Col. George W. Lee - Commander

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Lee, George Washington – Colonel. – enlisted as a Pvt. in Co M, 9/26/1861. Elected Lt. Colonel October 11, 1861; Colonel February 18, 1862. Resigned July 1862. Appointed Major, to rank from May 2, 1863 , (from State of Ga.,) to report to Atlanta, Ga. Assigned to the 25th Battn. Ga. Provost Guard Infantry (Atlanta, Ga.) as Major, date not stated. Elected Lt. Colonel. (This Battn. was disbanded June 24, 1864. Elected Lt. Colonel of the 3d Battn. Ga. State Guards (Atlanta Fire Battn.,) date not given.

Col. Lee assumed command of the 38th Georgia when Col. Augustus R. Wright resigned in Feb 1862 and commanded the
Regiment while stationed in Savannah. He fell ill en-route to Virginia with Wright’s Legion during June 1862 and returned to Atlanta, missing the battle of Gaines Mill and other battles around Richmond.

He was reportedly labeled a war criminal by Gen. Sherman, during his march through Georgia, for being the Provost Marshal in Atlanta and mistreating loyal persons and prisoners of war, Oct 25, 1864.

Gen. Braxton Bragg wrote a letter to General Johnston, dated March 2, 1863, concerning Col. Lee:

The case of "Col. G. W. Lee, commanding at Atlanta," is a very prominent one. A man without education or character--you will observe he never signs his own name--who was so well known that his Governor would not accept a company under his command. The War Department accepted it, and sent him to me at Pensacola, in the spring of 1861. When under arrest on serious charges, he resigned and left, and is accused of stealing the clothing money of his men, then in his hands. By misrepresentation and downright falsehood, and by evading and misconstruing orders, he has raised a force of nearly 500 men at Atlanta, more than half conscripts, "home guards." I am compelled to leave this man in command of 2,000 sick men of my army, and intrust their lives, funds, and safety to him. Of course, I cannot keep an old soldier of rank and character under him, and to deprive so large a number of my army of proper control is destructive of discipline and efficiency. Lee has no appointment but captain and provost-marshal--an office unknown to the law. The state of affairs at Atlanta is disgraceful: prisoners confined for months, even without charges; employs by the dozen, able-bodied and without occupation; and expenditures most lavish. If not sustained at :Richmond, I will remove my hospitals this way and give up the place.

Very truly, yours,

Had this assessment of Col. Lee come from almost any other Confederate General, it might carry more weight, as it was, Gen. Bragg proved to be one of the most hated men in the Confederate Army. He was quick to judge and often accused innocent men of grievous crimes. His ability to argue with almost anyone was legendary in the old army and his own Generals revolted against him in late 1863.

Col. Lee was born 9/25/1831 in DeKalb Co., Ga., died 4/3/1879, at Rome, Ga., buried there in Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

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