Good thread @DR_Hanna ! Thought you might be interested in this, the obituary of Col. Robert A Smith. Seems Col Smith was quite ill on that day. (emphasis mine)Two weeks later, John B. Estes - who took over the 44th Ga after Robert A. Smith was mortally wounded - pulled no punches when he filed this devastating report:
Report of Lieut. Col. John B. Estes, Forty-fourth Georgia Infantry, of the battles of Ellison's Mill, or Mechanicsville, and Malvern Hill
Camp Walker, near Richmond, July 12, 1862. Sir: I have the honor, after long delay, of forwarding to you my report of that part of the great battle before Richmond in which the Forty-fourth Regiment Georgia Volunteers, Col. R. A. Smith commanding, participated. The report is necessarily meager and imperfect from the fact that every field officer was either killed or wounded, the greater part of both officers and men was disabled, and the engagement continued for about a week and extended over a distance of some 20 miles at least. Many of those (both officers and men) reported wounded have since died, including our gallant, noble-hearted colonel. Many more must surely die, their wouuds being considered mortal by the surgeons in charge of them. 1 have do doubt but that the killed in battle and those who have died and will die from its effects will amount in the aggregate to near 200.
I read Dowdey's book on The Seven Day's last year and love his style, and it certainly is an exciting time of the war to read about. Lee's counter-offensive was very risky and daring, but he pulled it off. This 44th Georgia certainly sound like a great group of men. Enjoyed the post and comments!One of the things that renewed my interest in the ACW a few of years ago was re-reading “The Seven Days – The Emergence of Robert E. Lee and the Dawn of a Legend” by Clifford Dowdy. I hadn't realized how close the South had come to losing the war in June/July of 1862. So many things happened by chance to save Richmond, not the least of which was the wounding of Joe Johnston on May 31st and the subsequent appointment of Lee to head the Confederate forces.
Later, I happened upon a grave in a cemetery in Oconee County, Ga. The grave was right on the side of a road I'd ridden down all my life. It was suddenly exposed because all of the trees in the fields around it were logged out, leaving a small copse of trees next the the road surrounding this very small cemetery. The grave I found belonged to a member of the Johnson Guards – Company C of the 44th Ga Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Out of curiosity I did some reading about the 44th Ga and to my surprise found out that these were a rather famous group of fellows that fought all the way from the Seven Days thru to Appamattox. They actually played honorably mention-able parts in many of the familiar battles in the East :
Beaver Dam Creek - June 26, 1862
Gaines' Mill - June 27, 1862
Malvern Hill - July 1, 1862
South Mountain - September 14, 1862
Antietan - September 17, 1862
Fredericksburg - December 13, 1862
Chancellorsville - May 11-14, 1863
Gettysburg - July 1-3, 1863
Bristoe Campaign - October 1863
Mine Run Campaign - November - December 1863
The Wilderness - May 5-6 1864
Spotsylvania Court House - May 8-21, 1864
North Anna - May 23-26, 1864
Cold Harbor - June 1-3, 1864
Lynchburg Campaign - May - June 1864
Monocacy - July 9, 1864
3rd Winchester - September 19, 1864
Fisher's Hill - September 22, 1864
Cedar Creek - October 19, 1864
Petersburg Siege - May - June 1864 - April 1865
Fort Stedman - March 25, 1865
Appomattox Court House - April 9, 1865
They were noted for being at the front of Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville, were some of the first troops to get into Gettysburg on the 1st day, and many were captured when the Mule Shoe salient was overrun on May 10, 1864 at Spotsylvania – just to name a few well known events.
I was aware that the 44th had suffered high casualties at Ellerson's or Ellison's Mill in the Seven Days, but based on what they went on to do later, it seemed like almost a footnote to the story of the regiment. However, the more I looked into what happened to these fellows on June 26th 1862 ( and subsequently at Malvern Hill) - the more I realize that the real story of the regiment for most of its members, is actually quite heartbreaking and exceedingly short.
In the same collection mentioned in the post above, I found this letter from Robert A. Smith, written on the 27th while mortally wounded.At two o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 26th of June, he received orders for his regiment, then near Richmond, to march towards Ellyson's Mills, preparatory to attacking the enemy's battery there. Feeble as he was, unable to mount his horse without assistance, he moved forward his regiment, to which he had already become strongly attached. When they made the terrific charge upon the battery later in the day, he gallantly led them on foot. During the charge he was wounded in three places, and was finally borne from the field.
Two days afterwards, in the thirty eight year of his age, from the effects of his wounds and disease, he died.
My wife has forbidden me to spend our money on Civil War books. I may try to sneak this one past her, though...The 44th Ga's attack at Beaver Dam Creek is covered in this new book, as is its (minor) role at Gaines' Mill:
Anything about the 1st NC or the 3rd NC?The 44th Ga's attack at Beaver Dam Creek is covered in this new book, as is its (minor) role at Gaines' Mill: