Charles Constantine Crews
(September 3, 1829 – November 14, 1887)
Born in Upson County, Georgia, Charles was the first of eight children. At the age of eighteen, C.C. Crews was authorized to practice law in the State of Georgia after “undergoing an approved examination according to law.” In 1853, he attended the Medical College of Louisiana, and graduated from Castleton Medical College in 1859.
C.C. Crews was appointed Captain in the Confederate Army in February 1862 and given responsibility for A Company of the 2nd Georgia Cavalry, which was recruited from Randolph and Calhoun counties in Georgia.
The 2nd Georgia Cavalry was deployed in June to Chattanooga with the 8th Texas Cavalry as a brigade under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest, participating in the First Battle of Murfreesboro, On October 1, 1862, Capt. Crews was captured during a raid at Glasgow Ky. but was soon exchanged. By November, Crews was elected Lt. Col., and in January 1863, Col. Crews received command of his own brigade, named the Crews’ Brigade: (2nd, 3rd, 4th Georgia and the 7th Alabama), part of the cavalry corps under the command of Major General Joseph Wheeler. Wheeler and Forrest operated in the area of Fort Donelson and Dover, Tenn. In February 1863 during the Battle of Dover, Col. Crews was wounded in the hip. Also wounded was C.C.’s younger brother, 1st Lt. Fleming Jordan Crews, second in command of Company A, 2nd Georgia.
During the Battle of Chickamauga, Col. C.C. Crews commanded the 1st Brigade (General John A. Wharton’s Division, Major General Wheeler’s Corps) consisting of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Georgia Cavalry, and Malone’s Alabama Regiment. Crews’ Brigade helped capture Lookout Mountain, which earned Cols. Wheeler, Morgan, Crews, and Harrison commendations in September 1863 from Major General Wheeler, “I tender my thanks for their zeal, energy and gallantry during the engagement”. In October, Crews’ Georgia Brigade helped participate in the capture of McMinnville, Tennessee, during Wheeler’s October 1863 Raid.
In December 1863, Crews’ Brigade, (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Georgia) was part of General John T. Morgan’s Division, Major General William T. Martin’s Cavalry Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General James Longstreet. Col Crews earned a citation for gallantry in the Battle of Mossy Creek from General Martin: “I have never witnessed greater gallantry than was displayed by Colonel Crews and the officers and men of the First, Second, Third and Sixth Georgia Cavalry…Col. C.C. Crews deserves mention for his skill and bravery.”
With the start of the Atlanta Campaign, Col. Crews commanded a regiment under General Alfred Iverson, Jr. (General Martin’s Division, Major General Wheeler’s Corps) in April 1864, Crews personally received the surrender of the highest ranking Union officer duringthe war, Major General George Stoneman during Stoneman’s aborted attempt to free Union prisoners at Andersonville prison. A local newspaper at the time reported, “…a flag of truce was sent by Gen. Stoneman to Col. Crews, proposing an unconditional surrender of the whole of his command…Col. Crews received the flag, and ordered Stoneman’s army to stack arms. Six hundred cavalry and two pieces of artillery immediately obeyed the order…” Also captured was Stoneman’s aide, Maj. Myles Keogh, who 13 years later would have the dubious distinction of being killed with Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn
In December 1864, Crews’ Brigade participated in the Battle of Waynesboro, Ga., against Union forces participating in Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea,” which culminated in helping Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s evacuation of Savannah, Ga. The year ended with this note from Major General Wheeler, “…Allen, Humes, Anderson, Dibrell, Hagen, Crews, Ashby, Harrison, and Breckenridge and many other brave men whose gallantry you have so often witnessed are here still to guide and lead you in battles yet to be won.”
During the Carolinas Campaign Col. Crews commanded his brigade (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 12th Ga. Cavalry) under Gen. William W. Allen’s Division, Major General Wheeler’s Corps, and was recommended to be promoted to Brigadier General at the beginning of 1865. Crews received the support and encouragement of the officers and men under his command who signed petitions to Crews’ commanders.
In February 1865, Crews’ troopers operated in the area of Augusta, Georgia, Aiken, South Carolina, and the Saluda River area of Columbia, South Carolina – under orders of Major Generals D.H. Hill and Benjamin F. Cheatham. The Crews Brigade operated in the area of Salisbury and High Point, N.C. at the end of April under orders of General J.E. Johnston. Col. Charles C. Crews and brother Capt. Fleming Jordan Crews were paroled at Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 3, 1865, under terms agreed between General Joseph E. Johnston and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman on April 26, 1865. In a final message from Major Gen. Wheeler to his Corps, he pointed out “…Colonels Crews, Cook and Pointer…are still disabled from wounds…the second time C.C. Crews’ was wounded in action…while most nobly carrying out my orders upon the field.”
C.C. partnered with James John McDonald as a pharmacist in Cuthbert, Ga., for five years before becoming treasurer of the Bainbridge, Cuthbert, and Columbus Railroad Company. C.C. moved his family – wife Martha (called “Mattie”), his uncle Martin Mortimer Crews, his two brothers, Dr. Leonidas Crews and Fleming Jordan Crews, and their families, to Texas in 1875. In 1879 he again moved his family, this time to Hillsboro, N.M. Territory (a “gold” town) in 1879, where he practiced medicine in the front two rooms of his house. Mattie was only one of four Anglo women in Hillsboro at that time, but she had such a long record of service to the community, Mattie Ave. in Hillsboro was named in her honor.
Dr. Crews practiced medicine there until his death from pneumonia in 1887. C.C. Crews is buried in the Hillsboro cemetery.
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