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Cumming Jackson Jones Walker

Obituary of Joseph Bryan Cumming, Augusta, Georgia.

Col. Joseph Bryan Cumming was born in Augusta, Ga., February 2, 1836. Graduating from the University of Georgia, with first honor in the class of 1854, he then studied law and was admitted to the bar. With the supervening of the War between the States a few years later, however, his legal labors were laid aside when he patriotically enlisted in the Confederate army.

His military service began early in 1861 as a member of the Clich Rifles, Company A, of the 5th Georgia Regiment, commanded by Col. John K. Jackson, and he was at first stationed at Pensacola, Fla. In September of the same year he became a lieutenant in Company I, from Columbus, Ga., and in January, 1862, he was promoted to the captaincy of this command, officiating in that rank as assistant adjutant general in J. K. Jackson's brigade at the battle of Shiloh, in the Kentucky campaign, and in the conflict at Murfreesboro, Tenn. In the last-named contest he had a horse shot from under him, and he suffered a slight wound at the battle of Shiloh. After the sanguinary engagement at Murfreesboro, he was ordered to report to Brig. Gen. William H. T. Walker, and being subsequently advanced to the grade of major, he served in the Adjutant General's Department of Walker's command. He was in the campaign with Johnston against Sherman from Dalton to Atlanta in 1864, and toook part in the famous battle of July 22 of this year for the defense and retention of the town.

Major Cumming was in every battle of the Army of Tennessee from Shiloh until the surrender, excepting those of Missionary Ridge and Jonesboro, Ga. Among all the heroes on those ensanguined fields none ever received from comrades in arms or superior officers meed of praise for gallantry then Maj. Joseph B. Cumming.

After the lamented death of Major General Walker in the memorable battle of July 22, 1864, at Atlanta, Major Cumming was ordered to report to General Hardee, on whose staff he served until his tranference to the corps of General Hood, who was then commanding the Army of Tennessee. He was with the latter officer in the Tennessee campaign, and was on his staff at the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Upon the removal of Hood and the reappointment of General Johnston to the command of the Army of Tennessee, Major Cumming was placed on Johnston's staff. On the reorganization of the army in 1865, just before the surrender, Major Cumming was appointed colonel of a regiment made up of C. H. Steven's brigade. The army being on the eve of surrender, however, he did not take command, remaining with Johnston until the disbanding of the Confederate troops at Greensboro, N. C.

Colonel Cumming is remembered as the gallant speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives in the winter and summer of 1872, soon after the return of the Democrats to political supremacy in State affairs. He was a member of the Georgia senate a few years later, but with that exception he had absolutely abstained from politics. He was an orator of forcefulness and rare charm and contributed to many occasions in lastingly emphasizing the truth of history. With his pen he was always apt and ready, and frequently gave point to a subject which realized the most ardent expectations of his readers.

Among the numerous positions of trust and responsibility which he had acceptably held was that as the Captain and Commander of Camp 435, U. C. V. (Confederate Survivors Association), of Augusta, Ga., in which capacity he officiated in 1901 and 1902, and the honor of membership on the Chickamauga National Park Commission. The latter distinction was conferred on him by President Roosevelt in 1903, and the dignity thus bestowed was personally highly prized to the day of his greatly regretted death.

Pleasing always in address, and popular everywhere, this gallant gentleman was an ornament to the generation in which he lived; and when on, May 15, 1922, his public-spirited and patriotic usefulness ended, Colonel Cumming had more than intensified his claim to the title of a battle-scarred veteran of the Confederacy.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, October, 1922.

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