Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Georgia Guard at war: 1863 and 2013

By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Public Affairs Office, Georgia Dept. of Defense 

Georgia Volunteers then and now

One hundred fifty years separate us from the campaigns of 1863. Many of our modern-day Georgia Guard units trace their lineage to units that fought in the American Civil War. The Georgia National Guard has mobilized more than 15,000 Soldiers in support of combat operations over the past 11 years. But from 1861 to 1865, out of a population of just over 1 million (one tenth the present population) Georgia contributed 100,000 Soldiers to serve in the armies of the Confederate States of America. Nearly 20,000 of these would fall in four years of conflict.

From Secession to Sherman

Georgia was the fifth state to join the Confederacy when it left the Union January 18, 1861. It would not return to the United States until readmitted to the Union in 1870 following reconstruction. Georgia spent the first two years of the war largely untouched; however, by 1864 the “universe of battle” descended upon the state. From late 1863 to 1865 more than 500 battles and skirmishes would be fought on Georgian soil. The largest two-day battle of the war would be fought along the banks of the Chickamauga River in north Georgia and the world would learn a new definition of total warfare during General William T. Sherman’s march to the sea.