“The men were good sized, healthy and well clothed, but without any attempt at uniformity in color or cut. Out front, General Liddell was wildly waving his cap.”
Description of Genera Liddell’s Arkansas Brigade at Stones River from “No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River” by Peter Cozzens. page 95.
James M. Flynt (Civilwartalk.com)
James M. Flynt was born around 1837 in Alabama. His parents were John Clayton and Martha Flynt. Their home was near Meridianville in Madison County. John Clayton Flynt passed away some time before 1850 because he does not appear on that census. Martha is head of house hold with her three children: William – age 17, Nancy Elizabeth – age 15 and James – age 14. William soon marries. On the 1860 U.S. Census, only Nancy Elizabeth and James are at home with Martha. James list his occupation as farm manager. They have a large estate.
Between 1860 after the census is taken and 1861, the family moves to Phillips County, Arkansas near the small community of Trenton. When war exploded and Arkansas joins the Confederacy, young James enlisted in Company D of the Second Arkansas Infantry on May 14, 1862 at Trenton. The Second had been formed on June 1, 1861 under Colonel Thomas C. Hindman and was mainly made up of men from Phillips County. Hindman was soon promoted to general and regimental command fell to Colonel Daniel Govan. On April 6 and 7, 1862 the Battle of Shiloh was fought. After that defeat the army retreated into North Mississippi to reorganize. It was during this time that Lieutenant Pleasant G. Roper returned back to Phillips Count on a recruiting mission and James enlisted.
Within a month Helena and much of Phillips County became occupied territory when General Samuel Curtis and his Union Army of the Southwest marched southward. Many of the young men of the Second Arkansas would never see home again.
The Second Arkansas under Colonel Govan moved northward with the Confederate Army under General Braxton Bragg in the invasion of Kentucky. They were assigned to the brigade of General St. John Liddell. The regiment participated in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky in October 1862. This would have been the first major action that James experienced. Once again, Perryville would be a Confederate defeat.
General Braxton Bragg combined forces and created the Army of Tennessee in November. He retreated south of Nashville and waited as the Union army took control of much of Middle Tennessee. Liddell’s brigade of Arkansas troops were assigned to the division of Patrick Cleburne of Helena. It was under this designation that the Second participated in the Battle of Stones River on December 31, 1862 and January 3, 1863.
The Second Arkansas was involved in two charges on the first day of battle. According to Colonel Govan’s report, ” we advanced in this direction nearly a mile, when passing through an open field, exposed to a severe cannonade, we encountered the enemy who were posted behind a fence and in the woods, immediately in front. After a severe engagement of half an hour, the enemy were driven from their position and pursued rapidly through the woods, when a running fight took place for some distance. My regiment suffered heavily in this first fight. The enemy were closely followed through the woods when we encountered a second line of the enemy posted behind a fence and in the woods near a house being used by the enemy as a hospital. The Second being on the extreme right of the brigade, engaged the enemy near this building. The right of the regiment rested within 15 or 20 steps of this building and were exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy in our front, and also from a portion of the enemy who had taken refuge in and behind the buildings adjacent to the hospital. ” James Flynt and Company D, being on the right of the regiment, would have been in the heat of this fight.” Colonel Govan continued his description of what the Second did then,” After a severe engagement the enemy were driven from this second strong position. The hospital, together with many prisoners who had taken refuge there, were taken possession of by General Liddell and a guard of two men detailed from my regiment to guard the prisoners. No other brigade or regiment at this time were in sight of the hospital.” The regiment would continue forward and to the left where it would encounter more fighting before finally coming to a stop, but it was in these first two charges that the Second received most of it’s casualties. The regiment lost 15 killed, 94 wounded and 9 missing at Stones River.
Private James M. Flynt was killed on that first day of battle at Stones River.
William Flynt, his brother, died sometime in 1865 in Phillips County. He had remained at home to watch the family farm. He is buried at the Marvell Cemetery. Martha is listed as head of house hold on the 1870 U.S. Census with the children of William and his wife. What happened to her and the family after 1870 is uncertain. James lies somewhere in Middle Tennessee though, probably in an unmarked grave.
Cozzens, Peter. “No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River”, University of Illinois Press. Chicago: 1990.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas > entries: Second Arkansas Infantry (CS)
Official Records of the War of Rebellion. Serial 029. pages 859-862. Kentucky, Middle and Eastern Tennessee, North Alabama and Southwest Virginia. Chapter XXXII. Washington, D.C.