A Brief History of Company I, 27th Georgia Volunteer Infantry

The Appling Grays were organized on July 6, 1861 as a volunteer company at Holmesville, Georgia. The first officers were Captain Osgood A. Lee, 1st lieutenant Alfred S. Hall, 2nd lieutenant Lawrence W. Clay and 2nd lieutenant Dr. Zedekiah W. Little.

The Appling Grays practiced their drills in preparation for being sent into war at an old camp meeting ground known as Campground. It was located near Bishop Creek about three miles South of the present town of Graham. It has been told that they were so anxious to go into action that instead of waiting to be supplied with uniforms by the government that they hired a tailor to come and cut out the uniforms and the wives, sisters and sweethearts sewed their uniforms while they drilled.

The company departed Appling County on August 27, 1861 for instruction at Camp Stevens in Griffin, Georgia. There it was organized as Company "I" of the 27th Regiment in the Georgia Volunteer Infantry. This Regiment was composed of men from Henry, Pike, Bibb, Jackson, Taylor, Talbot, Appling, Quitman and Clay counties. It shipped out to Richmond Virginia in October of 1861 and totaled 428 men in 1862. It was assigned to General Winfield Scott Featherston's Brigade. It was later commanded by General Gabriel Rains, and after September 1, 1862 by General Alfred Holt Colquitt and was part of Colquitt's Brigade along with the 6th Georgia. The regiment was in D. H. Hill's division and later in Jackson's Corps.

The regiment was prominent on many battlefields in the Virginia Theater as a part of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was engaged in battles at Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Seven Pines (Fair Oaks). At Seven Pines the Grays distinguished themselves in action and were part of the two regiments that overran the enemy lines thus forcing them to retreat in defeat. In this action the Grays' Captain Osgood A. Lee was killed while leading his company. Elisha Duncan Graham was elected Captain in his place. They were at Mechanicsville, Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines Mill, Cold Harbor, Chickahominy, Glendale, Frazier's Farm, Charles City Cross Roads, New Market Cross Roads, Willis Church, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill in the Seven Days battle around Richmond. They also fought in Maryland in September 1862. They helped Colquitt’s Brigade hold Turner's Gap at the battle of South Mountain. Three days later they were in the thick of the battle at Sharpsburg (Antietum), where they were the deepest penetration in the "cornfield" that morning driving the Federals completely out of the “cornfield”. They spent 3 hours on Hill's on the left flank at "Bloody Lane". What remained of them fought on Hill's left flank at Hagerstown Pike.  The Grays were lightly engaged at Fredericksburg in December, 1862 The 27th had been in D. H. Hill's Division until he was reassigned to North Carolina in May of 1863 when they became part of Robert Rhodes' Division. In May of 1863 they were on the extreme right of Jackson’s Flanking Movement at Chancellorsville where it sustained 31 causalities. As a unit of Jackson's Corps, Colquitt's Brigade took the lead in the great flank march that surprised and routed half of Hooker's Army.

Very Shortly after that battle, Lee transferred the depleted Brigade to Hill in North Carolina. They served in defense of the Georgia, Florida and Carolina coast including being stationed on the beach in front of Battery Wagner after the assault on by Union forces. They were the rear guard for the withdrawal from Battery Wagner.  The Appling Grays and the 27th Georgia were brought up in the center from the reserves and were instrumental in the rout and Confederate Victory at the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond), Florida February 20, 1864.

The 27th Georgia returned to Virginia for the 1864 Spring campaign with General Lee. They fought in the following battles: Drewry's Bluff, Spotsylvania, Second Cold Harbor. During the siege of Petersburg the Appling Grays helped to hold Colquitt's Salient and were at the fight after the explosion at the Crater. They were involved in holding Richmond in late 1864 and were active in the battles at Fort Harrison (at Fort Colquitt) and in the battle of Weldon Railroad they captured a federal General and his staff. 

They Grays were then in battles at Fort Fisher, Wilmington, Kinston, Averysboro and Sugarloaf in North Carolina. In 1865 the 27th Georgia fought under General Joseph E. Johnston and the Army of Tennessee at Bentonville in North Carolina where they breeched Sherman’s breastworks

They surrendered with General Joseph E. Johnston at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26, 1865

William A. Bowers, Jr. 2014