The 44th Ga Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Ellerson's Mill June 26, 1862


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#22
http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Georgia-Infantry-Regiment-Regimental/dp/1515162591

Historical Sketch and Roster of the Georgia 44th Infantry Regiment

The 44th Georgia Regiment suffered greater casualties in killed and wounded, in proportion to the number carried into action, than any other regiment on the Southern side. The 44th completed its organization at Camp Stephens, near Griffin, Georgia, in March, 1862. They were assigned to General Ripley's, Doles', and Cook's Brigade, and fought with the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbor. Of the 364 at Gettysburg, twenty percent were disabled. Only 52 men of the original 1,115 remained at Appomattox. Companies Of The GA 44th Infantry Regiment Companies of the 44th were drawn from the counties of Henry, Jasper, Clarke, Clayton, Spalding, Putnum, Fayette, Pike, Morgan, and Greene. Company A - Henry County, Georgia Company B - Jasper County, Georgia Company C - Clarke County, Georgia. Company D - Clayton County, Georgia Company E - Spalding County, Georgia Company F - Putnam County, Georgia Company G - Fayette County, Georgia Company H - Pike County, Georgia Company I - Henry And Morgan Counties, Georgia Company K - Green County, Georgia.


51fi6OpqxIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 

lelliott19

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#23
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.
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)

From the Macon Telegraph (Macon, Bibb Co., GA), 29 July 1862, p. 3, c. 2

[From the Southern Christian Advocate]

Col. Robert A. Smith

On the 4th of July, 1862, an immense concourse of soldiers and citizens followed to their resting place in Rose Hill Cemetery, at Macon by the side of the wife of his early manhood, the remains of Col. R. A. Smith, of the 44th Georgia Regiment, whose sun went down in a blaze of glory during the recent conflict near Richmond. It is due to the dead, and may benefit the living, that one who has known and loved him from boyhood, should place on record an outline of his noble character.

At an early age, perhaps when fourteen or fifteen years old, Col. Smith united with the Methodist Church in Macon, where his membership still remained till his death. At the age of sixteen, he entered the Sophomore Class in Oglethorpe University, at which Institution he graduated in the Class of 1843. His student life was marked with respectable attainments in scholarship - genial and courteous intercourse with his associates, and a wide and varied culture in general literature. Many a fragrant hour he spent, after the demands of the recitation room had been met, with a friend, in discussing the books recently read, or, in a social, easy way, talking of the many themes which spring up in the pathway of the lover of letters. These were, indeed, "ambrosial nights" to which, in after years, he loved to recur. It was a favorite quotation, with him, when referring to this period of his life, in conversation with a friend with whom he had enjoyed those hours of social and intellectual communing:

"We spent them not in lust and wine,
But in the search of deep philosophy,
Arts which I loved."

He uniformly exhibited a rare purity and delicacy of conversation and conduct. The smutty anecdote the coarse jest, so common in the unrestrained intercourse of young men with each other, never sullied his life. Having won the esteem of his follow students and the Faculty; having awakened high anticipations that his would be a bright and useful future; having declined to contend for the honor of his class, because of the wrong feelings which such a contest tends to excite; having, at graduating, delivered a brilliant address, which, to this day, though delivered nineteen years ago is remembered by some who heard it, he left his Alma Mater for the busy world.

In due season he was admitted to the Bar. His professional career was characterized by faithfulness, ability and piety. When employed in criminal cases, he made it a constant practice to seek to lead his clients to Christ. He visited them in prison, not only to talk with them about the impending trial, but to tell them of Jesus and the trial of the Great Day. He was abundant in good works. He visited the poor, the outcast, the suffering - ministering to them in temporal and spiritual things. for a long time he regularly went to the jail of his county, as a minister to the souls of those who might be confined there - white and black. He labored in Sabbath Schools and prayer meetings for the destitute, besides being regular and diligent as a class leader, superintendent or teacher in the Church Sabbath School, and office bearer in the Church of his choice.

A Methodist from conviction, he had broad, warm sympathies for all who lived the Lord. He loved to unite with members of other churches in doing the work of the Master. A more truly Catholic spirit never adorned the Church of Jesus.

In his intercourse with his friends and acquaintances, he sought oppo9rtunity by letter and in conversation, to urge the claims of personal religion. Many are now living whom he has directly urged to come to Christ. Eternity alone can reveal the number of stars in his crown. Of his substance, he gave generously and freely for the promotion of religion, and for the relief of distress.

No man was more severe upon his own faults or more charitable towards those of others. He was an ardent patriot as well as Christian. When the war broke out he was Captain of the "Macon Volunteers." He was ordered to Norfolk with his company - they having promptly tendered their services - in the vicinity of which place they remained about a year, doing effective service in aiding to protect the public property there, and the place itself, from the enemy. When the new regiments were formed early in the Spring, he was elected Colonel of the 44th Ga. Regiment. With the same zeal and diligence which he exhibited as Captain, he entered upon the more onerous duties of his new position. Night and day he was busy endeavoring to bring the regiment to the highest point of excellency both as soldiers and as men. His unwearied labor and exposure brought on disease, from which he suffered for two months before his death.

The fierce ordeal of the soldier's life did not cause his religion to go out in darkness. Writing to a friend, a few weeks since, he said - "During my recent afflictions I have tried to pray more than ever. Night before last, and last night, I passed most of the time in prayer. My illness kept me awake, but I found relief in calling on the name of the Lord."

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. His freed spirit sped its way to "the shining shore." The nation, the Church, the family, loving friends, the suffering, the destitute, the outcast, the prisoner, are bereaved. His work is done. History will enter his name on the roll of her Christian heroes. Being dead he yet speaketh. Whoever reads this brief tribute of action to his memory - follow him as he followed Christ.
 
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#24
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.
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!
 
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#25
I used to live in a house on Porter's side of the field, and many is the time I sloshed around in that creek bottom. In fact I got into a major argument with a NPS ranger over his mistaken theory of where Ellerson's mill stood.

Ellersons was an under feed wheel mill, as can be seen in the picture. The creek flowed under the mill as the empty dark area to the under right side of the mill shows.

When I was living there I could easily find the trenches and the field gun emplacements on the union, (south side,) of the creek.

It's a shame more of the field could not be preserved.
 

DR_Hanna

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#26
In the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library at UGA, I found some letters from Fleming Jordan of the 44th to his wife.
In a letter dated June 16th, 1862 he describes Ripley:

"We are now under the command of General Ripley temporarily - who is a big fat, whiskey drinking, booring man."
 

DR_Hanna

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#27
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.
In the same collection mentioned in the post above, I found this letter from Robert A. Smith, written on the 27th while mortally wounded.

44thRobertASmithLetter.jpg
 

DR_Hanna

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#28
I found this mention in the Athens newspaper Southern Banner for Jul. 2 1862 -- page 3

FROM COL. SMITH'S REGIMENT
Richmond, June 27th, -- The 44th
Georgia charged a battery yesterday
evening ; loss heavy. Adj't Wiley
and myself wounded, but not seriously;
particulars hereafter. We are with
Dr. J. M. Green. Enemy badly whipped.
Robert A. Smith

FromColSmithsRegiment.jpg
 

DR_Hanna

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#29
Another mention on the same page - Southern Banner for Jul. 2 1862 -- page 3
Some Particulars of Friday's Fight
Richmond, June 30, -The attack upon
the Yankee fortifications ar Ellison's Mill
on Friday last was made by the 44th and
48th georgia, 2d and 3d North Carolina.---
The 44th Georgia and the 3rd north
Carolina suffered extremely.
...

EllisonsMill_SomeParticulars.jpg
 

DR_Hanna

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#30
I found an account of the event in

Nov-Dec 1994 issue of Infantry Magazine, published out of Fort Benning, GA
These are available online for free.

http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/1994/NOV-DEC/pdfs/NOV-DEC1994.pdf

In a sidebar, it is revealed that the author Captain Scott T. Glass, is a 1984 ROTC graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a master's degree from Webster University. Three of his great great grandfathers served in the 44th Georgia Infantry at Beaver Dam Creek.


Battle of Beavaer Dam Creek
FM 100-5 Lessons Learned
Captain Scott T. Glass

Excerpt from the article (emphasis mine):

Around 1800 Pender thought he saw an opportunity to flank the Union left, but had no troops available and asked D.H. Hill for Ripley's brigade. Lee, now on the field, agreed, despite D.H. Hill's objections. Also present was Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who--in a strange turn of events--confirmed Lee's instructions to D.H. Hill.
When Ripley issued his order, however, the mission changed. Instead of working around the Union left flank, he would attack a battery covering the Cold Harbor Road crossing, using two regiments, the 1st North Carolina and the 44th Georgia. The shocked commander of the latter unit, Colonel Smith, asked Ripley three times to repeat the orders.
Just after 1900, Ripley attacked directly into the teeth of McCall's defense. McCall saw the attack forming and deployed another regiment and battery at the threatened point. Abatis disrupted the tight formations; the 44th Georgia re-formed and continued under intense shelling that mortally wounded Colonel Smith. Union riflemen joined in as the advance came within 400 yards. The 44th Georgia color-bearer's eight gunshot wounds testified to the volume of fire.
This firepower smashed the attackers, and only unit fragments reached the creek abatis. Riply found both regimental commanders mortally wounded and many company commanders shot down. He orderd the men to lie down and return fire. Darkness allowed the few who were ininjured to crawl back.​
 
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#31
I did a bit of research into the 44th Georgia at one point. My Harris family came from Pike County Georgia as did Company H of the 44th Georgia Infantry. My Harris ancestor's oldest brother was named James Pyron Harris. Family legend has it that he served and apparently perished during the war as both he and his wife were deceased in 1870 leaving their three children orphans but I have been unable to prove military service for him. One of the men who I thought may be my uncle was Corporal James Harris of Company H, 44th Georgia Infantry. But upon obtaining a copy of his record, he appears to have survived the war plus I found a grave with a military marker in Texas I believe claiming to have belonged to Corporal Harris of Company H, 44th Ga Infantry so I decided that this was not my Uncle as he died way after 1870. A very interesting Regiment.
 

Chattahooch33

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#32
Great stuff.

I had a GG Uncle in this regiment:

William Jones WhiteheadGG Uncle - 3rd Sergeant - 44th Georgia Infantry Co. C – Enlisted March 4, 1862 and appointed 3rd Sergeant. Wounded in left leg necessitating amputation at the Battle of the Wilderness. Admitted into the Receiving & Wayside Hospital in Richmond, Virginia and recommended for retirement to Invalid Corps February 20, 1865.

whitehead.jpg


There were 5 other Whiteheads (my last name also) in Co. C which I am sure I am related to somehow but I haven't made the connection yet.
 

Bruce Vail

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#34
A great thread!!

I missed the OP first time around in 2016, but saw it today when I was checking the old threads for Ellerson's Mill.
 
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Bruce Vail

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#35
Confederate Gen. Edward Porter Alexander left a rich record of his war experience.

I take this quote from a portion of his memoirs as published by the Library of America:

"But somehow it happened that two regts. of Ripley's brigade of D.H. Hill's division were ordered to charge it. It was a tragic illustration of the absurdities which often happen upon battlefields. Fitz John Porter had about 25,000 men sheltered and inaccessible and about 1,500 are launched into his fire and told to charge him home. The regiments sent were big green regiments never before under fire but full of the spirit and prestige given to our whole army by our former successes."

"Had these green troops been given anything to do which was within the bound of possibility it seems reasonable to believe that they would have done it, and in doing it, acquired a self confidence which would have made them ever afterward as near as invincible as soldiers can get to be. For their charge was indeed a glorious one. Across the level meadows which stretched from Mechanicsville to the edge of the rather deep and narrow Beaver Dam valley, where even every occasional shattered shade tree had been previously cut down by the enemy to give a free field of fire, they swept without a break though all the fire the enemy could throw. And when they finally reached the rather steep descent into the valley, with its swamp and felled timber and creek and race -- all within 200 yards of Fitz John Porter's intrenched 20,000 -- they knew too little of war to turn back but plunged on down and into the entanglement."

"There is no wonder that, as the Federal officer wrote, their dead laid 'like flies in a sugar bowl.'"
 
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Bruce Vail

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#36
Not sure why Porter specifies two regiments of Ripley's brigade (it contained four). Other accounts say that all four of Ripley's regiments were involved in the fight at Ellerson's Mill.
 


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