Captain J. W. Sharkey
Capt. J. W. Sharkey, as well as his brother Ed Sharkey (3rd Miss), was killed
outside Atlanta during the Battle of Peach Tree Creek on July 20, 1864. Capt.
Sharkey's death was recorded in the offical regiment report of the battle,
written "In the Trenches, Atlanta, July 23, 1864", by Capt. Moses
Jackson, 33rd Mississippi:
"The regiment formed in front of the works in line o f battle about 3 p.m. preparatory to advancing upon the enemy. The regiment moved forward to an old field about 300 yards, halted, and moved by the left about 100 yards across a ravine, where the line was rectified. The command then moved forward, crossing the ravine again, which ran in front of the regiment, in full view of the enemy through an open field of about 600 yards. The evening was very sultry. The charge was made immediately. The regiment moved through the open field under a galling fire from the enemy's works in front, with a heavy enfilading fire from the enemy's batteries on the left with shell, grape, and canister. The enemy's works were temporarily constructed of rails situated on an old road, which was soon carried. The command halted a short time, firing upon the enemy. The men were so completely exhausted and overcome with heat it was difficult for them to load and fire their pieces. The command soon moved forward beyond the enemy's works about 100 yards in a ravine, where a halt was again made and fighting very stubborn. They seemed to be massed in our front, as they could be seen just over the turn of the hill. Our regiment was at this time on the extreme right of the brigade. The battalion [First Mississippi Sharpshooter Battalion] had been thrown forward as skirmishers. Not being supported on the right, which rested on the edge of the woods, seeing heavy column in front of us, and hearing commands given by the enemy to flank us on the right, they advanced, their left swinging around us, with a charge and a heavy cross-fire. Seeing our perilous condition, I being on the right at my post, I immediately ordered a retreat. About this time the whole command was in full retreat. After retreating about a quarter of a mile we saw Wright's brigade in a line of battle in the woods at a halt, which should have engaged the enemy on our right. The failure in this caused our defeat. The men were rallied opposite this point and formed a line, and held it until they were withdrawn after 9 p.m., placing out pickets, which were withdrawn after 11 p.m. After night-fall every means were used in getting off the field the dead and wounded. All were taken except those too near the enemy's line.
We regret to report the death of many valiant soldiers. Among our officers our lamented Colonel Drake, Captain Sharkey, Captain Lamkin, Captain Herring, Lieutenant Kennedy, and Lieutenant West."
Reference:"The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.", Washington, Government Printing Office, 1900.