The reported casualties of the 7th Regiment in the accident at Ponchatoula were 28 killed or died from their injuries, and 32 injured. There were probably many more who received injuries that were not serious enough to prevent further service.
“Sleep on Thou Brave Your Country Calls and Weeps for You”
These men who died in this terrible accident and from injuries received in the accident are just as worthy of honor as those who survived this tragedy only to die in combat or from illness or injuries. Their deaths as well as the deaths of all the other men of the “immortal seventh” and the “High Pressure Brigade” who fought their way through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina with the Army of Tennessee should be remembered and their names be held in equal honor and respect. Those who survived would surely remember February 27, 1862 as the bloodiest day for their regiment in the entire war.
Randy Ritchie, one of the descendants of a victim of this tragedy wrote,“Here is what is written in the Ritchey-Boutwell bible”,‘wyatt thornhill,departed this life on the1st day of march AD 1862,while in defense of his country.he died in the city of new Orleans in the soldiers hospital, his death was caused by a collision on the NO &N and GRR, on the 27th of february AD,1862. as soon as his spirit bid adieu to this world his remains was conveyed from the city to his mothers residence and there interred in a soldiers grave. sleep on thou brave your country calls and weeps for you’ “That is word for word from that old bible. hope that helps a little”. Randy Ritchie [email to Ron Skellie, August 2003.]
"Though casualties in terms of total killed and wounded were higher at Shiloh, Murfeesboro and Chickamauga, only Shiloh (25 KIA) and Murfeesboro (33 KIA) accounted for more deaths resulting from action in one day than this train collision. In fact there were more men killed in this accident (22-Six died from their injuries) than the 7th Miss. suffered in the entire Atlanta campaign from April to July 1864."
More Train accidents for the Immortal Seventh
Even though this accident was traumatic, it was only the beginning of the grief to be suffered by the regiment when it came to rail travel. The regiment would be involved in two more accidents in the next six months with far less loss of life and injury, but with no less impact on the soldiers as they traveled from Corinth to Chattanooga at the beginning of the Kentucky campaign.
During the great movement of Bragg’s Army from Mississippi to Tennessee in late July and August of 1862, the 7th would travel down the Mobile & Ohio line to Mobile, AL and catch boats to the rail line from State Line, AL heading for Montgomery. On August 1, their train ran into parked cars near Greenville, AL 'killing _____ Co. ____, mortally wounding ______ and wounding several more from the 9th Battn Sharpshooters and Company A.' George S. Lea, Co. C.
If that were not enough, they were involved in yet another accident between Atlanta and Chattanooga before their arrival at Tyner’s Station, 10 miles southeast of Chattanooga. There is little detail on this accident, but we know there were some injuries."
Unpublished manuscript; "Lest We Forget-The Immortal Seventh Mississippi". Skellie, editor. 2003. Rev. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.