"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, October 3, 2011

October 3, 1861

Shortly after midnight, Union General Joseph Reynolds, at the head of nearly 5,000 troops and thirteen pieces of artillery, began his march down from Cheat Summit Fort.  His target, Confederate Camp Bartow, under the command of General Henry R. Jackson, which was located along the banks of the Greenbrier River near an old stage tavern known as Travelers Repose. 

Near dawn, Reynold's skirmishers struck a Confederate picket line under the command of Colonel James N. Ramsey of the First Georgia.  The pickets held off four separate attacks, but when the Federals brought up artillery, Ramsey ordered the troops to withdraw.  Ramsey himself was cut off from his troops as the action swirled around him.

Colonel Edward Johnson of the Twelfth Georgia, leading a detachment of about 100 men cobbled together from his regiment and the First Georgia, advanced from the fortifications to assist Ramsey's pickets.  Johnson was able to hold up the Federal advance for almost an hour, giving the troops in the breastworks time to bolt their breakfast and form up.  Finally giving way, Johnson's men streamed back toward the camp.  It was at this time that Private David Young of the Gate City Guards, the soldier mentioned in this blog's masthead, was killed.  While Johnson conducted his delaying action, Jackson deployed his troops.  The First Georgia was placed on the far right flank of Jackson's line.  "Your regiment have the post of danger," Jackson told Major George H. Thompson of the First.

The Union commander now ordered up his artillery, which went into battery just eight hundred yards in front of Jackson's redoubts.  During the next four hours, a titanic artillery duel continued between the two sides, with the thunder of the cannon echoing across the valley.  Reynolds also tried advancing troops toward each of the Rebel's flanks, but was repulsed each time.  Finally, having made no progress against the Confederate entrenchments, and observing reinforcements coming up behind Jackson, Reynolds broke off the attack and retreated back to Cheat Summit Fort. 

The Confederates celebrated their defensive victory.  After the battle, a soldier from the Quitman Guards (Company K of the First), out looking for souvenirs on the battlefield, found the flag of the 7th Indiana Regiment leaning against a tree.  The banner was presented to General Jackson and forwarded to Richmond as a trophy of the First Georgia. 

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