Image: Pvt. Francis Bartow Bevill, Co. B, 8th Georgia Infantry

21 08 2022
Francis Bartow Bevill as midshipman (FindAGrave)

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Unit History – 8th Georgia Infantry

2 06 2022

Organized by Colonel F. S. Bartow during the spring of 1861. All of its companies had seen prior military service in the Georgia militia and were from Rome, Savannah, and Atlanta, and the counties of Greene, Echols, Pulaski, and Floyd. Early in June the unit was ordered to Virginia and, assigned to F. S. Bartow’s Brigade, fought at First Manassas. In April, 1862, it had but 251 men fit for duty and for the balance of the war served under G. T. Anderson. The 8th was involved in the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days’ Battles to Cold Harbor, except when it was with Longstreet at Suffolk, in Georgia, and at Knoxville. It did not take part in the Battle of Chickamauga. The unit participated in the Petersburg siege south and north of the James River and later the Appomattox Campaign. It reported 41 killed and 159 wounded at First Manassas, had 28 killed, 65 wounded, and 11 missing during the Seven Days’ Battles, and lost 8 killed and 54 wounded at Second Manassas. It lost more than 50 percent of the 312 engaged at Gettysburg, and from April 14 to May 6, there were 92 disabled, and from August 1 to December 31, 1864, the regiment had 82 killed or wounded. At the surrender it contained 14 officers and 139 men. The field officers were Colonels F. S. Bartow, William M. Gardner, L. M. Lamar, and John R. Towers; Lieutenant Colonels Thomas L. Cooper and Edward J. Magruder; Majors John F. Cooper and Goerge O. Dawson.

From Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army, p. 89





Obituary – Sgt. James S. George, Co. F, 8th Georgia Infantry

4 02 2022

For the Southern Confederacy.

James. S. George, 4th Sergeant Atlanta Grays.

The unnatural and unnecessary war which is entailing sorrow, and suffering, and bereavement throughout the Southern Confederacy, is marked by many revolting facts. Among these, and by no means the least revolting, it the difference in social position, family influence and moral and intellectual worth of those composing the two armies arrayed against each other. As a general fact, the Black Republican army consists of mercenary hirelings, unprincipled blackguards, whose high ambition is plunder and the destruction of domestic happiness, and whose most animating watchword is “Booty and Beauty.” In the army of the Confederate States are to be found in large proportion, men of property, education, talent, private worth and commanding influence. Hundreds of these men occupied positions of usefulness and honorable distinction. All of them, with but little exception, comparatively, are beloved and cherished at home, as sons, brothers, relatives and friends, of the best families in the land. Among them are no hirelings – not even a drafted soldier answers his name when the roll is called. – Prompted by no sordid considerations, and unaffected by unworthy motives of any sort, they constitute an army of self-sacrificing and devoted men, presenting a bulwark of defense against the vile invaders of their common country – a noble band of volunteers, whose highest ambition is their country’s independence, and whose most inspiring watchword is “Liberty or Death.”

An illustration of the truth of these remarks is to be found in the subject of this article – Serg’t James S. George, who left his native state, Georgia, on the 22d of May, as a member of the Atlanta Grays.

Serg’t George was quite young, being only twenty years old on the 22d of December preceding the memorable battle in which, as a soldier and a patriot, he offered his life a willing sacrifice upon the alter of his county – He had just entered upon the arena of public life a competitor for distinction in the profession of his choice. Having received a respectable elementary education, he commenced the study of law under Col. Printup, of Rome, and concluded his legal course at the Law School in Athens. During the few months of his residence and practice in the city of Atlanta, he had many valuable friends, and had given flattering indications of his future success. In the bloom of youth, surrounded by relatives and friends who loved him, the cherished son of an aged father, with talents above the ordinary standard, and professional prospects growing brighter every day, he heard the call of his country for her young men to repair to her borders and repel the invasion of an insolent and disappointed despot. Prompt and cheerful to respond with others like himself to our noble State, he obeyed the call, and was among the first who went forth to meet the dangers and liabilities of the camp and battle-field on the soil of Virginia. At Harper’s Ferry, and Winchester, and Darkesville, he was always at his post; and in the hour of threatened attack, was ever found ready to act his part in the expected struggle. He contributed his full share, bravely and nobly, in giving enviable distinction to the gallant 8th Georgia Regiment, and side by side with the dauntless Bartow, on the plains of Manassas, poured out his heart’s blood in defense of his country’s rights. As a messmate he was beloved by his comrades for his mild, generous and manly bearing. As a private, and afterwards a subaltern, he enjoyed the confidence and respect of his superior officers, and the friendship and esteem of his companions in arms. He was one of those who made the almost unparalleled forced march from Winchester to Piedmont – who waded the Shenandoah in the night – who hastened with the noble, generous impulses to the scene of strife, and who, weary and faint from hunger and the continuous exertion, boldly dashed into the thickest of the fight, and gloriously “illustrated their native State,” by a stern, unflinching courage that claimed and received from the magnanimous Beauregard the high compliment – ”8th Georgia, I salute you.” – Poor George! he heard not the proud recognition of his valor and self-devotion, for he lay upon the battle-field, stricken to the earth by the death wounds he had received. The battle of Manassas Plains will occupy its page in the record of great and triumphant achievements, and when the names of its heroes are registered, let not the name of James S. George be forgotten.

A. T. Holmes.

(Atlanta, GA) Southern Confederacy, 9/15/1861

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Asst. Surg. Thomas Alexander Means, 11th Georgia Infantry, After the Battle (1)

2 02 2022

Letter from Dr. Thomas A. Means to his Father.

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The Wounded – Medical Department Poorly supplied – Doctors and nurses wanted – An ungainly Michigan woman – Federal Doctors with lugubrious countenances – Artillery and munitions captured – Those handcuffs – A letter written by an enemy – The Zouaves a set of bloodthirsty thieves and brutes – Robbing houses and insulting the inmates – Mr. Hills and Mr. Yarborough – Col. Anderson – His Regiment and Col. Gartell’s advance towards Alexandria.

Manassas Junction, Jul 23, 1861.

Dear Father: The pressure of active professional duties, since my arrival here on the day of battle, (21st instant,) has prevented me from giving earlier attention to you claims, and even now while I write, my services are demanded.

The great victory of Sunday last, cost us many lives, while thousands of the conquered foe yet lie wounded, dying, or dead, and uncared for, upon the battle-field and the surrounding grounds, about three and a half miles distant from this place.

One hundred and ninety victims of the fight are under our charge, 123 of whom are Federalists, hailing mostly from Manie, Wisconsin, and New York.

I have faithfully devoted myself night and day to their relief and comfort, with unremitting toil, while my couch is any spot, however inconvenient, which I may for a time incidentally secure.

I regret exceedingly, to find the medical department so poorly supplied with fixtures, blankets, water, wine, brandy, &c. Indeed it may be said to be almost entirely destitute of these neccessary appliances. I have been constrained, therefore, to tax my ingenuity in overcoming many obstacles which would otherwise have greatly embarrassed successful treatment. Physicians are still needed, notwithstanding that many have offered their services; while of nurses there are none, save one ungainly woman from Michigan, whose homely features and broad dialect, sometimes provoke a smile. She is busy, however, in the culinary department. Even her own people seem to claim but little of her sympathies or attention, as she considers them to have acted foolishly, and to have been greatly deceived. Four Federal physicians are in camp, serving their men; but exhibit much “don’t-carishness” upon their lugubrious countenances, as to render them anything but agreeable. All of us, with one heart and one accord, pay their wounded, as much attention as our own, for suffering knows no distinction of caste, kindred or condition; and christian charity, under which circumstances, should make none.

A gentleman, at my side, just from the field, says that the famous Billy Wilson’s Aid and two privates, have been taken prisoner. They were found after the battle, wounded and unable to make their way to camp, having been probably left by their panic stricken friends to meet their fate, while they were effecting their “brilliant retreat.”

The wild waste and general scattering of munitions of war, baggage wagons, ambulances, cannon, &c., were almost without a parallel in the history of warfare. I counted, and have, therefore seen with my own eyes, 98 pieces of artillery. In addition to these, we have taken guns, knapsacks, cartridges, balls, &c., to out fit an army twice as large as our own.

One of the most interesting articles of the capture, was the load of hand cuffs (several thousand, it is said,) which the thoughtful and benevolent invaders brought with them, perhaps (?) for the purpose of making the attachment of the Southern “rebels” to the Union stronger than their own Punic faithlessness have ever been able to effect. Might not a few of these specimens of Northern artisanship, sent o every town and village in the South, produce striking results upon the minds of our people?

I have just read an interesting letter found upon the field, written in pencil, over the signature of J. H. H., and addressed to his sister in Milwaukee, Wis., a brief extract from which I give you. He says “When they” (the “Grand Army”) “reached Centreville, on Saturday night, (20th,) they numbered 50,000 men, whilst a reinforcement of 40,000 came in from Alexandria and other places.” He further says, it is “an easy matter to conquer the South; but I suspect the rebels will make a stand, as their forces are numerous, and exceedingly well armed and equipped. Three days rations were put in our haversacks, with the understanding that the fourth day should be spent in Richmond.”

He gave some interesting accounts of the New York Zouaves, whom he denounces, in his own language as a “set of blood-thirsty thieves, having less sympathy than brutes.” They entered an old Virginia mansion on this side of Alexandria – the inoffensive inmates of which were about seating themselves to dine – took possession of the table, devoured the outspread meal, and then bade them “good day,” some of them placing their thumbs contemptuously upon the tip of their noses and scornfully twitching their little fingers as they passed off. * * * * * *

I supposed that here and at Bull’s Run, not less than 15,000 were killed and missing of the enemy, while our loss, so far as known, may amount to 2,500.

I have two you men from Georgia, now by my side, belonging to the 8th Georgia Regiment, Co. Bartow – who were badly wounded. Mr. T. J. Hills, of Rome, Ga., and Mr. Yarborough, of Floyd county, cousin to Rev. John Yarborough, our excellent minister. The latter died, in great pain, last night, but was resigned to his fate, and sent many words of consolation, by members of his company, to his friends and relations. Young Hills, notwithstanding my constant attention, is, I regret to say, at this date, still in a dangerous condition. His wounds were inflicted by two Minnie balls, which struck him on the left side below the fifth rib, penetrating his body. I have his effects, and will promptly turn them over to any authorized friend, should he not recover.

I have just this moment, for the first time, since my arrival, seen Col. Anderson. He is well, and hearty; but chafing over his disappointment in not having shared in the fight – arriving, as he did, three days after the battle. The Regiment (10th**) is encamped six miles North-East of this place, ”en route” for Alexandria. Col. Gartrell’s Regiment, it is said, leaves this afternoon for the same place.

THOS. A. MEANS,
Assistant Surgeon 10th** Regiment
Georgia Volunteers

(Atlanta, GA) Southern Confederacy, 8/6/1861

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* Thomas J. Means and Lewis G. Yarborough, both of Co. E, 8th GA Infantry.

** Early on there was some confusion, even among members of the units, regarding the numbering of the Georgia regiments.

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Obituary – Capt. Columbus W. Howard, Co. D, 8th Georgia Infantry

31 01 2022

[Communicated.]

Our Worthy Dead.

———-

IN MEMORY OF CAPT. C. W. HOWARD.

———-

The remains of the late Capt. Columbus W. Howard, of Meriwether county, Georgia, who fell upon the battlefield Sunday, July 21st, now rest at Manassas Junction. It was a solemn, quiet and melancholy burial. There was no pomp, brilliant display nor glitter of vain glory; not a drum was heard, nor a funeral not, as the last sad tribute of respect was paid to the lamented dead. He died one of Georgia’s heroes, and his corpse was followed to the grave by a large concourse of weeping friends and kind associates, away from his own dear native State, with a simple stone, and the words “Columbus W. Howard, Captain Echols Guards, 8th Georgia Regiment,” rudely carved thereon, to mark his lonely resting place.

The death of one so young, whose future bid so fair to be one of much usefulness to his country, brings with it a train of melancholy, and a host of very sad reflections. Stretched out in the distance before him lay fields of promise; the glittering star of glory and renown was lighting a pathway to honor, distinction and illustrious fame – so early in the onset of the troubles of our country, and just achieving perhaps the greatest victory the world ever knew, with laurels waiting to deck his noble brow, he was felled to the earth by a leaden messenger of death. We are more than ever convinced that “all is vanity and vexation of spirit,” and the “paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

Capt. Howard was of one of the first families of Georgia. Endowed with a superior intellect, splendid military talents, familiar with all the arts of war, possessing a resistless and firey spirit, added to which was a temperament so becoming to a soldier and a fondness for the profession, he thought it his duty to offer his services to his country.

During his connection with the Mexican war, he was in several desperate engagements with the enemy, and acted upon every occasion with all that coolness and bravery so characteristic of a true Southerner. Linking his fortunes with that of our infant Republic, and by his self sacrificing devotion to a cause in which was enlisted his all, by his eagerness and determination upon the battlefield, and by his dauntless daring and gallantry, he lost his life. Willingly did he lay it upon the altar of his county in defence of Southern Rights and Southern liberty. It was in the most desperate and dangerous hours of the day, and when the battle was raging, he won his death. And to die thus at his post, is to die like a hero, and die the death of the brave. He made his country’s cause his cause, and pouted out his life’s blood in defence of her liberty.

The subject of this feeble tribute was greatly possessed with those social qualities of head and heart that always attack a large circle of admiring friends. He at once became popular as an officer of the first rank, and respected by his brother soldiers. Columbus, as such he was more familiarly known, was cut down in the flower of his manhood.

He was married to one of Georgia’s most estimable and accomplished young ladies, and by his untimely death he leaves a fond and an affectionate wife to mourn her melancholy loss; society is deprived of a brilliant ornament and out army sustains the loss of an efficient and gallant soldier.

He was a pure christian, an humble advocate of the cause of God, and a shining light to his fellow-man. This consolation survives. He fought bravely, and died becoming a soldier. He is one of our heroes, and his memory will be enshrined and live forever in the hearts of all true Georgians.

D. C. J.

(Atlanta, GA) Southern Confederacy, 8/20/1861

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Pvt. (Dr.) William C. Humphreys, Co. F, 8th Georgia Infantry, On His Captivity (1)

23 01 2022

News from our Prisoners in Washington.

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Letter from Dr. Humphreys.

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THE GRAYS WHO ARE PRISONERS – THEIR TREATMENT – THEORDORE HAMMOD’S WOUNDS – DR. HUMPHRIES ATTENDING OUR SICK AND WOUNDED PRISONERS, &C., &C.

———-

We ar permitted, by Mr. N. J. Hammond, Esq., to lay before our readers the following letter, for which we return our sincere thanks:

———-

Washington City, July 31, 1861.

Mr. N. J. Hammond:

Dear Sir: Having an opportunity to address you a few lines, I do so , for the purpose of let- you know our whereabouts and condition. – There are of the Atlanta Grays now here, held as prisoners of war, your brother T. A. Hammond, George Barker, Samuel Gavit, James Kershaw, Lewis Reick, G. H. Grambling, and myself. We were taken on Sunday, 21st instant, at the battle of Bull’s Run, and brought to this city Wednesday following. The officers of the Federal Government who have us in charge have treated us kindly since we have been here. The confinement is bad on us, still not as bad as it would have been if we were in close confinement. We have the privilege through the day of exercise in a good large yard; and, upon the whole, are treated as well as prisoners of war could expect. You brother T. A. Hammond received two wounds, one in the right shoulder, a slight flesh wound, the other in the thumb of the right hand. His thumb had to be taken off at the hand joint. He is doing very well. His shoulder will be well in a few days. I have charge of our hospital, and will give every attention to our sick and wounded of our prisoners. Be kind enough to call on my family, and let them hear from me, also, on the relations of others who are here prisoners. I have written to my wife since I have been here. I will let our friends hear from us as often as permission is granted me while I remain, which I hope will not be long, as I trust there will be an honorable exchange made.

Yours, respectfully,
WM. C. HUMPHRIES

(Atlanta, GA) Southern Confederacy, 8/14/1861

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Pvt. (Dr.) William C. Humphreys, Co. F, 8th Georgia Infantry, On His Captivity (2)

22 01 2022

Letter from Dr. Humphreys.

Washington, D. C., August 12, 1861.

To the Editor of the Richmond Examiner;

Having permission to write a few lines to my friends, and being desirous to give information to the friends of all who are held here as prisoners, to our condition and treatment, I address my letter to you with the request you publish it. There are sixty one of us confined in the old Capitol building, a list of whose names you will find enclosed. The authorities have placed over us as General Superintendent Mr. McDurmit, of New York, a kind and affable gentleman who does everything in his power to render our situation comfortable. The officers and guard under Mr. McDurmit are kind and gentlemanly in their deportment to us. Dr. Greenleaf, the attending prison surgeon, is very kind to us. I have a disposition to say, in behalf of the regular Federal officers with whom I have had anything to do, that they treated us as prisoners of war should be, and not as some of their papers have stated they ought to be.

The statements which frequently appear in the Northern papers, from anonymous writers, about inhuman and barbarous treatment by the Confederate Government of their prisoners are simply ridiculous, as no man of common sense could or would believe them. I am forced to believe the editors of papers who publish these anonymous articles of bad treatment of prisoners by our Government, do so to engender a spirit of revenge in the minds of the Northern people, which they know cannot be done otherwise. It may be, for aught I know, that reports of ill treatment of our prisoners are circulated through our Government. If so, I can say, as far as those confined here are concerned, it is a mistake, except in the instance of the mob on Pennsylvania Avenue, while we were being conveyed to our present place of confinement. In this instance we were shamefully and barbarously treated. We were dogged from one end of the Avenue to the other, by an infuriated mob, yelling “hang the rebels – shoot the d—n Secessionists,” and throwing stones, by which several of us came near losing our lives. – Some received severe and painful wounds on their heads, – others were hit in different places by stones – none of the party, twelve or fifteen in number, escaped being hit. Had it not been for the powerful exertions of the officer and his men, who had us in charge, driving back the mob, no doubt all would have been killed.

The officer in charge of us proved himself to be a man of firmness and bravery – his own men, as well as we, were being felled to the ground by stones, he himself in the midst of a continual shower of rocks; still undismayed, he urged his men to be firm and defend us at the sacrifice of their lives; this they did. The mob consisted of men and boys, white and black. A few drunken soldiers could occasionally be seen rushing toward us with drawn knives, but neither the general mob or the few soldiers seemed inclined to come in close proximity to the bayonets of our guard. With this exception our treatment has been good. I am glad to say the Government officials have guarded against any more such scenes being enacting by detailing a larger force to guard the prisoners through the streets of the city to their place of confinement. Our friends in this city and Baltimore have been very kind in furnishing us with clothing and food of a different kind from that usually furnished to soldiers. The Government furnishes us with two meals a day – soldiers fare. Our friends furnish us with such as can be furnished by friends. We long to be exchanged – we had rather be with our comrades in arms on the tented field, ready to help battle for our country and homes than the revel in the luxuries of princely mansions! How long are we to remain prisoners? It is a miserable life to lead even under favorable circumstances; but to know our countrymen are contending for theirs and our homes, and we unable to aid them, is almost insufferable. We beg you urge our Government to have us exchanged.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,
WM. C. HUMPHREYS

(Atlanta, GA) Southern Confederacy, 8/21/1861

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Corp. William Howard Merrell, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, On the Battle, Wounding, Capture, and Treatment

16 01 2021

In compliance with the request of friends in Rochester, and in pursuance of a resolution previously formed, I propose to publish a few reminiscences of my involuntary sojourn in the “Old Dominion.”

The events which I am about to narrate are of so recent occurrence, that a retentive memory would suffice to recall them with all due exactness and circumstantiality; but were it otherwise, I have only to turn to a little pocket diary, which has been a faithful and indelible reflector of all important occurrences, as they transpired, during a five months’ imprisonment in the Rebel Capital.

In presenting this narrative, I claim for it nothing but TRUTHFULLNESS – “a plain and unvarnished tale,” wherein I shall

“Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice;”

and may safely appeal to my late prison associates for the confirmation of any statement that is likely to be called into question.

With a view to form a connected narrative, I shall relate events in the order in which they transpired, commencing with my personal observations at the battle of Bull Run; yet, as it is no part of my design to describe that memorable engagement, I shall wholly confine myself to facts and incidents relating to my own regiment, the 27th N. Y. S. V. This regiment was organized at the Elmira Rendezvous in the month of May, and was ordered to Washington on the 10th of July. It consisted of three companies from Binghamton, one from Rochester, one from Albion, one from Lyons, one from Lima, one from Angelica, one from White Plains, and one from Mt. Morris. The field officers were Col. H. W. Slocum of Syracuse, Lt Col. J. J. Chambers of White Plains, and Maj. J. J. Bartlett of Binghamton. The regiment had the reputation of being one of the best officered in the service, and notwithstanding that it was newly recruited and but partially inured to the hardships of camp life, it was believed to be as effectually disciplined as any volunteer corps in the army of the Potomac.

The 27th did not participate in the action of Thursday the 18th of July, but in that of the Sunday following their mettle was fully tested, and I believe that no impartial eye-witness of the battle of Bull Run will maintain that any regiment, whether regular or volunteer, exhibited a greater degree of gallantry on the field, maneuvered with better regularity or precision, were more exposed to the enemy’s fire, or suffered more severely from its effects, than the one which has been facetiously christened the “Mutual Admiration Society” of Elmira. Notwithstanding the unaccustomed fatigue of an early and protracted march on Sunday morning, the feeling of the troops was animated, and they literally went on their way rejoicing. The enemy seemed hastily to abandon every position as we advanced, and the fact that the progress of the Union army from Washington had been marked only by a succession of light skirmishes, the less reflecting felt assured that we should not encounter a sufficient resistance on the way to Manassas, or even to Richmond, to furnish an appetite for rations. Yet how sadly different was the result.

Glancing back upon the interminable line of the Grand Army, as its several columns crept gradually toward Centreville – the sunlight flashing upon the serried bayonets, the regimental banners fluttering in the morning breeze, and the huge masses moving steadily, noiselessly and with the beautiful regularity of a street parade – the view was grand and imposing in the extreme, and though momentary, seemed worth the sight-seeing experience of an entire life. But the eventful scenes were to come, and the predictions of those who assumed that the enemy were disposed to let us “onward to Richmond” without contesting our ability to force a passage, were speedily silenced by the sound of heavy artillery from the batteries to which we had been lured. There was no longer doubting the fact that we were approaching the field of battle. The roar of cannon was succeeded by the roll of musketry, which at every step became more and more audible, and it was easy to perceive that though not with us, yet elsewhere the work of carnage and of death had already commenced in earnest.

As I before intimated, I shall attempt no general description of our engagement, but rather confine myself in this connection to a narrative of events, as they transpired, in my immediate vicinity, and within the scope of my own observation.

It was my good fortune to be selected as one of the color-guard of the 27th. Soon after entering the field, we saw at a distance what appeared to be our National Flag, but which was in reality that of the enemy. While we were still in doubt, but advancing, Adjutant Jenkins rode forward, with the remark that he would soon determine whether they were friends or foes. He placed his havelock on the point of his sword, which he held aloft as a flag of truce, but as he approached them he was greeted with a volley of musketry. Unharmed, however, he rode quickly back to his regiment, exclaiming, with considerable emphasis, “Give ‘em —, boys.” The 27th responded by opening their hottest(!) fire, and the enemy scattered. We subsequently learned that they were the 27th Virginia volunteers.

We continued to advance till confronted by the 8th Georgia, who stood their ground manfully for a time, loading and firing with great rapidity. They could not, however, withstand the regular and accurate discharges of the 27th, and we finally drove them back to a considerable distance, where they were reinforced. We were then in turn repulsed, and took refuge under a hill, where we remained until another advance was ordered.

(It was while resting here that one of my comrades, William Hanlon, of Rochester, Co. E, was most severely wounded. He was struck in the right leg by a cannon ball, and was thought to be killed outright. He survived, however, a cripple, to become a prisoner at Richmond, and was released and sent home on the 6th of October.)

Soon after this event Col. Slocum, our gallant commander, was ordered to charge a battery stationed on a knoll to our left, and was fearlessly leading on his regiment, in the midst of a tremendous fire, when he fell, severely wounded, and was immediately taken from the field. The occurrence was a severe blow to the regiment, who regarded their brave commander with a feeling of boundless affection. Happily he was spared to receive the appointment of Brigadier General, and the 27th is still under his charge.

The first member of the color-guard who was “stuck” was Corporal Fairchild. The regiment had for a moment halted, when the Corporal staggered back, crying, “O, boys, I am struck!” Placing his hand upon his breast, with the expectation, as he afterwards said, of finding it “covered with blood,” he accidently felt the ball (a grapeshot) in his shirt pocket! He immediately pulled it out, exclaiming, “Thank God, I am safe!” It was a spent ball. The Corporal survived the battle to become a prisoner at Richmond.

In the meantime the action had become fierce and sanguinary, and every soldier in the ranks realized that his regiment was quite as severely “exposed” as the most ardent-minded and valorous could desire. Our numbers were greatly diminished, and though our discharges were rapid, they had become irregular, and the men loaded and fired promiscuously. An incident may be related in this connection of rather a novel character. Corporal S—-s, of Rochester, a young man, who, since his enlistment, had been somewhat distinguished among his comrades for a religious zeal, fought manfully with the “full assurance of faith.” With every load of his musket he uttered an audible prayer to this effect: “O, Lord, send this bullet to the heart of a rebel, and spare my life!” A Manxman, who stood beside him, and who was quite as energetically engaged in the “discharge” of duty, censoriously retorted: “Hoot mon – shoot more and pray less!” Shooting was evidently the most pressing business in hand, but our Manxman, was probably not aware that a Yankee seldom attempts to do one thing at a time, and that it was quite proper to put two irons in the fire when the conflagration was so general and so extensive.

The 27th Regiment continued to march unflinchingly forward, literally amid a storm of “leaden rain and iron ball.” Indeed, it seemed as though we were confronting an avalanche of bullets. Many were mowed down. I think that but one of our line officers then deserted his post of duty, and a few days since I met him in the streets of Rochester, wearing the uniform of a private. To my inquiring upon this subject, he admitted that he had been cashiered in consequence of his behavior on that occasion, and that he afterward returned home. “But,” said he, “I could not help it; I ran despite of myself, for we were marching into the jaws of death. I am not a coward, and I mean to prove it. Therefore I have enlisted as a private soldier, and if I ever participate in another battle, I mean to stand my ground.”

In less than half an hour after the fall of General Slocum, the ranks of the color-guard were reduced from nine to two. The colors were large and weighty, and Sergeant Freeman having become quite exhausted, and myself too much so to relieve him, Major (now Colonel) Bartlett, who perceived the situation of affairs, came to our assistance. Riding along the line, and waving the colors above his head, he shouted, “Boys, will you fight for this?” The response was general and enthusiastic.

A large number of the enemy were discovered in the front, and the 27th advanced towards them, Sergeant Freeman again being in possession of the colors. At this conjuncture, while my piece was leveled, I received a ball in the breast and fell, remarking to my comrade that I should have to leave him. The Sergeant gave me a glance so full of sympathy at my misfortune that I never can forget it, and with the regiment passed on to meet the enemy. I crept to a rail fence near by, and lay insensible about fifteen or twenty minutes, as I should judge, and upon regaining consciousness, discovered that I was surrounded by numbers of dead and wounded. The immediate vicinity was not then occupied by troops. The first notable object that excited my attention was a Union soldier, who was wounded in the left arm, which lay powerless at his side. He was standing beside the fence, his piece resting upon the rail, and which, after taking deliberate aim, he discharged at the enemy. He then dropped his musket, and came a laid down beside me. No more passed between us, but I imagined he had obtained “satisfaction” for his own grievances.

While still lying in my position, I beheld another Union soldier at a short distance, climbing the fence. He held his musket in his right hand, but while astride of the fence, and in the act of getting down, a cannon-shot struck the rail, shattering it in pieces, and sending its rider whirling and summersetting in the air, with a velocity that would have astonished the most accomplished acrobat. He gathered himself up with almost an equal degree of alacrity, and started on “double quick” toward our own forces. He had proceeded but a few feet, however, when he came to a halt. Casting his eyes over his shoulder, and perceiving that he was unpursued, he scratched his head thoughtfully for a moment, and then ran back and recovered his musket and started again for his regiment. I was in too much pain and bewilderment at the time to fully appreciate the comicality of this performance, but have since enjoyed many a hearty chuckle upon its reflection.

There was a great deal of skirmishing upon the field, and many instances of personal bravery particularly worthy of remark. I noticed, for example, one soldier leave his regiment, and crossing the field and leaping the fence, load and fire several times at a squad of cavalry. He was finally discovered, and three or four of their number rode down upon him. One who was in advance of the rest, came upon “our hero” as he was in the act of loading. He had driven the ball home, but had not withdrawn the ramrod. The horseman raised his sabre, and the next instant, as it appeared to me, the volunteer was to be short by a head; but suddenly inverting his musket, he dropped out the ramrod, and in the twinkling of an eye emptied the saddle and started back to his regiment. After proceeding a few rods, and finding that the enemy had given up the chase, he started back to recover his ramrod, and with it returned in triumph to his regiment, where he was greeted with rousing cheers.

But it is needless to multiply instances of this nature, so many of which have been already published by the press. The movements upon the field had in the meantime changed in such a manner that I found the spot where I lay exposed to the cross firing, and accordingly crept to the cellar of “the old stone house.” The passage was not unattended with danger, the rebels making a target of every living object upon that section of the field, (from which our troops had retreated,) and their balls whizzed briskly about me. The cellar in which I found refuge was already occupied by many other wounded Union soldiers, who had likewise sought its shelter. They were lying in the mud and water upon the ground. Upon entering, I discovered Corporal Fairchild, (above mentioned, of the 27th,) who was moving about among the wounded, exerting himself to relieve their sufferings by stanching their wounds, etc. Their distracted and agonizing cries would have moved the most obdurate heart to pity. “Water, water!” was the prayer upon every tongue, but it was unavailing. To linger upon such a scene is to recall one of the most painful experiences of my life, and one which no words can adequately depict. The floor above was also covered with wounded soldiers, whose cries could be distinctly heard. I was not then aware that my comrades, Clague and Hanlon, of Rochester, were among the occupants of the upper floor.

The cross firing of the troops continued, and the rattle of musket balls against the walls of the building was almost incessant. A number of them entered the windows, wounding three of the inmates.

A cannon-shot also passed through the building, but inflicted no bodily injury. Pending these occurrences, two rebel soldiers entered the cellar, one of them seeking shelter in the fire-place. They were both unwounded. The occupant of the fire-place, however, had not fairly ensconced himself when a musket ball passed through his leg. The other, who was lying by my side, was also severely wounded – fitting penalty for their cowardice and desertion.

Finding that the building was likely to be destroyed by the continued firing, one of our number went to the door, and placing a havelock on his bayonet waved it aloft in the air. This hospital signal was greeted with a shower of balls from the Confederates, and he was compelled to retire. Subsequently a yellow flag was displayed from the floor above, but it was likewise disregarded.

The wounded were perishing with thirst. At the distance of about two rods from the building was a pump, and one noble fellow (whose name I regret that I have forgotten) took two canteens and went out to obtain water. While do doing he received five or six musket balls, in different portions of his body, from the rebel forces – yet was not fatally injured. Though very low he was still alive, an inmate of prison hospital No. 2, when I left Richmond. He will ever be remembered with gratitude and affection by those who witnessed his noble conduct, and shared in the benefits of his exploit. It is my opinion that between fifty and sixty men fell in the immediate vicinity of the pump and “the old stone house.”

From the position in which I lay, glancing outward, I could discover the movements of troops upon the field, and at times with tolerable distinctness. The battle seemed general, but irregular, and I witnessed no bayonet charges, or murderous hand-to-hand conflicts. The thrilling pictures by “our special artist, taken upon the spot,” subsequently to adorn the pages of our enterprising illustrated weeklies, must have been “through a glass, darkly,” or in the heated imaginations of that ubiquitous class of correspondents who simultaneously indite at Hong Kong, Constantinople and Salt Lake City, and invariably reach the sanctum in time to read the proof of their own missives.

The observations and impressions of another spectator of the same field, are thus truthfully and graphically described:

I’ll tell you what I heard that day:
I heard the great guns, far away,
Boom after boom. Their sullen sound
Shook all the shuddering air around.

“What saw I?” Little. Clouds of dust;
Great squares of men, with standards thrust
Against their course; dense columns crowned
With billowing steel. Then, bound on bound,
The long black lines of cannon poured
Behind the horses, streaked and gored
With sweaty speed. Anon shot by,
Like a long meteor of the sky,
A single horseman; and he shone
His bright face on me, and was gone.
All these, with rolling drums, with cheers.
With songs familiar to my ears,
Passed under the far hanging cloud.
And vanished, and my heart was proud!

At length a solemn stillness fell
Upon the land. O’er hill and dell
Failed every sound. My heart stood still,
Waiting before some coming ill.
The silence was more sad and dread,
Under that canopy of lead,
Than the wild tumult of the war
That raged a little while before.
All nature, in her work of death,
Paused for one last, despairing breath;
And, cowering to the earth, I drew
From her strong breast, my strength anew.

When I arose, I wondering saw
Another dusty vapor draw
From the far right, its sluggish way
Towards the main cloud, that frowning lay
Against the westward sloping sun;
And all the war was re-begun,
Ere this fresh marvel of my sense
Caught from my mind significance.
O happy dead, who early fell,
Ye have no wretched tale to tell
Of causeless fear and coward flight,
Of victory snatched beneath your sight,
Of martial strength and honor lost,
Of mere life brought any cost.
Ye perished in your conscious pride,
Ere this misfortune opened wide
A wound that cannot close or heal
Ye perished steel to leveled steel,
Stern votaries of the god of war,
Filled with his godhead to the core!

While our forces were on the retreat, pursued by the rebels, a body of troops halted at the stone building, entered with bayonets, and demanded a surrender! They were to all appearances as much intimidated as though they had anticipated a successful resistance. None was made, however. No violence was offered to the prisoners, and in this connection, I may state that I saw no “bayoneting” whatever committed by the enemy at Bull Run. Our arms were delivered up, and a few moments afterward I was led and half-carried away to the quarters of Gen. Beauregard, situate at a distance of perhaps half a mile. Before reaching there, we encountered Gen. Beauregard, flanked by Johnson and Davis, riding across the field. Their countenances were illuminated with a mingled feeling of joy and exultation, and they could well afford, as they did, to salute an unfortunate prisoner. The head-quarters consisted of a large white house. It was filled with wounded soldiers, undergoing surgical attention. Fragments of human bodies were strewed upon the verandah and about the building, and large numbers of both Union and rebel wounded lay outside upon the ground.

On arriving at head-quarters, my guard, who was a private soldier, pointed me out to a “Louisiana Tiger,” and performed the ceremony of introduction by saying, “Here’s one of our Tigers!” – and – “Here’s a d—-d Yankee!” I expected a savage growl, not to say the roughest of embraces at the hands of the savage forester, and was not a little surprised when he approached me kindly, with the remark, “Are you wounded, sir?” I replied in the affirmative, when he resumed, “I am sorry for you. I hope you will soon recover, and be restored to your friends,” My companion, the guard, appeared to be quite as much astonished as myself; though less agreeably so, I have no doubt.

The case above may have been exceptional, for I was afterwards subjected to frequent insults from private soldiers, though kindly treated, in general, by the “Confederate” officers.

Night closed in with a pouring rain, and the wounded lay upon the ground unsheltered. I slept soundly, after these unaccustomed hardships, and was awakened by the sound of the morning reveille. My arm was stiff, my wound extremely painful, and my physical powers quite exhausted. A Lieutenant approached me and inquired as to my condition, and I begged him to find me a shelter. He absented himself for a short time, and then returned to say that there was but one place to be had, and that was a tent which was already filled with Confederate wounded, but if I was content to lay in the water for the sake of a shelter overhead, he would try to provide for me. I gladly accepted the offer, and soon found myself at the place indicated. As I entered, a wounded Confederate soldier, who had a blanket above and another beneath him, offered me one of them, which I at first politely declined. He however insisted, and I was soon enjoying its protection. Soon after, I observed a young man standing at the opening of the tent and looking within. As he glanced at me I nodded, and stooping down he kindly inquired if he could do anything to relieve me. After some conversation, I gave him the address of my wife, begging him to write and inform her of my misfortune, etc. He was, it appears, a Methodist student, and though a private soldier in the ranks of the rebels, was then acting in the capacity of Chaplain, and administering consolation to the wounded. I should occupy too much space in reporting our discussions at length. Before leaving, he kneeled in the water at my side and offered one of the most eloquent and moving applications to which I have ever listened. He soon after fulfilled his promise to notify my family of my condition, and subsequently, during my imprisonment, called upon me and placed in my hand five dollars and a copy of the Bible. I shall ever treasure it as a memento of our brief acquaintance, and of my heartfelt gratitude toward William E. Boggs, of Wainsboro, South Carolina.

While I was lying in the tent of the wounded “Confederates,” a private soldier who had just received his ration, (consisting of half a pint of coffee, a hard biscuit, and a small piece of bacon,) brought it to me, saying “You need this more than I do.” I at first hesitated to accept it, but he urged it upon me, remarking “We were enemies yesterday, in the field, but we are friends to-day, in misfortune.”

I would again state that these are exceptional instances of the feeling generally manifested by the rebels toward their prisoners, and the fact rather enhances my feeling of gratitude for the kind-hearted treatment, of which, at times, I was so singularly the recipient.

While the above was transpiring, a number of officers were standing near, convening, and one of them asked me how it was that men who fought so bravely could retreat, when the day was fairly their own? The speaker said it was at first believed to be a “Yankee trick” or the Confederates would have followed up their advantage! He solicited my opinion on this subject, and I assured him (of what I fully believed) that our forces would unquestionably return, and quite as unexpectedly as they had retired.

I was soon informed that all of the prisoners whose condition was such as to withstand the fatigues of the journey, would be immediately removed to Manassas; and soon after I was placed in a lumber wagon, beside one other prisoner and three wounded rebels, and we reached our destination after about an hour’s drive through a forest road. It struck me as rather significant that the direct road was avoided, and hence no prisoner transported in this manner was afforded an inspection of the enemy’s defenses.

The rain continued to poor in torrents, and without intermission. As we arrived opposite the depot at Manassas, I was afforded a glimpse of the place. The most prominent was the hospital, a large frame structure, opposite to which was the only battery to be seen in the vicinity. The only mounted piece was a shell-mortar. There were perhaps a dozen small frame buildings, which comprised the “Junction” proper. All of these seemed to have been appropriated to the accommodation of the Confederate wounded. Numerous tents had been pitched for a similar purpose, and temporary sheds were also in process of erection.

The Confederates were assisted from the wagon; my fellow-prisoner also descended and went off to obtain shelter, and even the guard and driver, thoroughly drowned out by the deluge, deserted their posts of duty, and left me to

“Bide the pelting of the pitiless storm”

in solitude. I finally managed to get out upon the ground, and crept along, “swimmingly,” to the hospital. There I was refused admission, on account of its over-crowded state, but finally prevailed upon the steward to let me within the hall, where with a number of others, I remained for about one hour. As formerly, when I had reached almost the lowest depth of despondency, I was so fortunate to secure a friend in a wounded rebel soldier. In the course of our conversation, he informed me that all of the prisoners were to be conveyed to Richmond. He was going as far as Culpepper, where his parents resided, and he assured me that if I desired to go with him, I should receive the best of medical care and attention. I accepted the kind offer conditionally, as I did not wish to be separated from my wounded comrades. He then – upon receiving my parole of honor – assumed the responsibility of my custody, and we were soon among the passengers of a crowded train, and speeding “on to Richmond.”

The journey occupied two days, the train being required to halt at every station from one to three hours. All along the route great crowds of people were assembled, consisting mostly of women and children, and at almost every place large numbers of Confederate wounded were removed from the cars, followed by weeping and distracted relatives. Some of these scenes were very affecting.

Davis, Lee, and other Confederate magnates, accompanied us as far as Orange Court House, and at intervening points the first named was called out upon the platform to speak to the multitudes. At some villages, the women thronged about the cars, offering refreshments to the wounded, both Union and Confederate, but more particularly to the former, whom they seemed to regard with mingled curiosity and favor. I suspected that the sympathies of some were even more deeply enlisted than they dared to avow. We were invariably addressed as “Yankees,” and there were frequent inquiries respecting “Old Scott, the traitor,” and “Old Lincoln, the tyrant.” The ladies generally expressed a benevolent desire to “get hold” of the hero of Lundy’s Lane, in order to string him up.

Arriving at Culpepper, the daughter of Major Lee, a young and beautiful damsel, came up to the window from which I leaned, and asked if she could do anything for me; and added, “What did you come down here for?” (This had become a stereotyped query.) I replied, “To protect the Stars and Stripes and preserve the Union.”

My questioner then proceeded, after the uniform custom, to berate Gen. Scott. “That miserable old Scott – a Virginian by birth – a traitor to his own State – we all hate him!” And the heightened color, the vindictive glance and the emphatic tones of the excited maiden, furnished assurance that her anger was unfeigned. But it quickly subsided, and after some further conversation, she took from her bonnet a miniature silken secession flag, which she handed to me, remarking she thought I could fight as well for the “Stars and Bars,” as for the Stars and Stripes. I playfully reminded her that she had just denounced Gen. Scott as a traitor to his own State, and if I should fight for the “Stars and Bars,” I should be a traitor to the State of New York! This trivial argument was evidently a poser. “Oh!” responded she, “I had not thought of that!” – But she insisted upon my acceptance of the emblem of disloyalty, and I still retain it as a memento of the occurrence, and with a feeling of kindly regard for the donor. She cut the buttons from my coat sleeve, and I consented to the “formal exchange,” though not exactly recognizing her as a “belligerent power.”

As Miss Lee retired, another young lady came forward, and glancing at my companion, the Confederate guard, addressed him as a “Yankee prisoner,” expressing her indignant surprise that he should have invaded their soil to fight them. He corrected her mistake, stating that I, not he, was the “Yankee prisoner.”

“No – no – you can’t fool me; I know the Yankees too well,” insisted the lady. I corroborated the assertion of my custodian, but it was some time before her prejudices could be overcome.

At almost every station on the route, one or more dead bodies were removed from the train, and placed in charge of their friends. The University at or near Culpepper, and the Church at Warrenton, had been fitted up for hospital purposes, and large numbers of the Confederate wounded were conveyed to them from the train. Of the six or seven cars which started from Manassas, there were but two remaining when we reached the rebel capital. We arrived there about 9 o’clock in the evening. After the cars had halted, I heard a low voice at my window, which was partly raised. It was quite dark, and I could not distinguish the speaker, who as evidently and Irish woman.

“Whist, whist?” said she; “are ye hungry?”

I replied that I was not, but that some of the boys probably were.

“Wait till I go to the house,” she answered, and a moment afterward I heard her again at the window. She handed me a loaf of bread, some meat, and about a dozen baker’s cakes, saying – as she handed me the first – “That was all I had in the house, but I had a shillin’, and I bought the cakes wid it; and if I had more, sure you should have it , and welcome! Take it, and God bless ye!”

I thanked here, and said, “You are very kind to enemies.”

“Whist,” said she, “and ain’t I from New York meself?” and with this tremulous utterance she retired as mysteriously as she had come.

This was the first “Union demonstration” that I witnessed in Old Virginia. I thanked God for the consolation which the reflection accorded me, as on the third night I lay sleeplessly in cars, my clothing still saturated and my body thoroughly chilled from the effects of the deluge at Manassas. I could have desired no sweeter morsel than the good woman’s homely loaf; and proud of the loyal giver, I rejoiced that “I was from New York meself.”

The following morning the prisoners were all removed to the hospital and provided with quarters and medical attendance.

From Five Months in Rebeldom; or Notes from the Diary of a Bull Run Prisoner, pp. 5-17

27th New York Infantry roster

William Howard Merrell at Fold3





Interview: Richard M. Allen, “Anderson’s Brigade Rosters”

18 07 2018

 

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Rick Allen giving a tour of Anderson’s Brigade at Gettysburg

Richard M. “Rick” Allen has been a friend for a while, and an e-quaintance for much longer. He has recently published, with Savas Beatie, a four volume set of rosters for the Georgia Regiments (7th, 8th, 9th, & 11th Infantry) of G. T. Anderson’s brigade. It’s a wonderful set of books that amounts to a collection of mini-biographies of the thousands of men who served during the lives of the regiments. I’m enjoying the heck out of them. Rick graciously took the time to talk about the project. You can order your own copies right here.

BR: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

RMA: Not much to tell really. I’m an only child and a 1990 graduate of the Maryland Institute of Art, where I received a B.F.A degree in what was truly a unique environment. Not having the sense to be a Graphic Arts major, we Fine Art types took our degrees and went on to work in just about any field excepting Art. In my case, I’ve spent most of my work career in the field of warehousing and purchasing, pretty much because I was always good at organizing things.

BR: What got you interested in the Civil War? Who/what were your early influences?

RMA: I come from largely military family; my father served, my uncles, both grandfathers, the whole shebang. I was lucky to have a father who enjoyed taking trips to battlefields and who instilled in me some sense of appreciating history. We spent many of my childhood trips on various battlefields, much to my mother’s dismay. My earliest influences were common, Tucker, Catton and Foote, but my initial fascination with the Civil War probably had as much to do with those great battle drawings with the little soldiers in The Golden Book of The Civil War as anything else. I was amazed by those drawings. It’s funny how often you hear that as an influence, but it absolutely was in my case.

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The Golden Book of the Civil War

BR: So, how did you settle on Anderson’s brigade for this study, and why did you only publish the Georgia regiments?

RMA: From about the late 90’s I started to get fascinated with Anderson’s Brigade mostly because at the time, it was like looking into a black hole. I’m primarily a Gettysburg guy, and there was always this kind of blank between Kershaw and Robertson. It seemed as if Anderson and Semmes just got sucked into the Rose Woods and that was that. You’d hear about Anderson in the Wheatfield fight of course, but it was usually just a passing reference with no real meat on the bone. The more I looked into this situation and the more tours I took, the more this pattern of emptiness repeated itself. Also, around this time, in following the line of the brigade’s attack on July 2, I became very interested in the terrain they had to cross and the particular set of circumstances that made their task so difficult. Nobody else really seemed to be doing much on the brigade, so after a few years of tentative learning, I finally decided that I would “adopt” them. This led to my serious interest in these regiments and I spent about 15 years learning all I could about them.

As you referenced in the above question, the original idea was to create a Roster for every unit that ever served in what would become G. T. Anderson’s Brigade. Taking things chronologically, that starts with Bartow, so I first made a Roster for the 4th Alabama Infantry, which was attached to Bartow’s Brigade before it transferred to Bee before Manassas. That roster turned out well as the 4th AL has a great deal of information out there and a very complete set of CSRs [Compiled Service Records]. The next Roster I made was for the 1st KY Infantry……which you really have to do by battalion as they weren’t consolidated into a regiment for some time……so I next made three battalion rosters for them. These Rosters are not much, as the 1st KY only existed for less than a year, so this Roster is not really anything to brag about, but they have one. These two rosters and one for the Wise Artillery (which was frequently attached to Anderson’s brigade early in the War) served as my training grounds. By the time I got done these 2400 or so men, I had a good idea of what I was doing. I knew I would have much more meat on the bones with the Georgians coming up, and with some skills behind me, the next rosters I did were the 9th, 11th, 8th and 7th GA in that order. I think these turned out very well, but they were more work than even I expected. By the time I was done the 8th Georgia, I knew that I only had one roster left in me, so I knew the 7th would be my last. This effectively trashed the original idea of my making a roster for every unit in the brigade because I saw no way I could complete a roster for the 1st Georgia Regulars, 10th Georgia Battalion and 59th Georgia Infantry on top of what I had already done. The thought of 3000 more men to document was just too much. I was burned out. Six regiments and an artillery battery are apparently my limit.

BR: Describe if you will the biographical rosters, their format, and the rationale for that format.

RMA: The Rosters I created are pretty much the books I would love to have been able to read 15 years ago…except they didn’t exist. They are essentially based on the same format used by Lillian Henderson in her epic Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, but with much more information. I used a basic template like Henderson, and I tried to write in as detached and clinical a manner as possible while expanding the scope of Henderson’s effort. Breaking the men down into chronological rank, a process I termed as “slotting”, is really the most radical departure from Henderson’s format, but I thought that was an important and unique addition. It also damned near drove me crazy.

BR: Can you describe your research and writing process? What sources, paper and digital, did you use most frequently? How long did the whole thing take to complete?

RMA: The rosters were all done in a Word file and constantly adjusted through three distinct steps. Henderson first, then the massive amount of CSR information was added, and the third step was “everything else.” The rosters began with just the names in Henderson’s Roster, so that would be the skeleton of the entire work. As I would come to learn, what you find in Henderson is not always what you find in the CSR; in fact, quite often, there are major differences. Most of these differences can be resolved, but only by looking at the totality of an issue. In other words, you find clues in the most unlikely of places and you would never know they were there unless you looked at EVERYTHING. Records are sometimes mixed and contradictory, and there are notes on cards relating to entirely different people within the company or regiment that can solve an issue. Until you look at everything, especially as it relates to rank slotting, you are playing Jenga in the dark. Slotting was by far the most challenging aspect of these books. Frequently, on a project like this, you are at the mercy of long dead First Sergeants. Some company records were very detailed, and some were not. Figuring out how things fit together was most of the work. What could not be satisfactorily resolved was footnoted as such. By way of adding meat to the bones, these days we are lucky enough to have access to the CSRs online and essentially, these Rosters are probably 75% information that can be found in an individuals CSR. By far the largest amount of information comes from there, but it is quite a chore to organize in light of every other source. The other 25 percent comes from a combination of sources, including Henderson, the US census, Georgia Historical Societies, the National Archives, my own research material, war-time and post war rolls, Ancestry.com webpages, period newspapers, burial information from the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Find-A-Grave.com and material contributed by Henry Persons from his archive. Once all that information was assimilated, it was a matter of my editing all the information into the existing format. It was rather like throwing everything at the wall, then making sense of it by subtraction.

BR: What were some of the most surprising finds you turned up in your research?

RMA: The most poignant things were the deaths by disease. I knew the statistics, but until you go through a regiment man by man, I don’t think you can appreciate the variety of ways death was visited on these young men. The emotional impact was accumulative. You can really get strangely attached to a person or a group when you are clearing the dirt off their tombstones every day and I think the sense of responsibility was a little surprising to me.

In the lighter vein, I was totally shocked by how many Georgians had some variant of the first name Greenberry.

[FWIW, here’s a letter from a Virginian named Green Berry right here in the Bull Runnings resources!]

BR: How has the book been received? Any demographics on sales thus far?

RMA: I think for those who have seen the books, they have been received very well. I never had any illusions about creating a best seller or even something most casual students of the CW would need in their collections. Not everybody likes licorice either, but the ones that do, really like it. For the average reader, I’m pretty far in the weeds on this project, but these are very narrowly focused reference books, so I always knew that would be the case.

As simple as it sounds, I really take all my satisfaction from the fact that nobody will have to stand on a battlefield ever again and wonder who these regiments were. That’s why I made them.

BR: What’s next for you?

RMA: What is next? Well, I won’t be pumping out some new book every six months, I can tell you that. I’m satisfied with my contribution and I think my hat will hang on these Georgians for better or worse. Having completed 17 years with Anderson’s men, I did all I could for them and I willingly pass the torch. The next big thing for me is taking the trip I always wanted to take.

Lord willing, I’ll be headed to the west of Ireland for two weeks next April.





“Charge of the ‘Georgia Eighth'”

20 06 2017

On a recent visit to Gettysburg, friend Craig Swain gifted me a nifty little book, Memoirs of the War Between the States, by Ethel Maddox Byrd and Zelda Haas Cassey. The book was published in 1961. It contains the poem below, written by “an Unknown Lady in Maryland,” which I thought you all might find interesting.

CHARGE OF THE “GEORGIA EIGHTH” AT THE BATTLE OF MANASSAS

The morning shines gaily
On proud Manassas’ height.
Six Hundred gallant Georgians
Are ready for the fight.

Each heart beats high and holy,
As with measured step they go,
For they stand between their firesides
And the invading foe.

The battle rages fiercely;
Has raged since break of day; And Sherman’s fatal battery,
With corpses, strews the way.

Cries Beauregard, with thrilling voice,
As the trumpets call,
“Forward, Brave comrades, to the charge,
That battery must fall!”

Six Hundred gallant Georgians –
With quickened step they go;
And fearlessly they follow
Their leader, brave Bartow.

Oh! Georgia’s stainless chivalry,
God speed you in the fight!
Your cause is just, your arms are strong,
Sweep onward in your might.

The setting sun sinks slowly
On the gory battlefield;
And to Southern rights and valor
The Northern hirelings yield.

The setting sun looks sadly,
Where the dead and dying lay,
On the ghastly field of battle,
The Six Hundred! Where are they?

Five deep round Sherman’s battery
They lie at set of sun!
But the battery is taken
And the red field is won!

Sixty of the Six Hundred
Stand round their leader now,
But death’s eternal shadow, clouds
His vainly-laureled brow.

Oh! Georgia’s glorious chivalry!
The loved ones and the brave!
Who poured their blood like water out,
And died that they might save!

And Beauregard, the Conqueror,
Rides up and bares his head –
“Uncovered, I salute
The Georgia Eighth,” he said.

When history shall reckon
Of this day’s deeds and fame,
Oh! whose shall be the glory!
And whose shall be the shame!

Memoirs of the War Between the States, pp. 28-29