"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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Feast

As Christmas approached in 1861, the men of the First Georgia, many away from home for the first time, did their best to prepare celebrations for the holiday. Lieutenant William O. Fleming of the Bainbridge Independents wrote in a letter to his wife how he could “see you all now, in my imagination, seated around a nice, blazing Georgia christmas Eve fire.” Private Lavender R. Ray and his messmates in the Newnan Guards gathered the ingredients for eggnog and “enjoyed ourselves last night and this morning.”

In his memoirs of service with Oglethorpe Infantry, entitled Under The Stars And Bars and published in 1900, Walter Clark wrote of a Christmas feast that did not turn out quite as planned:

With a laudable desire to celebrate the day in appropriate style we had arranged with a colored caterer to supply our mess table with the proverbial turkey and such other adjuncts as the depleted condition of our financial bureau would permit. The day dawned and in the early morning hours our appetites for the coming feast were whetted by an eggnog kindly furnished the entire company by Lieu*. J. V. H. Allen. The Christmas sun passed its meridian and traveled on its setting with no Joshua to stay its course. The appointed dinner hour came, as all appointed times do, but the proverbial turkey came not, with adjuncts or without. With our gastronomic hopes knocked finally into pi, but not mince pie, we sat down at last to our hardtack and bacon, lamenting in our hearts the uncertainty of “aught that wades, or soars, or shines beneath the stars.” Whether the roost, from which our caterer expected to supply our larder was too well guarded on the preceding night, or whether the rating given our mess by the commercial agencies was unsatisfactory has remained through all these years an unsolved problem.
To everyone from the Martin family, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Troops Have Arrived

In December, 1861, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was planning an offensive strike against Federal troops ensconced in the strategic town of Romney, formerly of Virginia and now in West Virginia.

As part of a brigade under the command of Colonel William B. Taliaferro, the First Georgia arrived in Winchester. Through recruitment and new arrivals from home, the regiment entered its camp at nearly full strength. General Jackson noted the arrival of Taliaferro’s regiments in a report to his immediate superior, General Joseph E. Johnston:

Winchester, Va., December 24, 1861.


GENERAL: In reply to your letter of December 21 I have to state that on inquiry I learn from General Loring that there is no company of Colonel Moore's regiment in Colonel Gilham's regiment. The regiments now here from Western Virginia are: The Twenty-third Virginia, aggregate 517; Thirty-seventh Virginia, aggregate 846; First Georgia, aggregate 918; Third Arkansas, aggregate 756. 

I do not know the names and strength of the other regiments ordered here. As soon as I learn them I will report to you.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.