George Washington

Served in the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry during the war for Southern Independence
The background midi sound file for
the tune of
"Jine The Cavalry"
comes from
"The Borderland Collection",
Copyrighted 1998,
Scott K. Williams,
All Rights Reserved.

Click Here for lyrics
Actual Regimental Flag of the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry
Photo Courtesy Maurice Higginbotham

I am the last surviving grandson of Confederate Pvt. George Washington Higginbotham (3rd. Alabama
Cavalry) who is buried in Hopewell Cemetery, near DeRidder, Louisiana. We made the arrangements with
the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to have a memorial placed
on his grave in December, 2001. The article below was published in the Lake Charles American Press
Newspaper, dated December 16, 2001 as follows:

HIGGINBOTHAM, George Washington. (Private, Company E. 3rd. Alabama Cavalry) Honored at  
memorial service by the Southern Guard, Semmes Battery, Order of the Black Rose, United Daughters of
the Confederacy, Order of the Rose and Sons of Confederate Veterans in the Hopewell Cemetery in
Hopewell Louisiana.

George W. Higginbotham was the second son of Moses and Martha Higginbotham, born in Mobile County,
Alabama on February 20, 1841. His father died when he was about 9 years old. The rest of his family
eventually moved to Marion County, Mississippi, near the town of Columbia - some 65 miles to the north.
The 1860 census shows him to be a mail carrier at age 19.

 Confederate Service Records of Marion County, Mississippi show that George Washington Higginbotham
was enlisted in the 7th. Mississippi - 46th Battalion, called "Steed's Cavalry." George's older brother, William
and his younger brother, John were enlisted in the same unit at the same time - although, they were in the
"Jeff Davis' Sharpshooters Unit." No one knows for sure the reason why George changed from the 7th
Mississippi to the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry. It is however, known that he sustained a very bad injury to his
right leg when he was a child. The story passed down in my family was that their old home had a tree
stump by the kitchen door, which was used as a step. One evening, when he was called to supper, he ran to
the house, tripped and hit the edge of the stump with his right leg, ripping off a large section of skin. The
injury was severe and never healed. He had trouble with it the rest of his life. We believe there is a
possibility that he may have been relieved of his duty in the Mississippi Unit because of his injuries. Perhaps,
by the time he enlisted in the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry, the manpower shortage was so severe, that they
accepted him back into service. This is only a guess as to what happened.

George volunteered into the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry on March 4, 1863 in Mobile, Alabama, at the age of 23
years. He served under Captain James C, Brown in Company E. The Third Alabama Cavalry was part of
John Morgan's Cavalry Brigade, which consisted of the 1st. 3rd. 4th. (Russell's) 9th and 51st. Regiments.

This brigade fought with Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Stone's River Campaign at Murfreesboro, (1862-63),
and at Chickamauga, where they routed the Yankees under Rosecrans. The Union Army advanced on
Chattanooga, Tennessee. In a strategic move, Confederate General Bragg evacuated the city and withdrew
southward into Georgia. Rosecrans pursued him rashly. On September 19-20, 1863, General Bragg fell on
Rosecrans savagely. In a two day battle, the Union Army crumbled and broke completely. They fled in a
panic stricken retreat back to Chattanooga, Tennessee. General Nathan B. Forrest was furious because
General Bragg called off the attack when the enemy was in full retreat. After that, General Forrest refused
to serve under Bragg again. General Forrest was a military genius and should have had rank over Braxton
Bragg. Things may have turned out differently.

The 3rd. Alabama fought in the Atlanta Campaign, which lasted from May 1st until September 2, 1864. This
was a series of battles in which Southern forces were constantly forced to retreat until Atlanta fell. The 3rd.
Alabama Cavalry skirmished constantly with the Sherman army on his "march to the sea."

Sunday, December 11, 1864 was a dark, dreary and most depressing day. As freezing rain, sleet and snow
fell throughout the area, my grandfather, George Washington Higginbotham received an Honorable
discharge from service by reason of disability, in camp, near Springfield, Georgia. A major cold front had
came through a few days earlier and lasted an entire week. Also, on that day, Sherman's troops reached
Savannah, on the Atlantic Coast. By that time, everyone knew the situation was hopeless for Southern

After receiving his disability discharge, George refused to sign a loyalty oath to the Union, and became a
temporary citizen of the State of Georgia, until the Confederate Forces finally surrendered. He then
returned to his wife in Mobile.

I still have my grandpa's handwritten Honorable Discharge from the 3rd. Alabama Cavalry. Below is a
printed copy. Part of the original discharge papers have deteriorated from age and parts of it in the folds
are unreadable:


Certificate of Disability Discharge

I certify that the within named George W. Higginbotham of Capt. Jas. C. Brown .......?...... Co. E. 3rd. Alabama
Cavalry - age 24 years - 5 ft. 9 inches is his height. Occupation when enlisted a farmer, born in Mobile County,
Alabama. Enlisted by Capt. Jno. W. Smith, at Mobile County, Alabama on the 4th of March 1863, to serve for the war,
is hereby entitled to an honorable discharge by reason of disability of long standing.

                  In camp near Springfield, Georgia.                         
                             December 11, 1864
                                      (Signed)   J. C. Brown, Captain, Co. E.


Page 2

We certify that we have carefully examined Pvt. George W. Higginbotham of Co. E, 3rd. Alabama Cavalry and find him
entirely unfit for any of the duties of a soldier because of a chronic ulcer upon his right leg........?.......long standing.

This man has been in service two years and the greater portion of that time an inmate of hospital. Treatment in camp
and hospital has been of no avail. We therefore recommend his discharge from service.

                                           (Signed) M. W. Francis
                                                         Sen. Surgeon Hosp. Brig.
                                                         John W. Collins, Surg. 3rd.AlabamaCavalry.


The article below was taken from web link;

The Third Alabama Cavalry Regiment was organized at Tupelo, MS, 1 July 1862, by companies that had
been in the service some months, and several of which, such as "Murphy's Battalion," had fought at Shiloh.
These companies were from Autauga, Calhoun, Choctaw, Dallas, Mobile, Monroe, and Perry counties. The
regiment accompanied the army into Kentucky and was engaged in daily conflicts with the enemy,
particularly at Bramlet's Station and Perryville. It fell back with the army and was on constant and arduous
duty during the remainder of the war, protecting its communications, guarding its rear and flanks, and
often raiding upon the enemy's trains and outposts. It was part of the brigade composed of the 1st, 3rd, 4th,
9th, 12th, and 51st Alabama cavalry regiments, commanded first by Gen'l William Wirt Allen of
Montgomery, subsequently by Gen'l James Hagan of Mobile. The 3rd was engaged at Murfreesboro,
Shelbyville, Chickamauga, Kingston, Knoxville, Mossy Creek, Strawberry Plains, losing continuously in
casualties, and suffering severely during Gen'l James Longstreet's winter campaign. In the Dalton-Atlanta
campaign, it performed arduous service, fighting with severe loss at Decatur, and helping to capture US
Gen'l George Stoneman's column. In front of US Gen'l William T. Sherman, the regiment shrouded Hood's
movements, then harassed the former on his march, participating in the fights near Macon, at Winchester,
Aiken, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. Reduced by its losses to a skeleton, the regiment
was surrendered at Durham Station, Orange County, North Carolina on 26 April 1865.

Field and staff Officers: Cols. James Hagan (Mobile; wounded, Franklin, Kingston, TN); Josiah Robins
(Wilcox; wounded, near Fayetteville.); Lt. Cols. S. Jennings Murphy (Mobile; transferred); Tyirie H.
Mauldin (Monroe; resigned); Josiah Robins (promoted); John D. Farish (Wilcox; wounded, near
Fayetteville); and Majors Frank Y. Gaines (Choctaw; retired); Josiah Robins (promoted); John D. Farish
(wounded, Coosa Valley); and D. P. Forney (Calhoun)

Captains, and counties from which the companies came:

Historoical resources:

On August 13, 1863, George W. Higginbotham married Hannah Elizabeth Barrow in Mobile County,
Alabama, where their first two children were born. They eventually moved to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana,
in about 1876 where their last four children were born. They lived at Sugartown, near DeRidder, which was
in Calcasieu Parish until 1913, when Beauregard Parish was formed. All of their children grew up in that

After the war, he became a Baptist preacher. In 1875, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was organized on the
east side of DeRidder, Louisiana, and in the early years he served as their preacher on a quarter time basis -
preaching every fourth Sunday. This Church was a considerable distance to travel in a wagon, and probably
took several hours to reach the Church. No night services were held because most of the people were
farmers with work to do and many of them had to travel long distances.

The first building was a small pine pole structure, but was soon replaced by a hewed-log building. These
buildings were located in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. The Church used Bundick's Creek for Baptizing,
walking there and back, sometimes during the course of regular services. Preaching usually lasted about
two hours. An interesting feature of the new modern Church on Highway 171 is that the original steeple
from the old building was restored and installed atop the new building.

Later, George became the regular preacher at Hopewell Baptist Church, which is located near his home.
The Hopewell Church records were destroyed in a fire, and the dates he preached there is unknown.

He eventually had to have his leg amputated when he was about 64 years of age. In the fall of 1903, Doctor
Singleton from Sugartown arrived in his horse drawn buggy and amputated grandpaw's leg on the front
porch of their home.

I was told by one of my cousins who lived near them, who was an eyewitness to the amputation (From a
distance) She said before Doctor Singleton started the operation, he ordered all of the children to "leave and
show respect at what had to be done. The kids went some distance from the house, but they could hear my
grandpaw's screams as his leg was removed. Of course at that time, they had no anesthesia.

The end.
Pvt. George Washington Higginbotham
3rd. Alabama Cavalry, C.S.A.