This Week in Georgia Civil War History
July 26, 1863: The father of a wounded Georgia soldier wrote to the soldier's wife on hearing the news; he was going to try and go see him.
"...I send by Maj. Walker a letter from Dr. Roach giving the first reliable account of my poor wounded son. ... My poor heart is almost broken and it is a relief to communicate with any one that can heartily sympathize with me. ... I can but fear the worst for my dear son, yet I humbly pray and hope for the best. I don't think I can get to him now but I will try, I think, unless I hear something more in the morning. ..."
Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel's Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel's Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), pp. 178-179.
July 27, 1863: A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his father and uncle; he had been appointed as courier for his brigade, but lacked one vital item - that he hoped his family would help him to purchase.
"...You no doubt understand the duty of a courier; it is that of carrying orders. They remain with the general all the time unless sent off by him on duty. They are allowed feed for their horses, they are obliged to have one. They get 37 dollars a month which is pretty good wages. It is a much easier place than in the ranks, they have more privileges...This position I have gained by doing my duty and always standing square. ... I have got the appointment but one thing I lack yet, that is a horse. I have one to ride until I get one or for a while at least. I can get a horse, bridle, and saddle for two hundred and fifty dollars. Now the assistance that I wanted is the help me pay that amount. ..."
Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet's Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), pp. 194-195.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reported, with approval, on the man chosen to help Georgia defend itself from Yankee raids.
July 28, 1863: In the wake of the recent military defeats, the Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed a proclamation from Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown, demanding that all men able to serve in the military volunteer to do so, or face being drafted.
The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed an editorial calling on everyone, particularly "moneyed men" to accept Confederate money as legal payment of debts.
The same newspaper also printed a lengthy account of the Battle of Gettysburg from a correspondent on the scene. Naturally, there is a southern slant to the account, but it is fairly accurate, and shows it was still not considered a devastating loss by many, although certainly not a great victory.
July 29, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on the measures being taken for the defense of Savannah, Georgia - including closing stores for regular drills.
Defence of Savannah.
--The Mayor of Savannah has issued a proclamation requiring all residents of the city to organize for home defence, and all managers of stores, workshops, or other places of business, to close them at two o'clock on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for the purpose of drill. He directs that an enrollment be made of every man in the city capable of bearing arms in its defence.
July 30, 1863: A Georgia private in the 59th Regiment who had been wounded and taken prisoner at Gettysburg was paroled on this day. He would return to service and still be with the Army of Northern Virginia when Lee surrendered in 1865.
Another Georgia soldier, this one in the 20th Regiment, was also paroled on this day.
A private in the 65th Georgia Regiment received an 80 day furlough on this day.
July 31, 1863: A Georgia soldier writing home to his mother told her of the futility of trying to come home at this time, and how hard it was for him to leave home when he departed for the war.
"...You requested me to try to come home. You need not to flatter yourself with the thought of me coming for it is impossible for me to do so. No leave of absence is granted at this time. Samp Garner's father is now in Richmond and Samp cant get off to see him. Oh how glad I would be to roll up to my old sweet home one more time! If I had it I would give 500 dollars to be at home for just two months. But is is very uncertain whether I will ever see it again or not but I hop my resolution hold out...
You spoke of something in your letter that has crossed my mind many times since I left home. That was how I looked through I never said a word. I tell I was past speaking. I never was so heart stricken before now but God himself knew my feelings when I left the gate and they can never be expressed. ..."
Source: Elizabeth Whitley Roberson, In Care of Yellow River: The Complete Civil War Letters of Pvt. Eli Pinson Landers to His Mother (Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 1997), p.131.
A Georgia soldier writing home to a friend told her what he knew of her family in the war, then suggested they be prepared for a Yankee invasion; he clearly had little faith in Confederate General Braxton Bragg.
"...Virgil came out safe in the raid in Yankee land. John did not. He was shot three times - first through the thigh, next in the nee and then in the hand. He never left the field until he was shot in the hand and then he walked back to the hospital by himself and fell into the hands of the Union soldiers. I do hope he will be exchanged soon and get to come home. ...
you said it would do for a joke to say we were expecting the Yankees up this part of Geo. ...There is two Brigades of Bragg's Army in Atlanta now and they are fortifying between there and the Chattahoochee River, which looks like falling back to me. I don't know why he has done that if he did not intend useing them. ...
Have that canon mounted and manned to kill Yankees with. Old Bragg will need it..."
Source: Hugh McKee (ed.), The McKee Letters 1859-1880. Second Edition. (Milledgeville, Boyd Publishing Company, 2001), pp. 120-121.
An Augusta woman confided to her journal regarding the recent military setbacks, but tried to remain positive.
". . . Our gallantly besieged Vicksburgh [sic] has capitulated – Our invading army of the Potomac have returned [after Gettysburg]. [Confederate cavalryman] Morgan has not been successful in his raid. Charleston is menaced. Altogether the sky is more ominous than it has been before in fifteen months and yet I am still sanguine. Never for one moment do I permit myself to doubt that all will be well. . . ."
Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 218.
Aug. 1, 1863: This week's edition of Harper's Weekly reported - prematurely - that General William Rosecrans' Union army was invading Georgia. That would actually not come until the following month, and would result in the first - and largest - battle fought on Georgia soil.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
Harper's Weekly also printed some images from the surrender of Vicksburg.
Images Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
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