The Butts County Boys' War
by Carole E. Scott
The Stories of Benjamin Lewis McGough and John Oliver Andrews
Benjamin Lewis McGough (pictured below right) was born in 1849 to in Butts County to Thomas and Nancy (McClure) McGough. Thomas' immigrant parents had moved from South Carolina to what was to become Greene County before 1800 in order to obtain the free land offered Revolutionary War veterans. In response to the removal of the Indians West of Greene, Thomas migrated to what was then a part of Henry County, but which later became Butts County.
"Where I was born," Benjamin Lewis wrote in a history of the McGough family, "now is called Starks [sic], Ga., a small town on the Strickland Road. There was no town there then, only a cross road. My Father sold out and purchased a home five miles west of Jackson and moved there when I was only a year old. There I spent my childhood days: I had a good time, though I did not realize it then."
Butts County is a Middle Georgia county located South of Atlanta and North of Macon. Stark is located five miles Northeast of Jackson, the county seat. Stark was established on land originally belonging to Thomas McGough. Butts County farmers owned either a few or no slaves.
John Oliver Andrews was born to the McGough's neighbors four years before their youngest son, Lewis, was born. In May, 1921, when John Oliver Andrews was 76 years old, he wrote an account of his service in General A. P. Hill's Light Division. In part because relatively few of its veterans wrote accounts of their service, the Light Division has received less attention than have many other units in the Army of Northern Virginia.
The Confederate Prison at Andersonville
Vastly more rare are accounts like Lewis McGough's account of his service at the prison at Andersonville, for while there are numerous accounts of life at the Confederate prison at Andersonville written by Union soldiers imprisoned there, accounts by Confederates who served there are very rare, and none has received the great amount of exposure given several of the accounts of Union soldiers.
The Confederate prison at Andersonville has received far more attention than has any other Confederate prison. The greater attention given Andersonville may be an example of the greater power of pictures than words. Ironically, it was due to an act of mercy on the part of Confederate officials that gave the North a chance to take photographs of emaciated prisoners from Andersonville that received wide circulation and elicited great outrage. Although the North would not provide any prisoners in exchange, the Confederacy released from Andersonville the prisoners who were in the worst condition, and these men were photographed once they arrived in the North, where they received a great deal of publicity and aroused great anger at the Confederacy due to the men's ghastly appearance.
Because the North was usually on the offensive, and military men believed the attacker must substantially outnumber defenders in order to prevail, General Grant believed the Union lost by exchanging prisoners, as one Confederate soldier equaled in value several Union soldiers. Therefore, late in the War the North brought the exchange of prisoners to a halt. The shortening of the War that halting the exchange of prisoners would bring about, it was argued, was worth the terrible cost paid by the men who were captured--a cost made all the more terrible by the relentless destruction the South's ability to feed and clothe even its citizens that the North's adoption of a policy of total war brought about. Another reason for halting the exchange of prisoners was that the burden of guarding and caring for prisoners was greater for the South than the North.
The Civil War was a very expensive war, and the nightmarish conditions Union prisoners were subjected to in Confederate prisons provided the Union with an excuse to treat Confederate prisoners badly, as this appealed both to the emotions and the pocketbook. As a result, John Oliver Andrews' worst wartime experience was his short imprisonment at the relatively balmy Union prison at Point Lookout, Maryland.
Although the initial plan was to try Confederate President Jefferson Davis both for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the mistreatment of Union prisoners, the only man tried was Henry Wirz, a Swiss immigrant with a thick German accent who was the lowest level Confederate officer responsible for the Andersonville prison. The United States charged Wirz with "maliciously, willfully, and traitorously, in aid of the then existing armed rebellion against the United States of America" conspiring with others "to injure the health and destroy the lives of soldiers in the military service of the United States."
Wirz was convicted and hung. Shortly before the War ended, a Confederate Army surgeon, Dr. Joseph Jones, a professor of medical chemistry at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, was sent to investigate conditions at Andersonville. In his report he described the stockade at Andersonville as enclosing 27 acres. This area was enclosed by three sets of walls made of pine logs firmly planted in the ground. The first of these was 20 feet high; the next, 16 feet high; and the third, 12 feet high. Earthworks enabled the guards to see into the stockade. A stream ran through the enclosed area. Although the water was quite good as it entered the stockade, it was filthy with human excrement as it exited the stockade.
In August, 1864 32,899 Federals were crowed into the stockade. In his long and detailed report, Dr. Jones noted that many of the 2,000 to 3,000 old men and boys guarding the prisoners were wholly unfit even for guard duty. During July and August, 1864, 66.4 percent of the entire Confederate command were on the sick roll at one time or another, and 2.3 percent of them died. Still, they were much better off than the prisoners inside the appallingly unsanitary stockade. The burden on the Confederacy of taking care of the prisoners, he believed, was intolerable. He estimated that the number of prisoners held by the Confederacy at least equaled one quarter the number of its own troops in the field. He did not think it was possible to do any better in the sparsely-populated rural area that, for security reasons, the prison was located in. He noted that in Southwest Georgia where the prison was located communications were very poor; there were few or no manufactories of importance; an inflated and almost worthless currency; no commerce; and little medicine because the United States had declared medicine "contraband of war." Thousands of civilians, he noted, had by then fled their homes and were living in old cars, sheds, and bush tents along the State's railroad lines.
One of the most scathing attacks on the Confederacy's treatment of Union prisoners at Andersonville was written by John McElroy, who was imprisoned there. He was outraged by the fact that although the stockade was surrounded by woods, prisoners did not have adequate wood for constructing shelters and burning to keep warm. However, he remarked upon the fact that prisoners ceased to be let outside the stockade to cut timber because those let out to do so often escaped. Like many others, he complained bitterly about the inhumanity of the "dead line." This was a low fence a short distance from the inner wall. If a prisoner went over it, he was shot. However, he remarked upon the fact that the "dead line" was built after some prisoners tunneled under the wall. He claimed that Confederate guards stripped incoming prisoners or their every possession of any value right down to their brass buttons. Yet, he subsequently spoke of prisoners exchanging a wide variety of items with each other and with the guards.
Too Young to Join the Army
Lewis McGough began his account of his life with a short description of his childhood. "When I was not in school," he wrote, "I fished and hunted birds, squirrels, and rabbits. I also made truck wheel wagons and worked calves to them. I did not have to work on the farm, Father owning Negro slaves to cultivate the farm. I was very fond of my gun and dogs. I had two very fine hunting dogs. I did the odd jobs, such as going to the mills carrying corn and wheat, to the shops, and for the mail, always riding my old pet mule named 'Pat'. She would drop me in the sandy places in the road sometimes, never hurting me, always finding a soft place. At the age of fourteen, I united myself with the Missionary Baptist Church, in Butts County, called County Line. Believing it to be the true church of Christ. I have never regretted uniting with the church, for it has been a great stay and comfort through life for me.
In the early part of 1861, the Civil War was declared. My four older brothers enlisted and went forth to battle with the Yankees for our state rights. Serving the Southern Confederacy for their rights for four years, being defeated in April, 1865. Three of my brothers returning, one was killed at Chancellorsville, Virginia, Joseph H. [Howard] McGough, June 8th, 1862." Only one letter from any of the McGough brothers appears to have been preserved. It was written by John Thomas McGough from Camp McNight, Red River County, Texas on February 10, 1862. In it he told his family he was on his way to "Misoury" and to "direct your letter to little Rock Arkasas, tenth Redgment Cavalry, Company C, care of Capt J H Rucker....tell Pa that I left all my papers with Mr Buttrill which was about five hundred dollars if I should not get back that he can get." [The author obtained this letter from her Great Aunt, Ola McGough Collins.]
"I was," explains Lewis McGough, [only] "twelve years old at the beginning of the war. I procured me a kittle [sic] drum, something to make a noise. I learned to beat marches. In 1863, I joined a boys' company, something like the Boy Scouts of today. We met in the old fields and drilled learning the manuals of arms. I beating the kettle drum to drill by. Andersonville's Drummer Boy In 1864, the government called all males to arms down to the age of sixteen years. When my company was being reorganized for service, I beat the drum for the company. When the company was mustered into service I was mustered in with the company known as Company G, Third Georgia Reserve Troops.
We were sent from Jackson, Ga., where the company was formed and mustered into service, to Macon Ga. There the regiment was formed consisting of ten companies. I was made regiment drummer. We remained at Macon for about a month, guarding Yankee prisoners in a temporary prison held there, for the permanent prison to be completed at Andersonville, where the prisoners were moved in May, 1864. There we were joined by four other regiments, forming a brigade. I was promoted brigade drummer, title of major drummer. My duties consisted of beating for the roll call, for the guard mount, every morning, for the brigade at a central point in front of Captain Wortz's [sic] headquarters, the captain commander of the prison.
Near the dead house where the dead Yankees were laid out being brought from the hospital that was built outside of the stockade, and those who died inside the stockade. During the months of July and August they died at the rate of a hundred a day. They were hauled out to the cemetery in a two-mule wagon and laid in a trench dug in the ground the width of a man's length. Side by side about a foot apart, covering them with plank without coffin or shroud, then covering with earth. Placing a head board of wood with the name of each person and his regiment marking the grave. The paroled prisoners looked after the burial and marking of their graves. There were Southern Negro slaves to do the work of digging the graves or trenches and filling the graves.
There were about sixty thousand in the stockade at Andersonville from the first of July until November, when a part of them were moved to Florida, when Sherman's army was passing through Georgia. It was charged by the North that the Confederate government was cruel and barbarous to the Yankee prisoners, but this is not true. They were cared for as well as possible. Our means of supplies were about exhausted. They were fed on a coarse food, but as good as we soldiers had. We had corn bread, beef, some bacon, rice and potatoes, but not too plentiful. It was cooked and handed out to them in mess kits as it was issued out to us. We had to do our own cooking. The prisoners' food was carried in the stockade in a two-mule wagon, and distributed out by their own men, paroled for that purpose. The paroled prisoners were not confined to the prisons, they had their own bounds to pass about without being molested.
Defense of Captain Wirz
Captain Wortz [sic] was hung after the war was over, charged with being cruel and barbarous to the Yankee prisoners, which was not true, for he was a good man at heart, as was evident to me by his many kind acts I witnessed myself. He furnished them with every convenience that was possible. I never knew of him having any one of them punished. He looked after them being fed; he would ride his large white horse in front of the commissary wagon to see that it was properly distributed. There were two armed guards and two paroled Yankees with each wagon and a Negro drove the team. The guards were necessary to keep the prisoners from making a raid on the wagon and carrying the food off promiscuously.
Captain Wortz permitted the prisoners to have their own laws in the Stockade. They established a court with officers to carry on the court and enforce their laws, but could not inflict punishment on their fellow prisoners without submitting them to Captain Wortz in writing and getting his approval. On one occasion I remember, there were five Yankee prisoners arrested for robbery and murder; they were tried by their court and convicted. They were sentenced to be hung. [Other accounts say more than five men were involved.] The cases, as tried, were submitted to Captain Wortz in command of the stockade. He passed on the cases and approved them, [and] sent them back to the court for the judgment to be carried out. They built the gallows on an open space in the stockade long enough to hang the five men all at the same time. When the day arrived for their execution, all five men were brought out and lined up on the scaffold under the gallows, the ropes were placed around their necks, and when all was ready the scaffold was knocked from under them. Four of them hung, while the fifth one, who was a very large man, broke his rope, and hit the ground running. He was run down and brought back and hung in the same place before the other four were cut down. A number of we soldiers had a good view of the proceedings from a high hill outside of the stockade. I witnessed it all. Other prisoners who violated their laws were tried and, if found guilty, were punished in various ways, by bucking and gagging and other methods. They had their own judge, lawyers, that passed on their cases. Also sheriffs and police to execute their laws.
It's Revealed One of the Prisoners Is a Woman!
One other incident that took place at Andersonville, I will relate in my story as the previous one, and this one was never in any history or given to the public in any way. A young couple from Ireland came over to our country during the Civil War, and landed in New York. The young husband enlisted or [was] drafted in the Northern army. His young wife could not bear the idea of having her young husband leaving her in a strange land among strangers without any kind of protection. They planned a way so that they could be together; the young wife had her hair cut short like a man and clothed herself in her husband's clothes. She enlisted with her husband and they went to war together. They were sent to Virginia and were taken prisoners by the Confederate army and sent to Andersonville prison. The young wife's sex was discovered in the stockade and was reported to the Captain. He had her and her husband brought out of the stockade and placed in a tent in front of his headquarters. A few days later the young wife gave birth to a child, the sex of the child I do not remember. She did well, and in a few days she was sitting in front of the tent on a camp stool nursing her child. They remained about a month longer and then they disappeared. I was told Captain Wortz paroled them out and sent them back to the North. I passed by their tent every day while they were there. I never heard of them after they left. [I] have always wondered why this incident was never published and given out to the public.
I remained in the army at Andersonville until about the 15th of October, when I obtained a furrow [sic]. I was at home in Butts County when Atlanta was taken by Sherman's army and was leaving Atlanta on his march to the coast. My Father and Mother were afraid for me to remain at home for fear I would be carried off a prisoner. At that time the Andersonville army was moving the Yankee prisoners to Florida, and I did not know how to return to them. I then joined the State Militia army as they were passing in front of Sherman's army. I was with my brother [James] Robert, who was in that army at that time. [He had been send home from the 14th Georgia in Virginia due to disability.]
I was discharged in March following and returned home about a month before the surrender of the Confederate army. I found that almost everything that my parents had, had been taken or destroyed by Sherman's army. They were alone with the Negroes, about twenty in number. I found the Negroes were doing all they could to relieve the situation. About a month later, my three brothers returned home, and we went to work, and we soon relieved conditions to a certain extent."
John Andrews' First Service
John Oliver Andrews' explanation for writing about his service in the Confederate Army that, "realizing the importance of every ex-soldier who served in any war leaving a record of his services rendered in that war by him gives information that perhaps in the distant future might be useful and appreciated by his posterity, I herein write a short sketch of the little part I took in the War Between the States. In the first place, I will start back in my early life and sketch at random some incidents which come up in my memory. I realize that I am a poor writer, but what I write is facts (not fiction). The house I was born and raised in is still standing on the hill on the road leading from Jackson to Stark (Georgia) now owned by old Uncle Billy Saunders, who is ninety-four (94) years old and lives at Jenkinsburg." [After the Civil War, his son, William, an Atlanta policeman who rose to the rank of Cief of Dectectives, married Emma McGough, daughter of Lewis' brother James Robert.]
John Andrews said he "...was brought up on a farm, worked hard and enjoyed it as well as the average boy I suppose. I attended school after crops were laid by for a few weeks till fodder was ready to pull and those few weeks each year were all the school privileges I ever had. At the age of sixteen (16) I went to the war; hence, I failed to get an education, which is the best legacy that can be given a boy. If he misses that, it is a hard pull for him to get along though life. When a boy, I little thought of the necessity of an education. My only thought being to have a good time hunting and fishing. I and my brother James, who was four years older than myself, kept good dogs and spent a lot of time hunting in a large body of woodland nearby that abounded with game. In season, we hunted for o'possums, catching a lot of them and occasionally a coon, wild cats. etc. Shooting squirrels was fine sport, and the woods were full of them. There was no shooting of quail in those days, but we caught many with our nets and traps. It was a great delight to me to trap birds. I can think back now of those days as the happiest time of my life.
I could write a book of the little incidents that come up fresh in my mind occurring in my boyhood days. I was brought up by pious Christian parents that saw that I knew my Sabbath School lesson and required my prompt attendance every Sunday, which I thought at that time was pretty hard on a boy. Later on in life I realized that they were right and have ever cherished the memory of such dutiful parents."
Because he was older, unlike Lewis McGough, John Andrews saw active service. "When war was declared," he says, "there was a rush to arms. My three older brothers enlisted immediately. The two oldest, William and Allen, enlisted in the Thirtieth (30th) Georgia Infantry and while in camp below Savannah contracted fever and died, William in May and Allen in November, 1862. Brother James enlisted in the Fourteenth Georgia Regiment and went to Virginia. I was so anxious to go with him for we had always been inseparable companions, but being under age, I had to stay at home.
My Father thought that three was enough for him to furnish, so that settled the question so far as my going was concerned. My Father and a few others put up a salt works on the coast below Savannah and made salt to supply the people in our County (Butts). I will state here that salt couldn't be bought at scarcely any price during the war, so it had to be made some way. A good many works were put up on the coast and it was made in a crude way. A lot of people, principally women with the help of the Negro slaves would dig the dirt from their smoke house, putting same in hoppers and drip the salt water from it, boil down and make a pretty good quality of salt in that way. I worked at the salt works near Savannah three months, my job being to haul salt to the depot at Savannah, a distance of twelve (12) miles.
A trip would be made nearly every day, and I drove a pair of good black mules. I looked upon it as a pretty hard job and wanted to go home, for it was the first time I was ever away from home. I would try to get sick for an excuse to go home. One day I did feel sick just a little, so I told Mr. Harold Byers, the boss, I was sick and wanted to go home. He was a good, kind hearted old man and let me off. He sent a hand with me with a load to the depot to drive the team back. So I boarded the first train for home. I was glad to get back to my dear old Mother, but I wasn't long satisfied at home.
Forging an Officer's Signature to Get to Virginia
I wanted to go to Virginia, where brother James was located, but my Father didn't want met go to the war, for he had already lost two sons and the other one badly wounded. Therefore, he managed to get me on the Provost Guard in Atlanta in Captain Longino's Battalion, and I was on duty in and around Atlanta four months. I got tired of that job and decided to make an effort to get to Virginia. I was on duty in Oakland Cemetery, coming off duty at twelve o'clock at night, and I wrote a pass for twenty-four hours to go home to see a sick Mother, signing Captain Longino's name to it. I fixed up a little bundle of my clothes and slipped out, went to the old car shed, boarded the first train and was soon on my way to join the army in Virginia.
I landed in Richmond in due time, but had a lot of trouble finding out where the command my brother was in was located. I finally learned that they were at Fredericksburg; so I started for that point and Rappahannock River. I at once enlisted on the sixteenth (16th) of March, 1863, in Captain Carter's (T. M.) command, Co. I, Fourteenth (14th) Georgia Regiment, Thomas' Brigade, T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson's Division. Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, May 2nd, 1863, and died ten days later. We were then assigned to General Wilcox's Division in A. P. Hill's Corps.
The following morning, just at daylight, we charged the Federal line of battle in our front commanded by General Hooker. We broke their line, got them stampeded, and ran then across the river. My Brother was wounded, having his left eye shot out. He was sent back to Richmond, given a furlough and was gone six months. He rejoined his command with one eye and was finally killed at Petersburg, Va." [Two of Lewis McGough's brothers also served in Thomas' Brigade. They were William Marion McGough and James Robert McGough.]
General Edward Long Thomas was a veteran of the Mexican War. Shortly after graduating from Emory College, he enlisted as a private in a Georgia regiment. As a reward for bravery, he was promoted to lieutenant. After the War he turned down a commission in the regular Army and became a planter. President Jefferson Davis appointed him colonel and authorized him to raise a regiment in Georgia. His regiment entered the Battle of Seven Pines with old, remodeled flint-lock rifles, but left it with the best rifles of the enemy. Thomas' brigade was subsequently assigned to General A. P. Hill's Light Division, which was part of General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson's command. Hill's Light Division is thought by some to have been the most famous division in the Confederate army. The best four brigades in the Light Division were Pender's, Lane's, McGowan's, and Thomas'.
When the Light Division was split prior to the Battle of Gettysburg and put under Pender's command, the Light Division consisted only of these four brigades. Routing the Yankees at Chancellorsville The reports of General Thomas and Colonel Robert W. Folsom of the 14th Georgia reveal that the 14th Georgia was sent to Catherine Furnace, an iron furnace, in order to assist an artillery train which was in danger of being cut off. Ultimately the whole Brigade was sent there. Upon reaching a plank road three miles Northwest of Chancellorsville, they left the train and marched towards Chancellorsville, halting short of the town and forming a line in some woods. Early the next morning they were ordered to charge the enemy, which was entrenched, reported Colonel Folsom, behind a breastwork of logs. After driving a "very heavy force of skirmishers before us," General Thomas reported, the "brigade charged with promptness and energy, and at the first charge drove the enemy, utterly routed, from their intrenched [sic] position." Moving on to the Federals second line, the Brigade again drove then from their position. Then the third line was repulsed. Finding his Brigade caught between a large number of Federals advancing on the left and others "making demonstration" on the right, General Thomas ordered his brigade to fall back, where it remained until the whole line advanced.
In his report of this action, General Thomas commended Colonel Folsom and three officers of the 45th, 49th, and 35th. Five officers of Thomas' Brigade lost their lives that day. One of General Rodes' officers reported that he looked back the night before and saw a splendid sight: A. P. Hill's troops "coming up in line of battle--their ranks intact--their alignment as perfect as if on dress parade, their battle flags well advanced to the front, and the sun, now sinking to rest, making their bayonets and rifles shine like polished silver." At Chancellorsville, Jackson's greatest flank attack caught the Federals totally off guard and produced the most thorough stampede of the War. Tragically, he had little time to savor his accomplishment because, thinking they were Federals, some of General James H. Lane's North Carolinians fired upon Jackson and Hill and their staffs, killing Jackson. Wounded in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. [The preceding information about the 14th Georgia and its men was gathered from "The Official Records of the War of Rebellion" and various histories of this war.]
"The next battle I was in," John Andrews wrote, "was at Gettysburg, Pa., July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1863. I was wounded the afternoon of the 3rd in Pickett's charge, laid on the battlefield in a wheat field until eleven o'clock that night, and was carried out by Alex Holsenback (now living in Jasper County) to the field hospital. I laid there on the ground with no blanket or anything in the way of cover until one of my Company, Yelverton Thaxton, split his blanket open and put half of it over me. A deed of this kind can never be forgotten. Early the next morning, July 4th, 1863, orders came to load all the wounded in ambulances wagons, etc., and start back to cross the Potomac River into Virginia. I was placed in an ambulance on my back and had to lay there for two days and nights, it requiring that time to get back to Winchester, Va., where we were taken out and placed in a hospital. The good ladies of that city gave every attention possible, but we were there only three days, when we were placed in [railroad] fruit cars and sent to Richmond, Va.
They kept me there in Winder Hospital until September 17th, 1863, when I was given a sixty day furlough home. I was sure glad to get back home, where my dear old Mother was prayerfully waiting for my return. It seemed that the sixty days was the happiest time of my life and also the shortest. At the expiration of my sixty day furlough I was about well, so I returned to my command, which was in camp near Harrisonburg in northwestern Virginia."
According to the "Confederate Military History," there were forty-seven regiments engaged in Pickett's charge. Nineteen of these were from Virginia, fifteen being in Pickett's division and four in Heth's; fifteen regiments were from North Carolina, three from Tennessee, seven from Alabama, and three from Mississippi. General Thomas' report on the Gettysburg campaign was short and lacking in detail. He mentioned fighting only once, saying that, "the brigade lost many valuable men and officers in heavy skirmishing with the enemy."
By order of General Pender, he wrote, the Brigade formed a line of battle on the left of a road leading to Gettysburg and advanced to within about one mile of the town to support General Heth's division. The Brigade then moved further to the front and took a position assigned by General Hill. The Brigade remained there until near sunset and then, by order of General Pender, it took a position near Gettysburg on the right of the town in support of some artillery men. It occupied this position until July 2, when together with General McGowan's brigade, it took a position in an open field about 300 yards in front of the enemy's line to the right of General Ewell's Corps. It remained there until the night of July 3, when the Brigade was ordered to take a position in woods on the right of Gettysburg. The Brigade left there on the night of July 4th and commenced a march towards Hagerstown, Maryland. "The conduct of men and officers," he wrote, "throughout the campaign was highly commendable."
In his report, General James H. Lane said that, "Rodes' front line occupied the road, Thomas and Perrin extending the same with their commands, the right of Thomas brigade resting a short distance from an orchard, near a brick dwelling and barn." On the morning of the third skirmishing was very heavy in front of Thomas and Perrin, requiring at times whole regiments to be deployed to resist the enemy and drive them back, "which was most gallantly done." Clearly, there is reason to question whether John Andrews participated in Pickett's charge.
On the other hand, the accounts of various participants are lacking in detail and confusing, and there's no question that officers' reports are not always accurate. For example: on May 5, 1864, General Robert E. Lee wrote a report to the Confederate Secretary of War concerning the activity on May 4 of the division John Andrews served in. Wilcox's and Heth's divisions, claimed Lee, "successfully resisted repeated and desperate assaults" and maintained their position until night when the "contest closed."
Simultaneously, Union General George G. Meade was writing to General U. S. Grant that, "Warren informs me that Wadsworth and Robinson got into action just in time to meet Wilcox's division (Hill's corps), and drove them handsomely for a mile." In his book, Pickett's Charge: A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, George R. Stewart points out that General Lee ordered General Longstreet to attack on his front; General Ewell to threaten on the left or, if conditions called for it, attack; and General Hill to hold the center at all hazards. Unlike Longstreet, he concluded, Pickett advanced with the column. "Under his orders, apparently, were all the nine brigades....Pickett also probably had the command over Wilcox and his two brigades, though the evidence is not wholly clear. Hill reported himself as commanding Anderson's division and Thomas' and MacGowan's brigades of Pender's division. But all these troops were in one way or another involved in the support of the attack, and must have been at Longstreet's call."
"A few days after my return [from the hospital]," John Andrews wrote, "our Brigade was ordered to move to Orange Court House, a distance of eighty (80) miles. The ground was covered with snow and we had to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains, a very rough country. I gave out the first day as my wounded leg gave me so much trouble and I had to ask our Lieutenant Colonel, W. L. Goldsmith, who was in command, for a pass to fall out of ranks. He did so telling me to follow the army as best I could and take my time. I then sat down by a pine tree, and was soon in shape where I couldn't walk at all; hence, I stayed by that tree until the next morning with only one blanket and no fire. I nearly froze that horrible night as the snow fell to a depth of several inches and the trees were bent with ice. I have often wondered how it was possible to live through such a night on the side of that mountain, but can now think back over my past life and recall to mind many close calls I have passed through, realizing at the same time that it was the hand of a merciful God that protected me.
The Hard Road to Defeat
The next morning I started on the best I could and soon met three others that had to fall out of ranks. We winded our way slowly, passing over the Blue Ridge Mountains and lived by foraging on the few people that lived on the route. The invading armies had already taken practically all of their food and they could give us very little to eat, but that little was given cheerfully. Within a week we reached our command, which was in camp at Orange Court House.
The Spring campaign opened the first of May, and I was in the Battle of the Wilderness the 5th and 6th of May, 1864. Our Col. Folsom was killed in the battle on the 6th, falling within a few feet of me. I made an effort to raise him up but saw that he was dead, a ball having gone through his heart. He was certainly a fine officer." "The next battle I was in was on the 12th of May, 1864, at Spotsylvania Court House, where we lost the most of our Company, either killed, wounded or made prisoners. Shortly afterwards, we were in a hard battle at Hanover Junction, where two of our company, Henry Collins and Jim Evans, were killed. H. P. Dodson and Matt Harris were captured."
General Hill was too ill to command at Spotsylvania, and so command was transferred to General Jubal Early. Hanover Junction was of great importance because the Virginia Central and Fredericksburg and Potomac railroads crossed there. Andrews "...missed that fight on account of being left to guard the company's baggage. The battle opened late in the afternoon of June 22nd, 1864, and lasted until during the night. I laid on the pile of baggage and had a good night's rest and sleep. The roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry nearby didn't disturb me at all. The next morning some of our cavalry were passing and asked me what I was doing there. I told them just guarding the baggage. At their request, I told them what command I belonged to, and they informed me that command had left early in the night after the fighting had ceased, going back in the direction of Orange Court House, and if I remained there I would soon be taken prisoner, as the Yankees were nearby.
Therefore, I left all the boys' baggage and struck out down the road in the direction I was told they went. I met a lone Yank slightly wounded in the foot. He said, 'halt there and surrender. 'I said, 'no sir, you consider yourself my prisoner for you are wounded and I am not. You will go with me.' He said, 'well, if I must go with you it will be very slow, for it hurts me to walk, and I am sure you will soon be a prisoner, as our men are nearby.' I readily saw the situation, so I told him to give me that tin cup that was tied to his belt, and he could go on his way. He never said a word, but just handed me the cup. I said, 'farewell, Yank.' He said, "goodbye, Johnnie.' I wasn't long making distance between me and those Yanks. Late in the afternoon, I reached my command."
Grant's siege of Petersburg had begun. As a result, the 18,800 gaunt men in Hill's half of the Army of Northern Virginia lived a hellish life, spending most of their time in a vast maze of trenches, forts. redoubts, and tunnels around Petersburg. Periodically they ventured forth to prevent the Federals from wrecking sections of the Weldon Railroad. Skirmishing and sharp shooting went on constantly.
"The next battle I was in was June 25th, 1864, on the Welden [sic] Road, South of Petersburg, Virginia, where I went through some exciting and dangerous experiences. I and Jim O'Neal, of my company, were on the picket line, when the Federal line of battle advanced. Our orders were to fire on them and fall back to our line. They opened a volley on our line and our line opened fire on them; hence, we were between the two lines. We saved ourselves by jumping in a hole where a big oak tree had blown down and the clay roots gave protection. Another man we didn't know jumped in behind us, and was struck by a grape shot and killed."
"After that battle, we went into camp for several weeks and did picket duty on the Rapadan [sic] River, it being the dividing line between the two armies. While I was standing alone on duty one morning on the river bank about day light, a drove of wild turkeys came in sight. Our instructions was [sic] not to shoot unless we saw the enemy advancing; in that case, to fire and fall back to the line, which would be a signal for the line of battle to fall in and be ready to meet the advancing foe. I knew it would give trouble back in camp, but I just couldn't resist the temptation to shoot, for I wanted the old gobbler; however, I failed to bring him down. I was then relieved and sent back to camp, where the Orderly Sergeant said he would accompany me to the Colonel's quarters. I knew I was up against it. The Colonel asked why I fired my gun on the picket line, and I told him the truth about it. He said he knew it was a temptation and consequently would let me off light. He gave me good lecture and told the sergeant to have me stand on the head of a barrel for two hours. I thought that would be nothing to do, but I soon found I was mistaken, for it was certainly a hard job. I got so tired and hot I thought I would surely die, although the barrel turned over once, which gave me a little rest.. That was the only time I was ever punished for disobeying orders.
A Foolhardy Act
On the night of April 1st, 1865, I, together with a small detachment of men, under command of Lieutenant D. W. Patterson, were placed on the picket line five or six hundred yards in front of our main line and near the Yankees' line. We kept up an occasional firing all night. It being dark and a mist of rain falling, we could just take aim at the flash of their guns and they would fire back at us the same way. I and my partner, Billie Tomlinson, dug a hole with our bayonets, shoveled out the dirt with our hands and banked it up in front of us. We certainly did get muddy down in that hole, but it was a protection. Our orders were to move out quietly before it was light the next morning, going back to our main line, which we did, and here I will tell of a fool thing I did.
Lieutenant Patterson found that he had left a blanket he prized highly and asked if anyone would volunteer to go and get it. Reluctantly, I told him I would go. It was then getting light. The blanket was left in an open space where the timber had all been cut by the army and used for fire wood, but the brush was all scattered over the land, which made it difficult to pass over in places. I walked boldly and the Yanks thought I was a deserter coming over to their side. One fellow said, 'that's right, Johnnie, come over to us; you are in bad company over there.' I picked up the blanket and started back, which caused them to yell, 'halt there, halt!' I then started running, and they began firing, the bullets striking the brush all around us, but strange to say, I got back without a scratch. I have always believed those Yankees didn't want to hit me, but were shooting to scare me and thought perhaps I would stop and surrender. I acknowledge they succeeded in scaring me all right, and I am sure that was one time I was pale.
A Last Stand
About sunrise that morning, April 2nd, 1856, General A. P. Hill, our Corps Commander, rode up the line and deployed us out ten paces apart so as to be ready to meet five heavy lines of the enemy we could plainly see advancing in front of us on our right flank. [The man were spaced so far apart because the Confederate's ranks had been decimated by that time.] The whole country was blue with them as far as we could see, and I lost hope right then and there. It was plain that we were overpowered, and [it] was useless to go to battle with that mighty army that was advancing rapidly. I guess General Hill thought the same, for he ordered us to go back to Battery I. Gregg, and I thought we were ordered to go into the Fort, and I am sure he intended for us to do so, but he was killed about that time, and our line passed over the hill. I and George Heath went in, but I readily saw we had made a mistake. I saw my brother James just then for the last time, for I learned later on that he was killed there. I and Heath found that we were with Western men from Mississippi and Louisiana, the bravest men I ever saw in battle."
In a report written at Appomattox Court House on April 10, 1865, General James H. Lane recounted in some detail the fierce fighting which ultimately drove part of his command into Battery Gregg. "That portion of my command which retreated along the works to the left," he wrote, "made two more unsuccessful attempts to resist the enemy, the last stand being made in the Church road leading to the Jones house. It then fell back to Battery Gregg and the battery to its left, but under Major Wooten and assisted by a part of Thomas' brigade it soon after charged the enemy, by order of Major-General [Cadmus] Wilcox, and cleared the works as far as the branch on which the left of the Thirty-third rested the night previous....A part of us retreated to Battery Gregg, and the rest to the new line of works near the dam. Battery Gregg was subsequently attacked by an immense force, and fell after the most gallant and desperate defense. Our men bayoneted many of the enemy as they mounted the parapet."
Battery Gregg was a semicircle of packed earth with walls eight feet thick protected by a trench fourteen feet wide and six feet deep. It was topped with a palisade of logs and had embrasures for six guns. Inside it had a firing step so that riflemen could fire through loopholes. Adjacent to it was a smaller battery, Battery Whitworth, an unfinished trench with a parapet. If attackers reached it, they could climb into Battery Gregg. General Wilcox, the senior general present, ordered Mississippi troops into Gregg. Inside Gregg they found about 100 refugees from broken regiments hiding there who begged to be allowed to go to the rear. Because he saw that they were demoralized, Lieutenant Colonel James H. Duncan told them to go, but to leave their muskets.
General Wilcox shouted to the men in Fort Gregg that the salvation of the army was in their hands. If they could hold for two hours, General Longstreet would come up. Battery Whitworth was soon abandoned, and like the men at the Alamo, the men in Battery Gregg were left on their own to face thousands of Federals rushing through a gap in General John B. Gordon's lines. General Lane left a lieutenant in command of Battery Gregg, which was well stocked with solid shot, canister, grape, and bombs which the Confederates used with great effect. The Federals rushed Battery Gregg without shooting. When they got within 25 or 30 yards of the Battery, the Confederates could not see them until they appeared on the cannon-splintered parapet. As the Federals reached the parapet, the Confederates resorted to lighting and throwing bombshells and then bricks at the Federals. Because there wasn't time to reload as the Federals began coming into the Battery, at the end they fought with bayonets and musket butts. After Gregg fell, it was estimated that over 1,000 dead Federals lay around it. By their dogged resistance, the men of Battery Gregg may have saved many of their fellow soldiers from massacre.
"There were only a eighty-two (82) men in the Fort," Andrews recalled, "and [they] were surrounded by one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) Yankees (according to history), and it was an hour before they succeeded in capturing the Fort. Thirty-two (32) of us got out alive, the others being killed. That was one time I know I killed a man. I got ready to shoot through a port hole, and, as I raised my gun to shoot, a Yank stuck his face in the hole. I fired in his face, and he fell. When they had killed all our men but thirty two (32), we couldn't stand the rush they made, and the Fort was full of them in less than a minute. A big Yank said to me, 'well Johnnie, you fought us well; have you surrendered? If so, throw down your gun and get out of your accouterments.' I started to unbuckle the belts, and he said, 'cut 'em, haven't you a knife?' I cut everything loose but my belt; I wanted to keep it, as it was a nice one with a pretty buckle. I had taken it off a dead Yankee, but he said, 'no, you don't need it, cut it.' And I did. So that ended my fighting.
We were quickly lined up and sent back to the rear to General Grant's headquarters, registered and placed under heavy guard till they started with us to City Point, where we were put on board ship. I was sent to Point Lookout Prison, where we were allowed no communication with the outside world. While in prison, I went through some of the hardest experiences I had during the entire war. We were half fed, had bad water, treated cruelly by Negro guards, and exposed to bad weather. We had only a little fly tent and had to lay on the hard ground. On the 12th of May I was lined up with others, marched to Headquarters, where I had to draw for my life. They wanted twenty (20) men to face the firing squad in retaliation for some Yankee prisoners they claimed our men killed in North Carolina. I drew blank, for which I have always felt thankful, but was scared almost to death. No battle I was ever in excited me as that did. Prison life is horrible!"
An interesting development that John Andrews didn't mention took place on March 15, 1865. Several commissioned officers in Thomas' Brigade asked General Thomas to forward a request that almost all the enlisted men had agreed to which proposed "...that negroes [sic] in the counties of Georgia which our companies hail from be conscribed [sic] in such numbers and under such regulations as the War Department may deem proper." "....When in former years," they explained, "for pecuniary purposes, we did not consider it disgraceful to labor with negroes in the field or at the same work bench, we certainly will not look upon it in any other light at this time, when an end so glorious as our independence is to be achieved. We sincerely believe that the adoption throughout our army of the course indicated in the above plan, or something similar to it, will insure a speedy availability of the negro element in our midst for military purposes and create, or rather cement, a reciprocal attachment between the men now in service and the negroes highly beneficial to the service..." On March 18, 1865, General Thomas approved and forwarded it.
A Sad Homecoming
"On the 26th of June, 1865," John Andrews recalled, " I was released from prison, given transportation to Savannah and secured passage on the Steamer New York. I was four days making the trip and landed at Savannah on July 1st. Sherman's army had destroyed the railroads leading out of Savannah, so I had to walk to Waynesboro, a distance of one hundred thirty (130) miles. I and four others made the trip in six days. At Waynesboro we boarded a train and got to Covington about dark. We walked from there home that night, a distance of twenty-five (25) miles, arriving home at sunrise on the 8th of July. I was greeted by fond parents, who thought me dead. I was grief stricken at not finding my brother James there, for General Lee surrendered his army a few days after I was captured. I saw my brother James a few minutes before that time for the last time. I well remember my Father saying to Mother, 'well, this boy is all the war has left us.'
When the war started, we were a happy family of eight children, and when it ended four were gone, three brothers and one sister, Amanda, a beautiful girl of nineteen years, dying the same year that my brothers died. After returning from the war, I wanted to go to school, but there was no school for several years that I could attend. Hence, I missed an education. Our home was in Sherman's path, and his army took all of my Father's stock and destroyed everything else. Nothing was left but the land, so I had to go to work to make a living, and it was a hard pull to get along during the years of Reconstruction."
Click here to learn more about the 14th Georgia. The 14th Georgia flag shown above is from this page.
Candler, Allen D. and Clement A. Evans (editors), Cyclopedia Of Georgia (Atlanta: State Historical Association, 1906).
Evans, Clement A. (editor), Confederate Military History , 12 Vol.s (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Company, 1899).
Henderson, Lillian (compiler), Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia 1861-1865 (Hapeville: Longino & Porter, 1959).
Lonn, Ella, Salt As A Factor In The Confederacy (University: University of Alabama, 1965).
McElroy, John, This Was Andersonville (New York: Fairfax Press, 1979 edition).
McMichael, Lois (compiler), History Of Butts County (Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Co., 1978 reprint).
Paramore, Thomas C., et al (editors), Before the Rebel Flag Fell : Five Viewpoints of The Civil War (Murphreesboro: Johnson Publishing Company 1968).
Robertson, James I., Jr., General A. P. Hill, The Story of a Confederate Warrior (New York: Vintage Books, 1992)
Scott, Robert N. (compiler), The War of Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1889)
Stewart, George R., Pickett's Charge: A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1959)
Soldiers' Records From Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia 1861-865
Allen M. Andrews was enrolled as a private in Company B, 30th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Butts Invincibles), Army of Tennessee on September 25, 1861. He was appointed sergeant on May 15, 1862. He died of disease in Butts County on November 10, 1862. Vol. 3, 500 .
James H. Andrews was enrolled as a private in Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas Brigade), Army of Northern Virginia on July 12, 1861. He was wounded at 2nd Manassas, Virginia on August 30, 1862. In September of 1862 he was appointed 4th sergeant. He was wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863. He was killed at Petersburg, Virginia on March 25, 1865. Vol.2, 397.
John Oliver Andrews enlisted as a private in Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade) on March 16, 1863. On July 3, 1863, he was wounded at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was captured at Fort Gregg, Petersburg, Virginia on April 2, 1865. He was released at Point Lookout, Maryland on June 22, 1865. Vol.2, 297.
William R. Andrews, Company A, 30th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Butts Invincibles), Army of Tennessee, who was elected second lieutenant on September 25, 1861. He died at Savannah on May 17, 1862. Vol. 3, 499.
Samuel J. Collins, Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade), Army of Northern Virginia was enrolled as a private on July 12, 1861. Appointed 3rd corporal, reportedly he was only wounded and taken prisoner at at Jericho Ford, Virginia on May 23, 1864. He died of chronic "diarrhoea" at Elmira, New York on September 18, 1864. Vol. 2, 398.
Humphrey P. Dodson, Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade), was enrolled as a private on July 17, 1861. He was wounded at Richmond, Virginia in June 1862. He was captured at Jericho Ford, Virginia on May 23, 1864. He was received at Boulware's Wharf, James River, Virginia for exchange on March 16, 1865. Vol. 2, 398 James A. Evans, Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade), was enrolled as a private on July 12, 1861. He was wounded during the Seven Days Battle near Richmond, Virginia on June 26, 1862. Like Evans, according to the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, he was only wounded at Jericho Ford, Virginia on May 23, 1864. He died of his wounds at the Jackson Hospital in Richmond on May 27, 1864. Vol. 2, 398.
Robert W. Folson, Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas Brigade), was elected a major in Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry on August 1, 1861. He was promoted to captain on July 9,1861; lieutenant colonel on September 1, 1861; and colonel on October 23, 1862. According to the Roster he was only wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia on May 6, 1864; dying of his wounds in Richmond on May 24, 1864. Vol. 2, 339, 348.
Washington LaFayette Goldsmith, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade), was appointed major on May 5, 1863. He had previously been a 2nd lieutenant in Company K, 14th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Bartow County (Etowah Guards). He was elected 2nd lieutenant on October 1, 1861; captain October 25, 1861; major on May 5, 1863; lieutenant colonel on May 6, 1864. He was on furlough of indulgence for 24 days from February 1, 1865. He fought during Wilson's Raid at Macon, Georgia and was captured there on April 16, 1865 and paroled at Macon on April 25, 1865. Vol. 2, 339, 402.
James M. Harris is the only man named Harris listed as being in the as being in Company I, 14th Georgia. He was taken prisoner at Fort Gregg. Vol. 2, 399 George D. Heath enlisted as a private in Company G, 3rd Regiment, Georgia Reserve Infantry on May 17, 1864. Subsequently he appeared on the rolls of Company I, 14th Georgia. He was captured at Petersburg, Virginia on April 2, 1865. He was released at Point Loookout, Maryland on June 28, 1865. Vol 2, 399 Alexander H. Holsenbeck enlisted as a private in Company G, 4th Regiment, Georgia Infantry on April 25, 1861. He transferred to Company C, 14th Regiment, Georgia Infantry on July 9, 1861. He transferred to the Confederate Navy and served on the Merrimac. He then transferred to the privateer Tallahassee and made two trips to Nova Scotia. He then transferred to the ironclad Richmond, where he remained until he surrendered. He received monthly pay at Richmond, Virginia from March 1 to April 2, 1865. Vol. 2, 358.
George F. Longino, Jr. , Company K, 30th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Campbell County (Chattahoochee Volunteers), who was awarded the rank of second lieutenant on September 25, 1861, may have been John's commanding officer in Atlanta. He was elected captain on May24, 1862. He resigned his commission on June 5, 1863 and enlisted as a private in Company C. Captured near Atlanta on July 22, 1864, he was released at Camp Chase, Ohio on June 11, 1865. Vol. 3, 569.
James Robert McGough enlisted as a private in Company I on the same day. However, he was discharged for disability on December 13, 1861. Subsequently, in July 1864, he enlisted as a private in Company G, 6th Regiment, Georgia Militia. Vol. 2, 400.
Joseph Howard McGough was wounded in the shoulder and chest at Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. He died in a Richmond Hospital as a result of the amputation of his shoulder joint on June 3, 1863. Vol. 4, 913 William Marion McGough enlisted as a private in Company I, 14th Georgia on July 12, 1861. He was wounded at Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. He surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Vol. 2, 400.
James K. P. Neal was enrolled as a private in Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade) on July 12, 1861. Subsequently he was made corporal. He was wounded at Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Vol. 2, 401 David W. Patterson, Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade) became a 4th sergeant on July 12, 1861; appointed 3rd sergeant on July 17, 1861; and elected 2nd lieutenant on January 15, 1862; and 1st lieutenant September 12, 1862. He surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Vol. 2, 396.
Yelverton Thaxton, Jr. was enrolled in Company I, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts County (Thomas' Brigade as a private on July 9, 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863. He was recorded as having gone AWOL on February 20, 1865. Vol. 2, 402 William M. Tomlinson was enrolled as a private in Company C, 14th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Jasper County (Jasper Light Infantry) on June 1, 1862. He was wounded at Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. He was appointed 2nd corporal in 1864. Later he was appointed 4th sergeant and then an ensign. He surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. Vol. 2, 359
Record from the History of Butts County
Benjamin Lewis McGough is listed as having been in Company G, Third Georgia Reserves and being discharged for disability, which may be why he was at home when the City of Atlanta was surrendered to General Sherman, p. 398.
A copy of the history of the McGough family written--probably in the 1920s--by Benjamin Lewis McGough was given to the author by her Mother. His account of his experiences as a Confederate drummer boy was included in this history. The Georgia State Archives in Atlanta has a copy of this history provided it by the author. John Oliver Andrew's 1921 account of his life was provided the author by his great-granddaughter and the author's third cousin. The picture of Benjamin Lewis McGough was provided by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Claudette McGough Gatewood Struck.
Shown above--from right to left starting at the back--are John Claud McGough, his father, Benjamin Lewis, his brother, Thomas Marion, John's son, William Malcolm with his dog, and Thomas's son Thomas Wilson. The picture was taken in John's yard in Morton, Mississippi.
Less than two hours of daylight were left when Jackson and his "foot cavalry" routed the right wing of the Union forces at Chancellorsville. As darkness fell, the Confederate assault stalled. Jackson planned to renew the attack by the light of the nearly full Moon; so Jackson and his party rode forward on a reconnaissance of the Union position. Confederate troops from North Carolina mistook this party for Union cavalry and fired upon it.
The punishment metted out to John Andrews was a common form of punishment.
Some accounts refer to it as Battery Gregg; others refer to it as Fort Gregg. From the start of the War, some Confederate leaders expressed an interest in letting slaves enlist, and late in the War the Confederate Congress authorized the enlisting of blacks. In 1863, General Patrick Cleburne recommended the emancipation and conscription of slaves. After studying Georgia newspapers, Philip Dillard, an instructor at West Point, concluded that by the Spring of 1865 many Georgians strongly supported arming the slaves despite the fact that Alexander Stephens had declared in 1861 that slavery was the cornerstone of the Confederacy. Perhaps many Georgians agreed with Thomas Butler King, a Georgia State Senator and Congressman, that if the federal government could take away the slaves, it had the power to seize every form of property; therefore, as citizens of the Union they would not be free men.
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