Letters Uncovered from Private Grant D. Carter, Company C, 2nd Georgia Battalion

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Perusing Georgia pension applications online (Georgia Virtual Vault) is tedious work, only occasionally resulting in a mild reward whenever a soldier details his wounds received during the war. However, on very rare occasion, a gold nugget turns up. Such is the case regarding an application made by Mrs. S. E. Carter of Newton County. In it is a trove of valuable letters from Private Grant D. Carter of Company C, 2nd Georgia Battalion. Pertinent to this board is a letter dated July 18, 1863 from Carter to his mother, from which the following excerpt is taken (with minor editing), detailing the battle of Gettysburg.

Bunker Hill, Virginia July 18, 1863

Dear Mother,

Yours of the first come safe to hand, was glad to hear from you all. My last letter was at Hagerstown, MD. Since then we have had a rough time, marched all night in mud and rain. It is like when we left Virginia to go to Maryland and Pennsylvania we marched over both places in the mud and rain for more than two weeks when we stopped to lay in line of battle some time until the second of July when we charged a battery of about twenty guns, took it but did not hold it on account of having no support. There was a good many wounded in our Batt. We went into the fight with 140 men, brought out 51. There was 89 killed, wounded and missing. Alec was wounded, had his thumb and forefinger shot off (his left hand). He is [a] prisoner I suppose. Charlie Annis wounded in shoulder, not bad. William Bullard is missing, supposed to be a prisoner, but do not know. I was struck with a piece of shell, but so slight it did not hurt me but a little while. Cousin Gus Tuggle is well, he was in the fight, coming out safe. I hope we will go down about Richmond so we can get some things from home. I want some shoes, pants, socks and pr. [pair] drawers and something to eat. We are now living on half rations. It looks very hard but I have concluded to be satisfied with everything that turns up … [Carter expresses religious sentiments] … I received a letter from Cousin Sallie of the third. I will write her today if I have time, and Cousin Gus joins me in sending love to you all. … I am well – all but a bad cold. Write soon, your son, Grant.

Individuals mentioned by Carter:

-“Alec” is most likely Private Alexander S. McGregor, Company C, 2nd Georgia Battalion. His own pension application states he received a gunshot wound on July 2, requiring amputation of one finger and part of his thumb. His service record indicates he was captured at Greencastle, Pennsylvania on July 5, which would have been by a Federal cavalry raid on the wagon train of wounded; he was exchanged on July 31. He afterwards served as a courier. (Georgia Virtual Vault, Confederate Pension Applications, Bibb County; Compiled Service Records, Fold3)

-Private Charles S. Annis, Company D, 3rd Georgia. Annis received a gunshot wound in his left shoulder at Gettysburg and was admitted to Jackson Hospital in Richmond on August 5, 1863, receiving a furlough for 40 days on August 8. (Compiled Service Records, Fold3).

-I am unable to identify a candidate for William Bullard. A “Lieutenant Bullard” of Georgia, unit unknown, was buried on the field in an unknown location.

-“Gus” Tuggle is presumably Private Augustus W. Tuggle, Company C, 3rd Georgia.

Other comments:

Carter is the first to give an accurate strength count of the 2nd Georgia Battalion going into the battle – 140 men, which could mean either “guns,” or else officers and enlisted men combined. Contrast it with Busey and Martin’s Regimental Strengths and Losses, estimating 16 officers and 157 enlisted men actually engaged. Carter’s mention of 89 casualties is not far off from Busey and Martin’s tally of 82 casualties. Slight injuries, like Carter’s own from an artillery fragment, are not even recorded, which might help account for the difference.

Carter, like others from Wright’s brigade, appears to overestimate the number of Federal cannon taken. The brigade temporarily captured one gun from Battery B, 1st Rhode Island and three more from Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery, while soon asserting control over three additional pieces of the latter battery. But he might have seen other guns being driven off the field, such as the remaining five guns of Battery B, 1st Rhode Island, and at least a section of F/K, 3rd U.S. Artillery, so perhaps Brig. Gen. Wright and his other soldiers were not so far off the mark as is often supposed.

Carter’s other letters, in the same pension application:
-June 20, 1862 (Camp Walker, near Richmond)
-January 9, 1863.
-May 26, 1863 (camp near Guinea Station)
-August 30, 1863 (camp near Orange Courthouse
-October 3, 1863 (camp near Robison Ford, Virginia
-February 4, 1864 (camp near Madison Station)
-February 6, 1864 (camp near Madison Station)
-May 20, 1864 (in line of battle near Spotsylvania Courthouse)
-May 31, 1864 (near Mechanicsville)
-August 4, 1864 (Petersburg)
-September 27, 1864 (Petersburg)
-February 9, 1865 (camp at Petersburg)
-February 10, 186- [5 or 4?]

See them all at: Georgia Virtual Vault, Confederate Pension Applications, Newton County, Mrs. S. E. Carter, https://vault.georgiaarchives.org/digital/collection/TestApps/id/163023/rec/79
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
-I am unable to identify a candidate for William Bullard. A “Lieutenant Bullard” of Georgia, unit unknown, was buried on the field in an unknown location.
There was a William T. Bullard in Company D, 3rd Georgia. He enlisted as a private on June 22, 1861, was slightly wounded at Chancellorsville on May 3 and was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. He was exchanged on February 21, 1865.

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
There was a William T. Bullard in Company D, 3rd Georgia. He enlisted as a private on June 22, 1861, was slightly wounded at Chancellorsville on May 3 and was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. He was exchanged on February 21, 1865.

Ryan
I see Busey and Busey's Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg has the spelling as Ballard, and looking again at Carter's handwriting, that "u" might be an "a."
 
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