HOLLAND, G. WHITMELL PVT.
Private Whitmell Holland, Confederate States of America
G. Whitmell Holland born 1820 in Trigg County, was the oldest son of Abraham Holland and Mary Polly Sholar of Trigg County. At age 41 , he was mustered into the Kentucky Militia on 9 April, 1861 at Canton, Trigg Co., under Captain Alfred Thomas. Less than three months later, on 5 July, he enlisted as a private in Company "A", 2nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry, Confederate States Army. He enlisted at Camp Boone, Tennessee, for "the period of the war or 3 years."
Whit was at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River near Dover, Tennessee, when General Grant surrounded it on 12 February, 1862. Three Confederate Brigadiers were also there, but two escaped through the lines at night. The remaining General, Buckner, sent a delegation asking for terms of surrender. Grant replied "unconditional". This victory opened the way for Union ironclad boats to get to Nashville.
Whit was one of those taken prisioner at Ft. Donelson on 16 February, 1862, and they sent him and his company to Camp Douglass, Illinois. The Prisoner of War Roll for that camp shows that "Whitmill Holland was admitted to hospital with pneumonia March 4, 1862; returned to duty Apriil 10, 1862."
In September, Whit and his company were sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to be exchanged for Union prisoners. From Company A's official records:
"Left Illinois and arrived at Vicksburg 9/18/62 - 1000 miles. Left for Chattanooga via Mobile and Montgomery arriving 9/30/62. Went to Knoxville and Cumberland Gap, arrived at Tullahoma 10/30/62.
"9/22/63 marched from Chickamauga, Tennessee to Chattanooga, skirmishing and pursuing the enemy. On night of 24th marched to Missionary Ridge". (Here the Confederates routed the Federal forces, chasing them all the way back to Chattanooga, where they bottled them up by controlling Lookout Mountain. Over the next two months new Union forces arrived. Two Army corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac and sent west by train and boat under the command of Joe Hooker. Most of the Army of the Tennessee, with Sherman in command, was ordered east from the Mississippi. General Grant was ordered north from New Orleans, post-haste. By November the Union forces were ready to break out.)
Continuing from Company A's records:
"11/23/63 left Camp Hewitt, Tennessee (where the troops had been resting since 10/20) for Missionary Ridge. Engaged the enemy on the morning of the 25th and held our position until night when we were ordered to retreat, which we did in good order. Covered the retreat of the Army, skirmishing with the enemy for 3 days. Arrived in Dalton, Georgia and encamped 11/28/63. Remained in Dalton until 8/31/64 when engaged in battle. Impossible to muster them (the company)"
This was the last record of the company. Under General Joe Johnston, a force of some sixty thousand men around Dalton had held the Union off for more than a month. But they were overrun on August 31 and the next day Atlanta fell to Sherman.
The last official note on Whit Holland's service folder shows that he signed the pay record on January 15, 1864, eight months before his unit was overrun at Dalton. His service record states that he was present for every muster from July 5, 1861 until August 31, 1864. The record does not show if he was taken prisoner at Dalton or how he made his way home to Kentucky. However, he did return home to his wife, Nancy, and his children and continued his life as a farmer.
Ed Mammen, Chapel Hill, North Carolina