Clinch Rifles

Robert Gray

First Sergeant
Jul 24, 2012
The Clinch Rifles were organized as a militia company on March 22, 1851, from the Clinch Engine Company No. 2.The company was named for General Duncan L. Clinch the commander at the Battles of Withlacoochee [December 31, 1835] and The Cove [March 31, 1836] of The Seminole Wars.The company adopted the motto “Charge Again” after General Clinch’s order at the Battle of Withlacoochee [near the present town of Dunnellon, Florida] to attack the enemy again. This second attack routed the enemy and won the battle.

The Clinch Rifles served during the American Civil War as Company A, 5th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry.
Co. A, 5th Ga. (Clinch Rifles).jpg
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Clinch Rifles - Co A, 5th Ga. 2.JPG

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Dec 7, 2008
Nashville TN
Some of us here transcribed parts of the diary of, let's see, what was his name? William McKay of Co A. We think that's him seated lower left with the pencil and what may actually be the diary. Based on a post-war engraving of him, the resemblance was pretty strong. He lived in Augusta.
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Brigadier General
Forum Host
Nov 20, 2012
Expired Image Removed
Half Plate Tintype of a Group of Confederate Militia "Clinch Rifles", Augusta, Georgia ca 1860s -
Approximately 200 units were formed in Georgia in service to the Confederate States before and during the Civil War. One of them was 5th Georgia Infantry Regiment. It was organized on May 11th, 1861, with further companies joining the unit during the following year. Its combat roster started with capture of Santa Rosa Island, followed by Corinth Campaign in April-June 1862. One of the distinguished companies of the 5th was company "A," the famous Clinch Rifles. The company was named for General Duncan L. Clinch the commander at the Battles of Withlacoochee and the Cove of the Seminole Wars (1835-1836). The company adopted the motto "Charge Again" after General Clinch's order to the retreating troops at the Battle of Withlacoochee to attack the enemy again.

Clinch Rifles were a true rifle company using 1841 Mississippi Rifle and saber bayonet in action during the American Civil War. While the Union had regulated the design of uniforms from the beginning of the conflict, the Confederate units were initially made of volunteers and enjoyed considerable freedom in their choice of uniforms. Maintaining the European of green infantry clothing, the Clinch Rifles elected green as their unit color, with elegant gold braid and buttons plus a French-style cap.

Despite all the gallantry, the 5th Georgia Infantry regiment's subsequent combat history reflects the dwindling cause of the Confederate States in the war: Battle of Murfreesboro (December 1862 - January 1863, here the Clinch Rifles lost 55% of their strength) -- Tullahoma Campaign (June - August 1863) -- Chattanooga Siege (September - November 1863) -- Atlanta Campaign (May - September 1864) -- Savannah Campaign (November - December 1864) -- Carolinas Campaign (February - April 1865) -- Bentonville (March 1865). Following the demise of the South, the remains of the unit surrendered at Durham Station, Orange County, NC on April 26, 1865.


"Clinch Rifles, Georgia Militia 1861" by Don Troiani depicts a private of the Clinch Rifles in their early war green uniform.


The Clinch Rifles photographed in full uniform at Augusta, Ga.
(Miller's Photographic History of the Civil War)


Edit: This bottom photo is not the Clinch Rifles but the Oglethorpe Infantry, Company D of Ramsey's 1st Georgia Infantry.

Thread on these photos here:
Mar 14, 2016
In the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War in one of the opening scenes the narrator mentions the clinch rifles and says that only the drummer boy would survive. So if the documentary has its information correct that would be the case if they don't who knows perhaps that information is lost to history but I just thought I would share.
Dec 23, 2014
I find the image of the black man in the first image interesting. He appears to be wearing a military cap. Could he perhaps have been a combatant?
Mar 2, 2012
I find the image of the black man in the first image interesting. He appears to be wearing a military cap. Could he perhaps have been a combatant?
Probably had another job with the company. The black combatants normally fought in their own units with white officers.
Jul 22, 2010
Augusta Ga
I love the canteen photo, whats the story there? I have heard the Ken Burns thing and it isn't true, several of them survived the war. Most were not with the 5th anymore but many were still alive. I own a war time diary of one of them that was transferred to the quartermaster's corps after the Battle of Murphreesboro. He lived until 1919. Many were wounded and went home and some were still fighting at the end, taking part in the battle of Bentonville. I believe that the black guy with the cap was a slave that belonged to one of the young men's families. Most of the Clinch Rifle's were from well to do families of Augusta and many sent body servants along with their sons when they went off to war. Those pictures were all taken at the beginning of the war when the 5th Ga was in Pensacola at Camp Stephens when they were still wearing their green uniforms they brought from home.

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