At the start of the war some of the Walker County men retained their Unionist sympathies, but Lincoln's announcement of an unconstitutional military invasion of the south to force the seceding states back into the Union caused most of them to quickly change their minds. Ten companies of infantry and one of cavalry were raised in Walker County for Confederate military service. Two of the first companies were raised at Crawfish Spring. These were promoted by James Clark Gordon, the son of James Gordon who built the well known Gordon-Lee house, and Jerome Henderson, the son of John Henderson who owned the nearby Henderson Plantation and stock farm.
Jerome Henderson as a student at Penfield College (now Mercer University), and he came home in June of 1861. Most of the young men in the local area were excited about the coming war, and eager to do their part. Henderson discussed the matter with his friend James Clark Gordon and they organized a barbeque at Crawfish Spring that attracted a large number of men from Walker and Catoosa Counties. The two of them then took turns speaking to the crowd, using the large rock that still exists by the entrance to the drive leading to the Gordon Lee House as a platform. Response was good, and two Confederate companies were formed. Henderson was elected Sergeant of his company, and rather than waiting to get in a Georgia regiment, they joined the 26th Tennessee Infantry. Sergeant Henderson was subsequently captured with his regiment at Fort Donelson and died in prison at Camp Douglas, Illinois.
James Clark Gordon was elected Captain of his company, and the unit became a part of the 36th Georgia Infantry Regiment, and they were assigned to the Army of Pensacola. The regiment took part in the defense of Fort McRee in Pensacola Harbor during the Battle of Pensacola on November 22-23, 1861.
Then on January 31, 1862, the regiment was re-organized and designated as the 1st Confederate Infantry Regiment, also called the 1st Georgia Infantry. Captain Gordon was elected to the rank of Major. In July of 1863, the regiment was assigned to the Army of Tennessee and for the rest of the war it took an active part in all the battles and campaigns of that unit. In the fight at Chickamauga, the regiment was commanded by Major James Clark Gordon. The regiment lost 46 % of the 181 men engaged at Chickamauga, and totaled 138 in December 1863.
Sometimes called the 2nd Sharpshooter Battalion, the regiment was field consolidated with the 66th Georgia Infantry in September 1864, but was still called the 1st Confederate. On April 9, 1865, it was consolidated with the 25th, 29th, 30th, and 66th Georgia Infantry Regiments and 1st Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion and designated the First Georgia Sharpshooters Battalion. Most of the men, however, still called it the First Confederate. Only a handful of the men in the original company lived to the surrender in April 1865. Major Gordon led these home.