Brief History

Captain N. B. Clinchs Artillery Company (Georgia)

Provisional Army of the Confederate States

(Assembled by O. Jonathan Hickox, March 2004)

This company was raised and organized by authority of the Secretary of War from the dismounted men of Clinchs 4th Georgia Volunteer Cavalry, who came predominantly from Companies "H and "I". It had been manned by details from the regiment since February 1863, but the organization was not completed until the election of officers 01 December 1863. Their pay while in the cavalry had included compensation for furnishing their own horses and "gear". This of course ceased when they became artillerymen, but they were paid a $50 bonus for joining this new unit. These actions culminated in the formal establishment of the company as an independent command on 18 December 1863, with a staff of about 136 men, or fifteen percent of the nominal strength of the entire 4th Georgia Cavalry.

This new unit, most often referred to as "Clinch's Light Battery", or as "Clinch's Artillery Company" began its formal organization with the election of officers on 01 December 1863, which took place at Camp Mercer, the operating base of the 4th Georgia Cavalry at that time. With the forthcoming formal establishment of the company, elections for its officers were held. Supervised by Captain Readdick of the 4th Georgia Cavalry's Company D, who was assisted by 2nd Lieutenants John Collier of Company E and Harrison Jones of Company I, the results were that 1st Lieutenant normal"N. B. Clinch, Regimental Adjutant, was elected Captain of Artillery, 27 year-old German-born William P. Schirm, 1st Sergeant of Company A, became its 1st Lieutenant , and R.C. Hazzard and T.P. O'Neal 1st Sergeants of Companies F and B, respectively, were elected to the 2nd Lieutenant positions. The Quartermaster Sergeant was W.R. Lane. The Line Sergeants were G.E. Atwell, W.W. Buchanan, R.W. Dopson, J.V. Smith and W.R. Strickland.

Captain N.B. Clinch (b. 1832) was the youngest brother of the 4th Georgia Cavalry's commander, Colonel Duncan L. Clinch, Jr. (b. 1826). (Source-"Aristocrat in Uniform"; by Rembert W. Patrick, a biography of Brigadier General Duncan L. Clinch, Sr., an Indian fighter and planter from Camden County Georgia who, incidentally, was the father-in-law of Major Robert Anderson, U.S. Army, the Kentucky-born commander of Fort Sumter who remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War).

Captain Clinch's Artillery Company saw service primarily in defense of established fortifications around Savannah, Georgia. A summary of its principal engagements, all involving defensive efforts against aggressive Union operations, includes:

Siege of Savannah December 10 to 21, 1864 Capture of Fort McAllister, GA December 13, 1864

With the fall of Fort McAllister, 62 members of the unit (all who were present) were captured or killed, and it ceased to be an effective operational force. It is worthy of note that in this battle, in which GEN Sherman's soldiers stormed the fort after a brief but intensive artillery bombardment which disabled the fort's own artillery and breached its earthen and log walls, 2nd Lieutenant R.C. Hazzard, younger brother of CAPT W.M. Hazzard, commander of the 4th GAs Company B, "Glynn Guards" was killed, 15 of the units men were wounded, and their commander, Captain N.B. Clinch, received nine wounds; one from a gunshot, one from a bayonet, and seven from sabers. Clearly the hand-to-hand fighting, 'tho short lived, was intense and vicious. Captain Clinch was captured and survived. All the survivors were taken prisoner and sent north, several of whom later died of their wounds or of other reasons during captivity. Besides Captain Clinch, the other wounded men were:

1st Lieutenant William P. Schirm - Wounded in the head.

5th Corporal W.H Chancey- Shot in the right thigh.

4th Corporal J. Rawls - Wound not specified.

Private Benjamin S. Blitch - Puncture wound from a bayonet in the right side.

Private Jesse Butler - Possibly wounded because he was hospitalized immediately after capture.

Private Joseph Daily - Right arm amputated. Subsequently died on 1 or 11 February 1865 at the U. S. General Hospital on Hilton Head Island,South Carolina

Private T. Gill - Gunshot wound in the right arm.

Private W. Hall- Wound not specified.

Private Benjamin Joyner- Wound not specified.

Private Richard Montgomery - Left arm amputated.

Private J.A. Prescott- Wound not specified.

Privates J.W. and Lewis Thomas - Wounds not specified.

Private John J. Winn - Right leg amputated. Subsequently died on 20 or 26 January 1865 at the U. S. General Hospital # 2 on Hilton Head, 18 years of age.

There were likely one or two additional casualties not mentioned in the records of the company. In his widows post-war pension application, Private James (J.R.) Oberry was claimed to have been killed at Fort McAllister on 13 December 1864. Also, Huxford claims Private Edward Hopson Cornelius was killed in action in 1864 as a member of Company I, his original unit in the 4th Georgia Cavalry. Since the records show him assigned to Clinchs Artillery Company as of their last reported muster on 31 October 1864, he could have been an undocumented casualty of this days fighting or, possibly, he had rejoined the regiment and was killed during Sherman's March to the Sea.