Written Oct. 19, 1917, by Oscar E. Metzger
I was mustered into the Confederate Army on Aug. 9, 1861, at Savannah, Georgia in Company D 25th GA Infantry, served in Fort Pulaski about two months, and then on Tybee Island awhile where the regiment was formed with C. C. Wilson as Colonel. The regiment served as Coast Guard until the spring of 1863. We made frequent trips on the coast as follows: Pocatalico, S.C., Coossawhatchie, Charleston, James Island and as far as Wilmington, N.C. In the spring of 1863 we were ordered to Jackson, Mississippi in Walker’s Brigade, J. E. Johnston, Col.
We held Jackson for a short while when the Yanks with superior force compelled us to evacuate, went to Yazoo City and was ordered to Vicksburg. But before we could get there, Gen. Pemberton surrendered and Gen. Grant with 75,000 men came down against us. We fell back to Jackson and fortified and offered him battle, but he would not fight us. He, with his superior force, was able to flank us on both sides (We had but 25,000 men.) and compelled us to evacuate Jackson for the second time to Brandon Station.
We remained here until the fall of 1863 when we were ordered to Chickamauga. We defeated the Yanks and compelled them to retreat to Chattanooga. Our loss in the battle was about 15,000 men. We fortified around Chattanooga and remained there for some time until the Yanks reinforced their army and attacked us, broke our center on Missionary Ridge, and we were compelled to fall back to Dalton, where we went into Winter Quarters. Gen. Bragg was in command at Chickamauga and until we reached Dalton where Gen. J. E. Johnson took command.
In April 1864, Gen. Sherman commanding the Yanks came down upon us with overwhelming force and compelled us to retreat. This was the beginning of Gen. Sherman’s March through Georgia, but he would not fight us fairly. With his superior force he was able to flank us and compel us to retreat. It took 90 days to force us to Atlanta (a distance of 100 miles). The fighting was continued night and day during the whole time but it was mostly skirmishing.
When we got to Atlanta, Gen. Johnson was relieved and Gen. Hood took command of the army and tried to hold Atlanta but the odds were too great and we were compelled to give it up. We let the Yanks continue their march and we started back on the west side of Rocky Face Mountain up near Dalton and across north Alabama and Sand Mountain and Black Warrior River into the Tennessee Valley. We crossed the Tennessee River near Florence and marched to Columbia where we first met the Yanks. They retreated to Franklin. We followed and attacked them in breast works at 2 o’clock p.m. and fought them until 10 o’clock that night when we charged and took the breast works. They retreated to Nashville.
My division (Bates’) was detached and went with Gen. Forest to Murfreesboro to prevent the Yanks getting reinforcements from that direction. We tore up the railroad and skirmished a little and fell back to Nashville with the main army. Here, we fortified and waited until the Yanks were reinforced enough to attack us. They attacked with the two lines. We had but one. They turned our left wing and came up behind us while we were fighting the two lines in front. The result was our brigade (H. R. Jackson’s) was captured with the exception that a few (I among them) ran out and escaped. Gen. Jackson tried to escape but was caught. The bullets were coming from front and rear.
We retreated back the way we came and crossed the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals through Corinth to Tupelo, Miss. Here we drew our first clothing since the autumn of 1863 at Dalton. The Army was in rags and barefoot. Some had frostbitten, bleeding feet. We remained at Tupelo a few weeks until we were ordered to South Carolina. We met the Yanks at Orangeburg and had a small skirmish. Then we went to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where we had a skirmish fight. Then we marched to Smithfield.
We fought the last battle of the war at Bentonville, North Carolina. The Yanks were two to our one but we gave them as good a thrashing as they ever had.
After the battle of Bentonville we marched to Greensboro where we surrendered under Gen. Johnston April 26, 1865, was paroled and went home.
Thanks go to G. Brandon Metzger for providing this document. An article was published some time ago about William Washington Metzger, who was a first cousin to Oscar. William Washington’s father Solomon was a brother to Oscar’s father, Moses. Some descendants of the Oscar Metzger family line include Howard, Julius, Kate, Cassius, Caesar and Cortez.
This article was copied by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos to share, questions or comments please call her at 754-6681 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org