63rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry
Confederate States of America (CSA)
A Regimental History
 
Information gathered by John Griffin
(updated 23 November 2003)

In honor and remembrance of the ancestors who served with this regiment, lest they be forgotten, this regimental history is dedicated to:

John Alonzo Tucker, a Great-Great Grandfather served as a private in Company D. He was the son of Richard Murphy Tucker and Mary V. Paulk. John was born 22 October 1835 in Irwin County, Georgia and died 17 February 1920 in Kinard, Calhoun County, Florida.. He first married about 1856 Samantha Davis (1836-1866) daughter of James Davis and Elizabeth Peterson. He second married on 12 March 1868 Martha Corbitt in Clinch County, Georgia. Late in life he third married Sarah Carver in Calhoun County Florida. John enlisted at Savannah 23 September 1863. Later he was detailed to cook November 1863 to February 1864. John was wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, 27 June 1864. He was hit in the upper back by a piece of shrapnel, which he carried with him the rest of his life. He surrendered 24 May 1865, and was paroled in Thomasville GA 25 May 1865.  National Archives Microfilm Box, Roll, and Record: 000226, 0061, 00001808

Absolom A. Davis a second cousin three times removed was born on 18 February 1844 in Ware Co, GA the son of Early A Davis and Delilah Lott. Absolom enlisted as a private in Captain Gordon's Company of the 1st (Olmstead's) Georgia Regiment of Infantry on 17 April 1862. He later transferred to Company B, 13th Battalion Georgia Infantry and then finally to Company K of the 63rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry in December 1862 with the last rank of Sergeant listed. He died in Coffee Co, GA, September 1863, on leave due to illness, he as 19 National Archives Microfilm Box, Roll, and Record: 000226, 0016, 00000247

Joseph Joel Davis a second cousin three times removed was born on on 6 March 1841 in Ware Co, GA the son of Early A Davis and Delilah Lott. Joseph married Mary Martha Wilson, daughter of Thomas Wilson. She was born on 7 November 1843 in Ware Co, GA and died in Ware Co, GA on 28 December 1929. Joseph first enlisted as a private in Captain Gordon's Company of 1st (Olmstead's) Regiment Georgia Infantry on 17 April 1862. He later transferred to Company B, 13th Battalion Georgia Infantry and finally to Company K 63rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry in December 1862. He was appointed 4th Corporal 6 December 1862, 3rd Corporal March 1863, 1st Corporal 1 April 1863; and 4th Sergeant 20 January 1864. He was captured in fighting at Kennesaw Mountain, GA, 27 June 1864. He was sent to Camp Douglas Prison, IL. Joseph was discharged, 16 May 1865. Joseph died in Ware Co, GA on 21 December 1912, he was 71 National Archives Microfilm Box, Roll, and Record: 000226, 0016, 00001061

James H. "Jeems" Paulk a first couisn four times removed was born on 31 March 1843 in Irwin Co, GA, the son of James Paulk Sr. and Faith Akridge. On 1 June 1865 when James was 22, he first married Millie A. Whiddon, daughter of Elias Daniel Whiddon & Nancy Fletecher, in Irwin Co, GA. She was born on 28 March 1843 in Irwin Co, GA. and died in Irwin Co, GA on 19 December 1879. On 28 July 1881 when James was 38, he second married (my second cousin three times removed) Sarah Tucker, daughter of Solomon Tucker & Elizabeth Grantham, in Irwin Co, GA. She was born in 1863 and died in 1905. James third married Emma McDermitt, in Irwin Co, GA. James enlisted as a private in Company F 21 June 1863. He is listed as deserted, 4 July 1863 and returned to his company from desertion, 27 November 1863. He is again listed as deserted, 17 January 1863 and being paroled at Albany, GA 23 May 1865. James died in Irwin Co, GA on 19 May 1921, he was 78National Archives Microfilm Box, Roll, and Record: 000226, 0047, 00002260

Henry Wilcox a first cousin four times removed was born on 19 January 1836 the son of John Wilcox and Elizabeth Simmons. Henry joined Company B. National Archives Microfilm Box, Roll, and Record: 000226, 0065, 00000154

MUSTER INTO SERVICE

The 63rd Georgia Volunteer Regiment was both an infantry and a heavy artillery unit during its service to the Confederacy. It was originally organized in Savannah, headquarters of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, commanded by Colonel George A. Gordon (OR 1, 14, pg 1059). Gordon was originally a major commanding the 13th Georgia Battalion. The regiment was formed 23 December 1862 by the merging of several units of more than 1,100 men including:

The Oglethorpe Artillery which had been serving as part of the 12th Georgia Artillery Battalion at Jacksboro, Tennessee and had previously served in the First Georgia (Ramsey's) Infantry. When ordered to return to Savannah in late 1862, it became Company A of the 63rd Georgia regiment; Company D of Ramsey's 12th Georgia Artillery; the13th Georgia Infantry Battalion, a five company unit, which served as a coastal defense battalion since late 1861; and four other detached infantry companies from various locations around the coastal regions of Georgia.

The reorganization could have taken place on James Island, where several companies of the 13th Georgia Battalion were stationed. When the consolidation was complete the 63rd Georgia was officially mustered into Confederate Service. They were to serve as an artillery battery and other defensive assignments in the Savannah River systems for coastal defense with a strength of over 1100 men. As was customary, the regiment was often referred to with an alternate name associated with their commanding officer. Other officers included: Lieutenant Colonel George R. Black,, Major John R. Giles, Commissary G.W. Lamar, Assistant Quartermaster C.J. White, Adjutant J.S. Hammond. The Captains were: J.V.H. Allen (later to become a major), James T. Buckner, E.J. Craven, E.H. Harrison, Thaddeus Oliver, John H. Lopez, D.N. Martin, H.H. Scranton, C.W. Howard, and William J. Dixon. Hence the 63rd Georgia was also referred to as : (George) Gordon's Infantry, (James) Buckner's Infantry, (George) Black's Infantry, (Joseph) Allen's Infantry, (Elijah) Craven's Infantry, (William) Dixon's Infantry, or (John) Giles Infantry. They were also listed as the Phoenix Georgia. Volunteers. (OR 1, 14, pg 824)

COMPANY ORGANIZATION

Company A Men from Oglethorpe Artillery (Captain Allen)

Company B Chatham County Men, (Phoenix Riflemen, Captain Buckner)

Company C Miscellaneous Georgia Counties (Captain Craven)

Company D Miscellaneous Georgia Counties (Berrien & Irwin County men Captain Harrison)

Company E (Captain Oliver)

Company F (Captain Lopez)

Company G Spalding, Marian and Neighboring County Men (Captain Martin)

Company H (Captain Scranton)

Company I (Captain Howard)

Company K (Captain Dixon)

COMMAND STRUCTURE

The Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida was commanded by General P.G.T. Beauregard. From 13 March 1863 to 8 May 1863 in the District of Georgia, the 63rd Georgia was classified as unattached. Brigadier General Hugh W. Mercer is Commander of the district, while Colonel George A Gordon is in command of the regiment. Companies of the regiment served on Thunderbolt and Rosedew Islands near Savannah.

The 63rd Georgia was mustered as infantry for coastal defense, but the regiment was pressed into service as heavy artillery in their assignment. (OR 1, 28, pg 779) On 10 July 1863 the regiments of the 1st, 12th, 18th (460 men) and 63rd Georgia (2 companies B with Captain Buckner and company K with Captain Dixon) arrived from District of Georgia, mostly from Savannah area, and joined with the 21st South Carolina and Nelson's Battalion, becoming the garrison of Battery Wagner. The assignment was the defense of Charleston under the overall command of Colonel C.H. Olmstead. 150 men from the 63rd commanded by Major Allen are ordered to report to Colonel Olmstead to help fight enemy movements by way of the Ogeechee River. (OR 1, 35). The detachment from the 63rd Georgia regiment may have traveled with Olmstead, but were not part of his command, according to his memoirs. The footnote to Ripley's second report (OR 1, 28.1, pg 371) leaves them out.

COASTAL DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS

Daybreak of 11 July 1863 the Union army assaults Battery Wagner. The enemy loses were dead- 2 officers and 95 men; prisoners: 6 officers and 113 men of which 40 were wounded. The battery lost: killed- 1 officer and 5 men and wounded-1 officer and 5 men. At this time 3 monitors and 3 wooden gunboats shell the battery. By afternoon 2 more monitors joined in the shelling. The union forces begin to erect works on the middle of Morris Island. Battery Wagner's defenses include four-12 pound and Howitzers, two-32 pound cannonades on siege carriages. Battery Greg and Fort Sumter fire on the works on Morris Island in support of Battery Wagner. Shelling from Union Navy continues throughout the month.

The 63rd Georgia detachment was sent to support General Hagood on James Island on 11 July 1863. General Taliaferro took over command on 13 July 1863 (OR 1, 28.1, pg 428). Commands were constantly being shuttled to and from Morris Island, mostly at night. Companies B and K, 63rd Georgia, commanded by Captains Buckner and Dixon, respectively, apparently was in-place at Battery Wagner on 14 July 1863. Olmstead's command departed the night of 16 July 1863, but the 63rd Georgia men remained. The detachment was there on 18 July 1863, at 7:45 p.m. when the main assault on Battery Wagner, lead by the 54th Massachusetts was launched.

On 18 July 1863 the Federals launch another serious attack on Battery Wagner. It is Saturday at 8:00 am. By 12 noon, the Frigate Ironsides is in the area and joins in the bombardment. Officers report that the union is firing an average of 14 shells per minute throughout the day. By 1:00 PM the Ironsides, the 5 monitors, and 3 wooden gun boats are joined by additional frigates, 6 mortar boats, and the land batteries from the Morris Island works with 5 guns. They concentrate their fire on Battery Wagner until dark. Brigadier General Taliaferro is at command at Battery Wagner and reports 9000 shells were shot at them in the eleven and a half hour bombardment. The 63rd Georgia men suffered five killed and nine wounded in this now famous engagement. The engagement noted because the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment was one of the main assailants of the battery. The 63rd Georgia Regiment departed the island the next night for Fort Johnson on James Island. (S.O. 252, O.R. I.28.II p. 212)

On 24 July 1863 the battery reports its seaface guns are unserviceable, but landside guns are operational. On 28 July 1863 officers report another severe bombardment. Loses are 2 killed and 5 wounded. Officers again on 29 July 1863 report heavy bombardment. The battery had just received four-10" columbaids and four-10" mortars from Richmond. The battery gave up to the Confederate Navy two its Brooke guns, as ordered. On 30 July 1863 between 10:30-1:00, 599 shells were shot at the battery. Notes on the unit indicate that on 30 July 1863 two companies formed Buckner's Battery, first Sun-District, First Military District and eight companies formed Taliferro's Brigade, District of Georgia. It is the two companies of Buckner's Battery that saw action in Charleston. The consolidated report for the department as of 30 July 1863, indicates the detachment is assigned under General Hagood on James Island, while the rest of the 63rd Georgia is still in the District of Georgia.

On 2 August 1863, the 63rd Georgia Volunteers ranks, reduced due to casualties and sickness, are ordered to return to Savannah. Replacements are requested from troops who are more appropriate for artillery duty. (OR 1, 28 pg 73). Thus ended there contribution to the defense of Charleston. The remaining companies would not be involved in any campaigns until the spring of 1864. Their duties continued to be defensive in nature guarding the coast near Savannah. Casualty reports from Morris Island 10 July-7 September 1863 show the 63rd Georgia losses in Charleston at 4 men killed, 2 officers wounded, 8 men wounded. (OR 1, 28 pg 406)

 

Operations On The Coasts Of South Carolina And Georgia, And In Middle And East Florida.--June 12-December 31, 1863.No. 4.--Reports of General G. T. Beauregard, C. S Army, commanding Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, with thanks of Confederate Congress. To General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va. HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S.C., June 15, 1863. GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th was duly received, and partially answered by my telegram of the 13th instant. It is now my place to reply by mail at some length.

I am advised in the letter in question, that "Northern papers report the reduction of Hunter's forces by sending troops to the Gulf," in which event I am instructed to proceed to Mobile" with such force as I can properly withdraw from my defensive line," to resist an attack, if one should be designed on that place; but if the purpose of the enemy be to send his reinforcements to the Mississippi, I am to "go on and co-operate with General Johnston in that quarter."

While I shall be glad to contribute my mite to the defense of any part of the Confederate States, and assuredly, must be solicitous for the defense of Mobile and the Mississippi Valley, yet, with my view of the situation in this quarter, repeatedly expressed, I cannot now properly withdraw, without a direct order, more than a regiment of cavalry from this department.

The troops left in this department at this time (see field return of the 13th instant), are 19,863; that is, 6,488 nominal infantry, 7,329 heavy and light artillery, and 6,046 cavalry. This force is stationed as follows: For the garrisons of the works in Charleston Harbor and the defensive lines commanding the immediate approaches to the city, 2,606 infantry, of which some four or six companies are actually and necessarily doing heavy artillery service in batteries on Sullivan's Island and elsewhere; 3,767 heavy and light artillery, and 1,171 cavalry. In the works and lines around Savannah are 1,888 nominal infantry, 2,295 heavy and light artillery, and 1,738 cavalry, leaving 984 infantry, 847 light artillery, and 2,244 cavalry to hold the line of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, and 1,010 infantry, 420 light artillery, and 893 cavalry in Florida, now so important for its supplies of subsistence.

Thus it will be seen the force in the department is already at the minimum necessary to hold the works around Charleston and Savannah, constantly menaced by the proximity of the enemy's iron-clads. The garrison of no work in the harbor can be withdrawn or diminished as they are all necessary links in the chain of defense. Reduce the command on James Island, and the enemy may readily penetrate, by such a coup de main as was attempted last year, at the weakened point. James Island would then fall, and, despite our harbor defenses, the city of Charleston would be thrown open to bombardment. It is not safe to leave less than a regiment of infantry on Morris Island, which, if once carried by the enemy, would expose Fort Sumter to be taken in reverse and demolished.

The defective lines of defense adopted and constructed on James Island, after the unfortunate abandonment last year of Cole's Island, have made a force of about 11,000 men essential to guard and hold that island against a serious land attack, whereas had Cole's Island (at the mouth of the Stono) been held, 2,500 men would not only have defended James Island, but the enemy would have been excluded from the Stono, and unable to occupy and fortify Folly Island and threaten Morris Island, as is now the case.

Late Northern papers say Admiral DuPont has been relieved in command of the fleet on this coast by Admiral Foote, an officer whose operations in the west evinced much activity and an enterprising spirit. And even were considerable reductions made in the enemy s forces, the valuable coast districts would still be left a prey to such destructive raids as devastated the Combahee some days ago. Thus far, however, I can see no evidences of reduction. General Hunter was at Hilton Head on the 8th instant. His troops hold the same positions as heretofore, and apparently in the same force--a brigade on Folly, one on Seabrook's Island, and the balance on the islands about Port Royal. One of the monitors is at Hilton Head, and five are still in the North Edisto. Nor has the number of their gunboats or transports diminished, or at any time recently been increased, as must have been the case had a material removal of troops taken place.

While, therefore, I could not on my own responsibility further deplete the force in this department, of course I shall promptly carry out any orders which the War Department may deem it proper to give. As for myself, my earnest desire is to be useful to the utmost extent of my capacities, in any position or command to which it may please the President to assign me, but if left to my own personal preferences, I would desire service in the field, for which I consider myself best fitted by my taste and studies. I shall observe closely the movements of the enemy at Hilton Head, with a view to ascertaining whether any material reduction of his force has taken or is taking place, which will be promptly reported for the information of the War Department.

I shall also ask Major-General Maury to keep me advised of the movements of the enemy in his front, and of the means of defense at his disposition, and shall communicate with General Johnston. I beg to inquire whether, if I go to Mobile, it will form a part of my present department, or will I be relieved from this command and fall under the orders of General Johnston? I repeat, my chief desire is to be useful, and, if desired by the War Department, I will cheerfully repair at once, temporarily, to Mobile, examine the works and means of defense there, and advise with General Maury touching them. I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant, G. T. BEAUREGARD, General, Commanding. (O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVIII/1) [Enclosure.]

Would you like to learn more about the 63rd and other Georgia regiments and also help support the cause of Southern Heritage?   More information on the history of this regiment is available in:

"Warriors of the Wiregrass"

 a soft-bound, 8-1/2 x 11 publication, consisting 500 pages, covering the history of 14 Regiments Georgia Regiments:

1st Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 4th Cavalry (Clinch), 10th Battalion Infantry, 11th Cavalry-State Guards, 20th Battalion Cavalry, 20th Volunteer Infantry, 29th Volunteer Infantry, 49th Volunteer Infantry, 50th Volunteer Infantry, 54th Volunteer Infantry, 61st Volunteer Infantry, 63rd Volunteer Infantry. 64th Volunteer Infantry, and Coffee County Revengers Local Defense Unit.....plus information on researching Confederate ancestors, obtaining Veterans Administration grave markers for Confederate veterans, SCV Iron Crosses and more.

The author has donated all profits from the sale of this book directly to the Moultrie SCV Camp to support Confederate History and Heritage preservation programs and the continuing fight to save our Southern Heritage. The retail price is $50.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Not a bad price when compared to single abbreviated regimental histories sold by others "up North" at $8-$15 each or cost of $112-$210 if purchased separately and having much less detail!  Discounts for current SCV & UDC members (20% off) and for bulk orders, schools, libraries, and teachers. Please contact the camp for discount information.

If you are interested send a check or money order made payable to the Moultrie SCV Camp #674  to: P.O. Box 1213 Moultrie, GA 31776.  Please include your name, address, and phone number.

Inquiries about the book, discounts, ordering, or content can be sent via email to Mr. Jack Bridwell, Moultrie SCV Camp or calling  (229) 985-8409

Please pass along to others as every book sold goes to preserve our Southern Heritage.

2001 John Griffin