Pleasant Jackson Phillips
Pleasant Jackson Phillips,
brigadier general of Georgia militia, was born on July 3, 1819, in Harris
County, Georgia, the son of General Charles and Anne (Nicks) Phillips. His
father was a North Carolina native. Young Phillips grew up to be a very
prosperous plantation owner and slaveholder in Hanis County and president of the
Bank of Brunswick. By 1860 he resided in Columbus.
Phillips, a prewar major in the militia, organized the 31st Georgia Infantry Regiment in the fall of 1861. On November 18 of that year he was unanimously elected colonel, his commission dating from November 19. Colonel Phillips was a great favorite with his men; one of his privates wrote that Phillips was "very popular with his regiment" and "busy as a bee." The authorities ordered the 31st to Savannah, and throughout the winter of 1861 the regiment helped guard that city. Upon the reorganization of the army in May, 1862, Phillips was not reelected as colonel, and resigned his commission, effective May 13, 1862. The next month his old regiment entrained for Virginia and fought in Lee's army till the end of the war. Returning to Columbus, Phillips resumed his militia service and was, on July 7, 1862, appointed brigadier general. In 1863 the governor appointed Phillips colonel, and district commander, in the reorganized Georgia militia. In 1864 he was appointed brigadier general of the 2nd Brigade of the Georgia Militia. The four-brigade militia division joined the Army of Tennessee before Atlanta that July and served throughout the siege of Atlanta. After Atlanta fell, Governor Brown of Georgia gave the militiamen a thirty-day furlough to allow them to harvest their crops. Recalled to duty in October, the militia division was detached from the main army and ordered to oppose, as best it could, Major General William T. Sherman's Union army in its march through Georgia. On October 22, 1864, the militia division's commander, Major General G. W. Smith, put Phillips, the senior brigadier, in temporary command of the division, with instructions not to become engaged with the advancing Union forces. Phillips spotted an isolated Union infantry brigade near Griswoldville and, in disobedience of orders, launched his inexperienced militiamen in an attack. The division was slaughtered, and Phillips came in for heavy criticism. Phillips was accused by some survivors of being drunk when ordering the fatal attack. After this battle, Phillips departed from the militia division and the war.
General Phillips returned to Columbus and reentered the banking business. He died at his residence in Wynnton on October 12, 1876, and is buried in Columbus Linnwood Cemetery.
General Phillips' command of a brigade of militia that served in a campaign qualifies him to be considered a Confederate general.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.