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Corporal Augustus Franklin Boyd

Corporal Augustus Franklin Boyd
Company E, Infantry Battalion
Photographed as a Captain, 52nd Ga Infantry

Augustus (Gus) Boyd was only sixteen years old when he marched into Camp McDonald in early July of 1861 with the Blue Ridge Rifles of Lumpkin County. The Company was initially assigned to the 4th Georgia State Brigade's Rifle Battalion, but upon the dissolution of the brigade at the end of July, became Company E of the newly formed Phillips Legion. Gus Boyd was an intelligent, popular young man and by the time the unit reached Lynchburg, early August, he had already been elected to the rank of 1st Corporal. Surviving the horrific conditions of the late fall campaign into the mountains of western Virginia that cost the Legion scores of men lost to typhoid and measles, the youthful Gus was happy when the Legion was reassigned to the Carolina coast in early January 1862.

These months of early 1862 were relatively good ones for the Legion as they patrolled the Charleston & Savannah Railroad and trained new recruits coming into their camp near Hardeeville, South Carolina. At the beginning of March, Gus received word from his father, Weir Boyd, that Governor Brown had authorized the elder Boyd to organize a new infantry regiment. Weir advised his son that if he were elected Colonel of the new regiment, he would appoint Gus to a position in it. Weir Boyd was elected Colonel of the new regiment which was designated the 52nd Georgia Infantry and on March 20th wrote to Colonel William Phillips advising him that he had appointed his son, Gus as the Sgt Major of the 52nd and asking him to agree to let his son transfer. Colonel Phillips apparently did not object as Gus was on his way to Camp McDonald to join the 52nd on March 27th. Gus would go on to fight with his new unit in East Tennessee and Kentucky during 1862, buiding a reputation as a reliable and intelligent NCO. During this time, his father's health failed and Weir Boyd was forced to resign his commission in October 1862. In an interesting coincidence, the unit was taken over by it's Lt. Colonel, Charles Phillips, the brother of Colonel William Phillips.

Gus had so impressed the soldiers of the command that in December 1862, the men of Company B approached him to ask if he would agree to become their company Captain. Gus agreed and the 17 year old was elected to a full Captaincy. The confidence of his men appears to have been justified as his company was acknowledged as the best in the regiment under his command. At this same time, the 52nd was moved west to the defense of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River where in late December they helped repulse a Federal assault at Chickasaw Bayou with great loss to the enemy. They would go on to take a part in the actions leading to the siege of Vicksburg until May 16th, 1863 where the popular 18 year old Captain was killed at the battle of Bakers Creek (aka Champions Hill), Mississippi.

The young soldier had written his sister shortly before his death that, "Whatever my generals say to do, I will obey their command without a murmur, hoping that it will be to the interest of my country, for which I have been fighting for nearly twenty months and will still keep fighting until we gain our independence and see the sun of peace shine over our beloved country (that is, if I live) and if I fall I will die in a glorious cause with the assurance that I have done my duty."

Written by:Kurt Graham

Phillip's Georgia Legion
Texan's in the Civil War