Monday, July 5, 2010

Sergeant Sam Snow of the 8th Mississippi Infantry, A Letter from his First Sergeant, and an Unknown Mississippi Soldier’s Grave

As my father and I began our research into our family history, my father discovered a letter of condolence which began an interesting bit of fact finding on Sergeant Sam Snow.   The Letter of Condolence is as follows:

Company G 8th Mississippi Regiment Near Cassville Georgia May 18th 1864
Miss Mary,  It is my very painful necessity to communicate to you the news.  The very sad news of the death of your Brother Sam; he fell gallantly fighting for the liberties we are all striving, he was killed at Resaca on Saturday the 14th May. Just as the sun was sinking beneath the western hills.  The Confederacy has lost one of her bravest and best boys, a more gallant boy never lived.  I have fought by his side in four battles, but alas; he is done with the trials, trouble, and tribulations of this world and I hope is now a shining angel in Heaven.  I cannot speak in tones high enough to [illegible] his courage as a soldier; it is the fate of war.  He was left on the battlefield as we were not able to hold it.  Lt. Clark also fell a victim to that  “sad monster death”.  I do indeed sympathize with you and the family in your loss; as He was to me almost as a Brother, and I consider I have lost one of my best friends.  You have my sympathy.  I am Miss Mary Yours Respectfully Frank E. Hough 

During the course of our research we discovered that Samuel N. Snow was born on October 24, 1839 and was the older brother of my GGGrandmother Rachel Henritta (Snow) Askew.  He was the oldest sibling of a very large family.  He had a younger sister Mary F. Snow, who was the oldest of seven sisters and only two years younger than Sam.  

Sam volunteered on July 13, 1861 and mustered into Company G “Tolson Guard” of the 8th Mississippi Regiment at the age of 21.  He was later promoted to 4th Sergeant on April 20th, 1863.  Company G was first organized at Fellowship Church and mustered into state service at Buckley's Store in the Fellowship Community of Jasper County, Mississippi on July 17, 1861.  The 8th Regiment was subsequently mustered into Confederate service in early October and immediately sent to Pensacola, Florida where it defended against the Union held Fort Pickens through the remainder of 1861.   In May, 1862 the regiment was ordered to Mobile, Alabama and during December, 1862 participated in the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee where it suffered its first battlefield casualties of the war.  The regiment remained stationed at Bridgeport, Alabama until July 1863.  In September, the regiment was engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of the Battle of Chickamauga during which it 'liberated' three pieces of artillery and five horses from the Union Army.  The unit participated in the Siege of Chattanooga and the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge during November 1863, sustaining heavy casualties.  Following these engagements, the regiment went into winter quarters at Dalton, Georgia with the Army of Tennessee under the command of General Joe Johnston.  As Sherman began his advance toward Atlanta and flanked Joe Johnston out of Dalton; Johnston attempted to confront Sherman at Resaca.  The Battle of Resaca began on May 13th 1864; the 8th Mississippi was assigned to W. H. T. Walkers Division of 1st Corps and participated in some of the most severe fighting of the battle. Sam Snow was killed in action on May 14th.  The only two casualties for Company G at Resaca were Lieutenant Lewis M. Clark and Sergeant Samuel N. Snow. 

A few years ago my brother had the opportunity to visit the Resaca Cemetery … he discovered Lieutenant Clark’s headstone and only a few yards from Lieutenant Clark’s headstone, near the back wall of the cemetery, was the headstone of an unknown Mississippi Soldier.  Could this be the final resting place of Sergeant Samuel N. Snow? 

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