The Sumter Light Guards, the Oglethorpe Infantry, and the Clinch Rifles

AUG

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These three, rather unique images of several Georgia infantry companies were taken very early in the war by Isaac Tucker and J. W. Perkins of the Photographic Gallery of Art in Augusta, GA. They have been discussed individually within a few other threads, but I have some more info I can share on each and thought it would be nice to compile them all into a single thread.

sumter-light-guards-augusta-georgia-april-1861-jpg.jpg

I'll start off with this image of the Sumter Light Guards, April 26, 1861. From Americus, Sumter County, Georgia, this company later became Company K of the 4th Georgia Infantry.

You can zoom in on the photo here: https://historical.ha.com/itm/milit...gusta-georgia-circa-april-1864/a/6131-47477.s

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Albumen print with description. Photographers listed on bottom left corner. (Source)

The Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel described the arrival of the company in late April 1861, right around when the photo was taken:

"This splendid corps arrived in town on Sunday morning. They number 83 men. They were accompanied by the American [Americus] Brass Band, whose performance elicited general approval and eulogy from our citizens. They only escort the corps thus far on their journey. The uniform of the Sumter Light Guards is a dark blue jacket, for the privates, trimmed with buff."

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Don Troiani's take on their early war company uniform.

In the 4th Georgia Infantry, they would serve throughout most of the major battles and campaigns in the Eastern Theater as part of Doles'/Cook's Georgia Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia. The 4th Georgia suffered particularly heavy losses at Malvern Hill, Sharpsburg, and Chancellorsville; but it was in the thick of the fighting at many other places as well, like Barlow's Knoll at Gettysburg, the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania, throughout the 1864 Valley Campaign, and at Petersburg.


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Unidentified member of the Sumter Light Guard. (Source)

William L. Johnson.jpg

William L. Johnson (Source)
Captain - April 27, 1861. Resigned April 28, 1862, after expiration of first term of service. Served in Quartermaster Department under Major George W. Grice until close of war.

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David R. E. Winn (Source)
1st Lieutenant - April 27, 1861. Elected Captain, April 28, 1862; Major, September 24, 1862; Lieutenant Colonel, November 1, 1862. Killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863.

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William Thomas Toole (Source)
2nd Lieutenant - April 27, 1861. Resigned April 28, 1862.

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Richard A. Brown (Source)
1st Corporal - April 27, 1861. Appointed 5th Sergeant, May 10, 1861. Wounded at King's School House, Virginia, June 25, 1862; Malvern Hill, Virginia, July 1, 1862; and Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 1862. Elected Jr. 2nd Lieutenant of Company G, 64th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, April 5, 1863; Captain of Company H, September 18, 1863. Captured at Deep Bottom, Virginia, August 16, 1864. Released at Fort Delaware, Delaware, June 17, 1865.

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Richard H. Daniel (Source)
Private - April 27, 1861. Wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 2, 1863. Surrendered Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865.


A few more photos here: https://dlg.usg.edu/records?q=Sumter+light+guards&search_field=all_fields

Link to company roster: http://www.ranger95.com/civil_war/georgia/infantry/4ga_inf/4th_inf_regt_rost_k.html
 
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AUG

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Oglethorpe Infantry.jpg

The Oglethorpe Infantry, April 1861. (Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War, Vol. 8)

The Oglethorpe Infantry began as a prewar militia company, organized in Augusta, Georgia, in 1850. They were named after James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony in 1733. At the outset of the war they mustered in as Company D of Ramsey's 1st Georgia Infantry, and throughout 1861 served at Pensacola and under Jackson in the Romney Expedition. After their first term of service expired in March 1862, those who reenlisted were reorganized as Company A, 12th Battalion Georgia Light Artillery, serving as garrison troops on the Georgia coast. Late that year the Oglethorpes transferred to the 13th Georgia Infantry Battalion, which was increased in size and redesignated the 63rd Georgia Infantry Regiment. The Oglethorpes were Company A. The regiment served as garrison troops on the East Coast until joining the Army of Tennessee in March 1864. They then participated in the Atlanta, Tennessee, and Carolinas Campaigns in 1864-65, surrendering with the army in North Carolina.

This image was incorrectly ID'd as the Clinch Rifles in The Photographic History of the Civil War, but in a second edition it was corrected to the Oglethorpe Infantry.


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Capt. James O. Clarke (Source: The Confederate Army 1861-65: Florida, Alabama & Georgia by Ron Field)

Clarke, James O. -- Captain - March 18, 1861. Elected Lieutenant Colonel, April 3, 1861; Colonel, December 11, 1861. Appointed 2nd Lieutenant and Drill Master, Camp of Instruction, Georgia, July 29, 1862; 1st Lieutenant and Drill Master, July 17, 1863. No later record.


Alfred G. Hall, Oglethorpe Infantry 1.jpg

Albert G. Hall in full uniform of the Oglethorpe Infantry, dark blue frock coat and light blue trousers. Taken in Augusta, GA, April 1, 1861. (Source)

Hall, Albert G. -- Private - March 18, 1861. Mustered out at Augusta, Georgia March 18, 1862. Enlisted as a private in Company N, 5th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, May 16, 1862. Transferred to Company C, 2nd Battalion, Georgia Sharpshooters May 1862. Discharged, furnished John Sullivan as substitute, January 14, 1863.


The memoir, Under the Stars and Bars; or, Memories of Four Years Service with the Oglethorpes, of Augusta, Georgia by Walter A. Clark is written by a member of this company.

Company rosters:
https://ranger95.com/civil_war/georgia/infantry/1ga_inf_ramsey/1st_inf_regt_ramseys_rost_d.html
https://ranger95.com/civil_war/georgia/infantry/63inf_rgt/63rd_inf_regt_rost_a.html
 

AUG

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campo36.jpg

The Clinch Rifles, taken March 9, 1861. (Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War, Vol. 9)

The Clinch Rifles also dated back to prewar militia origins, organized in Augusta in 1851 from the Clinch Engine Company No. 2. It was named for General Duncan L. Clinch, the commander at the battles of Withlacoochee and The Cove in the Seminole Wars. The company adopted the motto "Charge Again" after General Clinch’s order at the battle of Withlacoochee.

The Rifles were a true rifle company, outfitted in the traditional green of European riflemen units and armed with 1841 Mississippi rifles.

Clinch Rifles 1.jpg

Don Troiani's depiction of the Clinch Rifles.

In May 1861 the Rifles were mustered in as Company A of the 5th Georgia Infantry. They would see most of their service in the Army of Tennessee, fighting at Murfreesboro, Chickamauaga, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, and the Carolinas Campaign.

According to Silent Witness: The Civil War through Photography and its Photographers by Ron Field:

"Before they arrived at Camp Oglethorpe to join the 5th Georgia, the Clinch Rifles of Augusta were photographed by Tucker & Perkins. Established in Augusta since 1851, Isaac Tucker, with J. W. Perkins, operated the Photographic Gallery of Art opposite Adams' Express Company in Broad Street, and also supplied materials and chemicals to other photographers. On March 9, 1861, this firm photographed a flag presentation to the Clinch Rifles and five days later had an albumen print of the occasion 'suspended near the entrance to their Art Gallery.' They presented a copy of this photograph to the Rifles as they departed for Macon on May 7, 1861. By the end of September 1862, Tucker & Perkins had sold all their 'Photographic and Ambrotype Stock' and closed their gallery. On September 11, 1863, J. W. Perkins was enrolled 'for the war' in the Wheeler Dragoons, which formed part of the 1st Georgia Regiment of Local Troops."​

Here is a newspaper article describing the flag presentation, Daily Constitutionalist (Augusta, GA), March 10, 1861, p. 3, c. 1:
The Clinch Rifles paraded yesterday afternoon, in full dress, with fatigue caps, under command of Captain Platt, and made their usual handsome military display.

This popular company presents a very soldierly appearance; and, as a general rule, execute the several manoeuvres of the manual of arms with a skill and proficiency that entitles them to much credit and admiration.

Between three and four o’clock, P. M., the company proceeded to the green in Broad Street, in front of Messrs. Platt’s furniture establishment, and there received a beautiful flag of the Southern Confederacy, which had been prepared for, and was presented to the Clinch Rifles by two of the original members of the company.

W. D. Tutt, Esq., presented the flag, in behalf of the donors in the following neat and appropriate speech:

Fellow Soldiers: By solicitation, it becomes my pleasing duty, in the name and behalf of two worthy and honored original members of the Clinch rifles—Lieut. Adam and ex-Sergeant Platt—to present to you a new flag—the flag of the Southern Confederacy. I shall not attempt to examine or explain its design, for the world now, or soon will, know it by heart. We all, gentlemen, regret the necessity which compels us to furl the “old Stars and Stripes.” Every star and every stripe has had a place in every American patriot’s heart; as each successive star was added to the bright gallaxy [sic] of Freedom’s constellation, the patriot’s heart swelled with emotion, when contemplating the destined future of his country; but, alas! alas! while the efforts of time proved utterly unavailing to tarnish the brilliance which was shed forth to all the world, tyranny succeeded in entirely obliterating it; and now, seven of them—stars of the very first magnitude—have left their accustomed orbit, and are now revolving around Freedom as a common centre.

We are pained to see that standard sheet, which commanded the respect of all nations—which floated triumphantly over every sea—and which waved a proud defiance even from the halls of the Montezumas; we are pained, I sway, to see it removed from its proud position. Yet, we feel that an inevitable necessity has forced it upon us, and we readily accept the alternative, of tearing it from its proud pedestal, rather than allow it to float freely and fearlessly over an enslaved and subjugated people.

This is no spasmodic feeling. It is a feeling which has been engendered by the meekness with which we have borne the wrongs and insults heaped upon us, for the last ten years; and now, when the worst has come—when “Birnam wood has come to Dursinane,” the South, after mature deliberation, and calm reflection, has decided to cling to her institutions, as the mariner clings to the floating wreck when the storm fiend howls in the blast, and the spirit of despair settles upon the face of the waters.

These gentlemen, then, “our brethren in arms,” whom I represent, have, in this necessity, provided another ark of the covenant of Freedom to go before the Clinch Rifles, in this their journey through the wilderness of revolution to the promised land of liberty beyond. They have presented it, because they believe you will be among the first, when your country calls, to rally to the rescue—they have presented it because they believe that it will be carried through the thickest of the fight, and you, soldiers, will never permit it to trail in the dust. Then, take it as a trust, delegated to each one individually, and to the Clinch Rifles collectively; and if grim visaged war shall stalk among us, and the bugle’s shrill tones shall call us to arms, let us follow where this glorious flag shall lead, and let the wave of its silken folds beckon us on “to victory or to death.”

Capt. Platt the took the flag, and handed it to Ensign Ells, with a few brief remarks. Ensign James N. Ells received the beautiful flag, which is of fine silk, regulation size, and replied as follows:

Sir: In receiving this beautiful flag from you, the representative of patriotic donors, the heart of every Clinch Rifle is overflowing with peculiar emotions. Its resemblance to one we have loved for years, one cherished with an affection known only to Americans, calls up most pleasant memories, indulged until the hand of oppression blotted out its stars and rent its folds asunder. As we gaze on the standard before us, we renew our vows of fealty to our new Confederacy, and from our heart of hearts thank the God of all nations that there is still one Republic of freemen in the world; one favored land where citizens may walk erect, in all the dignity of their calling; and where men of the South, resisting oppression, and bidding defiance to tyranny, have exchanged the miseries of despotism for the glorious fruition of the rights of sons of our own sunny clime.

Sir, in our keeping, we promise it shall never know dishonor. Our hands shall wave it in triumph—our lives defend it. The gallant States designated by its starry gems shall never blush for its fate, or may it prove our winding sheet. We unfurl it now to the breeze, invoking the blessing of Heaven to attend us in peace or conflict, as citizens or soldiers, come weal or woe, in life or death! Aye,

Forever float our standard sheet,
Whate’er old Time may bring before us;
‘Tis Southern soil beneath our feet—
A Southern flag is waving o’er us!”

The speaker was applauded several times during the delivery of these remarks.

The Rifles, after the close of these remarks, marched down Broad street to the front of the Augusta Hotel, where a photograph of the company was taken by Messrs. Tucker & Perkins, Daguerreans and Ambrotypists, on Broad street.

This accomplished, the company then proceeded to the Place D’Armes, where they went through several evolutions in a very skillful and creditable manner, in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen, who had assembled there. Among other tactics, the company again went through their old skirmish drill, which they had laid aside some years ago, much to the regret of their many admirers. As the times betoken war, the company has thought proper to resume HARDIES [sic] skirmish drill, in order to be ready for any emergency.

After the company returned to their armory, there was a pleasant little incident enacted, in which a number of appropriate toasts and sentiments formed a part of the proceedings. It was a late hour when the company was dismissed.

Company roster: https://ranger95.com/civil_war/georgia/infantry/5ga_inf/5th_inf_regt_rost_a.html

A few other photos of the Clinch Rifles in camp were posted here: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/clinch-rifles.77651/

Clinch Rifles officers.jpg

Officers of the Clinch Rifles.
 
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AUG

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I was thinking about the identity of the officers in that photo. According to the description on Heritage Auctions, Capt. William L. Johnson is standing in front of the company, although he looks more like the officer standing to the far right. Unsure of the exact placement of officers in this formation.

SLG officer 2.jpg
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The other two commissioned officers must be 1st Lt. David R. E. Winn and 2nd Lt. William T. Toole. Correct me if wrong, but assuming the 1st Lt. is standing in front....

SLG officer 1.jpg
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SLG officer 3.jpg
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AUG

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Btw, I had forgotten to add that photo of 1st Lt. David R. E. Winn to the OP, so it's in there now. He rose to Lt. Col. of the 4th Georgia and was in command of the regiment when he was killed on July 1 at Gettysburg. There's a story of how a portrait of Winn, hanging on the wall at his home, fell and hit a chair the morning after his death. His wife then got a premonition that he had been killed. When it hit the chair, it also just so happened that the canvas was pierced at the exact spot where he was shot.
 



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