James M. (James Madison) Folsom.

Heroes and martyrs of Georgia. Georgia's record in the revolution of 1861 online

. (page 4 of 15)
Online LibraryJames M. (James Madison) FolsomHeroes and martyrs of Georgia. Georgia's record in the revolution of 1861 → online text (page 4 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

which day it went into the battle of Mechanicsville, with about
four hundred men. In this battle the regiment distinguished
itself, and was highly complimented by General Archer, whose


character, as a stern, exacting, brave officer, rendered his compli-
ments expressive of something. The regiment lost in this battle,
one hundred and eighty -five men. The next day it was engaged
in the battle of Gaines' Mill, and did its whole duty. Loss not
remembered, but it was heavy. The regiment was again engaged
at Frazier's Farm, and also at Malvern Hill, with considerable
loss, and was ordered to inscribe the names of the four battles
upon its banner.

At Mechanic9ville, Lieutenant Colonel Johnson lost his life.
He was a most gallant and efficient officer, and had been in com-
mand of the regiment almost constantly from the time it reached
Virginia until his death, owing to the ill health of Colonel Boyd.
Major Hutchins was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel, and
Captain Neal, of Company B, to be Major. Lieutenants Dunlop
and Brownfield, Company K, gallant, noble fellows, were killed
at Mechanicsville, and a large number of the best officers and men
in the regiment were killed, or mortally wounded, in the four bat- '
ties. Lieutenant Stovall, Company A, was mortally wounded.

The Nineteenth engaged in the pursuit of McClellan's army to
Harrison's Landing, and was then recalled to Richmond, and
sent by railroad to Gordonsville, with General Jackson, in whose
command it had been since the beginning of the battles known
as the " Seven days " battles around Richmond."

On the 9th of August we were engaged in the battle of Cedar
Mountain, and in it lost one-third of the men carried into action.
We then commenced the march into Maryland, participating in
the battles on the Rappahannock. Three days at Manassas, and
at Germantown, was the command engaged, losing at Manassas
(again) one-third of the men pres>ent.

Crossing the Potomac near Leesburg, this regiment entered
Frederick City and remained in camp four days, at the end of
which time it marched by way of Boonsborough to Williams-
port, recrossed the Potomac, captured Martinsburg, and on the
13th day of September camped before Harper's Ferry. On the
15th of same month, the place was surrendered with (»ver eleven
thousand prisoners, and a vast quantity of stores of all kinds.
On the morning of the 17th, the light division began the march
to Sharpsburg. At two o'clock in the evening crossed the
Potomac and formed into line on the extreme right, where the
enemy were fast pressing back our lines. Archer's Brigade was
first in line, and immediately charged the enemy without waiting


for the balance of the division. The enemy in large force was
driven in confusion from a strong position behind a stone fence,
and the effort to turn our right flank cflTectnally checked. In
this charge more than one-half of the Nineteenth Georgia were
killed and wovmded. The division held its position until the
night of the 18th, when it withdrew, with the army, across the
Potomac. On the 20th, a force of the enemy having crossed in
pursuit, Archer's Brigade and other troops turned and attacked
him at Shepherdstown, inflicting serious loss on the enemy. In
this affriir the loss of the regiment was thirty men killed and

The regiment remained about " Bunker Hill and Berryville "
tmtil November 261 h, without any event requiring notice, except
a skirmish with the enemy at " Snicker's Ferry," in which forty
Yankees were killed and wounded, without any loss whatever to
this regiment. No other infantry was engaged in this skirmish.
While in the Valley much time was spent in destroying the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad ; also the Winchester road.

On the 26th of November the division began the march* to
Fredericksburg, and reached that place after an exceedingly
]ilea8ant march of twelve (12) days. On the 13th of December,
1862, the brigade occupied the right of the line, there being an
interval of threes hundred (300) yards between it and the next
brigade on our left. The Nineteenth Georgia was situated upon
the extreme left of the brigade, next to the open space betAveen it
and the next brigade. The enemy charged our front in heavier
force than has ever been seen by any member of this regiment,
on any field of battle in this revolution. Notwithstanding the
overwhelming odds opposed to us, the assault was re[iulsed with
most terrible loss to the enemy and comparatively small loss in
this regiment. We were congratulating ourselves upon the
handsome rejjulse we had given the enemy, when suddenly it
was disfovered that a large force of the enemy had passed the
interval }»etween the Nineteenth Georgia and the next brigade ;
and at the same time they opened fire upon our flank and rear
simnltanoously ; some confusion occurred, as the firing Ix-r-nme
HO heavy that no command could bo heard. The regiment lost
in this action eighty-seven (87) men, killed and woimded, and
one hundred and seven (lOT) taken prisoners by the rnomy. This
is the only occasion upon wliicli the line of ihiv regiment has


been broken, and in this case no impression was made by the
attack in front.*

Colonel Boyd having resigned on the 12th of January, 1863,
Lieutenant Colonel Hutchins was promoted Colonel, Major Neal
was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Hooper raised
to the rank of Major. General Archer's Brigade Avent into
camps near Grace Church, and on the 22d of January, the
Nineteenth Georgia Kegiment was transferred to General Col-
quitt's Georgia Brigade, composed of tlie Sixth, Twenty-third,
T^^•enty-seveuth and Twenty-eighth Georgia Regiments, and the
Thirteenth Alabama Regiment, which was exchanged for the
Nineteenth Georgia.

The winter of this part of the year 1863, was spent along the
Rappahannock, below Fredericksburg, until the battle of Chan-
cellorsville and Wilderness, on the 1st and 3d of May, 1863.
This regiment participated in both of said battles, losing about
forty-five (45) men killed and wounded. About the 20th of
May the brigade was ordered to Kinston, North Carolina, and
remained quietly there until July 3d, when it was ordered to
report immediately to Richmond, to repel an expected raid of
the enemy. On the 9th of July it was ordered to Charleston,
South Carolina, and reached that place on the 14th instant. On
the 15th, two regiments of the brigade (the Sixth and Nineteenth)
went to James Island, and on the 16th instant, engaged the
enemy slightly, this regiment losing two men, and killing wound-
ing or capturing sixty negroes.

Colonel Hutchins having resigned his commission on the 20th
of August, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Neal was promoted to the
Colonelcy, and Major Hooper having previously resigned. Cap-
tain Flynt was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Mabry
was promoted Major. The regiment reraahied in the vicinity of
Charleston until the 10th of February, 1864, doinif heavy duty at
Battery Wagner, Fort Sumter, and Fort Johnson, and then
started for Florida, but was halted and marched to Johns Island
to meet a demonstration being made by the enemy ; but they
knowing the force which would be opposed to them, retired, and
the trip to Florida was resumed ; and on the 1 7th of February
the regiment and brigade reached Olustee, Florida. On the 20tli
of said month the battle of Ocean Pond was fought, in which

*No blame can possibly attach to this regiment for this unfortunate affair,
as the reverse must have been owing to the defective line.


Colquitt's bricTfide was heavily engaged. The Nineteenth Georgia
was under a heavy lire (for four hours) of small arms, and much
of that time had no ammunition with which to return the fire.
It had, nevertheless, captured three guns and caissons early in the
battle. The loss of this regiment in this battle was ninety-seven
killed and wounded. This effectual victory over the Yankees
closed the campaign in Florida, and we remained quietly in camps
until the 18th of April, when wo were ordered to return to Vir-
ginia. The regiment made a" start and had reached Florence,
when we were ordered to take the back track to Sullivan's Island,
Charleston harbor. It remained here but three days, when it
was again ordered to Virginia, and reached Petersburg on tho
13th day of May, 1864.

On the 16th of May an attack was made upon the enemy near
Drewry's Bluff. The Nineteenth was eng.aged and lost thirty-
four (34) men. It rem.'xined on the line Jiear Bermuda Hundreds
for a fortnight, and then marched to Cold Harbor, reaching that
place just in time to check the advance of the enemy, who were
driving our cavalry before them. Breastworks were hastily
constructed at night, and at dawn the enemy charged the line,
and were handsomely repulsed with sickening slaughter. Tho
loss to the Nineteenth was trifling. This line was held under a
concentrated fire of artillery for two weeks, and we left it only
when the enemy abandoned his line and parched to the south
side of the James Ili\ er.

At Cold Harbor, the line of Colquitt's Brigade was about
identical with that from which it had driven the enemy, two
years before. Leaving Cold Harbor about the loth of June,
the brigade reache<l Petersburg at eleven o'clock, on the evening
of the 16th. The enemy having taken our line of works from
the local troops, at six o'clock on the s.ime evening, wo fonnd
every thing in great confusion. No information cor.ld be
obtained, as to the force or position of the enemy. No one knew
how much of our line they occupied. Not a picket was between
the enemy and Petersburg. Haygood's South Carolina Brigade,
and this, (Colquitt's,) formed a line, and began to entrench. By
morning a large number of troops ha<l arrived and were now
in position to receive the expected assault.

The Yankees attacked several positions on our line, but did
not molest this brigade. It having been discovered that our line
was defective, on the night of the 17th the troops were all


withdrawn to a line we had constructed about half a mile in the
rear of our brigade. At dawn on the 18th, the enemy discov-
ered that we were gone, and evidently thought that Petersburg
was evacuated, and their way open to that city. They came
charging and shouting as if no resistance was anticipated. As
soon as they emerged from the woods, we unexpectedly opened
fire on them, and soon eifectually checked their advance. They
fell back in great confusion to the woods. At two o'clock the
same day, they charged the Nineteenth in very heavy force, but
with the aid of the other regiments of the brigade, we succeeded
in repulsing them. They left a large number of dead and
wounded on the field ; and indeed, so severely punished were
they, that they have not since attempted an assault upon that
part of the line, but have contented themselves with sharp-shoot-
ing and artillery firing upon us.

From that time until the present, the Nineteenth has been
upon the same line, with occasional short intervals of rest. It
has been subjected to a heavy fire of sharp-shooters and very
severe shelling, especially from mortar. The duty is very heavy
and has caused much sickness in the regiment.

During the fifty-two days spent here, the privations and
hardships endured, have been greater than for any six montljs of
the war. The heat in the ditches has been intense. Rations*
have been short. Ma^y of the ofiicers and men have been for
six weeks without a change of clothing. Yet in spite of all,
they are confident and in the very best of spirits. This regiment
has participated in as many engagements as any other Georgia
regiment, except perhaps one or two, and on no occasion has it
failed to do its Avhole duty. It is impossible to mention individual
instances of gallantry without doing injustice to many good men.
The limit allowed will not admit of a more detailed account of
the operations of this regiment. The Nineteenth Georgia has
fought in every battle in which the Army of Northern Virginia
has been engaged, except Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Spottsyl-
vania; and in place of these, participated in the battles of Ocean
Pond, Drewry's BluS*, and in the siege of Charleston, including
Fort Sumter and Battery Wagner. The history of A. P. Hill's
Division in the campaign of 1862, is a history of this regiment ;
since that time it has been identified with Colquitt's Brigade.

Independent of the above report I give names of two heroes of Georgia :—
W. J. Y. Wood, Ensign Nineteenth Georgia. From ftaquiry among hia


comrades, I find thia young man is particularly noted among hie comrades for
an indomitable courage, which has shown conspicuous upon every battlefield,
upon which liis regiment has been engaged. He has repeatedly led his
regiment into action, proudly flaunting the Southern Cross in the face of the

John Merritt, Company 11, Nineteenth Georgia, was wounded at Ocean Pond,
Florida. He obtained a furlough to return to his home in Paulding County.
The retrograde movement of General Johnson's Army, left him in the Yankee
lines. Ho was taken prisoner and sent to Todd's Barracks, Ohio. There
being a number of Yankee draft«d men confined with him, who were continu-
ally deserting, ho conceived the bold project of escaping by representing
himself as one of the deserters. He did so successfully, and after many
vicissitudes, was sent to Grant's Army, where after staying several daj-s, he
managed to escape into our lines in front of Petersburg, bringing with him
three Yankee deserters. General Hoke appointed him his courier immediately
upon his arrival.




Number of men originally enlisted, . . . . 794
Number of recruits received, ..... 264
Number of conscripts received, ..... 37
Number of men received by transfer, .... 23
Number of officers received by appointment, election, pro-
motion, and transfer, . . . . 13

Total strength of regiment, . . 1131


Resigned for disability) 24

Resigned for wounds, 4

Resigned for other causes, 6

Dismissed, 3

Transferred, T

Promoted to other commands, T

Killed in action 8

Died of wounds, 8

Died of disease 2

Deserted, 1

Total loss in officers, 65


Discharged for disability , 109

Discharged by order, 12

Discharged by civil authority, 1

Discharged for promotion, 8

Killed in action, 103

Died of wounds, 42

Died of disease, . . , 173

Transferred, . . . . . . . . 19

Missing in action and supposed dead, .... 6

Deserted . . ' 90

Wounded in action 340

Disabled by service, 22

* Actual loss of the regiment, . . . , . 660

Total both permanently and temporarily lost, . flflO

Total loss by death 387

♦Independent of those wounded in action amounting to 840 men.


Owing to some error, perhaps in my own calculations of statistics of this
regiment, I am unable to make a correct balance. There is a difference,
however, of only three men, between the report handed mo and my own

It will be seen by the foregoing that the Twenty-third Georgia has lost by
death three hundred and thirty-seven men ; by death, discharge, promotions,
transfers, <tc., Ac, tix hundred and fifty. And counting the number of men
who have been w6nnded, (all of whom are in all probability with the
regiment now) the loss which of course is partially temporary, amounts to
nine hundred and ninety men.

The Twenty-third Georgia was organized at Camp McDon.ild,
Georgia, on the 31st day of August, 1861, entirely eomposed of
companies from the Cherokee counties of Georgia, and were
enlisted and mustered into the service for the war. The following
are the names of the officers commanding the companies, and
the counties to which they belong : —

Company A, Captain Pool, Bartow County.

Company B, Captain James II. Hnggins, Union County,

Company C, Captain M. R. Ballenger, Floyd County.

Company D, Captain John Steel, Pickens County.

Company E, Captain Samuel Tate, Pickens Count}'.

Company F, Captain B. F. King, Cobb Pounty.

Company G, Captain J. A. Sharp, Cherokee County.

Company H, Captain F. M. Young, Walker County.

Company I, Captain Thomas Hutcherson, Gordon and-Cherokee Counties.

Company K, Captain W. P. Barclay, Union County.

After tlie aforementioned companies were mustered into
service, the organization was perfected by the election of Captain
Thomas Hutcherson to the Colonelcy, Captain W. P. Barclay to
the Lieutenant Colonelcy, and E. F. Ikst to the Majority. Dr.
S. W. Thompson received the appointment of Surgeon, Dr. J. H.
Spear that of Assistant Surgeon. Dr. William Bacon was
appointed Assistnni Quartermaster, Warren Moss, Commissary,
and C. C. Sanders, Adjutant. '

The regiment remained in Camp of Instruction until about the
10th day of Novombfr, 1»«1, when it was ordered to Kichmond
Virginia. Remaining at liichmond but Ti very short time, it was
ordered to Yorktown, where it remained until the ev.icuation of
that ]>lace, which event occurred on the 3d day of May, 1862.
During this eventful sirge the rogiment was commanded Hy
Lieutenant Colonel Barclay. While at this point it was assigned
to the brigade of Rains, in the division of Major
General D. IL Hill.


After the retreat commenced, the regiment was on the field of
the Battle of Williamsburg, but Avere not in the engagement.
The hardships, privations and sufferings endui-ed during this
tedious retreat, were very severe, and in the opinion of many,
only excelled by the disastrous retreat of Napoleon Bonaparte
from Moscow. Certain it is, that no march or retreat during
this war, can bear any comparison to it. The Twenty-third
suffered very severely,— many men died from the sufferings and
exposure they underwent ; and when we reached Richmond or
its vicinity, not more than one half the men and officers reported
for duty.

The Battle of Seven Pines, fought upon the 31st day of May,
1862, was the first engagement in which this regiment was
regularly engaged. The regiment went into the fight commanded
by Lieutenant Colonel Barclay with four hundred men, and lost
eighty men killed and wounded. After the fight was over, the
regiment was publicly complimented by General D. H. Hill for
the conspicuous gallantry which it had displayed during the fight.
He said that it was owing to the manner in which the Twenty-
third Georgia had conducted itself, that the tide of battle was
turned in favor of the Confe'derate Army on that bloody day.

The next engagement iu which this regiment was a participant,
was the Battle of Mechauicsville, which was fought on the 26th
day of June, 1862. In this fight the command of the Twenty-
third Georgia devolved upon Major Best. In this action the
brigade was surprised and thrown into confusion ; but owing to
the indefatigable exertions of Captain Huggins assisted by other
officers, order was restored. Captain Huggins retained command
until the enemy had disappeared from our front. The loss hi
the Twenty-third in this fight was slight. The regiment was
engaged in the Battle of Cold Harbor the same day, and two
days afterwards, participated in the Battle of White Oak Swamp,
and the day afterwards, was again engaged in the terrible Battle
of Malvern Hill. In all these engagements we were commanded
by Captain Huggins, and lost very heavily iu killed and wounded.
Soon after the battles around Richmond, Lieutenant Colonel
Barclay was promoted to Colonel to fill the vacancy occasioned
by the resignation of Colonel Hutcherson, Major Best was
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Huggins to Major.

The next active service performed by the regiment, was during
the world-renowned campaign into the State of Maryland. The


march was executed without any incident coniTected with the
regiment worthy of notice, until the Battle of South Mountain,
or as it is perhaps equally as generally called, the Battle of
Boonsboro, at which place the Twenty-third Georgia acted a
very conspicuous part. It held a very important position on the
left of the turnpike, where it winds through a pass in the
mountains, against very heiivy odds, and inflicted heavy loss
upon the enemy. This position was held in the face of an
overpowering foe, when our ammunition was so nearly exhausted
that we could only keep up a show of fight by an irregular,
scattering fire. As evidence of the heat of the engagement, the
loss of this gallant regiment, amounting to ninety men killed and
wounded, out of three hundred carried into action, will sufii-
ciently testify. In this fight at least seventy thousand Yankees
were beaten back and kept back for many hours by Major
General D. 11. Hill's Division alone.

Three days after the Battle of South Mountain, the fight of
Sharpsburg was inaugurated, that is, on the 17th day of Septem-
ber, 1862. In this dreadful fight the Twenty-thiid Georgia
suffered very heavily. Among the number slain was the gallant
Colonel Barclay, who had so often led the regiment to victory,
and who had displayed conspicuous gallantry upon every field
where it been his fortune to lead. The regiment suflfered an
irre|>arable loss in his death.

After the death of Colonel Barclay, Lieutenant Colonel Best
was promoted to the rank of Colonel, Major Huggins to Lieu-
tenant Colonel, and Captain M. R. Ballenger to Major. All oi
these officers having been wounded, the command of the regiment
devolved upon a captain for several months, during which time
the regiment marched with the army from the Potomac near
Shepherdstown, to Fredericksburg, the men suffering extraordi-
nary privations upon the march, which was almost equal to the
horrid retreat from Yorklown. ]\Iany of the men without a
murmur, walked barelboted through the snow for days, until
they were ordered by General D. II. Hill to make and wear raw
hide moccasins, to which however they were very much oji'posed,
as they were exceedingly uncomfortable.

Commanded V)y Captain Sharj), the regiment was in the Battle
of Fredericksburg, but was not closely engaged. The loss in
this fight amounted to only five killed and wounded. Shortly
after this Colonel Best returned to the regiment, and wa.s ,in


command at the Battle of Chancellorsville, which was fought
May 2d and 3d, 1863. The Twenty-third Georgia was detached
from the brigade to protect a wagon train, while the army was
making a flank movement. The enemy discovering our move-
ment, and thinking that it was a retreat of the entire army,
ordered General Sickles to make a reconnoissance in force, to
discover what our movement really was. He obeyed the order,
and at the head of twenty thousand men, marched down upon
the devoted Twenty-third. He maneuvered to capture the
wagon train, but after cbnsiderable skirmishing, pending which
the wagon train escaped, he only succeeded in capturing one
hundred and ninety men and officers of this regiment. By thus
standing our ground firmly agatnst the outrageously overwhelm-
ing numbers of the enemy, we saved the wagon train at the
expense of the before enumerated prisoners. These same were
exchanged about three weeks afterward and returned to the

The regiment shortly after this affair, on or about the 20th of
May, 'was ordered to Kinston, North Carolina. After staying at
Kinston a few weeks, we were ordered back to Richmond to
repel a raid of the enemy's cavalry. Spending a few days at
Richmond, the regiment was ordered to Wilmington, North
Carolina, where after staying a few weeks, it was ordered to
Charleston, South Carolina. Here it spent the Avinter of 1863,
seeing during the time, a tour of eight days in Battery Wagner,
which was certainly the most disagreeble duty the members of
the Twenty-third had ever before performed. Some of our best
men Avere lost upon this Island, number not remembered. Upon
being relieved, we were placed on board the ill-fated steamer
Sumter, which, as we went up the harbor, was fired upon and
sunk by our guns at Fort Moultrie ; but very fortunately and
almost miraculously, we lost no men at all by the accident. The
regiment was at this time commanded by Major Ballenger.

After the evacuation of Morris Island, fifty men of the
Twenty-third were detailed for duty in Fort Sumter, where the

1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryJames M. (James Madison) FolsomHeroes and martyrs of Georgia. Georgia's record in the revolution of 1861 → online text (page 4 of 15)