Category Archives: Georgia Government

1861: David Crowell Campbell Letters

David Crowell Campbell (1800-1862), aide to Georgia Gov. Brown in the Executive Department in 1861 (Griffing Collection)

These letter were written by Col. David Crowell Campbell  (1800-1862) who was married to Caroline Elizabeth “Eliza” Geddes  Campbell (1804-1864)—a native of Charleston, South Carolina. David was a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Hamilton College, New  York. Soon after completing his education, he moved to South  Carolina, and for several years practiced law in partnership with the  Hon. C. Y. Memminger, the distinguished Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States. About the year 1835 he changed his  residence to Macon, Georgia, and soon afterwards represented the  county of Bibb in the Legislature. He moved to Milledgeville, GA and  in 1845 he became proprietor and Editor of the “Federal Union,” in which character he was a firm and zealous supporter of the  Southern Rights Party in the contest of 1850-51. After the defeat of  the Southern Rights ticket, he sold the office and devoted his time mainly to his valuable planting interests and to works of internal  improvement connected with the seat of government. 

Though he retired from his editorial position, David continued to serve on the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee.  On November 22, 1860, the committee issued a call for a state secession convention, and Campbell was a delegate to that convention which of course voted for the ordinance of secession. From the following letters, we see that David served as an aide to the Governor, Joseph Emerson Brown, in the executive department early in the war. He died on the 4th of April 1862, however.

Banner of the Federal Union Newspaper edited by David C. Campbell for many years.

Letter 1

Executive Department
Milledgeville, [Georgia]
June 11th 1861

Col. Wm. A. Harris [of Worth Co.], 1 Isabella
Sir,

I am directed by his Excellency the Governor in reply to yours of the 10th inst., to say that Volunteers are enrolled for service in the order in which their tenders are presented; and that so numerous are the tenders that several regiments must be sent into service before your company, if [ ] enrolled, could be called upon. Another difficulty must embarrass you. Before your time will arrive, all the arms under the control of this Department will be exhausted. I am further directed to say that no arms or accoutrements or tents can be furnished to any company except it has received marching orders & is ready for actual service.

Respectfully, your obedient servant, — D. C. Campbell

1 Col. William Augustine Harris (1827-1895) served in the Mexican War, named the county of Worth for his commander of that war and the county-site Isabella, for General Worth’s wife. In the Civil War, Colonel Harris was Captain of the Yancy Independents, a company formed by him, and was Colonel of the 14th Ga Regiment. He was commissioned a Major in the 10th Georgia Militia, 1864-1865, Home guards.

11 June 1861 Letter

Letter 2

Augusta, [Georgia]
July 12th 1861

Dear Governor,

I have got 29,000 lbs. powder, more in pounds than is strictly due the state. I busied myself about the arms. The Clinch Rifles 1 left 119. 17 are in the hand of a squad of that company who will give them up. 100 the Capt. assures me the they are demanded. 47 in the hand of Judge Good, Capt. of the Silver Grays who promptly yields them and has them boxed. I hold them subject to your order. The balance are in the hands of Judge Stamer, Captain of the Home Guard who will give them up cheerfully provided they go to Col. Cobb’s Legion.

The Oglethorpes hold 100 guns. 40 are in the hands of Mayor May who holds them subject to your order & will get the others from the squad of Oglethorpes left behind. The Captain of the squad says he has your permission to return them. The community say they are good guns and should be sent into service. The Mounted Rifles are disbanded. Their arms the Captain is hiding away but the Mayor & Col. Cumming think they can get control of them.

The Montgomery Guards, the only corps now left in the city properly organized, have 50 guns & I have not interfered with them. About 300 flint & steel muskets will be gathered up in the city & some more of other kinds. Judge Stamer & several other prominent gentlemen in the city & doing all they can to aid in collecting the arms.

Yours truly, — D. C. Campbell

1 The Clinch Rifles were Co. A, 5th Georgia.


Letter 3

Executive Department
Milledgeville, [Georgia]
September 12, 1861

A. Fitzgerald, Esq.
Dalton, Ga.

Yours of the 10th reached this Department today. The Governor is absent on the seaboard taking a survey with reference to measures for its defense. He will be absent for several days. On his return, your letter will be laid before him.

Respectfully your obedient servant, — D. C. Campbell, Aide-de-Camp