A Brief History of the 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment
The 33rd Alabama was organized in April 1862, in Pensacola, Florida. Recruited from the southeastern counties of Butler, Dale, Coffee, Covington, Russell and Montgomery, it saw extensive service with the Confederate Army of Tennessee before being nearly annihilated at the Battle of Franklin in 1864. Initially assigned to the defense of Confederate forts in Pensacola Bay, Florida, the 33rd would quickly be transferred to duty in the Army of Tennessee, where it saw its first significant action at the Battle of Perryville. It would go on to fight at Stone's River, Chickamauga, the Siege of Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign (including Ringgold Gap and Kennesaw Mountain), and the disastrous Franklin-Nashville Campaign in late 1864. From just after the Battle of Perryville through the Battle of Franklin, the 33rd fought under the "Stonewall of the West": Major General Patrick Cleburne, an Irish-born officer whom General Robert E. Lee once referred to as "a meteor shining from a clouded sky" for his battlefield prowess. Though it took horrific losses at Perryville (where it suffered eighty-two percent casualties) and at Franklin (where it lost two-thirds of its numbers), it held together with reduced numbers until the final Carolina Campaign in 1865.
The first regimental commander of the 33rd Alabama was Colonel Samuel Adams, born in 1829 in Abbeville, South Carolina. Adams initially enlisted in the 9th Alabama Infantry in 1861, where he was elected First Lieutenant of his company and served in the Confederate Army of the Potomac, the antecedent of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Released in February 1862 to recruit men in his home state, he was chosen to command the newly formed 33rd Alabama. Adams was wounded in the foot at Perryville while leading a brigade; after returning to regimental command in 1864, he was awaiting a recommended promotion to Brigadier General when he was mortally wounded by a Federal sharpshooter at the Battle of Atlanta. After Perryville, Adams would be replaced by Colonel Robert Crittenden of Coffee County, who would later be captured at Nashville.
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