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Unit Type

26th Georgia Infantry (CSA)
Ancestor Info
Name: George William PettigrewRank: 1st Lieutenant Company: A

George William Pettigrew Born: 1838 Brunswick, Georgia Died:30 December 1862 at the Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C. Buried: Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Timeline George William Pettigrew was born in 1838 in Brunswick, Georgia to James William Pettigrew formerly of Salem, MA and Ann Catherine Moore of Brunswick. His maternal grandmother, Mary McLeod of Brunswick was probably a descendant of the Scotch Highlanders who settled the colonial town of Darien, GA. George Pettigrew’s father, James William Pettigrew, was originally from Salem, MA and died suddenly on the ship Isabella traveling between Brunswick and Charleston. His father, James, died at the age of 24 in 1838 when George was a mere infant. It is ironic that George also died at the age of 24. PETTIGREW, James W. DIED--On board the Schr. Isabella, on the 14th inst. while on his passage from this port to Charleston, suddenly of cramp in the stomach, Mr. James W. Pettigrew, of this city, formerly of Salem Mass. aged 24 years. His remains were brought to this city on Sunday last and interred next day. Mr. P. has left a wife and infant son to mourn his sudden death. Thursday 20 December 1838; pg. 3 col. 5 A CARD--The relations and friends of the late Mr. Pettigrew return their grateful thanks to Capt. Crowell, of the Schr. Isabella, for his kind and generous attendance to the deceased during his late illness on board his vessel, and for his immediate return to this place with his remains. Dec. 27 Thursday 27 December 1838; pg. 3 col. 5 George Pettigrew’s mother remarried Elihu Clark. This marriage produced a half sister and brother for George. His sister was Mary Julia Clark and his brother was William Edwin Moore Clark or simply “Moore”. Moore was also apart of the Brunswick Riflemen and was wounded at Turkey Ridge near Richmond June 1, 1864 and died on June third. By 1860, according to the census, George Pettigrew was a school teacher in his hometown of Brunswick. George Pettigrew married Martha Rosabella Fahm 29 August 1858 in Brunswick. Martha was a descendant of Friedrich (Frederick) Fahm a German immigrant to Colonial Georgia. These German speaking Protestants are commonly referred to as Salzburgers because of the area near Salzburg where they originate. George Pettigrew and Martha had 3 children including Mary Louisa born 14 June 1859 (who I run from), Urbanus William Pettigrew, who died an infant in 1861, and George Edwin Pettigrew born in 1862. Urbanus was undoubtedly named after one of George Pettigrew’s best friends - Urbanus Dart, who served with George Pettigrew in the Brunswick Riflemen. Urbanus Dart is the older brother of Jacob E. Dart who wrote the articles for the Brunswick Journal in 1911 that you will hear shortly. George Pettigrew was also a Mason in Brunswick – the Ocean Lodge. George Pettigrew was an Episcopalian and dedicated Christian. With it being said that George Pettigrew was one of the first to join the Brunswick Riflemen, I will give a short history of the unit he participated in. The 26th Georgia infantry was originally formed to protect the lower Georgia coast from the Florida line to Brunswick. The men were first stationed on the southern end of Cumberland Island guarding the entrance to Saint Mary’s, GA and later also on Jekyll Island and Saint Simons Island guarding the entrance to Brunswick. 28 October 1860 The Brunswick Riflemen are organized as a militia. 29 May 1861 The militia company is mustered into Confederate service. Elected 2nd Sergeant 01 August 1861 Reorganization August 1861 - 27 February 1862 Stationed at the south end of Cumberland Island protecting the entrance to St. Mary’s 23 September 1861 appointed 1st sergeant January 1862 04 March 1862 stationed at Brunswick March 1862 – Son, George Edwin Pettigrew, is born (Incidentally George Edwin Pettigrew’s son George Fahm Pettigrew dies an infant in 1894, thus there are no male Pettigrew descendants of George W. Pettigrew living in 2010. By March 1862, the decision has been made largely by Robert E. Lee to abandon the defense of the lower Georgia coast (the Brunswick and Saint Mary’s area) in order to send troops to Virginia at the request of the Confederate government. To thank the troops stationed on Cumberland Island for protecting Saint Marys, “The Ladies of St. Marys, them living at Centervillage (near present day Folkston, Georgia), sent a banner to be used as the Company’s Colors. Sergeant John L. Rudulph presented the colors to Captain Blain is a ceremony. Afterwards, Saint Mary’s and Brunswick are largely abandoned. The residents of Brunswick and Saint Simmons Island took refuge westward at Waynesville on the Atlantic and Gulf Rail Road continued to be protected by a small force. This is a line that runs from Savannah to what is now Waycross to Thomasville. Brunswick residents largely went to Waynesville. Many plantation owners on Saint Simmons Island had summer homes near Waynesville. Many Saint Marys residents went inland to Centervillage (near present day Folkston, Georgia). George Pettigrew’s mother and family took refuge in Waynesville. The following book mentions Mrs. George W. Pettigrew at her wartime home near Waynesville: The Children of Pride, Robert Manson Myers, Yale University Press, 1972 Pettigrew, (Mrs. George W.) Martha Rosabella (Fahm): On page 1258, there is a letter from Mary S. Mallard to her mother Mary S. Jones written 15 March 1865 describing her stay at the home of Mrs. George W. Pettigrew at Station 7 on the Albany and Gulf Rail Road near Waynesville. Waynesville was the area that most Brunswick civilians lived after Brunswick was abandoned in order to send Georgia troops to Virginia. On page 1643, the book gives a biography of Martha Rosabella (Fahm) Pettigrew, the wife of George W. Pettigrew. 04 March 1862 left Brunswick for Savannah 05 March 1862 Arrived at Camp Debtford near Savannah under Major A. C. Anderson 16 March Left Camp Debtford and took charge of Lawton’s Battery on Smith Island guarding the river approach to Savannah. May 1862 Became Company A (old Company K) 08 May 1862 Elected 2nd Lieutenant 10 July 1862 reached Gordonsville, Virginia from Savannah. 08 August near Culpepper, VA 09 August Battle of Cedar Mountain 09 September Took possession of Harper’s Ferry, VA (now WV) under Stonewall Jackson 16 September 1862 Battle of Sharpsburg 03 December 1862 Elected 1st Lieutenant 13 December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg Wounded and captured 30 December 1862 Died of Wounds at Washington 31 December 1862 Buried in the Masonic Section of the Congressional Cemetery After he was wounded, George W. Pettigrew was in the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., which at the time was used as a hospital. He refused treatment until all others, friend and foe, had been treated. The delays in medical treatment contributed to his untimely death. This unselfish behavior in addition to his bravery on the battlefield as described by Jacob E. Dart make him a hero. George Pettigrew’s thoughts and prayers were always with his mother, wife, children, brother, sister, and friends. I am very proud to be connected to this humble and well grounded man only 24 years old. In summery, George William Pettigrew, was like so many Confederate soldiers, devoted to God, family, and his country. From notes of his mother Anne Catherine Moore: George William Pettigrew, son of James W. Pettigrew was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg in the left knee on the 13 Dec {assume 1862} and was taken to the city of Washington on the 25th Dec and died on 30 Dec. 1862. My own child breathed his last among strangers. He laid down his life for his country cause. ___ to his ashes may that God who in his wise providence this beloved son, brother, husband and father receive him into ______ of Eternal Glory then to live forever and ever. Statement from John Frost Murlin: George Pettigrew may have died amongst strangers but he is remembered by friends and family today. John Frost Murlin The Brunswick Journal; 24 May 1911 COL. DART WRITES OF LIEUTENANT PETTIGREW—History of Lieutenant Geo. W. Pettigrew. How few know those finer traits of human character, in our daily contact with each other until after being brought out by crucial tests; here was a Brunswick boy who made no pretense of a more heroic mould than his average, every day acquaintances, yet, when occasion offered, towered above them like some incarnate knight. He was almost the first of the old riflemen to form our company on October 20, 1860, and when the call was made in “61” for volunteers, almost the first to answer, and was mustered into service with the company on May 27, 1861, and marched away to the call of duty, leaving behind a young wife, though the bridal kiss had scarcely left her cheek; was it an innate soul prophecy, no one ever knew, but he always contended he would be killed in the first battle; laugh as they might, as the boys guyed him he was ever firm in this belief. He was possessed of a rich contralto voice, and often in camp would sing for the boys. His favorite was “Woodman Spare That Tree”. After a hard day’s march we arrived on the 12th of December 1862 near Hamilton’s Crossing just south of Fredericksburg. That night (a cold one) gathered around a camp fire, Capt. Dart asked him to sing, “Woodman Spare That Tree”. He was standing near a large oak. At first he excused himself, but we became insistent and he yielded. I had heard him sing that old, old song before, but never with the same deep pathos as that night, and when he came to that part, “Woodman, forbear they stroke, cut not this earth beyond ties, oh spare that aged oak now towering to the skies” his voice grew tremulous, and he thinking of the old oaks he saw so often in his boyhood, bamboled beneath with his youthful playmates, in the loved home, Brunswick. Boys from other commands gathered around to listen to the song, and when he ended there was more than one moist cheek. After a pause he said: “Let us get some rest, for who can tell what tomorrow may bring.” At about ten o’clock the next day (13th), we took position on an old country road; in front were dense woods. Skirmishing was going on in our front, we being held in reserve. I think it was about one o’clock when Meade, who had his division marked in by two lines, assaulted. (I think it was Gregg’s brave boys as ever faced a foe), but they were overpowered and driven back, and our brigade, Lawton’s—afterwards Gordon’s—under the command of Col. E.N. Atkinson (than whom no more gallant officer ever wore a sword), were ordered forward. The woods was thick with briers, wild roses and fallen limbs, many cut down by shot and shell from the enemy’s batteries in front. Our company, A 26th Georgia, was on the extreme right. The railroad ran through a copse of woods before coming out toward Fredericksburg. Lieut. Pettigrew was on the right and a few of the company following him went through those woods. I think I can give the names of those with him: Jake Sykes, Clay Williams, Ben Williams, Tobe Goodbread, and the writer. There may have been others but I fail to remember now. As we passed through and came upon the open plain, the battlefield in all its terrible grandeur broke in view upon us. Thirty pieces of Federal artillery were hurling shot, shell, canister and grape on their mission of death, while there was one incessant crash of musketry. It seemed that all the demours of the lower regions were there riding in high carnival on the warring passions of men, gleating, gibering, and laughting in fiendish delight over the harvest of death. Yet there stood Pettigrew, calm, tall and commanding, his sword pointing toward the artillery, saying “Boys, forward and take those batteries!” About twenty paces in front there was a ditch and he jumped across. I saw him sway a moment, then settle down on his right knee, then on his elbows with his sword still grasped in his hand. Running up I asked, “Lieutenant, are you hurt?’ “yes, but don’t’ mind me, go on and take those batteries!” It was his last command. In my next I shall let the old news-paper clippings, old faded letters, which have been blurred with tears and the mists of forty-nine years, tell of his heroic death and sad burial in the city of Washington. J.E. Dart. The Brunswick Journal; 30 May 1911 DEATH OF LIEUTENANT PETTIGREW DESCRIBED BY COLONEL J.E. DART—History of Lieut. Pettigrew Brunswick Riflemen (Concluded). In my last article I said that I would let old newspaper clippings and faded letters finish his history. Had I said I was writing as his school mate, his comrade, his kinsman, it might have been said it was from a partisan view. J.E.D. EXTRACT FROM ONE OF HIS LAST LETTERS “Lynchburg, Va. Sept. 2, 1862 My dear Wife: Your letter was received with the deepest feelings of joy. I have for some time been anxiously waiting to hear from the loved ones at home and that I have been permitted to persue those lines of deep affection traced by the hand of a fond and much loved wife, I am now fully recovered, but I cannot say how long it will last; cannot say how soon I shall be able to return to my suffering family, and accept the noble offer made by my friend Mike. I feel grateful to him for his kindness to me and mine, and should I never be able to repay him, may God reward him and vouchsafe him a long and happy life.” Further on he says: “I see the army is now at Manassas and have a terrible battle in which Ewell’s division was twice driven back with great loss, but being reinforced they charged the third time and swept the enemy from the field. Our brigade is attached to this division. I tremble with fear as to the result. May God forbid that my brother could fall victim to this cruel war.” (His brother, Moore, was killed at Turkey Ridge June 1, 1864.) Speaking further on he writes: “Oh, God, what a happy hour it is for him (his brother, only 16 years old) when peace is declared he could shed tears of joy at the bare prospect of peace and a happy reunion with those dearer to me than life. Give my love to my dear mother and tell her that I will never forget that inestimable being to whom I owe my existence, and upon my heart is indelably stamped the immage of a fond and revered mother. Goodbye, your ever true and devoted husband. George W. Pettigrew.” Note from the battlefield: “The enemy has treated me kindly. Those who will send you this will tell you where I am, if alive. George W. Pettigrew.” On the back of the note: “Your son was sent to Washington, D.C. yesterday. W. Pollock.” “Washington, D.C. Jan. 3, 1863 My dear Mrs. Pettigrew: Being one among your late husband’s friends that attended his dying bedside, I offer you my sincere sympathy, and write a few incidents of his last moments. I was sent for on Sunday, to go and see him, accompanied by Mrs. Wilson, who kindly wrote you of your meloncholly loss. I sent for the Rev. Dr. Hall, formerly of Augusta, Ga. and communicated to him his dying state. He received it with christian resignation. The Lord’s Prayer was read for his family, then under affection he then asked that the Apostles Creed be read. When I finished he took the book from my hand saying: ‘I want to see those blessed words’. Oh, Merciful God, look with pity upon you all, is the prayer of your friend. CATHERINE CHESS OLDFIELD.” What Mrs. Butts writes: “I called to see your husband at the Patent Office Hospital, on the Sunday previous to his death and took a memorandum of what he desired me to say to you which was that he wanted his mother or wife, one or both, to come to see him. He was wounded in the left knew at Fredricksburg, and I shall never forget how his countenance lighted up as I asked him at what time he was wounded and he replied ‘I was wounded on Saturday about three o’clock, while making a charge on the enemies batteries.’ (did I uote history in my first article?) He had every attention from kind ladies that could properly be given him. I regret that the lock of hair was taken out by the Federal officer who examined the letter. Comment is not necessary on this incident, save he belonged not to those high toned christian soldiers who wore the blue like our honored fellow citizens, Maj. Downing, Goodyear, Dunn and others. They would not have deprived a grey haired old mother and sorrowing wife the sad sweet privilege of moistening with tears that harmless token, a tress of hair from that brave boy’s brow.” What the Washington papers said: BURIAL OF A REBEL OFFICER—The funeral of Major Geo. W. Pettigrew who was wounded at Fredericksburg and taken a prisoner took place from Masonic hall this afternoon and was attended by a large number of Masons, who followed his remains to the Congressional cemetery and was buried in the lot belonging to the Grand Lodge. He was a relative of a distinguished lawyer of that name of Charleston, S.C. In the battle of Fredericksburg he was wounded in the knee. He was brought to this city and taken to the Patent Office Hospital on Wednesday last, but steadily refused to allow his wound to be dressed until all the wounded, who had come up at the same time, had been attended to and when his case came it was found that modification had taken place, which resulted in his death Monday night. On Sunday finding that there was no hope of his recovery he made himself known as a Mason to the surgeon in charge, and asked that the fact should be made known to some of the Masons in Washington. Grand Master Stansburg was at once informed and hastened to his bedside. A will was drawn leaving his property to his mother, wife and children, about whom he seemed to be mostly concerned. He also requested that the Masonic fraternities would take charge of his body and it be buried with the usual honors. After his death, which took place Monday night, his remains were placed in a handsome mahogany casket and laid in state at Masonic hall and this afternoon the services of the Episcopal church, of which he was a member, was conducted by Rev. Dr. McCurdy of Kentucky. The Masonic services at the grave were conducted by Grand Master and Lecturer E.L. Stevens. Extract from another Washington paper: The death of Major Pettigrew was caused by the mortification of the wound, which resulted from his persistent refusal to have his wounds dressed until after all of our wounded men were attended to—not his comrades in gray, but his late foes upon the field of battle. Let song and story tell of Leonidas and his Spartan band. Let poets sing of the charge of the light brigade at Balaclava; let Phillips in the House of Lords, speaking of Napoleon’s death, say “he was the greatest man that, in the annals of the world ever rose, reigned or fell. Let marble shafts rear high their heads to commemorate the heroism of men; let golden medals be pinned upon their breast for noble deeds, but here was a Brunswick boy seeking no fame or reward, forgetting mother, wife, and prattling babes, reaching out in that broad field of suffering humanity, though they were his foes. With that charity extending beyond the grave, knowing that every hour his chances of life were growing less and less, saying: ‘Don’t mind me or my sufferings, help the other suffers, they are no longer foes, but belong to that great world of humanity and died that others might live.’” Some years ago I was on my way to Washington when near Hamilton’s Crossing an accident occurred to the engine. The conductor said it would require an hour for repairs. It was late in the evening, the sun was sinking behind the western hills. I knew where I saw him last, with sword grasped in hand. There was the same ditch but the ploughshare had been there. Fields of grain were waving with the autumn winds, a stray sunbeam rested for a moment, then faded away. In the gathering twilight all was so calm, so still, so peaceful. No sound was heard, save the distinct song of the reapers, gathering the golden harvest. The shrill whistle of the engine recalled me, “and night closed as I went.” J.E. DART.

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Contact Name: John Frost Murlin
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