60 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Other communities witnessed the same volunteerism as demonstrated in Jackson County and in Handsboro as men across the three coastal counties signed up for local regiments. In Biloxi, a fishing village chartered as a town on February 8, 1838, the population was sparse. Fewer than 1,000 people lived there. Biloxi is on a peninsula surrounded by water on all sides except its western region. For much of the antebellum period, it remained a sleepy coastal town. On May 29, 1861, however, the men of the town came together into the Third Mississippi Infantry, Confederate States of America, Company E. They called themselves the Biloxi Rifles. John D. Howard, John P. Elmer, and Harry Knapp were the captains of the regiment. William Davis was the drummer; other musicians were A. Bordon (Bourdon), Herman Fink, Martin Green, John Hahn, John Seymour, and Hipolite Stout. Approximately 160 men were in the initial organization. Jackson County volunteers answered the call to serve in the Confederate armed forces when 210 men mustered into the Live Oak Rifles, 3rd Regiment Infantry, Company A, in the Ocean Springs region. In Pascagoula, volunteers formed Twiggs Rifles, 27th Regiment Infantry, Company L, with 122 volunteers. This company saw action in over twenty-five battles during the war. Major Abner C. Steed commanded a 200-man cavalry outfit organized in Jackson County, the 9th Regiment Cavalry, Company A. Steed’s Company formed a base camp in Hancock County and roved the entire Mississippi Coast, engaging the Union soldiers and protecting waterways into the backcountry. When the Civil War ended, only seven men from the Live Oak Rifles returned of the 210 who had volunteered. Twiggs Rifles fared similarly when only twenty-five returned. In 1862, another Gainesville company organized called the Hancock Rebels. On March 8, 1862, its roll call listed D. B. Seal as captain, and W. F. Seal as its lieutenant. This company did not remain on the coast. It went to Corinth, Mississippi. That same year New Orleans fell to the Union. After that, the 3rd Regiment was no longer needed on the coast. Between the blockade, with its Gulf headquarters on Ship Island, and the fall of New Orleans, coastal Mississippi was not a strategic area. Skirmishes between Union troops and citizens of Harrison County occurred as early as December 1861 when a gunpowder mill at Handsboro fell to the North. Biloxi surrendered in early 1862. The lack of coastal land forces and Confederate gunboats simply left the coast in an unprotected position for the most part. Pass Christian citizens also organized a company into the 3rd Mississippi Regiment called the Dahlgren Guards. Brigadier General Charles Dahlgren of Natchez arrived in Pass Christian to organize the 3rd Brigade, Army of Mississippi. With numerous companies sending men, Dahlgren divided the 3rd Brigade into the 3rd Mississippi Regiment and the 7th Mississippi Regiment. The 3rd Regiment had ten companies, and half of those were Mississippi Gulf Coast groups—Company A, Live Oak Rifles (Ocean Springs); Company E, Biloxi Rifles; Company F, Shieldsboro Rifles (Bay St. Louis); Company G, Gainesville Volunteers (Pearl River); and Company H, Dahlgren Guards (Pass Christian). The captain of Company H, Dahlgren Guards was Ashbel Green. Military engagements in Jackson County during the Civil War were minimal because of the naval blockade and the capture of New Orleans early in the conflict. The Coast did not command a strategic presence after 1862; however, Mobile did. Jackson County was included by the Union in the perimeter of Mobile. Therefore, Ocean Springs experienced a federal raid in 1862 when Union sailors from the USS Hartford came ashore and confiscated guns, newspapers, and letters from the United States Post Office. John Eagan was the postmaster at that time. A larger skirmish occurred in Pascagoula. On April 9, 1863, Colonel Nathan Daniels, commanding the 2nd Regiment Louisiana Infantry Native Guards, attacked Pascagoula. The Native Guards was an African American company of volunteers who were stationed on Ship Island during this time, serving as sentries for Union prisoners and construction workers at the Fort Massachusetts military complex. They landed that April morning in Pascagoula and seized the wharf and nearby hotel and raised the American flag. Confederate defenders quickly counterattacked and summoned reinforcements. By that afternoon, the battle was over, with six Native Guard soldiers dead and several wounded. Four had been killed by a misplaced Union shell. Three Confederate troops received wounds. The significance of this attack is that the 2nd Regiment was the first African American unit on the Gulf Frontier that organized and executed a battle. In late 1864, the North raided the Pascagoula River region and confiscated lumber, pillaged, and wreaked havoc. Approximately 7,000 Union soldiers aimed to isolate Mobile by destroying the Mobile & Ohio Railroad north of that city. They were unsuccessful in the mission but left behind destruction at points along the river region in Jackson County. Civilians in Jackson County experienced the same hardships as others along the Gulf Coast and across the South because of military actions and blockade success. Sawmills and other economic pursuits came to a virtual halt; local trading was often the only viable option, and that often yielded little results. Many along the Mississippi coast subsisted on roots, parched corn, and fish while trying to survive. Confederate Major Abner C. Steed organized the Mounted Partisan Rangers with camps on the Wolf River in