Two Confederate Officers Remember Gettysburg

Col. Robert M. Powell, 5th Texas Infantry, Hood’s Texas Brigade & Capt. George Hillyer, 9th Georgia Infantry

Colonel Robert Michael Powell (1826-1916) of the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment wrote extensively about his memories of the surrender ceremonies of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox in April 1865. Hillyer and his men fought across the bloody Rose farm and into the Rose woods, and against Stony Hill.
Date Published :
June 2022
Publisher :
Savas Beatie
Editor :
Gregory Coco
Illustration :
6 maps; 41 photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781611216479
Pages : 126
Dimensions : 8.5 X 5.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Colonel Robert Michael Powell (1826 –1916) of the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment was born in Alabama but moved to Texas in 1849 to practice law. When the war broke out, he was commissioned a captain in Company D, 5th Texas Infantry and was promoted to colonel and command of the regiment in November 1862. The 5th Texas, part of Jerome Robertson’s Texas Brigade, played a prominent role on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, where the 37-year-old Powell led 409 men into the caldron and made repeated efforts to mount Little Round Top. The regiment lost 54 killed, 112 wounded, and 45 missing or captured. Powell was wounded and captured on the slope of the rocky hill and was not paroled until weeks before the end of the war.

Captain George Hillyer (1835–1927) would survive the Civil War and one day become the mayor of Atlanta. That outcome looked almost impossible in early July 1863 at Gettysburg, where he led his regiment (part of George “Tige” Anderson’s brigade) in some of the most brutal fighting of the war. Hillyer and his men fought across the bloody Rose farm into the Rose woods and against Stony Hill. His description of the fighting is graphic, detailed, and absolutely harrowing. This includes Hillyer’s full account, his official battle report, and a letter to his father about his experiences on July 2 and 3. Historian Greg Coco added detailed explanatory notes and a walking tour of the ground that Hillyer and his men walked and fought.

About The Author

Gregory Ashton Coco, born and raised in Louisiana, lived in the Gettysburg area for nearly 35 years. In 1972, after serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a degree in American History from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. While in the military, Greg spent a tour of duty in Vietnam as a prisoner of war military interrogator and infantry platoon radio operator with the 25th Infantry and received, among other awards, the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. During his years in Gettysburg, Greg worked as a National Park Service Ranger and a Licensed Battlefield Guide. He wrote sixteen books and a dozen scholarly articles on Gettysburg and the Civil War. His A Strange and Blighted Land. Gettysburg: The Aftermath of a Battle was voted #12 in the Top 50 Civil War Books ever written.

Greg died at age 62 in February of 2009. In his words, he was “the happy husband of Cindy L. Small for 26 years. He was the fortunate father of daughter, Keri E. Coco. He loved them both with all his heart.” Keri is married to Cail MacLean and they have a daughter, Ashton MacLean Coco.


“While preparing to become a licensed battlefield guide, I relied heavily on Greg Coco’s books. Once I became a guide, I consulted these wonderful resources as I created tours and programs for Gettysburg visitors. Greg’s works are comprehensive and well-written. All are important in subject matter, though my personal favorite is A Strange and Blighted Land: The Aftermath of a Battle. Every title touches heavily on the battle’s human aspects, which make them very readable and relatable. I recommend them to visitors at every opportunity.”

- Sue Boardman, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park

“The multifarious works of Greg Coco are singularly important in the literature surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg.”

- David Weaver, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park

“Greg Coco’s classic works about the Battle of Gettysburg provide an incisive, unvarnished portrait of how the soldiers and the community where they fought fared after the largest battle ever waged in the Western Hemisphere. Collectively, these books help transform our understanding of the true cost of this battle for all of those touched by it. They belong in the library of every student of the American Civil War.”

- Renae MacLachlan, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park

“Greg Coco’s books gave us a timeless study of the Battle of Gettysburg written by not only a gifted historian, but also a combat infantryman. If all historians are tourists in a foreign land, then Greg Coco has become our guide!”

- Tony Nicastro, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park

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