In my research I found that the 14th Georgia served in picket and skirmish duty early in the war in W. Va. I'm trying to locate the grave locations of the 14th Georgia soldiers who froze to death on picket duty mentioned below in Pvt. Sam Watkins (1st Tenn) account "Co. Aytch, A Side Show of the Big Show." Also included is an account by Col. William A. Harris (Co. G)on the conditions while in W. Va which he descibes as "the filthiest hole on Gods earth"
Hope the helps.
"One more scene I can remember. Kind friends--you that know nothing of a soldier's life-- I ask you in all candor not to doubt the following lines in this sketch. You have no doubt read of the old Roman soldier found amid the ruins of Pompeii, who had stood there for sixteen hundred years, and when he was excavated was found at his post with his gun clasped in his skeleton hands. You believe this because it is written in history. I have heard politicians tell it. I have heard it told from the sacred desk. It is true; no one doubts it.
Now, were I to tell something that happened in this nineteenth century exactly similar, you would hardly believe it. But whether you believe it or not, it is for you to say. At a little village called Hampshire Crossing, our regiment was ordered to go to a little stream called St. John's Run, to relieve the 14th Georgia Regiment and the 3rd Arkansas. I cannot tell the facts as I desire to. In fact, my hand trembles so, and my feelings are so overcome, that it is hard for me to write at all. But we went to the place that we were ordered to go to, and when we arrived there we found the guard sure enough. If I remember correctly, there were just eleven of them. Some were sitting down and some were lying down; but each and every one was as cold and as hard frozen as the icicles that hung from their hands and faces and clothing--dead! They had died at their post of duty. Two of them, a little in advance of the others, were standing with their guns in their hands, as cold and as hard frozen as a monument of marble--standing sentinel with loaded guns in their frozen hands! The tale is told. Were they true men? Does He who noteth the sparrow's fall, and numbers the hairs of our heads, have any interest in one like ourselves? Yes; He doeth all things well. Not a sparrow falls to the ground wihtout His consent."
Pvt. Sam Watkins
Warm Springs, Va.
Sept 22, 1861.
Dear Col. – I have just landed in a road wagon (the only conveyance to be had) at this place from two miles this side of Big Springs, some sixty miles from here, where I caved in, having owing to the roads being so bad, to walk upon my broken leg and ankle some eight miles, over mountains rocks and mud. I am now in my room resting, having a very swollen leg with a very pretty abscess upon it. I pressed in some waggoners and removed the sick and wounded of my company from Huntersville, the filthiest hole on Gods earth, to this place. This is the last part of the world. Never wish a man in Hell, but in Northwestern Virginia a soldier paddling through this mud ankle deep, and he is in a mile of Hell. Empty wagons with four horses can scarcely get through. The soldiers only get a half ration a day. We are obliged to fall back to or near the railroad. The army is awfully reduced by sickness, some 800 down with typhoid fever at Big Springs – 240 here, and all along the road sick men by the score. The 14th Georgia has some 200 men fit for duty at this time.
In my company the sickness is severe. I have had the misfortune to lose several gallant soldiers. *Lieut. R. J. Weeks, a gentleman and soldier, eager to meet the enemy, has met a worse enemy than Yankee bullets, via; typhoid fever, and a few days ago breathed his last calmly and serenely. He died with one regret, and that was that he could not fall upon the field of battle. His name will be embalmed upon memory’s record. Requiescat in pace. I also have the painful duty to record the death of privates William Gunter, Manning McCraney, Person Brown, Fletcher Harden, of the Yancey Independents. One of my best soldiers, James Bass, shot his left hand off a few days since with a Mississippi rifle, by an unforeseen accident. He is doing pretty well. Many others of my company are quite sick. I am doing all in my power to remove them to these springs or to the Bath Alum Springs. Send your paper to me. I have no idea as yet what will be done by Gen. Lee. He has got to act quickly, as the winter will soon be upon us here, which block up everything here.
I will write you again if I hear anything of interest. I am yours truly,
Col. William A. Harris