The Rigdon Farm, Chula, GA.
Camp Davis, Guyton, Ga
Formation of the GA 49th Infantry Regiment
Thomas traveled to Camp Davis, near Savannah and joined with the Georgia 49th Infantry Regiment. While in training the regiment was plagued by measles and other illnesses, so much so that they were delayed three weeks in leaving for Virginia.
The 49th left Camp Davis on April 2nd for Virginia via way of "the cars." For many this was their first experience in riding on a train.
The brigade was first commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph Reid Anderson, then Gen. Edward L. Thomas assumed command for the duration of the war.
The Battle of Hanover CourtHouse.
The 49th arrived on the field too late to join in the battle, but saw their first engagement caring for the wounded and burying the dead.
The Battle of Seven Pines.
Finally under the command of Gen. Anderson, the 49th took the field. Union Gen. Keyes stated... "the 10th Mass which regiment I had myself once before moved, now in the rifle-pits on the right of the Williamsburg road, and ordered them to follow me across the field. Col. Briggs led them on in gallant style, moving quickly across an open space of 700 or 800 yards under a scorching fire, and forming his men with perfect regularity... Scarcely had the line been formed when the Confederates bore down upon it, elated with success and confident of again driving the Union forces from their position. But they never entered the wood. When they came within range they were met by a deadly fire.
Seven Days Battles.
Seven battles in seven days:
The 49th Georgia participated in the battles of Oak Grove, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, Glendale Farm, and Malvern Hill.
Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Between July and August, A. P. Hill's Division was reassigned from Longstreet's to Jackson's Command leading to several clashes between the two. Hill complained about Jackson in a letter to J.E.B. Stuart, calling him a “crazy old Presbyterian fool.”
In this battle, the 49th Georgia played a crucial part in the Confederate victory.
OK, so the Yankees call this one 2nd Bull Run, but what sounds better -- "We burnt their bunns at Bull Run" or "We whupped their asses at Manassas?
Thomas's brigade was right out front behind the railroad grade near Sudley Church, backed up by Gregg's South Carolinians.
Battle of Ox Hill.
Again out front and in a blinding thunderstorm, Thomas' brigade killed two Union division commanders, Stevens and Kearny. Union Gen. Kearny was leading a charge in hand to hand bayonet fighting against Thomas brigade when he was killed.
Responding to warnings of a subordinate, he said, "The Rebel bullet that can kill me has not yet been molded." Encountering Confederate troops, Kearny ignored a demand to surrender and, while he tried to escape, was shot by a bullet that penetrated the base of his spine, killing him instantly. Confederate Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill, upon hearing the gunfire, ran up to the body of the illustrious soldier with a lantern and exclaimed, "You've killed Phil Kearny, he deserved a better fate than to die in the mud."
Battle of Harpers Ferry.
A. P. Hill's troops flanked the Yankees, killed the commanding officer and took 12,000 prisoners.
Battle of Sharpsburg.
The Yankees outnumbered Lee's troops two to one. At a crucial moment, Confederate Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill's division arrived from Harpers Ferry and launched a surprise counterattack, driving back Burnside and ending the battle.
Acting as Lee's rear guard after Sharpsburg, Hill's troops inflicted 269 casualties on the 118th Pennsylvania.
Winter in Virginia.
Thomas's brother, Berry was killed in Pickett's Charge.
Huguenot Springs Hospital.
Thomas died of camp fever at Huguenot Springs Hospital in Virginia on Sept. 15th 1863. A marker was placed on his grave by the J.E.B. Stuart SCV Camp. More than 200 of his brothers lie unknown in this Cemetery.
Thomas's wife, Rebecca reared the children to maturity, but never remarried. She is buried in the Zion Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Tift County, GA.