The election of a President
by a purely sectional party, which had in various ways shown undisguised
hostility to the South and her institutions, a party, which for the first
time since the formation of the government was represented in but one
section of the Union, excited in Georgia and the other South Atlantic and
Gulf states a feeling of genuine alarm.
All agreed that the South
was in great peril. The only point of difference was as to the remedy.
The conservative sentiment
of the people of Georgia was shown in the presidential election of 1860.
The most pronounced Southern rights Democrats carried the state by a
plurality vote, polling for Breckinridge and Lane 51,893 votes, while the
united vote for the Bell and Everett and Douglas and Johnson electors was
54,435. After the result of the election became known, the tide began to
set strongly toward secession, which was stoutly advocated by Howell and
Thomas R. R. Cobb, Henry R. Jackson and Francis S. Bartow, while Alexander
H. Stephens, Herschel V. Johnson and Benjamin H. Hill stood just as firmly
Georgia legislature met early in November and, influenced by Gov. Joseph
E. Brown, began to take measures for the defense of the state by creating
the office of adjutant-general, to which position Henry C. Wayne, of
Savannah, was appointed, by authorizing the acceptance of 10,000 troops by
the governor, and by the purchase of 1,000 Maynard rifles and carbines for
coast defense. The legislature also provided for an election on the first
Wednesday in January of delegates to a convention which should determine
what action the state should take in this emergency.
The secession of South Carolina on Dec. 20,
1860, added to the enthusiasm of those Georgians who favored immediate
secession. Popular approval of the action of the South Carolina State
Convention was manifested in the large cities and towns of Georgia by
bonfires, the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon. Volunteer
companies that had been organized by act of the legislature began to offer
their services to the governor, and many new companies were formed even in
December, 1860. The zeal of the Georgia militia had shown itself as early
as Nov. 10, 1860, when a convention of military companies, presided over
by John W. Anderson, heartily endorsed the recommendations of Governor
Brown looking to the defense of the state against possible aggression.
Before the assembling of the State Convention,
which was called for Jan. 16, 1861, the people of Georgia became alarmed
because of the removal, by Major Anderson, of the Federal garrison from
Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, with the plain intention of subsequently
using that strong fortress as a means for accomplishing the coercion of
South Carolina. Governor Brown being advised that the people of Savannah
would probably seize Forts Jackson and Pulaski, decided that it was
advisable to occupy them with state troops, so as to prevent their seizure
by the citizens on the one hand or by a hostile force on the other hand,
before the Georgia Convention could decide on the policy which the state
should adopt in this emergency. Under instructions from Governor Brown,
issued Jan. 2, 1861, Col. A. R. Lawton, commanding the First Volunteer
Regiment of Georgia, having selected details from the Chatham Artillery
under Capt. Joseph S; Claghorn, from the Savannah Guards under Capt. John
Screven and from the Oglethorpe Light Infantry under Capt. Francis S.
Bartow, 134 men in all, went by boat on the morning of January 3 to
Cockspur Island and seized Fort Pulaski without resistance from the few
men there stationed, who were allowed to continue in their quarters
without restraint. These proceedings were reported to General Totten, at
Washington, by Capt. Wm. H. C. Whiting, of North Carolina, afterwards a
major-general in the Confederate States service.
The Georgia Convention assembled in
Milledgeville Jan. 16, 1861, and was composed of 295 delegates
representing every interest of the state. Among the delegates were George
W. Crawford, ex-secretary of war of the United States and ex-governor of
Georgia; ex-United States Senators Robert Toombs and Herschel V. Johnson,
the last named being also an ex-governor of Georgia; ex-representatives of
the United States Congress, Stephens, Colquitt, Poe, Bailey, Nisbet,
Chastain and Murphy (the last named died on the day of the assembly of the
convention) ; ex-justices of the Georgia Supreme Court Benning, Nisbet,
Linton, Stephens and Warner; ex-justices of the Superior Court, among them
being Hansell, Tripp, Rice, Reese, Harris and Fleming. In addition to all
these able statesmen were three of Georgia's most distinguished lawyers,
Benjamin H. Hill, Thomas R. R. Cobb and Francis S. Bartow. The ministry
and the college were represented by Nathan M. Crawford, president of
Mercer University, and Alexander Means, ex-president of Emory College.
When the convention assembled, Asbury Hull, a
gentleman of unblemished character and of wellknown conservatism,
nominated George W. Crawford as president and moved that he be elected by
acclamation. This was done, and Albert Lamar, of Muscogee county, was then
When, on the morning of the 19th, the convention met, it went into secret
session on motion of Mr. Hull, and so soon as the doors were closed, Hon.
Eugenius A. Nisbet, of Macon, offered the following resolutions:
"Resolved, that in the opinion of this
convention it is the right and duty of Georgia to secede from the present
Union and to co-operate with such of the other states as have done or
shall do the same for the purpose of forming a Southern Confederacy upon
the basis of the Constitution of the United States.
"Resolved, that a committee of - be appointed
by the Chair to report an ordinance to assert the right and fulfil the
obligation of the state of Georgia to secede from the Union."
The vote on the resolutions was taken: ayes,
166; nays, 130. The ordinance carrying the resolution into effect was then
adopted, and George W. Crawford, the president, said: "Gentlemen of the
convention, I, have the pleasure to announce that the state of Georgia is
free, sovereign and independent."
As soon as the result was announced to the
great throng on the outside of the capitol the people applauded, the
cannon thundered a salute, and that night Milledgeville was brilliantly
illuminated. Similar demonstrations occurred that evening and the next in
all the large towns and cities of the state. On January 28th the
convention appointed commissioners to the several Southern states that had
not yet seceded to present to them the ordinance of secession and the
reasons which prompted its adoption. These commissioners were : to
Virginia, Henry L. Benning; Maryland, Ambrose R. Wright; Kentucky, Henry
R. Jackson; Tennessee, Hiram P. Bell; Missouri, Luther J. Glenn; Arkansas,
D. P. Hill; Delaware, D. C. Campbell; North Carolina, Samuel Hall; Texas,
J. W. A. Sanford.
January 29th the convention adjourned to meet in Savannah in March.
Meanwhile important events were occurring elsewhere. On the Sand Hills
near Augusta was situated the arsenal, consisting of a group of buildings
around a commodious and beautiful parade ground. Here were a battery of
artillery, 20,000 stand of muskets, with a large quantity of munitions,
guarded by a company of United States troops under command of Capt. Arnold
Elzey, of Maryland, later major-general in the Confederate Army. On
January 23d Governor Brown, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Hon. Henry R.
Jackson, who had been colonel of Georgia troops in the Mexican War, and
Col. William Phillips, visited Captain Elzey and made a verbal request
that he withdraw his command from Georgia. Upon that officer's refusal
Col. Alfred Cumming, commanding the Augusta Battalion, was ordered to put
his force in readiness to support the governor's demand. These troops
consisted of the Oglethorpe Infantry, Clinch Rifles, Irish Volunteers,
Montgomery Guards, two companies of minute men (from which was soon after
organized the Walker Light Infantry), the Washington Artillery and the
Richmond Hussars. In addition to these there were about 200 mounted men
from Burke county and a company of infantry from Edgefield District, South
24th, in obedience to instructions from J. Holt, Secretary of War of the
United States, Captain Elzey accepted the terms offered by Governor Brown
and surrendered the arsenal to the Georgia troops, who vastly outnumbered
the force under Captain Elzey. The United States troops were not treated
as prisoners of war, but retained their arms and company property,
occupied quarters at the arsenal, had free intercourse with the city and
surrounding country, and were to have unobstructed passage through and out
of the state by water to New York, via Savannah. One of the terms of
surrender was that the public property was to be receipted for by the
state authorities, and accounted for upon adjustment between the state of
Georgia and the United States.
Another noted incident of the month of
January, 1861, was the seizure at New York, probably under orders of the
governor of that state, of thirty-eight boxes of muskets that were about
to be shipped to Savannah. After a sharp remonstrance, which was unheeded,
Governor Brown directed Colonel Lawton to take sufficient military force
and seize and hold every ship in the harbor of Savannah belonging to
citizens of New York. Three days after this was done the guns were ordered
released, but delay in forwarding them led to the seizure of other
vessels. News being received that the guns were on the way,
the seized vessels were released. The Georgia Convention resumed its
session at Savannah March 7, 1861, ratified the Confederate Constitution
on March 16th, adopted a new State Constitution, authorized the issue of
treasury notes and bonds for revenue for public defense, tendered a tract
ten miles square for the Confederate seat of government, and transferred
to that government the control of military operations, as well as forts
delegation to the Confederate Provisional Congress, which met at
Montgomery, Ala., consisted of Francis S. Bartow, George W. Crawford,
Augustus Kennan, Alexander H. Stephens, Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, Thomas
R. R. Cobb, Benjamin Harvey Hill and Augustus R. Wright.
When the provisional government of the
Confederate States was organized with Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, as
president, Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, was elected vice-president,
and Robert Toombs was appointed secretary of state.
The first call to Georgia made by the
government of the Confederate States was for troops for Pensacola. The
enthusiastic reply to this call is shown in the fact that 250 companies
were tendered. Georgia had already in the field the First Volunteer
Regiment of Georgia, organized prior to the war and commanded by Col. A.
R. Lawton, upon whose appointment as brigadier-general H. W. Mercer was
elected colonel and, when toward the close of 1861 he was promoted to
brigadier-general, Col. Charles H. Olmstead was elected colonel.
Of the 250 companies that responded to the
call for troops to serve outside of the state, ten were formed into a
regiment and styled the First Regiment of Georgia Volunteers, with James
N. Ramsey as colonel. These were sent to Pensacola, and six weeks later to
Virginia where, in the Laurel Hill campaign, they were the first Georgia
troops to experience actual war. The First Independent Battalion of
Georgia, under Maj. Peter H. Larey, consisting of four companies, was also
sent to Pensacola, and to this battalion was attached the first company of
Georgia troops that had gone from that state to Pensacola, being from
Atlanta and first commanded by Capt. G. W. Lee.
The Georgia Secession Convention, prior to its
adjournment at Milledgeville to meet in March at Savannah, had authorized
the equipment of two regiments, to be either all infantry or infantry and
artillery as the governor should decide. The organization of these two
regiments had not been completed when active hostilities began, so the
companies that had been then formed were consolidated into one command
under Col. Charles J. Williams, and turned over to the government of the
Confederate States as the First Georgia Regulars. Thus it happened that
there were three First Georgia regiments.
At the time of the first battle of Manassas,
Georgia had organized 17,000 men, armed and equipped them herself at an
expense of $300,000, and sent them into service mostly outside of the
state. So generous was this outpouring of men and munitions that in
September, 1861, when Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, commanding the
department of the West, called upon the governors for arms, Governor Brown
was compelled to reply with great regret: "There are no arms belonging to
the state at my disposal. All have been exhausted in arming the volunteers
of the state now in the Confederate service in Virginia, at Pensacola and
on our own coast, in all some twentythree regiments. Georgia has now to
look to the shotguns and rifles in the hands of her people for coast
defense, and to guns which her gunsmiths are slowly manufacturing."
Allowing for reenlistments and reorganization
of commands, Georgia furnished to the Confederate cause ninety-four
regiments and thirty-six battalions, embracing every arm of the service.
There were commissioned from Georgia the following general officers: Maj.-Gens.
Howell Cobb, Lafayette McLaws, David Emanuel Twiggs, Wm. H. T. Walker,
Ambrose Ranson Wright, Pierce M. B. Young; Brig.-Gens. E. Porter
Alexander, George T. Anderson, Robert H. Anderson, Francis S. Bartow,
Henry L. Benning, Wm. R. Boggs, Wm. M. Browne, Goode Bryan, Thomas Reed
Rootes Cobb, Alfred H. Colquitt, Philip Cook, Charles C. Crews, Alfred
Cumming, George Pierce Doles, Dudley M. DuBose, Clement A. Evans, Wm. M.
Gardner, Lucius J. Gartrell, Victor J. B. Girardey, George P. Harrison,
Alfred Iverson, Henry Rootes Jackson, John K. Jackson, A. R. Lawton, Hugh
W. Mercer, Paul J. Semmes, James P. Simms, Wm. Duncan Smith, Maxley
Sorrel, Marcellus A. Stovall, Bryan M. Thomas, Edward Lloyd Thomas, Robert
Toombs, Claudius C. Wilson, Wm. T. Wofford. Of these, Brig.-Gen. Clement
A. Evans commanded a division for the last five months of the war, and it
is said that commissions as major-general had been made out for him and
for Brigadier-General Benning just before the collapse of the Confederacy.
Georgia furnished three lieutenant-generals:
Wm. J. Hardee, John B. Gordon and Joseph Wheeler, the latter of whom
became a citizen of Alabama and congressman from that state.
Lieutenant-General Longstreet, after the war, made his home in Georgia,
and all that was mortal of him sleeps in her soil. The naval officer from
Georgia of highest rank was Commodore Josiah Tattnall.
Civil Officers of Confederacy.
Of civil officers of the Confederacy and
members of the Military Staff of President Davis, the following were from
Georgia: Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens; First Secretary of State
Robert Toombs; Philip Clayton, assistant secretary of the treasury; John
Archibald Campbell, assistant secretary of war; Alexander Robert Lawton,
quartermaster-general of the Confederate States; Isaac Munroe St. John,
commissary-general; Wm. M. Browne, an Englishman, but a citizen of
Georgia, assistant secretary of state; James D. Bulloch, naval agent to
During 1861 the Georgia troops in Virginia did
good service in the first and second West Virginia campaigns, and at the
first Battle of Manassas, where the heroic Francis S. Bartow, commanding a
brigade, fell dying at the close of the dashing charge which swept the
Federals from the Henry House plateau. His last words, "They have killed
me, but never give up the fight," were like a bugle call to valorous deeds
that found an echo in the hearts of thousands of Southern patriots ready
to do or die in the cause of home and native land.
War Conditions in Georgia - Campaigns in
in the fall of 1861 Governor Brown, having visited the coast and
ascertained that the measures taken for its defense by the Confederate
government were insufficient, determined to call out the state troops.
Early in September George P. Harrison was appointed a brigadier-general of
state troops and ordered to organize a brigade and arm it as far as
possible with army rifles and the balance with good country rifles and
shotguns, and place the men in camps of instruction near the coast. This
brigade was rapidly formed of volunteers eager for the service and put in
good condition. F. W. Capers was commissioned brigadier-general and
assigned to the same duty. A third brigade was formed by Brig.Gen. W. H.
this period Ira R. Foster ably acted as state quartermaster-general, and
Col. J. I. Whitaker as commissary-general. Hon. Thomas Butler King had
been sent to Europe as commissioner to arrange for direct trade. In
equipping Fort Pulaski and other fortifications, and in arming and
maintaining troops and other expenses of war, Georgia had spent
$1,000,000. Among these expenditures was the purchase of steamers for
Commodore Josiah Tattnall, a native Georgian who, while an officer in the
United States Navy, had been greatly distinguished in China and Japan,
having resigned from the old navy upon the secession of his native state,
was appointed senior flag officer of the State Navy, which did not then
possess a boat or a gun. In March, 1861, he was appointed commodore in the
Confederate States Navy, and assigned to whatever navy he could find or
create in the waters of South Carolina and Georgia. He went diligently to
work, and during the summer produced, in what was called a "Mosquito
fleet," the semblance of a navy by arming a river steamer and a few tugs
with such guns as could be procured. He was ordered by the Confederate
government to distribute this little fleet along the coast from Port Royal
south, for the special purpose of aiding vessels coming from England with
in September Brig.-Gen. A. R. Lawton, who had been in command of the
district of Savannah since April 17th, informed the secretary of war that
additional troops were badly needed for coast defense. He had at this time
an aggregate present of about 3,000 men at sixteen posts, the most
important of which were Tybee Island, Camp Lawton, Fort Pulaski, Sapello
Island, Fort Screven, Savannah and Brunswick. On Oct. 26, 1861, the
military department of Georgia was created and General Lawton was put in
command, with headquarters at Savannah. Three days later he was notified
that the enemy's fleet had sailed for the South. Lawton's force had, by
efforts already described, been greatly increased, and Col. Hugh Mercer
was appointed brigadier-general. General Lawton now had in his department
about 2,000 men under General Mercer at and near Brunswick, and about
3,500 north of the Altamaha and generally near Savannah. About 500 of
these forces were cavalry, well mounted and armed, and the remainder
included three batteries of artillery. About 2,000 of the infantry were
well drilled and disciplined. There were also available about 3,000 state
troops "armed in a fashion" within a few hours' call. The channels of
approach to Savannah were being blocked by the efforts of the navy under
efficient officers. The coast defenders were cheered by the tidings that
Gen. Robert E. Lee, who had during the latter part of the summer and fall
been commanding in West Virginia, had been appointed to command the
military department, including the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and
East Florida. Commodore Tattnall, with his little flotilla of three
vessels, with great audacity attacked the Federal fleet at the entrance of
Port Royal sound November 4th and 5th. After the capture by the Federal
fleet of Forts Walker and Beauregard, and the occupation of Hilton Head by
the enemy, Tattnall succeeded in bringing off his little fleet in safety.
There were other skirmishes between the Federal gunboats and Tattnall's
mosquito fleet. In order to force the Federal gunboats to pass under the
fire of the guns of Fort Pulaski, as they approached Savannah, piles were
driven into the channels which open into the river on the north and south,
and other obstructions made which, for the time, were effective. Lieut.
James H. Wilson, later a great cavalry leader, endeavored to remove these
piles, and had nearly cleared a passage when detected and driven off by
Ordnance Officer W. G. Gill, just before the fall of the forts near Port
Royal, South Carolina, gave the following statement of the condition of
the Georgia coast defenses: On the south end of Jekyl Island, one
42-pounder and four 32-pounders, with 60 pounds of shot and shell; on the
St. Simon's Island batteries one 10-inch and one 8-inch columbiad, two 42
and five 32-pounders, with 75 rounds of ammunition; at Fort Pulaski, on
Cockspur Island near the mouth of the Savannah River, five 10-inch and
nine 8-inch columbiads, two 10-inch mortars, two 42-pounders, twenty
32-pounders, one 24-pounder and a very good supply of ammunition. Fort
Jackson, near the city of Savannah, had one 32-pounder rifle, five
32-pounders and three 18-pounders. Thunderbolt battery had one 8-inch gun
and three 18-pounders. Green Island battery had one 10-inch rifled gun,
one 10-inch and two 8-inch columbiads, two 42-pounders and four
the occupation of Hilton Head and Port Royal by the United States forces,
Federal light draught gunboats went through Ossabaw, Warsaw, St. Helena
and Cumberland sounds as far down as Fernandina, Fla., rapidly taking
possession of the whole coast line, except the entrance to Savannah
harbor. They did not, as yet, attempt to attack Fort Pulaski.
In November the famous
steamship Fingal, that had been bought on the Clyde in September, 1861, by
Capt. James D. Bulloch, of Georgia, naval agent of the Confederate States,
and which had sailed from Greenock, Scotland, early in October under the
British flag and with a British captain, under the direction of Capt.
Bulloch and Pilot Makin, evading the blockaders, entered the port of
Savannah. She brought 10,000 Enfield rifles, 1,000,000 ball cartridges,
2,000,000 percussion caps, 3,000 cavalry sabers, 1,000 short rifles and
cutlass bayonets, 1,000 rounds of ammunition per rifle, 500 revolvers and
ammunition, two large rifled - cannon, two smaller rifled guns, 400
barrels of cannon powder and a lot of medical stores and material for
clothing. No single blockade runner ever again brought into any port of
the Confederacy so large a cargo of military and naval supplies.
Of this rich cargo, 1,000 Enfield rifles had
been shipped directly to Governor Brown, and 9,000 for the Confederate
government. One-half of these were ordered to be distributed by General
Lee to the troops of Georgia and South Carolina, with the condition that
the troops receiving them must enlist for three years or for the war.
On the latter account, Colonel Dow's regiment
of Mississippians was armed out of the guns expected by Georgia.
Captain Bulloch made several attempts to get
to sea again with the Fingal, but was foiled by the blockaders.
Gen. Henry R. Jackson, who had, as
brigadier-general, commanded Georgia troops in the West Virginia campaign
of Cheat Mountain and along the Greenbrier River during the summer and
fall of 1861, having been appointed by Governor Brown major-general of the
state forces, assumed command Dec. 28, 1861, with headquarters at
Savannah. General Jackson hastened to inform General Lee that the division
of state troops under his command was placed at the latter's disposal for
the defense of Georgia, whereupon General Lee expressed gratification,
adding "I will direct General Lawton to indicate to you where your troops
can be of most service and to designate such points as you may take under
your exclusive charge."
The year 1862 opened with considerable
activity along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. On January 26th an
expedition comprising 2,400 infantry under Gen. Horatio G. Wright, in
transports convoyed by six gunboats, anchored in Warsaw sound and on the
next day made a reconnaissance of Wilmington narrows up to the
obstructions of sunken hulks and piling, while a similar reconnaissance
reached the obstructions at Wall's cut. On the 28th four months'
provisions and supplies of ammunition were sent down to Fort Pulaski under
the protection of Commodore Tattnall and his fleet. Upon nearing the fort
they were fired upon by the Federal gunboats north of the Savannah under
Rodgers and by those south under Davis, presenting the strange spectacle
in which the contestants were separated by land. The supplies were
successfully thrown into the fort; but as the gunboat Samson and her two
unarmed companions sailed back up the river, several rifle shells were
sent through her, hurting no one and doing no serious damage. As the
boats, on their return from their adventurous errand, approached the docks
at Savannah, they were wildly cheered by the vast crowds there gathered.
When the Federals succeeded in removing the
obstructions from Wall's cut and were becoming more and more aggressive,
General Mercer, in command at Brunswick, under orders from General Lee,
removed the batteries from St. Simon's and Jekyl Islands and sent the
heavy guns to Savannah.
The terms of service of many state troops
expiring, great difficulty was experienced in getting them to reenlist.
But there was no delay in supplying every regiment which Georgia had been
asked to contribute to the Confederate service, for when twelve regiments
were asked, eighteen were furnished.
On February 18th came news of the fall of Fort
Donelson and the capture of its garrison. President Davis now called
General Lee to Richmond as his military adviser, and sent Maj.-Gen. John
C. Pemberton, an officer of the old army, having a fine reputation as an
engineer, to command the department of South Carolina, Georgia and
Florida. The Federal forces, which since the last of January had been
erecting batteries along the north side of Tybee, were ready by April 10th
to attack the Confederate garrison of 400 who, under Col. Charles H.
Olmstead, were holding Fort Pulaski. The land troops of the Federals
operating for the reduction of the fort numbered near 3,000 men under
Maj.-Gen. David Hunter and Brigadier-Generals Benham, Viele and Gilmore.
To the demand for a surrender, Colonel Olmstead replied that he was there
"to defend the fort, not to surrender it." So at 8:15 on the morning of
April 10th all the beleaguering batteries opened fire. After a gallant
resistance the fort was rendered untenable and terms of capitulation were
arranged by Colonel Olmstead and General Gilmore. The terms of
capitulation were that the sick and wounded of the garrison should be sent
under a flag of truce to the Confederate lines, but this provision General
Hunter refused to ratify, and the whole garrison was sent to the forts in
New York Harbor. General Hunter on May 9th issued a proclamation declaring
all slaves in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to be henceforth free
forever. President Lincoln, however, annulled this order and rebuked the
act of General Hunter. The first negro regiment in United States service
was at this time organized by Hunter.
It soon became evident that the fall of Fort
Pulaski did not involve the capture of Savannah. The Confederate force on
the Georgia coast was amply able to resist any force of Federals then in
April 16th a reconnaissance of Whitemarch Island by seven companies of the
Eighth Michigan Regiment under Col. W. M. Fenton led to a spirited affair.
This force, 300 strong, was resisted by 100 men of the Thirteenth Georgia
Regiment under Captains Crawford and McCally, who held the superior force
of the enemy at bay until reinforced by Col. Marcellus Douglas, when they
drove back the Federals, with a loss to the Georgians of four killed and
fifteen wounded. Colonel Fenton reported his loss as ten killed and
Outside of the state, Georgia soldiers appeared to great advantage in all
the campaigns of 1862 east of the Mississippi River. At Shiloh the
Washington Light Artillery of Augusta (known also as Girardy's battery),
Capt. Isadore P. Girardy, attached to the brigade of John K. Jackson,
rendered conspicuous service and suffered severe loss, while the Mountain
Dragoons of Capt. I. W. Avery, by their efficient and arduous labors,
proved themselves worthy of their comrades of the infantry and artillery.
The proximity to the northern part of the
state of the Federal forces in the spring of 1862 led to the celebrated
raid of James J. Andrews, whose purpose was to break up railroad
communication south of Chattanooga, so that Buell might the more readily
capture that important point. Andrews and nineteen of his men, at an
appointed time, were in Marietta, Ga., and, buying tickets to various
points as regular passengers, boarded the northward-bound .mail train. At
Big Shanty, now called Kennesaw, while the train stopped for breakfast,
Andrews and his men uncoupled a section of the train consisting of three
empty box cars with the engine (called "The General"), which they at once
manned with two experienced engineers, who set this fraction of the train
in rapid motion before the sentinels standing near suspected the movement.
Wm. A. Fuller, conductor of the train, and Anthony Murphy, foreman of the
Atlanta machine shops, who happened to be on the train, comprehending what
had happened, ran on foot until they found a hand car, with which they
pushed on until they found an engine ("The Texas"), and then pressed
Andrews and his party so closely that they abandoned "The General" and
took to the woods. They were all captured within a few days and Andrews,
with seven of his men who had gone into the expedition with full knowledge
of its character, were convicted and executed as spies. Some of the others
finally escaped and some were exchanged. It is probable that the Federal
officer was correct in his views, who said that Andrews and his bridge
burners "took desperate chances to accomplish objects of no substantial
the battle of Shiloh, which began with such glorious promise and closed
with such disappointment of exalted hopes, had failed of its main object,
it, together with subsequent movements of the western Confederate armies,
gave a check to the triumphant march into the heart of the Southwest,
which Grant had planned and begun immediately after his great victory at
brilliant campaign of Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, his skilful march
to form a junction with Lee at Richmond, and the raising of the siege of
the Confederate capital by these combined forces under the leadership of
Lee in the Seven Days' Battles, changed the whole plan of the Federal
armies for 1862, and for months threw the invaders upon the defensive and
kept them there until near the close of the year. Although after the end
of the Maryland and Kentucky campaigns the Union armies began another
advance, their aggressive was halting and timorous and brought to a sudden
termination for several months by the decisive Confederate victory of
Fredericksburg in Virginia, the drawn battle at Murfreesboro in Tennessee
and the disastrous repulse of Sherman's attack at Chickasaw Bayou, near
Vicksburg, Miss. In all these movements the soldiers and officers of
Georgia bore their full share of hardship and danger, and obtained their
full proportion of all the honors won by as gallant hosts as were ever
marshalled for battle since time began.
The short space allowed for this sketch of
Georgia in the Confederacy does not permit the recital of the exploits of
Georgians beyond the borders of the state.
In July, 1862, the armed cruiser Nashville ran
the blockade into Savannah with a cargo of arms. This was the first
commissioned armed cruiser of the Confederate States.
In November, 1862, Col. Thomas Wentworth
Higginson, with his regiment of South Carolina negroes, committed many
depredations on the Georgia coast.
The message of Governor Brown to the
legislature in November described the military work of the year. Of
$5,000,000 appropriated, $2,081,004 had been expended; 8,000 state troops
had been employed and supported for six months ; the state's quota of
Confederate war tax, $2,500,000, had been paid; a state armory had been
established in the penitentiary, which was turning out 125 guns a month.
The constitutionality of
the Confederate Conscription Acts, submitted to the legislature by
Governor Brown and referred by that body to the State Supreme Court, was
by the latter body fully sustained. Other war measures of the legislature
of 1862 were acts restricting the cultivation of cotton to three acres a
hand, for the purpose of diversifying agricultural industry and making the
people self-supporting; appropriating $500,000 to supply the people with
salt; $100,000 for cotton cards; more than $500,000 for obstruction of
rivers; $400,000 for the relief and hospital association; $1,500,000 for
clothing for Georgia soldiers; $2,500,000 for the support of widows and
families of dead or disabled soldiers; $1,000,000 for a military fund and
$300,000 to assist in removing indigent non-combatants from any part. of
the state threatened with invasion. The governor was authorized to raise
two regiments for home defense and to impress slaves for work on the
defenses of Savannah.
At the beginning of 1863 the United States
authorities were collecting at Charleston harbor a fleet of nine iron-clads
for an attempt to capture Fort Sumter and Charleston harbor. Admiral
Dupont, commander of the fleet, detached one of these, the Montauk, for a
trial against McAllister. This work, constructed on Genesis Point to guard
the approach to Savannah by the Ogeeshee river, was in charge of Maj. John
B. Gallie, supported by troops under Col. R. A. Anderson, its main
armament consisting of one rifled 32-pounder and one 8-inch columbiad. The
Montauk, under John L. Worden, who had fought the Virginia in Hampton
Roads, assisted by four wooden gunboats, on Jan. 27, 1863, attacked Fort
McAllister, and after a four hours' bombardment, withdrew defeated.
A still more determined attack followed on
February 1, and the Federal monitor and gunboats again suffered defeat,
though the Confederates paid for their victory by the death of their brave
commander, Maj. John B. Gallie.
On February 27th the Nashville (or
Rattlesnake, as she was now called) ran aground not far above the
obstructions in the Ogeechee. On the following morning Worden, having
observed this, steamed down with his vessel under the guns of the fort,
and from a point about 1,200 yards from the cruiser, poured in such a fire
as to blow up the vessel. But the Montauk was so much injured by the
explosion of a torpedo in the channel that she was compelled to run upon a
bank out of range to repair damages, while her pumps, with difficulty,
kept her afloat. But the most formidable attack upon Fort McAllister was
made on March 3d by the three new monitors, the Passaic, Patapsco and
Nahant, assisted by mortar boats. For seven hours 15- and 11-inch shell
and shot were hurled at the fort, and the mortar boats kept up the din all
night with no effect, except slightly wounding two men and temporarily
dismounting the 8-inch gun and 42-pounder. But the dawn of March 4th found
the damage repaired and the fort as good as ever.
Admiral Dupont, who was preparing for his
naval attack upon Charleston, now decided to save his ammunition by
letting Fort McAllister alone.
An expedition, which set out from St. Simon's
Island on June 8, 1863, for the purpose of destroying the Confederate salt
works near Brunswick was defeated; but on June 11th another expedition
burned the town of Darien.
On the morning of May 3d, in North Georgia,
the celebrated raid of Col. A. D. Streight, who, at the head of 1,500 men,
had set out from Tuscumbia, Ala., on the night of April 26, 1863, for the
purpose of destroying railroads and machine shops, was brought to an end
by the capture of the Federal raiders, who, deceived by the skilful
strategy of Gen. N. B. Forrest, with a Confederate force of about
one-third their strength, surrendered unconditionally to that wily and
fearless chieftain, and were sent as prisoners of war to Richmond, Va.
The famous ship Fingal, whose successful
running of the blockade with arms and ammunition in 1861 has already been
narrated, having been converted into an ironclad and named the Atlanta,
was placed under the command of Lieut. Wm. A. Webb, and under orders from
the Confederate government on June 17, 1863, entered Warsaw sound for the
purpose of attacking two of the best monitors of the Federal fleet, the
Weehawken and Nahant. But the Atlanta was not suited for shallow water and
ran fast aground within 600 yards of the Weehawken, where she became an
easy prey to her enemies and, with very heavy loss of her crew, was
compelled to surrender.
As the fall of 1863 came in, Georgia for the
first time during the mighty struggle of the sixties felt the shock of a
great invading host. Her troops had won distinction upon every battlefield
of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, and thousands of her
valiant soldiers, through every grade from general officers to privates,
had shed their blood for the Southern cause. At last upon the Georgia line
the contending armies met, and the brilliant victory of Chickamauga drove
back, for a time, the tide of invasion. In the Confederate army under Gen.
Braxton Bragg, assembled in August, 1863, for the defense of Chattanooga,
were the following Georgia commands : In John K. Jackson's brigade of
Cheatham's division the second battalion of the First Confederate
Regiment, Maj. James Clark Gordon; Fifth Regiment, Col. Charles P. Daniel,
and the second battalion of sharpshooters, Maj. Richard H. Whitely; in
Bate's brigade of Stewart's division the Thirty-seventh regiment and
fourth battalion of sharpshooters; in the brigade of Marcellus A. Stovell
of John C. Breckinridge's division the Forty-seventh Georgia Regiment,
Capt. W. S. Phillips; in W. IT. T. Walker's division, S. R. Gist's brigade
was half Georgian and C. C. Wilson's brigade almost entirely so; in the
brigade of Col. John H. Kelly of Brig.Gen. Wm. Preston's division the
Sixty-fifth Georgia, Col. R. H. Moore ; in Maj.-Gen. Joseph Wheeler's
cavalry corps in Col. C. C. Crew's brigade the Second Georgia Regiment,
Lieut.-Col. F. M. Ison, the Third, Col. R. Thompson, and the Fourth, Col.
I. W. Avery; in Brigadier-General Forrest's cavalry corps the First
Georgia, Col. J. J. Morrison, and the Sixth Georgia, Col. John R. Hart in
H. B. Davidson's brigade of Pegram's division; Co. G of Second Cavalry,
Capt. Thomas M. Merritt, escort for General Cheatham; Scogin's Georgia
Battery Melancthon Smith's battalion; Capt. Evan P. Howell's battery
attached to Walker's division ; Dawson's battery, Lieut. R. W. Anderson,
and Co. E, Ninth Artillery battalion, Lieut. W. S. Everett, attached to
Stewart's division; the batteries of Capts. Tyler M. Peeple and Andrew M.
Wolihin of Leyden's Ninth battalion; in the reserve artillery under Maj.
F. H. Robertson the Georgia batteries of Capts. M. W. Havis and T. L.
Longstreet's corps, Anderson's, Wofford's and Bryan's Georgia brigades did
not arrive in time to take part in the battle. But the brigade of Gen.
Henry L. Benning shared the fight of both days. In his brigade were the
Second Georgia, Lieut.-Col. Wm. S. Shepard; the Fifteenth, Col. Dudley M.
DuBose; the Seventeenth, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. Matthews; the Twentieth,
Col. J. D. Waddell.
When on Sept. 7, 1863,
Rosecrans sent McCook and Thomas to such positions south of Chattanooga as
would flank that Confederate stronghold, Bragg abandoned the town and
retired southwards. After several days of marching and counter-marching,
being reinforced by a part of Longstreet's corps from Virginia, he began
an advance against Rosecrans, who was concentrating his troops at Lee and
Gordon's Mills, 12 miles south of Chattanooga. On September 19th Bragg
attacked General Thomas, who commanded the left of Rosecrans' army. The
day closed without decisive advantage to either side. During the night of
the 19th each commander prepared for the decisive struggle, which all
believed the morrow would bring.
General Bragg placed Lieut.-Gen. Leonidas Polk
in command of his right wing, consisting of the corps of D. H. Hill and
Wm. H. T. Walker, the division of Cheatham and the cavalry of Forrest. To
Lieut.Gen. James Longstreet he gave the left wing, embracing the corps of
Buckner and Hood, the division of Hindman and the cavalry of Wheeler.
Thomas, still commanding the left of Rosecrans' army, so arranged his
force as to cover the Rossville (or Chattanooga) and Dry Valley roads. His
line of battle began 400 yards east of the Chattanooga road on a crest
which was occupied from left to right by four divisions: Baird's of
Thomas' corps, R. W. Johnson's of McCook's corns, Palmer's of Crittenden's
and Joseph J. Reynolds' division of Thomas' corps. On the right of
Reynolds stood the divisions of Brannan and Negley. Across the Chattanooga
road toward Missionary Ridge came the divisions of Sheridan and Jeff. C.
Davis under McCook as corps commander, while Crittenden stood in reserve
with the divisions of Wood and Van Cleve.
Bragg's plan of battle was successive attacks
from right to left. When the battle opened on the morning of the 20th, the
divisions of Breckinridge and Cleburne of D. H. Hill's corps made a fierce
assault upon Thomas, while to their help came the divisions of Gist and
Liddell in the corps of Gen. Wm. H. T. Walker, and the strong pressure of
the Confederates was increased by the advance of Cheatham's division. So
hard was Thomas pushed that he called for help, and Rosecrans responded to
his appeal by hurrying troops from the Union right, who, as they hastened
to the left, exsposed to the watchful eye of Longstreet a gap in the
Federal line, through which that wary leader pushed the eight brigades of
Bushrod Johnson, McNair, Gregg, Kershaw, Law, Humphrey, Benning and
Robertson. Under the leadership of the dashing Hood, this strong force
swept from the field Sheridan's entire division, two brigades of Davis'
division and one of Van Cleve's, Hood falling desperately wounded as the
shouts of victory rang in his ears. Longstreet, seeing at once the
necessity of disregarding the order of the day, wheeled to the right
instead of the left, overrunning and capturing battery after battery,
wagon-trains, thousands of prisoners and the headquarters of Rosecrans,
who, forcibly borne away with his routed right, hastened to
Chattanooga-which had been for more than ten days in his
possession-seeking in its fortifications refuge for his routed wing as
well as for the troops under Thomas, who, helped by Gordon Granger, fought
desperately to hold his ground, until night should enable him to withdraw
the left wing of the defeated army without further disaster. As the shades
of evening were gathering thick around, under the continued attack of the
left wing under Longstreet and the right under Polk, the Federals were
forced to give way, Gen. Wm. Preston's division gaining the heights and
firing the last shots of the battle by moonlight. As the Federals fell
back, a tremendous shout from the charging Confederates thrilled their
entire host with the story of victory.
The defeated Union army retreated to
Chattanooga, where Rosecrans spent the day and night of the 21st hurrying
his trains and artillery out of town, but, finding that he was not
pressed, remained there with his army. Bragg spent the 21st in burying the
dead and gathering the trophies of the field, among which were fifty-one
cannon and 15,000 small arms. During the next two days he came slowly into
position on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, which he connected by a
line of earthworks across Chattanooga Valley and sent into Lookout Valley
a force which commanded the twenty-six-mile wagon road to Bridgeport, thus
compelling the Union army to draw its supplies by an almost impassable
mountain road of sixty miles. Thus Bragg hoped to force the defeated army
to a surrender. The Federals were reduced to the verge of starvation, when
the two corps of Howard and Slocum, from their Army of the Potomac under
Hooker, and Sherman's army from Mississippi, came to their relief, and
through dispositions made by Gen. U. S. Grant opened the way for obtaining
supplies and for attacking the army under Bragg.
While Grant was concentrating everything for
raising the siege of Chattanooga, the Confederate government sent 15,000
men from Bragg under the command of Longstreet to drive Burnside out of
East Tennessee. Thus it happened that a little over two months after the
great Confederate victory of Chickamauga, Bragg was defeated, November
25th, at Missionary Ridge, and Longstreet was repulsed at Knoxville
November 29th. The silver lining to the cloud that overhung the South and
Southwest was the brilliant little Battle of Ringgold, where Cleburne gave
check to the pursuing victors and turned them back for the time.
Chickamauga was the greatest battle fought on
Georgia soil. Missionary Ridge and the Battle of Knoxville were entirely
fought in Tennessee, and Ringgold made illustrious northwest Georgia. In
the assault on Fort Loudon at Knoxville, November 29th, four Georgia
brigades were conspicuous, Bryan's and Wofford's of McLaw's division, and
Anderson's and Benning's of Hood's division, Benning being in support of
the other three upon whom fell threefourths of the loss in that day's
In the Battle
of Missionary Ridge, November 25th, Lieut.-Gen. Wm. J. Hardee commanded
the right wing of Bragg's army and John C. Breckinridge the left. If
George Thomas, who held the left of Rosecrans' army at Chickamauga,
deservedly obtained by his bold stand the title "Rock of Chickamauga,"
Hardee, who just as stoutly held Bragg's right at Missionary Ridge,
deserves equally the wreath of fame. Gen. Alfred Cumming's brigade of
Stevenson's division won high praise from General Cleburne, who commanded
Hardee's right in the repulse of Sherman at the Tunnel, and the Georgians
who were in Bate's brigade of Breckinridge's division were also
distinguished in repelling attacks upon their front. According to the
reports of both Stevenson and Cleburne, the Georgians of Cumming's brigade
joined with the Tennesseeans, Arkansans and Texans of Cleburne's division
in driving back Sherman's troops, capturing prisoners and two of the eight
stand of colors, taken in this victorious charge. The disastrous result
elsewhere on the ridge made it necessary for Hardee to withdraw his wing
that night, Cleburne's division covering the retreat.
At Ringgold Cleburne received orders to hold
the main gap in Taylor's Ridge and check the pursuit of the enemy until
the trains and rear of Bragg's army were well advanced. Here Cleburne
advantageously posted his division, embracing troops of Texas, Alabama,
Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and Goldthwaite's battery of Napoleon
guns. Hooker, with the three divisions of Osterhaus, Geary and Cruft, at 8
A. M. of November 27th formed line and moved to the attack, which was so
effectually repulsed by Cleburne's one division that the pursuit was
checked and Hooker, by Grant's orders, returned to Chattanooga. By this
brilliant battle, for which Cleburne and his men received the thanks of
the Confederate Congress, the artillery and wagon trains of Bragg's army
were saved, and the Confederates went into quarters around Dalton, which
they fortified with a strong outpost at Tunnel Hill. In this new position
they remained during the winter of 1863-64, and until the opening of the
Atlanta campaign, May 5, 1864.
On June 22, 1863, Governor Brown, in obedience
to a requisition from the Confederate government, issued a proclamation
calling for the organization of a force of 8,000 men over the age of 45
years, or otherwise not subject to military duty, to be mustered in for
six months from August 1st for home defense, stating, that "the President
is obliged to mass the armies of the Confederacy at a few important
keypoints and cannot, without weakening them too much, detach troops to
defend the interior points against sudden incursions. He therefore calls
upon the people of the respective states, who are otherwise not sub-ject
to be summoned to the field under the conscription laws, to organize, and,
while they attend to their ordinary avocations at home, to stand ready at
a moment's warning to take up arms and drive back the plundering bands of
marauders from their own immediate section of the country." The governor
requested the citizens of the various counties to assemble at their
court-houses on the first Tuesday of July and organize the number required
of them by counties. To this call not merely 8,000, but 18,000 men
responded. The command of this force was conferred upon Howell Cobb,
promoted to major-general with headquarters at Atlanta, and under him were
Brig.-Gens. Alfred Iverson, Jr., with headquarters at Rome, and Henry R.
Jackson at Savannah. Maj.-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith, who, on account of
ill-health, had resigned from the Confederate army, entered the service of
the state, with special charge, for the time, of fortifications.
According to a statement published by
authority of the government at Richmond, at the close of the year 1863,
Georgia had lost a greater number of soldiers than any other state of the
Confederacy. The list, as published, stands thus: Georgia, 9,504; Alabama,
8,987; North Carolina, 8,361; Texas, 6,377; Virginia, 5,943; Mississippi,
6,367; South Carolina, 4,511; Louisiana, 3,039; Tennessee, 2,849;
Arkansas, 1,948; Florida, 1,119. In Georgia's loss were included the
following general officers killed in battle: Francis S. Bartow, acting
brigadier at First Manassas; Capt. W. F. Brown of the Twelfth Georgia,
acting as brigadier-general at Chantilly or Ox Hill (commanding Trimble's
brigade); Col. Marcellus Douglas, acting as brigadier-general (in command
of Lawton's brigade) at Sharpsburg; Brig.-Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, at
Fredericksburg; Brig.-Gen. Paul J. Semmes at Gettysburg; Col. Peyton H.
Colquitt, acting as brigadier-general at Chickamauga. To Georgia's loss in
general officers should be added Brig.-Gen. Claudius C. Wilson, who died
in the service after the Battle of Chickamauga and just before that of
At Dalton, Dec. 2, 1864,
General Bragg issued a farewell address to the army of Tennessee and
turned over the command temporarily to Lieut.-Gen. Wm. J. Hardee. On Dec.
16, 1863, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was assigned to the command of the
Confederate Army of Tennessee at Dalton.
On Feb. 17, 1864, on account of Sherman's
Meridian expedition, the divisions of Cheatham, Cleburne and Walker under
Lieutenant-General Hardee were sent to reinforce Lieut.-Gen. Leonidas Polk
in Mississippi, but they were soon recalled on account of Sherman's return
to Vicksburg. When Grant learned of the departure of troops to
Mississippi, he ordered Thomas to move forward and get possession of
Dalton and as far South of that as possible. On February 24 fighting began
near Dalton and continued during the next two days, when this attempt was
abandoned and the Federal army returned to the neighborhood of
the year 1863 had closed in gloom, yet before the opening of the spring
campaigns in Virginia and Georgia the hopes of the Southern people had
been revived by a series of brilliant triumphs. At Oulstee, in Florida,
the troops of that state and Georgia (mostly those of the latter state)
under 'Brig.-Gen. Alfred H. Colquitt and Col. George P. Harrison, with
Joseph Finegan of the Department of Florida in chief command, gained a
decisive victory (Feb. 29, 1864) ; at Okalona, in Mississippi (February
22), Forrest scored a success over Sherman's cavalry under Wm. S. Smith,
then after other victories captured Fort Pillow (April 12) ; while the
defeat of Banks in Louisiana (April 8 and 9) and Steele in Arkansas (April
25 and 30) with the recovery of much lost territory in both states, the
naval triumph of the Albemarle on the Roanoke River in North Carolina, and
the capture of Plymouth by General Hoke (April 19 and 20), and the defeat
of the raid of Kilpatrick and Dahlgren in Virginia in March, raised to the
highest pitch the hopes of the valiant hosts, who, under Lee in Virginia
and Johnston in Georgia, stood ready to dispute the advance of the
invading hosts of Grant and Sherman respectively.
In each of the grand armies Georgia was well
represented. In that of Northern Virginia, four of the nine brigades of
Longstreet's corps were Georgians; those of Wm. T. Wofford, Goode Bryan,
George T. Anderson and Henry L. Benning. In Ewell's corps were the Georgia
brigades of George Doles of Rodes' division, and of John B. Gordon of
Early's division. In A. P. Hill's corps were the Georgia brigades of
Ambrose R. Wright of R. H. Anderson's division, and Edward L. Thomas of
Wilcox's division. The Georgia batteries of Callaway and Carlton (the
latter known as the Troup Artillery) were attached to the artillery of
Longstreet's corps, commanded by a Georgian, Brigadier-General E. P.
Alexander. With the second corps was the Georgia battery of Capt. John
Milledge, while with A. P. Hill's corps was the Georgia artillery
battalion of Col. A. S. Cutts, known as the Sumter Battalion. In the
cavalry corps of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, Georgia was represented by the
brigade of Gen. P. M. B. Young, containing the Seventh Regiment, Col. W.
P. White; Cobb's Legion, Col. G. J. Wright ; Phillips' Legion; Twentieth
Battalion, Col. J. M. Millen; and after July, one Georgia company with the
Jeff. Davis (Miss.) Legion.
The Georgia troops in the Confederate Army of
Tennessee at and around Dalton in early May of 1864 were: In Hardee's
corps and Gen. Wm. H. T. Walker's division, J. K. Jackson's Georgia and
Mississippi brigade, Gist's Georgia and South Carolina brigade, C. H.
Stevens' Georgia brigade and H. W. Mercer's Georgia brigade; in the same
corps and Wm. B. Bate's division, Tyler's Georgia and Tennessee brigade;
in Maj.-Gen. C. L. Stevenson's division of Hood's corps, Alfred Cumming's
Georgia brigade, and in Maj.-Gen. A. P. Stewart's division of Hood's
corps, Stovall's Georgia brigade. In Maj.Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry
corps in Maj.-Gen. W. H. Martin's division was the Georgia brigade of
artillery of Martin's battalion, Capt. Evan P. Howell's Georgia battery;
of Palmer's battalion, the Georgia batteries of Capts. R. W. Anderson and
M. W. Havis ; of Johnson's battalion, Capt. Max Van D. Corput's Georgia
battery; of Robertson's battalion, Georgia battery of Lieut. W. B. S.
Guards and Reserves consisted of men who had been regular soldiers, but
were honorably discharged, of men over the military age or of youths under
military age, also of state and county civil officers or employees in
government shops who, upon the invasion of the state, were called into the
field. These troops consisted of: First Battalion, Maj. W. R. Symons;
First Regiment, Col. J. H. Fannin; First Battalion, known as "Augusta Fire
Brigade," Lieut.-Col. C. A. Platt; Atlanta Fire Battalion, Lieut.-Col. G.
W. Lee; Georgia State Guards, Lieut.Col. J. R. Freeman; Second Regiment,
Col. R. F. Maddox; Third Regiment, Col. E. J. Harris; Fourth Regiment,
Col. R. S. Taylor; Fifth Regiment, Col. J. B. Cumming; twenty-six
During the siege of Atlanta the following
state troops participated : First Brigade, Brig.-Gen. R. W. Carswell,
consisting of Col. E. H. Pottle's regiment (First) ; Second Regiment, Col.
C. D. Anderson; Fifth Regiment, Col. S. S. Stafford; First Battalion,
Lieut.-Col. H. K. McCoy; Second Brigade, Brig. Gen. P. G. Phillips,
consisting of Third Regiment, Col. Q. M. Hill; Fourth Regiment, Col. R.
McMillan; Sixth Regiment, Col. J. W. Burney; Artillery Battalion, Col. C.
W. Styles; Third Brigade, Brig.-Gen. C. D. Anderson; Fourth Brigade,
Brig.-Gen. H. H. McKay. The regiments composing the last two brigades are
not given in the official records.
The Cadet Battalion from the Georgia Military
Institute (Marietta, Ga.) served with distinction during the campaign from
Dalton to the sea.
Sherman's Campaign in Georgia.
The army under Johnston numbered about 50,000
men at and near Dalton on May 5, 1864, when the Georgia campaign began. At
Resaca, when Polk's corps from Mississippi had joined him, his strength
was something over 70,000.
The three field armies concentrated under
Sherman for the advance against Atlanta numbered 98,235, increased soon to
On May 7,
1864, the Federal army had advanced past Tunnell Hill to Mill Creek Gap.
On the 8th and 9th on Rocky Face, before Dalton and at Dug Gap, fierce
attacks were made by the Federals and all their assaults were repulsed.
The fight, said Sherman, "attained the dimensions of a battle."
Meanwhile McPherson's flanking army reached
Snake Creek Gap near Resaca, and encountered only Grigsby's Kentucky
cavalry and the cadets of the Georgia Military Institute, supported by
Cantey's brigade. McPherson, deceived by the stout resistance of this
small force, withdrew for the night to a position between Sugar Valley and
the entrance to the gap.
Johnston had sent Hood with the divisions of
Hindman, Cleburne and Walker to Resaca, but, learning of McPherson's
withdrawal, ordered Cleburne and Walker to Tilton, midway, and being
advised that Polk had arrived at Resaca with Loring's division of the Army
of the Mississippi, maintaining his position at Dalton during the 11th and
12th, during which time Wheeler, moving around the north end of the
mountain, defeated Stoneman's cavalry, inflicting on them considerable
loss in men and wagons.
On May 14 Sherman's movements caused Johnston
to abandon Dalton and concentrate his army around Resaca. The fighting
around Dalton had cost the Federals 800 men and the Confederates 400.
During May 14 and 15 there was heavy fighting
around Resaca, in which Hood, with Stewart's and Stevenson's divisions,
drove the Federal left from its ground, and Hindman repulsed Hooker's
advance, but McPherson drove Polk's skirmishers from the hill in front of
his left, which commanded the Western and Atlantic railroad bridge over
the Oostenaula, and held it. John K. Jackson's brigade, having failed to
drive back General Sweeney's flanking force, Johnston decided to abandon
Resaca and retire toward Kingston.
On May 19, in and around Cassville, there was
heavy skirmishing and Johnston planned to give battle here, but for
reasons which were subject of considerable dispute between him and two of
his three corps commanders, Hood and Polk, he decided to retire and
crossed the Etowah next morning. Meanwhile a Federal division had occupied
Rome, capturing a large amount of commissary and quartermaster stores.
Learning that the Federal army had crossed the
Etowah far to the Confederate left, Johnston moved forward to meet them
and took up a position between Dallas and the railroad. Along this line
there were ten days of continuous fighting, which included heavy
skirmishing and three fierce engagements between portions of the two
armies. On May 25, at New Hope Church, Hooker attacked Stewart's division
of Hood's corps, but his vigorous assaults resulted in a succession of
bloody repulses. A heavy storm with vivid lightning and peals of thunder
blending with the cannon's roar and the musket's sheet of flame added to
the grandeur of these awful charges. Hooker's loss was 1,406 and Hood's
less than 400.
Two days later Sherman sent Howard with two divisions to turn Johnston's
right, which brought on a desperate encounter at Pickett's Mill in which
Howard suffered a severe defeat, losing 1,500 men to a Confederate loss of
Next day, as
McPherson began to withdraw from Dallas, Bate's division of Hardee's corps
quickly assailed his three divisions, meeting with a repulse in which the
loss of the opposing forces was about 400 on each side.
On June 4 Johnston found that the Federal army
extended far beyond his right and drew back to a new line.
Sherman and Johnston agree in calling this
series of engagements near Dallas, from May 25 to June 4, the Battle of
New Hope Church, and Sherman calls it a drawn battle.
Now for several days there were constant
skirmishes between the two armies, whose comfort was greatly interfered
with by steady rains. On June 14, on Pine Mountain, Lieut.-Gen. Leonidas
Polk was killed by a cannon shot while reconnoitering the position of the
On June 19
the Confederate army was placed in a new position, the key to which was
Kenesaw Mountain. On June 22, at Kulp's (or Kolb's) Farm, Schofield's and
Hooker's troops attacked Hood's corps and were repulsed by the
Confederates, who in turn, trying to capture the Federal entrenched
artillery, were repulsed, their loss of 1,000 men exceeding that of the
Federals by several hundred. After five days more of steady skirmishing,
Sherman made an assault all along the Confederate front (June 27). This
assault was preceded by a furious cannonade, which fairly shook the
ground. Then the bugles sounded the charge and the attacking columns
rushed forward. Logan, supported by Blair and Dodge, moving against the
Confederate right east of the mountain and against the mountain itself,
lost heavily, seven of his regimental commanders falling dead or wounded.
A furious attack upon Cockrell's Missourians of French's division was also
repelled with heavy loss. The skirmishers of Walker's division, attacked
in front and on each flank, were forced to withdraw, but being halted on
the crest of a little hill and aided by French's cannon on Little Kenesaw,
drove back the Federals before they came near Walker's line of battle. The
determined assault of Palmer's corps with Hooker in reserve upon the
intrenchments held by Cheatham's and Cleburne's divisions was repulsed
with great slaughter to the assailants. "By 11:30 the assault was, in
fact, over and had failed," says Sherman in his Memoirs, and in another
account of this battle he states: "We failed, losing 3,000 men to the
Confederate loss of 630." Among Sherman's killed were Generals Harker and
McCook. After a few days Sherman tried another flank movement and on the
night of July 2 Johnston abandoned Kenesaw Mountain, the scene of his
recent victory, and Marietta, leaving no trophies of any kind to the
In all the
fighting on this line the Federal army had lost 8,000 men and the
Confederate army 4,000.
Johnston fell back until he had crossed the
Chattahoochee river, and on July 17 received instructions to turn the army
over to Lieut.-Gen. John B. Hood, temporarily commissioned as general, a
leader more aggressive and less cautious than General Johnston. He had
been disabled in an arm at Gettysburg and lost a leg at Chicamauga, yet
was in the field at the opening of the campaign of 1864. The army turned
over to General Hood, when he took command (July 18) was about 50,000
strong, to which must be added about 5,000 state troops under Maj.-Gen.
Gustavus W. Smith.
July 20 Hood sent the corps of Stewart and Hardee to attack Thomas' wing
of Sherman's army, while only partially intrenched at Peachtree Creek. The
attack proved a failure. Brig.-Gen. H. H. Stevens, of South Carolina, was
among the killed.
McPherson, with Sherman's left wing, had already seized the Augusta
railroad and was preparing to continue his flanking movement to the Macon
road. Unless this movement could be checked, Atlanta was in danger of
speedy capture. Hardee was directed to move with his corps to the extreme
left and rear of the Federal army, Wheeler's cavalry accompanying him, and
to attack at daylight or as near thereafter as possible. When Hardee
became fully engaged, Cheatham was to take up the movement from his right
and G. W. Smith, with the Georgia state troops, was then to join in the
attack. General Stewart on Hood's left was ordered to watch Thomas and
prevent his going to the aid of Schofield and McPherson, and to join in
the battle the instant that the movement became general. The attack was
made July 22 with great gallantry, but was only partially successful. At
the close of the day the Confederate right held part of the ground
previously occupied by the Federal left, Hardee bearing off as trophies
eight guns and thirteen stands of colors, and Cheatham capturing five
guns, and five stands of colors. Both Hood and Sherman claimed the
victory. As to these claims this much can be said: Sherman's orders prove
that he expected to swing into Atlanta that day, which he had failed to
do; Hood hoped to surprise and drive Sherman's army down Peachtree Creek,
and this he had failed to do. But he had defeated Sherman's flank movement
toward the Macon road and saved Atlanta for a time. The loss of the
Federals in this day's fight, known as the Battle of Atlanta, was near
4,000 men, among whom Gen. James B. McPherson was killed. The Confederates
lost somewhat more, the exact number not being given separately. Among
their killed was Maj.-Gen. W. H. T. Walker, of Georgia.
Six days after this an attempt upon Sherman's
part to turn the Confederate left brought on the battle of Ezra Church,
which was fought by Lieut.-Gen. Stephen D. Lee, now in command of Hood's
old corps" against Sherman's right. The Confederates failed with heavy
loss in their fierce assault, yet the Federal movement also failed of
Meanwhile Sherman sent out two great cavalry raids, one under General
McCook down the right bank of the Chattahoochee and thence across the West
Point road to the Macon road below Jonesboro, and the other under General
Stoneman from the left flank of the Federal army toward the railroad from
Macon with instructions to push on to Andersonville, if possible, and
release 34,000 Union prisoners there confined. Wheeler sent Iverson to
look after Stoneman, while he attended to the column under McCook. Near
Newnan General Wheeler defeated , McCook, inflicting heavy losses in
killed and wounded and capturing 950 prisoners, two cannon and 1,200
horses with equipments. Wheeler pursued beyond the Chattahoochee and well
nigh completed the destruction of McCook's command. On the same day
(August 2) Stoneman, with 500 of his men, surrendered to Gen. Alfred
Iverson, who, with Maj.Gen. Howell Cobb, had defeated the Federals the day
before at Macon and then had pushed after them in swift pursuit.' Iverson
also captured many more of Stoneman's routed troops as they fled toward
Eatondon, together with the horses of all the men captured with Stoneman
and two cannon. These two brilliant victories put out of the combat about
3,000 of Sherman's 10,000 cavalry. Wheeler, being now sent to the rear of
Sherman's army, burned the bridge over the Etowah, captured Dalton and
Resaca and destroyed thirty-five miles of railroad, then going into
Tennessee, together with Forrest, did much damage to the Federal lines of
supply in that state.
But Sherman continued to extend his lines
westward and southward from Atlanta. In one of these movements General
Schofield's corps of Sherman's army attacked Major-General Bate near Utoy
Creek (August 6) and was repulsed with heavy loss.
Thinking that in the absence of Wheeler he
could employ his own cavalry to advantage, Sherman sent Kilpatrick against
the Mac-on road, but this expedition was defeated by Gen. W. H. Jackson's
Confederate horsemen, and a Federal raid along the Augusta road was at the
same time (August 22) repelled.
During the month of August, from the 9th until
the 25th, Atlanta was subjected to a furious bombardment, that of the 9th
being the most terrible of all. General Hood, in his Advance and Retreat,
says: "Women and children fled into cellars. It was painful, yet strange,
to see how expert grew the old men, women and children in building their
little underground forts, into which to fly for safety during the storm of
shell and shot. Often mid the darkness of night were they constrained to
seek refuge in these dungeons beneath the earth. Albeit I cannot recall
one word from their lips expressive of dissatisfaction or willingness to
night of August 25, Sherman, despairing of taking Atlanta by direct
attack, disappeared from the Confederate front and began a flank march to
the south and west of Atlanta. He sent Slocum with his sick and wounded to
hold an entrenched camp on the Chattahoochee with one corps, while with
his other five he marched to Fairburn on the West Point road and then
turned southward towards Jonesboro, which place the head of his column
reached August 30. Thither Hood sent Hardee with his corps and that of
Stephen D. Lee to attack the Federals. But Hardee found them already
intrenched and failed to drive them out (August 31). Lee's corps then
marched back to protect Hood's line of retreat from Atlanta. Hardee's
single corps was now attacked by greatly superior forces of the enemy,
but, notwithstanding the piercing of his centre and the capture of the
greater part of Govan's brigade and eight of his cannon, by hard fighting
he restored his line and stoutly held it until night. By this gallant
stand at Jonesboro, Hardee enabled Hood to withdraw in safety from Atlanta
and concentrate his forces at Lovejoy next morning, September 2.
On this same day Sherman took possession of
Atlanta, scoring the first decisive victory won by the Union armies in the
campaigns of 1864.
But Hood, instead of retreating southward, in less than two weeks moved
westward, and on September 20 fixed his headquarters at Palmetto on the
West Point railroad. Here President Davis visited the army, to which he
made an encouraging speech and in conjunction with General Hood formed a
plan, by which it was hoped Sherman might be made to let go his conquests
in Georgia. By marching northward and destroying the single line of
railroad over which the Federal army drew its supplies, it was hoped that
Sherman could be compelled to retire into Tennessee. But, if he should
start from Atlanta to march through Georgia, Hood's army could fall upon
his rear, while other forces placed in his front might, by united efforts,
effect his overthrow. President Davis never intended that General Hood
should move his army beyond striking distance of that of Sherman.
Hood crossed the Chattahoochee on October 1
and marched to Dallas, destroyed the railroad for fifteen miles above
Marietta and sent General French to capture Allatoona. That officer
attacked this post in the early morning of October 5, captured part of the
Federal works and drove the Federals under Corse into a little star fort,
which he would have forced into a surrender but for the approach of
Sherman with his army. French, retiring, rejoined Hood, who, still moving
northward, tore up the railroad from Resaca to Tunnel Hill and captured
the Federal posts at Tilton, Dalton and Mill Creek Gap. Then, avoiding
battle, he marched to Gadsden in Alabama, where he had abundant supplies.
Thence he moved in the direction of Florence on the Tennessee. Sherman
says that thus far Hood's movements had been rapid and skilful. He had
thus far prevented any farther advance of the Federal army in Georgia, for
Sherman, leaving one corps to hold Atlanta, had marched northward after
Hood. Thus, for more than two months after the fall of Atlanta, Hood kept
Sherman in North Georgia. Sherman now sent by rail two of his six corps to
reinforce General Thomas, who had been put in command of Tennessee with
headquarters at Nashville. With the rest of his army Sherman then turned
back toward Atlanta. Hood, instead of hanging on his rear, after
consulting with General Beauregard, who had been placed in command of the
western department, decided to march into Tennessee.
Let us pause here to consider the losses of
the opposing armies from the opening of the campaign at Dalton, May 7, to
the fall of Atlanta, Sept. 2, 1864. The greatest strength of the Union
army during that period was 113,000 effective troops. Its losses were
reported as 4,423 killed, 22,822 wounded and 4,442 captured or missing -
strength of the Confederate army is placed by some at 65,000, by others at
84,000. Probably 71,000 effectives is a correct estimate. The Confederate
losses were 3,044 killed, 18,952 wounded and 12,983 captured - 34,979.
Major Dawes, of Cincinnati, estimates that each army lost, in round
after Sherman had captured Atlanta, he thought that Georgia could be
politically isolated from the other states of the Confederacy, and sent
ambassadors to Vice-President Stephens and Governor Brown; but they
refused to have anything to do with his propositions and announced the
determination of Georgia to succeed or fall with her Southern sisters.
On November 14 Sherman concentrated around
Atlanta 60,000 infantry in four corps, the right wing under Howard and the
left under Slocum, and 5,500 cavalry under Kilpatrick.
Under Sherman's orders Capt. O. M. Poe
"thoroughly destroyed Atlanta, save its mere dwelling houses and
churches." There was no effort to keep the flames from spreading and about
eleven-twelfths of the city was destroyed. Capt. Daniel Oakey, of the
Second Massachusetts Volunteers, says: "Sixty thousand of us witnessed the
destruction of Atlanta, while our post band and that of the Thirty-third
Massachusetts played martial airs and operatic selections." Nothing can be
added to this testimony of the barbarism that marked this whole
transaction, which was a fitting sequel to the expulsion of the people of
Atlanta soon after its occupation by General Sherman.
There was no force to oppose Sherman's march
except 3,000 Georgia Reserves (state troops) under Maj.-Gen. Gustavus W.
Smith and Wheeler's cavalry. These forces, by presenting a bold front at
Griffin, Forsyth and Macon successively, caused Howard to pass those
Griswoldville the state troops, contrary to the orders of General Smith,
made an attack upon an intrenched Federal division and were repulsed,
losing 51 killed and 472 wounded. Yet they remained close to the Federal
line until dark, when they were withdrawn to Macon and sent by rail to
Thomasville, and from that point to Savannah.
As the Federal army approached Milledgeville,
attempts were made to remove the state property and archives. Since the
penitentiary had been used for the manufacture of arms and would probably
be destroyed, Governor Brown released the convicts and organized them into
a uniformed and enlisted battalion under Captain Roberts, which did good
service in removing property and in resisting the advance of the enemy.
Along the line of march, Sherman's "Bummers"
entering private houses, took everything valuable, burned what they could
not carry off and sometimes set fire to the house itself. They tore rings
from the fingers of ladies and hung up old men to make them tell where
treasures were buried.
Wheeler, with his cavalry, was almost
ubiquitous, defeating exposed detachments, preventing foragers from going
far from the main body, defending cities and towns along the railroad
lines, and in some instances saving arsenals and depots of supplies.
The gallant defense of the railroad bridge
over the Oconee river by part of the Georgia reserves and the cadets of
the Georgia Military Institute held Howard's advance in check during the
23d and part of the 24th of November. Throughout the 23d the cadets under
Austin held the railroad bridge, and Maj. A. L. Hartridge drove back a
Federal detachment which had found its way over the river. Throughout the
24th, Gen. H. C. Wayne, in command at this point, kept the bridge until
night, stoutly holding one end of it, though the enemy set fire to the
midnight on November 25, learning that Kilpatrick was moving against
Augusta, hastened to check him, his march lighted by the barns, cotton
gins, corn-cribs and houses fired by the Federals. Near Waynesboro he
routed Kilpatrick so effectually that the Federal horsemen sought the
protection of their infantry, from which they did not venture again during
Beauregard was unable to collect troops enough to do more than delay
Sherman's march, the Federal army appeared on December 10 near Savannah,
which city was defended by 18,000 troops under Lieut.-Gen. Wm. J. Hardee.
The approaches to Savannah by water had been hitherto successfully
defended, and on the night of July 3, 1864, the Federal gunboat Waterwitch
had been captured by a boarding party under Lieuts. Thomas P. Pelot and
Joseph Price, and added to the Confederate navy with Lieut. W. W. Carnes
in command. In this brilliant affair Lieutenant Pelot was killed. We have
seen that Fort McAllister had scored victory after victory over the Union
fleet. Now the little fortress was put to the severest test of all. On
December 13 Maj.-Gen. Wm. B. Hazen, with his division about 4,000 strong,
assaulted Fort McAllister, which was defended by only 230 men. These
fought the assailants until they were individually overpowered. Sherman
was now able to communicate with his fleet. For eight more days Hardee,
with his little army, held Savannah against Sherman's army of more than
three times his numbers, and then withdrew across the Savannah, having
made one of the most successful retreats of the war.
Before the evacuation Commodore Tattnall
destroyed the Confederate ships and naval property, blowing up the water
battery Georgia, burning and sinking the Milledgeville and Waterwitch and
destroying the navy yard and a large quantity of ship timber. The small
steamers Beauregard and General Lee, an unfinished torpedo boat, 150
cannon and 32,000 bales of cotton fell into the hands of the Federals. The
ironclad Savannah was still in the river when the United States flag was
raised over Fort Jackson, and its commander, Captain Brent, promptly
opened fire, drove the troops from the guns of the fort and defiantly flew
the Confederate flag until the night of the 21st. Then, running his vessel
over to the Carolina shore, he disembarked his crew to join Hardee's
column, and at 10 o'clock blew up the Savannah.
General Sherman reported that he had destroyed
the railroads for more than 100 miles, had carried away more than 10,000
horses and mules, as well as a countless number of slaves. He said: "I
estimate the damage done to the state of Georgia and its military
resources at $100,000,000, at least $20,000,000 of which has inured to our
advantage, and the remainder is simply waste and destruction."
At the close of 1864 the polls of the state
had decreased from 52,764 to 39,863. The state's expenditure for the year
had been $13,288,435, and bank capital had decreased one-half. It required
$49.00 of Confederate money to buy $1.00 of gold. Governor Brown claimed
that during the fall and winter Georgia had a larger proportion of her
white population under arms than any other state in the Confederacy. On
Jan. 23, 18G5, Gen. Wm. T. Wofford assumed command of the Confederate
force in North Georgia with headquarters in Atlanta. There was great
destitution through all this section. He called in and organized several
thousand men and obtained corn which he and General Judah, of the Federal
army, distributed among the people, the two generals having made a truce
for that purpose.
Notwithstanding the dreadful condition of affairs, the legislature, which
assembled in February, passed resolutions sustaining the continuance of
campaign of 1865 opened, the soldiers of Georgia, both in Virginia and in
the Carolinas, were ready as ever to stand by their colors to the bitter
end. It was the chivalric Georgian, John B. Gordon, who made the desperate
attack upon Grant's lines at Fort Stedman, and who, at Appomattox, led the
last attack made by the army of Northern Virginia. It was Brig.-Gen.
Clement A. Evans, acting as major-general in command of Gordon's division,
which included the troops of the old Stonewall Brigade, who, after Lee and
Grant had agreed upon terms of surrender, but being on the extreme left,
knowing nothing of what had happened, led a successful charge, which shed
a parting glory over the army of Northern Virginia.
The last noteworthy military event in Georgia
was the cavalry raid of Maj.-Gen. James H. Wilson in April, 1865, who,
with 10,000 cavalry, swept through Alabama and entered Georgia near West
Point, one of his detachments under Colonel LaGrange defeating a small
Confederate force under Gen. Robert C. Tyler (who was killed) April 16. On
the same day at Columbus another division of Wilson's force defeated
Howell Cobb, capturing 1,200 men and fifty-two field guns. Wilson's forces
now took up the line of march for Macon, but when within thirteen miles of
Macon they were met by Brigadier-General Robertson of Wheeler's corps
under a flag of truce, bearing a letter from General Cobb announcing an
armistice between Generals Johnston and Sherman; but before General Wilson
could take action, Colonel White, of his command, dashed into the city and
received its surrender, Generals Cobb, G. W. Smith and Marshall and the
garrison being held as prisoners of war. When informed of the armistice,
General Wilson issued the necessary orders to carry it out. On April 30 he
received notice of the final capitulation of all the Confederate forces
east of the Chattahoochee river.
The last cabinet meeting of the Confederate
government was held in Washington, Ga., on May 4 and 5, 1865. On the
morning of May 10, 1865, near Irwinville, Ga., President Davis was
at Close of War.
The close of the war found Georgia in a sad condition. The assessed
valuation of the whole taxable property of the state had been reduced from
$600,000,000 in 1860, to less than $200,000,000, her resources of every
kind had been fearfully depleted, her territory ravaged, her workshops
destroyed, her slaves had been freed and her people reduced to poverty.
But, with the same courage that had been displayed through all the four
years of war, the brave men and noble women of Georgia wasted no time in
pining over their lost cause and ruined fortunes. With indomitable spirit
they went to work to repair the waste and desolation of war. How well they
have succeeded is shown by the proud position which Georgia holds to-day
in the restored Union.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. - Avery, Isaac W.: Avery's
History of Georgia; Derry, Joseph T.: Story of the Confederate States;
Evans, Gen. Clement A.: Confederate Military History (12 Vols.);
especially the sixth volume of the work entitled Georgia by Joseph T.
Derry; Century Company's Battles and Leaders of the Civil War; Records of
the Union and Confederate Armies (Rebellion Record), published by the
United States Government.
JOSEPH T. DERRY,
Author of The Military History of Georgia; The Story of the Confederate