3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment

"The Glorious Third" Alabama's first volunteers

Posts Tagged ‘Lt. Louis H. Hill

The Wetumpka Light Guards

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George F. Sedberry, Wetumpka Light Guards

George F. Sedberry, Wetumpka Light Guards

1LT Louis H. Hill,  Wetumpka Light Guards Co I, 3rd Alabama Regiment

1LT Louis H. Hill,
Wetumpka Light Guards
Co I, 3rd Alabama Regiment

On the morning of April 27, 1861, Captain Edward Ready ordered the men and boys of the Wetumpka Light Guards to fall in. His subordinate officers and sergeants took charge and soon two long ranks of mismatched militiamen formed on West Bridge Street, between the whitewashed panels of the Presbyterian Church and the stolid red brick sanctuary of the Baptists. A long covered bridge crossed the Coosa River here, connecting the residential half of town to its commercial center.

Their may have been a few feeling the effects of the night before. The one hundred twelve members of the Guards had been treated to a feast at Hagerty Hall, courtesy of Mr. McKinney Thomas, who, reportedly, provided “meats and cake enough…to feed five hundred…and plenty of the best liquors to wash it down,” At least plenty for those not Baptist.

Next morning, by the bridge, the citizens of the county gathered to be warmed up by the Reverend Mr. Brewer’s lengthy address. The ladies of Wetumpka now presented the company with a new national flag, (the ‘Stars and Bars’) which Lieutenant Storrs, accepting on the Guards’ behalf, said embraced “in its various colors of the red, white, and blue” emblems “of courage, purity, and truth, and having upon it a circle of stars, each of which represents a free and sovereign State.” “Under this flag,”, he said, “we go forth to battle for our rights.” Lieutenant Henry Storrs was the pride of the community, and would have made his father, the late Judge, very proud this day. Just twenty-two, Henry was a graduate of the University of Virginia, and had just returned home from Cambridge, attaining a law degree from Harvard.

The Guards had already been deployed once, with Colonel Lomax’ Second Regiment at Pensacola, investing Fort Pickens. They had come home at the end of February well-drilled, disciplined and fit. Storrs concluded his remarks, by praising the ladies: “There is a power, beyond any other, in the influence of woman on man, for patriotism or indifference, for courage or cowardice.” Looking towards the volunteers: “’tis woman’s influence that makes such men as these.” He ended his remarks prophetically: “Nothing more is left for me to say; but for all, and to all: goodbye.”

Through the rousing cheers, Mr. Thomas came through again, contributing one hundred dollars to the benefit of the company, and passing the hat raised about seven hundred dollars. Altogether, the citizens had raised fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Thomas also committed to furnishing the entire militia with uniforms. It was with chagrin Coosa County had to send off her finest boys without proper uniforms. But in the raising and outfitting of an army, supplies were short, and the mills at Columbus, Georgia, had failed to send the material on time. When the militia joined their regiment in Montgomery, they would be the only company not in uniform.

But their muskets and accoutrements were in good shape, their officers were uniformed, and when they heard the bell from the steamer “Le Grande, ” they knew the time had come to part ways. The ranks were formed into column of fours, and (crossing the bridge in route step), they descended Main Street to Crommelin’s landing, for the short journey downriver to Montgomery. Besides Captain Ready and Henry Storrs, the Le Grande carried lieutenants Louis Hill, and William Havis; Orderly (First Sergeant) Oscar Smith, and many others: George Sedberry, James Stamp; William Martin Teague (future Mayor of Montgomery); Horatio Tulane; Ben Melton (who would be their Captain at Appomattox); former Governor Fitzpatrick’s son, John; the four Bross boys; the three Wall brothers; the sharpshooter: Sawyer Ziegler. One young man, J.J. Stoker, probably “missed the boat,” but soon joined the Guards in Norfolk. He would lose an arm to the war, but survive and later prosper in Texas. He would die exactly 78 years after Mr. Thomas’ banquet, the last man in the regiment, save one.