A wealthy young planter from Macon, GA, John Hill Lamar began the war as a Private in the 2nd Georgia Battalion and was Major of the 7th Georgia Battalion Infantry by April 1862. At that time Confederate authorities were adding troops to the Battalion to bring it to Regimental strength, and its commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. L. Lamar – probably not a close relation – resigned, reportedly because he was not likely to retain his commission in the new Regiment.

In this unusual letter, Major Lamar asked Brigadier General Hugh Weeden Mercer (1808-1877), then commanding the Military District of Georgia, to obtain the commission of Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the Battalion on his behalf. He noted that there was some urgency, citing the likely resignation of senior Captain James Y. McDuffie if the post of Major did not open soon.

Here’s my transcription:

Camp at Bethesda [GA]
April 7th 1862

Brig Genl H.W. Mercer


I received on yesterday the official notification of the acceptance of Col Lamar’s resignation. Will you do me the favor to make application for my commission as Lt Col, as I believe I rise to that position by promotion. Capt McDuffie is the senior Capt and has conceived an idea of resigning, and until he decides what he will do, it will be useful to take any steps as regards the Majority. I am this precipitate in asking you make application on my behalf, from the fact, of not having received my present commission until a few days ago, and without your action in the premisses [?], it is doubtful if I get the commission as Lt Col for months to come.

I am Genl
Very Respectfully
Your Obt Servant

JH Lamar
Maj Comdg 7th Ga Batt

Lamar did in fact quickly get the commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the Battalion and later as Colonel of the new 61st Georgia. He commanded the regiment, and at least briefly Lawton’s Brigade, at Sharpsburg in September 1862. He was killed at Monocacy, MD in 1864.

Captain McDuffie did not resign, and was soon after appointed Lieutenant Colonel. He was wounded at Sharpsburg and resigned due to his health that October. He died in 1863, cause unknown.

This letter is from J.H. Lamar’s Compiled Service Record file at the US National Archives, online from fold3.

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