"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.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Mysterious Major Thompson

The Thompson Family plot in Oakland Cemetery.
George Harvey is on the left, and the tall monument in the middle
is for his father, Dr. Joseph Thompson.

While in Atlanta during my trip down to Georgia, I visited Oakland Cemetery in search of answers to a minor mystery. I recently found out that George Harvey Thompson, first major and later lieutenant colonel of the First Georgia, was buried in Oakland. During my research I was able to fairly well document Thompson’s activities before the war and during his term with the First, but after that the records get very skimpy.

George Harvey Thompson was born January 16, 1838, in Atlanta to Dr. Joseph Thompson and his wife, the former Mary Ann Tomlinson Young. Born in South Carolina, Dr. Thompson was one of Atlanta’s founding citizens and the owner/operator of the Atlanta Hotel.

Frequently known by his middle name of Harvey, Thompson attended the Georgia Military Institute, though his grades were not the best. When the Gate City Guard was incorporated in 1859, Thompson was elected the company’s first captain. In February, 1861, as Governor Joseph E. Brown began assembling his Georgia State Army, he offered Thompson a captain’s commission. Thompson was elected as major of Ramsey’s First Georgia Volunteer Infantry on April 3, 1861. During his service with the First, Thompson led the detachment of six companies which was lost in the Allegheny Mountains for several days following the retreat of the Army of the Northwest from Laurel Hill. Later, with Lt. Colonel James O. Clarke on detached service in Staunton, Thompson commanded the First at the Battle of Greenbrier River, after Colonel Ramsey was cut off from the army. In November, Lt. Col. Clarke resigned his commission and returned to Georgia. An election was held on December 3, with Thompson winning election to lieutenant colonel over Captain George M. Hanvey of the Newnan Guards. During General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Romney campaign, Thompson, along with over three-quarters of the regiment, was incapacitated by disease. Struck down by the freezing weather and hardships of the campaign, Harvey was confined to a bed in Winchester.

After the First Georgia mustered out in Augusta on March 10, 1862, Thompson returned to his father’s hotel, probably to rest, and to await his next adventure. The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer of March 13, 1862 says “We hope that promotion will follow all the field officers of the regiment—and especially that it will soon overtake Lieut. Col. Thompson of this city, than whom none more deserves it, and but few as well qualified to lead a regiment in the field.”  It is certain that Thompson planned to reenter the service as soon as possible - an advertisement in the Atlanta Southern Confederacy for May 11, 1862 reads:

Two Companies Wanted - I WANT two full Companies to complete a regiment, now being organized by authority of the War Department.  Address GEORGE HARVEY THOMPSON, or D. S. PRINTUP, Atlanta, Ga. 

Here is where we begin to lose track of Harvey.

There are some business records which place Thompson in Atlanta from June 1863 through April of 1864. According to a couple of the papers, in late December of 1863 he sold a pair of horses to the 20th Alabama Artillery Battalion in Columbus, receiving the sum of $2400.

It is known that George Harvey died on December 18, 1864. An article in the November 5, 1905, Atlanta Constitution says that he “died in service,” but gives no specifics. Thompson’s monument over his grave in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is likewise silent on his service, simply saying: “Died December 18th 1864 Our Son GEORGE HARVEY In the 26th year of his age.” There is some other lettering below this but it has weathered to the point of being unreadable.

If anyone has more information that might shed light on which unit George Harvey served in, please leave a comment. It would be very much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The First Review

"I Will Give Them One More Shot" has received its first review.  As a first-time author, I have to admit to a bit of trepidation when I learned that One More Shot was coming up for appraisal by Andrew Wagenhoffer of the blog "Civil War Books and Authors." Thus I opened his website this morning with more than a bit of anxiousness.  I was very pleased and gratified by Drew's assessment, and I would like to thank him for his kind and flattering words.  The full review can be read here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

. . . and Back Again

Over the past week or so I put close to a thousand miles on my old car as I criss-crossed the state of Georgia promoting “I Will Give Them One More Shot.”

On Friday afternoon, February 4th, I left the mountains of Western North Carolina in a drizzling, freezing rain. Arriving at the Georgia Archives in Morrow barely ten minutes before closing, I had the great pleasure of presenting a signed copy of “One More Shot” to Archives Director Dr. Steven Engerrand, in thanks for the assistance he and his staff provided while I conducted my research on the First Georgia Infantry.

Saturday and Sunday was the Chickamauga Civil War Show in Dalton, where I met Barbara Keene, the marketing director for Mercer University Press. This was my first time attending this show, and I was thrilled by the number of exhibitors and vendors present. Between book signings at the Mercer Press table I wandered around the exhibit hall admiring the relics and artifacts (and reminding myself all the while of how empty my bank account was). Fellow Mercer author Bruce H. Stewart, Jr., author of Invisible Hero: Patrick R. Cleburne joined me at the Mercer table on Saturday. I had the great pleasure of finally meeting in person Jim Parrish, author of Wiregrass to Appomattox: The Untold Story of the 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment, CSA. Jim had graciously read the manuscript for One More Shot, and provided a highly complimentary blurb for the back of the dust jacket. It was great to see Dr. David Wiggins again. Dave provided much help in my research. It was also very gratifying to have several First Georgia descendents come up and thank me for bringing out the regiment’s story.

Monday morning I headed down to Atlanta, where I had the pleasure of giving copies of One More Shot to Timothy Frilingos at the Atlanta Capitol Museum, and to Gordon Jones at the Atlanta History Center. I also visited Oakland Cemetery, where I found the gravesite of George Harvey Thompson, major of the First Georgia. More on Thompson in a future post.

From Atlanta I headed south to Houston County. That evening I enjoyed the privilege of speaking to the Perry Historical Society about the First Georgia. Several of the folks attending had ancestors in the Southern Rights Guard of Houston County, which was Company C of the First. My presentation was very well received, and I would like to thank Terre Walker for inviting me to visit with the Society.

Tuesday morning, on the way to my next visit, I made a stop at Andersonville National Historic Site. It had been over twenty-five years since I had last visited the camp, and was very impressed with the National Prisoner of War Museum, which opened in 1998. On my previous visits the museum was relegated to a small building next to the cemetery. Out in the area of the prison itself, the main gate has been reconstructed. Walking through from the outer to the inner gate, I felt myself having to stop for a moment as I gazed out over the same landscape that held more 45,000 prisoners over fourteen months in 1864 and 1865. A sense of extreme sadness weighs heavily in the air over the stockade site.

From Andersonville I continued south to Americus. John Carroll, former commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans A. H. Stephens Camp #78, invited me to come to Americus to speak about the First. Camp #78 represents several companies formed in Sumter County, one of which was the Muckalee Guards, Company A of the Twelfth Georgia Infantry. The Twelfth fought alongside the First Georgia during the Cheat Mountain Campaign and the Battle of Greenbrier River. Many thanks to John and the members of Camp #78 for their gracious welcome (and also the tasty soup!).

Wednesday I turned north toward home, briefly checking in once more at Mercer Press in Macon, then to my final stop at the University of Georgia in Athens. There I presented another book to Mary Linnemann of the Hargrett Library in thanks for her research assistance.

I would like to express my thanks to everyone for their warm welcome and kind hospitality.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


It has come to my attention that the chart that accompanies Appendix B on page 258 of "I Will Give Them One More Shot" was inadvertently left out during the book's first printing. I would like to offer my apologies for this omission. Mercer University Press has advised that this chart will be reinserted during subsequent print runs. To obtain a printable copy of the chart, please click on the link in the left hand column, which will open a page on my website.  There you will find a link for a .pdf file, which when printed on front and back of the same sheet of paper, can be cut and inserted between pages 258 and 259.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On The Road . . .

The next several days are going to be busy ones as I hit the road to promote “I Will Give Them One More Shot”.  Saturday and Sunday I will be in Dalton, Georgia, for the Chickamauga Civil War Show.  I’ll be at the Mercer University Press table and would enjoy visiting with anyone who would like to drop by.  Monday night I will be speaking to the Perry Historical Society, and Tuesday will be the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Americus.  In between I’ll be delivering signed books to the Georgia Archives in Morrow, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Capitol Museum and the University of Georgia, in thanks for their help during my research.  On my way down to Americus I’m going to try to sneak in a visit to Andersonville National Historic Site.  I’ll post pictures on this site once I return.