February 29, 2012
Moultrie group to honor local Confederate unit on Sunday
Staff Reports The Moultrie Observer
MOULTRIE — The Moultrie Sons of Confederate Veterans invites the interested public to join them for a roll call of soldiers who mustered at the Colquitt County Courthouse 150 years ago on March 4, 1862. To remember these men, a service will be held on Sunday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m., on the courthouse grounds near the Confederate Monument.
“Too often, in our busy world, we forget those who came before us and the sacrifices they made, the pivotal history our families participated in that we read about today. Our local families from the past gave of their loved ones and endured immeasurable sacrifices as our young country experienced growing pains and a shifting power structure some 80 years after the American Revolutionary War,” said Jack Bridwell, director of the Museum of Colquitt County History.
The Georgia Secession Convention had been held in January 1861 at the state capitol of Milledgeville. Colquitt County’s two representatives attended and voted to secede. The county was only five years old, only 204 families were on the 1860 census and only 109 of these families had males of military age with 75 of those eligible married with children. Thirty-four families had unmarried sons of age for the war.
Local citizen, Jeremiah Hancock wrote a letter to Georgia’s governor, Joseph E. Brown, in August 1861, concerning the readiness of Colquitt County’s volunteer soldiers and qualified officers.
The Muster Roll was called to assemble on the west side of the courthouse on March 4, 1862 with families to see them off to an uncertain future, leaving weeping mothers, wives and sweethearts. Fifty-five local families were represented that day with 92 young men leaving for their first encampment in Macon, then Ft. Brown near Savannah, Ga. This number would eventually grow to 139 men from Colquitt County. They would become Co. H, 50th GA Infantry.
Fifteen area men would die from disease while in training camps before leaving Georgia soil.
Within months, the “Colquitt Marksmen” faced fire at Crampton’s Gap, Md., with four casualties, one wounded and one taken prisoner. They next participated in action at Fredericksburg and Richmond, Va., with three more casualties. The bitter winter weather in Virginia was difficult on these South Georgia men — two froze to death and two more died from wounds.
“Serving in the Army of Northern Virginia, under the overall command of Gen. Robert E. Lee and attached to Longstreet’s Corps, placed our area soldiers in some major battles with the cost very high for our local families. Some lost as many as four sons and they should not be forgotten,” said Bridwell.
Other battles they were involved with were Harper’s Ferry, Va., Sharpsburg, Md., and Rappahannock and Chancellorsville, Va. They next traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., then, were sent by rail to participate at Chickamauga, Ga., and then, Chattanooga and Wauhatchie, Tenn. Under fire at Campbell’s Station and Ft. Loudon, Tenn., they fought in the battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, New Market, Cedar Creek and Saylor’s Creek, Va. They were also there for the surrender at Appomattox, Va. In summary, only 21 of the original 92 men who enlisted with this company escaped death, injury or capture during the war. There were a number of men to die as POW’s in northern prison camps.
“Let’s remember them on this 150th anniversary and their families — some are now our neighbors,” Bridwell said.
Three additional companies were formed for the war, from Colquitt County, and will be honored on the 150th anniversary of their formation dates in 2013 and 2014.
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