or click your browser's back button to return to previous page




Below is Homer Jones' account of Capt. Robt. E. Ward's service submitted by Judi Hayes.

Capt. Robert E. Ward was wounded in the Civil War at Perryville, Kentucky.  He lingered several days and died there on October 27, 1862. In March of 1862, Dale Countians formed three companies which were mustered into the service of the Confederacy as the 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment: Company B, enlisted by Captain Robert E. Ward, from the Clopton area of northeast Dale County, Alabama.  The 33rd Alabama assembled at Greenville, Alabama, was sent to Fort McRae near Pensacola, Florida, drew uniforms, elected officers and performed guard duty.  By May 29, 1862, the 33rd Alabama had been sent by train from the vicinity of Pensacola, boarding at the rail junction of Pollard, up to Montgomery, down the Alabama River by steamboat to Mobile, then up the Mobile and Ohio railway to Corinth, Mississippi, and by foot across to Tupelo.  In July and August, the 33rd Alabama was moved again to an entirely new region.  They rode the trains back down to Mobile, boarded a steamboat up the Alabama River to Montgomery, then by rail to Atlanta, and then by rail to Chattanooga.  The writings of W.E. Matthews who served in Company B of the 33rd Alabama, reveal a series of incidents which develop into much of the violence and drama in Dale County during the next several years of the war.  While the 33rd Alabama was at Tyner's Station near Chattanooga, a soldier in Captain Robert E. Ward's Company B, paid for and brought in a substitute, a man named Harrison Peacock.  The soldier who paid for the substitute was John Ward--called "Speckled John Ward" to distinguish him from another man in Dale County with the same name.  The other man, John Ward happened to be John Grady Ward.  He and "Speckled John" were cousins, living in Dale County.   Harrison Peacock had previously enlisted and served a part of his one-year enlistment with Captain McCall's Barnes Cross-Roads company which joined the 7th Alabama.  For some reason, possibly because he was 45 years of age, Harrison Peacock was not subject to the conscript law and so for a price he took the place of Speckled John Ward and the latter went back to his home in the Skipperville area of Dale County.
General Braxton Bragg's CSA army had moved north from Chattanooga, across Tennessee, and into Kentucky, meeting little resistance until they were confronted by a Union army under General Buell at Perryville, Kentucky. The battle which resulted had little significance in the course of the war, but it was a terrible fight for the 33rd Alabama, with it's three Wiregrass companies.  Four of the regimental officers had horses shot out from under them--and they quickly learned to fight infantry battles on foot.  Company B of the 33rd, raised in the Clopton community and led by Captain Robert E. Ward, went into the battle with only thirty men and two officers.  Ten men were killed, including Captain Ward, and nine were wounded.  Only twelve men and one officer were able to report for duty after this battle.  While Captain Ward was dying from his wounds, he told his faithful slave, Jesse, who had accompanied Captain Ward on the hundreds of miles of train rides and marches, to go back to the Clopton farm and tell Mrs. Cintha (Thomas) Ward (his wife) how he died.  Jesse complied with this last request of his master and delivered the sad message to Mrs. Ward.
W.E. Matthews who served in Capt. Ward's 33rd Alabama, kept a log of all events during the War.  He must have been 18 or 19 years of age, probably still growing , and no doubt hungry all the time.  He frequently gives the details about the rations and the cooking, and it shows that food was quite important to him.  The following account is during the march of General Bragg into Kentucky, leading up to the Battle of Perryville, an engagement of little consequence, but Captain Robert E. Ward was killed there.  "We remained on the north bank of Green River at Munfordsville a day or two, washed ourselves and clothes in the river, drew fresh beef and flour, and I fell into the river the night before we left, while getting a bucket of water.  It rained all that night and Captain Ward's negro, Jesse, who cooked for the company officers--only Ward and Jess A. Pelham at that time--let his flour dough get so wet that he had to empty it into an oven and putting a cracked leaky lid on the oven and building a good fire beneath and on top of it, went to sleep and next morning about sunrise as we got ready to move, the two officers had a big lump of wet dough with a burnt crust on top and bottom, surrounded in rain water, but we divided with them." (Page 31)
Captain Robert E. Ward, Co. B, 33rd AL. Infantry Regiment was wounded and died in Perryville, Kentucky.  His grave is the only marked Confederate grave at Perryville.  In 2002, a new Civil War marker was placed on his non-occupied grave in Dale Co., AL. at Fairview Cemetery.  This info was submitted by Homer Jones to Judi Hayes on July 12, 2002.
Homer Jones, well-respected CW authority and author
Alabama State Archives Documents
1840, 1850, 1860 Census for Dale County, Alabama
"Claybank Memories" by Val L. McGee
Family documents
Personal Ward family knowledge