Bloomsbury Inn

1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden, South Carolina 29020
Innkeeper(s): Bruce and Katherine Brown
  • Sensational in Every Season! Bloomsbury Inn

    Sensational in Every Season! Bloomsbury Inn

  • Front View of Bloomsbury Inn

    Front View of Bloomsbury Inn

  • Fall at Bloomsbury Inn

    Fall at Bloomsbury Inn

  • Enjoy the beauty of the southern veranda at Bloomsbury Inn!

    Enjoy the beauty of the southern veranda at Bloomsbury Inn!

  • Mary Chestnut Bed Chamber

    Mary Chestnut Bed Chamber

  • General's Bed Chamber

    General's Bed Chamber

  • Ladies' Parlor

    Ladies' Parlor

  • Commons Area

    Commons Area


Duel of Honor! Colonel Henry Nixon and Major Thomas Hopkins 10 Feb 2015, 1:19 pm

It was a manner of honor.  Colonel Henry G. Nixon (1800-1829) was a darling of the Camden community. Well-liked, polished, and generous, Col. Nixon was a local attorney and politician. With differences to settle, on January 15, 1829, he and Thomas A. Hopkins (1803-1831) met to dual at the Sand Bar Ferry near Augusta, Georgia where state jurisdiction was questionable . The genesis of the dispute started in 1824 when the Hopkins family sued the Nixon family.  William Nixon, Henry Nixon’s father, was accused of fraud in a land deal. The Hopkins family won the dispute in court. Both men were in the militia with Henry Nixon a Colonel and Thomas Hopkins was a Major. Folklore has it that the duel was because of a critical remark by Nixon regarding the maneuvers of Hopkins’ regiment. The duel was held at one o’clock. Col. Nixon is described as wearing a fancy coat with a white handkerchief showing from his breast pocket. Legend says that Hopkins remarked that “the man has marked his heart for me to hit.” Hopkins had practiced his marksmanship in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden firing at the grave stone of Neil Smith. You can still see the pit marks of bullets on the back of the stone. Hopkins, a superb marksman, marched his paces, turned and was the first to fire hitting Nixon in the right breast.  Nixon fell instantly dead with his pistol going off harmlessly.  Hopkins regretted the necessity of the duel and felt it has been forced on him by Nixon’s comments. It is said that Hopkins died from a broken heart for killing Nixon. Thomas Hopkins soon followed, dying just two years later. In 1832 Nixon’s father enclosed the grave of his son behind a wall of granite with iron railing. Henry G. Nixon is the only one buried in this plot at the Quaker Cemetery in Camden. Thomas Hopkins is buried at the old Swift Creek Church Cemetery. The history to be learned in the Quaker Cemetery is amazing, and it is just over two miles from Bloomsbury.

Bloomsbury Meatloaf!!! 30 Jan 2015, 6:28 am

When we were growing up, meatloaf was one of the regular meals…regular as in the Tuesday night meal.   The recipe was simple.  A big clump of ground meat, one chopped onion:  mix well and place in baking pan.  Top with catsup.  Bake 425 degrees for 2.5 hours.  OK…it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough to make me strive for a better meatloaf!

  •  1.5 pounds ground meat (love to us ground lamb, venison, a mix of beef and pork…turkey and chicken are not the best choices; but, lamb is our favorite)
  • ½ cups old fashion oats
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  •  ½ cup favorite BBq sauce (I don’t really measure, somewhere between a third and half cup)
  • Salt/pepper (not too much salt)
  • Cheese (whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf; we like gruyere or cream cheese)
  • Veges (peppers, celery, peas, asparagus, whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Meat (ham, cooked bacon, whatever cooked meat you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Leftovers (make the best things to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Herbs/spices to your liking (fresh minced garlic, jalapeños,  chives, cumin…)
  • 2 small cans tomato paste

Mix the ground meat, oats, onion, BBq sauce, salt/pepper well.  

Pat it out into a rectangular shape…works well to place on a piece of foil.  Place cheese down the middle of the rectangular.  Place other assorted items (veges, meats, etc) on top of the cheese, add whatever else you like.  Roll the meat up around the center ingredients and seal it by pressing together at all points.   Place a greased baking dish over (upside down) the meatloaf.  Using the foil to help hold the meatloaf in place, flip the dish right side up.  Spread the tomato paste over the meatloaf (one can may be enough if you like a thin topping…we like it thick). Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until completely cooked.  But it will not take 2.5 hours at 425!  Enjoy a moist, delicious meatloaf on Tuesday night or any other night.

The leftovers make great sandwiches.   One of the great aspects of this meatloaf is that you can design it to your likings.

Bloomsbury Beef Wellington 9 Jan 2015, 8:27 am

Bloomsbury Beef Wellington

First comes the shopping!  For a good beef wellington you must purchase quality items.  We buy trimmed beef tenderloin, 1 ½ inch thick.  The pate is always a duck/goose liver pate…no chicken and no additives such as port wine or peppercorns.  Mushrooms, parsley and scallions:  mixed mushrooms, only fresh, are a good choice.  And, quality frozen puff pastry is a must.  Everything else in this recipe is standard kitchen staples…but, check the list to ensure you have everything.  This entree is perfect for “farm to table” fare.

Puff Pastry.  Be sure to remove your dough from the freezer to the countertop to defrost.  You do not want to let it get warm, but you want it to defrost to the point you can unfold, cut the pastry into a small square that will encase the tenderloins.  You can always place the pastry in the refrig vs freezer for 3 days before use…we just use freezer to countertop.

Pate. The easy step, slice into ¼ inch slices.  You will only need one slice per tenderloin.  The pate needs to be a very rich (not $80.00 a pound rich) item.

Tenderloin.  We purchase and prepare individual wellingtons (often times people make them with the whole tenderloin); but, individual wellingtons allow you to cook the tenderloin to the desired temperature for each guest.  Our dinner guests range from rare to well-done (yikes) and it is our desire to please everyone.  One and 1/2 inch tenderloins are a great size…we usually have part of  the wellington for dinner and save the other half for lunch the next day…1 1/2 inch is a large portion of meat.  Yes, you can purchase thinner, but you sacrifice the end product…just go 1 1/2 and save some for the next day!

Extra virgin olive oil


Very carefully dry the meat on/with non-linting paper towel.  In a very heavy skillet (we use grandmother’s iron skillet), heat the olive oil.  Sear the tenderloins, top/bottom/all sides, in the olive oil.  This is the point at which you control the final meat temperature.  For the rare lovers, just quickly sear…for those who prefer a little more done, sear a little longer.  Salt/pepper.  Set the meat aside to rest and to completely cool.

Mushroom duxelles.  The mushrooms are chopped finely and then cooked until all of the juice is gone.  “No juice” is critical to ensure the outer puff pastry is not soggy.  Once you cook/remove your duxelles, if you find it is moist, rest it on paper towel to ensure it is not juicy.

1 pound mixed mushrooms, well chopped

2 scallions

1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

2 TBS fresh parsley (or, 3 TBS dried) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup dry white wine

Place all ingredients except the white wine in a large skillet and cook on low, stirring almost constantly.  You do not want to allow your mushrooms/scallions to “fry”.  It will take 20+ minutes to have them fully cooked to a rather pasty state.  Add the white wine and continue to cook until all juice is gone.  Set aside to cool.

Crepe or not.  Many recipes call for inserting crepes when you assemble the wellington.  We have done with and without.  If the duxelles is prepared properly/dry, you will not need the crepe.  I have not included the crepe in this recipe as we think it adds nothing but another dough layer. (So, make beautiful crepes and serve them with fresh fruit or chocolate for breakfast.)  Likewise, some recipes call for thin slices of cured ham…have never used it.

Sauce or not.   We make a basic red wine or port sauce, laced with scallions to serve over the entrée.   Any basic recipe (that does not used packaged gravy mix) works well.  We reduce the wine by ½, add the scallions and continue to cook for a few minutes…thicken with cornstarch slurry (one tablespoon in ¼ cup cold water). and serve.

Egg Wash.  You will need an egg wash twice.  One whole egg and one tablespoon of water, whisk together.

With everything cooled, it is time to assemble the wellington.  Lay out your squares of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface.  Add a very thin layer of duxelles all over the pastry…leaving about ½ inch of the pastry edge not covered.  Lay the slice of pate in the center on top of the pate.  Place the tenderloin on the pate.   Paint the egg wash around the edge of the pate where you did not place duxelles.   Pull the pastry up around the tenderloin and make sure it is fully covered; the egg wash will make it stick to itself.  Be sure it is tight and formed into a compact bundle.  In a nice sized square of plastic wrap, place the wellington at one edge and roll up very tightly, twist the ends and allow the wellington to rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.  Prep in the morning after the crepe breakfast and cook in the evening.  A nice glass of white wine makes the cooking step much more enjoyable.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Unwrap the wellington, score the top with a knife point or decorate with extra puff pastry leaves.  We actually cut initials from the puff pastry and place on each individual tenderloin to ensure that each guest receives one prepared to their desired meet temperature.  Paint the entire wellington with the egg wash;  this will ensure a nice, crisp, well-browned exterior.  Lower the oven temp to 375.  Place the wellingtons on a heavy baking pan lined with parchment paper.   Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the interior temperature reaches 135 degrees.

Allow the wellington to rest for at least 10 minutes before you plate it.  Fresh sautéed asparagus makes a perfect side to this very rich entrée.  A nice, medium-bodied red Zinfandel matches perfectly—be careful to select a medium-bodied wine as a heavy wine overpowers all the flavor layers of this dish.  Sounds complicated…it is not.  This has become our “Happy New Year” dinner menu.  Just do your prep early in the morning and bake when you are ready to serve.  It is so delicious!!!  Happy New Year.  Gail Prince and katherine Brown

Bloomsbury Quail and Grits 16 Dec 2014, 6:28 am

Quail and Grits

Quail and grits, two of South Carolina’s beloved foods, conjure up a folkloric, mythical presence right before your eyes. All across our great state, every community and ethnic group touts their favorite recipe. Each reflects cultural influences. From Native Americans to post Civil War households to the twenty-first century, quail and grits honor the best of times and the worst of times, hard times and happy times, poverty and riches, simple and gourmet — quail and grits are Southern Hospitality in a pretty serving dish.
Breakfast Grits
4.5 cups chicken stock
5 TBS butter
1 cup stone-ground grits
1.5 – 2.5 cups heavy cream
salt, white pepper to taste
fresh lemon zest, .25 of lemon
Bring stock and butter to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Slowly (it is the South) stir in the grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat, allowing grits to cook for 15 mins or until the grits is thick. Stir often to keep the grits from sticking to your favorite pan. Add slight cup of heavy cream and reduce heat, allowing grits to cook slowly for another 10 mins. As the liquid is absorbed, add more cream, cooking grits to a thick and well-done, full-bodied state. Salt, pepper to taste. Stir in lemon zest.

Sautéed Quail
20 quail breasts with skin
.5 cup butter or enough to coat quail breasts as cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauté pan to the high temperature. Melt the butter in the pan (don’t brown it). Season the bird with salt and pepper. Place quail breasts into pan skin side down. Leave flame on high long enough for the pan to recover its heat, then turn flame down to medium or medium high. The object is to sear the breasts quickly so they to medium, but the skin is dark golden brown. Once you’ve achieved that, flip the breasts and cook until done.

Quail and Grits Sauce
6 or 10 (to your liking) thick slices of good bacon, chopped
3 TBS flour (bread flour has the best cooked flavor)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 medium yellow or red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
.25 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
.5 tsp hot sauce
1.5 cups heavy cream
salt/pepper to taste
Sauté bacon, to render fat, until almost crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until bacon is crisp and veges are transparent. Remove bacon and veges to drain. If you have less than 2.5 TBS fat in skillet, add butter to equal 2.5. Bring fat to high heat, stir in flour. Work flour in fat to make a dark roué. Salt/pepper taste. Add chicken stock, worcestershire, hot sauce…yes, it will appear lumpy…that cooks out as the sauce thickens. Gently add heavy cream along with the bacon and veges. Return to temp and serve.

Grits is … Grits are
Grits is a “is” word…and, a dead givaway to where you were raised. In the South we say, “Ummmmmmm, emerson fine lookin’ aigs, I’ll have sum a em, sum beckon, when them there grits is dun, under sum fawl. I’ll be skippin’ da coal ciril.” (Ummmmm, those are fine looking eggs. I will have some of them and some bacon, when the grits are done, in aluminum foil to go. I will skip the cold cereal.)

Thank you for joining us Bloomsbury Inn, HAPPY COOKING, and may your plate overflow with Quail and Grits.

Famous Faces linked to Bloomsbury Inn 11 Dec 2014, 8:20 am

Compliments of Carolina Living!
Carolina Famous Faces

Mary Boykin Chesnut

Fascinating. Riveting. Amazing.

One of the characteristics of the Carolinas which remains so appealing to many is the wealth of history – people, places and events – which occurred here as the United States was evolving. There are so many battle sites that can be visited – from both the American Revolution and the Civil War. There are plantation homes which can be found along the rivers and byways. And there are the stories which have been handed down, or in this case, written down.

I must confess that I had never read Mary Chesnut’s A Diary from Dixie, nor the expanded, annotated and thoroughly remarkable Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, which was published in 1982 and received the Pulitzer Prize for history. (Many historians consider it the finest literary work of the Confederacy.)

Here’s what one reviewer on Amazon said: “Mary was a witty and perceptive woman who was ahead of her time. She’s someone I’d like to have lunch with.” I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a bit of her story. Mary Boykin Miller was born into a world of privilege and politics. Her father served as U.S. congressman and Senator, and was elected Governor of South Carolina. Educated first at home, then in Camden, SC schools and finally at Mme. Talvande’s French School for Young Ladies (in Charleston), in 1840, at 17, she was married to James Chesnut Jr., a man eight years older, who had already begun to make a name for himself as U.S. Senator.

As the only surviving son of one of South Carolina’s largest landowners, the pair were evenly matched in terms of aristocratic background and interest in politics. For the next 20 years, Mary spent most of her time at Mulberry, a plantation in Camden, owned by the Chesnut family. (She also spent time at Bloomsbury, another family plantation which is now an award-winning B&B which attracts guests from everywhere).

Her husband resigned from the U.S. senate when Lincoln was elected President, returning to South Carolina to help draft the ordinance of secession. He became a Brigadier General and served as aide to President Jefferson Davis.

As a political and social insider, Mrs. Chesnut was in a position to know the inner workings of the confederacy and the war. Moreover, she was intelligent, and possessed a keen sense of irony. She was witty and articulate. And she kept a diary, beginning with Lincoln’s election. The result is endlessly fascinating.

It may be hard to describe a Civil War diary as riveting, but in many ways it is. Readers discover what’s happening in the war as it happens. As readers, we know the ending of course, but each page is a revelation. One little known fact is her relationship with her slave, Molly, who became her business partner in later life. Her interaction with Molly is quite interesting.

Mary Chesnut died in 1886. The couple never had children, and Mrs. Chesnut gave her diary to her best friend, Isabella Martin. Published several times, the most recent edition is carefully researched and annotated. More than 200 of her photographs are held at the South Caroliniana Library, on the Horseshoe of the University of South Carolina.

Don’t Miss the Candlelight Tour of Homes!! 30 Nov 2014, 5:34 pm

The 38th Anniversary Candlelight Tour of Homes will take place on this Saturday, December 6th, in Camden, SC from 3:00 to 8:00 pm. It is a great opportunity to tour some of the most elegant homes of our fair city. It is a wonderful opportunity to visit our great city’s restaurants and shopping. So many things to do beyond just the tour of homes. To get a taste of what is available,visit the “Things to Do” page at BloomsburyInn

Why is the Camden Tour of Homes special? Not only are you going to see so many special homes, but your admission goes to charity. The Camden Junior Welfare League uses the money to provide scholarships and grants. It provides funding for eye and ear exams, eye glasses for children, purchases winter coats and socks to name just a few of the many great things these young women do for our community.

Of course, you can stay at Bloomsbury Inn and be right in the middle of all the action. Yes, we are on the tour this year and have started the decorating. Seven of us will be decorating for the entire week just to get Bloomsbury ready for your enjoyment.

It is going to be a fabulous tour this year seeing homes that have not been on the tour before and ones that have not been shown in several years.

It all begins at the Camden Archieve and Museum at 1314 Broad Street (where you will pick up your tour book). Tickets are $15.00/person in advance or $20.00/person at the gate. There will be a military discount on the day of the tour, military ID required. For ticket information please contact the Junior Leagueu at (803) 300-3762 or (803) 729-9224. You can also email them at

For more information please call (803) 300-3762 or (803) 729-9224. You can also email:

Colonial Cup this Weekend! 12 Nov 2014, 1:23 pm

If you want an exciting day at the races — come to Camden!!   Saturday, 15, November, is the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup.  This has often been called the Superbowl of Steeplechase.  The first race was in 1970 and it attracts fans from across the country.  What I love about this event is that it is more a family day than many other steeplechases.  While you can expect 20,000 to 25,000 attendees, it is obvious that this is a famly event with plenty of tailgating and family fun.  Included in the day are the Jack Russell terrier races, mule wagon rides, a carousel and the Paddock Shoppes in the retail village behind the Grandstand.  Rent you a parking place on the infield and stand at the fence while youwatch the horses thunder by.  In between races return to your tailgate for a libation and picinic fun.

Gates open at 0900 a.m. with the first race at 12:30 p.m.   Go to for more information.


Bloomsbury Baked Pumpkin French Toast 3 Nov 2014, 7:00 am

4 cups day-old bread (use whatever you have:  biscuits, croissants, muffins, load bread)

3 large eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (yes, canned is perfect)

1 1/2 TBS pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup brown sugar


This is the great part…mix all your ingredients the night before.  It needs to sit at least 8 hours in the frig.  In one large bowl, tear apart all of your bread.  In a second bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin,vanilla, brown sugar and spices.  Pour the wet mixture over the bread.  Mix well and be sure there is enough liquid to soak all of the bread.  (Sometimes things happen:  if not well soaked, mix one more egg with 1/2 cup milk and add to mix).  Cover, chill overnight.

I prefer to make mine in individual ramekins.  But, a 9×11 baking dish is also perfect.  Butter your dish.  When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 385 degrees. Place toast in prepared dish(s) and dot the top with butter.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serve hot with hot maple syrup (the good syrup). 

             The History:

This wonderful crowd pleaser dish is so easy to make and very adaptable; it can be halved or doubled. If your family loves nuts, just add ½ cup pecan pieces to the mix or cook them in the syrup. If your family does not favor syrup, just top the toast with fresh whipping cream or powdered sugar. At Bloomsbury Inn, we try to alternate our savory and sweet breakfasts. Katherine has an uncanny ability to “feel” when food is right. She edited several time-consuming and difficult dishes to develop this baked French toast. She is continually altering recipes to offer variety. The options to this dish are as wide as your imagination (put fresh fruit in the bottom of your pan and delete pumpkin and pumpkin spice…blueberries are great). Start cooking and enjoy.

3 November 2014

October: Bloomsbury Red Velvet Cake 12 Oct 2014, 6:13 am

The first question.  Cream Cheese icing?  Chocolate icing?  The never ending battle, both icings are delicious on this perfect red velvet cake.

  Chocolate Icing on Red Velvet Cake

and Cream Cheese Icing on Red Velvet Cake

Perfect Red Velvet Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring (or color as you desire)
  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  2. Stir together flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  (Stir unless you want to be wearing flour) Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla; stir in red food coloring. Use batter immediately.
  3. Red Velvet Cake Batter can be baked in lots of different shapes and sizes– be sure to grease and flour your pans. With smaller muffin pans and molds, we found it easier to use a vegetable cooking spray with flour.  For a traditional cake, bake in 3 round cake pans, 8×4 inch, at 325 degrees for 25+ minutes.  Check the cake at the minimum time range, continuing to bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  But, be careful not to overcook or the cake will be dry.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Beat all ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. As you build your layer cake, place a generous layer of cream cheese between each layer.
  3. Frost the outside of the cake, swirls are pretty and so is a smooth cake.
  4. Enhance your cake by adding edible flowers or herbs or nuts.

Divine Chocolate Icing

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk (watch your consistency as you may not need all or you may need a little more buttermilk), beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.
  3. This is decadent with no enhancements, but edible flowers or nuts will work well.

Bloomsbury Red Velvet Cake

ps:  I have a nephew who loves peanut butter, I have made cream cheese peanut butter icing before for this cake and then decorated with mini reese cups…it is just plain sinful it is so good.


Great-Great Grandfather Brown 7 Oct 2014, 6:50 pm

Augustus Cicero (A.C.) Brown, Sr.

(12 May 1832 – 8 October 1862)

By Colonel Bruce Alan Brown, PhD, (USAF Ret )

After the Confederate defeats at Forts Henry and Donelson in February of 1862, a call went out for additional volunteers.  Governor Joseph Brown authorized the creation of a brigade-sized unit from thirty-four counties in northwest Georgia.  According to my grandmother, Clara Belle Bennette Brown, Augustus Cicero Brown, Sr.,  decided he was going to join and “show them Yankees.”

On March 4, 1862, my great, great grandfather was mustered into the 41st Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Camp McDonald in Big Shanty, Georgia.  Company K (the “Campbell Salt Springs Guards” as they called themselves) were 133 volunteers from Campbell County who were commanded by Captain Jonathan J. Bowen.  A review of the company roster reveals twenty-six separate families, represented by at least two or more relatives in the unit.  While the practice of keeping family members together contributed to unit cohesiveness, it often decimated entire families and communities.

After training at Camp McDonald, the 41st was posted to guard a railroad bridge over the Tennessee river at Bridgeport, Alabama.  Then the siege of Corinth compelled the movement of the 41st Georgia to Mississippi.  Outnumbered by Union forces, the Confederates abandoned Corinth, withdrawing 50 miles south to Tupelo, Mississippi in late May.  While encamped there, illness was taking its toll.  On July 17, 1862, Augustus’s half brother, Hiram, passed away from illness.

On July 21st, 98 of the original 133 officers and enlisted men of Company K left Tupelo to defend Chattanooga from a potential attack.  On August 29, the Army of Mississippi, commanded by General Braxton Bragg, invaded Tennessee, taking with him the 41st Georgia.  Moving on to Kentucky, the Confederate Army stopped in Perryville.  There was a drought and as the Union and Confederate Armies confronted each other, the primary issue became water.  On October 7th, fierce skirmishes broke out over the control of the only water source, Doctor’s Creek.  At night fall, the fighting closed for the day.

The next day, October 8th, a little after noon, Confederate artillery opened fire on the Union lines.  The 41st Georgia was formed on the right side of the Rebel battle line that stretched over a mile in length.  Company K was deployed near the center of the regiment which formed under the cover of a grove of oak trees that lined Doctor’s Creek and waited.  Ordered to form up, they deployed shoulder to shoulder in a linear formation with intervals of only 21 to 24 inches between them.  They were followed by a second identical line, only 32 inches behind the first.  The 98 men of Company K covered a front of approximately 25 yards and would be going into battle for the first time.

At 2:15 that afternoon, moving out from the woods, Company K came under fire from Union troops defending Open Knob Hill about two hundred yards away.  Opposing Company K were elements of the 33rd Union Brigade, the 105th Ohio and 123rd Illinois,  and an artillery battery under the command of Lt Charles Parsons.  Soon the battery opened fire on the advancing lines.  As the 41st Georgia emerged from the woods it came in view of the enemy’s battery.  The enemy opened upon them a most terrific and deadly fire.  Ten minutes into the attack, Company K encountered a wooden fence.  Confederate forces laid down on the ground firing volley after volley at the 770 men of the 123rd Illinois as they charged down the hill with bayonets fixed.  After decimating the first and second lines of the 123rd Illinois, Company K rose from the ground, crossed the fences with a Rebel yell, and moved forward shoulder to shoulder as Union cannons fired round shot and shell into their ranks.  Company K and the rest of the brigade continued to march up the hill repeatedly firing into the third line of the 123rd Illinois.

View from the fence approaching Open Knob Hill

 The action was described by Private Sam Watkins, a member of the 1st Tennessee Regiment, which was to the immediate right of the 41st Georgia:

“Two [Union] lines of battle confronted us.  We killed almost everyone in the first line, and were soon charging over the second, when right in our immediate front was their third and main line of battle.  We were soon in a hand-to-hand fight, every man for himself, using the butts of our guns and bayonets.  The guns were discharged so rapidly that it seemed the earth itself was a volcanic uproar.  The iron storm passed through our ranks, mangling and tearing men to pieces. Our men were dead and dying right in the very midst of this grand havoc of battle.  It was a life and death to death grapple.”

At approximately 3:00 p.m., the 41st charged up the hill with the 1st,6th, and 9th Tennessee reaching the crest of Open Knob Hill first and capturing the guns.  The 41st veered to the right slightly to cross the northern part of the hill.

According to Captain Thomas Malone, Assistant Adjutant-General, 3rd Brigade:

“Of course, in making this charge we lost a great number of men.  One gun pointed at the right company of the 41st Georgia was said to have killed twelve or thirteen men and desperately wounded, as I myself know, the colonel of that company and its captain, two splendid fellows.”

View looking down at the approach to Starkweather’s Hill

The 41st Georgia moved down the hill chasing the remnants of the Union 33rd Brigade until the Union line formed on a ridge commanded by Col John C. Starkweather; they formed with twelve guns.  The 41st continued to advance with the rest of the rebel line and after an initial repulse, charged again.  This time reaching the top of the ridge.  After fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they took the ridge and six of the Union guns.

The taking of Starkweather’s hill is described by Private Sam Watkins of the 1st Tennessee that was attached to the immediate right of the 41st Georgia:

“We did not recoil, but our line was fairly hurled back by the leaden hail that was poured into our very faces.  Eight color-bearers were killed at one discharge of their cannon…It was death to retreat now to either side.  Out Lieutenant Colonel Patterson halloed to charge and take their guns, and were soon in a  hand-to-hand fight—every man for himself—using the butts of our guns and …Such obstinate fighting I never had seen before or since.  The guns were discharged so rapidly that it seemed the earth itself was in a volcanic uproar.  The iron storm passed through our ranks, mangling and tearing men to pieces.  The very air seemed full of stifling smoke and fire which seemed the very pit of hell, peopled by contending demons.”

Beyond the tree line about two hundred yards the Union line formed.

The remaining elements of the Union forces retreated about 200 yards to the west on the side of another ridge not far from the Wilkerson House.  Now, the Union line stabilized.  At approximately 4:00 p.m., the Confederate line advanced and made it to within fifty yards of the Union line.  At this point the 41st Georgia and the 27th Tennessee were so decimated only a few of the remaining members of those two regiments participated.  Pulling back, the remainder of the 41st and the rest of the brigade made another assault on the ridge and again were repulsed.  Holding a line,  the brigade made a third unsuccessful assault.  The line then stabilized until the preparatory order went out at approximately 2:00 a.m. the next morning to withdraw.

During one of these assaults on the three previous positions described, Private Augustus Cicero Brown, Sr. was killed.  A “bombshell [exploded} knocking from his body his right arm and immediately afterwards he was pierced through his chest with a bayonet,” according to Private James McClarty of K Company.

Living only about an hour, a witness watched Augustus (AC) die. In which assault did he die?  We will never know, since the exact position was not identified by witnesses. I and my wife, Katherine, have walked the battlefield in the steps of the 41st in July and October of 2014 imagining the sounds of the guns and the screams of the wounded and dying.  We interviewed rangers including the park manager, Kurt Holman.  We are not sure where great-great Grandfather AC fell.

We do know some basic facts.  He was severely wounded by a cannon explosion and bayoneted through the chest and lived for approximately one hour.  In any of the three assaults, AC could have been wounded.  In only one did the line stabilize enough for the remaining members of the regiment to have time to check for wounded and be close enough to know if someone lived for an hour.  And that would have been the last assault on the ridge near the Wilkerson house.

While it was a tactical victory for the South, it was technically a defeat since General Bragg made the decision to withdraw the Army of Mississippi from the area.

Augustus Cicero Brown, Sr. was survived by his wife, Rachael, and four children:  Sarah C. Brown (b .July 1855), Mary Minerva Brown (b. August 1857), Martha P. “Mattie” Brown (b. October 1859), and Augustus Cicero Brown Jr. (b. February 1862) my great grandfather.

On December 23, 1890 the State Assembly of Georgia passed a law giving widows up to February 15, 1893 to apply for a Confederate Veterans Pension.    On January 31st 1893, Augustus Cicero Brown’s wife, Rachel Ann Marena Fults Brown, applied for that pension.  Quoted in the application is a description of my great, great grandfather’s death by his friends Privates William A. Howell, James W. Mauldin, and William S. Tucker:

Augustus Cicero Brown, Sr. was “killed by the explosion of a bomb shell at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky…his right arm was torn from his body as well as a part of his shoulder…deponents know absolutely that he died immediately afterwards…living only about one hour.  Depondent Tucker says he knows that he was also pierced with a bayonet as he fell back after the explosion of the shell.  This took place on the 8th day of October 1862.”

Confederate dead laid on the battlefield for over three days, some accounts estimate a week, before they were buried in shallow graves.  Later, Henry P. Bottoms, led the excavation and re-interment in two pits on his land.  Few were identified and it may be assumed that Augustus Cicero Brown, Sr. was put to rest in the mass grave that is now marked with the Battle of Perryville memorial seen at the beginning of this narrative.

Company K of the 41st Georgia Volunteer Infantry fought in twelve pitched battles from Perryville, Missionary Ridge, Kennesaw Mountain, Franklin and Bentonville; participated in two sieges, Vicksburg (where they were captured, paroled and then returned to the fight) and Atlanta; and served in campaigns that spanned seven separate states of the Confederacy.  Company K stacked arms and surrendered at Goldsboro, NC to General Sherman on April 26, 1865.

Of the 133 men who mustered into Company K on March 4, 1862, only 25 remained at the 1865 surrender.


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