We will now note the changes which occurred in the membership of the Company during this year, together with the names of those who died of disease contracted in the service.
Major Charles D. Anderson was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of Lieutenant-Colonel Wilde C. Cleveland, immediately after the battle at Chancellorsville, on the 2nd of May. He was also elected, in the Fall of the year, by an overwhelming majority over all opposition, to represent Houston county in the Georgia Legislature. As we are now about to part with this distinguished citizen and soldier, we deem it but merited justice to him, as the first head of the Company, that we say in this connexion, a few words in his behalf, and trace him through the war. Upon leaving the army to take his seat in the Legislature, not being entirely well of the wounds received in battle at Chancellorsville on the 2nd of May, he was recommended by the Surgeon of our regiment, to procure a position of light duty. Accordingly after the adjournment of the Legislature, he applied to Commissary Gen. Northrop, who ordered him to report to Capt. A. M. Allen, of Columbus, who had charge of purchasing commissaries. This officer assigned him the Department of Southern Georgia to purchase corn, bacon, &c. Col. Anderson also held, at this time, a commission as Aid-de-camp to Governor Brown with the rank of Colonel.
He had but just entered upon the duties assigned him by Capt. Allen, when he was ordered to Atlanta to assist in organizing the militia.
He left the purchasing-supply business in the hands of carefully selected sub-agents, and repaired at once to Atlanta, where he was engaged for a while in organizing the Militia, and placing them upon a war-footing.
Being a staff officer, he was not entitled to command; but, by the consent and request of
all the line officers, took command of the first regiment formed. He now sent up his resignation to the War-Department resigning as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 6th Regiment, Georgia Volunteers, which was accepted. In a few days, Governor Brown turned over the Militia upon certain conditions to the Confederate Authorities, and thereby the Militia became to a certain extent Confederate troops, and were ordered by General Joseph E. Johnston to the left of his line on Pea Ridge. Hence Colonel Anderson is again in the army as a Confederate soldier. The first day after taking this position, Colonel Anderson’s Regiment was engaged in the skirmish at Pea Ridge. After the skirmish at Pea Ridge, Johnston’s army fell back to the west bank of the Chattahoochee River, the Militia bringing up the rear, and protecting the rear at Turner’s Ferry till the whole army crossed over under a heavy artillery fire. Upon the army arrriving at Atlanta, Colonel Anderson was unanimously elected Brigadier Gerneral, and took command of the 3rd Brigade of Georgia Militia. Gen. Anderson’s Brigade was engaged in the battle of Atlanta on the 29th of June, l864, and in defending the city till it was evacuated.
When Sherman evacuated Atlanta, and advanced upon Savannah, The Militia retired before him to Macon. Sherman’s army passed above Macon. The entire Georgia Militia, now under command of Major General Phillips, were ordered forward, and struck Sherman at Griswoldville, and fought the never-to-beforgotten battle for its misconception and mismanagement upon the part of the officers who planned it. In this battle, Gen. Anderson’s Brigade bore a conspicuous part. Indeed the little success that perched upon the Confederate banners in this unfortunate affair, was attributable to the coolness and precision of General Anderson and General H. K. McCay. The Brigade was engaged from two o’clock P.M. till dark, fighting against an odds of about ten to one, and lost 175 men killled and wounded. Gen’l Anderson’s horse was wounded under him in two places, and the cape of his coat and his hat were perforated in several places by Federal bullets. It is said that the Militia in this engagement, behaved with the coolness and bravery of veteran soldiers. After this battle, the Militia were ordered to Savannah via Albany and Thomasville, and placed upon duty upon the extreme right of the line of defence.
In the hasty, hazardous retreat across the mouth of Savannah River, upon a hastily constructed pontoon bridge, Gen. Anderson’s Brigade performed one of the most dangerous feats of the war, In order to elude the notice of the enemy, the troops were crossed during the darkness of night. Gen. Anderson’s Brigade covering the retreat, was of course the last to cross.
This occurred about three o’clock in the night. The Brigade had barely cleared the bridge, when upon the rapidly swelling influx of the tide its moorings gave way and its couplings became detached, it was almost instantly a total wreck. Had this occurred while the Brigade was on the bridge, the result must have been the drowning of the entire Brigade, as the river was wide and deep, and the weather cold. Upon the efflux of the tide the wreck floated out to sea.
When Gen. Sherman left Savannah and advanced into the Carolinas, the Militia withdrew through South Carolina into Georgia.
We must now resume the subject proper.
4th Sergeant Samuel H. Hiley was appointed Regimental Wagon-Master with the rank and pay of 1st Sergeant of Infantry.
In this position he remained to the close of the war. 5th Sergeant Bryant Vinson was promoted 4th Sergeant to fill Hiley’s place.3rd Sergeant Joel L. Diseker was assigned to the Ordinance Department in the Armory at Macon, Georgia, from which place, we are under the painful necessity of saying, he deserted and went to the enemy the following year, and for which crime he was promptly reduced to ranks. This was the first and only desertion that ever occurred in our Company. 4th Sergeant Bryant Vinson was promoted 3rd Sergeant to fill the place of Disiker, detached. 1st Corporal Richard H. Powell was promoted 4th Sergeant to fill the place of Vinson, promoted. 2nd Corporal Talbot G. Hammock was promoted 5th Sergeant.
Private Henry B. Vinson was elected 1st Corporal. Private John I. Harris was elected 2nd Corporal. 3rd Corporal Reuben A. Kilby was continued 3rd Corporal. Private James F. McDonald was elected 4th Corporal. Private James Etheridge died at Richmond, Va., of disease contracted in the service. Private Elijah Etheridge died in camps of disease contracted in the service.