IN RESPONSE TO THE CALL FOR TROOPS FROM THE CONFEDERATE STATES GOVERNMENT ON THE 20TH, APRIL 1861 BY J.E. BROWN OF GEORGIA, CALLED INTO SERVICE THE FOLLOWING MILITARY COMPANIES FOR 12 MONTHS SERVICE: YOUNG GUARDS, ATHENS GUARDS, DAWSON GREYS, HOME GUARDS, GOVENORS GUARDS, WILKERSON RIFLES, BROWN RIFLES, CONFEDERATE LIGHT GUARDS, CASWELL GUARDS, DADE RIFLES, BURKE GUARDS.
These companies rendevoused in Augusta Georgia in the last days of April, 1861. They were armed and equiped, and mustered into the service for 12 Months by Confederate States army officer Captain R.G Cole, and transported by rail to Portmouth, Virginia. On the 8th of May, 1861, the 3rd Georgia regiment was organized by the election of its field officers as follows:
Ambrose Ransom Wright.....Confederate Light Guards........Colonel James S. Reid.............Capt. Home Guards...............Lt. Col. Arthur H. Lee.............Young Guards....................Major W.W. Turner...............Lieut. Brown Rifles.............Adjutant Alexander Phillips........Lieut. Conf. Light Guards.......Quartermaster H.S. Hughes...............Athens Guards...................Commissary W.S. Meirve(?)............Home Guards.....................Surgeon R.B. Lester...............Burke Guards....................Chaplain William O'Brien...........Brown Rifles....................Sgt. Major R.A. Stanley..............Wilkerson Rifles................Quartermaster Sgt. Thomas Muhool.............Athens Guards...................Commissary Sgt.
The Regiment was camped in tents just outside the navy yard walls, and on the banks of the Elizabeth River. For two hours every forenoon, each company was dri1led by it's own officers. In the afternoon Colonel Wright drilled the Regiment on the extensive parade grounds in front of the camp. Mrs. Wright, the wife of the Colonel, had painted by an artist of Norfolk a handsome silk flag that was presented in her name to the Regiment and was carried during the first year of the war.
On the 19th of May, at night, an alarm was sounded that the Federals would attack Suffolk. The 3rd Ga. was placed in box cars and carried to Suffolk that night. After spending the day at Suffolk, the Regiment was returned to camp the following night.
In proper observance of the 4th of July, on the 3rd of the month, the 3rd Ga. with other commands of Blanchards Brigade assembled at the camp of the 4th Ga. some 10 miles south of Portsmouth. This was the Regiment's first experience in marching. This, with the drilling, was a very trying excursion on the new soldiers.
On the 28th of August Colonel Wright was ordered to select 4 companies of the 3rd Ga. and proceed to the aid of the defense of Hatteras Inlet on the North Carolina coast, now threatened by a combined Navy and Army force of the enemy. Colonel Wright, with companies C - Captain McWhorter; D - Captain Andrews; G - Captain Walker; K - Captain Billups, steamed away for Hatteras the following day. Late in the afternoon of the 30th a vessel was met with on Albemarle Sound, and news obtained that Hatteras had been captured by the Federals. Early the next morning other vessels were seen and the bad news was confirmed. Roanoke Island and the surrounding waters were reconnoitered, and Colonel Wright determined to occupy and fortify the island to prevent the Federals from approaching Norfolk and Portsmouth from the rear. On the 1st of September the 3rd Ga. landed on the northern point of Roanoke Island and encamped nearby, calling this "Camp Rescue".
On the 1st of September, the remaining companies reached the Island. The next day the 3rd was moved to the west coast of the Island and established "Camp Georgia". The Regiment working day and night, began building fortifications at different points on the Island mainland to resist any advance by the enemy. On the 26th of September, Wright learned that the Federals at Hatteras had established at camp at Chickimaconico on the Atlantic beach not far from the southern point of the Island. Colonel Wright and Commodore Lynch concluded to break up this camp.
Comodore Lynch with several of his gunboats and Colonel Wright with companies C, G, and K, steamed away for Chickimaconico about mid-afternoon of the 1st of October. The heavy ship guns of Comodore Lynch were heard, and were anxiously counted. A Yankee steamer carrying two small rifled guns was intercepted by our fleet and forced to surrender. Captured were 50 Federal officers and men, and a cargo of army supplies of every kind valued at 1 million dollars. The captured clothing and shoes made the 3rd Georgia comfortable, and the army overcoats did good service with many till the end of the war. This success made Colonel Wright more determined to break up the enemies camp at Chickimaconico. With some North Carolina troops then on Roanoke, Colonel Wright mustered a force of about 1400 men, with whom on the night of October 4th, with Colonel Wright on board Commodore Lynch set sail in quest of the enemy. About sunrise on the morning of the 5th the camp of the Federals came in sight. The enemy were lean as they formed in line of battle on the beach. The 3rd Georgia landed as quickly as possible but the enemy did not stay to receive their visitors. Instead, the Federals crossed the narrow sand bank and retreated to their works at Hatteras 28 miles away. The 3rd Georgia followed as quickly as possibly, but were unable to overtake the Federals. The pursuit continued for 20 miles, and until about 10 o'clock on the 6th. At one o'clock this day the 3rd Ga. commenced it's return march to Chickimaconico. This march of 20 miles was enlivened throughout that afternoon by the bombardment of the regiment by the U.S. Steamer Monticello., that kept pace along the Atlantic Shore with the Regiment. It was daylight the next morning when the last of the troops, with a few prisoners, 30 men, and the entire camp equipage were loaded aboard the fleet. And at dark on the 7th the expedition started on the return to Roanoke, having effectively broken up the camp of the enemy, taking possession of all their belongings, and run him to cover. It was a tiresome race. One man died from excessive fatigue. The 3rd Ga. was anxious to return to its camp at Portsmouth, and on the 13th of December the regiment left Roanoke Island for Elizabeth City, and then marched for Portsmouth. The Regiment went into camp in the suburbs of the city, and some distance from the Navy Yard, calling this camp Blanchard. On the 1st of January l862, the 3rd Ga. commerced clearing for a new camp, and the building of cabins for winter quarters, one mile up the Elizabeth River from the Navy Yard. From the bad weather and the hard work, this was called Camp Hardship. In the first days of February 1862 Roanoke Island was captured by a combined land and Naval force of the Federals. On the 12th of the month the 3rd Ga. was marched to Elizabeth City, to meet any advance the federals might make upon the rear of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. Colonel Wright occupied South Mills, after several weeks spent in this outpost duty, the Regiment was recalled to its camp at Portsmouth, some North Carolina militia taking the position of the 3rd Ga. at South Mills and the vicinity.Early in the morning of April 19th the long roll at Head Quarters at South Mills, called the regiment to arms. With the companies nearest his head quarters , Col. Wright formed line of battle along the hither border of some small open farms, in a body of heavy woods. A lane with fencing on either side extended through these small farms for about one mile. He posted McGomas Battery of 4 guns, in the road at the mouth of Sawyers lane. He placed in line 5 companies of the 3rd Ga. and one other company was brought into line during the fight, making in line of battle about 350 men. The other companies were in reserve, and guarding other approaches to South Mills. About 10 o'clock A.M. the Federals appeared in front of the position of the 3rd Ga. and the fighting began. The Federals force consisted of a battery of artillery and 5 regiments of infantry - the 9th and 89th NewYork, the 7th New Hampshire [Andrews is incorrect - it was the 6th New Hampshire that participated in the battle - Webmaster ] , the 21st Massachusetts, and the 51st Pennsy1vania regiments, at least 2000 men, Commanded by Brig. General Reno. The fighting lasted until sunset, at which time, because of their superior numbers, they turned the left flank of the 3rd Ga. and compelled the regiment to retire to the entrenchments at South Mills. The Federals did not follow. At dark it began raining, and the rain storm continued during the night. Under the cover of darkness, and the storm, the Federals retired to their shipping at Elizabeth City, leaving 17 wounded, and 3 nurses, with some arms and ammunition on the field.
The loss to the 3rd was 3 killed, 19 wounded, and 3 missing. The object of this attack on the part of the Federals was to capture the 3rd Ga. and to blow up and destroy the Locks and Canal at South Mills. This was a great victory for the Confederates, as the object of the Federals was defeated...and by 350 men over 2000 men!
About this time, the Confederate Congress had enacted a law conscripting every able-bodied man between the ages of 18 and 35 years of age retaining in service the 12 months troops who would re-organize and elect officers for 2 years more service. So, on the last day of April and first day of May, 1862, the 3rd Ga. Regiment re-organized by electing Col. Ambrose R. Wright: Colonel, Lieut. Col James S. Reid to his same office and 1st Lieut. John R. Sturgis: Major. In the 10 companies of the Regiment, 5 of them re-elected their Captains. Co. B -- Capt. Nesbitt, Co. D -- Capt. Andrews, Co. G -- Capt. Walker, Co. H -- Capt. Jones, and Co. K -- Capt. Billups. The other 5 selected new Company Commanders.
In early May, after a hard march back to Portsmouth, the Regiment learned that Norfolk and Portsmouth were being evacuated by the Confederates. On the 9th of May, after the last railroad train had passed, the 3rd Ga. marched along the tracks to Suffolk where it remained till the 12th of May. On that day the 3rd Ga. brigaded with other Regiments under the Command of Brig. Gen. Armistead and inarched for Petersburg. On the 15th of May the Regiment was transported by rail from Petersburg to Richmond. The following day it marched to Drewrys Bluff and encamped on Falling Creek. After a number of days of inactivity, the 3rd Ga.(now a part of Blanchards Brigade), marched out on the Williamsburg road and then down the Charles City road for several miles. It was understood that the Regiment was marching out to battle, and from the wounded men passing the line of march it was evident that a furious conflict raged in the immediate front of the 3rd Ga. While on the field, ready and expecting it, the Regiment did not become engaged that afternoon. When night came the Regiment slept on its arms along side the Charles City road. General Johnston, Commander of this Army, had been severly wounded and General Robert E. Lee had been appointed in his stead to the Command of the Army of Northern Virginia.
On the 19th of June, Brig. Gen. Blanchard was assigned to another Command and Colonel Ambrose R. Wright was assigned to this Brigade as Bridadier General. Now, Major Sturgis was entitled to promotion as Colonel, and Captain Billups to promotion as Lieut. Colonel, and Captain Walker of Company G to promotion as Major. A.R. Wright's Brigade now consisted of the 3rd, 4th, 22nd Georgia and 1st Louisiana Regiments.
The 26th day of June, 1862, was the beginning of the great battles around Richmond. On this day, late in the afternoon, the divisions of A.P. Hill and D.H. Hill along with Jackson's Army from the valley, General Lee struck the right flank of the Federals at Beaver Dam Creek near Mechanicsville. The Federals were driven back upon their position at Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor. On the 27th, with Longstreet's division now on line on the right, Jackson's division swinging around on their rear, the Federals were driven to the South side of the Chickahominy River. On the 28th, General Magruder advanced his division against the Federals at Savage Station, and it was developed that the enemy was in full retreat through White Oak Swamp to the protection of their gunboats on the James River. On the 29th, Huger's Division and the 3rd Ga. advanced on the Williamburg Road and found the Federal camps all deserted. The Regiment marched into and through the White Oak Swamp following the enemy toward the James River. Finally, on the 1st of July 1862, the Federals were confronted on Malvern Hill. General Lee concentrated his army, and attacked the enemy in this an almost impregnable position. The fighting was the worst the 3rd had experienced so far and the desperate struggle lasted till 9 o'clock that night. Wright's Brigade suffered severely, and on the following morning, the dead from the 3rd Ga. and the 1st Louisiana were found at the point of our farthest advance... the position held by the Federal artillery. In this fight the 3rd Georgia Regiment lost 34 killed, 122 wounded, and 22 missing. [Official Records]
Returning to their old lines, the Regiment marched the 2nd week of July across the James River on the pontoon bridge near Drewry Bluff and encamped on Falling Creek, calling this camp "Ben Hill". Maj. Gen. John Pope was advancing on Richmond by way of Manassas and Culpepper at the head of a large army. The army of Gen. McClellan was being sent to its assistance; General Lee sent Stonewall Jackson with 3 divisions of his army to meet Pope on the 9th of August. Jackson struck the front of Pope's army at Slaughter Mountain, beyond the Rapidan River, and drove the Federals back to Culpepper Courthouse. On the 18th of August the 3rd Ga. marched to Richmond by way of Louisa Courthouse, crossed the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, and reached Culpepper August 21st, 1862. General Pope had re-crossed the Rappahanock River, and taken position along that stream. While General Longstreet held Pope to his lines at the River, Jackson, with his 3 divisions, marched along the base of the mountain. While Stuart's cavalry protected him from the observation of the enemy, Jackson marched to the rear of Pope at Bristoe Station. After a brisk fight, Jackson's men captured large quantities of U.S. Army supplies at Manassas and Bristoe Stations. Jackson then took position on the old battlefield at Manassas. Then General Lee and Longstreet marched to join Jackson. The 3rd Ga. crossed the river at the village of Jefferson, and marched via Salem through the Thoroughfare Gap, and came upon the battlefield the morning of August 30th. General Lee had formed his lines in the shape of widely extended letter 'V', Jackson's men forming on the left and Longstreet on the right. When the Federals attacked Jackson, their flank was exposed to Longstreet. Late in afternoon of the 30th, Jackson was so sorely pressed by the enemy that he called on General Lee for assistance. Lee responded by instructing Longstreet to concentrate the fire of 30 pieces of artillery on the mass of Federals charging upon the lines of Jackson, while sending his infantry forward. Line after line of the enemy were broken, and position after position was taken until the Federals fled in a confused mass across Bull Run. The loss to the 3rd Ga. was comparatively light although Major Montgomery, temporarily in command of the 3rd was wounded. Also Captain W.A. Wright, brigade ordinance officer, and Brig. Gen. Wright's son, was severely wounded and lost his leg above the knee.
After the fall of' Harpers Ferry, the 3rd Ga. (now a part of Anderson's division), crossed the Potomac River into Maryland. As the sun rose on the morning of September 17th, 1862, the 3rd Ga. climbed the long red hills to the village of Sharpsburg. There, a terrific fight was in progress between McClellan and an army of about 87,000, and General Lee with an army of about 35,000 half clad, half starved men of the Army of Northern Virginia. The 3rd Ga. was moved into line just in the western suburbs of the village, on the premises of Dr. Piper's farm. From the turnpike leading past the Dunkard Church through Piper's orchard and cornfield to the sunken road, now known as "Bloody Lane", over rail fences and stone walls the Regiment fought throughout this day. General Wright was severely wounded with a minie ball in the left breast. Major Gen. Anderson (R.H. Anderson) was also wounded. This left Lt. Col. Nesbitt in command of the 3rd until he was wounded and fell into the hands of the enemy. From the rapid marches, the number of barefooted men, the scarcity of rations, the Regiment carried comparatively few men into this battle. The furious fighting during the day almost ahnihiated the 3rd Georgia. At roll call that night, 42 men were in line and answered to their names. Both armies rested that night along the lines that each had assumed and gained that day. The great battle of Sharpsburg was over.
The 3rd Ga. with Lee's army crossed over the Potomac the night of the 18th of September and camped in the vicinity of Winchester. With the rest given the men, the Regiment recruited it's strength from the return of the sick and wounded from home and from hospitals. While the army rested here, General Lee organized it into 2 corps; the 1st to the command of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, and the 2nd was assigned to Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson. The 3rd Georgia, and T.A Wright's Brigade, Anderson's Division, was in the 1st corps and remained so until May, 1863.
In late September, 1862 the 3rd Ga. marched to Front Royal crossing the mountain through Chester Gap and reached Culpepper Court House on the 2nd of November. There had been a change in the command of the Federal army. General A.E. Burnside determined to march on Richmond by way of Fredricksburg. Anticipating this move by the enemy, General Lee occupied the range of hills south of the city and extending from Dr. Taylor's hill near Bank's Ford for a 5 mile stretch to Hamilton's at the railroad crossing below the city. The 3rd Georgia reached Fredricksburg in late November and met men, women, and children dragging themselves along the highway through rain and mud fleeing from their homes. We saw families occupying barns, shelters, and underbrush arbors in fence corners hiding from the threat of bombardment of their city. The Regiment encamped on the left of the Plank Road and near the city and did picket duty from the northern suburbs of the city to opposite the village of Falmouth. Early on the morning of the 11th of December, 1862, the signal gun aroused the army to the fact that the Federals were trying to effect a crossing into Fredrickburg and every command was called into line.
The 3rd Ga. was on picket the night the Federals were making their pontoon bridges. The reserve companies of the 3rd Ga. were behind a stone wall in the rear and near the old Washington home in the city. Our picket line was along the bank of the river, and with snow on the ground and no fires, it was cold work. The Federals camped on the opposite bank of the river. On December 13th the Federals made their move with the battle extending from the Plank Road at Maryes hill to Hamiltons crossing and occupied the entire day. The Federals made repeated assaults with fresh troops and in heavy columns, but in every instance were repulsed with heavy losses. The division of R.H. Anderson, in line from the Plank Road to the left extending to Banks Ford, had not became engaged. It was thought that the enemy would attack this positon on the 14th, but they did not. The regiment spent the rest of December in camp on Hazel Run not far from Salem Church.
Wright's Brigade is now composed of the 3rd, the 22nd, and 48th Ga. regiments, and 4 companies of the 2nd Ga. battalion about l,500 men present for duty.
On the 1st of January, the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade marched toward Chanceilorsville to protect the return of Stuart's Cavalry. About once a week at this time, the Regiment did picket duty for 48 hours on the river at Fredricksburg. On a Sunday afternoon the long roll called the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade to arms, and they marched about 10 miles up the river to the vicinity of United States Ford. The Regiment and the Brigade was kept in this locality and built defensive works at the ford. In early March 1863, the Regiment and Brigade marched to the vicinity of their old camp in the pines and camped near Massaponax Church.
On the 29th of April, 1863, the Federals placed a pontoon bridge across the river below Fredricksburg and threw the 1st and 6th Corps across in front of the position of Stonewall Jackson. On the night of the 29th, Wright's Brigade and the 3rd Ga. marched to the junction of the Turnpike and the Plank road and occupied a line at the Old Mine road. The 3rd Ga. entrenched at this point through the night of the 30th. At sunrise the next morning the Federals were in position on the hills in front at Hopewell Nursery. Stonewall Jackson reached this position of Anderson's division a little after sunrise with 3 divisions of his Corp. After some consultation, he ordered the troops forward, placing Wright's Brigade in front on the Plank road and the 3ra Ga. in front of the Brigade. It was hot, constant work in driving the Federals back and into their entrenchments at Chancelorsville. Under General Jackson's direction by late in the afternoon the 3rd Ga. and Wright's Brigade developed the position of the right flank of the enemy about Wilderness Church. The Regiment and Brigade returned to the Plank road and encamped one mile in front of Chancelorsville that night. General Lee and General Jackson slept near our lines that night. At daylight on the 2nd of May the Regiment and the Brigade moved forward and near the breastworks of the enemy. The Federals threw line after line against the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade and endeavored to break the lines with artillery at intervals during the day. After dark our troops were relieved by a part of Mahone's Brigade, and the 3rd Ga. was moved to the left. From the left came the terrific sound of Stonewall Jackson's battle. The roaring thunder of battle was like the approach of some hurricane of destruction. At daylight Sunday, May 3rd, the 3rd Ga. and Wright's Brigade moved forward to the edge of the abatis in front of the Federals' works at Chancelorsville. At the command, the 3rd Ga. scrambled through the abatis to the works of the enemy, and climbed into the trenches among the Federals... who at the double quick, ran to their rear.
In this charge, Major Jones was severely wounded, loosing his arm. The command of the 3rd Ga. devolved on Captain C.H. Andrews of Co. D (author of this history), the senior officer of the Regiment present. Immediately, General Wright directed that the 3rd Ga. charge and drive the Federals back to ther lines around the Hotel. In this charge, artillery, cassions, arms and ammunition, with hundreds of prisoners were captured. 7 companies of the 27th Connecticut Regiment were captured, and Lieut. Geo. E. Hays of Co. K marched the Yankees to the rear with one field officer and their colors flying... muskets at right shoulder. Meanwhile, the lines of the enemy were driven back about a mile to the intersection of the Elys ford and the United States ford roads. The 3rd Ga. and Wright's Brigade did not fight anymore this day.
At daylight Monday morning, the 4th of May, the Regiment with Wright's Brigade marched toward Fredricksburg. On reaching the Brick (Salem) Church the 3rd Ga. moved off to the right until reaching Hazel Run, then marched down this little stream to the border of the wheat field in front of Downman's brick house on the hill. Along the precipitous banks of this stream the Regiment rested, hidden from the sight of the enemy by the thick and stunted growth along the stream. General Sedgwick's Federal Corp occupied the hills towards the river... and the General himself occupied the Downman house. At 4 o'clock PM the signal gun directed the advance, and the 3rd Ga. moved through the little skirt of woods to the edge of the growing wheat. The Regiment came up in column and then into line of battle and charged through the wheat and up that long ascent of open ground. The Federals were driven from the hills across the Plank road and towards Banks Ford. We continued to chase them till nearly 1 o'clock the next morning. On the afternoon of the 5th of May the Reginent marched for Chancelorsville again and learned that the Federals had re-crossed the river ending the battle.
Sunday the 10th of May, 1863, was a bad day for this Army. Stonewall Jackson died this day of pneumonia resulting from exposure on the night that he was wounded. This caused a re-structuring in the Army of Northern Virginia. On the 5th of June the 3rd Ga. was positioned at the foot of Mayre's Heights at Fredricksburg. In this position, the new Corps, the 3rd Corps, was brought into line together for the first time. The 3rd Corps was composed of the Divisions of R.H. Anderson, Heth, and Pender.. under command of Lieut. General A.P. Hill.
By the 22nd of June, the 3rd Ga. with Wright's Brigade and the rest of the Army, had crossed Chester Gap and were within 2 miles of Charlestown. That night the Regiment encamped in a body of woods in which it was said, "Braddock's Army camped in his disastrous campaign". Nearby was the residence of some member of the Washington family, to which this writer was invited to breakfast. On the 23rd the 3rd Ga. marched to Sheppardstown and on the following day crossed the Potomac at Botelars Ford, resting at Sharpsburg that afternoon and camping at Boonsborough that night. That evening the Chaplain of the 3rd Ga. held religious services in the street in front of the principal hotel. Some citizens, whose curiosity caused them to be lookers on, said "this is in wonderful contrast with what we have seen the Federal soldiers do in the streets". June 26th the 3rd Ga. marched through Hagerstown, and Middleburgh, crossing the line from Maryland into Pennsylvania camping that night for the first time on Northern soil. On June 27th the Regiment marched through Green Castle and Chambersburg. As the Regiment marched along one of the streets in Chambersburg, we passed in front of what seemed to be a boarding school. A score of little girls dressed in white with red and blue ribbons ranged along the edge of the sidewalk.
Under the direction of a man, the girls were singing "Uncle Sam's National songs" it was supposed. With the playing of bands and the shouts of the soldiers it was impossible to hear exactly what they were singing. However, they sang without interruption. Another incident occured just inside of the slight enclosure on the school premises. Since the school yard was of higher ground than the street, several young ladies held the staff of an unfurled United States flag over the sidewalk. This caused the line of Confederates to pass under the flag. There was no demonstation against this effort to show the patriotism of these young ladies, although some of the soldiers marched out in the street around the flag.
The 3rd Ga. and the Brigade remained in camp for 3 days, and while here, the muster-rolls for 3 months pay were made out.
On the 1st of July, 1863, the 3rd marched up the mountain gap on the turnpike leading to Gettysburg. While resting for a few moments on top of the mountain, the boom of a heavy gun was heard far to the front. Each soldier looked into the faces of his comrades, shouldered his musket, and quietly took his place in the ranks. In a few moments General Lee and his staff rode past on the way to the front. In descending the mountain the continued sound of artillery was heard, and in coming into the open country around Cashtown clouds of smoke that floated over the troops engaged could be seen clearly. Early that morning Heth's division of Hill's Corps struck, unexpectedly, the advance of the Federal army between Cashtown and Gettysburg. Pender's division moved forward to the support of Heth and drove the enemy across Willoughby's Run toward Gettysburg. Later in the day 2 divisions of Hill's Corps came onto the battlefield, and striking the f lank and rear of the Federal line, drove them through the town of Gettysburg and onto the heights south of the city. Anderson's division (the 3rd Ga. was with this division) of Hill's Corps, marched during the day in supporting distance of Heth and Pender but were not engaged. Just as the sun set, the 3rd Ga. crossed Willoughby Run, climbed the hill, and filed to the right and into a heavy piece of woods resting here for the night.
At daylight the next morning, a column of soldiers were marching across an open field in front of the 3rd Ga. Many of these men were recognized by this writer as comrades from Georgia. Their command belonged to Longstreet's Corps. Thus early in the day, July 2nd 1863, the advance of Longstreet's Corps was at Gettysburg. Anderson's division had not yet been placed in position on the battlefield. As soon as this column had passed, the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade marched to the right, crossed a small stream, over a very rocky knoll of woodland, and went into position on Seminary Heights. Some soldiers who had occupied this area the night before, had piled up a wall of loose rocks as protection. The Federals in front of Wright's Brigade and the 3rd Ga. were on Cemetary Hill and the ridge that connected Round Top mountains; at a distance of about 1400 yards from Seminary Heights. The ground was open and occupied with small growing crops of grain and corn. The turnpike from Gettysburg to Emmettsburg traversed this open country running nearer to the Federal lines. The advanced line of the Federals was at the turnpike. There was desultory fighting of pickets during the day and occasionally the artillery would open up their dreadful music. About midafternoon continued heavy boom of artillery and roar of musketry far to the right was assurance that Longstreet was heavily engaged. Orders had been given to Brigade Commander Wright that when it was seen that the Command on his right had moved, we must move forward to the attack. Every moment brought the sound of battle closer until the command to attack was, at last, given. The 3rd Georgia moved forward and was met at the edge of the field in front with a storm of shot and shell. At a double quick step, the Regiment charged upon the enemy in the turnpike, followed at their heels across the little meadow beyond, passed a large brick house, and to and over the rock fence on Cemetary Ridge. At this fence, 13 pieces of enemy artillery were captured and fell into the lines of the 3rd Ga. I stood beside one man, Clarke of Co. D, as he was killed while sitting astride a cannon loading and shooting.
The Command to the right of Wright's Brigade had not advanced as far as we had, and the Command on the left had not advanced at all! Thus, Wright's Brigade was driven into the Federal position like a wedge, and exposed on the right and the left. The enemy quickly moved in on both flanks and enveloped this Command. Discovering that we were being trapped, the 3rd Ga. was forced to retire over the same ground that it had driven the Federals. In this retreat, the 3rd Ga. lost more men than in the advance particularly in prisoners. The men were much exhausted by the rapid advance over nearly a mile of ground, the terrific fighting, and the scorching July sun. Exhausted by the rapid retreat, many men fell into the hands of the enemy. As the 3rd. Ga. began to retire, every Federal sprang to arms and their artillery was again manned and poured a dreadful fire into the thinned ranks of the Regiment with telling effect. Wright's Brigade went into the fight with about 1500 men and came out with about 600. The 3rd Ga. made their charge with 600 men and came out with about 200. The extreme left company (CO. G) went in with 45 muskets and came out with only 7! A good part of the night was spent in seeking between the picket lines for dead and wounded comrades and conveying them to hospitals or tenderly burying them and marking their graves.
The repulse of Pickett's Division of July 3rd virtually ended the Battle of Gettysburg (the 3rd Ga. was not a part of this ill-fated charge). General Lee immediately contracted his lines and began preparations of withdrawing his army to Virginia. The wounded that could bear transportation were sent toward the Potomac under the protection of cavalry. At dark on the 4th, the army marched toward the mountain pass at Fairfield. As soon as darkness covered the movement the 3rd Ga. built large camp fires, fell into line and silently marched away. For several days the Regiment rested in camp just outside of Hagerstown. On the 13th of July, the 3rd Ga. began it's march for the Potomac River. After crossing the river at Falling Waters on the 14th, Wright's Brigade and the 3rd Ga. marched through Martinsburg and Bunker Hill. At this time Brig. Gen. A.R. Wright was placed in arrest by Maj. Gen. R.H. Anderson for disobedience of some order regarding transportation in the Brigade. Col. E.J. Walker of G Co., was assigned to the command of the Brigade, and Captain C.H. Andrews of D Co. given command of the Regiment.
On the 23rd of July, 1863, Wright's Brigade was assigned to guard the flank of Hill's Corps. The 3rd Ga. and the Brigade marched about 5 miles into Manassas Gap at daylight and were told that only a few enemy cavalry held the Gap. Col. Walker took position on a ridge that extended across the Gap. Colonel Walker detached the 3rd Ga. and ordered them forward about 1 mile to "Wapping Heights" overlooking the valley. About 10 o'clock AM the signal corps of Lieut. Gen. Ewell appeared at the 3rd Ga. position, and stated that they had been sent to communicate with the commanding officer. He stated,"Gen. Ewell, with the advance troops of his Corps was marching rapidly for this point". Capt. Andrews was requested to carefully estimate through his field glasses the number of Federals now assembling in his immediate front. Andrews replied that he could distinguish Corps and Division flags, indicating from 10,000 to 20,000 enemy troops. A message was dispatched to Gen. Ewell... "Wright's Brigade, of 600 muskets, occupying Manassas Gap protecting the flank of Hill's Corps have no cavalry or artillery... enemy in immediate front numbering from 10-20,000 hasten to our support!" The 3rd Ga. was positioned on a precipitous brow of the heights behind a broken down rail fence overgrown with briars and grapevines. Each man was instucted,"not to waste a shot, to hold fire until the enemy got close enough for him to make sure of his man." At about 11 o'clock the enemy attacked all along the front in heavy line of battle. Although out numbered the 3rd Ga., with help from the strong positicn, held the Federals in check for several hours. At the beginning of the fight, Col. Walker was wounded. Capt. McGurry of the 22nd Ga., the next officer in rank, was in such feeble health that he did not assume command. The Brigade command now devolved on myself, Capt. Andrews. About 1 o'clock the line to the left of the 3rd Ga. was broken, and the Regiment retired to lines where the Brigade was formed. Capt. Girardey, Asst. Adjutant General, was ordered by Capt. Andrews to assume command of the left flank of the Brigade. At this time, the Battalion of sharpshooters from Rodes Division reported to Capt. Andrews and were sent to the left to strengthen the line there. About 5 o'clock the Federals made an assault in column of companies... a solid mass of Brigade strength upon the position of the 3rd Ga. Every enemy mounted officer was un-horsed and the charge was repulsed. However, the fighting continued heavy all along the line. Finally, the Federals broke through about the center of the Brigade and after the 3rd charge of the enemy on the 3rd Ga. the Regiment retired to a range of hills where Gen. Ewell had formed the advanced lines of his Corps. Several batteries of guns opened on the enemy halting their advance just as the sun went down. Gen. Ewell personally thanked and complimented the Brigade for it's fine days work.
With the exception of some minor skirmishes, the 3rd Ga. with Wright's Brigade spent most of August, 1863 camped near Culpepper Court House. On the 5th of September the Brigade crossed the Rapidan River and encamped near Orange Court House. Here Lieut. Col. Nesbitt returned to take command of the Regiment, partially recovered from his wounds received at Sharpsburg. On the 21st of September the Regiment marched to Clarke's Mountain, camping here and doing picket duty at Robertson's Ford. The Brigade remained in this camp until the 8th of October. By the 18th of October the Regiment had marched to Brandy Station and encamped here until the 7th of November. At daylight on the 8th the Regiment again marched for Culpepper Court House, marching all night to the railroad crossing of the Rapidan River. Here, Wright's Brigade with a battery of artillery, occupied an entrenched camp on the north side of the river. After dark on the 2nd of December the 3rd Ga. left camp and marched all night and the next day on the Plank Road down the river. As the Regiment came into position on Mine Run the Regiment came into the face of the enemy. Skirmishing and some artillery practice continued for several days but the Federals made no determined assault. Finally without battle, the Federals crossed the Rapidan and the 3rd Ga. went back into camp at the railroad bridge. On the 28th of December, the Regiment marched to Madison Station where the men built comfortable cabins for winter quarters.
On the 5th of February, 1864, the Regiment assembled in a mass meeting to consider the question of re-enlisting, as the term of service would soon expire. We transcribe from the memoranda of that meeting which is before me now: "Headquarters 3rd Georgia Regiment.. .February 5th, 1864. At a meeting of the members of the 3rd Georgia Regiment to consider the propriety of re-enlisting for the war, Color Sergeant D.L. Ryan of Co. B and Color Corporal James D. Johnson Co. D, were called to the chair and requested to act as secretary. The object of the meeting was explained by the chairman and after several enthusiastic speeches by officers and men, the following resolution was adopted and the Commander of the Regiment requested to read it at dress parade for action."
"Resolved: That the 3rd Regiment of Georgia Volunteer Infantry do unanimously and cheerfully re-enlist for the war; and as we were among the first to take the field, we will, if our Country needs our services, be the last to retire!"
"At dress parade this day the Resolution was read by Lieut. Col. Nesbitt; the colors advanced to the front, and all in favor of the Resolution were requested to dress upon the colors. The entire Regiment, as one man, advanced and took their stand by the colors."
On the 1st of March, 1864, the 3rd Ga. with the Brigade, marched to Gordensville to intercept the Dalghren raiders whose aim was to liberate the Federal prisoners at Richmond, set fire to that city, and to assasinate President Davis and others. The 3rd Ga. and the 2nd Ga. battalion remained the day at Gordensville, and the 22nd and 48th Ga. Regiments were transported to Fredricks Hall. After 4 days search for the raiders, the Command returned to camp.
On the 22nd of March, there was a severe snowstorm. The next morning the 3rd Ga. and the 2nd Ga. batt. had a snow fight with the 22nd and 48th Ga., the latter named were victorious. In the afternoon Wright's Brigade fought Mahone's Brigade with snow and gave the Virginians a good whipping!
Picket duty on the Rapidan occupied much of the time for the 3rd Ga. during the month of April. On the 4th of May, the army was called to arms and the 3rd Ga. broke up camp and marched toward the river. On the 5th the Regiment marched down the river and halted for the night. Before daylight on the 6th, the Brigade marched down the Plank Road toward Fredricksburg and came upon the battlefield about 10 AM. Though the fighting was very severe this day, the Regiment and the Brigade were not engaged. Failing to drive General Lee from his pathway to Richmond, General Grant made another effort to pass the right flank of Lee's army. But on approaching a desired position at Spotsylvania Court House, General Lee was in line disputing the further progress of Grant. The 3rd Ga. marched during the night of the 8th and on the morning of the 9th was in line of battle on the right front of the little town. On the 10th the Regiment, and a good part of Hill's Corps, moved to the extreme left of the lines protecting the crossing of the Po River where they were hotly engaged of the 11th, sustaining losses. On the 12th Grant attacked at daylight with heavy columns compactly massed and by physical force broke through the center of Lee's lines, capturing nearly an entire division of Johnson, of Ewell's Corps. But the enemy was beaten back and the line re-established. On the 13th the 3rd Ga. was moved back to the right of the Confederate lines. On May 14th the Regiment and the Brigade were hotly engaged in driving the Federals from commanding position in front. The 3rd Ga. had 22 killed and 30 wounded in this action.
On the 21st of May Lee moved his army for the croppings of the North Anna River. When the Federal army approached the bridge of the Telegraph Road across the North Anna, General Lee was in position waiting the advance of the enemy. The southern bank of the river at this point is high and abrupt. General Lee formed Longstreet's and Ewell's Corps to defend the crossing at the railroad and turnpike. A.P. Hill's Corps had it's right on the river, and it's left near the railroad... defending the crossing at Quarles Mill. The 3rd Ga. was in position overlooking this crossing of the river. The enemy on the northern bank had thrown up quite a formidable earthwork with artillery and supported by infantry. While in this position, 3 men of company H, John Barns, a man named Hewitt, and another man proposed to each other to cross the river and capture the Federal fortification. Accordingly, they slipped out of line and cautiously made their way for the river. They held guns and ammunition above their heads and waded for the opposite bank. When on dry land they took open order and in stentorian voice gave the command, charge! Firing their muskets and yelling like demons, they rushed for the enemies works. The noise of the musketry and the load and hurried commands with the rebel yells caused those inside the entrenchments to look out... only to dodge down again. Leaping onto the earthworks, these men demanded a surrender which was instantly complied with. A score of Federals were marched out and acrossed the river, and into the lines of the 3rd Ga. Regiment. Federal Commander at this Ford acknowledged the capture of these men in the Official Records.
Not being able to attack Lee advantageously at this point, General Grant moved his army off to the left again. After continuous side-stepping Grant placed his army on the batt1efield of Cold Harbor on June 27, 1862. The 3rd Ga. was on the extreme right of Gen. Lee's lines on Turkey Ridge. On the 3rd of June 1864, General Grant attacked with 3 Corps massed in heavy column at old Cold Harbor. One line of battle succeeding another until weight of numbers crowded up to and at some point into the Confederate trenches. The fighting was terrific and the slaughter was appauling. Gen. Lee maintained his position and the Federals held what ground they secured. The 3rd Ga. again lost heavily in this fight.
General Grant, determined to transfer the army to the south side of the James River, moved down the Chickahominy, marched along the route that McClellan took in 1862. Gen. Lee moved off to his right, keeping his army between Grant and Richmond. The 3rd Ga. marched over much ground made familiar by the campaign of 1862, and reached Petersburg in time to take part in the battle near Petersburg and Weldon Road on the 22nd of June, 1864.
In July of '64 the Federals succeeded in tunneling about 500 yards from the lines of Burnsides' Corps to a salient in lines of Johnson's Division. The Federals excavated a mine of 80 feet under a battery of artillery and running directly under the Confederate line. This mine was charged with 8 tons of powder. At the first appearance of daylight on July 30th, this mine was exploded. The explosion threw high into the air the artillery and the men holding the position... shaking the earth like an earthquake making a huge crater. Simultaneous with the explosion of the mine, Burnsides' Corps charged the Confederate lines. The Federals poured into the crater and quickly realized there was small chance for escape they were slaughtered by the thousands. To the right and left of the mine the troops supporting Burnside entered the Confederate lines but were beat back. In the days work, General Grant declared the attack "a decided failure". Mahone's Division re-established the lines and the 3rd Ga. lost heavily. Capt. Joe J. McCree, Co. L 3rd Ga., who had just returned from a Federal prison and commanding the Regiment, was killed.
On the 16th of August during the continued fighting around Petersburg, the 3rd Ga. encountered the enemy in the vicinity of Deep Bottom. In this battle, Wright's Brigade was commanded by Brig. Gen. Victor J.B. Girardey. Girardey was former A. Adjutant Gen. of this Brigade and Promoted for gallantry at Gettysburg and efficient service at Manassas Gap. In his first battle after his promotion, Girardey was killed. His loss was lamented by the entire command.
The 3rd Ga. took no part in battle during the months of September and October 1864. While occupying the entrenched line in front of Petersburg during this time, there was constant and daily picket fighting. On the 28th of October the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade was withdrawn from the front at Petersburg and held in camp as a reserve force. On the 6th of November the Regiment and the Brigade moved forward and into the trenches on the front line at Petersburg. Early in December, General Grant made another effort to extend his lines to the left. On the 7th of December, the 3rd Ga. marched to Burgess and then to the vicinity of Bellefield. On the 10th of December the Brigade attacked the rear of the Federal column that was tearing up the railroad there. The Federals retired rapidly within their established lines. On the 13th of December, the 3rd Ga. returned. to their lines at Petersburg.
On the 5th of February, 1865, the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade marched to Hatcher's Run to meet an advance of the Federals toward the southside railroad. On the morning of the 6th of February the Brigade became hotly engaged in battle. The exact losses not being recalled, although they were severe. At this time the Brigade was in the command of G. Moxley Sorrell, former A. Assistant General of the 1st Corps. In this, his first battle as commander of the Brigade, he was severly wounded. (Sometime previous to this date Brig. Gen. A.R. Wright was promoted to Maj. Gen. and assigned to duty at Augusta, Ga.)
On the 4th of March, the Regiment and the Brigade was withdrawn from the lines at Petersburg, marched across and to a point between Appomattax and the James River. The Brigade relived Pickett's Division who was being sent to the extreme right of General Lee's lines.
On the 2nd of April the Federals attacked the 3rd Ga. and were repulsed with heavy losses. That night the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade, with darkness for cover, was withdrawn to Chesterfield Court House. As the retreat from Petersburg and Richmond began, General Lee's army now numbered about 25,000. General Lee retreated rapidly to Amelia Court House on the Richmond and Danville railroad. Lee had ordered a supply train to await his coming that night to provide for his starving army. To Lee's great disappointment, no supply train was there. Efforts were made to supply the army from the surrounding county. Learning that the Federals were in possession of Burksville junction, General Lee abandoned the route to Danville by which he had hoped to unite his army with that of Gen. J.E. Johnston in North Carolina.
On April 7th, 1865, the 3rd Ga. and the Brigade formed the rear guard of the army and had a sharp fight with the enemy near Farmville. About this time, Claiborne Sneed, Capt. of Co. G, returned from Federal prison and re-joined the Regiment. (Sneed was captured at Gettysburg July 2nd, 1863). During his absence, on the recommendation of Brig. Gen. Wright, Capt. Sneed was commissioned Lieut. Colonel for his gallantry in battle.
As the battle flag of the 3rd Ga. was only a remnant, Col. Sneed was given a new flag for the Regiment. On consultation with others of the Regiment, he directed James G. Hicks of Co. I to substitute the new flag for the old and confide the keeping of the old flag to him. This was done. Private Hicks writes us..."I stacked the new colors with the guns at the surrender. I past by the guns the next morning and the new flag was gone. I never knew who took it." Col. Sneed intended to secret the flag about his person and bring it back to Georgia. But being apprehensive about what treatment awaited officers of his rank, he confided the flag to Lieut. Garrett Oglesby of Co. G, who gave it to the wife of a Presbyterian preacher. She was instructed to wait till the countryside became quiet, then she must send the flag to Col. Sneed at Augusta, Ga. This was done. The old flag was never lowered in the presence of the enemy... never was surrendered to the Federals nor did the touch of an enemy ever pollute it. All tattered and torn it is now in the careful keeping ___ [In Capt. Andrews history he left this space blank. However, the flag is now kept in the rotunda at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.]
During the night of the 8th of April, General Grant succeeded in throwing a part of his army across the front of General Lee's army at Appomattox Court House. On the morning of the 9th, with Longstreet in command of about one half of Lee's army, now numbering less than 10,000 men, holding the Federals who were crowding upon the Confederate's rear, General Lee directed Gen. Gordan with the balance of the army to attack in front and open up the way for retreat. Gen. Gordan made a vigorous attack but the overwhelming numbers of the Federals made all efforts futile. Gen. Lee requested an interview with Gen. Grant, preliminary to a surrender of his army. This grand army reduced by starvation and the casulties of war to 7,000 men under arms, and 18,000 who from lack of food and slept and the rapid marching from the past week, were so enfeebled that they could not carry musket or ammunition. The army was now surrendered by Gen. Lee upon honorable terms. And to the lasting fame of Gen. Grant, the terms were not only honorable but they were generous.
Capt. C.H. Andrews, Co. D 3rd Georgia Regiment (circa 1885)