Prior to the war of Southern Independence, it was common for states to identify geographical sections as militia areas, a carry-over from the American Revolutionary War. It was also common for each of these militia areas to have guard units or militia units to protect their homeland.
Many of these militia units were disbanded and reorganized into the Army of the Confederate States of America at the beginning of the Civil War. Such was the case with Pierce County’s Atlantic and Gulf Guard. Some of the names listed below were from the (now) Brantley County area..
ATLANTIC AND GULF GUARDS
The following article, extracted from the Blackshear Times, portrays the organization of the Atlantic and Gulf Guard in May 25, 1861:
Blackshear, Ga., Feb. 13, 1919. The writer chanced to see this week a copy of the rules and regulations adopted by the Atlantic and Gulf Guards at Blackshear on May 25, 1861. This was a military organization which went out from Pierce County to do battle from their country in the Civil War. These rules prescribed a uniform made of blue satinet, trimmed with yellow braid and silver bell buttons. The service uniform was of Blue jeans trimmed with red flannel.
Membership was limited to seventy five and the charter members consisted of the following officers and men: Captain E.D. Hendry, First Lieutenant, C.S. Youmans, Second Lieutenant T. Jefferson Fuller, Ensign Mathew Aspinwall.
SERGEANTS: 1st. John W. Stephens, 2nd. William A. Cribb, 3rd. Mathew Sweat, 4th. Thomas Byrd, 5th Josiah Townsend.
PRIVATES: James Sweat, John M. Jenkins, James B. Strickland, John Donaldson, Mikell Henderson, James A. Waters, William H. Rivers, Howel Wasdin, John Cleland (died Dec. 27, 1910), A.M. Moore, Jos. B. Davis, James P. Jones, Jesse Jones, John Young, R.D. Waldron, John B. Riggins, Colquitt Stewart, Franklin Knox, T.J. Goettee, Gideon Crawford, Jr., Banner Guy, David Rowell, Hughey Chancey, Dread Byrd, Allen Brown, Holiday Lugg, James S. Bailey, W.R. Youmans, Harley Davis, James Brown, Perry McCullar, S.r. Jenkins, James R. O’berry, Henry B. O’berry, W.J. Harper, R. G. James, Benjamin Dixon, R.T. James, Edward Woods, William Woods, Richard Allen, Benjamin Waldron, Thomas M. Youmans, Aaron Dowling, J.J. Dowling, Henry Jordon, John Walker, D.J. Stone, Nathaniel Jones, W.F. Minchew, Silas Overstreet, J.J. Henderson, F.M. James, E. Hatcher, Henry Howard, Abraham Walker, William Sweat, Gideon Jones, John Aspinwall, W.D. Youmans, James W. Dowling, Allen Smith.
Some of these gallant men are still with us (as of Feb. 1919) to tell the story of the Atlantic and Gulf Guards, of the part born by them in the great conflict. The list is of historic value and should be preserved. It is of added interest at this time in view of the large number of our men enrolled in the United States army for the war with Germany. It would also be of great interest if a list of those who volunteered in the Spanish-American War from this county could be published.”
Extracted from Pierce Co. History (Dean Broome): NOTE: Captain E. D. Hendry retired from the Atlantic & Gulf Guards after it was reorganized on March 31, 1862, and came back to Pierce County. He acted as Captain and mustering officer of the Pierce Mounted Volunteers.