Member of the Year
- Jan 16, 2015
One of the more obscure Confederates brigades at Gettysburg was commanded by Brig. Gen. Edward Lloyd Thomas, which consisted of the 14th, 35th, 45th and 49th Georgia Infantry Regiments. Thomas graduated with distinction from Emory College in 1846. The following year he enlisted as a private to fight in the Mexican War, and was made a lieutenant for conspicuous gallantry. At the outset of the Civil War, he left his plantation to raise the 35th Georgia. He was promoted to brigadier general on November 1, 1862, and commanded his brigade until the close of the war, when he resumed farming. He served in Grover Cleveland's administrations, lastly in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and died March 10, 1898 at South McAlester, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) [Confederate Veteran, vol. 6, p. 181]. Thomas' brother, Lt. Col. Henry Philip Thomas, was with the 16th Georgia at Gettysburg. Henry was an 1832 graduate of Franklin College (now the University of Georgia).
The service records of the above four Georgia regiments are incomplete for the period of the Gettysburg campaign, and thus Lillian Henderson's Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia is likewise incomplete and not always completely accurate, leaving the historian to fill in the blanks from various historical bits and pieces. Fortunately there are several good diaries and letters to consult, and a good regimental history of the 35th [Red Clay to Richmond, by John J. Fox, III]. Brig. Gen. Thomas' official report consists merely of a few brief sentences.
On July 1, the brigade supported artillery and sustained some casualties from enemy artillery. On July 2 and 3, the brigade was posted in Long Lane, suffering from both artillery fire and heavy skirmishing. The brigade did not take part in the July 3 charge, but a couple of sources do indicate that at least one company did join in the charge as the advancing line swept past, perhaps led by Brig. Gen. Thomas himself, although they did not proceed far before falling back. Despite the brigade's being held back from a major engagement, it sustained a loss of 34 killed, 127 wounded, and 103 captured/missing during the battle, out of the 125 officers and 1,201 enlisted men who were initially engaged [Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and David G. Martin]. Some other useful sources:
- Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Company C, 49th Georgia entered the fight with 4 officers and 16 enlisted men. On July 1, it had four men wounded (one mortally). On July 2, three men were wounded and two were captured. On July 3, one officer and one man were wounded. On July 4, one man was captured.
- Confederate Reminiscences and Letters, Georgia Division, UDC: Recollections of Lt. David Champion (G/14 GA); also Sketches of the Life and War Record of John Oliver Andrews (I/14 GA).
- Library of Congress: Diary of George W. Hall (G/14 GA). Hall states that on July 2 three companies from the regiment were kept out all day skirmishing.
- Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com/features/150years/week37/ - article on Charles Hicks, servant of Lt. James H. Hicks, Jr. (F/14 GA); Charles was at Gettysburg and later joined Sherman's army in Georgia. Charles attended the 50th anniversary in Gettysburg, and was a member of both the UCV and GAR organizations.
- Virginia Country, the Civil War Forum (on file at Gettysburg National Military Park): diary and letters of Capt. James Thomas McElvany (F/35 GA).
- The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 46, June 1962, no. 2: Letters of Lt. William Thomas Conn and Capt./Maj. Charles A. Conn (G/45 GA). William notes that the July 2 skirmishing was "almost equal to a [pitched] battle."
- Philadelphia Times, March 17, [1882?], Some Stirring Incidents, by J. A. Walker (45 GA) [probably Pvt. James A. Walker, K/45 GA].
- Virginia Country's Civil War, vol. III: Letters of the Bracewell brothers (G/49 GA).
- The Field Diary of a Confederate Soldier, Draughton Stith Haynes (I/49 GA).
- Heroes and Martyrs of Georgia, by James M. Folsom: Even to this day, organization charts list Col. Samuel T. Player as leading the 49th Georgia at Gettysburg. However, this source states that "Major" Player was not at Gettysburg, the regiment being led on the march by Capt. C. M. Jones (H/49 GA), and in the battle by Capt. O. H. Cooke (F/49 GA). After the regiment's return from Pennsylvania, Maj. Player was promoted to colonel, backdated to June 9, 1863.
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