Monday, December 02, 2019

Killed at Antietam, Georgia captain wanted horse 'fast as hell'

6th Georgia Captain John Guinn Hanna was killed at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.
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While exploring a Missionary Ridge neighborhood in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently, I met Neal Thompson, a gregarious, semi-retired attorney with a gift for storytelling. The 70-year-old Tennessee native has deep Southern roots: Ancestors in the 5th Tennessee survived the Federal assault on the southern end of Missionary Ridge on Nov. 25, 1863, a little more than a mile from his house.

I enjoyed visiting with semi-retired attorney Neal Thompson, who
lives on Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, Tenn, 
John Guinn Hanna, another of Thompson's Confederate ancestors, wasn't as fortunate. The 27-year-old captain in Company B of the 6th Georgia -- the "Lookout Dragoons" -- was killed at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862. At about 8:30 that morning, the 6th Georgia was in the northeast corner of David R. Miller's cornfield when two Ohio regiments closed unobserved within 30 yards of their line. According to a post-war history:
It was but a moment before the Captain [Hanna] of the 6th Georgia approached Lieutenant Colonel [James] Newton and reported that they were being flanked and instantly both the Captain and Newton were killed by the first volley of the 66th Ohio.
Hanna and his wife Virginia had a 2-year-old son named William, who died less than two months after John was killed in Maryland. Although Captain Hanna has a marker in a family cemetery in Rising Fawn, Ga., his remains were not returned to his native soil. He may be buried in the Confederate section of Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown, Md., or Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Hanna has no known gravesite.

In the kitchen of his house on Missionary Ridge, Thompson showed me photographs of his ancestors. His late father, who loved history, compiled information on Hanna -- a signed copy of a request for clothing for his men, copies of regimental returns and other documentation.

On June 27, 1862, Hanna was wounded at the Battle of Gaines' Mill, near Richmond, where he recuperated in a hospital. Weeks before he died, Hanna wrote a letter to his father back in Rising Fawn, requesting a horse that was "fast as hell" to replace another that was shot and killed under him.

No word if he got the horse.

Thankfully, the copy of the image above of Hanna, looking resplendent in his officer's uniform, survives.

And Neal Thompson proudly shares it with us.

Thompson poses with battle artifacts found in his Missionary Ridge neighborhood in Chattanooga, Tenn.

-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? Email me here.


-- Carman, Ezra Ayers, and Dr. Thomas G. Clemens, editor, The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, 3 volumes, El Dorado Hills (CA): Savas Beatie, 2010-17, Vol. II, pg. 137;

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