1862 Train Schedule for Valdosta, GA

Previously: Neigh of the Iron Horse 

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County.

The  Atlantic & Gulf, like railroads all over the south,  was being built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Railroad Jubilee held there July 31, 1860 celebrating the arrival of the railroad.

By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily. Valdosta saw four trains a day;  eastbound passenger, eastbound freight, westbound passenger and westbound freight.

PUBLISHED MONTHLY. . . PRICE 75 CENTS. .

CONFEDERATE STATES RAIL-ROAD & STEAM-BOAT GUIDE

CONTAINING THE

Time- Tables, Fares, Connections and Distances on all the
Rail-Roads of the Confederate States; also, the connecting lines of Rail-Roads, Steam-
boats and Stages,

AND WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY
A COMPLETE GUIDE OF THE PRINCIPAL HOTELS,

With a large variety of valuable information, collected,

compiled and arranged

BY C. SWAYZE.

GRIFFIN, GEORGIA

HILL & SWAYZE, Publishers, and for sale by all Booksellers in the Confederacy.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by HILL
& SWAYZE, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the North
-ern District of the State of Georgia.

1862 Train Schedule for the Savannah, Albany & Gulf "Main Trunk" Railroad serving Valdosta, GA

1862 Train Schedule for the Savannah, Albany & Gulf “Main Trunk” Railroad serving Valdosta, GA

SAVANNAH, ALBANY & GULF ROAD. 
Maj John Scriven, Pres't, . 
G. J. Fulton, Superintendent, Savannah Ga   

Savannah to Thomasville.       Ο{ October— }Ο    Thomasville to Savannah 
Pass   | Fr't.| Fare | Mls.|                   |Miles|Fare |  Frt |Pass
 a. m. | a.m. |      |     | Leave      Arrive |     |     | a. m.| p. m. 
 7 00  | 6 00 |      |     |......Savannah.....| 200 | 9 00| 5 05 |  6 00 
 7 44  |      |   50 |   9 |......Miller's.....| 191 | 8 60|      |  5 20
 8 25  |      | 1 00 |  16 |.......Way's.......| 184 | 8 10|      |  4 43 
 8 55  |      | 1 25 |  24 |......Flemming*....| 176 | 7 85|      |  4 16
 9 25  |      | 1 50 |  32 |......McIntosh.....| 168 | 7 60|      |  3 49
 9 55  |      | 2 00 |  40 |...Walthourville...| 160 | 7 10|      |  3 22
10 20  |      | 2 30 |  46 |......Johnson†.....| 154 | 6 80|      |  3 01
11 05  |      | 2 50 |  53 |.....Doctortown....| 147 | 6 50|      |  2 28
11 30  |      | 2 85 |  58 |.......Drady's.....| 142 | 6 15|      |  2 09
12 20  |      | 3 25 |  68 |.......Satilla.....| 132 | 5 75|      |  1 33
 1 00  |      | 3 65 |  77 |......Patterson....| 123 | 5 33|      |  1 02
 1 28  |      | 4 00 |  86 |.....Blackshear....| 114 | 5 00|      | 12 28
 2 30  |      | 4 50 |  96 |....*Tebeauville†..| 104 | 4 50|      | 11 50
 3 11  |      | 5 00 | 108 |......Glenmore.....|  92 | 4 00|      | 10 45
 4 03  |      | 5 75 | 122 |.....Homerville†...|  78 | 3 25|      |  9 54
 4 35  |      | 6 25 | 131 |.......Lawton......|  69 | 2 75|      |  9 22
 5 03  |      | 6 75 | 139 |......Stockton.....|  61 | 2 25|      |  8 54
 5 22  |      | 7 00 | 144 |.......Naylor......|  56 | 2 00|      |  8 35
 6 06  |      | 7 50 | 157 |......Valdosta.....|  43 | 1 50|      |  7 52
 7 30  |      | 8 00 | 174 |.......Quitman.....|  26 | 1 00|      |  6 52
 7 56  |      | 8 25 | 181 |.......Groover.....|  19 |   75|      |  6 04
 8 25  |      | 8 50 | 189 |.......Boston......|  11 |   50|      |  5 30
 9 00  |      | 9 00 | 200 |....Thomasville....|     |     |      |  5 00
 p. m  |      |      |     |Arrive        Leave|     |     | a. m.| p. m.

Connections. — At Savannah with Georgia Central (p56), and Charleston & Savannah Rail-Roads (p60).
At Thomasville with stages for Bainbridge, Chattahoochee and Tallahassee, Florida. The eventual terminus of this road is designed to be at some point on the Chattahoochee river. Bainbridge is on its route. Stations indicated by an asterisk (*) is where the train stops for Breakfast. Those by a dagger (†) for Dinner.
WARTHOURVILLE [Walthourville], a post-town in Liberty county, Georgia, forty miles South-west of Savannah, is the largest place in the county. It contains two flourishing academies, and about 400 inhabitants.
BOSTON, a post-town in Thomas county, Georgia, eleven miles south-east of Thomasville.
THOMASVILLE, a post-town, and capital of Thomas county, Georgia, two hundred miles from Savannah, and at present the terminus of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf rail-road. It contains a court-house which is creditable to the county, and a school called the Fletcher Institute, under the direction of the Methodists. Population about 600.

October 1862 Hill & Swayze Confederate States Railroad & Steamboat Guide - Comparative Time Table.

October 1862 Hill & Swayze Confederate States Railroad & Steamboat Guide – Comparative Time Table.

COMPARATIVE TIME-TABLE, Showing the Time at the Principal Cities of the Confederate States, compared with Noon at Richmond, Va. There is no “Standard Rail-Road time” in the Confederate States, but each rail-road company adopts independently the time of its own locality, or of that place at which its principal office is situated. The inconvenience of such a system, if system it can be called, must be apparent to all, but is most annoying to persons strangers to the fact. From this cause, many miscalculations and misconnections have arisen; which not unfrequently have been of serious consequence to individuals, and have, as a matter of course, brought into disrepute all Rail-road Guides, which of necessity give the local times. In order to relieve, in some degree, this anomaly in American rail-roading, we present the following table of local time, compared with that of Richmond, Va:

Atlanta, Ga..........................................11 30 A.M. 
Augusta, Ga..........................................11 43  " 
Beaufort, S. C.......................................11 49  " 
Charleston, S. C.....................................11 51  " 
Columbia, S. C.......................................11 44  " 
Fredericksburg, Va............,,,,,,.................12 00  " 
Galveston, Texas.....................................10 01  "  
Griffin, Ga..........................................11 29  "  
Huntsville, Ala......................................11 23  "  
Jackson, Miss........................................11 10  "
Jefferson, Mo........................................11 02  " 
Knoxville, Tenn......................................11 30  " 
Little Rock, Ark.....................................11 02  "  
Lynchburg, VA........................................11 53  "  
Milledgeville, GA....................................11 37  "  
Mobile, Ala..........................................11 18  " 
Nashville, Tenn......................................11 23  "  
Natchez, Miss........................................11 05  "  
New Orleans, La......................................11 10  "  
Norfolk, Va..........................................12 05 P.M.
Pensacola, Fla.......................................11 22 A.M.
Petersburg, Va.......................................11 52  "
Raleigh, N. C........................................11 55  " 
Savannah, Ga.........................................11 45  "
Tallahassee, Fla.....................................11 32  "
Tuscaloosa, Ala......................................11 20  "
Wilmington, N C......................................11 58  "

Related Posts:

 

Neigh of the Iron Horse

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County. Over time, the trains would bring new economic & tourism opportunities to Wiregrass Georgia, like Henry Bank’s Elixir of Life mineral springs at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

The track of the A & G “Main Trunk” Railroad had one month earlier reached Station No. 14, Naylor, GA, sixteen miles east of Valdosta.

The Valdosta (Lowndes Co.) Watchman, on last Tuesday [June 26, 1860], says:
“The ware-house at Naylor Station (No. 14) has been completed, and freight is now regularly received and forwarded. The grading on Section 29 is finished to the eastern boundary of Valdosta, the cross ties are being distributed along the line, and nothing save some unforeseen providential contingency can postpone the arrival of the train at No. 15 longer than 20th July ensuing. The whistle of the Steam Horse has been heard repeatedly in our village the past week.”

The railroad had been built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA.

For the opening of the tracks to Valdosta, the town invited the A & G railroad executives and prominent citizens of Savannah to a grand celebration of the event. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Jubilee held July 31, 1860.

Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
August 10, 1860

Railroad Jubilee at Valdosta

The Valdosta Watchman says, the opening of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad to that place was celebrated with a public dinner. A train of seven passenger cars brought numerous guests from Savannah and intermediate places on the road, who arrived at Valdosta at one o’clock, and were welcomed with the heavy booming of a nine pounder.
On the same day the friends of Breckinridge and Lane held a meeting, ratified the nominations, appointed five delegates to Milledgeville and were addressed by Col. Henry R. Jackson and Julian Hartridge, Esq.

 

 

Among the prominent attendees:

  • Reuben Thomas “Thompy” Roberds, Mayor of Valdosta; attorney; owner of 10 enslaved people
  • John Screven, President of both the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; Mayor of Savannah; State Representative from Chatham County;  a rice planter on the Savannah River; owner of Proctor Plantation, Beaufort, SC; owner of 91 enslaved people.
  • Gaspar J. Fulton, Superintendent of the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Julian Hartridge, State Representative; owner of four enslaved people
  • Robert Grant, Savannah attorney
  • Henry Rootes Jackson, prominent attorney and prosecutor of Savannah; former U.S. Minister Resident to the Austrian Empire; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks County, GA
  • Col. Thomas Marsh Forman, former state senator, wealthy planter of Savannah, owner of Broughton Island, political rival of Julian Hartridge, son-in-law of Governor Troupe, owner of 171 enslaved people in Chatham, Laurens and Glynn County, GA.
  • Young J. Anderson, of Savannah, former Solicitor General of the Eastern Circuit, attorney and owner of 6 enslaved people. One of his slaves was the remarkable Rachel Brownfield, who through her own efforts earned enough to buy her own freedom, but Anderson reneged on the deal.
  • Joseph John “JJ” Goldwire, accountant, resident of Valdosta
  • Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, resident of Valdosta
  • Benjamin F. Moseley, alumnus of the University of Georgia, resident of Georgia Militia District 662 (Clyattville District); his brother, Augustus Moseley, owned 33 enslaved
  • William Zeigler, wealthy planter of Valdosta and owner of 46 enslaved people.
  • Sumner W. Baker, Troupville, GA attorney residing at Tranquil Hall hotel
  • Rufus Wiley Phillips,  Troupville, GA attorney; owner of three enslaved people; later mayor of Valdosta and a judge of Suwannee County, FL
  • Lenorean DeLyon, editor of the Valdosta Watchman newspaper; his brother, Isaac DeLyon, was the first station agent for the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad at Valdosta. A neice, Lenora DeLyon, was a passenger on the first train to reach the town.
Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Savannah Daily Morning News
Thursday Morning, August 2, 1860

Railroad Celebration at Valdosta.
In response to the invitation of the citizens of Lowndes county to the officers and Directors of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the citizens of Savannah, to join with the people of Lowndes and the adjoining counties in celebrating the completion of the Main Trunk to that point, in company with a number of gentlemen we left the city in a special train for Valdosta, at 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning [July 31, 1860]. Not withstanding the extreme heat of the weather, and the dustiness of the track, the trip, over a good road, through a county so recently almost a wilderness, but which is already beginning to exhibit evidences—in its increasing population, rising towns, and growing prosperity and enterprise, of the great benefits which must result to our section of the State from the completion of this great work—was both interesting and pleasant. As the train progressed, and as we neared the point of destination, our party was increased by continual accessions of people, and by the time we reached Valdosta, the cars were filled to the extent of their capacity.

Arriving at Valdosta about two o’clock, we were surprised to find a gathering of some three thousand people, of whom a large proportion were ladies and children—the town surrounded by vehicles of every description, and saddle horses tied to the trees in every direction. The company had just partaken of a most bountiful and well-prepared barbecue, which was spread out upon tables under a shed erected for the purpose. The guests from Savannah were cordially received by the committee, by whom we were invited to the tables, and introduced to many of those present.

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

After the company had retired from the tables, a meeting was organized by calling Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks county, to the Chair, and appointing Dr. Folsom, Secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated by the chairman, Capt. John Screven, President of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf and Main Trunk Railroads, responded to the general call in an eloquent and appropriate address, in which he spoke of the interesting event to celebrate which, in a becoming manner, he was happy to see so many of fellow citizens and fair countrywomen of Southwestern Georgia assembled in Valdosta. He alluded to the immense benefits which must result to the people of the interior and the cities of the seaboard from the completion of the great iron link which was to bind them together in bonds of mutual Interest and mutual friendship. Capt. Screven’s address was received with demonstrations of cordial approval.

Henry Rootes Jackson

Henry Rootes Jackson

Brief and appropriate addresses were also delivered in response to the call of the meeting by Hon. Henry R. Jackson, Julian Hartridge, Esq., Col. Thos. M. Forman and Y. J. Anderson, Esq., of Savannah, S. W. Baker,Esq., Chairman of the Committee of arrangements, also addressed the meeting. Other gentlemen were also called by the meeting, among them Robert Grant, Esq., of this city. None of them responding, the meeting was finally adjourned, and the immense crowd, most or whom had many miles to travel to their homes, began to disperse. Some objection having been made to a proposition to reorganize the meeting as a political meeting, notice was given that the friends of Breckinridge and Lane would reassemble at the Court House for the purpose of holding a ratification meeting.

A large portion of those present repaired to the Court-house, where a meeting was organized by calling William B. Zeigler, Esq., to preside., and appointing R. T. Roberds

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

esq., secretary.

The official proceedings of this meeting, which was a very spirited and enthusiastic demonstration of the prevailing sentiment, not only of Lowndes but of the surrounding counties and throughout that section of the State, in favor of Breckinridge and Lane and sound State Rights principles, will be found in another column or our paper.

Judge Jackson, being Invited to address the meeting, made one of his happiest and most effective  efforts. After a brief history of the action of the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions, and a fair statement or the great Issue before the country, he confined himself mainly to a most searching review of the political record of John Bell, whom he clearly demonstrated had given evidence by his frevuent votes against the South, and with the North, that his ambition is stronger than his patriotism, and that he is utterly unworthy the confidence of the South in a crisis like the present.

Mr. Hartridge, followed Judge Jackson in one of the ablest and most forcible political speeches we have ever heard him deliver.

Col. Forman, In response to the call of the meeting made a brief and pertinent speech which was also well received by the meeting.

Alter the passage of the resolutions and a vote of thanks to the speakers, the meeting adjourned with three hearty cheers for Breckenridge and Lane.

The crowd at Valdosta on Tuesday comprised a full and fair representation of the people of that portion of Georgia, its brave men, its fair women, and bright youth; and was one of the largest as well as most respectable assemblages we have ever seen brought together in the interior and more sparsely populated sections of our State. As we contemplated the vast crowd, and looked upon Valdosta, just emerging from the native pine forest, then echoing the first startling neigh of the Iron horse, who, as he leaps the heretofore impassable barriers that have shut out Southwestern Georgia from the commerce of the world, we endeavored to picture to our mind the great change which a few years must bring to this long neglected and almost unconsidered portion of our noble Slate.

Valdosta, the present terminus of the Main Trunk road, is distant from Savannah 155 miles. The first trees upon its site were felled In February last, and though only a little more than six months old, its present population numbers about five hundred souls. It is handsomely laid out, and though the native trees still obstruct its streets, it has three or four dry goods stores, two grocery stores, two hotels, two steam mills, a court-house, several neat private residences, and last, not least, a printing office and a newspaper.

The Valdosta Hotel, at which we stopped, is well kept by very kind and obliging people, who made up by their willing efforts for whatever they lacked of ability to provide accommodation for a crowd that would have given even our Pulaski House something extra to do. In the emergency of the case we are greatly Indebted to Mr. J. G. Fulton, the worthy Superintendent of the Road, who kindly provided us and many others with excellent sleeping quarters for the night on the cars.

The perfect safety with which the entire trip was made over the road, on a considerable portion of which the rails have been but recently laid, bears testimony alike to the excellence of the road itself and to the carefulness and attention of its employees.

————————♦————————

Breckinridge and Lane Meeting At Valdosta.

There was a barbecue given at the above place on Tuesday, 31st July, to celebrate the arrival or the cars at Valdosta, the friends of Breckinridge and Lane availed themselves of this opportunity to hold a ratification meeting, and assembled, after the close of the exercises pertaining to the railroad celebration, in the Court house at Valdosta, In the afternoon of the same day for that purpose.

On motion of Mr. J. J. Goldwire, Mr. William Zeigler was called to the Chair, and R. T. Roberds requested to set as Secretary.

Mr. Goldwire then introduced the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

1st, Resolved, That we, the Democracy of Lowndes county, do hereby ratify the nominations of John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane, for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United Slates, and we pledge to them our hearty and undivided support, believing, as we do, that it is high time for the people of the South to be united and vigilant In the recognition and enforcement of their constitutional rights.

2d. Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting do now appoint five delegates to represent the county of Lowndes in the Democratic Convention to assemble at Mllledgevllle on the 8th of August next, to nominate an electoral ticket to cast the vote of Georgia in the Presidential election.

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

3d. Resolved, That should it be inconvenient for any one of said delegates to attend said convention, that those who do go be instructed to cast their votes for them, having the same power of the original delegates.

The following gentlemen were appointed by the Chair, to wit: Benjamin F. Mosely, R. W. Phillips, J. J. Goldwire, Dr. A. R Taylor, and Col. Leonorean DeLyon.

Col. H R. Jackson being present, was called on to address the meeting, which he did in his usually eloquent and forcible manner, entertaining his audience with satisfaction for a consider able time, notwithstanding they were fatigued with the other exercises of the day, and so situated  as to have to stand to listen at his speech.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

At the suggestion of Col. Williamson, the privilege was extended to any one who wished to take part in the discussion In behalf of Bell or Douglas. No one responding.

Mr. Julian Hartridge was loudly called for, and addressed the meeting in an able and eloquent manner, clearly defining hit position, and giving a satisfactory account of his conduct as a delegate from Georgia in the recent Democratic Presidential Conventions.

Col. Thomas M. Forman was also called for, and addressed the audience in a few pertinent and entertaining remarks. Col. DeLyon moved that the thanks of the meeting be tendered to the speakers, which was. It was then moved that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Valdosta Watchman, Savannah Morning News and the Georgia Forester.

The meeting then adjourned, with three cheers for Breckinridge and Lane, Jackson, Hartridge and Forman.

Wm. Zeigler, Chairman.
R. T. Roberds, Secretary.

————————♦————————

By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily.

 

Related Posts:

Tebeauville, Old No. Nine

Previously:

Tebeauville, Old No. Nine

Prior to the Civil War General Levi J. Knight, of present day Ray City, GA, invested in the development of railroads across Wiregrass Georgia.  Two of Knight’s investments were in the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, and the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, the junction of which was at Tebeauville, GA.   When the Civil War commenced, Knight’s railroads were still being constructed, largely with the labor of enslaved African-Americans. During early part of the war, Knight’s company of Berrien Minute Men was transported on these railroads to their posts at the coastal defenses of Georgia.

Depot at Tebeauville

Depot at  station No. Nine, Tebeauville, GA (now Waycross, GA) was the junction point of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad with the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.

Although the Brunswick & Florida Railroad had been chartered in 1837, construction did not commence until 1856.  The track was started at Brunswick, GA but by 1857, only 36 miles of rail had been completed.  If completed, the B&F could move men and materials from ports on the Gulf of Mexico to the Brunswick port on the Atlantic in 24 hours “in case of war between this country and a foreign nation.”  And there were plan that the B&F would make connections to bring passenger and freight traffic to Brunswick from as far west as Vicksburg, MS.

The shortline Brunswick & Florida Railroad would run from Brunswick to the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad station number nine, which was also to be a junction with the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.  The Atlantic & Gulf was intended to serve the two coastal railroads as a “Main Trunk” stretching across south Georgia.  At Bainbridge, GA  it was planned to serve the steamboat docks on the Flint River creating a passenger and freight connection to the Gulf of Mexico.

The junction point of the B&F, A&G and the S,A&G, was ninth station to be constructed on the line from Savannah and was situated just south of the Satilla River. The eponymous community which sprang up there was No. Nine.  Blackshear, GA. was No. Eight and Glenmore, GA was No. 10.

Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

In 1857, Philip Coleman Pendleton had settled his family at No. Nine before the tracks of the S, A & G  or the B & F even reached the station. At Tebeauville, Pendleton engaged in farming and timber. He also served as postmaster and stated the first Sunday school in Ware county.   (Pendleton had come from Sandersville, GA where he was co-owner of the Central Georgian newspaper, with O. C. Pope, Sr. )

At that time [1857] a Savannah company headed by James Screven, father of the late John Screven, was building a railroad from Savannah to Thomasville. The western terminus [of the Savannah, Albany and Gulf Railroad] was then at a point some twelve or fifteen miles east of Blackshear…The laying of the iron reached Mr. Pendleton’s place about a year later…  The old stage road between Thomasville and Brunswick passed here, with a fork running to Burnt Fort, on the Satilla River. There was a post-office at this place called “Yankee Town.” It was so designated because northern people operated the stage coaches and they owned at this place a relay stable; but it passed away with the coming of the railroad, and Screven named the station ‘Pendleton’. The man thus honored took the first train to Savannah and caused the name to be changed to Tebeauville, after his father-in-law, Captain F. E. Tebeau, a member of one of the old Savannah families. Perhaps a year or so later a civil engineer came along surveying the route for the [Brunswick & Florida Railroad]. When he arrived at Tebeauville he made a side proposition to Mr. Pendleton to run the prospective city off in lots and to give him each alternate lot. Mr. Pendleton did not think that the man was authorized thus to approach him, and suggested that he tell the president of the road to see him in regard to the matter. Miffed at this rebuke, the engineer went back three or four miles pulling up the stakes as he went, and made a curve to miss Mr. Pendleton’s land. If one will stand at the crossing near Tebeau Creek, in the heart of Waycross, and look towards Brunswick, he can see the curve in the road [railroad tracks], caused by this effort of the engineer to make something on the side. – Georgia’s Men of Mark

The tracks of the Savannah, Albany and Gulf reached station No. Nine on July 4, 1859.

By 1859,  60 miles of B & F track had been laid stretching from Brunswick north around the headwaters of East River then westward toward Tebeauville. The B&F junction at station No. Nine completed a rail connection between Brunswick and Savannah, and connected Brunswick with the the “Main Trunk” Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.

 

Civil War era map of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, running from Yankee Town (now Waycross), GA to Brunswick, GA - Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Civil War era map of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, running from Yankee Town, the post office at Tebeauville (now Waycross), GA, to Brunswick, GA – Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Construction of the A & G  was progressing westward from Tebeauville toward Lowndes County, GA.  The steel rails were imported from Le Havre, France.  There were 1200 slaves at work building the Atlantic & Gulf, making the railroad perhaps the largest single concentration of enslaved people in Georgia. In 1859,  75 percent of railroads in the south used slave labor and one-third of all southern lines worked 100 or more slaves.

African Americans maintaining a southern railroad. In 1859, 1200 African American slaves labored to build the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad across Wiregrass Georgia, laying a little over a mile of track every week. The first train reached Valdosta, GA on July 30, 1860. Image: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cwpb.02135/

African Americans maintaining a southern railroad.
In 1859, 1200 African American slaves labored to build the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad across Wiregrass Georgia, laying a little over a mile of track every week. The jubilee train reached Valdosta, GA on July 31,1860. Image: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cwpb.02135/

The southern railroads were dependent on enslaved black laborers for construction and maintenance, and sometimes operations. Slaves were either owned outright by the railroads or leased from their owners. “Sometimes owners were actually reluctant to hire out their enslaved laborers because of the extreme danger associated with rail construction and train operations; if they did so, they often would take out insurance on their [human] property from working on the riskiest tasks. Of course, those contractual provisions were not always obeyed, leading contractors and slave owners to the courtroom.” – From Here to Equality.

About 20 miles west of Tebeauville, railroad superintendent Gaspar J. Fulton made a side investment in real estate. Fulton purchased land along the tracks from John Smith, of Clinch county. However, no station was established there until the 1880s (now Argyle, GA).

By February 1860, the A & G track had crossed the Alapaha River near Carter’s Bridge about nine miles south of Milltown (now Lakeland, GA).  By March 12, hundreds of bales of cotton were being shipped to Savannah from Station No. 13 at Stockton, GA, which was described as “‘quite a brisk little place, with its hotel and livery stable’ to say nothing of its numerous refreshment saloons.” There were 50 bales of cotton shipped from “Alapaha” on March 10. By about the end of the month at Station No. 13, there were “about 120 bales of cotton for shipment, and the warehouses crowded with western freight.”  The May 1, 1860 annual report of the A & G [inclusive of the S, A&G] stated that in previous 12 months [during which track was extended from Tebeauville, GA to Naylor, GA] there were 4.8 million feet of lumber and timber shipped over the railroad.

The residents at Troupville, GA, then county seat of Lowndes, were hopeful that the town would be the site where the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad spanned the Withlacoochee River.  By July 1860, the Atlantic and Gulf track extended 62 miles to near the Withlacoochee but the route passed four miles southeast of Troupeville and crossed the river eight miles downstream, sorely disappointing the town’s residents.  The many of the town residents packed up and moved to the tracks, some even moving their houses, and founded the city of Valdosta, GA.

The Satilla was the first locomotive to arrive at Valdosta, July 4, 1860. The engines of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad (Savannah, Albany & Gulf) were named for the rivers of South Georgia. The Satilla is on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

The Satilla was the first locomotive to arrive at Valdosta, July 30, 1860. The engines of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad (Savannah, Albany & Gulf) were named for the rivers of South Georgia. The Satilla is on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

John Screven, president of the A & R reported that the tracks reached Valdosta on July 25, 1860.

The Augusta Daily Constitutionalist reported the completion of the Atlantic & Gulf railroad to Valdosta, GA

The Augusta Daily Constitutionalist reported the completion of the Atlantic & Gulf railroad to Valdosta, GA

When the Civil War broke out, the completion of the Brunswick & Florida, the Savannah, Albany and Gulf, and the Atlantic & Gulf railroads became strategically important, although the threatening “foreign nation” was the United States.  Troops from all over Wiregrass Georgia were mobilized on the railroads. P. C. Pendleton “was engaged in planting and looking after his splendid timbered lands when the war came on… “Tebeauville, though not a town of much size, at the outbreak of the war in 1861, nevertheless furnished several recruits to Colquitt’s Brigade” … [Pendleton] raised a company of volunteers in Ware county and upon its organization became a major of the 50th Georgia Regiment.  – J. L. Walker, State Historian, DAR

During the war, the Sunday School at Tebeauville was superintended by Mrs. B . F. Williams, wife a Confederate army surgeon. Mrs.Williams lived a few miles from Tebeauville at Sunnyside, near the Satilla River. She also helped to organize a non-denominational church “composed of ‘Hard-Shells,’ Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, that existed and flourished for years in perfect harmony. – J. L. Walker, State Historian, DAR

In 1861 the Berrien Minute Men,  the Confederate infantry company raised by General Knight, traveled on the Brunswick & Florida from Station No. 9, (Tebeauville) to Brunswick.  Per orders,  Captain L. J. Knight took his company of Berrien Minute Men to the Georgia coast where they and other volunteer companies from south Georgia counties were garrisoned at Camp Semmes for the defense of the port at Brunswick, GA (Berrien Minute Men at Brunswick ~ July, 1861).  The Confederate States government compensated the railroads for providing transportation.

Robert E. Lee visited Tebeauville, GA in 1861

Robert E. Lee visited Tebeauville, GA in 1861

Robert E. Lee stopped for a few hours in Tebeauville in 1861 while making a general survey of the Confederate coastal defenses. In a letter to his wife, transcribed in Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, he referenced the Battle of Port Royal, in which the 29th GA regiment was engaged,  and mentioned plans to visit Brunswick:

“Savannah, November 18, 1861.

“My Dear Mary: This is the first moment I have had to write to you, and now am waiting the call to breakfast, on my way to Brunswick, Fernandina, etc. This is my second visit to Savannah. Night before last, I returned to Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, from Charleston, where I have placed my headquarters, and last night came here, arriving after midnight. I received in Charleston your letter from Shirley. It was a grievous disappointment to me not to have seen you, but better times will come, I hope…. You probably have seen the operations of the enemy’s fleet. Since their first attack they have been quiescent apparently, confining themselves to Hilton Head, where they are apparently fortifying.

“I have no time for more. Love to all.

“Yours very affectionately and truly,

“R. E. Lee.”

In his 1914 Georgia’s Men of Mark, historian Lucian Lamar Knight included:

It is one of the local traditions, to which the old residents point with great pride, that when in command of the coast defense, at the outbreak of the war, General Robert E. Lee stopped for a short while in Tebeauville. Many of the people who lived here then remember to have seen this Man of the Hour who still lives in the hearts of the people today. Among the the citizens who resided here then were the Tebeaus, the Reppards, the Remsharts, the Parkers, the Grovensteins, the Millers, the Behlottes, the Sweats, the Smiths and the Cottinghams.  To this day many old timers refer to the section of [Waycross] where the Tebeauville station was located as “Old Nine”. 

At the time of General Lee’s survey, the campfires of the Berrien Minute Men were made at garrisons defending Darien, GA, the next port north of Brunswick. “As a result of [General Lee’s] coastal survey, upon his return to Savannah 3 days later, he notified the War Department in Richmond of the confirmation of his previous opinion that the ‘entrance to Cumberland Sound and Brunswick and the water approaches to Savannah [including Fort Pulaski] and Charleston are the only points which it is proposed to defend.'”  National Park Service 

The defenses of Georgia’s sea islands were abandoned, their guns and men redeployed to defend the three southern ports. The Berrien Minute Men were moved to garrisons around the port of Savannah.

Ultimately, Levi J. Knight’s investment in the B&F railroad became another casualty of the Civil War.  “The Brunswick and Florida Railroad was in operation up to the fall of 1863, when the Confederate Government seized it under the Impressment Act, tore up the rails, and distributed the property of the Company among other railroads, which were considered as leading military lines. The line of the B&F had become a liability as U.S forces had occupied Brunswick in early 1862.

P. C. Pendleton moved his family to Valdosta, GA in 1862 where after the war he established the South Georgia Times newspaper. His former business partner, O. C. Pope moved to Milltown in 1866 where he taught in the Milltown Academy.

In late 1867 Major Philip Coleman Pendleton again passed through Tebeauville as a passenger on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad from Valdosta to Savannah, where he was sailing for Scotland.  He was on a mission for the Lowndes Immigration Society to recruit Scottish immigrants to settle at Valdosta, GA, and work the cotton, as Wiregrass planters had an aversion to hiring and paying freed slaves to do the work.

The town of Tebeauville was incorporated in 1866. “In 1869, the State of Georgia provided about $6 million in bonds to rebuild [the tracks from Tebeauville to Brunswick]. The railroad was then reorganized as the Brunswick and Albany Railroad.”  Tebeauville was designated county seat of Ware County in 1873. It was incorporated as “Way Cross” on March 3, 1874. Waycross gets its name from the city’s location at key railroad junctions; lines from six directions meet at the city.

Tebeauville Historic Marker, Waycross, GA

Tebeauville Historic Marker in Bertha Street Park, Waycross, GA,  “On this site stood the old town of Tebeauville. Erected by the Lyman Hall Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Waycross, GA.

The B&A went bankrupt in 1872 after a bond was nullified by the Georgia General Assembly. It was reorganized in 1882 and was then named the Brunswick and Western Railroad.

The name Tebeauville remained in use for the station at Waycross at least as late as 1889, as evidenced in railroad schedules and newspaper references.

(See source citations below)

Related Posts:

Sources:

Georgia.1836. Acts of the General Assembly of the state of Georgia passed in Milledgeville at an annual session in November and December, 1835. An act to incorporate the Brunswick and Florida Railroad.pg 187.

United States. (1851). The statutes at large and treaties of the United States of America from. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown. pg 146

Dozier, Howard Douglas. 1920. A history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Houghton Mifflin. pg 79.

Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell. 1908. A history of transportation in the eastern cotton belt to 1860. pg 358.

Georgia Telegraph. Dec 20, 1853. From Milledgeville. Macon, GA. Pg 2

Georgia Telegraph. June 13, 1854. Minutes of the stockholders of the Brunswick and Florida Railroad. Macon, GA. Pg 3

Southern Recorder, May 15, 1855. Brunswick and Florida Railroad. Pg 2

Georgia Telegraph. Apr 8, 1856. Minutes of the Board of Commissioners of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad Company, First Meeting, Wednesday, Feb 27, 1856. Macon, GA. Pg 3

United States. 1857. Appendix to the Congressional Globe containing speeches, important state papers, laws, etc., of the third session, Thirty-fourth Congress. Naval Depot at Brunswick, Georgia: Speech of Hon. A. Iverson of Georgia in the Senate, January 20, 1957. pg 270-275.

Poor, H. V. (1869). Poor’s manual of railroads. New York: H.V. & H.W. Poor; [etc., etc.. Pg. 337.

Loyless, T. W. (1902). Georgia’s public men 1902-1904. Atlanta, Ga: Byrd Print. Pp 166.
Miller, S.F. 1858. The bench and bar of Georgia : memoirs and sketches, with an appendix, containing a court roll from 1790 to 1857, etc. (1858). J. B. Lippincott & Co. Philadelphia. Pg 170

Milledgeville Federal Union, Nov. 18, 1856. Commercial Convention at Savannah. page 3. Milledgeville, GA.

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.Census Place: , Berrien, Georgia; Roll: M653_111; Page: 362; Image: 363.

Mitchell, S. Augustus. 1855. Mitchell’s new traveller’s guide through the United States and Canada. pg 87

Swayze, J. C., & H.P. Hill & Co. (1862). Hill & Swayze’s Confederate States rail-road & steam-boat guide: Containing the time-tables, fares, connections and distances on all the rail-roads of the Confederate States, also, the connecting lines of rail-roads, steamboats and stages, and will be accompanied by a complete guide to the principal hotels, with a large variety of valuable information. Griffin, Ga: Hill & Swayze.

Railga.com. Brunswick & Florida Railroad. https://railga.com/brunfl.html

Walker, J. L. (1911, Nov 11). Tabeauville. Waycross Evening Herald.

Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment at the Battle of Port Royal

The Berry Infantry of Floyd County, GA, along with the Berrien Minute Men of Berrien County, GA, were among the companies forming the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Civil War…

Eight months after the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter the US fleet struck back, attacking Port Royal, SC.  To make the attack, the fleet of some sixty ships sailed from New York through the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, while the Berrien Minute Men weathered the storm on Sapelo Island sixty miles south of Port Royal.  The Federal naval assault came on November 7, 1861; on Sapelo Island the Berrien Minute Men could hear the sounds of the Battle at Port Royal. The untested men on Sapelo were impatient for battle and lamented that they were stuck in a backwater of the war. Not so, their future regimental mates, the Berry Infantry of Rome, GA who were hurriedly dispatched from their station at Camp Lawton near Savannah to Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island overlooking Port Royal Sound, SC.    The Berrien Minute Men and other Confederate companies on Sapelo would have gone, too, it was said, but for the Colonel commanding being too drunk to take the men into battle.  Had the men on Sapelo known what the Berry Infantry were facing, they would perhaps not have been so eager to go.

The destination of the Berry Infantry was Fort Walker, a Confederate earthworks fortification hastily built of sand in the summer of 1861 using the labor of enslaved African-Americans owned by the planters of Hilton Head Island. Construction continued through the summer with the slaves hauling palmetto logs, digging trenches, erecting a powder magazine, and constructing gun emplacements. But the fort was not complete when the Federal fleet commenced the attack on the morning of November 7, 1861.

A soldier of the Berry Infantry, upon returning to Savannah, wrote a series of reports to the Rome Weekly Courier under the pen name “Floyd” describing their experience at the Battle of Port Royal. The writer was probably Thomas J. Perry of Floyd County, GA, a lieutenant of the Berry Infantry, who was known to have written the Courier under this name. In composing these passages, the writer freely confessed, “I have had to write amidst confusion, and under the most unfavorable circumstances. We are hourly expecting to hear of the approach of the enemy. News came last night that they had landed at White Bluff, eight miles below here [Savannah, GA]. I have given you the points though much disconnected.” The narrative has been reorganized here, to present events in chronological order:

Our Savannah Correspondence

Camp Lawton, near Savannah, Ga., November 12th, 1861.

Dear Courier:

There are some facts connected with our departure to Hilton Head Island, that are worthy of notice, The night we first started [Nov 5, 1861,] H. W. Berryhill, H. C. Smith, G. W. Freeman and W. H. Mitchell, had got furloughs to go home, and were getting ready to start, when orders came at 8 o’clock,

Lt. Henry W. Dean, Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment

Lt. Henry W. Dean, Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment

for us to be at the Charleston Wharf at 9. Berryhill and Smith abandoned the idea of going home, and at once informed their Captain that they would go with him. B. had just recovered from a spell of sickness, and was not able to do duty. Smith had been sick in his tent for two days. The Captain objected to their going, but they begged so hard that he consented, and they went to the boat with us, and would have gone, if the orders had not been countermanded. Freeman was not able to go, having been sick for the last three weeks; so he and Mitchell left. Lieut. H. W. Dean, who was just recovering from the measles and had just came into the camps that day, got ready to go with us but was ordered to remain. He insisted on going, but the company refused, and ordered him to remain. We left, but on reaching the boat, we found him there, armed and equipped.

The next morning [Nov 6, 1861] when we left, again, the Captain found it necessary to detail one man to stay and take care of the sick. H.C. Smith was by this time broken out with the measles. The Captain asked if there was any one that would stay, and no one responded. He then said, “I must make some one stay.” All spoke and said they wanted to go, and voted for Dean or Berryhill to stay, but they refused, and go they would.  R. Dollar [Reuben Dollar] was then requested to stay, but he refused, although he had just recovered from a hard spell of sickness. Finally James McGinnis was left.

Our Savannah Correspondence.
Camp Lawton, Nov. 9, 1861.

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. Col. Thomas James Berry, CSA, led a Regiment of Georgia troops, including the Berry Infantry, at the Battle of Port Royal. He was a graduate of West Point, class of 1857.

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. Col. Thomas James Berry, CSA, led a Regiment of Georgia troops, including the Berry Infantry, at the Battle of Port Royal. He was a graduate of West Point, class of 1857.

Dear Courier—Our Regiment left here on Wednesday  morning [Nov 6, 1861] at 9 1/2 o’clock, on board the steamer St. Marys, under the command of Lieut. Colonel Thos. J. Berry, for Hilton Head Island, on the South Carolina coast, and arrived there at 1 o’clock, p. m., and then took up the line of march to Port Royal, five miles distance, and arrived there about dark, and spent the night in some old barns.

Next morning [Nov 7, 1861] at 8, we were ordered out, and formed in a line of battle about one mile from the beach, and in the rear of the sand Battery [Fort Walker]… There was no fort, only a sand battery with 13 guns, and only two large ones, and all exposed… At half past 8, the fleet came up, and opened fire on the battery of 13 guns.

Battle of Port Royal. The Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment were at Fort Walker during the bombardment.

Battle of Port Royal. The Berry Infantry, Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment was at Fort Walker during the bombardment.

The fire was returned, and soon became general.

It was soon announced that one vessel had passed the battery. We were then ordered to advance within a half mile of the beach—we did so, and were ordered to lie down—the enemy discovered our position, and turned loose a shower of shot and shell on us. We lay there for about one hour, the balls and shells fell thick and fast around and about us.

 Bombardment of Fort Walker, Hilton Head, Port Royal Harbor, SC by United States Fleet, November 7, 1861. The Berry Infantry (later Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment) was among Georgia companies sent to defend the island. Image source: Campfire and Battlefield


Bombardment of Fort Walker, Hilton Head, Port Royal Harbor, SC by United States Fleet, November 7, 1861. The Berry Infantry (later Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment) was among Georgia companies sent to defend the island. Image source: Campfire and Battlefield

[At Fort Walker] The largest [gun] was dismounted at the first shot, the next at the 2d fire, so there was only 11 small ones, and Capt. Ried’s [Capt. Jacob Reed, Company D, 1st GA Regulars] two brass pieces to contend against over 500 guns, and they on steel and iron clad vessels.

Cameron [John D. Cameron] went with us, and the evening we arrived there [Nov 6, 1861], he said he would spend the next day in hunting oysters for us, but when morning came he saw that a fight was on hand, and went into the Hospital, where he could have a good view of what was going on, thinking, of course, that he was in a secure place; but the fun had not lasted long before a ball passed through the top of the house; the second soon came along, and then others in such rapid succession that he thought he had got into the wrong pew, and left in double quick, and dodged behind a pine stump, and would occasionally peep around, and could see the balls falling and hear them whizzing bye, and presently he saw a ball strike a tree and tear it to pieces. The thought struck him, that the stump was but little protection, and double-quicked it a little farther. This is his own story. In justice to him I will say he stuck closer to the Berry Infantry, all day, than it could have been expected of him, as he was not allowed to come near our ranks, while in line of battle, as he held no position in the Regiment as yet, not having received his commission. Night came but Cameron had found no oysters, at least he said nothing about them….

General Thomas F. Drayton was in charge of the overall defenses of Port Royal Sound

General Thomas F. Drayton was in charge of the overall defenses of Port Royal Sound

[On the beach] The Captains of the several companies requested Gen. [Thomas F.] Drayton, under whose command we were placed on reaching there, to let us fall back, but he refused. The Captains not being willing to see their men murdered up, took the command of their companies, and ordered them to fall back out of the reach of the guns, until the enemy landed. They accordingly did so. The General soon ordered them back near the beach. The fleet turned loose on us again, with about five hundred guns. We stood there, not being able to return a shot with any success. About 1 o’clock, we were ordered to Reid’s Battery of two guns, near the sand Battery. We remained there until half past two, amid the shower of shot, grape and shell…

There was a continuous roar for five and a half hours. No one could count the reports, and at times could not distinguish the guns.

 

Capt. [John W. ] Turner, Lieuts. [Thomas F.] Hooper and [Henry W.] Dean acted well their parts, perfectly cool all day; in fact there was no fault to be found of any, under all the circumstances.

Our ammunition gave out…

Capt. Reid gave orders for us to leave, as he had lost 15 of his men, killed and wounded.

The men retired calmly, much more so than could be expected…  We [left] all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing.

Those that were with the wounded were left. … There were some left of the South Carolinians wounded. The dead were left on the ground. I heard of no arrangements made by General Drayton to have them buried.

No pen can describe the scene. The fences and houses and Hospital were torn to pieces—men falling in all directions. Some with their heads off, some arms and legs off, and some with their bodies torn to atoms. The balls tearing up the ground in holes deep enough to bury a man. It is impossible to say how many there were killed and wounded.

Gen. Drayton gave orders to fall back with the South Carolina troops in front, and the Georgians to bring up the rear.

The South Carolina troops were the first to leave the field, half an hour before the rest.  Stiles’  [William H. Styles] Regiment next, ours were the last, and our company the last of the Regiment, and Sargeant W. H. H. Camp [William H. H. Camp] the color bearer, the last man to leave. The balls, grape shot and shells falling and passing as thick as hail, as the fleet had ceased firing on the battery and had all their guns were bearing on us, said to be about 500, and we in half a mile of the beach. They continued to fire at us as long as we were in reach of them. I am aware that some will think that this is a strange tale, nevertheless it is true. Our military men men say it was the most terrific bombardment on record.

He [Drayton] marched off, and said nothing about leaving the Island til we got some distance. We all thought when we left the scene of action, we were only going to the woods, to prepare for the enemy when they landed, but to our utter astonishment, we found that the General was making for the boats,

1861 map of Hilton Head Island showing locations of Fort Walker, the woods, Skull creek, and ferry. Distance from Fort Walker to the Ferry landing was about 7 miles.

1861 map of Hilton Head Island showing locations of Fort Walker, the woods, Skull creek, and ferry. Distance from Fort Walker to the Ferry landing was about 7 miles.

We lost all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing….If [Drayton] had let us know he was going to evacuate the Island, we would have brought all our things.

Retreat of the Confederate garrison commanded by General Drayton from Fort Walker to Bluffton, during the bombardment by the Federal fleet, on the afternoon of November 7, 1861. - Frank Leslie's Illustrated History of the Civil War. Image source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/38263.

Retreat of the Confederate garrison commanded by General Drayton from Fort Walker to Bluffton, during the bombardment by the Federal fleet, on the afternoon of November 7, 1861. – Frank Leslie’s Illustrated History of the Civil War. Image source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/38263.

On reaching the coast we found that the General had succeeded in getting himself and [the South Carolinia] men off before sundown.

He got himself and [the South Carolina] men off the Island first, and leave us [Georgians] to shift for ourselves, exposed to the enemy’s cavalry.

Colonels Stiles and Berry were very indignant at the General’s conduct—they went to work and made arrangements to get us off about 9 o’clock. It was low tide, and we had to wade some distance to get to flat boats, and then some distance to the steamer St Johns. 

Those that were [left at Fort Walker] with the wounded [had] remained some half hour after the regiments left and as soon as they found the condition of things, they picked up the wounded and made for the boats, and succeeded in getting there in time.It was about 11 o’clock before we got on board. We then run out about 4 miles and cast anchor, and remained there until daylight [November 8, 1861], and then set sail for Savannah, all the time on the look out for the fleet to pursue us, but Providence protected us…

Providence alone protected us. The wonderful escape of our soldiers on that occasion should be a sufficient evidence to all God’s people, that he is a prayers-hearing God and will grant their requests when asked in faith. Prayer is greater than steel or iron, or fleets with all their guns, and skill to man them. For trees,

houses, and fences to be torn to peices, the air full of dust from balls striking the ground, and an array of men walking along, and comparatively few hurt, looks too unreasonable to tell, but prayer availeth much. So we are taught in tho Book of Books and a few of us have realized it. A very wicked young man, who has pious parents, remarked to me the evening of the battle, “I have often heard Pa talk about Providence protecting us, and never could under stand it, but I now comprehend his meaning, for if Providence did not protect us to-day, l am at a loss to know what did.” Tears came into his eyes and he seemed deeply impressed.

The Boat was so crowded that there was no room to set or lie down, so we had to stand up, perfectly exhausted, having had nothing to eat since Wednesday morning, but some cold broad, and but little at that, and no water that was fit for horse to drink, feet and legs wet and no means of drying them.

We arrived safely here [Savannah] at 9 1/2 o’clock, We lost all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing. We are all in rather a bad condition,- most of our boys are not able  to change clothing, and all on account of General Drayton’s conduct…

Col. Thomas W. Alexander, once Mayor of Rome, in the uniform he wore as a Confederate Army officer. Image source: A history of Rome and Floyd County.

Col. Thomas W. Alexander, once Mayor of Rome, in the uniform he wore as a Confederate Army officer. Image source: A history of Rome and Floyd County.

On returning [to Savannah] we found Lt. Col. Alex- [Thomas W. Alexander] and Lt. J. E. Berry [James E. Berry] had arrived, and were preparing to join us.

There is several distinguished military men here, among whom is Gov. Brown.  The troops have been moved off all the Islands, and quite a number stationed near here. Gen. Lawton has had a large vessel sunk in Skull Creek, and one anchored at the Oyster Bed, ready to sink, as soon as the news reaches the city that the enemy has taken possession of the Island.

More than half the citizens [of Savannah] commenced packing up their furniture and goods, and having them drayed to the several depots. The Mayor [Thomas Pilkington Purse, Sr.] was soon

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1842, Alexander Robert Lawton lived in Savannah, Georgia where he was involved in state politics and railroad administration. Lawton was Colonel of the 1st Georgia when that unit overtook Fort Pulaski in January of 1861, and by mid-April he was a Brigadier General in charge of Georgia's coastal defenses. - National Park Service

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1842, Alexander Robert Lawton lived in Savannah, Georgia where he was involved in state politics and railroad administration. Lawton was Colonel of the 1st Georgia when that unit overtook Fort Pulaski in January of 1861, and by mid-April he was a Brigadier General in charge of Georgia’s coastal defenses. – National Park Service

informed that a great many men were leaving also. He issued his Proclamation, forbidding any to leave under 45, and laid an Embargo on all goods being shipped off, and in that way kept some from deserting the city. He let the women and children go. The cars has been crowded for several days going up the country. Some of these ladies had said that they would never leave their homes, unless it was to stand by the side of their husbands, fathers or brothers in repelling the foe, and that they put their trust in God, but as the time drew for them to make good their promises, they put their trust in the Railroad cars.

Yours, Floyd. 

The account in the Savannah papers are very imperfect. We had two wounded in our company. Joseph S. Ayers, slightly wounded in the foot, W. H.  [William H.] Perkinson in the hand.— We have Ayers at a private home. There never was a greater outrage perpetrated upon any set of men, than Gen. Drayton, of South Carolina, did upon the Georgia troops sent to his assistance. He acted more like a mad-man than a General. It looked like he wanted to have us slaughtered, by marching us up under the fire of over five hundred guns, and where we could not defend ourselves.

I hope he will never be in command of any more Georgia troops for he is not the man for a General. 

In the first place, the island was not sufficiently fortified.

And if South Carolinians want help she should first do her duty, and prepare for the worst. She has been boasting that she was ready—she now sees to what extent she was prepared.

Battle of Port Royal headlines, Savannah Daily Morning News, November 9, 1861

Battle of Port Royal headlines, Savannah Daily Morning News, November 9, 1861

Battle of Port Royal
Terrific Cannonading!
Evacuation of the Batteries by the Confederates!
The Forts In Possession Of The Enemy.

About half past one o’clock yesterday morning we received the dispatch published in our morning edition, announcing the evacuation of Fort Walker by our troops and their retreat towards Bluffton. This astounding news was only the precursor of teh more disatrous accounts which reached the city this morning by the boats from the scene of the action which arrived here early this morning.
In the confusion of statements of persons engaged in the action, it is impossible, in the time allowed us to obtain a very connected or circumstantial account of the fight. From various sources we have gathered the following.
As stated in our paper yesterday, the firing between Fort Walker and the fleet commenced about nine o’clock, the fleet giving the most of their attention to Fort Walker. Before ten o’clock seven of the largest steamers of the fleet had passed the batteries, and when the St. Marys left, from whose passengers we obtained our account of the first part of the action, a most terrific cannonading was going on. The fight continued until the departure of the Emma, at twelve o’clock, and when the Savannah left, at 2 o’clock, the firing was unabated, except at the Bay Point battery, which had been silenced between eleven and twelve o’clock. At this time a tremendous cannoading was kept up by the fleet, consisting of some thirty odd steamers and gun boats, which was returned by Fort Walker, the battery on Hilton Head.
The Fort Walker armament consisted of sixteen guns, nine of which bore upon the shipping, the balance being in position on the land side. Five or six of these guns, among them the 24 pound rifle cannon and one ten inch Columbiad, were disabled during the forenoon.- Thus disabled and their ammunition exhausted, the garrison evacuated Fort Walker between three and four o’clock, retiring in the direcgtion of Bluffton, leaving the guns in position and unspiked, have no spikes for that purpose.

In the course of the morning and previous night, considerable reinforcements of infantry and artillery from Georgia and Carolina had arrived at Hilton Head, and were stationed in or in the vicinity of the batteries, but we are unable at present to ascertain the number of troops engaged in the battle.

Capt. Jacob Reed’s artillery corps of the First Georgia Regiment of Regulars arrived at the scene of action on Wendesday night, and, on yesterday bore a gallan part in the fight. Four or five of his men were killed early in the action. The corps lost two of their guns and several horses.
Col. Randolph Spaulding, Georgia Volunteer Regiment, commanded by Capt. Berry were also in the engagement. THey were marched to the beach where they received a galling fire of round shot and shell from the fleet, which, however, they were unable to return with their muskets. Of the Floyd county Berry Infantry, Jas. S. Ayres and Second Surgeon Wm H. Perkinson, received slight wounds.
Col. Wm. H. Styles’ Volunteer Georgia Regiment reached the scene of action at 11 o’clock, havng marched from Skidaway, seven and a half miles distanct, at the double-quick. But they were also unable to fire on the fleet, which was out of the range of their guns. The Regiment had several killed and wounded by shells from the fleet. Our informant states the Col. Styles had two horses shot under him, and in the fall of one of them received a slight injury in the shoulder. The Colonel and his Regiment was at one time exposed to a terrific shelling from the ships, and it is only surprising that more of them were not killed and wounded.

Col. Randolph Spaulding, not bein in command of his Regiment, joined a corps belonging to another Regiment, and engaged in the fight, as far as it was possible for the infantry to participate in it, with his musket on his shoulder

Between 11 and 12 o’clock, twelve vessels engaged the forts, five of them first class steam frigates, the other seven were second class steamers, with a tug leading. The tug opened fire on our infantry stationed some distance from the beach. One of the frigates, the Minnesota, at a distance of two miles, also threw shot and shell at the infantry.
Our informant assures us that seven Dahlgren guns from one of the frigates fired many shots on the hospital containing our wounded, hitting the building several times, notwithstanding the yellow flag was flying. The Surgeons were compelled by this barbarous act to have our wounded moved further into the interior.
The Minnesota is reported to have been on fire three times from hot shot thrown from the batteries.
Col. Spalding’s regiment lost all its baggage, blankets, &c., but saved all their arms.
In the hurry of preparing our noon edition it is impossible to obtain reliable accounts of much that we hear by rumor. We understand that the loss on our side is about twelve killed and forty wounded. Among the latter is Capt. J. A. Yates of Charleston, who was seriously injured by the bursting of a shell. Dr. [Edwin Somers] Buist, of Greenville, South Carolina, was instantly killed by a shell striking him in the head.
We have no positive information from Bay Point battery, farther than it was silcenced at 11 o’clock. We hear that it suffered serious loss. It is reported that garrison retired in safety toward Beaufort.
Of Col. DeSaussure’s regiment, stationed at Fort Walker, four were killed at the battery and twenty wounded.
We understand that the Confederates lost no prisoners, except, perhaps, one or two from Col. DeSaussure’s regiment.
The killed were covered with blankets and left. The wounded were all placed on board of steamers, and will arrive in Savannah today.
The abandon batteries were taken possession by the enemy and the United States flag waived over them as our troops retired.
Thus ends the first act in the grand drama of invasion and subjegation on our Southern coast.
We have no time for comments, and can only say, important as it is, let it not dishearten or discourage, but rather let it stimulate our entire people, every man, woman and child, to determined and unconquerable resistance.

 

Return to Berrien Minute Men on Sapelo Island: Part 5

 

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The Berrien Minute Men and the 1861 Expedition Hurricane

The Expedition Hurricane 1861

Two companies of men sent forth in the Civil War from Berrien County, Georgia were known as the Berrien Minute Men. For the most part, both companies of Berrien Minute Men traveled with the 29th Georgia Regiment and kept the same campfires, although occasionally they had different stations. They made their campfires most of 1861 at coastal defenses of Georgia, at Brunswick, GA, on Sapelo Island and then around Savannah, GA.

The Berrien Minute Men arrived on Sapelo Island around October 1, 1861 just a month before the final storm of the 1861 hurricane season.  Undoubtedly they experienced a gale on the night of October 31, 1861 as the hurricane, later known as the Expedition Hurricane, passed about 120 miles east of the Island. This hurricane had formed in the Gulf of Mexico and traversed south Florida before moving up the eastern seaboard. By the morning of November 1, 1861, the hurricane passed about 255 miles east of Savannah; the outer bands of the storm were already reaching Savannah with “driving clouds and heavy falling rain.”  The USS Savannah and USS Monticello, blockading the port of Savannah, GA were forced to move away from the Savannah Bar and proceed to seas as a measure necessary to their preservation.

USS Savannah. On Nov 1, 1861 the Savannah was stationed off Tybee Island, blockading the port of Savannah.

USS Savannah. On Nov 1, 1861 the Savannah was stationed off Tybee Island, blockading the port of Savannah.

On the Monticello, the storm damage disabled the engine forcing the ship to make for a safe harbor. That night the storm provided cover for the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escape from Savannah.

On November 2, 1861, following the 1861 Expedition Hurricane, the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escaped from the Savannah River bound for England. On the return trip it was captured by the US Navy & renamed the USS General Meade.

On November 2, 1861, following the 1861 Expedition Hurricane, the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escaped from the Savannah River bound for England. On the return trip it was captured by the US Navy & renamed the USS General Meade.

In the direct path of the hurricane was the largest fleet of ships that had ever been assembled by the United States Navy. It had been widely reported in newspapers that the  great fleet had assembled at New York, and that General Sherman’s forces had embarked at Annapolis, MD. Among the “Expedition Corps” was the Forty-Sixth New York Volunteer Regiment, Colonel Rudolph Rosa commanding, aboard the steamship USS Daniel Webster.  Later in the war the 46th NY Regiment would occupy Tybee Island, GA opposite the Berrien Minute Men garrisoning Causton’s Bluff near Savannah, GA

USS Daniel Webster, 1861, transported the 46th NY Regiment through the Expedition Hurricane to the Battle of Port Royal.

USS Daniel Webster, 1861, transported the 46th NY Regiment through the Expedition Hurricane to the Battle of Port Royal.

This was the largest naval expedition that had ever sailed under the U.S. flag. Its destination was “supposedly a military secret.” Reporters aboard the USS Atlantic in the Expedition fleet provided various cover stories:  a demonstration would be made upon Sewell’s Point or the fleet would practice an amphibious assault on Fort Monroe.  In Savannah, and probably on Sapelo Island, it was expected the expedition would make an assault on the Confederate shores.  After sailing on sealed orders it was speculated that the squadron would attack New Orleans, Charleston, Pensacola, Wilmington, Beaufort, Galveston or James River.

The expedition did practice an amphibious landing on the Virginia Peninsula at Fort Monroe, where it also expected to embark a contingent of Africa-Americans – escaped slaves – to be employed as support for the mission.

It was believed by the War Department that there were at least 1,000 slaves, or ‘”contrabands,”’ at Fortress Monroe, able to perform a certain sort of labor necessary to the accomplishment of the purpose of the expedition — such work as throwing up entrenchments and adding to the comfort of the officers. Six hundred of these negroes were to have accompanied us, but there is scarcely that number at the fortress, and Gen. Wool has plenty of employment for all of them there. We therefore do not take any. – New York Times Correspondent aboard USS Atlantic

After the exercises at Fort Monroe, the fleet continued on to its unstated destination.

The Great Lincoln Naval Expedition.
FULL PARTICULARS OF ITS STRENGTH.
Rumored theft of its Maps, Charts, and Sealed Orders.

Richmond, Nov. 2.—A special order for the Lincoln fleet, dated on board the steamer Atlantic, Oct. 28, says the expedition will be under command of Commodore Dupont, that it is intended to make a descent on the enemy’s coast, and probably under circumstances demanding the utmost vigilance, coolness and intrepidity on the part of every man in the expedition.
The surf boats and other means of debarkation are believed to be capable of landing at once from three to four thousand men. Some of them carry a hundred men.
The expedition consists of three brigades commanded by Generals Wright, Stephens, and Viele, each with artillery. Full orders are given as to the mode of landing. They have to conquer the ground and succeed. They are directed not to go beyond supporting distance from shore.

Fortress Monroe, Oct. 28.—The fleet will sail to-morrow. One hundred thousand rations have been distributed among the fleet, and sealed orders have been given to the Captains of the several transports. The men and horses are on board. Several of the transports have suffered greatly from the gale during the last few days.
The New York Herald of the 29th says the objects to be accomplished by the expedition are as follows :
First, to carry the war into the Cotton states, which are chiefly responsible for the rebellion, and produce a disorganisation of the disposition of the Immense Confederate army in Virginia.
Second, to secure winter quarters for the Federal troops, and harbors for the refuge the Federal naval and commercial marine.
Third, To open our Southern ports to commerce, and thus satisfy all the demands and obviate all difficulties about the supply of cotton and the efficiency of the blockade.
Fourth, to form a nucleus in the Confederate States near which the long suppressed loyalty and good sense of the people may find a safe expression and encouragement, and to stimulate this reactionary feeling, of which we have seen such remarkable and encouraging manifestations in North Carolina. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, in a letter to the expedition, gives them authority to employ negroes in the Federal service, but assures all loyal masters that Congress will provide a just compensation for all losses thus incurred by them.
The New York Tribune says one of its correspondents on board the Federal expedition writes from Hampton Roads that the Private Secretary to Commodore Dupont had absconded, carrying off with him the maps, charts, and even the sealed orders of the Expedition.

The Naval Expedition.—Our telegraphic column contains important information. There is no doubt that the whole composition, plan, and private instructions of the expedition are now in Richmond, else how should the information given and the Tribune’s report of the absconding Secretary tally so squarely? Say no more of Yankee shrewdness! 

 

 

A Naval Expedition Sails for Port Royal, S. C.

October 29, 1861, the great naval expedition, which had been fitting out for several weeks, sailed for the southern coast. It consisted of seventy-five vessels of various sizes and descriptions, and 15,000 troops; the former under command of Commodore Dupont; the latter under command of General William Tecumpseh “Cump” Sherman.

The Great Expedition, in Lat. 34 degrees, 37 minutes N., Long. 75 degrees, 50 minutes W., on the way to Port Royal Inlet. – Sketched at noon on 31st October, 1861, from the deck of the Steamer “Matanzas.” At the time, the fleet was 600 miles north of a tropical storm passing over Florida. Image Source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/33007.

The Savannah papers noted with glee that the storm would likely strike the US Fleet which had departed NY on October 30 on its mission to attack Confederate force.

“The season is not very propitious for their enterprise…they will be scattered to the four winds, and many of them sunk or stranded…We imagined the “nice time” the Yankees were having in their heavy laden and crowded ships and thought of their chances between treacherous waves and the inhospitable shores to which they were coming and if we indulged a wish that they might all be blown to Davy Jones’ locker, it was only that they might be spared the fate that awaits them whenever they land upon our southern shore.”

That evening, the U.S. Navy expedition encountered the  tropical hurricane—which wreaked havoc on the organization of the fleet.

A Union soldier at sea on board the steamer  USS Atlantic in the Expedition fleet wrote in his journal on November 1, 1861

Wind continued to rise till at 11PM it blew almost a gale. Went on deck at 11 1/2 PM. The scene was fearful, but magnificent. The ship was tossing and pitching in a manner not at all pleasant. The waves were rolling at least 20 feet high and as far as the eye could reach seemed to be capped with silver, while in the track of our wheels millions of stars were dancing and flashing…

Nov 2nd
Last night was the worst I ever saw. I could not sleep, for I had as much as I could do to hold myself in my bunk. Reynolds got thrown out of his and he had a top one too…8AM Our quarters presented a sorry sight. Window in stern got stove in the night. before it could be stopped the water was 3 or 4 inches deep. Shoes, guns, knapsacks, shirts, etc floating round in fine style. Went on deck…10A.M. Wind going down some. Struck green water at 4P.M.

John Call Dalton, M.D., rode out the 1861 Expedition Hurricane aboard the troopship USS Oriental.

On board the USS Oriental, John Call Dalton, Medical officer, rode out the storm with the 7th New York Militia. He vividly recalled the storm in his memoir:

On Friday, November 1st it began to get rough. The sky was overcast, the ship rolled and pitched, and the wind howled in a way that gave warning of worse to come. As the day wore on, there was no improvement, and before nightfall it was a blowing gale…All that evening the wind increased in violence. Every hour it blew harder, and the waves came faster and bigger than before. The see was no longer a highway; it was a tossing chaos of hills and valleys, sweeping toward us from the southeast with the force of the tornado, and reeling and plunging about us on every side. The ship was acting well and showed no signs of distress thus far; but by midnight it seemed as though she had about as much as she could do. The officers and crew did their work in steady, seamanlike fashion, and among the soldiers there was no panic or bustle. Once in a while I would get up out of my berth, to look at the ship from the head of the companion way, or to go forward between decks and listen to the pounding of the sea against her bows. At one o’clock, for the first time, things were no longer growing worse; and in another hour or two it was certain that the gale had reached its height. Then I turned in for sleep, wedged myself into the berth with blankets, and made no more inspection tours that night.

The SS Governor was overwhelmed by the storm and foundering with a battalion of 385 marines on board, Major John George Reynolds commanding, and 15 crew.  In the gale, the  gunboats USS Young Rover and USS Isaac Smith, both damaged by the storm, were unable to take the Governor effectively in tow. Finally the frigate USS Sabine arrived and a daring rescue ensued at the height of the raging hurricane.  Before the SS Governor sank, the entire complement of the ship were saved with the exception of one corporal and six privates who, attempting to jump from the deck of the Governor to the Sabine were drowned or crushed  between the decks of the two vessels. The reports of the captains of the USS Sabine, USS Isaac Smith, USS Young Rover, and the acting master of the SS Governor were published in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies.

Expedition Hurricane. Rescue of Major Reynolds's Battalion of Marines From The Foundering Steamer "Governor."

1861 Expedition Hurricane. Rescue of Major Reynolds’s Battalion of Marines From The Foundering Steamer “Governor.”

The awesome force with which this hurricane struck the fleet is evident in Major John G. Reynolds’ report to Commodore Samuel F. Du Pont.

Flag-Officer Saml. F. Du Pont,
Commanding U. S. Naval Expedition, Southern Coast.

The marine battalion under my command left Hampton Roads on transport steamboat Governor on the morning of Tuesday, the 29th of October, with the other vessels of the fleet, and continued with them near the flagship Wabash until Friday, the 1st of November. On Friday morning about 10 o’clock the wind began to freshen, and by 12 or l blew so violently we were obliged to keep her head directly to the wind, and thereby leave the squadron, which apparently stood its course.
Throughout the afternoon the gale continued to increase, though the Governor stood it well until about 4 o’clock. About this time we were struck by two or three very heavy seas, which broke the port hog brace in two places, the brace tending inward. This was immediately followed by the breaking of the hog brace on the starboard side. By great exertions on the part of the officers and men of the battalion these braces were so well stayed and supported that no immediate danger was apprehended from them.
Up to this time the engine worked well. Soon after the brace chains [guys] which supported the smokestack parted, and it went overboard. Some 3 feet of it above the hurricane deck remained, which enabled us to keep up the fires. Soon after the loss of the smokestack the steam pipe burst. After this occurrence we were unable to make more than 14 pounds of steam, which was reduced as soon as the engine commenced working to from 3 to 5 pounds. The consequence was we had to stop the engine frequently in order to increase the head of steam. At this period the steamer was making water freely, but was easily kept clear by the pumps of the engine whenever it could be worked. About 5 o’clock we discovered a steamer with a ship in tow, which we supposed to be the Ocean Queen. To attract attention we sent up rockets, which signals she answered. When our rockets, six in all, were gone, we kept up a fire of musketry for a long time, but, the sea running high and the wind being violent, she could render us no assistance. She continued on her course, in sight the greater part of the night. About 3 o’clock Saturday morning the packing round the cylinder head blew out, rendering the engine totally useless for some time. The engine was finally put in running order, although it went very slowly. The rudder chain was carried away during the night, the water gaining constantly on us and the boat laboring violently. At every lurch we apprehended the hog braces would be carried away, the effect of which would have been to tear out the entire starboard side of the boat, collapse the boiler, and carry away the wheelhouse. Early in the morning the rudderhead broke, the engine was of very little use, the water still gaining on us rapidly, and we entirely at the mercy of the wind. It was only by the untiring exertions of our men that we were kept afloat. Nearly one hundred of them were kept constantly pumping and bailing, and the rest were holding fast the ropes which supported the hog braces.
Toward morning the weather, which during the night had been dark and rainy, seemed to brighten and the wind to lull. At daybreak two vessels were seen on our starboard bow, one of which proved to be the U.S.S. Isaac Smith, commanded by Lieutenant J. W. A. Nicholson, of the Navy. She descried our signal of distress, which was ensign halfmast, union down, and stood for us. About 10 o’clock we were hailed by the Smith and given to understand that if possible we should all be taken on board. A boat was lowered from her and we were enabled to take a hawser. This, through the carelessness of Captain [C. L.] Litchfield, of the Governor, was soon cast off or unavoidably let go. The water was still gaining on us. The engine could be worked but little, and it appeared that our only hope of safety was gone.
The Smith now stood off, but soon returned, and by 1 o’clock we had another hawser from her and were again in tow. A sail (the propeller bark Young Rover) which had been discovered on our starboard bow during the morning was soon within hailing distance.
The captain proffered all the assistance he could give, though at the time he could do nothing, owing to the severity of the weather. The hawser from the Smith again parted, and we were once more adrift.
The Young Rover now stood for us again, and the captain said he would stand by us till the last, for which encouragement he received a heartfelt cheer from the men. He also informed us [that] a large frigate was ahead standing for us. He then stood for the frigate, made signals of distress and returned. The frigate soon came into view and hope once more cheered the hearts of all on board the transport. Between 2 and 3 o’clock the U.8. frigate Sabine (Captain Ringgold) was within hail, and the assurance given that all hands would be taken on board. After a little delay the Sabine came to anchor. We followed her example, and a hawser was passed to us. It was now late in the day and there were no signs of an abatement of the gale. It was evident that whatever was to be done for our safety must be done without delay. About 8 or 9 o’clock the Sabme had paid out enough chain to bring, her stern close to our bow. Spars were rigged out over the stern of the frigate and every arrangement made for whipping our men on board, and some thirty men were rescued by this means. Three or four hawsers and an iron stream cable were parted by the plunging of the vessels. The Governor at this time had 3 feet water, which was rapidly increasing. It was evidently intended by the commanding officer of the Sabine to get the Governor alongside and let our men jump from the boat to the frigate. In our condition this appeared extremely hazardous. It seemed impossible for us to strike the frigate without instantly going to pieces. We were, however, brought alongside and some forty men succeeded in getting on board the frigate. One was crushed to death between the frigate and the steamer in attempting to gain a foothold on the frigate.
Shortly after being brought alongside the frigate the starboard quarter of the Sabine struck the port bow of the Governor, and carried away about 20 feet of the hurricane deck from the stem to the wheelhouse. The sea was running so high, and we being tossed so violently, it was deemed prudent to slack up the hawser and let the Governor fall astern of the frigate with the faint hope of weathering the gale till morning.
All our provisions and other stores, indeed every movable article, were thrown overboard, and the water casks started to lighten the vessel. From half past 3 until daybreak the Governor floated in comparative safety, notwithstanding the water was rapidly gaining on her. At daybreak preparations were made for sending boats to our relief, although the sea was running high, and it being exceedingly dangerous for a boat to approach the guards of the steamer. In cpnsequence the boats laid off and the men were obliged to jump into the sea, and were then hauled into the boats. All hands were thus providentially rescued from the wreck with the exception, I am pained to say, of 1 corporal and 6 privates, who were drowned or killed by the crush or contact of the vessels. Those drowned were lost through their disobedience of orders in leaving the ranks, or abandoning their posts. After the troops were safely reembarked every exertion was directed to securing the arms, accouterments, ammunition, and other property which might have been saved after lightening the wreck. I am gratified in being able to say nearly all the arms were saved and about half the accouterments. The knapsacks, haversacks, and canteens were nearly all lost. About 10,000 round of cartridges were fortunately saved, and 9,000 lost. Since being on board of this ship every attention has been bestowed by Captain Ringgold and his officers toward recruiting the strength of our men and restoring them to such a condition as will enable us to take the field at the earliest possible moment. Too much praise can not be bestowed upon the officers and men under any command. All did nobly. The firmness with which they performed their duty is beyond all praise. For forty eight hours they stood at ropes and passed water to keep the ship afloat. Refreshments in both eating and drinking were passed to them at their posts by noncommissioned officers. It is impossible for troops to have conducted themselves better under such trying circumstances. The transport continued to float some three hours after she was abandoned, carrying with her when she sunk, I am grieved to say, company books and staff returns. In order to complete the personnel of the battalion, I have requested Captain Ringgold to meet a requisition for several privates, to which he has readily assented. I considered this requisition in order, as I have been informed by Captain Ringgold it is his intention, as orders were given for his ship to repair to a Northern port; in which event he can easily be supplied, and my command by the accommodation rendered complete, in order to meet any demand you make for our services.
Under God, we owe our preservation to Captain Ringgold and the officers of the Sabine, to whom we tender our heartfelt thanks for their untiring labors while we were in danger and their unceasing kindness since we have been on board the frigate.
This report is respectfully submitted.
I am, commodore, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Jno. Geo. Reynolds,
Commanding Battalion Marines, Southern Division.

P. S.—List of noncommissioned officers and privates drowned and
injured by attempting to leave the U. S. transport steamer Governor
without orders:
Corporal Thomas McKeown, Privates Manus Brown, Timothy Lacy, Lawrence Gorman, Thomas Walker, Robert Campbell, drowned; Private Edward H. Miller, cut in two by collision with Sabine; Private Gustave Smith, arm broken by collision with Sabine.
Jno. Geo. Reynolds,
Major, Commanding Battalion.

On Hatteras the storm surge was so high the entire island was inundated.  Fort Hatteras was the only thing that remained above water. Federal troops evacuated the island and withdrew to Fort Monroe. USS Union went ashore about 13 miles south of Fort Macon.  USS Osceola went on the rocks near Georgetown during the storm. The USS Peerless went down after a collision with the Star of the South.  The confederate press reported that USS Winfield Scott had gone down with two Federal regiments, but that was wishful thinking; the Winfield Scott was badly damaged but remained afloat.

After ripping through the fleet, the hurricane made landfall on November 2, 1861 at 10:00 am at Morehead City, NC with sustained winds estimated at 70 mph, and proceeded up the coast.

When the fleet arrived at Port Royal “many showed the marks of their rough treatment at sea. The big sidewheel steam, Winfield Scott, came in dismasted, and with a great patch of canvas over her bows, looking like a man with a broken head. Other had lost smoke-stacks, or stove bulwarks or wheel-houses.”John Call Dalton

 

USS Winfield Scott, dismasted in the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, made port at Port Royal, SC.

USS Winfield Scott, dismasted in the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, made port at Port Royal, SC.

Some of the other ships were forced to return home for repairs, but the majority rode out the storm successfully.

The expedition proceeded onward to Port Royal Sound for the Battle of Port Royal.  Among the ships joining the rendezvous at Port Royal Sound was the USS St Lawrence. The St. Lawrence had come from blockade duty off St. Simons Island, GA.

USS St Lawrence, US Southern Blockade Squadron, was stationed off St. Simons Island, GA

USS St Lawrence, US Southern Blockade Squadron, was stationed off St. Simons Island, GA

 

The expedition arrived at Port Royal, South Carolina, November 4th, when it was greeted by Commodore Tattnall and his mosquito fleet; which soon withdrew in disgust. On the following day, Commodore Tattnall renewed his “attack,” but a few shots from our big guns effectually disposed of him. The 6th, the weather being stormy, nothing was done.

Surrender of Forts Walker and Beauregard.

On the morning of November 7th, Commodore Dupont engaged the Confederate forts, Beauregard, of 32 guns, and Walker, of 15 guns; the Wabash leading the way, and the other war ships and gunboats following. The batteries from the shore replied with spirit. The action commenced at twenty minutes past nine, A. M., and lasted until half-past two, P. M., when the batteries were silenced, the forts evacuated, and the Stars and Stripes planted on South Carolina soil. Soon after, the Seventh Connecticut regiment landed and took possession of Fort Walker; and on the following morning our flag waved over Fort Beauregard. Beaufort was also temporarily occupied, the whole white population, with the exception of one man, having fled. The Confederate troops, estimated at full 5,000, retreated before the Federal troops could land, leaving arms, baggage, and personal valuables behind. The Federal loss was 8 killed and 23 wounded  –Edgar Albert Werner

The cannonade was so intense the sounds of the Battle of Port Royal could be heard by the 29th Georgia Regiment 60 miles away on Sapelo Island.

The hurricane of November 1-2, 1861 which preceded the battle is known as the Expedition Hurricane because of its influence on the fleet.

Related Posts

Ships of the Great Naval Expedition

New York Times
October 26, 1861

THE GUNBOAT FLEET.

We are now enabled to give the names of all the vessels engaged in this great expedition. The gunboats are all well armed and manned. Vessels like the Unadilla, Seneca, Pembina and Ottawa, each carry one 11-inch Dahlgren, one Parrott rifled gun, and two 24-pound howitzers. The names of the gunboats are:

Vessel, Commander.

      1. USS Seminole ………………..J.P. Gillies.
      2. USS Mohican …………………Godon.
      3. USS Florida …………………..Gildsborough.
      4. USS Pocahontas ……………….Drayton.
      5. USS James Adger ……………..Marchand.
      6. USS Augusta ………………….Parrott.
      7. USS Alabama………………….Lanier.
      8. USS Unadilla ………………….N. Collins.
      9. USS Ottawa …………………..Thos. H. Stevens.
      10. USS Seneca ………………….Daniel Aminen.
      11. USS Pawnee ………………….R.H. Wyman.
      12. USS Pembina ………………….Bankhead.
      13. USS Isaac Smith ……………….Nicholson.
      14. USS R.B. Forbes ………………Newcomb.
      15. USS Curlew ……………………Watmough.
      16. USS Penguin ………………….Budd.

      In addition to these vessels, all of which are steamers, there are now on the station, and to join the squadron,
      Vessel, tonnage, Commander, station
      <

      1. USS Sabine ……………………………(50,) Capt. RINGGOLD, at present blockading Charleston;
      2. USS Susquehannah……………. (15,) Capt. LARDNER;
      3. USS Flag………………………….. Commander RODGERS; off Savannah
      4. USS Savannah……………. (24,) Commander MISSRGOM, off Savannah
      5. USS St. Lawrence……………. (50.) Capt. PURVIANCE, off St. Simon’s Island, GA
      6. USS Dale…………….(16,) Commander YARD, off Fernandina, FL
      7. Vandalia……………. (20,) Commander HAGGERTY, recently off Bale’s Bay, S.C., but just returned to Hampton Roads;
      8. Governor……………. (transport,) Capt. C.L. LITCHFIELD, with Major REYNOLDS’ Battalion of Marines.
        The entire armament of the fleet is about 400 guns.

THE TRANSPORT FLEET
STEAMSHIPS.

Vessel. Tonnage. Commander.

 

  1. Baltic………………2,723……………Comstock.
  2. Ocean Queen……….2,802……………Seabury.
  3. Vanderbilt…………..3,360……………La Favre.
  4. Illinois…………….2,123……………Rathburn.
  5. Star of the South…… 960……………Kearnly.
  6. Marion…………….. 860……………Phillips.
  7. Parkersburgh………. 715……………Hoffman.
  8. Matanzas………….. 875……………Leesburg.
  9. Cahawba…………..1,643……………Baker.
  10. Empire City………..1,751……………Baxter.
  11. Ariel……………….1,295……………Terry.
  12. Daniel Webster……..1,035……………Johnston.
  13. Coatzacoalcos………1,953……………Botcock.
  14. Roanoke……………1,071……………Conch.
  15. Ericsson……………1,902……………Cowles.
  16. Oriental……………. — ……………Tuzo.
  17. Potomac…………… 448……………Hilliard.
  18. Locust Point……….. 462……………French.
  19. Philadelphia………..1,236……………Barton.
  20. Spalding…………… — …………… —
  21. Winfield Scott……… — …………… —
  22. Atlantic…………….2,815…………… —
  23. Belvidere………….. — ……………Phillips.
  24. Ben. Deford…………1,080…………… —
  25. Mayflower, (ferryboat.)
  26. Philadelphia, (ferryboat.)
  27. Baltimore, (ferryboat.)
  28. Eagle, (ferryboat.)
  29. Star, (ferryboat.)
  30. Pocahontas, (ferryboat.)
  31. Commodore Perry, (ferryboat.)

SAILING VESSELS.

Vessel. Tonnage.

  1. Great Republic….. 3,356
  2. Zenas Coffin…….. 338
  3. Ocean Express…..1,697
  4. Golden Eagle…… 1,128All these transport vessels are armed. They carry ordnance and Quartermaster’s stores, two houses in frame work, bricks in large quantity, about 1,500 shovels, the same number of picks, sand bags, horses, boats for landing men and guns through the surf, and every other article likely to be required for a campaign.

Ned Holmes and Civil War Epidemics

Edward “Ned” HOLMES, was a soldier of the 25th Georgia Regiment, which shared garrison duties with the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment several camps around Savannah, GA in the spring and summer of 1862. In June, the colonel of the 25th Regiment, Claudius C. Wilson, would assume command of Causton’s Bluff, where the Berrien Minute Men were stationed.

Ned Holmes was born about 1834 in DeKalb County, Georgia, the younger of two sons of James and Martha Thurman Holmes.

Ned’s father, James Holmes, according to family tradition left the family in Atlanta to go west to look for land to homestead. He was never heard from again…  Ned’s brother Mike Holmes, as oldest son, was sole support of his family and supposedly worked as an overseer to support them. Once again family legend says Mike rode a winning horse in a race in Atlanta the purse for which was enough for him to move his mother, five sisters and Ned  to Alabama. About 1845, the family moved to Henry County, AL, settling near Wesley, about 7 miles northeast of Abbeville. – Gordon W. Holmes, Jr

In Henry County, Mike Holmes first worked as a farmer then in 1858 was elected Sheriff of Henry County as a Democrat.  By 1860, Ned Holmes was employed as an overseer and moved out of his brother’s household to a place of his own in Franklin, AL.

When the Civil War broke out Mike Holmes enlisted at Abbeville, AL on May 11, 1861, in Company A (became Company B), 6th Regiment, Alabama Infantry, CSA. 

Edward “Ned” Holmes was enlisted on April 12, 1862, in Henry County, Alabama, by Capt. George W. Holmes (no relation) for 3 years, in Company E, 25th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, CSA. Ned remained at home on furlough through the end of April, 1862. In May, he  joined his unit at Camp Smith near Savannah, Georgia. After joining the 25th Regiment, Ned Holmes would suffer a battery of contagious diseases.

Colonel Claudius C. Wilson gathered a petition from the 29th Georgia Regiment requesting that Elbert J. Chapman's life be spared.

Colonel Claudius C. Wilson gathered a petition from the 29th Georgia Regiment requesting that Elbert J. Chapman’s life be spared.

The Twenty-fifth regiment Georgia volunteers had been organized during the summer of 1861.  Claudius C. Wilson, a member of the Georgia Bar and former solicitor-general for the eastern circuit of Georgia, was elected colonel and commissioned the unit’s first commanding officer. The unit was mustered into Confederate service at Savannah, Georgia, early September 1861.  The Twenty-fifth, after being equipped and drilled, was assigned to the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and throughout the latter part of 1861 and during 1862 served on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. By September, 1862 the 25th Georgia Regiment would  serve alongside the 29th Regiment at Causton’s Bluff, east of Savannah, GA.   The initial officers of the regiment were: William Percy Morford Ashley, lieutenant-colonel; William John Winn, major; Rufus Ezekiel Lester, adjutant, and William DeLegal Bacon, quartermaster. The captains were Alexander W. Smith, Company A; Martin L. Bryan, Company B; Jefferson Roberts, Company C; Andrew J. Williams, Company D;  William Sanford Norman, Company E; George T. Dunham, Company F;  William D. Hamilton, Company G;  W. Henry Wylly, Company H; Alexander Hamilton “Hamp” Smith , Company I, [post-war resident of Valdosta, GA];  Mark Jackson McMullen, Company K, Robert James McClary, Company L.

By the time Ned Holmes joined the Regiment in May 1862, the 25th Georgia had already served eight months at posts around Savannah: at Camp Wilson with the 27th, 31st and 29th Georgia Regiments;  at Camp Young; Thunderbolt Battery;  Camp Mercer on Tybee Island; and Camp Smith.

Most of the 25th Regiment had already suffered through a host of communicable diseases. “The fact that a majority of the soldiers were from rural communities made them very susceptible to such “city sicknesses” as measles, chicken pox, and small pox. The death rate from these diseases were very high. In the Federal armies, sickness and disease accounted for 7 of every 10 deaths. One authority has estimated that among the Confederates three men perished from disease for every man killed in battle. Small wonder that a Civil War soldier once wrote his family from camp: “It scares a man to death to get sick down here.” – The Civil War

Isaac Gordon Bradwell, a soldier of the 31st Georgia Regiment at Camp Wilson wrote,”“We had not been in these camps many days before we were invaded by measles the dread enemy of all new soldiers, and many of our men died or were rendered unfit for further service. Other diseases thinned our ranks, and for a while few recruits came to take their places.”  When new recruits like Ned Holmes did come, measles might be contracted within days of the men’s arrival.   Measles had hit The 29th Georgia Regiment and the Berrien Minute Men hard at Camp Security, GA in December 1861. Augustus H. Harrell,, of the Thomasville Guards, took the measles home from Camp Security.   William Washington Knight wrote from Camp Security, “Nearly all of our company have the measles. Capt [John C.] Lamb has it,” along with 60 others of the Regiment.  William A. Jones went home to Berrien County, GA with the measles and died there in January, 1862; a son born after his death suffered from apparent Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

Ned Holmes wrote home from Camp Smith on June 7, 1862, telling his family that he had a very bad cold and cough, and that there was a lot of sickness in the the 25th regiment.  By June 11, 1862 he wrote he was sick with measles.

“Measles [Rubeola] infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two to three weeks. For the first 10 to 14 days after infection, the measles virus incubates. There are  no signs or symptoms of measles during this time. Measles symptoms typically begin with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. This relatively mild illness may last two or three days. Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background form inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik’s spots. A skin rash develops made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another. Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet. At the same time, the fever rises sharply, often as high as 104 to 105.8 F (40 to 41 C). The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from the face and last from the thighs and feet. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.”- Mayo Clinic

 

In June, 1862  the 25th Regiment’s Colonel, Claudius C. Wilson, was assigned special duty as commander of the post at Causton’s Bluff.  The bluff, about three miles east of Savannah, overlooked St. Augustine Creek and Whitemarsh Island (pronounced Whitmarsh Island). “This twenty to thirty foot bluff strategically commanded the rear approach to Fort Jackson, on the Savannah River, and the approach to the part of the eastern lines of the city.”  Causton’s Bluff had been garrisoned since December 1861 by   the 13th Georgia Infantry, also known as the Bartow Light Infantry, under the command of Colonel Marcellus Douglass .  After the U.S. Army captured Fort Pulaski on April 11, 1862, the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment were brought up to strengthen the garrison.  Soon the 25th regiment moved up from Camp Smith to join the garrison at Causton’s Bluff.  At Causton’s Bluff, the men would suffer with fever, malaria, measles, tonsillitis, mumps,  wounds, typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis, and rheumatism as well as mosquitoes, fleas, and sandflies.

In a letter to his brother, Ned Holmes wrote that he had his gear “hauled from the old camp,” and that he was sick with the mumps.

Early in the morning, 20th of June 1862

Mike,
As I did not get off my letter yesterday I write you a few lines this morning. I feel very well this morning. I am swole up powerful with mumps this morning but they give me but little pain. I am taking good care of myself. Perhaps you think I cant do that in camp but my tent is as dry as any — house. Last night we had 2 pretty hard storms & heavy raining and I never felt a drop of water or a breeze of wind. I managed to get my bed stead hauled from the old camp yesterday. It is as good a bed as I would want at home. I think I will improve all the time now. I want you to write me. I have not heard from you since you were on your way to Richmond. I don’t know how I will like the move we made. I have not been out any since I came to this place. All I know is it’s very level where we are camped.
Tell Sim’s folks he is well. Dick [Knight] is in good health. Be sure to write soon. Dick got letters from home saying that Reuben Fleming has been carried home. I want to hear about it.

Ned

According to the CDC, “Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12–25 days after infection.It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold), or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the disease. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. In men, complications can include: inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; this may lead to a decrease in testicular size (testicular atrophy); inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis); inflammation of the brain (encephalitis); inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis); deafness. Inflammation of the testicles caused by mumps has not been shown to lead to infertility.” – CDC
Mumps generally last about ten days.

About the time Ned Holmes recovered from the mumps, he wrote that he was sick with diarrhea.

June 30, 1862

Dear Mike
I recvd your letter dated 26. I was glad to hear you was all well. I am not as well as I was when I saw you. 2 days ago my bowels was a little out of order tho not bad but just enough to keep week and not able to do anything. I am up all the time but dont have the strength to do anything. You need not be uneasy about me, if I git bad sick I will let you know. I think I will be able for duty in one or 2 days. Tell Mary she need not be uneasy about me that I can come home if I git sick much and I am going to do it. A sick man — tese very depressing and can get a furlough here. I dont want one now, no use of going home. I would not go now if I had a furlough. I will write you all the particleurs that I can gather in a few days. I am writing every other day. I will until I get plum well. Morris and Simm Schick and Zuch is all well. I have no more to write at present.

Write me often.

E. [Ned] Holmes

In July, Ned Holmes wrote that he had suffered a relapse of the measles. In  Civil War times little distinction was made between measles (Rubeola) and Rubella, sometimes called “German measles.”  Both diseases were contagious and both were rampant in the regimental camps. It appears that Ned’s “relapse” may have been Rubella.  Ned’s letters from July 1862 indicate that he had returned to Camp Smith to recuperate.  Soldiers who got sick preferred care in a camp hospital or sick ward over being sent to a hospital in Savannah.

The hospitals in Savannah were feared by the soldiers as death houses. In order to address this fear Lt. Col. Anderson, [commander of the Savannah River Batteries,] set up a separate hospital at Deptford. The less critically ill could be sent there, watched by their comrades and not have all their personal belongings stolen – which would happen when they were sent into Savannah. – Fort Jackson Interpretive Materials

But even while in recovery at Camp Smith,   Ned Holmes found his personal items being pilfered.

Camp Smith, Savannah, Ga., July 1862

(To Mat and the Family)
I thought I was surely well of the measles till yesterdasy, it was a cloudy wet day and the measles made their appearance on me as plain as ever. It’s cleared off this morning & looks like Sept. It’s cool & pleasant, the air stirring brief and is a very pleasant time. I will finish this in the morning and tell you how I am getting along. Dick has got the mumps. He took them yesterday. I hope he will get well soon. Tell Mama somebody has stolen one of my socks and I have an old one and if she sees any chance to send me one, to do it. I shall get out of socks before long anyway.

“Rubella, also called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. Rubella is not the same as measles (rubeola), though the two illnesses do share some characteristics, including the red rash. However, rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles. The signs and symptoms of rubella are often so mild they’re difficult to notice, especially in children. If signs and symptoms do occur, they generally appear between two and three weeks after exposure to the virus. They typically last about one to five days and may include: Mild fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or lower; Headache; Stuffy or runny nose; Inflamed, red eyes; Enlarged, tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull, the back of the neck and behind the ears; A fine, pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs, before disappearing in the same sequence.” – Mayo Clinic.

 

July the 6th [Camp Smith]

My health is improving now again finally. If I can keep mending 2 or 3 days more as I have for 2 days I will be well. I have quit discharging blood, have not discharged any in 30 hours & my bowels feel like they are getting well & they are not moving more than 4 times a day. I think today I will be much better than usual. We have most pleasant weather here now I ever saw at this season. It’s clear and cool and the wind stirring like fall of the year. I had almost concluded there was no Yankees about here till I heard them shooting on the 4th. There is plenty of cannon whether there are any Yankees with it or not. I suppose they fired some 2 hundred big guns at 1 o’clock at 2 or 3 different points. I have nothing else to write. Thomas Doswell has just this minute come into camp. I want to see him right soon. get my watch home.

I remain,

Ned

By August Ned’s health was improved. He returned to his unit at Causton’s Bluff and on August 26, 1862 was elected Junior 2nd Lieutenant.   On August 10, 1862, Ned Holmes wrote a letter home to his family.

Camp Costons Bluff,[Near Savannah] Aug. 10, 1862

Dear Mat and Viney,
I write you a few lines that leaves me about well except my mouth. I never was in such a fix with fever blisters before. I received a letter from you, Santanna just a few minutes ago. Alex Gamble is going to start home tonight. I will send this by him. I think my fever is broken entirely up. I have not had any since Friday morning so I feel as well as I did before I was taken. There is a deal good of sickness around —– but they are also not dying as fast as they were ten or fifteen days ago. There is a heap of heavy shooting going on today in the direction of Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what it means.

They are fixing up a volunteer company right now to go to Wilmington Island, a place we have never scouted.
It’s beyond Whitemarsh and from where we are camped and on the way to Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what information they expect to obtain by going to Wilmington. It’s all under the General of the Fort [Pulaski, captured by U.S. Army forces from Tybee Island on April 11, 1862,] and they never expect to hold it unless the fort is retaken which will never be done for there is nothing here to take it with. Morris is well. Miles is getting well. John Nobles is right sick. Washer Nobles came into our company this morning to stay. I may get off home when Sim gets back. I don’t know. Everbody has been here longer than I have. I will be there by the first of September anyway if I keep well. And I am not afraid of being sick anymore this summer.

Love, Ned

P.S. Tell Mike if there are any of Cook’s pills there to send me some. And I can manage my own cases.

In September 1862 Ned Holmes was on detached duty.  He was later reported as “wholly incompetent & probably physically unfit to hold office.

In 1863, Ned Holmes and the 25th Georgia Regiment would be sent to north Mississippi, forming part of the army assembled for the relief of Vicksburg. The The Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment were also sent to join that effort.

Related Posts

A Passage to Cuba

In the Spanish-American War, a number of Berrien County men were serving with the 3rd Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry when the regiment embarked for Cuba on Friday the 13th of January, 1899.

The Third Georgia Regiment sailed for Cuba aboard the steamer Roumanian, which had been acquired by the US Army Quartermaster's Department in 1898. In March, 1899, the Roumanian was renamed US Army Transport Crook, photographed here clearing Savannah in June, 1899.

The Third Georgia Regiment sailed for Cuba aboard the steamer Roumanian, which had been acquired by the US Army Quartermaster’s Department in 1898. In March, 1899, the Roumanian was renamed US Army Transport Crook, photographed here clearing Savannah in June, 1899.

Among Berrien County, GA men of  Company D, 3rd Georgia Regiment were Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’Quinn, Pythias D. Yapp, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z.T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan and George A. Martin.  Aaron Cook served as a private in Company E, Third Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry. Other Berrien countians serving in the Third Regiment were Luther Lawrence Hallman and William F. Patten, both in Company B.

The Third Regiment had been organized at Camp Northen, Griffin, GA over the summer of 1898 and mustered into the service of the United States on August 24, 1898 with 43 officers and 1,243 enlisted men.  Assigned to Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps on October 7, 1898, the Third Regiment left Camp Northen on November 21 and arrived at Savannah, GA on November 22, 1898. There, the Third Regiment  encamped at Camp Onward, awaiting embarkation.  There were numerous delays in arranging transport passage for the regiment.  The original transport was to be the S.S. Chester, but the ship broke her propeller on the return from delivering the 15th US Infantry to Nuevitas, Cuba and had to be put in dry dock for repairs.

SS Roumanian being loaded with supplies for the trip to Cuba.

SS Roumanian being loaded with supplies for the trip to Cuba.

 

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

The Roumanian had been purchased by the U.S. Government for $240,000 from Austin, Baldwin & Co. on July 12, 1898 and assigned to the U.S. Army Transport Service for duty as a troop transport.   The ship had a capacity of 1100 men, 45 officers, and 50 horses.

In spite of the efforts of the Quartermaster Department, the US Army Transports were less than excellent. The crowding, the heat, insufficient sanitary facilities, and the resulting stench made the transports anything but pleasant.  It was very uncomfortable as the vessels sat in the hot sun with inadequate sewage control and a build up of animal wastes.

A soldier who shipped aboard the Roumanian to Puerto Rico in 1898 was not in the least complimentary of the vessel:

“The sleeping quarters were at the bottom of the “black hole”, reached by a crude ladder that ran down through the port hatches, past two decks of houses, into the darkness. Hammocks were hung at night in double tiers between rows of upright posts, and so close together that elbows touched. The air was hot and stifling and the sight of the mass of legs and arms protruding in all directions, in the dismal half gloom from the lantern, recalled Dore’s pictures of the Inferno. The ship having been used for years as a cattle boat, the reminiscent odor combined with the smell of bilge water and stale provisions can convey no adequate appreciation by mere description. From the cracks in the boards that covered temporarily the rough bottom a dark slime oozed and made the footing insecure. One could hardly stay there without feeling giddy, but that is where the men were expected to sleep and eat. A soldier found on deck after taps had sounded was summarily ordered below, on penalty of arrest . . . Only the guard relief and the sick men were allowed to sleep on deck . . . The ship being shorthanded, soldiers were asked to volunteer for stoker duty. The reward was food: three portions of sailor’s stew a day. The temptation to get something beside weevily hard-tack, spoiled canned beef and rotten tomatoes, drew many a sturdy lad to the fire-room . . . Few of the soldiers could stand the test for more than one shift, although the promise of food was hard to resist . . . The water supply provided for the men was warm and polluted. The steward of the boat made a nice profit selling ice water at ten cents a glass and warm beer at half a dollar a bottle, till stopped by the commanding officer . . . The sanitary arrangements or disarrangements of the ship transcend all description. Let it be said in short that the “Roumanian” was considered the very worst transport that ever went out, and its faults were added to by the incompetence of the captain-quartermaster in charge, who it is a pleasure to say afterward went to jail, and by the indifference, to put it mildly, of a regular army martinet, who confessed no love for volunteers, but might have, if he chose, somewhat ameliorated their condition…”

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

There was certainly a feud aboard the SS Roumanian, between the Steward and the Captain. The Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 21, 1898 reported the dispute:

Savannah, Ga., December 20 [1898] Steward lHugh] McClain, of the transport Roumania, was discharge by Quartermaster Wrigley upon the arrival of that vessel a day or two ago. McClain at one began circulating reports against Captain Wrigley, who is a former citizen of Rome, Ga. and a volunteer in the army service.
McClain’s charge was that Captain Wrigley had been feeding the men on the transport a very small amount, though allowed 75 cents a day, and that he had been pocketing the difference. Captain Wrigley says he has been feeding them on less than 75 cents, and so reported to the quartermaster general.
On account of the circulation of these reports Captain Wrigley will have a warrant sworn out in the United States court charging McClain with larceny of government property, it being alleged that he took certain silverware and that he made away with commissary stores by selling them to soldiers. McClain’s attorney does not object to this course being taken he said tonight and he threatened to swear out a warrant charging Captain Wrigley with embezzlement under the charge referred to above.
McClain had Captain Wrigley arrested this afternoon by a state officer on a warrant charging him with pointing a pistol at him.
Wrigley denied the constable’s right to arrest an army officer, and refused to submit. He went, however, to the justice court and entered a protest. The Justice let him go for the present and now has the matter under consideration.
The Roumania will leave the city in the morning with eight companies of the Sixth Missouri regiment under Colonel Letcher Hardeman and will return the early part of next week, at which time it is now anticipated that these cases will get into the United States court, as both parties declared their intentions today of swearing out warrants.

Steward Hugh McNair alledged that he and Captain Charles Wrighley had a deal to sell liquor to the troops on the ship.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Atlanta Constitution
Sunday, January 16, 1899

The Third Georgia Leaves.

Transport Starts with the Boys for Cuba.

Thick Fog Detains Vessel at Mouth of River and She Anchors Over Night.

Savannah, Ga., January 14 -(Special.)- There will probably be a number of court-martials of the Third Georgia men when they are caught and carried to Nuevitas. Some fifteen or twenty members of Colonel R. L. Berner’s regiment who were on hand the day before failed to respond to their names when the roll was called on board the transport Roumanian this morning, and the vessel left shortly after 7 o’clock a. m. without them. Those who can be found in the city will be taken in charge by the provost guard here and sent to Cuba on the next available transport. A few of the boys were discharged before the regiment left and others were waiting for discharges in vain, so they decided to remain behind anyhow. On account of the early hour and the fact that the Roumanian was at the extreme eastern end of the docks, there was no crowd on hand to tell the Georgia boys goodby.

The embarkation point at Savannah was under the direction of Depot Quartermaster Ballinger, who gave “Time from Tybee Roads to Havanna of a ship making twelve knots, two days and two hours; ten knots, two and a half days.  Thus the Roumanian with the Third Georgia Regiment arrived at Nuevitas about January 19, 1899.  There being no wharf at Nuevitas the regiment had to be brought into port on lighters, the entire process consuming nine or ten days time.

In a letter written January 24, 1899 from Nuevitas, J. A. Morrow related the Third Georgia Regiment’s passage to Cuba. Conditions on the vessel seemed much improved.

Much could be said of the voyage from the shores of home to this Cuban port. Despite the sadness of departure, the Georgians soon became interested in the novelty of a sea trip and their faces brightened and their hearts grew light. But later there were many brave soldiers who fell as martyrs to their patriotic desire for service – as victims to that indescribable malady which surely deserves a harsher characterization than that brimstone laden definition of war by General Sherman. Scores of the men went right up against it. They did contortion acts, they tossed and tumbled but still the nausea pursued them and forced them repeatedly to the rail. It seemed that every rare and precious tribute was offered up, but the demon of seasickness was inexorable and heaped upon them tortures infinitely worse when they were bankrupt. Chaplain Warren and Lieutenant Brock, above all others, now know the effects of a tussle with Neptune. But at last Chaos ceased to rein in the stomach, the dismal brown taste left the month, the muscles responded to the will and life became more worthy of consideration. After this trip was one of complete pleasure.
     The United States transport Roumanian which brought the regiment over, is not noted as one of the finest transports, but its record in the service shows that it has been one of the most efficient. It has handled thirteen organization of troops without an accident. While in the service the ship is under the command of Captain Wrigley, of the quartermaster’s department who certainly proved himself a capable and faithful officer and a courteous and cultured gentleman. His thoughtful kindness, his unfailing consideration and his affable personality won the highest admiration of every man under his care on the voyage. And in return he was most highly pleased with the regiment and asserted that it excelled any of the regiments transported by the Roumanian in the courteous and soldierly bearing of its officers, the willingness and efficiency in giving assistance to the ship’s officers, as well as in the high character, patience and obedience of the men. It is no small tribute to the Georgians and they appreciate it highly. No ship ever had a more worthy and capable set of offices than the Roumanian, and every man of them won the esteem and gratitude of the Georgians.        To show their appreciation a detail of soldiers under the command of that popular and efficient officer, Lieutenant Chester Elliot of Company G, were immediately upon unloading put to the task of cleaning ship and the officers say it could not possibly have been done more completely, Lieutenant Elliot did not go ashore for four days in order to perform this work.

Soldiers on deck of former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in Alaska in 1929

Soldiers on deck of former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in Alaska in 1929

Following her service in the war, in 1899, Roumanian was used by the government to return the bodies of men who had died in Cuba and Puerto Rico during the war and afterwards. She arrived in late March in New York with the remains of  554 soldiers who were killed or died in Cuba, and 120 from Puerto Rico.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea, date unknown.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea, date unknown.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in 1929

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in 1929

Thanksgiving Reverie 1898

Thanksgiving During the Spanish-American War

During the Spanish-American War, the people of Georgia were anxious to show the valor of the southern soldier, and their patriotic commitment to the defense of the Union. Many commanders in the southern corps of the U.S. Army corps were reconstructed Confederate officers.  General officers from the south had honor guards of Confederate veterans.  Very few African-Americans were accepted to serve in the U.S. Army, and where they were allowed they were organized into segregated regiments.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1898, Berrien County men Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’Quinn, Pythias D. Yapp, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z.T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan, George A. Martin, Aaron Cook , Luther Lawrence Hallman and William F. Patten were with the Third Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry, encamped at Savannah, GA. The Third Georgia Regiment was awaiting passage to Cuba, where they would serve in the occupation force following the Spanish-American War.

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1898 was a beautiful Autumn day in the south. That morning, sermons were preached by local pastors in the assembly tents of the regiments. At noon,  in recognition of service to their country and courtesy of the ladies of Savannah, a Thanksgiving Dinner was to be provided to all U.S. regiments encamped at Savannah. At least for all the southern regiments. For the northern regiments, the cost of the meal was paid by the troops.  The Savannah ladies did offer to do the preparation and serving, but some northern regiments declined the courtesy.  Although some offense was taken by the ladies, the Colonel,”with the feeling that the money, once raised the serving would be a comparatively easy and pleasant task… made the preparation and the serving of the dinner a strictly regimental affair.”

Somehow, through an oversight or miscalculation, the ladies of Savannah were unable to obtain an adequate number of turkeys for the celebration and on the day of feast the Third Georgia Regiment had to make do with other fare.  There was provided, however, an abundance of fruit and cakes for the Third Georgia Regiment, for which the men were most thankful to the ladies of Savannah.

Meanwhile, the Savannah camps of the northern regiments feasted. At the encampment of the 161st Indiana Regiment, William Edward Biederwolf reported

“The boys did not have the ladies but they had warm turkey instead and plenty of it. One thousand one hundred pounds of turkey were furnished by Armour & Co., to be accounted for in surplus meat. There were ninety gallons of oysters that day; there were cranberries and celery and mince pies and other delicacies which appeal to the inner man and which go hand in hand with the day thus observed. An enlisted man, who having disposed of nine pounds of turkey, a quart of cranberries, two mince pies and other edibles in proportion kicked because his capacity for consumption went back on him at time so inopportune. Some of the officers dined with “the boys” at the noon meal then had dinner in the officers mess, “during which service the table fairly groaned under its load of good things.”

After the Thanksgiving dinner,

The afternoon was given over to a diversity of amusements upon which the boys were privileged to attend; many cheered the picked baseball nine of our regiment while it secured a victory over a similarly chosen nine from the First North Carolina on the parade ground of our regiment; others attended the shooting match between picked teams of the best shots from the Seventh Army Corps and the Savannah Gun Club at the rifle range of the latter east of the camp; still others witness the football game in which an eleven from the Second Louisianas contested for supremacy with the First Texas Knights of the Gridiron at the City ball park; not a few attended the matinee at the Savannah Theater or saw the Rough Riders in their exhibition at Thunderbolt. 

The Rough Riders

On Tybee Island the  hosted a free oyster roast; in

The day ended most auspiciously in the evening when some of the ladies of Savannah gave an elocutionary and musical entertainment in the assembly tent at which some of the best talent in the city appeared in the various numbers, a favor highly commendable and thoroughly appreciated; and thus the entire day was one joyous occasion that will long be remembered by every man in the regiment.

The aforesaid festivities were followed on November 25th by a sham battle between the two brigades of the Second Division; the First Brigade was assigned to a position behind the huge earthworks thrown up east of Savannah for the protection of the city at the time of Sherman’s famous march to the sea; the works in question remain intact although overgrown to a considerable extent by forest trees and shrubbery and are a grim reminder of the fruits of war in the terrible strife of ’61 to ’65.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner was not always a southern tradition. During the Civil War by both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln issued proclamations calling for “a day of thanksgiving. ”  In the south it was “a day of national humiliation and prayer“; In the north it was a day to be observed “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.”  But in New England, the day of thanksgiving had also been a feast celebration of the bountiful harvest.

The article below, published while the Berrien men were in the field in the Spanish American War, explains how Thanksgiving became accepted in the New South, and a truly national holiday in the United States.

The Jackson Argus
December 2, 1898

Thanksgiving Reverie
WALLACE P. REED

        Thanksgiving Day for nearly 250 years was a sectional holiday. It was observed in New England, and in some of the middle and western states, where New England ideas and customs prevailed.
The old south had no use for the day. Why should the people take a holiday in the latter part of November, when their festive Christmas followed only a month later?
       Prejudice had something to do with this view of the matter. The descendants of the Cavaliers and Huguenots would not tolerate anything that smacked of Puritanism. and it was enough for them to know that Thanksgiving day started with Governor Bradford and the Plymouth colony in 1621.
      So the old-time southerners jogged along in their own way, giving up Christmas week to good cheer, and devoting their days and nights to pleasure. They had their family reunions, social functions, hunting parties and other recreations, and in many things they closely followed the customs of their ancestors in Merrie England.

      Forty or fifty years ago a Thanksgiving proclamation from a southern governor would have been received with jeers, ridicule and severe criticism.
       The people living south of the Potomac were not willing to recognize the great religious and festal day of the Puritans. They did not believe that any custom or institution having its origin in the shadow of Plymouth rock was suited to the civilization which claimed Jamestown as its starting point.
       The two sections seemed to be for ever divided in sentiment in regard to this matter. Down south Christmas was the royal festival of the year, while in the north it passed with slight recognition, the Yankees preferring to enjoy themselves on the holiday instituted by their old Puritan governor.
       With the growing antagonism between the sections, the southern people become more determined than ever to hold fast to their mode of living, their customs, institutions, manners, dress and their principles and prejudices of a political and social nature.
      The tremendous shock of the civil war shattered systems and wrecked many time-honored theories and fondly cherished beliefs. It was no time between battles, when thousands of families were in mourning, for such a mockery as an official day of Thanksgiving in the sorely afflicted south, but as early as 1862 the people became familiar with days of fasting and prayer.
      The loss of Fort Pulaski in the spring of that year was so disheartening that Governor Brown issued a proclamation setting apart a certain day for “fasting, humiliation and prayer.” Here in Atlanta and in other cities and towns throughout the state, the citizens assembled in the churches to hear sermons suited to the occasion. All business was suspended and the day was solemnly observed.
        The southerners of that generation were old-fashioned in their religious beliefs and many who sneered at the New England Thanksgiving accepted very readily the idea of a day of fasting and prayer. Other governors followed Brown’s example and President Davis more than once issued a similar proclamation for the confederate states.
       It is quite likely that this wartime custom prepared our people for the acceptance of Thanksgiving Day, after the restoration of peace.

     After new state governments had been organized in the south the republican governors issued Thanksgiving proclamations, and in short time the new holiday grew in public favor to such an extent that when the democrats returned to power they followed the precedent established by their predecessors of the opposing party.
        The young people liked the change and their elders soon came to the conclusion that one more holiday was a good thing, and they were, readier to accept it when they found that the northern people had borrowed the southern Christmas and were celebrating it more generally every year. Many very old people now living remember that in then young days Christmas was almost ignored in New England, but in the course of a few years after the war for some mysterious reason, it leaped to the front as the most popular festive season of the year.
        The war worked many radical changes in the social, political, moral and industrial conditions which had prevailed in this region for many generations, the new south differed materially from the old south in many respects. In some directions there is a distinct improvement—a step forward—but in others the old timers say that there has been a retrograde movement.
       The millions of angry people who refused for more than two centuries to adopt the Thanksgiving holiday, and then accepted it, did not stop there. Having overcome the prejudices against this custom, they found it easy to allow other yankee ideas, methods and institutions to obtain a foothold in Dixie.
       The older readers of this article will agree with me that great changes have occurred in the southern mode of living m the past thirty years.
       There was a time when a man might have visited every restaurant and boarding house in a southern town without being able to find such articles as baked beans, Boston brown bread, doughnuts and codfish balls. These things followed the invading federal armies, and they came to stay. They are now recognized articles of diet among native southerners, as well as north settlers.
        We have adopted different foods, fashions and methods. Nearly every successful northern idea has been adopted here or is on trial in an experimental way.
       Many New England isms are making headway in the south. Once there were no Spiritualists here; now there are thousands. The female suffrage idea is spreading, and hundreds of callings are open to women in the south which were closed to them before the war.  A generation ago it was a rare thing to find Unitarian, Unaversalist and Congregational churches in this section, but now they are growing in every state.
       We also have Christian Science, the faith cure, divine healers, etc.
       We have become so tolerant that Mormon missionaries come and go, and preach among us without being molested.

      What has all this to do with Thanksgiving Day?
      A great deal. Any one who is familiar with our history can see at a glance the great revolution which has taken place in the south. Perhaps half unconsciously the new south has taken New England as a model, and is gradually shaping herself accordingly.
      In many ways the change is beneficial, but in others it is to our disadvantage. We can learn many valuable lessons from the north in finance, industry, economy, and in such matters as public schools, municipal ownership and commercial progress, but it would be wise to hold on to all that is best of the old south until we are absolutely certain that it will be to our interest in every way to embrace a new civilization.
       But Thanksgiving Day is all right, no matter when or where it originated, and our people will observe it in the proper spirit for all time to come. If we never borrow anything worse from New England we are not likely to suffer.

Third Georgia Regiment U.S. Volunteers Camp at Savannah

In the Spanish-American War, nowhere was there greater fervor than in Georgia.  “When the United States became involved in war with Spain, Georgia furnished according to population more volunteers than any other State of the Union.”

Among Berrien County, GA men who volunteered for service in the Spanish American War were Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’QuinnPythias D. Yapp,, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z. T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan and George A. Martin.  All enlisted in Company D, 3rd Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteers.

The Third Georgia Regiment, under the command of Colonel John S. Candler, completed its organization August 24, 1898 at Camp Northen, The regiment remained at Camp Northen until November 21, when it boarded the trains to Savannah, GA in preparation for embarkation to Cuba.

The Third Georgia Regiment arrived at Savannah in the early morning of November 22, 1898  on the Central Railroad, according to the Atlanta Constitution.

Atlanta Constitution
November 22, 1898

Third Georgia is in Savannah

      Savannah, Ga., November 21. -(Special.)- Colonel Curtis Guid, Jr., inspector general of the Seventh army corps, has been busy all day making arrangements for the camp site for the Third Georgia regiment, which was to have reached the city tonight shortly after 7 o’clock. The arrival of the regiment was reported at the DeSoto hotel at one time this evening, but it turned out that there had been a delay for some cause up the Central railroad, and the train dispatcher informed the corps officials that the first section of the regimental train would not reach the city until 2 o’clock in the morning. The second section will follow shortly afterwards, and the third will be in before 5 o’clock.
      Colonel George E. Pond, chief quartermaster of the corps, instructed the railroad authorities tonight to switch all the trains bringing the Third Georgia out to the works of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing Company, on the Ogeechee road, about three miles from the city. This is the spot where Colonel Sergeant’s regiment of immunes was camped and from which it had such a long and hot march to the Central railroad wharves. Arrangements had been made, however, to have the Third Georgia moved to the wharf on trains.         The regiment will not pitch all of its tents here…The officers’ tents will be pitched, but the men will be housed under the large shed belonging to the company, the use of which has been kindly permitted by President J.J. McDonough, one of Chatham’s legislators.

The men didn’t pitch their tents because the regiment expected an imminent departure. But the first available troop transport ships went to other regiments.   There was a cold snap and the men spent a chilly night under the open shed of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing, a mistake they wouldn’t make twice.

Atlanta Constitution
November 24, 1898
THIRD GEORGIA’S UNIQUE CAMP.

The Boys Pitch Tents on Flat Cars.
No Orders To March Set.
      Savannah, Ga., November 23. -(Special.)- The time of the departure of the Third Georgia regiment for Cuba is a matter of much doubt. The officers of the regiment supposed when they arrived here that they were to go on the transport Chester, which left New York yesterday and will be in Savannah tomorrow night, but today it developed that the Chester will carry the Fifteenth infantry to Neuvitas. The only other transports coming to Savannah now are the Manitoba, which will take to the same place six troops of the Eighth cavalry, and the Michigan, which will carry six more troops of cavalry to Porto Rico. The officers and men of the Third Georgia are a bit anxious about the matter, but it seems settled that the Fifteenth infantry will go first, as it has been ordered to leave Huntsville, Ala., for Savannah tomorrow. In this event the Third Georgia will hardly leave for Cuba until after the Chester has gone to Nuevitas and returned, which will require at least two weeks’ time, as vessels going to that port have to unload on lighters.
      The Third Georgia men put up their tents today, as they came pretty near freezing last night. Their tents are set up under a big shed and on top of a lot of flat cars at the Georgia Car and Manufacturing Company’s works and the camp is one of the most unique to be found in the country. The men are not complaining, but there is one thing certain, that there will be sickness among them if they have to remain long where they are. The country is low, and they cannot dig two feet without striking water. It is impossible, therefore, to secure sinks that will last for any length of time. Colonel Berner is somewhat anxious about the matter, but so far he has been unable to secure any definite information.

 

November 24, 1898 Savannah Morning News. The Savannah firm Lindsey & Morgan advertised portable heaters for soldiers' tents during the Spanish American War.

November 24, 1898 Savannah Morning News. The Savannah firm Lindsey & Morgan advertised portable oil heaters for soldiers’ tents during the Spanish American War. “You can take it with you to Cuba, if you go.

 

Other drawbacks to the site of Camp Carpenter were its remoteness from Savannah and the fact that the site provided no opportunity for drill or dress parade.  Despite some unfavorable conditions there were no reported complaints from the men and the discipline of the regiment was said to be in splendid shape.

State Legislators Visit Camp Carpenter

On November 26, the military committee of the state House of Representatives “arrived in the city…for the purpose of inspecting the Third Georgia regiment and looking in to the situation so far as the local state militia is concerned.” In the morning the committee was entertained by the city then were taken by carriages to tour the military facilities in the city, the army transport ships at the wharf,  and to the temporary camp of the Third Georgia regiment on the Ogeechee Road. The regiment named this site Camp Carpenter in honor of General Louis Henry Carpenter.

In the afternoon “the committee assembled in carriages at the park extension, being accompanied by General Fitzhugh Lee and officers of his staff, and there was a formal review of the Third Georgia led by Colonel R. L. Berner.

Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee. President Grover Cleveland appointed him consul general in Havana in 1896, a position he retained even after the election of President McKinley. At this time, Cuba was in chaos. Lee hoped for a U.S. intervention to help the rebels desiring independence, even though President McKinley wanted the Spanish government to come to a settlement without recourse to U.S. troops. A few hours after the President ordered the U.S.S. Maine to Havana Harbor, Lee telegraphed his advice not to send such a ship. Following the explosion on the Maine, Lee returned to Washington. On May 5, 1898 he was made a major general in the army and put in command of the Seventh Army Corps.

Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee. President Grover Cleveland appointed him consul general in Havana in 1896, a position he retained even after the election of President McKinley. At this time, Cuba was in chaos. Lee hoped for a U.S. intervention to help the rebels desiring independence, even though President McKinley wanted the Spanish government to come to a settlement without recourse to U.S. troops. A few hours after the President ordered the U.S.S. Maine to Havana Harbor, Lee telegraphed his advice not to send such a ship. Following the explosion on the Maine, Lee returned to Washington. On May 5, 1898 he was made a major general in the army and put in command of the Seventh Army Corps.

 Macon Telegraph
November 30, 1898   

       The committee, accompanied by Gen. Fitzhugh Lee and several of his staff officers, reviewed the Third Georgia  in the park extension. Though little was known of the fact that the regiment would be there, the people of Savannah gathered in large numbers, and the walks of the park and those around it were well filled when the review took place. The Third Georgia, in command of Col. Robert L. Berner, marched into the city, arriving about ten minutes before 3:30 o’clock, the time for the review. The regiment had an average of seventy-two men to the company, having left a large guard and kitchen detail at the camp, and made a splendid showing, upon which it was warmly complimented by Chairman Hardwick and all the members of the committee. After the review the committee was entertained at Thunderbolt by Messrs. LaRoche and McMillan.
      The object of the visit of the legislative committee was to gather an idea as to the advantages of the state militia, by making a study of the Third Georgia, In which are many of Georgia’s volunteer soldiers, and also of the situation here with the local military. The question of the state military appropriation for the year is at stake, and the matter Is a most important one, especially in view of the fact that retrenchment is now being made on all sides possible, except the matters of education and pensions.
      “I will say that the committee was well pleased with everything it has seen, ” Chairman Hardwick said. ”We were desirous of keeping up the appropriation if it were possible to do so, and if the need for it were made apparent. Since our investigation we are thoroughly satisfied of the advantages to be gained, and there is no question that the committee will recommend the full appropriation this year.”
      The committee was evidently well pleased with the treatment it received here, and was most favorably impressed from every standpoint. The usual military appropriation is 120,000, and the committee, as stated, will recommend the full amount this year.
      The committee returned to Atlanta last night, with the exception of Messrs. Hopkins, Hutchins and Erwin, who remained as guests of Mr. Jim Barrow, who came down with the committee.
     The following statement was drawn up by the committee just prior to Its departure last night, and its publication re quested :
     ”We desire to express our appreciation of the courteous treatment accorded the military committee of the House by your city officials, the Chatham delegation and the officers and men of the Third Georgia Regiment.
      “We tender our heartiest thanks to the Hon. I. W. Meldrim, Mayor of the city of Savannah, and to Dr. W. W. Owens, Mayor pro tem, for the hearty and cor dial welcome given by them to the committee, and for their many courtesies to us during our visit to their city.
      “We also desire to tender our thanks to Mr. John M. Egan for his courteous and considerate reception and entertainment of the committee. We are also grateful to the Hon. T. H. McMillan and Hon, W. P. LaRoche for their hospitable attentions and royal entertainment.
       We also highly appreciate the courteous attentions of Col. Berner and the officers and men of the Third Georgia Regiment for the splendid review given by the regiment, in honor of the committee’s visit. We feel very proud of the magnificent bearing and soldierly appearance of the regiment, and feel that no state has contributed a finer body of men to the service of the country. Our attention has been called by Gen. Lee to the fact that the Third Georgia is the only regiment he has seen which has not been provided’ with a handsome state flag, and we think the state of Georgia should remedy this over sight before the regiment leaves for Cuba by providing such a flag for the regiment at once.”
     The statement was signed by Hon. T. W. Hardwick, chairman committee on military affairs. House of Representatives, and J. M. Hopkins, secretary.

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Macon Telegraph
November 27,1898

The Third Georgia

May Be Some Time Before It Goes to Cuba.

       Many people will be interested to know that the Third Georgia may not go to Cuba for some time to come, and that it will be transferred to Gen. Lee’s headquarters. The story is told as follows by the Savannah Morning News:
        The Third Georgia regiment may be attached to the seventh army corps, in which event it will not go to Cuba for the present.
       Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, commanding the seventh army corps, received a telegram front the war department yesterday telling him that the Third Georgia regiment would be detained here for the present, asking him to provide a suitable camping ground for it, and stating that it might be attached to the seventh army corps. The statement on this line, while not positive indicated the probable intention of the war department to put the Third Georgia in Gen. Lee’s corps instead of leaving it in the second army corps, to which it is now attached.
     In the event this change is made as proposed, the Third Georgia will probably go to Havana instead of Nuevitas, as appears to have been intended. It is, of course, now definitely settled that the regiment will not go to Cuba on the transport Chester, which arrived here yesterday for the purpose of taking the Fifteenth Infantry, United States regulars, to Nuevitas, and if they are to be sent to that point shortly they will have to wait at least until the Chester returns.
      On account of the apparent change in the plans for the Third Georgia it has been found necessary to change their camping ground, and this will lie done at once. Gen. Lee has decided to put the regiment out on the Waters road something over half a mile beyond the junction of that road with Dale avenue. It will be located therefore considerable distance from the regiments composing the first division of the corps.
     The camp site having been decided upon, the work of extending water pipes to it from the mains put out in that part of the country by the city will be done today, and the Third Georgia will begin moving its camp from the works of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing company, on the Ogeechee road, today or tomorrow.
        The camp can be moved and set up within twelve or fourteen hours, with a sufficient supply of army wagons for the transportation, and from present appearances the movement will begin either Sunday or Monday.
     Should the Third Georgia regiment eventually be attached to the seventh army corps, the question is, where will it be placed? There are now two divisions of two brigades each in the corps. It would throw the corps somewhat out of proportion to have an odd regiment thrown in, but some provision will doubtless be made for it. Gen. Lee is of the opinion that other regiments will be sent here to be attached to the corps, in which event another brigade could be formed. The Second United States artillery, as is well known, is now on its way to Savannah, but Gen. Lee says the artillery regiment will not be brigaded with infantry, as it will have to be assigned to duty on the fortifications.
     The Third Georgia was, strange to say, the thirteenth regiment of Infantry to come to Savannah, the seventh army corps having brought twelve, and one of the officers remarked upon that fact the other day. He is not superstitious, but he has a curiosity to know just what is going to be done with the Georgians.
      Lieut. Orr of Newnan, quartermaster of the Third Georgia, has been in the city every day since the arrival of his regiment looking after its wants. Lieut. Orr says the regiment passed a most satisfactory Thanksgiving day, and the boys had all they wanted to eat. He says the men are very well situated in their camp at present, though there is some question as to whether it would be safe for them to remain there any length of time. He was of the opinion that a change would be made in the camp, and the chances are that the men will be notified to get ready to move at once.
     The Third Georgia boys are not complaining about their camp, but they all feel as if they would like to be within more convenient access to the city as long as they are stationed, here. Their camp on the Waters road will undoubtedly be a more satisfactory one, from every point of view.

♦♦♦

Savannah Morning News
November 29, 1898

MAY WAIT UNTIL TO-MORROW.
      Third Georgia Will Not Move Its Camp If the Weather Is Bad. It has not been definitely decided whether the Third Georgia Regiment will change its quarters to-day or not. If the weather is good the chances are that the work of moving may be begun; otherwise it will not. The new camping ground for the Third Georgia is now in good shape, the water supply having been put in and the company streets staked off. The regiment, however, is not suffering in its present quarters at the Georgia car works, and there is no necessity for moving in bad weather. The regiment in fact is quite comfortably quartered since its tents are set up under the sheds and no rain falls upon them. The wind, too, is shut off, and altogether the boys are getting on finely. It begins to look as if the Third Georgia will soon be attached to the Seventh Corps. No orders have been received with regard to it in some days. One of the staff officers when asked about it yesterday said: “The only definite thing with regard to the stay here of the Third Georgia is that it is indefinite.” 

♦♦♦

November 30, 1898

WILL MOVE THEIR CAMP TO-DAY.
Third Georgia Regiment to Change Its Quarters to Dale Avenue.

The camp of the Third Georgia Regiment will be moved to-day. The Georgians will come in from their quarters on the Ogeechee road and pitch their tents on the southern side of Dale avenue, a short distance to the west of the First Texas and Second Louisiana Regiments of the First Brigade, First Division. The work of moving camp will take about one day, and by to-night the new camp will be in good shape. A sufficient number of army wagons to carry the whole outfit will be sent out to the car works, and the Georgia boys will lose no time about moving. They have been very comfortably located where they are, but they want to get settled, and they are quite anxious to get near a car line as many of them like to come into the city occasionally. 

Col. Berner spoke proudly of the Third Georgia Regiment:

Robert Lee Berner

Robert Lee Berner

      “The Third Georgia is in splendid condition for the trip to Cuba. My men are in good health and spirits, and they are glad the day of departure has come. There was never a finer regiment of soldiers in the volunteer army, and I am proud of the men who will go to Cuba under my command. The boys are soldiers and gentle men, and you will hear of no outbreaks or disorder by them. They are well disciplined and are anxious to serve their country on Cuban soil. There are no brigands or outlaws among them, and they will not raid stores, stands or other people’s property, as has been done by some soldiers.
     “We do not expect to remain in Savannah but a few days. The regiment has been ordered to Neuvitas, Cuba, and as soon as the transports reach Savannah we will go on board and start for the Cuban port, which is to be our home for the next year or two, at least.
     “You may say to the people of Georgia that they need have no fear as to the conduct of the Third Georgia while in Cuba. My men will uphold the dignity of the state and the soldiery of Georgia, and good reports will be returned because there shall be no ground for bad ones.
     “We are deeply grateful for the many kind messages of good cheer sent its by friends throughout the state and they are appreciated sincerely.”
Lieut Col. Spence said:
      “The Third Georgia is a fine regiment and it will compare favorably with any of the service. I am glad to go to Cuba with the Georgia boys. The men are in good condition.”

Maj. John S. “Jack” Cohen said:
      “Our boys are happy that they are to go. To a man they want to see Cuba and they will board the transports cheerful and contented. Ours is the only regiment which is to see active service, and for that reason the men will make the very best record possible.”

The following week, it was ordered that all of the troops at Savannah would march in review for General Fitzhugh Lee,

Atlanta Constitution
December 4, 1898

Parade of Seventh Corps
General Lee Issues Order To All The Soldiers

Will be the Grandest Military Procession Seen in the South for Many Years.

      Savannah, Ga., December 3. -(Special.)- General Lee this afternoon issued an order for a grand parade and review of the entire Seventh army corps at 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at the park extension. This not only includes the Seventh army corps, but all the soldiers in and around Savannah, the Maine artillery, the signal corps, the Second regular regiment, light artillery and the batteries of the regulars just in from Porto Rico; the order also includes the Third Georgia regiment, which will be the first appearance of Colonel Bob Berner’s men. This will probably be the last appearance in Savannah of General Lee and his staff and of the Seventh army corps before their departure for Cuba. It will be the largest military parade held in the south since General Breckinridge reviewed the troops of Chickamauga from Snodgrass hill.
      It is doubtful now if General Fitzhugh Lee will be in Savannah when President McKinley visits the city, the middle of the month. Orders were issued today providing for the removal within a week of the First brigade, Second division, Seventh army corps to Havana, and the announcement is made that the transports Michigan, Mobile and Roumania will carry the brigade…

♦♦♦

Atlanta Constitution
December 7, 1898

FAREWELL REVIEW OF SEVENTH CORPS

General Fitzhugh Lee Reviews Sixteen Thousand Troops.

Third Georgia Was In Line

Confederate Veterans Formed General Lee’s Escort.

Savannah, Ga., December 6. – The farewell review of the Seventh army corps before its departure for Cuba took place in Forsyth park today. Sixteen thousand troops passed in review before General Lee. Besides the Seventh corps, the Third Georgia regiment, Second Unites States artillery and two light batteries from the Third, one from the Fourth and one from the Fifth and the First Maine artillery took part in the review.
Troop A of the First Georgia cavalry-the famous Jeff Davis legion of the civil war -formed General Lee’s escort and a dashing appearance on the reviewing field…

♦ ♦ ♦

Thirty thousand people witnessed the review, which was one of the most imposing ever seen in Savannah.Americus Times-Recorder, Dec 8, 1898

Seventh Army Corps passing in review, 1898

Seventh Army Corps passing in review, 1898

 

Related Posts:

Berrien Men Prepared for Spanish-American War at Camp Northen, GA

Spanish-American War Vet Rests at Ray City, GA

Remember the Maine, Aaron Cook and the Spanish American War

Roster of Company D, 3rd Regiment Georgia Infantry U.S. Volunteers

James & Ida Lou Patten and the Cruise to Cuba

 

Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th GA Regiment

Berrien Minute Men Arrive at Causton’s Bluff

On the night of April 16, 1862 the Berrien Minute Men, Company D, 29th Georgia Regimen moved to Causton’s Bluff, between Savannah and Tybee Island.   They came along with other companies of the 29th Georgia Regiment to reinforce the 13th Georgia Regiment which had fought an engagement with Federal troops of the 8th Michigan Infantry the evening before on Whitemarsh Island.  Causton’s Bluff was also the site of Camp Stonewall Jackson, the encampment of the 47th Georgia Regiment.

The Berrien Minute Men Company D, under command of John Carroll Lamb, was the second of two companies of that name going forth from Berrien County, GA in 1861.  They had made their campfires most of the previous year at coastal defenses of Georgia, first on Sapelo Island and then around Savannah, GA.

The Berrien Minute Men Company D had been encamped at Camp Tattnall, Savannah, GA and from that vantage point had witnessed the Federal bombardment and recapture of Fort Pulaski by U.S. Army forces from Tybee Island on April 11, 1862, exactly one year to the day from the Confederate seizure of Fort Sumter.  Within the week the Federal forces were probing the Confederate pickets on Whitemarsh Island, prompting the move of the 29th GA Regiment up to Causton’s Bluff.

  1. Causton’s Bluff Part 1: The Key to Savannah
  2. Causton’s Bluff Part 2: Challenge from Tybee
  3. Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh Island
  4. Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th GA Regiment
  5. Causton’s Bluff Part 5: Tidewater Time

 

Harmon Neal Baldree served with the Berrien Minute Men, Company K, 29th Georgia Regiment. In June, 1862 he was on detached duty as a ferryman at Causton's Bluff on St. Augustine Creek near Savannah, GA

Harmon Neal Baldree served with the Berrien Minute Men, Company D (K), 29th Georgia Regiment at Causton’s Bluff near Savannah, GA. In June, 1862 he went on detached duty as a ferryman on St. Augustine Creek at Causton’s Bluff

The Berrien Minute Men had arrived at Causton’s Bluff in the middle of the night on April 16th, having been aroused by an alert and summoned as reinforcements. After a quick march in darkness they took up a position at the bluff, only to find by morning it was to be their new encampment. Their equipment was sent down the next day.  Berrien Minute Men Company D (K) and most of the other companies of the 29th Regiment spent May of 1862 at Causton’s Bluff.  The Ocklocknee Light Infantry, Company E, was at Debtford Plantation adjacent to Causton’s Bluff.  Berrien Minute Men Company C (G) continued to serve at Battery Lawton on the Savannah River.

In some ways, the arrival of the Berrien Minute Men must have been similar to the experience described by Walter Augustus Clark upon his arrival at Thunderbolt battery, overlooking the marsh just south of Causton’s Bluff:

My earliest recollections of Thunderbolt is associated with a fruitless effort to mix turpentine soap and salt water. We had reached the place tired and dusty and dirty. As soon as the ranks were broken, the boys divested themselves of their clothing and soaping their bodies thoroughly plunged into the salt water for a bath. The result may be imagined. The dirt and dust accumulated in streaks, which no amount of scrubbing could dislodge for it stuck closer than a postage stamp.

For some men, the prospect of duty on theriver batteries  was unbearable. On April 21, in a downpour, two men deserted their post at Thunderbolt Battery and made their way to pickets of the 48th NY Volunteer infantry, where they surrendered. The deserters carried word that there was a reign of terror in Savannah. The deserters were taken down to Gen. Viele’s headquarters on Daufuskie Island.

The 29th Regiment’s move to Causton’s Bluff may have presented a welcome distraction to Lieutenant Thomas J. Perry of the Berry Light Infantry.   At Camp Wilson, a previous encampment of the 29th Regiment, Lt. Perry had gotten into a Regimental Feud with an officer of the 25th Georgia Regiment, publicly condemning gambling and loose discipline among the men of the 25th Regiment. Lieutenant W.P.M. Ashley of 25th Regiment had Perry hauled before a military tribunal and courtmartialed.  Lieutenant Perry was still awaiting the sentencing of the court. In early May, he was relieved to learn that the sentence from his court martial was a mild one: a reprimand from the Colonel and one week’s suspension. Ready to get on with the business of the regiment, Perry wrote:

Causton’s Bluff, near Savannah, GA
May 8, 1862

Our Regiment is on picket duty on Oakland [Oatland] and Whitmarsh Island [Whitemarsh Island], in connection with the 13th Regiment and 11th Battalion. We have had no fighting yet, though we are sometimes in shooting distance of the Yankees…There are no prospects of a fight here soon…The weather is remarkably pleasant. Days moderately warm and nights cool. The sea breeze is delightful. There is but a few cases of sickness in our company. It is much more healthy here than our up country friends would suppose. We have good water, but not so good as you have in Floyd [County]. 

Perry’s assessment of the healthfulness of the camp at Causton’s Bluff would turn out to be overly optimistic. The 29th Georgia Regiment had yet to face the oppressive heat and pestilence of summer on the marsh. The men at Causton’s Bluff would suffer with mosquitoes, fleas, sandflies,  fever, malaria, measles, tonsillitis, mumps,  wounds, typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis, and rheumatism.

At Thunderbolt Battery, Walter Augustus Clark wrote further of summer conditions on the marsh:

We fought and bled, it is true, but not on the firing line. The foes that troubled us most, were the fleas and sand flies and mosquitoes that infested that section. They never failed to open the spring campaign promptly and from their attacks by night and day no vigilance on the picket line could furnish even slight immunity. If the old time practice of venesection as a therapeutic agent was correct in theory our hygienic condition ought to have been comparatively perfect. During the “flea season” it was not an unusual occurrence for the boys after fruitless efforts to reach the land of dreams, to rise from their couches, divest themselves of their hickory shirts and break the silence of the midnight air by vigorously threshing them against a convenient tree in the hope of finding temporary “surcease of sorrow” from this ever-present affliction. It was said that if a handfull of sand were picked up half of it would jump away. I can not vouch for the absolute correctness of this statement, but I do know that I killed, by actual count, one hundred and twenty fleas in a single blanket on which I had slept the preceding night and I can not recall that the morning was specially favorable for that species of game either. I remember further that as we had in camp no “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,” I corked up an average specimen of these insects to see how long he would live without his daily rations. At the end of two weeks he had grown a trifle thin, but was still a very lively corpse. But these were not the only “ills, that made calamity of so long a life,” for as Moore might have said, if his environment had been different,

“Oft in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain had bound me,
I felt the awful bite
Of ‘skeeters buzzing ’round me “

Their bills were presented on the first day of the day of the month and, unfortunately, on every other
day. At our picket stations on Wilmington and Whitemarsh Islands and at the “Spindles” on the river where the young alligators amused themselves by crawling up on the bank and stealing our rations, there was a larger variety known as gallinippers, from whose attacks the folds of a blanket thrown over our faces was not full protection.

But there were still others. On dress parade in the afternoons, while the regiment was standing at “parade rest” and no soldier was allowed to move hand or foot until Richter’s band, playing Capt. Sheppards Quick stephad completed its daily tramp to the left of the line and back to its position on the right, the sandflies seemed to be aware of our helplessness and “in prejudice of good order and military discipline” were especially vicious in their attack upon every exposed part of our anatomy Capt. C. W Howard, I remember, was accustomed to fill his ears with cotton as a partial protection. I have seen Charlie Goetchius, while on the officers’ line in front of the regiment, squirm and shiver in such apparent agony that the veins in his neck seemed ready to burst. Neither whistling minies, nor shrieking shells, nor forced marches with no meal in the barrel nor oil in the cruse ever seemed to disturb his equanimity in the slightest degree. Quietly and modestly and bravely he met them all. But the sandfly brigade was a little too much for him. In addition to these discomforts, the salt water marsh, near which we were camped, never failed to produce a full crop of chills and fever… Of the one hundred and fifteen men in our ranks only three escaped an attack of this disease. The writer was fortunately one of the three. One man had fifty-three chills before a furlough was allowed him. Quinine was scarce and boneset tea and flannel bandages saturated with turpentine were used as substitutes. Whiskey was sometimes issued as a preventative. In pursuance of a resolution formed on entering the service I never tasted the whiskey and as soon as my habit on this line became known, I was not subjected to the trouble of looking up applicants for the extra ration.

At Causton’s Bluff in May, 1862 Joel J. Parrish, Berrien Minute Men,  went out on sick furlough; despite his absence he was promoted to Sergeant on May 13th.  Charles R. Oliver, Alapaha Guards, was absent sick, but returned and in August was on special duty as a nurse; he later deserted. Reuben Dollar and Isaac B. Stroud, Berry Infantry, came down sick and went home. Dollar was sent to the convalescent camp at Springfield, GA & never returned to the unit. John G. Stroud and John L. Tanner, Berry Infantry, were at hospital in Augusta, GA.  James Sellars, 17th Patriots, contracted measles and was sent to Guyton Hospital at Whitesville, GA. On May 11, 1862, Isaac Watson, Thomas Volunteers, was certified disabled at Causton’s Bluff because of fever and rheumatism. On May 12, 1862,  Joseph N. Singletary, 17th Patriots, died at Screvens Ferry, and George W. Fletcher, Alapaha Guards, was sent home with an “indolent ulcer” on his right leg that went clear down to the bone.   Richard M. Aycock, Berry Infantry, was discharged on May 14, by reason of a severe cut across his foot with an axe which he received before he came into the service.  W. E. Carter, Thomas Volunteers, died of pneumonia May 15, 1862. Daniel M. Banks, Berry Infantry, got sick and was sent to Savannah where he died of fever May 15, 1862. William Ferris, Berry Infantry, on May 15 was at Augusta and died of fever.

Letter from Headquarters of the 29th Georgia Regiment, Causton's Bluff, Savannah, GA supporting discharge of T. S. Gregory on account of consumption. Written May 17, 1862 by Captain, George P. Burch, Thomas Volunteers.

Letter from Headquarters of the 29th Georgia Regiment, Causton’s Bluff, Savannah, GA supporting discharge of T. S. Gregory on account of consumption. Written May 17, 1862 by Captain, George P. Burch, Thomas Volunteers.

James H. Archer, Thomasville Guards, got sick and went home; he died of typhoid dysentery in his mother’s house on May 18, 1862. On May 20, 1862, Frederick Green Thompson, 17th Patriots, died of pneumonia at Screvens Ferry. T.S. Gregory, Thomas Volunteers, who being too weakened and impaired for duty had been serving as a nurse for the previous two months, was discharged at Causton’s Bluff on May 21, 1862 with consumption. James Jones, Alapaha Guards, was discharged May 22, 1862 on account of chronic nephritis. Wesley A. Pugh, Ocklochnee Light Infantry was discharged May 23, 1862 with tertiary syphilis, chronic rheumatism, and chronic hepatitis. On May 24, Lewis J. Collins, Thomas Volunteers, died of typhoid fever at Causton’s Bluff. Philip Schiff, 4th corporal of the Thomasville Guards, 29th GA Regiment, was found physically unfit for duty and discharged on May 26, 1862. Robert A. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, died of typhoid fever on May 27,1862. John E. Dickey , Ochlocknee Light Infantry, got sick in May, went to the hospital and never returned. On May 28, 1862, Waldo McCranie, Berrien Minute Men, was discharged on account of rheumatism; he reenlisted in 1863. On May 29, 1862 Cpl. R. M. Hancock, Thomas Volunteers, died of typhoid fever at Causton’s Bluff. James N. Winn, Ocklochnee Light Infantry was sick at hospital in Savannah; the following month he furnished John E. Bryan as a substitute and received a discharge. Jasper M. Luke, Berrien Minute Men, was discharged about this time with chronic rheumatism. Matthew Godwin, Thomas Volunteers was discharged on account of tuberculosis on May 31, 1862 – the regimental assistant surgeon was of the opinion Godwin suffered from “a hereditary taint in his blood” since his mother also had tuberculosis.

On May 11, 1862, the Federals made another showing on Whitemarsh Island opposite Causton’s Bluff:

Savannah Republican

More Prisoners. – Our pickets on the marsh opposite Causton’s Bluff captured another respectable batch of Yankee Prisoners yesterday afternoon [May 11, 1862], and without firing a gun.
         It seems two detachments were sent out from the 13th Georgia, and stationed in the marsh near Augustine creek. During the afternoon a boat was heard coming from towards Wilmington, when the nearest party threw themselves down in the marsh and awaited its arrival opposite them. Unconscious of danger, the Federals rowed up to within a few yards of the pickets, when the latter suddenly sprang to their feet and ordered a surrender. Taken by surprise, and unarmed, the entire party, numbering fifteen, gave up and came ashore. They were taken in custody by Colonel [Marcellus] Douglass and brought to town for safe keeping.
         The prisoners are fifteen in number – six officers, good looking, well dressed men, and the remainder seamen, all from the steamer Sumter, stationed off Wilmington. They were doubtless reconnoitering, but say they were bound for Fort Pulaski, on a trip of pleasure. The capturing party consisted of only four.

Federal gunboats periodically challenged the Confederate batteries, trying to navigate through the marshes into St. Augustine Creek. Cannon fire from the batteries overlooking Whitemarsh Island was easily heard by the men of the Berrien Light Infantry, Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment encamped some three miles west near Fort Brown. On May 18, 1862 Sergeant Ezekiel Parrish of the Berrien Light Infantry wrote of hearing the cannonade of Thunderbolt Battery:

May 18, 1862, Savannah, GA

We heard some heavy firing of cannon last night about 9 o’clock. There was ten or fifteen fired in quick succession and then at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes I heard some four of five of the heaviest guns I ever heard in my life. Some thought the fight had commenced but up to this time all is quiet here as far as regards a general engagement with the common enemy. I heard that the shooting we heard was at Thunderbolt battery firing at one of the enemy’s gunboats that was trying to poke by our batteries and reports say she made the best of her way back to her own quarter.

Confederate Picket Station.  The Berrien Minute Men, and the 29th Georgia Regiment were stationed at the post on Causton's Bluff  and did picket duty on Whitemarsh Island and at Caper's Battery.

Confederate Picket Station.  The Berrien Minute Men, and the 29th Georgia Regiment were stationed at the post on Causton’s Bluff  and did picket duty on Whitemarsh Island and at Caper’s Battery.

Men from Causton’s bluff were constantly rotated on picket duty or patrolling on Oatland and Whitemarsh Island and the surrounding creeks.  A ferry was kept at a dock below the bluff to move the men across St. Augustine Creek. In June, 1862, Pvt Harmon N. Baldree, Berrien Minute Men, and Pvt Mitchell Griffin, Thomas Volunteers, were among the men on detached duty as ferrymen. Lieutenant Thomas J. Perry of the Berry Light Infantry wrote on May 20,

Causton’s Bluff, Near Savannah, Ga.

May 20, 1862

Since my last letter we have lost, by death, two more member of our company – Daniel M. Banks and W. N. Farris, the former died in the city at St. John’s Hospital, the latter in the Augusta Hospital. This makes four we have lost. The entire company deeply sympathise with the friends and relatives of each, although they did not die on the battlefield, in the defense of their homes and firesides, yet they fill a soldier’s grave and are justly entitled to the Honor as tho’ they did, for they have been found in the line of battle more than once, for the purpose of meeting the enemy in a deadly conflict. When sickness did not prevent, they were true and trusty.
There is but few on the sick list at present, none seriously so. Our duties are laborious at present. Our company have to go on the Island every four days, in addition to working on the fortifications.
While on the island today we saw a large balloon go up from Fort Pulaski, several times, and remain up several minutes at a time.
There does not seem to be any prospect of a fight here soon, if ever. If there is any it will doubtless be a river fight, and if we don’t whip the fight, it will not be because we had not time to prepare for it.
Recruits are coming in rapidly to the different companies, swelling their ranks to a respectable size.
Floyd.

In June 1862,  Colonel Claudius C. Wilson, was present on special duty as commander of the post at Causton’s Bluff; his regular duty was commander of the 25th Georgia Regiment.

In June, 1862, sickness at Causton’s Bluff continued to take a toll on the effectiveness of the 29th Georgia Regiment.  Jacob Marks and John T. Barker of the Berrien Minute Men were among many who were absent sick.  Isaac Baldree, Berrien Minute Men, was at the general hospital at Guyton and J.S. Massey, Thomasville Guards, was “absent sick in hospital”; both were discharged by civil authority in August. William W. Spencer, Captain of the Ocklochnee Light Infantry, who had been on station at Camp Mackey went on sick furlough. Abel A. Braswell, Seventeenth Patriots, went on sick furlough and was discharged by civil authority in September. John W. Callahan, Berry Infantry, was furloughed on sick leave and was absent sick for seven months. William Shores, Berry Infantry, was absent sick in June and July. John Johnston, 1st Lt of the Stephens Volunteers was sick at Causton’s Bluff, then under arrest for two months before going back on the sick roll; in December, 1862, he was detailed as an enrolling officer. Isaac H. Carter, 17th Patriots, went on sick leave in June and died of disease October 10, 1862. Council Singletary, 17th Patriots, was on sick furlough. Benjamin P. Singletary, Thomas Volunteers, was absent sick, then detailed to work in the regimental hospital. Asa C. Crowe, Stephens Volunteers, discharged with disability at Causton’s Bluff, June 3, 1862 because of an old accidental gunshot wound to his left hand.  On June 9, 1862, Corporal John A. Money, an over-age soldier of the Berrien Minute Men, was discharged at Causton’s Bluff, being disabled by frequent attacks of intermittent fever. Lt Robert Thomas Johnson, Thomas Volunteers, went home sick from Causton’s Bluff on June 10 and Lt. John Green Lindsey, Seventeenth Patriots, died of disease that same day.  Sgt Sherod S. Little, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, was discharged for disability on June 22, 1862 after suffering an acute attack of rheumatism and pericarditis. William G. Price Ocklochnee Light Infantry, reported as a substitute for Michael H. Young, but was detailed June 26, 1862 as a tailor. William Cowart, Berrien Minute Men, enlisted November 18, 1861 and was discharged for disability on June 26, 1862; Captain J. D. Knight said he has “been unfit for duty two thirds of the time since he has been in the service, has had measles, tonciliatus, mumps, fever, and seems to have indication of dropsey.” Tim G. Whiddon, Thomas Volunteers went to St. John’s Hospital, Savannah and died of typhoid fever on June 26, 1862. Daniel B. Lammons, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, went on sick leave in June and died of typhoid fever in Thomas County on the 4th of July, 1862. On June 30, 1862, Samuel Staten, Alapaha Guards, was reported sick in an Augusta, GA hospital.

On June 11th, 1862 the Chatham Artillery joined the garrison at Causton’s Bluff, having moved from their previous station at Camp Hardee on Cedar Hammock. (A detachment of the Chatham Artillery had been captured at the fall of Fort Pulaski.) The camp of the Chatham Artillery at Causton’s bluff was named Camp Stonewall Jackson.  A Historical Sketch of the Chatham Artillery provides a complete roster of the company on arrival at the bluff and describes the conditions of the encampment:

Situated as was the camp in the vicinity of the rice fields, low grounds, and brackish marshes of the Savannah river, and therefore in the midst of a truly malarial region, the men suffered so generally and so severely from fevers, that at one time there were scarcely cannoneers enough in camp to perform guard duty, or drivers to attend to stable duties. Several deaths occurred…

Junior 1st Lieutenant John E. Wheaton wrote:

June 11th – Vacated the camp at Cedar Hammock and camped at Causton’s Bluff, in company with a brigade of infantry in command of Col. C.C. Wilson. The guard and picket duty there was severe, and the situation one of the most unhealthy in Chatham county. A large number of the men were made sick. Privates Wylly J. Cash and James Rafferty died in hospital at Savannah, August 7th, and Private W. H. Elliot at Cartersville, Ga., August 12th.  – Reminiscences of the Chatham Artillery during the war 1861-1865

In mid-June the first tropical storm of the 1862 season moved off the coast of Georgia. It formed approximately 340 miles (550 km) east of Savannah, Georgia on June 15 and moved slowly north before dissipating a few days later. The Savannah Morning News reported: Rain and Thunder Storm. – We had a heavy fall of rain last night, accompanied with high wind, vivid lightning and thunder. Between ten and eleven o’clock the storm raged with great fury, the rain descending in torrents, the heavens continually illuminated with the flashing lightning, followed by teriffic peals of thunder. While sheltered from the storm we could but think what a terrible night it was for our soldiers in camp.

At Causton’s bluff, the 4th of July, 1862 passed with ambivalence. But Independence Day was still marked by the Federal troops occupying the coastal areas. At Fort Pulaski, Pvt. William B. Howard, 48th NY Volunteers, wrote in his Journal:

July 4th 1862
Beautiful day. not much of a fourth in Dixie[.] fired a salute of, 13 guns. Went over to Dawfuskie [Daufuskie] Island in the afternoon, took a walk around our old camp ground. Co B doing picket duty over there. returned about Sun down [Sundown[.] Major O. T. Beard made a speeck [speech?] to the Regt. fiew [view?], fire works in the evning [evening].

Private Ned Holmes, 25th Georgia Regiment garrisoned at Causton’s Bluff, wrote home:

I had almost concluded there was no Yankees about here till I heard them shooting on the 4th. There is plenty of cannon whether there are any Yankees with it or not. I suppose they fired some 2 hundred big guns at 1 o’clock at 2 or 3 different points.

Regimental returns for July 1862 from the Berrien Minute Men Company D are sparse, but it seems the health of the company suffered as much as any at Causton’s Bluff. On July 27, 1862 Sergeant John W. Hagan wrote, “The company is very sickly & dose not seem to improve. The health of the troops at this post is very bad. We have had 3 deaths in 24 hours & others expecting to die evry day.”  That month, Stephen Roberts and Guilford Tomlinson, Alapaha Guards, were at a convalescent camp; Roberts died of pneumonia the following month at the Springfield convalescent camp. Lt. Thomas J. Perry, Berry Infantry, was absent sick, but returned in August. James Rhodes, Berry Infantry, went to hospital and was furloughed home to recover; he was back in November, detailed as a ferryman. James W. Ferris, Berry Infantry, was sent to Springfield convalescent camp, then to hospital and eventually deserted. Thomas Allen and  George W. Kirk, Stephens Volunteers, were at convalescent camp; Allen spent the rest of the year in the hospital or furloughed sick.  Merritt A. Chandler, Stephens Volunteers, was sent to the hospital at Whitesville, GA then was in and out of hospitals until February, 1863, when he was diagnosed with “Tertian Fever,” a type of malaria in which the fever spikes every three days. Calvin H. Kytle, Stephens Volunteers, went to the hospital in Savannah. Nathaniel Bryan, Seventeenth Patriots, went on sick furlough. John D. Hires, Wiliam F. Southwell, Lt William Pendarvis, Moses W. Spence, James H. Hodges John T. Strickland, William Thornton and William F. Southwell, Georgia Foresters, were sick in the hospital. Hodges would be out for four months, Strickland six months, Southwell and Thornton never returned. Spence was detailed as a nurse. Randall Phinnie, Thomas Volunteers, was absent sick. F. M. Rawls and J. S. Rawls went to the convalescent camp. F.M. Rawls headed home without leave and died December 9 in Thomas County. J. S. Rawls was sent to Springfield and never returned. James W. Farris, Berry Infantry, went to a convalescent camp and was out five months. Toliver Trapp, Berry Infantry, was at convalescent camp; he had been working as a nurse in the Savannah hospital. Reuben R. Pyles, 17th Patriots, was at the Convalescent camp. Barry Scoggins, 17th Patriots was under arrest at Oglethorpe Barracks, Savannah; he escaped in November 1862. On July 2, 1862, John Muller reported as a substitute for John G. Fondren and deserted the same day. Hayes Singletary, who had enlisted in the 17th Patriots in May, died of pneumonia on July 3, 1862 at Causton’s Bluff. On the 4th of July, 1862, James Sellars, 17th Patriots, died of pneumonia at Guyton Hospital. On July 10, John Tomlinson, Alapaha Guards, furnished a substitute to serve in his place. J. Peacock, 17th Patriots, died of fever, July 10, 1862. On July ll, 1862, Lewis Ebbinger, who worked in the company commissary of the Ocklochnee Light infantry, died of congestive chill. J. Kilby Carroll was discharged at Causton’s Bluff on July 16, 1862 as “incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of chronic ulceration of the leg“; he later was sent to Ocmulgee Hospital, Macon, GA and worked in the Confederate States Laboratory, the center of Confederate States Ordnance testing and production. Patrick W. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, died of typhoid fever July 18, 1862. William J. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, went to a hospital at Whitesville, GA; he died August 28th, 1862. B.F. Fudge, Thomasville Guards, was at a convalescent camp; he was discharged in August for being over age. Thirty-six-year-old Jarrod Johnson, who joined at Darrien, GA, had been incapacitated by rheumatism every single day of his enlistment and was discharged on certificate of disability on July 19, 1862. On July 22, 1862 Dempsey Griffin, Thomas Volunteers, died of pneumonia at Causton’s Bluff. G. W. Martin, Thomasville Guards, caught Typhoid pneumonia and received a certificate of disability for discharge at Causton’s Bluff, July 23, 1862. That same day, July 23, Cpl. William T. Connally and Wilber W. Williams, Stephens Volunteers, and Duncan R. McIntosh, 17th Patriots, died of fever in Savannah. James C. Smith, corporal of the Ochlockonee Light Infantry got sick and was sent to Guyton Hospital at Whitesville, GA where he died of intermittent fever on July 25, 1862. Greenberry Holt, 17th Patriots, enlisted at Causton’s Bluff on May 16 and died of jaundice and fever on July 28, 1862. William Harper and James H. Lester, Thomasville Guards, got sick in July. Harper spent four months in the hospital but eventually returned to the regiment and served until the end of the war. Lester went home and on July 28, 1862 died of typhoid fever.

In August, 1862  Josiah Goode, Stephens Volunteers, went sick to the Savannah hospital and after several months of illness was furloughed home; he died September 14, 1863 of chronic diarrhea. In Stephens Volunteers, Sgt William J. Poole left camp in August and died of fever in Franklin County, GA on September 16, the same day Sgt Lowrey G. Patterson died of fever at Causton’s Bluff. S. R. Taylor was assigned to duty as a hospital steward; the following month he was discharged, overage.

By August, the 25th Georgia Regiment had joined the garrison at Causton’s Bluff. This was probably to the consternation of Lieutenant Perry although he apparently refrained from further commentary on the morals of the 25th.

On August 10, 1862 Edward “Ned” Holmes, a 2nd Lieutenant  in the 25th Regiment, wrote to his family from Causton’s Bluff:

Camp Costons Bluff,[Near Savannah] Aug. 10, 1862

Dear Mat and Viney,
I write you a few lines that leaves me about well except my mouth. I never was in such a fix with fever blisters before. I received a letter from you, Santanna just a few minutes ago. Alex Gamble is going to start home tonight. I will send this by him. I think my fever is broken entirely up. I have not had any since Friday morning so I feel as well as I did before I was taken. There is a deal good of sickness around —– but they are also not dying as fast as they were ten or fifteen days ago. There is a heap of heavy shooting going on today in the direction of Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what it means. they are fixing up a volunteer company right now to go to Wilmington Island, a place we have never scouted.
It’s beyond Whitemarsh and from where we are camped and on the way to Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what information they expect to obtain by going to Wilmington. It’s all under the General of the Fort and they never expect to hold it unless the fort is retaken which will never be done for there is nothing here to take it with. Morris is well. Miles is getting well. John Nobles is right sick. Washer Nobles came into our company this morning to stay. I may get off home when Sim gets back. I don’t know. Everbody has been here longer than I have. I will be there by the first of September anyway if I keep well. And I am not afraid of being sick anymore this summer.

Love, Ned

P.S. Tell Mike if there are any of Cook’s pills there to send me some. And I can manage my own cases.

The Chatham Artillery vacated Causton’s Bluff on August 13, 1862, moving to White Bluff.  The Berrien Minute Men, Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment would remain at Causton’s Bluff through the first week of October.

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