Georgia: Elbert County: The Ginn Boys of Elbert County Georgia
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The Ginn Boys of Elbert County Georgia
When Northern States invaded the South in 1861 and the Confederate States called
for volunteers, the eight sons of Isaac Ginn and Martha Burden of Elbert County,
were among the thousands of Georgians who answered the call. Although many Georgia
brothers joined together and served in the same unit, the Ginn brothers spread
their service over five different organizations. Three of the brothers: James,
Singleton and Gaines joined Company H of the 38th Georgia Infantry and served in the
Army of Northern Virginia as part of the famed Georgia Brigade. Henry joined the
42nd Georgia Infantry and served in the Army of Tennessee. The other four brothers
did not join the armies until the early part of 1863. Tinsley J. and William P.
“Pink” joined Co K of the 2nd Regiment Georgia State Line Troops, Thomas the 3rd
Georgia Cavalry and the youngest Isaac L. joined the 24th Battalion Georgia
Cavalry, which was later consolidated into the 7th Georgia Cavalry Regiment.
William was the first to marry and by 1860 he and his wife Sarah Rosanne (Simmons)
were the parents of five and living in nearby Madison County. Tinsley J the oldest
had married Sarah Maxwell and they were the parents of two. Thomas and his wife the
former Mary Allgood had one child. Singleton and Amanda Simmons Ginn ( a sister of
his brother William’s wife Sarah ) had three children and Henry and Frances Dobbs
Ginn were also the parents of three. James and his wife Julia Nelms Ginn did not
have any children at the outbreak of the war and in fact their only child James Jr.
was born after his father’s death at Manassas. Gaines W and Isaac L the youngest
boys were living at home in 1860 and were not married until after the war. Gaines
marrying Elizabeth J. Nelms and Isaac marrying Mary Catherine Duncan both from
Gaines joined Co H the “Goshen Blues” of the 38th Regiment in mid October 1861 and
served with that unit on railroad guard duty near Atlanta until the May of 1863
when the 38th was brigaded with five other Georgia Infantry Regiments under the
command of Alexander Lawton and sent north to Virginia. His brothers James and
Singleton joined the Company on June 27, 1862 and were mustered in near
Charlottesville Virginia on July 1,1862. Two months to the day after joining,
during the 2nd Manassas Campaign, James was killed in battle and Singleton was
In December Gaines was promoted to Sergeant and on the 13th during the Battle of
Fredericksburg, Singleton was wounded once again. This wound was to keep him out of
service for almost two years, but by the fall of 1864 he was once again with the
ANV and on April 9, 1865 Singleton S. Ginn stacked his arms with approximately a
dozen more surviving members of Co H. Gaines continued to serve through the
Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run and Wilderness campaigns until late May 1864
when he was wounded seriously at Spotsylvania. He was retired from service in
On April 5 1862,Henry, who was living in Gwinnett County, joined Co A of what was
to become the 42nd Georgia Infantry. The 42nd was brigaded with five other Georgia
Regiments and sent to Tennessee to join General Kirby Smith’s Department of East
Tennessee. The 42nd saw action at Cumberland Gap at the convergence of Tennessee,
Virginia and Kentucky in mid summer and later took part in the invasion of Kentucky
and battles around Richmond, KY.
After withdrawing from Kentucky in the fall, the Brigade was ordered to report to
General Pemberton’s Army at Vicksburg, where the Brigade now under General Seth
Barton distinguished itself at the battles around Chickasaw Bayou and Chickasaw
Bluff, with the 42nd being specifically noted for it’s service. In May of 1863
Barton’s Brigade was heavily involved in the battles in the swamps south of
Vicksburg. On May 17th 1863 during action at Edward’s Station during the Battle of
Champion Hill, Henry was captured. Henry was received at City Point, Virginia and
exchanged on July 6, 1863 and never heard from again. Family history says that his
sisters had received a letter from him from Vicksburg shortly before these battles
and then was never heard from again. It can only be presumed that he either joined
the Army in Virginia and was killed or somehow met foul play on his return to the
Army of Tennessee. Henry became one of the many mysteries of the war.
In February of 1863 William and Tinsley both joined Company K, 2nd Regiment of the
Georgia State Line troops often known as “Joe Brown’s Pets” because of Governor Joe
Brown’s influence on the use of these troops. The 2nd Georgia spent the first two
years performing guard duty on the Western and Atlantic Railroad. In May 1864 they
joined Cumming's Brigade; Stevenson's Division; Hood's Corps in the defense of
Atlanta and later serving with the Georgia Militia under Gen. G. W. Smith. Battles
of note in which the State Line Troops participated were: Kennesaw Mtn, Kolb’s
Farm, Peachtree Creek, Battle of Atlanta, Utoy Creek and Jonesboro during the
Atlanta Campaign. Later with the Militia they participated in the battles at
Griswoldville, Honey Hill, S.C. (where they left Georgia for the only time during
their service) and at the Little Ogeechee Railroad Bridge, Northwest of Savannah.
On April 16th they were involved in one of the war’s last battles at Columbus.
William and Tinsley surrendered with their regiment at Macon on May 7 1865.
Thomas also joined a Georgia State Unit, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, in late summer of
1863 serving only a few months due to a serious injury to his right knee suffered
when his horse fell on him. This injury was ultimately to result in the amputation
of the leg in 1879 and to his death in 1889.
Isaac the youngest of the Ginn brothers joined the 24th Battalion Georgia Cavalry on
June 12th 1863 at Camp Lee. The 24th along with a sister Battalion the 21st Georgia
Cavalry served along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts defending that area from
invasion. In February of 1864, these two battalions were consolidated along with
the Hartwick Mounted Rifles to form the 7th Georgia Cavalry Regiment and in May
became part of the cavalry arm of the Army of Northern Virginia as part of Wade
Hampton’s Division. Isaac served with the 7th in its campaigns around Richmond and
the Shenandoah Valley including the largest all cavalry battle of the war at
Trevilian Station on June 11 & 12 1864. In November 1864 Isaac found himself
without a mount and due to the scarcity of cavalry mounts was detailed back to
Georgia to find a suitable horse. By this time, Sherman had ravaged Georgia and
horses were not to be found. Isaac remained in Georgia until the wars end.
Of the brothers who survived the war, Thomas was the first to die in 1889 of
complications from the amputation of his leg. Singleton followed in 1895 and
William P. in 1900. Tinsley, Gaines and Isaac all lived into the 20th Century with
Isaac the last to pass in December of 1919.
Submitted by Ron Jones ---- 2nd Great Grandson of William Pinkney Ginn.
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