Hurrah for Georgia!
The History of the 38th Georgia Regiment
by D. Gary Nichols
Hurrah for Georgia!
Hurrah for Georgia! The History of the 38th Georgia Regiment tells the story of the 38th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, as part of Lawton's - Gordon's - Evans' Georgia Brigade. The 38th Georgia was in the thick of the fight in nearly every major battle fought by the Army of Northern Virginia. Few Confederate regiments can claim they were at the crux of key battles, time and time again. They broke the Federal line and captured five pieces of artillery at the battle of Gaines Mill, as part of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's Corp. They opened the battle of Second Manassas, attacking the Union "Iron Brigade" as they marched down the Warrenton Turnpike. They fired the first shots in the battle of Antietam, just before daybreak, at the southern edge of Miller's cornfield. When Stonewall Jackson's line was broken at the battle of Fredericksburg, the Georgia Brigade and 38th Georgia Regiment were called on to lead the counterattack, successfully expelling the Federals from the Confederate rear and restoring Jackson's line. They led the charge at Gettysburg on the first day of battle, crushing the right flank of the Union Army, capturing hundreds of Yankee prisoners, and sending the survivors reeling through the streets of Gettysburg. When the Confederate line of battle was on the brink of disaster on the first day of the Wilderness, Gordon's Brigade and the 38th Georgia, counterattacked, shattering the famed Union "Iron Brigade" and stabilizing the Confederate line. The very next day they joined General Gordon's flank attack on the Union right, nearly unhinging General
U. S. Grant's army. At the battles of Spotsylvania Court House, they launched a counterattack when the Confederate line was broken on May 10th, 1864, expelling the attackers and restoring General Lee's line. Two days later, on May 12, they suffered under the juggernaut of the massive Federal attack and were part of the Confederate counterattack that stopped the Federals cold, saving General Lee's army from certain annihilation. They marched to the gates of Washington, DC, with Early's Second Corp during the summer of 1864. They endured severe hardship and intense suffering in the trenches around Petersburg, Virginia in the final months of the war. Finally. they marched to Appomattox Court House with the remnants of General Lee's army, as the curtain fell on the Army of Northern Virginia in April of 1865. They traveled to Virginia 1,200 strong in the Spring of 1862 and when the war ended over 570 soldiers had fallen in battle, or died from disease. Another 172 soldiers were disabled by wounds or disease, At least 361 soldiers were captured during the war. It's little wonder only 105 soldiers remained in the ranks of the 38th Georgia to surrender at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865. The survivors walked home to Georgia, a journey of some 400 miles, with many not knowing if their homes were still standing, or even if their families were still alive, after Sherman's devastating March to the Sea. Few Confederate regiments witnessed so many pivotal moments in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia and this is their story.