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Georgia Sharpshooters

Georgia Sharpshooters
Active 1 June 1862 – 26 April 1865
Country  United States
Allegiance Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Branch  Confederate States Army
Type Infantry
Size Battalion
Garrison/HQ Savannah, Georgia
Nickname(s) Georgia Sharpshooters
Engagements Battle of Fort McAllister (1863)
Battle of Jackson, Mississippi
Battle of Chickamauga
Chattanooga Campaign
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Battle of Peachtree Creek
Battle of Atlanta
Battle of Jonesborough
Battle of Spring Hill
Battle of Franklin
Battle of Nashville
Battle of Bentonville
Robert H. Anderson
Arthur Shaaf

The 1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters were authorized by an act in April, 1862 by the Confederate Congress, and were formed in Savannah, Georgia. The 1st Battalion Sharpshooters served at Fort McAllister defending the coast of Georgia in the Battle of Fort McAllister (1863). They also saw action at the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi as well as the Battle of Chickamauga, and the Chattanooga Campaign. As Confederate forces moved south, falling back through Atlanta. The Sharpshooters fought to the end of the war, their last engagement being at the Battle of Bentonville in March, 1865.

On June 1, 1862 Major Robert H. Anderson, who graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1857, was serving as inspector general at the headquarters of the Department of South Carolina and Georgia in Charleston, SC. On that day he wrote a letter to Major General John C. Pemberton. the department commander. In his letter, he asked the general to raise a battalion of four companies of sharpshooters from the regiments of in the brigade of Brigadier General William Duncan Smith, located in Savannah, Georgia. Pemberton gave his approval and Anderson visited Savannah on a recruiting mission. On June 20, Pemberton wrote to Adjutant and Inspector General Samuel Cooper in Richmond, VA nominating Anderson to be in command of the 1st battalion.

The battalion was formed by early August, and on the 21st marched from Camp Pemberton to Camp Anderson, named for the battalion's commander, located on Wildhorn Plantation, about 12 miles from Savannah. Assigned to guarding strategic Fort McAllister in 1861, they helped repulse seven US Naval engagements to capture Fort McAllister, which protected Savannah. By lining the riverbank with sharpshooters, the defenders rained projectiles on the Union ironclads, forcing them to withdraw, and winning the praise of Confederate generals and congressmen alike. Anderson was promoted to command the 5th Georgia Cavalry, with Major Shaaf given formal command of the battalion in April, 1863. On 5 may, they were ordered to Mississippi as part of General William H. T. Walker's brigade. The mission was to join the army being formed under General Joseph E. Johnston for the Battle of Vicksburg.

  • Brown, Russell K, Our Connection with Savannah, A History of the 1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters, Mercer University Press, 2004,
  • Durham, Roger S., Guardian of Savannah - Fort McAllister, Georgia, in the Civil War and Beyond, The University of South Carolina Press, 2008,
  • Christman, William E., UNDAUNTED: The History of Fort McAllister, Georgia, Darien Printing & Graphics, 1996, Library of Congress Catalog 96-77666 ASIN:
  • Smith, Derek, Civil War Savannah, Frederic C. Beil, 1997,


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