The Fighting Fifteenth

A regimental history of the Georgia 15th Infantry Regiment

By John C. Rigdon
369 pgs.

This book is a regimental history of the Georgia 15th Infantry Regiment. This regiment was formed from counties between Augusta, Ga and Athens and served in Virginia early in the war, then was transferred to Tennessee for the battles of Knoxville and Chickamauga, and back to Virginia for the remainder of the war. This regiment was noted for their fierce fighting in hand to hand combat, thus their nickname.

In describing their actions following Sharpsburg (Antietam), General Lee said:
In reviewing the achievements of the army during the present campaign, the commanding general cannot withhold the expression of his admiration of the indomitable courage displayed in battle and its cheerful endurance of privation and hardship on the march. Since your great victories around Richmond, you have defeated the enemy at Cedar Mountain, expelled him from the Rappahannock, and after a conflict of three days, utterly repulsed him on the plains of Manassas, and forced him to take shelter within the fortifications around his capital. Without halting for repose, you crossed the Potomac, stormed the heights of Harper's Ferry, made prisoners of more than 11,000 men, and captured upward of seventy five pieces of artillery, all their small arms and other munitions of war.

The battle honors for the 15th read like an outline of the war in Virginia.

Yorktown (Apr. 1862)
Seven Days Battles (25 Jun 1 Jul 1862)
Garnett's & Golding's Farm (27 28 Jun 1862)
Malvern Hill (1 Jul 1862)
Thoroughfare Gap (28 Aug 1862)
2nd Mannassas (28 30 Aug 1862)
Sharpsburg (Antietam) (17 Sep 1862)
Fredericksburg (13 Dec 1862)
Suffolk Campaign (Apr. May 1863)
Gettysburg (1 3 Jul. 1863)
Chickamauga (19 20 Sep. 1863)
Chattanooga Siege (Sep. Nov. 1863)
Knoxville Siege (Nov. Dec. 1863)
The Wilderness (5 6 May 1864)
Spotsylvania Court House (8 21 May 1864)
North Anna (23 26 May 1864)
Cold Harbor (1 3 Jun. 1864)
Petersburg Siege (Jun. 1864 Apr. 1865)
Chaffin's Farm (29 Sep. 1864)
Fort Harrison (29 30 Sep. 1864)
Fort Gilmer (29 30 Sep. 1864)
Williamsburg Road (27 Oct. 1864)
Appomattox (9 Apr. 1865)
The GA 15th Infantry Regiment was made up of the following companies:

Company A - Wilkes County Delphi Rangers
Company B - Franklin County Tugalo Blues
Company C - Elbert County Fireside Guards
Company D - Taliaferro County Stephen Home Guards
Company E - Hancock County Volunteers
Company F - Elbert County Bowman Volunteers
Company G - Lamar County Confederates
Company H - Hart County Pool Volunteers
Company I - Elbert County McIntosh Volunteers
Company K - Hancock County Confederate Guards
Like most regiments in the war, very little survives in the way of firsthand accounts from the 15th Georgia. The service records show that only 49 of the 15th were present at the surrender although the roster contains a total of 2,363 names.

At the surrender,
“The papers were signed, at which time Lee left for his headquarters in the court house. As he passed his men with tears streaming down his face, he said, "Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best that I could for you."
Thus we end the saga of the Fifteenth Georgia Regiment. They indeed gave their BEST for the cause, and most gave their all. For those who survived the war, they returned to find their farms ruined by Sherman's hoard and their families shattered. As they were from northwest Georgia, many of the families had been scattered including the hundreds of women and children who were shipped north into Ohio and Indiana by Sherman, never to be heard from again…

But the story of the Roswell women is another story, best left for another book.”

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