As originally organized, there were five regiments and four independent battalions of these infantry Minute Men, plus one cavalry battalion. While trained for combat service, their primary mission was support of the regular army units. Confederate soldiers elected their own company and field-grade officers, and on September 24, 1862 Lieutenant Burgin from Company E was promoted to lieutenant colonel and elected to command the Third Battalion.
The Third Battalion was stationed first at Okolona, about 40 miles north of Mayhew. In early October it was sent to Columbus, the county seat of Lowndes County, about fifteen miles from Mayhew, and encamped there. Thomasí family took advantage of the location while it lasted; his wife Martha Ann and their three daughters (the sons were off at war) would visit him in camp. The surviving muster rolls of the Third Battalionís Company E show the unit stationed at Columbus through February 28, 1863.
There were no major engagements in Lowndes County, but in April of 1863 the Third Battalion had a little excitement to vary the routine of drilling and training. On April 17 Union Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, at the head of 1,700 cavalry, began a daring raid from the Mississippi-Tennessee border, down across the whole state to southwest Mississippi, ending in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Griersonís goal was to cut the Southern Railroad, the main supply line for Vicksburg, west of Jackson. Both Griersonís purpose and his route were unknown to Confederate military units in the state. The historian Rowland continues,
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