"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, February 26, 2012

Stalled Transfer

Taken from the March 8, 1862, edition of the Atlanta Southern Confederacy:

Letter from “Nestor.”

LYNCHBURG, Va., Feb 25, 1862.

Dear Confederacy:

I informed you in my letter of the 16th inst. respecting the division made by the War Department of Gen. Loring’s late command, and also the different departments to which the several brigades had been transferred. For want of transportation the regiments ordered to report to Gen. A. Sidney Johnston, at Knoxville, Tennessee, were detained several days at camp Mason after the reception of the order from the Adjutant General. We left the vicinity of Winchester on the 20th inst., but in consequence of the great difficulty of procuring transportation on the Manassas Gap and the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, we did not get to this city till Monday morning, 24th instant. Upon our arrival here we found that we could not prosecute our journey further by this route until some damages on the Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, caused by the recent very heavy rains in this section, could be repaired. I am informed that there are not less than seventeen land slides on that road between Dublin and Bristol. Besides these slides several culverts have been greatly impaired, and the trestle work in many places materially damaged. I learn there are seven or eight hundred hands now at work repairing this road, but it will take them some time—at least five or six days—to get it in a condition for trains to pass over it.

Thus, you perceive, the most direct and main line of communication and transportation between this State and the West is entirely cut off for awhile. This Providential occurrence is working materially against us. The tide of battle at the present is against us in that section. Our brave soldiers have had to contend, and are now contending, against desperate odds in Tennessee. The War Department, fully advised of the fact, has ordered all the troops that could possibly be spared from Virginia to rush to the assistance of their brethren, and aid them in repelling the ruthless invaders from the Volunteer State, who have dared to pollute its soil with the touch of their feet. But many of these gallant troops who are most eager to enter the contest, and to aid in changing the tide of battle, are hindered for awhile in consequence of this line of transportation being cut off. I hope these obstacles will not long remain in our way.

We can learn nothing here satisfactory concerning the movements of our army in Tennessee—so conflicting are the reports. I am not willing to believe the reports respecting the extent of our loss at Fort Donelson. We hope to hear something definite and reliable from that quarter soon.

I learn there is great excitement at Manassas. A fight is expected to come off at Centerville daily.

Two piers of the bridge connecting the South Side Railroad depot with the Island in in James River, was burned last Tuesday evening. By the active efforts of the soldiers and citizens the three remaining piers were saved from the flames, despite the heavy gale then prevailing.

Capt. Houser, of company “C” has just arrived from Richmond, and brings the intelligence that our regiment will in a few days be ordered to Macon, Georgia, where it will be disbanded. Our present term of enlistment expires with the 18th of March. Notwithstanding the sufferings and hardships the First Georgia Regiment has endured the past twelve months, I dare say the major portion, if not all of its members, will re-enlist and enter the field again by the opening of the spring campaign, if it be disbanded now. Such Patriotic men as compose this regiment will not be slow to act in this hour of our country’s peace.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

On To Knoxville

The First Georgia makes ready to head west, bound for Tennessee to join the army of General Albert Sidney Johnston.  General Jackson advises his General Joseph E. Johnston of the regiment's impending departure:

WINCHESTER, VA., February 18, 1862.
Commanding Department of Northern Virginia:

. . . The First Tennessee leaves for Knoxville at dawn to-morrow morning; would have left this morning, but I thought it best not to move until something could be heard respecting the time when the cars could receive them, as the weather has been very bad and the troops are comfortable in their present position, and are within a day's march of Strasburg.

To-morrow at 10 a. m. the First Georgia will leave, and the regiments for General Holmes will move in time for their railroad transportation, as there is no evidence of an immediate move on this place. . . .

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Also, Colonel Ramsey, still in Richmond recuperating from his most recent bout of severe illness, receives the following order:

Richmond, February 19, 1862.


II.  Colonel J. N. Ramsay [Ramsey,] First Regiment Georgia Volunteers, will proceed without delay to Knoxville, Tenn., and rejoin his regiment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Time To Move On

With much persuasion from friends such as Virginia Governor John Letcher, General Jackson withdraws his resignation from the army.  He immediately files charges against General Loring for neglect of duty and "Conduct subversive of good order and military discipline." 

President Davis and Secretary Benjamin have had enough of the feud between the two officers.  They decide to break up the Army of the Northwest - all the Virginia regiments will remain with the Valley Army, but the others are to be forwarded to other commands:

Centreville, Va., February 14, 1862

General JACKSON:

SIR: The President, through the Secretary of War, directs that the Georgia regiment now with General Loring be sent immediately to Knoxville; that the two Tennessee regiments of General Anderson's brigade and Colonel Rust's (Arkansas) regiment be sent to report to Major-General Holmes, commanding Aquia District, and the remaining troops of General Loring's command sent to this district (of the Potomac). Please give the necessary orders from these movements, to be made in the order in which they are written above.


Thanks to all who stopped by the Mercer University Press table last weekend during the Chickamauga Civil War Show. 

Me with Marsha Luttrell of Mercer University Press

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Enough is Enough

The tension radiating out of Romney has come to a head. The petition signed by the officers of the Army of the Northwest, and endorsed by General Loring, has made its way to the desk of Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin and President Jefferson Davis. Impatient for results, Colonel Taliaferro has obtained leave and has journeyed to Richmond with the intention of persuading the government to recall the Army of the Northwest to Winchester. Davis, alarmed at the possibility of Loring’s command being surrounded, directs Benjamin to order the troops out. Benjamin sends a short, terse order to Jackson:

“Our news indicates that a movement is being made to cut off General Loring's command. Order him back to Winchester immediately.”

Jackson is astounded to receive this order, but he complies, ordering the Army of the Northwest to return to Winchester. Outraged that all the gains made by his campaign have been negated, Jackson sends a carefully worded letter to Benjamin:

Winchester, Va., January 31, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Your order requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his command to Winchester immediately has been received and promptly complied with.

With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respect fully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, P. A. C. S.

Jackson's superior officer, General Joseph E. Johnston, is taken aback by Jackson's request:

Centreville, February 7, 1862,

Respectfully forwarded, with great regret. I don't know how the loss of this officer can be supplied. General officers are much wanted in this department.


The Confederacy is in danger of losing one of its heroes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We Are Not Amused

General Jackson has received the "Romney Petition," sent through channels.  Good soldier that he is, "Stonewall" forwards it on to his commanding officer, General Joseph E. Johnston - with the following notation:

Winchester, February 4, 1862

Respectfully forwarded, but disapproved.

Major-General, Commanding.
This weekend I will be at the Chickamauga Civil War Show in Dalton, Georgia.  I invite everyone to stop by the Mercer University Press table to say hi.