This regiment was organized at Montgomery, April 1861, and was the first Alabama command that went to Virginia. Mustered into service at Lynchburg, May 4, the regiment was ordered to Norfolk. There it was in a temporary brigade with the First and Twelfth Virginia, under Col. Withers, who was soon after succeeded by Col. Mahone.
For twelve months the Third remained at Norfolk, and there re-enlisted, but saw no active service. Norfolk was evacuated May 5, 1862, and the regiment fell back with the army. At Seven Pines it was held in reserve the first day; but was badly cut up the second, losing 38 killed and 122 wounded. A fortnight later it was attached to Rodes' brigade which now consisted of the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Twelfth, and Twenty-sixth of Alabama regiments.
The brigade, led by Col. J.B. Gordon of the Sixth, participated in the week of battle before Richmond, as part of D.H. Hill's division. The Third lost 207 out of 345 men and officers at the bloody repulse of Malvern Hill, and mustered with only 180 men a few days after that terrible conflict, but soon recruited to 300. Hill's division was not engaged at Cedar Run or the second Manassas, but moved with the army, and the Third Alabama was the first to the plant the "stars and bars" on the hills of Maryland. At Boonsboro the fighting was prolonged and desperate, as it was at Sharpsburg, and the Third shared in the triumphs of those bloody days.
It moved back into Virginia with the army, and was in line of battle at Fredericksburg. At Chancellorsville it shared prominently in the glories achieved by Jackson's corps in the splendid assault on Hooker, and in the two days lost 24 killed, and 125 wounded. In the second Maryland campaign, the Third moved with Ewell's corps, to which it now belonged, as far as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. It lost heavily at Gettysburg, fighting both days with much credit, and shared in the privations of the retreat. After the return to Virginia, it skirmished at Mine Run, and wintered at Orange Courthouse.
Now under Brig. Gen. Battle, the regiment bore conspicuous part in the battles of Wilderness and Spottsylvania, losing very severely. In the fighting at the second Cold Harbor, it charged the enemy's breastworks, and lost considerably. It was with Early in the Valley, and in Maryland, taking part in the demonstration against Washington, and in the pursuit of Hunter. At Winchester its loss was heavy, and it suffered severely at Cedar Hill, but protected the rear of the retreating army. Placed in the trenches at Petersburg, the Third dwindled away by attrition till only about 40 laid down their arms at Appomatox. Of 1651 names on its roll, about 260 perished in battle, 119 died in the service, and 605 were discharged or transferred.
Field and Staff
Colonels - Jones M. Withers of Mobile; promoted. Tennent Lomax; promoted, but killed in command. Cullen A. Battle of Macon; wounded at Sharpsburg; promoted. Chas. Forsyth of Mobile.
Lieutenant Colonels - Tennent Lomax; promoted. Cullen A. Battle; promoted. Charles Forsyth; promoted. Robert M. Sands of Mobile.
Majors - Cullen A. Battle; promoted. Charles Forsyth; promoted. R.M. Sands; wounded at Gettysburg; promoted. Richard H. Powell of Macon; wounded at Spottsylvania.
Adjutants - Charles Forsyth; promoted. Isaiah A. Wilson of Macon; resigned. Alfred R. Murray of Mobile; transferred. Samuel B. Johnston of Macon; killed at Seven Pines. Mirabeau B. Swanson of Macon; transferred. Alexander H. Picket of Macon; transferred. David R. Dunlap of Mobile; wounded at Cedar Creek.
Captains, and Counties from Which the Companies Came.
Mobile - Robert M. Sands; promoted. T. Casey Witherspoon; wounded and captured at Sharpsburg.
Mobile - Wm. H. Hartwell; resigned. John R. Simpson; wounded at Sharpsburg; relieved. Arthur Robbins; wounded.
Macon - W.G. Swanson; till re-organized. Rob't L. Mayes; killed at Seven Pines. Chas. J. Bryan; wounded at Malvern Hill; resigned. Wm. Thomas Bilbro; killed at Spottsylvania. T. Alexander Etheridge; wounded.
Macon - Richard H. Powell; promoted. E. Troup Randall; wounded at Chancellorsville; retired. John R. McGowan; wounded at Spottsylvania.
Mobile - Archibald Gracie; resigned. John F. Chester; wounded at Seven Pines; died of wounds received at Winchester. John T. Huggins.
Montgomery - F.W. Hunter; resigned. Watkins Phelan; wounded at Seven Pines; killed at Petersburg. W.A. McBryde.
Montgomery - W.G. Andrews. (Company transferred to artillery at the close of the first year's service).
Lowndes - M. Ford Bonham; wounded at Gettysburg, and Winchester.
Coosa and Autauga - Edward S. Ready; wounded at Seven Pines; wounded and captured at Boonsboro; detached and promoted. Louis H. Hill; resigned. B.F.K. Melton.
Mobile - Louis T. Woodruff; resigned. John K. Hoyt; detached. George H. Dunlap.
Lowndes and Montgomery (1862) - Cornelius Robinson, jr.
Macon (1862) - J.L.W. Jelks; died at Richmond. Richmond W.H. Kennon; wounded at Malvern Hill; retired. Francis M. Germany; wounded at Gettysburg; retired. Robert T. Rutherford.
From the Alabama State Archives