5th Georgia Unit History

The 5th Georgia Infantry Regiment was organized on May 11, 1861 and was comprised of the following companies:
Company C Roster
Battle Honors
Notable Members

{5th Georgia}

Company A Richmond County - "Clinch Rifles"
Company B Spalding County - "Griffin Light Guards"
Company C Richmond County - "Irish Volunteers"
Company D Warren County - "McDuffie Riflemen"
Company E Terrell County - "Dawson Volunteers"
Company F Randolph County - "Cuthbert Rifles"
Company G Schley County
Company H Decatur County - "Hardee Rifles"
Company I Muscogee County - "Georgia Grays"
Company K Upson County - "Upson Guards"

The 5th was mustered in for twelve months at Macon, Georgia on May 11, 1861 and was the last regiment taken for this short time. Subsequent regiments were mustered for three years or the war.

The regiment's first posting (September - October 1861) was to Pensacola, Florida. While in Pensacola the regiment was introduced to army life and the school of the soldier by General Braxton Bragg. The ten companies of the regiment were all raised from towns and cities and were thus well equipped and nicely uniformed. The fact that no two companies were dressed alike earned them the title "Pound Cake Regiment". The 5th finally got to "See the Elephant" at Santa Rosa Island on October 8-9, 1861. While not a large engagement by any standards, their success raised their spirits and primed them for further action.

On February 18, 1862 the regiment was moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here it remained until ordered to Corinth, Mississippi in March 1862. In early April the call came to move on Shiloh, Tennessee, but the regiment arrived too late to participate. During the next two months, the regiment fought in and around Corinth. On May 30, 1862 the regiment moved out of Corinth and deeper into Mississippi.

The summer of 1862 saw the 5th Georgia in Tupelo, Mississippi and the failed invasion of Kentucky. By November 22, 1862 the regiment had moved to Bridgeport, Alabama. Here it remained until transferred to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in December. The Battle of Murfreesboro (December 31, 1862 - January 2, 1863) proved devastating to the 5th. Regimental losses amounted to 37% casualties, including Colonel William Black, and the regiment's battle flag. The regiment pulled back to Shelbyville, Tennessee where it remained until June.

The summer of 1863 placed the 5th Georgia in the Tullahoma Campaign. By September the Army of Tennessee had fallen back to northwestern Georgia.

The Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863) was a costly success for the Confederacy. The cost to the 5th Georgia was 55% casualties. The regiment waited out the next two months atop Missionary Ridge hoping the Siege of Chattanooga would prove successful. On November 24, 1863 their hopes were dashed when the Federal army captured Lookout Mountain and drove the Confederates from Missionary Ridge. Pressed by superior numbers, the 5th Georgia was forced from its position along with the Army of Tennessee.

By December of 1863 the war had exacted its toll. The regiment was now down to 161 men.

{5th Georgia Co. A}

With spring came Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The 5th's role proved to be a series of disjointed battles followed by retreat. By July they found themselves in Smyrna Station, Georgia. Shortly thereafter the unit was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina.

The time in South Carolina had a devastating effect on morale as the unit saw little action and they were assigned to serve as prison guards. Saved from despair, the unit moved to the South Carolina Coast in late 1864.

In December, 1864, the 5th Georgia was in the thick of it again. Rushed to protect the Charleston & Savannah Railroad the 5th fought head to head with members of the Federal XIV Corps. Unable to stem the tide, the 5th was forced to retreat but not before the loss of its battle flag. This marked the second time the battle flag of the 5th was lost in battle.

1865 dawned with the Confederate army in retreat. By March 1865, the 5th Georgia had crossed into North Carolina, Sherman's army nipping at their heels. On March 19, 1865 the last major battle of the American Civil War was fought at Bentonville, North Carolina. The 5th Georgia launched an assault against the Federal XX Corps. They encountered murderous fire and soon the assault ground to a halt. This marked the last valiant effort the 5th would make.

By early April word of Lee's surrender to Grant reached the Army of Tennessee. The end came on April 26, 1865, with the surrender of the Army of Tennessee, at the Bennett Homestead. There were few members of the 5th Georgia present, but those that were were proud of their service.
Period photographs on this website have been provided in part by the Galena Historical Society, the Library of Congress and private collections. We thank them for their assistance.

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