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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
The short history of Pvt. John Deal
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    The name Deal may be a big deal in Bulloch County. What most people don’t know is that to Albert Mitchell Deal, the most important person in his life was his father John Deal. The most impressive thing to young Albert was his father’s service in the Confederate Army. John, the child of James and Martha Deal, was anxious to serve his country and his homeland. As such, he signed up to serve in 1861.
    According to records available, he enlisted with Company B of the Hardwick Mounted Rifles (Unattached) and showed up on Muster Rolls for July, August, and September of 1861. This unit was stationed at Macon, Georgia under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Harris. Later on in the war, the reconstituted Hardwick Mounted Rifles were later incorporated into the 7th Regiment of Georgia Cavalry.
    Private John Deal’s name next shows up listing him as a volunteer in Captain Belk’s Company I of the 9th Georgia Regiment of Volunteer Infantry in the Confederate Army. This unit first served with the Army of the Tennessee but then spent the rest of the war fighting under General James Longstreet’s First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. Their actions while fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg earned the unit the honor of being recorded in the official Confederate Roll of Honor. They also served at the Siege of Knoxville and fought throughout the horrific Wilderness Campaign.
    The Color Guard Company of the 9th, it was also known as the Toombs Volunteers, named for Robert Augustus Toombs, the noted Georgia Statesman and Civil War general, was organized of men from throughout Georgia, fighting in General “Tige” Anderson’s Brigade, which was considered by General Robert E. Lee to be one of his best units. Private John Deal was eventually captured, and after being processed was sent to the Federal Prisoner of War Camp at Elmira, New York.
    Known as “Hell-Mira” by both the prisoners and guards, this facility was a virtual “Hell-Hole.” Camp #3, also known as Camp Rathbun, this site was where over 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war were sent, quite often to their deaths. A 30-acre plot of land near the Erie Railroad Station, it was surrounded by a 12-foot- tall wall with guard houses every hundred feet. This location was selected by the Union for the camp because of the proximity to the main Union Troop processing center just down the road, where troops would be available to put down any sort of insurrection.
    As was the case with most captured prisoners of war Private John Deal was released after he signed an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Once he was given a railroad ticket home, he retuned to Bulloch County to live out the rest of his life in a peaceable fashion.
His son, Colonel Albert M. Deal, however, became one of the most famous Bulloch Countians of all time, determined to do his father and his family proud.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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