Golden Thread "Cheer less, boys and fight more" - Wofford's Brigade at Gettysburg

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
1562174682651.png





Wofford's Brigade at Gettysburg - 16th, 18th, and 24th Georgia Infantry, Cobb's and Philip's Legions, and 3d Battalion GA Sharpshooters

Presently, but after what seemed like an eternity, Gen'l Longstreet accompanied by Gen'l McLaws, rode near us and spoke briefly to Gen'l Wofford, who saluted smartly, turned his horse and galloped to the front of his brigade. All eyes and ears were focused keenly on him in rapt attention. Rising in his stirrups, he exclaimed, "Georgia Brigade, attention! Boys our time has come. Today, you will make all of Georgia proud!" To this we responded with a wild cheer. He then quieted us with an upraised hand and continued, "Remember, guide to the center on the colors and fight like hell!" Another yell burst forth in answer and we heard the command, "right shoulder, shift. Forward quick time, march!" ......
General McLaws and Longstreet had ridden, to our surprise, most recklessly out ahead of our advancing brigade, but had determined it necessary in order to see our proper line of advance....We double-quicked through our guns, which ceased their fire to allow our passage, and when doing so the gunners removed their hats and cheered us gaily.....I noticed the 24th Georgia had become unaccountably delayed by the guns. Their formation had been disrupted and their officers were endeavoring to to re-form them in front of the artillery. Gen'l Wofford, seeing this, became enraged and galloped back to them shouting orders to form quickly and move up. This was done in short order and moving at the double-quick, they quickly caught up to us and rejoined our line......
When almost to the Emmittsburg Road, we reached and passed Gen'ls Longstreet and McLaws, who had wisely halted and allowed us to pass by. We greeted them with a cheer, to which both Gen'ls doffed their hats in salute. Longstreet called out, "Cheer less boys and fight more. Your work is up ahead - give them the steel!" Our feelings slightly injured at this mild rebuke, and heedless of his advice we nevertheless answered with yet another cheer. We soon reached and crossed the Emmitsburg Road and entered the large grove of peach trees.....

Wartime Recollections of Captain James Lile Lemon 18th Georgia, Mark Lemon, 2013. Available now; contact Mark Lemon for a copy https://www.facebook.com/mark.lemon.14

@Tom Elmore @Chattahooch33 @GMSorrel @TinCan @xlsteve you guys may be interested in this account
 
Last edited:

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
Detailed accounts from Wofford's brigade are so rare! His brigade moved forward around 6:45 p.m. E. P. Alexander also mentions, in his memoirs, that Longstreet accompanied the brigade in person when it moved out, and Sir Arthur Fremantle likewise wrote that Longstreet "led a Georgia regiment in a charge against a battery, hat in hand, and in front of everybody." Of course, Longstreet did not lead them very far, nor directly into the fighting. Capt. Lemon informs us precisely how far the two generals went forward - no more than about 1,500 feet east of the ridge line.

Moments after it moved forward, I figure that Wofford's men passed through the batteries (from north to south) of Rhett, Moody, Taylor and Parker. Parker writes that Wofford himself passed through his battery, which suggests that the general was at that moment with the right wing of his brigade. McLaws wrote [in Southern Historical Society Papers] that one of Wofford's regiments was held up in passing through one or more batteries and "did not get out to join the brigade until it had gone about 100 yards." Capt. Lemon identifies this regiment as the 24th Georgia, and he also cites their detention at the guns.

But then an issue arises with the alignment of the brigade as set forth by Batchelder. From north to south, he describes the order as Phillips' Legion, Cobb's Legion, 24 GA, 18 GA, 16 GA. In addition, the 24th Georgia in the center of the brigade is not depicted as passing through any of above named batteries, however, directly in front of their path would be several (six by count) buildings belonging to Christian Shefferer, and James Warfield (a Black resident), including the latter's blacksmith shop. These buildings would have disrupted any regiment's formation, just as they blocked the artillery's line of fire. While disputing an eyewitness account is done with great trepidation, given the fact that only one regiment was held up, I would lean toward ascribing the cause of their temporary delay to those structures, and not Alexander's artillery.
 

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
@Tom Elmore Thanks so much for weighing in!!! :bounce::dance::bounce:

I knew that you had calculated timing of where on the field certain brigades, regiments, and even Generals were at certain times. Since Capt Lemon gives us the "quick-time" and "double-quick" timing and some geographical landmarks, I was hopeful that perhaps this information would add to and either help confirm or contradict accounts you already have. I'll check Capt Lemon's account tonight and let you know what he says about the alignment - he definitely addressed it. He also said specifically with which regiment Wofford proceeded (although Ill have to check the source.) Ill post that info tonight when I get home from work. Thanks so much!
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
Attached is my interpretation of Wofford's advance on July 2 (the map does not show other units other than Wofford and adjacent batteries. Woolfolk and Jordan are preparing to advance their batteries toward the Peach Orchard.) But a detailed account like Capt. Lemon's might change this interpretation. I was once informed that Wofford's brigade always went into battle with the same alignment of regiments. By the way, this map omits the 3rd Georgia Battalion, which is presumed to have been deployed in advance of the brigade as skirmishers, perhaps about 100 yards out in front. The main line would sometimes overtake and subsume the skirmishers, who at that point would simply fight alongside whatever regiment they found themselves in.
 

Attachments

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
But a detailed account like Capt. Lemon's might change this interpretation. I was once informed that Wofford's brigade always went into battle with the same alignment of regiments. By the way, this map omits the 3rd Georgia Battalion, which is presumed to have been deployed in advance of the brigade as skirmishers, perhaps about 100 yards out in front.
During the early approach (described above in the first paragraph of the OP where I inserted .... at the end of the paragraph) Capt. Lemon wrote:
We never, I think advanced with so much spirit and determination. Moving out of the woods and into the open, I saw just ahead of us, near a couple of farmhouses, our guns which were playing on the enemy's positions. We guided on a road which led us directly to the enemy who were now beyond the peach orchard and repulsing Kershaw's valiant men. Genl Wofford had ridden over to the right of our line near his beloved 18th Georgia and removed his hat which he swung to and fro as he rode, calling out to us with what seemed an almost affectionate tone, "That's it boys, that's the style, keep together, that's the way!"

Capt Lemon described the alignment of regiments as follows:
3d Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters out front.
(Confederate) Left to right: Philips Legion, Cobb's Legion (wheat field road) 16th Georgia (just right of wheat field road) 24th Georgia, 18th Georgia, and remnants of Kershaw's brigade.
Woffords Gettysburg alignment regiments.jpg

Alignment of regiments Wofford's Brigade; drawing from Wartime Recollections of Captain James Lile Lemon 18th Georgia, Mark Lemon, 2013.
Captain Lemon continues his description:
We soon reached and crossed the Emmitsburg Road and entered the large grove of peach trees, where until recently the enemy had been posted in great numbers. Most had retired before Barksdale's onslaught, but a number of fugitive Yanks had returned and were trying to pull off their guns. Seeing this, we halted and fired a volley into them, killing many and scattering the rest, them reloaded and fixed bayonets before continuing our advance. At this time, upon passing through the peach trees, we, on the right wing of the brigade, observed a large number of Kershaw's men streaming from the rocky wooded hill to our front. The Yankees were on the hill in force and having the advantage of good terrain, had resisted Kershaw's many valiant attempts to dislodge them. We called out to them to form on our right which was done in short order and as we swept towards the hill guiding always on the "wheat field" road, our formation was beautifully precise and our front covered about 400 yards in width.
Wartime Recollections of Captain James Lile Lemon 18th Georgia, Mark Lemon, 2013. Available now; contact Mark Lemon to purchase a copy https://www.facebook.com/mark.lemon.14
 
Last edited:

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
McLaws wrote [in Southern Historical Society Papers] that one of Wofford's regiments was held up in passing through one or more batteries and "did not get out to join the brigade until it had gone about 100 yards." Capt. Lemon identifies this regiment as the 24th Georgia, and he also cites their detention at the guns.

But then an issue arises with the alignment of the brigade as set forth by Batchelder. From north to south, he describes the order as Phillips' Legion, Cobb's Legion, 24 GA, 18 GA, 16 GA. In addition, the 24th Georgia in the center of the brigade is not depicted as passing through any of above named batteries, however, directly in front of their path would be several (six by count) buildings belonging to Christian Shefferer, and James Warfield (a Black resident), including the latter's blacksmith shop. These buildings would have disrupted any regiment's formation, just as they blocked the artillery's line of fire. While disputing an eyewitness account is done with great trepidation, given the fact that only one regiment was held up, I would lean toward ascribing the cause of their temporary delay to those structures, and not Alexander's artillery.
Perhaps the delay was not a result of the farm structures OR the artillery batteries? Maybe without Col McMillan, the 24th lacked a bit of courage that day?

But four o'clock had arrived, and the first gun from Henry's battalion of artillery announced that the assault had commenced on the extreme right. Cabell's battalion of McLaws' division opened next, and in a few minutes the artillery became general along our entire line. The splendid divisions of Hood and McLaws swept on the charge in admirable style. An officer who was present said it was worth ten years of ordinary life to witness the manner in which McLaws' division rushed across the field and assaulted the almost impregnable position in front.....

.....It is estimated that Wofford's Georgia brigade alone killed, wounded and captured more men than he had in his whole command. He brought off four splendid flags, taken by the infantry of Tom Cobb's Legion....

There is no better material in all the army than in these noble brigades. The 24th Georgia, whose Colonel (McMillan) was absent on leave, wavered for a moment; but Gen. Longstreet* placed himself at the head of it, had it led forward, when the men gave him three rousing cheers and rushed upon the foe in most gallant style. Kershaw and his Carolinians always behave well, and their conduct on the present occasion, as well as that of the other officers and brigades in the corps, was all that could be desired.


Excerpted from Southern Watchman, Athens, Georgia, "War Matters - The Great Battle of Gettysburg," Jul. 29, 1863, page 1.
*Perhaps the writer was confused and it was actually Wofford who reformed the 24th Georgia as Captain Lemons wrote? I would give more credence to Lemon's account as he was actually there - and by there, I mean right alongside Wofford. And his recollection was that Wofford, not Longstreet, went back to reform the 24th.
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
Laura, I've waited 40 years for the above description of Wofford's regimental alignment! Amazing! I wondered if Captain Lemon's regiment was on the far right because of his observation of Longstreet and McLaws as they were moving out, but now we have confirmation - you made my day and week. Captain Lemon's Company A might well have been the far right company in the regiment and brigade that day.

I can now change my initial post and say that the artillery most likely disrupted the 24th's initial advance. The 24th might have encountered Taylor's battery and possibly the hitched up batteries of Woolfolk and Jordan. That would leave the 16th to negotiate around the buildings, which might have only broke a few files to the rear momentarily.

The portion of Kershaw's brigade that joined to the right of Wofford as they neared the Wheatfield was the 2nd South Carolina, which had held their position just west of the Stony Hill when the rest of Kershaw's men fell back to the Rose buildings. A soldier named Coxe from the 2nd wrote about it in an article for Confederate Veteran (vol. 21, p. 435). Wofford rode over to bring them along, which suggests he may have remained near the far right of his brigade from the time it left Seminary Ridge until the Wheatfield was reached.

The other interesting item is the fact that the Wheatfield road separated Cobb's Legion from the 16th Georgia. I had imagined the center of the brigade on the road, which was close, but this new information puts the majority of the brigade south of the road. When the 18th Georgia emerged from the woods into the western part of the Wheatfield, they would have nearly collided with the 4th Michigan, and this surprise encounter at such close range is a major reason why the bayonet was used so freely on both sides - a fairly rare occurrence.

All in all, I think this is one of the more important Confederate accounts to have come to light since it resolves a number of previously fuzzy interpretations, and helps to clarify movements and actions of a Confederate brigade on which information was scarce and fragmented.
 

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
Laura, I've waited 40 years for the above description of Wofford's regimental alignment! Amazing! All in all, I think this is one of the more important Confederate accounts to have come to light since it resolves a number of previously fuzzy interpretations, and helps to clarify movements and actions of a Confederate brigade on which information was scarce and fragmented.
It's awesome isn't it Tom!?! :bounce::dance::bounce: All this time and no one was really sure.

I shared your kind words with Mark Lemon, who has made the diary available via publication of Feed Them the Steel!: Being the Wartime Recollections of Captain James Lile Lemon 18th Georgia, Mark Lemon, 2013.

Hopefully Mark will join us here and see your high praises in person. :thumbsup:

The entire diary is available now. Contact Mark Lemon to purchase a copy https://www.facebook.com/mark.lemon.14
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
Thank you Laura for bringing this information to light. My check's in the mail to Mark.

Capt. Lemon's mention of Confederate guns out in front of the brigade indicates that at least some artillery had already moved out in the direction of the Peach Orchard.

Capt. Lemon's description of some Federal soldiers trying to pull off their guns also merits a closer look. It suggests artillerymen, but could also be infantry. Since Barksdale had already cleared out the Peach Orchard, the only thing that comes to mind would be some Federals who had lingered off Barksdale's right, possibly men of the 3rd Maine. I think the last Federal guns left in the vicinity was a section of Battery E, Rhode Island to the northeast, but those were taken off. I recall one caisson was left behind by Battery B/1st New Jersey as they were departing, at a point where Phillip's Legion would have passed over in their subsequent advance.

Lastly, Capt. Lemon describes the brigade's front as being about 400 yards across. My rule of thumb frontage calculations had figured 371 yards. The numbers are based on Busey and Busey's Regimental Strengths, which oddly have the 16, 18 and 24 Georgia nearly identical in size, and that suggests hard data is lacking. In any event, the estimate is still reasonably close. Here are the figures broken down by regiment:
- Phillip's Legion, 240 enlisted men, with a front of 220 feet.
- Cobb's Legion, 177 men, front 162 feet.
- 16 GA, 266 men, front 244 feet.
- 24 GA, 266 men, front 244 feet.
- 18 GA, 265 men, front 243 feet.
From these numbers, one can deduce that about one third (1/3) of Wofford's brigade moved north of the Wheatfield road, and the remaining two thirds (2/3) moved south of that road when the brigade arrived at the Wheatfield.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
Thank you Laura for bringing this information to light. My check's in the mail to Mark.

From these numbers, one can deduce that about one third (1/3) of Wofford's brigade moved north of the Wheatfield road, and the remaining two thirds (2/3) moved south of that road when the brigade arrived at the Wheatfield.
Once you receive the complete diary, with the details of the entire sweep, do you think it might be possible to map and determine what regimental colors were reportedly captured by Wofford's brigade? There is a Wofford letter of August 14, 1863 that mentions several Union flags captured by the brigade on July 2.
Flag 1: Captured by Sgt I L Born Co C Cobb's Legion
Flag 2: Captured by Pvt Alfred Norris Co E Phillip's Legion
Flag 3: Captured by Pvt E I Smith Co E Phillip's Legion
Flag 4: In the hands of Pvt Thomas B Jolly Co B Phillip's Legion; a "hand to hand melee" ensued; Jolly was bayoneted; and the flag was recaptured. Sounds kind of like it could be Col Jeffords 4th MI?

Any ideas of which regiments' flags they might have been?
 
Last edited:

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
1st Lieutenant Milton A. Brown of Company E, Cobb's Legion wrote a letter to the editor of the Southern Confederacy, published on July 20, in which he claims Cobb's Legion actually captured two colors, one of them belonging to the 11th U.S. Infantry. One of the Phillips' Legion captures was probably the national colors of the 62nd Pennsylvania. John S. Patton of the 62nd Pennsylvania narrowly escaped with the state colors, and he writes that the 4th Michigan also lost a flag.

It seems the two Legions, starting from north of the Wheatfield road, crossed the road to strike Sweitzer's brigade on its right flank as it was being held up in front by the right wing of Wofford's brigade. However, some of Wofford's men (3rd Battalion?) remained (or moved back?) north of the road to overrun a Union battery south of the J. Weikert place. Two men from Phillip's Legion guarded the Federal wounded in a "little farmhouse" skirting the Wheatfield.

Incidentally, Jolly survived the battle and was exchanged from Point Lookout in May 1864, only to be captured again and sent to Camp Chase until the close of the war.

Both the bayonet and clubbed musket were freely used in the melee. Some documented cases from the 4th Michigan involving hand-to-hand combat:
- Colonel Harrison Jeffords, shot in the leg and then received a bayonet thrust through his chest.
- Adjutant R. Watson Seage, gunshot wounds both sides of chest and bayoneted in the left leg.
- 1st Lieutenant Michael J. Vreeland, Company I, gunshot to chest and hit over the head with a clubbed musket.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
From the Southern Banner, Athens, Georgia, Aug. 19, 1863, page 2

Camp 24th Ga. Regiment
Orange Co., Va.
August 6th, 1863

Editor Watchman:
Sir: I discover a letter in your paper of July 29th, copied from the Savannah Republican, headed Gettysburg , Pa., July 4 1863 in which I beg leave to make some comments. "P. W. A." makes this statement that the 24th Ga. Reg't, whose Col (McMillan) was absent on furlough, wavered for a moment, but Gen Longstreet placed himself at the head of it and had it lead[sic] forward, and the men gave him three LOUD CHEERS.

We assume the responsibility in asserting in most positive terms, that the above statements are wholly untrue and without foundation. First, the officers and men never hesitated one moment in making the charge. Secondly, Gen Longstreet was not present with the 24th Ga. when the charge was ordered, but was seen by some of the men and officers, riding in full speed along the lines after the Regiment and the Brigade had charged some half or three fourths of a mile, and that was the only time he was seen by the 24th Ga. during the fight. Thirdly, there was no cheers given by the 24th Ga. to Gen Longstreet at all during the battle. - The regiment was never known to make a more gallant charge, without the least wavering, whatever.

The statement made concerning the 24th Ga. is not only false, but unbecoming the character of the gentleman who made it.

We hold ourselves responsible for the above correction, hoping this will find space in your columns at the earliest notice.

J. N. CHANDLER*
Capt. Coma'd'g 24th Ga.
Capt. THOS E. WINN
Acting Ma....
(unreadable)

*As noted in another thread, Joseph Newton Chandler was commanding the 24th Georgia at Gettysburg in the absence of Col. Robert McMillan. Chandler was, at the time, Captain of Co A. He was later promoted to Lt. Col. (Jan 9, 1864 upon the promotion of Lt Col Christopher Columbus Sanders to Col) http://civilwartalk.com/threads/two-confederate-colonels-24th-49th-georgia-at-gettysburg-or-not.122933/#post-1426176
 
Last edited:

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,144
From the Southern Watchman, Athens, Georgia, August 19, 1863, page 1.

Death of Major Camak
After a period of about a week's suspense, during which time the failure to receive direct and reliable information inspired us with hopes that the report of the death of Major THOMAS CAMAK was incorrect, we have now the sad duty of announcing that he received a wound that caused his death in the battle at Gettysburg, Pa., on 2d inst. Major Camak was in command of Cobb's Legion (infantry.) A letter from the Adjutant of the Legion says: "The brigade moved forward in a charge on the enemy's lines about 5 o'clock p. m., and had advanced about 800 yards, when the Legion was exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's battery in our front. From this fire, Major Camak received a wound in the leg, which ordinarily would not have been considered dangerous. I find from inquiry that it was more the nervous shock than the wound that caused his death."

Major Camak entered the service as Captain of a Company from Athens, Ga., where he was raised, and where his competency for the position was well known.

He had resided in this city for some time previous to the war, and leaves here a family to whom his untimely death is a blow such as only a bereaved wife and child can fully realize. To them he was endeared by all the virtues that can make such a relationship of most inestimable value, and its severance a most irreparable loss. He had won the esteem and confidence of this community by his conduct while resident here, and leaves a wide circle of friends and acquaintances who deplore the sad casualties of war that has deprived society of a true gentleman and useful citizen, and his country of a noble patriot and gallant soldier. -- Columbus Enquirer
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,530
A fanciful account appears in the "Corn Exchange Regiment" history of the 118th Pennsylvania, p. 250: "As the command withdrew, a Georgia regiment, moving at double-quick, with arms at the right shoulder and colors flying, passed the left of the regimental line. They were prisoners of war, guarded by a small squad of their captors, and were being hurried to the rear to get out of the fire of their own people. In the flurry of their capture the demand was not made that they should lay down their arms ..." It was fortunate that the 118th did not interfere with these "prisoners," because in fact they must have been Phillips' and Cobb's Legions preparing to enter the fight in the Wheatfield. At the time, the 118th Pennsylvania was behind a fence at the edge of the woods on the north side of the Wheatfield road, and they were perhaps not noticed by Wofford's men, whose attention was more directed to their front and right.
 

PeterT

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
3,081
Location
Melbourne Australia
I thought I would make a comment as I now have these laminated Battle of Gettysburg Field Maps and was following the comments on this thread and thought what better way to start of using them. Thanks @lelliott19 and @Tom Elmore!

The Gettysburg Foundation Field Maps show the alignment as at "July 2 1863 - Mid Afternoon". These maps used Batchelders maps as part of the overall production and the alignment is shown below as (north to south) Phillips, Cobbs, 24thGA, 3rdGA, 18thGA and 16thGA. Several well renowned researchers (Scott Hartwig, Harry Pfanz, Eric Wittenberg et al) were also involved in the production of the maps.

So when the attack began, the 3rdGA were ahead of the others as skirmishers, as described by Lemon. But the alignment of the others is different as Lemon places the order as described by him above as Phillips, Cobbs, 16th, 24th and 18th. Now this was an "early afternoon" depiction in the Field Maps, so perhaps they moved around and exchanged places prior to the attack. They are shown here all north of the Wheatfield Road. Capt Lemon describes the legions as being north and the others south of the road. Anyway all very interesting.

One other thing. The battery's they moved through were described by Tom as most likely Rhett, Moody, Taylor and Parker. The map below shows the northern battery as Gilbert not Rhett. Did something happen to poor Gilbert just prior to the attack?

IMG_3447.JPG
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top