In 1954, the Confederate letters of John W. Hagan were published by Bell Irvin Wiley. Hagan lived in the Cat Creek community near Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA. In the Civil War, Hagan enlisted in the “Berrien Minute Men,” a Confederate army unit organized by Levi J. Knight, original settler at the site of Ray City. Hagan served in the 29th GA infantry in Company D, (later reorganized as Company K, the Berrien Minutemen), and was elected 3rd Sergeant. By 1864, he was serving as 1st Sergeant, and at times was in command of the Company.
John W. Hagan wrote regularly from field camps and battle lines to his wife and family back in Berrien County. His letters were typically addressed to Amanda Hagan, his wife, or Rueben Roberts, his father-in-law. He frequently mentions relatives, colleagues in the Berrien Minute Men, and other Wiregrass Georgia residents including James Roberts, Ezekiel Roberts, Stephen Roberts, Sherard Roberts, Kiziah Roberts, Bryant J. Roberts, John J. Roberts, George Roberts, James Roberts, Levi J. Knight, Jonathan D. Knight, William Washington Knight, William Sirmans, John Herndon, Wiley E. Baxter, Barzilla Knight, John M. Griffin, Thomas Griffin, Asa Newsome, William Roberts, Benjamin S. Garrett, J. L. Robert, Elias Thomas, Harriet Newell Wilson, Ellen Groover Clifford, John Moore, Nancy Moore, Isbin B. Giddens, William J. Beatty, James L. O’Neil, William Giddens, Burrell H. Howell, Moses H. Giddens, James Turner, Edward Maloy, U.D. Knight, Henry Harrison Knight, Edwin Griffin, Wiley E. Baxter, William Cameron, Jonas Tomlinson, Thomas Clifford, Jasper Roberts, John C. Clements, Thomas W. Ballard, James W. Mathis, James D. Pounds, James Giddens, Elias Lastinger, James Fender, Aaron Mattox, Moses F. Giddens, and William Anderson.
John W. Hagan witnessed and described the death of Major John C. Lamb, who commanded the 29th Georgia Regiment until he was killed during the retreat from Vicksburg, MS in 1863. Hagan also wrote about the execution of “Old Yaller” Elbert J. Chapman, who was shot for desertion even though he had left the 29th Georgia Regiment to serve with another unit.
John W. Hagan was captured during the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864 along with John Hearndon, Jonathan D. Knight, James D. Pounds, among others, and was sent to Camp Chase, OH for the remainder of the war .
The 43 letters he wrote home between 1861 and 1865 were published by Bell Irvin Wiley, and subsequently appeared in the Georgia Historical Quarterly. The content of these letters may now be viewed online through JSTOR archives of the journal articles.
Published by: Georgia Historical Society
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40577510
- Civil War Letters of William Washington Knight 1861-1863 in VSU Archives
- William W. Knight Writes Home About Old Yellow and Men of the 29th Georgia Infantry
- Levi J. Knight and the Confederate Payroll Fraud
- The Cost of Living in the Confederate States
- Matthew O. Giddens ~ Confederate POW
- William J. Lamb ~ Confederate Veteran
- Sarah Knight Gaskins ~ Confederate Widow
- Green Bullard Fought Sickness in the Civil War
- Matthew Hodge Albritton
- Old Yaller’s Widow Was Denied Pension
- The Poetry of Mary Elizabeth Carroll
- Bryan J. Robert’s Account of the Last Indian Fight in Berrien County