Field & Staff
Early in the spring of 1861 ten more companies of volunteers were organized as the 4th Florida Regiment of Infantry and mustered into service July 1, 1861, with Edward Hopkins of Jacksonville, Fla. as Colonel; M. Whitsmith, Lake City, Fla., Lieutenant-Colonel; W. L. Bowen, as Major; Lieut. Edward Badger, Adjutant; Capt. James McCay, Quartermaster; Dr. W. S. Weedon, Surgeon; J. M. Kilpatrick, Sergeant-Major; J. P. McLaughlin, Quartermaster-Sergeant; and the following companies and captains:
Capt. Charles A. Gee, Gadsden county, Co. A; Adam W. Hunter, Franklin county, Beauregard Rifles, Co. B; Capt. William H. Dial, Madison county, Co. C; William A. Shefield, Columbia county, Co. D; Thomas A. McGhee, Columbia and LaFayette counties, Co. E; James P. Hunt, New River county, (Bradford), Co. F; William Fletcher, Marion and Levy counties, Co. G; W. F. Lane, Washington and Liberty counties, Co. H; Joseph B. Barnes, Jackson county, Dixie Boys, Co. I; John T. Leslie, Hillsborough county, Co. K. Upon completion of its organization the Regiment was assigned to duty mainly on the Gulf coast, Companies D, E and K being stationed at Tampa Bay; F at Cedar Keys; B, E and I at St. Marks; Companies H and G at Fernandina until the evacuation of that place March, 1862, when they were ordered to Camp Langford near Jacksonville. Details from Companies F and C, of the 2nd Florida under command of Capt. Walter B. Moore, on July 4, 1861, took the steamer Madison and captured three schooners loaded with railroad irons, and Major Bowen in command of Tampa captured two sloops with their crew.
In May, 1862, the Regiment was reorganized. J. P. Hunt was elected Colonel; W. F. L. Bowen, Lieutenant-Colonel; and Edward Badger, Major. Colonel Hunt died September 1, 1862 at Chattanooga, Lieutenant-Colonel Bowen becoming Colonel; Maj. Edward Badger, Lieutenant-Colonel; and Capt. John T. Leslie was promoted Major.
The 4th Regiment became a part of Bragg’s Army, being assigned to General Forrest’s command; and in this command were engaged at Nashville. On its return to Murfreesborough the Regiment went into camp and remained until late December, 1862. On the morning of December 28, 1862, it was ordered to the Lebanon Pike, where it engaged the enemy. On the afternoon of December 28 the 1st, 3rd and 4th Florida were brigaded under Gen. William Preston. This brigade and Palmer’s were the last of General Breckenridge’s command transferred to the west side of Stone River December 31, and made the final and unsuccessful assault on the Federal center. The 1st and 3rd Florida, under Col. William Miller, gained the cedar brake so prominent in that action; and the 4th under Colonel Bowen, advanced as far but with much heavier loss. In the engagement the 4th lost 55 killed and wounded. It captured 250 rifles from the enemy. Ordered back to the east side of the river it was again with Breckenridge January 2, 1863, where it did splendid service; being the last regiment to leave the field and made a gallant fight to save the brigade battery, sustaining heavy loss. First Lieut. S.D. Harris, commanding Co. I, was mortally wounded and left on the field. Sergt. L. N. Miller and Adj. C. C. Burke were also wounded. In this battle, Murfreesborough, the 4th, 458 strong, lost 163 killed and wounded, and 31 missing.
In May, 1863, the brigade, under Gen. M. A. Stovall, was transferred to Mississippi, under General Johnston, to relieve Vicksburg. On July 1 General Johnston reported that “ a party of skirmishers of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Florida, 47 Georgians and Cobb’s Ba ttery struck the enemy’s flank and captured 200 prisoners and the colors of the 28th, 45th and 53rd Illinois Regiments.
On September 20 the 1st, 3rd and 4th, still with General Stovall, took part in the battle of Chickamauga and again were distrenched. At the battle of Missionary Ridge the 4th carried in 172 men, and all except 18 were either killed, wounded or captured. At Dalton, on February 23, 1864, the 4th was consolidated with the 1st Calvary, dismounted, which had lost all of its field officers, and of 200 men engaged at Missionary Ridge only 33 effective men were left. The consolidated 1st and 4th took part in all the campaigns until the final surrender, in North Carolina at the close of the war. On June 9, 1862, the 4th Regiment mustered 926 men and 47 officers; On April 26 it surrendered 23 men.
Source of rosters and background of units: Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian-Civil and Spanish-American Wars. Fred L. Robertson, Compiler. Prepared and published under the supervision of the Board of State Institutions, As authorized by Chapter 2203 Laws of Florida, approved May 14, 1903.