"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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Setting the Stage

In early March, General Braxton Bragg was assigned to command of all Southern forces in and around Pensacola. Charged with driving the Federal troops out of Fort Pickens, Bragg set to work upgrading the fortifications on the mainland surrounding Santa Rosa Island. Confederate authorities in Montgomery sent letters to various governors asking for reinforcements to be sent to bolster Bragg’s foreces. Governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia received the following missive:

MONTGOMERY, March 9, 1861.

His Excellency Governor Joseph E. Brown,
Milledgeville, Ga.

SIR: Under the act of Congress “to raise provisional forces for the Confederate States,” a copy of which I had the honor to inclose to you a few days ago, this Government now needs for immediate service, at Charleston, 3,000 troops; Fort Pulaski, 1,000 troops; Fort Morgan, 1,000 troops; Pensacola, 5,000 troops; Mississippi River, below New Orleans, 700 troops; Texas, 1000. I therefore request that Georgia shall furnish for Fort Pulaski 1,000, and for Pensacola 1,000 infantry, the troops to be sent forward to those points with as little delay as possible, and on their arrival they will be mustered into the service of the Confederate States. If you can supply this requisition immediately without the publication of your order, it would be better to do so, as it is advisable; as far as practicable, to keep our movements concealed from the Government of the United States.

I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

Brown replied to Secretary Walker in a short and direct note:

SAVANNAH, GA., March 12, 1861.

Secretary of War.

I will furnish you two regiments of 1,000 each as soon as they can possibly be organized.

Joseph E. Brown.

With this short statement, Governor Brown pledged two regiments to Confederate service, and set in motion the events which would lead to the formation of the First Georgia Volunteer Infantry. By March 18, 250 companies of militia had tendered their services to the state.  Just a few weeks later, on April 3, the first ten would be combined into the First Georgia.

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