Nathaniel Baxter Mustain, Born 1844: Civil War, Vicksburg Surrender, Union Prison & Discharge


NW Arkansas Infantry Flag

NW Arkansas Infantry Flag

Northwest 15th Regiment Flag

The unit that fought under this flag formerly was designated the 21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment. It earned its Transmississippi battle honors as part of Hebert’s brigade, fighting near the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles at…Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge. The regiment was designated the Northwest 15th Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Infantry in February 1863…

[Arkansas] Old State House Museum

Combined Flag

Combined Flag

Combined 1st & 15th Regiments Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, Hardee Pattern Flag

The 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment was consolidated with the 15th Arkansas after brigade commander Lucius Polk was disabled on 16 June 1864. Showing all the physical traits of the standard Hardee issue of 1864, this flag was probably issued at the time of consolidation. The battle honors represent each of the separate units, but are applied as though won by the consolidated unit. The crossed cannons probably honor the capture of three artillery pieces by the 1st Arkansas at Chickamauga, although they are incorrectly shown with muzzles up. The flag was captured by the 14th Michigan at Jonesboro, Georgia, on 1 September 1864.

[Arkansas] Old State House Museum

Nathaniel Baxter Mustain’s Civil War Service

Nathaniel served in the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment (Northwest), Company A from Benton County. He enlisted at age 18 in Bentonville, AR, on July 15, 1861.

“…in the Vicksburg Campaign at Port Gibson, Champion’s Hill and Big Black River Bridge, ultimately finding [themselves] surrounded and besieged as part of the Vicksburg garrison. When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, the Northwest Arkansas men were paroled on July 8 and 9, 1863, and sent back to Arkansas to await exchange.”*

Nathaniel, fought in eight battles, over a period of two years, before surrender in the Vicksburg Campaign. I searched to find details about a Union prison, until I discovered that he was, “…Captured 17 May 1863 at Big, Black River Bridge, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 15 Jun 1863. then to City Point, VA 13 Sep 1863.” So, Nathaniel spent three months at Ft. Delaware, and an undisclosed time at City Point, VA. “…Prisoners of war were exchanged at City Point late in 1862 and through much of 1863…”

Wikipedia, Ft. DelawareIn late 1862, prisoners inside the fort were fed three meals a day instead of the usual two. “For breakfast we had a cup of poor coffee without milk or sugar, and two small pieces of bad bread. For dinner we had a cup of greasy water misnamed soup, a piece of beef two inches square and a half inch thick, and two slices of bread. At supper the fare was the same as at breakfast. This was exceedingly light diet,” wrote Lt. Francis Dawson…

Nathaniel’s brother John was “…Captured 4 Jul 1863 and paroled 8 Jul 1863 at Vicksburg, MS.”

All online details follow.

Wikipedia…click on this first link for a list of battles: The 15th (Northwest) Arkansas Infantry Regiment (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army Infantry regiment during the American Civil War. The unit was originally formed as the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion. After receiving the required 10 companies, the unit was redesignated as the 21st (McRae’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment. Upon recognition that there was already a 21st Arkansas, the unit was again redesignated as the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. This was the third Arkansas unit to bear the designation “15th Arkansas”. The others are the 15th (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment and the 15th (Gee/Johnson) Arkansas Infantry Regiment. The unit saw action both west and east of the Mississippi, before serving in the Vicksburg campaign. The regiment was surrendered at Vicksburg in July 1863. After being paroled and exchanged, the regiment was consolidated with other depleted Arkansas regiments to form the 1st (Trans-Mississippi) Arkansas Consolidated Infantry Regiment.

From another source: 15th (McRae’s-Hobbs’-Boone’s) Infantry Regiment [also called 21st and Northwest Regiment] was formed in December, 1861, using the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion as its nucleus. It took an active part in the battles at Wilson’s Creek and Elkhorn Tavern, and on March 11, 1862, contained 10 officers and 168 men. Later the unit moved east of the Mississippi River, fought at Corinth and Hatchie Bridge, then was assigned to M. E. Green’s and Dockery’s Brigade in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It sustained 82 casualties at Port Gibson…The field officers were Colonels Squire Boone, James H. Hobbs, and Dandridge McRae; Lieutenant Colonel William W. Reynolds; and Majors D. A. Stuart and William Thompson.

*This regiment has a very complicated genealogy.  Initially organized for State service as a four-company battalion under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dandridge McRae, the battalion enlisted at Bentonville on July 15, 1861.  Upon enlisting in Confederate service, it was designated as the 3rd Battalion Arkansas Infantry.  It fought in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, August 10, 1861, in McCulloch’s Confederate brigade.  During October and November 1861, four additional companies were added, bringing the total to eight, and the battalion was reorganized as an under-strength regiment, the 21st Arkansas, on December 3, 1861.  As the 21st Arkansas prepared for the imminent Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), a ninth company was temporarily added.  Known as Emergency Co. I, this company was composed of men from Benton County who enlisted for thirty days of “emergency service”.  The company was disbanded after the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7, 1862.  In April 1862, the 21st Arkansas was transferred to Mississippi.  Upon arriving in the vicinity of Corinth, the regiment was reorganized on May 8, 1862; and, on May 12, 1862, it was finally brought up to a full complement of ten companies when Companies A and B of Williamson’s Arkansas Battalion were assigned.  That same month, portions of the 14th and 17th Arkansas Regiments were consolidated to form a new 21st Arkansas Regiment.  To avoid confusion, the old 21st Arkansas was redesignated as the 15th Arkansas Regiment in October 1862.  Then it was discovered that there were already two regiments designated as the 15th Arkansas!  Therefore, in February 1863, the regiment was redesignated as the 15th (Northwest) Arkansas Regiment, to avoid confusion with Josey’s “real” 15th Arkansas Regiment and Johnson’s 15th (Southwest) Arkansas Regiment.  As the 15th (Northwest) Arkansas, the regiment in the Vicksburg Campaign at Port Gibson, Champion’s Hill and Big Black River Bridge, ultimately finding itself surrounded and besieged as part of the Vicksburg garrison.  When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, the Northwest Arkansas men were paroled on July 8 and 9, 1863, and sent back to Arkansas to await exchange.  After being exchanged, the regiment was consolidated with the 14th and 16th Arkansas Regiments to form the 1st Arkansas Consolidated Regiment.  Under this final designation, the regiment served in Arkansas and Louisiana until the end of the war.  Most of the men surrendered at Marshall, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, in May and June 1865.

From the same site (see copyright below):

MUSSTAIN, NATHANIEL Pvt  – Enl 15 Jul 1861 at Bentonville, AR. Age 18. Captured 17 May 1863 at Big, Black River Bridge, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 15 Jun 1863. then to City Point, VA 13 Sep 1863.

MUSTAIN, JAMES Pvt  – Enl 15 Jul 1861 at Bentonville, AR. Died 15 Apr 1862 at Van Buren, AR Hospital.

MUSTAIN, JOHN M. Pvt –  Enl 10 Jan 1862 at Camp Benjamin, AR. Age 22. Captured 4 Jul 1863 and paroled 8 Jul 1863 at Vicksburg, MS.

MUSTAIN, THOMAS Cpl  – Enl 1 Mar 1862 at Frog Bayou, AR. Captured 16 May 1963 at Champion Hill, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 22 Sep 1863. Exchanged 29 Oct 1863 at Elmira, NY. (Rebecca’s note: Thomas was a prisoner for about 5 weeks.)

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Note about the three other Mustain’s in Company A: John M Mustain was Nathaniel’s older brother. James Mustain, who died at Van Buren, AR,  was not directly related.

I’ve just found records on Fold3 for John M Mustain. I’ll add a PDF link for those images soon. Their last brother was too young, as shown in the details below.

Children of Joseph Devin MUSTAIN (compiled by George Mustain)

  1.  John M MUSTAIN b: 24 Nov 1839 in Nashville,Marshall,TN
  2.  Clarissa Jane MUSTAIN b: 1842 in ,Marshall,TN
  3.  Nathaniel Baxter MUSTAIN b: 1844 in ,Marshall,TN
  4.  Pricilla Emeline MUSTAIN b: 1846 in ,Marshall,TN
  5.  William MUSTAIN b: 1849

Here is a link to the Northwest 15th Arkansas Infantry, a reenactor regiment of the Confederate Army, Western Theater.

If your Mustain, Musteen or Mustaine ancestor served in the Civil War, please comment. Of course, you may be from a related branch with another spelling.