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Bulloch History by Roger Allen

Denmarks and Battle of Gettysburg

    The most famous of the battles between the Confederacy and the Union took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many of the founding families of Bulloch County were present, including those from the Denmark family. Afterwards, many in the Union Army considered Gettysburg to be a turning point in the War against the South.
    Confederate General Robert E. Lee knew the truth to be the exact opposite: he had entered this phase of the war with several very clear objectives, most of which he accomplished. They were to draw the Union Army of the Potomac away from the Rappahannock River; to disrupt the summer offensive plans of Union General Joseph Hooker; to drive Union General Robert Milroy out of the Shenandoah Valley; and provide the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia with desperately needed sources of food, forage, horses and other supplies.
    Private Malachi H., son of James Denmark and Susan Jones, served with Tige Anderson’s Brigade of the 9th Georgia Infantry. Private James Malachi, son of James Denmark and Nancy Rogers, served in McLaw’s Division of the 50th Georgia Infantry. Second Lieutenant Clayton Rhey, son of Thomas I., served in Gordon’s Brigade of the 26th Georgia Infantry. Privates Stephen Thomas, Jasper, and John Newton, all three sons of John Denmark, served in the 5th Florida Infantry. All six men were the grandson of W.B. Denmark of Bulloch County.
    On the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, in the Wheatfield, the Denmarks found themselves in some of the war's heaviest fighting so far. As one report of the battle stated "eaves of wheat flew in the air all over the field, as they were cut off by the enemy’s bullets.”
    Malachi fought at Bushan Ridge in the Wheatfield, while his cousin James was caught up in the battle at nearby Warfield Ridge. Malachi was seriously wounded Here, when he was hit twice: once in the right shoulder; and once in the left side of his head. He was captured by Union forces, and after being treated at the field hospital, was moved the Union’s General Hospital’s West Wing in Baltimore, Maryland. After receiving further treatment, he sent to the Union prison at “Hell-Mira” (Elmira, N.Y.). He was eventually returned home as part of a prisoner exchange, but suffered from violent headaches for the rest of his life because of his injuries from Ge6ttysburg.
    It turns out that were a number of their distant cousins from the North who were fighting for the Union in what was one of the greatest ironic tragedies of the War. Private Bruce Denmark served with the 39th New York Volunteers, Private Alonzo served with the 49th New York Volunteers, Private Jesse Denmark served with the 50th New York Engineers, and Private Alexander Denmark served with the 77th New York Infantry.
    General Lee, while not elated with the result, knew that he had actually achieved most of his goals: the Confederate attack drew all Union forces from the Shenandoah and Rappahannock areas, as well drew numerous brigades of forces from the Washington, D.C., area. Lee’s forces, most importantly, seized enough supplies in the Pennsylvania countryside to feed and re-equip Confederate forces for several more months. In this battle, there were many Denmarks proudly wearing the Confederate Grey.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger dodger53@hotmail.com

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