Benson W Roberts
The Bartow Artillery-First For The War-By Capt Benson W Roberts, Tyler, Tex
On the 12th of May, 1864, in the little town of Griffin, Ga, while the writer was a cadet at the Kentucky Military Institute, near Frankfort, Ky, a company of artillery was raised and without his knowledge he was unanimously elected captain; and when the organization was completed, the subject came up: "How long should the enlistment be?" It was decided for the entire war, long or short. Upon the refusal of the Governor of Georgia to receive the company the Bartow Artillery (named in honor of Gen Francis P Bartow, of Savannah, Ga, who was killed in the first battle of Manassas, on the 21st of July, 1861),I went to Richmond, Va and tendered the company's services direct to President Jefferson Davis. He at first hesitated to receive us, saying: "You should come through the Governor of your State." State rights was one of the main principles for which we were going to war. I explained to President Davis that I had offered our services to Gen Joseph E Brown, of Georgia, but that he peremptorily refused to receive us, for the reason that I had quit the Georgia Military Institute at Marietta, Ga, and gone to the Kentucky Military Institute near Frankfort, Ky, to finish my military studies, telling me to "go to Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky for your commision," etc. The President replied: "then we will take you and your boys." We were then mustered into the Confederate service without State authority, and therefore became the same as Confederate regulars. If there was a similar organization in manner or term of service at that early stage of the war. I know nothing of it.
Our enlistment was solely a patriotic one, of course. There was no specter of a "conscript law" on the Southern horizon at that time. I claim that the Bartow Artillery of Griffin, Ga, is entitled to the honor of being the first company enlisting at the beginning for the entire war. Of the originial one hundred and twenty-six men, there are only two of us--A A Wright, of Griffin, Ga and myself-living at this time. The silk flag given the company by Mrs Bartow has never been in the hands of the enemy to this day.-Confederate Veteran Vol XVI January 1908 Vol 1 p. 14
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|Added||2-15-2017 05:58 PM|
|Updated||11-30-2020 08:56 PM|