From the Confederate Veteran, Vol. V, p. 462
Col. T. C. Standifer
(Thomas Cunningham Standifer)
The Monroe (La.) Bulletin publishes as an interview with Capt. J. L. Bond, Adjutant of the camp at Ruston, an interesting sketch of the late Col. T. C. Standifer, who died August 10, 1897, and with it, in brief, much of the service of his regiment, the Twelfth Louisiana, during the war. Capt. Bond said:
I was mustered into the Confederate service as a member of the Jackson Grays, at Camp Moore, June 21, 1861. We went with the Ninth Louisiana Regiment to Virginia, and served under Dick Taylor until we were detached from the regiment and sent west. We were captured at Huntsville in May1862, and kept in prison five months at Camp Chase and Johnsons Island, in Ohio, until October 1, 1862. We were exchanged at Vicksburg and ordered to report to the Fiftieth Tennessee at Jackson, Miss. Thence we moved up to Holly Springs and there joined the Twelfth Louisiana Regiment.
Here we found Col. Standifer, who was captain of Company B, the Arcadia Invincibles, which had been mustered into service at Camp Moore in July 1861. They had already seen active service at Columbus, Ky., and at Corinth. When we joined the Twelfth, T. M. Scott was colonel; Boyd, of Columbia, La., was Lieutenant Colonel; and Noel Nelson, of Claiborne, was major. It belonged to Villipegs Brigade and Loringss Division, then an independent command. About November 1, 1862, we retreated from Holly Springs to Grenada. At Coffeeville there was a hot fight and Capt. Standifer commanded the skirmish-line of our brigade, consisting of about six hundred men. Col. Scott had great confidence in Standifer. A good skirmish-line is the salvation of an army, as it protects the troops from surprise. In the skirmish at Coffeeville Standifer drove back the enemy and demonstrated his high qualities as a commander. He was not only cool and brave, but possessed wonderful magnetism with his men.
From Grenada we receded to Jackson. From there we moved up to Canton and went into winter quarters about January 1, 1863. We did nothing but picket duty until April, when the hard battle of Bakers Creek occurred. In this battle the Twelfth Louisiana took a prominent part, being in the thickest of the fight.
Before this battle Lieutenant Colonel Boyd resigned. In December 1862, Nelson was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Standifer to major from Company B. His company strenuously opposed his promotion because they loved him. He maintained strict discipline in his company, and yet was very kind. There was no company superior to Company B for all soldierly qualities throughout the war. This was the result of Standifers character. It is a rule without exceptions that all companies take their character from their captain. He imparted his make-up to his men.
At Bakers Creek Standifer commanded the left wing of the regiment and Nelson the right, Scott serving as Brigadier General, Villipeg having died. We were in the hottest of the fight, having relieved a Georgia brigade that was run over by the enemy. At first Sherman was driven back with great loss, but, being reinforced by two new corps, we were compelled to retire. It is a singular fact that the only time Grant was driven back was at Columbus, Ky. and the only time Sherman was driven back was at Bakers Creek. On both occasions the enemy was in front of the Twelfth Louisiana. [A question here. ED.]
After three days fighting Loring was ordered to carry his division into Vicksburg to aid Pemberton, but he disobeyed orders, and, I think acted wisely. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was in charge of the troops, and tried to relieve Pemberton by operating outside of Vicksburg, and we saw a great deal of hard service in this work.
We spent the fall and winter of 1863-64 at Meridian and Columbus, Miss., Demopolis and Montevallo, Ala., and at Rome, Ga. From Rome we marched to Resaca, where we joined the Army of Tennessee in April1864. Then began the one hundred days of continual fighting, in which the old Twelfth took an active part.
A few weeks after the battle of Bakers Creek Scott was made Brigadier General; Nelson, Colonel; and Standifer, Lieutenant colonel of the Twelfth. In this capacity he commanded the skirmish-line of Scotts Brigade in the one hundred days battle. There were five regiments in the brigade, and tow companies were selected from each regiment to act as a skirmish-line, making one thousand picked men, who formed a line a mile long. Standifer was in command every other day, and probably saw more active service in that campaign than any other official. The principal battles were Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, and the two battles of Atlanta.
After the battle of Jonesboro Col. Standifer was detailed to come to the Trans-Mississippi Department and gather up men who had joined other commands. It required an active and discreet officer to do this. The officers over here were disposed to retain the men, and Kirby Smith rather winked at their doing so. Col. Standifer was the most successful officer ever sent on this business. He forwarded one hundred and fifty men to the Twelfth Regiment, incurring great dangers and difficulties in the discharge of his onerous duties. After Col. Standifer left we went on the Tennessee campaign, and at Franklin, the hardest fight of the war, Nelson was killed. He was a brace officer. I saw him dying at the hospital, where I went to have a bullet taken out of my mouth. Both of his legs and arms were shot off. His only murmur was: "What will become of my wife and little girls?"
Upon the death of Nelson, Standifer became colonel of the Twelfth Regiment under a general order of the government. I suppose his commission was regularly signed by the Secretary of War, but not forwarded because of the confusion toward the close of the war.
Col. Standifer was always cool in battle, but very energetic and swift in action; he was self-possessed, but as rapid and terrible as an avalanche. In business he was slow and methodical. At Lost Mountain a Federal brigade charged our regiment and run right through it. I was on the right and Standifer was on the left. The last we saw of the left they were surrounded by the enemy, and we had no doubt but that they were destroyed or captured. We fell back about a mile and a half; were in deplorable confusion and almost panic-stricken, when, to our utter astonishment, we saw the left come marching up with Standifer at the head, and General Scott said: "I knew he would bring them out." He had a fine horse killed in doing it. As soon as Standifer rode up his bravery and magnetism calmed the confusion, and perfect order was restored.
In hundreds of episodes the military genius of the man was shown. Scott and Loring both had the greatest confidence in him. Ask Gov. Lowry and Gen. Lombard about him. They will tell you what a glorious record was made by the Twelfth Louisiana. It went into the service fifteen hundred strong, and came out about four hundred. My company had over two hundred men enrolled, and cam out with fifty-six.
Col. Thomas C. Standifer was a grand man, who always helped a soldier in need.
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