REGULATIONS FOR THE ARMY OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES, AUTHORIZED EDITION, ID’D TO CAPTAIN JOSEPH McREE, 3RD GEORGIA INFANTRY- WOUNDED IN ACTION AT GETTYSBURG, KILLED IN ACTION AT THE CRATER

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Owner inscription rear eps in pencil - “J. McRee/ J.J. McRee/ 3rd GA. Regt.” Published by West & Johnson, Richmond, 1862. 420 pp., ills., diagrams. Brown calf, marbled boards, 7.5 x 4.75”, w/paper spine label [faded]. Exhibits wear at the extremities & light scuffing of marbled boards. Front hinge cracking, page signatures tight. Text lightly foxed and yellowed throughout while remaining entirely legible.

Joseph McCree enlisted as a 2ndLieutenant and was commissioned into Co. “L” 3rd GA Infantry, 8/20/1861. The 3rd GA had companies recruited in the counties of Clarke, Burke, Dawson, Dade, Madison, Baldwin, and Oconee, and assembled at Augusta, Georgia, in April, 1861. The regiment served in the Departments of Norfolk, North Carolina, and Middle and Eastern Florida before being assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia, participating in more than 50 engagements and all its major battles. Most of its service was under its first colonel, promoted to brigade commander, A.R. Wright. McRee was promoted to 1st Lieut., 9/30/1861, and then to Captain, 4/28/1862. McCree was wounded in action at Gettysburg, 7/2/1863, when the regiment, as part of Wright’s brigade, actually pierced the center of the Union line, being credited with the seizure of 11 of 20 Union guns that temporarily fell into Confederate hands before, unsupported by other brigades, they were forced back. It was a feat observed by many that played a part in selecting the target of Pickett’s charge the next day.

The wounded McRee was taken prisoner at Williamport on 7/6/63, and was paroled in May 1864. He returned in time to take command of the regiment at Petersburg and as killed in action at the Battle of the Crater on 7/30/1864 while leading the regiment in the charge of Mahone’s division to reestablish the Confederate line after the mine explosion. John O. Hilsman of the 64th GA, specifically mentions him in his reminiscences of the battle that were printed in the Atlanta Journal and then in the Anderson, SC, Intelligencer in August 1905. (Hilsman either misremembered McRee’s last name or it was mis-transcribed from one newspaper to the other: he shows up as “Joe McKee, Clark Rifles, Third Georgia Regiment.”) Hilsman recalled the horrendous fighting, including men “shot down and their bodies literally riddled with bullets.” McRee was, “instantly killed with hundreds of other brave boys, whose lives were sacrificed; but not in vain, for the works were held stubbornly by our men and for nearly two hours a constant fire was kept up on both sides, and loaded guns were cocked and with bayonets fixed, were thrown over the embankments…”

The 3rd Georgia Infantry Regiment was hard-fighting unit seeing action from the Peninsular Campaign to Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Appomattox. The unit reported 25 killed, 110 wounded, and 22 missing at Malvern Hill and had 10 killed and 129 wounded at Chancellorsville. It lost more than forty-five percent of the 441 engaged at Gettysburg, and there were 75 casualties at Manassas Gap. The 3rd surrendered in April, 1865, with 12 officers and 236 men.

This is a superb identified and inscribed copy of the Confederate army regulations, scarce in itself, that was carried by an officer with very active service, wounded at Gettysburg and killed in action in the even more nightmarish fighting of the Crater.  [jp/ld/sr]

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