Pvt., Co.H, 21st Ga. Inf.: 2nd July 1861. 3rd Lieut.: October 1861, promoted 1st Lieut. in October 1862. Shortly before Fredericksburg, Countess and some other members of the 21st visited some girls and were seen there by General W. Kirkland. He ordered them to go back to their regiment but Countess refused and some hot words passed, not found in the Sunday School books. Countiss came down to camp that night much excited, said General Kirkland had insulted him and that he was going to challenge General Kirkland to meet him in mortal combat the next morning…He insisted on sending the challenge, saying he “didn’t care what the army regulations said about it, no **** West Pointer could run over him.” 


According to Nisbet, Kirkland was amused at the challenge and agreed to meet Countess, but the next morning the Corps was ordered to Fredericksburg where Kirkland was wounded and the matter was apparently dropped.


Promoted Captain in 1863, court-martialed and cashiered shortly before Gettysburg for insubordination [he had an argument with one of A. P. Hill’s staff]. He went into the battle as a private and was restored to his former rank because of his “gallantry on the field of battle.” Wounded in the head at Winchester on 19th September 1864:- “He was picked up by the litter-bearers, and as they bore him off he recovered consciousness and asked ‘What are you doing?’ They replied: ‘You have been killed and we are going to bury you.’ Our surgeon found that a glancing conical ball had struck his forehead, run under the skin and come out at the back of the head. He soon recovered.”


He was captured in Lookout Valley, Ala., in the last winter of the war. Nisbet:- “I must say something more of my lieutenant, John B. Countiss, as he was such a good type of the Southern soldier. He was raised on Sand Mountain, Alabama, where he now resides, a hale and hearty octogenarian. On account of some youthful escapade he went to Memphis. The beginning of the war found him running on the Mississippi river as second mate of a St. Louis and New Orleans packet. He enlisted in my company in 1861 to be with his brothers. He soon became conspicuous for his bravery and was promoted to lieutenant. He was a “Hardshell Baptist” and of course very tenacious of his opinions.”


Paul R. L. Vance

El Gringo Viejo

the Transplanted Okie

Don’t corner what you can’t whoop!

  1. Another ancestor of mine 🙂 Thanks again for posting this!

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