General James Green Martin
James Green Martin
Brigadier-General James Green Martin was born at Elizabeth
City, N.C., February 14, 1819. He
was graduated at the
United States Military Academy in 1840, number fourteen in the
class of which Richard S. Ewell
was thirteenth, and George H.
With promotion to a lieutenancy in the artillery, he served
on the northern coast, on the Maine frontier, and in
the coast survey, until he went into the war with Mexico,
he participated in the battles of Monterey, Vera Cruz,
Cerro Gordo, Contreras and Churubusco, in the latter losing
He had previously been promoted captain of staff, and was
brevetted major. At the outbreak of the war
of 1861, he was
on staff duty at Fort Riley.
Resigning June 14, 1861, he offered his services to North
was commissioned captain of cavalry, C.S.A., and
appointed adjutant-general of the State, a position in which
valuable service in the organization and equipment
of troops. At his suggestion, blockade-running ships were
employed to bring supplies from Europe.
On September 28, 1861, he was appointed commander-in-chief of
forces, with the rank of major-general of militia.
With due appreciation of the gravity of the struggle, he
12,000 more men than his State's quota, which were
found of great service when hastily called into the field in
when McClellan made his advance from Yorktown.
|Civil War and James Green Martin
|General James Green Martin. Library of Congress.
After General Martin
had completed this work, he applied for
duty in the field, and in May 1862, was promoted brigadier-
general in the
provisional army, Confederate States. In
August 1862, he was given command of the district of North
headquarters at Kinston.
In the fall of 1863, he was directed to organize a brigade from
the troops at his disposal
and take the field. With this
brigade, composed of the Seventeenth, Forty-second, Fiftieth
and Sixty-sixth regiments,
he went into camp near Wilmington
and soon had as well-drilled and equipped a command as the
Confederate army possessed.
Pickett made his demonstration against New Bern in
February 1864, Martin successfully attacked and drove the
from Newport. When the campaign of 1864 opened in
Virginia, he was called to Petersburg, and reaching there May
was first in the field under Whiting. D. H. Hill was in
command of the division May 20th, and Martin and his brigade
distinction by their gallant charge, driving the enemy
from the works in their front.
After this battle of Howlett's
House, his men carried him
around on their shoulders, shouting: "Three cheers for Old One
Wing," much to the surprise
of the gallant officer, whose
stern discipline had not been calculated to inspire affection.
After this, Martin was
the object of the warm admiration of his
The brigade now was assigned to Hoke's division, and
Lee at Turkey ridge, where they gallantly repulsed
the enemy's assaults on June 3rd, and for about ten days
were engaged in a sharpshooting fight along the
Lee, believing Grant would make another attack, informed
Martin that he held the key to the Confederate position, and
asked if his troops, comparatively new, could be relied
Martin promptly responded that his men were as good as
veterans, but that he thought he should be transferred
south of the James, as he believed Grant would attack Richmond
from the rear.
This opinion was soon
verified, and Martin's brigade being
hastily transferred to Petersburg, marched out where there was
not a Confederate
line between that city and the enemy. In
the famous battles of June before Petersburg, Martin and his
courage, discipline and fortitude
unsurpassed by any.
During the siege which followed, General Martin's health
way under the strain and exposure, and he was transferred to
the command of the district of Western North Carolina,
headquarters at Asheville, his field of service at the close
of the war.
After he had left the Army of
Northern Virginia, General Lee
one day highly complimented his old brigade for faithful
obedience to orders, and when
reminded by General Kirkland
that the praise was largely due to his predecessor, replied:
"General Martin is one to
whom North Carolina owes a debt she
can never repay."
The gallant brigade was almost continuously under fire, was
never driven from a position, and never failed in an attack.
After the close of hostilities, General Martin found
bereft of the considerable property he had previously held,
and manfully took up the study of law, a profession
he met with success, practicing at Asheville during the
remainder of his life. He died October 4, 1878.
Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p. 332
Recommended Reading: Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In
The Civil War, 1861-1865. Description: The author, Prof. D. H. Hill, Jr., was the son of Lieutenant General Daniel
Harvey Hill (North Carolina produced only two lieutenant
generals and it was the second highest rank in the army) and his mother was the sister to General “Stonewall”
Jackson’s wife. In Confederate Military History Of North Carolina,
Hill discusses North Carolina’s massive task of preparing and mobilizing for the conflict; the many regiments and battalions
recruited from the Old North State; as well as the state's numerous contributions during the war. Continued below.
During Hill's Tar Heel State
study, the reader begins with interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "Old North State"
soldiers that fought during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Tar Heels to the first
battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North
Carolina’s contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes
with Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Recommended Reading: Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command (912 pages).
Description: Hailed as one of the greatest Civil War
books, this exhaustive study is an abridgement of the original three-volume version. It is a history of the Army
of Northern Virginia from the first shot fired to the surrender at Appomattox - but what makes this book unique is that it
incorporates a series of biographies of more than 150 Confederate officers. The book discusses in depth all the tradeoffs
that were being made politically and militarily by the South. Continued below.
The book does
an excellent job describing the battles, then at a critical decision point in the battle, the book focuses on an officer -
the book stops and tells the biography of that person, and then goes back to the battle and tells what information the officer
had at that point and the decision he made. At the end of the battle, the officers decisions are critiqued based on what he
"could have known and what he should have known" given his experience, and that is compared with 20/20 hindsight. "It is an
incredibly well written book!"
Recommended Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina. Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes were
fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns
and battles themselves were crucial in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of
the war. John Barrett presents the complete story of military engagements across the state, including the classical pitched
battle of Bentonville--involving Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious campaigns on the
coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General George Stoneman's Raid.
Recommended Reading: Generals in Gray Lives of the Confederate Commanders.
Description: When Generals in Gray was published in 1959, scholars and critics immediately hailed it as one of the few
indispensable books on the American Civil War. Historian Stanley Horn, for example, wrote, "It is difficult for a reviewer
to restrain his enthusiasm in recommending a monumental book of this high quality and value." Here at last is the paperback
edition of Ezra J. Warner’s magnum opus with its concise, detailed biographical sketches and—in an amazing
feat of research—photographs of all 425 Confederate generals. Continued below.
The only exhaustive guide to the South’s command,
Generals in Gray belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the Civil War. RATED 5 STARS!
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War
- A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The
11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in
narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries
using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and
stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings,
maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below.
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew
only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller,
and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the
words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained
photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed
as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every