st got home the 2d left home 18th stayed Oxford 19 got to Memphis 21st got to Madrid 22 to Sikeston 23 got to Benton 27 left there camped at Sikeston 28 got to Madrid Sept 3d left there crossed the river camped at Hickman 5th left there 6 got to Columbus 8 gun boats came down and we went to Mayfield creek on a scout 13 left Columbus 14 passed Milburn got to Mayfield 18 left there passed Milburn 19 got to Columbus 31st went with engineer camped close to Clinton Oct 1st passed Clinton Baltimore Ringo Station 2d passed Dublin got to camp 10th went to Milburn after crews corps 11th went across the river where the gun boats landed 12 went to [quigler] 15 Mongomery had a fight 23 flag of truce to swop 5 prisoners 24th I taken sick No 7 fight at Belmont our cmpy went to Elliot’s Mill 11 132 pounder bursted 12 report the enemy going to Felicianna our company went to Mayfield flag of truce swooped 90 prisoners 15 fast day I left Columbus 17 got home 21 Dec left home 22d went to got to Moscow 23 on picket at the bridge 30th went to Beauregard Jan 1st went to Beauregard camped there got back to camps the 2d 4th moved Beauregard I went on picket Ridgeway 16 moved back to Moscow 20 moved back to Beauregard 8 us went on a scout to Mayfield 22 left camps stayed that night 10 miles this side of Murry 23 pasted Murry camped at Concord 24 passed Waidsborough camped 12 miles this side of Paduch 25 cam back through Waidsborough camped on the Cuba road…”

“…November the 4th [1862] we left cold water camped at Smiths 5 went up Lagrange round by New Larnor camped above Hudsonville I went to Lumpkins after rations 6 camped at cold water 7 went up close to Lagrange camped cold water 8 went up above Hudsonville 2 miles had a fight stamp camped cold water 9 had a picket fight come back Holly Spring camped at Musgraves 10 went Lumpkins our company on picket above Holly Springs 11 went from holly springs down the Chulahoma road camped close to Chulahoma 12 come to Lumpkins and camped 13 had a fight below Holly Springs camped that night Abbeville 18 left Abbeville camped at Waterford 19 I went to hunt Brandlitts horse stayed at stone 20 stayed at staffs 20 got home. 25th left home camped Abbeville 26th got to camps Waterford 26 on camp guard 28 left Waterford went to Lumpkins Mills come back camped at Waterford 29 had skirmishing all day fell back to Talahatchie camped there that night 30th had another skirmish fell back across the river that night left Abbeville camped at Oxford .Dec 1st evacuated Abbeville we camped at [Yoeny] stood picket spring dale 2d passed Water Valley camped Coffeeville 3d passed Coffeeville camped below Coffeeville 23 miles 4th went back through Coffeeville out to Oakland camped at the cross roads 5th went to Antioch Church 7th on picket at Dr. Towns 11th on picket at Dr. Towns 15 left Antioch camped 4 miles below Grenada 16 came back through Grenada passed Gravesport camped 17 passed Houston camped 13 miles above 18 passed Pontotoc camped at New Albans 19 fed at Beck Springs camp 4 miles Holly Springs and attacked Holly Springs I got wounded camped close to Salem 21 passed Salem stayed at Tituville 24 left Tituville stayed at Paris 25 come through New Albany got home the 26th…”