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Miles W. Lewis

Miles W. Lewis was born about 1834 in Georgia. His family was listed in the 1850 Census in Forsyth County, Georgia, as Theophilus Lewis, age 51; Rebeca Lewis, age 45; James W. Lewis, age 22; Miles W. Lewis, age 17; Martha J. Lewis, age 14; John H C. Lewis, age 12; and Susanah E. Lewis, age 8. The listing also include a school teacher, John A Herd, age 24.

In 1860 the family was living in Murray County, using the post office at Rock Creek. Only two of their off-spring were still living with the parents: John and Susanah.

Living very close by were Miles W. Lewis, age 26, Ama M. Lewis, age 24, and Mary Lewis, age 1.

When the War Between the States broke out, Miles enlisted in Company D, 22nd Georgia Brigade (Wrights), April 1, 1862. Miles' unit engaged in military engagements at Seven Pines, Virginia, May 32 - June 1, 1862; Malvern Hill, Virginia, July 1, 1862; Manassas (2nd Bull Run), Virginia, August 18-30, 1862; Sharpsburg (also called Antietam), Maryland, September 17, 1862; Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 11-15, 1862; Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 1-4, 1863; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-3, 1863.

At Gettysburg, on July 2, Miles was wounded, then captured by Union soldiers. An army chaplain at the Union Army hospital wrote a letter to Miles' wife, dated 19 July 1863. In part, the letter read "Your husband Miles W. Lewis 22nd Georgia Troop requests me to write you some account of himself. He was wounded the 2nd of July in one of the battles about Gettysburg and fell into the hands of the U. S. Forces and was brought to this hospital. The 12th Corp Hospital is on the farm of Mr. George Bushman, about 3 miles south of Gettysburg. Mr. Lewis' wound is in his groin. The shell entered the groin and passed ___ ___ thigh. The attending surgeon has been unable to find it. He has been doing pretty well until the last three or four days.

"He does not feel certain that he will recover and wished me to say that is the cause of his not getting well. He wants you to bring up the children right so that they shall meet him in heaven. He expressed a firm hope in the Savior and resignation to his will." Signed: M. C. Welch. "P.S. Monday morning, July 20. I find Mr. Lewis feeling better."

Miles W. Lewis died from his injuries on July 22, 1863, and was buried at Gettysburg.

But Gettysburg was not to be Lewis's final resting place. The Savannah Ladies Memorial Association arranged to have 101 Georgia soldiers who had died at Gettysburg exhumed and brought by sea to Savannah for reburial. Miles Lewis was one of 32 reburied in August 1871.

The Savannah Morning News, Tuesday, August 22, 1871, published the following:

Honor to the Confederate Dead
The arrival of the remains of thirty-two Confederate soldiers
from the Gettysburg Battlefield–Their escort from the Steamer America–Interment
in Laurel Grove Cemetery, etc.

The hearts of our people were deeply stirred by the arrival on the steamship America of the remains of thirty-two Confederate soldiers exhumed from the memorable field of Gettysburg now about to upturned by the plowshear–to be consigned to their final resting place beneath the soil of their native Georgia.

The America arrived at her wharf yesterday morning and the committee appointed for the reception of the remains, with two hearses, met them at the wharf whence they escorted them to the Exchange, where they were placed in the State in the council chamber during the entire morning. A very large number of citizens called during the day and looked with melancholy interest upon the three plain chests that contained all that remained of the thirty-two brave Southerners who fell on that memorable occasion. Note: The article continued to describe every movement throughout the transport of the dead to the cemetery and their interment until it reached the following.

"After the graves were filled up and the last mortal remains of these thirty-two dead Confederate soldiers were deposited in their final resting place, the ladies present numbering several hundred, came forward and strewed flowers upon the graves so that they were literally covered with floral offerings."

The April 20, 1872, minutes of the Savannah Ladies Memorial Association includes the following expenditure: "During the year 101 bodies of Georgia soldiers were brought from Gettysburg and interred in Laurel Grove Cemetery. Expended for the same $410."

Peggy Davis tells a story of her ancestors, handed across the years, that drives home just how desperate those times were. Robbers and looters, both Union and Confederate, raided homes, stealing anything of value, and often taking all of the livestock and food supplies. Often the marauders burned the barns and farm buildings; sometimes they even burned houses. Peggy's distant grandmother of that era had one old hen left. She put a cross bar atop a pole that she would put the hen on to roost inside the chimney every night.

Peggy said that prior to 1986, when she started genealogy research, she had never heard of Miles W. Lewis. He's become her hero.


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