Georgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton County.

History, Confederate Veterans' Association, of Fulton County, Georgia (Volume 2) online

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came to the G. M. 1. for military training, and were with the battalion in ser-
vice. They came from Alabama. Florida. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Caro-
lina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas

Cadet W. E. Breese was a Charleston boy, full of life and spirit. He was
with it- in service, and on our return to Georgia, after the winter campaign of
1864, lie was transferred to the Citadel Cadets of Charleston, and he served in
the army with them till the close of the war. He is now the President of First
National Hank, at Asheville. N. C. In a recent letter he informs me that he
hag :1 .oil of our company B, and he has preserved till yet his G. M. I. Cadet
jacket, and knapsack. He also informs me that he was in a few feet of
Cadel Alexander when he was killed, and "helped to lift and straighten out his



91

poor doubled up body." He also says, "Anderson was mv mossmat, and I
have his testament sent to me by his mother. I was on the opposite ,id,'of t

Struck ' 1PPmgSOf apiCCe0f baC ° D "" a llanlt:,,k - when he ™

Captain J. S. Austin, who was Commandant at the Institute in 1803-4 and
Captain Company A in service, was formerly a cadet at the Citadel in Charles.
ton. He is living now in California, and is President of a college for females

Captain V E. Manget, of Company B, is a resident now of Marietta and
is a teacher and a minister.

Major F. W. Capers is now living in Charleston, S. C. To him I am much
obliged for a report of the war service of the G. M. I. cadets. His report
should be regarded as of special value, as it was direct from him, as an officer
and contains reports made by General Henry C. Wayne, who was the Adjutani
General of Georgia during the war, and was personally in command of the
troops in front of Shermans army in the "march through Geoigia " 1 have
made inquiry at the office of Adjutant-General, for the Georgia Cadets and
Adjutant-General Kell informs me that there is no record of them ou tile iu
any way, neither could I find any record of them in the Executive Department
Hence it seems that this report of Major Capers, which includes the report of
General Wayne, may be of particular interest and importance to our Stat • eov
ernment departments. Considering it thus worthy of preservation I herewith
present it, and ask that it may be printed with my sketch of the Georgia Mili
tary Institute.

He says :

"In tracing the field service of a military corps, official documents have
especial value. These abound to the perpetual honor of the cadets of the
Georgia Military Institute. Some of these documents acknowledge valued
services in preparing troops for the field at Powder Springs, Camp Brown and
Camp McDonald, and we doubt if any subsequent service was more valuable
to the State.

"At Camp Brown, four miles south of Marietta, the officers and nunc

missioned officers of Phillips' brigade were regularly encamped for a me weeks.
All ranks were surrendered. The Superintendent of the Institute was in com-
mand, the cadets acting in such capacity as he assigned them. One day Buf
ficedtofixthe seperate company ground, and train them to the "assembly."
On the second, the organization was in one company; cadets acting as commis-
sioned and non-commissioned officers; and for several days the main instruction
was in guard duty. After the first week the encampment was "by battalion."
The drills were in different arms, infantry, artillery, and cavalry— officers of
various regiments, the forming or formed, found a place in ranks, and profited
by the practical instruction, and the drills of the encampment.

"At Camp McDonald (Big Shanty), the whole brigade, rank and tile, were
encamped, with the corps of cadets on the stall' of instruction of the Adjutant-
General. The Governor's review of this brigade, consisting of four regiments
of infantry, and a squadron of cavalry, and two batteries of artillery, repaid
the cadets for their diligent instruction, for it furnished an object lesson in the
evolution of troops in line of battle, which could not then be seen elsewhere,
and whetted a desire for the actual encounter of the field, for which tiny had



92

earnestly longed; 'Hope long deferred,' was at last gratified. The Governor

.repeated solvation-, and upon the advance of Sherman's army the

i, ,7cadets was ordered into active service. They were aligned to

l llv ,;,.„,,,, Joseph E. Johnson, at West Point, threatened by Rousseau s

v ,,,- and afterwards to a place 'In line on the Chattahoochee ; River, and the

tnIll ,;,'s of Atlanta. Here their services was most trying Side by side with

,,.„,. of the army, they shared with them all the hardships and all the ex-

are ncdent to every phase of military duty. The intrenched lines of the

^emv approached so near to our own that an incessant duel of artillery was

ken, up over the skirmish lines and rifle pits in front of them.

"Cadet A H Alexander, of Monroe county, Ga„ was killed by a solid shot
and Cadel S W < ioode, of Stewart county, wounded by a rifle ball on the 6th of
lust On the 12.h of Angus, Cade, J. K. Anderson, of Edgefield, S. C, was
m0 rtally wounded, and Lieutenant F. E. Courvoissie, of Chatham county, se-

^ta defense of Atlanta having been abandoned, the battalion of cadets
w as ordered to Milledgeville, where they encamped on the Capitol square, and
formed a most essential part of the garrison, their Superintendent being com-
mandant of the post.

■• Academic duties were resumed, but their studies were much inter-
rupted by military demand on their time. And who could do justice to books
, ni i,| SU ch exigencies as clouded their hopes for the future, and fired their
hearts with ambition to do and dare something, everything, to foil the triumph-
.„„ Evader of their native soil? What direction the United States army would
take iron, Atlanta was unknown. Every route to the sea was watched, to re-
tard his progress and gain time for the assembly of troops at Savannah, and
defend i m portan1 points against plundering raids of cavalry. Milledgeville
was one of these, as the following orders will show:

[copy.]
Adiutant and Inspector General's Office,

Milledgeville, August 24, 1864.
To F. W. Capers, Commandant of Post, Milledgeville:

General— The Governor desires that all the troops at this Post, with the Home
Guard, be paraded daily at the capitol square. Though the capitol square will be
the general rendezvous, his Excellency desires you to vary at your discretion the
place of parade to the several main points of the inner line of defences, that the
men may become familiar with them, and exercise in the trenches. The views of
the Governor will be found expressed in the enclosed letter to the Major, Hon. B.
B. DeGrafifenreid. As we shall be threatened with raids while General Sherman's
army occupies ground this side of the Chattahoochee, the utmost vigilance should be
ised, and as great advancement made in military exercises as possible. His
Excellency, the ( ; -veruor, charges you especially on these points. A proper selec-
tion of scouts and system of scouting should be established, and arrangements made
with persona in the country for procuring information of any hostile advance.
Whatevei may be necessary in the way of material will be called for from the seve-
ral departments by the usual requisitions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Signed] Henry C. Wayne, Adjutant and Ins. Gen'l.



Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,

M11.1.EDGEVILLE, September 6, 1864.
Major F. W. Capers, Commandant of Post, Milledgeville :

Major — As Commandant of the Post, you will take direction of the defences of
Milledgeville, indicating to Captain Fay, the engineer, such changes in his plans as
the new condition of affairs, owing to the fall of Atlanta, may render necessary.
Captain Fay was defending the city against a cavalry raid. We may be called on to
meet a heavier and more deliberate attack.

Very truly yours,
[Signed] Henry C. Wayne, Adjutant and Ins. Gen'l.

(Copy.)
Headquarters Georgia Reserves,

Macon, Macon, August 24, 1864.
Major General Wayne, Milledgeville.

General — I have this day stationed a cavalry force at Clinton, with instructions
to throw out pickets to the right and left, and as far to the front as Monticello. They
are instructed, in the event of a raid toward Milledgeville, to notify you or Governor
Brown, at Milledgeville.

[Signed] Howei.l Cobb, Major General.

On the 19th November the cadets were again summoned to the field, and
commenced the retreat from Gordon to Savannah, reported in detail by Adju-
tant Gen. Wayne. That report is given here in full :

(Copy.)
Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,
Milledgeville, Feb. 6, 1865.
To His Excellency, yoseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia:

Parting with your Excellency on the evening of the 19th November at Gordon,
where I had been ordered by you at the request of General Cobb, C. S. P. A., dis-
positions for the night were made. The command consisted of the corps of cadets,
Pruden's battery of artillery, Talbot's company of calvary, Williams' company of
militia, the factory and penitentiary guards, in all 500 men, and all under the imme-
diate command of Major F. W. Capers, superintendent of the Georgia Military Insti-
tute, whom I had appointed executive officer.

On Sunday morning, the 20th, my telegraphic communication with Macon was
cut by the enemy, at 10 30 a. m. At 12 m. I learned that the enemy in force were
moving on my right towards Milledgeville. At 8 p m. I determined on consulta-
tion with my principal officers, to abandon Gordon, as its occupation was of no
value (all trains and stores having beeh sent off ) as a military position, and to fall
back to the Oconee bridge, as the most important point on the Central Railroad to be
defended. A few scattering shots as the train moved off, announced the entrance of
the enemy's Fifteenth corps into Gordon.

At the bridge I found a guard of 186 men, consisting of Heyward's company
South Carolina cavalry, a section of artillery under Lieut. Huger, and a company o'
the Twenty-Seventh Georgia reserves, under Major Hartridge, C. S. P. A , sent up
two days before by Gen. McLaws from Savannah.

Tuesday, the 22d, was spent in examining the ground and in preparation. The



94

orders from my superior officers were to hold the bridge to the last extremity. The
movement of the enemy was not a little raid, but his army marching on Savannah.
The bridge could be flanked on the right from Milledgeville, and on the left by
Ball's ferry, eight miles below, as well as attacked in front. The long thick swamps
on our side of the river prevented the use of artillery or cavalry at the bridge or at
Ball's ferry.

Wednesday, the 23rd, the enemy (a brigade of Kilpatrick's division of mounted
infantry, as we were informed by prisoners taken), appeared on our front at the
bridge about 10:45 A - M > an ^ commenced the attack which was handsomely met by
the cadets (G. M. I.) under Captain Austin, and a detachment of the Fourth Ken-
tucky mounted infantry under Colonel Thompson, sent to my assistance that morn-
ing by General Wheeler, and one gun of Pruden's battery mounted on a platform
car. Retiring slowly as they were pressed back to the bridge by the superior force
of the enemy, the Fourth Kentucky was withdrawn, the Factory and Penitentiary
Guards sent in a line formed on the east bank of the river under the direction of
Major Capers, who had been assigned to special command at the bridge. At 12:30
P. M., it was reported to me from the ferry that the enemy in numbers were on the
opposite side, had driven in our pickets and were crossing the river. Major Hart-
ridge was immediately sent down with Hey ward's company of South Carolina cavalry,
Talbot's cavalry, the company of the Twenty-seventh battalion, and Huger's section
of artillery, to meet this force and drive it back over the river. This duty the Major
performed in the most gallant manner. In the meantime the enemy at the bridge
had been hammering Capers and his command in a lively manner, but without
making any impression. Night closed active operations.

Thursday, the 24th, opened bright and cold, and with daylight recommenced
the attempt on the bridge. At Ball's ferry the enemy had fallen back to his main
bidy. Talbot crossed with some of h^s cavalry, and gathered forty three rifled car-
bines, and a quantity of knapsacks and other articles apparently abandoned in a
hurry. At 1:30 p. m., the enemy opened at the bridge with long range light artil-
lery. Bridge hard pressed all day ; enemy reported building a raft in the woods
below. At 8 P. M., under cover of night and heavy vollies of small arms, the
enemy succeeded in forcing a firing party up to the far end of the trestle on their
side of the river and fired it. Colonel Gaines with five hundred men joined me at
midnight by direction of General Wheeler, who had crossed in the morning at
Blackshear's ferry.

Friday, 25th — At 1 a. m., General Hardee arrived with a portion of his staff.
At d.iylireak enemy opened heavily with artillery and small arms at Ball's ferry.
Trestle burning slowly toward the bridge, the enemy covering its progress. At 9
A. M , General Hardee returned to No. 13. At 11 A. M., Lieutenant Colonel Young,
Thirtieth Georgia, with a portion of Gaines' command, sent to the ferry. The
fourth Kentucky detachment patrolling the roads to our right. During the after
noon the fire had approached the bridge, and the enemy withdrew from our front.
In the evening Major Capers extinguished the flames, which had now reached the
bndge, but only charred a few feet of it. The attempt to destroy the bridge by a
direct attack in fmnt had failed. At 9:15 p. m , Colonel Young, commanding at
Ball's ferry, reported that the enemy were preparing to cross the river above and
below him ; that his men were exhausted, and if held in his position until daylight,



95

he must be sacrificed. On telegraphing his report to General Hardee, at No. 13, I
received orders to fall back on No. 13, for which point the enemy was also making.

Saturday, 20th. — Reached No. 13. Here Huger's artillery was turned over
to Gen. Wheeler, who was impeding the enemy's march from Sandersville.

Sunday, 27th.— Ordered to fall back to Millen and fortify. Cavalry left in
front by order of Gen. Hardee.

Monday, 28th. — At 2 p. m. received information from Gen. Wheeler that Kil-
patrick, with his command, of between 4,000 and 5,000 men, had left Waynesboro
for Millen. At 8 15 a. m., Major Black, of Gen. Hardee's staff, arrived with the
same information. Major Black concurring, the command was moved back to
No. £, l / z behind the litttle Ogeechee bridge.

Tuesday, 29th. — Occupied in preparing trenches. Command reduced to the
cadets (G. M. I.) and Milledgeville battalion of infantry, Pruden's battery, the
Washington county militia, in all 350 men.

Wednesday, November 30. — Sent Major Capers with an engine up the road
for information, and to communicate with Gen. Wheeler.

Thursday, December 1st. — Moved with the command up to No. 6, C. R. R.,
as a corps of observation.

Friday, December 2d. — A courier from Gen. Wheeler reports a heavy cavalry
force moving down on my right from Waynesboro. Ascertained positively that the
enemy, said to be the Seventeenth corps, are moving down the railroad, and that
another column are three miles below me on the other side of the Ogeechee. Fell
back again to No. 4^.

Saturday, December 3d. — At day-break joined by the State Line, and First
Brigade of State militia of Gen. G. W. Smith's division, under Gen. Robert Toombs.
At 11 a. m. joined by Gen. Baker, C. S. P. A., with his brigade of North Carolinians

Sunday, December 4th. — Reinforced by Anderson's and Phillips' brigades,
Georgia militia, of Gen. Smith's division. Formed line of battle behind the little
Ogeechee. Our force consisted of 4,000 men and three pieces of Pruden's battery.
No cavalry. At 1.35 p. m. the advance of the Seventeenth corps appeared on our
left in front of the cadets (G. M. I.), one of whom (Coleman, a vidette) brought
down the officer who demanded his surrender. Skirmishing began on our left and
in front. At 4 p. m. Gen. McLaws arrived from Savannah. Having learned the
position, he directed me to withdraw the troops during the night.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2 a. m. — Troops withdrawn and in march for \]/ z . Received
orders to fall back and take up a position on the lines near Savannah.

Tuesday, Dec. 6.— Arrived at the lines within 3^ miles of Savannah, at 2
a. m. The lines to be occupied by the State troops extended from the Central rail-
road to the Savannah river. Batteries had been erected at the Central railroad, at
the Augusta road, and at Williamson's plantation on the river, but no lines for in-
fantry had been thrown up.

Wednesday, Dec. 7th. — Turning over to Gen. Smith his own division and



Major Capers' battalion, I reported to Gen. Hardee for any assistance I could render
him.

In concluding this report I take the opportunity of officially expressing my
thanks to Majors Hartridge and Capers, and to the officers of my staff, improvised
for the occasion, viz.: Maj. John O. Ferrell, Ass't Adj't-Gen.; Messrs. S. P. Myrick,
of Baldwin ; C. L. Harris, of Bibb ; Francis L Gee, of Chatham (members of the
Legislature), and R. L. Hunter, of Baldwin, for their valuable counsel and assist-
ance. I would conspicuously mention Majors Hartridge and Capers, and Captains
Talbot, Austin, Pruden, and Warthen. To Major Capers I am under the greatest
obligations. His qualifications for military command are of the highest order.
They have been brilliantly illustrated by the corps of cadets, whose gallantry, disci-
pline, and skill, equal anything I have seen in any military service. I cannot speak
too highly of these youths who go into a fight as cheerfully as they would enter a
ball-room, and with the silence and steadiness of veterans.

The Washington county and Emanuel county militia deserve commendation,
consisting as they did of gentlemen advanced in life, to whom the hardships of camp
must have been severe; whose homes were being overrun by the enemy, and yet
who offered their lives in defense of their State. My thanks are also due to Drs. S.
D. Brantley and James R. Smith, of Washington county, who volunteered their
surgical skill during our contest on the banks of the Oconee. With deep gratitude
to a kind Providence, it is my pleasure to report the losses small — but five killed,
and five wounded. One of the wounded cadets (Marsh) has since died, as also Mr.
S. Manigault, of Heyward's cavalry, who received his death-wound under Hart-
ridge, at Ball's Ferry, on the 23d November. Advanced in years, possessed of wealth
and of high social position, he nevertheless did not hesitate to uphold as a private
in the ranks the political opinions he maintained. His friends have already em-
balmed his memory, but it may be permitted to his accidental commander to add a
leaf to the chaplet that covers his tomb. What injury was inflicted upon the enemy
we could not learn. Prisoners taken reported their loss at 45.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Henry C. Wayne, Major General.

In the trenches of Savannah, the life of Atlanta was renewed, with less discom-
fort and exposure, as the trenches (when used at all) were better drained, and were
not incessantly swept by the shot and shell of artillery. On the 21st of December
the enemy had completely invested the city. On the 13th the fall of Fort McAllis-
ter opened communication with the United States fleet, and enabled him to obtain
heavy Beige guns, which were soon in position near enough to bombard the city. A
shout now and then, as some "commissary hunter" flew screaming above their heads
in the progress of the siege. On the 20th, evacuation of the city
was determined upon. < >n the night of the 20th the cadets formed a part of the
rear guard which covered the evacuation of the trenches between the Louisville road
and the Savannah river.

Amidst the fiery splendor of that night they crossed the Savannah and marched

in the division of State forces to 1 Iardeeville, and thence to Bamburg, S. C. At

Bamburg, on the 25th, an abundant feast of such delicacies as they had not seen for

a month, provided by the citizens of that hospitable neighborhood, awaited the

ired and hungry soldii



97

On the 26th December, railroad transportation was furnished to Augusta.
There their active service in the field ended, but the battalion was held in camps for
months. It was doubtful until the nth of February in what direction Gen. Sherman
would move from Savannah. Large stores of army supplies, the principal powder
mill of the Confederacy, and important factories, offered a tempting prize both to the
plunderers and to the soldiers. It demanded protection, and what troops could be
had were welcomed. The cadets, although boys, were veterans now, and kept on
duty where their arms might be needed. Their first service was not, in a military
sense, "active" — it prepared troops for the field. Their last service was not, in a
military sense, "active," for it guarded army stores. This service was especially val-
uable, however, after the surrender, when army stores, surrendered in good faith,
had to be protected and the police of the city maintained in preserving public order;
when all regular Confederate troops had been disbanded, and irresponsible masses
were passing through this well-stored city. In May of their encampment at Augusta,
they stood alone of all organized troops this side of the Mississippi. As such, they
obeyed the order of General LaFayette McLaws, and bivouaced in the City Hall
Park. It was the last order issued by the General before his parole, and the last
given by any Confederate officer in the State of Georgia. It appealed to the patriot-
ism and gallantry of the corps, rather than to his authority.

On the 20th of May, the battalion or cadets was disbanded. In the field or out
of the field, their service was ended. The casualties attending it were as follows :

Killed or Mortally Wounded on the Field of Battle. — A. H. Alexander, Mon-
roe county, Ga ; J. K Anderson, Edgefield county, S. C ; C. Marsh, Bartow co., Ga.

Severely Wounded — Sergeant J. S. Todd, Chambers co., Ala., arm amputated;
T. Hamilton, Columbia co. , Ga.

Wounded. — Lieut. F E. Courvoisie, Chatham co., Ga ; W. Myrick, Baldwin co.,
Ga.; S. W. Goode, Stewart co., Ga.; A. T. Luckie, Newton co., Ga.

Died in Hospital — W. Jones, Jr., Burke co , Ga.; J. McLeod, Emanuel co., Ga.;
W Smith, Crawford co., Ga.; S. Montgomery, Sumter co., Ga.; W. Baker, Troup
co., Ga ; E. Jordan, Washington co., Ga ; J. Mabry, Houston co., Ga.; W. Shoe-
make, Harris co., Ga.

Resigned and Transferred to Confederate Service. — C. Baker, Richmond co.,
Ga ; O. Calhoun, Abbeville, S. C; Robert Plant, Bibb co., Ga.; W. E. Breese,

Charleston, S. C; Burt, Cobb county, Ga.

F. W. Capers, Major Battalion Cadets.

The memories of the G. M. I. Cadets are interesting to all of them, from the
first to the last. Amongst them now there is a fraternal feeling that is cherished,
and many of the most pleasant recollections of life. "The boys" love one another
now as fervently as when they stood side by side in battle array, or marched to-
gether on dusty or muddy roads. They will continue to cherish this affection as
long as they live. Some of them are now our youngest veterans. As the tide of
time flows on they must pass away, and it cannot be many years ere the last one
must pass over the line of life. With "duty" as their watchword, they have made
progress thus far in their various vocations. May the countersign, "well done," be

7



98

their greeting on the other side, and may the deeds of their lives be recorded as
having been as virtuous as they have been valiant.

Major Capers was invited to come to our reunion on "Memorial Day." He
could not be with us. We are sorry he could not. If he could have been here the
survivors of the G. M. I. Cadets would have given him a cheering welcome with the

old time Cadet "rebel yell "

Very Cordially Yours,

Robert L. Rodgers, ex-Cadet.

GEN. EARL VAN DORN.

The following paper was prepared by Captain H. F. Starke, and read by
him at the monthly meeting of the Confederate Veterans' Association,
April 21, 1890. Capt. Starke participated personally in many of the incidents
described, as a member of Van Dorn's command, and aside from the interest
• if the narative, the paper has a distinct historic value. It is a fitting tribute,


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