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Chapter 18:

The Georgia brigades in the army of Northern Virginia bore an honorable part in the military operations of 1865. Though reduced in numbers, they maintained their relative strength in an army where all suffered.

John B. Gordon, of Georgia, promoted to major-general, and later acting lieutenant-general, honored the State as commander of the Second army corps. Longstreet, closely connected with the State and now one of its citizens, led the First corps with the same grim earnestness that had characterized his four years service. George T. Anderson, Henry L. Benning and E. L. Thomas continued in command of their gallant brigades. Brig.-Gen. Clement A. Evans, first succeeding Gordon in brigade leadership, was now promoted to acting major-general, in command of the division including his old Georgia brigade, the remnant of the Stonewall division, and York's Louisiana brigade. His own brigade was commanded by Col. John H. Lowe. The gallant George Doles, killed in the Wilderness battle, was succeeded in brigade command by Gen. Philip Cook; Wofford's brigade was led by Gen. Dudley M. DuBose, Bryan's by Gen. James. P. Simms, Wright's first by Gen. G. M. Sorrel, and afterward by Col. George E. Taylor.

In the fighting on Hatcher's run early in February, Evans' brigade was distinguished. The two brigades of Georgians in Gordon's corps were also participants in the desperate attack on Grant's lines March 25, 1865, of [377] which Gordon had charge. The corps moved forward before daylight with the division of Evans in front, captured a half mile of breastworks with Fort Stedman, and turned the guns upon the other Federal works. Several batteries to the right and left were also cleared of their defenders and occupied by the enthusiastic Georgians. It was intended that a supporting column of 20,000 men should follow up and secure the ground thus won, but they did not arrive in time to go promptly forward. So the Federals were able to concentrate against the Confederates in such force that they were compelled to fall back to their own lines with heavy loss.

Two days later, Sheridan with 10,000 cavalry reinforced Grant, who now rapidly concentrated the main body of his army to the south and west of Petersburg, with the purpose of assailing the Confederate right. Without waiting to be attacked, Lee fell upon the Federals with so heavy a blow that he forced his enemy back. On the same day, March 31st, Sheridan was repulsed near Dinwiddie Court House, but on the next day, reinforced by two corps of infantry, he overwhelmed Pickett's smaller force at Five Forks. On the following morning the Federals attacked all along the line, which was very thin, there being in many places only one man to every seven yards. The gallant defense of Forts Alexander and Gregg checked the Federals until Longstreet came up and interposed his corps. That night Lee withdrew from the lines of Petersburg and Richmond, which he had held so long and skillfully. Lee's retreat was conducted with his usual skill, but the failure to secure supplies at Amelia Court House caused a delay which was fatal to his plans. The men of the Seventh Georgia cavalry, with M. W. Gary's brigade, were among the last to leave the Confederate capital just before the last bridge was destroyed.

At Sailor's creek, where Ewell's corps was surrounded and forced to surrender, the brigades of Simms and DuBose, and Humphreys' Virginia brigade, fighting [378] under Gen. J. B. Kershaw, repulsed repeated attacks until Simms' command was surrounded and mostly captured.

Gordon's corps, escaping this disaster, took part in the last assault upon the enemy on the morning of April 9th, and was in line of battle when the surrender was announced. After a truce had been made to arrange the terms of capitulation, General Evans, who commanded the left division, ignorant of what was occurring elsewhere, had pushed out his skirmishers under Capt. Kaigler. Suddenly a Federal force appeared, advancing on his flank, and a small battery opened fire. Immediately forwarding his skirmishers under Kaigler, and supporting them with his command, Evans led a charge, capturing the battery with a number of prisoners and driving his assailant from the field. A few minutes later he received official notice of the surrender and slowly withdrew his command toward Appomattox. This successful charge shed a parting glory over the last hours of the illustrious army of Northern Virginia.

Following is the organization of the Georgia commands in the final operations:

Longstreet's corps.

In C. W. Fields' division: Brigade of Gen. George T. Anderson—Seventh regiment, Col. George H. Carmical; Eighth, Col. John R. Towers; Ninth, Maj. John W. Arnold; Eleventh, Capt. W. H. Ramsey; Fifty-ninth, Col. Jack Brown. Brigade of Gen. Henry L. Benning —Second regiment, Capt. Thomas Chaffin, Jr.; Fifteenth, Maj. Peter J. Shannon; Seventeenth, Maj. James B. Moore; Twentieth . . .

In J. B. Kershaw's division: Brigade of Gen. Dudley M. DuBose—Sixteenth regiment, Lieut. W. W. Montgomery; Eighteenth, Capt. J. F. Espy; Twenty-fourth, Capt. J. A. Garrard; Third sharpshooters; Cobb's legion, Lieut. W. G. Steed; Phillips' legion, Lieut. A. J. Reese; last commander of brigade, Capt. J. F. Espy. Brigade of Gen. James P. Simms—Tenth regiment, Lieut. John B. Evans; Fiftieth, Capt. George W. Waldron; [379] Fifty-first, Capt. H. R. Thomas; Fifty-third, Capt R. H. Woods; last commander of brigade, Capt. Waldron.

Gordon's corps.

In Bryan Grimes' division: Brigade of Gen. Philip Cook—Fourth regiment, Col. Edwin Nash, Capt. John M. Shiver; Twelfth, Capt. Josiah N. Beall; Twenty-first, Capt. Edward Smith; Forty-fourth, Capt. John A. Tucker; Patterson's battery; last commander of brigade, Colonel Nash.

In Clement A. Evans' division: Evans' brigade, Col. John H. Lowe—Thirteenth regiment, Lieut.-Col. Richard Maltby; Twenty-sixth, Capt. James Knox; Thirty-first, Capt. Edward C. Perry; Thirty-eighth, Lieut.-Col. Philip E. Davant; Sixtieth and Sixty-first, Col. W. B. Jones; Ninth battalion artillery, Sergt. Horace L. Cranford; Twelfth battalion artillery, Capt. Samuel H. Crump. Eighteenth battalion infantry, Capt. George W. Stiles.

A. P. Hill's corps.

In C. M. Wilcox's division: Brigade of Gen. E. L. Thomas—Fourteenth regiment, Col. Richard P. Lester; Thirty-fifth, Col. Bolling H. Holt; Forty-fifth, Col. Thomas J. Simmons; Forty-ninth, Maj. James B. Duggan.

In William Mahone's division: G. M. Sorrel's brigade, Col. George E. Taylor—Third regiment, Lieut.-Col. Claiborne Snead; Twenty-second, Capt. George W. Thomas; Forty-eighth, Capt. Alexander C. Flanders; Sixty-fourth, Capt. James G. Brown; Second battalion, Maj. Charles J. Moffett; Tenth battalion, Capt. Caleb F. Hill.

In R. H. Anderson's corps: Georgia battery, Capt. C. W. Slaton.

In Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry corps: Brigade of M. W. Gary—Seventh Georgia, Capt. W. H. Burroughs.

The aggregate present of these commands on the Petersburg and Richmond lines previous to the evacuation was as follows: Anderson's brigade 1,242, Benning's 849, DuBose's 1,012, Simms' 824, Evans' 1,328, Cook's 702, Sorrel's 1,329, Thomas' 1,159; total infantry 8,445. The grand total present for the army at that time was [380] 51,014 infantry. Hence it appears that one man in six in General Lee's army in 1865 was a Georgian.

At Appomattox, the following numbers of officers and men were paroled in the Georgia brigades: In Anderson's 987, Benning's 809, DuBose's 347, Simms' 190, Cook's 350, Evans' 841, Sorrel's 1,033, Thomas' 513, a total of 5,070 out of the 22,349 paroled infantry of the army, or nearly one-fourth.

Early in February, General Sherman began his march northward from Savannah. He moved in two columns, one threatening Augusta and the other Charleston. On the day that he entered Columbia, Hardee evacuated Charleston, retiring toward North Carolina.

On February 22d, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was again called upon to take command of the army of Tennessee, transferred to the Carolinas, Hardee's command, Hoke's division, Hampton's cavalry, and such other forces as could be gathered to resist the advance of Sherman, who was reinforced by Schofield's corps at Wilmington.

In the organization of the army under Johnston (as reported after April 9th), the following Georgia commands were included:

In Brig.-Gen. James A. Smith's brigade, Cleburne's old division—First Georgia (consolidated First, Fifty-seventh and Sixty-third), Col. C. H. Olmstead; Fifty-fourth (consolidated Thirty-seventh, Fifty-fourth and Fourth battalion sharpshooters), Col. Theodore D. Caswell.

In Brig.-Gen. A. H. Colquitt's brigade, Hoke's division —Sixth regiment, Maj. James M. Culpeper; Nineteenth, Lieut.-Col. Ridgeway B. Hogan; Twenty-third, Col. Marcus R. Ballenger; Twenty-seventh, Lieut.-Col. Hezekiah Bussey; Twenty-eighth, Capt. George W. Warthen.

In Gist's brigade, Col. William G. Foster-Forty-sixth Georgia, Capt. Abe Miles; Sixty-fifth regiment and Second and Eighth battalions, consolidated, Lieut.-Col. Zachariah L. Watters.

In Brig.-Gen. Stephen Elliott's brigade, Patton Anderson's division, Stewart's corps—Twenty-second battalion artillery, Maj. Mark J. McMullan; Twenty-seventh battalion, Maj. Alfred L. Hartridge. [381]

Col. George P. Harrison's brigade, Walthall's division, Stewart's corps—First regulars, Col. Richard A. Wayne; Fifth regiment, Col. Charles P. Daniel; Fifth reserves, Maj. C. E. McGregor; Thirty-second regiment, Lieut.-Col. E. H. Bacon, Jr.; Forty-seventh regiment and Bonaud's battalion.

Artillery, Stewart's corps—Batteries of Capts. Ruel W. Anderson, John W. Brooks and John F. Wheaton.

Brig.-Gen. Robert J. Henderson's brigade, Stevenson's division, S. D. Lee's corps—First Georgia Confederate battalion (consolidated with First sharpshooters and Twenty-fifth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth and Sixty-sixth regiments), Capt. W. J. Whitsitt; Thirty-ninth regiment (consolidated with Thirty-fourth and part of Fifty-sixth), Lieut.-Col. W. P. Milton, Col. C. H. Phinizy; Fortieth battalion (consolidated with Forty-first and Forty-third), Lieut. W. H. Darnall, Capt. James E. Stallings; Fortysecond Georgia (consolidated with Thirty-sixth and parts of Thirty-fourth and Fifty-sixth), Lieut.-Col. Lovick P. Thomas.

In Gen. Wade Hampton's cavalry were the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Twelfth Georgia cavalry regiments; Phillips' legion, under Maj. W. W. Thomas; Cobb's legion, Capt. R. B. Roberts; Tenth Georgia, Capt. E. W. Moise. Brig.-Gen. R. H. Anderson had a brigade command in Hampton's cavalry.

In the foregoing infantry organizations are represented the consolidated fragments of the brigades of Brig.-Gens. John K. Jackson, H. R. Jackson, H. W. Mercer, Alfred Cumming and M. A. Stovall, which had participated in the operations up to that time in their original organizations, but in very reduced numbers. Stovall's and Jackson's brigades of Clayton's division were together but 416 strong in the battle of Kinston, March 10th, and lost 70. Cumming's brigade had 23 effectives. Under the command of Col. Robert J. Henderson, during the fighting at Bentonville, March 19th to 22d, it was warmly commended by General Stevenson for gallantry in repulsing a flank attack of the enemy, and received upon the field the thanks and compliments of General Johnston. In the same combat J. A. Smith's brigade was in the front line [382] of battle and in the corps command of General Bate. In the charge on the Federals, Frank Stone, of the Oglethorpes of Augusta (then a company of Olmstead's First Georgia), bore one of the old Pat Cleburne battleflags and was wounded. At the time of the surrender he concealed the flag about his person and carried it home in safety. It was afterward lost in the burning of a residence, where it had been placed for safekeeping. This company lost 1 killed and 3 wounded at Bentonville.

Brigadier-General Iverson in command of 1, 500 cavalry operated on the Georgia side of the Savannah during the advance of Sherman and kept on guard against raids into Georgia. Gen. Joseph Wheeler performed a great service when he defeated Kilpatrick at Aiken, February, 1865, and thus saved Augusta from the fate of Atlanta and Columbia. At Averasboro Wheeler defeated a movement of the enemy upon Hardee's right flank, and covered the retreat when Hardee withdrew.

In the engagement at Rivers' bridge, February 3d, the Thirty-second and Forty-seventh regiments, Fifth reserves and Earle's battery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, were engaged and suffered a loss of 97 killed, wounded and missing.

Hoke's division took a prominent part in the battle of Bentonville, and the heaviest losses in killed and wounded were sustained by the Georgians of Colquitt's brigade, the totals being 41 killed, 178 wounded, 23 missing.

The last considerable military event in Georgia was the cavalry raid of Gen. James H. Wilson in April, 1865. He left Chickasaw, Ala., March 22d, with about 10,000 men, and after defeating and capturing a large part of what was left of General Forrest's cavalry at Selma, entered Georgia. Upton's division marched through Tuskegee toward Columbia, and Colonel LaGrange, with three regiments, advanced on West Point by way of Opelika. Colonel LaGrange found a garrison of 265 devoted Confederates under Gen. Robert C. Tyler in possession of a [383] small fort at West Point. The work was 35 yards square, surrounded by a ditch, supplied with four cannon, and situated on an eminence commanding the Chattahoochee bridge at that point. One assault was repelled by the garrison, but in the second the Federal soldiers swarmed over the little fort and captured the entire command of Tyler, who was killed with 18 of his officers and men, while 28 were severely wounded. The Federal loss was 7 killed and 29 wounded. At West Point, two bridges, 19 locomotives and 245 cars loaded with quartermaster's, commissary and ordnance stores, were reported destroyed by the Federal commander.

At Columbus on the same day, April 16th, a week after General Lee's surrender, Gen. Howell Cobb made a gallant attempt to defend the bridges over the Chattahoochee, fighting on the Alabama side, but was overwhelmed by the Federal forces, who took possession of the city, capturing 1,200 prisoners and 52 field guns. Col. C. A. L. Lamar, of General Cobb's staff, was among the killed. The Federal loss was 24 killed and wounded. The ram Jackson, which had been built for the defense of the Chattahoochee, now nearly ready for service, with an armament of six 7-inch guns, was destroyed, as were also the navy yard, foundries, arsenal, armory, sword and pistol factory, shops, paper mills, cotton factories, 15 locomotives, 200 cars, and a large amount of cotton.

Wilson's forces now took up the march from Columbus for Macon, destroying much property en route and wrecking the railroads. Within 13 miles of the city they were met by Brigadier-General Robertson, of Wheeler's corps, under a flag of truce, bearing a letter from Gen. Howell Cobb announcing an armistice between Generals Johnston and Sherman. Before General Wilson could reach the front to make investigation, Colonel White dashed into the city and received its surrender, although General Cobb protested that the Federal troops should acknowledge the armistice. Generals Cobb, G. W. Smith [384] and Mackall and the garrison were held as prisoners of war. When informed of the armistice by Sherman, General Wilson issued the necessary orders to carry it into effect, and General Cobb gave every assistance in his power in the collection of supplies for the large Federal command, before any terms of capitulation had been made known to either of the generals commanding. On April 30th Wilson received notice of the final capitulation of the Confederate forces east of the Chattahoochee by General Johnston, and was directed to resume hostilities and capture the Confederate States officials about to enter or make their way through the State. For this purpose the various brigades were disposed throughout the State. General Upton, who was ordered to Augusta, caused the arrest of Vice-President Stephens, Secretary Mallory and Senator Hill.

President Davis arrived at Washington, Ga., the home of Gen. Robert Toombs, May 4, 1865, and remained there about thirty-six hours. His family was with him, consisting of Mrs. Davis and four children, accompanied by her sister, Miss Howell, and Midshipman Howell, her brother. General Bragg, Gen. I. M. St. John, Gen. A. R. Lawton, Postmaster-General John H. Reagan, General Breckinridge, secretary of war, and a considerable number of other Confederate officials and officers, also arrived at Washington. On the 5th this party, the last representatives of the Confederate States government, separated, General Reagan alone accompanying the President in a westward direction. At Irwin's cross-roads and at Dublin they were threatened by strolling bands, but escaped danger. At daylight on the morning of May 10th, a detachment of Michigan cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard, striving to cut off the party in advance, collided with a body of Wisconsin cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden, which was in pursuit, and before there could be a mutual recognition, several Federal soldiers were killed by their comrades. At the same time President [385] Davis was discovered, and he and his entire party were made prisoners. Those captured were the President, Mrs. Davis and children, Miss Howell, waiting maids and servants, Postmaster-General Reagan, Col. Burton N. Harrison, the President's secretary, Colonels Lubbock and Johnston, aides-de-camp to the President, four subordinate officers and thirteen private soldiers. No attempt at resistance was made.

The South had failed in the heroic fight for separate independence. Georgia's gallant sons, who had so grandly illustrated their State on the many battlefields of the four years conflict, wasted no time in idle repining over a lost cause and ruined fortunes. With patience, industry and the same indomitable spirit displayed by them on many a bloody field, they faced the adverse circumstances that confronted them, and bravely went to work to repair the desolation wrought by war. How well they have succeeded is evinced by the proud position which Georgia occupies in the restored Union.

In the late war with Spain, the sons of Confederates responded with enthusiasm to the country's call, and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, the renowned Confederate cavalry leader, twined new laurels around the brows of Georgia and Alabama, his native and adopted States. [386]

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