Walter A Clark.

Under the stars and bars; or, Memories of four years service with the Oglethorpes, of Augusta, Georgia online

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iiES OE Four Years Service












Chronicle Printing Company


For the gratification of my old comrades and in grate-
ful memory of their constant kindness during all our
years of comradeship tliese records have been written.
The writer claims no special qualification for the task
save as it may lie in the fact that no other survivor of the
Company has so large a fund of material from which to
draw for such a purpose. In addition to a war journal,
whose entries cover all my four years service, nearly every
letter written by me from camp in those eventful years
has been preserved. Whatever lack, therefore, these pages
may possess on other lines, they furnish at least a truth-
ful portrait of what I saw and felt as a soldier. It has
beeen my purpose to picture the lights rather than the
shadows of our soldier Hfe. War is a terribly serious bus-
iness and yet camp life has its humor as well as its
pathos, its comedy as w^ell as its tragedy, its sunshine as
well as its shadows.

As Co. B, of the Oglethorpes was an outgrowth of the
original organization, its muster roll before and after
reorganization, with a condensed sketch of its war ser-
vice has been given. For this information I am indebted
to the kindness of Mr. Frank H. Miller and Mr. Brad


Merry, as I am to the former also for data pertaining ta
the early history of the Oglethorpes.

Aside from the motive already named, there is another
which has had some influence in inducing me to publish
these memories. In the generation that has grown up
since the '6o's, there is a disposition to undervalue the
merits of the "Old South" and to discount the patriot-
ism and the courage, the sacrifice and the suffering of
those, who wore the grey. If these pages shall recall to
my old comrades with any degree of pleasure, the lights
and shadows of our soldier life, or shall bring to tlie
younger generation, to whom the Old South is not even
a memory, a truer conception of ''the tender grace of a
day that is dead" I shall be more than repaid for the
labor involved in their preparation.




Early History of the Oglethorpcs 7

Off to the War 9

The Laurel Hill Retreat 15


Donning- the Gre}^ 17

My First March 21

My First Skirmish 23

My First Picket- Dut>' 29

My First Battle 30

A Night Stampede .' 33

Three Little Confederates 36


A Change of Base 38

A Tramp With Stonewall Jackson 43

Aunt Hannah 48

A Ride With Belle Boyd, the Confederate Spy . . . . 50

Home Again 55

Roster of Oglethorpe Infantry 56


Service with 12th Ga. Battalion.

A "Little Long" 62

I2th Ga. Flag 63

Col. Hogeland's War Diary 65

The Parson and t^e Gravy 71

Rations 75

INDEX— Continued.


Coast Service.


A Study in Insect Life 80

Fire and Fall Back 86

Skirmishing for Pie 87

Steed and the Sugar 88

Our Camp Poet 91


Dal ton and Atlanta Campaign 97

Stripe^- 'in the Wrong Side 107

A Twilight Prayer Meeting 109

Tom Howard's Squirrel Bead T12

"Jim, Touch Off No. 1" 114

A Summer Day on the Firing Line 117

Saved frouT Death by a Bible 123

Battle of Kennesaw 130

Under Two Flags 137

Saved from a Northern Prison by a Novel 142

A Slave's Loyalty [48


Nashville Campaign.

A Christmas Day U'ith Forrest [55

Gen. Bate as a Poet and Wit 166

Pat Cleburne as an Orator 168

''Who Ate the Dog?" 171

Courage Sublime 17*^

INDEX— Continued.



The Closing Campaign.

An Arctic Ride 182

A Sad Home Coming 187

Our Last Battle 190

Conclusion 200

Roster Co. A, 63rd Ga 204


Oglethorpe Infantry Co. B 214

Roster Co. A, 9th Ga., Co. C, 2^, Ga. S. S 319


One of My Heroes 225

Ben Hill and the Dog 229

The Rebel Chaplain and the Dying Boy in Blue . . . .236



On a winter's clcy in '51, in the old Capital at Mi!-
ledgeville, Ga., Howell Cobb, then Governor of Georgia,
gave his official ?r::i-:uion to an Act of the General As-
sembly incorporating a new military organization in the
City of Augusta. If he had been told that ten years from
that date he would be wearing the wreath of a Brigadiei-
General in actual war and that the Company, to whic,-
his signature had given legal existence would be camped
on Virginia soil, attached to the command of an ofificer,
who will go down into history as one of the greatest cap-
tains of the ages, he would have smiled at the statement
as the outgrowth of a distempered fancy. And yet such
a prophecy v/ould have found literal fulfilment.

In honor of the founder of the Georgia Colony the
Company was named the Oglethorpe Infantry. Hon.
Andrew^ J. Miller, Avas its first com^mander. Represent-
ing some of the best blood of one of the most cultured
cities of the Old South, the company, by its proficiency
in drill and its military bearing soon gained a distin-
guished position among the citizen soldiery of the State.
On the death of Capt. Miller in 1856, Judge Ebenezer
Starnes was chosen to succeed him. He, in time, was fol-


lowed by John K. Jackson, afterwards a Brigadier Gen-
eral in the Confederate Army. During the captaincy of
the last named, the volunteer companies of the State
were ordered into camp at Milledgeville, Ga., by Gov.
Herschel V. Johnson. Capt. Jackson, on account of ill-
ness in his family, could not attend and the Oglethorpes
were commanded by Lieut. J. O. Clark. In the military
drill and review, that occurred during the encampment
the Oglethorpes presented the best marching front of
any company present. Mr. Frank H. Miller, then Ordel-
ly Sergeant, attributes their success on this line, in part
at least to the fact that nature had failed to endow him
v/ith a full share of what my fatherwasw ont to term "leg-
ability," and his shortenend step, as Company Guide,
rendered it an easier task for his comrades marching in
column of companies to preserve their alignment.

On the organization of the Independent Volunteer
Battalion in 1857, Capt. Jackson was elected Lieut. Col.,
and Lieut. J. O. Clark succeeded to the captaincy, retain-
ing the position until the Company was mustered into
ihe Confederate service in 1861. Of the original roll as
organized in 185 1, if my information is correct, only Mr.
William Richards now survives. Capt. Horton B.
Adams, who died during "the present year (1899) was the
last surviving member of the original roll, who retained
active connection with the Company from its organiza-
tion until its enlistment in the Confederate Army.



Prof. Toseph T. Derry,, who served with the Ogle-
thorpes from their enlistment until his capture at Ken-
nesaw Mountain; in July, 1864, has kindly furnished the
following sketch of their war service prior to my con-
nection with the Company:

''Followinof the lead of four of her sister States Geor-
gia passed an ordinance of 'Secession,' Jan. 19, 1861.
Gov. Brown ordered the seizure of all Federal property
within the limits of the State, and on Jan. 24 the volun-
teer companies of Augusta, consisting of the Oglethorpe
Infantry, CHnch Rifles, Irish Volunteers, Montgomery
Guards. Washington Artillery, Richmond Hussars, and
two companies of 'Minute Men,' afterwards organized
into the Walker Light Infantry, with a company of
infantry from Edgefield, So. Ca., and two hundred
m.ounted m^en from Burke county, marched up to the
Augusta Arsenal and demanded its surrender,

Capt. Elzey. afterwards a Brigadier General in the
Confederate Army, was in command, and having only
a small force in the barracks, he promptly complied with
the demand.


The efforts to secure a peaceable separation from the
Union having failed, the Augusta companies promptly
offered their services to the Confederacy. The Ogle-
Ihorpes and Walker Light Infantry were the first two


accepted. On March i8, 1861, the Usts for the Ogle-
thorpes were opened at their armory on Reynolds
street. SterHng- C. Eve was the first to enroll his name,
and Virginius G. Hitt w^as the second.

As the Company had in its ranks a larger number
than would be accepted, married men were excluded,
except as commissioned officers. In the closing days of
March, orders were received from the War Department
for these two companies to rendezvous at Macon, Ga.
On April ist they were escorted to the Central R. R.
Depot by all the volunteer companies of Augusta, while
the entire city, apparently, turned out to witness their
departure and to bid them God speed on their mission.

On April 3rd the First A^olunteer Regiment of Ga.
was organized with the following corps of field officers:

Colonel, James N. Ramsey, Columbus, Ga.

Lieut. Colonel, James O. Clark, Augusta, Ga.

Major, Geo. H. Thompson, Atlanta, Ga.

Adjutant, James W. Anderson, Newnan, Ga.

Quartermaster, Andrew Dunn, Forsythe, Ga.

Commissary, Geo. A. Cunningham, Augusta, (ia.

The enlistment dated from March 18, 01. and the reg-
iment was composed of the following companies:

A. Newnan Guards, Capt. Geo. M. Hanvey.

B. Southern Guards, Capt. F. S. Wilkins.

C. Southern Right Guards, Capt. Jno. A. Hauser.

D. Oglethorpe Infantry, Capt. Horton B. Adams

E. Washington Rifies, Capt. S. A. H. Jones.


F. Gate City Guards, Capt. W. L. Ezzarci.

G. Bainbridge Independents, Capt. Jno. W. Evans.
H. Dahlonega Volunteers, Capt. Alfred Harris.

I. Walker Light Infantry, Capt. S. H. Crump.

K. Quitman Guards, Capt. J. S. Pinkard.

The patriotism of Augusta is evidenced by the fact
that in this, the first regiment organized, she had larger
representation than any city in the State. On the date of
its organization Gov. Brown reviewed the regiment and
delivered an address that aroused much enthusiasm. A
few days later we left for Pensacola, via Montgomery,
Ala., then the Capital of the new Confederacy. Between
Garland and Evergreen, Ala., there was a gap of sixteen
miles, over which the boys had to take the peoples' route
as there was no railway connection. It was their first
march and as their feet grew^ sore and their untried mus-
cles wearied by the unaccustomed strain upon them,
they began to ask the citizens they met: "How far to
Evergreen?" "After you pass the next hill and reach the
rise of another it will be five miles," said one. This point
reached, another was asked the question. "Six miles,"
he said. Tramping along the dusty highway, another

traveler was met, "How far to ." "For the Lord's

sake," said Tom Eve, "don't inquire again. The road
gets longer every time you ask."



While not germane to the matter under discussion my
friend, Joe Derry will pardon I know a slight interrup-
tion in his story, suggested by the incident just related.
Passing through the piney woods of Richmond county
som years ago the writer stopped at a country home to
secure proper direction as to his route. A lady came to
the door and in answer to my questions, said she was
unable to give the information, but suggested that I
might be enlightened at the next house. "How far is
the next house?" I asked. "About twict out o' sight,"
she replied, and I went on my way with at least the sat-
isfaction of haAang secured for the "table of long meas-
ure." that had worried me in my school boy days, an
amendment, that in originality if not in definiteness, was
literally "out o' sight."

"Straggling into Evergreen, next morning, we reached
Pensacola by rail that evening, spent a day in the town
and then sailed down the beautiful bay, past the navy
yard at Warrenton, and so close to Fort Pickens that its
guns could have blown us out of the water. Landing near
Fort Barrancas, we marched to our camping place, half
a mile beyond and near the magazine. Our stay here was
marked by no special incident, the time being spent in
drilling, regimental and picket duty, unloading powdei
from a sloop and filling sand bags to strengthen the from
of Fort Barrancas.


About the last of May, orders were received for the
transfer of the regiment to \ irginia. Steaming back to
Pensacola, the Oglethorpes were met by a delegation
from the CHnch Rifies, 5tli Gsi. Reg., by whom they
were conducted to the quarters of that company and roy •
ally entertained until our departure next day. The pleas-
ure of the occasion was marred, however, by the death
of Bugler Parkins, of the Clinch, caused by the bite of a
small ground-rattlesnake. On reaching Augusta the
Company received an ovation as great as that accorded
them on their departure for Pensacola. Three days in
Augusta and then we were off for Richmond, where we
met wirh a very hearty reception. At our camp we were
reviewed by President Davis and Gov. Letcher, both ot
whom addressed the regiment. About the middle of
June we were off for Staunton by rail, stopping at
Waynesboro to partake of a bountiful feast prepared for
us by the ladies and served on rough pine tables in pic-
nic style,"

(Col. C.H. Withrow, then a resident of Waynesboro,
recalls the incident and says that he was strongly im-
pressed with the appetite shown by the boys on that
occasion, that the presence of beauty did not prevent
tliem from doing ample justice to the spread.)

"At Staunton the regiment was entertained by a con-
cert, in which the children of the Blind Asylum sang
patriotic Southern airs. A few da}s later we were on tlie
march to re-inforce Garnett at Laurel Hill. About mid-


day of the first day's march the patriotism of the Virginia
ladies manifested itself again in a bountiful feast pre-
].ared for us in a beautiful grove, while from a rock near
by there gushed forth a bold spring of almost ice-cold
water. A night or two afterward, we camped at the foot
of Cheat Mountain, in a beautiful valley, at the Southern
•end of which some tim^e later we were stationed tor sev-
eral months, confronting a Federal force under Gen.
Reynolds on Cheat Mountain. A young lady living near
our camping- ground entertained us with Southern
songs, with a melodeon accompaniment, some of the
boys singing- with her. Two nights later, at Beverly, we
encountered a fearful storm, which blew down every
tent and repeated that interesting performance every
time we put them up.

Reaching Laurel Hill we found that service in West
Virginia was far more serious business that at Pensacola.
Picket duty was heavy and soon became dangerous.
McLellan with 20,000 men, began his advance early in
July. To oppose this force Garnett had only 4,500 men,
:-nany of whom were in the hospital. Exposure had pro-
duced much sickness and here occurred the first deatli
among the Oglethorpes, that of Dillard Adams, a good
soldier and a true man. On July 7th Gen. Morris took
position m our front with 8,000 men, while McLellan,
with the remainder of his force advanced on Rich Moun-
tain, held by Col. Pegram with 1,300 of Garnett's com-
mand. On July 8th the ist Ga. moved out in front of


i^aurel Hill to feel the enemy's position. We soon
in countered their skirmishers, who after shelling woods,
attempted to seize a small round hill in front of Beling-
lon. Lieut. Col. J. O. Clark quickly deployed his men
cind exclaiming, "Up the hill, boys, and remember you
are Georgians," led a gallant charge, which drove the
enemy back with some loss. Skirmishing continued until
Tuly nth, when Garnett learned that Rich Mountain had
been captured by Rosecranz.


The capture of Pegram's position and of a large part
of his force necessitated the evacuation of Laurel Hill,
and Garnett began his retreat towards Beverly; sixteen
miles distant. After two-thirds of the distance had been
covered he was falsely informed that the enemv had
already occupied that place, and retracing his steps
almost to his abandoned camp, he turned off towards
Beverly, crossing, by an almost inmpassable road, over
Cheat Mountain into the Cheat River valley and
intending by turning the mountains at their Northern
end to regain his communications. On July 13th we
were overtaken by the Federails between Kalers and Cor-
iicks fords. The 1st Ga. and 23rd Va., with a section of
artillery under Lieut. Lanier, and a cavalry force under
Capt. Smith, were formed into a rear guard to protect
the wagon train. At Carrick's Ford the 23rd Va. suffered
considerably and a part of the wagon train was cap-


tiired. The larger part of six companies of the ist Ga,
and including the Oglethorpes, failed to hear the order
to retire and held their position until the enemy had
passed. Cut off from the main force and with no avenue
of escape except the pathless mountains, that hemmed
them in, they wandered for three days with nothing to
appease their hunger except the inner bark O'f the laurel
trees. On tlie third day, famished and worn out, they
stopped to rest, when Evan Howell proposed that he
and anotlier member of the regiment would go forward
and endeavor to Jind an outlet or a pilot to lead them to
an inhabited section. He fortunately met witli a moun-
taineer named Parsons, who took them to his home,
called in his neighbors, killed a number of beeves to
feed the famished men and then piloted them safelv to

Gen. Garnett, who was with tlie main column, had
been killed, after passing Carrick's Ford, while with-
drawing his rear guard and his force under Ramsey and
Taliaferro marched all night and succeeded in passing
the Pv.ed House and turning the mountain before Gen.
Hill, wdio was sent by McLellan to intercept them, had
reached that poiir. They w^ere now on fairly good roads,
in friendly, country and at Petersburg, W. Va., the peo-
ple turned out en masse to feed the exhausted Confed-
erates. Fro tliis point they retired l^y easy marches to
Monterey. The campaign, undertaken with a small force,
to hold an unfriendly section, had proven an expensive



About midday on Dec. 20, i860, the writer sat in an
audience room in Macon, Ga., listening to an address
delivered by Hon. Howell Cobb to the Cotton Planters'
Convention, then in session in that city. After all these
years my memory retains no trace of that address in
either theme or outline. I do recall, however, an inter-
ruption in its delivery, remembered, possibly, because
it threw a crimson tint over the years that followed it, and
for the further reason that if there had been no occasion
for such an interruption, these records might never have
been written. While Mr. Cobb was speaking, a messen-
ger entered the hall and handed him a telegram. He
broke the seal, glanced over its contents and then read
the following message to the audience: "The South
Carolina Convention has just passed the Ordinance of
Secession from the Union." From that moment the
''Cotton Planters' Convention " was no longer in it. The
audience became a howling mob. That night there was
a torchlight procession with brass band accompani-
ments. The streets were packed with a solid mass of
excited, fevered, yelling humanity. The people were
simply wild for Southern independence and the scene
w^as probably duplicated in every Southern city.


In the early months in '6i, when all hope of a peace-
Tul separation had passed, the war fever attacked first th-
towns and cities where the people were in constant touch
with each other and where t'he daily press kept the pub-
"lic pulse at more than normal beat. As the demand for
•troops increased, the infection spread to quiet country
places with their monthly church service and their week-
ly mail. And so in due time it reached the community in
Vvhich T lived, a community of quiet, well-to-do farmers,
'whose knowledge of Jomini and the art of war was
"decidedly limited. A military organization of thirty of
Jorty men was, riiowever, effected and Mr, John D. Mon-
^in, the only member who knew the difference bteween
"'^shoulder arms" and "charge bayonet," was elected cap-
tain. Our weekly drills at the academy grounds were
ironfined largely to marching in single rank to the music
of a rustic drummer and fifer, v/ho seemed in blissful
ignorance of anything but ''slow time." There was a
-short-legged Frenchman in the company, whose num-
^ber was "32" and, who in counting off, always respond-
-ed with ''dirty too." A year or two later those of us, who
had seen actual service, could probably have made the
same response without impairing in the least our repu-
itation for veracity. As there was not sufficient material
in the community to form a full company, my brother
and myself, with D. W. Mongin, A. J. and J. H. Rhodes,
made application to the Oglethorpe Infantry, ist Ga.
i^egimerit, then at Laurel Hill, Va., for admission into its


ranks, and were accepted. Leaving Augusta July 31,
1 86 1, in company with George Pournelle and Ginnie
Hitt, who were returning 'from a ten days' furlough, we
stopped over in Richmond a day and visited the Con-
federate Congress then in session. Sitting in the gallery
of the Senate Chamber looking down upon Alex Steph-
ens in the chair and Bob Toombs, Ben Hill, E. A. Nisbet
R. M. T. Hunter and other worthies in the Hall, Luke
Lane, an old college classmate, wrote on the fly leaf of
the pocket diary, from which these records are partly
taken a sort of preface, closing it with these words :
"Llere's hoping that every Yankee may find a bloody
grave;" and Ginnie Hitt, sitting by, wrote beneath it:
"Amen, say L" Luke appended my initials to the senti-
ment, but as it was stronger than my inclinations
prompted me to endorse, I erased them. We visited also
the prison hospital where the Federals wounded at Ma-
nassas, w^ere being cared for. It was my first contact with
''grim visaged w\ir."

To a strippling boy, reared in a quiet country home
and in a community in which there had never occurred
a serioiis personal difficulty, I had neither inherited nor
acquired any taste for carnage or bloodshed, and the
scene was not a pleasant one. And yet the battlefield
unfortunately soon dulls our natural sensibilities and be-
gets an indifference to suffering that would shock us in
civil life.

On reaching Monterey, Va., where the Oglethorpes



were recuperating from the hardships of the ''Laurel
Hill Retreat," we found every tent occupied and wc
remained at the village inn until quarters could be pro-
vided. I rem^enber that I slept, or tried to sleep, on the
bare floor of our room as a sort of preparation for the
life on which I was entering. In this connection I recall
another fact, a peculiarity of this tavern, and that was
its capacity for the utilization of green apples as an article
of pubHc diet. My experience with hostelries is not
claimed to be at all extensive, but among tliose whose
hospitality I have had the good or bad fortune to enjoy,
or endure, this particular inn, on the line named, cer-
tainly "took the dilapidated linen from the lonely shrub."
We were treated to apples baked and stewed and fried,
to apple tarts and custards and dumplings, to apple but-
ter and it would probably be no exaggeration to say,
''there were others." After paying our bill Dan Mongin
remarked, "When green apple sea-son plays out this hotel
is going to suspend." In verification of his prophecy,
when we passed through Monterey en route to join
Stonwall Jackson in December, its doors were closed, its
lights were gone and all its halls deserted. Whether its
demise was due to the green apple theory, I am unable
to say.

My first month in cam.p was devoid of incident, its mo-
notony being varied only by squad drill, guard duty, for-
aging for maple syrup and other edibles among t!ie
Dutch farmers of that section and digging graves for


tlie unfortunate victims of the campaign just ended. One
of the graves which the v/riter helped to dig in very hard
clav. was appropriated by a burial squad from' another
-egiment for one oi their own dead. I am not lawyer
enough to say whether the act was petty larceny, forci-

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Online LibraryWalter A ClarkUnder the stars and bars; or, Memories of four years service with the Oglethorpes, of Augusta, Georgia → online text (page 1 of 14)