The Georgia in the Civil War Message Board

Col. William Austin Leyden

George Martin sent me this.
Here's the article from
the February 22, 1862, issue of the Macon Telegraph:


In this time of our country’s trials, I think it is the

duty of all
good citizens to speak out such things as are for the country’s

with that object solely in view I wish to call the attention of my
countrymen to the great importance of having our volunteers well

with cool sober, experienced, hardy and brave men, and not entrust
their lives and honors to mere politicians and wireworkers. I

admit that some of our politicians have made good officers, but

have made miserable failures.

Being myself a soldier of the First Regiment Ga.

Volunteers, and
having goon through some of the trials it has been exposed to, I

claim to
know something of what is necessary and requisite to make a good

and will give you the career of one inthat regiment who, in my
judgment, should be better known.

While stationed at Pensacola, the officer alluded to was

thanked by special orders of the Commander of the Brigade, for

bravery and
efficient discharge of duty at an important point opposite Fort
Pickens, when he was in command of our pickets.

When McClellan attacked us at Laurel Hill, the company to

which he was
attached were the advance pickets that day, consequently they

the first shock of McClellan’s army, which they nobly did, and

the leaden hail whistled over our heads he encouraged the men by

and actions to prove themselves true soldiers in that dark hour of
peril by seizing a musket and assisting in driving back the

advance guard.

At the battle of Corrick’s Ford, he was amongst those who

were cut
off, and endured with great fortitude the hardships of that

march, so graphically described by the correspondent of the

Mercury. It was here that he proved himself to be the true hero

and the
kind, humane, self-sacrificing officer, and won the everlasting
gratitude of many who were weak, famished, dispirited and ready to

faint by the
wayside—myself among them. He gave half of the last cracker he

the second day to a youth, and the other half he gave on the third

to a soldier, who had sat down in the laurel jungle to die, with

remark, “I can live a few days longer, they need it more than I.”

Half a cracker! What a little thing to renovate, perhaps

save the
life of a human being—a little thing, yet in it I thought I saw
displayed the sublimest heroism. O! ye at home in ease and

plenty, who have
never felt consuming hunger, consuming the vitals of man, know

not, nor
can know the extent of our sufferings those two first days of our

as we silently cut our way through the laurel (missing line) with

him a
shawl and an India rubber coat, with which he sheltered the sick

most feeble at night, but slept, himself, upon the cold damp

rocks, with
no other covering but the dark clouds above. Many are the hearts

overflow with gratitude at the remembrance of his provident care

kindness; and when arriving at McDowell with the famished, worn

out men,
unlike many other officers, he said: “I desire no furlough to go
home, though endeared to it by wife and little ones. If my

country ever
needs me, it is now; nor can I leave the sick, destitute men, who

borne so much. I am well and hearty and will stay with them, and

necessary, will share my last cent with them, for I know as

soldiers in
health they would stand by me to the last.”—Reader, I but speak

universal sentiment of the Gate City Guards when I say that they

and are willing to stand by him to the last.

At the battle of Greenbrier river he exhibited his usual

coolness and
bravery, and many were the sad hearts amongst us when we learned

the Confederate Government had given him authority to return to

to raise more force.

That officer is Col. A. Leyden, of Atlanta, Ga.


Atlanta, Ga., 19th Feb., 1862.