"Peculiarly distinguished among the advance guard, where all were distinguished, must be recorded . . . Private J. W. Brown, of Company F, First Georgia Regiment, who, upon hearing the order to fall back, exclaimed, 'I will give them one more shot before I leave,' and while ramming down his twenty-ninth cartridge fell dead at his post." - General Henry R. Jackson in his report of the Battle of Greenbrier River.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Flag of the Gate City Guard

During the desperate retreat of the First Georgia from Laurel Hill, the flags borne by several companies of the regiment were lost.  One of those banners was the flag of the Gate City Guard, lovingly sewn and presented by the ladies of Atlanta to the company before their departure in early 1861.  The wagon carrying the flag was wrecked by sliding into a ravine during the muddy slog over Pheasant Mountain, and the banner was retrieved by pursuing Federal troops.  At some point after the war it was returned to Gate City Guards in Atlanta.  It now resides in the collection of the Atlanta History Center, and can be viewed here.

The story of how the flag was returned to the Gate City Guard has been obscured in history.  Quite by accident, I recently came across an article from the May 29, 1901, edition of the Mansfield Ohio News, which describes in detail the transfer of the flag from a veteran in that city to the old company.  

A Silken Banner Restored to
an Atlantic Company by
George L. Emminger.
The following story from recent issues of the Atlanta Journal is not only appropriate to the Memorial day anniversary as seeking to show the passage of the old-time sectional hate and prejudice, but will have special interest to the old soldiers and to Mansfield people in general on account of the fact that George L. Emminger, who returned the southern banner, was, until recent years, a resident of this city.
When the old Gate City Guard went to war in the stirring times of ’61, they carried a beautiful flag presented to the company by the ladies of Atlanta, through Miss Henlieter, daughter of the late C. R. Hanlieter, editor and publisher of the Southern Confederacy.  The flag, after a time, went to the enemy, and all trace of it was lost.  Now, after nearly forty years, the scarred flag has been found, and will be restored to the Gate City Guard organization, which is still maintained.
Yesterday Mr. H. H. Cabiness received a letter from Mr. George L. Emminger, of Toledo, O., to whom the organization is indebted for the return of the flag.
Mr. Emminger wrote that an old lady of his acquaintance, some time before her death, gave to his son the staff and remnants of a regimental flag captured by her brother, at what battle he did not remember.  From the remaining inscription he saw that it had been presented by the ladies of Atlanta to the Gate City Guard.
“I do not know if there are any of the members of this organization yet able to answer “roll-call” in your city or section,” said Mr. Emminger, “but if so, they would like a return to the memories of the stirring times of ’61 and ’62 by a sight of that which led them.  They can have it by the mere expression of the desire.”
Mr. Emminger stated that there was a large portion of the silk gone, but enough is left to recognize it by.
In reply to the letter of Mr. Emminger, Mr. Cabiness stated that the company would joyfully receive the flag and would (unreadable) much pleasure in associating his name with the incident of its return.  He was asked to express the flag at the expense of the company to Mr. Harry Krouse.
Mr. Krouse was a member of the Gate City Guard,
the company which left Atlanta in April, 1861, belonging to the First Georgia
regiment of volunteers.  Mr. Cabiness had three brothers in the regiment, one a captain from Dahlonega, another a lieutenant of a company from Forsyth, and still another one who left college to join the Forsyth company.  After a little service in Pensacola, Fla., this company was sent to northwest Virginia and encountered McClellan’s forces.  The First Georgia regiment, together with the other Confederate troops, retreated from a position called Laurel Hill in crossing Cheat river.  It was here a battle was fought and the flag
was lost. 


Last night, in their armory, the Gate City Guard received the battle-scarred banner that waved over the company when the cause of Confederacy called southern troops to the field of chivalrous valor.  It was the same flag that Atlanta ladies made with their fair hands when fathers, brothers and sweethearts enlisted for the cause in ’61.  It differed from that emblem presented to the company more than thirty years ago only through its rent and ragged aspect, eloquent evidence of the fierce encounters which befell those who followed it in battle.
The members of the old Guard were out in force to see the flag come home.  Men were present who saw the banner presented to the company by the ladies who made it.  They saw it later as it rolled down the steep side of Cheat mountain, in Virginia, when the gray clad boys were running from the Yankees, and it was the last glimpse of the flag they had until they looked
on its folds last night.
The entire membership of the active Guard was present.  Governor Candler and his staff were present, and there were members of the Confederate Veterans, Sons of Veterans, Daughters of the Confederacy and members of the Ladies’ Memorial Association.  The spacious hall of the
armory was filled with the infantrymen and their friends.
The flag was returned to the company through H. H. Cabiness, who learned of its existence from a personal friend in Toledo, O.  The Ohio gentleman was George Emminger, who wrote to Mr. Cabiness, stating that the flag was in his possession.  Through Mr. Cabiness’ efforts the flag was sent to Atlanta to be returned to its original owners.


Governor Candler made the introductory remarks to the presentation exercises last night.  He extolled the bravery of Confederate soldiers in general and the members of the Gate City Guard in particular.
Mr. Cabiness requested F. H. Richardson to make the presentation speech.  Mr. Richardson referred in the happy memory of his childhood, of the departure of the Gate City Guard to join the Confederate army, and of how firmly their gallant appearance (unreadable) his faith in the invincibility of the southern cause.  He then paid a tribute to their record both in war and the work of the righteous reconstruction of the south.  Speaking of the tattered
battleflag he was to present to Captain O’Neill in behalf of his company, he
rejoiced in the fact that it had never been the flag of oppression or a flag
that represented anything but the highest courage of men, the noblest virtues
of women and the sweetest hopes of both.  In this connection he deplored the departure of our government from the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the constitution of the United States.  He condemned the drift towards imperialism and militarism and predicted that there will be a return to those ideas of civic liberty and justice on all men which was never so nobly illustrated as they were to the men of the south who constituted the grandest army that ever stepped on God’s (unreadable), in which there were no better or more heroic soldiers than the Gate City Guard. 


Captain James F. O’Neill received the flag for the company in an eloquent speech.  His sentiments went straight to the hearts of the assembly, and his speech was considered by the entire audience as one of the best that has ever been made in Atlanta on a similar occasion.
Harry Krouse, who was a member of the company during the war, and who followed the flag from the time it was presented to the company until it was lost on the retreat at Cheat mountain, gave a history of the organization.  It was both interesting and eloquent, and the audience was greatly entertained by the recital of the narrative. 


Governor Candler then called on Mr. Cabaniss for a speech.  Mr. Cabaniss, in the center of his remarks, said: 
Mr. Cabaniss spoke briefly and said that during frequent visits to the cities of the south, northwest and west, it had been his good fortune to meet a large number of representative people of those sections.  He had not found any trace of the bitterness which had formerly existed toward the people of the south; that the good people there not only entertained the kindest, feelings toward the people of the south, but manifested such friendship, frequently in a very substantial manner.
One of the gentlemen he had met was a prominent citizen of the state of Ohio, George Emminger, who in coming into possession of this battle-scarred and time-worn flag. It was his first impulse to send it to its proper owner.  For this kindly act I honor him.
The men who fought under this flag were heroes and those who opposed them were heroes.  It was American against American from 1861 to 1865, and the great destructiveness of the battles waged proved that each side had brave, loyal and unconquerable soldiers.
I thing [sic] this flag, and all other Confederate flags should be furled, never to be unfolded upon the battlefield.  They are mementos, peerless relics, to be guarded with sacred care and undying love.
But all other American battles must be fought
under the our American flag, the Stars and Stripes.  It is our flag as much as anybody’s, and of it the late Senator Hill said:
“Southern breezes kiss it; southern skies reflect it; southern sons will fight for it, and southern heroes will die for it.”
We drop a tear as we consider the past, but we must look to the future and its reunited union, under a restored flag, as one people we will do our part in maintaining a common country in its proud position as the greatest nation in the world and aid it with all our strength in pressing forward to the beauty and majesty of its missions.


Colonel Robert J. Lowry, Colonel Andrew J. West, Captain T. H. Jones, a Confederate veteran who came to Atlanta several years ago from Kentucky, and Captain W. L. Ezzard, who commanded the company during the war, made short speeches.
Refreshments were served during the evening.  As the active Guard were marching to the upper room with the old flag in their midst, a (unreadable) moment occurred.
A lady who was standing near the door as the line of uniformed soldiers marched through, grasped the folds of the tattered flag and imprinted a kiss on it.  She was one of the ladies who made the flag and presented it to the company in 1861.  The incident was witnessed by the entire assembly and there were many in the crowd who could not restrain tears at the spectacle of extreme love and devotion to the lost cause and the flag by which it was represented last night.
The Gate City Guard will keep the flag in their archives.  It is  (unreadable) as one of the most valuable relics in the possession of the command.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Olustee 150

Last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 150th Anniversary recreation of the Battle of Olustee.  Though not well known, the engagement which took place on February 20, 1864, was the largest land battle to occur in the state of Florida, involving roughly 4500 troops on either side.  A Confederate victory, the battle ended Union attempts to occupy the capital at Tallahassee.  The famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry, recently transferred to Florida after their fight at Fort Wagner, was involved in the action.


I was honored to be allowed to join my old comrades from the 7th Florida Infantry, Company F.  It was great to see old friends, many of whom I had not seen since I moved out of Florida many, many years ago.  Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the battle itself due to a bad foot, but I did march with the battalion to morning colors on Saturday morning.  Thanks to Lt. Willie Evans for allowing me to rejoin the company for the weekend.  It was a joyful reunion with Col. Don Bowman, Mike, Jimmy, Wayne, Frank, Gary and all the others who made me feel welcome.

It was a thrill to be back in uniform, and though my reenacting days are behind me, I will cherish the memories of the men with whom I served.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From the Martin family to yours, a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest of New Years!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Time Flies . . .

. . . and gets away from you before you realize how much of it has passed.  Between needed repairs around the house, medical issues and other distractions (including being a little burned out on writing), this blog and its readers have not received the attention they are due.  Truth be told, it will probably continue to be this way for awhile.
I am finally beginning to put together an outline for a sequel to my novel My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy, as well as continuing to collect material toward a possible book on the Seventh Florida Infantry, so what writing I do over the next several months will be aimed toward these pursuits.
I do not intend to abandon One More Shot as some others have done with their blogs; rather, I will continue to keep it active, and do intend to post occasionally as my circumstances permit.  I have been pleased to see that my older postings have continued to be read.
My thanks to those who visit One More Shot.  I sincerely hope that my writings have been enjoyable and of use.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gettysburg: From Centennial to Sesquicentennial

In 1963, National Geographic produced a commemorative issue featuring articles about the Centennial of the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, including a forward written by Carl Sandberg. Living on a farm in the far northern state of New Hampshire at the time, and all of eight years old, I would carry that magazine with me everywhere I went, marveling over the full-color maps showing the troop movements during each day of the battle which took place on the hills and valleys surrounding the small town in Pennsylvania.  During a family trip south the following year, I was thrilled when my parents stopped for two days in Gettysburg.  Still carrying that now rather worn and tattered magazine, and wearing a plastic cavalry belt from which hung a plastic saber, I spent hours exploring the rocks at Devil’s Den, peering down from the edge of Little Round Top, and trying to read the inscriptions on every monument on the field.
Over the years that followed, I would take every chance available to me to visit Gettysburg, now coming from the south after moving with my family to Florida when I was eleven.  I even contemplated moving there after traveling to Pennsylvania late one fall to take the Licensed Battlefield Guide test.  (I did pass, but just barely, receiving a score of 70.)
In 1988, I was privileged to take part in the 125th anniversary reenactment of Gettysburg along with several units making up what was known as the “Florida Brigade.”  A group photograph of the Florida troops, taken by period photographer Fritz Kirsch, shows a stern-looking group of soldiers, some of whom had come from as far away as Germany to participate with us.  During “Pickett’s Charge,” several of us formed what we called the “cannon fodder” group – at the right moment during the advance, we all flung ourselves in different directions following the report of a Union fieldpiece.  (We must have done it fairly realistically – several nearby spectators actually thought we were hurt.)
In 1991, one year after our marriage, my wife Cathy and I visited Gettysburg during a vacation trip, spending the night at the Farnsworth House Bed and Breakfast.  Six years later, now living in North Carolina (coincidentally living just a few miles from Carl Sandberg’s home), I was invited by a friend still living in Florida to join with his artillery unit to participate in the 135th anniversary reenactment.  The old thrills still enveloped me as I took part in the artillery bombardment of the third day, and watched in awe as the Confederate ranks passed our guns as they swept up the rise toward the Federal position. This would prove to be my final reenactment, as the years and medical issues combined to preclude me from joining the ranks again.
Two weeks ago, during another family vacation, this time myself, my wife and our two daughters, I once again visited the battlefield.  I found the changes made by the National Park Service to be amazing.  Gone is the old visitor’s center, where I watched the Electric Map of the battle.  Gone is the old gray round Cyclorama building from Cemetery Ridge.  Also gone was the horrendous tourist tower that once intruded on every view from all corners of the field.  Mixed emotions filled me as we toured the new visitor’s center – I was extremely impressed with the restored Cyclorama painting and the museum, while finding the film very interesting. I was somewhat dismayed to find the gift shop overflowing with tourist “junk” (get your gigantic 150th Anniversary Chocolate Bar!), though I spent quite a bit of time browsing through the book section.
Leaving the visitor’s center, we followed roads leading us to Cemetery Ridge, parking near the famous Copse of Trees that was the focal point for Longstreet’s Assault on July 3.  As I stood there, looking out across toward the Emmitsburg Road, I turned to watch my twin daughters, now 21 years old, reading the inscription from the marker placed at the point where General Lewis A. Armistead was mortally wounded.  I could not help but think of that eight-year old boy who, fifty years earlier, had begun a lifelong fascination of the American Civil War, and how that battle had influenced his own life.
P.S. I don't have that tattered old National Geographic any more, but I did manage to find another copy of that issue, which I treasure today.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

The Martin family wishes you and yours a very safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Holiday.  Our thanks and prayers go out to all those in uniform serviing their country, whether here at home or on far distant seas and fields.
I would like once again to offer my article on the origins of Memorial Day.  It can be read here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Comfort From Home

As with soldiers of all wars, the men of the First Georgia Volunteers quickly felt pangs of homesickness; longing for home and for correspondence from their loved ones.  Wanting to offer the troops from Washington County a bit of comfort and encouragement, an unnamed young lady penned a touching note to the men, replete with patriotic flourishes, which was printed in the Sandersville Central Georgian of May 15, 1861:

For the Central Georgian.

To the Washington Rifles, near Pensacola,

“But few shall part where many meet,
The sand shall be their winding sheet,
And every turf beneath their feet
Shall prove a soldier’s sepulcher.”

            Thinking perhaps it would be interesting to you at camp to see something from home, I have concluded to write you a short communication, to let you know that you are not forgotten by us—notwithstanding I am aware of the fact, that nothing would be interesting from my pen, but from the fact it is from Home.
             Home?  How many pleasant memories linger around the word.
             It has been said that the three sweetest words in the English language are, Mother, Home, and Heaven.  No doubt all of you can realize more fully the meaning of those words since you left Old Washington—the birthplace of many of you, the adopted home of many others.  You have forsaken friends, Home, and many of the comforts and luxuries of life for the toils and hardships of peril and camp life.  You seem to be in great danger; but put your trust in the God of Battles.  “He will be with us in six troubles and in the seventh He will not forsake us.”
            We are rejoiced to hear you are holding prayer-meetings.  Neglect them not; call upon God to assist you in all your undertakings.  “If the Lord be for us, who can prevail against us.”  Pray for yourselves, and the prayers of Mothers, Sisters, Pastor and Friends, (whose homes and rights you have so gallantly gone forth to defend), will daily ascend the throne of grace in your behalf—for the preservation of your lives and health, and to spare us from the calamities of civil war—brother fighting against brother.
            We would not call you back though our heart-strings should burst asunder at parting.  We will say, Go! And may the God of our forefathers of the Revolutionary war go with you.  We pray God that he will bring you safely back to us: but if it is His will that you should fall “mid the clashing of steel and the roar of cannon,” we feel confident that you, the “Washington Rifles,” will never disgrace the honored name you represent, but will nobly defend by “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation,” the beautiful flag you bear, and never suffer it to trail in the dust, or “Yield it to our country’s foes,” until your very heart blood is spilled in its defence.
            Rest assured that you will not be forgotten by those you have left behind you.  The remembrance of your loved forms, and the happy hours we have spent in your society, will ever be “green spots in our memories garden.”
            We unhesitatingly place in your keeping the honor of our noble Empire State, knowing you will defend the rights of our country, even at the point of the bayonet.
            In conclusion, we would say, we hope and pray for your safe return to your “Mothers and Homes;” and if it is not the will of God that you should return home, may we all meet in that eternal Home, Heaven, where parting is unknown.