8th Georgia, CSA
As it appeared in The Hawkinsville Dispatch,
Hawkinsville, Georgia, beginning on July 10, 1879, p. 3.
By my great-great grandfather, David Green Fleming
David Green Fleming
The Hawkinsville Dispatch, Hawkinsville, Georgia, Thursday, June 26, 1879:
n the issue of the Dispatch of July 10th we will commence the publication of historical sketches of the Pulaski Volunteers, by Mr. D. G. Fleming. The sketches will embrace the muster roll of the company and many interesting incidents connected with its service in the Army of Northern Virginia. The Pulaski Volunteers were known as Co. G in the Eighth Georgia Regiment, and were led by the lamented Bartow at the first battle of Manassas, where they lost several men in killed and wounded.
The Eighth regiment made a gallant and imperishable record in the war, and surrendered with General Lee at Appomattox on the memorable 26th of April, 1865 a day sacred in the memory of every true Southron.
The copy has been in our possession for several weeks, but we were short of sorts, as the printers say, and we were compelled to send to a foundry in Philadelphia for some new type.
The sketches are briefly written, and will make but two or three columns in about three issues of the Dispatch.
Green Fleming, the writer of the sketches, though a mere boy at the time, joined the company, and was with it in its campaigns and battles to the close of the war. Camp life agreed with him, and he came home a better man, physically, than he would have been, perhaps had he remained out of the service. For more than thirteen years passed he has engaged in business in Hawkinsville, and by all who know him, is regarded as an intelligent and most honorable gentleman. The duty, therefore, of preparing the sketch and preserving the names and memories of his comrades has fallen upon one worthy and competent to discharge it.
The Hawkinsville Dispatch, Hawkinsville, Georgia, Thursday, July 10, 1879, p. 3:
No. 1 in a 5 part series
FROM THE ORGANIZATION
OF THE COMPANY
TO ARRIVAL IN RICHMOND, VA.
The following may not be reproduced or published without permission.
o many of the readers of the Dispatch, this sketch will no doubt prove uninteresting. To such the writer would ask in the name of the survivors, that they pardon us for placing it before them. To many others we feel that it will be read with much interest, notwithstanding the preparation is in the hands of one who feels utterly incapable of doing justice to the gallant band of patriots whose record we attempt to give. It is prepared by request for the benefit and information of the survivors of the Volunteers and of the 8th Georgia Regiment, the sons and daughters and other relations and friends of those who sacrificed their lives and property in the defence of the Lost Cause. We would ask those who feel no particular interest in our record to read it with a consciousness that this little band made their sacrifices for the protection of every Southern home.
Previous to the secession of the State of Georgia from the Union, very little interest was taken in military affairs by the people of Pulaski county. There was no military organization in the county at that time. Early in 1861, when the political skies began to show a warlike appearance, the citizens of Pulaski, in common with all other sections of the State, began to see the importance of organizing and training military companies for our defence, as well as a civil war seemed inevitable. Prominent among the leaders in this interest, and we might say the leader, was Dr. Thos. D.L. Ryan, who, aided by many other notable citizens, such as N.W. Collier, Joseph J. Lowry and others, soon effected the organization of the Pulaski Volunteers, which elected Dr. Ryan as captain. So eager were the patriotic citizens to unite with this first company that the ranks were soon filled and many had to be denied admission, and a second company was organized the Georgia Rangers.
The organization of the Volunteers was completed by the election of Dr. John Laidler as First Lieutenant, George W. (Tobe) Carruthers, Second Lieutenant, and Dr. Sim W. Taylor, Third Lieutenant, and John A. Young, Orderly Sergeant, Daniel H. Mason 2nd, John W. Laidler 3rd, Moses Daniel 4th, and Daniel M. Blue 5th Sergeant. Alex. Pipkin 1st, T.J. Spivey 2nd, C.C. Benton 3rd, and George W. Folds, 4th Corporals. The services of the company were immediately tendered to the Confederate States Government at Montgomery, Ala., and training of soldiers began. There being no officer or member of the Volunteers acquainted with military tactics to much extent, General O.C. Horne, a well-drilled veteran of the Mexican war, kindly volunteered his services as drill master, and under his careful training our company soon learned to manual of arms and order of parading as well as to place the left foot on the ground at the word hep. For a company of men utterly unacquainted with the art at the beginning, the company was pronounced by many good judges to be well drilled for so short a time of practice.
We went into camps soon after organization at the old Methodist church, between where the residences of E.A. Burch and J.A. Thompson now stand. There was a beautiful grove there at the time. We were well supplied with tents, cooking utensils and other camp equipage, and soon realized to a small extent the life of a soldier. The change from soft beds and close rooms to a blanket on boards and in an open tent, did not agree very well with some of us, but nothing serious resulted from the exposure, and we realized the benefit of having a little camp experience at home. The writer would be glad to give a full account of all the incidents of our soldier life at home but that would make the sketch too long. Therefore, we will mention only a few, which we think will most interest the reader.
After a few days of first camp life and delay in receiving marching orders, we were all permitted to go home and look after our domestic affairs, to return as soon as orders were received to repair for departure for the seat of war. The signal to apprise us of the receipt of these orders, we were informed, would be the report of a cannon, which, by some means, had come into possession by our town. Imagine a set of men, scattered in all portions of the county, each eager to hear the welcome news that our services were needed at the front as we toiled, each at his respective avocation how the heart leaped at the distinct sound even for many miles of the report of that cannon on a calm morning in the early part of May. Reader, you may imagine that we are going too far when we say that we were delighted when our marching orders were received, which may have been in the cases of those whose family ties bound them in strong cords at home. But the great majority of our company being ambitious to immortalize themselves on the battle field, and being men without families dependent upon them, we can truthfully say that they received the news with gladness. A little incident connected with the firing of that cannon will not, we presume, be out of place here. Mr. Sam B. Stevens, the mischief man of the company (though a whole-souled man and brave soldier) applied to the captain and received permission to manage the giving of the signal, promising to give a report that would be heard by the members in the remotest corners of the county, even those who were asleep. His promise was fulfilled to the letter. He loaded the cannon, but no one except himself knows how much powder he used in the charge. He placed the cannon on one side of a large tree (on our camping ground) and himself on the other, and managed some way to apply the match, when the citizens thought for a moment that they were in the midst of an earthquake. It is said that only one small portion of the cannon could be found, and that was in the rear of Mannings store (John Henry & Sons present stand) a distance of three or four hundred yards, where it had fallen and killed a hog. Sam was unhurt, but the large tree did not live long afterwards.
From previous understanding, as before stated, we all knew what the report of the cannon meant, and in a few hours every member of the Volunteers was at his post, and we were again in camps. The order being only to prepare to receive marching orders at any moment, our officers went to work more diligently in training the soldiers for service.
We neglected to mention a pleasant little episode in the history of the company which took place previous to the incidents above narrated the presentation of a beautiful flag to the company by the ladies of Hawkinsville. This took place on the 26th of April. It was presented in a beautiful little speech by Mrs. O.C. Horne, and received in behalf of the company by private (afterwards Captain) W.W. Williamson. The writer has been requested by members of the company to give both these speeches in this sketch, but this would take up too much space, and we give the closing remarks of Mrs. Horne, which, as it speaks the heartfelt sentiments of the ladies of Hawkinsville and Pulaski county at the time, shows that the patriotic hearts of these dear creatures were with us:
Take it, soldiers! And return with it to your homes with honor, or die beneath its folds in defence of Southern Rights and the independence of the Confederate States, and amidst all the dangers and trials of a soldiers life, let it remind you that you have the earnest prayers of the donors for your safety and success.
We also give an extract showing the gist of Mr. Williamsons speech, which every soldier, looking upon that banner as a symbol of the cause in which he had enlisted, felt was from the hearts of the company.
But the soldier should speak in acts rather than in words, and here in the presence of all this (sic) people, we pledge to defend that proud banner in all its pristine purity and loveliness, unsullied and untarnished, with our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honors.
How they fulfilled this pledge, made through their beloved comrade, will be shown before this sketch is closed.
The next important event in the history of the company was our pleasant trip to Dublin, Laurens county, on a visit to the Blackshear Guards of that place. On the morning of May 9th, 1861, between sixty and seventy of the volunteers, all who could conveniently get off, set out in different kinds of conveyances, furnished for the occasion by the citizens of Hawkinsville, for the pleasant little town of Dublin. The evening of the first day brought us to the handsome residence of Hayden Hughes, Esq., where we had been previously invited to spend the night, and we were all very hospitably entertained by that genial gentleman. Everything that could be desired was offered for the comfort of every guest. After a patriotic address from our host and pleasant replies from Capt. Ryan and others the next morning we proceeded on our journey to Dublin, where we arrived about 10 oclock and were received by the citizens and the Blackshear Guards, all with open hearts and hands. A battalion was formed of the Volunteers and Guards, and our first battalion drill was performed, commanded by Gen. O.C. Horne, who accompanied our party, with Lt. W.S. Ramsay, of the Guards, acting as adjutant. The drill was highly enjoyed by both citizens and men of both companies, as well as to the battalion officers.
After the drill the visitors were happily entertained by the Guards, and enjoyed, after the fatigue of the drills, the splendid dinner spread before them by the good citizens of Dublin and vicinity. In the afternoon of the 10th the Volunteers bid their friends farewell and returned on their way home as far as the residence of Mr. Samuel Yopp, four miles this side of Dublin, where we had accepted an invitation to spend the night, having received a like invitation from Mr. A.R. Coley, Sr., near the Pulaski line. Mr. Yopp vied with his friend Hughes in extending hospitalities, and the Volunteers enjoyed their visit. Both gentlemen insisted that their guests should occupy the sleeping arrangements prepared for them, but being in the habit of sleeping in tents on the ground, the soldiers were afraid they would catch cold by sleeping in feather beds and begged to be excused. Leaving our host on the morning of the 11th, we proceeded on our journey homeward, arriving at Mr. Coleys just in time for the very handsome dinner prepared for us. After enjoying the hospitality of Mr. Coley, whose noble soul was as large as his body, and being favored patriotic speeches from himself and Major Joe White, another whole-souled gentleman, who showed us much kindness, we renewed our journey, arriving in Hawkinsville about nightfall. Each soldier felt in his heart that the names of H. Hughes, Samuel Yopp, A.R. Coley, Sr., J.M. White and a host of friends in Dublin would never be forgotten by them.
We resumed our position in camps and soon received orders to proceed to Richmond, Va., which news was received with mingled joy and grief. It had long been the desire of the members of the company that they should be assigned to the field in Virginia, where it was evident the struggle would take place, and also to become a member of the regiment Bartow was organizing. Both these desires we now learned were to be gratified. But amid the joy of the reception of this news came the realization that we were soon to part with loved ones, perhaps never to meet them again.
On the morning of May 23d, 1861, the town was thronged with citizens, male and female, grown people and children, to see this first company depart for the seat of war and bid them farewell. A sumptuous dinner was prepared for the occasion, preceded by an enthusiastic meeting of citizens at the Methodist church, where a large sum of money was subscribed to pay the expenses of equipping the military of the county. The Georgia Rangers, who were to follow us in two or three days, were formed in front of the Methodist church with the Volunteers to hear the farewell address of Rev. Geo. R. McCall, in behalf of the citizens. The spirit of the address was never forgotten by the soldiers. Mr. McCall was then a resident of Longstreet.
About three oclock in the afternoon, after bidding farewell to all in our reach, feeling that each shake of the hand was accompanied by a fervent prayer for our safety and success, from a heart too full for utterance, we marched to the ferry escorted by the Rangers, where we crossed the river and mounted the conveyances furnished for our transportation to Buzzard Roost, then the terminus of the Macon and Brunswick Railroad. Proceeding about nine miles up the river road, we camped for the night on the plantation of Mr. T.N. Sutton. Not until we became settled in our camps for the night did we fully realize what a sacrifice of home comforts we had made. But it was not in the heart of any member to turn back.
We reached Buzzard Roost about ten oclock on the morning of the 24th, where we remained until next day, and took the train about noon on the 25th for Macon, where we arrived in due time, remaining this night at Camp Oglethorpe, and purchasing in the city such articles as we needed, which could not be furnished in Hawkinsville. Leaving Macon early on the morning of the 26th, we reached Wilmington, N.C., early on the 27th, a collision of our train with another, near Branchville, S.C., being the only incident to mar the pleasure of our trip.
Passing through Augusta, Ga., we were joined by the Butler Van Guards, from Taylor county, and Chattahoochee Beauregards, from Chattahoochee, who all proved to be pleasant companions in our travels.
Remaining in Wilmington only a few minutes, we proceeded via Weldon, arriving at Petersburg, Va., late at night on the 27th, and remaining there until about nine on the morning of the 28th, when we proceeded to Richmond, arriving in that city in a couple of hours.
One little incident in Petersburg will perhaps be interesting to the survivors and we will be pardoned we are sure, for reviving it. It seems that each one of the three companies mentioned had engaged a passenger coach, from different railroad officials, on which to proceed to Richmond, and being only two passenger coaches that could be procured, there was a struggle as to which companies should occupy them, and for a while it seemed that the friendship which had grown so intimate between the companies was about to come to a close. Prof. John H. Brantly, who had accompanied us, requested the Volunteers to stand back and let him whip out the whole crowd and then we could have both coaches. During this time the three captains had compared notes, and it being apparent that all had been treated wrong, especially the Volunteers, the Chattahoochee and Taylor companies, who had possession of the coaches, marched out, and with the Volunteers, sought and obtained another train with open cars, comfortably arranged with seats, where all fared alike and enjoyed a splendid ride. The boys did not like the idea of riding in box cars then, but soon learned to appreciate even a stock car filled with horses.
On our arrival in Richmond we were sent to Hollingsworth Grove, a beautiful suburb of the city, and comfortably quartered.
Continue to Part 2
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Larsons 8th Georgia Volunteer Infantry
Georgia Units in the Civil War
U.S. Civil War Center Index
Pulaski County, Georgia GenWeb Project