Walker McCathern
Contributed by R. L. McCathern

Wilmington, Delaware

 

Walker McCathern was born near Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia in 1840 and later joined the 3rd Georgia Regiment, Company A (Burke Guards) in June 1861 as a Private.

He was wounded in the futile charge up Malvern Hill, VA on July 2nd 1862. That day, no Confederate troops made it to the top Malvern Hill which was heavily armed with cannon.

Walker McCathern was part of Rans Wright's assault on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg on July 2nd 1863. His Company A was positioned in the center of the assault and led the charge over 1400 yards of open field from Seminary Ridge. Only a handful of men managed to reach the top of Cemetery Ridge and capture several Union cannon. With little support from the left or right flanks, the 3rd Georgia was driven back to Emmitsburg Pike where members of the 3rd and 48th Georgia were captured near the Cordori farmhouse, including Walker McCathern. Of the 600 men of the 3rd Georgia who charged Cemetery Ridge that day, only 200 men returned to Seminary Ridge. The remainder were either killed or captured.

From Gettysburg, he was transported by train to Fort Delaware, positioned on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River. On the night of February 8, 1864, Walker and several prisoners escaped by attaching empty canteens to each arm and swimming several miles in the cold swift current of the Delaware River. Walker and one other prisoner (George Tanner - from Cobb's Legion) managed to reach shore alive.

Walker McCathern was later wounded on February 6th 1865 in the battle of Hatcher's Run near Petersburg, Virginia. Part of G. Moxley Sorrell's brigade, Walker was wounded near Danbey's Mill.

Walker returned to Waynesboro, Georgia after the war and became a merchant and grower. He married Sarah J. Chandler and later served as Mayor of Waynesboro for several terms. He died in 1915 and is buried in Waynesboro Confederate Cemetery.

 

Civil War bullet"Return Fire" to 3rd GVI Veterans Page
worth@ucla.edu, 12/2/2002