GEORGIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Number of men originally enlisted.............. 841
Number of recruits.................................... 364
Number of conscripts.................................. 38
Total strength of regiment:........................ 1243
By the foregoing recapitulation and statistical report, it will be seen that this regiment has been actively engaged in twenty battles, in fifteen of which it suffered more or less.
The total loss, counting the wounded men, many of whom are of course still in the regiment, amounts to one thousand and thirty-nine men. This is, however, only a temporary loss. The real loss of the regiment is as follows:
Amounting to..................... 506
The Eighteenth Georgia Regiment was organized at Camp Brown, Cobb County, Georgia, on the 22d day of April, 1861, under a special act of the Georgia Legislature, and formed the First Regiment, Fourth Brigade, State Troops, under the following named field officers: Colonel W. T. Wofford, of Cassville, Cass County; Lieutenant Colonel S. Z. Ruff, of the Georgia Military Institute, Marietta, Cobb County; Major Jefferson Johnson, Floyd County; Adjutant John C. Griffin, Marietta, Cobb County.
The changes in the field officers are as follows: Adjutant J. C. Griffin elected Major, April 7th, 1862, to succeed Major Johnson, resigned. Colonel Wofford was appointed Brigadier General, January 1st, 1863, successor to General T. R. R. Cobb, killed December 13th, 1862. Lieutenant A. H. Patton promoted Major. Lieutenant Colonel Ruff promoted to the Colonelcy, January 1st, 1863, successor to Colonel Wofford, promoted to Bridadier.
Captain J. A. Stewart promoted to Major, successor to Major John C. Griffin, appointed Commissary of Substance. Captain Joseph Armstrong appointed Colonel, January 6th, 1864, successor to Colonel Ruff, killed November 29th, 1863. Captain F. M. Ford appointed Lieutenant Colonel, March 25th, 1864, successor to Lieutenant Colonel Ruff. Captain W. G. Calahan appointed Major, January 6th, successor to Major Stewart, resigned. Sergeant E. N. Everett appointed Captain and Assistant Adjutant General on General Wofford's staff.
The brigade was organized __ day of __, ____, and transferred to Camp McDonald, Cobb County, Georgia. After nearly two months of preparatory drilling at the latter place, the brigade (the Fourth, State Troops,) was broken up, and the regiments and battalions composing it were ordered to report to Richmond, having been transfered to the service of the Confederate States.
The regiment left Camp McDonald on the 2d day of August, 1861, and arrived at Richmond on the 7th. During the greater portion of the time they were in Richmond, they were on duty guarding the prisoners captured at the first battle of Manassas. On the 26th of October, the regiment having been relieved from this duty by the Second Florida Regiment, received orders to report back to Goldsboro, North Carolina, for garrison duty. They remained here about two weeks, when they received orders to report back to Richmond. On the 18th, they departed for the Potomac, and were attached to the Texas brigade then commanded by General Wigfall, and were stationed in the vicinity of Dumfries. Here they remained all winter, doing picket and other duties. On the 8th of March, 1862, the Eighteenth left camp on the Potomac, and entered upon the campaign of that year with the Army of Northern Virginia.
The brigade, at this time, was under the command of Brigadier General Hood, General Wigfall having resigned. The brigade marched from Dumfries to Yorktown, which being the first march of the regiment, and the men being unaccustomed to the hardships of a long march, suffered greatly from the exposure and severities of the march. They were afterward detailed to guard the right flank of the army, on its retreat from Yorktown. On the seventh of May, the enemy in considerable force, attacked the right flank of General Johnson's army, and were repulsed by the brigade near Eltham's Landing, the Eighteenth Georgia bearing a conspicuous part in the engagement. On the 31st of May and the 1st of June, the regiment participated in the battle of Seven Pines, sustaining a loss of three men wounded. The regiment was afterward kept in the Chickahominy Swamp, doing picket duty, and throwing up fortifications, &c., until the 12th of June, when they were transported to Staunton, to reinforce General Stonewall Jackson; at which point they arrived on the 18th; and on the 19th left Staunton, and were transported to Frederick's Hall, remaining there for two days to prepare for the great work anticipated by that far-seeing chieftain, General Jackson.
On the 26th, the regiment arrived in front of Richmond, opposite Mechanicsville, and at four o'clock in the evening, on the 27th of June, they went into the battle of Gaine's Farm, charging the enemy's batteries, placed in position under the immediate supervision of General McClellan himself, and said by him to be impregnable; but the intrepid spirits composing the Texas brigade, needed only the command of onward, to drive the vandals from their guns, and turn upon the retreating foe. The battle closed about nine o'clock in the evening, the whole country being covered with the victims of the horrid strife.
The Eighteenth Georgia in this engagement, captured nine splendid brass pieces of artillery, with a loss to the regiment of thirty-seven killed, and one hundred and six wounded. They remained on the field the remainder of the night. The 28th was spent in burying the dead, and caring for the wounded. On the 29th, they took up the line of march in pursuit of McClellan's retreating and badly whipped forces. On the 31st, the regiment received a heavy shelling at White Oak Swamp, but sustained no loss. On the 1st of July, it took an active part in the battle of Malvern Hill. The casualties in this fight were three killed and seven wounded. On the 4th, the regiment marched to Charles City Court House. The regiment was very much fatigued, but after remaining at the latter place four days, were ready and willing to perform any duty which might have been assigned it.
On the 8th, the regiment marched for Richmond, where it arrived on the 10th. Here it went into camp, where it quietly remained until the 7th of August, when, in response to the command of forward, it marched to the plains of Manassas, where it arrived on the 29th of August, having undergone many hardships and privations, being frequently compelled to subsist on green corn, as it was impossible to obtain any other kind of food. The regiment during this march, was engaged in two different encounters with the enemy, the first at Freeman's Ford, and the second at Thoroughfare Gap.
At six o'clock in the evening of the 29th of August, the regiment engaged the enemy in a hand to hand encounter. After two hours hard fighting, they succeeded in repulsing the enemy, with the following result: A large number of prisoners were taken. Private T. H. Northcutt of Company A, captured one stand of colors belonging to the Twenty-fourth New York Regiment. On the 30th, the regiment participated in the second battle of Manassas, completely routing the enemy, killing the greater portion of the Fifth and Tenth New York Zouave Regiments, and capturing a battery of four guns.
During the heat of the engagement, Private William Kay succeeded in capturing the colors of the Tenth New York Regiment. The casualties during this terrific battle in the old Eighteenth, amounted to thirty-seven killed and eighty-seven wounded.
August 31st was spent in burying the dead and attending to the wounded. The regiment left during the latter date, and by severe marching arrived at the Potomac on the 5th day of September, crossed and marched to Frederick City, Maryland, where it remained and rested three days. On the 14th of September a portion of the army were hotly engaged at Boonsborough Mountain. Hood's Brigade, by a forced march, arrived in time to take part in the engagement. The Eighteenth Georgia in this fight lost but one wounded. On the 17th of September the regiment was engaged in the battle of Sharpsburg, and from five o'clock in the morning until late in the evening, bore a prominent part in that bloody strife, losing (27) twenty-seven killed and (63) sixty-three wounded. During the night of the 18th the regiment recrossed the Potomac at Shepardstown, and were there compelled to assist the teamsters in gaining the heights on the south bank of the river, the mud being too deep for the half-worn animals to drag their loads through, which consisted of principally army stores, collected from the enemy while in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The regiment encamped for the remainder of the night at Martinsburg, and after a week of much needed rest, again took up the line of march for Winchester, where it went into camp on the 29th, remaining there for one month. At this point the regiment received a new supply of clothing, of which they stood greatly in need, particularly of shoes. Many of the poor Georgia boys had marched mile after mile and fought several battles with their bare feet, and bleeding at almost every step. On the 29th of October the regiment again struck camp and marched for Culpepper, arriving there on the 1st day of November, and on the 20th of the same month marched in Fredericksburg, at which place it arrived and went into camp on the 28th. Under an order from the War Department, the regiment was transferred from General Hood's Texas Brigade to General Cobb's Georgia Brigade. This change, at the time, was not much relished by the majority of the regiment, who were not pleased at the idea of leaving their old and tried companions in arms, the Texans; but their new commander, the lamented Cobb, soon won their confidence and admiration by his urbanity and zeal for their welfare, together with the many soldierly qualities which had already marked him out for high preferment in the military line, and which were unfortunately too soon thereafter lost to his brigade and country.
On December 13th, together with the remainder of Cobb's Brigade, the regiment went into the battle of Fredericksburg, in which engagement it sustained very nobly its former dearly bought reputation. It was upon this day that the brigade lost its gallant leader, General Cobb, who fell while among his noble band of Georgians, speaking words of encouragement, and cheering them with his presence.
In this engagement, one of the severest of the war, the Eighteenth killed, in all probability, one half its number - itself sustaining a loss of fourteen killed and thirty wounded.
The regiment remained in camp after the battle of Fredericksburg until the night of the 20th of April, when it marched up to Chancellorsville, where it lay in line of battle until the 3d of May, when the great contest began. The regiment was very hotly engaged for one hour and twenty-five minutes, confronting the formidable works of the enemy, and sustaining a loss of twenty-one killed and eighty-six wounded. On May 4th, an advance was made upon the enemy and he was driven toward Banksford, losing a great many prisoners. On the 1st of June the regiment marched from Culpepper by way of Woodsville, Sperryville, Little Washington, to Parria, and crossed the Shenandoah River. On the 21st, recrossed the river at Ashby's Gap, and lay in line of battle as support to cavalry. On the 22d, it crossed back to same camp. On the 24th, marched by way of Millwood, Berryville, Summer Point, Smythville and Darksville, to Martinsburg; crossed the Potomac, on the 26th, at Williamsport, and marched by way of Hagerstown, Middleburg, Green Castle, Chambersburg and Cashtown, to Gettysburg, where it arrived on the 31st.
The troops suffered very severely on this march from the excessive heat; so great was it indeed that as many as one hundred cases of sun-stroke occurred in the division during one day. On the 2d day of July the regiment was engaged in the battle of Gettysburg, driving the enemy for over a mile, and resting on the field during the night. The casualties were nine killed and thirty-one wounded. On the night of the 4th, marched by way of Fairfield and Waterloo, to Hagerstown, remaining at the latter place until the 14th of August, awaiting an attack from the enemy. At that time the regiment recrossed the Potomac at Williamsport, marched to Bunker Hill; from thence to Culpepper Court House, where it arrived on the 24th instant. While on the march from Bunker Hill to Culpepper, the regiment was engaged in dislodging a body of the enemy's cavalry, sustaining no loss whatsoever.
General Longstreet's Corps being selected by General Lee to reinforce General Bragg, in the West, the regiment accordingly, on the 9th of September, was placed on cars at Hanover Junction, and were, without delay, transported to Chickamauga, Georgia, where it arrived on the 19th, but did not participate in the battle of that name, as the brigade could not get up to the scene of action in time. After some days spent in skirmishing with the enemy, in which the regiment lost altogether three men wounded, it was again, on the 5th of October, transported by railroad, by way of Cleveland, Charlestown and Athens, to Sweet Water, Tennessee. On the 12th, it marched from Sweet Water, by way of Philadelphia, Morganton, Lowdon, Lenoir Station, to Campbell's Station, where it arrived on the 17th and took part in a heavy skirmish with the enemy, but sustained no loss of life. On the 18th, marched within two miles of Knowville. Heavy skirmishing was inaugurated and continued every day until the 29th instant, when the Eighteenth participated in the celebrated charge of McLaws' Division on Fort Lowdon, in which the regiment sustained one of the most irreparable losses which could have befallen it, viz: the loss of its gallant leader, Colonel S.Z. Ruff. Each member of the regiment, with perhaps a few exceptions, mourned the loss of their Colonel as they would the loss of a father or brother. Having been led by him in every engagement, save two or three, they had become ardently attached to him, always feeling that all was right with the eighteenth Georgia, at least, when Colonel Ruff was in command. All honor to his name. The Colonel was commanding Wofford's Brigade when he received the shot that ended his earthly career. He received his mortal wound while endeavoring to scale the walls of the fort. His name will long occupy a place in the memories of the members of the regiment, who he had so long commanded. May he rest in peace. During this engagement, the regiment lost fifteen killed, and twenty-three wounded. On the night of the 4th of December, the regiment marched by way of Rutledge and Moorsburg, to Bean Station, where, on the 13th, it participated in a small skirmish with the enemy; remaining at the latter place until the 20th, when it marched across the Holston river to Russelville, and received orders to build winter quarters. The men since the departure of the regiment from before Chattanooga, and during the hard marching and fighting up to the time of their arrival at Russelville, had suffered severly for clothing, especially for shoes and blankets, and the weather being extremely cold in that region, adding to which the continued snow and rain, showed many cases of real misery; but the spirits of these noble sons of the Empire State rose proudly above all physical suffering, and but a few murmurs were ever heard.
The men went to work with a will, and soon had some very comfortable cabins erected, just in time for the Christmas holidays, and it is almost needless to add that this mode of living was duly appreciated by all.
The regiment remained in quarters until the 11th of February, when it moved to New Market, when they again built winter quarters, and there remained until the 22d, when they marched to Greenville, remaining there until the 28th of March, when they again took the road marching for Bristol, where they arrived on the 31st.
The regiment while encamped at Greenville, re-enlisted unanimously for the war. On the 10th of April, the regiment was placed on board the cars, and transported to Charlottesville, Virginia. From thence they marched to Gordonsville, and from thence to the battle ground of the Wilderness; arriving there just in time by a forced march, to participate in the memorable battle fought on the 6th of May. The regiment with the remainder of Wofford's Brigade, went into the fight at eight o'clock in the morning, and very soon the command forward, was given, and in a few moments, the leaden messengers of death might be heard whistling through the ranks. The enemy were stubborn, and refused to give an inch of ground. Just at this time, General Wofford asked and obtained permission to make a flank movement on the enemy's left, which was attended with the most signal and triumphant success. Done as it was, with great promptness and celerity of movement, it caused the utter rout of the enemy all along his front, thereby turning the tide of battle in favor of General Lee.
General Wofford merits a great deal of credit for the masterly manner in which this move was planned and carried into execution. The regiment lost in this engagement, seven killed and thirty-seven wounded. On the night of the 7th of May, the regiment marched for Spotsylvania Court House, arriving there at eleven o'clock, on the morning of the 8th. Although the men were completely exhausted, they were immediately put into position in the lines, and on the 12th, participated in the battle known, as the Horse Shoe, during which the Eighteenth charged the enemy, and retook a portion of the fortifications. The regiment lost in this battle, ten men killed and thirty wounded. After some fighting and marching, the regiment reached Coal Harbor, and there on the 1st of June, was engaged in a battle known by that name, losing four men killed and twenty-five wounded.
Among the historical regiments of Georgia proudly stands the battle-scarred Eighteenth. Though no minstrel has tuned his harp to sing the praises, though not seeking, and therefore not obtaining a newspaper reputation, this noble regiment has gained a name which will live through all future time; in the memory of those who have so closely watched its career of glory. Twenty times has its battle flag, the glorious Cross of the Confederacy, been observed with its fiery folds flashing brightly over as many gory fields. The soil of Virginia has "drank, deeply drank" the life blood of many of these noble Georgians, as half clad and freezing, with feet bare and bleeding at every step, they plunged, with the startling, piercing, enthusiastic yell of the Southern soldiery, into the midst of the fight, driving in utter rout, the well dressed Federals before them. The sufferings of our forefathers at the historic Valley Forge, can scarce compare with the sufferings of the members of this and other regiments, but amid all their privations, when hunger with its gnawing pangs attacked them, and they suffering with a hundred discomforts, at the call of their leader, they would spring to their arms, and rush into the midst of the fray, caring for nought but for victory to again perch upon their banners.
The preceding is taken from James M. Folsom's Heroes and Martyrs of Georgia. Published in 1864, a reprint is available through:
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