"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.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

From myself and the rest of the Martin family, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a most happy and prosperous New Year.

P.S. Please visit my new website at www.georgewinstonmartin.com!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Free Book

Just a reminder - My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy is available for free today for Kindle on Amazon.com.  You can find the listing here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Free Kindle Book

On December 6, I will be offering My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy as a free download on Amazon.com's Kindle. I would love to hear any comments about the book. Please feel free to leave a review on Amazon. You can find the listing here.

P.S. You can go to the site now and download a sample of the first five chapters.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

My wife, twin daughters and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe as you travel to be with your loved ones this holiday.
I am very pleased to announce that My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy is now available on Amazon.com, and will be out on Kindle within the next couple of days. The paperback edition is available here.
Update - the Kindle edition is now available here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Online Sources

As mentioned in a previous post, period newspapers are a gold mine of information when doing research for a particular place, person or organization. There are many online sources of material, some free, some available for a fee.  The following are some of the sites I used in researching I Will Give Them One More Shot, and am going back to for my research for my upcoming novel My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy.

Fold3.com: Formerly Footnote.com, this subscription site contains a wealth of military records covering the entire history of the United States, including the Compiled Service Records from the National Archives. http://www.fold3.com/

Augusta Chronicle Online Records: This site contains archives for the Augusta, Georgia, Chronicle and Sentinel newspapers. A search of newspapers can be done for free, but the site charges a fee of $19.95 for a one month pass (download up to 200 articles), or a one day pass at $9.95 (download up to 50 articles).  http://www.augustaarchives.com/

Another fee-based service is Newspaper Archive.com, with subscriptions ranging from monthly to annual.  http://www.newspaperarchive.com/

The University of Virginia hosts a free research site called The Valley of the Shadow, which "details life in two American communities, one Northern and one Southern, from the time of John Brown's Raid through the era of reconstruction." This archive includes access to letters, newspapers, diaries and a multitude of other records for the years just before, during and after the Civil War.  http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Civil War Novel

I am very pleased to present the cover art for my novel entitled My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy. Based very loosely on part of my family history, this is the story of two brothers who find themselves fighting on opposite sides during the American Civil War. Much of the research done for I Will Give Them One More Shot was also used in the novel. Copyedit work is underway, with the intention of having the book ready for release by Thanksgiving.  It will be available through Amazon.com and Kindle.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Honor and Great News

I've just returned from a trip to Atlanta, where I was greatly honored to receive the 2012 Award for "Excellence in Research Using the Holding of an Archives," presented by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board (GHRAB).  Once again, I would like to thank Ralph Bass of the Monroe County Historical Society for nominating I Will Give Them One More Shot for this honor.

I was all set to add a plea to all my Georgia friends to please contact their legislators and the governor to request that the Georgia Archives remain open to the public.  As I sat down to write this, I came across a news item saying that partial funding has been restored, allowing the Archives to remain open to the public for two days a week, with no appointment needed for access.  This is really great news for researchers.  The article can be read here.

While I am happy to pass along the good news about the Archives being kept open, I would like to temper that with the awareness that the staff has been reduced to just three employees, with the rest having been laid off.  The shortage of staff to assist researchers will still cause restrictions in accessing records.  Hopefully, funds can be found to give these employees their jobs back. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Online Research

With the closure of the Georgia Archives, many historians are searching for other research sources.  During my research for I Will Give Them One More Shot, I was fortunate to stumble on many online sources of information. Over the next several posts, I would like to share these in hopes that they might prove useful to others.

Newspapers were an especially rich source - full of news items, posted letters and even advertisements.  The Digital Library of Georgia site gives views of several important Georgia newspapers, including the Atlanta Southern Confederacy, Milledgeville Federal Union, Columbus Enquirer, Macon Telegraph and many others.  This website can be accessed here.  You will need a DjVu player installed on your computer to read the files - the player is a free download here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Georgia Archives To Close

The following quote is from the Atlanta Business Chronicle, dated September 13:

The Georgia State Archives in Morrow, Ga., will close to the public Nov. 1 in a budget-cutting move announced by Secretary of State Brian Kemp Thursday.

In a prepared statement, Kemp said the decision to reduce public access to historical documents was difficult but necessary.

“To my knowledge, Georgia will be the only state in the country that will not have a central location in which the public can visit to research and review the historical records of their government and state,” he said. “The employees that will be let go through this process are assets to the state of Georgia and will be missed.”

Kemp said Gov. Nathan Deal’s Office of Planning and Budget has instructed the secretary of state’s office to cut its budget by $732,626 during the remainder of the current fiscal year and in the fiscal year that starts next July.

The reductions are in keeping with 3 percent cuts ordered by Deal across state government to offset slower than anticipated growth in tax collections.

Kemp said public access to the archives after Nov. 1 will be by appointment only. However, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedules of the remaining employees.

The article can be found here.

Granted, we are passing through tough economic times, but to close off such a treasured resource from researchers would be a shame.  For myself, as one who travels from out of state, it is difficult enough to arrange research trips with the limited hours now.

A petition drive, asking the governor and secretary of state to reconsider, is under way through Change.org.  To sign it, click here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Research Award

I am pleased, proud and humbled to announce that I Will Give Them One More Shot: Ramsey's 1st Regiment Georgia Volunteers has won the 2012 award for "Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of an Archives." This award is one of twelve presented each year by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board (GHRAB), a division of the Georgia Archives. I would especially like to thank President Ralph Bass and the rest of the Monroe County Historical Society for nominating I Will Give Them One More Shot for this award. My wife and I will be traveling to Morrow, Georgia, (just south of Atlanta) in October for the awards presentation.

Many hours were spent sifting through information at the Georgia Archives, and I would like to thank Dr. Steven Engerrand and his staff for their excellent assistance. More information about the Archives can be found here, and for the various awards presented by GHRAB here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

My apologies for the lack of posts over the past month or so. Between my regular day job, necessary work and repairs around the house, and all the everyday challenges that life brings, I've been rather preoccupied.  That, coupled with a fast trip to Florida for a high school reunion (Mount Dora High School, Class of '72) and concentration on my novel rewrite has not left me much time to post. Hopefully I will have the next draft of My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy completed and ready for an editor within the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Worst Is Over

Wednesday, July 17, 1861.—All start early on our march. Being sick myself, caused by eating raw beef, without bread, I cannot march, and keep up with my companions. My friends S. A. Howard and H. W. Williams conclude not to leave me. Slept at night under a large sugar maple tree on the roadside.

Thursday, July 18, 1861.—I feel better to-day. Myself and my two companions left the maple tree at daylight. March all day; slept at the house of Mr. Range.

Friday, July 19, 1861.—We are passing through a valley inhabited by clever people. We meet with good treatment.

As nothing unusual occurred on my journey form this place to Monterey and McDowell, I will only say that I arrived there on Monday, July 22d, and found the 1st Georgia Regiment scattered “hither and yon.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Ordeal Continues

Monday, July 15, 1861.—Started on our dreary march through the mountainous wilderness of laurel at daylight this morning. All weak and tottering from hunger. We have marched through this wilderness for thirty-six hours, without discovering any mark or sign to indicate that man had ever trod the soil before; and I have not idea that this region was ever before penetrated by any man living. For nearly two days we have marched without so much as hearing a bird. No game! Nothing in this region for game to live on. The growth consists of laurel, laurel, laurel, with occasional spruce-pine and birch. The boys are eating birch-bark—some are eating spruce-pine bark. As for myself, I cannot bear to look at them as they eat it. I ate it freely yesterday, but to-day I am sick—sick, I suppose, from eating it yesterday. We are marching in profound silence, no man having strength or energy to converse with his companion. Many of the boys are throwing away their guns, &c., not being able to carry them. Early in the morning we crossed a creek, and are passing on the side of a mountain, the surface of which is covered with laurel. At 11 o’clock, A. M. the word is passed from rear to front, that we are overtaken by a mountaineer, named James R. Parsons, accompanied by a young named John B. Irons, who says it is impossible for us to pass through the mountains in the direction we are going. A halt is ordered. A consultation is held. Although many are unwilling to return, looking upon the old gentleman who has tracked us from the battle field, with suspicion, we are ordered to follow our new friends, who say they will take us to a point on the creek we have crossed, in which beeves can be driven and killed, thus saving us from starvation, which is at this moment staring us in the face, in its most hideous and distressing form. We return to the creek, and travel down the stream all day, with our new guides in front. Some are becoming almost desperate. Many times during the day halts are made by different Captains and Lieutenants, who almost determine to return with their commands; declaring Mr. Parsons and young Irons to be traitors, taking us into the hands of the enemy. Some said they had suspicioned them from the time we were overtaken in the morning, and now, late in the afternoon, their suspicions are confirmed by their conduct and conversation—that we will be taken by traitors to the enemy’s camp and annihilated.

Capt. Crump boldly, openly and fearlessly defends the accused. Should he and a few others concur with the murmurers and accusers, no doubt the whole band would have returned to our old route, with Parsons and Irons prisoners, and all probably die of starvation in the mountains—not one being left to tell the tale.

Myself and many others having implicit confidence in Capt. Crump’s knowledge of human nature, and good judgment, feel encouraged and keep on down the rocky stream. Just before dark we came to a little opening in the woods. Here we are halted by our guides, where we build the first fires we have had since the morning of the battle. Our guides, with some members of our company go in search of cattle. By the fires we lie down to sleep, perfectly exhausted from hunger and the rough road over which we have been travelling. We sleep till morning.

Tuesday, July 16.—We awake at day light—have scarcely enough strength or energy to move. One of our boys who accompanied the guides has just arrived with a small cake of corn bread, which he offers to Captain Crump. Although the Captain has not eaten anything for four or five days, and is so near exhausted that he can scarcely walk, he says, “excuse me, I will not eat a mouthful until my company are supplied with food; if my men eat nothing, I will eat nothing myself.” The magnanimous conduct of Captain Crump, throughout our journey, has won for him the love and esteem of the whole band. For the past few days we have been looking to him for consolation, as a child in early youth looks to its father in time of trouble. He is a noble Captain. This is the exclamation of all.

About eight o’clock, three fine, large beeves are driven up from across the mountains. I will not attempt a description of the manifestations of joy from that band of three hundred starving Georgians. The beeves are killed, roasted and eaten in short order, and without ceremony; and we are started on our march down the creek. Late in the evening we come to a bridle-path. We receive new consolation and encouragement by the sight of a path which has signs of being travelled before. The Walker Light Infantry, with their Captain, stop a little after dark, build up a fire, and lie down to sleep, the rain falling hard and heavy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diary Continues

Saturday, July 13th, 1861.—At daylight this morning, our “rear guard” arose, almost shivering with cold, caused by the rain which had been steadily falling on us during the night. After a march of a mile and a half, or two miles, we came up with the brigade, and found many of the boys eating parched corn, with a relishing and greedy appetite, most of our provision wagons being upset in the mountains during the previous night. Here, I was reminded of the march of the children of Israel, under the command of Moses and Aaron, when the children began to murmur for bread, &c., &c. Every exertion was made by Capt. Crump and Lieut. Wheeler, (who came to the camp the night previous,) to procure something for their company to eat, but with little success.

After the three Virginia regiments of infantry were placed in front, and the 1st Georgia regiment bringing up the rear, we started on our weary march, the rain still pouring in torrents, and every man as wet as water could make him. We had marched but a short distance, when the Lincoln army came up in the rear, and gave us battle. The fighting continued until evening, during which we lost our commanding General. A braver or more noble and worthy man never fell on the field of battle. That he was brave and daring, we need no better proof than his conduct during this engagement. During this battle, a portion of the Georgian regiment was cut off from the main body of the army, and being among that number myself, I can speak in my future notes, only of that unfortunate squad, which consisted of Maj. Thompson, of the Field Staff, Capt. Crump and Lieut. Russell of the Walker Light Infantry, with about half their company; Capt. Pinckard, of the Quitman Guards, Capt. Jones of the Washington Rifles; Capt. Evans, of the Bainbridge Independents, and Capt. Ezzard of the Gate City Guards, together with a portion of every company in the regiment, numbering in all about three hundred. Late in the evening after we had retired some distance from the battlefield, on the side of the mountain, a council was held by the commissioned officers present to come to some determination as to our mode of getting out of the mountains, and joining our comrades. It was here determined to make our way across the mountains, through the wilderness, in search of the turn-pike leading to Staunton—Capt. Crump and Lieut. Russell, of the Walker Light Infantry, only, voting to return and fight our way through a desperate foe to our boys, being ignorant of their fate. As to the relative strength of the two armies here, I will only say that the Lincolnites out-numbered us, two to one. Maj. Thompson taking the bridle, saddle, &c., off his horse, throwing them in the bushes and turning the horse loose, we crossed the mountains, and slept during the night in a glade some two or three miles from the battle field, not, however, out of hearing of the guns of the enemy.

Sunday, July 14, 1861.—This morning at day light we started on our march through the hills, weak from hunger, and somewhat discouraged with the gloomy prospect of finding food to-day. It is thought by those of our company having maps in their possession that we are within twelve miles of the turn pike, and that we will reach it this evening. Marching through a laurel range of mountains, almost impassable, nearly all day, we halted in the afternoon, and ate freely of birch bark, and a kind of grass of week called “sheep-sorrel.” It will be remembered that a large number of our company have had nothing to eat since Thursday morning, and have been on a tedious and tiresome march since that time.

After a brief rest, we renew our gloomy march, eating bark and grass as we journey. Night finds us in a rough, rocky ravine near one of the many small, swift mountain streams that course their way through the laurel forests of this cold, dismal, and uninhabited portion of the mountains of northern Virginia. It is raining. Who can imagine our condition? our feelings? We are only kept from suffering severely from the cold, during the day by the most active exercise; and now night is upon us, and such a night! Nothing heard except the falling of the rain drops, the running of the aforesaid brook, and the croaking of a raven in some hollow tree farther up the mountains. Here we must rest for the night. We cannot move, or we might pitch from the top of a precipice into eternity. How shall we sleep? We have no blankets! We have divested ourselves of everything except what we wear, and many have had their clothes nearly torn from them by the brush in passing through the laurel thicket.

What would our mothers and sisters think, and say, if they knew our condition? I have just heard a member of the Walker Light Infantry say that he would not have his wife know of his present sufferings for a million of dollars; another said he would not have his mother made acquainted with his present situation for twice that amount. I feel around in the dark for a place to sleep. I prop myself against a tree to prevent my rolling down the mountain, and soon I am asleep. I dream—but not of HOME. Here I shiver with cold, half sleep, and half awake, until morning.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diary of a Soldier

151 years ago, the First Georgia Volunteers were experiencing defeat and retreat in the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia.  One soldier, Corporal Nathan Pugh of the Walker Light Infantry, noted the events in his diary.
Thursday, July 11th, 1861.—In the afternoon, General Garnett received information, rendering it absolutely necessary that we should evacuate Laurel Hill; consequently, orders were issued to prepare to march.

The Walker Light Infantry, besides several other companies of our regiment, were on duty some distance from the camp, and knew nothing of the orders until dark. On returning to camp at night, we packed up, and prepared to leave, not having time to at supper, and notwithstanding many of us had nothing to eat during the day. We left just after dark, and marched all night through the rain and mud with heavy knapsacks and muskets.

Friday, July 12, 1861.—This morning, at seven o’clock, we arrived within three miles of Beverly, when we found the road blockaded, and supposing it to have been done by the enemy, who, from the blockade and other causes, it was thought had possession of Beverly. Here the General ordered us to countermarch, and take a wagon road leading in a Northeasterly direction, towards St. George, in Tucker county.

Leaving the turnpike, we marched all day, without food, and with but little rest. During the day, an immense quantity of clothing and blankets were thrown away, together with camp equipage of every description. The rain having ceased to fall early in the morning, we marched beneath the scorching rays of a July’s sun until late in the afternoon, when the rain again commence falling in torrents. It continued to rain during the evening and night, making the mountainous road almost impassable. As our company (the Walker Light Infantry) was in the rear of a very long train of horses and wagons, we were made to wade through mud and water, at times nearly knee-deep.

In this condition we reached a hollow or swamp about 2 o’clock at night. Here, in this dark and dismal ravine of mud and water, between the mountains, Lieut. W. D. Russell and myself, with several members of our company, concluded to remain during the night, not knowing how far in advance the main body of the brigade were camping. We slept on the road side, muddy and wet, weary with the fatigue of the twenty-four hour’s march, and hungry from a thirty-six hours fast.
To Be Continued . . .

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Book

I want to wish everyone a very fun and safe Independence Day.  With the scorching temperatures expected across the country please do your best to stay cool.
I would like to invite you all to view a preview of my novel, currently entitled My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy.  I actually started writing this many years before I Will Give Them One More Shot - it was doing the research for the novel that I came across the story of Ramsey's First Georgia, which so intrigued me that I put the novel's manuscript away to concentrate on that book.  Now I've dusted off the old manuscript and am hard at work rewriting and polishing.  The novel will be available on Amazon.com and Kindle once completed, and I anticipate a release sometime before Christmas.  I invite everyone to take a peek at a sample of the first nine chapters here.  The final product will have about 55-57 chapters.  Tell me what you think - I'd love to hear from you. (Even if you don't like it!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012


This past Thursday evening I had the pleasure of speaking to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, E. Porter Alexander Camp #158.  My topic was the six companies of the First Georgia which were lost in the Allegheny Mountains during the retreat from Laurel Hill in July, 1861.  Two of the companies involved in this episode came from Augusta and Richmond County:  the Ogelthorpe Infantry and the Walker Light Infantry.  Many thanks to 1st Lt. Commander Lee Herron for the invitation to come, and to Camp Commander Ron Udell.  I was presented with a beautiful print showing the restored chimney from the old Confederate Powder Works.  Many thanks to everyone for their warm welcome.  Before leaving Augusta the next morning, I visited the gravesite of Lt. Col. James O. Clarke, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One More Review

The June 2012 issue of Civil War History magazine, published by Kent State University Press, contains a review of I Will Give Them One More Shot, written by Samuel B. McGuire. Mr. McGuire holds a Masters Degree in History from the University of Kentucky, and is currently a PhD student of History at the University of Georgia in Athens, where he is employed as a History Department Teaching Assistant and Special Collections Research Assistant. The review is on pages 286 to 287 of the magazine, and can also be read here.

In general, Mr. McGuire seems to like the book, stating that “George W. Martin’s study is an intriguing regimental history. . . ,” and “Martin undertook extensive research—uncovering newspaper editorials, soldiers’ correspondence, and diaries . . .” Maguire also says that “This regimental history will undoubtedly captivate general audiences, and the detailed rosters will certainly prove useful to genealogists and scholars alike.” I would like to thank Mr. McGuire for these kind words.

I do, however, find myself taking issue with a few of his comments. In his second paragraph, McGuire says: “Martin depicts many soldiers' naïve jubilation upon enlistment; he oversimplifies, however, the complex issues facing Georgians, stating merely that ‘sectional differences between North and South over issues such as tariffs, trade, control of Congress, and slavery were threatening to tear the United States apart.’” While it is true that I may have “oversimplified the issues,” McGuire implies that this was the only reference to the war’s causes. Most of Chapter One of I Will Give Them One More Shot addresses the Georgians’ state of mind in the months before the war began, with emphasis on what was happening in the communities from which the men of the First Georgia came. Because the story is about a specific military unit, I chose to devote most of the work to those events relating to the regiment’s experiences, and not to spend space giving a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the war.

Mr. McGuire also states that “In July 1861, the Georgians engaged Union forces at Laurel Hill, but the author romantically claims, ‘the vastly outnumbered [Confederates] fought gallantly but were overwhelmed by superior federal numbers.’” This quote, from page 94, is taken out of context, as it refers not to the First Georgia, but to the Battle of Rich Mountain, where a Union force of approximately 2,000 troops under General William S. Rosecrans outflanked and defeated a Confederate detachment numbering only about 300 Rebels. The First Georgia was not at Rich Mountain, but was posted at Laurel Hill, some miles away. The defeat at Rich Mountain led General Robert S. Garnett to abandon his works at Laurel Hill.

McGuire concludes his review by writing that “Martin has composed a fine story, yet, because he fixates on the minutia of army life, readers may often lose sight of the wider context of the war.” Again, I believe he misses the point. I Will Give Them One More Shot was not intended to be a broad history of the first year of the Civil War. Rather than give a retelling of generals and campaigns (though they are given ample space where they are important to the story), my intent throughout the book was to describe the day-to-day life of the common soldier (to “fixate,” as you will) as he transforms from an idealistic recruit with romantic visions of glory, to a hardened veteran whose illusions have been worn away by the harsh realities of war.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day weekend has rolled around, and I would again like to extend my thanks to those in uniform, along with their families, for the sacrifices they make to keep this country safe.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Beautiful Weapon

Grave of Lt. Col. James O. Clarke
When the First Georgia Volunteers were being organized at Macon’s Camp Oglethorpe, several candidates stood for election as the regiment’s officers. Lieutenant James N. Ramsey of the Southern Guards was opposed for the rank of colonel by Captain James S. Pinckard of the Quitman Guards and Captain S. A. H. Jones of the Washington Rifles. Captain James O. Clarke of the Oglethorpe Infantry was urged to put his hat in the ring for the colonel’s commission, but he declined, wanting to stay with his company. After repeated appeals, Clarke agreed to try for the post of lieutenant colonel. He justified this choice by saying that “because the Oglethorpes being on the right of the regiment, and the Lieutenant Colonel occupying generally a position on that wing, he will be near his company.” Clarke won election by default, due to the fact that no one else applied for the position.

Clarke was a popular officer. Before leaving Augusta for Macon, his soldiers had arranged for the production of a ceremonial saber, but it was not finished by the time the company had to leave for Camp Oglethorpe. In early June, as the Oglethorpe Infantry passed through Augusta on their way from Pensacola to Richmond, the sword was retrieved from storage and presented to Clarke. The occasion, as well as the weapon itself, was described in the June 6 edition of the Augusta Daily Constitution:


The Oglethorpe Infantry yesterday presented to Lieut. Colonel CLARKE a handsome sword, which was to have been tendered to him previous to the company’s departure for Pensacola, when he was their Captain, but the sword did not reach here in time, and hence was not presented until to-day.

The presentation took place at the City Hall, about 11 o’clock, and was witnessed by a large concourse of citizens.

Lieutenant J. V. H. ALLEN, of the Oglethorpes, made the presentation speech, which, though entirely impromptu, was neat and appropriate, but we did not obtain a report of it.

Lieutenant Colonel CLARK responded in the following brief and soldierly speech:

Sir: Pleased and surprised at this unexpected mark of approval and affection on the part of those whom I have had the honor to command, I am only prepared to say that such a gift from such a company, makes our heart swell with the emotions of gratitude, and in the hour of battle, the recollection of the source whence it came will give me inspiration, like the smiles of beauty, which drives the hero into the hottest of the fight!

“I take it, and swear it shall never be dishonored.”

At the conclusion of this speech, three hearty cheers were given for Lieutenant Colonel CLARKE, and three more for the Oglethorpes.

The gift was bestowed upon a worthy officer—one who will know how to use it on the field of battle, and knowing how, will use it aright.

The sword, which is an elegant one, was procured by the well known firm of CLARKE & CO., and the engraving, which are neatly executed, were designed by our fellow citizen Mr. J. B. PLATT.

The handle is formed in the shape of a lion’s head, while the hilt is ornamented with the coat of arms of Georgia. The dress scabbard is of silver with gilt bands—the engraving being on the bands, the first representing “Excelsior” onward and upward – the rise and progress of this gallant company. The second representing “Liberty”- the object for which freemen are ever ready and willing to fight, and in whose cause this sword is to be drawn and used,; third, justice at the “shoe” or point of the scabbard, significant of the fact that justice is to be demanded and obtained at the point of the sword.

We cannot, at present, follow out at length, these designs, but from what we have said, the reader will readily perceive that they are not only very neat, but very appropriate.

The service scabbard is bronzed, with silver bands—the engravings representing a variety of war emblems. The entire affair was very creditable to all concerned, and passed off satisfactorily and pleasantly.

Clarke would draw this saber as he led a charge during a skirmish at Laurel Hill, shouting “Up the hill, men, and remember you are Georgians!”

After Clarke died on December 6, 1889, he was buried in Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery, in what was described as “one of the most largely attended ever witnessed in Augusta.” A large stone shaft marks his gravesite. Carved onto the top of the monument is a dress sword. Close examination of this carving reveals details that match the above description. Could this be the same weapon? I believe that it is.
(Photos courtesy of Rick Saunders of Augusta)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Flag of the Washington Rifles

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in conference assembled, That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, authorized to deliver to the proper authorities of the respective States in which the regiments which bore these colors were organized certain Union and Confederate battle flags now in the custody of the War Department for such final disposition as the aforesaid proper authorities may determine.

This act, passed by the United States Congress in 1905, and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, returned flags carried by Confederate troops to the Southern States. Among these banners was the First National pattern flag of the Washington Rifles, Company “E” of the First Georgia Volunteer Infantry. The colors were in poor condition, the fabric tattered and torn.

In 1861, forty-four years earlier, the banner’s silk shone brightly, and its canton proudly displayed the painted Georgia state coat of arms. The lovingly sown flag was presented to the Washington Rifles as they prepared to depart for Camp Oglethorpe in Macon. The scene was described in the April 3 edition of the Sandersville Central Georgian:

On Monday previous to their departure, the ladies of Sandersville, with their usually liberality and promptness, prepared a sumptuous dinner in the Court House for the benefit of the Rifles, but of which all were invited to partake. We were not present, but we have heard but one opinion expressed in regard to the manner in which the affair was conducted, and that one is highly creditable to the fair donors. The ladies of our town know how to get up these things, and in the present instance they more than excelled any former public occasion amongst us. After all who chose had partaken of the dinner, an abundance for several days’ subsistence was packed away to be carried with the company. The ladies during the day presented the company with a handsome flag of the Confederate States. Sustained by the hand, and encouraged by the smiles of fair woman, what would not man dare—what would he not achieve?

Business also prevented our hearing the address delivered by Col. J. S. Hook before the company and the public on this occasion. We are told, however, that it was the most felicitous and appropriate; that in patriotic and soul-stirring words he depicted the honor and glory of a life devoted to the defence of one’s country, and said, that while he was conscious it was unnecessary to so speak in this instance, he would exhort them never to permit the flag confided to their keeping by the angel band of women to be tarnished by one unpatriotic act, or soiled by the hand of a foe. The ceremonies were highly interesting, and very creditable to all engaged.

During the retreat of General Robert S. Garnett’s Army of the Northwest from Laurel Hill in July of 1861, many of the flags belonging to the various companies of the First Georgia were stored in wagons. Panicked teamsters jettisoned equipment from entangled wagons as the column worked its way through the Allegheny Mountains, and many wagons were simply abandoned when they became stuck. One such wagon was left behind at a river crossing just north of Kalers Ford, where Colonel Ramsey fought a rearguard action against pursuing Union troops, and where six companies were cut off from the army and forced to wander lost in the trackless wilderness. This wagon contained the banner of the Washington Rifles. As Federal troops crossed the river in pursuit of the Confederates, a soldier of the Ninth Indiana found the Rifles’ colors in the wagon. Climbing atop the wagon, he unfurled the colors and waved it, either to urge on his comrades, or possibly just to show off what he had discovered. The banner was sent north, where it remained in the War Department’s collection of captured flags. It was returned to Georgia as one of the returned battleflags.

The image at the top of this column is from a brochure titled “The Returned Battle Flags,” which was given as a souvenir during the United Confederate Veterans Reunion held in Louisville, Kentucky, in June of 1905. It shows the Washington Rifles flag as it looked when returned to Georgia. The banner, made of silk, continued to deteriorate, but was restored by conservators in recent years. The banner is now part of the collection of the Georgia Capitol Museum in Atlanta. The restored flag can be viewed here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Under Construction

For those who have been trying to access my website at
www.ramseysfirstgeorgia.com and not succeeding, my apologies.  The site has been hosted by Office Live Small Business for several years, but Microsoft will be shutting down that service on April 30 and replace it with Office 365.  So for the past several weeks I've been struggling to move my site to the new server.  I've gotten most of the bugs worked out and the new site is up, but incomplete as I continue to move my information from the old to new, and reformat so it looks halfway decent.  Thanks for your patience.



The new site is up and running with still a few tweaks to complete.  If you had bookmarked the site, please delete the bookmark and add it again, as the internal site has changed slightly.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The War Goes On

After a period of time at home recuperating from their experiences over the past year, most of the officers and men of the old First Georgia prepared to leave their homes once more in defense of the Confederacy. It had been reported in several news accounts that Colonel James N. Ramsey had been appointed a brigadier general, but due to his ill health (caused mainly by the rigors of the Virginia campaigns) Ramsey did not serve further. Other officers attempted to raise new companies, as evidenced by advertisements in various newspapers.

The following advertisement was placed by former Lt. Colonel James O. Clarke, and appeared in the April 16, 1862, edition of the Augusta Chronicle & Sentinel:


I Desire to Raise a Company of Infantry for State Service, all wishing to join will meet at the Oglethorpe Infantry Drill Room on WEDNESDAY EVENING, at 5 o’clock.


And again on April 30:

Another Company of Infantry,

I am authorised to raise a COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS for three years, or the War. Each man will be allowed the lawful Bounty ($50) and Clothing Money. All interested are requested to meet at the Clinch Rifles’ Drill Room, THIS (Tuesday) EVENING, at 7 ½ o’clock.



In Atlanta, Lt. Colonel George H. Thompson also advertised for recruits. From the Atlanta Southern Confederacy for May 11, 1862:

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.


The rank and file of the former First Georgia were also rejoining the military. The members of Company “K” of the First reenlisted as a company in the Fifty-Third Georgia Infantry, retaining their name as the Quitman Guards. Joining a company organized in Stone Mountain, the Oglethorpe Infantry, Newnan Guards, Walker Light Infantry, and a portion of the Washington Rifles came together to form the Twelfth Battalion Georgia Light Artillery. Company “C” joined the Fourteenth Battalion Georgia Light Artillery as the Southern Rights Battery. Nearly all of the other survivors of the old First Georgia volunteered in other commands, serving the Confederacy until the end of the war.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Final Casualty?

The men of the old First Georgia are home.  Many who did not return are mourned by their loved ones.  J. M. G. Medlock, editor of the Sandersville Central Georgian and former member of the Washington Rifles, poured out his grief in his newspaper:

WELCOME HOME.--The 1st Regiment Georgia Volunteers, having served out their term of enlistment, have been disbanded, (the order for them to go to Tennessee was countermanded) and the train from Augusta Monday evening last, brought back to their anxious friends, our brave boys of the Washington Rifles. The joy that was felt can only be realized by those who participated in it.

But this meeting was one of sorrow as well joy. There were those who looked in vain for the familiar faces of those beloved and whose return they had fondly anticipated.— [illegible] his own almost upon the eve of their starting for home. Pardon us reader, if we open afresh the wound that time had partially healed. We would not cause one pang of sorrow or awaken one sad thought. But we mourn a brother dead. For weeks and months had we looked forward to the return of the Rifles, for the HE would once again gladden our hearts by his presence. But the hand of disease feel heavily upon him. When the Regiment left Winchester he was confined to the hospital. He now sleeps his last sleep in that far off land. Yes EUGENE is dead! If we only knew that some friend was with him in his last moments to hear his last request; but if so we know not who that friend was, as the company were far on their way homeward. But he has given up his life in a noble cause, and we try to say “thy will be done.”

To William G. Robson, Esq., we owe a debt of gratitude, for his kind attention to our brother, which we can never repay. Heaven alone can reward him according to his desserts.

Some who did return to Georgia still suffer afflictions resulting from the harsh conditions they endured during their service.  The Augusta Daily Chronicle of March 15, 1862, recorded what may have the final casualty of the First Georgia Volunteer Infantry:

DEATH OF A GEORGIA VOLUNTEER.—Mr. William D. Lewis, of Washington county, Ga., and a member of Company E, First Georgia Regiment, died at this place [Augusta], at the house kept by the Rev. N. Graham, on Sunday night last. He was attended by Dr. Whitaker, a member of the same command who left with his remains on Monday night. The First Georgia, it will be recollected, participated in the fight which took place at Laurel Hill and Cheat Mountain, and has doubtless seen as much severe service as any Regiment which has participated in the war.

The unfortunate young man, whose death we record, was among those who made that long and fearful passage across the wild mountains of Western Virginia. He is said to have been a good and true soldier. The circumstances of his death are melancholy, (being upon his passage home to the bosom of loved ones after a long perilous service) but it should be consolation to his afflicted relatives to know, that, notwithstanding he was a stranger, he received every attention and kindness during his last hours; free of charge, from the family at whose house he died, and from others of our most respectable citizens. He was watched by them until dissolving, nature had made its struggle, and was then tenderly and decently prepared for the grave.

Friday, March 9, 2012


On March 9, 1862, the First Georgia Volunteer Infantry arrived in Augusta.  The next day marked the end of a remarkable year in the lives of these soldiers.  The reception and final hours of the regiment were described in the Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel:

Arrival and Discharge of the First Georgia.

After many delays and disappointments the First Georgia Regiment unexpectedly arrived in our city, by a special train, early yesterday morning. As they were not looked for until about ten o’clock, but few of our citizens were at the depot to meet them. The young ladies had, on Saturday, tastefully decorated the depot with evergreens and flags, presenting a very pleasing effect. Over the carriage way leading to the depot, a very neat arch was thrown, and suspended from it the motto “A hearty welcome home.” A short distance up Reynolds street, a line of evergreenes with a wreath attached extended across the street.

The Ladies had prepared an enthusiastic reception for the “boys,” but their early arrival disconcerted the arrangements. They will, however, accept “the will for the deed;” our city companies, no doubt, found the “hearty welcome,” extended to them at their own firesides, after a year’s absence—a cordial recompense for all their privations, suffering and toil. The members of the regiment are all looking in fine health, and are ready to again march forth in defence of their country. Our city, with its accustomed liberality, extended to the regiment the hospitalities of the city and during their stay they will be well provided for as guests of the city.

During the day, many hearty reunions took place, and many a home rejoiced as loved ones gathered around the table and rehearsed the incidents of their twelve month campaign. We are sorry that the regiment has not reorganized under its old name, as all who remember Pensacola Laurel Hill, Green Brier, Bath and Romney, will point with pride to the record of the noble men who first rallied to the defence of their country, and have won an enviable fame as THE 1ST GEORGIA.

The members of the Regiment formed in front of the Georgia Railroad passenger depot this morning at 10 o’clock, after which they marched through Jackson street to Green, where a square was formed, in front of the Bell Tower, and Col RAMSAY, in a brief speech, addressed the Regiment. We are sorry we cannot give the gallant Colonel’s remarks in full, as his address was replete with eloquence and patriotism.

He returned thanks to the officers and men for the patience and zeal which had always marked their career, for the strict discipline they had maintained, for their kindness and affection to each other, and in conclusion, exhorted them to go to their home, recruit their energies, again form their companies, and go forth once more maintaining the honor and glory of Georgia, and add new glories to those already won by the 1st Georgia.

At the conclusion of his remarks, three hearty cheers were given by the Regiment, when Adjt. Palmer read the order of discharge, and the regiment was mustered out of service. A resolution of thanks to the citizens of Augusta for their hospitality was passed—Lieut. Col. JAS. O. CLARKE made a few remarks and the large concourse of our citizens dispersed. Most of the regiment will leave for home to-day. We bid them God speed on their journey. Their deportment, during their stay in our city, has been marked by the utmost propriety.


This Saturday I will be in Forsyth, Georgia, at the Mercer University Press table at the Forsythia Festival.  Please stop by to say hi.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Going Home

The news of the regiment's disbandment, brought by Captain John A. Houser of the Southern Rights Guard, turns out happily to be true.  The First Georgia is to be sent back to Georgia to be mustered out of service.  On March 3, 1862, the men pack up their kits as they prepare to move out.  Their muskets, cartridge boxes and bayonets are collected to be turned over to troops serving under General Edmund Kirby Smith. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stalled Transfer

Taken from the March 8, 1862, edition of the Atlanta Southern Confederacy:

Letter from “Nestor.”

LYNCHBURG, Va., Feb 25, 1862.

Dear Confederacy:

I informed you in my letter of the 16th inst. respecting the division made by the War Department of Gen. Loring’s late command, and also the different departments to which the several brigades had been transferred. For want of transportation the regiments ordered to report to Gen. A. Sidney Johnston, at Knoxville, Tennessee, were detained several days at camp Mason after the reception of the order from the Adjutant General. We left the vicinity of Winchester on the 20th inst., but in consequence of the great difficulty of procuring transportation on the Manassas Gap and the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, we did not get to this city till Monday morning, 24th instant. Upon our arrival here we found that we could not prosecute our journey further by this route until some damages on the Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, caused by the recent very heavy rains in this section, could be repaired. I am informed that there are not less than seventeen land slides on that road between Dublin and Bristol. Besides these slides several culverts have been greatly impaired, and the trestle work in many places materially damaged. I learn there are seven or eight hundred hands now at work repairing this road, but it will take them some time—at least five or six days—to get it in a condition for trains to pass over it.

Thus, you perceive, the most direct and main line of communication and transportation between this State and the West is entirely cut off for awhile. This Providential occurrence is working materially against us. The tide of battle at the present is against us in that section. Our brave soldiers have had to contend, and are now contending, against desperate odds in Tennessee. The War Department, fully advised of the fact, has ordered all the troops that could possibly be spared from Virginia to rush to the assistance of their brethren, and aid them in repelling the ruthless invaders from the Volunteer State, who have dared to pollute its soil with the touch of their feet. But many of these gallant troops who are most eager to enter the contest, and to aid in changing the tide of battle, are hindered for awhile in consequence of this line of transportation being cut off. I hope these obstacles will not long remain in our way.

We can learn nothing here satisfactory concerning the movements of our army in Tennessee—so conflicting are the reports. I am not willing to believe the reports respecting the extent of our loss at Fort Donelson. We hope to hear something definite and reliable from that quarter soon.

I learn there is great excitement at Manassas. A fight is expected to come off at Centerville daily.

Two piers of the bridge connecting the South Side Railroad depot with the Island in in James River, was burned last Tuesday evening. By the active efforts of the soldiers and citizens the three remaining piers were saved from the flames, despite the heavy gale then prevailing.

Capt. Houser, of company “C” has just arrived from Richmond, and brings the intelligence that our regiment will in a few days be ordered to Macon, Georgia, where it will be disbanded. Our present term of enlistment expires with the 18th of March. Notwithstanding the sufferings and hardships the First Georgia Regiment has endured the past twelve months, I dare say the major portion, if not all of its members, will re-enlist and enter the field again by the opening of the spring campaign, if it be disbanded now. Such Patriotic men as compose this regiment will not be slow to act in this hour of our country’s peace.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

On To Knoxville

The First Georgia makes ready to head west, bound for Tennessee to join the army of General Albert Sidney Johnston.  General Jackson advises his General Joseph E. Johnston of the regiment's impending departure:

WINCHESTER, VA., February 18, 1862.
Commanding Department of Northern Virginia:

. . . The First Tennessee leaves for Knoxville at dawn to-morrow morning; would have left this morning, but I thought it best not to move until something could be heard respecting the time when the cars could receive them, as the weather has been very bad and the troops are comfortable in their present position, and are within a day's march of Strasburg.

To-morrow at 10 a. m. the First Georgia will leave, and the regiments for General Holmes will move in time for their railroad transportation, as there is no evidence of an immediate move on this place. . . .

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Also, Colonel Ramsey, still in Richmond recuperating from his most recent bout of severe illness, receives the following order:

Richmond, February 19, 1862.


II.  Colonel J. N. Ramsay [Ramsey,] First Regiment Georgia Volunteers, will proceed without delay to Knoxville, Tenn., and rejoin his regiment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Time To Move On

With much persuasion from friends such as Virginia Governor John Letcher, General Jackson withdraws his resignation from the army.  He immediately files charges against General Loring for neglect of duty and "Conduct subversive of good order and military discipline." 

President Davis and Secretary Benjamin have had enough of the feud between the two officers.  They decide to break up the Army of the Northwest - all the Virginia regiments will remain with the Valley Army, but the others are to be forwarded to other commands:

Centreville, Va., February 14, 1862

General JACKSON:

SIR: The President, through the Secretary of War, directs that the Georgia regiment now with General Loring be sent immediately to Knoxville; that the two Tennessee regiments of General Anderson's brigade and Colonel Rust's (Arkansas) regiment be sent to report to Major-General Holmes, commanding Aquia District, and the remaining troops of General Loring's command sent to this district (of the Potomac). Please give the necessary orders from these movements, to be made in the order in which they are written above.


Thanks to all who stopped by the Mercer University Press table last weekend during the Chickamauga Civil War Show. 

Me with Marsha Luttrell of Mercer University Press

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Enough is Enough

The tension radiating out of Romney has come to a head. The petition signed by the officers of the Army of the Northwest, and endorsed by General Loring, has made its way to the desk of Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin and President Jefferson Davis. Impatient for results, Colonel Taliaferro has obtained leave and has journeyed to Richmond with the intention of persuading the government to recall the Army of the Northwest to Winchester. Davis, alarmed at the possibility of Loring’s command being surrounded, directs Benjamin to order the troops out. Benjamin sends a short, terse order to Jackson:

“Our news indicates that a movement is being made to cut off General Loring's command. Order him back to Winchester immediately.”

Jackson is astounded to receive this order, but he complies, ordering the Army of the Northwest to return to Winchester. Outraged that all the gains made by his campaign have been negated, Jackson sends a carefully worded letter to Benjamin:

Winchester, Va., January 31, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Your order requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his command to Winchester immediately has been received and promptly complied with.

With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respect fully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, P. A. C. S.

Jackson's superior officer, General Joseph E. Johnston, is taken aback by Jackson's request:

Centreville, February 7, 1862,

Respectfully forwarded, with great regret. I don't know how the loss of this officer can be supplied. General officers are much wanted in this department.


The Confederacy is in danger of losing one of its heroes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We Are Not Amused

General Jackson has received the "Romney Petition," sent through channels.  Good soldier that he is, "Stonewall" forwards it on to his commanding officer, General Joseph E. Johnston - with the following notation:

Winchester, February 4, 1862

Respectfully forwarded, but disapproved.

Major-General, Commanding.
This weekend I will be at the Chickamauga Civil War Show in Dalton, Georgia.  I invite everyone to stop by the Mercer University Press table to say hi.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


On January 26, General Loring receives the letter from his officers.  He adds an indorsement of agreement:

Romney, Va., January 26, 1862.

As this is a respectful communication, and presents for the consideration of the honorable Secretary of War the true condition of this army, and coming from so high a source, expressing the united feeling of the army, I deem it proper to respectfully forward it for his information. I am most anxious to re-enlist this fine army, equal to any I ever saw, and am satisfied if something is not done to relieve it, it will be found impossible to induce the army to do so, but with some regard for its comfort, a large portion, if not the whole, may be prevailed upon.

At the earliest possible moment I shall write more fully.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c.

Loring forwards the letter on through channels.  The next officer to read it will be "Stonewall" Jackson.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Winter Of Our Discontent

The officers and men quartered in Romney feel forsaken by their commander, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.  They are convinced that he has pulled the Stonewall Brigade - his "pets" - back into nice, warm winter quarters in Winchester, while leaving the Army of the Northwest to make out as best they can in the exposed position at Romney.  The discontent comes to a boil as several officers meet to draft a letter to General Loring.  This so-called "Romney Petition" is signed by the various brigade and regimental officers.  As Colonel Ramsey and Lt. Colonel Thompson of the First Georgia are both absent in sickbeds, Major James W. Anderson signs the petition as commanding officer of the First.

JANUARY 25, 1862.

Brigadier-General LORING,
Commanding Army of the Northwest:

GENERAL: The undersigned officers of your command beg leave to present their condition to your consideration as it exists at Romney. It is unnecessary to detail to you,who participated in it all, the service performed by the Army of the Northwest during the last eight months. The unwritten (it will never be truly written) history of that remarkable campaign would show, if truly portrayed, a degree of severity, of hardship, of toil, of exposure and suffering that finds no parallel in the prosecution of the present war, if indeed it is equaled in any war. And the alacrity and good-will with which the men of your command bore all this hardship, exposure, and deprivation would by death and disease, the remainder were about preparing quarters to shield them from the storms of winter in a rigorous climate. Many had prepared comparatively comfortable quarters, when they were called upon to march to Winchester and join the force under General Jackson. This they did about the 1st of December, with the same alacrity which had characterized their former conduct, making a march of some 140 miles at that inclement season of the year.

After reaching Winchester, as expected, was ordered in the direction of the enemy, when all cheerfully obeyed the order, with the confident expectation that so soon as the object of the expedition was attamed they would be marched to some comfortable position, where they could enjoy a short respite and recruit wasted energies for the spring campaign.

The terrible exposure and suffering on this expedition can never be known to those who did not participate in it. When men pass night after night in the coldest period of a cold climate without tents, blankets, or even an ax to cut wood with, and without food twenty-four hours, and with some of the men nearly two days at a time, and attended by toilsome marches, it is not to be thought strange that some regiments which left Winchester with nearly 600 men should now, short as the time has been, report less than 200 men for duty.

Instead of finding, as expected, a little repose during midwinter, we are ordered to remain at this place. Our position at and near Romney is one of the most disagreeable and unfavorable that could well be imagined. We can only get an encampment upon the worst of wet, spouty land, much of which when it rains is naught but one sea of water and a consequent corresponding depth of mud, and this, too, without the advantage of sufficient wood, the men having to drag that indispensable article down from high up on the mountain side.

We are within a few miles of the enemy and of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which imposes upon our men the continued hardship of very heavy picket duty, which will in a short time tell terribly upon their health and strength. We regard Romney as a place difficult to hold, and of no strategical importance after it is held. Besides, the country around it for some distance has already been by the enemy exhausted of its supplies. Your army could be maintained much more comfortably, and at much less expense, and with every military advantage, at almost any other place.

Another consideration we would endeavor to impress upon your mind: All must be profoundly impressed with the paramount importance of raising an army for the next summer's campaign. When we left Winchester, a very large proportion of your army, with the benefit of a short furlough, would have enlisted for the war, but now, with the present prospect before them, we doubt if one single man would re-enlist. But if they are yet removed to a position where their spirits could be revived, many, we think, will go for the war.

In view of all these considerations and many others that might be presented, we ask that you present the condition of your command to the War Department, and earnestly ask that it may be ordered to some more favorable position.


Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade Northwestern Army.

Colonel, Thirty-Seventh Virginia Volunteers.

Major, Commanding Third Arkansas Volunteers.

Major, Commanding First Georgia Regiment.

Captain, Commanding Twenty-Third Virginia Volunteers.

Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade Northwestern Army.

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Forty-Second Virginia Volunteers.

Major, Forty-Second Virginia Volunteers.

Captain, Commanding First Battalion P. A. C. S.

Captain, Commanding Twenty-First Virginia Volunteers.

Colonel, Commanding Forty-Eighth Virginia Volunteers.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dessention In Romney

Captain Evan P. Howell
 After the war, Evan P. Howell, formerly lieutenant in the Washington Rifles and later commander of an artillery battery, purchased a controlling share of the Atlanta Constitution, becoming it's editor-in-chief.  In 1905 an article was published in the Constitution described Howell's experiences during the Romney Campaign, and before long the article was picked up by several newspapers.  The version that follows is from the October 12, 1905, edition of the Cumberland (Maryland) Evening Times:

How Capt. Howell and a Committee Advised Him
Waited on the General With Solemn Instructions—Told Him What He Should Do—How They Were Received and Sent Away.

A late issue of the Atlanta Constitution, of which Capt Evan Howell was editor, has the following good item of an experience with Stonewall Jackson:

Hon. Ben E. Russell, of Bainbridge, writes the Constitution retelling the following good story which Captain Howell used to tell at his own expense of the time he and a committee of soldiers “waited upon Stonewall Jackson to advise him what to do.” Mr. Russell writes,

“The following is the substance of a war story that the late Captain Evan P. Howell loved to tell. The writer was a member of the First Georgia Regiment, at Romney at the time, and was cognizant of the facts here related.

“Generals Loring and Stonewall Jackson, with the Confederate army, after a dreadful march unparalleled in the history of our war, arrived at Romney, Va., the enemy fleeing upong their approach. We pitched camp near the town, where we remained over two weeks, during which time we never saw the sun, owing to the awful weather of rain, snow and sleet alternately, and frequently all at the same time. The roads were knee-deep in muddy slush and ice making picket duty an almost unbearable hardship. The men got the blues and became discontented and began to inquire of each other, “What are we here for, anyhow?” Both officers and men were on the verge of mutiny.

“To add fuel to flame it was understood among the troops that General Loring and old Stonewall were in total disagreement over the situation. Then some wiseacres of the regiment proposed a mass meeting of the men and officers of the brigade to protest against the continuation of the campaign by resolutions and the sending of a committee to General Jackson with them. The mass meeting was held, the resolutions drawn and the committee appointed. Of those on the committee were Evan P. Howell of the Washington Rifles, and Samuel A. Crump, captain of the Walker Light Infantry, of Augusta.

“Armed with the resolutions the committee started out to find Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters. On the way Captain Crump, who had been through the Mexican war, said to Captain Howell, ‘Evan, do you know that this thing means death to this whole blamed committee, for it’s nothing less than mutiny!’

“ ‘Oh, well,’ says Captain Howell, ‘but we’ve got to go and see the general all the same.’ "
“General Jackson’s headquarters were found, occupying the second story of an old log house. The doughty committee climbed the stairway and entered the upper chamber with no little trepidation, Evan Howell in front. The resolutions in his trembling hands. Old Stonewall was sitting with his back to a very poor open fire with a table in front of him, on which was pread a military map of northern Virginia, surrounded by and dimly lighted with several tallow candles. The great commander looked up from his work and glanced at the committee as it filed before him. In reply to his question: ‘What can I do for you, gentlemen?’ Captain Howell shook out the famous resolution, which recited the grievances of the soldiers, and recommended the speedy evacuation of Romney, and a return to Winchester as the only way out of a bad scrape, reading them in a somewhat unsteady voice.

“During this scene General Jackson’s face never changed from its unusual mild expression. When the reading of the resolutions was over you could have ‘heard a pin drop.’

“The general assumed an attitude of deep thought for a moment—a moment when each committeeman’s knees smote each other—and then said in a rather weary voice, ‘You can return to your commands, gentlemen, and should I need your advice I will send for you.’

“ ‘Tis needless to add that our committee evaporated from those headquarters in a hurry. Captain Howell said, ‘We just moved off, the most relieved set of men you ever saw.’

“Probably these resolutions, coupled with the disagreements with General Loring, etc., caused the immortal Stonewall Jackson to tender his resignation about this time to President Davis. Mr. Davis refused to accept it, but immediately promoted him to the rank of major general, and thus saved to the southern cause the services of the greatest military genius that has astonished the world since Napoleon the Great.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Change of Plans

Romney has been occupied by Confederate forces, and "Stonewall" has the prize he has long coveted, but he remains dissatisfied.  Looking north toward the Potomac River, he sees an immense supply depot at Cumberland, Maryland, which he decides can be taken with quick action.  Jackson plans to send the Stonewall Brigade, along with Colonel Taliaferro's Fifth Brigade of the Army of the Northwest, on a fast march from Romney toward Cumberland to destroy the railroad bridge and capture the supplies.  These plans fall through, however, due to the exhaustion of the troops.  Many of Jackson's and Taliaferro's regiments are down to a shadow of their former strength due to sickness, with a flood of ill soldiers overwhelming facilities in Winchester.  That, coupled with near mutinous sentiment in the Army of the Northwest, forces Jackson to cancel his advance.  He advises the Confederate Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin, that he is making arrangements for putting the army into winter quarters:

Romney, January 20, 1862,

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Though the enemy have retreated to the Potomac, yet they continue in possession of the frontier of this district from 7 miles below Cumberland to the Alleghany. On the 1st of this month there was not a single loyal citizen of Morgan County who in my opinion could with safety remain at home, and the same may be said respecting the most valuable portion of Hampshire County. A kind Providence has restored to us the entire county of Morgan and nearly the entire county of Hampshire, but so long as the enemy hold possession of the railroad bridge 5 miles below Cumberland and the two railroad bridges above Cumberland they can make dangerous inroads upon us.

On last Friday night I designed moving rapidly with my old brigade and one of General Loring's, for the purpose of destroying one of the railroad bridges across the North Branch of the Potomac west of Cumberland and thus cut off their supplies from the west, and consequently force them to reduce their army in front of me; but as General Loring's leading brigade, commanded by Colonel Taliaferro, was not in a condition to move, the enterprise had to be abandoned. Since leaving Winchester, on the 1st instant, the troops have suffered greatly, and General Loring has not a single brigade in a condition for active operations, though in a few days I except they will be much improved, and will, if placed in winter quarters, be able to hold this important portion of the valley, but these quarters should be well selected and the positions strengthened, and hence the great importance of having a good engineer officer. It will not do for me to remain here much longer, lest General Banks should cross the Potomac. Consequently in a few days I expect to leave this place, taking with me Garnett's brigade. I have written to General Johnston that, unless otherwise directed, General Loring's command will go into winter quarters in the South Branch Valley, General Carson's at Bath, General Meem's at Martinsburg, and Garnett's at Winchester. The cavalry will be distributed at various points along the northern frontier. General Bogg's brigade, which principally belongs to the South Branch Valley, will be distributed over the section of country to which it belongs.

It is very desirable that the troops should go into winter quarters as soon as possible, so I trust that you will send me the best engineer officer you can, though it be for only ten days.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, P. A. C. S., Commanding