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Lee and Jackson's Bloody Twelfth

The Letters of Irby Goodwin Scott, First Lieutenant, Company G, Putnam Light Infantry, Twelfth Georgia Volunteer Infantry

Edited by Johnnie Perry Pearson; Voices of the Civil War, Peter S. Carmichael, Series Editor

Publication Year: 2010

Offering a fascinating look at an ordinary soldierʼs struggle to survive not only the horrors of combat but also the unrelenting hardship of camp life, Lee and Jacksonʼs Bloody Twelfth brings together for the first time the extant correspondence of Confederate lieutenant Irby Goodwin Scott, who served in the hard-fighting Twelfth Georgia Infantry. The collection begins with Scottʼs first letter home from Richmond, Virginia, in June 1861, and ends with his last letter to his father in February 1865. Scott miraculously completed the journey from naïve recruit to hardened veteran while seeing action in many of the Eastern Theater’s most important campaigns: the Shenandoah Valley, the Peninsula, Second Manassas, and Gettysburg. His writings brim with vivid descriptions of the menʼs activities in camp, on the march, and in battle. Particularly revelatory are the details the letters provide about the relationship between Scott and his two African American body servants, whom he wrote about with great affection. And in addition to maps, photographs, and a roster of Scott’s unit, the book also features an insightful introduction by editor Johnnie Perry Pearson, who highlights the key themes found throughout the correspondence. By illuminating in depth how one young Confederate stood up to the physical and emotional duress of war, the book stands as a poignant tribute to the ways in which all ordinary Civil War soldiers, whether fighting for the South or the North, sacrificed, suffered, and endured.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. vii

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pp. xi-xiii

The “fog of war” did not disappear with the final shots of battle. Confusion, uncertainty, and fear were the particles of a misty veil that never lifted, entrapping Civil War soldiers even when they returned to camp, where the crossfire of constant rumor and the enforcement of Spartan discipline was an inescapable fact of life. ...

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pp. xv-xvii

I became aware of the Irby Goodwin Scott letters while reading Robert G. Tanner’s excellent work, Stonewall in the Valley. During transcription of the letters, I enlisted my wife as the first of many who would help make this project a reality. Mary Anna transcribed letters, newspaper articles, and Compiled Service Records...

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pp. xix-xxx

When Georgia seceded from the Union on January 19, 1861, it literally became a state without a nation. Citizens throughout Georgia celebrated secession with picnics, barbeques, and general euphoria. In early February 1861, the Confederate States of America (CSA) became a reality at Montgomery, Alabama. ...

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1. Seat of War

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pp. 1-6

Colonel Zephaniah Turner Conner, an antebellum Georgia militia officer, had the responsibility of moving to Richmond several companies that became the Twelfth Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The men and officers assumed that Conner would command the regiment. ...

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2. Mountains of Northwestern Virginia

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pp. 7-16

When the Twelfth Georgia arrived at Staunton, Virginia, quartermaster arrangements had not been made for transporting camp equipment or knapsacks. Because there was no place to store excessive baggage, except in open country, each soldier had to decide what to carry or discard. ...

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3. Camp on the Greenbrier River

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pp. 17-27

On a rainy August 13, 1861, to get closer to the enemy fortified on Cheat Summit, the Twelfth Georgia marched down Allegheny Mountain to a new campground at the junction of the Staunton–Parkersburg Turnpike and the East Fork of the Greenbrier River within ten miles of the enemy. ...

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4. Cannon Fire on the Greenbrier

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pp. 29-46

Throughout the South there was bewilderment as to why the victorious army at the Battle of Manassas was not being put to better use. On October 3, 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Joseph E. Johnston, Pierre G. T. Beauregard, and Gustavus W. Smith met at Centerville, Virginia, to discuss strategy. ...

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5. Camp Allegheny

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pp. 47-64

On October 18, 1861, Confederate troops at Camp Bartow and on the top of Allegheny Mountain received orders, to begin constructing huts, storehouses, and a hospital to serve as winter quarters. Captain William H. Tebbs of the Third Arkansas oversaw the construction of sufficient facilities to accommodate two thousand troops. ...

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6. 1862 Valley Campaign

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pp. 65-79

On March 23, 1862, events in the Shenandoah Valley took an unforeseen turn, when a Federal division repulsed the small Army of the Valley, under “Stonewall” Jackson, at the battle of First Kernstown. After several hours of intense fighting, Jackson’s Army of the Valley retreated up the valley. ...

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7. Seven Days to Cedar Mountain

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pp. 81-97

Irby Scott and the men camped from June 12 to 16, 1862, near Port Republic to rest and collect abandoned Federal equipment left on the field. On the evening of June 17 the Valley Army broke camp and began moving toward Waynesboro, Virginia. ...

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8. Fredericksburg Front

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pp. 99-122

No letters survive that Irby Scott wrote home giving details of his wounding on August 27, 1862. The Twelfth Georgia was marching toward Manassas Junction before sunrise on the morning of August 27 to assist two regiments of Confederate General Isaac R. Trimble’s brigade. ...

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9. Second Northern Campaign

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pp. 123-132

Learning on June 2, 1863, that Federal forces stationed on the Peninsula had moved northward, General Robert E. Lee began to move his army from the Fredericksburg front in a westward direction. He did not wish to fight in the ravaged counties of northern Virginia or close to Washington, where the enemy could retreat into the defenses of the city. ...

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10. Rapidan Front

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pp. 133-148

The Battle of Gettysburg had not produced a military victory for the Army of Northern Virginia. Losses to the army in men, equipment, and officers had been appalling. On the plus side of the ledger were the vast stores and herds of horses, mules, cattle, sheep, and hogs taken in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Lee’s army needed time to rest and recuperate. ...

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11. Detached Duty

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pp. 149-155

Confederate policy changes and aggressive action by authorities had brought many men back to the army by August 1863. General Lee knew there were healthy men of conscription age, as well as stragglers, convalescents, and deserters who had fled to the Blue Ridge Mountains to avoid service. ...

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12. 1864 Overland Campaign

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pp. 157-167

Irby Scott and the company had expected to leave Camp Taylor and the valley on April 12, but did not begin the march to the main army until April 14. When Scott arrived in camp near Orange Court House, he and the company found shelter in the vacated cabins of General Johnson’s brigade. ...

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13. Final Word Home [Image Plates Included]

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pp. 169-190

It is a shame no letters survive that Irby Scott may have written home during the 1864 Valley campaign. Once Federal General Philip H. Sheridan began offensive operations in mid-September, there were fewer opportunities to write as the men marched, skirmished, and fought three decisive battles until mid-October. ...

Appendix: Roster of the Company G, Putnam Light Infantry, Twelfth Georgia Infantry Regiment

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pp. 191-222


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pp. 223-243


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pp. 245-248


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pp. 249-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781572337398
E-ISBN-10: 1572337397
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572337237
Print-ISBN-10: 1572337230

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 22 halftones, 9 maps
Publication Year: 2010