Profile: Co. G, 32nd Georgia Regiment of Volunteers (As appeared in the Metter Advertiser 2001, written by Randy Crooms)
April is Confederate History, Heritage and Education month in Georgia and the City of Metter. Throughout the month, the Dixie Guards Camp # 1942, Sons of Confederate Veterans are profiling area troops and their service during the war. Candler County was created from lands annexed from Bulloch, Emanuel and Tattnall counties. These three counties supplied troops to over a dozen units for Confederate service during the war period. All three counties sent men to the 4th and 5th Georgia cavalries. Bulloch County sent Company I, 9th Regiment, Company C, 38th Regiment, Company C, 47th Regiment, Company K, 47th Regiment, Company D, 61st Regiment, and Company C, 9th Battalion of Siege Artillery. Tattnall County sent Company G, 47th Regiment, Company B, 61st Regiment, Company H, 61st Regiment, Company K, 61st Regiment and Company G, 9th Battalion of Siege Artillery. Emanuel County sent Company K, 28th Regiment, Company C, 38th Regiment, Company H, 48th Regiment, Company C, 54th Regiment and Company G, 32nd Regiment. This week's profile is on Company G of the 32nd Regiment of Georgia Volunteers. Many of the troops that made up this regiment were from what have become southern and southwestern portions of Candler County. Men from Aline, Cool Springs and the Canoe Pond areas of went to compile this unit.
The 32nd Georgia Regiment of Volunteers was organized in Savannah in 1862. Many of the soldiers that served in the 32nd Georgia had originally served in Company E, 5th Regiment Georgia State Troops. According to historians of the 32nd Georgia, they were some of the most versatile troops to serve Georgia during the war. They were trained engineers, artillerists and infantrymen. Because of their versatility, they were widely sought after for duty. They were considered to be some of the best earthworks and defensive works builders of the entire war. Soon after formation, the 32nd Georgia was sent to Charleston, SC and was engaged heavily during the Siege of Charleston in 1863. In Charleston, the 32nd Georgia was tasked with assisting in building defensive works and helping defend the city against the Federal Navy and Infantry. The South Carolina port city had been under a constant bombardment from the Union Navy and the government in Washington thought that if Charleston could be taken, the Deep South would fall.
While serving in Charleston, the 32nd Georgia was task with strengthening the defenses of the entries into Charleston harbor and the areas around Charleston. It was here that they fortified a place called Battery Wagner, later to be called Fort Wagner by the Union troops. Battery Wagner was the site of the famous charge by the Union's first all black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts. The 54th Massachusetts and several other Union units were tasked with assaulting Battery Wagner with the hopes of dislodging the Confederate forces there and thereby allowing entry to Charleston. The 32nd Georgia was rushed from nearby Morris Island to assist with the defense of Wagner. They had already helped fortify and prepare Wagner for such an attack and now they would help in its defense. The Confederates turned back all attempts to gain the little earthen position, with the 32nd Georgia making a counterattack over the southeastern bastion of the works killing or capturing nearly all of the Federal troops remaining. After all the attempts had failed, the Union commanders declared that the little earthen structure and the Confederate troops inside were indeed a fort and not a battery.
From Charleston, the 32nd was dispatched to Florida with orders to assist with the defensive positions around Ocean Pond. At Ocean Pond or Olustee, was commanded by Major W.T. Holland. During the battle, the 32nd flanked the Union right and their efforts were largely credited with the Confederate victory. Ocean Pond or Olustee as it is often called, was the only major land battle in the state of Florida. The 32nd Georgia suffered the highest casualty rate of the Confederate forces of the battle. They were the most active and heavily engaged unit and lost 15 killed and 149 wounded.
After serving in Florida, the 32nd returned to their defensive work around Charleston. From there, they went to Georgia and participated against Sherman's Savannah Campaign and the March to the Sea. Their numbers had been depleted by hard fighting and their efforts would only assist in slowing the Union troops and providing an advance warning to the citizens of Georgia who lived in the pathway of the Union troops.
After the fall of Savannah, the 32nd was a part of the last remaining defense of the state of South Carolina and did all any troops could do against overwhelming odds. They fought along side other Confederate troops at Pocotaligo, Broxton's Bridge, River's Bridge, and Aiken trying to save the Palmetto State.
From South Carolina they served with the remaining troops of the Department of Georgia and South Carolina and those of the Army of Tennessee until the surrender at Durham' Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.