Mustered into Confederate service at Camp McDonald, Big Shanty, in August 1861, the Twenty-third Georgia Infantry contained companies from Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Gordon, Pickens, Union, and Walker counties. Colonel Thomas Hutcherson originally commanded the regiment.
In November 1861 the Twenty-third left Georgia for the Virginia theater. Its first major engagement was at Seven Pines in May 1862, where it lost eighty men killed or wounded. The Seven Days Battle followed, with the unit again heavily engaged. At both South Mountain and Antietam the Twenty-third lost severely. In the latter battle its new colonel, W.P. Barclay was killed. Chancellorsville found the Twenty-third guarding a wagon train, which was attacked by elements of Daniel Sickle's Union corps on May 3rd (2nd?) 1863. The wagons were saved, but nearly 200 men were captured. The men were paroled at Fort Delaware, Delaware that same month and exchanged at City Point, Virginia May 23, 1863.
Like the rest of Colquitt's Brigade, the Twenty-third left Virginia in the spring of 1863 for North Carolina and then for Charleston, South Carolina. It served at Battery Wagner, Johns Island, and Fort Sumter.
Sent to Florida in February 1864, the Twenty-third suffered seventy casualties (two killed, sixty-six wounded and two missing in battle) out of 300 men at Olustee, which was described by a member of the regiment as "one of the most signal victories that the God of war has ever allowed to perch upon our banners." Lieutenant Colonel James H. Huggins commanded during the Florida battle.
The Twenty-third returned to South Carolina and then was ordered to Virginia in the spring of 1864. It fought at Drewry's Bluff, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg before surrendering in North Carolina in 1865.
Letter from 2nd Lt Hugh Barclay, Company B
Photographs of sword carried by Lt Thomas Constner, Company B
External Web sites related to the Battle of Olustee
Battle colors and short history of the 23rd Georgia
History, letters, diaries, memoirs and more of the 23rd Georgia
Confederate Order of Battle
Battle of Olustee home page