The Alabama in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Confederate Training Camp in Dublin, Alabama

George, here's a news article that may answer your question. We discussed the exact model Enfield purchased by Colonel Deas and came up with answers that surprised me. Period newspapers are more difficult to review, but are among the top sources for the kind of information you requested --

As you can see, the place of rendezvous for this regiment is stated at Montgomery. I also found a receipt for a purchase of field officer's arms for Col. Deas and Major James L. Calhoun. Issued Oct. 30, 1861, arms listed are three Colt revolvers, one cavalry saber and one saber belt. Since Major Calhoun's office was located at Montgomery, we can safely assume Deas and his regiment were there as well. We don't have exact dates for the transportation of companies from Montgomery to Mobile, but newspapers from those cities should supply that information --

Any reasonable person assembling a group numbering close to a thousand men would have to plan carefully. Site selection would come first. It must be readily accessible for companies directed to assemble, who would be arriving by rail or river transport. Regular sources of food and water would be top priorities, just ahead of temporary housing. Camp equipment such as skillets, cooking pots, coffee pots, tin plates, spoons, forks, knives, wash pots and canteens had to be purchased and issued. Obviously purchases had to be made in quantity and in competition with other officers having similar needs. Once purchased, the buyer would have to secure draymen to the camp site. Dray tickets for citizens in this line of business needed to be satisfied on the spot, so a short trip to a nearby camp warehouse would expedite matters. Col. Deas may have elected to rent a warehouse in town and sent company officers to Montgomery to fill requisitions from the regimental quartermaster.

I have already mentioned firewood issued by Major Calhoun, the Confederate quartermaster at Montgomery. Since none was issued to this regiment by Major Calhoun during November 1861, it must have been on its way to Mobile by November 5th, as mentioned in the OR.

In addition to basic needs, the regiment had to be supplied with arms and equipment. Based on a receipt found for Company "A", cartridge boxes and belts, wait belts and cap boxes were issued on Jan. 25th at Camp Memminger below Mobile. Other needs included knapsacks and haversacks, which may have been issued at Montgomery. It would also be important for camp to be in close communication with both Confederate and state officials who would be sending directives once transportation was available to Mobile.

Company records suggested that Deas may not have had resources available for an entire regiment in a single campsite. Early arrivals going into camp near Montgomery would have been the following --

  • “Walker Rifles” of Walker County, Sept. 25th

  • “Brownrigg Warriors” of Choctaw County, Oct. 1st

  • “Cherokee Beauregards” of Cherokee County, Sept. 17th

  • “Randolph Spartans”of Randolph County, Sept. 25th

  • “Pike Grays” of Pike County, October 3rd

  • New arrivals were directed to a new encampment at a railway depot not far from the city at Notasulga --

  • “Frank Lyon Rifles” of Clarke County, Oct. 6th

  • “Calhoun Boys” of Calhoun County, Oct. 6th

  • “Arbacoochee Rangers” of Randolph County, Oct. 6th

  • “Dixie Rifles”of Randolph County, Oct. 6th

  • “Pike Grays” of Montgomery and Pike Counties, Oct. 6th
  • The tenth company, the "Sam Cooper Rifles" of Mobile County, was then in Richmond VA.
    A small town like Dublin in Cherokee County would be suitable for a company-sized campsite in 1861. Friends and family could help supply short-term needs if the company actually went into camp. This would only make sense if officers expected to be called into service within a matter of days and transportation had to be arranged for a set number of men. At least Dublin was not far from the rail line at Rome GA.

    Dublin as a campsite for a full regiment would have been a huge mistake. If nothing else, it would raise grave doubts about the ability of Colonel Deas to make reasonable decisions. Families in and around Dublin would have been overwhelmed by hungry soldiers looking for food and drink. Eventually some would have become land pirates and simply taken want they wanted. Complaints from Cherokee County would have quickly reached the governor's officer in Montgomery, and Deas may have soon found himself without a command.

    At the end of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), Vivian Leigh who plays the delusional Blanche Dubois observes, "I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers." Company officers might depend on the kindness of family and friends for a short time. However, placing the needs of several hundred men with healthy appetites in such a small community for any length of time would have been so short-sighted that even Miss Dubois must have had second thoughts.

    Vivian Leigh as Blache DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire"