Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Jackie Martin.
[For the Constitutionalist.]
LETTER FROM THE 48TH GEORGIA.
The following letter, to Col. R. J. Wilson, is from a gallant member of the Wilson Tigers, which company has suffered terribly since entering the service in March, 1862, and has been in every fight of any note from Richmond to the heights of Gettysburg. At the latter place it suffered most and more than any company in the 48th Regiment, carrying into the fight thirty men and four officers, and losing eleven killed dead on the field, twenty-one wounded or captured. The second Lieutenant and two men only came out safe in this fight. They were commanded by the gallant Capt. R. J. Wilson, who lost his arm, and it will be seen by the letter we publish below that the same gallant company lost three killed out of five in the regiment in the fight at Petersburg and commanded by Capt. Batchelor, a gallant officer that has been thrice wounded since entering the service:
LINE OF BATTLE NEAR PETERSBURG, VA.,
June 27th, 1864.
DEAR COLONEL: I thought it would afford you no little interest to know how your old command, the “Wilson Tigers,” behaved themselves in the late charge upon the enemy’s works, near this place on the afternoon of the 22d inst. We moved out about two o’clock, P. M., and immediately placed in line. Scarcely a minute’s time had elapsed before we were ordered forward, at which command the company, with its usual impetuosity, bounding “forth with a “yell” towards the enemy’s breastworks, that were distant some six hundred yards, and delivering their well directed fire, still continued to press on, (not a single man faltering) until we reached their line, where, for our brief work, we captured many prisoners, and passed over more dead and wounded Yankees than we ever did before on the same space of ground. We reached this line of works with the loss of but one man, and that was the brave and daring little G. L. Blackstone, who fell at the first onset, pierced through the lungs with a Minnie ball, and terminating in a few minutes fatally. After he fell he exclaimed: “Lieutenant, I am wounded, but go ahead boys.”
Our work was not yet completed, for before us, at the distance of three hundred yards, lay the enemy in a strong line of fortifications, supported by four pieces of artillery. The command “forward” was again given, when we still pressed on, not halting until we reached the enemy’s line, which was entirely captured by our Brigade, (Wright’s) and a portion of Mahone’s. In this sharp, but decisive engagement, this old company has to mourn the loss of two as brave and intrepid soldiers as this army possesses—Eli Beasley and T. J. Sanders. In that open and level old field did they stand exposed to the missiles of death that were falling thick and fast around them, load and fire their rifles with much deliberation (and no doubt with much effect upon the enemy) until they both fell pierced with Minnie balls, Eli through the heart and T. J. Sanders through the forehead, resulting fatally.
F. M. Taylor and J. P. Verdery were in this last charge slightly wounded, but neither leaving the field. Thinking it but right and just to mention the names of those who acted with gallantry in the charge, I cannot refrain from mentioning J. P. Verdery, who, after reaching the works bounded over and overtook some fleeing bluecoats and brought them in prisoners. During the charge he manifested great coolness and deliberation under a most deadly fire.
The names of Sceals, Glisson, Jones, Chavous, Daniel, Guy, Heath, Neely, Netherlands, Stephens, Thompson and Taylor will be mentioned for their veteran like behavior on the field. In this charge the loss of the regiment, (48th Ga) in killed were five, three of which was from the “Tigers.”
Lieut. Col. Hall, commanding regiment, and the now lamented Capt. L. G. Doughty, (who was killed the next day) acting Major in this charge, displayed great gallantry and coolness during the charge.
Our total capture will amount as follows: One thousand seven hundred and forty-two prisoners, eight stand of colors, four beautiful three-inch steel rifle pieces of artillery, two thousand six hundred stand small arms, and a great many spades, shovels, picks and axes.
We fought the 2d Corps, (Hancock’s) and the prisoners state that this was the first time they had ever been whipped, and admit that it was a good one. I remain yours, truly, W. A. B.1
- “Letter from the 48th Georgia.” Augusta (GA) Daily Constitutionalist. July 20, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩