By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bulloch History with Roger Allen
Placeholder Image
    Preston Wise, son of William Wise, was born in the Barnwell district of South Carolina, but moved with his family to Bulloch County at a young age. He was married four times, including to Mary Ann Jones in 1808. Preston had fought in the War of 1812 for his country, so it was not at all that surprising that when the War Between the States began, at least three of his sons, Jacob, John Daniel and William Henry, signed up to fight, as did at least two of their grandchildren, Burrell and James William.
    John Daniel quickly rose to the rank of First Sergeant in Company I of the “Toombs Guards” of the 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Confederate Armies of Tennessee and Northern Virginia). Jacob and James William Henry both served in the Bulloch County troop of the Georgia Reserves. William achieved the rank of First Corporal in Company C and Company K of the 47th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
    John Daniel fought in many battles, including Gettysburg, with his unit. At the Battle of Knoxville he was seriously wounded, dying of his wounds after five days. As part of McLaws Brigade, he would have been in the battles at Armstrong Hill and Cherokee Bluff, so he was probably buried near one of those sites, although there are no records of where.
    Burrell was the first to enlist, possibly without the knowledge of his parents. He died during the war, but exactly where and when is not known.
    Both Jacob and James William remained at home, where Jacob led the neighbors (and their slaves) to stage a spirited delaying action along the Clyo to Pembroke Road not far from the courthouse. After burning a number of important bridges, they erected numerous barricades in order to hold up Sherman’s forces which were advancing on Fort McAllister. After four days, the Union Army broke through, and those Reserves which had survived headed for the swamps, led by Jacob and his son James.
    When they emerged to bury their dead, Jacob and James were captured, and after giving the Union soldiers a “good cussin,” Jacob and James were both put in chains and taken to Fort Pulaski which served as the holding area for Confederate prisoners. They were released on Christmas Day of 1864, and returned home immediately. Jacob, not surprisingly, gathered his neighbors once again, and set about rounding up what livestock they could find and then rebuilt those homes that had been destroyed. When Union officers demanded that he sign an “Oath of Allegiance”, he refused and was fined $100 dollars in Union currency, a very sizeable sum.
    William, on the other hand, fought in many battles with his unit, and was seriously wounded at the Battle of Honey Hill. Hit in the left arm by a “Minie Ball.” After being treated at a local field hospital, he was transferred to the Charleston Military Hospital, where surgeons were forced to amputate his arm. He was eventually discharged back to Statesboro. Now known as “Old One Arm Billy”, he was unable to do much work.
    Jacob Wise, or Old Grandpa Jake, was soon elected as the county commissioner for his region. He couldn’t forgive the Yankee troops for the destruction of his and his neighbors’ farms, churches and stores. Therefore, he still took every opportunity he could find to insult the Yankees, who eventually just gave up trying to make him stop. William, also encouraged by the citizens of Statesboro to run for mayor or county commissioner because of his reputation as a leader, chose to graciously refuse this honor, saying that being a politician wasn’t necessarily a good thing. These Wises knew what it meant when someone spoke of the measure of a man.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter