The University Greys

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The Civil War, also known as the War Between the States, was the deadliest war that has ever been fought on American soil.  Approximately 620,000 soldiers perished during the war, which began in 1861 and ended in 1865.  Some of the main issues that instigated the Civil War included conflicts over slavery, westward expansion, and states’ rights.  These issues were sources of conflict between the states for many years prior to the start of the Civil War. 

Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States in 1860.  Shortly after his inauguration, seven Southern states seceded and joined together to create a new nation, the Confederate States of America.  These seven initial states included South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

There are many stories that can be told regarding the nuances of the Civil War.  One such story is that of the University Greys.  This group of men were very rare, but not for a reason that you might believe.  Their story ends with results that were not desirable: 100 percent of the men in their company became a casualty.  Every single member in their military company either perished or was wounded, mostly at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The University Greys acquired their name because many of them had been students at the University of Mississippi.  In fact, of 139 students enrolled at the University of Mississippi, all but 4 of them joined the Confederate Army under Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.  The University of Mississippi closed temporarily and was used as a war hospital.  Of all the soldiers that comprised the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, all of those 135 students from the University of Mississippi did not survive the Civil War.  Hence, the reason why their story is yet another story of tragedy during the Civil War era.

Today, the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment is memorialized with a statue at Gettysburg Battlefield.  It is a sculpture made of bronze and is a male figure holding a flag.  This memorial that commemorates the lives of those brave young men can be visited by guests who wish to learn and reflect on those young lives lost at a time of great dissension among the states.

The Civil War was quite a significant point in the history of the United States.  The story of the University Greys is just one example of the difficult times that American citizens faced during this time in history.