There was a gathering, young and old, at the Campbell County courthouse on June 6, 1861. There was great excitement as it had only been a few weeks since Fort Sumter, and the Confederacy was riding high regarding the Union surrender of the fort. The romanticism of war was in the air. The horrors of what lay ahead -- the clash of men, the blood and gore, the disease and the destruction -- had yet to occur.
Word had gone out throughout Campbell County Dr. Thomas C. Glover was organizing a company of men. Dr. Glover was well known not only in Campbell County, but across the entire state as well. He had served as one of the county's delegates to the Secession Convention held in Milledgeville from January to March 1861. Not only did Glover vote for secession, he also assisted with writing the new Constitution for Georgia that would be in effect throughout the Civil War.
The crowd gathered at the Campbell County courthouse on that hot June day to hear a few speeches and to witness young men joining the fight for the Confederacy. Many of the men would remember being scared yet fully converted to the Confederate cause after they heard Adam Bomar play "Dixie" on his fife during the program.
Twelve days later Captain Glover and the men of the Campbell County Guards had reached Atlanta. For most of the men this was nothing new. Private James Warner Allen remembered his first trip to Atlanta was in 1847, when he was just five years old. He traveled with his father in order to sell a bale of cotton that had been packed with a crowbar. The crowbar was a sly way to get the heaviest weight possible thereby yielding the best although dishonest price possible.
By June 21, 1861 the men of the Campbell County Guards had reached Richmond where they became known as Company A of the 21st Infantry Regiment, General Dobb's brigade, John B. Gordon's division, General Jackson's corps. In the past I believe I may have referred to Dr. Glover's company as the Campbell County Blues, but the formal history of the Doles-Cook Brigade refers to Company A as the Campbell County Guards.
In 1904, Private Allen, now Preacher Allen wrote from his home in Winfield, Texas to attempt to reconnect with some of the men he had fought alongside during the war saying, "I fought in every battle except Manassas, was wounded three times, captured twice, had the smallpox once and scared to death forty times. I was captured the last time October 9, 1864 at Cedar Creek when General Early stampeded up the valley and carried Point Lookout." The Battle of Cedar Creek effectively ended the Confederate invasion of the north, and the Union victory made President Lincoln's re-election a certainty.
Private Allen completed the war sitting in a federal prison until the war's end. He took the oath of allegiance and set off for home, first by water to Savannah and then reached Campbell County by foot. Allen would return to a place much changed by the war including the fact that over half of the men sent to war on that June day in 1861 did not survive the war.
Once home Allen attempted to help his parents, William Mattison (Matt) and Permelia Allen on their property in the Crumbies District of Campbell County. Later, this section would become Douglas County in 1870. Allen married Nancy Jane Roach in November, 1865, and continued farming until December, 1873 when he joined the Primitive Baptist Church and decided to take up preaching. At some point between 1880 and 1900 he moved his family to Texas where he would preach for the Primitive Baptist denomination for thirty years.
In 1904, Pastor Allen penned a letter to the "Atlanta Constitution" wanting to connect with other men who had fought in the war, especially at Cedar Creek. I have no doubt that Allen knew of the Confederate reunions that had been taking place all across the south since June of 1867 when Elizabeth Camp Glover, Dr. Glover's wife, organized what is thought to be the very first Confederate reunion. Other groups of Confederate and Union soldiers would soon begin the process of yearly reunions, as well.
Pastor Allen would pass the following year close to the end of March 1905 at 63 years of age.
Lisa Cooper writes the amazing stories of Douglas County each Sunday. You can find her new book "Every Now and Then: The Amazing Stories of Douglas County" online at Amazon, print and Kindle versions. Locally, her books can be found at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art, The Farmer's Table and Lithia Springs Pharmacy.