1st Corporal James O'Kelly
13th Georgia Infantry
James O'Kelly was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and he was moved to Albany, Georgia at the age of ten. He enlisted in Company H, 13th Georgia Infantry at the age of fifteen. When he was told that they were going to make him drummer boy, he broke down in tears saying, "I'm not a baby. I want to fight." Captain Spearman, the commander of Company H, told the quartermaster that "Jimmy will have a gun if I have to buy it myself." Jimmy received a gun and many opportunities to use it.
His unit was in Gordan's Brigade, Early's Division, and Ewell's Corp of the Army of Northern Virginia. They fought at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Marye's Heights near Fredericksburg about the time of the battle at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania. During the fierce fighting at the "Bloody Angle" at the Battle of Spotsylvania, he grabbed the Confederate battle flag when the flag bearer was shot. He, in turn, was wounded in the left shoulder. He lived, but he never used his left arm again. He was discharged, and returned home to Albany, Georgia. When the Union troops occupied Albany, Georgia, they issued him a parole. He died in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1867 of the black vomit.
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