"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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4, 1862

As morning dawns on January 4, Jackson aligns his brigades for the push into Bath. The First Georgia, along with the Twenty-First and Twenty-Third Virginia, is placed on the main road leading into town, while other regiments line up along the base of the ridges on either side of the valley. Furious after artillery fire from Warm Springs Ridge brings Colonel Gilham’s brigade to a halt, Jackson orders the First Tennessee onto the ridge to take the guns.

Confederate cavalry, led by Lt. Col. William S. H. Baylor, charges into Bath. The Georgians and Virginians on the main road rush up the main road into town, led by General Jackson himself. The Federal garrison retreats, heading north toward the Potomac River crossings at Sir Johns Run and Hancock, Maryland. Jackson orders the First Georgia and Twenty-Third Virginia, along with cavalry under Colonel Turner Ashby, forward to pursue the retiring Union troops. He next directs General Loring to move his brigades north in hopes of capturing the Federals before they can escape across the Potomac, while the Stonewall Brigade remains in Bath to hold the town. The Union soldiers make it over the river to the safety of Hancock, much to Jackson’s irritation.

Jackson directs his troops to take position on the bluffs overlooking the Potomac, but orders that there be no fires that would give away their locations. As night falls, the temperatures plunge below freezing. A soldier from the Oglethorpe Infantry voices the anger of the men toward “Stonewall:”  "We were not allowed to build fires, lest the enemy should shell us. Men walked up and down, to and fro, to keep warm. Now and then we could see a little blaze started--somebody disobeying orders--and then an order “put out that fire” – “wait until the General has his fire, then you can have yours.” Here we stood shivering and hungry.” At 1:00 am, Jackson finally relents and allows the men to build fires.

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