"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.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

. . . and Back Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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