It was a year of turmoil for the young United States of America. Abraham Lincoln had just been elected president, and as they had threatened, states in the South began to declare their independence from federal rule. On January 19th, the state of Georgia, joined South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, and officially seceded from the Union.

The following month, these five states, along with Texas and Louisiana formed a confederation in Montgomery, Alabama, naming Jefferson Davis, the provisional president of the Confederacy, until elections could be held. Federal posts in the south began to be seized and the political war of words culminated, when on April 12, 1861, troops in South Carolina fired on the federal fort at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Virginia joined the Confederacy five days later, followed by Arkansas and North Carolina. Richmond, Virginia now became the capital of the Confederate States of America.

In both the South, and the North, men rushed to the call for troops. The Campbell County Rangers, men fron Campbell County, Georgia, were joined with 9 other companies, formed from neighboring counties, and became the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment. It would officially become part of the Confederate Army on October 15, 1861 in Richmond, Virginia, under order # 18.

On that day it became part of the CSA, 36 year old plantation owner Edward Lloyd Thomas was appointed the colonel of the newly formed regiment. Thomas had shown his officer material when he served as a volunteer in the Mexican War. Initially a private, he was promoted to lieutenant and led a cavalry charge in the battle of Huamantla, where the American forces were responsible for the capture of Major Iturbide (the son of the former Emperor of Mexico and a member of Santa Anna's personal staff).

Edward L Thomas

Courtesy of "Generals in Gray" by Ezra Warner

2nd Lt Gustavas Adolphus Bull of the 4th Georgia Infantry, former school teacher from LaGrange, GA, became the 35th's new Lieutenant Colonel. And Bolling Hall Holt, a private from 2nd Georgia Infantry, became the regiment major.

Men, of all ages and occupations were know soldiers. Some having lived close to one another, knew those in his company. Other companies bore men from other counties, which in the 1860's seemed a world away. Many had never seen so many men gathered in one place as there was now in this single regiment. Soon they would be facing thousands on the battlefield, and fighting alongside thousands more. This group of men, like so many more, would now face 4 years of unbelievable hardship and conflict together in far away places. Many would never return home to their families.  At least 25 would die in the first two months of disease, mainly measles, before even coming close to the enemy. Over half would die or be listed as a casualty of war. Those who would make it home would bear unspeakable memories from a conflict unequaled in America's history. .

35th Georgia Infantry