"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, 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.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Another Roster Correction

Happily, I continue to receive emails regarding members of the First Georgia.  Thanks to George Stanholtz for providing the burial location of Private Wesley Pressley of the Dahlonega Volunteers.  Pressley’s amended roster entry is as follows:

Pressley, Wesley: Enl. 24 July 1861. D. Romney, VA 31 January 1862. B. Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney, Hampshire Cty, WV.

I'd also like to thank Wendy Hockenberry, a descendent of several First Georgia soldiers, for contacting me regarding her relations from Company I, the Walker Light Infantry. In my research for the rosters, I found in my sources entries for two John M. Weigels, one born in 1811 and another in 1841. Other than these dates, the information for the two men is almost identical; thus, the following entries in I Will Give Them One More Shot:

Weigel, John M. (2): Enl. 1 August 1861. Enl. Co. A, 12th Bn., GA Art. 13 July 1862. Converted to Co. A, 13th Bn. GA Art. October 1862. Co. converted to Co. A, 63rd Inf. Regt. December 1863. Appt. 11th Cpl. July [August] 1863. WIA Kennesaw Mountain, GA 27 June 1864. D. from wounds 13 July 1864. [Other records show enl. Augusta Battery.] B. 1841. Bd. Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond Cty.

Weigel, John M. Sr., (2): Enl. 1 August 1861. Enl. Co. A, 12th Bn., GA Art. 13 July 1862. Co. converted to Co. A, 63rd Inf. Regt. December 1863. WIA Kennesaw Mountain, GA 27 June 1864. D. from wounds 11 July 1864. B. 29 May 1811. Bd. Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond Cty.

With information provided by Ms. Hockenberry, it appears that the two were not father and son, but were possibly related.  Also, burial records show a slightly different spelling of the last name. One was born in Maryland in 1842 and lived until 1907, while the other was born in Richmond County (Augusta) in 1841 and died of wounds in 1864.

The corrected roster entries for the two read as follows:

Weigel, John [Weigle] (2): Enl. 1 August 1861. Enl. Co. A, 12th Bn., GA Art. 13 July 1862. Converted to Co. A, 13th Bn. GA Art. October 1862. Co. converted to Co. A, 63rd Inf. Regt. December 1863. Appt. 11th Cpl. July [August] 1863. WIA Kennesaw Mountain, GA 27 June 1864. D. from wounds 13 July 1864. [Other records show enl. Augusta Battery.] B. [29 May] 1841. Bd. Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond Cty.

Weigle, John Michael [Weigel], (1, 2): Enl. 16 December 1863 Capt. Holleyman’s Co., 1st Regt. Local Troops (Augusta). Elected 2nd Corp. Reenl. 24 July 1864 when Co. converted to Co. C., 1st Regt. Local Troops. Prom. 5th (Orderly) Sgt. Listed on muster rolls as “Exempt as practical printer” through April, 1864. B. 23 February 1842.  D. 20 November 1907. B. Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond Cty.

These entries will be corrected in any future editions of I Will Give Them One More Shot.  It has always been my desire to make the rosters as accurate as possible, and I continue to encourage any descendents of First Georgia soldiers to contact me with updates.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More "Shameless Self-Promotion"

My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy is now available in Nook format through Barnes and Noble.  The listing is available here.

This book has been very much a labor of love for me.  I started it over 16 years ago following a conversation with my aunt Cecil Costine about ancestors who served in the Civil War.  During the research for the novel, I became enthralled with the story of the First Georgia Volunteers, so this manuscript ended up on the shelf while I completed that book.  I finally resumed rewriting just about a year ago, and am thrilled to finally have it out.  I hope everyone enjoys it.    

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What If?

On February 17, 1862, the First Georgia, along with two Tennessee Regiments, received transfer orders.  They were to head west to join the forces under General Albert Sidney Johnston.  Excitement prevailed in camp, as written by a correspondent for the Atlanta Southern Confederacy:
CAMP MASON, NEAR Winchester, Va.,
February 17, 1862.

Editors Southern Confederacy:

            Great excitement and activity prevails this morning throughout the camp of Gen. Loring’s whole former command.  This officer was recently promoted a Major-General, and no doubt, will be assigned to another Department of the Army.  His former Brigade have all been transferred from the Valley District to other Divisions of the army; and have been disposed of as follows:  The 1st Georgia, 1st and 3rd Tennessee Volunteers, received orders late yesterday evening to report without for delay for duty, in Gen. A. S. Johnston, at Knoxville, Tenn.  Orders were issued at the same time to the 3rd Arkansas, 7th and 14th Tennessee Volunteers to the effect that those Regiments should report forthwith to Gen. Holmes, commanding the Aquia District, at Fredericksburg, Va.  The remainder of Gen. Loring’s late command, comprising the 21st, 23rd, 37th, 42nd, and 48th Virginia Volunteers, together with Maj. Munford’s Battalion of Irish Regulars, are ordered to report immediately to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at Manassas.

            This is a complete re-organization of Brigades, and I havn’t, as yet, been able to learn under whose immediate command the several Brigades will be placed.  I learn Geo. Kirby Smith’s Brigade are marching hither from Manassas, to supply the place of the troops before mentioned in the Valley District.

            We will leave this place for our several points of destination as soon as we can get transportation.  Quartermasters are actively employed this morning devising means of transportation.  Wagon-masters and teamsters are equally as busy in getting their wagon trains and teams ready for the march.

            There is an expression of joy resting on every countenance at the prospect of leaving this frigid, rigorous climate.  There is not a single regret in the heart of any one of us at the thought of leaving the snow-clad mountains of Northern Virginia.  The truth is, we’ve performed such hard service, and experienced such intense suffering in this field of military labor, that we were willing and anxious to be transported to some other department of the army.  We now go with cheerful hearts to meet the ruthless invader of our soil in new and different fields.  Clothed with justice and right, our valiant boys, with strong arms and brave hearts, will meet the Hessians successfully on any field in which anything like an equal number is engaged on either side.

            We’ve had one or two considerable snows here of late.  This is cold and disagreeable day.  It is sleeting very heavily.  We will march to Strasburg, 18 miles distant; thence we will go by Railroad to our point of destination.

            Please change my paper to Knoxville, Tenn.  I while away many hours profitably and pleasantly perusing your almost invaluable paper.  You will hear from me again soon.  Haven’t time to write more at present.


The First Georgia would not make it to Johnston's army.  Landslides on the railroad halted the regiment.  Because the First was close to the end of its one-year term of service, it was decided to divert the regiment back to Georgia to muster out.

I have often wondered what would have happened if the tracks had not become blocked.  Would the First Georgia have joined General Johnston's army?  Would they then have been held in service long enough to participate in the horrendous Battle of Shiloh? 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Thanks to the Visitors

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who visit this blog.  As of this week, One More Shot has had over 10,000 pageviews!  By far, the most visited page is one of my earliest posts, entitled "WHICH First Georgia?" (located here).  I sincerely hope that over the past three years that I have been able to provide good information to my visitors.  Many Thanks!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Witness To Suffering

On January 19, 1862, Lieutenant Evan P. Howell of the Washington Rifles wrote home to his uncle of the suffering his company had endured during the march from Winchester to Bath and then on to Romney.  The letter was published in the February 5 edition of the Sandersville Central Georgian.

January 19, 1862.

Dear Uncle:  I have had nothing of much importance to write up to the first of this month; and since then we have been moving from place to place so that I could not write.

On the 1st of January, as you have heard from the newspaper, we left Winchester, taking a western course.  Three days match, camping at night without tents or blankets on the snow-covered ground, brought us to Bath, where the celebrated Berkley Springs are.  Here there was quite a large force of the enemy, but on our approach they ran off, leaving their sick, a number of tents, provisions, stores, &c.  Our troops double quicked through the town in pursuit of them, but were unable to get but twenty prisoners.  These belonged to the 39th Illinois Regiment.  I saw them and was near by when one was captured.  I had charge of the Ordnance train on that day, and had gone forward to know what to do with it when a little fellow run down to the road and said there was a Yankee at his house, which was about two hundred yards distant.  We sent up some men who found the Yankee under the bed.  He appears very well satisfied with his situation.

At Bath our troops were divided,--Col. Rusk, of the 3rd Arkansas Regiment, took his Regiment and the 37th Virginia and went west of Bath towards the Capon Bridge with the object to burn this bridge, which is on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad while the balance of our troops went north toward Hancock, Maryland.  We arrived at that place in a short time—or more properly opposite it, for it is on the other side of the Potomac—stayed there for two days without anything to eat or a blanket to sleep on.  We shelled the town to our satisfaction, and Col. Rusk returning after having accomplished his object, we all turned back, having, I presume, done all we intended.  We came twelve miles from Bath where we camped three days to recruit our health.  After the experation of that time we took up our line of march for Romney, where there were 4,000 of the enemy under Gen. Kelly.  We reached Romney after a march of five days and found the Yankees had left just as soon as they heard we were advancing on them, notwithstanding they were strongly fortified.  We got a considerable lot or stores from them here but not as much as we got at Bath and Hancock.

Now I have told you what we have done I will next tell you what it has done for us.  Our Regiment left Winchester with seven hundred men and brought to Romney only two hundred and forty men.  The Washington Rifles left Winchester with sixty-two men and now have twenty-five.  Two-thirds of our Regiment are now sick enough to be in the Hospital.  I notice that the army correspondence from Manassas think it is hard for their sick to lay in the horrid Hospitals, and speak of the hardships their troops undergo in winter quarters.  But what would they think of our fix?  In the bleak climate of North Western Virginia, the ground covered one foot deep with snow, with the meager protection of a common tent and half the time not even that, traveling in the day over the rough frozen road, some men with their bare feet on the ground.  This is no exaggerated picture, we see it every day.  I marched day before yesterday seven miles with my toes on the icy road, having worn out the second pair of shoes since I left Winchester.

It would move the heart of any one who is not in the army (for all of us are used to it,) to go through this camp and hear the terrible coughing—some coughing until they vomit.  Yet we have no Hospital for our sick.  Few men at home have any idea what we are undergoing, nor is it possible to tell all we have stood.

Yours affectionately,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Research - Use Your Local Library

Without a doubt, one of my most valuable resources while researching material for I Will Give Them One More Shot was the research department of my local library.  The staff there was extremely helpful in tracking down multitudes of obscure books.  As mentioned in a previous post, period newspapers can be a goldmine of information when doing research. The folks at the research desk were able to obtain a multitude of microfilm rolls for old newspapers from libraries and archives from across the country, saving me precious time and money that would have been spent traveling to these repositories. Here are just a few examples of newspaper microfilm which I examined at the facilities of the Henderson County (NC) Public Library:
Atlanta Daily Intelligencer
Atlanta Gate City Guardian
Atlanta Southern Confederacy
Augusta Daily Constitutionalist
Columbus Daily Enquirer
Columbus Daily Sun
Columbus Daily Times
Columbus Weekly Times
Cumberland Evening Times
Macon Daily Telegraph
Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
Sandersville Central Georgian
Savannah Republican
Most public libraries can also provide their patrons with log-ins for various research sites. For example, the Henderson County Library is associated with the NC LIVE program (North Carolina Libraries for Virtual Education) through which I was able to access sites such as Heritage Quest (www.heritagequestonline.com) which contains census records and old books.
Lastly, one more fantastic online resource is at www.archive.org – this wonderful site contains a multitude of digitized public books which can be accessed by a fairly easy search engine. Among the public domain works to be found on this site, and which were used as sources in my book, are Isaac Hermann’s Memoirs of a Confederate Veteran 1861-1865, originally published in 1911, and Oscar Cantrell’s 1864 book Sketches of the First Regiment Georgia Volunteers. The books on this site can be either read online, or downloaded in various formats, such as .pdf, DjVu, or even Kindle. Archive.org can even find defunct websites using its “Wayback Machine” search engine.