George W. Sellars

George W.  Sellars was the oldest brother of Richard White's great grandfather, Richard M. SellarsHe appears in the 1860 census in the household of his mother's cousin Alfred Joiner, in her home town of Camilla, Mitchell County, Georgia.  But along with his father Jacob Benjamin Sellers (sic), George W. Sellars was enrolled as a private in Company E (Ponchitla Guards) of the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment on 4 March 1862.  Company E was raised in Calhoun County, Georgia.  Except for the three oldest children: George W. Sellars (then in Mitchell County), James Lunsford Sellars (who I cannot find... he may have died) and Sabra Ann Sellers (who was living with Sabra Joiner in the household of Linsey Garret in Dooley County), the family appeared in the 811th Georgia Military District of Terrell County in the 1860 U.S. Census.

From March through June of 1862 the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment was encamped in Georgia, then South Carolina.  It participated in the defense of Savannah and Charleston and was present at the Battle of Secessionville on James Island near Charleston, South Carolina, on 16 June 1862, where it defended against the Union's first, unsuccessful, attempt to take that city, however the 51st Georgia Infantry did not actually come under fire in that battle.

On 17 July 1862  Thomas Fenwick Drayton was ordered to form a new brigade which included the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment:

CHARLESTON, S. C., July 17, 1862. Brigadier-General DRAYTON, Hardeeville, S.C.: You will proceed at once to Richmond, Va., in command of Phillips' Legion; Slaughter's Fifty-first Georgia Regiment, from Charleston; Manning's Fiftieth Georgia Regiment, from Savannah; De Saussure's Fifteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, from Charleston; James' Third Battalion South Carolina Infantry, from Summerville. Phillips' Legion and Manning's regiment will go by Augusta. . C. PEMBERTON, Major-General, Commanding. (O.R..-- I—VOLUME 14)

Upon its arrival in Virginia, Drayton's Brigade was assigned to Major General David R. Jones' Division, Major General James Longstreet's Wing, Army of Northern Virginia.  [NOTE:  Since he served in Company E of the 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment, my 2-great uncle John A Spear also served in Drayton's Brigade (and later in Semmes' Brigade).  He enrolled in Thomasville, Georgia, on 22 August 1862, and had arrived in Virginia by 31 August... but he contracted pneumonia, probably from exposure while travelling on open rail cars during the trip to Virginia, and was hospitalized on that date and through 5 November 1862, at Winder's Hospital in Richmond, VA.  As bad as suffering pneumonia was, this particular stroke of luck in timing may well have saved his life... and he did ultimately survive the war.]

On the 28th of August 1862 Drayton's Brigade participated in taking and holding Thoroughfare Gap thus helping to keep Union Major General George Brinton McClellan's army divided while Lee unified his.  Then on the 29th or 30th of August 1862 the brigade, including the 51st Georgia Infantry, arrived at scene of the Second Battle of Manassas.   Through circumstances for which some blame was placed on Drayton, his brigade played little part in the battle and the 51st Georgia was the least involved regiment of his brigade, incurring casualties of only 9 wounded and none killed or missing.

On 14 September 1862 Drayton's Brigade including the 51st Georgia held Fox's Gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains and there played a major role in the Battle of South Mountain:

By 4:00 pm the rest of Reno's men arrived and made their final assault from the east. By this time the Confederate defenders were the men of Brigadier General Thomas Drayton's Brigade.  They were part of General Longstreet's Corps and had marched that morning 1 mile from Hagerstown, Maryland. Unaware of the Union advance from the east, Drayton's men formed up in the Sunken Road (Old Sharpsburg Road) to face Cox's men across Wise's Field.  As Drayton's men advanced to the southern end of Wise's Field, they were hit on their left flank by the IX Corps' advance.  Outnumbered at least four-to-one, Drayton's men fought valiantly but were overwhelmed by the Union assault.

The Confederates fell back to the stone walls that lined the roads running through Fox's Gap.  They now faced east to confront the IX Corps' attack. In the field north of the Reno Monument, the raw, untested recruits of the 17th Michigan received their baptism by fire.  The 17th advanced across the field and charged the stone wall defended by Drayton's men.  At the same time, across the sunken road in Wise's Field, the 45th Pennsylvania charged toward the Rebels behind the walls near Wise's cabin.  The men of the 45th suffered 136 casualties (21 killed, 115 wounded), more casualties here than in any other battle the 45th participated in during the entire war.

The Confederates also fared poorly.  Drayton's brigade suffered 50% casualties (killed, wounded, and missing).  The IX Corps' attack sent the remaining Confederate defenders scattering down the western slopes of South Mountain.  (From: )


Before the sunken road at Sharpsburg became famous as "Bloody Lane" the Old Sharpsburg Road which passed through Fox's Gap was called the "Sunken Road."  Confederate forces under the command of Brigadier General Thomas S. Drayton were caught in a torrent of gunfire in the Sunken Road that resulted in horrendous casualties.  Almost one-half of Drayton's men were killed or wounded on South Mountain.  Union soldiers on the field the day after the battle remembered the Confederate dead stacked like cordwood in the Sunken Road.  Square foot per square foot the South Mountain sunken road was just as bloody as its famous counterpart at Antietam.  (From: )

A final indignity at Fox's Gap came when a Union burial detail dumped some 58 Confederate soldiers' bodies down farmer Daniel Wise's well, instead of burying them.

Another account of this confused debacle places the casualties to the 1,300 men of Drayton's Brigade at 51% (approximately 660 men), and the casualties specifically of the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment at 60%.  Among other horrors of the battle, the position in which the 51st Georgia was effectively annihilated was a narrow road through the mountain pass, and as it arrived the ammunition wagon train of the Union forces drove directly through the tightly packed bodies of the dead and wounded Confederates in the roadway, cutting them to pieces.  Of this scene which he witnessed, George Hitchcock, a private in the 21st Massachusetts wrote in his diary, "The shrieks of the poor fellows were heartrending."  Possibly as a result of this event, there were far more Confederate dead than wounded as a proportion of overall casualties at South Mountain than in most Civil War battles.  (See: )

Three days later, on 17 September 1862, during the bloodiest day of U.S. history until even today, at Sharpsburg, Maryland, the shattered remnant of the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment and all of Drayton's Brigade, along with Kemper's Brigade, was pushed back from Lee's southern flank by Union Major General Ambrose E. Burnside's Corps.  Major General Jones reported the action as follows:

About this time the two regiments of Toombs' brigade (Seventeenth and Fifteenth Georgia), which had been left behind, accompanied by five companies of the Eleventh Georgia Regiment, Anderson's brigade, came upon the field, and were at once placed at General Toombs' disposal, to aid in the defense of the bridge, my force before having been too weak to aid him with a single man. Before, however, they could be made available for that purpose, the gallant Second and Twentieth, having repulsed five separate assaults and exhausted their last round of ammunition, fell back, leaving the bridge to the enemy. Meanwhile General A. P. Hill had come up on my right and was effecting a junction with my line, several of his batteries already in position assisting mine in firing on the enemy, now swarming over the bridge. Undeterred, except momentarily, by this fire, the enemy advanced in enormous masses to the assault of the heights. Sweeping up to the crest, they were mowed down by Brown's battery, the heroic commander of which had been wounded but a few moments before. They overcame the tough resistance offered by the feeble forces opposed to them, and gained the heights, capturing McIntosh's battery, of General Hill's command. Kemper and Drayton were driven back through the town. The Fifteenth South Carolina, Colonel De Saussure, fell back very slowly and in order, forming the nucleus on which the brigade rallied. Jenkins' brigade held its own, and from their position in the orchard poured a destructive fire on the enemy. General Toombs, whom I had sent for, arriving from the right with a portion of his brigade and part of the Eleventh Georgia Regiment, was ordered to charge the enemy. This he did most gallantly, supported by Archer's brigade, of Hill's command, delivering fire at less than 50 yards, dashing at the enemy with the bayonet, forcing him from the crest, and following him down the hill.  McIntosh's battery was retaken, and, assisted by other pieces, which were now brought up to the edge of the crest, a terrific fire was opened on the lines of the enemy between the slope and the creek, which, finally breaking them, caused a confused retreat to the bridge. Night had now come on, putting an end to the conflict, and leaving my command in the possession of the ground we had held in the morning, with the exception of the mere bridge. [O.R. SERIES I--VOLUME 19]

This posed an imminent danger of putting Lee's avenue of retreat, the Harper's Ferry Road, into Union hands.  Control of this vital route was recovered by Archer and Branch's brigades of A. P. Hill's Corps which arrived on the field of battle at that juncture, and they in turn outflanked Burnside's Corps forcing it to retire.  Tactically the battle was a draw at that point, but after waiting a day during which McClellan took no further initiatives, Lee withdrew the Army of Northern Virginia back to Virginia, confirming that it was clearly a strategic defeat.

After what was considered to be poor performance at South Mountain and Sharpsburg, Drayton was transferred to the Trans-Misissippi Department and his brigade was disbanded.  One of the difficulties in judging his actions in Maryland, or even knowing the details of casualties of his brigade in the Maryland Campaign, is that apparently Drayton wrote no after-action reports. (Other commanders wrote their reports months later, long after after Drayton was gone.)  The 51st Georgia, along with the 50th Georgia, 53rd Georgia and 10th Georgia then came under the command of Brigadier General Paul Jones Semmes, reforming the already-existing Semmes' Brigade, LaFayette McLaws' Division, James Longstreet's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia

HOWEVER, George W. Sellars missed ALL of the action that the 51st Georgia Infantry saw up until this point, because he was admuitted to Chimborazo Hospital Number 4, Richmond, Virginia, on 15 August 1862 with a diagnosis of parotitis (an inflamation of the salivary glands... this could have been either bacterial parotitus, or viral... i.e. mumps) and remained there through 18 August 1862.

At the Battle of Fredericksburg on 15 December 1862 Semmes' Brigade was situated just south of Lee's headquarters along what is now called Lee Road in trenches by the ravine facing the town and river.  On 16 December Semmes' Brigade replaced Thomas R. R. Cobb's Georgia Brigade at the Stone Wall and Sunken Road at the foot of Mayre's Heights.  This was a major point of fighting the previous day, however, there were no attacks on that position on 16 December and Semmes' Brigade suffered only 4 wounded in this battle. 

In May of 1863, though, the 51st Georgia Infantry found itself in the veritable crucible of the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Paul J. Semmes, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

       MAJOR: I have the honor to report the part borne by my brigade in the late battles on the Rappahannock, at and near Fredericksburg:
       On the morning of the 29th ultimo, the enemy having commenced crossing to the south side of the Rappahannock, at the mouth of Deep Run and near Pratt's house, below Fredericksburg, the Fiftieth Georgia Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel [F.] Kearse, and the Fifty-third Georgia Volunteers, Colonel Simms, were moved forward to the designated position of the brigade in reserve, with their left resting on the Telegraph road half a mile in rear of the heights overlooking Howison's house. The Tenth Georgia Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, and Fifty-first Georgia Volunteers, Colonel Slaughter, being on picket opposite Falmouth, were ordered at night to rejoin the brigade. Here the brigade rested until the morning of the 30th ultimo, when, by order of Major-General McLaws, it was moved forward at 3 a.m., and occupied that portion of the line of battle lying back and south of Howison's house, its left resting on the battery immediately in rear thereof. The brigade remained in this position until sunset, when, in pursuance of orders, it was reported to Major-General Anderson, near Zoar Church, about 1 mile beyond the intersection of the Plank and old Turnpike roads leading from Orange Court. House to Fredericksburg, and 5 miles distant from the latter place, and, by direction of General Anderson, took position in line, with its left resting on Mahone's right, Mahone's left resting on the turnpike, getting into position after 1 o'clock a.m.
       The enemy, who had been reported advancing in heavy force down the Turnpike and Plank roads, drove in General Anderson's pickets just at night. It was believed that he would attack early in the morning. Morning came, when it was discovered that the enemy had fallen back during the night.
       At about 12 m., Friday, May 1, this brigade (with others) was ordered forward in pursuit. Having advanced more than a mile, the enemy's skirmishers were discovered. The brigade was then immediately formed into line, under a scattering fire from the enemy's infantry and artillery, in the following order, from right to left: Fifty-first, Tenth, Fifty third, Fiftieth Georgia Volunteers, and advanced a short distance, and halted in the edge of a wood overlooking open fields, in which the enemy was formed; being supported by Kershaw on my left and Mahone on my right, Mahone's left resting on the road. Soon the enemy's line of infantry was pushed forward. When within easy range, the order was given to commence firing. The enemy, after a sharp contest, retired a short distance, and took shelter under a crest, from which position he continued the fight, advancing once more only to be again promptly repulsed.
       His cavalry essayed a charge on battery, posted in the road, and was driven back in disorder. After the fight had continued some little time, a strong line of skirmishers from the Tenth Georgia was thrown far forward, to the left of the Fifty-first Georgia, who, by an enfilading fire, contributed materially to the repulse of the enemy's lines.
       It has been since ascertained that the United States Regulars, under Sykes, were here encountered. They were finally and handsomely driven from the field after a sharp contest of perhaps three-fourths of an hour, in which this brigade was the chief participant, the Fifty-first Georgia Volunteers receiving and repelling the main attack, and sustaining more loss than the balance of the brigade. It was here that Col. W. M. Slaughter, the gallant leader of the Fifty-first Georgia, received his deathwound early in the action, while by his own courageous example inspiring his command with confidence in their ability to repel the foe. It was here, too, later in the action, that Lieutenant-Colonel [Edward] Ball, of this regiment, received a wound in the head, which disabled him, while in the performance of his duty, under the immediate eye of the brigade commander.
       The manner in which the regiments of the brigade were handled by the regimental commanders on this occasion gave assurance of the qualities which they were so soon to be called on to display on one of the hardest fought fields of the war.
       A list of casualties has already been forwarded.
       After the repulse of the enemy, pursuit was again ordered. The road, the woods, and fields on either side, over which the enemy retired, were strewn with knapsacks, blankets, overcoats, and many other valuable articles. After continuing the pursuit for over 2 miles, the enemy's skirmishers were again encountered, covering what afterward proved to be his strongly intrenched position at Chancellorsville. Here, in pursuance of orders from Major-General McLaws, the brigade again took position in line of battle, as before, with its right resting on the turnpike and left on Kershaw, Mahone's left still resting on the road, and bivouacked for the night, throwing out a strong line of skirmishers to the front and flanks.
       Saturday morning came, and with it desultory skirmishing, sometimes growing quite sharp, which continued throughout the day, from which the brigade suffered some slight loss, which has already been reported. During the day the brigade, by order of Major-General McLaws, was moved farther to the left, Kershaw, who was on my left, having been ordered to rest his left on the Plank road, and Wofford, with his brigade, to occupy my position on the turnpike.
       The orders of the major-general were then to engage the enemy with a strong line of skirmishers, well supported, so as to occupy his attention, while Lieutenant-General Jackson's corps was attaining his rear by making the circuit of Chancellorsville. The enemy's rear was at length attained near the close of the day, and the rumbling sound of musketry, at first distant and indistinct, grew more distinct, and continued to approach, showing that the enemy was being driven before our brave troops.
       During the morning of Sunday, our skirmishers pressed the enemy more hotly, compelling his skirmishers to remain sheltered in their riflepits. As the day wore on, the battle waxed hotter on the enemy's rear and right, and at length the gratifying sight of his retiring columns, soon followed by large and confused masses of fugitives rapidly retreating in the direction of United States Ford, was presented to the view. At this juncture, Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, who, with his entire regiment, the veteran and gallant Tenth Georgia, were on skirmish duty, sent forward Lieutenant Bailey, Company A, of his regiment, with a flag of truce, and demanded the surrender of a party of the enemy still in their trenches. This demand was promptly acceded to by the surrender, with their arms, of the Twenty-seventh Connecticut and a detachment from another Connecticut regiment, with the colonel and other field and company officers, numbering in the aggregate 340, a number considerably exceeding the whole number of the Tenth Georgia present. Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, in his report, makes special mention of the conduct and services rendered by Captains McBride, Kibbee, and Leon, of the Tenth Georgia, while in command of the skirmishers of his regiment.
       At about 8 a.m. the brigade received orders to move forward en échelon by battalion, in support of Kershaw's right, who had been ordered to advance and form a junction with the troops on his left, who were driving the enemy before them. The advance continued until the brigade reached the turnpike, near the brick house, at about 11 a.m., when, with others, it was recalled from the pursuit, and ordered to form on the south side of the road.
       In a short time, orders were received from the major-general to move down the turnpike in the direction of Fredericksburg, to meet the enemy in strong force, who, under Sedgwick, was known to be hastening to the relief of Hooker's main army, which had just been so badly beaten and disposed of. Brigadier-General Wilcox, who, with his brigade, retired before Sedgwick in his advance from Fredericksburg, had halted and formed line across the Plank road at Salem Church, 3 miles distant from Fredericksburg. Arriving on the field, this brigade, by order, took position on the left of that of General Wilcox, Wilcox having only one of his regiments on the left of the road.
       Marching by the right flank, the most rapid mode of forming--being on the right by file into line--was executed under the fire of the enemy, who were pressing forward his lines to the attack. The fire, at first slight, soon became severe. The two regiments of my left, the Fifty-third and Fiftieth Georgia, took position under a storm of bullets. Position was never more gallantly taken or more persistently and heroically held. The battle of Salem Church raged from this time without intermission on my front for two hours, the enemy's main attack being directed against my left, the Fifty-third and Fiftieth Georgia, re-enforcement after re-enforcement being pressed forward by him during the continuance of the fight.
       This battle was one of the most severely contested of the war. Every regiment of the brigade came up to its full measure of duty. The brunt of the battle fell upon this brigade. Beyond my left there was only desultory firing, and beyond my right much firing did not extend far beyond and to the right of the road, whilst the roar of musketry raged furiously along my front.
       The Tenth and Fifty-first Georgia made a most gallant charge in support of a charge made by one or more of Wilcox's regiments, driving the enemy in confusion 500 or 600 yards back upon his reserves, the men pressing forward with enthusiastic shouts, and shooting the enemy's men down at almost every step, attaining a position within 100 yards of his reserves, drawn up behind the brown house. Lieutenant-Colonel Holt was here ordered to rally his regiment for the purpose of storming the enemy's position and batteries, but, finding my handful of men left entirely without supports, I at length gave the order to retire to the line of battle, which was done with deliberation.
       The Fifty-third and Fiftieth Georgia did not join in this charge. The order was sent to them, but they failed to receive it. During this time these regiments were still hotly engaged with the enemy, and exhibited unsurpassed stubbornness and gallantry under repeated assaults of greatly superior numbers, driving the enemy entirely from the field and closing the fight, the Fifty-third Georgia capturing the national colors of the Second Rhode Island Volunteers.
       The Fiftieth Georgia, to get into position, was compelled to mount a wattled fence within not more than 60 yards of the enemy's line, which it accomplished in the most gallant style. This regiment exhausted nearly or quite 60 rounds of ammunition. Lieutenant-Colonel Kearse, its gallant commander, notified me during the battle that his ammunition was running low. Immediately Captain Ellis, assistant adjutant-general, bore him an order to replenish his ammunition if possible from the ordnance train, and, if this could not be done, still to continue the fight, and exhaust what ammunition he had, and then retire immediately in rear of Mahone's right, which was some 50 yards in rear of that part of my line. Captain Ellis was also instructed to notify Brigadier-Gen-eral Mahone and the regimental commander of his right regiment that the Fiftieth Georgia might have to retire after exhausting its ammunition, in order that there might be no confusion. The enemy was signally repulsed, however, and the Fiftieth Georgia retired about 30 yards in rear of Mahone's right, to a sheltered position, after which there was little or no firing, the enemy having disappeared and the combat ceased.
       The loss of the brigade in this battle was severe, a detailed statement of which has already been forwarded.
       By the enemy's own confession his loss was heavy. Of the 5,000 lost by Sedgwick, which is admitted by the enemy, after counting liberally for his losses at Fredericksburg and in his retreat across the river and elsewhere, not less than nearly one-half must have occurred in my front. During the operations of the 1st, 2d, and 3d instant, 595 prisoners were captured by the brigade, and 1,489 small-arms, with a number of accouterments, &c., 1,136 of which arms, together with the accouterments, &c., having been previously reported by Lieutenant Semmes, brigade ordnance officer.
       After the details herein given, it is deemed unnecessary to dwell upon the heroic conduct of both officers and men, who covered themselves with glory, fully sustaining the high reputation to which my old brigade was fairly entitled by its uniform good conduct and valor displayed on many bloody fields. Upon no field of the war in which the brigade has been called to participate has it ever found itself behind any other. It has always kept pace with the foremost, moving forward with steadiness and coolness, under an inspiration which rendered every man capable of heroic deeds, with no thought of defeat, but always confident of victory. It may be well imagined that such regiments contributed little to swell the number of skulkers and fugitives.
       Captain Ellis, assistant adjutant-general, although not well, and Lieutenant Cody, volunteer aide-de-camp, deserve special mention for services rendered and coolness and gallantry displayed throughout the entire operations. Although much exposed, I am gratified to say that they escaped unharmed. Lieut. W. S. Davis, Tenth Georgia, acting assistant inspector-general, was not so fortunate. I regret to report that Lieutenant Davis, while bearing an order, received a frightful wound in the face, which will disable him for months. With this regret is mingled the pleasure felt in bearing testimony to his uniform good conduct and gallantry on these and other fields. My orderly, Private [A. A.] Morris, Company E, Tenth Georgia, also deserves special notice for the valuable service which be rendered me by the alacrity, coolness, and courage which he displayed in bearing orders to different parts of the field.
       In closing this report, it is meet to acknowledge the goodness and mercy of God in conducting me safely through these and similar perils.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

There were 149 casualties reported at Chancellorsville for the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment, alone.

And then came the Battle of Gettysburg, PA.  Marching at the rear in Longstreet's Corps... the 51st Georgia arrived late upon the field of battle.  However, it was heavily engaged.  The following is the wording of the National Parks Service plaque for Semmes' Brigade at Gettysburg:


Army of Northern Virginia.

Longstreet's Corps

McLaw's Division


10th, 50th, 51st, 53rd Georgia Infantry.

July 2. Arrived about 3:30 p.m. and formed line 50 yards west of this. Advanced about 5 p.m. in support of Kershaw and Anderson and took a prominent part in the severe and protracted conflict on Rose Hill and in the Ravine and Forest east of there and in the vicinity of the Loop. Participated also in the general advance late in the evening by which the Union forces were forced out of the wheatfield and across Plum Run Valley. Brig.-Gen Paul J. Semmes fell mortally wounded in the ravine near the Loop.

July 3. During the forenoon, Anderson's Brigade being withdrawn for duty elsewhere, the brigade was left in occupancy of the woodland south of the Wheatfield. At 1 p.m. under orders it resumed its original position near here.

July 4. About midnight began the march to Hagerstown, Md.

Present about 1200. Losses 430.

Along with Brigadier General Paul  J. Semmes, McLaws' Division also lost another brigade commander at Gettysburg, Brigadier General William Barksdale.  The 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment took 303 men into the battle at Gettysburg and lost 1/4 of them there.

On July 10, 1863, at Funkstown, Maryland, George W. Sellars was wounded in the last of a series of "rearguard" delaying actions fought as Lee's Army retreated from Gettysburg.  As part of Longstreet's Corps the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment moved to the assistance of the Army of Tennessee.  It was not engaged at Chickamauga, but was later severely mauled at Knoxville. George W. Sellars died as an eventual result of the wound at Funkstown, in the Confederate hospital at Kingston, Georgia, on 13 December 1863.  It is possible that he came to Kingston as part of that Longstreet's foray with the Army of Tennessee, as Kingston is in northwest Georgia only 70 miles below of Chickamauga.

As a part of a "Descriptive List and Account of Pay and Clothing" a physical description of George W. Sellars was recorded at Kingston.  It reads as follows:

G. W. Sellars, Rank - private, Age - 26, Eyes - Hazel, Hair - Auburn, Complection - Fair, Feet - 5, Inc - 11, Where born - Georgia, Town or County - Washington County, Occupation - Farmer, Enlisted - When: May 1 1862 - Where: Town and State - Calhoun Georgia, By who - Capt J. W. Dickey, For - War, Last paid by - Paymaster Capt Gay, To what time - 30 August 1863, Bounty - Paid Dolars (sic) $(50?) - Due Dolars (sic) (blank), Remarks - Said G. W. Sellars is indebted to the Confederate States $66.00 for clothing drawn.

The amount shown as bounty paid may have been deliberately rubbed out as an erasure.  It is very indistinct and there is an definite discolored area around it that suggests erasure.  There is also a small column of figures in the lower right corner that may be the calculation of a blance, but the writing is light and indistinct.  No part of it can be seen clearly.

The list above was accompanied by a sworn affidavit, some words of which I cannot decipher.  It reads as follows:

Personally appeared before me at Kingston Bartow Co Ga on the (unreadable) day of Dec 1863 Private G. W. Sellars Co E 51 Ga (Rgt.?) and made oath to the correctness of the within Descriptive List.

G. W. Sellars

Sworn and subscribed before me this the (unreadable) day of Dec 1863 at Kingston Ga


                                                                                                                                                       (Atty at Law?)

There is a lso a separate sheet of paper which simply says "Claim filed March (unreadable) 1864" and includes his name, company and regiment.


With the outbreak of the Civil War, Kingston became a hospital and supply center because of the rail connections. The first “Wayside Home,” or Confederate hospital, was established here in 1861; more than 10,000 sick and wounded troops passed through it. In 1864, after the Confederate Army retreated, Union troops were attended here.

Kingston played a pivotal role in the Civil War espionage episode remembered as The Great Locomotive Chase. On April 12, 1862 Union spies, known as Andrews’ Raiders, stole a steam engine called The General (Visit) at Big Shanty, and set out to destroy the W&A rail lines through northwest Georgia. They had to wait for almost an hour at Kingston while several southbound freight trains cleared the tracks. Four minutes after the Union-commandeered General left Kingston’s yard, the Confederate crew arrived on the Yonah. Instead of trying to negotiate the complicated Kingston rail yard, the Confederates took a locomotive owned by the Rome Railroad and continued the chase, finally capturing the General near Ringgold. The Raiders’ delay at Kingston is credited with the failure of their mission. (Hollywood immortalized this event the 1920’s silent movie “The General,” starring Buster Keaton and the 1957 Disney classic “The Great Locomotive Chase,” starring Fess Parker.)

Ultimately, Kingston fell into the hands of General William T. Sherman [US] (bio). During the Atlanta Campaign, Sherman marched into Kingston on May 19, 1864 with two of his three armies expecting to fight the Confederates. General Joe Johnston [CS] had tricked him, however, and was waiting just to the east at Cassville. After Johnston’s retreat from Cassville, Sherman’s army moved south from Kingston, for the first time leaving the railroad.

Over the next several months, Union and Confederate cavalry met eight times in the area. When General John B. Hood [CS] (bio) began his abortive Nashville Campaign after the fall of Atlanta, Sherman headquartered in Kingston. It was here that he solidified his plan to “March to the Sea.” Sherman requested permission to execute the plan and at Kingston, on November 2, 1864, he received permission from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US] to begin his march “to make Georgia howl” (more). On November 12th, 60,000 men left northwest Georgia, emerging six weeks later in Savannah.

During the War, the women of the Kingston began a springtime rite of decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers with flowers in the town’s ever-swelling cemetery. In the spring of 1865, the town was under military rule. When the women requested permission from the military commander to continue their tradition, they were told that they would have to decorate all the soldiers’ graves. By then, hundreds of Union soldiers lay in the hillside as well. The women agreed, and thus “Decoration Day,” the forerunner of Memorial Day, was started. The Kingston Woman’s Club continues the ritual to this day.

The Confederate Cemetery in Kingston now harbors only two Union soldiers, the others moved to the National Cemetery (more) in Marietta (history); 249 unknown Confederate soldiers and two known Confederates. The annual Kingston Confederate Memorial Service is the oldest continuous memorial service in the nation.

Also in the spring of 1865, on May 12th, the last contingent of Confederate troops east of the Mississippi were surrendered at Kingston by General William Wofford [CS]. (A native of Cassville, Woffords’ grave is in the Cassville Confederate Cemetery.)

(from: )

A 45-minute delay here doomed the Union espionage attempt remembered as "The Great Locomotive Chase." The first Confederate "Wayside Home," or hospital, was here. Many followed eventually serving more than 100,000 soldiers. The Confederate Cemetery, containing gravesites of 250 unknown Confederate and two Union soldiers, is the site of the oldest continuous Confederate Memorial Day. From Kingston, requested and received permission from Gen. Grant to execute "The March to the Sea." Kingston (city history) witnessed the last surrender of Confederate troops east of the Mississippi by Gen. William T. Wofford on May 12, 1865. Historical Museum is open weekends, 1-4 PM. 770-336-5540.

The photographs on this page were by Scott Jackson:

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This page was created by Richard White on 20 January 2004.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  28 May 2005.