1861-0501 Southern Watchman (Athens): “Banks County Guards.” This patriotic and chivalrous company passed through Athens on Friday last. They were received and escorted to the depot by the Athens Guards and Oconee Cavalry and a large concourse of citizens. Our citizens had a good breakfast in readiness for them at the Lumpkin House, and raised about $250 for them. After breakfast, while drawn up in line in front of the Lumpkin House, they were briefly addressed by Hon. T. R. R. Cobb in a strain of rare eloquence. Capt. D. G. Candler replied briefly—thanking the citizens of Athens for their liberality to the Guards, and the military for their courteous reception of them—closing with the assurance that if our homes should be invaded by Republican Goths and Vandals, they would first have to march over the dead bodies of the Banks County Guards.
We will unhesitatingly underwrite for the Banks County Guards. If an opportunity ever occurs, they will give a good account of themselves.
In their ranks we noticed three brothers, the sons of our friend, Chastain, of Homer. We noticed our friend, Col. Samuel W. Pruitt, member of the late Convention, a private in the ranks. Mr. Pruitt signed the Ordinance of Secession, and is one of the first to volunteer to fight for it. And what is still more remarkable, we noticed one man who was lame having really but one foot! His name was Nimrod P. Andrews. Poor fellow with heart swelling with patriotism, he was panting to meet his country’s invaders. We have no fear of Black Republican coercion, while such a spirit animates our fellow citizens. If they were seventy times more numerous, they could never subdue such a people.
The following are the officers of the Guards: Capt. D. G. Candler, 1st Lt. W. W. Charlton, 2nd Lt. Robert Allan. They number 80 men, rank and file. Banks has done nobly. Her vote is only about 583, and has already a second company forming.
1861-0508 Southern Banner (Athens): “Editorial Correspondence.” Camp Lawton, Savannah, May 2, 1861. After a two-day sojourn in a commodious warehouse on West Broad Street in (Savannah), the Troup Artillery, on Saturday last, moved out to this beautiful parade ground, where they are regularly encamped. It is about one mile and a half from the central portions of the city, and near the Park. Just near enough for convenience, and not too near to bring us in contact with those many minor disagreeables that cluster in the business parts of all cities. The temperature, so far, has been delightful, with an immunity from mosquitoes, sand-flies, etc. that is as refreshing as it was unexpected by us. Several magnificent oaks afford a luxuriant shade for a noon-day lounge or siesta, and, in the afternoon, groups of well-dressed ladies and children—the latter of whom are generally very pretty—favor us with their presence, and cheer us with their smiles. To the “dweller in tents,” it is a glimpse of the Houris in Paradise to a true follower of the Prophet.
As to the routine of camp-life, its duties, its pleasures, and its monotony, I will give you the routine of one day. At reveille, 5:00 A.M., we rise, fall into line, and answer to roll call; then we drill as infantry for an hour, coming home inside the (illegible) from the extremity of the parade ground, about 200 yards—at “double quick” time—a kind of a dog trot, which makes a man at all inclined to (illegible) pant like a racer after a sharp burst home on the last quarter. Then we breakfast, doing our own cooking. From 8:30 to 9:30 we drill another hour, and half an hour afterwards the officer of the day inspects tents to see that all inside is “ship-shape.” From then till dinner at 12, we are free—except the guards of course. At 5:30 we drill another hour, then a short interval, then supper. At 9:00, “tattoo” and roll call, and at 9:15 “lights out” and to bed. Such is our life….
The Banks County Guards, who are in camp near us, with ours, and the other companies composing the regiment, will probably all go to Thunderbolt. I have had the pleasure of meeting among the Banks County Guards, several old friends and patrons of the “Banner”—among them, D. G. Candler, Robert Allan, Henry Allan, S. W. Pruitt, W. W. Charlton and others.
But I must close, for the roll of the drum and the “fall in men” of the “orderly,” warns me that evening drill is close at hand. I will endeavor to keep you informed on all matters of interest as they may occur down here. A. W. R.
1861-0515 Southern Watchman (Athens): “Good Shots.” Monday last the Captain of the Banks County Guards ordered a trial of skill in shooting by his corps. The plan adopted was putting up a hat as a mark and ordering his men to march from it one hundred yards, when they were to turn and fire without hesitation. After the trial had been completed, 74 men having fired, the hat was brought to the Captain and 69 bullet holes were found to have been made. No preparation had been made, as the contest was an impromptu affair.
The above, which we copy from the Savannah Republican, shows that the Banks boys will be able to make their mark upon the Lincolnites, if ever they shall get in reasonable distance of them. Hurrah for Banks!
1861-0515 Southern Watchman (Athens): “A Trip to Savannah.” I visited Fort Pulaski on Wednesday in company with several of the boys of the Banks County Guards and many others. I met our friend Capt. Frank Hill upon my arrival, who treated me—as he treats everyone—with marked kindness. He and his boys are enjoying good health. I enjoyed a good “soldier’s dinner,” by special invitation, with him, besides other things in abundance. I formed the acquaintance of Col. Williams, Commander of the Fort, Lt. Bagley, who has mounted all the large Columbiads upon the Fort, Lt. Lane, Capt. “Billy” Martin, and many others whom I do not recollect.
The Fort is in a fine state of defense—plenty of men, guns and ammunition—all right. Should old Abe attempt to run his boys up the Savannah River by this Fort they will have such a warm reception that it will not be healthy to them. The Fort is 14 miles below the city, and Tybee is four miles below the Fort, down on the Atlantic coast. You will recollect that Fort Pulaski is at the mouth of the Savannah River. There are 22 volunteer companies in and around the city. Among the number I noticed are the Banks County Guards and the Troup Artillery. Both these companies were mustered into service this week, forming part of 2nd Regiment. The men of both companies are well, and all seem to be enjoying themselves finely. They are stationed in the beautiful parade ground in the upper part of the city, near the Park. I hope I will be pardoned for mentioning the Banks County Guards particularly, in this communication. I was surprised when I visited the camp to meet so many old acquaintances and schoolmates, in this company. A hasty reminiscence of a few years flashed over my mind and I involuntarily recurred to days spent pleasantly with these good fellows in the school room and social circle.
Capt. Candler and the boys kindly invited me to quarters with them during my stay in the city, which I accepted for a portion of the time. I never saw a crowd of men in any capacity enjoying themselves better “in camp life,” than Capt. Candler’s Company. The citizens of the city furnish them and the Troup Artillery with a fine lot of vegetables every day, and many other favors too numerous to mention.
I would like to mention the names of some in this company whom I ever remember as special friends, but will not, having, as I do, the kindest regard for all, from the Captain to the humblest private. Thanks to you, my good fellows, for your kind treatment to, and your friendship for me—be assured you have the best wishes of your humble servant, and he hopes when you shall return from the field of battle there may not be a man missing from your noble company.
I left Thursday night for this city, landed early this morning, and shall leave for Athens this afternoon. More anon. Respectfully, M. P. Caldwell, Augusta, Ga., May 10, 1861.
1861-0522 Southern Banner (Athens): We, the Grand Jurors of Banks County, in view of the patriotism manifested by the Banks County Guards in responding to the call of the Governor in defense of the common cause of us all, and feeling desirous that they shall have a sufficient fund to supply their immediate wants, herewith tender to Daniel G. Candler, Captain of said company, $23.00 to be paid to the members of said company in such sums and at such times as he may think proper and we recommend to all good citizens to contribute to this cause. (List of individual donors shown.)
1861-0529 Southern Watchman (Athens): “Banks County Guards.” We have been requested by Capt. Candler to publish the following written May 23rd at camp near Savannah:
I take this opportunity of acknowledging the many obligations which myself and company owe to the citizens, for favors bestowed while en route to this place. I should have done so sooner, but for the many cares and anxieties that have pressed upon me since my arrival at Savannah. In procuring tents and other camp equipage, arms, ammunition, rations, etc. besides four hours per day on drill; besides, I knew that our generous benefactors were prompted by higher and holier motives than the praise of men. May they find their reward in that welcome plaudit, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.” For the warm hospitality and welcome greeting of my company at Jefferson, I would that I had time and space to return thanks to each citizen of Jefferson, individually, but let it suffice to say, that Col. Millican, Major Bell, Mr. McCleskey, Mrs. Randolph, A. C. Thompson and others, are entitled to our special thanks for their kind attention. But what shall I say of the reception by the young ladies of the Martin Institute, for the soul-inspiring greeting bestowed on the Banks County Guards. The deep sympathy depicted on every face, showed too plainly that their hearts were in the great cause in which we were engaged, and that many prayers from pure hearts would ascend to heaven for our welfare. But when I come to speak of the hospitality of your little city, language utterly fails to express the gratitude of myself and company; and had I language to do justice to her, a eulogy from me would be unnecessary. Her panegyric will be written on the pages of her country’s history, and on the hearts of a grateful soldiery. May God prosper and bless her and may her history be recorded on the brightest page of the annals of our beloved South. My special thanks are due to the authorities, both civil and military, for their courtesy and liberality. Mr. Hart, of Union Point, is also entitled to our special thanks for a splendid dinner. Mr. Hart is a patriot of the first water. May his country appreciate his patriotism as highly as the Banks County Guards do his liberality. To the military of Augusta my thanks are due, for their great courtesy to our corps. Well, we are still under daily and weighty obligations to the ladies of Savannah, for the most choice luxuries, bestowed in such profusion that I scarcely have time to acknowledge their kindness. While writing this short letter, I have been stopped three times, to tender thanks, once to Mrs. Ross, once to Mrs. Bartow and to Miss Millen. May God bless the ladies of Savannah.
Who would not willingly lay down his life for such a cause, such a country, and especially to defend such noble and patriotic ladies as Savannah contains. Let what will come, the South can never be subdued while the pure flame of patriotism glows with such fervor, in such pure bosoms.
But I am surrounded with the beating of drums, and the eternal hep, hep, hep of the drill, and must close. Yours, truly, D. G. Candler, Capt.
1861-0529 Southern Banner (Athens): “Visit to Savannah.” Since our last issue, we have made a flying visit to Savannah, and were gratified to find “our boys” in good condition. With the exception of a few cases of slight indisposition, the health of the Troup Artillery and Banks County Guards has been good. Both companies have made remarkable progress in drilling. Having witnessed the drill of the Artillery here, we were agreeably surprised at the regularity and precision with which they went through the difficult movements of loading and firing, changing wheels, dismounting guns, etc. They were highly spoken of by the citizens of Savannah, both as gentlemen and soldiers. Ditto of the Banks boys.
1861-0605 Southern Banner (Athens): “Editorial Correspondence.” Camp Lawton, Savannah, May 31, 1861…Here we are at Camp Lawton squatted on the parade ground like the last rose of summer. The whole regiment is under orders for Brunswick by tomorrow. Our neighbors, the Joe Browns and the Banks County Guards, left yesterday for Brunswick.
1861-0612 Southern Banner (Athens): “Editorial Correspondence.” Camp Lawton, Savannah, June 7, 1881…We miss our friends and neighbors, the Banks County Guards, much, for they were a merry set and kept off the “blues” from all within sound of their voices. They went off about 3:00 A.M. one morning and their “war whoop” roused us from our dreams. I hope they are better off as to sand-flies, especially, in their new home than they were here. And speaking of these “game birds,” reminds me of their exploits last night. They “came down” upon us like hosts of Sennacherib. It was a choice between being half-smothered under our thick blankets, or literally stung into a fever by the little torments. I tried both, and have not, as yet, decided as to which is the most agreeable mode of losing one’s senses. All of us were up betimes, and, as one very much exasperated individual remarked, as the reveille broke upon the morning air: “No need for a drum to wake us up when these damn little varmints are around.” I never passed a more miserable night, certainly. When the sun gets well up in the heavens, though, and the breeze springs up, they disappear until night comes again.
1861-0626 Southern Banner (Athens): “Col. Semmes’ Regiment.” There seems to be no doubt (says the Columbus Sun) that the Second Georgia Regiment, commanded by Col. Paul J. Semmes, has been ordered from Brunswick to Virginia….This is the regiment to which the Banks County Guards are attached.
1861-0626 Southern Banner (Athens): “Editorial Correspondence.” Camp Lawton, Savannah, June 21st. I regret to notice in (the Regimental Journal published by some of the members of the Burke Sharp Shooters) columns the death of Mr. George W. Williamson, a member of the Banks County Guards, and a young man of much promise as a soldier. The Joe Browns have also lost a member—Brady—who died here last Sunday in the hospital, of typhoid fever. These two are, thus far, the only deaths in this regiment.
1861-0626 Southern Banner (Athens): “Death of a Soldier.” It is with sincere regret that we announce the death of George Williamson, a private in the Banks County Guards. He died on the 14th instant, at 2:00 A.M. at age 21 years. We learn from Capt. Candler that the deceased was a young man of great promise—a prompt and efficient soldier, and leaves a large circle of friends and relatives to mourn his irreparable loss. His remains were interred in the Brunswick Cemetery, with military honors, and is the first martyr, in the cause of Southern liberty, from the Second Regiment of Georgia Volunteers.—Regimental Journal.
1861-0703 Southern Banner (Athens): “Letter from Capt. Candler.” Camp Semmes, June 24, 1861. James A. Sledge, Esq. (Editor of Southern Banner):–Dear Sir:–As I receive many letters of inquiry as to the health of the Banks County Guards, our place of destination, etc., and have little or no time to devote to correspondence, I proceed to give you a concise statement of the condition of my company. I have had in my company, since I arrived at Savannah, 36 cases of measles of a mild form. They were a sad draw-back on my company, and I still keep them on the sick list fearful to expose them to duty least they should collapse. In the early stage of the epidemic, I removed my sick from the hospital and took them under my own charge, put them in comfortable houses, and detailed Lt. Charlton and a sufficient number of men to nurse and take care of them. They are all well provided with cotton mattresses, etc. provided by our private exertions and the kindness of the ladies of Brunswick, and, in truth, are the most comfortably situated of any of the sick of the regiment and are all convalescent, and appear to be past danger, if proper care is taken by the patients themselves. But we have had the misfortune to lose two men by the disease—George Williamson and Thomas J. Brown. I can say to their friends that they were well cared for by their comrades in arms, in their last illness, and received a Christian burial, with military honors, in the churchyard at Brunswick. Other than measles we have not had a serious case of sickness in our company since leaving home, and perhaps will be able to leave here early enough to avoid fever entirely. Our commander appears to take great care of the health of his men, and is doing everything in his power to get us off to a more northern latitude. I greatly hope he is able to accomplish his object. I am of opinion that our worst difficulties are passed over. If my men can once get over the effects of measles I shall have a crack company and one that will do its duty. D. G. Candler.
1861-0724 Southern Watchman (Athens): “Editorial Brevities.” The Second Regiment of Georgia Volunteers, under command of Col. Semmes, was to have left Brunswick on Monday for Virginia. It will be remembered that the Banks County Guards are in this regiment.
1861-0911 Southern Banner (Athens): Banks is credited with one (company), whereas she has two large companies in service—Banks County Guards and Banks County Independent Volunteers.
1861-1120 Southern Watchman (Athens): “Obituary.” Departed this life, near Manassas Junction, Va., on the 14th October, Robert Allan, aged 37 years and 7 months, Second Lt. of the Banks County Guards, known as Company A, 2nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteers. He died of typhoid fever, after an illness of 31 days. His body was brought to Georgia and interred in the family burying ground, near the residence of his family, in Banks County. The burial services were performed by the Masonic Fraternity of Phi Delta, with the usual honors….
1861-1127 Southern Banner (Athens): “Tribute of Respect.” Centreville, Va., Nov. 11, 1861. At a meeting of the Banks County Guards, Co. A., 2nd Regiment, Ga. Vol., held on this day, Capt. D. G. Candler announced the death of Lieut. Robert Allan.
1884-0812 Banner-Watchman (Athens): “Our Banks County Letter.”
1885-0804 Banner-Watchman (Athens): “Reunion at Homer.” Last Friday, the 31st ult., was the day set apart for the soldiers reunion. The people began to come in from all parts of the country at an early hour, and by 10 o’clock the town was full of people anxious to witness the reunion ceremonies. At 11 o’clock all the surviving soldiers of the Confederate Army who entered service from Banks County were requested to form into line on the public square and march to the court house.
On motion of M. L. McDonald, William M. Ash was called to the chair and Dr. V. D. Lockhart elected secretary. Mr. Ash explained the object of the meeting in a few appropriate remarks, and on motion of Capt. D. G. Candler the roll of the Banks County Guards was called. Present were Capt. D. G. Candler, J. C. Allan, W. M. Ash, M. L. McDonald, J. A. Richey, Simeon Wilbanks, J. T. Cox and John Sanders.
Captain Candler displayed the old original flag of the Banks County Guards, presented to the company by the ladies of Homer, at its organization in 1861; also the flag presented to the company by Mrs. Robinson, of Savannah. He entertained the audience by a happy and well-times speech of some 15-20 minutes, alluding to the organization and services of the company during the war, and the heroic self-denial and patience of the women of the south during that trying period. Col. A. D. Candler followed, with an eloquent and feeling address, which was listened to with the utmost attention. The following is a brief synopsis of the Colonel’s speech:
“Fellow Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen and Comrades: My venerable father has just told you that it was in 1862 he left this town and entered the service of the Southern Confederacy. It was in 1861, and I followed in 1862. He was always a younger man than his son; he was always ahead of me; he went everywhere first; (laughter) we disagreed in politics; he was a “fire-eater.” I was more conservative, more timorous, and therefore more slow to enter the service. We are met to perpetuate the memory of those who died in the struggle for southern independence. The history of the world is the history of great wars and the great men who served and gave themselves up as a sacrifice to maintain certain principles. The names of Caesar, Alexander, Washington, have passed into history and become household words. The memory of these great men will live forever. General Grant’s remains now lie in state at Mount McGregor, that a nation may pay fitting tribute to his distinguished services as a soldier. The crowned heads of Europe are now sending telegrams of condolence with his family. I thank God that we, too, can do honor to his memory. Not long since I stood in the Corcoran art gallery, the finest collection of statuary, paintings and other work of art on the American continent. There were statues of Moses, Caesar, Alexander, Coliquata, Washington, General Grant and many other distinguished men once familiar to us, and just opposite, in another department, stood magnificent paintings of General Lee and Stonewall Jackson, with others. I thanked God that prejudice has been so buried in the hearts of our northern brethren that they were willing to honor and perpetuate the memory of these great men so dear to southern people. The great mass of people at the north never apply the offensive epithet ‘rebel’ to the southern people now. None but the ranting demagogue and dirty politician descend to these things. The northern people admit our honesty. They believe we were sincere. The world must admit it. The Colonel said he did not wish to make a set speech. He thought these meetings should be the soldiers’ love feast; he wanted to hear those old soldiers who stood by him in so many hard-fought battles, and endured so many privations and hardships with him in the army. He alluded to the terrible march of Sherman’s army through Georgia, and the untold suffering which followed, and related several incidents illustrating the starved and broken-down condition of the southern troops at Vicksburg and other places. He related that himself and a few of his men were once cut off without supplies, near Vicksburg and bought a few pies from some boys, beef pies they called them, and after they had eaten them with great relish, for they were very hungry, they heard the boys quarreling in the bushes nearby. One said, “Jim, give me my money here, confound you.” The other replied, but what he said was not understood. Again came the demand, “Jim, give me my money, God durn you. You know half them puppies was mine!” Been eating puppy pie, you see; and it beat no rations to death. [Immense laughter.] He would have a monument erected to the memory of the brave men. He was ready to contribute fifty dollars towards it, in order their names might be engraved thereon, and their memory perpetuated forever.
Dr. A. D. Chenault being called for, responded in his usual happy style, entertaining the audience for some 20 minutes, after which the meeting adjourned for dinner.
After dinner, Dr. V. D. Lockhart was chosen permanent secretary of the reunion association, and the work of completing the rolls of all survivors was gone into….
On motion the Eagle and Press and Banner-Watchman were requested to publish these proceedings with the names of survivors:
Company H, 34th Georgia: A. D. Candler, Captain. M. L. McDonald, J. L. Cartledge, J. S. Chambers, A. G. Bowden, Joseph Parsons, W. W. McDonald, Jesse Borders, M. M. Borders and Thomas Sheridan.
Company G, 34th Georgia: James M. Seegars and J. D. Strange
Company A, 1st Georgia: Captain Duke, James A. Hill, Hambleton Bolling, P. A. Waters, A. L. Griffin, W. R. Walker and William King.
Company A, 24th Georgia: R. L. Hooper, William Bolling, W. H. Meeks, F. F. Cape, William J. Mize, Robert Hambrick, John T. Looney, John E. Strange, William Hambrick, W. D. Hix, B. T. Smith, William R. Aaron, Jefferson Sanders, Manley Lawrence, W. W. Barnes, D. J. Murray, Harris Stowe, E. Seegars, T. C. Oliver, Thomas Jordan, F. M. Jordan, A. M. Rucker, Moses Hyder, J. C. Wade, George W. Smith and T. A. Mays.
Company D, 43rd Georgia: T. F. Hill, James Acrey and Jobe Brock
Company B, 29th Georgia: Capt. John J. Owen, R. A. Means, W. J. Langstan, John M. Norwood, T. A. Carlin, J. B. Gillespie, J. G. Bellamy, W. C. Chatham and T. C. Westbrooks
1st Georgia State Troops: James S. Conley
1887-0621 Weekly Banner-Watchman (Athens): “Hero of Banks County Guards Paralyzed.” The friends and those who followed the lead of Capt. D. G. Candler, the man who made the Banks County Guards so famous, will be pained to learn that he has lately been stricken with paralysis, and has lost the use of one of his arms.
Captain Candler is a noted man not only in Georgia but throughout the Confederate States. His first advent in the military line was during the Seminole War in Florida. Capt. Candler served with honor and distinction in this war, and after exterminating the Indians in the Everglades of Florida, he returned to the quiet of his home, in Lumpkin County, and commenced the practice of law. He afterwards moved to Banks County, and his gallantry in the Seminole War made him the Captain of the Banks County Guards, which company was rendered famous by his original methods of drilling. Capt. Candler was the best and truest officer to his men that ever served in the army of Northern Virginia. He has often given up his tent to the sick and wounded, and if there was anything in the neighborhood to eat, Capt. Candler would have it for his men at any cost. Capt. Candler left the army at Yorktown, his time having expired and his age and the hardships of army life commenced telling on his strong constitution. When he bade adieu to the men who had stood beside him on many a hard fought field, there was not a dry eye in the company.
Captain Candler is now over 80 years old, and has the respect of all who know him. We hope he may recover and live many years. He is now living with his son, Congressman Allen D. Candler, at Gainesville, and nothing pleases him better than to meet with some of his old comrades and fight the battles of 1861 and 1862 over again.
1890-0729 Athens Weekly Banner: “Getting in Line.” The election of Hon. M. L. McDonald to the Legislature from Banks County is a just tribute to the notorious Banks County Guards, of which he was a member. One of the gentlemen of the Guards has lately been appointed Clerk of Court of Clarke County and now another being elected to the Legislature shows that they are at last getting into line like “tater rows.” This is the first time any of these brave have held office since the war except one who was elected sheriff, but could not give bond. They are coming yet, although it is getting late.
1898-0610 Weekly Banner (Athens): “Old Second Georgia.” Major R. A. Bacon, now of Graysville, but formerly a citizen of Columbus and a member of the Columbus Guards during the Confederate War, in a letter to the Constitution gives some facts in regard to this famous regiment and the Columbus Guards. He says:
The Columbus Guards were not in the First Georgia, but in Colonel Paul J. Semmes’ regiment—the Second Georgia. It was Company G of the Second in 1861 and was Company G, of the Second Georgia, until Governor Atkinson broke up all of our state’s regiments. The Columbus Guards were in the Creek Indian War, Mexican War and Confederate War; and will, after Governor Candler is inaugurated, be in the Spanish War, unless that war closes before then.
Captain Dan Candler, father of our next governor, commanded Company A, of the Second Georgia, which company was known to all Confederates of the Army of Northern Virginia as “the gentlemen of the Banks County Guards.”
Why not have a reunion in July of the Second Georgia? That regiment was the first one to drill by the bugle call in skirmish drill at Richmond, Virginia in 1861. I heard General W. H. T. Walker say it was as finely drilled regiment as he ever saw. Colonel Semmes was a great tactician and disciplinarian and as “brave as the bravest.”
The companies of the Second Georgia in 1861 in Virginia were the Banks County Guards, of Homer, Captain Dan Candler; the Wright Infantry, of Dalton, Captain Jesse A. Glenn; the Burke Sharp Shooters, of Waynesboro, Captain Holmes; the Columbus Guards, of Columbus, Captain Roswell Ellis; the Buena Vista Guards, of Buena Vista, Captain Edgar Butt; the “Joe Browns,” of Fannin County; the Cherokee Brown Rifles, of Canton; the Stewart Grays, of Lumpkin, Captain Jared Ball; the Semmes Guards, of Columbus, Captain W. S. Shepherd, and a company from Greenville, Meriwether County, under Captain Harris.
The last three companies joined the Second Georgia at Richmond, Virginia, to take the places of the Troup Artillery, of Athens, Captain H. H. Carlton; the Macon Guards, of Macon, Captain Lucius M. Lamar; and the Wiregrass Minute Men, of Brunswick, Captain Carey W. Styles, which companies had been assigned to other command before our regiment left Georgia.
This regiment had three colonels: Paul J. Semmes, of Columbus; Edgar M. Butt, of Buena Vista, and W. S. Shepherd of Columbus. The Columbus Guards started with 135 men, out of which number 102 became commissioned officers. This company was to have drilled at Memphis in May, 1861, against Ellsworth’s Chicago Zouaves, and the drill was to be for a prize and the championship of the United States. Ellsworth was killed at Alexandria, Virginia, in April 1861, and our then captain (afterward colonel and general), Semmes, was killed at Sharpsburg.
I hope that the present Second Georgia will remember the glorious record of the Second Georgia of the Civil War and emulate it, even though the Columbus Guards are not there now.
1897-1014 Athens Daily Banner: “Major W. W. Charlton Dead.” On Thursday last Major W. W. Charlton died at Clarkesville, Habersham County, Georgia. He was a native of Banks County and went from that county into the Confederate Army as First Lieutenant of the famous Banks County Guards. He was a gallant Confederate soldier and succeeded Captain Candler as commander of the Guards. Serving as Captain for about one year, he was promoted to the rank of Major of his regiment, which rank he held at the close of the war. Major Charlton was a clever, bright, genial gentleman, who won for himself friends wherever he was known. Having been for a number of years in the Clerical Department of the State Legislature, his acquaintance became quite extended through Georgia and there are many whose hearts will be saddened at the announcement of his death.
1900-1214 Weekly Banner (Athens): “An Old Athens Boy Writes of the War.” Mr. Arthur Pascal, who as a young boy lived in Athens when the war broke out in 1861, writing recently in the Charleston News and Courier of his recollections, says among other things:
Our town was not on the main line of railway; it was the terminus of a branch road. But it was the market town of several counties to the north of us and their nearest railway point. Consequently, troops going to the front from these counties would have to pass through our place. Long before they reached our town we would be surprised of their coming by the clatter of their drums and the shrill piping of fifes. Then all of us boys would take to our heels and rush up the “big road”—the only road over which they could come to meet them and escort them into town as a sort guard of honor. One of these companies, the Banks County Guards, was a source of great amusement to us. If their captain ever heard of “Hardee’s Tactics” nobody knew it; he sedulously kept it to himself. His commands were surprising and not at all military. He always prefaced them with the words, “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards.” At the time of their coming we went out, as our custom was, to meet and accompany them to town. We found them in a small strip of woods, on the outskirts, where they had bivouacked the night before. They had just finished their breakfast and were preparing to march. In a few minutes the captain walked out into the big road, drew his sword, which looked as though it might have passed through the Revolutionary War, and said, “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards, take your places.” Whereupon, after considerable delay and confusion, the men fell into ranks. Then came this command: “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards, stretch yourselves into a single straight line.” When this maneuver had been accomplished to the captain’s satisfaction he said, “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards, wheel and come round just like a gate.” Having them now in place clear across the road in a “single straight line,” he gave the following command, “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards, split your column.” At this they fell into platoons; and then came the command, “Gentlemen of the Banks County Guards, forward march!” And off we all went townward, soldiers and boys, to the music of the fife and drum.
Those mountain men, with their ill-assorted uniforms and funny old captain seemed ridiculous to us then, but they afterwards won our profoundest respect. On the bloody fields of Virginia, in many a hard fought battle, they covered themselves with glory. All honor, then, to the brave “gentlemen of the Banks County Guards,” living and dead. No truer nor better men did Georgia ever send forth to do battle in her defense.