Civil War anniversary: First soldiers in Dalton, 1861 » Local News » The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA

In 1861 Mary Emma love and her twin sister Jane were the 17-year-old daughters of Mr. and mrs. John P. love and were to witness many of the stirring events of the Civil War in Dalton. miss Emma married Richard Thompson, a war veteran, on Oct. 19,1866, and by 1870 they were living in Atlanta. Years after the war she wrote about her experiences in some detail. the first Confederate soldiers she remembered coming to Dalton arrived on Monday, April 29,1861, and encamped here for six days. In fact nine companies of soldiers from various cities in Alabama who were in service to the state of Alabama were ordered to rendezvous at Dalton to form the 4th Alabama Infantry. By Thursday, May 2, the regiment was organized and Col. Egbert J. Jones was elected commander. On Sunday, May 5, they left Dalton by train from the Dalton Depot heading for Lynchburg, Va. They arrived there on May 7 and mustered in to the Confederate States Army. Capt. a.D. McInnis of Company E, 4th Alabama, in historical memoranda stated that during the war they had fought in 36 pitched battles, 22 skirmishes and their mortality rate was over the average. Capt. Jason M. West of Company a summed up their four years of service with the following eulogy, "Company a claims no more of praise above her sister companies, satisfied that honor and shame from no condition rise, act well your past, there all the honor lies."  we also learn from miss Emma's memoirs the first Dalton boys to enter Confederate service were known as the "Dalton Guards." In an 1859 state census of militia units in Georgia the Dalton Guards of Whitfield County reported they had 75 volunteers in uniform. They were well drilled in military tactics and equipped with the best accouterments of the day. They were under the command of 27-year-old Robert Thomas "Tom" Cook. he was elected captain of the Guards on Jan. 19,1861.  On Feb. 22,1861, the Guards gave a George Washington Anniversary Party at the Courthouse in Dalton. Special invitations were sent resulting in a huge turnout. Recruiters were hard at work and by the first of June the ranks of the Guards had increased to 110. On the eve of their departure the Guards were assembled in the upper story of the first Baptist Church of Dalton. It was here that Judge Edward R. Harden, former Supreme Court Judge of Nebraska Territory, gave his famous speech about their service to the cause of the Confederacy. the next day they boarded the trains at the Dalton Depot and headed for Camp McDonald in big Shanty, (now Kennesaw). there on June 11, 1861, they mustered into state service and became Company B of Phillips Legion Infantry. On Aug. 2,1861, the Legion was tuned over to the government of the Confederate States by Georgia Gov. Joseph Brown. the Legion was ordered to western Virginia and placed under the command of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd and served with  distinction in the Kanawha Valley. more to come on the service of the "Dalton Guards." this article is part of a series of stories about Dalton and life in Dalton during the Civil War. the stories will run on Sunday and are provided by the Dalton-Whitfield Civil War 150th Anniversary Committee. To find out more about the committee go to if you have material that you would like to contribute for a future article please contact Robert Jenkins at 706-259-4626 or

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