"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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diary of a Soldier

151 years ago, the First Georgia Volunteers were experiencing defeat and retreat in the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia.  One soldier, Corporal Nathan Pugh of the Walker Light Infantry, noted the events in his diary.
Thursday, July 11th, 1861.—In the afternoon, General Garnett received information, rendering it absolutely necessary that we should evacuate Laurel Hill; consequently, orders were issued to prepare to march.

The Walker Light Infantry, besides several other companies of our regiment, were on duty some distance from the camp, and knew nothing of the orders until dark. On returning to camp at night, we packed up, and prepared to leave, not having time to at supper, and notwithstanding many of us had nothing to eat during the day. We left just after dark, and marched all night through the rain and mud with heavy knapsacks and muskets.

Friday, July 12, 1861.—This morning, at seven o’clock, we arrived within three miles of Beverly, when we found the road blockaded, and supposing it to have been done by the enemy, who, from the blockade and other causes, it was thought had possession of Beverly. Here the General ordered us to countermarch, and take a wagon road leading in a Northeasterly direction, towards St. George, in Tucker county.

Leaving the turnpike, we marched all day, without food, and with but little rest. During the day, an immense quantity of clothing and blankets were thrown away, together with camp equipage of every description. The rain having ceased to fall early in the morning, we marched beneath the scorching rays of a July’s sun until late in the afternoon, when the rain again commence falling in torrents. It continued to rain during the evening and night, making the mountainous road almost impassable. As our company (the Walker Light Infantry) was in the rear of a very long train of horses and wagons, we were made to wade through mud and water, at times nearly knee-deep.

In this condition we reached a hollow or swamp about 2 o’clock at night. Here, in this dark and dismal ravine of mud and water, between the mountains, Lieut. W. D. Russell and myself, with several members of our company, concluded to remain during the night, not knowing how far in advance the main body of the brigade were camping. We slept on the road side, muddy and wet, weary with the fatigue of the twenty-four hour’s march, and hungry from a thirty-six hours fast.
To Be Continued . . .

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