The character of Private Bird Clark is a fictional composite of several real people in the Thirteenth Mississippi Infantry Regiment, for which I have recently begun a Web site/blog.
Bird’s I (Eye) Company was my great grandfather’s outfit, and the novel is dedicated to him––and, really, to all of the Minutemen of Attala, as they called themselves. Being so far back in the alphabet, they would not have been in the lead of the column when Gen. McLaws’ original order for the assault put the Thirteenth in the vanguard. Still, if the Thirteenth’s lead position in the attacking column had not been taken by the Seventeenth at the last minute, I might not be writing this.
I Company was originally D Company before the regiment’s reorganization in the spring of 1862, at which time Captain L.D. Fletcher resigned and went back home to Kosciusko. Officers could do that. Fletcher, who left his two younger brothers behind to continue fighting, apparently had the distinction of getting D Company lost in the woods around Ball’s Bluff, in the fall of ’61. His stirring report of their fight there in the Official Records makes no mention of it.