Evander McNair-A true Southern Hero
Evander McNair-a true Southern hero, was born in Scotland County, North Carolina back in 1820. But, bless his heart, his folks didn’t stay there too long before they hightailed it over to Simpson County, Mississippi.
In his early twenties, McNair got himself into the mercantile business in good ol’ Jackson, Mississippi. During the Mexican War, he joined up with the 1st Mississippi Rifles under Colonel Jefferson Davis, who later became President of the Confederacy.
Then in 1856, McNair moved his business over to Washington, Arkansas, where he hung his hat until Arkansas seceded from the Union. He went on to raise seven companies of infantry and recruited other volunteers to establish the 4th Arkansas Infantry.
During the War Between the States
On August 17, 1861, McNair became the colonel of the 4th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. He led his unit into battle at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in southwest Missouri and later at the Battle of Pea Ridge. When General Benjamin McCulloch was killed, and Colonel Louis Hébert was captured, McNair took command of the whole kit and caboodle.
After the Battle of Pea Ridge, McNair and his crew were transferred east of the Mississippi River. His brigade joined up with General Edmund Kirby Smith for his invasion of Kentucky. He also fought at the Battle of Richmond.
McNair is Commissioned Brigadier General
On November 4, 1862, McNair got his commission as Brigadier General. He folded several other units into his brigade, including the 1st and 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles (dismounted), the 4th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, 30th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, 4th Arkansas Infantry Battalion, and Humphrey’s Arkansas Artillery Battery.
McNair’s troops participated in McCown’s charge on the Union right at the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on December 31, 1862. In May 1863, McNair and his boys reinforced the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston for the relief of the siege at Vicksburg, Mississippi. McNair was right in the middle of the various battles around Jackson, Mississippi.
The Tide Turns
At the Battle of Chickamauga, McNair’s brigade took advantage of a break in the Union lines and turned the whole darn thing around for the Confederates. McNair sustained injuries during the fierce fighting, causing him and his brigade to be sent back to Mississippi for recuperation. In 1864, authorities transferred McNair to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and he served there for the remainder of the war.
After all that Fightin’
After the war, McNair moseyed on over to New Orleans and later settled in Hattiesburg and Magnolia, Mississippi. In 1902, he passed away in Hattiesburg. With his wife, Hannah Merrill McNair, a New York Yankee who had passed away in 1878, they now rest together at Magnolia Cemetery.
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