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GREAT WAR 1861 -'65. . 




(Lieut. -CoLOJfKL SEVE^TIETH Regiment X. C. T. ) 

VOL. III. ^ 


1901 I 






TILOEN <--- 
R .--. 

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Forty-Third Regiment, by Colonel Thomas S. Kenan,..^ 1 

Fortv-Third Regiment, (Company A.) by Colonel Thomas S. Kenan • 19 

Forty-Fourth Regiment, by Major Charles M. Stedman '21 

Forty-Fifth Regiment, by Sergeant Cyrus B. Watson 35 

Forty-Sixth Regiment, by Lieutenant J. M. Waddill 63 

Forty-Seventh Regiment, bii Captain John H. Thorp 83 

Forty-Seventh Regiment, by Lieutenant J. Rowan Rogers 103 

Forty-Eighth Regiment, by Captain, W. H. H. Lawhon 113 

Forty-Ninth Regiment, by Lieutenant Thomas R. Roulhac 125 

Forty-Ninth Regiment, by Captain B. F. Dixon 151 

Fiftieth Regiment, by Lieutenant J. C. Ellington 161 

Fifty -First Regiment, by Lieutenant A. A. McKethan 205 

Fifty-Second Regiment, by Adjutant John H. Robinson 223 

Fifty Third Regiment, by Colonel James T Morehead 255 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment, by Lieutenant J. Mai-shall Williams 267 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment, by Adjutant Charles M. Cooke 287 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment, by Captain Robert D. Oraham 313 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment, by Colonel Hamilton C Jones 405 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment, by Major G. W. F. Harper. 431 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment, by Captain Isaac H. Bailey 447 

Fifty-Ninth Regiment, (Fourth Cav.,) by Lieutenant W. P. Shaw.. 455 

Sixtieth Regiment, by Lieutenant- Colonel James M. Ray 473 

Sixtieth Regiment, by Captain Thomas W. Patton . . 499 

Sixty First Regiment, by Captain N. A. Ramsey 503 

Sixty-Second Regiment, by Lieutenant- Colonel B. G. McDowell 515 

Sixty-Third Regiment, (Fifth Cav.), by Major John M. Galloway. . 529 

Sixty-Third Regiment, (Fifth Cav. ), by Private Paul B. Means. . . . 545 

Sixty-Fourth Regiment, by Captain B T. Morris 659 

Sixty -Fifth Regiment. (Sixth Cav.), by Captain M. V. Moore... 673 

Sixty-Sixth Regiment, by Adjutant George M. Rose 685 

Sixty-Seventh Regiment, by Lieutenant- Colonel Rufus W. Wharton 703 

Sixty-Eighth Regiment, by Corporal J. W. Evans 713 

Sixty-Eighth Regiment, by Sergeant W. T. Caho 725 

Sixty-Ninth Regiment, 6?/ im(ie?ia/i/-CoZo?ie^ W. W. String field 729 





J. Thos. S. Kenan, Colonel. 

2. W. Gaston Lewis, Lieut. -Colonel. 

3. James (i. Kenan, Captain, Co. A. 

4. Rufflu Barnes, Captain, Co. C. 

5. Drury Lacy, Adjutant. 

6. Wtti. R. Kenan, -M Lieut, and 


7. R 11. Uttttle. 1st Lieut., Co. I. 


By colonel THOMAS S. KENAN. 

This regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, about 
three miles west of Kaleigh, in March, 1862, bj electing 
Junius Daniel, Colonel; Thomas S. Kenan (Captain Compa- 
ny A, formerly Captain Company C, Second Korth Carolina 
Volunteers), Lieutenant-Colonel; and Walter J. Boggan 
(Captain Company H), Major, commissions bearing date 25 
March, 1862. Daniel was at the time Colonel of the Four- 
teenth Regiment, and soon thereafter was also chosen Colonel 
of the Forty-fifth, and accepted. Upon his reporting for 
duty he was placed in command of a brigade, of which the 
Forty-third afterwards formed a part. Daniel was subse- 
quently promoted to Brigadier-General. About 20 April, 
Kenan was notified that he had been chosen Colonel of the 
Thirty-eighth upon its reorganization at Goldsboro, the in- 
formation being officially conveyed by the hands of Lieuten- 
ant D. M. Pearsall, of the Thirty-eighth; but he remained 
with the Forty-third and was elected its Colonel a few days 
thereafter, and William Gaston Lewds (Major of the Thirty- 
third) was elected Lieutenant-Colonel, commissions bearing 
date 24 April, 1862. 

The staff and company officers, and their successors by pro- 
motion from time to time in the order named, as appears 
from the "Roster of North Carolina Troops," pp. 196-225, 
and gathered from memoranda of participants in the opera- 
tions of the regiment, were : 

Adjutants — Drury Lacy, W. R. Kenan. 
Surgeons — Bedford Brown, Jr., William T. Brewer, Joel 
B. Lewis. 

QuARTERMASTEES — Johu W. Hiusou, Joscph B. Stafford. 

Commissary — W. B. Williams. 

Chaplains — Joseph W. Murphy, Eugene W. Thompson. 

2 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'()5. 

Sekgeant-JMajohs — W. T. Smith, Ilezekiah Brown, Thos. 
H. Williams, liobert T. Burwell, W. K. Kenan. 


CoMi'A.xY A — From Dnplin — James G. Kenan (succeeded 
T. S. Kenan) ; numl)er of enlisted men, 117. The company 
entered the service in April, 1861, and was Company C, Sec- 
ond North Carolina Volunteers (Colonel Sol. Williams), sta- 
tioned near Xorfolk. Upon the expiration of its six-months 
term of service it was reorganized and assigned to the Forty- 
third. Captain Kenan, of this company, was wounded and 
captured at Gettysburg, and was a prisoner when the war 
ended, and many of the officers, liereinafter named, met a 
similar fate, or were killed or disabled there or in subsequent 
engagements, but a correct list of casualties cannot now be 
had — and they were so numerous that during the latter part 
of the war the regiment was commanded by Captains, and 
companies by Lieutenants, Sergeants and Corporals. 

CoiMPAKY B — From Mecldoiburg — Robert P. Waring, 
William E. Stitt. Enlisted men, 73. 

Company C — From ^yihon — James S. Woodard, Kuffin 
Barnes. Enlisted men, 102. 

Company D — From Halifax — Cary Whitaker. Enlisted 
men, 93. 

Company E — From Edgecombe — John A. Vines, Jas. R. 
Thigpen, Wiley J. Cobb. Enlisted men, 96. 

Company F — From Halifax — William R. Williams, Wm. 
C. Ousby, Henry A. Macon. Enlisted men, 101. 

Company G — From Warren — Wm. A. Dowtin, Levi P. 
Coleman, Alfred W. Bridgers. Enlisted men, 110. 

Company H — From Anson — John H. Coppedge (suc- 
ceeded W. J. Boggan), Hampton Beverly. Enlisted men, 

Company I — From Anson — Robert T. Hall, John Bal- 
lard. Enlisted men, 139. 

Company K — From An-son — James Boggan, Caswell H. 
Sturdivant. Enlisted men, 120. 

Forty-Third Regiment. 


Company A, James G. Kenan, Robert B. Carr. 

Company B, Henry Ringstaff, William E. Stitt. 

Company C, Henry King, Rnffin Barnes, L. D. Killett. 

Company D, Thomas W. Baker, John S. Whitaker. 

Company- E, James R. Thigpen, Wiley J. Cobb, Charles 

Company F, William C. Onsby, Henry A. Macon, J. H. 

Company' G, Levi P. Coleman, Alfred W. Bridgers. 

Company- H, John H. Coppedge, Hampton Beverly, Ben- 
jamin F. Moore. 

Company' I, Richard H. Battle, Jr., John H. Threadgill. 

Company' K, Caswell H. Sturdivant, Henry E. Shepherd. 


Company' A, Robert B. Carr, John W. Hinson, Thomas J. 
Bostic, Stephen D. Farrior. 

Company' B, William E. Stitt, Julius Alexander, Robert 
T. Burwell. 

Company' C, William T. Brewer, Ruffin Barnes, L. D. Kil- 
lett, Bennett Barnes, Hezekiah Brown. 

Company D, John S. Whitaker, William Beavans, George 
W. Wills. 

Company E, Wiley J. Cobb, Van B. Sharpe, John H. 
Leigh, Charles Vines, Willis R. Dupree, Thomas H. Wil- 

Company' F, Henry A. Macon, William R. Bond, J. H. 
Morris, W. L. M. Perkins, Jesse A. Macon. 

Company G, William B. Williams, Alexander L. Steed, 
John B. Powell, Luther R. Crocker. 

Company H, Hampton Beverly, Benjamin F. Moore, W. 
W. Boggan, Henry C. Beaman, Peter B. Lilly. 

Company I, John H. Threadgill, John Ballard, Stephen 
W. Ellerbee, Leonidas L. Polk. 

Company K, John A. Boggan, Stephen Huntley, Francis 
j:. Flake. 

4 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

The regiment Avas ordered to Wilmington and Fort 
Johnson at Smithville, on the Cape Fear river, where it re- 
mained about a month in General French's command, and 
thence to Virginia. Daniel's Brigade, composed of the 
Thirtj-second, Forty-third, Forty-fifth, Fiftieth and Fifty- 
third Regiments, was placed in the command of Major-Gen- 
eral Holmes, and on the last of the seven days' operations 
around Richmond was ordered to occupy the road near the 
James river, where it was subjected to a fierce shelling from 
the gunboats on the right and the batteries on Malvern Ilill 
in front, but was not in the regular engagement; was after- 
wards ordered to Drewry's Bluff, and constituted part of 
the forces under Major-General G. W. Smith for the protec- 
tion of Richmond and vicinity during the advance of the 
army under General Lee into Maryland in September, 1862 ; 
and about the same time a demonstration was made against 
Suffolk, Va., by troops under General French (this regi- 
ment being a portion of them), probably for the purpose of 
preventing the Federals from sending reinforcements from 
that territory to oppose the movement of the Confederates in 
Maryland. They returned in about ten days, and the regi- 
ment resumed its position at Drewry's Bluff, where it was 
engaged in drilling and putting up breastworks under the 
direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis, who, being a civil 
engineer by profession, was ordered by the brigade com-- 
mander to supervise their construction. Shortly after quar- 
ters were prepared for the winter, the brigade was ordered 
to Goldsboro, in December, 1862, to reinforce the Confeder- 
ates in opposing the advance of the Union troops from Xew 
Bern under General Foster ; but on the day before its arrival 
they succeeded in burning the railroad bridge over the Neuse 
river, and, after a sharp engagement with the Confederates 
on the south side of the river, retreated to their base of oper- 
ations at New Bern. The bridge was immediately rebuilt 
on trestles by a detail of men from the brigade, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Lewis superintending the work. 

During the spring of 1863 it was stationed at Kinston and 
detachments sent out to prevent the approach of the enemy 
into the interior. Major-General D. 11. Hill having assumed 

Forty-Third Regiment. 5 

conunand of the department, directed demonstrations to be 
made in aid of military operations at other points and to com- 
pel the enemy to abandon their outposts. In the affair at 
Deep Gully, a small creek, upon the eastern bank of which 
the enemy were entrenched, the Forty-third was ordered to 
attack, and after a few rounds the enemy abandoned the works 
and retreated. The brigade was then ordered to Washing- 
ton, IST. C, and was there subjected to the artillery fire of 
the Union forces occupying that place, but, with the excep- 
tion of some skirmishing, no engagement was brought on. It 
then returned to its former quarters at Kinston, and, later on, 
went to Fredericksburg, Va., and was assigned to Rodes' 
Division of the Second Corps (Ewell's), the Thirty-second, 
Forty-third, Forty-fifth and Fifty-third Regiments and the 
Second ISTorth Carolina Battalion then constituting the brig- 
ade — the Fiftieth Regiment having been assigned to another 
brigade. The Army of Northern Virginia was there reviewed 
by General Lee and ordered to commence the memorable 
Pennsylvania campaign in June, 1863. 


Upon arriving at Brandy Station the brigade was placed 
in line of battle to meet any attempted advance of Union in- 
fantry to support its cavalry, but was not engaged — the main 
fighting in that terrific battle (9 June) being between the 
cavalry of the opposing armies. At Berryville the enemy 
were driven by the cavalry, supported by this brigade, and 
camp equipage, etc., captured. It then marched by way of 
Martinsburg, Williamsport, Hagerstown and Chambersburg 
to Carlisle, Pa., and occupied the barracks at that place, from 
which it was ordered to Gettysburg. 


Upon arriving at Gettysburg, on Wednesday, 1 July, 1863, 
about 1 o'clock p. m., a line of battle was formed near For- 
ney's house, northwest of the town and to the left of Pender's 
Division of Hill's Corps, which had repulsed the enemy in 
the forenoon, and the troops advanced to the attack. The 

6 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

fight was continued till late in the afternoon and the enemy 
driven back, the brigade being handled with consummate skill 
by the brave General Daniel. Seminary Ridge was gained 
and occupied — the right of the Forty-third resting on the 
railroad cut. The fight was terrific and the loss heavy on 
both sides. On Thursday morning, 2 July, the regiments 
were assigned to various positions iipon the line. The Forty-' 
third supported a battery, during the artillery duel which 
continued nearly the whole day, at a point on the Ridge just 
north of the Seminary building, and the shot and shell from 
the guns of the enemy on Cemetery Heights caused serious 
loss. It was during this cannonade that General Lee and 
staff passed to the front along the road near by, and the troops 
saluted him by raising their hats in silence, and were encour" 
aged by his presence. From this point a movement was 
commenced at night in line of battle, in the direction of the 
enemy's works, the skirmishers firing upon the Confederates 
and retreating, but inflicting no loss. The moon was shin^ 
ing brightly, and it seemed that a night attack upon Cemetery 
Heights was contemplated ; but when the brigade crossed the 
valley in front, orders were given to march by the left flank 
near the southern and eastern limits of the town, and about 
daybreak on Friday, 3 July, it reported to Major-General 
Johnson, who commanded the Division of Ewell's Cor])s on 
the extreme left of the Confederate line. Daniel's Brigade, 
with other troops, had been ordered to reinforce Johnson's 
position on Culp's Hill. • It marched nearly all night, and 
formed a line of battle near Benner's House, crossed Rock 
Creek, and, through the undergrowth, among large boulders 
and up the heavily timbered hill, the attack n]ion the enemy 
was made, the line of works (formed by felled trees) taken, 
but the charge upon tlie main line was repulsed. Colonel 
Kenan, of the Forty-third, was wounded in leading this 
charge, and taken from the field (captured on the retreat and 
imprisoned until the close of the war), and the connnand de- 
volved on Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis. 

The forces under Johnson held their positions until night, 
when they were withdrawn^the Forty-third occupying its 
first position on Seminary Ridge until tlio army moved to 

Forty-Third Regiment. 7 

Hagerstown. On the retreat it was assigned the rear posi- 
tion, and in consequence was repeatedly engaged with the 
Union advance. After remaining at Hagerstown a few days 
the Confederates crossed the swollen Potomac (carrying their 
guns and their ammunition on their heads, the water being 
up to their armpits), and fell back to the village of Darks- 
ville. Later, they were in front of the Federal army, on the 
south bank of the Rapidan river, guarding the fords, and en- 
gaged the enemy at Mine Run when an advance towards 
Richmond was made. After the retreat of the Federals to 
the north of the Rapidan, and active operations having com- 
paratively ceased, winter quarters were built, but they were 
not long occupied by this regiment, for it was detached for 
duty with General Hoke's Brigade in the winter campaign in 
1863-'64 in Eastern Korth Carolina, Major-General Pickett 
being in command of all the forces. 

In this campaign Hoke's Brigade consisted of the Sixth, 
Twenty-first, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh J^orth Carolina 
Regiments and the First North Carolina Battalion, and at- 
tached to it were the Forty-third iSTorth Carolina and Twen- 
ty-first Georgia. In approaching New Bern this regiment 
arrived at Bachelor's creek, about seven miles from the city, 
and made a night attack upon the enemy's works, but, discov- 
ering that the flooring of a bridge across the creek, about 
seventy-five feet long, had been removed Lieutenant-Colonel 
Lewis informed General Hoke that if he would send him 
plank from the pontoon train he would renew the attack as 
soon as practicable. Hoke complied, and the attack was 
made at daylight the next day — one of the companies laying 
the plank, under fire, and the others crossing over, also under 
fire, driving the enemy and causing a retreat to New Bern. 

There were also some Union troops at Clark's brickyard, 
on the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad, nine miles above 
the city, and information was received that a train of cars had 
been sent from New Bern to bring them in. The regiment 
was ordered to capture this train, without wrecking it, if 
possible, and accordingly a three-mile march at quick and 
double-quick time was made to intercept it. When the regi- 
ment got within about twenty or thirty yards of the track 

8 North Carolina Troops, 186l-'65. 

the train was passing at its highest speed, and shots were 
exchanged between the opposing parties. If success had at- 
tended this movement, the purpose of General Hoke was to 
place his troops on the train, run into the town and surprise 
the garrison. Pickett's expedition, however, was not suc- 
cessful, and the troops fell back to Kinston, remaining there 
a few weeks, and then marched on Plymouth. 


April 18, 19 and 20, 1864: General Hoke, who suc- 
ceeded to the command of all the forces in this department, 
directed the campaign, and was also authorized by the ISTavj 
Department to secure the co-operation of the Confederate 
ram, Albernarle,, then near Hamilton on the Roanoke river, 
in an unfinished state and in charge of Commander Cooke. 
Colonel Mercer, of the Twenty-first Georgia, commanded 
Hoke's Brigade. He was killed in a charge at night upon a 
fort about half a mile in advance of the enemy's line of works 
at Plymouth, and Lewis, of the Forty-third, assumed com- 
mand and was subsequently promoted to Brigadier-General. 
The fort was taken and the Alhe marie simultaneously 
steamed down the river and engaged the enemy, sinking one 
of their gunboats and driving their flotilla a considerable dis- 
tance below Plymouth, thus relieving the land forces in 
future movements of the apprehended attack from them. 
During the night the different commands were placed in 
position for the general assault upon the works around the 
town, and this necessitated the moving of the troops by cir- 
cuitous routes to avoid being discovered by the enemy, and 
consumed all of the 19th. Accordingly, on the morning of 
the 20th General Matt. Ransom attacked on the east side of 
the town, Lewis on the west and Hoke, with the other brig- 
ades, moved upon the enemy's center. The town was taken 
in a short while, the garrison and an immense amount of sup- 
plies being captured. The brilliancy and dash of this move- 
ment, which was planned and faithfully executed according 
to the directions of the commanding officer, received recogni- 
tion in the following : 

Besolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of 

[the new YORK 




1. R. B. Carr, 1st Lieut, Co. A. 3. L. L. Polk-, M Lieut.. Co. I. 

S. Robt. Turnbull Burwell, 1st Lieut., 4. B. F. Hall. SerKeant, Co. A. 

Co. B. 5. Robert J. Southerlaud, Sergeant, Co. A. 

Forty-Third Regiment. 9 

America, That the thanks of Congress and the country are 
due and are tendered to Major-General Robert F. Hoke and 
Commander James W. Cooke, and the officers and men under 
their command, for the brilliant victory over the enemy at 
Plymouth, N. C. 

Joint resolution, approved 17 May, 1864. Official Records 
Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 60, page, 305. 

Washington, J^. C, was next threatened, and after an ar- 
tillery duel during the day the enemy evacuated it. The 
forces then moved upon 'New Bern again. The Forty-third 
engaged the enemy about nine miles from the city during the 
afternoon of 2 May, and again on the morning of the next 
day. The enemy were forced back in a running fight Avithin 
sight of the town. At this juncture, when the capture of the 
town seemed probable, orders were received to march imme- 
diately back to Kinston and thence to Petersburg, which 
point General Butler, of the Union army, Avas threatening 
with a large force. The distance covered by the regiment 
on this day's march, including the running fight towards 
New Bern and the return to Kinston, was thirty-seven miles 
in about twelve hours. Of the reinforcements ordered to 
Petersburg the Forty-third was the first regiment to arrive, 
and, there being but few other troops on the ground, orders 
were given to occupy the entrenchments in front of the city 
by deploying at twenty paces, and, in order to impress the 
enemy with the belief that they were confronted by a large 
force, instructions were given to make as much noise as pos- 
sible and fire off guns at frequent intervals. From this time 
till 15 May the regiment was moved to different portions of 
the line, from the south of Petersburg to the north of Rich- 
mond, a distance of about thirty miles, seldom remaining 
more than one day at any point. These frequent movements 
were deemed necessary on account of the small force availa- 
ble to meet real or supposed movements of the Union army. 
In the meantime reinforcements were brought in, and Gen- 
eral Beauregard commanded the Confederate forces in the 
engagement which took place the next day. 

10 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

the battle of drewky^s bluff^ 16 may,, 1864. 

The attack was made by the Confederates about daylight 
under cover of a dense fog. When within about forty paces 
of the enemy's main line the Forty-third encountered (as 
did also the other troops of the division) a line of telegraph 
wires fastened to stumps about twelve inches above the 
ground, which caused most of the men to trip and fall. This 
checked the forward movement, but from this position a 
heavy fire was poured into the enemy until they were dis- 
lodged. Finding their ammunition nearly exhausted, as the 
enemy commenced retreating the regiment repaired to the 
rear to replenish it. This being done, it returned to the 
line near the right of General Robert Ransom's Division, to 
which it was then temporarily attached, and occupied the 
right of the brigade in a charge upon the works when a bat- 
tery of artillery was captured, the enemy driven across the 
turnpike and a position in rear of the Union forces secured. 
The position of the regiment was now near the turnpike^ 
which constituted the dividing line of the divisions of Ran- 
som and Hoke during most of the engagement. Hoke, being 
appointed Major-General after the battle of Plymouth, was 
assigned to the conunand of another division after his arrival 
at Drewry's Bluff. About this time a council of war was 
held on the turnpike, which was participated in by a dis- 
tinguished group, consisting of President Davis, Generals 
Beauregard, Ransom and Hoke, with their respective staff of- 
ficers. Very soon after this incident, the enemy having 
given way at all points of the line, were driven into Bermuda 
Hundreds, the angle between the James and Appomattox 
rivers, under cover of their gunboats, this regiment taking 
part in the pursuit. 

After remaining in line of battle in front of General But- 
ler's troops for about two days, orders were issued for the 
regiment to rejoin its old brigade in the Army of Northern 
Virginia. In obedience thereto it marched to Drewry's 
Bluff and was transported by boat to Richmond, thence by 
rail to Milford Station on the Richmond and Fredericks- 
burg Railroad, reaching there about noon on 21 May, 1864. 

Forty-Third Regiment. 11 

The march was at once resumed, and the regiment bivouacked 
that night near Spottsylvania Court House. The army- 
having been withdrawn from its position in front on the night 
of the 21st to meet a movement of the enemy, who had retired 
towards the North Anna, the regiment was ordered to follow 
on the morning of the 2 2d. Late in the afternoon, informa- 
tion was received from General Ewell that the regiment was 
then in the rear and in danger of being captured. To avoid 
this risk an all-niglit march was made, the old brigade joined 
and the enemy again confronted near Hanover Junction on 
the morning of the 23d. It was then commanded by Gen- 
eral Bryan Grimes, Daniel having been killed at Spottsylva- 
nia on 12 ]\Iay, and General Lewis remained in charge of 
Hoke's old Brigade. In this march more than 60 miles were 
traversed, and the troops were hungry and nearly exhausted. 
But not long after arriving upon the groun<l a line of bat- 
tle was formed northwest of the Junction and earthworks 
thrown up. After dark this line was al)andoned and the reg- 
iment withdrawn about a mile to the rear, and occupi('<l the 
bank of a railroad cut, leaving the brigade sharpsliooters in 
possession of the first line. Xext day (24 May), about noon, 
the enemy in force attacked the sharpshooters and drove them 
from their position. Companies A and F, numbering about 
seventy men, under command of Lieutenants Bostic, Farrior 
and Morris, were detailed and sent to the front with instruc- 
tions to retake the works. On reaching the works they found 
that both sides of them were occupied by a regiment of Union 
troops, supported by a brigade at a short distance to the rear. 
On the sudden appearance of this small force from the thick 
woods which covered their approach, they were ordered by 
the enemy to surrender. To tliis they responded with a 
quick and destructive fire at close range, and, after a hand- 
to-hand tight of several minutes, forced them to the opposite 
side of the breastworks, and the assault was fiercely con- 
tinued about two hours. Encouraged by the forward move- 
ment of the brigade and the firing of a field battery consti- 
tuting their support, the LTnion forces attempted several 
times to retake the position, but were as often repulsed. A 
heavy rain having set in, the firing ceased and the enemy 

12 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

withdrew under cover of the rain and approaching darkness. 
After the rain ceased a survey of the field was made, showing 
a larger number of dead and wounded of the enemy than the 
aggregate number of the two companies engaged in the fight. 
On receiving a detailed report of the affair and its results, 
General Grimes was heard to express himself to the effect 
that all things considered, he believed this to be one of the 
great fights of the war. These two companies rejoined the 
regiment after dark, and in a few hours the entire army re- 
tired towards Richmond to confront the Union army, then 
moving in the same direction. 

jSTothing of special note occurred, except frequent skir- 
mishing, till the battle of Bethesda Church, which was fought 
on the afternoon of 30 May. Further skirmishing took 
place on 31 May and 1 June, and the battle of Gaines' Mill 
was fought 2 June, and Cold Harbor 3 June, in all of which 
this regiment bore its part. 

After the battle of Cold Harbor, the Second Corps, then 
commanded by General Early, was ordered into camp near 
Gaines' Mill and held in reserve till 13 June. The sharp- 
shooters of Rodes' Division had been previously organized 
into a separate corps under command of Captain W. E. Stirt 
(Company B), and numbered about one thousand men, made 
up of details from the different regiments, the Forty-third 
contributing about thirty-five from the right wing under 
command of Lieutenant Perkins (Company F), and thirty- 
five from the left wing under command of Sergeant-Ma j or 
Kenan, who had been appointed by the brigade commander, 
10 June, a Junior-Second Lieutenant. On 13 June the Sec- 
ond Corps was ordered to Lynchburg, Va., arriving there on 
the 18th, and in the afternoon the sharpshooters engaged 
those of the Union forces. The withdrawal of the encMay 
during the night was promptly discovered, and the sharp- 
shooters marching at the head of the division in pursuit over- 
took their rear guard at Liberty, when another skirmish en- 
sued, and again at Buford's Gap on the afternoon of the 
20th. The pursuit was continued on the 21st through Salem, 
Va., where another skirmish took place. On the 2 2d the 
troops rested at Salem, and resumed the march on the 23d in 

Forty-Third Regiment. 13 

the direction of the Potomac river, reaching Staunton early 
on the morning of the 27th; remained there till the next 
morning, and then marched to Harper's Ferry, which was 
reached on the morning of 4 July. Here the Corps of Divis- 
ion sharpshooters captured Bolivar Heights about 10 a. m., 
and about 8 p. m. drove the enemy from Harper's Ferry 
across the river to Maryland Heights. On the 5th the 
Forty-third occupied Harper's Ferry, relieving the sharp- 
shooters. Skirmishing continued most of the day. On the 
6th the corps crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and 
engaged the enemy in the rear of Maryland Heights, the bat- 
tle continuing ne"'arly all day. On the 7th they moved 
through C'rampton's Gap towards Frederick, and after fre- 
quent skirmishing reached Frederick on the morning of the 
9th, where General Lew Wallace's Division of Union troops 
was strongly posted on the eastern bank of the Monocacy 
river. After a stubborn fight they were driven from the 
field, with the loss of a large number of killed, wounded and 
prisoners. On the 10th the Confederates moved in the direc- 
tion of Washington City, and, after a hard march in extreme- 
ly hot weather and over a dusty road, arrived in front 
of Fort Stevens abo\it noon of the 11th, within sight of the 
dome of the Federal Capitol. The sharpshooters advanced 
within 200 yards of the fort, but retired to a position about 
300 yards to the rear, where they halted and dug rifle-pits. 
In the afternoon the enemy threw forward a heavy li-ne of 
skirmishers, who attacked vigorously, but were repulsed with 
some loss. Here, our sharpshooters remained, subjected to 
a severe shelling from the forts till the afternoon of the 12th, 
when the enemy, reinforced by two corps from the Army of 
the Potomac, advanced and drove them from their improvised 
works. Rodes' Division then moved forward and retook the 
lost ground. The casualties on both sides were considera- 
ble. On account of the arrival of the above-mentioned rein- 
forcements, a further advance of Early's troops was not 
made, and they were withdrawn on the night of the 12th, and 
recrossed the Potomac on the 14th near Leesburg, Va. The 
movement into Maryland was probably made to create a 
diversion in favor of operations around Richmond. 

14 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Thus, within thirty days the army of which the Forty- 
third composed a part had marched about five hundred miles 
and taken part in not less than twelve battles and skirmishes, 
in most of which the enemy were deafeated with severe 

The troops then moved towards the Valley of Virginia, 
and crossed the Blue Ridge at Snicker's Gap on 17 July, the 
Union troops slowly following and an additional force threat- 
ening the flank of the Confederate right. On the afternoon 
of that day Rodes' Division attacked the enemy at Snicker's 
Ford, driving them into the Shenandoah river, where the loss 
in killed and drowned was heavy. On the 19th the division 
moved towards Strasburg, and on the afternoon of the 20th 
went to the support of General Ramseur, who was resisting 
an attack near Winchester. But the engagement having 
ceased before the arrival of the division, it retired to Fisher's 
Hill and there remained till the morning of the 24th, when 
an attack was made upon the enemy at Kernstown and they 
were driven across the Potomac and followed into Maryland. 
And tlien Rodes' Division, sometimes in detachments and at 
others in a body, marched and countermarched between the 
Potomac river and Fisher's Hill until September 2 2d. Dur- 
ing this time the Forty-third Regiment was engaged in al- 
most daily skirmishing, and took part in the battles of Win- 
chester, 17 August; Charlestown, 21 August; Smithfield, 29 
August; Bunker's Hill, 3 September; Winchester (No. 2), 
19 September, and Fisher's Hill, 22 September. 

Having been defeated in the last engagement at Fisher's 
Hill, the Confederates retreated up the valley, followed by 
the enemy to Waynesboro, where reinforcements were re- 
ceived, and then, on 1 October, returned down the valley, 
reaching Fisher's Hill on 13 October. The Forty-third com- 
posed part of the body of troops which marched around the 
left and rear of the enemy's camp at Cedar Creek on the 
night of 18 October, preparatory to the general attack made 
on the morning of the 19th, resulting in their defeat in the 
early part of the day. Reinforcements having been received 
by the enemy in the afternoon, the tide of battle was turned 
and the Confederates were driven up the valley to New Mar- 

Forty-Third Regiment. 15 

ket, where they remained in camp without further incident 
till about 22 November, when a considerable body of Union 
cavalry under the command of General Sheridan was at- 
tacked and routed by Rodes' Division between New Market 
and Mount Jackson. This ended the noted Valley campaign 
of 18G4. 

About a week before Christmas, the Forty-third, with the 
other tr(jops composing the old Second Corps of the Army 
of Xortlieni Virginia, returned to Petersl)urg and went into 
Avinter (piarters on Swift creek, three miles north of the city. 
The next movement was to Southerland's Depot, on the right 
wing of the army, south of Petcrsljurg, on 1') February, 1865. 
Here tlie regiment remaiiu'*! with the otlier troops of the 
division till about the middle of March, when they were or- 
dered into the trenches in front of Petersburg to relieve Gen- 
eral iiushrod Johnson's Division, which was to occupy an- 
other position. 

The increasing dispntj^orticm in the numbers of the oppos- 
ing armies made it necessary for Rodes' Division, now com- 
posed of only about 2,200 men, to cover a distance of about 
three and a half miles in the trenches, and to do this it re- 
quired one-third of the men on picket duty in front of the 
trenches and one-third on duty in the trenches, where the mud 
Mas frequently more than shoe-deep and sometimes knee-deep, 
Avhile the remaining third caught a broken rest on their arms. 
Xo general engagement took place till 25 March, but at 
night there was almost constant firing between the pickets. 
At most points the main lines of the two armies were within 
easy rifle-range, and at some points less than one hundred 
yards apart. The monotony of the constant cracking of 
small arms was frequently relieved by the firing of mortars 
and the dropping of shells in the trenches, calling for con- 
stant watchfulness on the part of those who were in the 
trenches, and disturbing the broken rest of the small remnant 
who were off duty. On the night of 24 March, General Gor- 
don's Corps was massed opposite Hare's Hill with a view to 
making an attack at that point, where the lines were within 
one hundred yards of each other. Entrance into the enemy's 
works was effected just before daylight on the morning of the 

16 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

25tli by the Division Corps of sharpshooters, who, with un- 
loaded muskets, surprised and captured the enemy's pickets 
and entered their main lines. The Forty-third Regiment, 
with the other troops of the division immediately following, 
occupied the enemy's works for some distance on either side 
of Hare's Hill, and stubbornly held them, against great odds, 
for about five hours. During most of this time the enemy 
poured a deadly fire into the Confederates from several bat- 
teries on elevated positions, and, having massed large bodies 
of infantry at this point, forced the withdrawal of the Con- 
federates with considerable loss in killed, wounded and pris- 
oners. After this fruitless effort to dislodge the enemy the 
Forty-third resumed its position in the trenches and remained 
until Saturday, 1 April, iibout 11 o'clock on the night of 
this date the enemy opened a furious cannonading all along 
the line. Under cover of this firing they attacked the Con- 
federates in heavy force at several points, effecting an en- 
trance beyond the limits of the division on the right. At 
daylight on Sunday morning, the 2d, they made a breach in 
the line held by a brigade to the left center of the division, 
and occupied the Confederate works for some distance on 
either side of Fort Mahone, wdiich stood on an elevation 
about fifty yards in front of the main line. The division, 
massing in this direction, attacked the enemy at close quar- 
ters, driving them from traverse to traverse, sometimes in a 
hand-to-hand fight, till the lost works were retaken up to a 
point opposite Fort Mahone, which was still occupied by the 
enemy. Its commanding position making its recapture of 
importance in the further movements of the Confederates, 
two details of about twelve men each, in charge of a Ser- 
geant — one from the Forty-third (now commanded by Cap- 
tain Cobb, Captain Whitaker having been mortally wounded 
just previously), and the other from the Forty-fifth Regi- 
ment of the brigade— were ordered, about noon, to enter the 
fort by the covered way (a large ditch) leading from the 
main line into the fort. This was promptly done, and the 
enemy occupying the fort — more than one hundred in num- 
ber — perhaps in ignorance of the small force of Confederates, 
and surprised at the boldness of the movement, surrendered 

Forty-Third Regiment. 17 

and were sent to the rear as prisoners. From this position 
the little squad of about twenty-five men poured a deadly 
fire into the left flank and rear of the enemy occupying the 
Confederate line beyond Fort Mahone, while the main body 
of the division pressed them in front till they were dislodged 
and retreated to their own lines, thus giving up the entire 
works taken from the division early in the morning. In this 
affair Sergeant B. F. Hall commanded the squad from the 
Forty-third. A brigade of Zouaves, however, promptly 
moved forward, meeting the retreating force, and recaptured 
both the Confederate line and Fort Mahone, leaving Kodes' 
Division still in possession of that portion of the line retaken 
from the enemy in the early part of the day, and which was 
held until after dark, when the lines in front of Richmond 
and Petersburg were abandoned. The army then commenced 
its retreat. Marching day and night, with only short inter- 
vals of rest, Auielia Court House was reached about 4 
April, where the well-nigh exhausted troops were permitted 
to rest several hours. The march was resumed that night, 
and, being closely pursued by the enemy. General Grimes 
(then Major-General commanding the division to which the 
Forty-third belonged) was assigned to the position of rear 
guard, ('olonel 1). G. Cowand, of the Thirty-second, being 
in command of Daniel's Brigade. The enemy's cavalry, em- 
boldened by success, frequently rode recklessly into the Con- 
federate lines, making it necessary to deploy alternately as a 
line of battle across the road one brigade after another, while 
the others continued the march. This running fight culmi- 
nate<l in a general engagement on the afternoon of the 6th 
at Sailor's creek, near Farmville, Va., where the Confeder- 
ates, overwhelmed by superior numbers, retreated beyond 
the long bridge at Farmville. 

On the morning of the 7th, beyond Farmville, the division 
charged the enemy and recaptured a battery of artillery 
which had previously fallen into their hands. Continuing 
the march from this point, there was no further fighting on 
this or the following day, the Union anny having taken par- 

18 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

allel roads for the purpose of intercepting the Confederates in 
their march towards Lynchburg. 

The vicinity of Appomattox Court House was reached on 
the evening of Saturday, the 8th, and the exhausted troops 
bivouacked until midnight, when the division was ordered 
from the position of rear guard to the front, with a view of 
opening the road towards Lynchburg, now occupied by Union 
troops in large force. About sunrise on Sunday morning, 
the 9th of April, 1865, the division engaged a large body of 
the enemy's cavalry, supported by infantry, and drove them 
more than a mile, capturing a battery of artillery and several 
prisoners. While engaged in this pursuit they were ordered 
back to a valley in which the larger part of the Confederates 
was now massed, and on arriving there received the sad intel- 
ligence that the Army of [NTorthern Virginia had surrendered. 

Manifesting under defeat the same spirit of fidelity and 
endurance which had characterized them in success, the rem- 
nant of about 120 men and officers composing this regiment 
accepted the fate of war and awaited the final arrangements 
for capitulation ; and on the morning of 12 April, after lay- 
ing down their arms, dispersed on foot, many in tattered gar- 
ments and without shoes, and thus made their way to their 
distant and, in many instances, desolated homes. 

And "the picture of the private soldier as he stood in the 
iron hail, loading and firing his rifle, the bright eye glistening 
with excitement, and with powder-stained face, rent jacket, 
torn slouch hat and trousers, blanket in shreds, and the prints 
of his shoeless feet in the dust of the battle, should be framed 
in the hearts of all who love true courage wherever found." 

The preparation of this sketch, giving the organization and 
outlining the movements of the Forty-third Eegiment, is 
largely due to the assistance rendered to me by W. G. Lewis, 
B. F. Hall, W. R. Kenan, John B. Powell, W. E. Stitt, W. 
B. Burwell, Thomas P. Devereux, John J. Dabbs and S. H. 
Threadgill, members of the regiment, and participants in its 
movements. The material employed was gathered from 
memoranda and such official documents as were accessible. 

Thos. S. Kenan. 

Raleigh, N. C, 

9 April, 1895. 



a8t0r, lenox and 
TIlDen foundations. 

J w 



The ''Duplin Rifles" (organized at Kenansville in 1859) 
entered the army in April, 1861, as volunteers, under Thomas 
S. Kenan, Captain; Thomas S. Watson, First Lieutenant; 
William A. Allen and John W. Hinson, Second Lieutenants ; 
and was. immediately ordered into the Camp of Instruction at 
Raleigh. It was mustered in for six months with the First 
Regiment of Volunteers, and assigned to it under Colonel 
D. H. Hill, but as this regiment had more companies than 
the number allowed l)v army regulations, the "Duplin Rifles" 
and ''Lund)ert()n Guards" were taken out, and with eight 
other companies, formed the Second Volunteers and elected 
Sol. Williams, Colonel ; Edward Cantwell, Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel, and Augustus W. Burton, ]\[ajor ; the "Duplin Rifles" 
being Company C. 

The regiment was ordered to Virginia in May, 1861, (a 
few days after the First Regiment) and served in and around 
Norfolk, without special incident, except at Sewell's Point, 
where a detachment consisting of this and three other com- 
panies was subjected to repeated shellings from the long- 
range gims of the L^nion troops stationed at the "Rip-Raps." 
At the expiration of the term of service of the "Duplin 
Rifles" and "Lumberton Guards" they were mustered out, 
and the regiment supplied mth other companies in their 
stead, and numbered the Twelfth Regiment of State Troops, 
after the re-organization. 

L'^pon the return of the company to Duplin coimty, it was 
reorganized under a notice dated 23 December, 1861, for the 
war, by electing Thomas S. Kenan, Captain; James G. 
Kenan. First Lieutenant ; Robert B. Carr and John W. Hin- 
son, Second Lieutenants; ordered to Raleigh in March, 1862, 

20 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

and assigned to the Forty-third Regiment as Company A. It 
therefore belonged to three different regiments. 

Some of the officers and men of the company, "C," organ- 
ized other companies in Duplin county and likewise enlisted 
for the war. 

From a roster kept by Sergeant B. F. Hall, it appears that 
there were fifty-six on the roll at the close of the war, thirty- 
five of whom were either in prison, on parole or detail, and 
no deserter from the company during the entire war. 
Twenty-one surrendered w4th the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia at Appomattox on 9 April, 1865, to-wit : Thomas J. 
Bostic, William R. Kenan, Benjamin F. Hall, William B. 
Blalock, William N. Brinson, James D. Brown, LaFayette 
W. BroAvn, Alex. Chambers, Thomas E. Davis, Lewis J. 
Grady, R. M. S. Grady, Alex. Guy, James G. Halso, Jesse 
Home, Hargett Komegay, Jere J. Pearsall, Lewis J. Rich, 
Calvin I. Rogers, John E. Smith, Jere Strickland, Frank 
A. Simmons. 

The roster also shows that the number killed was 25, died 
of disease, 22 ; disabled by wounds, 10 ; discharged for disa- 
bility, 12 ; transferred to other regiments, or companies, 5. 

Thos. S. Kenan. 

Raleigh, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 






1. Taz well F.Hargrove, Lieut. -Colonel. 3. R. C. Brown. Captain, Co. B. 

2. Elkanah E. Lyon, Captain, Co. A. 4. Robert Bingham, Captain, Co. G. 

5. Thos. Hill Norwood, Captain, Co. H. 



This brief record of the organization, movements and 
achievements of the Forty-fourth Regiment, North Carolina 
Troops, could not have been ^\'Titten except for the assistance 
of Captains W. P. Oldham, Robert Bingham, Abram Cox, 
and Lieutenants Thomas B. Long and Richard G. Sneed, of- 
ficers of the regiment, who participated in its career, and 
especialh' am I under obligations to Captain John H. Robin- 
son, of the Fiftj-seoond North Carolina Regiment, who was 
detailed during the latter part of the campaign of 1864, at 
the request of General William ^lacRae, to serve on his staff 
as A. A. G., in place of Captain Louis G. Young, who had 
been severely wounded. The facts stated in a memorial ad- 
dress delivered by tlie writer in Wilmington, N. C, on 10 
May, 1890, on the lite and character of General William 
MacRae, in so far as they are connected with the o])erations 
of the regiment, and its participation in the various engage- 
ments described lune been used without reserve, as they are 
known to be correct, nor has there been any hesitancy in quot- 
ing from the language of that address, when appropriate to a 
description of events constituting alike a part of the history 
of the regiment, as well as of the brigade. 

This regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, near Ral- 
eigh, N. C, on 28 March, 1862, with George B. Singletary 
as its Colonel, Richard C. Cotten, Captain Company E, its 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Elisha Cromwell, Captain Company 
B, as its Major. Colonel Singletary was killed in a skir- 
mish with Federal troops at Tranter's Creek, in Eastern 
North Carolina, on 5 June, 1862. He was an officer of ex- 
traordinary merit, and would have unquestionably attained 
high distinction but for his premature death. On 28 June, 
1862, Thomas C. Singletary, his brother, was elected Colonel 

22 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

in his stead. Lieutenant-Colonel Gotten resigned, on ac 
count of advanced age, on 10 June, 1862, and Major Elisha 
Cromwell was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel to 
fill the vacancy caused by his resignation. The vacancy 
caused by the promotion of Major Elisha Cromwell was filled 
by the election of Tazewell L. Hargrove, Captain of Company 
A, on 10 June, 1862. On 24 July, 1862, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Cromwell resigned and Major Tazewell L. Hargrove was 
elected in his place, and on 28 July, 1862, Charles M. Sted- 
man. Captain Company E, was promoted and elected Major* 
The Staff and Company officers are named as they appear in 
the following list, and in the order of their promotion: 

Adjutants^ Stark Armistead Sutton, John A. Jackson, 
R. W. Dupree. 

Ensign, W. S. Long. 

Sergeant-Majors^ John H. Johnston, Alexander S< 
Webb, E. D. Covington. 

Quartermaster Sergeant^ Isham G. Cheatham. 

Ordnance Sergeant, Robert J. Powell. 

Commissary Sergeant^ D. F. Whitehead. 

Chaplains, John H. Tillinghast, Richard G. Webb. 

Surgeons, William T. Sutton, J. A. Bynum. 

Assistant Surgeons, J. A. Bynum, William J. Green. 

Quartermasters, William R. Beasley, William L* 

Commissary, Abram Cox. 

Company A — Captains, Tazewell L. Hargrove, Elkanah 
E. Lyon, Robert L. Rice; First Lieutenants, Elkanah E. 
Lyon, Robert L. Rice, Richard G. Sneed, A. J. Ellis ; Second 
Lieutenants, Robert L. Rice, William R. Beasley, John B. 
Tucker, Richard G. Sneed, Robert. Winship Stedman. En- 
listed men, 148. 

Company B — Captains, Elisha Cromwell, Baker W. Ma- 
bry, Robert C. Brown ; First Lieutenants, Baker W. Mabry, 
Robert C. Brown, Thomas M. Carter; Second Lieutenants, 
Thomas M. Carter, Robert C. Brown, Charles D. Mabry, 
Elisha C. Knight. * Enlisted men, 135. 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 23 

Company C— Captains, William L. Cherry, Macon G-. 
Cherry; First Lieutenants, Abram Cox, Andrew M. Thig- 
pen, Samuel V. Williams ; Second Lieutenants, Andrew M. 
Thig-pen, Macon G. Cherry, Samuel V. Williams, Reuben E. 
Mayo, Samuel Tapping. Enlisted men, 131. 

Company D— Captain, L. R. Anderson; First Lieuten- 
ants, Cornelius Stevens, John S. Easton ; Second Lieuten- 
ants, John S. Easton, James M. Perkins, George W. Parker, 
Thomas King. Enlisted men, 116. 

Company E— Captains, R. C. Gotten, Charles M. Sted- 
man, James T. Phillips, John J. Crump ; First Lieutenants, 
Charles M. Stedman, James T. Phillips, John J. Crump, ^. 
B. Hilliard; Second Lieutenants, R. C. Cotten, Jr., James 
T. Phillips, John J. Crump, Thomas B. Long, K. B. Hil- 
liard, C. C. Goldston, S. J. Tally. Enlisted men, 183. 

By reason of his health. Lieutenant Thomas B. Long re- 
signed in July, 1862. He was a most accomplished officer; 
brave, competent and true — he was respected by all. 

Company F— Captains, David D. DeBerry, John C. 
Gaines; First Lieutenants, John C. Gaines, John C. Mont- 
gomery ; Second Lieutenants, John C. Montgomery, Alexan- 
der M. Russell, George W. Montgomery. Enlisted men, 127. 
Company G— Captain, Robert Bingham; First Lieuten- 
ant, S. H. Workman; Second Lieutenants, George S. Cobb, 
James W. Compton, Fred. N. Dick, Thomas H. Norwood. 
Enlisted men, 129. 

Company H— Captains, William D. :\[offitt, James T. 
Townsend, R. W. Singletary ; First Lieutenants, James T. 
Townsend, William H. Carter, Thomas H. Norwood; Second 
Lieutenants, Daniel L. McMillan, R. W. Singletary, Moses 
Haywood, E. A. Moffitt, R. W. Dupree. Enlisted men, 141. 
Company I — Captains, Downing H. Smith, John R. 
Roach ; First Lieutenants, J. J. Bland, John R. Roach ; Sec- 
ond Lieutenants, John R. Roach, John A. Jackson, J. M. 
Lancaster. Enlisted men, 120. 

Company K— Captains, Rhet. R. L. Lawrence, W. P. 
Oldham ; First Lieutenants, Joseph W. Howard, W. P. Old- 
ham ; Second Lieutenants, David Yarborough, Bedford 

24 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Brown, J. H. Johnson, A, S. Webb, Joseph J. Leonard, 
Rufus Starke. Enlisted men, 144. 

On 19 May, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Tarboro, N. 
C, thence it proceeded to Greenville, jST. C, and for a few 
weeks was engaged in outpost and picket duty in that section 
of the State during which time it participated in no affair of 
consequence, save the skirmish at Tranter's Creek which, 
though otherwise unimportant, was to the regiment most un- 
fortunate in that its accomplished commander lost his life. 

From Eastern jSTorth Carolina the regiment was ordered to 
Virginia and there assigned to the Brigade of General J. 
Johnston Pettigrew, one of the very ablest commanders of 
the Army of Northern Virginia. Not only the Forty-fourth 
Regiment, but the entire Brigade, which consisted of five 
regiments — the Eleventh North Carolina, the Twenty-sixth 
N^orth Carolina, the Forty-fourth North Carolina, the Forty- 
seventh N^orth Carolina, and the Fifty-second North Caro- 
lina, felt the impress of his soldierly qualities. It was ever 
a matter of regret to the officers and men of the regiment that 
no opportunity was offered them of manifesting their appre- 
ciation of his great qualities by their conduct on the battle- 
ffeld uudor his immediate command. The other regiments 
of his brigade were with him at Gettysburg and contributed 
to his imperishable renown by their steadfast valor, but the 
Forty-fourth North Carolina, whilst en route, was halted at 
Hanover Junction, Va., to guard the railroad connections 
there centering, and thus protect General Lee's communica- 
tions with Richmond. Colonel T. C. Singletarv with two 
companies, remained at the junction. ]\[ajor Charles M. 
Stedman, with four companies, commanded north of the 
junction and the bridges of the Fredericksburg and of the 
Central (now the (1 & O.) Railroad across the South Anna 
and the Little Rivers, four in numl)ei', were entnisted to Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Hargrove, who posted one company at each 
bridge, remaining personally with C(UU])any A at Central's 
bridge across the South Anna, the post of greatest danger. 
On the morning of 26 June, 1865, the Federal troops, con- 
sisting of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, two compa- 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 25 

nies of a California cavalry regiment, and two pieces of ar- 
tillery, about fifteen hundred, all included, commanded by 
Colonel, afterwards General Spear, appeared before Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Hargrove, and his small force of forty men, sta- 
tioned in a breastwork on the south side of the river, built to 
be manned by not less than four humlred men. Before Col- 
onel Spear made his first attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Har- 
grove abandoning- the breastwork as being entirely untenable 
by so small a force, fell back to the north side of the river, 
posted his men under cover along the river bank and for two 
hours successfully resisted repeated efforts to capture the 
bridge by direct assault, although assailed by a force outnum- 
bering his own at least thirty-five to one. Failing in a direct 
attack, Colonel Spear sent four hundred men across the river 
by an old ford under cover of a violent assault in front from 
the south and was about to assail Lieutenant-Colonel Har- 
grove in his rear, which was entirely unprotected, when Com- 
pany G, consisting of -iO men, having been ordered from Cen- 
tral's bridge, over the river at Taylorsville, more than three 
miles distant, arrived and occupied the breastwork north of 
the river at its intersection with the railroad, and about two 
hundred yards from the bridge, thus protecting the rear of 
Company A. Company G had scarcely got into position 
when the charge of four hundred cavalry, intended for the 
unprotected rear of Company A, was delivered against Com- 
pany G, protected by the breastwork, and was repulsed, as 
were two other charges made at intervals of about fifteen 
minutes, while attacks were made simultaneously on Com- 
pany A from across the river with like results. During a 
lull in the fighting the Federal force on the north side was re- 
inforced by four hundred men, and an assault on both Com- 
panies A and G was (at the same time) ordered. Colonel 
Spear crossed the river and ordered the attack made up the 
river bank against Company G's unprotected right, and Com- 
pany A's unprotected left flank at the abutment of the bridge. 
The enormous odds prevailed, but only after a most desperate 
and hand-to-hand conflict with pistol, sabre and bayonet, in 
which Confederates and Federals were commingled. In the 
final assault Company A lost half of its men. The loss of 

26 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Company G was not heavy. The Federal loss exceeded the 
entire number of Confederate troops engaged. Colonel 
Spear retreated after burning one bridge instead of four. He 
stated in the presence of his own command and that of Colo- 
nel Hargrove that: "The resistance made by the Confed- 
erates was the most stubborn he had known during the war; 
that he supposed that he was fighting four hundred infantry 
instead of eighty, and that his expedition had entirely failed 
of its object, which was to cut General Lee's communica- 
tions with Richmond." No more gallant fight was made dur- 
ing the entire Civil War, than by Lieutenant-Colonel Har- 
grove's command. He won the admiration of both friend 
and foe by his personal gallantry, and only surrendered when 
overpowered and taken by sheer physical force. 

General Pettigrew having been mortally wounded on the 
retreat from Gettysburg, Colonel William Kirkland, of the 
Twenty-first N^orth Carolina Regiment, was promoted to 
Brigadier-General and assigned to the command of Petti- 
grew's Brigade about 10 August, 1863. 


The brigade left camp at Rapidan Station, wliere it had 
been in cantonment, on 8 October, 1863, and marched rapidly 
with a view of engaging General Meade at Culpepper Court 
House. General Meade fell back and avoided a conflict at 
Culpepper Court House, but was overtaken at Bristoe Sta- 
tion. Here on 14 October, 1863, a bloody and disastrous 
engagement was precipitated between Cooke's and Kirkland's 
Brigades, and the bulk of Warren's Corps, supported by a 
powerful artillery with a railroad embankment as a fortifica- 
tion. In this fight, so inopportune and ill-advised and not 
at all in accordance with the views of General Lee, the Forty- 
fourth Regiment greatly distinguished itself. Advancing 
through an open field directly upon the line of fire of the 
Federal artillery, it sustained a heavy loss without flinching. 
Three different couriers rode up to the regiment and deliv- 
ered a message to fall back. The order was disregarded and 
the regiment moved steadily on under heavy fire of both artil- 
lery and infantry, and when close upon the works, with the 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 27 

shout of victory in the air, only retreated under peremptory 
orders from Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill. The loss of the 
regiment in this engagement in killed and wounded was 
large. This was the first time the conduct of the regiment 
fell under the observation of Colonel William MacRae, of 
the Fifteenth North Carolina Regiment, and after^vards its 
brigade commander. He w^as struck with admiration at 
the splendid conduct of the men, and often afterwards re- 
ferred to their steady valor upon that field. It endeared 
the regiment to liim, for he loved brave men, and it became 
his habit to frequently place himself with the colors of the 
regiment for, said he: 'Tf I am with the Forty-fourth Reg- 
iment and am lost, I shall always be found to the fore-front 
of the fighting." 


General Lee having received information that General 
Grant had commenced the passage of the Rapidan on the 
night of 3 May, 1864, broke up his cantonments on the 4th 
and prepared to meet him. The Forty-fourth ISTorth Caro- 
lina, with Kirkland's Brigade, left camp near Orange Court 
House on the 4th and bivouacked the same night at Verdiers- 
ville, about nine miles from the battlefield of the "Wilder- 
ness." Two roads led in parallel lines through the dense 
thickets which gave its name to the territory upon which the 
battle was fought. One was known as the Orange Plank 
Road, and the other as the Turnpike. The Forty-fourth 
marched by way of the Plank Road and became heavily en- 
gaged about 2 o'clock of the afternoon of the 5th. The 
right rested immediately upon tlie Plank Road, and next in 
line to it, with its left on the road, was the Twenty-sixth 
North Carolina Regiment. This immediate locality was 
the storni-eenter of the fight, and it is doubtful if any more 
violent and sanguinary contest occurred during the entire 
Civil War than just here. The road was swept by an inces- 
sant hurricane of fire, and to attempt to cross it meant almost 
certain death. At this point of the line three pieces 
of Confederate artillery were seriously menaced with 
capture, the horses belonging to the guns having all been 

28 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

killed or disabled, whilst the gunners were subjected to an 
incessant and murderous fire. At this juncture Lieuten- 
ant R. W. Stedman, of Company A, volunteered to drag 
the guns down the road out of danger if a detail of forty 
men was furnished. Forty men immediately stepped to 
his side and said they would follow him, althovigh they all 
knew the effort was full of peril. The work was done suc- 
cessfully, but only three of the volunteers escaped unhurt. 
Lieutenant Stedman was severely wounded by a grape shot. 
For his personal gallantry in this action he was honorably 
mentioned in high terms of praise, in an official order from 
division headquarters. The loss of the regiment in the en- 
gagements of the 5th and 6th was exceedingly heavy ; a 
large proportion of its officers were killed and wounded; 
amongst the latter the Major of the regiment. Both officers 
and men won the special commendation of brigade and divis- 
ion commanders. On the 8th the regiment moved with the 
brigade towards Spottsylvania Court House. On the 10th 
Heth's and Anderson's Divisions, commanded by Early, had 
a serious conflict with a portion of General Grant's army, 
which was attempting to flank General Lee by what was called 
the Po River Road. In this engagement the Forty-fourth, 
suffered severely, and fought with its accustomed valor. 

Captain J. J. Crump, of Company E, elicited by his con- 
duct, warm commendation from the general commanding. 


On the 12th the regiment was assigned its position directly 
in front of Spottsylvania Court House, and was in support of 
a strong force of Confederate artillery. Repeatedly during 
the day it was charged 1)y the Federal columns, their ad- 
vance always being heralded and covered by a lieavy artil- 
lery fire. Every assault was repulsed with gi'oat loss to the 
assailants, whose advance was greeted by loud cheers from 
the Forty-fourth Regiment, many of the men leaping on the 
eartliworks and fighting without covei-. The loss during 
this engagement was comparatively slight. The ^lajor com- 
mandinsi' the regiment was ao'ain wounded and sent to a hos- 


1. R. W. Stedman, 2d Lieut., Co. A., 3. John Ruffin Buchanan, Sergeant, Co. A. 

Famous Scout. 4. Joseph M. Satterwhite, Private, Co. A. 

2. E. A. Moffitt, 2d Lieut., Co. H. 5. James Andrew Wilson, Private, Co. A. 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 29 

pital in Kichniond, and was not able to rejoin his regiment 
until a few days before the battle at Reams Station. 

The regiment participated in all the engagements in which 
its brigade took part from Spottsylvania Conrt Plouse to Pe- 
tersburg, constantly skirmishing and fighting as Grant con- 
tinued his march on Lee's flank. On 3 June, 186-i, it was 
heavily engaged with the enemy near Gaines' Mill. In this 
fight General W. W. Ivirkland, commanding the brigade, was 
wounded. Pursuing its march, and almost daily skirmish- 
ing, the regiment reached Petersburg on 24 June, 18()4-, and 
commenced the desultory and dreary work of duty in the 
trenches. During the latter part of July, 1864, the regi- 
ment left Petersburg for Stoney Creek, and whilst on the 
march Colonel William MacRae, of the Fifteenth North 
Carolina Regiment, joined the brigade and assumed com- 
mand under orders. This gallant officer was promoted to 
the rank of Brigadier-General in I^ovember, 1864, and from 
that time never left the brigade, of which the Forty-fourth 
was a part, until the last day at Appomattox. From Stoney 
Creek the regiment returned to Petersburg. 


The regiment bore its part with conspicuous good conduct 
in the brilliant engagement at Reams Station on 25 August, 

Upon the investment of Petersburg the possession of the 
Weldon road became of manifest importance, as it was Lee's 
main line of comnumication with the South, whence he drew 
his men and supplies. On 18 August, 1864, General G. K. 
Warren, with the Fifth Corps of Grant's anuy, and Kautz's 
Division of cavalry, occupied the line of the Weldon road at 
a point six miles from Petersburg. An attempt was made to 
dislodge them from this position on the 21st, but the effort 
failed. Emboldened by Wan-en's success, Hancock was or- 
dered from Deep Bottom to Reams Station, ten miles from 
Petersburg. He arrived there on the 2 2d and promptly 
commenced the destruction of the railroad track. His in- 
fantry force consisted of Gibbons' and Miles' Divisions, and 
in the afternoon of the 25th, he w^as reinforced by the divis- 

30 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

ion of Orlando B. Wilcox, which, however, arrived too late to 
be of any substantial service to him. Gregg's division of 
cavalry, with an additional brigade commanded by Spear, 
was with him. He had abundant artillery, consisting in part 
of the Tenth Massachusetts battery. Battery B First Rhode 
Island, McNight's Twelfth New York Battery, and Woer- 
ner's Third New Jersey Battery. On the 2 2d Gregg was as- 
sailed by Wade Hampton with one of his cavalry divisions, 
and a sharp contest ensued. General Hampton, from the 
battlefield of the 2 2d, sent a note to General R. E. Lee, sug- 
gesting an immediate attack with infantry. That great 
commander, realizing that a favorable opportunity was of- 
fered to strike Hancock a heavy blow, directed Lieutenant- 
Gen eral A. P. Hill to advance against him as promptly as 
possible. General Hill left his camp near Petersburg on 
the night of the 24th, and marching south, halted near Arm- 
strong's Mill, about eight miles from Petersburg. On the 
morning of the 25tli he advanced to Monk's Neck Bridge, 
three miles from Reams Station, and awaited advices from 
Hampton. The Confederate force actually present at Reams 
Station, consisted of Cooke's and MacRae's Brigades of 
Heth's Division, Lane's, Scales' and McGow^an's Brigades of 
Wilcox's Division, Anderson's brigade of Longstreet's Corps, 
two brigades of Mahone's Division, Butler's and W. H. F. 
Lee's Divisions of cavalry, and a portion of Pegram's Battal- 
ion of artillery. 

Being the central regiment of the brigade, MacRae's line 
of battle was formed on it as was customary. Just previous 
to the assault upon General Hancock's command, the regi- 
ment was posted in the edge of a pine thicket, about three 
hundred yards from the breastworks held by the Federal 
troops. When the order was given to advance, the men threw 
themselves forward at a double-quick in a line as straight and 
unbroken as they presented when on parade, and without 
firing a gun, mounted the entrenchments and precipitated 
themselves amongst the Federal infantry on the other side, 
who seemed to be dazed by the vehemence of the attack, and 
made a very feeble resistance after their ranks were reached. 

A battery of artillery, captured by the regiment, was 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 31 

turned upon the retreating columns of the enemj. It was 
manned by sharpshooters of the Forty-fourth, who had been 
trained in artillery practice. Captain Oldham, of Com- 
pany K, sighted one of the gims repeatedly, and when he saw 
the effect of his accurate aim upon the disarmed masses in 
front, was so jubilant that General MacRae with his usual 
quiet humor remarked: "Oldham thinks he is at a ball in 

The Federal loss in this battle was between six and seven 
hundred killed and woimded, and 2,150 prisoners, 3,100 
stand of small arms, twelve stand of colors, nine guns and 
caissons. The Confederate loss was small, and fell princi- 
pally upon Lane's Brigade ; it did not exceed five hvmdred in 
killed and wounded. The casualties in the Forty-fourth 
Regiment were trifling, as well as in other regiments of the 
brio'ade, for Hancock's men in our front fired wildlv and above 
the mark, being badly demoralized by the fire of the Confeder- 
ate artillery, under cover of Avhich MacRae's men advanced 
to the assault. 

James Forrest, who carried the colors of the regiment, be- 
came famous for his chivalrous devotion to the flag, and his 
gallantry on every field. 

On the night of 25 August, 1864, the regiment returned 
with MacRae's Brigade to its position on the line of entrench- 
ments at Petersburg, held by General Lee's right, and contin- 
ued to perform the routine of duties incident to such a life 
until 27 October, 1864. 


The enemy having forced back our cavalry, and penetrated 
to a point on our right known as Burgess' Mill, on 27 Octo- 
ber, 1864, General MacRae was ordered to attack with the 
understanding that he should be promptly reinforced by 
one or more brigades. Reconnoitering the enemy's position, 
he pointed out at once the weak part of their line to several 
officers who were with him, and ordered his brigade to the 
assault. It bore down everything in its front, capturing a 
battery of artillery, and dividing the corps which it had as- 
sailed. The Federal commander, seeing that MacRae was 

32 North Carolina Troops. ISOl-'Go. 

not supported, closed in upon his flanks and attacked with 
gi'eat vig<)r. Undismayed by the large force which sur- 
rounded him, and unwilling to surrender the prize of victory 
already within his grasp, MacRae formed a portion of his 
command (ibli(|uely to his main line of battle, driving back 
the foe at every point, whilst the deafening shouts and obsti- 
nate fighting of his brigade showed their entire confidence in 
their commander, although every man of them knew their 
situation to be critical, and their loss had already been great. 
Awaiting reinforcements, which long since ought to have 
been with him, he held his vantage ground at all hazards, and 
against enormous odds. jSTo help came whilst his men toiled, 
bled and died. Approaching night told him that the safety 
of his brigade demanded that he return to his original posi- 
tion. Facing his men about, they cut their Avay through a 
new^ line of battle wdiich had partially formed in their rear. 
In this encounter the Forty-fourth Xorth Carolina bore a 
brilliant part ; it drove the Federal line, everyA\'her(^ in its 
front, steadily to the rear. Lieutenant R. W. Stcduuni, of 
Company A, with less than fifty men, charged and captured 
a battery of artillery which was supported by a considerable 
force of infantry. This battery was disabled and left, as it 
was impossible to bring it off the field when the regiment was 
ordered to return to the position it occupied at the commence- 
ment of the fight. The affair at Burgess' Mill was uiarred 
by the misunderstanding of his orders by an officer of high 
rank, by which he failed to reinforce General MacRae, as 
instructed, causing a heavy loss to his brigade. 

From Burgess' Mill the regiment again returned to its old 
position in the entrenchments at Petersburg. On 2 April, 
1865, the Confederate lines having been pierced and broken 
through, the regiment, under orders, commenced its retreat 
towards Amelia Court House, which place it reached on 4 
April. Its line of march was marked by constant and bloody 
engagements with the Federal troops, who followed in close 
pursuit, but wlio were entirely unable to produce the slight- 
est demoralization or panic. At Southerland's Station the 
fight w^as severe. On the night of tlie 5th it left Amelia 
Court House and reached Appomattox on the morning of the 

Forty-Fourth Regiment. 33 

9th, where, together Avith the bleeding remnants of the army 
of l^orthern Virginia, it stacked its arms and its career was 

The esprit de corps of the regiment was of the very highest 
order. Xeither disease, famine, nor scenes of horror well 
calculated to freeze the hearts of the bravest, ever conquered 
its iron spirit. The small remnant who survived the trials 
of the retreat from Petersburg, and who left a trail of blood 
along their weary march from its abandoned trenches to Ap- 
pomattox Court House, were as eager and ready for the fray 
on that last memorable day, as when, with full ranks and 
abiuidant support, they drove the Federal troops before them 
in headlong flight on other fields. This spirit especially 
manifested itself in the love of the regiment for its flag, 
which was guarded by all its mend^ers with chivalrous devo- 
tion, and which was never lost or captured on any field. The 
first flag was carried from the commencement of its cam- 
paign until about 1 Januaiy, 1865, when a new one was 
presented in its stead, for the reason that so much of the old 
flag had been shot away that it could not Ix^ distinctly seen by 
other regiments during brigade drills, and as the Forty-fourth 
was always made the central regiment, upon which the oth- 
ers of the brigade dressed in line of battle, as well as on pa- 
rade, a new flag had become a necessity. 

The new battle flag was carried by Color-Sergeant George 
Barbee, of Company G, until the night of 1 April, 1865, 
when crossing the Appomattox, he wrapped a stone in it and 
dropped it in the river, saying to his comrades about him : 
''No enemy can ever have a flag of the Forty-fourth ISTorth 
Carolina Regiment." The wonderful power which the high 
order of esprit de corps exerted for good amongst the officers 
and men, is illustrated by an incident which is worthy to be 
recorded amidst the feats of heroes. 

A private by the name of Tilman, in the regiment, had on 
several occasions attracted General MacRae's favorable at- 
tention and, at his request, was attached to the color-guard. 
Tilman's name was also honorably mentioned in the orders 
of the day from brigade headquarters. 

34 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

Soon thereafter, in front of Petersburg, the regiment be- 
came severely engaged with the enemy and suffered heavy 
loss. The flag several times fell, as its bearers were shot 
down in quick succession. Tilman seized it and again car- 
ried it to the front. It was but an instant and he, too, fell. 
As one of his comrades stooped to raise the flag again, the 
dying soldier touched him, and in tones made weak by the 
approach of death, said: "Tell the General I died with the 
flag." The tender memories and happy associations connected 
with his boyhood's home faded from his vision as he rejoiced 
in the consciousness that he had proved himself worthy of 
the trust which had been confided to him. 

The old battle flag of the regiment tattered and torn by ball 
and shell, its staff riddled, and its folds in shreds, was pre- 
sented to Mrs. Delia Worth Bingham, wife of Captain Robert 
Bingham, Company G, by the Major commanding, as a 
mark of respect and esteem in behalf of officers and men to a 
woman who had won their affectionate regard, and whose hus- 
band had ever followed it with fidelity and fortitude upon 
every field where it waved. Captain Bingham, whose home 
is in Asheville, 1^. C, still has it in his possession. 

Its folds shall become mouldy with the lapse of years. The 
time will come when the Civil War shall only be remembered 
as a shadow of days long passed, but the memories of the 
great deeds of the sons of Carolina who followed that flag, 
and who sleep in unknown graves upon the fields of Northern 
Virginia, shall survive unshaken amidst the ruins of time. 

Chas. M. Stedman. 
Greensboro, N. C, 

April 9, 1901. 



1. Junius Daniel, Colonel. 5. Andrew J. Boyd, Lieut.-Colonel. 

2. John R. Winston, Colonel. 6. Thomas M. Smith, Major. 

8. J. Henry Morehead, Colonel. 7. Samuel C. Rankin, Captain, Co. K. 

4. Samuel Hill Boyd, Colonel. 8. J". A. Roach, Sergeant, Co. E. 

9. C. B. Watson, Sergeant, Co. K. 


j3y CYRUS B. WATSON, Second Sergeant, Company K. 


The Forty-fifth Regiment was organized at Camp Man- 
gum, Raleigh, 'N. C, in the early spring of 1862, with: 

Junius Daniel, Colonel, of Halifax County. 

Jno. Henky Mokehead^ Lieutenant-Colonel, of Greens- 
boro, IT. C. 

Andrew J. Boyd, Major, of Rockingham. 
W. M. Hammond, Adjutant, of Anson. 
Pryor Reynolds, A. Q. M., Rockingham. 
Dr. Wm. J. Courts, Surgeon, of Rockingham. 
Jno. R. Raine, Assistant Surgeon, of Rockingham. 
Rev. E. H. Harding, Chaplain, of Caswell County. 

The regiment contained ten companies, six of which were 
organized in Rockingham County, one in Caswell, two in 
Guilford and one in Forsyth. These companies were en- 
listed and organized for three years' service. i\.t the time 
of their organization, the war was on in dead earnest. The 
first battle of Manassas had been fought and won ; the battles 
of Forts Henry and Donelson had been fought and lost, and 
the capital of one of the States of the Confederacy was in 
the hands of the enemy. The State of ISTorth Carolina had 
been invaded ; Fort Macon had been captured, and the city 
of New Bern was occupied by the Federal forces. The au- 
thorities at Washington were putting forth tremendous en- 
ergies in organizing and equipping great armies for the sub- 
jugation of the seceding States. The Confederate Govern- 
ment at Richmond, to meet these mighty preparations, had 
called upon the States of the South for more troops. 

Thes^ ten companies were raised and commanded by such 

36 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

men as Dr. Jno. W. May, of Rockingham County, then 
nearly 50 years of age, Captain of Company A. 

Chas. E. Shober, of Greensboro, Captain of Company B, 
himself fit to command a regiment. 

Jas. T. Morehead, Jr., of Greensboro, Captain of Com- 
pany C, afterwards the splendid commander of the Fifty- 
third Regiment. 

Jno. L. Scales, of Rockingham, Captain of Company D, 
a man of sterling worth and splendid ability. 

Samuel H. Boyd, of Rockingham, Captain of Company E, 
afterwards Colonel of the regiment and a most gallant man. 

Jno. R. Winston, of Rockingham, Captain of Company F, 
a man who afterw-ards won great distinction as commander of 
the regiment. 

Jno. H. Dillard, of Rockingham, Captain of Company G, 
who afterwards filled with distinction a position upon the 
Supreme Court bench of the State, and w^hose qualities of 
head and heart fitted him for any position he might be called 
upon to fill. 

Dr. Wm. J. Courts, of Rockingham, Captain of (^ompany 
H., afterwards Surgeon of the Regiment. 

Thomas McGehee Smith, of Caswell, Captain of Company 
I, a most lovable man, afterwards promoted to Major and 
killed while commanding the regiment. 

Dr. J. M. Hines, of Forsyth, Captain of Company K, 
whose manly qualities and unifomi kindness to the boy sol- 
dier, the writer of this sketch, who served under him, will al- 
ways be held in the fondest remembrance. 

Junius Daniel, the first Colonel of the Regiment, was an 
ofiicer in the old army and a gi\aduate of West Point. He 
was transferred from the command of the Fourteenth Regi- 
ment to the Forty-fifth Regiment, of which he w-as elected 
Colonel upon its organization. He was promoted to Briga- 
dier-General in September, 1862, and commanded Daniel's 
Brigade with conspicuous ability from its organization in the 
spring of 1862, until killed at Spottsylvania Court House on 
12 May, 1864. On his promotion^ Lieutenant-Colonel J. 
Henry Morehead, of Greensboro, was made Colonel of the 
regiment. He was a fine disciplinarian and did much before 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 37 

his untimely death in 1863 in qualifying the regiment for 
the ordeals through which it had to pass along its subsequent 
march to imperishable renown. After the death of Colonel 
Morehead, Samuel H. Boyd became Colonel of the regiment. 
He was wounded at Gettysburg and left on the field a pris- 
oner, and remained a prisoner of war until exchanged in 
May, 1864. He then returned to the army and took com- 
mand of the regiment on 17 May, at Spottsylvania ; was 
killed two days thereafter while gallantly leading his regi- 
ment in a charge upon the enemy's line. A few moments be- 
fore the charge, in which he lost his life, he received a gun- 
shot wound in the arm. He had his arm bandaged with his 
handkerchief to stop the flow of blood, refused to leave the 
field, and was killed as above stated. 

He wore a bright, new uniform in this battle, was about six 
feet four inches tall, which made him a shining mark for the 
enemy's riflemen. After his death John R. Winston became 
Colonel of the regiment. Mature had fashioned him for a 
soldier. He was a man of deep piety, of stem integrity and 
the coolest courage in battle. He was often wounded, but 
rarely left the field because of wounds. Was wounded and 
captured at Gettysbui'g in July, 1863, carried to Johnson's 
Island as a prisoner of war, escaped from the island on a cold 
night in January, 1864, walked across the lake on the ice to 
the Canadian shore, went from Canada to ISTassau, from there 
he reached a Confederate port by running the blockade, and 
returned to the regiment in time for the campaign of 1864. 
He led the regiment through all the battles of the Wilder- 
ness, Spotts^dvania and Cold Harbor ; was then transferred 
to General Early's command in the Valley, advanced with 
that command upon Washington, carried his regiment in 
sight of the Capitol, fought his regiment at the battle of Win- 
chester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, and in the last two 
engagements, held the regiment in line until most of Early's 
command had left the field. After the Valley campaign wa.s 
over, he joined the army of General Lee at Petersburg, where 
he remained during the winter of 1864 and 1865, marched 
and fought to Appomattox Court House where he surren- 
dered with the army of his great Chieftain. 

38 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'05. 

Thomas McGehee Smith, Major of the regiment, was a 
splendid officer, beloved by the men of the regiment, and was 
killed in one of the battles near Richmond which followed 
the Spottsjlvania campaign of 1864. 

I have given this sketch of the field officers of the regiment 
who served for any length of time with the regiment. Majo]* 
Andrew J. Bojd, a brother of Colonel Samuel H. Boyd, was 
promoted from Captain of Company L, of the Twenty-first 
Regiment, but did not long remain with the regiment. Chas. 
E. Shober was promoted from Captain of Company B, but re- 
mained Major of the regiment only a short time until he be-' 
came Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second North Carolina Bat-" 

In approaching the difficult task assigned me of writing a 
true historical sketch of the Forty-fifth Regiment in this, the 
year 1900, thirty-five years after the regiment laid down its 
arms at Appomattox Court House, I find myself involved in 
gi'eat difficulties. Very few of the officers of the regiment 
are living. In looking over the Roster of the non-commis- 
sioned officers of the various companies, I find that they, too, 
have nearly all passed away. Among the surviving private 
soldiers of the various companies, there are very few, whose 
whereabouts I can ascertain. I have little left but personal 

It will be seen that the men who composed this regiment 
were drawn from four contiguous counties, Forsyth, Guil-' 
ford, Rockingham and Caswell. The officers who organized, 
disciplined and prepared them for war were such as would 
have made a good regiment out of almost any material. But 
the men themselves, in the main, would have made good sol- 
diers under almost any circumstances. The rank and file of 
the regiment was composed of men from tlie farm, from the 
shop, from the school room, from the office, from mercantile 
pursuits, in fact from all the Avalks of life. Many of thera 
were without property, some of them the sons of the wealthy, 
but most of them from the middle classes. I knew one young 
private who was the owner of many slaves in his own right. 

From the organization of the regiment in the early spring 
of 1862 until the beginning of the seven days' fight beloW 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 39 

Richmond, the men were drilled almost incessantly. They 
were upon the drill ground upon an average from six to 
eight hours each day. When the first battle opened at Me- 
chanicsville, Daniel's Brigade was in camp near Petersburg. 
We immediately struck tents and started for the field ; crossed 
the James on a pontoon bridge above Drewry's Bluff, and be^ 
came a part of the division of General Holmes. The brigade 
did not encounter the enemy until late in the evening of 30 
June. We marched down the river in almost blinding dust 
until we reached a point between McClellan's army, then en- 
gaged in the battle of Frazier's Farm, and the river. 

The brigade was halted and the command was given for the 
first time to load Avith cartridges. A few stray balls of the 
enemy were falling around the regiment. While the regi- 
ment was loading its guns, a field battery opened fire directly 
enfilading the line. At the same time a squadron of Confed- 
erate cavalry stampeded up the road, threatening to trample 
us under the feet of their horses. Just at this moment, two 
gunboats, the Galena and another on the river directly behind 
the line, opened fire with 160 pounders. This was, what has 
always seemed to me, a poor way to break in a raw regiment. 
The regiment thought so, and eight companies immediately 
broke to the woods and "Stood not upon the order of their 
going." Two companies, commanded by Captain May and 
Captain Jno. H. Dillard, rapidly disappeared up the lane. 
Just as these eight companies climbed out of the road, which 
was lower than the land on the sides. Private Harrison Green, 
of Company K, was killed by a shell from one of the gunboats 
and fell by the writer's side. Private Jesse Sapp, of Com- 
pany K, was run over and permanently disabled by the horse 
of a frightened cavalryman. The eight companies did not go 
far until they recovered from their fright, formed on the flag 
and quietly marched back to a position near the point where 
they had left the road, each man with his mouth full of ex- 
cuses for having lost his head. Just at this time the two com- 
panies, commanded by Captains May and Dillard, came 
marching down the lane with their two captains in 
front and marched up to Colonel Daniel. Captain May 
saluted the Colonel and said that Companies A and G had 

40 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

misunderstood the order and had marched up the lane. Colo- 
nel Daniel replied, with a smile on his face: "Yes, Captain, 
I saw the companies march \jp the lane at a very rapid gait, 
and, if I am not mistaken, their two Captains were making 
good time, and in front," which created a langh all tlirough 
the regiment, the two Captains joining in the fun. By a mis- 
take of some one, our division that evening was not permitted 
to engage in the battle of Frazier's Farm, although it reached 
a point immediately upon tlie enemy's flank in time to have 
done effective service. The next day the sanguinary conflict 
of Malvern Ilill raged until after dark, with our division 
again on the enemy's flank and under the enemy's fire with- 
out taking any active part in that engagement, except to 
endure the shelling from the enemy's guns. It was not 
the fault of "the men behind the guns." Daniel's Brigade, 
after the battle of Malvern Hill, returned to its camp near 
Petersburg. It remained near Petersburg until the army 
started on its march to ^laryland. We were ordered to 
Richmond and remained in the city one day, awaiting trans- 
portation to Culpepper. The enemy made a demonstration 
on Drewry's Bhiti' and we were hurried back to tluit point. We 
went into camp immediately in the rear of Fort Darling, 
where we renuiined until ordered to T^orth Carolina in the 
late fall of 1862. The In-igade went to Ivinston ; was en- 
gaged through the spring of 1862 in marching and counter- 
marching in the country between Ivinston and Xew Bern and 
around Washington on the Tar river, under General D. H. 
Hill ; some little fighting, but none worth describing here. 
We returned to Kinston in time to have reached Fredericks- 
burg before the battle of Chancellorsville, l)ut were delayed 
for want of transportation facilities, and arrived at Freder- 
icksburg just after the liattle had closed and were immedi- 
ately attached to General Rodes' Division of Ewell's Corps. 
Early in June the army broke u]) camp and started on 
the memorable Gettysburg campaign. The first excitement 
occurrcMl over the great cavalry Icittle of Brandy Station. 
The brigade double-cpiicked from ("'ulpepper Court House 
most of the way to Brandy Station one hot evening, going 
to the relief of General Stuart, l)ut arrived on the field only 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 41 

in time to receive a few parting shots from the retreating en- 
emy. The next morning found us on our way across the 
mountains marching rapidly toward Winchester. Rodes' 
Division was sent to Berryville, where it had a slight engage- 
ment, and cut oif the retreat of Milroy, whose entire command 
fell into the hands of General Ewell as prisoners of w^ar at 
Winchester. Ewell's Corps innnediately took up its line of 
march into Pennsylvania, and Rodes' Division went as far 
!N"orth as Carlisle, Pa. From this point the Brigade turned 
back in the direction of Gettysburg and arrived on that field 
in the afternoon of 1 July. 


I was not present with my regiment at the battle of Get- 
tysburg. I was left at Front Royal, on the march to Gettys- 
burg, with a severe attack of acute pneumonia, contracted 
from lying on the damp ground at Brandy Station, after the 
rapid march from Culpepper, before alluded to. I met the 
regiment on its return between Hagerstown, ]\Id., and Get- 
tysburg, in command of a Captain. This much I know, when I 
met the regiment it was but a mere skeleton of what it was 
when it left me at Front Royal. 

My own company lost seven men dead on the field, and 
lost between twenty-five and thirty wounded, including all of 
its officers save one. The Gettysburg Federal Memorial i^sso- 
ciation in 1897 published ''A History of the Gettysl^urg Me- 
morial Association with an Account of the Battle," from 
Mdiich I quote as follows : 

"Another of Rodes' Brigades, Daniel's jSTorth Carolina, 
moved past the front of Robinson's Division, and while the 
Fifty-third Regiment of the brigade, with the Third Alaba- 
ma of O'^N^eal's, which had been detached from its brigade, 
and the Twelfth Xorth Carolina, of Iverson's, attacked the 
Seventy-sixth iSTew York, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and One 
Hundred and Forty-seventh j^ew York, of Cutler's Brigade, 
on left of Robinson, Daniel's other regiment — the Thirty- 
second, Forty-fifth, Second Battalion and the Forty-third — 
moved further to the right around to the railroad cut, and 
attacked the One Hundred and Forty-third and One Hun- 

42 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

dred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, of Stone's Brigade, 
which regiments had been withdrawn from their first position 
and placed along the Chamhersburg Pike to meet this attack. 
These regiments were from the lumber region of Pennsylva- 
nia and were expert riflemen, and the vollies with which 
they greeted Daniel's men were said by the Confederate offi- 
cers to have been the most destructive they ever witnessed." 

The same account of the battle, in giving a table of losses, 
shows that these two Pennsylvania Regiments lost 589 men 
out of a total of 915. While the Forty-fifth Regiment and 
the Second North Carolina Battalion (six companies), lost 
that day nearly 400 men. After rei'rossing the Potomac, I 
remember that General Daniel inspected the regiment, pass- 
ing down the line inquiring after the condition of cartridges, 
we having waded the Potomac the night before. I remember 
hearing him ask Captain Hopkins, who commanded the reg- 
iment, ''How many Rockingham companies are there in the 
regiment?" He answered, ''Six." The General replied, 
"Rockingham county has reason to be proud of the record 
made by the regiment at Gettysburg." 

After the Gettysburg campaign, we returned to the south 
side of the Rapidan, after many days of hot and toilsome 
marching, and went into camp near Orange Court House, and 
finally moved down the river to Morton's Ford, In the fall 
we left camp, marched to Madison Court House, turned the 
flank of General Meade, and started on, what appeared to be, 
a foot race after Meade's army retreating toward Washing- 
ton. We overtook Meade at Bristoe Station just at sunset, 
after having been engaged in a running fight which lasted 
all day. The battle of Bristoe Station ended disastriously to 
us but Gen. Meade continued his retreat toward Washington. 
After a day or two's rest, we slowly returned to the south 
bank of the Ttapp:diannock river and went into camp, as we 
thought, for the winter. Shortly afterwards, after some 
sharp skirmishing with the enemy, we retired across the 
Rapidan and again took up our old (piarters near Morton's 
Ford. Winter being now upon us, we thought all fighting 
was over for the year lSfi3, but shortly afterwards. General 
Meade, not satisfied with the result of the recent campaign. 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 43 

threw his army across the Rapidan. We hastened down to 
confront him, and for several days skirmished and fought by 
day and built breastworks by night in severe winter, until 
the enemy, finding that it was impossible to fight us to ad- 
vantage, fell back across the river, and both armies returned 
to their quarters to remain during the winter. Each com- 
mander immediately engaged in filling up the ranks of the 
depleted regiments, preparing for the dreadful conflict that 
was to open up in the spring of 1864. 


In the afternoon of 4 May, the regiment abandoned its 
winter quarters and started on the march to meet General 
Grant, the new commander of the Army of the Potomac. At 
nightfall we went into camp in ^'The Wilderness." On the 
morning of the 5th, after a hurried breakfast, we took up the 
line of march, and within a very short time, were halted and 
drawn up in line of battle. It was a beautiful May morning. 
We began to advance in line, having been informed that we 
had some of our troops in front of us. We could hear the 
scattering picket fire to the left and right. Suddenly we heard, 
what appeared to be a heavy volley of musketry a few hundred 
yards in front of us. Soon the woods were filled with de- 
moralized men and we ascertained that the lines of Jones' 
Brigade had been broken, and that the regiments composing 
the brigade were quitting the field in the utmost confusion. 
We halted and let the men pass through our ranks. We were 
presently informed by the Colonel of one of the regiments 
that the brigade had broken at the first fire of the enemy, and 
that its commander, the brave General Jones, had refused to 
retreat with the men and had remained on the line until 
shot down. As soon as the way in front had been cleared, 
we heard the voice of our brigade commander, General 
Junius Daniel, give the command, "Attention, Battalions ! 
Battalions forward, the center the battalion of direction, 
march !" The brigade moved for^vard at a quick step 
through the underbrush, just budding into spring life. 
We had not advanced far until, without notice, a white 
volume of smoke burst through the thick bushes, rendered 

44 North Carolina Troops, 1801 -'05. 

thicker by the interlacing haniboo briers that had grown up 
in a little depression of the earth, parallel with our line, fal- 
lowed with an almost deafening crash of musketry. We had 
not, up to this moment, seen an enemy. The aim was too 
high and hardly a man in the regiment was touched. With- 
out waiting for a command, every gun was leveled, and into 
the line of smoke we poured a terrible volley, and, with a 
shout, Avent at them. On reacliing a little narrow thicket, 
which, with clubbed muskets, was instantly leveled, we dis- 
covered a thin line of the enemy in full retreat, with the 
dead and wounded lying before our eyes, indicating that 
something like half of the line of battle had fallen at our first 
fire. On went the brigade in a full run. Presently we ap- 
proached a small opening containing only a few acres of 
cleared land. 

In this was placed a battery of guns which opened upon us 
as soon as the fleeing enemy had passed beyond. They had 
time to fire but once. Down the little slope the brigade 
rushed past the guns. At this point we received, at short 
range, the fire of a new line of the enemy, concealed in the 
pines beyond. The brigade halted, the men dropped on their 
knees and engaged in a conflict, the length of which I liave no 
means of knowing. This fight continued until both lines 
had suffered severely, and, as if by common consent, our line 
withdrew to the edge of the woods from which it had emerg- 
ed, while the enemy went in the opposite direction. Shortly 
afterwards the position we held was given to another brigade 
and our l>rigade was permitted to retire a few hundred yards 
and rest. We had lost heavily. The battle was then raging 
all along the line of Ewell's Corps and continued until after 
nightfall. In the darkness we arranged our lines and worked 
most of the night throwing up earth works. Early the next 
morning the firing betw^een the picket lines began. From 
time to time during the day we sent forward men to 
strengthen the picket line. This picket fire continued all 
day with a light fire of artillery at intervals. During this 
day, the 6th of May, the dreadful fight was raging on our 
right between the Corps <^f Hill and Longstreet and the 
greater part of Grant's army. We remained in our position 

Forty- Fifth Regiment. 45 

during the night of the 6th and all day of the 7th with con- 
tinued heavy picket and artillery firing. Early in the night 
of the 7th we moved out by the right flank, having been cau- 
tioned to make as little noise as possible, and commenced 
what turned out to be, a hurried flank movement to Spottsyl- 
vania Court House. We marched all night, and the whole of 
the next day, and in the afternoon heard heavy firing in the 
direction of Spottsylvania Court House, We hurried on. 
Now and then we passed through sections where the woods 
were on fire and would become enveloped in choking smoke, 
but nothing delayed us. Late in the afternoon, as we were 
approaching the field where Longstreet's Corps, now" com- 
manded by General Anderson, was engaged in an unequal 
fight with the assaulting columns of the enemy, the march 
became more hurried, frequently breaking into a double- 
quick. The afternoon was hot. The men, worn out by the 
long march and from loss of sleep, were dropping exhausted 
along the way. A little before sunset, and as we reached a 
point almost in range of the enemy's rifles, but in the rear 
of Longstreet's right, we were halted, the regiment closed up 
and ordered to a front. General Daniel dashed along on 
horseback in front of the brigade, halting in the center of 
each regiment, and announced that Longstreet's Corps had 
for hours been successfully resisting the repeated attacks of 
the enemy that had been thrown against him in almost over- 
whelming numbers ; that we were now in half mile of his ex- 
treme right ; that the enemy would, within a few minutes, 
turn his flank and get possession of a most favorable posi- 
tion unless we arrived in time to prevent it ; that the only 
question was whether we should arrive in time to save the 
position or retake it after it had been secured by the enemy. 
This only occupied a few minutes, but it gave the tired men 
these few minutes to recover breath. 

The announcement of General Daniel was greeted by each 
regiment with a shout. The brigade was ordered into 
column, and, in a rapid run, we passed the last regiment on 
Longstreet's right and discovered that the splendid brigade of 
General Ramseur, the front brigade in our corps, had passed 
Longstreet's last regiment, had turned by the left flank, and 

46 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

was moving forward in a beautiful line to meet the enemy 
that had just arrived and was advancing to turn Longstreet's 
right. Our brigade pressed on until its last regiment had 
passed General Ramseur's right, when it, in turn, halted and 
closed up its ranks, fronted, and under the immediate eye of 
General Eodes, our commander, who had by this time ar- 
rived on the spot, raised a yell and dashed at the enemy. In 
rapid succession the brigades of Generals Doles and Battle 
passed in our rear, and with a similar movement turned the 
enemy's flank, whose whole advancing line was driven back. 
The fight continued in the woods until after nightfall, the two 
respective lines firing at the flash of the adversary's guns. 
Slowly the firing ceased, the litter-bearers came in along the 
line and bore away the wounded. The dead, for the time, and 
in many instances perhaps for all time, were left undisturbed 
where they fell. 


Soon after the firing ceased, our lines were drawn back 
for a short distance and preparations for the next day's fight 
were begun. A sergeant from each regiment of our brigade 
was called for and assembled at brigade headquarters. I 
was detailed as one. We were placed in charge of Captain 
W. L. London, now of Pittsboro, IST. C, (and I could write 
many pages about the courage and faithfulness of this staff 
officer). Captain London carried us forward in the dark, 
and selected, what appeared to be, the highest point of a low 
ridge between the lines. He posted us, one at a place, along 
the crest of this low ridge, until he had posted each guide 
about the length of a regiment apart, giving each instructions 
to remain in the pine thicket where we were placed, "until 
we heard the signal come down the line from our right," and 
then to take it up and repeat it as often as it came, until the 
regiment formed upon us. In leaving the place where I 
stood. Captain London cautioned me not to sit down, for fear 
I might go to sleep, but to stand and rest upon my gun. I 
must have stood there for more than an hour listening to the 
strange cries of the wounded, doubtless of both armies, some 
begging for water, and one poor fellow, as I remember, who 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 47 

had perhaps been wounded in the head, was delirious, and 
now and then would change his cries and groans into a sound 
like the bark of a dog. After what seemed to me a long 
time, I heard away on my right coming down the line, a low 
"Halloo." This passed down the line and continued until we 
heard the tramp of the regiments as they came up and formed 
upon us. This was doubtless done all along most of the 
lines of Ewell's Corps, and done in many places in the dark- 
ness of a pine thicket. I have never been able to account for 
the forming of this salient, which was soon to become what is 
known as the historic "Bloody Angle," except in this way ; 
we threw up breastworks all night, and, when daylight came^ 
we found that a part of our division, and perhaps all of 
Johnson's Division and a part of Hill's men, were occu- 
pying breastworks formed in the shape of a horse shoe, 
with the toe upon elevated ground and the sides running back 
to the caulks, which were not, as I now see the ground, more 
than 500 yards apart. 

All day of the 9th we encountered a deadly fire from the 
sharpshooters and a heavy fire of artillery from the enemy, 
to which we replied in kind. This died away after nightfall 
and was renewed in more aggravated form on the morning 
of the 10th, and continued until late in the afternoon. Sud- 
denly, at about an hour by sun, the enemy broke from cover 
to our right, and poured in overwhelming numbers upon the 
line occupied by General Doles' Georgians. These gallant 
men were overpowered by sheer force of numbers and driven 
from the works. The enemy poured through the breach, 
captured quite a number of men on the extreme right of our 
brigade; forced the brigade to retire to avoid the enfilading 
fire, and caused us the temporary loss of sixteen pieces of 
artillery. Our brigade slowly fell back firing as it retreated, 
the enemy advancing and taking possession of our abandoned 
guns. In a short time we were in line at right angles to the 
works ; the enemy massing in great numbers in our front. It 
seemed even to the eye of a private soldier that a dangerous 
crisis was upon us. Suddenly a single horseman came dash- 
ing up to the rear of our regiment. He was instantly recog- 
nized by the men who saw him, as General Ewell, our corps 

48 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

coininaiKk'r. lie had outstripped his staff officers who were 
following- him, but not then in sight. He luilted in the rear 
of the Forty-lif th Keginient, and called out, "Don't run boys ; 
I will have enough men here in five minutes to eat up every 
d — d one of them." His eyes were almost green. The line 
steadied and poured volley after volley into the enemy. 
Presently we heard a yell up the line in our rear as we stood, 
and Battle's Brigade of Alabamians were seen coming to our 
support. They ran down the line by us. We raised a yell 
and dashed forward. jS^ow, what became of Battle's men, 
whether they passed around us forming a line parallel with 
the works and then charged with us, I cannot tell. I did not 
then know. I only know that we went forward in a full run ; 
found the enemy standing where we had left our batteries ; 
the gnins all withdrawn from their embrasures, turned upon 
us, but not firing, while the infantry fired into our faces. 
They stood their ground until there were but a few paces be- 
tAveen the lines. A fine-looking Federal officer stood in the 
front of their line wuth drawn saber, encouraging his men. 
He fell dead, within a few paces of the writer, shot through 
the neck. I ascertained the next morning that his name was 
Colonel Huling, of the Sixth or Seventh Maine Regiment, 
temporarily connnanding the front brigade in this assault. He 
was a brave fellow and deserved a better fate. When he fell, 
his men breaking in confusion leaped over the breastworks, 
and we went in near the same place we had left them. My re- 
collection is that these lines were restored by our brigade. Bat- 
tle's Alabama Brigade, one or two regiments from Bamseur's 
Brigade and a part of the brigade of General B. D. Johnston. 
But I reiiKMubor well that a few days thereafter, we had in 
the company a Richmond paper, giving an account of the 
battle as connnunicated by an army correspondent, as having 
been won and the lost line recovered by certain Virginia 
brigades ; this, indeed, was (]uite a common thing with the 
Richmond papers. As we recaptured the line the brave artil- 
lerymen, one company of which was the Richmond Howitz- 
ers, as fine a body of men as ever wore a uniform, rushed 
up with rannners in hand ; wheeled the guns to their places 
and commenced pouring canister into the ranks of the re- 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 49 

treating foe. We then saw why it was that we had not been 
fired upon by our own guns. The artillerymen had carried 
away the rammers. Thus ended the bloody engagement of 
10 May. The gTound was covered with the dead and 
wounded from both armies. The gallant Colonel Brabble, of 
the Thirty-second ]^orth Carolina, of our brigade, was among 
the former. 

If space permitted, I would be glad here to give instances 
of individual acts of heroism witnessed by me in this and 
subsequent engagements in this bloody angle. The morning 
after this fight, I was asked by a wounded Sergeant belong- 
ing to the Sixth Maine Regiment, to help him down under 
the hill where he would not be exposed to the artillery fire 
from his own batteries. I did so, and made him as comfort- 
able as I could. I filled his canteen with water, and learned 
from him the name and rank of the officer killed the evening 
before. I observed among the enemy's dead inside our lines, 
what I thought was an unusual proportion of non-commis- 
sioned officers. I asked this Sergeant how this happened. 
He answered that the evening before, just before his brigade 
led the assaulting column upon our works, that this same Col- 
onel Huling addressed the regiments of the brigade ; re- 
minded them that during the preceding battles many com- 
pany officers had been killed or permanently disabled, and 
that he expected to keep an eye on the non-commissioned of- 
ficers of the brigade and see to it that commissions should be 
given the deserving ones. He said : "We came in front 
looking for promotion, and you see the result." He himself 
had a badly shattered leg below the knee. The 11th of May 
passed with nothing more than heavy skirmishing and severe 
artillery firing at intervals. Early in the morning of the 
11th, General Rodes placed our brigade at the right of the 
division and in the space previously occupied by General 
Doles. The brigade took this as a compliment, and General 
Daniel, soon after the brigade was so placed, passed down 
the line behind the men and said to ns : "I want you boys 
to remember that if the enemy come over these breastworks 
today, you are to receive them on your bayonets." 

50 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

The night of tho 11th was dark and drizzly. We sat with 
guns in hand the entire night, with a man to eaeh company 
whose business it was to see that the men kept awake. We 
were so near the enemy's lines that I heard them knocking 
open cracker boxes and heard them call to the men to come 
and get their rations (giving '*a'' the long sound). We could 
hear, during the night, the sound of axes. They were evi- 
dently engaged in clearing away the pine bushes near the toe 
of the horse shoe to unmask their batteries. Just as the light 
was beginning to show on the morning of the 12th, we heard 
a sharp rattle of musketry away to the right, and suddenly 
the enemy came rushing over the line of works occupied by 
Edward Johnson's Division. They did not come in front of 
our brigade. The Forty-fifth Regiment occupied the posi- 
tion at the extreme right of the brigade next to Johnson's 
Division. It seemed to me then, as I remember now, that 
they captured almost the entire division down to the extreme 
left, and up to our right. I saw very few men go to the rear. 
We instantly sprang to our guns at the first firing. Our 
brave brigade commander came running up the line from 
near the center of the brigade to our regiment and observed 
that the enemy on our immediate right was confused in gath- 
ering up prisoners. He called the regiment to attention; 
gave the command, "About face," and, as I remember, moved 
the regiment at a right wheel, thus turning the regiment 
upon a pivot on the left company, and in this movement 
threw our backs to the enemy. While we were executing 
this movement, we were ordered to fire to the rear, which we 
did as rapidly as we could. When we had reached a point at 
almost right angles Avith the works, we were halted, ordered 
to about face, where we stood for a minute or two firing into 
the enemy's lines enfilading them. We were shortly com- 
manded to right face and double-quick, the brigade following 
us. This threw us partly across the lines between the two 
•caulks of the horse shoe, perhaps half the brigade occupy- 
ing that position. In the meantime the battalion of artil- 
lery, down the line to our left, drew their guns from the 
breastworks and threw them into line about fifty yards to our 
rear, in a position several feet higher than the position we 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 51 

occupied. We dropped upon our knees and opened fire upon 
the enemy, every man loading and firing as rapidly as possi- 
ble. Immediately the artillery in our rear opened fire over 
our heads. For a little while the rush of canister and shrap- 
nel above us seemed dangerous, but the conflict was on and 
in a short time we became accustomed to it. By the time 
the prisoners of Johnson's Division had been disposed of, the 
enemy in unbroken lines reaching back as far as we could 
Bee, came sweeping on in our front, but this combined fire of 
infantry and artillery was more than human flesh could stand 
and it was impossible for them to reach our line. The first 
men that came to our assistance was that brigade of North 
Carolinians commanded by the peerless Ramseur. This 
brigade always seemed to be in the right place at the right 
time. It came up and formed on our right, as I remember, 
in an open field, lay down for a moment, but soon, at the 
command of its leader, sprang up and dashed forward into 
the horse shoe. For a moment it seemed to me our brigade 
ceased firing and held its breath as these men went forward, 
apparently into the very jaws of death. They were soon en- 
veloped in smoke, which the heavy atmosphere of a misty 
morning caused to linger over the field. Now, from this 
time until dark I know nothing of what took place, except that 
which occurred in my immediate neighborhood. Without 
moving at times for hours, we fired into the advancing 
columns of the enemy who were trying to carry our position, 
while Ramseur's Brigade, and doubtless many other brigades, 
were fighting on our right. We made during the day during 
the little intervals between the enemy's assaults, a little 
temporary protection composed of fence rails, poles and 
earth, behind which w^e sat on our knees and fired. We went 
in with sixty rounds of cartridges each. This supply of 
ammunition was replenished from time to time during the 
day. How many rounds were fired no man knew. 

The pine saplings standing at intervals in the field in front 
of us and along on the sides of the old breastworks of John- 
son's Division, were torn and shattered by minie balls. The 
enemy would take shelter sometimes behind the captured 
works, which formed an acute angle with the line we occupied 

52 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

and several times during the day I saw pine saplings perhaps 
six or eight inches in diameter, finally bend, break and fall, 
from the fire of musketry aimed at the top of the breast- 
works. From some point along this line, the stump of a 
white oak, perhaps ten inches or more in diameter, that was 
cut down in this way, during the day, was taken up by the 
Federal forces after the battle and carried to Washington, 
and is there now presented to show the efl^ect of the mus- 
ketry fire. There was not a moment, as I now remember, 
from daylight in the morning until long after dark that the 
battle did not rage in this horse shoe. The fire of the en- 
emy's artillery from the higher ground near the toe of the 
horse shoe, and also from the right where Hill's men 
fought, was terrific the entire day. Just after a severe 
cannonading, I heard General Daniel, who was sitting at the 
root of a little tree in the rear of my company with watch 
in hand, say to Captain London: ''London, how does this ar- 
tillery fire compare with the second day at Gettysburg." I 
do not remember Captain London's reply, but General Dan- 
iel continuing, said : "I have been holding my watch and 
counting the shells as they came into these lines, and part of 
the time they have averaged more than one hundred to the 
minute." I do not think I am mistaken in my figures. When 
night came on, the tired regiments fell asleep upon the wet 
ground. The men were in no condition to sit up and discuss 
the losses. We knew that General Daniel had been borne 
from the field mortally wounded. We knew that two senior 
Colonels succeeding him in command of the brigade during 
the day had also fallen, and that when night came on the 
brigade was in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jas. T. More- 
head, of the Fifty-third Regiment. After the night's sleep, 
the soldiers looked about tliem and found that our losses had 
been terrific. 

The next morning we occupied a new intrenched line that 
had been fortified during the night, by whom I know not, and 
we were again ready for the enemy. There was little fight- 
ing of any consequence along our part of the line until the 
morning, as I remember, of the 16th, when the enemy ad- 
vanced just at daylight in heavy forces, but were easily 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 53 

driven back without much loss on our side. On the 17th or 
18th and after the enemy had drawn back their line into the 
woods, giving up the entire field where the conflict raged on 
the 12th, I asked permission of Lieutenant Frank Erwin, 
commanding my company, to pass the picket line and go over 
into this angle to make observations. It was a bright May 
day. There was no fighting on any part of the line, and by 
his permission I went. The pickets permitted me to pass, 
and I went over the breastworks to that portion of the field 
which had been occupied by our brigade, and then 
to the right, to the position which had been occupied by 
Eamseur's Brigade. On my arrival in this angle, I 
could well see why the enemy had withdrawn their lines. 
The stench was almost unbearable. There Avere dead 
artillery horses in considerable numbers that had been killed 
on the 10th and in the early morning of the 12th. 
Along these lines of breastworks where the earth had been 
excavated to the depth of one or two feet and thrown over, 
making the breastworks, I found these trenches filled with 
water (for there had been much rain) and in this water lay 
the dead bodies of friend and foe commingled, in many in- 
stances one lying across the other, and in one or more in- 
stances I saw as many as three lying across one another. 
All over the field lay the dead of both armies by hundreds, 
many of them torn and mangled by shells. Many of the 
bodies swollen out of all proportion, some with their guns 
yet grasped in their hands. Now and then one could be seen 
covered with a blanket, which had been placed over him by a 
comrade after he had fallen. 

These bodies were decaying. The water was red, almost 
black with blood. Offensive flies were everywhere. The 
trees, saplings and shrubs were torn and shattered beyond 
description ; guns, some of them broken, bayonets, canteens 
and cartridge boxes were scattered about, and the whole scene 
was such that no pen can, or ever will describe it. I have 
seen many fields after severe confiicts, but no where have I 
seen anything half so ghastly. I returned to my company 
and said to old man Thomas Carroll, a private in the com- 
pany, who was frying meat at the fire, "You would have 
saved rations by going with me, for I will have no more appe- 

64 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

tite for a Avcck." On tlie 19th our corps marched in the af- 
ternoon around the enemy's right, crossed one of the prongs of 
the Mattapony River, and attacked the enemy on his right 
flank and rear. We carried no artillery, and, as it happened, 
that which we had hoped would be a successful surprise to the 
enemy turned out to be a desperate and unsuccessful battle. 
We found a large body of fresh troops coming up as re- 
inforcements from Fredericksburg. We attacked them. The 
engagement began perhaps two hours by sun and lasted until 
in the night, and under cover of darkness our corps returned 
to its former position. In this engagement our regiment suf- 
fered severely. The Colonel of our regiment, the brave 
Samuel H. Boyd, was killed while leading a charge. My 
own company came out of tlie fight with not an officer nor 
non-commissioned officer left. In this last charge the writer 
received a severe wound from which he has never entirely re- 
covered. The next day the armies commenced a movement 
toward Richmond, confronting each other and fighting 
almost daily, which finally culminated in the great battle of 
Cold Harbor, 3 June, in which battle the enemy received 
awful punishment, and our regiment again suffered severely. 
While this battle was raging, I was lying helpless in the Win- 
der Hospital in Richmond, listening to the roar of the guns. 
After nightfall the wounded began to arrive from the field. 
I remember liow the wounded in my ward lay upon their 
beds and inquired, as the Avounded were brought in from 
their companies and regiments, as to the result of tlic battle 
and as to friends engaged. There I first learned of the death 
of Major Smith. The Avard masters and nurses were prin- 
cipally composed of disabled men, assigned to liglit duty. I 
remember that about 10 o'clock tliat night, a man was brought 
in from an ambulance upon a stretclier, and when brought 
to the light, was found to be the only brother of our ward mas- 
ter, and iiKirtally wounded. The next morning I learned of 
the death of a dear friend and school mate, a meud)('r of 
Manly's Battery, M. F. Cummins. He was sliot tlirough 
the head while mounted ou the breastworks, ea]i in liand, 
watching the effect of a sliell fired from his gun ; a brave, 
gallant fellow. Soon after this battle, the regiment was sent 

Forty-Fifth Regiment, 55 

to join General Early, and with his comma;id marched down 
the Valley, crossing the Potomac about 5 or 6 July, and had 
a severe engagement with the enemy's forces, commanded by 
General Lew Wallace, near Monocacy Junction. The regi- 
ment marched from there to the suburbs of Washington and 
lay there for a day or twO' drinking water from the spring 
of Hon. Montgomery Blair, and, as the boys afterwards told 
me, they interfered with the milk and butter in his spring 
house, but this is hearsay and therefore not evidence. On 
14 July the command recrossed the Potomac with quite a 
number of prisoners and camped about Martinsburg and 
Winchester for some time, occasionally skirmishing with the 
enemy until 19 September, when Sheridan advanced with an 
overwhelming force and attacked Early's Corps, driving it 
from the field. In this battle our division lost its com- 
mander, General R. E. Rodes, He was a superb officer and 
beloved by every man in his division. The army retreated 
to Fisher's Hill, where it was again attacked on 22 Septem- 
ber, both of its flanks turned, resulting in a disastrous rout. 
On this occasion, as I was afterwards informed by the men 
of my regiment, the regiment held a position across the turn- 
pike, which it maintained after the troops both on the right 
and left had fallen back, and retired in good order but not till 
it became apparent that to remain longer would result in its 
capture. The courage and fortitude of the regiment on this 
disastrous day served the purpose of holding back the enemy 
and covering the retreat of the arm3^ It was on this occa- 
sion that Colonel John R. Winston, coming up the pike with 
his regiment in the rear of the retreating army, was accosted 
by one of his soldiers, who was lying on the roadside disabled 
by a wound, and who pleaded with his Colonel not to leave 
him to fall into the hands of the enemy. He rode to where 
he was lying, reached down and took him by the hand, pulled 
him to his feet, removed his own foot from tlie stirrup of his 
saddle, assisted the soldier in placiug his foot in the empty 
stirrup, lifted him into his lap and brought him off the field. 
The army fell back to Cedar Creek, where it remained 
until 19 October. On the night of the 18th the regiment 
participated in the flank movement which resulted in the 

56 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

rout of Sheridan's army in the early morning of the 19th, 
which splendid victory in the early morning was turned into 
a disgraceful defeat later in the day, through the inexcusable 
blunder of some one. This ended Early's campaign in the 
Valley. Later in the fall the brigade returned to Lee's army 
and took a position in the line engaged in the defense of Pe- 
tersburg. Here it remained through the winter of 1864 and 
1865 in the trenches, almost continually under fire. 
The regiment had suffered severely during the Valley cam- 
paign and by the spring of 1865 had become a mere skeleton. 

During the month of March, the regiment occupied a posi- 
tion a little to the right of Petersburg and just to the left of 
Port Mahone and near the Crater. Just in front of the left 
of the regiment stood Fort Steadman which the boys called 
Port ""Hell," a powerful earthw'ork of the enemy. 

On the night of 25 March, the regiment participated in an 
assault upon Port Steadman directed by General Gordon, 
and again suffered severely. Hence Proctor^ a private in 
my company, was one of the skirmishers who first entered the 
fort about daybreak. Inside of the fort bomb proofs were 
occupied by officers and men. Llence was a fine soldier, full 
of fight and fun. He poked his head into one of these bomb 
proofs, and called out with ugly words, to give emphasis to 
his command, "Come out of there. I know you are in there." 
He wore long hair. An officer, startled by this unexpected 
command, sprang out of his bertli in his night clothes, 
snatched his saber from its scabbard, seized Hence by the 
foretop and commenced to slash him about the head with his 
saber. Hence backed out of the bomb proof, the officer con- 
tinuing his hold, coming out with him. On getting outside 
in the open, the fight became an uiuMiual one. Hence's fixed 
bayonet on the end of liis gun while thus held by the hair, 
was no match for the saber in the hands of liis adversary, 
and but f<ir timely aid from one of his comrades, he would 
have been (piiekly overcome. As it was, he came out of the 
fight with many gashes on his head and face. The assault 
upon the fort was unsuccessful. 

Along the line of works we occupied we had but one man 
to five or six feet, an ordinary skirmish line. On the morn- 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 57 

ing of 2 April, just before daylight, the enemy advanced 
upon our works in massed columns ; brushed aside iliechevaux 
de frise, cutting the chains that linked the parts together with 
axes, and poured over the line occupied by a part of Battle's 
and a part of our brigade. Then commenced a struggle 
which, to my mind, was the most desperate of all the war, 
and which lasted until into tlie night. Our main line of 
works stood about four feet high, and was very strong. In 
the rear of, and at right angles with the line, had been built 
traverses, made by building log pens about five feet high and 
filling them with earth. They extended back perhaps forty 
or fifty feet. The purpose of these traverses was to protect 
the men, standing in line, from the enfilading artillery fire 
from Fort Steadman away to our left. There was just room 
enough between the end of these traverses and the main line 
for a man to pass. When the enemy broke over the line they 
filled the spaces between these traverses, the traverses being 
about 200 feet apart. About 200 yards in the rear of this 
line had been placed batteries of heavy howitzers, which, up 
to this time, had been masked to conceal them from the en- 
my. As these traverses filled, with the Federal troops, these 
batteries in the rear opened upon them with gTape and can- 
ister. Major-General Bryan Grimes commanded our divis- 
ion, and I need not say that at this perilous moment he was 
with the men at the point of greatest danger, for he was 
always at such places. All day long the men of this division 
fought between these traverses, slowly yielding one after an- 
other when compelled to do so by overwhelming forces. The 
fire from the enemy's artillery up and down the line was 
concentrated on our struggling troops. 

Huge mortar shells, 12 inches in diameter, came plunging 
down, sometimes exploding between these traverses and some- 
times burying themselves in the earth and harmlessly burst- 
ing six feet under gi'ound. Long before noon all of our bat- 
teries had been silenced, and the conflict on our side was 
maintained by infantry alone. I saw the men of my regi- 
ment load their guns behind the traverses, climb to the top, 
fire down into the ranks of the enemy, roll off and reload and 
repeat the same throughout the day. While in the midst of 

58 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

this din of battle, time after time they woiild send up the old 
time defiant rebel yell. Late in the evening, I asked Matt. 
Secrest, of my company, whose cheeks from the corner of his 
mouth to his ears were almost black as lampblack from the 
frequent tearing of cartridges, how many rounds he thought 
he had fired. His answer was : ''I know from the number of 
times I have replenished my supply of cartridges that I have 
fired more than 200 rounds." 

It was a matter of surprise to us during the day that we 
did not receive reinforcements. We did not know that our 
lines were broken throughout their length and that every sol- 
dier in the army of General Lee was doing five men's work, 
but it was a fact. In the afternoon, the Petersburg battalion 
of Junior Reserves, composed of boys without beard, were 
sent to our assistance and fought like veterans. At last, night 
came, and under cover of darkness the army that had been so 
long engaged in defending the gallant little city, retired from 
its lines crossed the Appomattox and started on the long re- 
treat which ended at Appomattox Court House. If General 
Grant had succeeded in successfully breaking through our 
lines at Fort Mahone, he w^ould have cut the army in two, 
and the war would have ended at Petersburg instead of Ap- 
pomattox Court House. I have recently been along the 
lines at Petersburg, and it now seems to me a mystery how 
those lines were maintained so long with so few defenders. 

The rest of my story is short. We fell back to Amelia 
Court House on the old Richmond & Danville road, where we 
expected to draw rations. It is hard to imagine our disap- 
pointment when we ascertained at this point that by some 
cruel mistake, the train loaded with provisions for our sus- 
tenance had gone through to Richmond and was in the hands 
of the enemy. 

On 6 April, wc started toward Lynchburg. Shortly after 
sunrise we were attacked l)v Sheridan on our loft flank, and 
all day long we retreated and fought and fouglit and retreated, 
arriving at Farmville after night, leaving thousands of pris- 
oners in the hands of the enemy. We continued our retreat on 
the 7th and 8th with little fighting. On the night of the 8th we 
camped in the woods near the village of Appomattox, and 

Forty-Fifth Regiment. 59 

before day the next morning again started on the march to- 
ward Lynchburg. Our division, commanded by General 
Grimes, marched up the red road through the little village, 
passed the Court House and halted and formed a line of bat- 
tle just behind the crest of a ridge that lay at right angles 
with the road. As soon as the line was established, the 
division was ordered forward in line of battle, no enemy in 
sight. As we reached the top of the hill, we were greeted 
with a fire of artillery and infantry. We did just what we 
had always done before; raised a shout and made a dash 
at Sheridan's line. The line was broken, of course, and his 
troops driven from the field. The division was halted and the 
men lay down to rest awaiting further orders. It was a 
supreme moment, and the fate of that division rested with 
General Lee, the man, who was almost worshipped by his sol- 
diers. It was for him to say whether the conflict should 
there end or whether the remnant of his army should close 
the last scene of the mighty drama, by submitting to annihi- 
lation. In the kindness of his great heart, he determined 
that his soldiers had done enough, and he yielded to "over- 
whelming numbers and resources." During the seven days' 
retreat many of the regiments of that army had not eaten 
what was sufficient for one full day's rations. The ceremo- 
nies and capitulation having ended, the men returned to their 
homes. The course pursued by these scarred veterans during 
years following that surrender, in helping to build up waste 
places and establish stable government, in the Southern 
States, is a part of the country's history, and is as glorious 
as were their actions on the field. I venture to say that the 
conduct of the Confederate soldiers since the war, in submit- 
ting to its results, in bearing the burdens of taxation to raise 
enormous sums of money, with which to pay pensions to 
their old enemies, and all without scarcely a murmur, finds 
no parallel in the history of the human race. 

The foregoing sketch has been written from time to time, 
between pressing professional engagements. I greatly re- 
gret that it had not been written years ago, while facts might 
have been furnished by the actors, most of whom are now 

60 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

I trust I may be permitted to say that my name does not 
appear, as Second Sergeant of Company K, in the Roster, 
published some years since, while the name of C. B. Mabson, 
Second Sergeant, does. 

Some people do not believe in bad luck. I do. 

Gyrus B. Watson. 
"Winston, N. C. 

9 April, 1901. 


On 19 May, 1901, I attended the unveiling of a monument 
by the survivors of the First Regiment Massachusetts Heavy 
Artillery, on the battle field of 19 May, 1864, the thirty-sev- 
enth anniversary of the battle. I here met about sixty-five of 
the said survivors, some of them attended by wives and daugh- 
ters. I spent a day or two with them and at their request 
took part in the ceremonies and delivered a short address. 
This regiment fought immediately in front of the Forth-fifth 
N^orth Carolina, and the conflict was bloody. The monu- 
ment bears the following inscription: 




Three hundred and ninety-eiglit of whose members fell ivith- 
in an hour around this spot during an action, May 19th, 
1S64, between a division of the Union Army coinmanded hy 
General Tyler, and a corps of the Confederate forces under 
General Eicell. 

Erected hy the survivors of the Regiment. 


Together with these gallant men of New England I went 
over every part of the field and was surprised to find how 
familiar the fields, woods and houses appeared. 

I also went into the Bloody Angle about a mile distant, and 
had no difficulty in finding the places where the regiment 
fought for days and nights. The fortifications arc pre- 
served without clianoe all round the horse shoe. The old 

Forty- Fifth Regiment. 61 

McCool house is just as it was thirty-seven years ago, the 
weatherboards perforated with bullets ; the Harrison house 
almost ready to fall down from neglect ; the trees that suffer- 
ed during the battles are mostly down or dead, yet quite a 
number living, with marks of bullets and shells healed over, 
but plainly visible. There is considerable growth of young- 
er pine trees. I brought away three blocks from a dead pine, 
with bullets embedded in two and a grape shot in another, 
which lies almost at the spot where the brave General Daniel 
fell. Another section from the preserved heart of the dead 
pine, too large for me to bring away, had nine bullets in it, 
partly concealed by the wood that had grown around them in 
the effort of the tree to outlive its injuries ; many of the 
wounded trees seem to have recently died. It seems that 
after the armies left this dreadful angle, the dead of both ar- 
mies were buried in shallow graves, or rather covered with 
earth, and the ground in the pine woods along these trenches 
plainly shows where the remains had since been removed. The 
survivors of Daniel's brigade should erect a monument on 
the spot where he fell. 

C B. Watson. 
3 June, 1901. 


1. W. L. Saunders, Colonel. 4. Robt. Preston Troy, Captain, Co. Q. 

2. A. C. McAll sler, Lieut-Colonel. 5. J. R Heflin, Captain. Co E. 

3. R. A. Bost, Captain. Co. K. 6. O. W. Carr, Captain, Co. G. 

7. Adolphus Theodorus Bost, Captain, Co. K. 


By J. M. WADDILL, Second Lieutenant, Company B. 

Well may ISTortli Carolina be proud of the part taken by 
her sons in the war between the States — proud of the large 
number of full regiments furnished, and of the promptness 
and willingness with which they were kept full, as shot, shell 
and saber thinned their ranks ; proud of their gallantry on 
the battle field, of their patient endurance in camp and on 
the march ; of their steadiness and reliability under all cir- 
cumstances. Truly she has good cause to be proud of her 
sons. But of the long list of gallant regiments which march- 
ed away from her soil, none shed greater luster on the mother 
State than the Forty-sixth (Infantry) the subject of this 

Others may have been as brave, others as patient and true, 
but few, if any, united all these virtues, which, combined 
with the perfect hamiony prevailing among its officers and 
men all through those bloody years, entitle it to a topmost 
place in the record of the many faithful ones. 

The writer (a boy in the early 60's) has little more than 
memory to rely on in outlining the experiences of his regi- 
ment. A third of a century casts a mist of uncertainty about 
even these historic events of the long ago, which is his apology 
for any errors as to dates, or other inaccuracies which may 

Promoted to the line from the Quartermaster's Depart- 
ment after much of the history of the Forty-sixth was made, 
he gives, prior to that event, the story as heard from partici- 
pants, not having been an eye-witness of some of the facts nar- 

The many acts of individual gallantry, then so brilliant 
and conspicuous, have in large measure, faded from his mem- 
ory, leaving but a shadowy recollection of a group of heroes. 

64 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

bound together as a band of brothers, vieing with eath other 
on the battleiield, affectionately helping each other on the 
march and in camp, or tenderly caring for each other in the 

The memory, indistinct though it be, of the daily, hourly 
sacritices of these gallant ones Ijrings even now the tears to 
his eyes as he recalls how, on the weary march, the last crust 
or the blood warm contents of the canteen were divided with 
those less fortunate — how, in the winter, on the bleak hill- 
sides of Virginia, those begrimed, nnkempt knights sat in 
the blinding smoke about the camp fires, all through the long 
nights, lest if they lay on the threadbare blankets they should 
be frozen at reveille — and above all, how those thin, grey lines 
marched gallantly to their death in unbroken, unwavering 
ranks, closing up the gaps made by shot and shell, as they 
rushed onward to their graves. 

Grand and glorious record is that of the hosts of the South 
which emblazons the page of history with a brilliancy sur- 
passed only l)y that l)loodless, but no less heroic battle of life, 
w^hen returned to their blasted homes, they began the struggle 
for bread and raiment for loved ones, absolutely empty 

What success has crowned their efforts is best illustrated 
in the well-filled barns, the numberless tall factory chimneys, 
and the busy marts of numerous populous cities all over the 
once Southern Confederacy. 


The Forty-sixth ]*^orth Carolina Infantry had its birth 
in March, 1862, at Camp Mangum, a camp of rendezvous 
and instruction four miles from Raleigh, and was composed 
of ten companies, as follows : 

Company A- — From Robeson County — Captain, Tx. M. 

Company B — From Bowcun and Burke — Captain, W. L. 

Company C — From Warren — Captain W. A. Jenkins. 

Company D — From Richmond — Captain, Calvin Stewart. 

Company E — From Granville — Captain, R. J. Mitchell. 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 65 

Company F — From Randolph — Captain, A. C. McAlister. 
Company G — From Randolph — Captain, R. P. Troy. 
Co:vrPANY II — From Moore — Captain, ]^. McK. MdNTeill. 
Co:mpany I — From Sampson — Captain, Owen Holmes. 
Co:NrPANY K — From Cataicha — Captain, A. T. Bost. 

The organization of the field and staff was as follows: 

E. D. Hall, Colonel, Wilmington. 

W. A. Jenkins^ Lientenant-Colonel, Warrenton. 

R. J. Mitchell, Major, Oxford. 

S. T. Green, Snrgeon, Warren county. 

V. O. Thompson, Assistant Surgeon, Warren county. 

J. A. Maesh, Quartermaster, Randolph county. 

G. Holaies, Commissary, Sampson county. 

Richaed Mallett, Adjutant, Cumberland county. 

T. S. Teoy, Sergeant-Major, Randolph county. 

J. M. Waddill, Quartermaster Sergeant, Warrenton. 

O. P. Shell, Commissar}^ Sergeant, Warrenton. 

T. C. Hussey, Hospital Ste^vard, Missouri. 

The changes occurring in the composition of the field and 
staff from the organization until the final end at Appomattox 
were as follows : 

Resignations — Colonel E. D. Hall, November, 1863; 
Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Jenkins, August, 1863 ; Major 

R. J. Mitchell, June, 1862; S. T. Green, Surgeon, — ;. 

J. A. Marsh, Quartermast-er, March, 1864; Major R. M. 
I^orment, 11 September, 1862. 

Deaths — Lieutenant Richard Mallett, killed August, 

Promotions — Captain W. L. Saunders, Company B, to be 
Major, 1 October, 1862 ; to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 Janu- 
ary, 1863; to be Colonel, 1 January, 1864; Captain R. M. 
JSTorment, Company A, to be Major, 4 August, 1862 ; Cap- 
tain A. C. McAlister, Company F, to be Major, 1 January, 
1864; to be Lieutenant-Colonel about June, 1863; Captain 
:N'. McK. McXeill, Company H, to be Major, 18 March, 
1864; Surgeon Jenkins, of Charleston, S. C. appointed sur- 
geon upon the resignation of Surgeon S. T. Green ; Sergeant- 


66 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'Go. 

Major T. S. Trov, to be Second Lieutenant of Company F., 
succeeded by T. W. Wright, of Wilmington ; Quartermaster- 
Sergeant, J. M. Waddill, to be Second Lieutenant Company 
B. September, IS 64. 

For a few weeks after its organization the regiment re- 
mained at Camp Mangum, receiving instruction in the art 
of war at the hands of sundry drill masters, removing thence 
to Goldsboro, X. C, when after a stay of a few weeks it 
was hurried to Richmond, Va., arriving there on the day 
of the battle of Seven Pines. 

Xear Richmond the Forty-sixth was brigaded with the 
following commands, under Brigadier-General J. G. Walker, 
as follows : Twenty-seventh North Carolina Regiment, 
Forty-eighth North Carolina Regiment, Third Arkansas Reg- 
iment, Thirtieth Virginia Regiment, Second Georgia Bat- 
talion, Cooper's Battery of Artillery. 

Previous to the Seven Days battles the regiment was sta- 
tioned at Drewry's Bluff in support of the batteries at that 
place, when it was recalled to Richmond and sent to 
strengthen the army already engaged in the struggle with 
McClellan, which resulted in that officer's now historic 
^X'hange of Base." 

During these trying days the regiment was but little under 
fire, being usually in reserve, though it sustained a few cas- 
ualties at Malvern Hill from the shells of the gunboats in 
the river. 

Pending the removal of the Federal army to its new field 
of operations in Maryland, the Forty-sixth occupied various 
positions around Richmond, mainly at Hanover Junction. 

The larger portion of tlie Confederate army had proceeded 
northward before marching orders were received to follow, 
and thus was lost the opportunity of a participation in the 
brilliant victory at Second Manassas. 

Following the main body, the regiment marched toward 
Rapidan Station, where it bivouacked for some days — thence 
on toward Culpepper, encamping on the battlefield of Cedar 
Run ; thence on to Warrenton, passing over the field of Sec- 
ond Manassas, over which lay scattered hundreds of dead 
bodies, rotting in the sun — thence to Leesburg and beyond, 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 67 

crossing tlie Potomac at ''The Upper Ford" to the music of 
^'My Maryland" from hundreds of soldiers' throats. 

At Buckeyetown, Md., a halt was made, at which place 
the tired and footsore men rested for three days, moving 
thence to Frederick City, ^fd. Thence the regiment moved 
at night, in a southeasterly direction, for the destruction of 
something in the nature of an acqueduct or canal lock (the 
Monocacy Bridge), but exactly what it was, few in the regi- 
ment knew, as the night was pitch dark and the country 
totally unknown. 

Xothing was accomplished, however, and at dawn a hur- 
ried movement southward, was begun, continuing all day 
and far into the succeeding night, when the Potomac was 
again crossed at a ford near Point-of-Rocks just before day- 
light. This ford will ever be remembered as one of the many 
impossibilities ( i) triumphed over by Lee's foot cavalry. 

The chill of the water, the multitude of boulders which lit- 
erally covered the bottom of the river, coupled with the depth 
of the stream (which came to the shoulders of the shorter men) 
all served to impress this bit of experience indelibly upon the 
memories of those who took that early morning dip. 

Here, in the early gray of the dawn, by some mistake, the 
Forty-sixth received a volley from one of General Ransom's 
regiments, resulting in a few minor casualties. 

Having rested for a day on the Virginia shore, line of 
march was taken up for Harper's Ferry, where the regiment 
took part in the operations, resulting in the surrender of that 
stronghold with 11,000 prisoners, with slight loss to the Con- 

From Harper's Ferry the command moved to Shepherds- 
town, Va., arriving on 16 September, crossed immediately 
over into Maryland and w^as once more united with the Army 
of ISTorthern Virginia. 

In the great battle of the 17th, near Shaii3sburg, Md., the 
Forty-sixth bore a conspicuous part, calling forth from the 
division commander especial mention of its gallant colonel 
and staff for distingiiished bravery and coolness under fire, 
as well as for the line, which received the shock of battle like 
veterans of an hundred fields. 

68 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'G5. 

It was said by an eye-witness of one of the charges of the 
Forty-sixth, in which a force of the enemy was driven from 
its position and his guns captured, that "he hoped for their 
own sakes that the Forty-sixth North Carolina would soon 
learn the difference between the deliberation of a dress parade 
and a charge over an open field in the face of largely supe- 
rior numbers." During the day the regiment occupied sev- 
eral different positions of importance and great danger, in 
which on every occasion it exhibited that steadiness and cool- 
ness which was to characterize its record all through the 
eventful years to follow. Space allotted to this sketch for- 
bids details of this or other engagements in which the regi- 
ment participated. The losses for the day aggregated about 
eighty, being fully one-fourth of the number in line. It is 
proper to explain, in view of the small number of men in line 
at Sharpsburg, that this was the first forced march under- 
taken by the regiment, and in the mad rush from Harper's 
Ferry to Sharpsburg, many of the men were physically une- 
qual to the task and fell by the wayside from exhaustion, re- 
joining the regiment, some during the engagement, others 
coming up during the next two or three days. 

The Potomac was again crossed on the night of 18 Septem- 
ber with the army in perfect order, and position taken up near 
Martinsburg, where for several days the men were engaged in 
destroying railway tracks and bridges in that vicinity. 

The next stop of importance was at Winchester, where a 
stay of two or three weeks was made. Here, in this then land 
of plenty, the men revelled in the best of fresh beef, vegeta- 
bles, fruits, not forgetting the honey, needing nothing for the 
stomach's sake, save "salt," which commanded a price near 
its weight in gold. 

A short time after Sharpsburg General J. G. Walker, who 
had comuiaudcd tlie brigade, was promoted to a division in 
the West, and Brigadier-General John R. Cooke was assigned 
to the command and held this position to the close of the 

The men of the Forty-sixth parted with General Walker 
with unusual regret, having learned, in the brief period in 
which he commanded the brigade, to regard him with the 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 69 

highest esteem, for his care of the force under his command, 
as well as for his courage and coolness under the most trying 

General Cooke assumed command of the brigade almost a 
stranger to the men of the Forty-sixth, and many a doubt 
was expressed as to the ability of "that kid" (as he was at 
first called) to handle the brigade, being almost boyish in his 

A year or less thereafter all doubts had vanished, for "that 
kid" had proven his ability on many occasions. It is doubt- 
ful if any general officer in the army, with the exception of 
Lee and Jackson, was more beloved by the men of his com- 
mand than was John R. Cooke. Young, brave, generous and 
kindly in his dealings with officers and men, there ever ex- 
isted the strongest ties between commander and men, which 
lasted to the end. No braver cavalier ever rode to death than 
General Cooke. 

From Winchester the next move was down the valley and 
through Ashby's Gap, encamping for several days at Upper- 
ville, on the top of the Blue Ridge. 

From Upperville, on 31 October, the command moved in 
the direction of Culpepper Court House, stopping for a brief 
rest at Orleans. 

Marching by easy stages, pausing here and there for a day 
or tw^o, the regiment made its way to Fredericksburg, arriv- 
ing in front of that place 22 ISTovember. The last five days was 
a forced march in a continuous downpour of rain. 

The experiences of the men on this march across Virginia 
were very severe — poorly clad, many barefooted — little or no 
camp equipage and with an almost unprecedented spell of 
bad w^eather, all conspired to the utterance of some bad lan- 
guage, which history does not require should be reproduced 

From 22 March to 11 December the regiment remained in 
camp two or three miles from Fredericksburg, when it took 
position at the foot of the heights fronting the little city, and 
immediately behind the stone wall on Marye's Heights. 

Here it awaited the attack of Burnside, and bore a full 
share in that historic slaughter. In comparative security, 

70 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

protected by the wall about breast bigh, all day long it shot 
doAvn the brave men who charged again and again acros? the 
level plain in front, vainly yeit most gallantly striving to ac- 
complish an impossibility. The loss in the regiment in 
killed and wounded during the (hiy was seventy-one. Among 
the wounckMi was Colonel W. L. Saunders, shot by a minie 
ball through the mouth. It was rehited by those near the 
Colonel, that during a lull in the tiring, he was enjoying a 
hearty laugh at some remark when the luinie entered the 
wide open mouth, making its exit through llie check. It was 
said to have been the most abruptly ended laugh heard during 
the war. 

Among the lamented dead in this engagement was Lieu- 
tenant Samuel P. Weir, a young otticer of great promise — a 
gentlenum and a ( 'hristian. 

The command remained in front of Frederiekslnirg until 
3 January, 1863, when orders were received to move to a new 
camp ground, a mile away, which had been carefully pre- 
pared the day before. 

Accordingly, the men moved the next morning loaded down 
with rude benches, tables, tubs, etc. — such accumidation of 
conveniencies as come, no one knows how, in a camp of some 
days. Instead of moving a mile, as was expected, the next 
sto]i with any scml)hiucc of pcnuaueucy was at Holly Shelter 
near Wilmington, X. C'., which found the men in much 
lighter marching order, having laid aside their burdens of 
benches, buckets, tables, etc. Holly Shelter pro\'e(l a haven of 
repose after the Virginia campaign. Some weeks were spent 
in this vicinity, the time being divided between Holly Shelter, 
Burgaw and Wilmington. 

From this agreeable stay the regiment was called to 
Charleston, S. C, on 8 April, where a stay of a few days was 
made at the "Four ^lile House,'' whence the command 
moved to Pocataligo, S. C., a cam]i dubltcd liy tlic rcuimcutal 
wit as '"The Devil's ]\risery Hole.'' 

Insects in millions iiivad(Ml the camjt by day and night, 
dev(>loping a biting and stinging power hitherto unknown to 
tlie up-country men composing the regiment. 

Rations were scarce and Commissary Sergeant Shell made 

A8T0R, a*«o« A»» 


1. Thomas Troy. Lieutenant, Co. G. 3. W. C. Bain, Sergeant, Co. G. 

2. Henry C. Latta. 2d Lieut., Co. E. 4. James A. Crews, Sergeant, Co. E. 

(Killed at Petersburg, Nov. 12, 1864.) 5. C. R. Thomasson, Private, Uo. E. 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 71 

affidavit before Serg'eant-Major Troy that "thirteen typical 
South Carolina cattle yielded only eleven hundred pounds of 
blue beef." 

With shouts of joy, the regiment bade adieu to Pocataligo 
about 20 April, proceeding to Topsail Sound, near Wilming- 
ton, where the usual anny ration was totally disregarded for 
the luscious oyster, to be had in the sound for the getting. 

8 ]\lay camp was broken and the regiment moved to 
Goldsboro, from whence it took a bloodless part in the Kin- 
ston campaign. 

6 June the command left Xortli Carolina for Virginia, 
where it was stationed near Hanover Junction. 

Various camps were occupied near Richmond, the brigade 
being stationed here for the protection of the city, while the 
main army marched to Gettysburg. 

Nothing of interest occurred here except a most brilliant 
engagement at South Anna bridge, between Company B, 
of the Forty-sixth, supporting a battery, and a force of 
T'uion cavalry, about 6 July, in which that company covered 
itself with glory. Thirty-three fresh graves were counted 
on the Federal position of the engagement. Loss in Com- 
pany B, four killed and ten wounded. 

Late in July, 1863, found the regiment near Fredericks- 
burg, where it remained until 30 Augiist. During this time 
the death of Adjutant ]\lallett, at the hands of deserters from 
another regiment, whom he was endeavoring to arrest, cast a 
gloom over the entire regiment. 

Tliis gallant young officer had endeared himself to every 
member of the regiment by his excellent bearing in the field, 
as well as the genial good nature manifested in his daily 
duties in camp. A detail under Lieutenant Mallett had been 
sent in pursuit of the party of deserters. By some means he 
became separated from most of his small force and coming 
up Avith the refugees he, with his usual fearlessness, rode up 
to them, demanding their surrender, when one of the party 
shot the noble fellow dead. 

1 September, 1863, the regiment bade a final adieu to 
Fredericksburg, proceeding by the way of Guinea's Station to 
Taylorsville, where it remained some days, when on 25 Sep- 

72 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

tember orders were received to repair to Gordon sville, wliere 
a quiet sojourn was had until 9 October, removing on that 
day to Madison Court House, this being the first day's march 
in the fatal flank movement to Bristoe. On this date Cooke's 
brigade (now composed of North Carolina regiments, as fol- 
lows. Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth, Forty-eighth 
and Fifty-fifth) was attached to General Harry Heth's Divis- 
ion, and was thus attached until the close. The Division w^as 
composed of following brigades: Cooke's North Carolina, 
Kirkland's North Carolina, Davis' Mississippi, Archer's 
Tennessee, Walker's Virginia. Heth's Division formed a 
part of A. P. Hill's Corps, composed of the divisions of Heth, 
Wilcox and Anderson. 

From 9 to 14 October the command made a series of most 
difficult marches over the ridges and across the rapid run- 
ning streams which characterize the foothills of the Blue 
Ridge — in the effort to reach Manassas ahead of Meade, who 
was being pressed toward that point by General Lee. 

Much of the distance was covered at night, over such roads 
as language fails to describe. . 

On the morning of 14 October, Cooke's Brigade took the 
advance and in the afternoon struck the Union forces in a 
strong position behind the railway embankment at Bristoe 
Station, with a number of field guns on the eminence in the 
rear. Before any support came up General Cooke, under 
orders, imme.liately attacked with great gallantly. In the 
charge ma(k> hy this devoted brigade, the gallant Cooke 
fell, shot in the forehead, when the connnand devolved on 
Colonel E. D. Hall, of the Forty-sixth. 

The unequal struggle was waged, with no result, save the 
loss of valuable lives ; indeed a disaster was only averted by a 
rapid change of front by the Forty-sixth under Colonel Hall's 
immediate lead by which the enemy's left flank movement 
was checked. This movement, made under a heavy fire from 
both infantry and artillery, elicited great praise, and added 
new laurels to the record of the Forty-sixth for steadiness and 
deliberation. The effort to dislodge the enemy from liis posi- 
tion proving fntile, the command was withdrawn in g(^od or- 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 73 

der, out of rifle shot, which position it held until the next 
morning, bj Avhich time the enemy had disappeared. 

It was said that General Lee most severely criticised Gen- 
eral A. P. Hill for this blunder — that of sending a force 
of only two small brigades (Cooke's and Kirkland's) against 
overwhelming odds strongly intrenched, with ten or twelve 
regiments in reserve, who never fired a gun. Such a course 
was then, and is yet unaccountable, on the part of a command- 
ing officer of undeniable ability. 

In this unfortunate affair the Forty-sixth had about sixty 
casualties — the configuration of the ground over which it 
fought only saving it from a much severer loss. 

On 18 October the command crossed the Rappahannock on 
pontoons, which were necessary, the river being much swollen, 
and went into what was at the time supposed to be winter 

About this time the Forty-sixth lost its brilliant Colonel, 
E. D. Hall, who resigned to accept a civil office in ISTorth Car- 
olina. Col. Hall had brought the regiment up to a high stand- 
ard in every respect — a brave man, a good disciplinarian, the 
service lost, in his resignation, a most valuable and efficient 
officer — and it was with much regi'et that his regiment bade 
him farewell. On the hillside, near the Rapidan, huts were 
built and the men proceeded to make themselves comforta- 
ble, but the hope of a winter's rest was rudely dissipated by 
being suddenly ordered, on 8 November, to a position two 
miles from Culpepper Court House to oppose Meade's threat- 
ened advance, who had already captured a large portion of 
Hoke's and Hayes' Brigades. Expectations of a general en- 
gagement were not realized, and 12 I^ovember found the 
Forty-sixth in camp near Rapidan Station, on the south bank 
of the river, from which on 27 of l^ovember it again moved 
to confront IMeade at Mine Run. Here the army entrenched 
and awaited the attack, which never came. The artillery 
was at times engaged, and there were a few casualties in the 
brigade, but no loss in the Forty-sixth. 

From this date until 8 February, 1864, the regiment oc- 
cupied its winter quarters near Rapidan, the monotony varied 

74 North Carolina Troops, 1801 -'65. 

by one or two bloodless and brief expeditions to tbe left wing 
of the annj, caused by Federal cavalry demonstrations. 

On 8 February, new quarters near Orange Court House 
having been constructed, the command again moved. This 
cam]) was the best yet occupied, in a well-wooded and 
w-atered section, and the severe winter of 1863-'6-i — what re- 
mained of it — was spent here in comparative comfort. 

The monotony here was unbroken by any event w^orth re- 
cording save possibly the gTcat battle of ''The Snow," which 
took place on 23 March, the snow being about fifteen inches 
deep and is thus chronicled. On the morning of this eventful 
day, the Twenty-seventh North Carolina challenged to mortal 
combat the Forty-sixth North Carolina. As the two regi- 
ments were getting into position, a long line of gTay skir- 
mishers from the direction of Kirkland's camp announced 
the fact that Cooke's command was to defend itself from the 
onslaught of that gallant brigade. Hastily sending word to 
the other Cooke regiments to come to the support, the Twen- 
ty-seventh and Forty-sixth rushed upon Kirkland. 

For an hour the fight raged furiously, ending in the utter 
rout of the brave Kirklandites who were driven pell mell out 
of their quarters, the victors appropriating to their own use 
and behoof all the cooking utensils to be found therein. 
That evening orders were issued to company commanders to 
see that all such utensils were promptly returned. 

Diligent search was made, but as every man found in pos- 
session of a cooking vessel vowed tliat *iie liad owned it for 
many months," it is doubtful if a single article was ever re- 

Tlie Kirkland men being dissatisfied, sent a foi-nial chal- 
lenge to r\:>oke, for a "settlement" the next day, which was 
had in a ceremonious Avay in ]iresence of an immense crowd 
of onlookers, including a nuniher of general officers with their 
staft's from other commands. 

The result was disastrous in the extrt'iiic, to (^toke's com- 
mand, which was utterly rontccl, losing nearly one-half its of- 
ficers and men as prisoners of war, who were confineil and 
informed that they would be detained until the "skillets" 
were prodnceil, l)nt the approach of night an<l rlie increasing 
cold frustrated this ])urpose and all lian<ls retnrned to tlieir 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 75 

huts, good friends. A number of minor casualties resulted 
from this wholesale fun, but only one of a serious nature. 

On 30 March, Governor Z. B. Vance addressed the brigade, 
closing with a series of anecdotes, which sent the men to their 
quarters in excellent good humor. It was observed that the 
Governor did not once allude to Holden and his adherents, 
these being the then absorbing topics in Xorth Carolina. 

The months of March and April witnessed a series of re- 
vivals of religion throughout the army. It was hoped that 
the Forty-sixth derived great and lasting good from these 
meetings, more to be prized than any earthly blessing. 

1 May found the regiment with comparatively full ranks, 
and by the restored health of the sick and wounded, number- 
ing over 500 strong. The efficient Colonel, W. L. Saunders, 
who had succeeded Colonel Hall, having lent his best energies 
during the winter to bring it up to a high state of discipline, 
it marched away from its comfortable quarters on 4 May, 
1864, in better condition than ever to meet the trials and 
struggles of its last and most terrible campaign. 

On 5 May, in the dense undergrowth of the "Wilderness," 
the Union army was encountered — the Forty-sixth l^eing in 
line immediately on the plank road, Company B being in 
the road. The record of that day of butchery has often been 
written. A butchery pure and simple it was, unrelieved by 
any of the arts of war in which the exercise of military skill 
and tact robs the hour of some of its horrors. It was a mere 
slugging match in a dense thicket of small growth, where 
men but a few yards apart fired through the lu-ushwood for 
hours, ceasing only when exhaustion and night commanded 
a rest. 

The fight in General Cooke's front was opened by the gal- 
lant Wishart with his skirmishers, who in the dense brush, 
ran right into the enemy before he knew their whereabouts, 
receiving a volley at but a few paces distance, which laid low 
more than half our nund)er, including their fearless com- 
mander severely wounded. 

All during that terrible afternoon, the Forty-sixth held its 
own, now gaining, now losing — resting at night on the ground 
over which it had fought, surrounded by the dead and wound- 

76 North Carolina Trooi's, 1801 -'05. 

ed of both sides. Early on the morning of the 6th, the bat- 
tle was renewed with increased vigor by the enemy who had 
received reinforcements during the night, and it was not long 
before the heavier weight of the Union attack began to slowly 
press back the decimated Confederate line. Matters were 
assuming a serious aspect \\hon T.ongstreet's Corps, fresh 
from the west, with Lee at its head, trotted through the 
weakened line and forming under lire, soon liad the enemy 
checked, driving him back to his original position. The 
writer had the pleasure of witnessing this glorious scene — the 
most soul-inspiring sight the imagination can conceive, and 
one never to be forgotten. 

The night of the 6th the list of casualties was hastily made 
up — possibly not accurate — as follows: Forty-sixth Xorth 
Carolina, killed 39, wounded 251, total 200, out of an effec- 
tive strength of 540 men. The following were instantly 
killed : Captain N. N. Fleming, of Company B ; Lieutenant 
George Horah, of Company B; Lieutenant J. A. B. Blue, of 
Company H ; Lieutenant T. S. Troy, of Company 
G. Wounded: Colonel W. L. Saunders, Captain A. T. 
Bost, of Company K ; Lieutenant F. M. Wishart, of Com- 
pany A ; Lieutenant T. G. Jenkins, of Company C. 

After the 6th, Grant's famous left flank movement began ; 
the Forty-sixth on the front line almost daily until Appo- 

On 10 May, the regiment was again engaged at Spottsyl- 
vania Court House, where Cooke's Brigade made a most liril- 
liant and successful charge on the enemy's batteries — -loss not 
heavy, except in Company C, (Captain S. W. Jones) who lost 
three killed and eight wounded. Officers wounded : Captain 
S. W. Jones, of Company C; Lieutenant Kouib, of Com- 
pany K, mortally. 

Again on 12 May was the Forty-sixth engaged — suft'ering 
slightly. From the 12th to 19th, the Forty-sixth was con- 
tinuously in line, confronting the enemy — with suuill loss. 

The continual lateral movement of both armies brought 
them near Mechanicsville, on 28 May, being a series of skir- 
mishings to this date. 

On 2 and 3 June the entire brigade did some handsome 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 77 

work near Mechanicsville, receiving the highest encomiums 
from the Richmond Examiner which was said to have praise 
only for Virginians. 

From 3 to 12 June, the Forty-sixth well entrenched, con- 
fronted the enemy at vei*y close quarters — so close that con- 
versation could be carried on between the opposing forces. 

12 June, the sidelong movement was resumed. 15 June 
the regiment Avas engaged in White Oak Swamp for some 
hours — losing about twenty-five men. Here it was that 
Lieutenant Robert A. Small, of Company G, met his death. 
Few nobler spirits "passed over the river" during those ter- 
rible years than that of Lieutenant Small — a Christian and 
one of nature's noblemen. 

18 June the command crossed the James river, above 
Drewu-y's Bluff, and occupied a position near Petersburg, in 
the entrenchments. 

The line of march of the regiment, from the beginning of 
the campaign, was as follows : Along the Fredericksburg 
turnpike to "The Wilderness" — thence to Spottsylvania 
Court House, Hanover Junction via Brooke turnpike to new 
Mechanicsville — thence via ''ISTine Mile Road," Williams- 
burg road, Charles City road, Darbytown road, River road, 
across Drewry's Bluff" pontoon bridge to the Richmond and 
Petersburg turnpike, thence to Petersburg — a path marked 
at almost every step wdth blood. 

From 19 June to 22 August, the regiment occupied various 
positions on the front lines near Petersburg, being moved 
hither and thither as emergency required. 

22 August the Forty-sixth took part in a brilliant affair, 
on the extreme right of the lines, on the Weldon Raihvay, 
driving from their works two lines of the enemy, but was 
checked in its mad rush at the third line by a wdthering fire 
of grape and canister — under which a number of gallant 
spirits sank to rise no more, among others Captain L. Bran- 
son, Company F, shot through the body by a gi'ape shot. 

25 August, one of the most desperate actions of the year 
was fought at Reams Station, mainly by Cooke's and Kirk- 
land's Brigades. The enemy was strongly fortified with a 
quantity of artillery. Two brigades of Wilcox's Division had 

78 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'Go. 

failed to drive them, when Cooke's and Kirkland'.s were sent 
forward, and in a most terrific storm of tlnnnhn" and light- 
ning, steadilv adxaiiced over tlie lield, facing a th'adlv fire, 
and with a veil carried everything before them, capturing 
seven stands of coh)rs, nine guns, 2,100 prisoners and a large 
quatitv of camp e(iui])age. 

The bayonet was freclv used in this afl^air, and Lieutenant- 
(^olonel A. C. McAlister distinguished himself hy his 
daring in leading the regiment to the muzzles of tlie cannon. 

Loss in the Forty-sixth, seventy-three killed and wounded. 
Among the wounded were Captain H. R. KcKinney, of Com- 
pany A ; Captain A. T. Bost, of Company K ; Captain Troy, 
of Company G ; Lieutenant T. R. Price, of Company C ; 
Lieutenant M. X. Smyer (both eyes shot out) ; Lieutenant. 
J. W. Brock, of Company G. 

After Reams Station the regiment returned to the lines 
around Petersburg, occupying different positions until De- 
cember, when winter quarters were built on llatclu-r's Run, 
near Burgess' mill, about ten miles from Petersl)urg and im- 
mediately in front of the enemy. 

About 7 December took place the famous Bellfield expedi- 
tion, noted for the suffering endured by the men from cold 
and exposure, which continued for five days. 

From 7 December to 4 February the Forty-sixth re- 
mained in winter quarters, with little to vary the monotony. 

5 February, 1865, took place the affair at ILitcher's Run, 
in wliicli the regiment was engaged, with some loss, among 
tlie killed being Lieutenant T. W. Brock, of Comjiany G, by 
a shell. 

27 February Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. McAlister was de- 
tached from the regiment and with the writer as Adjutant, 
assumed command of a force of about six hundred men and 
was assigned to duty in the counties of Randol]ili, Chatham, 
Montgomery and Moore, Nortli Carolina. This force was 
composed of the Seventh Xortli Carolina, ^lajor James G. 
ILii-ris connnanding. and two companies each from the Fif- 
teenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth. Forty-eighth and Fifty- 
fifth Xorth Carolina Regiments, designed for the protection 
of that sectiitn from raiding parties of the enemy, as also to 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 79 

preserve order in enforcing the Conscript Act. This force 
was actively emploved until General Johnson's army arrived 
near Greensboro, when it was attached to General D. H. 
Hill's Division until paroled by General Sherman. 

An episode of this bit of service was a lively engagement 
in the streets of Greensboro with a portion of Wheeler's dis- 
organized cavalry, which undertook to capture the Govern- 
ment stores in the warehouses, and incidentally the town gen- 
erally. The cavalry was driven out, but not without a num- 
ber of casualties to both sides. 

By reason of the above mentioned detail service, the writer 
can give no particulars of the regiment's experience from Pe- 
tersburg to Appomattox from personal knowledge. Those 
whose duties kept them at the front near Petersburg state 
that the morning when Lee's lines near Hatcher's Run were 
broken, the Forty-sixth, with the balance of Cooke's Brigade, 
retired in its usual good order. 

On the retreat to Appomattox its experiences were those 
of the army generally, continued fighting and starvation. 
Ever ready to do its duty, no apparent disaster, however 
great it seemed, shook its steady column, and up to the su- 
preme moment at Appomattox its unity was preserved, its 
men, those whom the bullet and disease had spared, an- 
swering promptly "here," when the final roll call was had. 

At Appomattox the remnant of this band of heroes laid 
down their arms to take them up no more forever, and the 
Forty-sixth Xorth Carolina passed into history with not 
one member who but feels a just pride in its record, upon 
which rests no blemish. At the surrender the regiment was 
commanded by Colonel W. L. Saunders. Its strength is not 
recorded, but the whole Cooke's Brigade numbered 70 officers 
and 490 men. Official Records Union and Confederate 
Armies, Vol. 95, p. 1278. 

Its torn and tattered battle flag which waved in triumph 
over many a bloody scene, was never lowered until by order 
of the immortal Lee it was laid down forever, but not in dis- 
grace or shame, for about its folds shone the glories of Mal- 
vern Hill, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Bris- 
toe, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Mechanicsville, Cold Har- 

80 NoKTH Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

bor, White Oak Swamp, Petersburg, Eeams Station, Davis' 
Farm and Hatcher's Run. 

]^ot many remain to tell the story of its bivouacs, marches 
and battles, its patience and endurance, its hardships and 
sufferings for three years of hard service Soon none will 
remain, but its glory is as fadeless as is that of "Lee's Army," 
whose fortunes and misfortunes it shared to the end. 

(Compiled mainh' from memory,) 

Company A — R. ]M. Xorment, Captain, promoted, succeed- 
ed by Lieutenant H. R. McKinney, a New Yorker by birth, 
but a staunch believer in States Rights, who served faithfully 
to the end, wounded several times. The regiment had no more 
capable or efficient officer. First Lieutenant Frank M. Wish- 
art, for many months, was commander of the regimental skir- 
mish line. (The writer, during the latter months of the war, 
w^as intimately associated with Lieutenant Wishart, then 
Captain of Company B, and testifies to his absolute indiffer- 
ence to danger and his total ignorance of fear, laughing and 
joking under fire as in camp, always wanting to ''get at 'em.") 
He survived the war only to be treacherously murdered by 
Henry Berry Lowa-y. Upon the promotion of Lieut. Wishart 
to Captaincy of Company B, his brother, Wellington Wish- 
art, became First Lieutenant. He is remembered as the 
most silent man in the regiment, and as brave as he was silent. 
Sergeant J. H. Freeman was promoted to be Second Lieuten- 
ant and John Hammond from Ensign. 

Company B — Captain W. L. Saunders having been ad- 
vanced to a Majority, Lieutenant IST. 1^. Fleming became 
Captain -and served as such until his death on the field at the 
Wilderness, when Lieutenant Frank M. Wishart, of Com- 
pany A, was elected Captain, serving in that capacity until 
the close. Second Lieutenant George Horah, having been 
advanced to First Lieutenancy, was instantly killed at the 
Wilderness. Sergeant W. B. Lowrance was promoted to 
Second Lieutenant and was transferred to another regiment. 
James T. Pearson and John J. Stewart were also promoted 
to Lieutenant. Quartermaster-Sergeant J. M. Waddill was 

Forty-Sixth Regiment. 81 

promoted to be Second Lieutenant, serving; as sucli until sent 
on detached service under Lieutenant-('olonel A. C. McAlis- 

CoMPAXY C — Upon the promotion of Captain W. A. Jen- 
kins, Lieutenant Stephen W. Jones became Captain, serving 
gallantly in that capacity until the close. Lieutenants, W. 
A. J. Xicholson, Samuel M. Southerland, Leon S. Mabry, 
Thomas R. Price and Thomas G. Jenkins. The latter two 
were several times wounded in discharge of duty. 

Co:\rPAXY" D — C^iptain Colin Stewart was with his com- 
pany in the one capacity from the organization to the final 
ending, and (I think) never received a wound. Daniel Stew- 
art and S. M. Thomas were successively First Lieutenant, 
and Hugh Middleton, Malloy Patterson, John A. McPhail 
and John W. Roper were Second Lieutenants. 

Company' E — Captain R. J. Mitchell having been pro- 
moted to Major, Lieutenant R. L. Hetlin became Captain, 
and later resigned, being succeeded by Lieutenant Jesse F. 
Heflin, who served as Captain until the close — a steady, 
brave, capable officer, ever at his post, in camp or field. James 
Meadows, First Lieutenant, resigned and was succeeded by 
Second Lieutenant J. J. Walker. James Wheeler, John C. 
Russell and Henry C. Latta became Second Lieutenants. 

Co]MPAXY' F — Captain A. C. McAlister, promoted to Ma- 
jor, Lieutenant Thomas A. Branson was advanced to Cap- 
taincy, losing his life on the field at Da\is' Farm, near Peters- 
burg, 1864, when Sergeant M. M. Teagiie, a gallant young 
fellow, was promoted Captain. His Lieutenants were J. A. 
Spencer and R. D. McCotter. James A. Marsh, originally 
First Lieutenant, was made A. Q. M. 17 April, 1862. Sam- 
uel P. Weir, killed at Fredericksburg, was Second Lieutenant 
in this company. 

Company^ G — Upon the resignation of Captain R. P. Troy, 
Lieutenant O. W. Carr was advanced to Captain, and re- 
mained in command until the close — always at the post of 
duty, alike in the service of his country or his God. Ransom 
H. Steen, First Lieutenant, was succeeded by R. S. Small, 
and T. S. Troy, who fell at the Wilderness and was suc- 
ceeded as Second Lieutenant by J. W. Brock, killed at Ilatch- 

82 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

er's Run 5 February, 1865, and Robert W. Stinson also killed 
at Petersburg. 

CoMPAKY H — The promotion of Captain 'N. McK. Mc- 
Neill to Major, led to the advance of Lieutenant George Wil- 
cox to a Captaincy, serving until the close. Charles C. Gold- 
ston. First Lieutenant, having resigned, J. A. Blue suc- 
ceeded him and fell at the Wilderness, being succeeded by 
Lieutenant N. A. McNeill, who also shared the fortunes of 
the company to the end. John N. McNeill became Second 
Lieutenant 3 September, 1863. 

Company I — Captain Owen Holmes commanded the com- 
pany from beginning to the end — was in nearly every en- 
gagement, with never a wound, if memory is not at fault. 
First Lieutenant O. P. White has (I think) the same unusual 
record. John C. Wright, Second Lieutenant, was succeeded 
by Thomas Owens. John D. Herring, Minson McLamb and 
Isaiah Herring were also Second Lieutenants. 

Company K — ^Captain A. T. Bost (if memory be not at 
fault) fell at Reams Station, and was succeeded by his 
brother, R. A. Bost, who, as Captain, receiving a severe face 
wound, was disabled thereby. No steadier men ever faced a 
firing line than these two. First Lieutenant A. Routh was 
mortally wounded while charging a battery at Spottsylvania 
10 May, 1864. Second Lieutenant M. N. Smyer was mor- 
tally wounded at Reams Station 25 August, 1864. Lieuten- 
ants J. M. Hoover and Sidney Shuford were then in com- 
mand until the close. 

In commenting on certain names here mentioned, it will be 
borne in mind that by reason of longer acquaintance or closer 
intimacy, the writer knew more of certain ones than of oth- 
ers. Some company officers were appointed but a short time 
before the writer was called away from the regiment, and 
whom he knew only by name. 

No invidious discrimination is intended, for it is distinctly 
remembered that no officer of the Forty-sixth was ever 
charged with doing less than his full duty. 

J. M. Waddill. 
Gkeenvii.i-e. i'^ C. , 

9 April. 1901. 




1. Sion H. Rogers, Colonel. 4. J. J. Thomas, Captain and A. Q. M. 

2. W. C. Lankford, Lieul. -Colonel. 5. John H. Thorp, Captain, Co. A. 

3. Campbell T. Iredell, Captain, Co. C. 6 Geo. W. VVestray, 1st Lieut., Co. A. 


By JOHN H. THORP, Captain Company A. 

In March, 1862, amid the rush to arms of North Carolina 
volunteers, the 1,200 men wlio made the aggregate of its ten 
companies, organized the Forty-seventh North Carolina Reg- 

As the companies were coming together, New Bern was 
taken by the Federal General, Euraside, and those that had 
arrived at Raleigh were sent, without guns, below Kinston 
under Major Sion H. Rogers, to assist in staying the Federal 
advance. These remained there a week or two, when they re- 
turned to Raleigh, and with the other companies, now ar- 
rived, completed their organization with Sion H. Rogers, 
Colonel ; George H. Faribault, Lieutenant-Colonel, and John 
A. Graves, Major. 

On 5 January, 1S63, Rogers resigned to become Attorney- 
General of the State, when Faribault became Colonel, Graves 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Archibald D. Crudup, Captain of 
Company B, became Major. Graves was wounded and cap- 
tured at Gettysburg 3 July, 1863, from which he died; Cru- 
dup became Lieutenant-Colonel March, 1864, and William 
C. Lankford, Captain of Company F, Major at the same 
time. Faribault and Crudup were wounded and the first re- 
signed January, 1865, and the latter in August, 1864, where- 
upon Lankford became Lieutenant-Colonel and continued the 
only field officer. Hence, mainly by casualties in battle, the 
regiment was scant of field officers during very much of its 
severest trials, and frequently was without one. On such oc- 
casions it was led through hard-fought battles by a Captain, 
and some times by a Lieutenant. W. S. Lacy was Chaplain ; 
R. A. Patterson, first, and after him Franklin J. White, were 
Surgeons ; J. B. Wiustead and Josiah C. Fowler, Assistant 
Surgeons, of the regiment. Thomas C. Powell was Adju- 

84 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

CoMPAiNY A — Nash County — It wa? first coiiiinanded by 
Captain John W. Bryan, who died in June, 1862, when Lieu- 
tenant John II. Thorp became Captain and commanded to the 
end of the war. The Lieutenants of Company A were: 
George W. Westray, who was kiUed at Cold Harbor; Wilson 
Baily, who died ; Sidney H. Bridgers, killed at Bristoe Sta- 
tion ; I>. II. Bunn (since menilx-r of United States Congress) 
and Tlioiiias Wostray. 

Company B — Franklin County — After Crudup, its first 
Captain, was promoted, Joseph J. Harris was made Captain ; 
was wounded, captured and remained a prisoner. Its Lieu- 
tenants were Harvey D. Griffin, who died ; Sherrod J. Evans, 
Hugh H. Perrv and William B. Chamblee. 

Company C — ^Vahe County — The first Captain of Com- 
pany C was Edward Hall, who died 1 September, 1862, when 
Cameron T. Iredell became Captain, was killed 3 July, 1863, 
and George ^l. Whiting became Captain, taken prisoner at 
Gettysburg and died after the war of disease contracted in 
prison. The Lieutenants of this company were Xathaniel L. 
Brown, David M. Whitaker, ]\larmaduk^ W. Norfleet and A. 
H. Harris. 

Company' D — Nash County- — John A. Harrison was first 
Captain of Company D, resigned in November, 1862, and 
Lieutenant Geo. jST. Lewis became Captain, was elected to 
the State Legislature in August, 1864, when Richard F. 
Drake became Captain. Its Lieutenants were Benjamin F. 
Drake, resigned ; William H. Blount and John Q. Winborne. 

Co:\rPANY' E — Walxe County — John H. Xorwood was the 
first and only Captain of Company E. Its Lieutenants 
were Erastus LI. Ray, Benj. W. Justice, promoted A. C. S. 
af tlie regiment; Lconidas W. Robertson and William A. 

Company F — FranJclin County — W. C. Lankford was the 
first Captain of this company, and when he was promoted, 
Julius S. Joyner became Captain. Its Lieutenants were 
J. J. Tliomas, promoted A. Q. M. of the regiment; Sylvanus 
P. Gill, W. I). Harris (resigned) and H. R. Crichton. 

Company G — Franl-Jin and Granville Counties — Joseph 
J. Davis was the first Ca])tain of Com])any G, and was 
wounded, captured and a prisoner 3 July, 1863, and remain- 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 85 

ing a prisoner, no other could succeed to the Captaincy. Its 
Lieutenants were P. P. Peace, Richard F. Yarborough, pro- 
moted to Colonelcy of another regiment ; W. H. Pleasants, 
George D. Tunstall and George Williamson. Captain Davis 
was afterwards member of United States CongTess and Jus- 
tice of our Supreme Court. 

Company H — Wake Cotmty — Charles T. Haughton, first 
Captain of Company H, died in June, 1863, when Lieuten- 
ant Sydney W. Mitchell became Captain and was, to the 
close of the war. Its Lieutenants Avere T. L. Lassiter, Syd- 
ney A. Hinton, J. D. Xewsom and John T. Womble. 

Company' I — Wal-e County — I. W. Brown was the first 
Captain of Company I, and killed at Reams Station. Its 
Lieutenants were Charles C. Lovejoy, transferred to another 
regiment; William Henry Harrison, J. Wiley Jones and J. 
Rowan Rogers, a brother of the first Colonel of the regi- 

Company K — Alamance County — Robert H. Faucette 
was the first and only Captain of Company K, and as Senior 
Captain- commanding the regiment, signed the paroles of the 
commanders of companies on 9 April, 1865. Its Lieuten- 
ants were James H. Watson, Thomas Taylor, Jacob Boon 
and Felix L. Poteat. 

After a short stay at Camp Mangaim, in Raleigh, during 
which time it was drilled incessantly, the regiment was 
camped between Xew Bern and Kinston, where several weeks 
were spent in guarding our outposts, marching to near-by 
points where attacks were threatened, but never escaping to 
be drilled daily, and taught the duties of a soldier by the 
never-tiring General, J. G. Martin. It was here the men 
went through the sick period consequent upon the change 
from civil to military life ; through measles and mumps and 
malarial fevers, from which quite a number died. Very few 
escaped sickness in passing through to the toughened condi- 

At this time the predominant desire was to g'o to the scenes 
being enacted around Richmond, where General Lee and his 
illustrious co-generals were entering on that career which as 

86 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

leaders of the Army of Northern Virginia, made them so 
famous. But the boon is not jet gi^anted us. In July we go 
to Drewry's Bluff, at this time a position that must be held, 
and General Martin goes with us, and carrying us into a hot 
field, in view of delightful shade, continues his incessant 
drilling from morning till night. After a stay of three weeks 
the regiment is appropriately made provost guard of Peters- 
burg. So thoroughly trained itself, it efficiently executed the 
delicate duties of guard in this important city, then a mili- 
tary center. During its stay the strongest of friendship was 
formed between civilian and soldier. Not a single unpleas- 
ant incident is recalled. 

Early in November, to meet a threatened attack, we were 
taken to Weldon, where we took our first snow storm in camp 
without covering except such as the men hastily made with 
bark and boughs and dirt. 

The regiment had returned to Petersburg when, on 14 
December, it was rushed by rail to Kinston to resist the Fed- 
eral General Poster in his attack on that town. We arrived 
late in the evening just as the Confederate General, Evans', 
Brigade was retreating across the bridge over the Neuse. In 
a jiffy we were unloaded from the cars, which Averc run of? 
immediately, ordered to pile our knapsacks, overcoats and 
blankets, which we never heard of afterwards, and double- 
quicked to tlic rescue. As Colonel Rogers formed us in line of 
battle. General Evans learning of our arrival, ordered us to 
the north of the town to cover the retreat of his brigade which 
had been overpowered, and showing our full regimental front 
received General Foster's messenger, who bore his demand to 
surrender, and replied : ''Tell General Foster I will fight him 

Foster did not come, but night soon did, and Ave had again 
escaped a battle. At nightfall General Evans collected his 
scattered brigade and retreated to Falling Creek. The next 
day Company A, of the Forty-seventh, reconnoitered tAVO 
miles toAvard Kinston Avithout finding the enemy, and aftei* 
night A and K Avent to Kinston to learn that Foster had ad- 
vanced up the south bank of the Neuse. He attempted to 
cross at White Hall, but Avas driven back and continued his 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 87 

march toward Goldsboro, to which the Forty-seventh was 
inarched on the following day. On our arrival at Goldsboro 
we were marched across the county bridge and formed line of 
battle, in which we remained all this cold December night, 
to find at light that Foster had retreated and was now far 

A few days afterwards the regiment is on Blackwater un- 
der General Roger A, Prior, protecting Eastern Virginia. 
I^ow for rigid marching. Every day marching thirty miles. 
All foot logs and small bridges are cut away ahead of us that 
the men may lose no time in breaking from column of four, 
and we must take the mud and water in the roads through 
this boggy section. And so, as we had been perfected in the 
drill and tactics by Martin, we were now Romanised by 
Prior. Frequently during this time a battle was immo- 
nent, but one did not occur. It was skirmishing, retreat- 
ing, advancing on another distant point, over a large extent 
of territory to keep the 6nemy pushed within his limited 


Thus inured to the vicissitudes of war, except actual 
battle, the Forty-seventh was, early in 1863, brigaded with 
the Eleventh, Twenty-sixth, Forty -fourth and Fifty-second, 
under that splendid General, J. Johnston Pettigrew, and re- 
turned to Eastern Xorth Carolina. The points of Rocky 
Mount, Magnolia and Goldsboro, as they Avere threatened, 
were quickly covered, and thence we were marched in D. H. 
Hill's army to the vicinity of New Bern, which town Hill 
threatened. Here about the middle of March, 1863, after a 
forced march of several days in bleak winter, Pettigrew, in 
the early dawn, drove in the enemy's pickets and passed one 
of his block houses, which protected !N^ew Bern, but by failure 
of other troops to co-operate time Avas lost and the enemy got 
one of his gunboats in action, Avith wliich our brigade was 
terribly shelled. PettigrcAv being unable to reply with can- 
non, or to cross the Avater Avith his infantry, Avithdrew his bri- 
gade in regiments by echelon in such masterly manner, the 
men exhibiting the utmost coolness, that not a man Avas lost, 

88 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

though the retreat was a long waj over an open, level field. 
Soon after this we went to Greenville and thence to Wash- 
ington, crossing the Tar in canoes in high water, when the 
regiment threatened the town and waked np the enemy's 
gnnboats again ; we lost one man killed and several wounded. 

But the main oliject, on the part of the Confederate au- 
thorities, of these operations in Eastern jSTorth Carolina, to- 
wit : to gather in the supplies of this rich section, having been 
accomplished and General Lee making preparations for his 
second invasion, Pettigrew's Brigade, early in May, 1863, 
became a part of Heth's Division in A. P. Hill's Corps. 

Thus after more than a year, perhaps well occupied, both 
in doing arduous, but less conspicuous service as in be- 
coming thoroughly efficient for the sterner activities of ac- 
tual battle, the Forty-seventh Regiment is at length, and 
henceforth to the end, will be with the Army of JSTorthern 
Virginia. It was well it had a thorough training, for soon 
it was to go tlir(^ugh fiery trials, its ranks to be torn by shot 
and shell, to be depleted of its officers, leaving it to be led in 
great emergencies by a Captain, and the companies some 
times by a private. Whenever and wherever tried it was 
equal to the emergency. It responded with promptness to 
the command "Charge!" to the very end. 

It was early in May, 1863, when we arrived at Hanover 
Junction, thence we marched to Fredericksburg, thence to 
Culpepper Court House, across the Blue Ridge mountains, 
through Winchester, and crossed the Potomac at Shepherds- 
town. On the nortli bank of the Potomac the disciplinarian, 
Pettigrew, delivered his strict commands against interfering 
with private rights and property, and right well were these 
commands obeyed. As we passed through Hagerstown, the 
eyes of our men were dazed l)y the fullness of an opulent city, 
but no one dared to loot it. On 20 June we camped near 
(~^ashtown, and on the 30th were marching rapidly into Get- 
tysburg with the avowed object of shoeing our bai'efooted 
men. Already the non-combatants had gotten (as they 
always do when danger is far off) to the front, and we were 
almost at o\ir destination when a person in citizen's dress, 
on a farm horse, rode leisurely from the adjacent woods up 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 89 

to the fence, on the other side of ^^'hich we were moving, in- 
quired for onr commander, and paced up to the head of our 
column. On his arrival there the command ''Haiti" rang 
down our line. Was this a spy ? ''About face — quick time, 
march I" and back we went ; but not without several shots at 
long range being fired at us from both sides of the road. So 
we escaped the ambuscade that had been set for us. 


Early on 1 July the Forty-seventh was in the line which 
opened the battle of Gettysl)urg. It is rememlxn-ed that 
Company A had eighty-two trigger pullers, each with forty 
rounds of ammunition, and the other companies were per- 
haps as large. The morale of the men was splendid, and 
when it advanced to its first grand charge it was with the 
feelings of conquerors. We were met by a furious storm of 
shells and canister and further on by the more destructive 
rifles of the two army corps confronting us. One shell struck 
the right company, killing three men, and exploding in the 
line of file closers, by the concussion, felled to the earth every 
one of them. The other companies were faring no Ijetter. 
Still our line, without a murmur, advanced, delivering its 
steady fire amid the rebel yells, and closed with the first line 
of the enemy. After a desperate struggle this yielded and 
the second line was met and quickly l)roken to pieces. The 
day was a hot one, and the men liad difficulty in ramming 
down their cartridges, so slick was the iron ram-rod in 
hands thoroughly wet with perspiration. All expedients were 
resorted to, but mainly jabbing the ram-rods against the 
ground and rocks. This, with the usual causes, undressed 
our advancing line; still all were yelling and pressing for- 
ward througli the growing wlieat breast high, toward a body 
of the enemy in sight, l)ut beyond the range of our guns, 
when suddenly a third line of the enemy arose forty yards in 
front, as if by magic, and leveled their shining line of gim- 
barrels on the wheat heads. Though taken by surprise the 
roar of our giins sounded along our whole line. We had 
caught the drop on them. Redoubled our yells and a rush, 
and the work is done. The earth just seemed to open 

90 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

and take in that line which five minutes ago was so perfect. 

Just then a Federal officer came in view and rode rapidly 
forward bearing a large Federal flag. The scattered Fed- 
erals swarmed around him as bees cover their queen. In the 
midst of a heterogeneous mass of men, acres big, he approach- 
ed our left, when all guns in front and from right and left 
turned on the mass and seemingly shot the whole to pieces. 
This hero was a Colonel Biddle, who (if he were otherwise 
competent) deserved to command a corps. It was with gen- 
uine and openly expressed pleasure our men heard he was not 
killed. The day is not ended, but the fighting in our front is 
over, and the Forty-seventh dressed its line and what re- 
mained of it marching to the place whence it started on the 
charge, bivouacked for the night, intoxicated with victory. 
Many were the incidents narrated on that beautiful, moon- 
light night. 

On the 2d we were not engaged save in witnessing the mar- 
shaling of hosts, with much fighting during the day, and at 
night a grand pyrotechnic display, this being the struggle on 
the slope of Little Round Top for the possession of the hill. 

On 3 July the Forty-seventh was put in the front line pre- 
paring to make that celebrated, but imprudent charge, famil- 
iarly called Pickett's charge, though just why called Pickett's 
instead of Pettigrew's charge, is not warranted by the facts. 
And why it has been said that PettigrcAv supported Pickett 
instead of Pickett supported Pettigrew, is also incompre- 
hensible. It is certain that the two divisions (PettigreAV led 
Heth's Division to-day) started at the same time, in the same 
line. Pickett's distance to traverse was shorter than that of 
Pettigrew. Both went to and over the enemy's breastworks, 
but were too weak from loss of numbers to hold them. Pick- 
ett's Division was perfectly fresh. Pettigi'ew's had just 
passed through 1 July in which even its commander (Heth) 
had been knocked out. 

If further witness be sought, the respective numbers of 
dead men in the correctly recorded spots where they fell, sup- 
ply it. But let it be distinctly understood Pettigrew's men 
appreciate that it was not the brave Pickett and liis men, who 
claimed for themselves pre-eminence in this bloody affair. 




k) ^ 

1'^/ >^ 




1. J. D. Newsom, 2d IJeut , Co. I. 

2. J. Wilie Jones, 2(1 Lieut., Co. I. 

3. J. Rowan Rogers, 2(1 Lieut., Co. I. 

4. Thomas Westray, 2(i Lieut., Co A. 

5. B. H. Buim, 2d Lieut., Co. A. 

George B. Moore, Sei'tjeant, Co. C. 
Luke E. Estes, Private, Co E. 
Jolin Wesley Bradford, Private, Co. G. 
(Picture in Supplementary Group, 
4tli volume.) 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 91 

They remember, vividly remember, how Pickett chafed while 
waiting to make his spring, like an untamed lion for hia 
prey. Perhaps the assault was a Confederate mistake. So 
good an authority as General Lee is quoted as saying this 
much, but that the stakes for which he was playing was so 
great (it being Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington) he 
just could not help it. Later a similar excuse was plead by 
General Grant for the slaughter at Second Cold Harbor. The 
late Captain Davis, ''Honest Joe," who led Company B in 
this charge, and who charged over the enemy's breastworks 
and became a prioner, said the enemy was literally torn to 
pieces. But, then our "hind sights are better than our fore- 
sights." And may be, after all the best conclusion is that a 
kind Providence had heard the prayers for the Union that 
has ascended from both sides, though uttered not so loud 
from the South, and in answer, just wrote doAvn in the book 
of Fate: "Gettysburg, 3 July, 1863, the beginning of the 
end." The writer, who was in the line of sharpshooters 
which preceded the main line of battle, witnessed an incident 
which (although not belonging to the Forty-seventh Regi- 
ment) ought to be recorded. Lie saw Brigadier-General Jas. 
H. Lane, on horseback, quite near the stone wall, riding just 
behind and up to his men, in the attitude of urging them 
forward with his hand ; a moment later a large spurt of blood 
leaped from the horse as he rode up, and rider and horse 
went down in the smoke and uproar. This was about the 
time of the climax of the battle when darkness and chaos 
obscured what followed. 

Surely the rank and tile of the army of Xorthern Vir- 
ginia did not realize the bigness of the event that had just 
happened ; nor can we believe the Army of the Potomac did, 
inasmuch as it behaved so nicely while we spent several days 
in the same neighborhood. 

The Forty-seventh now had had its ups and its downs. On 
the 1st as it double-quicked on Reynold, it had an equal 
chance with the enemy and had hurled 80,000 bullets in their 
faces. On the 3d they had attempted to march 1,000 yards 
in quick time through a raking fire of cannon and minies, 
with virtually no chance to use their minies — a soldier's 

92 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

main weapon. The skeleton of its foniier self it returned to 
the ])lace Avhence it l)eo-an its charo-c and l)eg'an business with- 
out a held (tthcer, and duriiiii" tlie balance of the day and the 
succeeding- night welcomed the retuni of several of our mem- 
bers who, miscatlied or Avounded in various degrees, crawled 
from the field of cariuige, for the space between the armies 
continued neutral ground, being covered bv the wounded of 
both. On the -itli General Pettigrew t(dd us that had we 
succeeded the evening before, no doul)t onr army would have 
been on the road to Washington and ])erhaps negotiations for 
peace would then be on foot. Surely the c'6-prit de corps of our 
regiment was undaunted. 

On the night of the 4tli we moved off leisurely toward 
Funktown, where we stood up on the 11th to meet a threat- 
ened attack which did not materialize, and on the 14th were 
in the rear guard of the army at Falling Waters to cover the 
crossing of the Potonuic. Here a drunken squad of Federal 
cavalry rashly rode on us while resting. Of course they were 
dispatched at once, but in the melee General Pettigrew re- 
ceived a pistol ball in the stomach from which he died in a 
day or two. Major John T. Jones, of the Twenty-sixth, was 
now the only field officer left to the brigade, and as we began 
to retire to cross the river the enemy furiously charged up 
and took quite a nund^er of prisoners mainly by cutting our 
men ofF from the pontoon liridge. 


A few daA'S rest was taken at Bunkei' Hill, tlience we 
marched to Orange Court ILaise, where we recu])erate(l rap- 
idly by the return of those who had been wounded and a 
goodly number of recruits from home. So that on 14 Oc- 
tober the Forty-seventh carried (piite a strong foi-ce into the 
battle of Bristoe Station. In this battle Kirkland's and 
Cooke's Brigades, being in the van of Lee's army, overtook 
Warren's Corps of ^leade's retreating army, and without 
awatiug reinforcements made a furious attack against it thor- 
o\ighly entrencli(Ml. This was a gross Idunder on the ])art of 
our corps' general ( A. P. Hill) who sent ns in. Let it be 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 93 

recalled that the gi-ciimd over which we charged sloped down to 
the railroad embankment behind which were the enemy's in- 
fantry, and sloped np from their infantry to their artillery. 
Under these circumstances their artillery would have driven 
back any infantry in indefinite numbers. Of course we were 
repulsed with heavy loss. An incident in this fight was 
that the skirmishers of the Forty-seventh, forty strong, in 
going in this charge, saw a space of the enemy's front, not 
reached by the left of our advancing line, passed the front of 
the Eleventh or left regiment, and filled the space. The 
ground was more favorable for us on this end of the line, 
and the Eleventh and the skirmishers of the Forty-seventh 
captured the breastworks with the enemy behind them. The 
Confederates here were herding the enemy in squads to send 
them to the rear as prisoners, when the rest of the line l)eing 
repulsed, these too, were compelled to retire. Our loss was 
heavy, including General Kirkland among the wounded. As 
on 3 July, at Gettysburg, we fell back to the point from which 
we started the charge, and for the same reason as on that day 
could not bring off our wounded who lay on the field of bat- 
tle all night. The next morning, General Meade having 
made good his retirement on the fortifications at Manassas, 
we returned to the Rapidan. Here and at Orange Court 
House we wintered without military incident, save in fre- 
quent manoeuvering ; ^feade and Lee, like two big bulls, each 
trying to put his head into the other's flank, and once at 
Vidiers^'ille an imminent battle was avoided by the two gen- 
erals doing like the king of France who, ''with 40,000 men, 
marched up the hill and then marched down again." The 
Forty-seventh lost a man or two at Vidiersville by the en- 
emy's artillery. 

The health of the men of the Forty-seventh is excellent, 
perhaps in part, because of short rations, and by the spring 
the regiment is pretty full again by returning convalescents 
and recruits from home. 

General Grant is now in command of the Army of the Po- 
tomac, and by his hammering process proposes "to fight it 
out on that line if it takes all summer," which summer ran 
sharply into the following spring. General Kirkland has 

94 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

returned to the command of the brigade, and Colonel Fari- 
bault to the command of the Forty-seventh. 


On 5 May, 1864, Grant moved out on Mine llun and the 
Forty-seventh Regiment deployed as skirmishers in the van 
of Lee's army, opens the battle, beginning with that of the 
Wilderness and continuing (with little intemiission in the 
winter) till 9 April, 1865. 

We first struck the enemy's cavalry, dismounted, and grad- 
ually pushed them back over five miles, during which we now 
and then lost a man, till the middle of the evening, Avhen we 
came up to Cooke's Brigade just engaging the enemy's in- 
fantry in the tangled brush, the battle of the Wilderness. The 
Forty-seventh went in and mingled with Cooke's men in the 
fight, and so severe was the rifle fire and the opposing armies 
so near each other that neither advanced on the other. The 
night was spent in this position, and lines were not put in or- 
der; our men having been ordered to rest, as Longstreet's 
Corps was to relieve Hill's during the night. Longstreet did 
not arrive, and at dawn the enemy having ascertained our dis- 
ordered condition, promptly advanced. Our men began 
to retreat sullenly, and fighting back at first, but as the 
day grew on our confusion increased until about 10 o'clock, 
when we met the welcome Longstreet. This splendid Corps 
came into line of battle by the order of "By the right of com- 
panies into line," and without any halt continued their ad- 
vance in the face of the, 'till now, victorious Federals. It 
was a terrific battle in which the Confederates pushed the 
Federals over the same ground tliey had taken in the morn- 
ing, mingling vast numbers of dead Federals among the Con- 
federates slain a few hours before. The Forty-seventh lost 
no prisoners in this battle, but heavily in killed and wounded. 

On the 10th the Forty-seventh was prominent in the battle 
of Wait's Shop, when General Early pressed Hancock back 
across the river after an engagement of several hours, wherein 
the Confederates advanced steadily, the Federals retreating 
Avithout much resistance. This was a battle in Avhioh the 
powder used far exceeded a commensurate loss of men on 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 95 

either side. The loss of the Forty-seventh was, perhaps, 
twenty. But the object of the Confederates was effected. 
Hancock left the important place at which he tried to break 
through our lines. 

On the 12th at Spottsylvania the Forty-seventh was but 
slightly engaged. It supported our artillery which did great 
havoc near the bloody angle. 

The succeeding fifteen days the regiments was more or 
less engaged, some of it at least being under daily fire, under 
which we seemed to grow stronger. 


On 1 June Kirkland's and Cooke's Brigades were desper- 
ately charged behind breastworks. The Forty-seventh was in 
splendid fighting trim on this occasion, and as the enemy 
started across an open field the order was given us not to fire 
until a certain cannon fired, and company commanders were 
to order the fire by file. The Federal officers threw them- 
selves in front of their men and most gallantly led them, but 
when the cannon sounded the signal, our deadly fire opened 
on them within fifty yards and it was so steady and accurate, 
for our men were perfectly cool, that before the companies 
had fired a round, the enemy was completely broken and 
routed, a large number of them killed and wounded. Our loss 
was almost nothing as the enemy, depending on giving us the 
bayonet, withheld their fire, until they were repulsed. The 
sharpshooters of the two brigades, having previously been or- 
dered, rushed after and harrassed their rear for two miles. 
This was the battle of Bethesda Church, and amid the tre- 
mendous events occurring, was the occasion of a dispatch 
from General Lee to the Secretary of War complimenting the 
two brigades. 

While the sharpshooters were pursuing, the main body of 
the two brigades was ordered off towards Cold Harbor and 
participated in another battle at that place the same even- 
ing. In this last fight in which the Confederates charged 
the enemy out of their good breastworks, General Kirkland 
was again wounded and did not return to this command. 
General William MacBae succeeded to the command of our 

96 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

bi"ii;;i(k' al)out rliis lime, and tlii'nuiili every vicissitude proved 
the equal of any brigadier in tlie army, (^uite a nnniber of 
the men of the Forty-seventh were killed and wounded in the 

General lletli, with his division, remaiue<l on the ground 
taken that night, fortihed aiul a\\aite(| lo-moi'i'ow. Karly 
on to-morrow the enemy massed a host in our front and at- 
tem])ted to break through lis all day. They were in the 
Avoods, we on the edge of it with a small field liehind us. This 
enabled them to get very near tis, perhaps forty to sixty yards, 
and we learned l)y sound rather than by sight, \yhen they 
arose to charge, and kept them in check by shooting in the 
direction of their noise, as they would attem]~»t to encourage 
their men. It was literally an all-day aifair. .Vmong our 
other embarrassments we were nearly surrounded, and once 
when the enemy's cannon sent a shell from our i-car and our 
men had craned their necks, General Heth coolly comman<led 
an aid "to go stop that battery — tell them they are firing into 
my men." Fortune was propitious, and they did stop, doubt- 
less, because they could suppose their own men tO' be fired into 
by their slielling, so close were we together. Our loss was 
considerable during the day, but at length night came. At 
dark a detail collected every canteen and bayonet and took 
them out, and as soon as it was dark good, we silently stole 
away by the only outlet left us. 

From Cold Harbor we went to Gaines' ^Mill, just after 
Hoke had repulsed the enemy at that place, infiicting heavy 
loss. From Gaines' Mill we crossed the Chickahominy. 
Thence about the middle of Jtme we crossed the James and 
a few days after the Appomattox riv(>rs, and our division 
took position on the extreme right of General Lee's long line 
of defense extending from the Chickah<iminy to Hatcher's 
Kun. a distance of about thii'ty-five miles. 

Hatcher's Kun ami its vicinity are henceforth to be tlie 
scene of our operations, and it was around this flank and in 
this vicinity that General Grant did most of his hammering, 
an<l near here he finally broke throngh Lee's linos to begin 
the A])pomattox campaign. 

Once, in July, our division recrossed the A]ipomattox to 

Forty-Seventh 1\egiment. 97 

meet Grant's feigned attack on the north of the river, when 
the episode of the crater, on 30 July, took place. 

On 21 August our division was a part of the attacking 
column to dislodge Warren's Fifth Corps from the Weldon 
Railroad. For about two days before and two after this date, 
the Forty-seventh was under almost daily fire, in which series 
of fights it lost several killed and wounded. 

KEAMS station. 

On 25 August MacHae's, with Lane's and Cooke's Bri- 
gades distinguished themselves in the battle of Reams Sta- 
tion. Hancock had fortified this place and other Southern 
troops had failed to dislodge him, when these Xorth Caroli- 
nians were assigned the honor of doing so. MacRae pointed 
out to his men how they could approach under the protection 
of an old field of pines, and we imagine the heretofore trium- 
phant Federals must have smiled as they beheld the small 
force adA^ancing against them, and intended to withhold their 
fire mitil we should reach a point from which we might be 
unable to escape. Suddenly MacRae ordered : ''Don't fire a 
gun, but dash for the enemy." The dash was made, and be- 
hold the assault is successful. The result is several flags and 
cannon, a large number killed and wounded, and 2,100 pris- 
oners. A Federal officer, as he sat, a surprised prisoner, re- 
marked to one of our officers: "Lieutenant, your men fight 
well; that was a magnificent charge." The loss in the Forty- 
seventh was heavy, and it included an over-proportion of our 
very best men. This was notably so in Company A. Men who 
seemed to have possessed charmed lives ; who struck so quick, 
and were so cool and daring to pass the danger line, were 
struck down almost in a body. Many of them returned after 
recovery, but the regiment was notably weakened after this. 

On 30 September General Heth attacked two corps of 
Federals trying to extend to our right, near the Pegram 
house, and captured quite a number of prisoners. On 1 and 
2 October the effort to extend continued and we continued to 
resist it ; but after several days doggedly fighting and putting 
in fresh troops, they succeeded and fortified themselves. It 

98 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'05. 

was Grant's way, a continual extending his left with fresh 
troops and making his line impregnable with the spade and 


On the 27th the enemy again felt for oiir right flank, and 
at Burgess' jMill General MacRae's Brigade assaulted them, 
repulsing the full length of his line of battle, taking a battery 
of artillery and passing far to the front, discovered that the 
enemy were closing from both his flanks the gap he had just 
made. MacRae was on foot leading his command, and point- 
ing to the perilous situation, asked them to follow him out, 
which they gallantly did by cutting their way out. Our loss 
here was very heavy in killed and wounded, but none were 
taken prisoners. Hill's Corps took a great number of prison- 
ers. ^lacRae complained bitterly about his superiors in com- 
mand allowing him to be cut to pieces when it could have 
been prevented. 

Winter had now set in, and the men settled down with some 
degree of comfort in their rudely constructed quarters. Some 
attended religious worship by our Chaplain. The regiment 
in early 1864 had a good Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, but no sign of it was visible at the close of the cam- 
paign — the members of it having been knocked out. Some 
who could raise a Confederate dollar went to the theatre ; yes, 
we had a theatre in Davis' Brigade, built of logs with a dirt 
floor and log seats, and such capers the soldier comedians and 
tragedians cut by torch light, and music by banjo and the 
fiddle! Tt was said the theatrical company made money. 
Camp life, however, in the winter of 1864-'65 was a hard 
one, and upon the whole a very sad one. These old soldiers 
of many battle fields, though they murmured not, knew a 
gi*eat deal, and a few who supposed they could bear no more 
deserted to the enemy, who stood with outstretched ai-ms to 
welcome tliem. The Forty-seventh furnished very few of 
this class. 

As General Grant received a steady flow of reinforcements 
he invariablv sent them to extend his left and in the severest 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 99 

weather tlie Forty-seventh was several times called out to 
resist the extension. 

One of these was on 5 February, 1865. It was sleeting 
and very cold when a large force of Federals again moved 
around our right to sever our communications. The Forty- 
seventh formed a part of the attacking force which was suc- 
cessful in driving them back. The regiment's loss was a due 
proportion of our total loss, which was perhaps 1,000, while 
that of the enemy was double that number. 

Toward the end of March Grant had collected an irresisti- 
ble force on his left, which was daily feeling for our right, 
and on 2 April broke through our attenuated line nearer to 
Petersbui-g and moved in our rear. At this time the Forty- 
seventh, lately reinforced by the last recruits from home, 
were further to the right to try to stem the torrent that ap- 
peared in that quarter. Lieutenant Westray, of Company 
A, ^^ith tliirty men, were engaged on our old picket line and 
they held their position so well that even the enemy passed on 
both sides of them and left them in their rear, from which 
situation this little body made their way out, and the next 
day turned up for duty across the Appomattox. 

The skii-mishers of the Forty-seventh had done picket duty 
on the extreme of our right the night of the 1st and were re- 
turning on the morning of the 2d along the breast%vorks held 
by some Floridians. These were dividing out their day's 
rations, and if they had pickets out, they would evidently have 
been quietly captured. The head of a Federal cavalry column 
was approaching the breastworks and was within seventy-five 
yards, when our skirmishers halted, had a parley with the 
Federals and ascertaining they were enemies, poured a volley 
into them, which drove them off, and we moved off again, 
without having halted five minutes and without exchanging 
a word with our friends. Thus we saved them from a com- 
plete surprise. 

Things everywhere on our side were now getting in a des- 
perate fix, the battle raging, seemingly, everywhere. Our 
skirmishers, about 100 in number, of whom thirty were from 
the Forty-seventh, got up with our brigade nea'^ Southerland's 
Station, where McEae was so pressed 2 April that he must 


100 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'6o. 

need tui'ii and tight. Two charges of the enemy were repulsed 
and the third was being made when a column of the enemy ar- 
rived on o\ir left and rear. A fierce struggle ensued in 
wliich we were totally defeated, slain, wounded, captured, or 
scattered. Only a few came out, the river being in front, the 
victorious enemy in rear. By order all means of crossing the 
river had been removed. But the next morning when Lee 
passed up the northern bank tx)ward Amcdia Court House, 
MacTiae at the head of our organized brigade, that is a few 
from each of his regiments, was in the retreating column as 
chipper as ever. Even the corps of such of his sharpshooters 
as had escaped retained their organization. 

Passing through Farmville on the Ttli our men snatched 
some rations from a government commissary store wliich 
they were in sore need of, as none had been issued, except on 
one occasion two ears of corn to a man. On the evening of 
the 7th we arrived on the field by a run, wdien Fitz Lee and 
Gregg's Cavalry Brigades charged each otlier, in which Gre^g 
was defeated and himself captured. 

On Sunday morning, 9 April, the Forty-seventh arrived 
at Appomattox, the last ditch, and was surrendered with the 
Army of Northern Virginia. When it was filed to the right 
of the road the men supposed they were going in line of bat- 
tle to charge the enemy who' were visible in front, but when 
MacRae commanded "Halt," and without any further or- 
der as to rest, etc., so contrary to his rule as a disciplina- 
rian, all stared and wondered what it could mean. He 
dismounted and lay down, and we, too, began to lay down. 
The sad news was quickly learned, and then followed that 
mighty expression of blasted hope, which a witness will never 
forget. The Forty-seventh Regiment had no field officer. 
There were two Captains of companies, Faucette, of Com- 
pany K, who was in command, and Thorp, of Company A. 
Company A had, in addition. Lieutenant Westray and twelve 
men ; Company D had three men. The number of men of the 
other companies not remembered, but were about seventy-five. 

The United States troops (now seemingly no longer ene- 
mies) flocked among us by the liundreds and showed tlieir 
highest respect for their late antagonists. To see General 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 101 

Lee was the burden on every tongue. There was no exulta- 
tion ; on the contrary they showed marked consideration for 
our feelings. If the whole country could have witnessed this 
sympathetic scene between the old Greys and the old Blues, 
seas of bitter tears and mountains of hate would have been 

A herd of fat, young steers, and many wagon loads of 
crackers were brought to us, with which we appeased our 
hunger. Through Monday and Tuesday we received our 
guests. On Wednesday we were paroled, and late in the 
evening we formed in our organizations for the last time, 
marched between the open ranks of the Federals and stacked 
guns. 1^0 Federal officer of rank was in sight. There was no 
music. 'Twas silenti — very sad. We broke ranks for home. 

And now old comrades (who may read it) this skeleton of a 
sketch is an attempt to write only the truth, though a very 
small part of it, of the Forty-seventh N'orth Carolina Regi- 
ment. Praise, criticism or even mention of the heroes who 
composed it are purposely omitted. The merits alone of 
these would fill a large volume, and partial mention would 
be actual wrong. Is it not, therefore, better that whatever of 
merit, of honor, and of fame the dear old regiment attained 
we shall share in common ? 

John H. Thorp. 
BocKY Mount, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 


By J. ROWAN ROGERS, Second Lieutenant Company I. 


I have accepted the task of writing this additional sketch 
of the Forty-seventh I^orth Carolina Regiment with alacrity, 
because I love so well its memory, and its many heroes of 
whom so many have passed over the river, though a few yet 
linger on this side. 

At Gettysburg the Forty-seventh Regiment had the honor 
of being in the advance of all the troops and nearest to Get- 
tysburg on 30 June, 1863. We had our pickets out on that 
night and next morning when the line of march was taken, 
Pettigrew's Brigade, composed of the Forty-seventh, Fifty- 
second, Twenty-sixth and Eleventh, was in front (Forty -fourth 
Regiment was on detached duty near Richmond). The Forty- 
seventh Regiment was in front of the brigade. After march- 
ing some distance from our camp on the morning of 1 July, 
the Forty-seventh Regiment was fired into from both sides 
of tlie road and a halt was immediately called, when the en- 
emy was discovered to be advancing from both our right and 
left flank (being dismounted cavalry), from a body of woods 
which was away from the road on each side about 500 yards, 
l^otwithstanding this was a great surprise to all of our regi- 
ment, you could plainly see pleasure depicted upon tlie face 
of every ofiicer and man in the regiment, for we all were anx- 
ious for the fray. Every one waited anxiously for orders, 
which were given by our Colonel, G. H. Faribault, who or- 
dered Captain Cameron Iredell, of Company C, to take five 
men from each company, making fifty, and charge the enemy 
on our right and ordered Lieutenant Westray, of Company 
A, to- take five from each company and charge them on our 
left. All this was done quicker than I can write it. Colonel 

104 North CUrolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Farihnull llieii ii'avc the order fur our regiinent to niarcli in 
coliiiiiii t(i the right by fours, thus heading our column direct- 
ly towards the attacking pjirty, who were on the right of the 
road. Colonel Marshall, who was just in rear of the Forty- 
seventh Regiment with the Fifty-second, made the same 
movement with his galhmt regiment, to the left of the road, 
thus the brigade faced three waN's. The main line 
composed of the Forty-seventh and Fifty-second, faced 
in the direction of Gettysburg, while the two skir- 
mish lines faced the enemy on our right and left res- 
l)eetively. As soon as the rear and left of the Forty-sev- 
enth reached the cleared ground on the right of the road and 
the rear and right of the Fifty-second had reached the cleared 
ground on the left, both regiments were ordered to halt. The 
Forty-seventh was ordered to face about and march on its 
side of the road, and passedthe Fifty-second some distance. 
Then it was halted and the Fifty-second faced about and 
marched the same distance beyond the Forty-seventh, thus 
constantly keeping one regiment facing the enemy who was 
in our front trying to advance from that direction, while the 
skirmishers of the Forty-seventh were hotly engaged with 
them on the right and left of the road, respectively. This 
movement and fight was kept up then until the Forty-seventh 
was enabled to strike the enemy's line on the right of the 
road and the Fifty-second to strike the enemy's line, which 
was on the left of tli(> road. 1'his being done, a 
forward iiio\-cnicnt by the Fbrty-seventh and Fifty-second 
was again orth-rt'd, one on the right and one on the left, 
which was gallantly done without any loss cxccpi four or 
iiv(» slightly wounded. The <>neniy broke and tied to- 
wards Gettysburg at the second volley from the two regi- 
ments. The Eleventh ami Twenty-sixth wci'o not engaged in 
this skirmish. Marching in the rear, thcv did u(>thave room 
to form in line in time, for the Forty-seventh and Fifty-sec- 
ond had alwjut 1,:>00 num in line in both regiments. After 
re])ulsing llic attack at this ])oint \\c auaiii mai"clu'(l back to 
the road, called in our skirmishers and took up our niai'ch, 
which was continual about one mile, when we were sul)jeeted 
to a severe eannonadiu"- from liattcries in our front and here 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 105 

we commenced to get into position and form line of battle 
for the great struggle whicli was about tO' take place on 1 
July, 1863. Then the Fifty-second ISTorth Carolina, under 
Colonel Marshall, formed on the right of the Forty-seventh, 
being thus on the right of Pettigrew's Brigade, the Forty- 
seventh next, it being on the right center, the Eleventh and 
Twenty-sixth were on the left centre and extreme left, but I 
have never known which one of these regiments was next to 
the Forty-seventh. The line being thus formed, was advanced 
for a short distance tO' the front, where it was again halted 
with its line stretching far to the right and left, for whatever 
history may say. General Pettigrew had in line of battle that 
morning nearer 3,000 soldiers than he had 2,500, and they 
were all good and gallant men. Before night the Twenty- 
sixth ami Eleventh ISTorth Carolina had lost two-tliirds of 
their numbers, for when the word of command was given they 
iiished forward against a largely superior force which was 
statione^d in the skirt of woods just in their front. The 
Forty-seventh suffered less severely on that day than those two 
regiments because of their disadvantages. The Forty-sev- 
enth was the next in loss, the Fifty-second being on the right 
of the line, suffered less than any other of the brigade on that 
day. But to go back, after our line was formed we were or- 
dered to halt, and as the enemy was keeping up a rather hot 
fire upon our main line, skirmishers from our regiment were 
ordered to advance and drive them back out of reach of our 
line, which was done, but not until several of our regiment 
were wounded and our gallant Lieutenant-Colonel, John A. 
Graves, was slightly wounded on the leg, the ball first having 
hit the iron scabbard of his sword, which was hanging by his 
side. But see on our left our boys have charged the Yan- 
kees who are stationed upon a hill, and we drive them down 
the hill on the other side, pell luell. But now our gallant 
boys are met half way down the hill by a fresh line of the 
enemy and a severe^ contest ensues ; our lines are thinned 
and the Yankees are continually bringing up fresh troops, 
but our boys stand it manfully. 

A part of Anderson's Division was on the immediate left 
of Pettigrew's Brigade at the first stage of heavy fighting on 

106 North Carolina Troops, 1801-'G5. 

the morning of 1 July. Now when the rattling of musketry is 
gi'owing to a perfect line of fire, the Forty-seventh is ordered 
forward. It is a grand spectacle. In the line of the Forty- 
seventh there are over 650 muskets, the men marching stead- 
ily to meet the foe, who are on their own soil and strongly 
posted, with a heavy infantry force and with artillery 
which at every step rakes tlirough our lines, cutting great 
gaps, which are quickly filled up by our boys closing into 
the places of those who have just fallen. We cross a stream 
and then up a hill through a wheat field, and then in our 
front, not over seventy-five yards off, we see the heavy lines 
of Yankee soldiers with their guns shining and flags waving ; 
the struggle grows hotter and hotter, men are falling in every 
direction, but the Forty-seventli and Fifty-second are push- 
ing the enemy steadily back, and are going forward; the 
Twenty-sixth and Eleventh are contending with heavy odds 
both as to numbers and position. While the Forty-seventh and 
Fifty-second have the foe in an open field, the Twenty-sixth 
and Eleventh have nothing to shelter themselves any more 
than we have, and thus it is that the Fifty-second and Forty- 
seventh, having driven back the enemy in their immediate 
front, their lines swing around to the left. In this position 
• they are charged by Yankee cavalry in our rear and on our 
right. Colonel Marshall was equal to this emergency, for he 
faced three of his companies about and met this charge, 
quickly driving the cavalry off with heavy loss to them. 
While tliis was going on the infantry in our front tried hard 
to rally their somewhat broken lines and regain the gTound 
they had lost. This was a hot time for the Twenty-sixth and 
Eleventh. Men had fallen woimded and killed like hail 
from a heavy hail storm. The attention of the Forty-seventh 
was diverted from the enemy in our immediate front and 
almost before we knew it the enemy had rallied and was at- 
tempting to charge our lines. Besides, they had a number 
of pieces of artillery helping them, wherever the opposing 
lines were far enough apart for them to use artillery vdthout 
striking their own men. At this critical moment Captain 
Cam. Iredell, who commanded Company C, wliich was the 
color company of the Forty-seventli, seeing one of his men 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 107 

fall mortally wounded, rushes to his side and says, ''My dear 
boy, I will try to avenge your hurt." He took his musket and 
continued to use it until he was struck by a shot from the en- 
emy which caused his death, not, however, until he had seen 
the enemy again turn and flee. The Forty-seventh lost heav- 
ily in this fight of 1 July. 

On 2 July we rested, cleaned our guns and attended to the 
wounded. Early on 3 July the Forty-seventh with the bal- 
ance of Pettigrew's Brigade, was ordered considerably to 
the right of where it had fought on 1 July. It reached its 
position about 9 o'clock 3 July and remained quietly in line 
just in the rear of a Confederate battery until about 1 
o'clock p. m., when a very heavy cannonading commenced 
between the opposing batteries, which continued until aboiit 
3 p. m,, at which time the grand advance upon Meade's 
lines was made. On that part of the line where the Forty- 
seventh advanced, it was about three-fourths of a mile or per- 
haps a mile from our batteries to the enemy's lines. Our 
battery was situated about twenty-five yards in front of 
where the Forty-seventh had taken up our line. About 3 
o'clock a slight cessation in the firing of artillery occurred 
and then the voice of our Colonel, George H. Faribault, was 
beard loud and clear, ''Attention, Battalion," and this was 
repeated by the brave aiid beloved Lieutenant-Colonel, John 
A. Graves. Every man sprung into line and was ready to 
go forward, the men knew not wjiere, for the ridge just in 
front of the Forty-seventh Regiment obstructed the view of 
the Regiment beyond twenty-five yards. The order was 
soon given to move forward, which was done in good order 
and without any confusion. Passing our batteries the field 
was before us, it Avas entirely open except here and there an 
old homestead, and one or two roads with a number of strong 
rail and post fences, some of them high and difficult to pass 
over, i^o one hesitated, no one faltered, but a good, steady 
quick-step was kept up. After leaving our batteries about 
fifty or one hundred yards the enemy commenced a terrific 
cannonade and kept it up until we were soclose that they could 
not use their cannon. As our regiment advanced great gaps 
would be knocked in our lines by the Yankee artillerymen, 

108 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

at almost every five or ten steps, but they were immediatly 
filled ill by our brave boys closing in and filling; up the gaps. 
This continued until our line of battle came to where our 
skirmishers were situated, when we received a few shots from 
the enemy's skirmishers in addition to the cannon shot and 
shell which cou tinned to pom- in on us from the time we 
started until we were so close under their iiims that they 
could not use them upon us without shooting their own men. 
As our regiment advanced its ranks were thinned at every 
step by shot and shell from the hands of the enemy. ]\Iany a 
brave man from our regiment fell dead upon the field and 
many more were slightly and others badly wounded. Here 
it was that Captain J. W. Brown, of Company I, was shocked 
by the bursting of a shell and carried back to the rear and 
almost immediately after tliis Lieutenant J. Wiley Jones 
was shot through the thigh heaving Lieutenant J. Rowan 
Rogers as the only officer with Company I. x\s Lieutenant 
Jones was wounded and fell he raised his sword and cheered 
his men on. J. D. Newsom, Lieutenant of Company H, 
was slightly wounded in the shoulder almost at the 
first shot from the musketry, whicli was fired after 
the charge was started and he rushed to his Captain (Mitch- 
ell) and says to him, "Captain, they have wounded 
me, but I want to lead Company H," and gallantly did he 
lead it. He fell terrildy wounded with his foot u])on 
one rail of the fence that ran along the road, next to the rock 
fence l>ehind which the Yankee line was posted. Our color- 
bearer, a mendier of Company K, Faucett's Company from 
Alamance county, succeeded in passing over this fence, but 
fell nioi'tally wounck^d. He died that night with his face to 
the enemy. Our cohn-s fell with our brave color-bearer not 
ten steps from tli(^ rock wall. About 150 yards from the rock 
wall, while crossing one of the many fences, which i-an across 
the ground we were charging over, 1 was shot in my left leg 
and thrown from the fence. When T arose the ivmnant of 
our once fine regiment was redu('('(] ti» a mci'c handful of 
brave men, still going forward from tliirty to as close u]i as 
ten steps to tlu^ rock wall. Seeing this and having recovered 
from mv fall and niv leg not seeming to be badlv hurt, T made 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. 109 

a nish to join the set of brave men nearest the enenij, when I 
was startled to hear the command given the Yankee skirmish- 
ers "To the front," and immediately I heard onr brave Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Graves give the order for the handful of brave 
men to lie down, hoping thus to hold his position until rein- 
forcements should come ; but none came. The Forty-seventh 
acted bravely, coolly and none faltered. 

The largest number of those who got out of that charge 
were those who had been slightly wounded before they got 
too close to the breastworks to fall back, and those who were 
wounded early enough in the charge to be carried back by 
our own men. Among those who were so close to the enemy's 
works that they could not retreat were Lieutenant-Colonel 
Graves, Captain Jos. J. Davis, aftei'\vards member of Con- 
gress and Justice of our Supreme Court ; Lieutenant Watson, 
of Company K, and a number of others I cannot recall, in all 
a mere handful, for they had all been shot down or exhausted 
and overcome by heat. I have seen somewhere that the 
Forty-seventh Regiment lost, wounded and killed and miss- 
ing, 351. This is certainly a mistake. The proportion was 
larger than that in my company (I). We lost 57 and we 
had officers who were present and could report correctly the 
number of the killed and wounded. I thinlv three companies 
lost all their officers and no correct report was given from 
those. They reported the smallest number of men killed, 
wounded and missing. As I have stated above, there was 
no faltering on the part of the Forty-seventh on 3 July, 1863. 
All did their duty and acted the part of brave soldiers. 


After General Lee left Gettysburg our first halt for more 
than one night was at Hagerstown, Maryland. Here the 
Forty-seventh was engaged in skirmishing with the enemy's 
outpost and did some picket duty on or near a stream called 
Antietam. We then moved in line of battle and built breast- 
works not far from Hagerstown, towards Falling Waters. 
When General Lee recrossed the Potomac, Pettigi*e\v's Brig- 
ade was again given the post of honor which was to bring 
up the rear of our retreating army. At Falling Waters, or 

110 XoRTH Carolina Troops, lSt)l-"65. 

abc'Ut one and a half miles from there, while our regiment 
was halted to give our wagon train and the troc'ps who were 
to cross at Falling Waters protection while passing the river, 
we were surprised and charged by a squadron of chivalry. 
Our beloved General J. Johnston Pettigrew was on the ex- 
treme right of our line and was shot while drawing his pis- 
toL It happened thus : General Pettigrew with a number of 
his staff (Captain Young, of Charleston, being one of them, 
who I understand is still living) were resting near their 
horses, when the word passed up the line. "The Yankees are 
charging us.*' The general ordered his horse, but about the 
time he took hold of his horse to mounts a Yankee officer rid- 
ing on the left of their line and a little in front, ordered him 
to surrender. General Pettigrew did not notice the Yankee 
farther than to mount his horse and commence drawing his 
pistol, his horse, however, reared and plunged and the Yan- 
kee seeing that Pettigrew did not intend to stirrender. fired 
and hit him. General Pettigrew f eU from his horse and the 
fight was hot around and about him for fifteen or twenty 
minutes. We succeeded in killing all the Yankees except 
eight. The men in the charge were evidently all dnmk. A 
heavier force coming up, we fell back to the river disputing 
every step with the enemy, so as to give our men as much 
time to cross as j)ossible. When a few days thereafter we 
camped at Btmker Hill, our regiment numbered 98 men for 
duty. My company (1) lost at Falling Waters eight men 
killed, wounded and captured. I remember the loss particu- 
larly, because I was acting adjutant of the regiment, our gal- 
lant Adjutant Thomas Powell having been captured at Get- 


At the Wilderness, the Forty-seventh R^ment had the 
honor of bringing on the fight. We were in front of our 
lines and struck the Yankee pickets about 9 o'clock, driving 
them with our skirmish line back until their numbers in- 
creased so that Company I was first ordered to reinforce the 
skirmish line, then another company, then another, until the 
entire regiment was engaged and then, I think the Forty- 

Forty-Seventh Regiment. Ill 

fourth regiment was the first regiment after the Forty-sev- 
enth to l^ecome engaged. When the enemy was driven back 
upon their main line and the fight of the first day became 
general, the Forty-seventh was ordered at first to take posi- 
tion on the left of the road, but was soon moved over to the 
right of the road, where we held our position for three hourSj 
the enemy charging us almost continuously. During this 
time the heaviest fighting took place which, with our regi- 
ment, was about 2 o'clock p. m. The black-jack saplings were 
skinned by the bullets like a yoimg apple tree is in tiie spring 
of the year by the rabbits. 

Without giving more of the particulars of this battle, here 
it was that the best friend of my boyhixwi fell mortally 
wounded through the neck. William H. Haywood, son of the 
late United States Senator W. H. Haywood and brother of 
Duncan Haywood, who fell at Seven Pines. I would like 
if I could, to tell about the fights in which the Forty-seventh 
was engaged at Spottsylvania Court House, Hanover Jimc- 
tion. Second Cold Harbor and the battle of Turkey Ridge on 
2 and 3 June. 1864. where I was wounded and so kindly 
treated by my Brigadier General (Kirkland) who was 
wounded in the same battle. 

I had just arrived at the field hospital When he heard 
me speak he knew my voice and called me to his tent, had my 
woimd dressed and carried me to Ward B. Jackson Hospital. 
Richmond. Va.. early next morning. Had it not been for his 
kindness I doubt much if I should now be living, for I was 
out of my head for several days after I was woimded. On 
account of this wounding I missed the battles which took 
place from then tintil the day after the Reams Station fight 
(25 August, IS 64), where the Forty-seventh covered itself 
with glory as did all the troops engage«i. all being Xorth 
Carolinians, viz: Cooke's. Lane's and MacRae's Brigades, 
the last being the one to which the Forty-seventh then be- 
longed. I was thenceforward with the regiment imtil 2 
April, 1865. 

2 APBTT., 1865. 

On that day I was captured on the Cox road about five 

112 North Carolina Troops, 15()1-'G5. 

miles west of Petersburg, while with the skirmishers of the 
Forty-seventh Kegiiuent holding the enemy back till the 
handful of Lee's anny crossed to the north side of 
the Appomattox river, thus placing a barrier between 
them and the great host of Grant's army, which was 
then pressing him. After the Reams Station tight the 
Forty-seventh, like almost all the Southern troops which 
were on the south side of Petersbiu-g, was engaged in a daily 
battle, and often nightly ones, until the close of the war ; some 
of these was larger and heavier than others, and their names 
are recorded in history, for instance "Davis' Farm," "Jones' 
Farm," "Burgess' Mill," "Battery 45," southwest of Peters- 
burg, and a number of other battles where many a brave man 
fell. I wish it was so that I could meet some of those of 
the Forty-seventh who were at the final scene when General 
Lee surrendered, but I have met only two. Lieutenant J. Wil- 
lie Jones, of Company I. and Corporal Rufus Sandere of 
Company C, who are now living in Wake county. After 
2 April the Forty-seventh had very few men but its organ- 
ization was kept up till General Lee surrendered. On the 
'2d the Forty-seventh was bringing up the rear of Gen- 
eral Lee's shattered heroes and here it was that with the 
larger portion of the remaining members of the Forty- 
seventh I was captured. I had orders Avhen placed in charge 
of the skinnishers of the Forty-seventh Regiment on that day 
to hold our position at all hazards. The enemy was never 
able to break through my skinnish line, but it was completely 
surrounded and we were captured by the enemy coming 
from our rear. Gaston H. Mooneyham, a private of Com- 
pany E, Forty-seventh Regiment, who is now living in Bar- 
ton's Creek To^^^lship, this county, was with mo when I was 
captured and stood manfully by me in this fight, the last 
fight we made for the Confederacy. 

J. RowAX Rogers. 
Raleigh, N. C , 

9 April, 1901. 





1. Samuel H. Walknp, Colonel. 4. Jolin R. Winchester, Adjutant and 

2. William Hogan Jones, Major. 1st Lieut. 

3. W. H. H. Lawhon, Captain. Co. D. 5. John A. Thompson, 1st Lieut., Co. G. 


By W. H. H. LAWHON, Captain Company D. 

The great civil war began in 1861. Several companies 
made up in the summer of 1S61, composed of volunteers for 
twelve months, in the Spring of 1862 reorganized for three 
years or the war. The battles of Big Bethel, First Manassas 
and others had been fought ; the result of which had given the 
Southern troops courage, and some men in North Carolina, 
who had been opposed to secession, were now changing their 
minds, so that in the Winter of 1861 and 1862 preparations 
were being made on both sides for the next summer's cam- 
paign. The Federal aniiy was recruiting so rapidly that the 
authorities of the Confederacy saw that they would have to 
meet a heavy force in the field the next summer, so a draft 
was ordered in Xorth Carolina 25 February, 1862. 

At this time volunteer companies were being raised in all 
parts of the State. Many of the patriotic sous of North Car- 
olina volunteered, most of the men who were drafted joined 
some company then being raised. A few hired substitutes 
Avho joined and thus the companies were rapidly filled up 
and hurried off to the camp of instruction, near Raleigh, and 
as they arrived they were formed into regiments. The For- 
ty-eighth was composed of the following companies : 

Company A — Union County — Francis L. Wiatt, Captain. 

Company B — Davidson County — Albert A. Hill, Captain. 

Company C — Iredell County — Arthur M. Walker, Cap- 

Company D — Moore County- — Benjamin R. Huske, Cap- 

Company E — Union County — John W. Walden, Captain. 

Company F — Union County — Samuel H. Walkup, Cap- 

114 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

Company G— Chatham County — William H. Jones, Cap- 

Company H — Davidson County — Jolin Michael, Captain. 

Company I- — Union County — Elias C. Alexander, Cap- 

Company K — Forsyth County — Jesse W. Atwood, Cap- 

It was organized on 11 April, 1862, choosing: 

Robert C. Hill, Colonel, of Iredell County. 

Samuel II. Walxup, Lieutenant-Colonel, of Union 

Benjamin E. Huske, Major, of Cumberland County. 

As many drafted men had furnished substitutes, some being 
old men and some mere boys, the Forty-eighth Regiment was 
made up of men of all sizes, and the reader, if acquainted 
with military tactics, will at once see the difficulty in drilling 
such troops uniformly. In marching the old men would 
step too long and slow, the boys too short and fast. But Col- 
onel Hill, who was a military man, lost no time in drilling 
and disciplining his regiment. We were at Camp Mangum, 
but in a short while we moved to Goldsboro, where we were in 
camp until about the second week in June, when we went to 
Petersburg, Va., and camped on Dunn's Hill. Here we were 
attached to General Robert Ransom's Brigade. 

Under his orders we marched one evening to City Point, 
arriving about dark; threw out a strong skirmish line, and 
a detail was made to load some wagons with ice from an ice 
house, which was near the bank of the James river. The 
Yankees were near by in gunboats. (The ice was to be car- 
ried to Petersburg.) The next morning General Ransom 
opened fire with two or three small pieces on the gunboats, 
which were down the river, a mile or more. The Yankees 
returned the fire very promptly and threw out among us what 
the men called "churns," cutting off tree tops, and digging 
holes in the ground. They fired the woods, and it looked like 
they would clear, burn and plow the ground all at the same 
time. Only a few rounds were fired. We fell back in or- 
der and disorder, but mostly in disorder. A horse was cut 

Forty-Eighth Regiment. 115 

on the leg witli a piece of shell. This was all the blood lost 
on our side, and I do not suppose there was much lost on the 
other side. One of our men claimed to be hit on his shoulder 
with a piece of shell, but it is more likely he tore his coat 
running through the brush ; we went back to our camp having, 
as we thought, tasted a little of war and seen a little of its 
danger. And we all knew we had smelt gunpowder. ISTot a 
few of the men told of narrow escapes. Some of them were 
certain they felt the wind of the shells, while others felt the 
heat of them as they passed by, and still others were jarred 
by the explosions. 

On 24 June, we marched to Richmond and camped that 
night in the capitol square, ^ext morning we marched to 
the front line and about 4 p. m., had our first battle, at 
French's Farm. General Robert Ransom ordered Colonel Hill 
to advance through an open field on a brigade of Yankees, who 
were behind a fence on the edge of the wood, and ordered a 
Virginia regiment to support us on the right, but from some 
cause the Virginia regiment never came up, and the Forty- 
eighth fought a brigade of Federals for some time. They 
were in woods beliind a fence and we in an open field. How- 
ever, a Georgia battalion flanked the enemy on our left, and 
thus we were enabled to hold the ground. We lost Major 
Huske, Captain Clegg, Company T), and Captain Atwood, 
Company K, killed ; and Captain Michael, Company H ; 
Captain Walker, Company C ; Lieutenant Anderson, Com- 
pany D ; and Lieutenant Stilts, Company A, were wounded. 
We lost non-commissioned oflicers and men: Killed 21, 
wounded 46 ; and of the 46 wounded, 19 died, according to 
the Xorth Carolina Roster. 

Some unpleasantness occurred between General Ransom 
and Colonel Hill, which resulted in the Forty-eighth Regi- 
ment being detached from Ransom's Brigade and on the next 
day, the 26th, we marched to Gaines' Mill, on the extreme left 
of our lines, where Stonewall Jackson had been fighting, and 
when we arrived Jackson had driven the enemy some two 
miles. So we camped on that battlefield that night and the 
next morning recrossed the Chickahominy river and went 
from place to place, until we joined General Walker at White 

116 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Oak Swamp, on 1 Julj. We were a little too late to take part 
in the Malveni Hill battle, but were under a severe shelling 
from gunboats, which were then on the James river at or 
near Harrison's Landing. This was the end of the seven 
days' battles around Richmond. 

We then went back to Petersburg, where we were in camp 
until August. Some time in August while at this camp oui* 
regiment was recruited by conscripts and before we had time 
to drill them we M'ere ordered to march and were now on the 
memorable Maryland campaign. We took part in the cap- 
ture of Harper's Ferry 15 September, 1862. General J. G. 
Walker with his own and Ransom's Brigade occupied the 
Loudon Heights between the Shenandoah and Potomac, and 
we were in full view of the town when it was surrendered. We 
then marched to Maryland, crossing the Potomac at Shep- 
herdstown, and on the night of the 16th were placed to guard 
a ford on the Antietam river, about two miles soutli of Sharps- 
burg. The battle on the left opened very early on the morn- 
ing of the 17th, and about o'clock a. m. Walker's Division^ 
(Ransom's and Walker's Brigades), were ordered to the left 
to support Stonewall Jackson. We arrived at the Dunkard 
Church, one and a half miles north of Sharpsburg, at about 
11 o'clock. Jackson's line had been broken at that point 
Kershaw's and Hood's Brigades had been driven out of 
a piece of woods west of the church and the enemy was com- 
ing into the gap. Walker's Division drove them back and 
held the field. If we had been a few minutes later the Con- 
federate army might have been destroyed. The Forty-eighth 
Regiment occupied that part of the line at the church. The 
church was about the center of the regiment. We drove the 
enemy out of the woods, and charged their line east of the 
church, but >vere cut all to pieces. We lost about one-half 
of our men, killed and wounded. So closely were we pressed 
in this battle that brigades were divided. The Twenty-sev- 
enth ISToi-th Carolina Regiment and Third Arkansas Regi- 
ment, a part of Walker's Brigade, were sent to the right, and 
the Forty-eighth North Carolina and Thirtieth Virginia Reg- 
iments to the left, leaving a gap between us that would have 
required several men to have filled, but fortunately for us^ 

Forty-Eighth Regiment. 117 

the enemy did not see it. Then, about 4 o'clock p. m., Colo- 
nel Hill was ordered with his regiment, the Forty-eighth, to 
the extreme left of the line, where there was some hard fightr 
ing. We marched in quick time a little over a mile, but when 
we arrived, Jackson's men had driven the enemy back some 
distance. We then marched back, and arrived at the Dunk- 
ard Church about dark, where we remained until the night of 
the 18th, when we recrossed the Potomac. 

After the Army of ITorthern Virginia had returned south 
of the Potomac, the army was more thoroughly organized 
into brigades, divisions and corps. Before, it seems, we had 
some regiments not permanently attached to any brigade. 
The Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth and Forty-eighth 
Regiments formed General John R. Cooke's Brigade, belong- 
ing to General H. Heth's Division and A. P. Hill's Corps. 

The next battle we were in was at Fredericksburg, Va., 
13 December, 1862. Here the Forty-eighth suffered another 
heavy loss, being in the hottest of the battle. Major. A. A. 
Hill was wounded ; Captain J. C. Stafford, Company K ; 
Lieutenant Peter W. Plyler, Company E ; Lieutenant M. S. 
Brem, Company C, and Lieutenant H. C. Banner, Company 
K, were killed. Captain J. D. Dowd, Company D ; Cap- 
tain John Moore, Company I ; Captain J. F. Heitman, 
company H ; Lieutenant J. K. Potts, Company C ; Lieuten- 
ant H. A. Gray, Company F, and Lieutenant Edwin Tyson, 
Company G, were wounded. The loss of non-commissioned 
officers and men was very heavy. 

From Fredericksburg Cooke's Brigade was sent, in Janu- 
ary, 1863, to Pocataligo, S. C, where we remained until 
April, and were then ordered back to Eastern !N'orth Carolina 
until July. While here we did a good deal of marching, 
were in a little skirmish at Gum Swamp, and drove the Yan- 
kees as far as Red Banks, eight miles from New Bern. Then 
we went from place to place. We were at Little Washington, 
Tarboro, Weldon and other places until about 1 July, when 
we went to Richmond, and were around Richmond several 
days guarding the city. In August we went back to Freder- 
icksburg, were there about a month; then to Gordonsville, 
where we joined the regular army and marched to Bristoe 

118 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Station on 14 October, 1863. We had missed all the hard 
marching on the campaign to Pennsylvania and the great 
battle of Gettysbui'g, but at Bristoe we suffered the heaviest 
loss of any battle we had yet been in, charging a heavy body 
of the enemy entrenched behind a railroad. From here we 
fell back to Orange Court House, where we went into winter 

The next battle was at the Wilderness, 4 May, 1864. 
Heth's Division fought a heavy force of the enemy for two 
hours before we were relieved. At no time during the war 
did his division do better fighting. The writer heard Gen- 
eral Lee tell General Cooke that night that he (Gen. Cooke), 
and Kirkland, with their brigades, had held 25,000 Yankees 
in check for more than two hours. Our loss was not heavy, 
but the enemy's was very great. There seemed to be as 
many dead men in our front as we had men engaged. The 
ground on which we fought was a dense thicket of small 
grow^th, which was cut dowm by minie balls before we were 
relieved, so that we could see the enemy's lines as they would 
come up to relieve one line after another, which they did 
about every fifteen or twenty minutes. And to show that 
the undergTowth w^as cut down principally by our balls, the 
tree tops in the rear of us were cut all to pieces, while but few 
balls struck trees near the ground, showing that the enemy 
shot over us. We were relieved a little before sunset by 
Wilcox's Division, and after dark were marched out and 
formed in line in an old straw field, where we lay until morn- 
ing. At daylight the skirmish firing began. At sunrise 
the enemy advanced in several lines. In the meanwhile a 
battery of small gims was brought in and opened on the ad- 
vancing lines of Federals which were between us and the ris- 
ing sun. This was all the cannon used in the battle. The 
smoke from the cannon was so dense the Captain could not 
see what he was doing. The writer was ordered by General 
Cooke to go in front to see where the shells were falling. I 
soon saw that they were going over their lines and doing no 
execution at all. I informed the commander of the distance 
of the enemy. The next fire he began to cut lanes through 
the advancing lines, but the artillery had time only for a few 

Forty-Eighth Regiment. 119 

rounds, when General Longstreet's Corps advanced and drove 
them back into and out of their breastworks and took pos- 
session of the same. This was a most gallant act. Long- 
street with one line drove several lines of Federals back, leav- 
ing the ground strewn with Federal dead. That night when 
we were in the captured breastworks and all was perfectly 
still. Gen. Lee rode across the line on the extreme right. Some 
one cried out "Three cheers for General Lee," which was 
taken up on the right and went the rounds to the extreme 
left — the grandest rebel yell of the war. The rear guard of 
the retreating Federals fired and ran. Some of them, cap- 
tured a few days afterward, reported that several corps were 
ordered back as they thought we were advancing. 

The reg-iment had a heavy skirmish on Po river and was 
severely shelled. The Federals, in falling back at this place, 
fired the woods on us, but the fire, like their shells, did not 
stop us in our advance. This all amounted to but little. 

At Spottsylvania Court House we were engaged on 12 
May, but the loss of the Forty-eighth was not so great as that 
of some other regiments, as we were not in the hottest of the 
battle. However, we did some hard marching through the 
brush and some fighting. 

From here we were on the memorable march to Richmond, 
and exposed to an awful heavy shelling on 25 May, near Han- 
over. The solid shot were falling and bouncing thick on the 
ground. The only casualties I remember were Sergeant C. 
Lawhon and Corporal M. C. Yon, Company D, Forty-eighth 
ISTorth Carolina, both killed with the same shot. Our next en- 
gagement was at a place called Turkey Bend, or Turkey Hill. 
Wilcox's Division was fighting in front of us, and a heavy 
body of Federals were moving on his left flank. We were 
preparing to meet them, throwing up some temporary breast- 
works under a sharp skirmish fire. Lieutenant W. C. How- 
ard, of Company F, Forty-eighth, was killed. Some four or 
five men wounded, were, I think, all of those lost by the 
Forty-eighth in this engagement. The enemy was moving in 
line of battle to our right. We were ordered to move in quick 
time and make no noise. While on this rapid march an 
amusing incident occurred, which I will relate : We were 

120 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

passing througli a ravine where some Yankee prisoners were 
under guard. A very large, gruff looking Yankee was stand- 
ing up slurring the rebels. He asked : ''Why do you rebels 
wear such dirty, ragged clotlies ?" An Irishman by the name 
of Forrest, belonging to Company D, Forty-eighth Kegimentj 
and as good a soldier as was in the regiment, answered: 
"Faith and be jabbers, we Southerners always put on our 
sorriest clothes when we kill hogs, and it is hog killing day 
wath us now," pointing to a dead Yankee near by. This Avit 
of the Irishman caused a laugh, and forgetting the order to 
be quiet, some two or three men raised a yell, which was 
taken up along the line — -a regular rebel yell. The enemy's 
lines halted, broke and fell back, so we did not get into any 
further engagement. Whether it was this yell that caused 
them to fall back, I cannot say, but I don't suppose they knew 
we were near them until the yell betrayed our whereabouts. 

Our next engagement was at Cold Harbor, on 3 June, 
1864. Cooke's Brigade was on the extreme left of the Confed- 
erate lines, only some cavalry being on our left. This was, 
with us, probably the very hardest-fought battle of the 
war. Just as wc got in position on an old road — and it was 
about sun up — the Federals, in heavy force, made a charge 
Avhich wc met and after a hard struggle, which lasted some 
time, repulsed. They soon made another charge. We were as- 
sisted in repulsing this one by a batteiy of artillery, which 
had just come up. The enemy would reinforce and come 
again, but we repulsed every charge and during the day, 
working between attacks, built a very good breastwork. The 
last of the several charges was made about 6 o'clock p. m. 
Several lines came forward. 

One line would fire and fall down, another step over, fire 
and fall down, each line getting nearer us, until they got 
MTthin sixty or seventy-five yards of some portions of our 
line, but finding themselves cut to pieces so badly, they fell 
back in a little disorder. Our men seemed to rise all at 
once, Avith a rebel yell, and poured lead into them, cutting 
down numbers of them. Tlic old field in front of us was 
almost covered witli their dead. At no time during the war 
did the Forty-eighth and Twenty-seventh do better fighting. 

Forty-Eighth Regiment. 121 

Our position was a good one, and an important one to be held. 
We lost several good men in this battle. Lieutenant M. D. 
Clegg, of Company D, was wounded. 

At 9 o'clock that night we took up the line of march, went 
from place to place for several days, spending about one week 
at Deep Bottom. At this place we had no battle, except 
with flies. I never saw so many flies in all my life. Then we 
went to the right of Petersburg. We were on the line about 
one half mile to the right of the ''Blow-up," as it was called. 
The day before the springing of that mine we were ordered to 
the left of Petersburg and had crossed the Appomattox, and 
were marching toward Richmond, when we heard the ex- 
plosion. We returned and on the next day took up our quar- 
ters in the trenches. The Forty-eighth occupied that posi- 
tion which had been blown up. Here we remained for sev- 
eral weeks, when Ave were moved to the extreme right and 
built our winter quarters on Hatcher's Run. General Heth 
was ordered to attack the enemy whenever he attempted to ex- 
tend his lines. So we had several engagements, one at the 
Yellow House. This was in August, 1864, and on the 25th 
of the same month we were in the battle of Reams Station, 
where we charged a heavy force of Federals behind a breast- 
work, broke their line and captured several hundred prisoners 
and several pieces of artillery. This was a brave assault. 
Two attacks had been made by other troops (I forget which) 
that had failed to dislodge them. This had given the enemy 
courage, and was rather discouraging to us, who had to make 
the third attack. The timber for fifty or seventy-five yards 
in front of their works had been cut down, the limbs sharp- 
ened, making it very difficult to reach the works. The posi- 
tion of the Forty-eighth was near the centre of the line, tlie 
timber in our front being thinner than in other portions. We 
succeeded in gaining the works sooner than those on the right 
or left, who had more brush to go through. The first part 
of the line broken was on the left wing of the Forty-eighth, 
but the whole line was surrendered in a very few minutes. 
We lost several in this charge. Lieutenant M. D. Clegg, of 
Company D, was killed on the works about the time the line 

122 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'6o. 

was broken. Lieutenant C. W. Shaw, of Company D, was 
wounded before be reached the works. 

The next day we marched back to Petersburg to our posi- 
tion on the right of the lines. The next march we took, and 
I think it was in December, was to Bellliekl, where we had a 
skirmish with Yankee cavalry. Sergeant H. B. Cox, of Com- 
pany D, lost his foot by a shell. This was all the loss I re- 
member. We remained on Hatcher's Run until the Confed- 
erate lines were broken, 2 April, 1865. We had several skir- 
mishes while here. On 25 March the troops on our left had 
made a charge on the enemy's lines at Hare's Hill and had 
carried their front works near the Appomattox river, but had 
to abandon them the same day. We were ordered around there 
in the morning and returned in the evening to our quarters 
to find the Yankees in possession of our picket post. They 
had captured all of our pickets and could have been in pos- 
session of our breastworks and winter quarters if they had 
known it, as we had left only a few men in camp, who were 
unfit for duty. Captain Henry R. McKinney, of the 
Forty-sixth Regiment, who was commander of the brigade 
sharpshooters, formed his line on the right, near the creek, 
and made a very brave and successful charge, recapturing 
our picket post in this charge. Lieutenant Austin, of the 
Forty-eighth Regiment, a very brave and good officer, was 
killed, and I do not remember that any other was killed or 
wounded. T believe that Lieutenant Austin was the last 
man killed in the Forty-eighth as I do not remember any oth- 
er being killed afterwards. 

We only liold our picket post about two days, as our pickets 
Avere captured on 2S or 29 March, and on 2 April, the lines to 
our left were broken. We took up the line of Uiarch to the 
right, and crossing the creek, moved to Jarrett's Station, 
where in the evening we had a skirmish, but were about to be 
surrounded and made haste to get away and were on the mem- 
orable retreat to Appomattox Court House, losing more or less 
of our men every day. 

The last skirmish we were in was on Thursday evening 
before the surrender on Sunday, April, 1865. The Twen- 
ty-seventh and Forty-eighth Regiments were ordered out to 

Forty-Eighth Regiment. 123 

the right to protect the wagon trains, but before we arrived 
the enemy had set fire to a part of the wagons, and a heavy 
force of infantry was marching up the road the wagons were 
on. Here we had a narrow escape. A squadron of cavalry got 
in our rear, cut us off and we were scattered on both sides of 
the road. Several of our men were captured. Every man was 
left to take care of himself. Company D, which had only 
thirty-seven men at Petersburg 2 April, had been reduced to 
eleven and in this affair lost ten, leaving only one man and the 
Captain to witness the surrender. On Sunday morning, and 
in the race through the woods on Thursday evening, the Cap- 
tain lost his hat, running from a Yankee horseman, and 
would have been captured had it not been for a deep gully 
near by into Avliich he went and got out of the horse's way. 

At the surrender the Forty-eighth Regiment had been re- 
duced in number until we did not have men enough to make 
more than one full company. 

K'ow a few words in regard to the officers of the regiment, 
and I close. 

Colonel R. C. Hill was a very fine military man, very strict 
and much beloved by his men, but being in bad health he was 
often absent. He only commanded the regiment in the cam- 
paign of 1862 and 1863. He died in December, 1863. 

Lieutenant-Colonel S. H. Walkup was made Colonel. He 
was one of the bravest officers in the Army of J^orthem Vir- 
ginia. He ^^■as often laughed at on dress parade and brigade 
drill for his awkwardness, but when in battle all that knew 
him were satisfied that Walkup was there and that his regi- 
ment would do its duty. 

Lieutenant-Colonel A. A. Hill was a good and kind officer. 
All his men liked him. He made a very fine appearance and 
was always with his men. I think he was one of the two 
or three officers of the regiment who missed no part of the 
march or duty imposed on the regiment during the memora- 
ble campaign of 1864. 

Major B. R. Huske was a very mild, gentle and kind- 
hearted man, a well posted and good officer. The whole regi- 
ment was grieved at his death, which occurred on 15 July, 

124 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

1862, from wounds received in the battle of French's Farm, 
25 June. 

Captain F. L. Wiatt, of Company A, vas promoted to 
Major at the death of Iluske. He was an old man, and won 
the respect of the whole regiment; was wounded at Harper's 
Ferry, 15 September, 1862, and resigned in October of the 
same year and was with us only a short while. 

Captain W. H. Jones, of Company G, was made Major on 
the death of Colonel Hill, 4 December, 1863, but owing to 
bad health was not with us much. He was a very good man 
and kind hearted. He loved his men and was loved in re- 

H. A. Gunter, of Wake, was our first Adjutant. From some 
cause he was not with us in the battle of French's Farm. Lieu- 
tenant J. H. Anderson, of Company D, was acting Adjutant 
and was wounded in that .battle. Adjutant Gunter was 
wounded in the battle of Sharpsburg, and died soon after 
from wounds. 

Lieutenant John R. Winchester, of Company A, then be- 
came Adjutant and was with us all the while. He was a 
very good officer and soldier. He was a cheerful and lively 
man and was generally ready for any fun with officers or 
men. The men all liked Winchester. 

Several of the company officers are worthy of special ref- 
erence in this history, and the -svriter would be glad to give 
it, but failing to get any answer to his letters of inquiry and 
having to depend solely on his memory, can not recall the 
names and company to which they belonged. Each company 
had its brave men. Many of these are entitled to mention in 
this sketch, but for the reason stated above the writer will 
have to leave them out, but feels assured that he can say that 
the Forty-eighth Regiment did as much hard marching and 
fighting as any regiment from North Carolina. From first 
to last, it had about 1,300 men, many of them as brave and as 
obedient as any soldiers in the Confederate army. 

W. H. H. Lawhon. 
Moore Co., N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 





1. S. D. Ramseur. Colonel. 
2 James T. Davis, Lieut. Colonel. 
3. John A. Fleniniing, Lieut. -Colonel. 
(Killed at Petersburg ) 

4. Cicero Durliaiii. Captain and A. Q. M. 

5. Henry A. Chambers. Captain, Co. O- 

6. Edwin V. Harris, Captain, Co. E. 


By THOMAS R. ROULHAC, First Lieutenant Company D. 

The Forty-ninth Kegiment of Xorth Carolina State Troops 
was composed of ten companies of infantry, raised in the 
counties of ]\IcDowell, 1 ; Cleveland, 2 ; Iredell, 2 ; Moore, 
1 ; Mecklenburg, 1 ; Gaston, 1 ; Catawba, 1 ; and Lincoln, 1, 
which assembled at Garysburg, in the month of March, 1862. 
It was constituted, at its formation, wholly of volunteers, 
many of whom had sought service in the earlier periods of 
the war, and all of whom had responded to the call for sol- 
diers, as soon as it was practicable to furnish them with arms 
and equipments. In the latter part of March, or early in 
April, 1862, organization of the regiment was effected, by 
the election of : 

Stephen D. Ramseue, Colonel. 
William A. Eliason, Lieutenant-Colonel. 
Lee M. McAfee, Major. 
Lieutenant Richmond^ Adjutant. 
George L. Phifek^ Sergeant-Major. 
Captain E. P. Geoege^ Commissary. 
Captain J. W. Wilson^ Quartermaster. 
De. John K. Ruffin^ Surgeon. 
Reginald H. Goode, Assistant Surgeon. 
Peter iSTicholson, Chaplain. 

The non-commission staff was completed with James Hol- 
land, Quartermaster-Sergeant ; Harrison Hall, Hospital 
Steward, and James H. Geiger, Ordnance Sergeant. 

The history of Ramseur is known to all the people of J^J'orth 
Carolina, ^o one of her sons ever contributed, by his devo- 
tion to her service, skill and heroic bravery on the field of bat- 
tle, and fearless exposure and ultimate sacrifice of his life, 
more to the historic lustre of the name and honor of this, one 

126 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'(55. 

of the greatest of the American States. He gave untiring en- 
ergy and masterly judgment to the rapid organization, drill, 
discipline and preparation for active service in the field of his 
regiment. A graduate of the Military Academy at West 
Point, and fur a few years an officer in the regular army, en- 
doAved A\ith a mind of great strength and quickness, constant 
in purpose, daring and brilliant in execution, prepared for 
the science of war and revelling in its dangers and fierce en- 
counters, and with a spirit fired with a determination to excel 
in the profession of arms ; it is not to be wondered at, that, un- 
der his capable authority and the influence of his stirring ex- 
ample, the regiment rapidly took form and shape as a strong, 
disciplined and efficient body of men ; nor that the impress of 
his spirit and the effect of his training should, as its subse- 
quent career demonstrated, be retained, not alone to charac- 
terize the natural development of veterans, but, likewise, as a 
part of its heritage of honor, so long as the flag under which 
he arrayed them claimed an existence amid the heraldry of 
nations. Short as was the length of his authority over them, 
the force of his activity, zeal and fearlessness was felt and 
recognized by the Forty-ninth (Ramseur's) Regiment through 
all its struggles and hardships, in the camp, on the 
march, in making or meeting assaults, advancing or retreat- 
ing, in sunshine and storm, through the long and 
w^earing siege of Petersbnrg, where it rushed alone into the 
cavalier line after Grant's mine was sprung, and at 
skirmish distance in the works held the Federal advance 
at bay for three hours — the slender link by which 
the two halves of General Lee's army were united, until re- 
inforcements could be brought seven miles to retake the cra- 
ter; both when disaster fell fast and fierce on the cause for 
which they fought, as well as when before their steady charge 
the foe gave Avay, and victory perched on their well-worn bat- 
tle flag; when deatli had thinned its ranks and suffering made 
gaunt the survivors, until at last its lines were crushed — its 
shout and shot the last to be heard — on the field of Five 
Forks. N^orth Carolina, whose soil has been made sacred 
by the ashes of so many great and strong men, her jurists, her 
statesmen, her magistrates, her teachers, her ministers and 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 127 

priests, lier soldiers and her patriots, holds within her bosom 
the dust of no nobler or more perfect man than that of 
Stephen Dobson Ramseiir, 

The regiment was officered by men of education, and, for 
the most part, in the full vigor of young manhood. 

Its rank and file were taken from the Piedmont region of 
the State, which then contained, as extended observation ena- 
bles the writer to say, a population second to none for self- 
reliance, integrity, just respect for authority and modest 
worth and courage. Many of them were descendants of the 
people who made the Honiets' Xest of North Carolina a 
fortress of independence and a terror to their country's invad- 

Soon after its organization Lieutenant-Colonel Eliason re- 
signed, Major McAfee succeeding him, and Captain John A. 
Fleming, of Company A, was promoted to Major. 


When the operations of McClellan's army around Rich- 
mon, culminating in the seven days' battles, began, the regi- 
ment was assigned to General Robert Ransom's Brigade and 
participated in several of those engagements. At Malvern 
Hill it bore a conspicuous part, leaving its dead and wounded 
on the field next in proximity to the enemy's works to those of 
the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Regiment, then commanded 
by Colonel Zebulon B. Vance. 

In this ill-advised assault the command suffered heavily in 
killed and wounded. Colonel Ramseur among the latter. His 
handling of the regiment and its conduct during those con- 
flicts led to his prompt promotion to Brigadier-General, and 
to his assignment, as soon as he recovered from his wound, to 
another command. 

On 1 November, 1862, Lieutenant-Colonel McAfee was 
commissioned Colonel, Major Fleming was promoted Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, and Captain Pinckney B. Chambers, of Com- 
pany C. was made ]\Iajor. During the summer of 1862 Ad- 
jutant Richmond fell a victim to typhoid fever, and the life 
of this brave and capable ofiicer was thus destroyed — no less 
an offering on the altar of patriotism than if he had laid it 

128 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

down on the battletiokl. Cicero A. Durham, of Cleveland 
county, prior to the war a cadet of the Military Institute of 
General D. IT. Hill, at Charlotte, and who afterwards became 
so famous throughout the army as the fighting quartermaster, 
was appointed adjutant. He sei-ved in this capacity with 
great efficiency and distinction until 2 May, 1863, when he 
was promoted Assistant Quartermaster to succeed Captain 
George, who was transferred to other duties. William H. 
Dinkins, who had been Scrgeant-Major, was appointed Adju- 
tant, and continued in that position during the remainder of 
the war, actively on duty until some time in the spring of 
1864, wlion bad health caused his absence to the close of hos- 

By reason of the losses in front of Richmond in this cam- 
paign, both of officers and men, changes in the roster of of- 
ficers were numerous. 

It has been impossible at this late day to procure anything 
like full or correct reports of the killed, wounded, or missing 
in these battles. The aggregate was considerable, and the 
casualties told the story of the fierce struggles in which the 
command was engaged, but access to the reports cannot be 

George W. Lytle succeeded to the Captaincy of Company 
A; Henry A. Chambers was, on 10 December, 1862, ap- 
pointed to the command of Company C ; Columbus H. Dixon 
was made Captain of Company G, on lY November, 
1862, in the place of Captain Rufus Roberts; Charles F. 
Connor, on 1 February, 1863, succeeded Captain W. W. Che- 
nault, of Company I, and George L. Phifer became Captain 
of Company K, in the place of Peter Z. Baxter, on 24 July, 
1863 ; changes occasioned by the losses of 1862. Correspond- 
ing changes ensued in the other grades of company officers. 


Fi'oiii Kiclnnond the scene of action was speedily trans- 
ferred by General Lee to the Potomac and beyond ; and tlien 
back to the capture of Harper's Ferry, thence to Sharpsburg, 
or Antietam, the command moved under tlie orders of that 
groat fignre in our military history. At Shai'psburg it 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 129 

shared with the rest of the brigade the honor of retaking 
and holding the famous "West Woods." Here the gallant 
Lieutenant Greenlea Flemming, brother of Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Flemming, was killed and a dozen men of his com- 
pany killed or wounded by a shell which fell in its 
ranks as the brigade was moving by the flank to change its 
position just before sunset. It was the rear company of the 
Forty-ninth and Colonel M. W. Ransoin and Adjutant Wal- 
ter C*lark, who were riding at the head of the Thirty-fifth^ 
were close behind and barely escaped the shell which was evi- 
dently directed by the enemy's signal corps at the moving 
line of bayonets, glistening in the setting sunlight, for it 
came from a battery on the other side of the Antietam. 
Returning to Virginia, the regiment was in the battle of Fred- 
ericksburg, beginning 11 December, 1862, where it took posi- 
tion to the left of the plank road, and during the four days 
that the fighting there continued it was subjected to heavy 
cannonading and some infantry fighting, several officers and 
men being killed and wounded. 

After this battle the Forty-ninth remained in winter quar- 
ters near Fredericksburg until 3 January, 1863, when it was 
marched, by the Telegraph road, to Hanover Junction, thence 
to Richmond, and from there to Petersburg, which it reached 
on the evening of the 7th, and remained until tlie 1 7th, when 
it left for eastern ^North Carolina. 

From this time on until the spring of 1864, the regiment, 
w^ith the Twenty-fourth, Tw^enty-fifth, Thirty-fifth and Fifty- 
sixth Regiments, composed Ransom's Brigade which protected 
the line of the Wilmington & W^eldon Railroad from those 
two terminal points, and that of the road from Goldsboro 
to below Ivinston ; being constantly on the move, appear- 
ing one day at the other end of the line from that at 
which they w^ere the day before, and vigilantly guarding the 
teri'itory of Eastern ^STorth Carolina, from which such abund- 
ant supplies w^ere contributed for the support of our armies. 
Strategically, it was the right wing of the Army of Vir- 
ginia ; and General Scott, whose plan of camy<aigu delineated 

130 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'G5. 

ill: the beginning of hostilities, of intersecting the Confedera- 
cy, was verified by events, and the consummation of wliicli re- 
sulted in our downfall, declared that, after the opening of the 
Mississippi, a heavy column pushed through the gateway of 
Eastern North Carolina, would cause the abandonment of 
Virginia, and the dissevering of the most formidable p()rti.)n 
of the Confederacy. The closing events of the war demon- 
strated the accuracy of his judgment and his consummate 
skill as a strategist. That it was not done sooner must con- 
vince the student of history how severely taxed were the pow- 
ers and resources of the Federal government to meet and hold 
in check the main annies of the South, and that its dismem- 
berment was deferred so long alone by the magnificent cour- 
age and endurance of its soldiery. Ransom's Brigade was 
the most important force in the section mentioned for 
many months ; and, occupying in <|uick succession Weldon, 
Warsaw, Kenan sville, Goldsboro, Kinston, Wilming-ton and 
Greenville, it was always on hand to confront any movement 
of tlie enemy in that region. Occasionally a sharp brush 
with the enemy's forces was necessary to warn him of the foe 
in his path. From 'New Bern, Plymouth and Washington, 
in Eastern Carolina, and from Norfolk and Suffolk, in Vir- 
ginia, the Federals Avould send out expeditions ; but, in each 
instance, no great distance would be traversed before they 
were confronted by Ransom's Brigade. Besides the pro- 
tection thus afforded to the main army in Virginia, an exten- 
sive and fertile section of the country was thus kept open for 
supplies of com and meat to the Confederate forces ; and it 
was not rare for other supplies and needed articles to reach 
our lines through that territory. MeanAvhile, the ranks of all 
the regiments in that brigade were recruited ; drill and disci- 
pline were advanced ; and equipment was perfected ; so that, 
when in 1864 we were made a component part of General 
Beauregard's command between Richmond and Petersburg, 
on the south side of the James, it is more than probable that 
there was not in the Confederate service any brigade, con- 
taining a greater number of effective, well-trained, veteran 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 131 


On 22 Maj, 1863, a sharp affair occurred at Gum Swamp, 
in Craven or Lenoir county, in which the Fifty-sixth and 
Twenty-fifth Regiments, owing to the negligence of our cav- 
alry, were surrounded by a considerable force of the enemy ; 
^nd, after losing about 170 prisoners, the remainder of those 
two commands barely escaped capture by fighting their way 
through the surrounding forces. During this movement 
Companies C, D and H, of the Forty-ninth, were picketing 
at Moseley's Creek, a parallel road from ]^ew Bern. The bal- 
ance of the regiment being moved from Kinston to the sup- 
port of the troops at Gum Swamp, by their timely arrival 
stayed the retreat and checked the attack. 

The invasion of Pennsylvania during the summer of this 
jear by General Lee occupied the attention of most of the 
Federal troops, and movements elsewhere were generally of 
slight importance. 

During the presence of our army across the Potomac a de- 
monstration in considerable force, probably with the hope of 
recalling some of the troops from General Lee to oppose it, 
was made towards Richmond from the direction of the Chick- 
ahominy ; and Ransom's Brigade was hurried by rail to meet 
the threatened raid. At Bottom's Bridge the Federal column 
was encountered ; but after two days of brisk skirmishing its 
commander declined to attempt the passage of that stream. 
Some losses in killed and wounded were sustained by our 
forces, and the enemy suffered to as great an extent, with the 
addition of some prisoners captured by us. The return of 
the raiding column to York river was precipitate ; and after 
a few days our command was back at its old duties in l^orth 
Carolina. During the residue of the summer and succeeding 
fall and winter it was constantly on the move. 

On 9 June, 18G3, Thomas R. Roulhac was appointed Ser- 
geant-Major from Manly's Battery, which was then in the 
army of Northern Virginia. In the latter part of October 
he joined the regiment at Garysburg, and served in that 
capacity and as Acting Adjutant, until appointed First Lieu- 
tenant of Company D, in June, 1864. 

On 28 January, 1864, the command left Weldon for Kin- 

132 North Carolina Troops, 18<Jl-'05. 

stoii, and there became a part of the forces under Generals 
Pickett and Hoke in the movement against New Bern. Gen- 
eral Pickett proceeded ddwn the Dover road from Kinston 
with Corse's Brigade of his own division, and those of Hoke 
and Clingman, of North Carolina, and attacked a camp of the 
enemy at Batclielor's Creek, capturing about four liundred 
prisoners, two pieces of artillery, a large numl)er of small 
arms, horses and camp equipage, and drove the entire Federal 
force precipitately towards New Bern. 

ATTACK on new BEKN. 

Ransom's Brigade with Barton's and Kemper's Virginia 
Brigades, some cavalry and artillery, all under command of 
General Barton, crossed the Trent river, and proceeded from 
near Trenton down the south side of the Trent to the south of 
New Bern. Meanwhile General J. G. Martin had moved 
with his brigade of North Carolina troops from Wilmington 
towards Morehead City. About daylight on the morning of 
1 P'eluMuiry the picket post of the Federals was reached and 
surprised without the escape of a single num. Every precau- 
tion had been taken, by the detention of negroes and every 
other person likely to be friendly to the enemy in the section 
through which we had hurriedly moved, to prevent informa- 
tion of the movement from reaching the commander of the 
Federals ; and it is now certain that a complete surprise to 
him was etfected. As soon as the picket post was takcTi, each 
regiment of Ransom's Brigade was ordered to throw forward 
a company as skirmishers. Company C, of the Forty-ninth, 
being selecte^l from that regiment. This was done largely 
on account of the well-earned reputation of its couunander, 
Captain Henry A. Chambers, for prudence, vigor and cour- 
age. No officer of his rank in the Confederate service was 
ever more faithful, constant and zealous in the discharge of 
every duty on every occasion and in every position than this 
distingiiislied and conscientious commander of Company C — - 
youthful in age, but clear-minded, steadfast and useful in 
all emergencies, ripe in judgment beyond his years, and as 
fearless as a lion. This company and the whole line of 
skirmishers were pushed forward rapidly under the orders 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 133 

of Captain Cicero A. Durham, the fighting Quartermaster, 
until the enemy's fortifications were reached. It was the 
opinion of the oiRcers above mentioned that, if the cavalry 
had been dismounted and advanced with the skirmishers, the 
works could have been easily taken. Instead of this being 
done, the artillery was moved to the front and a duel was be- 
gun between our few field pieces and the heavier guns in the 
redoubts, which resulted in nothing. That New Bern could 
have been taken in a short time and without any considerable 
loss, if any vigorous pressing had been undertaken by our 
troops on either side of the river, is now well ascertained. 
Indeed, General Martin captured a courier from General Pal- 
mer, the commander of the Federals at New Bern, bearing 
a dispatch to the ofiicer in command at Morehead City, stat- 
ing that, imless reinforcements were quickly sent him, he 
must surrender. 

It was during this expedition to New Bern that Com- 
mander Wood, of the Confederate Navy, made his daring at- 
tack upon the gunboat, ''Underwriter," and from under the 
very guns of their fortifications, captured and cut it out, and 
finding it disabled by the shells of the Federal batteries, de- 
stroyed it. Beyond these small results, however, nothing 
was accomplished ; imless the whole movement was intended 
as a demonstration, merely. 

During the entire day of 2 February, Company D, under 
Lieutenant Barrett, and Company E, imder Captain E. V. 
Harris, occupied the skirmish line, the enemy keeping close 
within their works, and not venturing any movement or 
scarcely firing a shot from small arms or artillery. 

On the night of the 2d the column retraced its steps through 
the deep, muddy swamp roads, illuminated by the blazing 
pine trees, whose turpentine boxes had caught from the camp 
fires on the way down. 

capture of SUFFOLK. 

The next expedition, after returning to our winter quar- 
ters, was from Weldon, via Franklin and South Mills, in 
the direction of Norfolk. The enemy was met along the 
Pismal Swamp canal, driven in after the capture of a num- 

134 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'6o. 

ber of prisoners by Colonel Dearing, in command of the cav* 
airy, and the capture of Norfolk threatened. Tliis march 
was made in very severe weather in the early part of March^ 
1864. It was immediately succeeded by the attack on and 
capture of Suffolk, on 9 March, 1864. This was a most ex- 
citing little affair, in which our troops met negro soldiers for 
the first time. Quick work was made of their line of bat- 
tle, and their retreat was soon converted into a runaway. 
Their camps were hastily abandoned, arms thrown away, and, 
discarding everything which could impede flight, they made 
their way to the swamps. One piece of artillery and a large 
number of horses captured, and a loss in killed and wounded 
of several score of the enemy were the results. It was here 
that our Quartermaster, Captain Durham, placing himself 
at the head of a squad of cavalry, charged into and put to 
flight a regiment of the enemy's horse. A number of them 
took refuge in a house in the suburbs of Suffolk, and began a 
brisk and hurtful Are upon Durham's men. He charged the 
house and succeeded, after a surrender had been refused, in 
setting fire to it. They continued the fight, until the flames 
enveloped the building, and all of its occupants were de- 
stroyed. The firing of our artillery was excellent, every shot 
taking effect among the fleeing ebony horsemen. At a swift 
run, by sections, Branch's Battery kept shot and shell in theii* 
midst as long as the fleeing cavalry could be reached. 

The brigade held Suffolk all that day and the next. A 
heavy column was moved from ISTorfolk and Fortress Monroe 
to meet us ; but, though we offered battle, no attack was made, 
and Avhen we advanced, with Companies D and K, of the 
Forty-ninth, in the brigade front as skirmishers, the enemy 
fell back to the swamp. On the evening of the 10th we re- 
turned via South Quay and IMurfrec's Station, to Weldon. 

On 30 March we began our march from Weldon, by way 
of ]\Tiirfreesboro and Winton, the latter place having been 
totally destroyed by the Federals in one of their raids, to 
Harrellsville, in Bertie county. 

At this place and Coleraine and on the Chowan and beauti- 
ful Albemarle Sound the month of April, 1864, was spent in 
the fullest enjoyment of all the deliglits of springtime, beau' 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 135 

tiful scenery on sound and river, and in the opening life of 
woods and flowers. The fish and other delicacies of this fa- 
vored region touched a tender spot in the make-up of veterans, 
and cause us much congratulation that we had been chosen to 
cover this flank of the attack upon and capture of Plymouth ; 
and the period spent here marked a green spot in the memo- 
ries of officers and men as the last space of repose and com- 
fort, which fell to our lot during the struggle. 

On the 30th we marched through Windsor and the lovely 
Indian Woods to Taylor's Ferry, on the Roanoke, which we 
crossed at this point ; thence through Hamilton to Greenville, 
where it was reported that on the fall of Plymouth Little 
Washington had been evacuated by the Federals, after burn- 
ing a considerable portion of the town. Pushing on from 
Greenville, we crossed Contentnea creek, the ISTeuse and Trent 
rivers to Trenton, thence to Kinston, and back to Weldon. 
Immediately on our arrival there, we were sent to Jarratt's 
Station, on the Petersburg Railroad, to drive back the raid, 
and open up the road from there to Stony Creek. A raiding 
column of Federal cavalry had the day before succeeded in 
cutting the road and tearing up the track after a hard fight 
with the small force defending it. On 10 May we reached 
Petersburg, and were at once hurried to Swift Creek, on the 
Richmond pike, where fighting had been going on for some 
time. We were now a part of Beauregard's army, and while 
he remained in Virginia continued under his command. 

dkewky's bluff. 

At the date last mentioned (May, 1864), Butler's move- 
ment on Drewry's Bluff, with Richmond as the objective 
point, had liegun ; and from this date until Five Forks every 
day was a day of battle for us. Butler had seized the Rich- 
mond pike, when we reached Petersburg, and had thrown a 
considerable force across to the railroad and Chesterfield 
Court House. But the advance of Hoke's Division with the 
brigades of Ransom and Hagood, under the command of that 
sterling ISTorth Carolinian, Robert F. Hoke, caused its with- 
drawal to the river side of the pike. At Half-Way House 
Hoke offered battle, but the enemy slowly retired before him, 

136 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'Go. 

and the way was opoiied to Drewry's Bluff for the reinforce- 
iiRMits to Beauregard. As soon as we arrived there Ransom's 
Brigade was ordered to the rig-lit of our lines, and had barely 
reached there and occupied the works when the first assault of 
the battle of Drewry's Bluff was ma<le upon us. While re- 
pelling this attack in front, but fortunately for the Forty- 
ninth Regiment, which was uu the extr(>nie right, not till the 
Federals in front were beginning to give way, a Federal line 
of battle, which had extended around our right under cover 
of a piece of woods, opened a galling Wvo in our rear, and ad- 
vanced to the charge from the woods on our right. But brave 
Durham had his skirmishers there; and though they were few 
in nuud)er, he was ever a lion in the ])atli of the foe. Foot by 
foot he contested the ground until the charge in our front was 
broken, when the Forty-ninth and Twenty-lifth Regiments 
leaped over the works and poured a destructive volley into 
the ranks of the flanking ]:)arty, before which their line melted 
away. Poor Durham — truly a Chevalier Bayard, if ever na- 
ture placed a lieai't in man which was absolutely without fear 
and a soul without reproach or blemish — received here a 
wound in his arm, necessitating amputation, from which he 
died. Occupying a position which did not call for his pres- 
ence in lialtJe, he never missed a tight; was always in the 
thickest ai tlie forefront of the tempest of death; he gloried 
in tlie fray, nnd earned a reputation throughout the army as 
the lighting (ijuartermaster, which added lustre to the valor 
of our troo]>s, and which i^orth Carolina and Xorth Caroli- 
nians shouhl not suffer to perish. He was but a boy, an 
hundde, (hn-out Christian, as ])ure and chaste as a woman, and 
in the intensity of his love foi' his State and the cause she had 
espcHised he counted t]\c sacrihce of death as his simplest 
tribute in defense of her honor. 

General M. W. Ransom was here wounded in the arm, and 
the brigade was aftei-wavds eomniandcd during tlie summer 
and till hi< return at differcMit limes, by Cohmels Clarke, 
Rutledge, McAfee, l''aison and Jones. The Fifty-sixth Reg- 
iment being hotly assailed in falling back, lost a number in 
kilh^d and wounded ; hut repulsed every assault with telling 
effect. The lurtv-ninth los>t eleven killed and a consid- 

Forty-Ninth Regiment, 137 

erable number of wounded in this engagement of the even- 
ing of 13 May. Brave Captain J. P. Ardrey, of Company 
F, was wounded, and left in the enemy's hands, and died 
before he could be removed. Lieutenant S. H. Elliott, 
of the same company, was wounded, and Lieutenant Line- 
barger, of Company H, was mortally wounded. Dr. 
Goode, Assistant Surgeon, and three litter-bearers were cap- 
tured, in attending upon the wounded. The 14th and 
15th of May were passed in repelling repeated charges of 
the enemy upon our lines and efforts to advance his own 
from our outer line of fortifications, which had been aban- 
doned to him on the evening of the 13th. Severe loss was 
inflicted upon them in each attempt. 

16 MAY, 1864. 

The morning of 16 May was obscured by a dense fog. 
Preparations began at 3 o'clock on the Confederate side foi* 
an attack, and by daylight Beauregard moved his entire army 
forward for an attack, en echelon by brigades, left in front, 
the left wing being under the immediate command of General 
Koliert Hansom. Pansom struck the enemy on their extreme 
right, carried their works, and turned their flank, each brig- 
ade in turn assisting to open the way to the next attacking 

Blow after blow fell thick and fast on Butler's army. All 
parts of his line were heavily pressed, so that none could ren- 
der assistance to the other, and before noon his army, largely 
exceeding in numbers the attacking force, thoroughly 
equipped and confident of victory, was completely routed, 
and Beauregard luid gained one of the best fought battles of 
the war. In boldness of conception and execution, tactical 
skill, thorough grasp of all the conditions of the situation, and 
couunand of his forces, conducted by him in person on the 
field, it was unsurpassed by any fight on this continent; and 
but for Wliiting's moving from his position on the turnpike 
in Butler's rear, thus allowing him to escape without moles- 
tation to Bermuda Hundreds, it would have resulted in the 
capture of his entire army. It is difficult now to under- 
stand how 60 many blunders could have been committed at 

138 North Carolina Trooi-s, 1801-65. 

critical moments by Confederate generals in important com- 
mands, save that the hand of Fate had penned the decree o£ 
our defeat: but of all those, which contributed to our down- 
fall, that of Major-General Whiting, on the afternoon of 16 
May, 1864, was one of the most glaring and stupendous. 
Soon after the battle opened the Twenty-fourth and Forty- 
ninth Ivegiments were ordered to the right flank of Bushrod 
Johnson's Brigade, on the right of the turnpike facing to- 
wards Petersburg, and which was heavily engaged on the 
immediate right of our brigade. Moving at double-quick 
through thick woods we came upon the enemy's first line of 
works, and drove them from it Avith great loss. Pursuing 
the foe, we advanced to the attack of the second line under a 
very heavy fire in our front, and a severe enfilade from our 
right. Colonel W. J. Clarke, of the Twenty-fourth com- 
manded the brigade. Under his orders, and following that 
regiment, we turned to the right, and drove the enemy from 
the position, which enabled the enfilade fire to harass us, 
capturing his colors, inflicting heavy loss upon him. Moving 
directly forward, we again attacked the second line of their 
works, and had nearly reached them, when we were ordered 
to fall back and reform our lines. This was done under shel- 
ter of a skirt of woods ; and in a short time Major James T. 
Davis, Colonel Mc.\fee having been wounded, and Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Flemming having been left in command of 
the brigade skirmish line when we were moved to the right, 
gave the command to advance with Captain Chambers' com- 
pany deployed as skirmishers at an oblique angle to our right. 
In this attack, aided by the flanking movement from our left^ 
the works in our front were readily taken. In these two 
charges of this day the Forty-ninth lost heavily in officers and 
men. When the works had been taken the dead body of Cap- 
tain Ardrey was recovered. Besides the wounding of the 
Colonel, Lieutenants W. P. Barnett, of Company F, and H. 
C. Conley, of Company A, were killed. Captain G. W. Lytle, 
of Company A, was mortally woimded. and Lieutenants Dan- 
iel Lattimore, of Company B, and B. F. Dixon, of Company 
G, were severely wounded. 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 139 


The next day we continued the pursuit of Butler's army, 
and assisted in his "bottling up" at Bermuda Hundreds. 
Several brisk skirmishes and picket fights were had there 
until the lines were established, but none were of serious 
importance. In a picket charge on the night of 1 June, Cap- 
tain George L. Phifer, of Company K, was wounded. Com- 
panies C, F and K of the Forty-ninth were on the picket, and 
sustained a loss of three killed and seventeen wounded. In 
June, 1864, Dr. Buffin resigned, and Dr. Dandridge was 
appointed Surgeon, in which position he continued to the 
close of the war. 

On 4 June we crossed the James at Drewry's Bluff, and 
confronted the enemy on the Chickahominy, at the York 
Biver Railroad bridge, and strengthened the fortifications 
there. On the 10th we were relieved by Kirkland's North 
Carolina Brigade, and returned, by a forced march, to the 
south side, and thence to Petersburg, to meet Grant's advance 
across the James. From this time on Ransom's Brigade be- 
came a part of Bushrod Johnson's Division. After march- 
ing all night of the 15th we reached Petersburg about 8 
o'clock on the morning of the 16th, and were hurried to our 
fortifications on Avery's farm. At a run we succeeded in 
getting to the works before the enemy reached them. Through 
a storm of sliot and shell we gained them, just in time to 
meet their charge, and drive them back. In the afternoon 
we were hurried to Swift Creek, where the Fifty-sixth 
North Carolina, under Major John W. Graham, and Grade's 
Brigade, drove back the Federal cavalry which had attempted 
to cut our communications with Richmond, and enter Peters- 
burg from that direction. We were then marched along the 
Richmond pike until about midnight, when we opened com- 
munication with the head of Longstreet's Corps. By the 
first light next morning we were hurried by train back to 
Petersburg, where early in the morning the enemy had cap- 
tured a considerable part of Bushrod Johnson's old brigade 
and several pieces of artillery. Hastily we threw up a line 
of rifle pits; and now commenced Beauregard's magnificent 
grapple with Grant's army until Longstreet's command could 

140 North Carolina Trooi's, 1861-65. 

reach us. With scarcely more than 5,000 men and eighteen 
pieces of field artillery Beauregard kept in check Grant's 
army, coming up from City Point, all the day and night of 
17 June, until sunrise of the 18th, when Longstreet came 
over the hill at Blandford cemetery on our right. ^Vhen 
flanked on our right, we would fall back to meet the flank at- 
tack, re])ulse it, and then, being massed, Beauregard would 
hurl his shattered but compact battalions against the Federal 
lines, and force them back, to reform and again press upon 
us. Through the 17th and the succeeding night every foot 
of ground from .Vvery's farm to Blandford cemetery was 
fought over and over again. 

Kansom's Brigade played a conspicuous part in these move- 
ments. First Lieutenant Edward Phifer, of Company K, 
received his death wound through the lungs in this battle. A 
bright, noble boy and faithful, light-hearted soldier. At 
times during this engagement our troops would be lying on 
one side of the works and tliose of the enemy on the other; 
and it is said that the flag of the Thirty-fifth Regiment was 
lost and regained a half dozen times, until the Michigan Reg- 
iment with which it was engaged in a hand to hand encounter, 
surrendered to it. It was desperate fighting, and the most 
prolonged struggle of the kind during the war. With anx- 
ious hearts we saw ihe night wear on, not knowing what fate 
the morning would bring us, if we sundved tO' see it; and it 
was with a glad shout tliat, as the sun rose, and the Federals 
were massing on our right flank to crush us, we welcomed 
the head of Longstrcet's cfdumu coming at a trot to our right 
wing. The contem]ilated charge upon us was not made; 
rifle pits were hastily dug and strengthened into formidable 
entrenchuHMits on the ucw line; and thus began the siege of 

From this (bite until M) March, 1S()5, just nine months, 
in tlu' lines east of Petersluirg, occu])ying at ditfereut times 
positions from the Ap])omattox river to the JerusahMu plank 
road, often not a hundred yards from the works of the enemy, 
constantly ex])osed to danger au<l death from mortar and can- 
non shells and balls, grape, shrajnu'l and the dea<llier niinie 
balls, we engaged in daily battle. Exposed to sun and stonn, 

FoRTY-NiMTH Regiment. 141 

heat and eold, with scant food and insufficient supplies, the 
ranks thinning honrly from deaths, wounds and sickness, de- 
pressed by the gathering gloom of our falling fortunes, 
through the dark, bitter and foreboding winter of 1864-'65. 
the men of the Forty-ninth were faithful unto the end; 
never faltering in the performance of any duty, and never 
failing to meet and resist the foe. 

On 8 June, 1864, Lieutenant C. C Krider, of C^ompany 
C, was wounded in the right shoulder by a piece of shell. 
On 23 July (.'aptain John 0. Grier, of Company F, was 
wounded in the arm and thigh by pieces of a mortal shell. 


On 3t) July occurred the springing of Grant's mine under 
Pegram's Battery, formerly Branch's, on a hill about four 
hundred yards to the right of our regiment, knd on the left 
of Elliott's South Carolina Brigade. The Twenty-fifth 
Xorth Carolina was between us and the mine. The battery, 
most of its men and officers, and a considerable part of the 
Twenty-sixth South Carolina Regiment were blown up, the 
mine containing, it was said, thirty tons of blasting powder. 
A large excavation was made; and in the smoke and confu- 
sion, amid the flying debris and mangled men, the enemy 
charged in great force, efi'ecting a lodgment in our lines, and 
a large number of the flags of Burnside's Corps floated on our 
works. Reinforcenients poured to their support and a vigor- 
ous assault was made on our line on both sides of the crater. 
In the van were negro soldiers, crying, '"^o quarter to the 
rebels." JMost fortunately foT our army, we had completed 
but a day or two before a cavalier line in the rear of the 
salient, where the explosion occurred ; the two lines, salient 
and cavalier, forming a diamond shaped fortification. Into 
this cavalier line, from the left of the salient, rushed by the 
right flank the Twenty-fifth and Forty-ninth Regiments of 
Ransom, and, from the other side, the remnant of the Twenty- 
sixth South Carolina, which had been blown up, and a part 
of another regiment of Elliott's Brigade. These rapidly 
formed for a cliarge to retake our works, but the enemy 
massed his troops so rapidly into the broken salient that it 

142 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

was deemed useless to make the attempt, and best to hold on to 
the cavalier line. Now began some of the most desperate 
fighting- of the war. Ransom's Brigade was that day com- 
manded by Colonel McAfee, of the Forty-ninth. 

Simultaneously with the rush into the broken salient, the 
enemy in three lines of battle charged our works for a half 
mile on each side, only to be repulsed time and again with 
fearful slaughter. Meanwhile, in the cavalier line, our 
troops were clinging to the works with the tenacity of despair, 
and fighting with the fury of madmen. The compact, 
crowded mass of Federals rendered every shot effective. Our 
men aimed steadily and true; and as each rifle became too 
hot to be used another gun was at work by one who took the 
place of the first, or supplied him with rifles which could be 
handled. From a redoubt to our left and rear Wright's Bat- 
tery opened upon the crowded, panic-stricken foe, as they 
huddled together, an enfilading, plunging fire with five field 
pieces, and two mortars, every shot .and shell tearing its way 
through living flesh. Between our men and small bodies of 
the enemy, who formed and tried to force their way down our 
works, several hand to hand conflicts, with bayonets locked 
and rifles clubbed, occurred, which availed nothing to the 
cornered enemy. When their supports on either side were 
driven back it was seen that those who had filled the salient 
wei"e caught in a trap. Wlien the fighting was hottest, but 
our supreme danger had been averted, in a large measure, 
by his promptness in the arrangement and disposition of his 
own regiment and those men of the brave South Carolinians 
who had formed with us (when driven from the salient), he, 
who had so often led us with such calm, intrepid courage, 
Lieutenant-Colonel John A. Flemming, was shot through the 
head and instantly killed. Never was a braver knight than 
he; our State had no more devoted son than Flemming; the 
South no truer soldier. Somewhat reserved in bearing, 
severe to those who failed in duty, and disdaining all pre- 
tense and insincerity, he did not desire nor practice the arts 
which seek po])ularity. But he was so brave, so ready, so 
steadfast and constant in all trying conjunctures, as in his 
friendships, that his ofiicers and men loved and respected 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 143 

hiin and followed liim with implicit zeal and faitli. He had 
said to the writer more than once that he was convinced that 
he would be killed, and the last time he repeated it, soon after 
some disaster to our arms, remarked that he would have few 
regTets in laying down his life, if by so doing, the freedom of 
the South could be secured. From early morning till nearly 
3 o'clock in the afternoon of that fateful July day, the 
Twenty-fifth and T'oi-ty-ninth Xorth (Jarolina and Twenty- 
sixth South (Carolina held our line against tremendous odds, 
and until the force of the assault was spent and broken, when 
Mahone's Virginia, Wright's Georgia and Sander's Alabama 
Brigades charged with the Twenty-fifth J^orth Carolina and 
retook the entire salient, inflicting frightful slaughter upon 
the enemy. Onr lines were re-established, and the Federals 
were driven back at all points, losing, it was stated, more than 
9,000 men, killed and wounded, besides 2,000 prisoners, 
colors and small arms captured in the undertaking. And 
when the victory was won, and the Forty-ninth was returning 
to its fonner position, Captain Edwin Victor Harris, of 
Company E, was shot through the neck, severing the main 
artery ; and with his life-blood gushing from his wound and 
his mouth, realizing his mortal calamity but unable to speak, 
he extended his hand in farewell to Major Davis, and then to 
his devoted Lieutenant, John T. Crawford, and immediately 
the spirit of Edwin Harris, so joyous, happy and bright in 
this life, winged its flight to God. 

N^othing occurred beyond the daily fighting, shelling and 
sharpshooting, on the lines occupied by our brigade, until 21 
August, when we were hastily marched to our right, and un- 
der A. P. Hill attacked the enemy on the Weldon Railroad, 
and after carrying two of his lines of fortifications, dislodged 
him from his position. Our loss was severe, the Forty-ninth 
suffering considerably. We then returned to our old place 
in the trenches. On 14 December Captain C. H. Dixon, of 
Company G, was killed, and Major C. Q. Petty, who had 
been appointed Major in the place of James T. Davis, who 
had succeeded Lieutenant-Colonel Flemming, and eight men, 
were wounded during a fierce mortar shelling to which we 
were subjected. 

144 North Carolina Troops, ]861-'()5. 


We reiiiaiiu'cl in tlic trenches until KI Ararcli, 1805, when 
we were rclievecl l)_v Gonhin's troops, and nuived to the ex- 
treme right of our lines, occn])ving ^lahone's old winter (juar- 
ters, and there we stayed until the eveninii' of the 2r)th, when 
we were marched to Petersluirg", and hack to our old position 
on the lines. We reached there about midnight, and soon the 
arrangements were made for the attack on Fort Steadnum, or 
Hare's Hill, under General John E. Gordon. Just at day- 
light the next moniing we advanced to the assault, Ransom's 
Brigade l^eing the second one from the Appomattox, and 
directly in front of Hare's Hill. At the signal the sharp- 
shooters of the Forty-ninth, under First Lieutenant Thomas 
Ti. Koulhac, following the storming party led hy Lieutenant 
W. W. Flemming of the Sixth North Carolina, in advance, 
moved across our works, through the obstructions in our 
front, and the whole brigade, wdth a rush, climbed the 
clievaux dc frise of the enemy, and clambering through and 
over the deep ditches in their front, went over tlie enemy's 
works and captured them before they aroused from their 
slumbers. The surprise was complete. Sweeping dowm 
their lines, the Forty-ninth opened the way for other troops. 
Ransom's Brigade captured Fort Steadman, the Forty-ninth 
rushing over it without a halt, and all the works in our front; 
but those between us and the river w^ere not taken, although 
we enfiladed that part of the line, and wuth our fire on their 
flank, it could have been easily done. Their fort near the 
river w^as thus enabled to annoy us gTeatly. Here Colonel 
Mci\.fee was again slightly Avounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
James Taylor Davis w^as killed. He was a splendid soldier 
and a true, warm-hearted gentleman, of decided talents and 
great promise in his profession — the law. His life would 
have been an honorable and useful one if he had been spared. 
Major Petty having remained in camp sick, Captain Cham- 
bers, of Company C, w^as left in command. We held our 
position until all the troops on our right had fallen back, and 
most of those on our left. When the order to fall back finally 
reached us, the retreat was made under the most trying cir- 

Forty-Ninth RegIxMENt. 145 

cumstances. We were exposed to a raking fire from tiiree 
directions, many were falling at every step, but at last we re- 
turned to our lines with but a remnant of the command, 
having sustained the greatest loss in killed, wounded and 
prisoners the Forty-ninth met with during the war. Captain 
Torrance, of Company II, was wounded, Lieutenant Krider, 
of Company C, was wounded and captured, and Lieutenant 
Witherington, of Company I, was wounded. The brigade 
lost 700 men in all, of which the proportion of the Forty- 
ninth was the greatest. 


After the failure of the attack on Grant's lines, evidently 
a forlorn hope on General Lee's part, we returned to our 
quarters on the right. On 30 March we participated in the 
battle of Burgess' Mill and drove the enemy back into his 
entrenchments after he had assaulted ours. On the 30th we 
were, with Wallace's South Carolina Brigade, attached to 
Pickett's Division, and the next morning were marched 
down the White Oak i^oad to Five Forks, the Federal cavalry 
making frequent reconnoissances to ascertain our movements. 
From Five Forks we marched on to Dinwiddle Court House 
and engaged in battle that afternoon with Sheridan's cavalry, 
driving them back. We slept on the field. During the night 
the force in our front was largely reinforced, and before day 
on 1 April, we were aroused and slowly fell back to Five 
Forks. By noon we had reached that place and formed line 
of battle, Bansom's Brigade on the left, the Twenty-fourth 
holding the extreme left, next the Fifty-sixth, then Twenty- 
fifth, Forty-ninth and Thirty-fifth. We threw up rifle pits 
and after the whole regiment had been deployed as skirmish- 
ers by Captain Chambers to support the Twenty-fourth, the 
line was formed as above mentioned, with Wallace's Brigade 
on our right. The skirmishers and sharpshooters of the 
brigade were placed under the command of Lieutenant Boul- 
hac and connected with our cavalry on the left. These dispo- 
sitions had hardly been completed when clouds of Federal 
skirmishers were advanced against our skirmish line, but 

146 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

these were held at hay. Twice they charged with lines of 
l^attle, and were driven hack hy our skirmishers. Heavy 
■columns of infantry — Warren's whole Corps — were ohserved 
massing on our left, and moving around our flanl^;. Frequent 
reports were made of this by Lieutenant Roulhac, but appar- 
«ently no steps were taken to oppose or prevent the movement. 
After several messages had been sent, Captain Sterling H. 
Gee, Adjutant-General on Ransom's staff, visited the line and 
directed Lieutenant Roulhac tO' turn over the skirmish line 
to Lieutenant Bovvers, and to report in person to General Ran- 
som, who had already communicated the reports to General 
Pickett. Proceeding to do this, he reached General Ran- 
som and was ordered by him to find General Pickett and 
inform him of the condition of affairs. But by this time 
Warren's infantry had struck the left of our line, and over- 
lapped it. Colonel Clarke quickly threw back his regi- 
ment to meet this attack, and in a short time was joined 
by the Twenty-fifth in a similar movement ; but this small 
force could do nothing to check such overwhelming' 
numbers. Doubled up and overpowered, they were nearly 
all shot down or captured. The remainder of our line 
was hotly engaged with two lines of battle in their front, 
which had driven in our pickets, and advanced to the 
attack of our main line. Running over the Twenty-fourth 
and Twenty-fifth, and driving the Fifty-sixth from their 
flank and rear, the enemy was upon us, both flank and rear, 
protected l)y the woods on our left, where Clarke had been, 
• while he still fought the line in our front. Colonel McAfee 
was again slightly wounded, and directed Lieutenant Roul- 
hac, whom he had requested to act as Adjutant to turn over 
the command to Captain Chambers. As quick as he could 
be reached, the regiment was moved by Captain Chambers out 
of the works, at right angles to its former front. In this 
Colonel Benbow, commanding Wallace's South Carolina Bri- 
gade, lent the assistance of one regiment, all he could spare 
fiom the right of his connuand, our Thirty-fifth North Caro- 
lina and the remainder of his brigade remaining to hold our 
front line. The enemy was upon us in a few moments and 
were discovered in our rear, as we then faced, moving in line 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 147 

of battle. We Avere penned in like rats in a hole, but the old 
j-egiuient which Ramseur formed, and McAfee, Flemming, 
Davis and Chambers had led, still fought with desperation, 
and though its ranks were thinning fast, the sui'vivors held 
their ground and did not yield. A slight attempt was now 
made to reinforce us by another regiment from Wallace's Bri- 
gade and one of Pickett's regiments w^hich tried to reach us 
on our left and extend our new line, but the enemy was pour- 
ing down upon us, and the succor could never reach us. At 
this time Captain Chambers was severely wounded in the 
head by a minie ball, and instructing Adjutant Roulhac 
to hold the position, was carried from the field, barely in 
time to pass through the only gap which the enemy 
had not filled. In but a few moments more the left flank of 
the regiment was driven back on the right to our works, while 
the enemy's line in our former front came over the works, 
which had been stubbornly held by Captain J. C. Grier, of 
Company F, up to this time. We were overpowered and the 
few that were left were made prisoners, some being knocked 
down with the butts of rifles, and Captain Grier throwing 
away his empty pistol, as several bayonets were presented at 
his breast, with the demand for his surrender. And this 
was the end. Three times after we were surrounded the 
Forty-ninth advanced to the charge and drove back the con- 
stricting foe ; but when we charged in one direction, those on 
the other side of us closed in upon us, and our efforts availed 
nothing. Many were killed, maimed and stricken in that last 
useless and criminally mismanaged encounter. The few 
who escaped endured the manifold sufferings and daily con- 
flicts of the historic retreat to Appomattox, where with num" 
bers still further reduced, the reminant of the glorious regi- 
ment was surrendered, commanded by Major C. Q. Petty. 

The details and most of the data for this monograph of the 
old command have been obtained from Captain Henry A. 
Chambers, who kindly furnished me the diary he faithfully 
and accurately kept throughout that stormy period. Acci- 
dentally, as I find in reading it over, I have omitted the fact 
of the wounding of Captain James T. Adams, of Company K, 
in the trenches during the month of July, 1864, by which he 

148 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

was deprived of his leg. Otliers may have escaped my recol-' 
lection. I have intended them no slight. I would that I 
oould do justice, full but simple justice, not alone to 
its officers, but its brave, patriotic, faithful rank and file, so 
many of whom gave up their lives or carried through 
life mutilated limbs and bodies. In the midst of exact- 
ing duties, I could not refuse to contribute the best I could 
to perpetuate some memorial of the Forty-ninth Regiment. 
In the thirty-odd years since the surrender many, perhaps 
most, of those who survived the casualties of war, have faced 
the gi'im Sergeant and answered the roll call beyond. With all 
such, may their portion be God's blessing of everlasting peace. 
With those who yet remain, may He bless them with pros- 
perity, usefulness and honorable repose when age has sapped 
their energies and wasting strength has unfitted them for fur- 
ther toil. J\iy heart fills with sadness and distress when I 
think of those who poured out their blood as a sacrifice which 
perchance, the world will say was useless. But, nay, the 
lesson of courage, fidelity and heroism they left cannot be 
useless to mankind ; the scroll of honor upon which their 
names are written high cannot, and shall not, be effaced or 
tarnished by their descendants and their kindred. And what 
a noble band they were — Ramseur, McAfee, Flemming, Dur- 
ham, Harris, Davis, Chambers, the Phifers, Adams, Lytle, 
Krider, Grier, Horan, Thomas, Alex. Barrett, Summers, 
Crawford, Ardrey, Barnett, Dixon, B. F. Dixon, Torrance, 
Linebarger, Rankin, Connor and Shen-ill. As was said of a 
group of noble young Englishmen, it may be truly said of 
them : 

"Blending their souls' suhlimest needs 
With tasks of every day; 
They went about their greatest deeds 
Like noble boys at play." 

How their bright young faces come back over the vista of 
all those long years ! How splendid and great they were in 
their modest, patient, earnest love of country ! How strong 
they were in their young manhood, and pure they were in 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 149 

their faith, and constant they were to their principles ! How 
they bore suffering and hardship ; and how their lives were 
ready at the call of duty ! What magnificent courage ; what 
unsullied patriotism ! Suffering they bore, duty they per- 
formed, and death they faced and met; all this for the defense 
of the dear old home land ; all this for the glory and honor of 
North Carolina. As they were faithful unto thee, guard 
thou their names and fame, grand old mother of us all. If 
thy sons in the coming time shall learn the lesson of heroism 
their lives inspired and their deeds declared, then not one 
drop of blood was shed in vain. If they emulate them, and 
lift yet higher the banner of the old land's honor, credit and 
worth, then the agony of defeat is healed to those who sur- 

To the memory of those who fell, and those, who have since 
passed away, this imperfect tribute is offered. To the veter- 
ans of the Forty-ninth, who are still among the living, an old 
comrade salutes you. 

Thomas R. Roulhac. 
Sheffield, Ala., 

9 April, 1901. 





1. George L. Phifer, Captain. Co. K. 3. Thos. R. Roulhac, 1st Lieut.. Co D. 

2. B. F. Dixon, Captain, Co. G. 4. Kdwani I'hifer. 1st Lieut., Co. K. 

5. James Greenlee Fleinniintr. lJ<t Lieut., Co. C. 
(Killed at Sliarpsbur^,' ) 


By B. F. DIXON, Captain Company G. 

The Forty-ninth Regiment was made up of as brave and 
gallant men as ever shouldered muskets in defense of the 
South. They were men who did not rush into the army at 
the first call for volunteers, but who considered well what 
they were doing, and then calmly and deliberately put down 
their names as volunteers to defend their country, A large 
majority of them were heads of families that were dependent 
upon them for the bread necessary to sustain the lives of wife 
and children. Yet those men kissing their wives and babies 
good-bye in March 1862, with unwavering step marched to 
the front to expose their lives to the bullets of a foe of twice 
their number. Many a man volunteered in the very out- 
break of the war because he had been told that the war would 
not last sixty days. Indeed some of those war prophets of- 
fered to drink all the blood that would be shed, so he hurried 
away from home for fear that he would not get even a taste 
of the much-coveted battle. All this had passed away when 
the Forty-ninth Regiment was organized, and the men knew 
that a desperate struggle was before them. The Northern 
army had been greatly strengthened by recruits and disci- 
pline, and the great Southern anny had already begun to 
realize the fact that one of the greatest wars ever waged in 
any country was then raging. Knowing this these men loft 
their homes and turned their faces toward Virginia, the great 
battle field of the South. The Forty-ninth Regiment was 
made up largely from the country, very few town men were 
in it, and strange as it may seem, the town and city men were 
able to endure loss of sleep and irregular hours better than 
the men from the farms. I suppose the reason for this was 
the fact that the countr^Tiian kept regular hoiirs at home. 
He went to sleep at 8 o'clock at night, and got up before the 
sun. He had been accustomed all his life to three square 

152 North Carolina Troops, 1861-05. 

meals a day at regular intem-als, and to depart from that cus- 
tom was a hardship difficult to meet. While the townman 
was in tlio habit of keeping late hours, and eating at uncer- 
tain periods, hence the march and the general irregularity of 
living did not affect him as it did his country cousin. But 
with a few weeks of drill and discipline the splendid health 
and the absence of dissipation, which had marked the life 
of the country boy, began to assert themselves, and soon he 
became the tough and wiry soldier that never fell out on a 
march, and was in line when the command came to charge. 
The regiment was composed of the following companies: 

Company A — Burke and McDov'cU — Captain Flemming. 
He aftenvards became Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, 
and was one of the liravest men in Lee's army. He fell 
dead, shot through tlie heart at the Crater in front of Peters- 
burg. George \V. Lytle and J. M. Iliggins were successive- 
ly Captains. 

Co:\rPANY B — Cleveland Coiintij — Captain Corbett. This 
company was transferred to the Forty-ninth Begiment from 
the Fifteenth Regiment. Captain Corbett was fearfully 
hurt in a railroad wreck near Cherryville, ]^. C, wdiile on 
his way home on a furlough in 1864, and after realizing the 
fact that he would not again be able for duty, resigned and 
Lieutenant Jud. Magniess was promoted to the Captaincy 
of the company. 

Company C — Roiran Coimfy — Captain Pinkney B. 
Chambers. On his promotion to Major he was succeeded as 
Captain by Henry A. Chambers. 

Company D — Moore County — Cajitain William M. 
Black. Ujion his resignation David S. Barr(>tt liocame Cap- 

Company E — Iredell County — Ca])tain Alex. 1). Moore. 

Company F — Mecldenhurg County — Captain Davis. 
Captain Davis was promoted to Major and Lieutenant James 
P. Ardrey was promoted to Captain, ^lajor Davis was killed 
in front of Petersburg 25 IMarch, 1865, just a few days be- 
fore the surrender. He was a brave and true soldier. Cap- 
tain Ardrey w^as killed at Drewry's Bluff. I could not keep 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 153 

back the tears when they told me that he was killed. I loved 
him like a brother. He was succeeded as Captain by Lieu- 
tenant John C. Grier. 

Company G — Cleveland County — Captain Roberts. Cap- 
tain Roberts resigned on account of ill health and C. H. 
Dixon was made Captain. He was killed by a mortar shell 
in front of Petersburg and Lieutenant B. F. Dixon was pro- 
moted to the Captaincy, which he held to the close of the war. 

Company H — Gaston County — Captain Charles Q. Petty. 
Captain Petty was promoted to Major and Lieutenant J. 1^. 
Torrence became Captain. 

Company I — Catawha County — Captain W. W. Chenault. 
Lieutenant Charles F. Connor after^vards became Captain. 
Lieutenant Connor always made me think of a game rooster 
in battle. He was tall and straight and his eye was full of fire. 

Company K- — Lincoln County- — Captain Peter Z. Baxter. 
Upon his resignation Lieutenant George L. Phifer and later 
James T. Adams became Captain. 

In the organization of the regiment the following gentle- 
men were elected Field Officers : Stephen D. Ramseur, of 
Lincoln county, Colonel. He afterwards became a Major- 
General and was killed in battle 19 September, 1864. W. 
A. Eliason, Lieutenant-Colonel ; Lee M. McAfee, Major ; 
Cicero Durham, Adjutant ; Dr. Ruffin, Chief Surgeon. Col- 
onel Eliason resigned and Major McAfee was promoted to 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and after the promotion of Colonel Ram- 
seur, McAfee became Colonel of the regiment and com- 
manded it to the close of the war. 

Cicero Durham became Quartermaster of the regiment, 
but was in every battle in which the regiment was engaged 
and always at the front. He had command of the shai*p- 
shooters and was killed at Drewry's Bluff while bravely lead- 
ing his men. I would be glad of the opportunity of naming 
many more of the Forty-ninth Regiment on account of their 
magnificent soldierly qualities, but as this is a sketch of the 
regiment and not of individuals, I must desist. 

While the Forty-ninth Regiment was engaged in most of 
the battles in which the Army of !Northern Virginia partici- 

154 North Carolina Troops, ISGl-'Go. 

pated, and always with honor, and while I would be glad to 
tell the story of their devotion and fortitude and bravery on 
all these bloody fields, still I have not the time to go into these 
matters, and will confine myself to a brief synopsis of tho 
doings of this regiment during the great siege of Petersburg. 
I do not believe that any soldier in any war, either civilized 
or savage, ever suffered more than the men who filled the 
ditches around Petersburg from June, 1864, until the last of 
March, 18G5. 

Half-clad and half-rationed these brave, devoted men held 
the lines for nine long months, including one of the most ter- 
rible winters that ever spread its white uumtle over the earth. 
Barefooted in the snow, the men stood to their posts on picket, 
or at the port-holes. Lying in bomb-proofs, so-called, with 
mud and water to the ankles, and tho constant drip, drip, of 
muddy water from above, clothing and blankets saturated, 
with a fire that only made smoke, these men passed through 
the winter of 1864 and 1865. The mortar shells from the 
enemy's guns fell in the ditches or crashed through the bomb- 
proofs day and night, while the sharp, shrill hiss of the minie 
ball, and the shriek of shell and solid shot made the hours 
hideous day after day, and night after night. For nine 
months it was certain death for a man to raise his head above 
the works. Yet with joke and laughter these men dodged the 
mortar shells and elevated their old ragged hats on ramrods to 
see how many holes would be shot through them in a given 
time. I have seen a dozen men gather in the ditch to watch 
for the coming of a "mortar" as they called it, and when they 
saw the awful thing curving towards them, they would run 
with shout and gibe around a traverse while it exploded in 
the ditch. I saw one of these mortar shells fall in the ditch 
and lie there frying, when a brave soldier from Lincoln 
county nushed out of liis l)oml>proof, caught it up in his 
hands, and tossed it over the breastworks. When asked why 
he had gone out of a place of safety tri do such a rash act, he 
said : "I thought maybe the pieces might hit some of the 
fellers." One night there was a fearful rainfall and the next 
morning it was discovered that a part of the dam across a 
small stream had been washed away and all the water in the 

, Forty-Ninth Regiment. 155 

pond had disappeared, leaving an opening of some fifteen 
feet through which the bullets from the Yankee lines could 
come on the least provocation. Being ofiicer of the day, my 
attention was called to a crowd of soldiers gathered on either 
side of the chasm, and upon investigation, I discovered the 
amazing fact, that these men were trying to see who could run 
across without being killed, or wounded. There was not the 
slightest necessity for any of them to cross, but in a spirit of 
wantonness and fun, they were making the effort. A fellow 
would take his okl hat in his hand, step back to get a good 
start, then with a shout, he would rush across and kick up his 
heels at a great rate, if he happened to get over safe. I had 
to place a guard there to make them stop such foolishness. 
I give this incident to show how^, under constant danger, men 
became indifferent to it. 

The morning sun, as he came from his chamber in the east, 
day by day, made plain the path for the minie ball, and the 
"torch" of the mortar shell lighted up the heavens by night. 
The morning was a call to battle and the night was hideous 
with bursting sheik No wonder men became inured to dan- 
ger, and sought excitement in playing with death. 

In all these months I do not remember a single, solitary 
complaint made by any of the men, because of short rations, 
or cold or nakedness. ISTo intimations w^ere made against 
the character of canned beef — we had none — a piece of fat 
bacon and a hard and mouldy cracker were luxuries. A sol- 
dier in the trenches asked me to write a letter to his wdfe at 
home. This is the letter in substance: 

■'^Dear Wife: — The Captain is writing this letter for me, 
and I wish to say that I am well and getting on first-rate. 
George Gill had his brains shot out yesterday and Jack Gib- 
bons' son and three others were torn all to pieces with a shell, 
but thank God they haven't hit me yet, and if I get home I 
wall make up for all lost time in taking care of you and the 
children. I was sorry to hear that you didn't have enough 
to eat and the children were crying for bread, but you must 
be brave, little woman, and do the best you can. I think we 
will whip the Yankees in a little while longer, and then I can 
come home and everything will be all right. I pray for you 

15G North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

and the little ones every night and morning, and I know the 
good God will not let you sutfer more than you are able to 
bear. Your loving husband, etc." 

This man was barefooted in January, 1865, when he dic- 
tated the letter above. He had not eaten anything all day 
(this was in the evening), because he had nothing to eat; he 
was without a coat for his back, and yet the soul within him 
kept him fed and warm. A Confederate soldier standing 
barefoot, in tattered trousers, coatless and hatless, witli an 
Enfield rifle on his shoulder, and his cartridge box full, was 
as brave a man as ever met an enemy on any field of battle 
in any country, or in any age. Nimble as a deer, long- 
breathed as a hound, he could run with the horsemen with- 
out weariness and fight all day mthout hunger. He taught 
the whole world how to fight, and when I meet him to-day I 
lift my hat and stand bareheaded till he passes by. The For^ 
ty-ninth Regiment was in General M. W. Ransom's Brigade 
during all these weary months, together ^vith the Twenty- 
fourth, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-fifth and Fifty-sixth North 
Carolina Regiments. This brigade stood between Peters- 
burg and the enemy, and if you will ask any citizen of 
that city he will tell you how they loved and honored Ran- 
som's Brigade. General Ransom was then the same courtly 
and kind-hearted man he is to-day. Fearless in danger, 
courteous and kind always, the true gentleman everywhere, 
he was the idol of his men. 

Although we were fighting every day while the siege lasted, 
there were many extraordinary battles during this period. 
I have not time to notice but one or two, and notably among 
these was the battle of the Crater. 

This battle occurred on 30 July, 1864. About daylight 
the mine, wliich the enemy had charged with eight thousand 
pounds of powder, was fired and a terrific explosion was the 
result. ]\Iany thought tlie judgment day had come. The 
earih, with all it contained, was thrown into the air, leaving 
a hole 100 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. Men 
and cannon Avere thrown hundreds of feet into the air. Sim- 
Tiltaneoiis witli the explosion the enemy opened two hundred 
pieces of artillery on our lines. The Forty-ninth was to the 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 157 

left of the ravine, and we were moved rapidly across the 
ravine and up the works to the crater. And until the enemy, 
which had taken possession of our lines, was beaten hack, we 
stood in the position assigned to us and fired our guns. The 
enemy, white and black, came in solid phalanx shouting: 
"No quarter to the rebels." They held their position until 
about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when Mahone's Brigade ar- 
rived and with the Twenty-fifth jSTorth Carolina Regiment of 
our brigade and a regiment of South Carolina troops, 
drove them out. I saw the Twenty-fifth Regiment as they 
came dashing up the hill towards the Crater. How we 
cheered them ! They rushed up to the Crater which was full 
of the enemy, white and black, fired one volley and then turn- 
ing tlie butts of their guns, they let them fall, crushing the 
skulls of negroes at every blow. This was more than mortal 
man could stand, and in a little while the lines were re-estab- 
lished and the dead of tlie enemy lay in heaps upon the 
ground. I mention this battle for the reason that, taken un- 
awares as we were, mth the heavens filled with dust and 
smoke, and the earth rocking beneath our feet, with out-speak- 
ing thunders in our ears, if that portion of Lee's army which 
held the lines around Petersburg had not been made up of 
some of the coolest and bravest men that ever fired a musket, 
they would have stampeded then and there and Grrant would 
have taken the city and Lee's army could have been de- 
stroyed. This is doubtless what the enemy expected us to 
do, but instead of that, our brave boys never wavered for an 
instant, but marched to the rescue of the gallant South Car- 
olinians, as if they were going on dress parade. General 
Ransom being absent, the brigade was commanded that day 
by Colonel McAfee, of the Forty-ninth. 

Another notable battle in which the Forty-ninth was en- 
gaged was the battle of Hare's Hill, on 25 March, 1865. In 
this battle the Forty-ninth lost fully one-half its number in 
killed, wounded and missing. Somebody blundered here. 
On the morning of the 25th a corps of engineers and sharp- 
shooters crossed over the space between the lines, and without 
the loss of a single man, captured the enemy's works, includ- 

158 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'Go. 

ing Fort Stead man, together with a largo nnmber of prison- 
ers. The iiiain body of our army followed and took posses- 
sion of the works and then lay down and waited until the 
enemy could reinforce their lines, and still w'aited until they 
came \\\)on us in front and by Hank in numbers so great that 
they c(»uld not l)e counted, then we were ordered to fall l)ack 
to our own lines, which wo did through such a storm of shot 
and sliell as I never dreamed of before. How any man es- 
caped death I have never been al>le to see. I remember 
starting on the perilous run never expecting to reach our 
lines, and the terrible thought would come to me, ''I am to be 
shot in the back." I have always been able to find some 
sort of excuse for failures, but in this instance I stand to-day 
as I did on that day, and. unhesitatingly say, "Somebody 

The last battle I shall mention was that of Five Forks, the 
loss of which caused the fall of Petersburg and practically 
ended the war. After the disastrous struggle on 25 March 
the Forty-ninth Regiment marched tlirough Petersburg for 
the last time in a drenching rain, and lay at Battery ISTo. 45 
all night ; then we were moved daily from place to place until 
the morning of the 31st we moved in the direction of Dinwid- 
dle Court House, and after marching and counter-marching, 
we finally lay down on our arms near the enemy, and waited 
for daylight, fully expecting to be ordered into battle every 
minute. We were doomed to disappointment, however, for 
early in the morning of the first day of April we were ordered 
to Five Forks, with the enemy following close in our rear. 
Reaching Five Forks, we quietly threw up a line of breast- 
works, and the enemy came thundering on in front, then in 
the rear, the men of the Forty-ninth blazing away with the 
same calm deliberation that had characterized them on scores 
of battlefields before, but it was no use. The Yankees sim- 
ply run over us and crowded us so that it became impossible 
to slioot. They literally swarmed on all sides of us, and by 
and by, as I looked toward the center of the regiment, I saw 
our old tattered banner slowly sinking out of sight. A few 
men escaped by starting early, but most of the true and 
tried men of this gallant old regiment were prisoners of 

Forty-Ninth Regiment. 159 

war and in a little while were on their way to Point Lookout, 
or Johnson's Island. 

It is unjust to all the other regiments of the North Caro- 
lina troops to claim for any one regiment any special bravery 
or devotion to the Lost Cause. There was not a regiment, 
so far as my information goes, that did not meet all require- 
ments of the service and fill the measure of its responsibility 
to the South. But while I do not claim any special honor 
for any one body of soldiers from North Carolina, I do 
claim this for my State as against other Southern States. 

With a population in 1860 of 629,942, and 115,000 vot- 
ers, North Carolina sent 127,000 soldiers to the Confederate 
armies. She furnished 51,000 stands of arms, horses for 
seven regiments of cavalry, artillery equipments for bat- 
teries, etc. North Carolina expended, out of her own funds, 
$26,663,000 and never applied for a dollar of support from 
the Confederate Government. She lost 37 Colonels of regi- 
ments killed in action, or died of wounds. She had six 
Major-Generals in service, and three of them, namely : Pen- 
der, Ramseur and Whiting, were killed in battle. There 
were 25 Brigadier-Generals from this State, four of whom 
were killed, and all the others were wounded. The first vic- 
tory was won by North Carolinians at Bethel, 10 June, 1861, 
and they fired the last volley at Appomattox. 

In the seven days' fight around Richmond in 1862, there 
were 92 Confederate regiments engaged, and 46 of them 
were from North Carolina — just one-half — and more than 
one-half of the killed and wounded were from this State. At 
Chancellors ville in May, 1863, there were forty North Caro- 
lina regiments, and of the killed and wounded over one-half 
were from this State. 

At Gettysburg 2,592 Confederates were killed, and 12,707 
wounded. Of the killed 770 were North Carolinians, 435 
Georgians, 399 Virginians, 2,588 Mississippians, 217 South 
Carolinians, and 204 Alabamians. The Northern army lost 
in this gTeat battle 3,155 killed and 14,529 wounded. North 
Carolina lost during the war 41,000 men who were killed in 
battle or died in the service, 14,000 of the above number were 

160 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

killed upon the battlefield, against 9,000 as the highest num- 
ber from any other Southern State. 

These are facts and figures which do not properly belong 
to a sketch of the Forty-ninth Regiment; still they are true 
as to the part which our good State played in that dreadful 
war, and I want our North Carolina boys and girls to know 
what sort of forefathers they had in the times which tried 
the souls of men. 

Peace to the ashes of the brave men who gave their lives for 
the Lost Cause! "They sleep their last sleep, they have 
fought their last battle, and no sound can awake them to 
glory again." 

May God bless the living! Some of them are watching, 
day by day, for the sunset's glow, or stand listening to the 
beat of the surf as it breaks upon the shores of eternity. May 
God give them victory in the last battle ! 

B. F. Dixon. 

Shelby, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 


1. .John C. Vanhook, Lieut.-Colonel. 3. J. T. Ellington, 1st Lieut., Co C. 

2. Wm. A. Blalock, 1st Lieut., Co. A. 4. J. C. Ellington, 2d Lieut., Co. C. 


By J. C. ELLINGTON, Second Lieutenant Company C. 

Tlio Fiftietii Eegiixiiut !N"orth Carolina Troops was or- 
ganized 15 April, 1862, at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh^ 
composed of the following companies : 

Company A — Person County — Captain John C. Van- 

Company B — Robeson County — Captain E. C. Adkinson, 

Company C — Johnston County — Captain R. D. Luns- 

Company T) — Johnston County- — Captain H. J. Ryals. 

Company E — Wayne County — Captain John Griswold. 

Company E — Moore County — Captain James A. O. Kelly. 

Company G — Rutherford County — Captain C W. An- 

Company H — Harnett County — Captain Joseph H. Ad- 

Company I — Rutherford County — Captain John B. 

Company K — Rutherford County — Captain Samuel Wil- 

Marshall I). Craton, of Wayne county, was elected Colo- 
nel ; James A. Washington, of Wayne county, Lieutenant- 
Colonel; George Wortham, of Granville county, Major; Dr. 
Walter Duffy, of Rutherford county, was appointed Surgeon ; 
E. B. Borden, of Wayne county, Quartermaster ; E. S. Par- 
ker, of Wayne county. Commissary; W. H. Borden, of 
Wayne county. Adjutant ; Jesse Edmundson, of Wayne, Ser- 
geant-Major; Dr. R. S. Moran, Chaplain. 

The six weeks following the organization of the regiment 
were spent at Camp Mangum, and we were subjected to al- 
most constant drilling from morning till night. There was 

162 North Carolina Trooi-s, 1861-65. 

not, during tliis time, a single nuisket in the regiment, but as 
a substitute we were armed with what was then known as the 
"Conf('(lei"a1(' })ike.'' Tliis formidable implement of war con- 
sisted of a wooden haudle about ten feet long, at one end of 
which a dirk-shaj^ed spear was securely fastened, and a1>- 
tached to lliis spear at the sliank, or socket, was another steel 
blade in the form of a brier hook in order, as the boys said, 
that they could get them "a-going and a-coming." These 
were not very well adapted for practice in the manual of 
arms, but at the end of the six weeks the regiment w^as re- 
markably well drilled, considering all the circumstances. Ou 
•31 May we were ordered to Garysburg, near Weldon, where 
the same routine of daily and almost hourly'drill was kept up 
until 19 June, when we were ordered to Petersburg, Va., and 
w^ent into camp at Dunn's Hill, near the city. In a short while 
■\ve were moved from here to Pickett's factory, on Swift creek, 
where we remained until 26 June, on which date we were or- 
•dered to Drury's Bluff, on the James river, below Richmond. 
We were now organized into a brigade composed of the 
'Thirty-second, Forty-third, Forty-fifth, Fiftieth and Fifty- 
third ISTorth Carolina Regiments, and Second I*Torth Carolina 
Battalion, with General Junius Daniel in command of the 


On Sunday, 20 June, we were made to realize for the first 
time that we were actually a part of the great Confederate 
army, when we received orders to prepare at once for a forced 
march to reinforce our troops who had already been fighting 
for several days in succession around Richmond. Taking 
the Forty-third, Forty-fifth and Fiftieth ISTorth Carolina Reg- 
iments and Brcm's (later Grahaui's), Battery, General 
Daniel crossed the James river on a pontoon bridge, and 
after a hard day's march over almost impassable roads, we 
reached a point near the two contending annies and camp for 
the night. About daybreak on the morning of 30 June we 
resumed the march. Just at sun rise, and immediately in 
•^our front, at a short distance, a balloon sent up by the enemy 
for the purpose of locating our lines and discovering the 

Fiftieth Regiment. . 163 

irnovements of our troops, made its appearance above the tree 
tops. Our line was iiumediately halted and a battery quickly 
gotten into position, opened fire on the balloon, which rapidly 
descended and passed from view. We resumed the march, 
but being thus timely warned, changed our course. We are 
soon joined by Walker's Brigade, moving on a different road, 
and together reached Kew Market at an early hour. At this 
place we were joined by General Wise, with the Twenty-sixth 
and Forty-sixth Virginia Regiments, and two light batteries, 
he having left Chafiin's Bluff soon after Daniel's Brigade left 
Drewry's Bluff', for the purpose, as he states in his official re- 
port, of supporting General Holmes at his urgent request. 

The aforementioned troops, together with a squadron of 
cavalry under command of Major Burroughs, constituted the 
conunand of General Tlieo-. H. Holmes, w^hich, early on the 
morning of 30 June, took position near New Market on the 
extreme right of the Confederate line. We remained in this 
position for several hours, when we received orders to move 
down the River road to support some batteries in charge of 
Colonel Deshler, which had been placed in position in a 
thick wood near the River Road between Malvern Hill and 
the James river. The three regiments of General Daniel's 
Brigade took position in rear of Colonel Deshler's Battery 
with the Forty-fifth North Carolina Regiment, commanded 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Morehead, on the right; the Fiftieth, 
commanded by Colonel Craton, in the center ; the Forty- 
third, commanded by Colonel Kenan, on the left. The right 
of the Forty-fifth rested a little beyond where the roads 
forked, and was partially protected by the woods ; the Forty- 
third had the slight protection afforded by woods on both 
sides of the road ; the Fiftieth occupied the open space made 
by clearings on both sides of the road at this point. About 
the time the formation of our lines in the road was completed, 
we were startled by the explosion of a single shell just over 
our heads, as if dropped from the skies above. We could 
form no idea whence it came, but were not long kept in doubt, 
for in a few minutes there was a perfect shower of shells of 
tremendous proportion and hideous sound hurled from the 
heavy naval guns of the Federal fleet on the James river, 

164 North Carolina Troops, 1SG1-'65. 

just opposite and about 900 yards distant, with a perfectly 
open field intervening. The scene was awe-inspiring, espe- 
cially to raw troops who were under fire for the first time. 
Such a baptism of fire for troops not actually engaged in bat- 
tle lias very rarely been experienced in the history of war. 
There was a slight depression in the road-way, and across the 
open space occupied by the Fiftieth Regiment was a plank 
fence. We were ordered to lie down behind this for such 
protection as it and the embankment on the road side might 
afford. About tliis time a squadron of cavalry, which was 
drawn up in line on the right of the road and just opposite 
the position occupied by the Fiftieth Regiment, was stam- 
peded by the explosion of a shell in their ranks, and in their 
wild flight rushed their horses against the plank fence which, 
like a dead-fall, caught many of our men who were held down 
to be trampled by the horses, until we could throw down the 
rail fence on the opposite side of the road and allow them to 
escape, which they were not slow to do. In the confusion in- 
cident to this afl'air, and the effort of the men to escape in- 
jury from the wild horses, the color-bearer of the Fiftieth 
Regiment escaped to the open field to the right of the road and 
planted the colors in full view of the fleet on the river, thereby 
concentrating their fire on our part of the line. It was some 
time before he was noticed standing solitary and alone in the 
open field, grasping his flag staff, which was firmly ]danted in 
the ground, as if bidding defiance to the whole Union army 
and navy, and the rest of mankind. As soon as order had 
been restored, Colonel Deshler was notified that the infantry 
support was in position, and he was instructed to open fire on 
the enemy's lines, which were now occupying Malvern Hill. 
This served to divert a portion of the fire of the gunboats 
from our part of the line, but at the same time drew upon us 
the fire of the enemy's batteries on jNIalvern Hill at short 
range with grape and canister, together witb solid shot and 
shell. We were now under a heavy cross fire, wifli no protec- 
tion from the fire of these batteries. The Confederate bat- 
teries in our front under command of Colonel Deshler, were 
suffering terribly, and although many of the men were either 
killed or disabled by wounds, and most of the horses lost, 

Fiftieth Regiment. 165 

they never wavered, but stood by their guns and served them 
to the close of the fight. As the fire from Malvern Hill con- 
tinued to increase, new batteries being constantly added, 
General Holmes requested General Daniel to send forward 
the guns of Brem's batter^' to reinforce Colonel Desh- 
ler. A short while after these passed to the front. General 
Daniel received an order from General Holmes to advance a 
portion of his infantry to their support. The Forty-fifth 
and Fiftieth Regiments promptly moved forward in column 
down the road, but had proceeded only a short distance when 
we were met by Brem's Battery in wild flight, dashing 
through our ranks, knocking down and running over many 
of our men with their horses and guns. About this time 
the Federals posted a battery on our right flank at short 
range. As it was impossible to withstand this flank fire, we 
were ordered to leave the road and take position under cover 
of the woods on the right. The writer remained in the road, 
but took advantage of such protection as was afi^orded by an 
oak gate post about eighteen inches square standing on the 
right of the road. I had been here but a short while when 
General Daniel came riding slowly along the line, speaking 
to and encouraging the men, his horse bleeding profusely from 
a wound just received. There was a perfect shower of shot 
and shell along the road all the while, but as he reached a 
point opposite where I was standing, a shell from the gun- 
boats exploded just above the road, and I saw him fall from 
his horse. He was soon able to rise and walk to the gate 
post, where he remained until he recovered from the shock, 
after which he walked to the rear, secured another horse, and 
returning to where I was ordered me to go across the road, 
form my company, which was the color company of the regi- 
ment, march it to our former position on the road and have 
the regiment form on it. We were all soon back in our first 
position on the road, where we remained until about 10 
o'clock that night, when w^e were marched back up the road 
to a piece of woods and camped for the night. On the fol- 
lowing day, 1 July, v.-e took position near that of the day be- 
fore, and remained in line of battle during the day and all 
night. For six days in succession the Confederates had been 

166 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

successful in battle, and the Federal army, under General 
McClellan, was whipped, demoralized and in full retreat, 
hoping almost against hope, that they might by some chance 
reaeli cover of their gunboats on the James river. The battle 
of Malvern Hill, the last of the seven days' battles, proved 
disastrous to the Confederates. There was a fearful sacri- 
fice of life and all for naught, as on the following morning, 
2 July, we stood for hours and watched the Federal column 
moving along the roads to their haven of safety under cover 
of their gunboats at Harrison's Landing, and we were pow- 
erless to interpose any obstacle. 

Without presuming to criticise the conduct of this battle, 
or fix the responsibility for failure to capture McClellan's en- 
tire army, a result which at this time seemed almost abso- 
lutely certain, I will simply recall the fact that as early as the 
night of 29 June, and all day of the 30th, General Holmes 
was within a short distance of the naturally strong position 
of Malveni Hill with more than 6,000 troops, and could easily 
have occupied this position. During the day of 30 June, 
General Porter, of the Federal army, took advantage of this 
opportunity to occupy and fortify these heights, and thereby 
cover the retreat and make possible the escape of McClellan's 
army, Avhile the 6,000 troops under General Holmes for two 
days and nights served no other purpose than to fumisli tar- 
gets for the Federal gunboats and batteries. 

On 2 July we commonced the march back to our former 
camp at Drewrv's Bluff, reacliing tliere about S o'clock the 
next moniing. 

On 6 July we were ordered to Petersluirg, where for sev- 
eral weeks we were employed in constnieting breastworks 
around the city and doing picket duty nlong the river. 


On -'51 July, just one luoutli after tlic battle of ^lalvern 
Hill, the infantry bi'igades of Generals ^Manning and Daniel, 
and the artillery brought over by General Pendleton, consist- 
ing of forty-three pieces, together with the light batteries be- 
longing to General D. JT. Hill's command, making seventy 
pieces in all, left Petersburg on a secret mission. In order 

Fiftieth Regiment. 167 

to conceal the real design, the report had been freely circu- 
lated that it was a demonstration against Suffolk. We left 
Petersburg at 7 o'clock a. in., inarched seven miles and were 
halted at Perkinson's Mill, where rations were issued to the 
men. Late in the afternoon we resumed the inarch, having 
received orders that all canteens or anything that was calcu- 
lated to make unnecessary noise, should be discarded, and that 
no one should speak above a whisper under penalty of death. 
The night was intensely dark, as a heavy thunder storm pre- 
vailed. This caused much trouble and consequent delay on 
the part of the artillery, which was following in our rear. 
About midnight General Hill, with the infantry brigades of 
Manning and Daniel, reached Merchant's Hope Church. In 
a short while General Pendleton arrived and reported to 
General Hill that it would be impossible to get his guns in 
position ill time to make tlie attack that night, as had been 
contemplated and planned. General Hill expressed great 
disappointment and fear that the expedition would prove a 
failure, as our troops would undoubtedly be discovered the 
next day. He turned over the command to General S. G. 
French and returned to Petersburg that night. The infantry 
moved back from tlie road in a thick wood just opposite the 
church, where they remained concealed the balance of the 
night, all of the next day and until midnight of 1 August. 
About the time we reached our position on the night of 31 
July, tlie rain, which had been threatening during the fore 
part of the night, broke loose in a perfect torrent, thoroughly 
flooding the flat, swampy ground upon which we were com- 
pelled to lie until midnight of 1 Augmst. 

This day, 1 August, was the date set apart by the State au- 
thorities of ISTorth Carolina for the casting of the soldier vote 
in the State election, which was then held on the first Thurs- 
. day in Augiist. We, therefore, had the novel experience of 
conducting an important and exciting election while lying 
flat on the gTound in mud and water, and "no one allowed to 
move or speak under penalty of death." It is needless to 
state that Colonel Z. B. Vance, who was recognized as the 
soldiers' candidate for Governor, received an overwhelming 
majority of the vote cast. The writer, who was then eighteen 

168 North Carolina Troops, 1SC1-'65. 

years of age, had the pleasure of casting his first political 
vote for this favorite son of the Old North State. For fear 
that some member of Congress, over zealous for the mainte- 
nance of "the purity of the ballot," may introduce a "joint 
resolution" to inquire into the legality of this election, I will 
state that in the army "age" was not one of the qualifications 
inquired into, but the carrying of a musket or sword was con- 
sidered all-suflicient. 

After it had been decided that it was impracticable to make 
the attack on the night of 31 July, General Pendleton gave 
orders to his subordinate officers to take such steps as would 
effectuallv conceal their guns and horses from the observation 
of the enemy when they sent up their balloon next morning, 
which w^as their custom each morning as soon as it was light 
enough to see distinctly. They had barely completed this 
task when the balloon was seen slowly ascending, but fortu- 
nately they were not discovered. Each commander of a bat- 
tery had certain specific work assigned him by General Pen- 
dleton, and they spent the entire day in selecting locations 
and routes by Avhich they could reach the same the follomng 
night. They also took advantage of the day time, when 
everything was in full view, to range stakes by which to direct 
their fire at night. The long range guns were directed on 
McClellan's camp across the river, and the short range on the 
shipping on tlu; river. The plan was to make the attack pre- 
cisely at midniglit, but it was 12 :30 before everything was in 
readiness. Forty-three of the seventy guns had been placed 
in position on tlic bank of the river, some of them at the very 
water's edge. The otlier guns were not considered of suffi- 
cient range, and were, therefore, not brought into action. By 
12 o'clock the infantry lind been quietly formed, moved 
across the road, and drawn up in line between the church and 
the river, in rear of our g\ms. We were held in suspense for 
half an liour wlioii tlic expected "signal" gim was fired. Im- 
mediately and sinniltaneously the forty-three guns were dis- 
charged. Each of tlie guns liad been supplied with from 
twenty to thirty rounds, with instiiictions to fire these as rap- 
idly as possible, hitcli np and retire. The noise and the 
flaslies of light produced by the rapid and continuous fire of 

Fiftieth Regiment. 169 

these guns in the dead of a dark, still night, immediately on 
the water front of the river, was awe-inspiring in the extreme, 
and the consternation produced among the shipping on tlie 
river and in the camp beyond was indescribable. In less 
than ten minutes many of the vessels were sinking and 
many others were seriously damaged. In a few minutes 
after we opened fire several gunboats, which were up the river 
on the lookout for the Confederate "Merrimac" ISTo. 2, which 
they were momentarily expecting to come down the river, and 
which were constantly kept under a full head of steam and 
prepared for instant action, steamed past our position at a 
rapid rate of speed, raking the banks of the river with their 
fire, but not halting to engage our batteries in fair action. 
Our only casualties were one man killed and two wounded by 
the explosion of a shell at one of the batteries served by Cap- 
tain Dabney. The damage inflicted on the enemy will per- 
haps never be known. General McClellan, in his first re- 
port to Washington next morning, states his only damage to 
be one man slightly wounded in the leg, but in a later report 
the same day, admits the loss of ten men killed and twelve 
wounded, and a number of horses killed ; but he strangely 
omits any reference to the damage inflicted on the shipping 
on the river where most of the guns were directed, and at 
much shorter range than his camp, where, as stated in his re- 
port, "For about half an hour the fire was very hot, the shells 
falling everywhere from these headquarters to Westover." As 
evidence that the damage to the shipping must have been 
serious, on the following morning as the tide came in the 
whole face of the river was covered with floating wreckage. 
Thus ended one of the most interesting, as it was one of the 
most mysterious afPairs of the war. 

After the affair just related, we returned to Petersburg 
and thence to our former camp at Drewry's Bluff, when we 
were again employed in constructing fortifications and doing 
such picket duty as was required. 

On 14 August General McClellan commenced very sud- 
denly and hurriedly to abandon his camp at Harrison's Land- 
ing, and a few days thereafter the writer rode down the river 
and went through and took a general survey of the camp. I 

170 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

have never witnessed so great destruction of property as I 
saw then. Articles of clothing and blankets (all new) by 
tlie thousands, were piled in great heaps and apparently sat- 
urated with oil and fired. Great heaps of corn and oats in 
sacks were similarly treated and guns by the hundreds and 
various other articles of value were scattered over the camp^ 
indicating that they must have left in a very gi'eat haste. 

Tn the early part of the war it was persistently charged 
and as persistently denied, that the Federal troops used 
"steel breast-plates" for protection. I can not certify as to 
the truth of the charge, but will state that I saw a number of 
their breast-plates which were left in McClellan's camp. 

We remained at and around Drewry's Bluff the balance of 
the year. In December we constructed comfortable log 
cabins in which to spend the winter. We completed them in 
time to move in just a few days before Christmas. We en- 
joyed a jolly Christmas and congTatulated ourselves on being 
comfortably housed for the winter, but on the last day of De- 
cember the brigade received "marching orders," and on 1 Jan- 
uary, 1863, we started for iSTorth Carolina and reached Golds- 
boro on 3 January. We remained here until 3 February, 
when we started on tlie march to Kinston in a very heavy 
snow storm. We reached Kinston on 7 Feliruarv, and went 
into caiiip. 


A plan for a general and concertc^l mov(Mnent along the 
coast region between Xorfolk and Wilmiiigtnn had l)ecn ar- 
ranged for tlie early spring. A part of \hv \)\i\n was to make 
a simultaneous and cond)ined attack t)n New Bern from three 
points. General Pettigrew was to open the attack from the 
north side of the Neuse river and General Daniel with his 
brigade was to follow on the south side, while General Bob- 
ert Bansom moved down the Trent river, these last twx:) com- 
mands to attack fi'om tlie land side and tlie rear of the city. 
The Forty-third, Forty-Hfth and Fifticlh Bogiments of Dan- 
iel's Brii^adc Icfl t1ic caiiip ncnr Kiiislnn dn the nioi'iiing of 12 
^larch, moving down on the south side of Xeuse river, accom- 
panied by General D. IF. Hill in person. Late in the after- 

Fiftieth Regiment. 171 

noon of 13 March, we encountered the enemy in considerable 
force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, and strongly forti- 
fied at "Deep Gully," a small stream a few miles west of 
]^ew Bern. 

General Daniel led the attack in person, and after a lively 
skirmish the enemy retired liastily and in much confusion. 
After thoroughly shelling the woods in front, we occupied 
their abandoned works for the night. During the night the 
enemy was reinforced by three regiments of Massachusetts in- 
fantry, together with cavalry and artillery. At daybreak on 
the following morning we moved to the east side of the stream 
and took position in the following order: Forty-fifth Regi- 
ment in the centre, Forty-third to the right, and Fiftieth to 
the left of the road. A strong skirmish line was immediately 
thrown forward by the Fiftietli Regiment to feel for the en- 
emy in the thick wood in our front. When they had ad- 
vanced only a few paces in front of the main line they re- 
ceived a volley from the enemy, to which they promtly re- 
plied, and then followed a lively skirmish, our line slowly, 
but steadily, advancing all the w^hile. The enemy resisted 
stubbornly, but were forced back on their main line. This 
our men were instructed to do, and then to slowly fall back in 
the hope that the enemy would follow and be drawn on our 
main line and thus bring on a regular engagement, but they 
remained behind their fortifications. While the Fiftieth 
Regiment was thus engaged. Colonel Kenan, with his Forty- 
third Regiment, gallantly drove the enemy from his front on 
the right of the road. We were in suspense in the meantime, 
waiting for the sound of Pettigrew's guns on the north side of 
the river, which, by arrangement, was to be the signal for our 
advance to the attack of the city from the rear. Owing to 
the soft, miry character of the soil on the flat lands on the 
north side of the river, he found it impossible to move his 
gxxns near enough to be brought into action, and without these 
nothing could be accomplished, and he concluded to withdraw 
his line and this forced us to retire from our position, which 
we did the following day and returned to Kinston. 

172 North Carolina Tkoops, 1861 -'65. 

washington^ n. c. 

On 25 JMarcli, 1863, the Fiftieth Kegiment left Kinston for 
Greenville, and on the 29th, crossed the Tar river, and join- 
ing Garnett's Brigade moved on Washington, which we in- 
vested for sixteen days. The regiment first took position 
with Garnett's Brigade on the east side, and near the town, 
but was afterwards ordered to meet a strong force of the en- 
emy, which were reported to be advancing from Plymouth. 
They afterwards recrossed the Tar river and rejoined their 
old brigade (General Daniel's), which had been recalled 
from Virginia, at the Cross Roads near Washington, on the 
south side of the river. On 9 April the Fiftieth Regiment 
was sent by General Daniel, at the request of General Pet- 
tigrew to aid him in the affair at Blount's Mill. After this 
we returned to our brigade at the Cross Roads, and on the 
night of the 14th the Fiftieth Regiment moved down the 
'Grimes Road" and took position in a small clearing to the 
right of the woods a few hundred yards from the bridge at 
the town. We were exposed to heavy fire from the Federal 
guns, which had perfect range of the road for more than a 
mile. We were located by the small clearing which we oc- 
cupied and were subjected to heavy fire from the combined 
batteries throughout the night, but having the protection of 
the timber in the intervening swamp, suffered very little. On 
the 15th the entire brigade took position near the river be- 
tween the town and Rodman's Point. The Fiftieth Regi- 
ment was sent across the low land and took position immedi- 
ately on the bank of the river. In a short while our batteries 
at Hill's and Rodman's points opened a heavy fire, which 
lasted only for a short while. We supposed that the enemy's 
boats, which were constantly attempting to "run the block- 
ade," had been driven back, as usual, but in a few minutes 
were taken completely by surprise when a small gunboat 
made its appearance in front of us and discovering our line 
drawn up on .the bank of the river, greeted us with a succes- 
sion of broad sides with grape and canister, until we "double- 
quicked" across the open ground and found cover behind a 
swamp. The gari'ison now being relieved by an ample sup- 

Fiftieth Regiment. 173 

ply of rations and ammunition, as well as reinforcement of 
fresh troops, the siege of Washington, which had lasted for 
sixteen days, was raised, and on the 16th our troops retired to 

The Federal commander, General Foster, in his official 
report, states that the ''Escort," which succeeded in running 
the gauntlet of our batteries, was struck forty times by the 
guns at Hill's and Rodman's points, and that the pilot was 
killed by a rifle shot. 

On 1 May the brigade Avas ordered to Kinston, and on the 
7th moved down near Core creek, on the Atlantic & ISTorth 
Carolina Railroad, and tore up several miles of the railroad 
track. Together with Colonel Xethercutt's Battalion, we 
made repeated incursions into the enemy's territory around 
New Bern, capturing a number of their pickets and scouts. 

On 17 June the brigade was again ordered to Virginia, 
and we reached the depot about midnight; but before we were 
all aboard our train an order was received for the Fiftieth 
to return to their camp, and thus for the second time we were 
separated from our brigade, which we never rejoined. 

On 21 June we were ordered to Greenville and attached to 
Martin's Brigade. We were engaged in constructing forti- 
fications around the town and occasionally raiding the en- 
emy's territory around Washington until 3 July, when we 
returned to Kinston. 

pottery's raid. 

On 19 July, 1863, we received orders to intercept General 
Potter, who was raiding the eastern counties from Kew Bern 
to Rocky Mount. This expedition, composed chiefly of the 
Third ISTew York Cavalry and "J^orth Carolina Union 
Troops," mostly negroes, left J^ew Bern on 18 July and 
reached Street's Ferry on their return 22 July. They burned 
the bridges at Greenville, Tarboro, Rocky Mount; also the 
railroad bridge and trestle at this place, the Battle cotton 
factory, machine shops, engines and cars, store-houses, flour 
mills, a Confederate iron-clad gunboat, with two other steam- 
boats, all provisions they could find, and eight hundred bales 
of cotton. Some of the above might be excused as being 

174 North Carolina Troops. 1S<!1-'G5. 

le^-itiinat(> in tinio of war, but the conduct generally through 
the country traversed was wholly inexcusable, cowardly, and 
infamous in the extreme. Where they visited plantations 
they ordei-ed the negroes to take the horses, wagons, buggies 
and carriages and plunder their owner's houses, taking what- 
ever they wished and join the procession. General Potter, 
in his otHcial report, states that some three hundred of these 
negroes reached New Bern with him. Tliis is a very small 
proportion of the number we intercepted and captured at the 
"Burney Place," where Potter succeeded in flanking us and 
making his escape. Our object was to get between Potter 
and ISTew Bern, cut off his retreat if possible, or at least 
harass and delay his return until reinforcements might reach 
us by way of Kinston and effec^t his capture. Unfortunately 
we had no cavalry except a small detachment of Colonel Ken- 
nedy's men. Colonel Faison, with the Fifty-sixth North Car- 
olina Regiment, had been left to guard and hold Coward's 
bridge. This left only the Fiftieth Regiment and a portion 
of Colonel Whitford's Battalion to operate. The difficulty 
of conteiuling with the movements of cavalry in an open coun- 
try can be fully appreciated, especially as they kept con- 
stantly on the move all night. By destroying all the bridges 
and by rapid movement, without rest, sleep or anything to 
eat, we held them on the upper side of the creek for two days 
and nights. After maneuvering all night of the 21st, cross- 
ing plantations and traveling unused country paths, they suc- 
ceeded in escaping wdth the head of their column about 
daybreak on the morning of the 2 2d. We succeeded, how- 
ever, in reaching the point in time to intercept the rear of the 
colunm consisting mostly of negroes, traveling in every con- 
ceivable style. General Potter, in his haste to escape, with 
his troops, abandoned his "contrabands," as he calls them, to 
their fate. 

On reaching the "Buraey Place" we opened fire on the 
colunm with a small brass cannon mounted on a saddle 
strapped to the back of a mule. This utterly demoralized the 
"contrabands" who, in their mad rush to keep pace with their 
erstwhile deliverers, but who were now fleeing for their lives, 
failed to discover us. The shock was so sudden and unex- 

Fiftieth Regiment. 175 

pected that the effect was indescribable. The great caval- 
cade, composed of men, women and children, perched on 
wagons, carts, buggies, carriages, and monnted on horses and 
mnles, whipping, slashing and yelling like wild Indians, was 
suddenly halted by our fire upon the bridge. This fire Avas 
upon some negro troops who were in the rear of Potter's 
column. One negro ( 'aptain, who was driving a pair of spir- 
ited iron-gray horses, attempted to rush past three of our men 
who were lying in the yard and was shot dead as he stood up 
in the l)uggy firing at them as he drove past. Many others 
were either killed or wounded in attempting to escape through 
the woods near by. In the excitement and confusion which 
ensued many of the vehicles were upset in attempting tO' turn 
around in the road and many others wrecked by the fright- 
ened horses dashing through the woods. We scoured the 
woods and gathered up several hundred negroes among the 
number several infants and a number of .small children who 
had been abandoned to their fate. About 8 o'clock we started 
in pursuit of Potter. For miles the road and woods on either 
side were strewn with all kinds of wearing apparel, table 
ware, such as fine china and silver ware, blankets, fine bed 
quilts and all sorts of ladies' wearing apparel which had been 
taken from the helpless, unprotected women at the planta- 
tions visited by the negroes, under General Potter's orders. 
The reason these things were strewn indiscriminately along 
the road was that the few men of Colonel Kennedy's Cavalry 
and such as we were able to mount from time to time with 
the abandoned horses, kept up a running fight with the rear 
of the retreating column from the ''Burney Place" to Street's 
Ferry, causing many of the spirited carriage horses to be- 
come unmanageable and take to the woods, wrecking the vehi- 
cles and scattering their contents. I saw a number of in- 
stances where the carriages had been upset and the throats of 
the horses cut to prevent their falling into our hands. The 
Fiftieth Peginient, with the exception of tlie few who had 
been mounted, performed the extraordinary feat of marching 
forty-eight miles on this, 22 day of July, 1863, reaching 
Street's Ferry about two hours in the night, and this after 
having been in line or on the march continuously for two days 

176 North Carolina Troops, 1801 -'65. 

and nights without rest, sleep or rations. When we reached 
tlie ferry tliat niglit there was perhaps not more than one- 
foui-tli of our men in line. The writer had charge of the 
remnants of four companies, hut after a rest of about two 
hours nearly every man and officer was in his place. About 
midnight some citizens of that section came into our camp 
and reported that General Potter had communicated with 
ISTew Bern and that a nund)er of transports had reached the 
Ferry with lieavy reinforcements, and that we were in very 
great danger of being captured. Acting upon the supposi- 
tion tliat tliis report was true, we left our campfires brightly 
burning, aiu] retiring in midnight darkness, marched the bal- 
ance of the night, in the direction of Kinston, thus adding 
this to our previous record of forty-eight miles, all within 
twenty-four hours. We afterward learned that we had been 
deceived by "Buffaloes," and that the transports from New 
Bern did not reach Str(;et's Ferry until late in the afternoon 
of the next day. Thus ended the "Potter Raid," one of the 
most infamous affairs that stain the record of our Civil War, 
and one which, I believe, has made every true soldier, who 
was forced to take part in it, blush with shame. 

On 9 August the regiment was ordered to Wilmington, and 
first went into camp at Virginia Creek and afterward at vari- 
ous places along the sound from there to Fort Fisher. On 
reaching camp on Topsail Sound, commissary supplies were 
brought down from Wilmington late at night, and rations 
were issued to the entire regiment early the next morning. 
All cooked and ate breakfast about the same time, and the en- 
tire regiment, men and officers, were poisoned by eating flour 
which had been poisoned and sent through the blockade. JSTo 
deaths resulted directly, but the serious effects were felt for 
a long time and much sickness resulted. This was the sec- 
ond occurrence of the kind at Wilmington. We remained in 
and around Wilmington until the spring of 1864, engaged in 
constiiicting fortifications, doing picket duty along the coast, 
and provost duty in the city. ISTothing except an occasional 
shelling from some of the enemy's guns and watching our 
steamers successfully, and with a regularity almost equal to 

Fiftieth Regiment. 177 

an up-to-date railroad schedule, run the so-called blockades, 
served to break the monotony of our every-day life. 

On 28 April, 1864, we received orders to proceed to Tar- 
boro. On 30 April, started on the march to Plymouth. The 
town had, after two days of desperate lighting by the Con- 
federate infantry, led l)y the gallant Hoke, assisted by Cap- 
tain Cooke, with the iron-clad boat "Albemarle," surrendered 
to the commander of the Confederate forces on 20 April. 

A part of the Fiftieth Regiment was stationed at Plymouth 
as a garrison for that place and the other part was sent to the 
town of Washington in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Van 
Hook for similar duty. The chief occupation of the regi- 
ment from this time to the latter part of October following, 
was raiding the eastern counties lying along the coast from 
ISTew Bern to the Virginia line for the purpose of collecting 
and bringing out provisions from these productive counties 
for the use of our army in Virginia. This work was done 
by small detachments usually in charge of a Captain or a 
Lieutenant, but in many instances in charge only of a non- 
commissioned officer. The enemy being constantly on the 
lookout for these raiding parties, frequent encounters re- 
sulted. Recounting the many thrilling adventures covering 
this period, a whole volume might be written as a well-earned 
tribute to the private soldier, as many of the daring deeds 
were accomplished by them without the aid or direction of an 
officer. Many prisoners and miich valuable propeiiy were 
brought in by these small detachments, and a remarkable fact 
is that they rarely ever lost a man. On one occasion a small 
party were scouting in the vicinity of Coinjock, where there 
was a ''lock" on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, and 
noticing the manner of passing boats through this "lock," 
concluded that it afforded a splendid opportunity to capture 
one. On returning to camp they reported to their officers the 
result of their observations and conclusions, and asked per- 
mission to make the attempt to carrj' them into effect. The 
officers seeming unwilling to assume the responsibility, they 
then asked for the assurance that they did not object to their 
assuming all the responsibility and undertaking the job. 
. 12 

178 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

Having received this, they at once commenced to make the 
necessary preparation. Being their week "off duty" they 
at once proceeded to the place, and having detailed their plans 
to the "lock-keeper" and secured his co-operation, they con- 
cealed themselves near by and awaited the arrival of the Gov- 
ernment mail boat, plying betAveen Norfolk and New Bern. 
The machinery for operating the "lock" very opportunely 
refused to work and the boat was unable to move in either 
direction, being fast upon the bottom. The squad made a 
sudden dash, and after firing a few shots the Captain surren- 
dered his boat. They secured the United States mail pouches 
and such other valuables as they could carry, and then re- 
leased the boat with all on board except General Wessells, 
who had shortly before surrendered Plymouth to General 
Hoke, and who had been paroled and was on his way to be ex- 
changed. He protested against his arrest and detention, but 
without avail, as the boys marched him back to Plymouth, the 
scene of his recent misfortune and humiliation. On another 
occasion a small party secured a boat, and crossing the sound, 
readied Roanoke Island at night and proceeded to the light 
house, and after destroying the light, took the keeper and his 
wife prisoners. Hundreds of such deeds of daring and ad- 
venture might be recorded, but this sketch must necessarily 
be brief. 

23 October the regiment was relieved and ordered to Tar- 
boro, and on the night of 27 October Lieutenant Gushing, of 
the United States Navy, made his way up the river in a small 
steam launch, passed the pickets stationed on the wreck of 
the "Southfield," which was sunk by the Albemarle in the en- 
gagement of 19 and 20 April, and making a sudden dash at 
the Albemarle, exploded a torpedo under her bottom, which 
caused her to sink at once, thus nuiking it possible for the en- 
emy to recapture Plymouth, which they did on 31 October. 
This feat of Lieutenant Cusliing was one of the most daring 
and desperate on record, but one which might easily have 
been prevented if our pickets had been as watchful as they 
should have been. Several attempts had been made by this 
same officer to pass our pickets on the river while the Fifti- 
eth Regiment was in charge, but always failed, and several 

Fiftieth Regiment. 179 

of his men were killed and captured in these attempts. The 
Fiftieth Regiment would have remained at Plymouth but for 
the urgent appeal made by General Lee to Governor Vance 
and General Holmes to garrison Plymouth and Washington 
with North Carolina Reserves, and send the Fiftieth back to 
Virginia. But for this change it is almost certain that Ply- 
mouth would not have fallen into the hands of the enemy at 
the time and under the circumstances it did, thus cutting off 
the chief source of supplies for our anny in Virginia. 
After the baggage had been loaded, and just as the regiment 
was ready to go in the cars, the news of the fall of Plymouth 
was received, order countermanded, and the regiment was, 
for the third time, prevented from returning to Virginia. 
We remained at Tarboro and Williamston for one month. 

24 jSTovember the Regiment was ordered to Augusta, Ga., 
reaching that place on the 27th, and on the 29th was ordered 
to Savannah. On reaching Charleston the next day a spe- 
cial train was in waiting, General Hardee having telegraphed 
General Beauregard from Savannah to rush the regiment 
with all possible haste to Grahamville to meet General Fos- 
ter, who was moving on the Charleston & Savannah Railroad 
near that point for the purpose of destroying the long trestle 
and thus cut off all communication with Savannah. 

On the night of 29 November, General G. W. Smith 
reached Savannah with a brigade of less than one thousand 
Georgia militia. At this time there were no other troops in 
Savannah, General Hardee had received information that 
General Foster was moving in force on the Charleston & Sa- 
vannah Railroad for the purpose of destroying the long tres- 
tle near Grahamville and thus cut off the only means of 
transporting troops and supplies to Savannah. General 
Smith's militia were the only troops that could possibly reach 
the scene in time to check this advance and save the road, 
and he had received positive instructions from the Governor 
of Georgia not to carry the militia beyond the State line. He 
and General Hardee hurriedly discussed the situation in all 
its bearings, and the conclusion was reached that the condi- 
dition and circumstances justified disobeying the orders of 

180 North Carolina Trooi's. 18G1-'05. 

the Governor, and the train which contained the troops was 
shifted to the Charleston & Savannah road, reaching Ilardee- 
ville at daybreak 30 November. They at once proceeded to 
Honey Hill, and passing a short distance beyond, discovered 
that the enemy in force had already reached and occupied the 
position which had been chosen by the Confederat-e com- 
mander prior to the arrival of the troops. This forced Gen- 
eral Smith to fall back and occupy a less desirable position. 
About 8 :30 a. m. the enemy commenced his advance on this 
position and was greeted by a single shot from the only gun 
in position. Thus opened one of the most remarkable battles, 
in many respects, that was fought during the Civil War. The 
fighting was fierce and furious throughout the entire day, and 
ended only when the darkness of night made it possible for 
the enemy to retreat unobserved. Charge after charge during 
the first part of the day was repelled by this small band of 
Georgia militia, supported only by a South Carolina battery 
of five light field pieces. During the morning the Forty- 
seventh Georgia Regiment arrived, but was held in reserve 
until ordered into action to check a flank movement of the 
enemy. The Thirty-second Georgia and Fiftieth North Car- 
olina, sent from Charleston, reached the field too late to par- 
ticipate. The Confederate forces present and engaged con- 
sisted of the Georgia Militia (Senior and Junior Reserves), 
1,000 strong, the Forty-seventh Georgia Regiment, and the 
South Carolina Battery, commanded by Colonel Gonzales, 
making a total of 1,400 in all. 

The Federal forces engaged consisted of the Fifty-sixth, 
One Hundred and Twenty-seventh, One Hundred and Forty- 
fourth, One Hundred and Fifty-seventh New York Regi- 
ments; Forty-fourth Massachusetts (colored), and Fifty-fifth 
Massachusetts ; Twenty-fifth Ohio ; Twenty-sixth, Thirty-sec- 
ond, Thirty-fifth, One Hundred and Second United States 
Colored Regiments ; a brigade^ of Marines, a number of field 
batteries and several naval guns brought up from the gun- 
boats in the river near by. 

The losses, as taken from the official reports, are as follows; 

Confederate: Killed, 8; \vounded, 42; total, 50. 

Fiftieth Regiment. 181 

Federals: Killed, 88; wounded, 623; missing, 43; total, 

The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts reports the loss of its Colonel 
and 100 men in five minutes, and the Fifty-fourth Massachu- 
setts (colored), reports carrying 150 wounded from the field. 

Considering all the circumstances, the character of the 
troops engaged, disparity in numbers, this fight perhaps has 
jio parallel in history. 


On 2 Deeember the regiment reached Savannah, and on 
the 3d was ordered to the Forty-five Mile Station on the Geor- 
gia Central Railroad. The other troops were ordered back 
to the entrenchment at Savannah, leaving the Fiftieth Regi- 
ment and a small squadron of Wheeler's Cavalry alone to 
meet and contend with Slierman's column which was moving 
down the Georgia Central Railroad. The instructions were 
to harrass and delay the column so as to gain time to 
strengthen our fortifications around the city as much as pos- 
sible. On the 7th we commenced to skirmish with the van- 
guard, and on the 9th, having fallen back some distance to 
a strong position, the skirmishing became general and very 
heavy. The main body of the regiment had fortified a natur- 
ally strong position on the right of the road, and Lieut. Jesse 
T. Ellington, of Company C, was sent with a strong skiraiish 
line to an open savanna on the left to protect that flank. The 
advance of the enemy was checked and the firing soon became 
extremely heavy at the point occupied by the regiment, but 
they stubbornly resisted the repeated attacks and held their 
position. After awhile there was a sudden lull in the firing on 
that side of the road which attracted Lieutenant Ellington's 
attention, and seeking a point where he could get a view of 
the breastworks discovered that they were occupied by the en- 
emy in force. They had succeeded in flanking the position 
on the right, and thus forcing the regiment to hastily retire 
across a bridge which was held by some of Wheeler's men for 
this purpose. Lieutenant Ellington had been instructed to 
hold his position until he received orders to withdraw, and 
now found himself entirely cut off, the enemy considerably to 

182 North Carolina Troops, 18f)l-'65. 

the rear of his position and a strong skirmish line deployed 
immediately in rear of his own line. He quietly faced his 
men about and commenced to move forward in regular order, 
and passing along the line whispered instructions to each 
man, Noticing a dense swamp some distance in front and to 
the right of the line of march, he had instructed the men to 
watch him and as they neared the swamp, at a given signal 
from him, to stoop as low as possible and run for the SAvamp. 
They had been moving all the while between the skirmish 
lines, the original one which was now in their rear and the 
new one which was thrown out after capturing our works, 
which was now in front. When they reached what seemed 
the most favorable position, the signal was given and prompt- 
ly obeyed by every man. As they made the break it was dis- 
covered for the first time that they were Confederates, and 
fired upon. Three of his men were shot dead, but all of the 
others, though fired at repeatedly, succeeded in reaching the 
swamp, which was quickly surrounded, but not a single one 
was captured. During the night they quietly left the swamp 
and attempted to make their way tlirough the lines. As the 
night was dark they were guided in their course by the guna 
at Fort McAllister, but after swimming the Ogeechee river 
and proceeding for some distance, the firing at the fort ceased 
and about the same time a battery of heavy guns opened in an 
entirely different direction, causing them to lose their course. 
This brought them again to the Ogeechee river, which they 
recrossed and after travelling all night, found themselves at 
daybreak next morning on the same ground they had left the 
evening before, and again in the rear of the enemy. They 
could make but little headway during the day but, the fol- 
lowing night brought them near the linos of the two contend* 
ing armies, which were now facing each otlier around and 
near the city. It was now daylight and the fighting was in 
progress all aloug the lines which, at this point, were only a 
short distance apart. Discovering a short and \uioccupied 
space in the Federal line, they made a sudden dash, at the 
same time signaling to our troops not to fire. They were dis- 
covered aud drew the combined fire froiu the right and left of 
the enemy's line, but reached our line safely. 

Fiftieth Regiment. 183 

On 10 December, Sherman commenced the investment of 
the citj of Savannah, and on the 13th the small garrison at 
Fort McAllister were forced to surrender. The enemy now 
controlled the river above and below, and the last means of 
escape for Hardee's army had been cut off. General Sher- 
man sent in a flag of truce and demanded an unconditional 
surrender of the city. The reply of General Hardee, charac- 
teristic of the man and soldier, was : "I have plenty of guns, 
and men enough to- man them, and if you ever take Savan- 
nah you will take it at the point of the bayonet." This was 
"bluff" in all of its perfection, as we then had not exceeding 
5,000 regular troops all told, and were trying to gain time, 
hoping almost against hope, that some means of escape might 
be provided. The fighting continued day and night all alon^ 
our lines, but no general assault was ever made. The fall of 
Fort McAllister enabled the Federal fleet to enter the river 
and thus establish Sherman's communication with the outside 
world. While Sherman was hesitating and wasting time 
over at Hilton Head aiTanging with General Foster for re- 
inforcements of men and heavy guns with which to contend 
with our little army of about 5,000, while he already had 
more than ten to one, we were keeping up the fight all along 
the line and at the same time kept a detail working night and 
day constructing a pontoon bridge across the river. This 
was accomplished by collecting such small flat boats as could 
be found along the river and arranging them in line, using 
car wheels as anchors. The heavy timbers about the wharf 
were utilized as stringers from one boat to another, and then 
using planks from buildings, which were torn down for the 
purpose, as a flooring, by laying them across these. 

The boats, being of various sizes and shapes and of une- 
qual supporting power, made a very uneven surface, and the 
flooring being of a variety of lengths and thickness, still fur- 
ther increased a tendency to slide to the low places and other- 
wise get out of place, especially as it was entirely unsecured. 
In addition to the pontoon bridge, it was necessary to con- 
struct a long stretch of roadway across an impassable swamp 
and bog between the river and roads traversing the rice farms. 
This was done effectuallv bv the liberal vise of rice straw and 

184 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

sheaf rice wliieh was secured in a])undance at a near by rice 

Extract from a commimication of General Sherman to 
Geneneral Grant 16 December: 

''I think Hardee, in Savannah, has good artillerists, some 
5,000 or 6,000 infantry, and it may be a mongrel mass of 
8,000 to 10,000 militia and fragments." 

Extract from General Hardee's reply to General Sherman's 
demand for the "unconditional surrender of the city" on 17 
December : 

"Your demand for tlie surrender of Savannah and its der 
pendent forts is refused. With respect to the threats con- 
veyed in the closing paragraph of your letter, of what may 
be expected in case your demand is not complied with, I have 
to say that T have hitherto conducted the military operation 
intrusted to my direction in strict accordance with the rules 
of civilized warfare, and I should deeply regret the adoption 
of any course by you that may force me to deviate from them 
in future." 

Extract from connnunication of General Sherman to Gen- 
eral Grant 18 December: 

"'I ^^■rote yo\i at length by Colonel Babcock on the 16th in- 
stant. As I therein explained my purpose, yesterday I made 
demand on General Hardee for the surrender of the city of 
Savannali, and to-day received his answer refusing. * * * 
I should like very much indeed to take Savannah before 
coming to you; but, as T wrote you before, T will do nothing 
rash or hasty, and will embark for the James river as soon as 
General Easton, wlio has gone to Port Royal for that purpose, 
reports to me that ho lias an a])propriate number of vessels 
for the transportation of the contemplated force. * * * 
I do sincerely believe tliat the whole United States, North 
and South, Wdiild rejoice to have this army turned loose on 
Soutli Carolina to devastate tliat State, in the manner we have 
done Georgia." 

On lU l)ecemi)er. General McLaws, in whose division the 

Fiftieth Regiment. 185 

Piftieth North Carolina Regiment belonged, received the fol- 
loAving coinniunication from General Hardee : 

^'General : — Lieutenant-General Hardee directs me to 
sav that the pontoon is completed, and he desires that you 
will see that your wagons containing cooking utensils and 
baggage are sent over and on to Hardeeville at daylight in the 
morning. Respectfully, General, 

"Your obedient servant, 

''D. H. Pool, 
"Assistant Adjutant General." 

About 10 o'clock on the night of 19 December, the writer 
received instruction to report at once to General McLaws at 
his headquarters at the Telfair House. On reaching there I 
was informed that all arrangements had been made for the 
"withdraAval of our troops from the lines during the night, and 
received instructions to report promptly at 12 o'clock to take 
charge of the wagon train of our command, proceed at once 
to the city, break open the cars in which our baggage was 
stored and secure all important papers, etc., but not at- 
tempt to carry out any private baggage. Shortly after day 
of the 30th, this work had been accomplished and we com- 
menced to cross the bridge. As we were the first to cross we 
succeeded without accident or the loss of a single team, but 
the other commands did not fare so well. The loose planks 
forming the floor were constantly slipping down to the low 
places, causing great gaps in the floor, at which the mules 
would take fright and shying to either side, would get on 
to the projecting planks and topple over into the river. Sev- 
eral teams were lost in this way. xVfter we crossed the 
swamp and struck the I'oad across the rice field we were in 
full view of the enemy, who had occupied the South Carolina 
side of the river for the pui^Dose of cutting off our only line of 
retreat. General Wheeler had been instructed by General 
Hardee to keep this line open at any cost, and on the day be- 
fore had been reinforced with troops and artillery for this 
purpose. A fierce fight was raging at the time between the 
two contending forces, each bent on the possession of the road, 
which was of vital importance to us. We had a splendid 

186 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

view of the fight as we were passing over the long stretch of 
level and perfectly open rice field. 

We reached Tlardeeville safely that evening, but spent a 
restless and anxious night. Orders had been issued and ar- 
rangements made for the army to cross the pontoon bridge 
early on the morning of the 20th, but in fact it did not cross 
until twenty-four hours later. After the wagon trains had 
crossed over and the troops were ready to commence crossing, 
the bridge broke loose and swung down the river, necessitating 
a delay of a day and night before it could be replaced. The 
army crossed over safely on the morning of 21 December, and 
reached Hardeeville that day, where we had been for twenty- 
four hours without hearing a word in explanation of the cause 
of the delay. 

The official reports of 20 December showed "the effective 
strength of Sherman's army" to be 60,598, not including the 
strong forces of General Foster at Port Royal, Hilton Head, 
and Coosa whatchie and a large fleet co-operating. And yet 
General Hardee, with his ''8,000 or 10,000 militia and frag- 
ments," as General Sherman puts it, held this large and splen- 
didly equipped army and fleet at bay for nearly two weeks 
and withdrew unmolested and was well into South Carolina 
before it was even discovered that he had abandoned his line 
several miles beyond Savannah. General Sherman, who was 
still at Port Poyal arranging with General Foster for more 
troops and guns, did not reach the city until the 2 2d, more 
than twenty-four hours after General Hardee had safely 
withdrawn his entire forces. 

On 26 December, McLaw^s' Division left Hardeeville for 
Pocataligo, and on the march was compelled to diverge from 
the main road in order to avoid the fire from the batteries and 
gunboats near Coosawhatehie, as they had complete range 
of the road at this point. On reaching Pocataligo the Fif- 
tieth Regiment occupied the extreme advance position at a 
small stream beyond "Old Pocataligo." General L. S. 
Baker, who up to this time had commanded our brigade, was 
relieved from active duty on account of intense suffering 
caused by his wounded arm. He had the confidence, love, 
and esteem of e\'ery officer and man in the brigade, as did 

Fiftieth Regiment. 187 

also the young men of his staff. The leave-taking was sad 
and affecting as they bid a final adieu to officers and privates 
alike. From this time the brigade was commanded by Col- 
onel Washington M. Hardy. 

On the second day after reaching Pocataligo the writer, 
who was on duty on the advanced picket line, received a re- 
quest from Colonel Hardy to report at once to his headquar- 
ters. On arrival he was informed that General McLaws had 
requested that he select and send to him for instructions, an 
officer who would undertake to enter General Foster's lines 
that night for the pui-pose of ascertaining the exact location 
and approximate strength of his forces. After explaining 
his purposes and indicating just what information he desired, 
his final instructions were: "Go and never return until you 
can make this report." 

1 selected ten men from my own company, and by night 
had completed all necessary arrangements. An old negro, 
who had spent his past life on the island below and was thor- 
oughly acquainted with the country, and who had ''run away 
from the Yankees," and was now living near our camp, gave 
me a full description of the country and cheerfully consented 
to pilot me l^y a private foot path leading through a swamp to 
the peninsula fonned by Tullifuiny creek and Coosawhatchie 
river upon which Gen. Foster's main forces were camped. The 
main road was strongly picketed right up to our lines, but by 
taking this by-way through the swamps when we reached the 
open countiy we were well to the rear of the pickets. The 
old negro now pleaded piteously to be allowed to return to his 
home and his wife. He gave me an honest and truthful de- 
scription of all the surroundings, after which I sent a man 
back with him to pass him througli our line. The 
streams were full of gunboats and transports. In making 
a circuit of the camps we kept close to the water so as to 
avoid the pickets. We spent the entire night in making the 
circuit, counting camp fires, locating the troops and vessels, 
and returned safely, reaching our lines at daybreak next 
morning. I made a full report to the commanding officer, 
for whicli T and the men with me received his thanks. 

On 14 January, 1865, a sudden and undiscovered move- 

188 North Carolina Troops, 1801 -'65. 

ment of the enemy from the island below, around our left 
flank, came very near cutting off the only line of retreat of 
the Fiftieth Uegiment and Tenth Battalion at "Old Pocatal- 
igo." There was considerable confusion and excitement for 
some time, as the enemy seemed to confront us in whatever 
direction we turned. We tinally succeeded in finding a way 
out and by keeping up a running fight safely crossed the 
Salkehatchie river at River's Bridge. During the next few 
days the enemy concentrated a heavy force along the opposite 
side of the river between Biver's and Bnford's bridges, and 
made repeated attempts to tlirow their pontoon bridge across 
the river and break tlirough McLaAvs' line. The heavy rains 
had caused the river to overflow and the low-lands were 
flooded for miles in some places. This made it very difficult 
to reach a point from which the movements of the enemy on 
the opposite side could be observed. Between the 16th and 
20th we had been forced to move back three times to escape 
the flood. 


On 20 January, 1865, Company I, of the Fiftieth Regi- 
ment, commanded by Captain John B. Eaves, was ordered to 
move down to a high point of the river bank, which was ascer- 
tained to Ix^ not under water, for the pui*pose of watching 
and reporting movements of the enemy. Captain Eaves re- 
ceived his orders from Colonel Hardy, commanding the 
North Carolina Brigade, and at the same time General Mc- 
Laws had ordered Colonel Ficer, Avitli his Georgia Brigade, 
to another point on the river for a like pui-pose. The river 
flats were heavily timbered and all under water, at tlie same 
time a dense fog prevailed. As a consequence of these con- 
ditions the troops lost their bearings and the two commands 
met while wading in water waist deep, and each supposing 
the other to be the enemy who had succeeded in crossing the 
river, opened fire. The fight was kept up for about two 
hours, (^aptain Eaves reported to Colonel Hardy, asking 
for reinforcements and a fresh supply of ammunition, as his 
was nearly exhausted. Colonel Ficer was reporting to Gen- 
eral ^fcLaws and asking for help ; each side was being rein- 

Fiftieth Regiment. 189 

forced as rapidly as possible. Captain Eaves had lost sev- 
eral of his men, and Lient. W. M. Corbitt had taken one of 
their guns and was leading the men forward, firing from be- 
hind trees as they advanced. With his gun raised in the act 
of shooting he was himself shot dead by one of Wheeler's 
men who happened to be with Colonel Ficer at the time. 
About this time K. J. Carpenter and Gaither Trout, of Cap- 
tain Eaves' company, had approached near enough to dis- 
cover that Colonel Ficer's men were Confederates, and be- 
fore the reinforcements called for had reached either side, 
this sad and distressing affair had ended. The loss in Col- 
onel Ficer's command was considerable. When our dead 
and wounded were brought in and we learned the facts about 
this terrible mistake, there was sadness and weeping. The 
gallant young Corbitt was a general favorite in the regiment, 
the men always delighting tO' serve under him. While he 
was quiet, kind and tender as a woman, he did not know the 
meaning of the word fear when duty called him. He was 
brave, perhaps, it may be too- brave. His remains were sent 
to his heart-broken, vridowed mother in Rutherford county. 
On 30 January there was a general movement up the river, 
and on the night of 1 February, after marching until mid- 
night, and just after halting and building campfires, the Fif- 
tieth Regiment was ordered to resume the march and proceed 
twelve miles further up the river tO' Buford's Bridge. We 
reached the point at daybreak of the 2d and proceeded at once 
to make all necessary preparation for the rapid burning of the 
bridge upon the first approach of the enemy, having been in- 
structed to guard and keep it open as long as possible for the 
benefit of refugees from the opposite side of the river. Early 
on the morning of the 3d heavy firing was heard from down 
the river, lasting for about two hours, when it suddenly and 
entirely ceased. We concluded that the enemy, in attempt- 
ing to effect the crossing on their pontoons, had been driven 
back and that they would now attempt to cross at Buford's 
Bridge. We advanced our picket lines beyond the river and 
anxiously awaited the approach of the enemy, as well as news 
from our troops below. The entire day passed and we neither 
saw nor heard from either. Between sunset and dark a 

190 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

young lad came riding into our camp with tJie news that 
General McLaws' lines had been broken and our entire forces 
driven back that morning. lie stated that General McLaws 
started a courier with the information that we were entirely 
cut off from tlie command and to take care of ourselves the 
best we could, but that he was captured. This boy made his 
way through the lines and found us at this late hour. He was 
not a moment too soon, for as we hurriedly marched out on 
one side of the little village, the enemy's cavalry was .enter- 
ing the other side. We were favored by the dark night and a 
succession of ijnpassable swamps through which the single 
road had been constructed which made it possible, with a 
small force to guard the passes against cavalry. A Lieutenant 
and about ten men belonging to General Wheeler's command 
were with us doing courier and picket duty. When we com- 
menced the retreat this officer told us to keep moving and he 
would guarantee to hold them in check and allow us to escape 
during the night. He was able to do this by taking advantage 
of the narrow ridges between the succession of swamps. On. 
reaching one of these he would dismount his men, and when 
the head of the column approached in the road, open fire. This 
would check their movement, as the character of the country 
was such that they could not leave the road. After remain- 
ing as long as he deemed it safe and expedient, he would 
mount his men and select another stand. The gallant young 
Tennesseean faithfully carried out his pledge to us, but at the 
cost of his own life, for at a late hour during the night, he was 
shot dead in the saddle and his horse overtook us on the road 
with rider lying upon his neck dead. He was taken off and 
buried beside the road some distance from where he received 
the fatal shot. After marching all night and the next day, 
we struck the railroad at Bamburg. We found the station 
deserted, but the telegraph office was open and the instru- 
ments in place. We tried the wires to Charleston and found 
that the line had not yet been cut. General Hardee informed 
us that the last train was expected over the road that night 
with the remnant of Hood's army, and if it succeeded in 
reaching our station, to take possession of the train and run 
through to Charleston if possible. We had only a short while 

Fiftieth Regiment. 191 

to wait, but instead of going tlirough to Charleston, on reach- 
ing Branchville, we found our command, McLaws' division, 
camped beside the railroad, and we dismounted and were once 
more at home, much to their surprise, as we had been reported 
and giv^en up as lost. 

We now made a stand and fortified our position on the 
Edisto river, bat as usual the enemy, with his overwhelming 
force of both infantry and cavalry, flanked our position, forc- 
ing us to retire. We moved by way of Ridgeville, and on the 
25th the Fiftieth North Carolina Regiment and Tenth North 
Carolina Battalion, under Colonel Hardy, occupied Florence, 
where all the rolling stock of the railroad south had been 
collected, and also a large quantity of cotton stored. The 
other portion of Hardee's army was now concentrated at 
Cheraw. Our brigade reached this place on 3 March as it 
was being evacuated by General Hardee, and just in time to 
cross the river. General Sherman writing to General Gil- 
more in reference to the destruction of the vast amount of 
rolling stock between Sumterville and Florence, uses the fol- 
lowing language : "I don't feel disposed to be over-generous, 
and should not hesitate to burn Charleston, Savannah and 
Wilmington, or either of them, if the garrison were needed. 
Those cars and locomotives should be destroyed, if to do it 
costs you 500 men." 

This language, coupled with that used in his letter to Gen- 
eral Grant, written from Savannah 28 December, 1864, in 
which he expresses the desire "to have this army turned loose 
on the State of South Carolina to devastate that State as it 
has the State of Georgia," reveals the character of the man, 
and sufficiently accounts for the wanton destruction of prop- 
erty, devastation and ruin w^hich followed in the wake of his 

The history of this campaign, which ought to go down in 
history as a disgrace to the civilization of the American Na- 
tion, can be written in few words. The record of each day 
from first to^ last was but the repetition of the day before, 
when we could look back and see the homes of helpless women 
and children ascending in smoke, while they were turned out 
in the cold of mid-winter to starve and freeze. Since time 

192 North Carolina Troops, 18()1-'05. 

has removed iinich of the bitterness which then existed be- 
tween tlie two sections, General Sherman's friends have en- 
deavored to defend his conduct and refute the charges made 
at the time, l)nt the fact that the "record" is against him still 

On the part of the troops of General Hardee's little army, 
the campaign tlirough Georgia and South Carolina, embrac- 
ing the entire winter of 18G4-'65 was a severe and trying one, 
but there was no co-mplaint or murmuring, and all seemed in 
the best of spirits. We were poorly clothed, and lightly fed, 
as we were compelled to subsist on the country through which 
we passed, and this was poorly supplied except with rice, 
until we reached the high-lands. Here the people were dis- 
posed to share the last mite with our soldiers. Whenever 
they were advised of our coming in time, the good women 
would have food in abundance prepared, and they would 
bring out large trap's as we were passing, speaking words 
of comfort and cheer to us at the same time. Many of the 
men were entirely without shoes during January and Feb- 
ruary. This was owing to the fact that we were com- 
pelled to leave our baggage and supplies at Savannah for the 
lack of transportation, and we had been so situated since that 
none could reach us. 

On 3 March, 1865, we crossed the State line at.Cheraw 
and were once more on the soil of our native State. We 
looked back in sadness at the desolation wrought in our sister 
State, and our hearts were ovei'flowing with sympathy for 
the thousands of now homeless ones who had l)een so kind and 
generous to us. Now we must look forward to a like condi- 
tion which was in store for our own people. 

General Joseph E. Johnston, on 6 March, assumed com- 
mand of all the forces in North Carolina. It was thought 
that General Sherman was heading for Charlotte, N. C, and 
General Hardee had instructions to watch his movements and 
keep in his front, while Wheeler, Hampton and Butler with 
the cavalry, harrassed his flanks and rear to prevent "burn- 
ing" and to be in position to promptly report any change of 
movement. Wliile General Hardee was on tlie march from 
Cheraw to Rockingham, N. C, General Sherman suddenlv 

Fiftieth Regiment. 193 

changed his course in the direction of Fayettcville, IT. C. Gen- 
eral Johnston promptly informed General Hardee, but th»? 
courier failed to deliver the message and in consequence we 
continued the march for a whole day in the opposite direction, 
reaching Rockingham, where we camped for the night. At 
this point the second dispatch was received from General 
Johnston and we immediately turned in the direction of Fay- 
etteville and attempted, by forced march by day and by night, 
to regain the time lost. We reached Fayetteville and crossed 
the river before making a stand. The enemy occupied tlie 
town on 11 March and destroyed the old United States arse- 
nal and burned the business portion of the towm, 


On 15 March we occupied a position on the Averasboro 
road, leading from Fayetteville to Smithiield and Raleigh, 
near AverashorO'. As the enemy had retired from our 
front the day before, we were ordered to make ourselves com- 
fortable and enjoy a day of rest. During the day we learned 
that the enemy were advancing in large force and driving our 
cavalry before them. A hurried disposition of the troops 
was made. Colonel Rhett with his South Carolina Brigade, 
occupied tlie advance position where the Smith's Ferry road 
intersects the Averasboro road near Smith's house. Elli- 
ott's Brigade occupied a fortified position behind a swamp 
200 yards to the rear and General McLaws' the main line of 
defence about 600 yards to the rear of the first line. As soon 
as proper disposition of the troops was completed, Colonel 
Rliett was directed by General Hardee in person to advance 
his skirmishers. They were soon heavily engaged by the en- 
emy, and Colonel Rhett venturing too far to the front, and 
mistaking a small party of the enemy for his own men, was 
taken prisoner. The command of this brigade now devolved 
upon Colonel Butler, of the First Soutli Carolina Infantry. 
JSTothing more tlian a lively and prolonged skirmish developed 
during the 15th. At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 16th 
the enemy made a vigorous attack on our position with in- 
fantry and artillery. Their infantry made repeated attempts 
to carry our position, but were always repulsed with heavy 

194 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'e>5. 

Joss. After about four hours' fighting, at 11 o'clock, thej 
made a vigorous attack upon the left of the line, at the same 
■time massing on and overlapping the right, forcing retire- 
ment on the second line occupied by Colonel Elliott. Re- 
peated attacks were made on this line, but in each case they 
"w^ere gallantly repulsed. 

About 1 o'clock they moved a lieavy force in the direc- 
tion of the Black river, completely flanking and exposing to a 
severe cross-fire the left wing. This necessitated retirement 
on the main line held by General McLaws. General Talia- 
ferro, with his force, which had been engaged up to this time, 
occupied position on both sides of the main road. General Mc- 
Laws the left, and General Wheeler with his dismounted cav- 
alry, the right of the main line, Rhett's Brigade, which had 
suffered so severely, was sent to the rear and held in reserve. 
Every attempt to carry this line was a complete failure and 
after night the enemy withdrew and commenced to fortify 
his position. We left our lines in possession of a picket of 
Wheeler's men and moved in direction of Smithfield. The 
Eederal loss, as officially reported in this fight, was 682. The 
Confederate loss is not stated, but it was very heavy in 
Rhett's Brigade. 

It was now learned that Sherman's anny was crossing the 
Black river at several points. His persistent attempt to 
open the Averasboro road seemed to indicate that his ob- 
jective point was Raleigh, but this movement across the 
Black river made it uncertain as to whether he would move 
on Raleigh or Goldsboro, and General Hardee, in order to be 
in position to turn in either direction, moved to the inter- 
section of the roads near Elevation Church, in Johnston 
county, reaching that point on the night of the 17th. At 12 
o'clock on the night of the iTtli General Hampton, who was 
at the front near Bentonville, received a request from Gen- 
eral Johnston, who was then at Smithfield, about sixteen 
miles away, for full information as to the location of the vari- 
ous commands of Shcnnan's anny, and his views as to the ad- 
visability of attacking the enemy. General Hampton re- 
ported at once that the Fourteenth Corps was in his immedi- 
ate front; the Twentieth Corps was on the same road, five or 

Fiftieth Regiment, 195 

six miles in the rear ; while the two other Corps, Logan's and 
Blair's, were on a parallel road some miles to the south, and 
&t the place where he was camped was an admirable one for 
the contemplated attack. He also reported that he would 
delay the enemy as much as possible to gain time for tlie con- 
centration of his forces at this point. In a few hours he re- 
ceived a reply from General Johnston stating that he would 
move at once, and directing him to hold the position if possi- 
ble. Early on the morning of the 18th General Hampton 
moved his cavalry forward until he met the enemy, and kept 
up a lively skinnish, slowly falling back, until in the after- 
noon he had reached the position previously selected for the 
battle. As it was of vital importance that this position should 
be held until the infantry could reach them, he dismounted 
his men and took the risk of sending his batteries to a com- 
manding position far to the right of his line, and entirely un- 
supported, and made a lx)ld and successful stand. 


After personally superintending the placing of the guns 
and as he was mounting his horse to ride back to his line on 
the road, he overheard the following remark from one of the 
men at the guns, as he laughingly addressed his companions: 
''Old Hampton is playing a game of bluff, and if he don't 
mind Sherman will call him." General Johnston reached 
Bentonville during the night of the 18th with a portion of the 
troops from Smithfield. General Hardee, who had been in- 
formed of the plan of attack, left the camp at Elevation early 
in the morning of the 18th, but after a hard day's march we 
camped that night at Snead's house, five miles from Benton- 
ville, and about eight miles from the extreme part of the line 
of battle. We made an early start on the morning of the 
19th, but had not reached the position assigned us before the 
enemy had made a bold assault on General Hoke's position on 
the road. After a desperate struggle they were repulsed and 
driven from the field in confusion. At this critical moment 
a mistake occurred which perhaps entirely changed the results 
of the battle. General Hampton refers to it in his report of 
the battle, and General Johnston confirms his statements of 

196 North Carolina Troops, 1 801 -'(55. 

facts and coiichisi(jii. I quote from 'Molmston's narrative"; 
"The enemy attacked Hoke's Division vigorously, especially 
it's left, so vigorously that General Bragg apprehended that 
Hoke, although slightly entrenclied, would be driven from 
his position. He tiierefore applied urgently for strong rein- 
forcements. General Hardee, the head of whose column was 
then near, was directed, most injudiciously, to send his lead- 
ing division, Mcl^aws', to the assistance of the troops as- 

General Hampton in his account of the battle, says: "Tloke 
x-epulsed the attack made on him fully and handsomely. Had 
Hardee been in the position originally assigned him at the 
cime Hoke struck the enemy, and could his conunand and 
Stuart's have been thrown on the flanks of the Federal forces, 
I think that the Fourteenth Corps would have been driven 
back in disorder on the Twentieth, which was moving up to 
it's support." General Hampton, in his account of the part 
taken by General Hardee's command, quotes from General 
Johnston as follows: 

*'The Confederates passed over the hundred yards of space 
between the two lines in quick time and in excellent order, 
and the remaining distance in double-quick, without pausing 
to lire until their near approach had driven the enemy from 
che shelter of their entrenchments, in full retreat, to their 
second line. After firing a few rounds the Confederates 
igain pressed forward, and when they were near the second 
intrenchment, how manned by Ixvth lines of Federal troops, 
Lieutenant-General Hardee, after commanding the double- 
quick, led the charge, and with knightly gallantry, dashed 
)ver the enemy's breastworks on horsel)ack in front of his 
aien. Some distance in the rear there was a very thick wood 
of young pines, into which the Federal troops were pursued,- 
ind in which they rallied and renewed the fight. But the 
Confederates continued to advance, driving the enemy l^ack 
slowl}'. ISTight coming on prevented the further advance of 
rhe Confederates who, elated with victory, were now anxious 
to continue the pursuit of the fleeing enemy." 

The close of tlio first day of this hotly contested battle 
found the Confederates victorious at every point, not only 

Fiftieth Regiment. 197 

holding- their o-wti lines, but at many points they rested for the 
flight in full possession of the fortified position of the enemy. 
About midday of the 20th the other two corps of the enemy 
v\diich had been moving on the Fayetteville and Goldsboro 
i'oad, crossed to the Averasboro road and appeared in fvdl 
force on our left, which was entirely unprotected from Hoke's 
position on the road tO' Mill creek below. This necessitated 
changing Hoke's front to left and parallel to the road. Mc- 
Laws' Division was now shifted to Hoke's left, with the 
Fiftieth jSTorth Carolina Regiment and Tenth I^orth Caro- 
lina Battalion fonning the extreme left of our line. This 
left considerable space between our left and Mill creek, thus 
exposing the left wing, which was overlapped. This was oc- 
cupied only by a very thin skirmish line of our cavalry. 
These newlj^ arrived forces assaulted our line from Hoke's 
right to Mc Laws' left repeatedly during the afternoon of the 
20th, but were handsomely repulsed in every instance. On 
the morning of the 21st the fighting was resumed along 
Hoke's and McLaws' front. As there was no demonstration 
on our right, General Taliaferro threw forward a skirmish 
line in his front and ascertained that the Federal left had 
been withdrawn, and the combined attacks were directed 
against the center occupied by Hoke and the left by McLaws 
and our cavalry. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon our left 
being hard pressed and overlapped, General TaliafeiTo was 
ordered from the extreme right to our support. About the 
same time it was learned that the Federal Seventeenth Corps 
had succeeded in breaking through the thin skirmish line on 
our left and was in rear of our line and near the only bridge 
which spanned Mill creek at Bentonville. General Hardee 
was moving (^umming's Georgia Brigade to the left to pro- 
tect this gap at the time, and discovering the enemy, ordered 
Colonel Henderson, commanding the brigade, to attack the 
head of the column, at the same time discovering the Eighth 
Texas Cavalry approaching, he ordered them to charge the 
left flank, he leading the charge in person. 

General Hampton at the same time struck the right flank 
with Young's Brigade, commanded by Colonel Wright, while 
General Wheeler attacked the rear of the Federal column 

198 North Carolina Troops, 1861-05. 

some distance away. The rout of the enemy was complete 
and they were soon driven back beyond our lines. As they 
retreated in confusion the slaughter was terrible. Our losses 
in the affair were insignificant as to number. A son of Gen* 
eral Hardee, a youth of only 16 years, who had arrived only 
two hours before, was killed while riding in the charge of the 
Eighth Texas Cavalry, led by his father. The firing, which 
had been extremely heavy up to this time, ceased upon the re- 
turn of the Seventeenth (Jorps to its position in line, and there 
was no other attempt made to carry any part of our line. Gen- 
eral Hampton states that the Confederate forces engaged in 
this affair did not exceed three hundred. While General Mc- 
Laws held the extreme left of our lines and the enemy were 
endeavoring to turn our Hank the Fiftieth Xorth Carolina 
Regiment and Tenth ISTorth Carolina Battalion of Colonel 
Hardy's Brigade, in a single charge and in about five minutes 
time sustained a loss of about one-third of their number. In 
this case the enemy were lying in line three columns deep and 
reserved their fire until our troops were near them struggling 
through a dense swamp. At the first volley every man fell 
to the ground and Colonel Wortham and Lieutenant Lane, of 
the Fiftieth, and Lieutenant Powell, of the Tenth Battalion, 
crawled out of the thicket and reported to General McLavvs 
for duty, stating that the entire brigade was killed or 
wounded. Colonel Hardy, by his boldness and daring, saved 
the command from utter destruction. Dressed in a suit of 
sky blue broadcloth and broad-brimmed slouch hat, he might 
easily be taken for a Federal ofticer. He was in front of his 
men leading the charge, and at the first volley he rushed for- 
ward with his hat in one hand and his sword in tbe other, and 
pacing up ;iud down in front of and Avithin a few feet of the 
Federal lines, ordered them to cease firing, as they were firing 
on their own men. He continued this for some time, although 
their own officers were ordering them to fire. They were ut- 
terly confused and before the firing was resumed all of our 
men who were able had crawled out of the swamp and made 
their escape, and Colonel Hardy deliberately walked off with- 
out a scratch. 

On the night of the 21st the oncMuy kept up a heavy picket 

Fiftieth Regiment. 199 

fire along our front while withdrawing their troops in 
the direction of Goldsboro. At midnight our troops were 
withdrawn and crossing the creek at Bentonville, moved on 
the 2 2d toward Smithfield. In the battle four companies of 
the Fiftieth Regiment, C and D of Johnston, E of Wayne 
and H of Harnett, were near their homes and many of the 
men, who had not seen their homes afid families for many 
months, marched by them and tarried for only a few minutes, 
went into the fight, the guns of which could be distinctly 
heard by their loved ones, and again without stopping, 
marched by these same homes with Johnston's army on its 
final retreat, proving their faith and loyalty to the "Lost 
Cause'" to the last. 

The Fiftieth Regiment before leaving this State for 
Georgia in ISTovember, 1864, was recruited from the camp of 
instruction at Raleigh to something over 900, and now mus- 
tered less than half that number, the others being lost from 
various causes during the severe and trying campaign through 
M'hich they had passed. 

The Confederate forces in this battle were about 17,000 in- 
fantry, the Wheeler and Hampton Cavalry and a few light 
field batteries, while Sherman's army, as officially reported 
a few days after the battle, numbered more than 81,000. 

The Federal reports place their losses at 1,646 and that of 
the Confederates at 2,606, but General Johnston in his ac- 
count of this battle, places the Federal loss at more than 
4,000. Our army moved to Smithfield and thence to a point 
a few miles north of the present town of Selma and went 
into camp to await Sherman's next move, whether by way of 
Raleigh or the more direct route by Weldon. The men of 
our command were supplied with clothing, not having had a 
change since leaving their baggage in Savannah on 20 De- 
cember, 1864, nor had they slept under shelter since leaving 
Tarboro in l^ovember preceding. At the reorganization of 
Johnston's army the Fiftieth Regiment and Tenth Battalion 
were assigned to Kirkland's Brigade, Hoke's Division, and 
what had constituted Baker's and Hardy's Brigade was dis- 

200 North Carolina Troops, 1801-'G5. 

retreat and surrender. 

On 10 April we received information that General Sher- 
man had commenced to move his troops from Goldshoro in 
the direction of lialeigh. Our army commenced to fall hack 
and on the 11th we camped a few miles cast of the city of 
Raleigh on the present site of the town of Garner, entering 
the city early on the morning' of the li^th. Our rear guard 
left lialeigh that night and a day or two later we heard the 
news of General Lee's surrender. On 18 April, 1865, at the 
Bennett house, four miles west of Durham, a conference was 
held between Generals Johnston and Sherman, and terms of 
capitulation agreed on and signed. These terms were more 
favorable to us, even, than were accorded to General Lee by 
General Grant. 

Upon reaching Washington, President Lincoln having 
been assassinated in the meantime, they w^ere rejected and 
General Johnston being so informed, was again on the de- 
fensive. We resumed the march, passing through Chapel 
Hill and halting at a point near Greensboro where the final 
terms were agreed upon 2(j April. The army was paroled 2 
and 8 IMay. 

In crossing the Tlaw river several of our men were drowned 
by leaving the ford to reach some fish traps a short distance 
below and being caught by the swift current and swept down 
into the deep water below. On reaching Alamance Creek, 
we had a novel, and in some respects, amusing experience. 
On account of heavy rains the stream was much sw^ollen and 
the current ^'ery strong. General Cheatham's command was 
moving in fi-out of General Hoke's Division and on attempt- 
ing to foi'd the stream several men were swept down by the 
current, whereupon the others absolutely refused to move. 
This halted the entire coluniii, and as the enemy's cavalry was 
closely pressing our roar, the situation was becoming critical. 
General Cheathaiu rode to tlic front and learning llie cause of 
the lialt, ordered [lie lucu to go forward, but, enipliasizing 
their deteruiiuation \vith some pretty lively swearing, they 
doggedly refused to move, whereupon General Cheatham 
seized tbe nearest man and into tlic stream thev went. After 

Fiftieth Regiment. 201 

floundering in the water awhile he came out and, after re- 
peating the process for a few times, the men raised a shout 
and proceeded tO' cross. Three wagons, one loaded with 
"hardtack," one with guns, and one with bacon, capsized and 
were swept down the river. Some lively diving for the bacon 
followed, but I guess the guns are still rusting in the bottom 
of the creek. I am sure none of them were disturbed on 
that occasion. General Hoke, becoming restless and impa- 
tient at the delay, adopted a means of transportation which 
proved at least the resources of a fertile brain. The water 
was just running over the sandy banks of the stream and 
selecting a suitable place a short distance above the ford, he 
moved the head of his column to this point, directed one man 
to seize his horse's tail, and another to grasp this man's shoul- 
der, and another and another until he had a long line, swam 
his horse across the narrow stream and discharging his cargo 
safelj^ on the opposite bank, would quickly return for an- 
other. The rapidity with which the men were carried over 
was astonishing. I don't know what the final result might 
have been had we not received information that a short dis- 
tance up the stream at Kuffin's Mill was a broad and shallow 
ford below the mill, at which we could easily and safely cross. 

Following the announcement of the second "armistice" 
were several days of anxious waiting. There was a very- 
large element of both officers and men who were opposed to a 
surrender and many were leaving in small bands with the 
understanding that they would afterwards meet at some ral- 
lying point to be agreed upon. 

When the final announcement was made that the army was 
to be surrendered, the scenes were pathetic ; strong, brave 
men were seen to weep like children. Officers everywhere 
were delivering farewell addresses to the brave men who had 
so faithfully and loyally followed their leaders and endured 
hardships and privations without a murmur. 

If General Lee had been able to hold out until his army 
and General Johnston's could have been united as had been 
agreed upon, and both hurled against Sherman and then 
against Grant, the result might have been quite different. 
Would it have been for the best interest of our country and 

202 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

our race ? While no true Confederate soldier has any apology 
to offer for his course, there is a wide diversity of opinion as 
to the correct answer tx) the above question. 


Roster of officers of the Fiftieth Regiment North Carolina 
Troops given in the order of succession as shown by dates of 
commission : 

Colonels: M. D. Craton, J. A. Washington, George 
Worth am. 

Lieutenant-Colonels : J. A. Washington, George 
Wortham, John C. Van Hook. 

Majors: George Wortham, John C. Van Hook, H. J, 

Adjutants : W. H. Borden, Jesse W. Edmondson. 

Surgeons : Walter Duify, Francis W. Potter, John D. 

Quartermasters : E. B. Borden, E. W. Adams. 

Commissary: E. S. Parker. 

Chaplains : Dr. R. S. Moran, Thomas B. Haughton. 

Sergeant-Majors: Jesse W. Edmondson, John H, 


Company A — Person County- — Jolm C. Van Hook, James 
A. Burch. 

Company B — Roheson County — E. C. Atkinson. 

Company C — Johnston County — R. D. Lunsford, Thos. 
R. Young-blood. 

Company D — Johnston County — H. J. Ryals, W. B. Best. 

Company E — Wayne County — J. B. Griswold, P. L. Bur- 
well, W. T. Gardner. 

Company F^ — Moore County— J. A. O. Kelley. 

Company G — Bntherford County — G. W. Andrews. 

Company H — Harnett County — Joseph H. Atkinson. 

Company I — Bntherford County — John B. Evans. 

Fiftieth Regiment. 203 

Company K — Rutherford County — Samuel Wilkins, G. 
B. Ford. 

FIRST lieutenants. 

CoMrANY A — James A. Burch, W. T. Blalock. 
Company B — Atlas Atkinson. 

Company C — Thomas R. Youngblood, Jesse T. Elling- 

Company T) — W. B. Best, J. J. Penny. 

Company E — W. T. Gardener, W. H. Borden. 

Company F — Alexander Bolin. 

Company G — John A. Morrison. 

Company H — John P. McLean. 

Company I — W. M. Corbitt. 

Company K — J. B. Ford, James A. Miller. 

SECOND lieutenants. 

Company A — W. T. Blalock, R. D. Ramsey, Albert 

Company B— R. P. Collins, W. B. Walters, W. B. Jen- 

Company C — G. W. Watson, William Lane, J. C. Elling- 
ton, R, H. Yelvington (Ensign). 

Company D — William M. Adams, Young J. Lee, J. J. 

Company E — W. H. Borden, George Griswold, W. L. 
Edwards, George T. Jones. 

Company F — Malcom McWatson, James Dalrymple. 

Company G — R. F, Logan, S. D. Hampton. 

Company H — John Brantly, David S. Byrd, B. F. Brant- 
ly, A. L. Parker. 

Company I — S. E. Bostick, Jesse Hellard. 

Company K— P. B. Ford, L. P. Wilkins. 

The writer acknowledges his indebtedness to Sergeant K. 
J. Carpenter, of Company I, for the use of a diary kept by 
him and still preserved. This was found to be exceedingly 
valuable in fixing dates not otherwise obtainable. 

All "historical events" treated in the foregoing sketch 

204 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

were verified bj a careful search of "The Official Records of 
United States and Confederate Armies/' and may be relied 
on as strictly autlientic. 

J. C. Ellington. 
Raleigh, N. C, 

26 April, 1901. 


AarOfi, UEN0;( AND 


1. Jno. L. Cantwell, Colonel. 4. George Sloan, Captain, Co. I. 

2. Hector McKethan, Colonel. 5. W. F. Murphy. Captain, C<>. K. 

3. Robert J. McEuc-hern, Captain, Co.D. 6. U. C. Rockwell, Captain, A. Q. M. 


By a. a. McKETHAN, Second Lieutenant Company B. 

I'he Fifty-first North Carolina Regiment could well be 
called a Cape Fear Regiment, as the ten companies compos- 
ing the command came from the counties of Cumberland, 
Sampson, Duplin, Columbus, Robeson and New Hanover. 

The regiment was organized at Wilmington, N. C, 13 
April, 1862, with the following officers, viz. : 

John L. Cantwell^ Colonel. 

William A. Allen^ Lieutenant-Colonel. 

Hectok McKethan, Major. 

J. R. Latta^ Adjutant. 

Alexander Elliott^ Sergeant-Major. 

H. C. Rockwell^ Captain and Quartermaster. 

William McKenzie^ Quartermaster Sergeant. 

Dr. S. B. Morrisey^ -Surgeon. 

Dr. James McGee, Assistant Surgeon. 

A. T. Robinson^ Hospital Steward. 

Rev. J. B. Aleord, Chaplain. 

The regiment went into camp near Wilmington, spending 
the Slimmer at various camps near that city and at Smith- 
ville (now Southport), excepting companies D and K, 
which were detached and employed in building the iron-clad 
fort on the river a few miles below Wilmington. From Wil- 
mington we were ordered in August to Kinston, IST. C, part 
of the command being employed on picket duty at Core 
Creek, about eighteen miles distant. 

On 1 October, the Eighth, Thirty-first, Fifty-first and 
Sixty-first North Carolina Regiments were organized into a 
brigade with Thomas L. Clingman as Brigadier-General. 
About this time Colonel Cantwell resigned, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Allen assumed command, and we were employed 

20G North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

doing picket duty, and on various scouting expeditions to 
points near New Bern. 

About 1 December we returned to Wilmington, but soon 
afterwards were ordered to Goldsboro, and were under fire 
for the first time near that place (Neuse River Bridge), as 
we engaged the enemy on 17 December, the regiment taking 
an active part. Our men behaved with conspicuous gal- 
lantry and forced the enemy to retire before them. The regi- 
ment suffered a loss of about fifty in killed and wounded in 
this engagement, Lieutenant Solomon Boykin, of Company 
K, being among the killed. After this engagement we re- 
turned to Wilmington for winter quarters. 

Colonel Allen resigned and the following changes were 
made in our officers : Hector McKethan, Colonel ; Captain 
Caleb B. Hobson, of Company B, Lieutenant-Colonel ; Cap- 
tain J. R. McDonald, of Company D, Major; Chaplain, 
Colin Shaw, vice J. B. Alford, resigned. 

About 18 February, 1863, we were ordered to Charleston, 
S. C, and thence to Savannah, Ga., spending only a few 
days at the latter point when we were again ordered to 
Charleston and camped on James Island. At this place we 
suffered greatly from sickness and scanty and unwholesome 
rations. On 1 May we returned to Wilmington, going into 
camp at Topsail Sound. A few days later Companies B, D, 
E and H were detached and sent to Magnolia under the com- 
mand of Major McDonald. 

On 1 July, a raiding party of the enemy from New Bern 
tapped the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad at Warsaw and 
this detail hurried to that point, causing a hasty retreat of 
the enemy in the direction of New Bern, and capturing some 
of their stragglers. 


About this time the enemy began active operations against 
Charleston, S. C, and on 10 July Clingman's Brigade was 
ordered to that point, and on the 12th the Fifty-first Regi- 
ment was sent to Morris' Island as a garrison for Battery 
Wagner, w^here we were almost continuously exposed to the 
sharpshooting and cannonading of the enemy until the 18th, 

Fifty-First Regiment. 207 

suffering almost beyond endurance from heat and great scar- 
city of water and rations, to say nothing of the inferior qual- 
ity of the same, and from the terrible shelling which was 
only equaled during the war at Fort Fisher, the average being 
twenty-eight shells per minute by actual count from sunrise 
to 7 p. m. Battery Wagner was a field work of sand, turf, 
and palmetto logs, built across Morris' Island, extending 
from the beach on the east to Vincent Creek on the west, 
about 200 yards. From north to south it varied from 20 to 
75 yards. On the space to the west were built wooden quar- 
ters for officers and men, and bomb-proofs capable of holding 
from 800 to 1,000 men. There were also bomb-proof maga- 
zines and heavy traverses. 

On 18 July, the armament consisted of one 10-inch Colum- 
biad, one 32-pound rifle, one 42-pounder, two 32-pound Car- 
ronades, two l^aval Shell guns, one 8-inch sea-coast Howitzer, 
four smooth-bore 32-pounders, one 10-inch sea-coast Mortar, 
making in all thirteen pieces. Of these only one was of much 
effect against the monitors, and the Federal land batteries 
were beyond the reach of the other guns, so that we had little 
to do but submit to the hail of iron sent upon us by the supe- 
rior and longer range guns of the enemy from sunrise until 

The garrison at this time consisted of part of the Thirty- 
first iNTorth Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel Knight command- 
ing, which had been sent over on 17 July ; the Fifty-first 
l^orth Carolina, Colonel Hector McKethan; a Charleston 
battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gail- 
lard, with Tatum's and Adams' companies of the First South 
Carolina Regulars, acting as artillery; Buckner's and Dix- 
on's companies of the Sixty-third Georgia Heavy Artillery, 
and DePass' Battery, in all about 1,700 men. 

The Charleston Battalion and the Fifty-first North Caro- 
lina Regiment were assigned to the defense of the parapets in 
the order named, from the right along the south front. The 
four companies of the Thirty-first North Carolina Regiment 
extended along the sea face from the Fifty-first ; the balance 
of the Thirty-first was held in reserve at Fort Gregg. Two 
companies of the Charleston Battalion were outside of the 

208 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

woi-ks, iiiiarding the left gorge and sallyport. Two of (cap- 
tain DePass' field pieces were also outside. 

During the bombardment we had concentrated upon our 
little band forty-four guns and mortars from the land bat- 
teries of the enemy, distant from 1,200 to 2,000 yards, and 
the heavy guns from the iron-sides, five monitors and five 
gunboats, say about fifty guns, making a total of ninety-four 
guns. The sand being our only protection, fortunately one 
shell would fill up the hole made by the last, or we would have 
been annihilated. Our only guns that could reach the en- 
emy had been dismounted by their fire, and our smaller ones 
we had been compelled to dismount in order to protect, so 
that we might use when the assault should be made. During 
the day the garrison was protected as much as possible by 
the bomb-proofs, only those necessary to guard and work the 
guns being required to remain exposed. This accounts for 
the small loss sustained during the day, but at a given signal 
each man was expected to report at his station in the works, 
the fire being so rapid and deadly that it would have been 
impossible to attempt anything like military formation. 
About dusk 18 July, 1863, the long expected signal was 
given and the Fifty-first North Carolina as one uum, sprang 
to its post, encouraged and led by the officers. 

The advancing column of the enemy consisted of the First 
Brigade, made up of six regiments and one battalion, sup- 
ported by Putnam's Brigade of five regiments, with Steven- 
son's Brigade, of four regiments, held as a reserve. 

The enemy advanced in column of regiments, led by Shaw's 
Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, a picked negro regiment, be- 
tween sunset and dusk with empty guns and orders to use 
their bayonets. Time had not been given us to mount our 
guns, which as before stated, we had dismounted for protec- 
tion, so that the assault was met solely by our infantry, not a 
cannon being fired ; but so murderous was our fire that the 
advancing columns broke and rushed to the rear through the 
ranks of their own support, causing confusion and delay, 
(^olonel Shaw, who was hardly more than a boy, fell dead 
on the top of our breastworks, in advance of his men, stnick 
witli tlircc ii)oi-tal wounds. Ills fdllowcrs l)rokc and fled in 

Fifty-First Regiment. 209 

wild terror. A most handsome monument has been erected 
in Boston to perpetuate his memory. 

About an hour later a second assault was made. By this= 
time we had mounted our gims which we opened on them at 
short range, and our infantry again poured their deadly fire 
into their ranks, causing a second break with even greater 
loss than the first. A third and final assault was made about 
10 o'clock, and notwithstanding a cross-fire was concentrated 
upon them, a lodgment was made behind the bomb-proof and 
magazine manned by the four companies of the Thirty-first 
I^Torth Carolina, but to hold only for a short time. Their 
commander was killed, and the Thirty-second Georgia Regi- 
ment arriving at this time was sent along the parapet, and to 
the top of the magazine. In this way their rear was 
reached, and the assailants of a few minutes before found 
themselves assailed and throwing down their arms, surren- 
dered and put an end to the day's fighting. 

Brigadier-General Taliafen'o was in immediate command 
of Morris' Island during the day. The position of the Fifty- 
first was such that it bore the brunt of the assault, and its 
members were therefore the most active participants. The 
Confederate loss during the day was 175, of which the Fifty- 
first suffered 34 killed and 40 wounded, the following officers 
being among the number: Lieutenant Giles W. Thompson^ 
of Company E, killed ; Lieutenants Edward Southerland, W. 
H. Littlejohn, of Company A, and Lieutenant J. D. Malloy^ 
of Company D, wounded. The enemy is said to have lost 
2,000, 800 of whom were buried in front of the fort next 
morning. This great slaughter shows how desperately our 
men, maddened and infuriated at the sight of negro troops, 
fought. The next morning we were relieved and sent to Sul- 
livan's Island, the officers and men being complimented by 
General Beauregard for the manner in which they had be- 
haved. A writer from another State referring to this en- 
gagement, used the following language: "The Fifty-fi.rst 
North Carolina brilliantly sustained the honor of their State 
and were highly commended, especially the field officers, Col- 


'210 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

onel Hector McKethan, Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Hobson, 
and Major J. R. McDonald." 

The following incident is vouched for by Lieutenant J. A. 
McArthur, of Company I, Fifty-first North Carolina, now 
a resident of Cumberland county: The day of the assault 
Lieutenant McArthur was the officer of the day, and as such, 
had a guard of sixty-five men detailed from the different 
commands on the Island. In the third and last assault when 
the enemy secured a lodgment near the bomb-proof, he was 
ordered by General Taliaferro, in command of the post, to go 
with his guard to the relief of that part of the line. As Lieu- 
tenant McArthur, led by one of the men with a torch ascended 
the bomb-proof, the enemy began to fire upon them, and the 
fire was promptly returned as they advanced, but as' they 
neared the enemy an Irishman from one of the Charleston 
companies in McArthur's detail, appealed to him to have the 
firing cease, as he had recognized the voice of his brother in 
the ranks of the enemy, which turned out to be true, for when 
they surrendered a few minutes afterwards the brother was 
found to be among the prisoners. Next morning the prison- 
ers were formed to be sent to Charleston, when our Irishman 
appeared the second time begging that his brother should 
not be sent to prison, and when told that it could not be 
helped, as he had been captured with the others, he then 
proposed that his brother be permitted to enter the ranks by 
his side, and in this way the prisoner was transfonned to a 
Confederate soldier. 

The enemy now concluded that the only way to capture 
Wagner was by slow siege, we doing our share of the garrison- 
ing while this was going on. On 24 November we returned 
to North Carolina, going to Tarboro by rail, and marching 
to Williamston, were assigned to duty at Foster's Mill, in 
Martin county. On 13 December we returned to Tarboro, 
wdiere we remained till 5 January, 1864, going thence to Pe^ 
tersburg, Va., and occupied Camp Hill near that place. Later 
in January, 1864, we returned to North Carolina, marching 
on New Bern and engaging in a sharp skirmish at Bachelor's 
Creek, driving the enemy from their position and pushing 
them into New Bern. We then returned to Petersburg, Va., 





1. Samu«'l W. Maultsby, Captain, Co. H. 4. E. T. McKethan, 1st Lieut., Co. K. 

2. Joseph A. McArthiir, 1st Lt., Co I. 5. Alexander Elliott, 2d Lieut., Co. K. 

3. Hector McEacheni, Ist Lieut., Co. D. 6. Stephen J. Cobb, Private, Co. D. 

Fifty-First Regiment. 211 

and about 1 April were ordered to Ivor Station and marched 
on Suffolk, driving the enemy's pickets to a point beyond that 
town. About 1 May, General Butler landed a strong force 
at City Point, Va., and we returned to Petersburg and 
marched to Dunlop's Farm, about four miles distant in the 
direction of Pichmond. Here we met and skirmished with 
the enemy for several days. 


On 12 May we marched to Dre\\T;v''s Bluff and occupied 
the works previously built. Butler followed us towards 
Richmond, the plan being to draw him from his base and at- 
tack him from front and rear. On 16 May, having been re- 
inforced, we were ordered by General Beauregard to mount 
the works and charge the enemy. This we did over ground 
strewn with fallen trees, the limbs of which had been sharp- 
ened as an additional protection for the works, but we pressed 
forward carrying line after line of the enemy until we had 
them in full retreat, and had the forces from Petersburg co- 
operated in the same manner we would have captured But- 
ler's entire command. Our loss in this engagement was very 
heavy, amounting to ten officers and ] 50 men : Captain Wil- 
lis H. Pope, of Company E, and Lieutenant J. B. McCallum, 
of Company D, being killed ; Lieutenants W. J. Southerland, 
of Company A, Hector McEachern of Company D, Jacob A. 
Evans of Company C, J. A. McArthur of Company I, and 
Captain Samuel W. Maultsby of Company H, being among 
the wounded ; Captain W. F. Mui-phy of Company K, Lieu- 
tenants J. D. Malloy of Company D, and L A. McArthur of 
Company I, were captured. 


On the 18th and 19th we again skirmished with the enemy, 
sustaining considerable loss. We then marched to Cold Har- 
bor and skirmished with the enemy on 31 May. On 1 June 
the battle of Cold Harbor Avas fought. Here we were charged 
by line after line of the enemy, each line coming within a 
few yards of us, but our fire was so murderous they could not 
live under it; but notwithstanding we killed thousands of 

212 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

them, fresh lines were thrown at us until finally a lodgment 
was secured in a branch supposed to be impassable, and we 
were flanked and compelled to retire. Having driven the 
enemy from our front, the order to retire was not understood 
by part of our men and they were cut off, but not willing to 
give up, they, together with Lieut. -Col. Jno. R. Murchison and 
part of his, the Eighth North Carolina Regiment, continued 
the fight till entirely surrounded, not only with live, but also 
dead yankees. Our losses during the two days were 194 (11 
officers and 183 men), Captain Robert J. McEachern, of 
Company D, and Lieutenant Alexander Elliott, of Company 
K, being killed ; Captain George Sloan, of Company I, Lieu- 
tenant G. P. Higley, of Company F, wounded ; and Major 
J. R. McDonald, together with the wounded, were captured. 
We remained at Cold Harbor for several days and then 
marched to Malvern Hill, thence to Drewry's Bluff, and then 
to Petersburg, reaching the latter point in time to prevent 
Butler from occupying the city. 

17 JUNE, 1864. 

On 16 and 17 June the enemy charged our line and 
we repulsed them, inflicting considerable loss, but on the 
17th, they succeeded in breaking through the line at a 
point held by Wise's Virginia Brigade, and at once be- 
gan to pour a deadly fire on our flank. Promptly five 
companies of the Fifty-first, under the conmiand of Col- 
onel McKethan, filed to the rear. Ransom's Brigade, 
under command of Colonel W. J. Clarke, of the Twenty- 
fourth North Carolina, being hastily thrown in the same ])0si- 
tion on the right of the break, and at the sigmal these two 
commands changed front and rushed forward with fixo^d bay- 
onets and soon recaptured the lost ground, but at a fearful 
loss, Colonel McKethan l>eing among the seriously wounded. 
In this contest the bayonet and butts of giins were freely used, 
as there was not time to load and fire. The position \\as r^^c\i 
that the five companies of the Fifty-first and the Tlnrry-til'th 
North Carolina of Ransom's Brigade occupying the centre 
and being the assailants, suffered the greatest losses. But for 

Fifty-First Regiment. 213 

the prompt action of tliese commands the enemy would cer- 
tainly have marched into Petersburg on 17 June, 1864. 

We remained in the works in front of Petersburg for 
months under fire every day, and it has been estab- 
lished by actual measurements since the close of the war that 
at times there was but sixty-three yards between our line of 
works and that of the enemy, while only thirty-five yards sep- 
arated our pickets, which should give a pretty accurate idea 
of the danger and hardships under which we passed the sum- 
mer of 1864. On 19 August we were called upon to meet a 
raiding party operating on the Wilmington & Weldon Rail- 
road south of Petersburg. Here we met the enemy and after 
a running fight of many miles forced them into their lines. 
This was a regular woods scramble, it being impossible to 
preserve anything like a line of battle on account of the den- 
sity of the woods ; the result was that we captured a large 
number of prisoners, and suffered considerable loss ourselves, 
some of our men being captured and recaptured several times. 
General Clingiuan was wounded in this engagement, and the 
brigade lost the services of this gallant soldier till near the 
close of the ^^'ar, the command of the brigade devolving on 
■Colonel McKethan of the Fifty-first. 


We were next taken to the north side of the James river 
and on 30 September assaulted Fort Harrison. This point liad 
been taken by the enemy from our people, and being consid- 
ered a point of importance, was at once strengthened and 
very heavily garrisoned. To have attempted its recapture 
under such circumstances was a mistake, and as carried out 
a terrible blunder on the part of some one, the assaulting par- 
ties going in, in detail and being cut down in turn by the 
deadly fire of the enemy. Our officers on the ground, par- 
ticularly Colonel McKethan, the brigade commander, seeing 
the impossibility of success and the heavy loss that we must 
sustain, protested against making the assault, but being or- 
dered by superior officers to go forward, nobly offered them- 
selves and their commands as sacrifices for their country. At 
the command the Fifty-first rushed forward with the other 

214 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

regiments of the brigade, preserving their alignment until 
the stockade was reached, which they found impossible to 
pass. To retreat was death, so the only chance was to throw 
down their guns and pull up these obstructions, which the 
men at once attempted, but a double line armed with repeat' 
ing rifles posted in front of the works, and a deadly fire 
from the garrison in the fort, said to have been several lines 
deep, and the concentration of all the artillery upon them, 
made the position untenable and the task impossible, so that 
the few left were forced to seek shelter offered by two old 
buildings near the works. Never was an assault made more 
gallantly or against greater odds. The Light Brigade at 
Balaklava did no more. "Some one had blundered," but it 
was a soldier's duty to obey. Our loss was seven officers and 
ninety-seven men, Lieutenant-Colonel Hobson being among 
the killed, Lieutenant F. S. Currie, of Company D, and Lieu- 
tenant J. A. Meares, of Company H, wounded, and others, 
whoso names cannot now be recalled. To Sergeant-Ma j or 
W. D. McMillan (Dr. McMillan, of Wilmington), who was 
seriously wounded in this assault, I am indebted for the fol- 
lowing figures, viz. : 

"The brigade went into this engagement with 857 guns, 
and in ten or fifteen minutes lost 587." I am unable to give 
the strength of the Fifty-first at this particular time, but as 
the brigade contained 857 and was composed of four regi- 
ments, the Fifty-first could not at this time have containod 
many over 200. 

To give some idea how the Fifty-first suffered during the 
four and one-half months from 15 May to 1 October, 1864. 
On 15 May we had 1,100 officers and men, going into the 
charge of 16 May with 800 men ready for duty (a detail was 
made from the regiment on the 15th, and did not participate 
in this engagement). On 1 October we had reduced to 145 
men, many of the companies being without commissioned of- 
ficers, and in some cases in command of a corporal. 

Our casualties aggregated over 1,000, as some were wound- 
ed several times. Companies D and I each suffered a loss of 
more than 100 men to the company. Clingman's Brigade, 
under the command of Colonel McKethan, was then placed 

Fifty-First Regiment. 215 

in the line of works protecting Richmond, our left resting on 
the Darbytown road, where we remained until December^ 
doing picket duty and engaging in one or two feints against 
the enemy to draw their attention from Petersburg. 


On 24 December we received marching orders and pro- 
ceeded to Richmond on our way to ISTorth Carolina, having 
been called on account of Butler's threatening Fort Fisher. 
On reaching Wilmington we went into camp at Camp Lamb, 
spending about one week, when we changed our camp to a 
point near Green's mill pond, where we remained until the 
final attack on Fort Fisher. On 12 January, 1865, our 
division (General Robert F. Hoke's) was mustered at camp 
for division review for the benefit of a large number from the 
city, and after marching and counter marching for the gTeater 
portion of the day we returned to our quarters for rest, but 
were not given this, as the "long roll" called us to arms dur- 
ing the night and we were hurried towards Fisher. A march 
however, had been stolen on our people, as a heavy force had 
been landed by the enemy and cut us off from the fort. 

Why we should have been stopped in Wilmington, thirty 
miles from Fort Fisher, I have never understood. Had 
General Hoke and his division been put in supporting dis- 
tance of Fisher, the enemy could not have made their land- 
ing, and without this the capture of Fisher was, in my opin- 
ion, impossible. 

After the fall of Fort Fisher we made a line across the 
peninsula and threw up works, our right resting on the Cape 
Fear river near Sugar Loaf, and our left on the ocean near 
what is now known as Carolina Beach. From this point we 
fell back to within a few miles of Wilmington, skirmishing 
with the enemy as they followed. We then evacuated Wil- 
mington, crossing North East river and marching to Rockfish 
in Duplin county. 

battle of southwest ckeek:. 

From this point we were taken by rail to Kinston and en- 
gaged in three days fighting, 7, 8 and 9 March, 1865, near 

216 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

that ]ila('(\ (Iriviiio- the enenij several miles, capturing and 
killiiiii' many witli but small loss to our side. The change from 
Eockfish to Kinston carried us through ]\Iagnolia, where the 
companv which 1 then commanded was raised, and the homes 
of many of the men could be seen from the cars. 1 was 
given orders for that reason to put my command in an ordi- 
nary box car, such as was used in those days for transporting 
soldiers, and to get on top myself with a good man and allow 
none of the men to get off as we passed through the section 
in which they lived. We had not proceeded far when the en- 
gine stopping at a tank for water, I discovered two of my 
best men on the ground near the car. I spoke to them and 
demanded an explanation of their violation of orders, when 
one of them, pointing to a small house a few hundred yards 
distant, said that the lady standing in the door was his sis- 
ter ; that he was going to stop and see her, but would be on 
next day. To permit this was a violation of orders on my 
part as well as that of the soldiers, ])ut knowing that the en- 
emy was closing in behind us and this would perhaps be their 
last chance to see their loved ones, and having confidence in 
the men, I did not have the heart to stop them, whatever the 
consequences to myself might be, and in this way I lost the 
greater part of my company before reaching Kinston, and in 
the first day's fight the First Sergeant and myself represented 
the company ; but true men as they were, all reported for duty 
that night. This is mentioned to illustrate the true spirit 
and patriotism of the southern soldier ; the cause was almost 
lost and he knew it, and immediately before him he could 
picture his fields laid in waste, his home plundered and his 
family exposed and suffering, yet even to the last roll call, 
he answered to his country's summons at the post of danger 
and duty. 


Tlie advance of tlie enemy from Wilmington and the near 
apjtroach of Sherman's army from Fayettevillv^, caused 
our withdrawal from Kinston and rendering the evacmi- 
tion of (jlo]dsl)(»ro necessary we were, therefore, ordered to 
Bentonville, wh(>re we met and checked Sherman. The first 

Fifty-First Regiment. 217 

day we fouglit facing Fayetteville and with our backs on 
Goldsboro, but we were soon flanked and compelled to face 
about. Several attempts from the direction of Goldsboro 
were made to dislodge us, but failed ; still the vast forces un- 
der Sherman finally forced us to retire to escape being sur- 
rounded and our communications cut off. This we did in 
good order, marching to Smithfield, where we remained sev- 
eral days. The enemy however, soon began to advance and 
on 10 April we began tO' retire before them towards Raleigh, 
through which city we marched 12 April just ahead of Sher- 
man. From Raleigh we went to Chapel Hill, finally halt- 
ing at Bush Hill, I^. C, where we surrendered with John- 
ston's army and were paroled 2 May, 1865, to return to our 

Thus ends the history of the Fifty-first Xorth Carolina 
Regiment. The regiment was composed, rank and file, of men 
and ofiicers of whom any country on earth might well be 
proud. Many, as was the case with our Colonel and a num- 
ber of others, saw the sun of the South rise in glory at Bethel, 
and set in its blood-red sheen at Bentonville. In this time 
many a loved and chivalric comrade passed from us on his 
long and sad furlough. Thirty-six years have passed and 
Time, with his cruel scythe, has cut down most of those who 
w^ere left ; to the memory of those that have passed before and 
since, officers and men, I dedicate this feeble tribute. 

In closing, I desire to say that in the preparation of this 
very imperfect sketch, I have been compelled to do so with- 
out data, as our official papers were lost during the latter 
days of the war. But by the aid of Adjutant J. R. Latta, of 
'New Hanover; Stephen J. Cobb, of Company D (Captain 
Company F, Second North Carolina Volunteers, Spanish- 
American War) ; and H. L. Hall, of Company I, and others 
who were fortunate enough to escape the terrible struggle, I 
am under obligations for much information, and in particular 
as to the casualties. It was my wish to give a full list of 
the casualties of the regiment, but I found it impossible to do 
this even of the commissioned officers in the different engage- 
ments in which the regiment participated. I attach here- 
with a roster of the commissioned officers from the organiza- 

218 North Carolkna Troops, 1861-65. 

tion to the surrender, and with the aid of others, I have at- 
tempted to give from memory opposite each name such in- 
formation as I have been able to obtain. While this roster 
is not perfectly correct it is as near so as can be made thirty- 
six years after the close of the war. 

I also insert statistics of enlistments in Companies D 
and I from organization, and of the casualties in each of said 
companies. The casualties in these two companies fairly 
represent the losses in the eight others, and the loss of officers 
as shown by the roster will convey some idea of the losses sus- 
tained by the Fifty-first from 17 December, 1862, to 21 
March, 1865. 


Company A — Captain J. L. Cantwell, promoted to Colo- 
nel on organization, resigned ; Captain Walker. Lieutenant 
Edward Southerland, promoted to Captain, wounded at Bat- 
tery Wagner 18 July, 1863, again wounded in 1864; Lieu- 
tenant W. J. Southerland severely wounded 16 May, 1864, 
and never returned to service; Lieutenant W. H. Littlejohn 
wounded at Battery Wagner 18 July, 1863; Lieutenant 
Reuben J. T. Hawse promoted from First Sergeant, lost a 
leg at Fort Harrison. 

Company B — Captain Caleb B. Hobson, promoted to Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, killed at Fort Harrison 30 September, 1864, 
Lieuteuant W. R. Bell, promoted to Captain, wounded and re- 
tired ; Lieutenant J. E. Swinson, resigned during fall or win- 
ter of 1862 ; Lieutenant Thomas J. Herring, promoted to 
Captain, seriously wounded ; Lieutenant Jesse T. Smith, 
promoted from Sergeant, captured and retained in prison till 
close of the war; Lieutenant C. L. Cowles, promoted from 
ranks to Sergeant-Major and Lieutenant; Lieutenant A. A. 
McKethan, promoted from ranks, wounded at Petersburg 17 
June, 1864. 

Company C — Captain W. A. Allen, promoted to Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel on organization, resigned. Lieutenant Robert 
James, wounded and retired ; Lieutenant S. M. Stanford, 
promoted to Captain, resigned in 1864; Lieutenant E. L. 
Watson, promoted to Captain, surrendered at Bush Hill, N". 

Fifty-First Regiment. 219 

C. ; Lieutenant H. V. Houston ; Lieutenant J, G. Branch, 
resigned in 1863 ; Lieutenant A. M. Sullivan, promoted from 
Sergeant, wounded at Kinston 1865. 

Company D — Captain J. R. McDonald, promoted to 
Major, captured at Cold Harbor. Lieutenant R. J. Mc- 
Eachem, promoted to Captain, killed at Cold Harbor ; Lieu- 
tenant J. D. Malloy, promoted to Captain, wounded at Bat- 
tery Wagner 18 July, 1863, captured at Drewry's Bluff 16 
May, 1864; Lieutenant J. B. McCallum, killed at Drewry's 
Bluff 16 May, 1864; Lieutenant Hector McEachern, wound- 
ed and captured at Drewry's Bluff ; Lieutenant F. S. Currie, 
wounded at Fort Harrison 30 September, 1864; Lieutenant 
W. R. Boone, promoted from ranks, captured August 1864. 

Company E* — Captain W. P. Moore, resigned in Fall of 
1862. Lieutenant Willis H. Pope, promoted to Captain, 
killed at Drewry's Bluff 16 May, 1864; Lieutenant A. J. 
Ashley, promoted to Captain, died of wounds ; Lieutenant 
J. P. Pitman, promoted to First Lieutenant, captured 30 
September, 1864; Lieutenant F. F. Floyd, captured 10 June, 
1864; Lieutenant W. A. Bullock, captured 19 August, 1864; 
Lieutenant Giles W. Thompson, killed at Battery Wagner 
18 July, 1863. 

Company F — Captain — . — . Walters, resigned during 
spring of 1863 ; Captain W. S. ISTorment, transferred from 
the Eighteenth Regiment, severely wounded at Fort Harrison 
30 September, 1864. Lieutenant A. C. Fulmore; Lieuten- 
ant G. P. Higley, captured at Cold Harbor; Lieutenant J, 
W. Hartman, wounded, don't remember place or date. 

Company G- — Captain J. W. Lippitt, pulled through safe, 
commanded the regiment at the surrender at Bush Hill, 1^. C. 
Lieutenant S. R. Chinnis, resigned during the winter of 
1862 or 1863 ; Lieutenant Yopp ; Lieutenant Jacob A. Evans, 
wounded 16 May, 1864; Lieutenant T. B. Lippitt, pulled 
through safe; Lieutenant Ben. A. Cowan, pulled through 

Company H — Captain J. R. Kelly, resigned in 1862. 
Lieutenant S. W. Maultsby, promoted to Captain, severely 
wounded 16 May, 1864; Lieutenant Lennon, resigned in 
1862; Lieutenant Jacob Bamberger; Lieutenant J. A. 

220 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Meares, wounded at Fort Harrison 80 September, 1864; 
Lieutenant A. M. Thompson, pulled through safe; Lieuten- 
ant Jordan Huglies. 

Company I — Captain Hector McKethan, elected Major on 
organization, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and afterwards 
to Colonel, wounded 17 June, 1864. Lieutenant George 
Sloan, promoted to Captain, slightly wounded 16 May, 1864, 
captured 1 June, 1864; Lieutenant J. A. McArthur, wounded 
and captured 16 May, 1864; Lieutenant C. T. Guy, pro- 
moted from Sergeant, pulled through safe ; Lieutenant J. H. 
Taylor, promoted to Adjutant last year of the war. 

Company K — Captain J. B. Underwood, resigned in 1863. 
Lieutenant W. F. Murphy, promoted to Captain, captured 
16 May, 1864; Lieutenant Solomon Boykin, killed at jSTeuse 
river bridge 17 December, 1862; Lieutenant E. T. Mc- 
Kethan, transferred to General Hoke's staff, and afterwards 
assigned to light duty on account of loss of health ; Lieuten- 
ant Alexander Elliott, killed at Cold Harbor 1 June, 1864; 
Lieutenant J. J. Tew, pulled through safe ; Lieutenant Eli 
Dudley, wounded, but time and place not remembered. 

I am indebted to comrades Private Stephen J. Cobb, of 
Company D, (Captain of Company F, Second North Caro- 
lina Volunteers Spanish-American War), and to Sergeant 
D. G. McLellan, of Company I, for the following statistics in 
their respective companies : 


Total enlistments, 151. Killed: Officers 1, men 10, total 
11. Died of w'ounds: Officers 1, men 10; total 11. Wound- 
ed: Officers 3, men 58; total 61. Captured: Officers 3, men 
20; total 23. Total, officers 8, men 98; gi-and total, 106. 
Of the twenty enlisted men reported as captured, thirteen 
died in prison. 


KiJlcfi: Officers 0, non-commissioned officers 2, men 43; 
total, 45. W(>un»l(Ml : Officers 2, non-commissioned officers 
3, men 4S ; total, 53. Captured : Officers 2, non-commis- 
sioned officers 3, men 24 ; total, 29. Total, officers 4, non- 
conmiissioned officers 8, men 115 ; grand total, 127. 

Fifty-First Regiment. 221 

This company sustained a loss of twenty-nine men in the 
charge on 16 May, 1864, exclusive of the few captured who 
were not wounded. 

The enemy overnm and captured our picket line just be- 
fore the charge and our loss in prisoners was due to that fact. 
Tht;y were not lost in the assault. 

A. A. McKethan. 
Paybtteville, N. C, 

26 April, 1901. 




1. Wm. W. Carmichael, 1st Lt., Co. F. 2. Leroy S. Elliott, Private, Co K. 


By JOHN H. ROBINSON, Adjutant. 

The Fifty-second Regiment of North Carolina Troops was 
organized at Camp Mangum (camp of instruction), near 
Raleigh, on 22 April, 1862, and was composed of ten compa- 
nies of infantry, as follows: 

Company A — From Cabarrus County — Captain, George 
A. Propst; First Lieutenant, John M. Alexander; Second 
Lieutenant, Phillip A. Correll, Jr. ; Second Lieutenant, Jas. 
A. Black; First Sergeant, Jas. M. Cook; Second Sergeant, 
Joseph C. Hill; Third Sergeant, Alexander F. Hurley; 
Fourth Sergeant, John W. Felter ; Fifth Sergeant, Leroy W. 
Pope; First Corporal, George C. Blume; Second Corpord, 
George H. Brown ; Third Corporal, Richard F. Cook ; Fourth 
Corporal, George A. Misenheimer ; and 100 privates. 

Company B — From Randolph County — Captain, James 
F. Foulkes ; First Lieutenant, Jesse K. Kyle ; Second Lieu- 
tenant, John H. Robinson, Jr. ; Second Lieutenant, W. E. 
Kyle. The officers of this company were all from Fayette- 
ville. First Sergeant, Calvin J. Rush; Second Sergeant, 
Lindsay C. Hardister; Third Sergeant, Calvin B. Lewis; 
Fourth Sergeant, Alvin Bingham; Fifth Sergeant, William 
N. Glasgow; First Corporal, Reuben C. Fesmire; Second 
Corporal, Reuben Lowdermilk; Third Corporal, Alpheus 
Gallihara; Fourth Corporal, George W. Cooper; and 123 

Company C — From Gates and Chowan Counties — Cap- 
tain, Julian Gilliam; First Lieutenant, George Gilliam; 
Second Lieutenant, John Gatling, Junior; Second Lieu- 
tenant, J. K Harrell; First Sergeant, Job Hofier; Second 
Sergeant, James J. Floyd; Third Sergeant, David W. Par- 
ker; Fourth Sergeant, Caleb M. Hayes; First Corporal, 
Richard Arnold ; Second Corporal, William O. Hofler ; Third 

224 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Corporal, Peterson Hofler; Fourth Corporal, Thomas J. 
Monroe ; and 93 privates. 

Company I) — From Stokes County — (^aptain, Leonidas 
R. Gibson; First Lieutenant, Isaac Nelson; Second Lieuten- 
ant, Samuel IL Rierson ; First Sergeant, A. C. Myers ; Sec- 
ond Sergeant, John H. Nelson ; Third Sergeant, D. P. Tut- 
tle ; Fourth Sergeant, Phillip A. James ; Fifth Sergeant, J. 
F. Landers; First Corporal, John M. Alle; Second Coi-poral, 
J. W. Tuttle ; Third (^orporal, Charies M. Williams ; and 80 

Company E — From Richmond County — Captain, Ben- 
jamin F. Little; First Lieutenant, Milton S. Austin; Second 
Lieutenant, M. B. McDonald ; Junior Second Lieutenant, 
Thos. R. Baldwin ; First Sergeant, John W. Ewing ; Second 
Sergeant, John H. Nichols ; Third Sergeant, Thomas R. Ca- 
pel ; Fourth Sergeant, Isaac Gatelej ; Fifth Sergeant, R, F. 
Gibson ; First Corporal, S. C. Crouch ; Second Corporal, D. 
O. Gray ; Third Corporal, William Kennedy ; Fourth Cor- 
poral, John F. Woods; and 120 privates. 

Company F — From Wilhes County — Captain, Marcus A. 
Parks ; First Lieutenant, Nathaniel A. Foster ; Second Lieu- 
tenant, William W. Carmichael ; Junior Second Lieutenant, 
J. J. Parlier ; First Sergeant, Joseph G. Hall ; Second Ser- 
geant E. R. Vannoy ; Third Sergeant, William TI. Foster, 
Fourth Sergeant, James P. Warren ; Fifth Sergeant, Charles 
Carlton ; First Corporal, James P. Gilreath ; Second Corpor- 
al, Daniel Wilcox; Third Corporal, Orrin J. Harris; Fourth 
Corporal, Zenah A. Harris; and 160 privates. 

Company G — From Lincoln County — Captain, Joseph 
B. Shelton ; First Lieutenant, James M. Kincaid ; Second 
Lieutenant, J. D. Wells ; Junior Second Lieutenant, Ilaniel 
M. Asbury ; First Sergeant, William D. Thompson ; Second 
Sergeant, John W. Lilly ; Third Sergeant, Frederick Linehar- 
ger; Fourth Sergeant, Thomas B. Tliom])son ; Fifth Ser- 
geant, John F. Little; First Corporal, ]\Ioses H. Caldwell; 
Second Corporal, Albert M. Nixon ; Third Corporal, W. G. 
P. Houston; Fourth Corporal, William Little; and 116 pri- 

Company H — From Lincoln Cotinty — Captain, Eric Er- 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 225 

son ; First Lieutenant, William A. Sununerson ; Second Lien- 
tenant, Lawson A. Bellinger ; Junior Second Lieutenant, Wil- 
liam R. Arents ; First Sergeant, James A. Patterson; Second 
Sergeant, Peter S. Beal ; Third Sergeant, Ephraim Garrison ; 
Fourth Sergeant, John C. McCall ; Fifth Sergeant, Samuel 
H. Randleman ; First Corporal, Lafayette Lof tin ; Second 
Corporal, John C. Goodson ; Third Corporal, John C. Del- 
linger; Fourth Corporal, Richard McCorkle; and 125 pri- 

CoisiPANY I — From Sternly County — Captain, George C 
McCain ; First Lieutenant, James D. Hearne ; Second Lieu- 
tenant, Samuel S. Lilly ; Junior Second Lieutenant, Willis 
Randall ; First Sergeant, B. K. Crowell ; Second Sergeant^ 
James M. McCorkle ; Third Sergeant, George P. Parker ; 
Fourth Sergeant, H. Clay Turner; Fifth Sergeant, Reuben 
Harris ; First Corporal, D. D. Rogers ; Second Corporal, Ben- 
jamin P. Austin ; Third Corporal, William A. Smith ; Fourth 
Corporal, Wm. D. A. Mason; and 112 privates. 

Company K — From Forsyth County — Captain, Julius C. 
Blackburn ; First Lieutenant, Junius W. Goslin ; Second 
Lieutenant, Romulus M. Cox; Junior Second Lieutenant, 
Virgil H. Walker ; First Sergeant, John W. Beck ; Second 
Sergeant, John M. Crews ; Third Sergeant, Gideon E. Clay- 
ton ; Fourth Sergeant, William P. Dawson ; First Corporal, 
James R. Ingram ; Second Corporal, Lauriston F. Elliot ; 
Third Corporal, Thomas R. Davis ; Fourth Corporal, Eph- 
raim B. Terry; and 100 privates. 

These companies were organized as the Fifty-second j^orth 
Carolina Regiment on 22 April, 1862, the following field 
officers being elected : 

James K. Marshall^ Colonel. 
Marcus A. Parks^ Lieutenant-Colonel. 
John Q. Richardson^ Major. 
Subsequently the following Staff was appointed : 
John Gatling, Adjutant. 

James M. McCorkle^ Assistant Quartermaster. 
George H. Coke^ Assistant Commissary. 
James F. Foulkes, Surgeon. 

-220 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'05. 

AViLLiAM H. Lilly, Assistant Surgeon. 
-H. Clay Turner^ Sergeant Major. 
^Valter R. Russell, Quartermaster Sergeant. 
W. F. Brookshire, Commissary Sergeant. 
E. J. DeBerry, Hospital Steward. 
J . R. Pepper, Ordnance Sergeant. 

Musicians, Charles DeCamp, J. H. C. Pearce, R. F. War- 
ren and W. II. Shaw. 

Captain Marcus A. Parks, of Company F, having been 
promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, all of 
the officers of this company were advanced one grade, and 
Sergeant Joseph G- Hall was promot-ed to the Second Lieuten- 
ancy to fill the vacancy. 

Upon the completion of the organization of the regiment, it 
was assigned to Brigadier-General J. G. Martin's Brigade. 
About 1 June the regiment was moved from the camp of in- 
struction hy rail to a point in Lenoir county on the railroad, 
near where the village of LaGrange now stands, and went into 

We named this encampment "Camp Black Jack," and here 
we remained about a week or ten days, engaged in drilling 
and performing other camp duties. At the expiration of that 
time the command was moved nearer Kinston, where we had 
more suitable ground, and this encampment was called 
"Camp Johnston," at which point the regiment remained, 
di'illing daily, until tlie 16th, when it was ordered to do picket 
duty about five miles below Kinston. The writer and a Lieu- 
tenant being detailed to remain at camp and care for the sick 
(of whom there were quite a number at that time, suffering 
with measles and colds), and giiard the camp, did not par- 
ticipate in this, the first duty performed by the regiment in 
the field. The regiment continued in the discharge of this 
duty until relieved by other troops on the 24th, when it re- 
turned to camp and resumed its regular routine duties, with 
daily drillings of the officers as well as the men. 

On the afternoon of 30 June, orders were received to cook 
all the rations on hand and be ready to move at an hour's no- 
tice, whereupon all was bustle in the camp and the orders 
were promptly complied with. The regiment moved late in 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 227 

the afternoon, taking the cars to Kinston, and thence march- 
ing about five miles below the town on the road leading to 
New Bern, to meet a column of the enemy advancing in our 
direction. Night coming on, the regiment bivouacked by the 
roadside, but the enemy, having received information of our 
movements, retraced his steps in the direction of New Bern, 
and, in consequence. General Martin sent a courier during 
the night to Colonel Marshall, ordering him to return to 
camp ; accordingly the regiment began its march early next 
morning and reached camp in the forenoon of 1 July. Rest- 
ing this day, we resumed our drillings on the 2d and con- 
tinued our routine work until the afternoon of the 5th, when 
orders were received to cook three days' rations and be ready 
to move at a moment's notice. These orders having been 
promptly and cheerfully complied with, we were kept in sus- 
pense until Tuesday evening, the 8th, when we boarded the 
train for the half-way station on the Petersburg & Richmond 
Railroad, reaching that point about daylight Friday morning, 
the 11th, having been delayed en route by an ex- 
press train derailed on the track ahead of us Tuesday 
night, and awaited transportation at Petersburg. We 
camped temporarily at that point until the 14th, on which 
date we marched to Drewry's Bluff, going regularly into 
camp at this place, and naming our encampment "Camp 
Campbell." Here we were engaged in work upon fortifica- 
tions, drilling and the various duties of the camp. 

Captain James F. Foulkes, of Company B, having re- 
signed in order to accept his commission as Surgeon of the 
regiment, on 2 July the officers of this company were each 
promoted one grade and on 21 July, Sergeant Lindsay C. 
Ilardister was promoted to Second Lieutenant. The regi- 
ment continued at this camp until the morning of 20 Au- 
gust, when we broke camp at daylight and marched to Peters- 
burg, Va., to await orders. Here we went into camp about 
two miles east of the city and called this encampment "Camp 

On 22 August, Lieutenant Lindsay C. Hardister, of Com- 
pany B, died in his tent at Camp Campbell, after an illness 
of a few days. About the 26th, the regiment was trans- 

228 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

ferred to General J. Johnston Pettigrew's Brigade. On the 
28th Captain Joseph B. Shelton, of Company G, resigned, 
and the officers of this company were each promoted one 
grade, and Corporal R. B. B. Houston was promoted to Sec- 
ond Lieutenant of this company. On 28 October, James W. 
Huske was transferred from Captain James McNeill's com- 
pany of cavalry to Company B, and promoted to Second Lieu- 
tenant to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Lieutenant Har- 

The regiment remained at Camp French, doing work on 
fortifications, drilling, etc, etc., until 2 November, when it 
was moved to the vicinity of Franklin, Va., on the Black 
Water river, reaching this point on the following evening. 
We were placed at Joyner's Ford on picket duty and re- 
mained there until 15 November, when we moved and went 
into camp at Black Creek Church, Southampton county, Va., 
which we reached during the afternoon of the same day. 
While occupying this camp we were engaged in picketing the 
Blackwater at several points. 

On the 18th the enemy advanced with a force of cavalry 
and infantry and made an attempt to cross the river at Joy- 
ner's Ford, which point was held by a detail of an officer 
and twenty men. The attack was first made by a body of 
cavalry, which was driven back by our picket. They were 
reinforced by a body of infantry and made a second attack, 
in which they were successful in forcing a passage, our men 
retreating; not, however, until a messenger had been sent to 
Colonel Marshall, informing him of the attack and the neces- 
sary retreat of his men. Immediately upon the receipt of 
this information the Colonel moved at once with his regiment 
to the support of his men, marching about three miles. When 
in the neighborhood of the ford, he was told that a body of 
about 300 cavalry had crossed the river, and was occupying 
the camp whicli wo had left on tlie 15th. The regiment was 
hurried forward, and on reaching a position which com- 
manded a view of the grounds, said to be held by the enemy, 
was halted. No enemy was to be seen, although they could 
be distinctly heard giving commands. Skirmishers were 
thrown forward and advanced, but the enemy declined an 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 229 

engagement and recrossed the river. Having re-established 
our picket post at Jojner's Ford and strengthened it, the reg- 
iment returned to camp. 

After crossing the river the enemy's cavalry moved in the 
direction of Franklin ; and, reaching a point from which they 
could shell the town, amused themselves with this com^- 
ardly occupation for an hour or more, the only result of which 
was the wounding of two men of the Eleventh ISTorth Caro- 
lina Regiment stationed there. 

On the 26th, Captain George A. Propst, of Company A, 
having resigned, the officers of this company were promoted 
one grade each. Lieutenants P. A. Correll and James A. 
Black having resigned, Sergeants James A. Cook and J. C. 
Hill were promoted to fill the vacancies. 

The regiment continued to do picket duty along the Black- 
water river, in the vicinity of Franklin, until 16 December. 
About 1 ]Srovember, Captain James M. McCorkle resig-ned the 
office of Assistant Quartermaster, and Adjutant John Gat- 
ling was appointed to this office. In consequence of this ap- 
pointment the office of Adjutant was vacant and Lieutenant 
John H. Robinson, of Company B, was promoted to this po- 

On 16 December the regiment was ordered to proceed im- 
mediately to Goldsboro, N. C, and in obedience to this order 
we took the cars at Franklin and reached Goldsboro some 
time after midnight, and reported to General G. W. Smith, 
who was in command of this department. The Colonel was 
ordered to report with his regiment to General Thomas L. 
Clingman, Avho commanded on the south side of the Neuse 
river. The regiment was at once conveyed by train across 
the river and reported as instructed. General Clingman or- 
dered that the men should rest where they had quit the train, 
at a point on the Wilmington & Weldon road, about one-half 
mile from the railroad bridge over the ]^euse River, and at 
the intersection of the county road and railroad. 


About sunrise on the morning of the 17th scouts came in 
and reported the enemy advancing from the direction of Kin- 

230 North Carolina Troops, 1S()1-'G5. 

ston iiloiig tlie county road in heavy force. Our regiment 
was at once formed in line of battle, parallel with the rail' 
road and across the county road. Holding this position for 
the space of, probably, half an hour, the enemy still advanc- 
ing, Colonel Marshall was ordered to proceed to the railroad 
bridge and hold it all hazard. He moved his regiment 
rapidly along the railroad track by the left flank, and imme- 
diately upon arriving at the bridge, placed his command to 
the best advantage for carrying out his orders. Shortly after 
the regiment was in position the enemy advanced upon us 
in heavy force. One column approached the bridge on the 
east side of the railroad and up the river bank, attacking our 
left companies with great vigor. Another approached up 
the railroad track, and as it approached, threw out a force on 
the west side of the railroad. The regiment fought with 
great spirit and very gallantly, but the force was so vastly su- 
perior in number that the left of the regiment was driven 
back and the enemy advancing, reached the bridge and ap- 
plied the torch. It being constructed of inflammable mate- 
rial, was soon in a light blaze and burned rapidly. Tn the 
meantime the right of the regiment was hotly engaged, and 
no support having been sent to our relief, and the colunm 
spoken of having been thrown out on the Avest or upper side 
of the railroad having advanced so far as to greatly endanger 
our successful retreat, the regiment was moved rapidly up 
the bank of the river in the direction of the county bridge, 
half a mile or more above. During our retreat the Fifty- 
first Xorth Carolina Regiment, which now, when it was too 
late, had been ordered to our support, mistaking us for the 
enemy, poured a volley from one company into us, not doing 
any damage, liowever, as they flred across an angle formed by 
two fences and shot too high. At this point tlie regiment 

The enemy, apjiarcntly satisfied for tlie time with having 
accomplished the destruction of the bridge, fell back and 
took position on a commanding liill on tlie east, or lower side 
of the railroad, about five or six hundred yards from the site 
of the lu'idgc. Hoping to dislodge the enemy, an attack was 
made upon liis lines during the afternoon. 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 231 

General Clingman foiined his infantry line, composed of 
the Fifty-first and Fifty-second ITorth Carolina Regiments, 
under the immediate command of Colonel Marshall, in a 
skirt of woods on the west of the railroad, and about 500 yards 
from it. While in this position we were subjected to a very 
heavy shelling from the enemy's battery of four guns. Leav- 
ing his infantry in line as stated, General Clingman moved 
with two guns of Starr's ITorth Carolina Battery by the 
county road to attack the enemy in flank, with directions to 
Colonel Marshall to move at once upon the enemy's line so 
soon as he should open fire upon him. While the infantry 
line was awaiting developments by Starr's guns, General 
Evans, of South Carolina, rode up behind the infantry line, 
and, inquiring what troops they were, ordered an immediate 
advance. When he was informed of General Clingman's 
plan of attack, and suggestion was made to him that a move- 
ment before Starr had reached his position would disconcert 
all of General Clingman's plans and result in disaster, he re- 
plied : ''I rank Clingman ; move forward at once ; I will sup- 
port you with the Holcombe; Legion." Of course, commands 
must be obeyed, and the infantry moved out at double-quick, 
under a galling fire from the battery, and reached the rail- 
road embankment, under cover of which it halted just long 
enough to reform its line. 

Moving again quickly over the railroad, a high rail fence 
was encountered which had to be climbed in the face of a 
heavy discharge from the battery of grape and canister. 
Meanwhile Starr's guns had not yet come into position, but, 
fortunately, he opened fire directly after the infantry had 
crossed the railroad, and drew the fire of a portion of the en- 
emy's battery, the line still advancing; but in a very few 
moments all saw the hopelessness of the attempt to drive the 
enemy, and an order was issued to fall back, and for all who 
could to save themselves by precipitate retreat. 

Under General Clingman's plan of attack there was a pos- 
sibility of successfully dislodging the enemy. Under Gen- 
eral Evans' order the attack was simply reckless disregard 
of the lives of his troops. The Adjutant of the Fifty-second 
Regiment, in his report of the fight, made on the morning of 

232 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'G5. 

the 18th, reported 8 killed on the held, 58 wounded and 13 
missing. Of the latter, subsequent reports show some of 
them to have been killed. The regiment was camped in the 
vicinity of Goldslxjro until about the 23d, Avhen it returned to 
its camp on the Blackwater near Franklin, Va. 

On the 25th orders were received to cook three days' ra- 
tions and be prepared to move at daylight on the 26th. Ac- 
cordingly rations were prepared and at dawn on the 26th we 
crossed the river, entering the enemy's territory on a forag- 
ing expedition. We remained for five days and procured a 
considerable quantity of forage, and this having been success- 
fully accomplished, General Roger A. Pryor, in whose com- 
mand we were serving temporarily, concluded to go in search 
of the enemy. Marching all day, we arrived at Windsor Sta- 
tion, on the Seaboard Railroad, about night, and finding the 
place occupied by two companies of the enemy's cavalry, we 
opened on them with artillery, when they made a hasty re- 
treat. The command rested here for the night, and at day- 
light next morning we resumed our march, reaching camp at 
midday 1 January, 1863. 

On the afternoon of the 3d we broke camp on the Black- 
water and marched to Garysburg, N. C, where we took cai's 
and reached Rocky Mount on the night of the 5th at 11:30 
o'clock, and rejoined General Pettigrew, to the delight of 
the entire reginient. On the 26th we struck our tents and 
moved to Magnolia, reaching that point on the evening of the 
same day. 

We pitched our cain]") near the town, where we were en- 
gaged in drilling daily, when the weather permitted, and 
during our sojourn here underwent a rigid inspection In- the 
inspecting ofiicer of the brigade. 

On the morning of 13 February tbe reginiout took \\p its 
line of march in the direction of Greenville, and on the 1 6th, 
while in bivouac ten miles from Goldsboro, orders were re- 
ceived to remain Avhere we were and await further orders. On 
the 17th we were directed to return to Goldsboro, which place 
we reached the same day, and went into camp about two miles 
from the town. While here we were engaged in drilling 
every day. March Dth we broke oam]i and the regiment, to- 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 233 

getber with other troops, started on a march for the purpose 
of making an attack upon the enemy at 'New Bern. The reg- 
iment arrived near the town at daybreak on the morning of 
the 13th and supported our artillery, which opened fire upon 
the enemy at sunrise. An artillery duel was fought nearly 
all day without any satisfactory result, when the troops were 
withdrawn, falling back to a position about three miles from 
the town, where we rested until 12 o'clock that night. 


About this hour we resumed our line of march and halted 
nine miles from the town at daylight next morning. In this 
position we remained until 3 o'clock in the afteraoon, when 
the line of march was again taken up and continued day and 
night, with occasional short rests, until the 17th, on wdiich 
date we went into camp near the town of Greenville. On the 
18th we were again on the march and arrived at Tranter's 
Creek, about eight miles from Washington, on the 19th. Re- 
maining here for a day or two we returned to our camp near 
Greenville on or about the 23d. Resting here, we received 
orders on the 28th to be ready to move in one hour. March- 
ing on this day, we reached a point on the Pamlico river, 
seven miles below the town of Washington, on Sunday, March 
29th. Here w^e erected a heavy earthwork on a bluff on the 
river bank and called it Fort Hill, in honor of- General D. 
H. Hill, who commanded the expedition. The Federal 
troops occupying the town of Washington were reported to 
be running short of both ammunition and rations, and Fort 
Hill was erected for the purpose of commanding the river 
and preventing communication between the transports and 
gunboats in the river below and the garrison of the town. Our 
battery was composed of guns of light calibre, all field pieces 
and not able to cope with the gunboats in the river below, 
which gave the fort heavy shellings each day. They were 
suspicious of us, however, for occasionally two Whit worth 
guns would be sent down from the battery near the town, and 
w^hile they were in battery, we would open on them at long 
range, and on several occasions inflicted considerable damage. 
When these guns were withdrawn, the gunboats would ap- 

234 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

proach quite near and open on the fort without eliciting anj 
reply. This puzzled them, and they were timid and would 
not venture the passage of the fort. 

On 7 April, in obedience to orders, Colonel Marshall, with 
six companies of his regiment, moved at daylight to meet a 
force of the enemy, reported to be moving on our rear from 
New Bern. When about three miles from the fort the bat- 
talion was halted to await orders. Remaining until night, 
it was learned that the enemy had returned in the direction of 
New Bern and the command returned to the fort. 

On the 10th the enemy advanced from New Bern in force 
by the Blount's Mill road, and the regiment was moved out 
to meet them and check the advance. Forming line of bat- 
tle at Blount's Mill, we awaited their attack, and after a 
skirmish of abouttwo hours duration they retired in flight, 
felling trees across the road to retard pursuit. About the 
13th or 14th the boats in the river mustered courage to at- 
tempt the passage of the fort. Steaming boldly up, one of 
them made a successful passage, as we had none but the field 
guns in the battery, and although we fired upon her repeat- 
edly in her passing, the damage, if any, was of a trifling na- 

The fort having failed eventually in accomplishing the ob- 
ject for which it had been constructed, was evacuated on the 
15th and all the troops below drawn in nearer to the town. 

On the 18th orders were received to move in the direction 
of Kinston, via Ilookerton, which latter place we reached on 
the 10th, Avhere we remained, awaiting orders until the 25th. 
Captain Julian Gilliam, of Company C, having resigned 1 
April, 1803, First Lieutenant George Crilliam was promoted 
to Captain and Second Lieutenant John C Warren to First 
Lieutenant. Lieutenant John Gatling liad previously been 
promoted to Adjutant, and 1 Noveinl)('r, 1^0-2, to Captain 
and Acting Quartermaster. 

On the 25th the regiment marched to Kinston and remain- 
ed there until 2 May, when we took the train for Virginia, 
reaching Taylorsville, near Hanover Junction, on the 14th 
and going into camp. The regiment was divided for some 
time during our stay at this point; tliree companies were 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 235 

held in camp, five were detached for duty at the railroad 
bridge over the South Anna river on the Central Railroad, 
engaged in building fortifications, and two were doing picket 
duty at the Richmond & Fredericksburg Railroad. When 
not engaged in building fortifications and doing picket duty, 
the regiment was drilled daily, and it was in the finest condi- 
tion when we began our march to join the Army of North- 
ern Virginia. 

About 1 June Pettigrew's Brigade was assigned to duty in 
Major-General Harry Heth's Division of General A. P. Hill's 
Corps. On 6 June the brigade was ordered to proceed to 
Hamilton's Crossing, and we marched until late on Sunday 
evening, the 7th, when we were directed to strike the railroad 
and take the cars. Obeying this order, we were conveyed by 
rail the remainder of the distance and reached the Crossing 
at 4 o'clock Monday morning, the 8th. Upon arrival, we 
were placed in position on the Rappahannock river, about six 
miles below Fredericksburg, where we remained in line of 
battle until 10 June, when the regiment was ordered to pro- 
ceed to Hanover Junction to relieve General Corse, of Pick- 
ett's Division. Reaching the railroad depot, we awaited 
transportation for several hours. Fortunately, before cars 
could be furnished the order was countermanded and the reg- 
ment directed to report to General Pettigrew, which was done 
on the same night, when we resumed our place in the line of 
battle along the river. 


On 14 June we left the lines in front of Fredericksburg 
and started on the ever memorable Gettysburg campaign. By 
easy marches we reached Culpepper Court House on the I7th. 
Continuing the march on the 18th, passing through Berry- 
ville, Charlestown, and other villages, we reached Shepherds- 
town on the 23d, and on the 24th waded the Potomac at this 
point, thence proceeding leisurely towards Gettysburg, pass- 
ing through the battlefield of Sharpsburg, crossing the Antie- 
tam river on the stone bridge, on through Chambersburg, Pa., 
and halting on the 29th at Cashtown, a village at the foot of 
the mountains on the Baltimore and Chambersburg pike, and 

236 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

distant about six miles northwest from Gettysburg. Here 
we rested until the morning of 1 July. On the evening of 
the 29th Company B, Fifty-second Regiment, under com- 
mand of First Lieutenant W. E. Kyle, was detailed to picket 
the Emmettsburg road at a village called Millertown, a]x)ut 
five miles to the right of our camp, and during the night had 
a skirmish with a picket post held by the enemy's cavalry. 
During the night of the 30th the company was withdrawn 
and reported at camp. 

Early on the morning of 1 July we moved in the direction 
of Gettysburg. Archer's Brigade of Heth's Division, lead- 
ing the advance, encountered a heavy force, commanded by 
General Buford, of the enemy's cavalry, on the Chambers- 
burg road about one mile from Gettysburg, and was at once 
engaged ; the cavalry, pressing Archer very luird, and skil- 
fully using their artillery, checked his advance, when Petti- 
grew's Brigade, the Fifty-second holding the right of his line, 
was rapidly advanced to his support. By a vigorous attack 
we succeeded in forcing Buford's line back in the direction of 
the town, when, being reinforced by a heavy infantry column, 
they in t\irn checked Heth's advance. By this time Petti- 
grew's Brigade had reached Willoughby's Run, westward 
from the town and halted ; lying here under a heavy shelling 
from the enemy's guns, and greatly annoyed by their sharp- 
shooters, who occupied, at this time, the second story of a 
brick buihling immediately in front of our line, we awaited 
the arrival of Anderson's Division of Hill's Corps which was 
moving up to strengtiien the lines. 

About noon we advanced and Pettigrew's Brigade encoun- 
tered the enemy in an open field when a most desperate fight 
ensued. I have already stated that Colonel Marshall's regi- 
ment held the right of Pettigrew's line, and as we advanced 
through the open field our right flank was menaced by a body 
of the enemy's cavahy, seeking an opportunity to charge our 
lines. While on the advance and uiulcr heavy fire Colonel 
Marshall fornunl his regiment in s(iuare to giuu'd against at- 
tack from this body, and at the same time deployed Comjnmy 
B, under comuiand of Lieutenant W. E. Kyle, to protect his 
flank. 'I'liis gnlhnit ofiicer succeeded in holding the cavalry 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 237 

in check and finally drove them from our flank. This 
maneuver was executed by the regiment as promptly and ac- 
curately as if it had been upon its drill grounds. The fight- 
ing continued with unabated fury until sundown, when we 
had gradually, but steadily, driven the enemy's lines back 
upon the towai, but at a tremendous cost of valuable lives. 
About this time — sundown or nearly so — General Pender was 
sent to our relief, and passing over our lines took up the fight 
and drove the enemy into and through the town, halting only 
when commanded to do so, and thus ended the first day's fight 
so far as the Fifty-second Regiment was concerned. 

The losses in the brigade were appalling, and those of the 
Fifty-second Regiment very heavy. Here the gallant Cap- 
tain McCain, of Company I, fell dead, pierced by a minie 
ball, while leading his company in the thickest of the fight. 
About the same time the young and chivalrous Captain Black- 
burn, of Company K, fell dead at the head of his company 
while leading his men to victory. In addition to this great 
loss many valuable officers w-ere wounded and the loss in the 
ranks was very heavy. At this time, over thirty-seven years 
having elapsed, and without access to records, I am unable 
to state the casualties with accuracy. 

On the second day our regiment w^as not engaged. A 
greater portion of the forenoon of the 3d was consumed in 
perfecting the arrangements for the assault on Cemetery Hill. 
General Lee was concentrating his batteries along the brow 
of Seminary Ridge, and by noon had massed 145 cannon to 
open the attack. To reply to these guns the enemy, who w^ere 
able to see what was going on in our lines, had crowned 
Cemetery Hill, according to report, with 80 cannon. On this 
day Heth's Division was imder command of General Petti- 
grew, General Heth having received a disabling wound the 
day before. 

PettigTew's Brigade was commanded by Colonel Marshall, 
and the Fifty-second Regiment was under command of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Parks. The column of attack was lying un- 
der the crest of the ridge in rear of our guns. Pettigrew's 
Brigade occupied the position in line immediately to the left 
of Archer, who joined the left of Kemper's Brigade of Pick- 

238 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

ett's Division, which occupied the right of the column of at- 
tack. Between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon our guns 
opened upon the enemy's batteries and elicited a prompt and 
spirited reply. This artillery duel was continued for the 
space of about two hours without intermission, and the roar 
of the guns and bursting of shell were frightful to hear and 
dreadful to contemplate. A slackening of the enemy's fire 
was taken advantage of to advance the column of attack. In 
obedience to orders the line moved gallantly and steadily for- 
ward under fire of our gims until it reached a point beyond 
which it was unsafe to fire over our heads. Steadily the ad- 
vance was made, and as steadily and coolly met with a mur- 
derous fire from the enemy's cannon, charged with grape, 
shrapnel and canister. Still the line advanced, and at every 
step our comrades fell on every side, killed or wounded. 
Still we advanced under the incessant discharge of the can- 
non, assisted by the infantry's rifles, and had almost attained 
success, when by the overpowering force and almost impreg- 
nable position of the enemy, our lines were forced back, and 
then the slaughter was terrific. We fell back to the point 
from which the attack was made, rallying all whom it was 
possible to reach, and reforming our shattered lines. 

In this fatal charge our losses were very heavy. The 
gallant Marshall, pierced through the body while leading 
his brigade to the attack, fell from his horse, dead, within 
a very short distance of the enemy's lines. In his death 
our cause sustained a very great loss. Of his rank the Con- 
federate Army had few equals and no superiors. His 
regiment was greatly attached to him ; his uniform courtesy, 
coupled with great firmness and rigid discipline in 
camp, as well as on the march, had won the entire confidence 
of his men, and all mourned him as a brother lost. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Parks was shot through both thighs, and 
fell into the hands of the enemy, and our brave 
and dashing Major Richardson sealed, with his life, his de- 
votion to the cause he loved so well, and for the advance- 
ment of whose success he had striven so zealously. He was 
instantly killed by a rifle ball while leading the left wing of 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 239 

his regiment. Of the line officers, but few escaped wounds or 

The regiment was commanded on the 4:th by Captain Na- 
thaniel A. Foster, of Company F, the Junior (^aptain en- 
gaged in the fight. The Adjutant of the regiment reported 
the lossas in tlie engagements of the first and third days as 
33 killed on the field, 114 wounded and 169 missing. Of 
this latter, nearly all of whom fell into the enemy's hands, it 
is fair to presume many were wounded. 

We held our lines during the night of the 3d and the day 
of the 4th, strengthening them with temporary works, and 
expecting an attack by the Federal army. As no advance was 
made by the enemy. General Lee began to retire in the direc- 
tion of the Potomac on the night of the 4th. In consequence 
of the death of our field officers on the 3d, Captain B. F. Lit- 
tle, of Company F, was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel, 
and Captain Eric Erson, of Company H, was commissioned 
Major, the officers of Companies E and H were each promoted 
one grade, as were also the officers of Companies I and K, in 
consequence of the death of Captains McCain and Blackburn. 
On account of the bad roads and caution observed on retiring, 
we did not reach Hagerstown, Md., until the 10th. Finding 
the waters of the Potomac so much swollen from recent heavy 
rains as to make fording impracticable, and General Lee's 
pontoon bridge partially destroyed, we halted at this place. 
On the morning of the 11th our regiment went into line of 
battle about three miles from the town, expecting General 
Meade would attack us as soon as he had come up. We held 
this line until the night of the 13th, with occasional skirmish- 
ing between the picket lines. During this halt the pontoon 
bridge had been repaired so as to be available, and was thrown 
across the Potomac at Falling Waters. The rain had been 
falling nearly every day since we began to fall back from 
Gettysburg, and consequently the roads were in a horrible 
condition. During the 13th wagon trains were put in mo- 
tion to cross the river, and at night the troops from our por- 
tion of the line were withdrawn and marched for the pontoon 
bridge, but the roads were so cut up by the heavy wagon 

240 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

trains and the artillery as to make tlieni almost impassable, 
and our march was necessarily slow. 


To Pettigrew's Brigade had been assigned the responsible 
duty of protecting the rear of the army while crossing the 
river. The march had been so retarded by the difficulty of 
getting the artillery and the wagon trains forward that we did 
not reach our position until 10 o'clock Tuesday morning, 14 
July. General PettigTew chose a hill by the roadside, and 
between one and two miles from the river, for his position. 
There he formed his line and ordered a rest, whereupon the 
men threw themselves upon the ground, and in a few 
moments many of them, responding to the call of exhausted 
nature, were sound asleep. We had been followed by a large 
body of cavalry which had not yet the temerity to attack us. 
While resting, as stated, awaiting the crossing of that portion 
of the army which had not yet succeeded in reaching the 
pontoon, a squad of Federal cavalry, numbering about fifty 
men, passing through a skirt of woods in our rear, behind 
which was massed a division, advanced upon us at a trot with 
sabres drawn and rode over us before we could check them. 
In explanation of this fact it should be stated that a regiment 
of our cavalry had passed us going to the rear a short time 
before for the purpose of crossing the river at Williarasport 
above, but we thought they were between us and the enemy. 

As the cavalry body approached, the men were waked up 
and called to arms, but some of the superior officers, mistak- 
ing them for our own men, ordered the men not to fire, and it 
was not until they were upon us that the error was seen ; then 
the bursting of caps with the occasional discharge of a rifle, 
was heard, and the enemy began to reap the reward of his 
rashness. Having ridden over our lines, they Avere now 
using their pistols with deadly effect, when our rifles began 
to explode and in a few moments all of the squad save five or 
six who made their escape, were either killed, wounded or 
prisoners, not however, before General Pettigrew had been 
mortally wounded by one of the party. The exposure to rain, 
to which we had been subjected for so many days, had left the 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 241 

rifles of our men in such bad condition tliat but few would 
fire at first, and to this fact is attributed the losses we sus- 
tained — had the gams of our men exploded when first tried, 
not a man of the attacking party would have been left to tell 
the tale, and valuable lives would have been saved. This en- 
gagement caused a general advance on the part of the enemy, 
and that portion of General A. P. Hill's Corps not yet over 
the river was hurried to the suppport of Pettigrew. We 
formed line of battle to meet the advance, though all of our 
artillery having passed the river, we had none in line; but 
skirmishing with the enemy and fighting and falling back, we 
held them in check until the Avhole army had crossed, with all 
of the wagons and artillery, save two pieces, the horses draw- 
ing which had become so exhausted as to be unable to 
move them, and before fresh horses could be procured the 
rear of the army had passed them. The whole army thus 
crossed the river successfully in the face of a large body of the 
enemy. The loss in our regiment, however, was considerable, 
its commanding officer, Captain Nathaniel A. Foster, being 
among the number captured. 

Upon crossing into Virginia we took up our line of march, 
passing through Martinsburg to Bunker Hill where we rested 
several days. Resuming our line of march, passing through 
Winchester, we crossed the Shenandoah river at Front Royal, 
and thence marched by way of Flint Hill to Culpepper Court 
House, which place we reached on the 25th, and went into 
camp about one mile from the town. Resting until Monday 
morning, 3 August, we moved towards Orange Court House, 
reaching the vicinity of the town on the 5th, and there went 
into camp. About 10 August Colonel William Kirkland, of 
the Twenty-first ]^orth Carolina Regiment, was promoted to 
Brigadier-General and ordered to assume command of our 
brigade, and henceforth it was known as Kirkland's Brigade. 


We remained in our camp near Orange Court House until 

about 20 September, doing picket duty and drilling daily. 

On the 20th the regiment was moved to Rapidan Station and 

placed in position, together with the remainder of the brigade, 


242 North Carolina Trooi-s, 1801-'05. 

to meet an expected advance of General Meade's army. On 
■B October, ISiJi], we left our line at Ilapidan Station with 
•a view of flanking the enemy and giving him battle at Culpep- 
per Court House, but we were not sviccessful in bringing on 
this tiglit. The enemy, learning of General Lee's move- 
>ftfents, began to fall back towards Centreville, we following 
in hot pursuit. On the 13th the Corps of A. P. Hill had 
reacluMl Warrenton, Va., and on the morning of the 14th we 
moved out from Warrenton along the turnpike road to New 
Ealtiuiore, where we wheeled to the right in pursuit of Gen- 
eral French, who was just ahead and retreating very rapidly, 
as was evidenced by the beaten tracks on both sides of the 
road over which his troops had passed. Reaching the hills to 
the westward and just above Bristoe Station in the after- 
noon, we saw the rear of his column in the valley just beyond 
Broad Kun river. He had escaped us, but we were destined 
for a fight. 

About the time of our reaching Bristoe Station the advance 
of Warren's Corps, whom General Ewell was following up 
the railroad, made its appearance and Cooke's and Kirkland's 
Brigades were formed for immediate attack. The two brig- 
ades, under cover of artillery, gallantly advanced against 
overwhelming numbers posted behind the railroad embank- 
ment. Everything was moving smoothly until we had 
reached point blank range, when the infantry posted behind 
the railroad, opened a withering fire upon our lines which 
baited and were forced to fall back. The Fifty-second and 
Eleventh Tvegiments moved steadily forward and sua'.eeded 
in driving the eneni}^ immediately in their front, next to the 
railroad bridge, from their position. About the time we had 
gained the road in our front, a section of artillery passed rap- 
idly over the river, and, crossing the railroad track, unlim- 
bered, preparatory to giving us a raking enfilading shelling. 
Looking for our support on the right, we were dismayed to 
see the enemy to our right and rear, in possession of the field 
and part of our ai-tillory. The command was at once given to 
fall back and we retreated rapidly and successfully. The 
Eifty-second Begiment, whose losses were comparatively few 
on this occasion, had three killed on the field, twenty-one 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 243 

woimded and forty-two missing. General Kirkland was 
wounded and conveyed from the field. In view of the fact that 
General A. P. Hill had an entire army corps within half a 
mile, and the remainder of Heth's with all of Wilcox's Divis- 
ion, were spectators, the lack of timely reinforcements was 
strange, to say the least of it.* 


We bivouacked upon the battlefield during the night of the 
14th, and the following morning fell back to Rappahannock 
Station, destroying the railroad as we retreated, tearing up 
the rails which we heated over burning piles of cross ties and 
twisted so as to render them useless for the time being. Upon 
arrival at Rappahannock Station we at once entered upon 
picket duty, engaged in drilling and other incidental camp 
duty until 7 November. About 11 o'clock Saturday night, 
the 7th, we received orders to cook rations and be ready to 
move at a moment's notice. At the time we supposed the 
army would make another advance, but instead we fell back 
to a line on the Rapidan river. During Sunday, the 8th, 
we were in line of battle throughout the day, expecting an at- 
tack, but were not engaged. On the 9th we were ordered on 
picket duty at Peyton's Ford, where we remained until the 
13th, on which day we received orders to cook two days' 
rations and be ready to move at a moment's notice, but did 
not receive marching orders until the 29th. On this date we 
left camp at 4 o'clock in the morning, and, proceeding by the 
Orange Court House and Fredericksburg road to a point near 
Vidiersville, we came up with our cavalry engaged in a skir- 
mish with the enemy. Our skirmishers were deployed and 
thrown forward, engaging the enemy until nightfall, and we 
held this line during the night. The remainder of the army 
having arrived during the night. General Lee formed his line 
of battle at Mine Run, On the morning of the 30th the en- 
emy opened his artillery on portions of the Confederate line, 
and we confidently expected an attack. It seems, however. 

* When General Lee arrived on the scene of A. P. Hill's bloody blun- 
der his pointed rebuke was " nothing remains to be done, General Hill, 
except to bury your unfortunate dead." — Ed. 

244 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

that upon an inspection of General Lee's lines General Meade 
recognized the position to be inipregiiable, and, declining bat- 
tle, retired behind the Rapidan on the night of 1 December, 

Onr regiment remained at tliis point until Thursday, 3 
December, when we returned to ("amp Marshall, our winter 
quarters, near Orange Court House, where we remained em- 
ployed in drilling and general camp duty until 3 February, 
1864, on wliich day our regiment was ordered on picket duty 
on the Rapidan river. On the 20th General Kirkland, having 
recovered from his wound received at Bristoe Station, re- 
turned to cam]) and again took comnumd of his brigade. 

During the month of March Governor Vance paid a visit 
to the Nortli Carolina troops in the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia and made addresses to the several brigades. He had an 
appointment to speak to Cooke's and Kirkland's Brigades, 
jointly, on the 29th, but on account of the very bad weather 
our commands were deprived of the pleasure of hearing him. 
The regiment, having been in winter quarters since 3 Febru- 
ary, on 27 April vacated the cabins and moved to an encamp- 
ment one mile distant. As sickness prevailed to a great ex- 
tent about this time, the change was made as a sanitary meas- 
ure with good results. 


On 4 May our regiment broke camp and marched by the 
Orange Court House and Fredericksburg plank road, reach- 
ing Vidiersville, near which it rested for the night. On the 
5th it continued to march in the direction of Fredericksburg, 
and early in the afternoon reached a point at which the plank 
road is intersected by what is known as the Brock road ; and 
here General Hill, finding the enemy in his front, formed his 
line of battle extending across the Plank road. About this 
time the Fifty-second Regiment was ordered to retrace its 
steps for the purpose of protecting our wagon train, which 
was reported to be threatened by the enemy's cavalry. Ac- 
cordingly, we proceeded to execute this command, and, having 
gone as far as Parker's store, about four miles to the rear, 
were informed that its services were not required. Immedi- 
ately it faced about and returned to join its brigade. In the 

Fifty-Second RegixMent. 245 

meantime the battle had beo;un, and as we approached the 
lines we were met by great numbers of our men wounded and 
seeking" the rear for shelter and relief. These men were 
wounded in every conceivable manner — some slightly, others 
severely and not a few mortally. Nothing daunted by this 
spectacle, the gallant old Fifty-second moved rapidly forward 
and took its position in the brigade, and at once became hotly 
engaged. The ground over which we were fighting 
was covered with dense undergTowth, and the enemy could 
scarcely be seen, in many places, one hundred yards 
in our front. From the time we joined the brigade, which 
must have been about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, 
until nightfall there was one continuous roll of musketry, 
when night coming on put a stop to the battle for this 
day. The regiment spent the night upon the ground on 
which it had ceased to fight in the evening, and the exhausted 
men sought what rest they could. 

From the nature of the ground over which the battle had 
raged, our lines had become very much disarranged, and in 
many places there was no connection with our troops to the 
right or left. Longstreet, it was known, was marching to re- 
lieve Hill's Corps, and was expected to be up by 12 o'clock 
that night. Possibly for this reason the inexcusable blunder 
of not re-establishing our lines during the night of the 5th 
was made. 

Longstreet was delayed and did not reach us at the expected 
time, and sunrise of the 6th found us fighting under these 
great disadvantages. The enemy having penetrated our lines 
at one of these gaps, opened fire upon the Fifty-second Regi- 
ment from the rear. Finding we were flanked we began to 
fall back, fighting as we retreated. By this time the whole 
line to the right of the plank road was being forced back and 
the safety of the army for a time was greatly endangered. 
Longstreet with his gallant men reached the field about this 
time ; rapidly forming his line, he met the advancing lines of 
the enemy, checked them, and in a few moments was rapidly 
driving them back upon their own lines, and thus re-estab- 
lishing those of General Hill. 

246 North Carolina Trooi's, 18G1-'65. 

spottsylvania to peteksbukg. 

Our regiment remained in line of battle in the Wilder- 
ness until the evening of the 8th, when we were marched to 
Spottsylvania Court House, which place we reached on the 
morning of the 9th and were assigned to a position in the line 
to the left of the court house where we began immediately to 
intrench ourselves. Here we remained in line of battle, fight- 
ing at intervals and constantly exposed to heavy shelling from 
the enemy's battery. Our losses since the 5th had been 
heavy — Captain Kyle and Lieutenant Huske wounded among 
numbers of others, and on the 11th Captain Leonidas R. Gib- 
son, of Company I, was killed. In consequence of his death 
the officers of this company were each promoted one grade. 

General Grant had again taken up his movement to the 
left, and on the 2 2d we were withdrawn from our lines and 
moved rapidly in the direction of Hanover Junction. Cross- 
ing the North Anna river our regiment was placed in line 
on the south side of the river about two miles from the junc- 
tion. General Warren having crossed the river at Jericho 
Ford on the 23d, was met by Hill's Corps near N^oel's Sta- 
tion and after a spirited engagement was forced to halt for 
the day. 

After this the regiment resumed its place in the line of 
battle, where it remained until the 31st, when it was moved 
ill the direction of Gaines' ^lill, which point it reached about 
noon on 1 June. Here we were placed in line, but not en- 
gaged until the 2d, when we participated in a heavy skinnish 
with the enemy. In this fight General Kirkland was again 
\voundcd, receiving a rifle ball through the thigh, and was 
taken from the field. In consequence, Colonel George H. 
Faribault, of tlie Forty-seventh Regiment, was in comiiiand 
of the brigade. On the afternoon of 3 June Ileth's Division, 
occupying the left of General Early's line, (he was com- 
manding A. P. Hill's Corps at this time), was twice most 
vigorously attacked, but the enemy was handsomely repulsed 
with considerable loss. The Fifty-second Regiment sus- 
tained its part of these attacks with its accustomed coolness 
and spirit. On 5 June, for the first time since leaving Or- 
ange Court House, Ileth's Division was resting, awaiting or- 

Fifty-Second Regiment, 247 

ders. Worn down with fighting, and constant marching to 
meet the enemy's advance, the men greatly enjoyed this much 
needed repose. 


On the evening of the 9th, the regiment was ordered to 
proceed to Bottom's Bridge, on the Chickahominy river, for 
picket duty, and on the evening of the 10th was ordered to 
join the brigade in the line on the following morning. 
From here we moved to White Oak Swamp, reaching that 
point on the 14th, where we remained, doing picket duty until 
the 18th, when we marched for Petersburg, Va., reaching 
the neighborhood of that city on the night of the 18th, after a 
dusty and very fatiguing march. We were placed in line of 
battle on the south side of Appomattox river. About the 
25th the regiment was taken from the trenches and marched 
about four miles north of the city and assigned the duty of 
guarding the bridges on the turnpike and railroad over Old 
Town creek. In the latter part of July, Colonel William 
MacRae, of the Fifteenth North Carolina Regiment, was 
made Brigadier-General, and ordered to assume command of 
the brigade. Henceforward, we were known as MacRae's 
Brigade. We remained in the vicinity of Petersburg until 
Wednesday, 27 July, when we marched to Chaffin's Bluff, 
reaching that point Thursday morning after a very tiresome 
tramp. • 

On the afternoon of the 28th our skirmish lines were heav- 
ily engaged for an hour or two, and w^e expected an attack 
upon our lines, which did not take place. We remained 
here in line until the 30 th, when we received orders to move 
at once to the south side of the James river. We marched a 
distance of about ten miles to Rice's Turnout on the Rich- 
mond & Petersburg Railroad, and at that point took the cars 
to Petersburg, and occupied our position in the intrench- 
ments. At this point we remained until 2 August, when we 
were moved further to the left and placed in reserve. On 
the 9th we relieved General Cooke in the trenches, our line 
at this point not exceeding 200 yards distance from the en- 
emy's lines, and our sharpshooters, as well as those of the en- 

248 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'05. 

emy, kept up a constant firing both night and day. We held 
this line until the 13th, when we, in turn, were relieved, and 
camped temporarily in rear of our lines until the 18th, when 
we were moved outside the lines to a point about two and one- 
half miles southwest from Petersburg, and one mile east of 
the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad, where we had been sent 
to confront General Warren, who was pressing for the rail- 
road. In the afternoon we made a sudden and vigorous at- 
tack upon Warren's left and drove him back about one mile, 
when our command was withdrawn. By the evening of the 
20th the enemy had succeeded in gaining possession of the 
railroad and intrenched himself at a point about one mile 
south of Vaughn's house, at what we called the Yellow Tav- 
ern, located on the railroad about four miles south from 
Petersburg. On the night of the 20th we were withdrawn 
from the trenches and again moved to the south of the city to 
attack the enemy, who now held the railroad. Reporting to 
General Heth, whom we found at Vaughn's house, before day 
on the 21st, we were soon in line, and advanced our sharp- 
shooters' to clear the front, and after a pretty sharp skirmish 
they drove the enemy's picket lines in. Under Pegram's 
guns, we advanced to the attack ; and, after having driven in 
two lines of the enemy who fell back under cover of their 
batteries, we M'ere halted in a skirt of woods about half way 
between Pegram's guns in our roar and the enemy's batteries 
in our front, and between the two we were subjected to a 
furious shelling. The column sent to attack the enemy in 
flank failing to come up, we held our lines until night, when 
we were withdrawn and retired within our lines of intrench- 
ments. On the 24th we moved out to our works and 
marched for Reams Station, halting at night near Arm- 
strong's Mills, about eight miles southeast of the city. Early 
on the morning of the 2r)th we resumed the march and halted 
at a point :d)oiit tliree miles from Reams Station. 

kea:v[S STAT] ox. 

About 2 o'clock an attack had been made iijioii tlu^ (mi- 
emy by a part of General A. P. Hill's commant], which 
was di'iven back with loss, after which the North Carolina 

Fifty-Second Regiment. 249 

Brigades of Lane, Cooke and MacRae were ordered up, taking 
position in the enemy's front. Advancing steadily and rap- 
idly under the fire of Pegram's guns, we captured the whole 
line, not, however, before the enemy were driven off in a 
hand-to-hand encounter in the works, in which in a few in- 
stances clubbed rifles were used. In this fight our losses were 
necessarily heavy. We captured seven stands of colors, 2,000 
prisoners and nine pieces of artillery. (See General Lee's 
letter to the Secretary of War, 26 August, 1864.) The en- 
emy having been driven from the railroad, fell back to their 
own line, and at nightfall our troops fell back to Petersburg. 
On reaching the city we were placed in line, the right of 
our brigade resting on the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. 
Here we were engaged in throwing up a new line of works in 
front of those at that time occupied. At this employment we 
continued until 16 September, when we were moved to a 
point about half a mile south of the Boydton plank road, and 
about three miles southwest of the city, where we were em- 
ployed in constructing rifle-pits until the 20th. On this day 
we were moved about one mile further south of the Boydton 
road and engaged in constructing works of a more elaborate 
character until the 29th, when we were ordered to Petersburg 
to supply the places in the line of troops who had been sent 
north of the James. We reached the city on the same day 
and awaited orders. On the 30th we were ordered to coun- 
ter-march and take position on the right of the line. During 
the time we had been withdrawn, the enemy advanced and 
had taken a portion of the rifle pits and a heavy earthwork 
(Fort MacRae) which we had constructed and held on the 
Squirrel Level road. Attempting to move thence in the 
direction of the Boydton plank road, he was met by Heth's 
Division, and after a sharp and spirited attack, was driven 
back on his lines. MacRae's Brigade now took position in 
the line further to the right and was engaged daily in throw- 
ing up earthworks and drilling until the morning of 27 Oc- 

burgess' mills. 

The enemy having driven in our cavalry holding the right 
of the line, and penetrating to the Boydton plank road at a 

250 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

point known as Burgess' Mills, about six miles southwest of 
Petersburg, MacRae's Brigade, together with other troops^ 
was sent to their support. Finding the enemy in heavy force 
on the west side of Hatcher's Bun, and south of the plank 
road, we crossed the run some distance below, and 
immediately after crossing advanced our corps of 
sharpshooters, who at once encountered the enemy's skir- 
mish line, which was rapidly forced back upon the Federal 
line of battle. In the meantime our line of liattle had been 
formed. With a yell we charged the enemy's lines, which 
were broken by the impetuosity of our attack, and were 
driven rapidly before us. Having driven the enemy for 
nearly a mile, and finding no support advancing to our assist- 
ance, the enemy being in great number on both our right and 
left flank, General MacBae w^as forced to call a halt and fall 
back on our lines. In this engagement the loss of officers and 
men was heavy. Among the former was Lieutenant James 
W. Huske, of Company B, Fifty-second Begiment, who fell, 
pierced through the body with a minie ball while gallantly 
leading the left wing of the regiment in this charge. He had 
on this occasion, as on all others, beliaved with conspicuous 
gallantry. He died upon the field, and in his death the regi- 
ment lost one of its most valuable officers, and his company a 
kind and considerate friend. Fighting until nearly dark our 
lines were drawn back and reformed, where we awaited an ex- 
pected attack, but apparently the enemy had been sufficiently 
punished, as they witlidrcw under cover of night, leaving 
their killed and wounded on the field. A i\Tajor-General 
said in the hearing of this writer, next morning, that he 
counted 286 dead and 145 so severely wounded as to be un- 
able to help themselves. 

On the 29th ]\racBae's Brigade roturncMl to tlK> lines near 
Hart's liouse, Avhence it had been tak(Mi, and was employed 
in changing our lines, building a new line of works and tear- 
ing down the old ones. At this point we erected cabins and 
went into winter (piarters. Occupied in working on fortifica- 
tions, drilling and the ordinary camp duties, we were not 
called upon to move until December, 1864. when the 
brigade started upon a tramp in ])nrsuit of a party of the en- 

Fifty-Second Rkgiment. 251 

emy's troops engaged in an effort to destroy the Petersburg & 
Weldon Railroad. We did not get a fight, but were success- 
ful in driving them back within their own lines, after whicE 
we returned to our camp, reaching it on the 14th, From this 
date until 5 February, 1865, we remained in our winter 
quarters, doing picket duty, drilling and performing such 
other duty as is incident to camp life. 


On the 5th MacRae's Brigade, accompanied by other 
troops, moved out to intercept a column of the enemy moving 
by the Vaughn road, in the direction of the South Side Rail- 
road, which had reached a point near Armstrong's Mill, on 
the left bank of Hatcher's Run. Finding the enemy strongly 
intrenched, we made a demonstration against them which 
was repulsed with some loss. We were withdrawn after dark 
and returned to our quarters. On the 7th we were ordered 
under arms at daylight expecting to attack the enemy, but on 
account of a very heavy sleet and snowstorm, did not move. 
On the night of 31 March we were moved to the right and oc- 
cupied a position in our lines on the right of the Boydton 
plank road beyond Hatcher's Run, which we held until the 
night of 2 April, when we began our retreat by a road leading 
from Five Forks to Southerland Station, closely pursued by 
the enemy. Reaching Southerland Station on the morning 
of the 3d, we were so closely pressed as to find it necessary to 
fight. We therefore selected a position on the brow of a 
slight hill in an open field and rapidly fortified our line, as 
well as we could, with bayonets used to break the earth, and 
such other means as were at command. Before we had suc- 
ceeded in doing any considerable work the enemy charged our 
line. His advance was met with a well-delivered and telling 
volley from our rifles (we had no artillery) and they were 
driven back with heavy loss. A second attack with strength- 
ened lines was made and again they retreated with greater 
loss. A third and much heavier column was hurled against 
our little band ; and, after fighting with great desperation, 
being flanked on our left, we were driven from our lines and 

252 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

retreated in the direction of the Appomattox river with but 
little, if any, organization. 

Since the war a Federal General told General MacGowan, 
of South Carolina who, being the ranking officer present on 
this occasion, commanded our line, that this was the most gal- 
lantly defended line of any within his knowledge during the 
war ; that we had killed and wounded more of their men than 
we numbered. Following the course of the river by the near- 
est accessible road, and often through the woods, crossing 
Namozine and Deep creeks, we joined General Lee at Goode's 
Bridge and proceeded thence to Amelia Court House, reach- 
ing this point on the 4th and halting for rest and rations. 
Here General Lee expected to ration his army, having or- 
dered supplies to meet him at this point. In this hope, how- 
ever, he was greatly disappointed. The authorities at Rich- 
mond, in the panic caused by the expected evacuation of the 
lines around Richmond and Petersburg, ordered the trains to 
proceed, wdthout stopping, to the capital, for the purpose of 
moving the government's effects, which they did, carrying 
with them almost the last hope of the army in the shape of its 
subsistence, there to be destroyed, or fall into the hands of the 

We rested here during the 4th and 5th sending out forag- 
ing parties for supplies, which resulted in — nothing. The 
troops had now been forty-eight hours without regular rations 
and the prospect was disheartening. On the night of the 5th 
we left Amelia Court House, marching westwardly by way 
of Deatonsville, thence towards Farmville. Approaching 
High Bridge over the Appomattox river, we encountered a 
body of cavalry disputing our passage. MacRae's Brigade 
charged, driving them off and capturing General Gregg, after 
which we continued the retreat, and crossing the river over 
the bridge, bivouacked for the night. On the morning of the 
7th the retreat w^as continued. Reaching a commanding po- 
sition al")out five miles north from Farmville, a line of bat- 
tle was formed and fortifications quickly erected. Here we 
rested until night, when the retreat was continued in the 
direction of Lynchburg, and by the night of the Sth the army 
had reached the vicinity of Appomattox Court House. 

Fifty-Second Regiment, 253 

On the 9th an advance was begun but, finding the enemy in 
possession of our only line of retreat, the army was halted 
pending negotiations for the surrender of the Army of ISTorth- 
em Virginia. On the 12th, in accordance with the terms 
agreed upon, the Fifty-second Regiment, together with the 
remainder of what had been the noble Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, marched to a point designated by the commissioners 
appointed for that purpose, and stacked their arms, deposit- 
ed their furled banners, gave their parole and took up their 
line of march for those homes they had fought so bravely to 
defend through four long years of blood, hardships and toil. 

I^OTE : — After the regiment had been assigned to a brigade 
I have not, in many instances, been able to speak of it as a 
separate command, but it is to be understood that in all cases 
where the movements of the brigade are spoken of, the Fifty- 
second Regiment participated. 

Having no access to records, I have not been able to note 
casualties with accuracy as to detail, except, in a few cases, 
where my information is derived from letters written to my 
wife at the time. 

John H. Robinson. 
Fayetteville, N. C, 
9 April, 1901. 

&. Jamsx'wm 




The duty a— _ ■ — ■ . — — 

of the Fifrr-U-..\. ,•. :„ '_-.-._- ^_i^_ ::; . ^ .__ ; :; 

dischaige, with pleasure, but I did not realize uii::. I ^in 
how great the difficnltr would be, with no record - :: : '.-r 
conflicting recollections of sorviring comrades as - -:i:i 
and persons. It may be and no doubt it is true, rJ I -~f 
not beai accurate as to the personnel of the cffi; f 

regiment, as to the dates of commissionss, death an^ , :^^, 
and if any injustice by omission or conmiisgifm is done^ I as- 
sure my living comrades and frioids of such as have crc^^si-?! 
over the river, that no <me regrets more idban I the lack of re- 
liable data to rectify any mistakes. 

The limited length of this sketch of course, forbids my en- 
tering into the details of casualties among over one thousand 
men who at different dates composed the rank and file. 

The characteristics of this regiment were common to 
Xorth CaioKna troops. Obedience to and reverence for law 
and authority, for which the State has been so l<mg known, in 
my opinion, constitute the basis of siddierly qualities for 
which her soldiers will be famous in history. 

This regiment was like other Xordi Carolina regimaits: 
it was never known to shirk a duty : never refused to advance 
when ordered : never known to retire without command. In 
June, after its organizatico, it was ordered to Itiehmcmd and 
during the seven days contest it was cm duty <m the 
side of the James. The greater part of its first year of so*- 
vice was spent in Eastern Xorth CarcJiina and it recaved its 
first bapdsm of fire as a raiment at Washington, IST. C, in 
Gen. D. H. HiO's winter campaign of 1S62 and 18^^ ^ ' - - 
days after the battle of Chancelloisville it became : 

the Army of Xorthem Virginia, and as a part of Daniers 
Brigade, was attached to the Second Corps, with which it 

256 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

inarched and fought from FrcHiericksburg to A])p(una(tox, 
and participated in more than twenty general engageuionts, 
inchiding Gettysburg, the Wikh^niess, Spottsylvania, Wash- 
ington City, Kernstown, Snicker's Ford, Wincliester, P'ish- 
er's Hill, Cedar Creek, Hare's Hill, Petersburg, and in num- 
erous combats and smaller affairs, in some of which the con- 
flict was more hotly contested than in the great-er battles. Dan- 
iel's Brigade was composed of the Thirty-second, Forty-third, 
Forty-fifth and Fifty-third Xorth Carolina l-fegimcntvS, and 
Second Xorth Carolina Battalion. After General Daniel's 
death, General Bryan Grimes became Brigadier-General. 
The histories of the other regiments in the brigade necessarily 
outline the chief incidents in the career of the Fifty-third and 
make it unnecessary to give its battles and marches in detail. 

I select two special instances of its coolness and discipline : 
One was on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg. This 
regiment had hastened from Carlisle, Pa., its steps quickened 
by the report of big guns on the morning of 1 July. Imme- 
diately upon its arrival at Gettysburg it was thrown into line 
and advanced to the assault with the brigade. Soon it. was 
ascertained that there was not room between the brigade on 
the left and the one on the right, and this regiment was drop- 
ped out of the line, which closed up in its front and for some 
time it had to stand under shot and shell in an open field with- 
out being able to return the fire until the brigade on the left, 
having given away, it moved to the left, took its place and 
drove the enemy into the town. 

In this trying situation, and there could have been none 
more trying, except a retreat under fire, the regiment manoeu- 
vered as upon parade and drill, and its behavior on this occa- 
sion was greatly commended by the brigade and division com- 

Another instance: At the battle of Winchester, 19 Septem- 
ber, 1864, after hours of desperate fighting, when all the 
troops on the right and left had abandoned the contest and 
retired from the field, this regiment, alone, continued to fight 
the foe until ordered to retreat, which it did, across an open 
field for several hundred yards (the enemy advancing ten to 
one in numbers) in ]->erfect order, and at intervals, when or- 

Fifty-Third Regimeist. 257 

dered,haltiiig,facing- about and delivering'its fire almost in the 
faces of the pursuers. Not a man broke ranks or quickened 
his steps. As is well known to every soldier, a retreat under 
fire is the severest test of discipline and courage. 

At the battle of Winchester, to prevent the enemy from dis- 
covering the gap on the left, I had deployed the greater part 
of my regiment as skirmishers, and this thin line successfully 
held five times its numbers at bay, until the failure of prom- 
ised support to arrive, and all of Early's army on our left had 
been driven from the field. It was known to every man in 
the regiment that the enemy w^as getting rapidly in our rear, 
and that there was imminent danger that we would be cut off 
and surrounded, but until ordered so to do, not a man left his 
position, and the regiment then retreated across the field in 
the manner above told. 

Experience and observation have taught that one of the 
results of organization and discipline is, that when soldiers 
retire or retreat in face of the enemy by order, they will halt, 
but if they "break" without order, it is difficult to raJly and re- 
form them. An incident of this battle illustrates this. The 
temporary works of the enemy above referred tO' 'were con- 
structed just beneath the brow of the liill or slope up which the 
regiment was charging at a run and was not observed until we 
were within a few feet of them. When the men had reached 
nearly the top of the slope, to their astonishment they saw be- 
hind the work a third line of the enemy and such of the other 
two lines as could be prevailed on tO' stop, outnumbering us 
four or five to one. Our men immediately faced about and 
started for the shelter of a wooded hill from and through 
which they had just driven the enemy. Seeing the condition 
and thinking of the fact above stated, I at once ordered a. re- 
treat, had the officers to repeat the order, semingly so superflu- 
ous, and directed the regiment to halt as soon as the woods 
were reached. When I reached the woods, I had the satisfac- 
tion of seeing the regiment reformed and "ready for busi- 
ness" as if nothing had happened to dampen their ardor. 

I select these out of many instances, which particularly 
distinguished this regiment, because of the trying situations. 

'258 North Carolina Troops, 1801-65. 

After the regiment was assigned to Daniel's Brigade, it 
participated in the battles of Gettysburg, three days, and at 
Mine Kun and fought more or less from 5 May, 1864, to 30 
May at tlic Wilderness under fire every day. It was in the fa- 
mous Horse Shoe at Spottsylvania Court House, during the 
terrible days of 9, 10, 11 and 12 May, losing its Major, James 
Johnston Iredell, killed, Col. Owens wounded, several of its 
Captains and Lieutenants and scores of its men killed and 
wounded. It was brought out of the Horse Shoe to straighten 
the lines after the assault of the 12th under command of a 
Captain, its only remaining field officer, its Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel being in command of the brigade, the Brigadier-General 
(Daniel) and every other officer in the brigade senior in com- 
mission, having been killed or wounded. On 30 May it 
was engaged in the battle at Bethesda church, and on the next 
day was withdrawn from the front preparatorv to its march 
to the Valley of Virginia. 

On 5 or 6 May, 1864, the sharpshooters of this regiment 
were much annoyed by one of the Federal sharpshooters who 
had a long range rifle and who had climbed up a tall tree 
from wliich he could pick off our men, tlioiigh sheltered by 
stump and stones, himself out of range of our guns. Pri- 
vate Leon, of Company B (Mecklenburg), concluded that 
"this thing had to be stopped," and taking advantage 
of every knoll, liollow and stump, he crawled near enough 
for Ins rifle to reach, took a "pop" at this disturber of 
the peace and he came tumbling down. Upon running up 
to his victim, Leon discovered him to be a Canadian In- 
dian, and clutching his scalp-lock, dragged him to our line of 
sli a rpsl looters. 

Tlie regiment was at Lynchl)urg when the pursuit of Hun- 
ter began, marched with General Early to Wasliington, D. C, 
was one of the regiments left to support the picket line under 
the walls of Washington, while the rest of the corps made good 
its retreat to the valley — the Nineteenth and Sixth Corps of 
the Federal army having been poured into the city for its de- 
fense. While supporting the pickets, this regiment became 
involved in one of the hottest conflicts in its experience, but 
succeeded in holding its position, repulsing and driving the 

P^ifty-Third Regiment. 259 

enemy back to the earthworks, which defended the city. At 
jnidnight it received orders to retire in perfect silence, and 
to the surprise of all when we reached the position on the hills 
near the city, Avhere we had left the corps, it was ascertained 
that the corps had left the night before, twenty-four hours — 
and we marched the whole night and a greater part of the 
next day before we caught up with the rear guards. Early's 
ruse, as usual, had succeeded in deceiving the enemy. 

This regiment participated in all of the battles in the Val- 
ley in 1864, and in numerous combats and skirmishes. In 
this Valley Campaign the regiment lost its gallant Colonel 
Owens, who was killed at Snicker's Ford, near Snicker's Gap, 
in August, 1864. He had been absent since 10 May, disabled 
by wounds at Spottsylvania Court House ; had returned just 
as the regiment was eating dinner, and almost while we were 
congratulating him on his safe return, we received notice that 
the enemy had crossed the river at Snicker's Ford. The or- 
der to ''fall in" was given, we marched to the river, and drove 
the enemy across, after a short, but severe conflict. The firing 
had ceased, excepting now and then a dropping shot, when 
Colonel Owens was killed by one of these stray shots. He 
was a good officer, brave, humane, social, popular with both 
men and officers. He was succeeded by the writer as Colonel. 
At Winchester, on 19 September, 1864, Adjutant Osborne 
was killed. Two years ago Color Sergeant Taylor, of Com- 
pany E, Surry county, who has resided in Utah since 1866, 
visited me. He received a ball in his hip from which wound 
he still limps and in talking about his own wound, he told 
me as we w^ere charging the third Federal line at Winches- 
ter, having broken the first two, and when near the tempor- 
ary breastwork of the enemy, he received the shot which dis- 
abled him for life, and that as he fell, young Osborne picked 
up the flag waving it, ran forward, cheering on the men and 
was killed within 20 feet of the Color Sergeant. He was an 
efficient officer and daring soldier, I suppose not older than 
20 years. Lieutenant W. R. Murray, of Company A, than 
whom there was not a better officer or braver soldier in the 
^'Old Guard" of iSTapoleon, acted as Adjutant after the death 
of Osborne till the surrender at Appomattox. 

260 NoKTH Cakolina Tkooi's, 186] -'Go. 

As stated before, Major Iredell, a true gentleman and brave 
soldier, was killed at Spottsylvania Court House. Captain 
Jolm W. Rierson succeeded him. At Winchester, finding that 
there was a gap of two or three hundred yards between my 
left and the troops on the left, and that the enemy had discov- 
ered and \vfr(^ ])reparing to take advantage of it, I directed 
Major Itierson to find General Grimes on the right of the 
division, (General Rodes had been killed in the beginning of 
the action), and apprise him of the situation. After some 
time he returned, saluted and reported, the fighting being 
very heavy all the time, when I discovered that J\Lajor Rier- 
son was shot through the neck, which wound was received be- 
fore he found General Grimes, but he nevertheless performed 
the duty, returned and reported, and did not then go to tbe 
rear until I directed him to do so. This gallant officer was 
killed when the enemy broke over our lines at Peter.-bvD-g, a 
few days before Appomattox. He was entitled to his com- 
mission as Lieutenant-Colonel from the date of the battle of 
Snicker's Ford, but I do not know that he received it. 

This was a volunteer regiment, enlisted in the latter part 
of the winter and first part of the spring of 1862, and was 
organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, the first week in 
May, 1862, and assigned to Daniel's Brigade, (Rodes' Divis- 
ion). William A. Owens, of Mecklenburg county, was 
elected Colonel ; James T. Morehead, Jr., of Guilford county, 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and James Johnston Iredell, of Wake 
county. Major, 

Colonel Owens had already been in the service more than 
one year, having served as Captain in the First (Bethel) Reg- 
iment, and at the time of his election was Lieutenant-Colonel 
of the Eleventh Regiment. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Morehead had also been in the service 
the preceding year, having entered the same in April, 1861, 
as Lieutenant of the "Guilford Grays," (afterwards Com- 
pany B, of the Twenty-seventh Regiment), and at the time 
of his election was a Captain in the Forty-fifth Regiment. 

William B. Osborne, of Mecklenburg county, M^as ap- 
pointed Adjutant and John M. Springs, of Mecklenburg, was 
appointed Captain and Assistant Quartermaster. He re- 

Fifty-Third Regiment. 261 

signed in the fall of 1862 and was succeded by Captain John 
B. Biirwell. J. F, Long was appointed Surgeon ; Lauriston 
H. Hill, of Stokes county, Assistant Surgeon, and promoted 
Surgeon in 1863. William Hill, of Mecklenburg, was ap- 
pointed Captain, A. C. S. In 1863 Charles Gresham, of 
Virginia, was assigned to duty with this regiment as Assist- 
ant Surgeon. James H. Colton, of Randolph county, was 
appointed Chaplain ; J. H. Owens, Sergeant Major (pro- 
moted Second Lieutenant of Company I and killed) ; R. B. 
Burwell, Quartermaster Sergeant; J. C. Palmer, Commis- 
sary Sergeant; R. S. Barnett, Ordnance Sergeant. Upon 
the promotion of J. H. Owens, Aaron Katz, of Company B, 
succeeded him as Sergeant-Ma j or, and upon his being cap- 
tured, Robert A. Fleming, of Company A, was Sergeant- 

Company A was from Guilford county. A. P. McDaniel 
was its first Captain, commissioned 25 February, 1862, and 
upon his retirement in 1863, Lieutenant J. M. Sutton was 
promoted Captain and wounded at Bethesda Church and on 
21 September, 1864, in the Valley, and captured at Peters- 
burg; P. W. Haterick (killed at Gettysburg), First Lieuten- 
ant; J. M. Sutton, Second Lieutenant; W. L. Fleming, pro- 
moted from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant in August, 1863 ; 
William R. Murray, promoted from ranks to Second and 
First Lieutenant in 1863; J. W. Scott, promoted Second 
Lieutenant from Sergeant (chief of regimental corps of 

Company' B was from Mecklenburg county and its first 
Captain was J. Harvey White, commissioned 1 March, 1862, 
killed at Spottsylvania Court House in May, 1864. Samuel 
E. Belk, First Lieutenant ; John M. Springs, Second Lieu- 
tenant, promoted Assistant Quartermaster ; William M. Mat- 
thews, Second Lieutenant, promoted from First Sergeant; 
M. E. Alexander, promoted Second Lieutenant from Second 
Sergeant. Lieutenants Belk, Matthews and Alexander were 
wounded at Gettysburg. 

Company C was from Johnston, Chatham and Wake, 
mostly from Johnston. Its first Captain was John Leach, 
commissioned 28 February, 1862 ; was succeeded as Captain 

262 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

by J. C. Kicliardson (wounded at Petersburg), commissioned 
17 April, 1863, both from Johnston county; George T. 
Leach, of Chatham, commissioned First Lieutenant 7 March, 
1862 ; John H. Tomlinson, of Johnston county, commissioned 
Second Lieutenant in April, 1862, resigned and succeeded by 
E. Tomlinson in 1862 ; S. R. Horn, of Johnston county, was 
commissioned Second Lieutenant 21 July, 1862. 

Company D was from Guilford, Cumberland, Forsyth, 
Stokes, Bladen and Surry. David Scott, Jr., of Guilford 
county, was commissioned Captain 1 March, 1862, resigned 
and was succeeded 15 May, 1863, by Alexander Ray, of Cum- 
berland county, promoted from First Lieutenant and killed at 
Petersburg, April 1865. Alexander Ray Avas commissioned 
First Lieutenant 1 March, 1862 ; Madison L. Efland, of Guil- 
ford county, commissioned Second Lieutenant 1 March, 1862, 
promoted First Lieutenant 15 May, 1863, and wounded; A. 
H. Westmoreland, of Stokes county, was promoted from Ser- 
geant to Second Lieutenant ; W. N. Westmoreland, Stokes 
county, was promoted from the ranks to Second Lieutenant 
in 1863. 

Company E was from Surry county. J. C. ]N"orman was 
commissioned Captain on 8 March, 1862, resigned the follow- 
ing December and was succeeded by First Lieutenant Rob- 
ert A. Hill, killed in 1864, succeeded in turn as Captain by 
First Lieutenant B. W. Minter ; Samuel Walker was commis- 
sioned Second Lieutenant 8 March, 1862, promoted to First 
Lieutenant December, 1862, and resigned; B. W. Minter, 
Second Lieutenant, promoted First Lieutenant and Captain ; 
Henry Hines, Second Lieutenant, in 1862 ; Logan Bemer, 
promoted from Corporal to Second Tjieutenant, wounded and 
captured in 1864; James A. Hill, Second Lieutenant, cap- 
tured in 1864. 

Company F was from Alamance and Chatham. G. M. 
G. Albright was commissioned Captain 5 May, 1862, killed 
July, 1863, at Gettysburg, and was succeeded by A. G. Al- 
bright, promoted from First Lieutenant (wounded at Fisher's 
Hill, 1864) ; Jesse M. Holt, First Lieutenant, 16 July, 1863, 
promoted from Second Lieutenant, (killed at Winchester, 
1864) ; Branson Lambe, commissioned in 1864, promoted 

Fifty-Third Regiment. 263 

from Second Lieutenant; John J. Webster, commissioned 
Second Lieutenant May, 1862, and resigned; S. J. Albright, 
commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1862 and killed at 
Spottsylvania Court House in 1864. 

Company F was from Stokes. G. W. Clarke was com- 
missioned Captain on 20 March, 1862, and resigned May, 
1862 ; was succeeded by John W. Eierson, promoted from 
Second Lieutenant and who was in 1863 promoted to Major, 
wounded at Winchester and killed at Petersburg, April, 1865. 
He was in time succeeded as Captain by H. H. Campbell, 
promoted from First Lieutenant and killed at Winchester. 
G. B. Moore was commissioned First Lieutenant in March, 
1862, resigned in June ; John W. Rierson, commissioned Sec- 
ond Lieutenant March, 1862 ; W. H. McKinney was promo- 
ted from the ranks in May, 1862, to second Lieutenant, and 
wounded at Winchester ; C. F. Hall, promoted from ranks to 
Second Lieutenant, mortally wounded at Gettysburg; W. F. 
Campbell, promoted First Lieutenant and wounded at Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Company H was from Stokes county. Captain Spotts- 
wood B. Taylor was commissioned on 20 March, 1862, re- 
signed on account of health in ISTovember, 1863, and was suc- 
ceeded by John E. Miller, promoted from Second Lieutenant, 
who was wounded at Snicker's Ford and captured September, 
1864; Thomas S. Burnett, commissioned First Lieutenant 
20 March, 1862, and killed in 1863; Charles A. McGehee, 
First Lieutenant, November, 1862, woimded at Gettysburg 
3 July, 1863, and captured; Alexander M. King, Second 
Lieutenant, March, 1862 ; J. Henry Owens, promoted Sec- 
ond Lieutenant from Sergeant-Ma j or, December, 1862, and 
killed ; Alexander Boyles, promoted First Lieutenant. 

Company I was from Union county. E. A. Jerome was 
commissioned Captain 20 March, 1862, and resigned in Jime 
following, and was succeeded by Thomas E. Ashcraft, pro- 
moted from First Lieutenant ; John D. Cuthbertson, commis- 
sioned Second Lieutenant 20 March, 1862, promoted First 
Lieutenant; Joshua Lee, commissioned Second Lieutenant 
20 March, 1862 ; James E. Green, promoted from the ranks, 

204 North Carolina Trooi's, 1 801-65. 

Second Lieutenant 24 June, 1862; A. T. Marsh, promoted 
froni Sergeant to Second Lieutenant 19 May, 1864. 

Company K was from Wilkes county. William J, Mil- 
ler was commissioned Captain 20 March, 1862, killed at Get- 
tysburg 1 July, 1863, and was succeeded by Jesse Y. Eller, 
promoted from Second Lieutenant; Thomas C. Miller, pro- 
moted from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant 1 July, 
1863 ; Thomas C. Miller, commissioned Second Lieutenant 
in August, 1862. 

This regiment lost in killed its first Colonel, who was twice 
wounded ; both of its Majors, one of them, Rierson, several 
times wounded and its xidjutant. Its surviving Colonel was 
wounded three times, at Gettysburg, Fisher's Hill and in the 
assault upon the Federal lines at Hare's Hill on 25 March, 
1865, in which last engagement he was captured within the 
enemy's works. 

As it is, I have only the approximately correct report of 
the losses of one of the companies of the regiment, and that 
only in one battle, but I think the losses of the other com- 
panies may be fairly estimated from the losses of this one. 

Company B lost at Gettysburg out of about 65 men, 8 
killed and 22 wounded, and of the four officers, three vvere 

I meet many of these scarred and now grizzly veterans of 
the companies from Alamance, Guilford, Stokes and Surry 
at my courts in these counties, and hear sometimes from those 
from the other counties, and with very few exceptions they 
have shown themselves to be as good citizens as they were gal- 
lant soldiers. They illustrate that ''peace hath her victories 
no less renowned than war." 

The regiment reduced to a handful of men shared the for- 
tunes of the historic retreat and surrendered at Appomattox, 
being then commanded by Captain Thomas E. Ashcraft, the 
brigade l)eing commanded by Colonel David G. Cowand. 
General Grimes having boon made a ^^fajor-General, com- 
manded the division. 

I cannot close this sketch without acknowledging my in- 
debtedness to Captain Sutton and Private J. Montgomery, of 
Company A ; L. Leon, of Company B, who kindly furnished 

Fifty-Third Regiment. 265 

me with copy of a diary kept by him from organization of 
the regiment up to 5 May, 1864, when he was captured ; Cap- 
tain Albright, of Company F ; Captain S. B. Taylor, of Com- 
pany H, and Lieutenant W. F. Campbell, of Company G, 
for valuable information ; and I hope that the publication 
of the sketches of the North Carolina regiments will excite in- 
terest enough among the old soldiers to give us further dates 
and incidents. I wish I could write a history of my regi- 
ment which would do the officers and men full credit for their 
patriotism and services. 

The patriotism and heroism of these soldiers were illus- 
trated by the patient and uncomplaining endurance of the 
forced march, the short rations, the hardships of winter camps 
and campaigns as much as by their lighting qualities. Pos- 
terity will hesitate to decide which is most worthy of admira- 

James T. Morehead. 
Obeensboro, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 



1. K. M. Murchison, Colonel. 

2. Rev. John Paris, Chaplain. 

3. J. Marshall ■Williams. 1st Lieut., Co. C. 

4. R. A. Russell, ~M Lieut., Co. E. 


By J. MARSHALL WILLIAMS, First Lieutenant Company C. 

This regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, near Ral- 
eigh, N. C, on 10 May, 1862, and was composed of t^ com- 
panies of infantry, viz. : 

Company A — Rowaon County — Captain Anderson Ellis. 

Company B — Burke County — Captain, J. C. S. McDow- 

Company C — Cumberland County — Captain, K. M. Mur- 

Company D — Northampton County — Captain, J. A. 

Company E — Iredell Coimiy — Captain, — . — . Parker. 

Company F — Guilford Cou??^^/— Captain, — . — . Wat- 

Company G — MHlkes County — Captain, A. H. Martin. 

Company H — Yadkin County — Captain, D. S. Cocker- 

Company K — Columbus County — Captain, W. B. Hamp- 

Company K — Granville County — Captain, S. J. Parham. 

Each company containing its full quota of men, it pro 
ceeded to elect Field Officers, which resulted as follows : 

Captain J. C. S. McDowell^ of Company B, Colonel. ■ 
Captain K. M. Muechison^ of Company C, Lieutenant^ 

Captain A. Ei.lis^ of Company A, Major. 

Subsequently the following Staff was appointed : 
Lieutenant W. C. McDaniel. Adjutant, of Company C. 

D. R. MuRCHisoN^ Quartermaster. 

E. G. Greenlee^ Surgeon. 

268 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

W. H. Tate, Assistant Surgeon. 
Rev. John Paris, Chaplain. 
Robert G. Russell, Sergeant-Major. 
E. G. Brodie, Ordnance Sergeant. 
J. J. Forney, Quartermaster Sergeant. 

Tluis it will be seen that this regiment was composed of ten 
companies from different parts of the State. Though high 
up in iiumhers, it was made up of good material; many of its 
officers and men had formerly belonged to the First Volun- 
teers or ''Bethel," Seventh and Eighth jSTorth Carolina Regi- 

Upon the completion of its organization this regiment was 
sent to the coast of jSTorth Carolina, and after three months 
seiwice on picket duty, and other duties incident to camp life, 
it was ordered to the Anny of ISrorthern Virginia, and was 
temporarily placed in Law's Brigade, with the Sixth, Twenty- 
first and Fifty-seventh North Carolina Regiments, which 
constituted a part of Hood's Division. Soon after it was 
assigned to this command, the first battle of Fredericksburg 
came off. 


Here we ''fleshed our maiden sword," and at once 
covered ourselves with glory. On 13 December, 1862, this 
regiment, with the Fifty-seventh, being new regiments, 
were detached and ordered to drive the enemy from a rail- 
road cut, from which they had driven our troops in the early 
part of the day. At 5 o'clock p. m. this memorable charge 
was made in the most gallant manner in the presence of some 
of our prominent generals, and to use the language of General 
Hood, our comuumder, "They pursued the broken enemy 
across the railroad for a mile into the plains. Although 
scourged by a galling flank fire, it was uot until repeated mes- 
sengers had been sent to repress their ardor that they were 
recalled. I verily believe the mad fcdlows would have gone 
on in spite of me and tlie enemy together; and <is the_> re- 
turned, souie of them were seen weepiug witli vexation be- 
cause they had been dragged from the bleeding haunches of 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 269 

the foe, and exclaiming : 'It is because lie has no confidence 
in Carolinians ! If we had been some of his Texans he would 
have let us go on and got some glory.' " Our loss in this battle 
was comparatively light, considering the deadly work we were 
engaged in, but we left some brave men on the field, which 
served to remind us that in our next it might be our lot to fill 
a soldier's grave. After this battle we went intO' winter 
quarters on the Rappahannock river, and in a short time the 
campaign of 1863 was opened. We were then transferred 
to General Robert F. Hoke's Brigade, which was composed 
of the Sixth, Twenty-first, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh 
No'rth Carolina Regiments and assigned to Early's Division, 
Jackson's Corps. We took part in some of Jackson's strater- 
gic movements around Chancellorsville, and were engaged 
in several "brushes" which were very common at that time. 
On 3 May our division alone, was sent back to Fred- 
ericksburg, a distance of sixteen miles, and took posi- 
tion on Marye's Heights to prevent a flank movement on 
General Lee, then at Chancellorsville. On the following 
day Sedgwick's Corps, with other troops, crossed the river, 
and swept us from our position. Soon Rode's Division 
came to our assistance, and after a bloody struggle we rer 
gained our former position, and the enemy were driven 
back across the river. Many of our brave men fell in this 
battle. It was here that our much-lamented Colonel, J. C. S. 
McDowell, fell mortally wounded, and on the 8th yielded 
up his life, "as a holocaust to his country's need." His re- 
mains were then taken by a dear friend to Richmond, and 
placed in the capital by the side of the immortal Jackson, 
who had "crossed over the river" at the same time. After 
the death of Colonel ]\IcDowell, Lieutenant-Colonel Ken- 
neth M. Murchison was made a full Colonel, and Captain 
James A. Rogers, of Company D, was made Major, vice Ellis 
promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. Soon we joined the main 
army, then at Chancellorsville, and were assigned to Ewell's 
Corps,, and with the army took up a line of march for 
Culpepper Court House: From thence we moved north- 
ward, passed Little Washing-ton, and moving with the ut- 
most rapidity we soon entered the Valley. 

270 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

in the valley. 

Upon reaching Front Royal, liodes' Division of our Corps 
was detached and sent to Berryville, when our division 
(Early's) with Johnson's, were sent to Winchester, On 
reaching the vicinity of Winchester our sharpshooters be- 
came engaged, and soon drove the enemy into one of their ad- 
vanced forts, which was very strong. A line of battle was 
soon formed, and all preparation made for an immediate at- 
tack. General Ewell tinding it a difficult matter to procure 
a suitable position for his artillery on the hills commanding 
the town, spent the day in posting his batteries. 

The town was strongly fortified, and it was thought that 
Milroy, with a garrison of G,000 men, would make a desper- 
ate effort to hold it. General Ewell at once resolved to storm 
the works, and with all the artillery from the two divisions 
opened a galling fire upon their works, and in three hours' 
time the Federal guns were silenced. At 6 o'clock p. m., 
Hays' Brigade of our division, made a most gallant charge 
and carried their redoubts by storm, capturing and killing 
a good portion of the garrison. ISTight coming on, Milroy, 
with a handful of his men, deserted their command and fled 
in wild confusion and reached Hai'per's Ferry in safety. 

In this engagement 2,000 prisoners, equally as many 
horses, and a vast amount of commissary stores were cap- 
tured. On 18 June our regiment, then numbering 400 men, 
was ordered to take these prisoners to Staunton, a distance of 
100 miles, and rejoin the army then in Maryland, at a speci- 
fied time. The Fifty-fourth was thus depjfived of a share 
in the battle of Gettysburg in which the rest of the brigade 
participated. With as little delay as possible we started en 
route for Staunton, marching eighteen miles a day, and 
guarding prisoners at night. On 3 July, 1863, we returned to 
Winchester, and in conjunction with a Virginia regiment, 
were ordered to guard an ordnance train to the army, then in 
Pennsylvania. Upon reaching Williamsport it was ascer- 
tained that the enemy was making some demonstrations in 
our front, and we were at once ordered by General Imboden, 
who was tlien in command, to take position and repel any 

Fifty- Fourth Regiment. 271 

attack that might be made upon our wagon train, which had 
arrived there, but could not cross on account of the high 
stage of the water in the Potomac. 

On the morning of the 6th a strong force of cavalry and 
artillery advanced on the Hagerstown and Boonsboro roads. 
Our force being small, four companies under command of 
LieutenantrColonel Ellis, were detached to support our only 
battery, and the remainder of the regiment deployed as sharp- 
shooters, so as to check any advance of the enemy that might 
be made on the Boonsboro road. At 5 o'clock p. m. the en- 
emy advanced their artillery, which was followed by dis- 
mounted cavalry, and a fierce little battle ensued, which 
lasted for an hour, when they retreated. In this fight 25 
were killed and wounded from our regiment, and a good 
number from the regiment that had joined us. 

General Imboden guarded our flanks, while Colonel Mur- 
chison manoeuvered this little army with much coolness, and 
soon won the unbounded confidence of his men in his mili- 
tary skill and their admiration for his personal bravery. 

retreat from GETTYSBURG. 

On 8 July we again joined the main army at Hagerstown, 
Md., and with it we again crossed the Potomac. Marching 
continuously we reached Rapidan Station, and went into 
camp for a short rest, which was so much needed. From this 
camp heavy cannonading could be heard in our rear, and we 
were frequently annoyed by the cavalry dashes on our rear 
guard. After our rest we moved on Somerville Ford, to 
check a column of cavalry from crossing; but after a feeble 
demonstration, they withdrew to Raccoon Ford to reinforce 
some troops already there, and confronting Johnson's Divis- 
ion. We were hurried to that point and assisted in driving 
them back. 

From here we moved to Orange Court House, and after 
being reviewed by General Lee, we went into camp and were 
held in reserve for two days. Colonel Murchison, after a 
short absence, joined us at this place, and took command of 
the regiment. In a short time we were sent out on picket 

272 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

and captured a good lot of prisoners that had been cut off 
from their commands. 

We then moved on to Madison Court House, and in ap- 
proching Rapidan river, had a fierce encounter with the 
enemy's cavalry, which was soon driven back. We then con- 
tinued our march in the direction of Culpepper Court House, 
and tipon arriving there had a rest of tAvo days, awaiting some 
troops to como up. On the 12th we resumed our march for 
Warrenton Springs and rested for the night. The next 
morning we crossed the river, and found many dead Yan- 
kees and horses where General Stuart had fought them the 
day before. He was then driving them in the direction of 
Rappahannock Station. Our whole anny then began de- 
stroying the railroad for some distance, and after this work 
was accomplished we went on tO' Rappahannock Station and 
went into camp. The next day we moved to Brandy Sta- 
tion, and in passing through an open space of fields, we were 
subjected to a severe enfilading fire, from the horse artillery, 
which caused some confusion ; but they were soon driven off, 
and we then moved on quietly and bivouacked near Brandy 

On 1 IsTovember, 1863, we moved our camp two miles west 
of Brandy Station on tlie railroad, and much to our surprise, 
we were ordered to build winter quarters ; and what rejoic- 
ing there was in the anticipation of a long rest and a cessa- 
tion of hostilities. Those of us who possessed a talent for 
making ourselves comfortable soon had good cabins, and as 
every officer was priding himself upon having the "best," a 
sudden change in our life of quietude and social enjoyment 
came over the spirit of our dreams. 


On the evening of the* 15th our brigade was called out and 
hurried to the river to reinforce Hays' Brigade of our divis- 
ion, then on picket, and threatened by a heavy force. Just 
at dark we reached the river, and were hurried across on 
pontoon bridges, and took position behind some works that 
had been built to defend the passage of the river. It was 
thought bv General Earlv that a successful resistance could 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 273 

be made, or if forced to withdraw, it could be done under the 
batteries from the south side. In a short time Sedgwick's 
Corps with the assistance of Russell's and Upton's Brigades 
from the Fifth Corps, took possession of our bridge and the 
two brigades after some desperate fighting, were oveiiDOwered 
and compelled to surrender. 

Out of the 2,000 men engaged and so recklessly exposed, 
1,750 were captured and 150 killed and wounded. Those 
who escaped only reached the south side by swimming the 
river. From our regiment only three commissioned officers 
escaped, viz.. Lieutenants Edward Smith, Fitzgerald, and 
the writer of this sketch, who was then carried fifteen miles 
at night, through a mist of rain and snow, in an unconscious 
condition, before a change of clothing could be had. Those 
that were captured were taken to Johnson's Island, Ohio, 
and Avere held until after the war. 

If the writer is not mistaken, General Hoke was at this 
time home on a wounded furlough, and upon hearing of this 
dreadful disaster, came on and obtained permission to take 
the remnant of his brigade to Kinston, IST. C, to be recraited 
by conscripts, and his old men then at home on sick and 
wounded furloughs. The Twenty-first ISTorth Carolina of 
our brigade was absent at the time, being on detached service 
in jS'orth Carolina, and thus escaped capture. The conscripts 
soon began to pour in from Raleigh, and for three weeks we 
were engaged in the monotonous business of preparing these 
men for more active service. 


General Hoke, not yet entirely well of his wounds, became 
restless and obtained permission to "tackle" New Bern. On 
30 January, 1864, we moved in that direction, by the Dover 
road, and were reinforced by Clingman's and Corse's Bri- 
gades. Upon reaching Core creek our sharpshooters were 
thrown out and soon became engaged with the enemy, when 
they were driven back to Bachelor's creek, where they were 
well fortified and made a stubborn resistance. Our artillery 
was soon in position, and a deadly assault was made upon 

S74 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

their works, when they fled in much confusion tx> New Bern, 
-leaving behind several pieces of artillery and a good many 
prisoners. In this battle our loss in killed and wounded was 
■heavy. Among the killed was Colonel Shaw, of the Eighth 
North Carolina. We then moved on to New Bern, and 
finding heavy reinforcements ])ouring into the city from 
Plymouth and other points, it w^as not deemed advisable 
to make the attack just at this time, and our little army 
withdrew ; but not until much damage had been done to 
the enemy. We then returned quietly to Kinston, and re- 
mained there, drilling conscripts which were daily com- 
ing in until 13 April, when our brigade moved in the direc- 
tion of Goldsboro, Clingman's and Corse's going in a 
different direction. This movement somewhat puzzled 
lis, as we knew not "'what was up" until we reached Ply- 
mouth, w^hen some changes were made in our commands. 


The Forty-third North Carolina and Twenty-first Georgia 
Hegiments were temporarily attached to our brigades. Col- 
onel Mercer, of the Twenty-first Georg-ia, being senior ofiicer, 
took command of our brigade (General Hok^e commanding 
the whole army). In the first charge on one of the advanced 
forts, which was very strong. Colonel Mercer was killed, 
and his men seeing no chance of getting in under this galling 
fire, began to waver, Avhen Lieutenant-Colonel W. G. Lewis, 
•of the Forty-third, promptly taking in the critical situation, 
assumed command, and began to rally the men behind a bluff 
in a few yards of the fort. He at once sent for two pieces of 
artillery, which soon battered down one corner of the fort, 
and we went in without the loss of a man. This movement 
evidently saved the life of many a brave man. 

From this time Colonel Lewis was in command of our bri- 
gade and was soon made Brigadier-General for his heroic 
conduct on this occasion. 

We then moved on the town, and after a feeble demonstra- 
tion by the enemy it was surrendered 20 April, 1864, with 
2,500 prisoners, 100,000 pounds of bacon, 1,000 barrels of 
flour and a vast amount of other stores. Among these prison- 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 275 

ers 22 had formerly belonged to our army, and had gone 
over to the enemy and taken up arms against us. These pris- 
oners were sent to Kinston, given a fair trial by court-mar- 
tial, convicted of high treason, and duly executed by our 

After this we went to Washington, N. C. The enemy soon 
fled destroying a vast amount of stores. At this place we re- 
mained several days in perfect quietude. We then moved 
back to iSTew Bern, where General Hoke expected to add an- 
other gem to the diadem of his military fame, but alas! 
General Lee could no longer do without him and we were 
hurried to Virginia. 


Arriving at Weldon, IST. C, it was ascertained that the 
enemy had torn up the railroad and burnt two of our bridges, 
and we were compelled to march fourteen miles and take the 
cars again. On 9 May at 6 o'clock p. m., we arrived at 
Petersburg just in time to save the city. Butler at that time 
was in possession of the outer works of the city, and had de- 
manded its surrender on the following morning. As soon as 
we could get in position he was attacked in the most vigorous 
manner, and soon fled in wild confusion to Drewry's Bluff, 
and we in hot pursuit until stopped by the heavy shelling 
from his gunboats. We then crossed the James and took 
position at Chaffin's fann, and after some shar]3 picket fight- 
ing we were withdrawn and sent to Richmond by steamers. 
Arriving there, we were sent four miles east of the city, and 
went into camp for the first time in several days. The next 
day we again crossed the James river to check a column of 
cavalry that was supposed to be moving on the coal field 
railroad. The enemy made but a feeble demonstration, and 
after some brisk picket fighting they withdrew. 

13 July, 1864, we were ordered back to Drewry's Bluff to 

* After the war Secretary Stanton had in contemplation calling Gen. 
Hoke to account but the latter took the initiative by going to Washing- 
ton and calling on Gen. Grant who promptly stopped the proceedings. 

276 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

reinforce General Beauregard, who was threatened by a 
heavy force. Upon our arrival there the sharp-shooters be- 
came hotly engaged, and at 6 o'clock p. ra. General Ransom's 
Brigade was moved forward and made a most brilliant charge 
on their works, but by some misunderstanding he was not sup- 
ported and was compelled to fall back, losing some good of- 
cers, himself painfully wounded. The following day hot 
skinnishing was kept up during the entire day, both armies 
preparing for bloody work. General Beauregard by this 
time knew what a superior force in numbers he had to con- 
tend against, and displayed great military skill in getting his 
troops in position. 

On the morning of the ITtli he moved forward his entire 
line, and after a most desperate stiiiggle for four hours, he 
drove them in some disorder to Bennuda Hundreds, under 
cover of their giinboats in the James and Appomattox rivers. 
Thus the "bottling up of Butler," so gi-aphically detailed by 
General Grant, was completed, and the military career of 
this "Beast and modem Falstaff" was at an end (at least 
in Virginia). 

In this battle our loss was very heavy — 3,000 in killed 
and wounded. Among the killed was our noble Major 
Rogers, who fell pierced by two balls, while gallantly leading 
this regiment. Our new men behaved admirably, but being 
inexperienced a great many were killed. 

After this battle our entire regiment, save commissioned 
officers, were duly exchanged and returned for duty, swelling 
our ranks to 700 men. At this time we only had five com- 
missioned officers on duty, and the arduous duty of com- 
manding these men devolved upon them alone. 

We remained here several days watching the movements 
of the enemy. From here we were transported by steamers 
to RiehniDud to reinforce General Stuart, wlio was then fight- 
ing a heavy column of cavali'y that was making a raid on the 
city. After a fierce engagement in which General Stuart 
was killed, the army withdrew, leaving many of their dead 
and wovmded behind them. 

We were then ordered to make a forced march, and again 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 277 

join the main army at Spottsylvania Court House. Upon 
our an'ival there General Lewis received orders from Gen- 
eral Lee in his own handwriting to "continue your march by 
most direct road to Jowls' Mills and Mud Tavern, and join 
General Ewell's Corps between Stannard Mills and Crutch- 
field's ; lose no time, and bring up your men in good order." 
This order forced General Lewis to march his men 37 miles 
that day, which was one of the longest marches in one day on 

After reporting to General Ewell, we were assigned to 
Early's Division again, and had the honor of bringing up 
the retreat to Hanover Junction, and not being pressed at 
this time by military exigencies, were allowed to spend a 
quiet Sabbath in camp. 

The next morning we moved for Mechanicsville, where we 
had a brisk skirmish with the cavalry, which was, as usual, 
soon driven back. On 11 June we reached Petersburg and 
took position in the trenches near the city. This position we 
did not fancy, as the enemy could "pick at" us from the 
slightest exposure. But, much to our comfort and surprise, 
we only remained in this position four days, when orders 
were received to be ready to march in a short time. 


On the 14th our entire corps took up a line of march for 
parts unknown to us. After marching some days we reached 
Charlottesville, and took the cars for Lynchburg to meet 
Hunter's army then threatening the city, arriving at the lat- 
ter place at 2 o'clock p. m. We were moved four miles west 
of the city and formed a line of battle on the Salem turnpike. 
Our skirmishers were advanced, and soon attacked the enemy 
in a spirited manner, and they fell back to Liberty in much 
confusion, we pressing them so closely they left many wagons, 
prisoners and commissary stores behind. 

On the morning of the 22d we crossed the mountain range 
at Buford's Still in pursuit, and at Hanging Eock they were 
intercepted by our cavalry and a brisk little fight took place, 
in which they lost 200 prisoners, 15 pieces of artillery, 150 
horses, and many wagons laden with stores. 

278 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

The infantry was then so much exhaust<?d from quick 
marches and hot weather, that they were compelled to give 
up the pursuit and rest a day. This pursuit was still kept 
up for two days by our cavalry until reinforcements came to 
their assistance. 

On the following day we moved northward. Upon reach- 
ing ]^exingt-on, our corps was filed to the left for the purpose 
of passing through the cemetery to pay our respects to the 
memory of our fallen commander, the brilliant, matchless 
and immortal Jackson, who had ''crossed over the river and 
rested under the shade of tlie trees." Upon approaching 
the gi'ave, arms were reversed and in perfect silence we 
passed the sacred spot with sadness depicted in ever^^ man's 

After this we crossed the Shenandoah river and moved on 
to j\It. Jackson, where Lieutenant-Colonel Ellis, of this regi- 
ment, having been exchanged, joined us and took command 
of the regiment. 2 July we passed Middletown and New- 
town, and camped in four miles of Winchester. The next 
day we came in contact with a considerable force of the en- 
emy and after a brisk skirmish they fled, leaving several 
pieces of artillery and a good many wagons. 

8 July we crossed over into Marjdand, "My Maryland," 
near Shepherdstown, when there was great rejoicing among 
us, as we knew the heart of her people was with us, though 
they were bound in fetters. We camped for the night at 
Sharpsburg. The next day Ave passed through Boonsboro 
and Middletown and camped eight miles west of the city. On 
the 12th we were hurried to Frederick Junction, and forced 
a passage of the Monocacy, and again the "dogs of war" were 
turned loose. After a struggle of three hours the enemy fled 
with a loss of 1,000 in killed and wounded, and 700 prison- 
ers. Our loss was 450 killed and wounded. 


On the 14th we reached Kockvillo, in the vicinity of Wash- 
ington City, and at once formed a line of battle. Our sharp- 
shooters advanced and drove the enemy from his outer works, 
where a beautiful view of the city could be had. Our bri- 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 279 

gade occupied a position immediately in front, and across 
the yard, of a most magnificent mansion, upon an elevated 
plain, from which the dome of the capitol could be seen. 
This building was the property of F. P. Blair, (Postmaster 
General), and was occupied by him until we began to ad- 
vance upon the city. We remained in this position three 
days, keeping up a spirited picket fire, which caused great 
excitement in the city. 

For some reason, unknown to us, we withdrew our line 
without any interference, and moved continuously until we 
crossed to the south side of the Potomac, and went into camp 
at Big Springs, which is in a few miles of Leestown. 

After a rest of two days we moved on, passed Hamilton, 
and before reaching Snicker's Gap a dash was made upon our 
wagon train and seventy of our wagons captured, which were 
soon recaptured with five pieces of the enemy's artillery. We 
then crossed the Blue Ridge, and camped for the night in 
eight miles of Charlestown. 

1 September, 1864, we were ordered to Winchester to take 
the place of Kershaw's Division, which was to be sent to Rich- 
mond. Our army was much weakened by the loss of this 
Division, and it soon met with a series of disasters. At Win- 
chester we remained five days watching the movements of 
the enemy, and were occasionally engaged in picket fighting. 
On the 19th a heavy force of the enemy was hurled against us 
which was repulsed till sun down. About that time the 
cavalry guarding our flanks were attacked and without being 
pressed, fled in a shameful manner, causing us to leave our 
strong works and fall back in some confusion to Strasburg, 
where we again formed, and all preparations made to receive 
the enemy, who were rapidly approaching. At 4 o'clock p. m., 
on the 22d they made a desperate assault upon us at Fisher's 
Hill, and after a struggle of three hours we were driven back. 
Our cavalry being insufficient to protect our flanks, we again 
had to fall back under cover of darkness to Mt. Jackson. In 
these battles our loss was unusually heavy in killed and 
wounded. Among the killed on the 19 th were Major-Gen era! 
Rodes and Brigadier-General Godwin, the latter commanding 
our (Hoke's) old brigade, with many other good officers. From 

280 North Carolina Troops, 186 1 -'65. 

Mt. Jackson we moved to Fort Republic, and were reinforced 
by Rosser's cavalry. The enemy then had halted on the east 
side of Cedar Creek, and began to entrench themselves. Gen- 
eral Early wishing to redeem his character as a military 
genius, at once resolved to move back and attack them, and 
by surprising and giving them an unexpected blow, a victory 
might be won. While his cavalry and artillery were making 
a feint on the right, his infantry would fall upon their left. 


At midnight our division was ordered to the point of attack, 
a distance of four miles over a most rugged path on the moun- 
tain side. We would sometimes lose our foot-hold and fall 
down the mountain side, and would have literally to pull our- 
selves up by bushes, roots or anything projecting from the 
mountain side. With nothing to sustain us but a determined 
will and a devotion to the cause in which we were engaged, 
at 5 o'clock a. m. 19 October, we reached the point of attack, 
still hidden from the enemy by a heavy fog. We forded and 
partly swam the creek, and dashed into their camp without fir- 
ing a gun, capturing 1,500 prisoners and 18 pieces of artil- 
lery, while a good many were in bed and asleep! We then fell 
upon another corps immediately in front of our cavalry, 
which was soon panic stricken, and fled in dismay, leaving 
all their artillery behind, which was turned upon them. Our 
infantry followed on closely for four miles, when General 
Early gave over the pursuit. 

A good number of our men, thinking the enemy had fled 
to Winchester, took advantage of this heavy fog and fell out 
of ranks and returned to plunder the camp, so rich in spoils. 
By this outrageous conduct our line was weakened, and Sher- 
idan's cavalry coming to their assistance from Winchester, 
the enemy rallied and moved back upon us. Our line was then 
thrown in disorder, and soon retreated in much confusion, 
and the fruits of this l>rilliant victory lost. Many of us 
were soon ridden down by the cavalry and captured, killed 
or wounded, while our cavalry was of little assistanc^^. The 
writer of this sketch was painfully wounded in this retreat, 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 281 

and was carried six miles on a liorse led by his faithful ser- 
vant, Billy Williams, before his wound was staunched. 

Right here I will digress for one moment: ''Billy", as he 
was known throughout the division, was unlike his race ; he 
seemed to love the excitement of war, and with his young 
master, saw the sun rise at Bethel and go down at Appomat- 
tox. And for the betrayal of a squadron of yankees into our 
lines, his name was placed upon the rolls of honor in Ral- 

The enemy recaptured all their prisoners and guns they 
had lost in the morning and captured from us equally as 
many as they lost. Major-General Ramseur was killed. 
Lieutenant-Colonels S. McD. Tate and A. Ellis, commanding 
the Sixth and Fifty-fourth North Carolina Regiments, with 
many other good officers, were severely wounded in this try- 
ing disaster. Our brigade suffered intensely in this cam- 
paign, losing seven different commanders in the course of six 
"sveeks' time. 


The battle of Cedar Creek was the last event of importance 
in the Valley campaign, and practically closed it. The de- 
feat of General Early and the desolation of the Valley by 
Sheridan made it impossible for an army to remain in that 
region. These failures caused much feeling of indignation 
against General Early, and he was soon relieved of his com- 
mand. The remnant of his army was then placed under 
command of General J. B. Gordon, and sent back to Peters- 
burg. Our division was assigTied to General Pegram, and 
sent nine miles west of the city on the Boydtown Plank road, 
where we went into some cabins that had been built by other 
troops for winter quarters. Here we remained three days 
only, before the enemy began to manceuver in our front, 
when we were called out, and in a short time our division 
and Gordon's (which had just come up) were attacked at 
Hatcher's Run 6 Febiiiary, 1865, and a struggle, unprece- 
dented in its fui-y, and protracted beyond all expecta- 
tions, was commenced, and we were soon compelled to fall 
back a short distance. Mahone's and Wilcox's Divisions 

282 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

came to our relief, and by indefatigable exertion we regained 
our former position, and the enemy fled in confusion. Our 
loss was very heavy in killed and wounded. Among the killed 
was our much lamented General, the "gay and gallant" 
Pegram, who had been married but a few days. 

From here we were moved two miles below Petersburg, 
and placed in Walker's Division, and took positions in the 
trenches formerly occupied by General Ransom and at some 
points in a stone's throw^ of the enemy. Here we had a long 
rest, but were much annoyed by the daily shellings from their 
heavy guns. 


At 4:45 a. m., 25 March, 1865, a detail from our brigade 
and another emerged from our works in column of at- 
tack and dashed across the narrow space that separated the 
two armies, tore away the abatis and nished into Fort 
Stedman, completely surprising the garrison and canned the 
works. Instantly the captured gims were turned upon 
the adjacent forts and in a short time a brigade of the enemy 
w^as put to flight, and three batteries on our flanks were 
abandoned, and were for a short time in our possession. 
In this brilliant charge many pieces of artillery were 
taken and spiked, and five hundred prisoners, including 
one Brigadier-General, were captured. General Gordon 
opened this battle with great spirit and skill, but was 
not sustained. The troops on his right made but a feeble de- 
monstration, and were soon repulsed. The enemy in a short 
time recovered from the surprise and poured in a hurricane of 
shells into the works they had just lost, at the ^ame time 
throwing forward a heavy line of infantry, which caused us 
to fall back, losing many prisoners and a great many killed 
and woimded. This repulse was followed up and after a 
stubborn resistance our picket line was taken, and then a lull 
in the tempest for one day, which was but a prelude to its 
final and resistless burst. "The mighty huntsman now had 
the srame seciire in his toils, and onlv awaited the moment of 
his exhaustion to dispatch him." 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 283 

the retreat to appomattox. 

On 2 April, 1865, a most terrific bombardment from one 
end of the line to the other commenced. At the same time the 
enemy's infantry surged forward like a mighty wave, and 
rolled up to our works. As one line recoiled from our deadly 
fire another would take its place, as though determined to 
break through by sheer weight of numbers. Our little band, 
so much exhausted from hard fighting and superhuman exer- 
tions, was compelled to fall back in the direction of Appomat- 
tox river. Following the river by the most accessible roads, 
we reached Amelia Court House, thirty-eight miles from 
where we started. Here General Lee expected to find 
a quantity of supplies for his troops, but, by an inexcusable 
blunder of the Richmond authorities the cars passed by with- 
out stopping to unload the supplies. We then had been two 
days without any food, and not a ration to be had. Our dis- 
appointment was complete, for the condition we were left in 
was desperate, and for some time we were wrapped in dis- 
consolate silence. But for this blunder, General Lee could 
have preserved his army intact and passed Burkeville in 
safety before the enemy could have reached there. On the 
night of the 5th we left Amelia Court House, marching by 
way of Deatonville in the direction of Farmville. Upon 
reaching Sailor's creek, and after some desperate fighting 
and losing some of our best men, we moved on to Gettersville, 
a distance of four miles, much jaded, footsore, and half 
starved, and soon became engaged in another desperate fight, 
in which our lamented Captain A. H. Martin, commanding 
this regiment, fell instantly killed, while gallantly holding 
his men to the front. When the enemy reached his dead 
body, they had it decently interred, and wrote upon an en- 
velop, placing it upon the grave, "^Here lies the body of 
a brave man. Captain Martin, of the Fifty-fourth North 
Carolina." In this battle our regiment lost more than three- 
fourths of its men in killed, wounded and prisoners, after 
which the remnant moved on to Farmville, and found that 
the enemy had just taken a battery in our front and had in 
possession our only line of retreat. General Lee at this crit- 

284 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

ical moment seemed very much exercised, and evinced a de- 
sire to lead a charge on them if his men would follow. At 
once many exclaimed, "No, no, but if you will retire we will 
do the work." As he rode off, General W. G. Lewis, our 
brigade commander, so distinguished for his intrepid valor, 
rallied a few men and led the charge until he, with many 
others, fell severely wounded, and was unavoidably left in 
the hands of the enemy. The writer of this sketch was then 
acting as his Inspector General, and was the only member 
of his staff that was left to tell the tale of this bloody trag- 

This charge was evidently the last one of importance. As 
the enemy moved on for a stronger position in our front, un- 
der cover of darkness, we moved on sluggishly, and at every 
step some brave man was compelled to step out of ranks 
from overpowering fatigue. At 12 o'clock M. we reached 
the vicinity of Appomattox Court House, and had a few 
hours of repose, which was so much neede<:l. 


On the morning of the 9th an advance was begun, but find- 
ing overpowering numbers in our front, and upon all sides, 
this little army then reduced to something over 8,000 in- 
fantry and 3,000 cavalry and artillery actually in line, was 
halted pending negotiations for its sun-ender, which was 
made on that bright Sabbath day. On the succeeding days 
the rolls were made out and the army paroled in accordance 
with the terms agreed upon between Generals Lee and Grant. 
The fragments from the various commands were gathered 
and marched to a spot designated for that purpose, stacked 
their arms and deposited a few furled colors. Plaving re- 
ceived their paroles, our battle and famine-worn soldiers took 
up the lino of march for those homes they had so bravely 
fought to defend for four long years of blood, hardship and 

Thus closes the volume of the bloody record of the Fifty- 
fourth Regiment of North Carolina troops, and to those of us 
who still survive, it is indeed pleasant to recall that fearful 
struggle for independence and to look back upon a series of 

Fifty-Fourth Regiment. 286 

battles and victories unequalled in history ; and every one of 
us will speak with, pride of the time when he was a soldier in 
the Army of Northern Virginia. 

N'oTE. — I have been much indebted to General W. G. 
Lewis (who has since died) for information; also tO' Mrs. 
Paris, who so kindly furnished me with diaries containing 
data, casualties, etc., that were written by our beloved old 
Chaplain, the late Rev. John Paris, who was so noted for his 
piety, and untiring devotion to the cause in which we were 
engaged. He was indeed one of God's nobility. 

J. Marshall Williams. 
Fayetteville, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 

.yj^^t'r ■ ■' **"^■ 


1. A. H. Belo, Colonel. 3. R.n- William Royall Chaplain. 

2. John Kerr Connally. Colonel. 4. I) D Dickson. Captain, Oo. C. 

5. C. SI. Cooke, 1st Lieut, ami acting Adjutant. 


By CHARLES M. C^OOKE, Adjutant. 

The Fifty-fifth North Uarolina Regiment was organized at 
Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, in the early part of 1862. The 
companies composing the regiment were : 

Company A — From, Wilson County — William J. Bullock, 

Company B — From Wilhes County — Abner S. Calloway, 

Company C — From Cleveland County — Silas D. Randall, 

Company E — From Pitt County — James T. Whitehead, 

Company F — From Clejseland, BurJce and Cataivha Coun- 
ties — Peter M. Mull, of Catawba county, Captain. 

Company G — From Johnston County — J. P. Williams, 

Company H — From, Alexander and Onslow Counties — 
Vandevere Teague, Captain; Alexander J. Pollock, First 

Company I — From Franklin County — ^Wilson H. Wil- 
liams, Captain. 

Company K — From Granville County — Maurice T. 
Smith, Captain. 

John Kerr Connelly, of Yadkin county, who was for a 
while at the N'ational !N"aval Academy at Annapolis, and 
who had been Captain of a company in the Eleventh Regi- 
ment of North Carolina Volunteers, was elected Colonel 
of the regiment. 

Captain Abner S. Calloway, of Company B, was elected 

Captain James T. Whitehead, of Company E, was elec- 
ted Major. 

288 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

William H. Young, of Granville county, was appointed 

W. N. Holt, of Company G, was appointed Sergeant 

Geokge W. Blount, of Wilson county, (Quartermaster. 

W. P. Webb, of Granville county, Commissary. 

Dr. James Smith, of Granville county, Surg-eon. 

De. Isaac G. Cannady, of Granville county, Assistant 

Rev. William Royall. of Wake Forest College, Chaplain. 

A. H. Dunn, of Company I, Quartermaster-Sergeant. 

W. B. Royall, of Company I, Commissary Sergeant. 

J. W. C. Young, Ordnance Sergeant. 

Peterson Thorpe, of Company K, Hospital Steward. 

Charles E. Jackey, of Pitt county, Chief Musician. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Calloway resigned and Major White- 
head died within a few months after the organization of the 
regiment, and Captain Maurice T. Smith, of Company K, 
was made Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain A. H. Belo, of 
Salem, who commanded a company in the Eleventh Regiment 
of North Carolina Volunteers, was made Major. Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Smith was killed at Gettysburg and Major Belo 
became Lieutenant-Colonel, and upon the resignation of Col- 
onel Connally, on account of severe wounds received in the 
same battle, Lieutenant-Colonel Belo became Colonel. On 
account of the fact that the senior Captain of the regiment 
was in prison from Gettysburg until the close of the war, the 
regiment had no other field officers. 

Adjutant Young resigned in November, 1862 and Henry 
T. Jordan, of Person county, was appointed Adjutant. He 
was captured at Gettysburg and, after that Lieutenant Chas. 
R. Jones, of Iredell county, acted as xldjutant for several 
months and then C. M. Cooke, from Company I, was assigned 
to that position and held it until the close of the war. Surgeon 
Jas. Smith resigned in December, 1862, and Dr. B. T. 
Greene, of Franklin county, was appointed Surgeon. A. H. 
Dunn died in August, 1862, and Henry S. Furman, of 
Franklin county, was appointed Assistant Quartermaster Ser- 
geant. W. N. Holt, Sergeant-Ma j or, was made Lieutenant 

Fifty- Fifth Regiment. 289 

in Company II, and Jesse A. Adams, of Johnston county, was 
made Sergeant-Major. 

The regiment, after it had been sufficiently drilled to take 
the field, was sent to the Department of the Pamlico, then un- 
der the command of General James G. Martin, and remained 
there during the summer and early part of the fall of 1862. 
It was on duty a greater part of the time around Kinston and 
in Trenton. The first time the regiment was under fire was 
on 7 AugTist, 1862. A Federal gunboat had come up the 
Neuse to a point a few miles below Kinston, and the regiment 
was sent down to prevent the landing of the troops. We 
were formed in a line on the south side of, and not far from 
the river ; the gunboat came up to a point nearly opposite the 
position occupied by the regiment, but after the firing of a 
few shells went back without attempting to land any troops. 

The regiment during the time spent in that section was 
thoroughly drilled and disciplined. 


On 3 September, while the regiment was in camp near 
LaGrange, there was a special order read on dress parade 
that 200 men were needed for daring service and volunteers 
were called for. That number was at once obtained and they 
were organized into two companies of 100 each. Captain 
P. M. Mull, of Company F, was put in command of one com- 
pany, and Captain Maurice T. Smith, of Company K, in 
command of the other, and the Lieutenants were selected from 
the different companies. Captain Williams, of Company I, 
was so anxious to be among the number that he procured the 
consent of the Colonel to his going as First Lieutenant of one 
of the companies. It was ordered that these companies be 
prepared with three days' rations to march the next morning 
at sunrise. Captain Mull was senior officer and in command 
of the detachment. Just as the sun rose the next morning 
we moved out of camp, marching a little north of east, and we 
were then informed that the movement meant a surprise at- 
tack upon Washington, IST. C, and that we would be joined be- 
fore we reached the place by other troops. We met on the 

290 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

•5tli, Ijetween Greenville and Washington, a detachment from 
the Eighth, and also from the Seventeenth Regiment, and an 
artillery company, but without cannon, armed as infantry, 
under the command of Colonel S. D. Pool, who, from this 
time, being the ranking officer, took command of the force on 
the march, although General J. G. ]\Iartin had the general 
direction of the movement. Later, Captain R. S. Tucker, 
with his company of cavalry, joined us. We camped on the 
night of the 5th within a few miles of Washington, and be- 
fore dawn the next morning, we commenced our march upon 
the town. We struck the Federal pickets just outside of 
the town before it was fairly light; we followed at double- 
quick, and with a "Rebel Yell," entered the town. The Fed- 
eral troops were taken by surprise, and after firing a round 
or two, fell back through the town upon the river, under cover 
of their gunboats. We were in possession of the town, the 
troops from our regiment being stationed on a square near the 
center of the town. We held the position for several hours, 
but the cannon from the gunboats were turned upon us, and 
the Federal infantry, having re-formed, commenced to fire 
upon us with long range rifles, while we were armed with the 
old smooth-bore muskets. We were forced to fall back to the 
place where we had camped the night before ; the enemy did 
not pursue us, and the next day we commenced our march 
back to camp. Captains Mull and Williams, both of whom 
behaved with great bravery, were wounded ; of the men of 
the Fifty-fifth Regiment engaged, seven were killed and eight 
wounded. There was no other meeting with Federal forces 
while the regiment was in this section. 

On 1 October, while the regiment was doing picket duty at 
Wise's Fork, between Kinston and New Bern, it was ordered 
to Virginia, and for a while did provost duty in the city of 
Petersburg. With the Second, Eleventh, and Forty-second 
Mississippi, it was formed into a brigade, and General Joseph 
R. Davis was assigned to its command. The regiment re- 
mained in this brigade until January, 1865, when it was 
transferred to Cooke's Brigade. The Twenty-sixth Missis- 
sippi Regiment and the First Confederate Battalion were 
brought into the brigade in the early part of 1864. It was a 

THE NEW T0^5g:i 




1 James S. AVhitehead, Major. 4. H. G. Whitehead, Captain, Co. E. 

2. \V. II. Williams, Captain, Co. I. 5. Robert W. Thomas, Captain, Co. K. 

3. P. M. Mull, Captain, Co. F. 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 291 

fine brigade. The Second and Eleventh Mississippi, with 
the Fourth Alabama and the Sixth North Carolina, had con- 
stituted the immortal Bee Brigade at the first battle of Man- 
assas, and General Whiting afterwards commanded that brig- 
ade. In forming the brigade for General Davis, the Sixth 
N^orth Carolina was sent to Hoke's Brigade, the Fourth Ala- 
bama was transferred to a brigade of Alabama troops, and 
the Forty-second Mississippi, which was brought to the Army 
of Northern Virginia for that purpose, and the Fifty-fifth 
North Carolina, took their places in the old brigade. Al- 
though all the other regiments, except the Fifty-fifth, were 
from Mississippi, their relations with the officers and men of 
that regiment were quite as pleasant as they were with each 
other. The regiments of Davis' Brigade were a part of the 
force which General Longstreet carried to Suffolk, Va., in 
the spring of 1863. 


It was while near Suffolk that an incident occurred which 
illustrates the high spirit of the officers of the regiment 
and how jealous they were of its honor. One evening about 
dark, a heavy piece of Confederate artillery was cap- 
tured by an unexpected and sui'prise attack by a brigade of 
Federal troops. Captain Terrell and Captain Cousins, the 
one Assistant Adjutant-General of General Laws' Brig- 
ade, and the other on the staff of that General, reported that 
the Fifty-fifth North Carolina had been assigTied to protect 
the battery, whereas, in fact, it was a mistake. As soon as 
Colonel Connally heard of the report, he went to see those 
gentlemen and stated to them that they were mistaken ; that 
the Fifty-fifth Regiment had held the position to which it 
had been assigned, and was in no way responsible for the dis- 
aster; and demanded that they should correct their report 
at once. This they declined to do. Thereupon Colonel Con- 
nally returned to his regiment, called a meeting of the field 
officers and Captains, stated the circumstances to them, and 
insisted that the honor of the regiment required that its of- 
ficers should demand satisfaction from those who had slan- 
dered it. He proposed that the field officers should first chal- 

292 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

lenge the Alabamians, and if the matter was not satisfactorily 
arranged, consistent with the honor of the regiment, and if 
they should be killed, each officer should pledge himself to 
take up the quarrel and fight until the last man was killed, 
unless proper amends should sooner be obtained. To this the 
officers generally assented, but Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, 
who was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and a young 
soldier of unquestionable bravery, arose and stated that he 
was conscientiously opposed to duelling, and that he would 
not resort to that method of settling any question. Colonel 
Smith's Christian character and his personal courage were 
so well known, that his scruples on the subject were respected, 
and Major Belo proposed to take his place ; and so it was 
aiTanged that Colonel Connally should challenge Captain 
Terrell, and Major Belo should challenge Captain Cousins, 
Captain Satterfield, of Person county, of Company H, was 
Colonel Connally's second, and Lieutenant W. H. Townes, of 
Granville, of Company D, was Major Belo's. The challenges 
were accepted and Captain Terrell selected as weapons double 
barreled shotguns, loaded with buckshot, and Captain Cousins 
selected the Mississippi rifle at forty paces. According to 
appointment, the parties next day met in a large field in the 
neighborhood, in one part of which were Colonel Connally 
and Captain Terrell and their friends. In another part were 
Major Belo and Captain Cousins and their friends. As soon 
as Major Belo and Captain Cousins came to their place of 
meeting, they took the positions assigned to them by the sec- 
onds, and at the command, fired their first shot. Major 
Belo's shot passed through Captain Cousins' hat, and Cap- 
tain (\>usins' first shot entirely missed Major Belo. Cap- 
tain Cousins' second shot passed through the coat of Major 
Belo just above the shoulder and Major Belo's second fire 
missed Captain Cousins. In the meantime, in the other part 
of tlio field, tlie friends of Colonel Connally and Captain 
Terrell were engaged in an effort to make an honorable settle- 
ment of the affair, and Captain Terrell, who was a gallant 
officer and triie gentleman, became satisfied that he had been 
mistaken in the report which he had made and which had 
been the cause of offence, and he withdrew the same, which 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 293 

action prevented any further hostilities between him and Col- 
onel Connally, and came just in time to prevent the exchange 
of a third shot between Major Belo and Captain Cousins. 


On the night of 30 April Davis' Brigade w^as in the front of 
the town of Suffolk, which was occupied by the Federals, and 
around which the Union forces were stationed behind fomiid- 
able intrenchments. About 9 o'clock that night Major Belo 
was sent with four companies of the regiment to relieve the 
pickets in the rifle pits to our front, with instructions to hold 
the position in case there should be an attack. The next day 
the Federal forces made several demonstrations in front of 
the rifle pits, and in the afternoon opened upon them with 
several pieces of artillery. Captain Mull, by command of 
Colonel Connally, took Company F to the support of the men 
in the rifle pits, and very gallantly did Captain Mull and his 
company do this, for they went through a severe artillery fire 
for nearly three quarters of a mile, and although they lost 
some of their best men, they never faltered. About the same 
time two Federal infantry regiments came outside their 
breastworks, and formed into line. Colonel Connally then 
ordered Major Belo to reinforce the men in the rifle pits with 
four other companies of the regiment. This was promptly 
accomplished under a very fierce fire and not without loss. 
The Fifty-fifth Regiment was the only regiment on the line 
that was armed with the old smooth-bore muskets. The oth- 
ers were armed with rifles. This must have been discoverd 
by the enemy during the day, and was the cause of their 
selection of the part of the line occupied by that regiment for 
their attack. The two Federal regiments moved for^^vard in 
splendid order for the attack. The Federal artillery ceased 
firing upon that part of the field. The soldiers of both armies 
on the right and left were watching with deep interest the 
movement. The attacking column had moved so near to our 
position, that the other troops were beginning to whisperingly 
inquire of each other what was the matter. But Major Belo 
knew that the effectiveness of the ai-ms, which his men held, 
depended upon short range, and cool and clear-headed, as he 

294 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

always was, lie had ordered that not a shot be fired until he 
gave the command. The advancing column was now so near, 
that the features of the men's faces could be distinguished. 
Every one of the men in the rifle pits had his musket in posi- 
tion and his finger on the trigger, and at the word ''fire" the 
sound of Major Belo's command, seemed to expand into one 
grand roll of musketry; for there had been the fire of five 
hundred muskets as if by one man. Not one had snapped 
fire and there was not a single belated shot. The shower of 
leaden hail was too much for human courage. The assault- 
ing regiments fell back in confusion, with some loss. But 
they were quickly rallied by their ofiicers, and returned to 
the attack. This time the fire by Major Belo's command 
was reserved until they had advanced several yards further 
than before, when again a deadly fire swept them back with 
greater loss. 

Again and yet again they attempted to storm thq picket 
force, but were repulsed each time, until finally abandoning 
their purpose, they retired from the field. The old smooth 
bore muskets in the hands of 500 brave North Carolina pa- 
triots had done their work. About this time Lieutenant- 
Colonel Smith came down to ]\Iajor Belo with Colonel Con- 
nally's compliments to inquire if he needed other reinforce- 
ments. Major Belo returning his compliments to Colonel 
Connally, replied that he thought the battle was over. The 
Fifty-fifth Eegiment had been but a short while in Davis' 
Brigade, and it was their first engagement since then, and 
the cordial words of commendation of the gallant behavior of 
the regiment expressed by the Mississippians was very grati- 
fying to us. Thenceforward they were as jealous of and aa 
quick to defend the honor of our regiment as we were our- 
selves. Some years after the war, Major Belo met an officer 
of one of the regiments engaged in this attack, and he in- 
forme<l IMajor Belo that the tenn of enlistment of the men 
of those two regiments was to expire the next day and they 
were to be mustered out of seiwice, and that it was at their 
own request they were ordered to make the attack, but that 
it proved a very sad experience to them. 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 295 

Shortly after this, Longstreet returned with his command 
to the Army of JSTorthem Virginia, our brigade accommpany- 
ing him. When the Fifty-fifth Regiment left the cars at 
Hamilton's crossing, near Fredericksburg, to take its place in 
its brigade in Heth's Division, A. P. Hill's Corps, of the 
Army of Northern Virginia, it was both in respect to its disci- 
pline and its appearance one of the finest regiments in the 
army. Colonel Connally was a fine tactician, and was with- 
out a superior as a disciplinarian. He was admirable on 
the field in his handling of his regiment. The time which 
had been spent in Eastern ISTorth Carolina had allowed the 
opportunity for the drilling of the regiment, and it had been 
faithfully attended to. The regimental band, composed of 
seventeen pieces, led by Professor Charles E. Jackey, edu- 
cated at Heidelberg, was a very fine one. The men of the 
regiment were well clad, and the ranks of each company were 
full. It was well officered, and all had full confidence in its 
field officers, and no volunteer regiment, in the opinion of 
the writer, ever had three better field officers. They were all 
young men — erect and soldierly in their bearing, proud of 
their regiment and enthusiastic in their patriotism. Colonel 
Connally was about 26 years of age. Daring in spirit — with 
confidence in himself and his regiment and the pride of his 
troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, the eldest, not yet 30 
years of age, w^as from Granville county. He was an ac- 
complished gentleman and had been a member of the "Gran- 
ville Grays," Company I), Twelfth ISTorth Carolina Regi- 
ment. He was of commanding presence, and a prudent 
and efficient officer. Major A. H. Belo' w^as a fine specimen 
of young Southern manhood, had seen service before as Cap- 
tain of Company D, Twenty-first ISTorth Carolina Regiment, 
and was about the same age as Colonel Connally. Intrepid, 
but always cool and ever alert. 

Changes had taken place in the company officers since the 
organization, and the following were the officers of the com- 
panies at that time : 

CoMPA^^Y A — Captain, Albert E. Upchurch ; Lieutenants, 
B. F. Briggs, T. J. Hadley, T. R. Bass. 

296 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Company B — Captain, George Gilreath; Lieutenants, 
John T. Peden, Hiram L. Grier. 

Company C — Captain, Edward D. Dixon; Lieutenants, 
George J. Bethel, Philip K. Elam, Thomas D. Falls. 

Company D — Captain, Silas D. Randall; Lieutenants, 
Wm. H. Townes, Jas. H. Randall, Joseph B. Cabiness. 

Company E — Captain, Howell G. Whitehead ; Lieuten- 
ants, James A. Hanrahan, Godfrey E. Taft, William S. Wil- 

Company F — Captain, Peter M. Mull; Lieutenants, Joel 
J. Hojle, A. H. A. Williams, Peter P. Mull. 

Company G— Captain, Walter A. Whitted; Lieutenants, 
Marcus C. Stevens, Charles R. Jones, Mordecai Lee. 

Company H — Captain, E. F. Satterfield ; Lieutenants, N. 
W. Lillington, Benjamin H. Blount, W. N. Holt. 

Company I- — Captain, W. H. Williams; Lieutenants, B. 
H. Winston, Charles M. Cooke. 

Company K — Captain, R. W. Thomas ; Lieutenants, Wil- 
kins Stovall, W. H. H. Cobb, R. McD. Royster. 

The regiment, as it marched from the railroad depot to 
take its place in the line, with its bright arms gleaming in the 
sun of that beautiful day, with quick martial step, its compa- 
ny officers splendidly dressed, as if for a grand parade, its 
field officers mounted on fiery chargers, and its magnificent 
band playing first "Dixie," and then "Maryland, My Mary- 
land"— presented one circumstance of war, that is, its pomp, 
and if not its most impressive, certainly its least horrible. 
Little did it occur to any of us that tlie aspect of tliis organiza- 
tion would be so completely and so unhappily changed within 
a few weeks. 


The regiment crossed the Potomac with tlie Army of 
Nortliern Virginia in fine spirits, and when it reached Cash- 
town on the night of 29 June, it was in splendid condition. 
Tlio regiment marched out of Caslitown early on the morning 
of 1 July, going down the Chambersburg Turnpike toward 
Gettysburg. We came in sight of the town about o'clock a. 
m. The T^iiion forces were on the ridge just outsi<le of the 

Fifty- Fifth Regiment. 297 

town and formed across the Turnpike to dispute our advance. 
Marye's battery was placed by General Hetli on the south side 
of the turnpike and opened fire on the enemy. Davis' Brig- 
ade was immediately thrown into line of battle on the north 
of the road and ordered to advance. Archer's Brigade was 
formed on the south of the road and was ordered forward 
about the same time. There was a railroad which had been 
graded but not ironed, which ran nearly parallel with the 
turnpike and about one hundred yards from it. The Fifty- 
fifth Regiment was on the left of the brigade, and owing to 
the character of the ground was the first one to come into view 
of the enemy, and received the first fire in the battle. It was 
a volley fired by the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, com- 
manded by Colonel Hoffman, of Cutler's Brigade. Two men 
in the color giiard of the -regiment were wounded by this vol- 
ley. The regiment immediately returned the fire and in- 
flicted considerable loss upon the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania 
Regiment. The Eleventh Mississippi Regiment Avas on de- 
tail duty that morning, sO' only three regiments of our bri- 
gade, the Second and Forty-second Mississippi Regiments, 
and the Fifty-fifth North Carolina, were present. The regi- 
ments in our front were the Seventy-sixth JSTew" York, the Fif- 
ty-sixth Pennsylvania and the One Hundred and Forty-sev- 
enth New York of Cutler's Brigade. After the enemy's posi- 
tion became known by their first fire, our brigade charged 
them in magnificent style. The left of our regiment extended 
considerably beyond the right of the enemy's line — and at the 
proper time our left was wheeled to the right. The enemy 
fled from the field with great loss. From the beginning of 
this engagement it was hot work. While the regiment was 
advancing. Colonel Connally seized the battle flag and waving 
it aloft rushed out several paces in front of the regi- 
ment. This drew upon him and the color guard the fire of 
the enemy and he fell badly wounded in the arm and hip. 
His arm was afterwards amputated. Major Belo, who was 
near him at the time, rushed up and asked him if he was 
badly wovmded. Colonel Connally replied : "Yes, but do 
not pay any attention to me ; take the colors and keep ahead 
of the Mississippians." After the defeat of the forces in front 

298 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

of us, the brigade swung around bj the right wheel and 
formed on the railroad cut. About one^half of the Fifty- 
fifth lleginient being on the left extended beyond the cut on 
the embankment. In front of us there were then the Ninety- 
fifth and Eighty-fourth ISTew York (known as the Fourteenth 
Brooklyn) Regiments, who had been supporting Hall's bat- 
tery, and were the other two regiments of Cutler's Brigade, and 
the Sixth Wisconsin, of the Iron Brigade, wliich had been held 
in reserve, when the other regiments of that brigade were put 
in to meet Archer's advance. Just then the order was re- 
ceived to retire through the road-cut, and that the Fifty-fifth 
North Carolina cover the retreat of the brigade. The Fed- 
eral Regiments in front of us threw themselves into line of 
battle by a well executed movement nothwithstanding the 
heavy fire we were pouring into them, and as soon as their 
line of battle was formed-, seeing a disposition on our part to 
retire, charged. They were held in check, as well as could 
be done, by the Fifty-fifth Regiment covering the retreat of 
the brigade ; a part of the regiment was in the road-cut and 
at a great disadvantage. One of the Federal officers on the 
embankment, seeing Major Belo in the cut, threw his sword 
at him, saying: "Kill that officer, and that will end it." The 
sword missed Major Belo, but struck a man behind him. 
Major Belo directed one of the men to shoot tlie officer and 
this was done. This somewhat checked their charge, and we 
fell back to another position. The loss of the regiment was 
very great in killed and wounded, and a large number were 
captured in the road-cut. From that time until 3 o'clock in 
the afternoon we were not engaged. A])out that time Early 
came in with fresh troops from the left. We formed in line 
with them on their right and were hotly engaged in the bat- 
tles of that afternoon, driving the enemy before us and cap- 
turing a number of prisoners. At sundown we were in the 
edge of Gettysburg, and the regiment was placed behind the 
railroad embankment just in front of the Seminary. In the 
afternoon Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, while the regiment was 
waiting in reserve, walked towards the right to reconnoitre 
and was mortally wounded and died that niglit. Major Belo 
was also severely wounded in the leg just as the battle closed 



The three men wlio went farthest in the Pettigrew-Pickett charge at Gettys- 
burg, July 3, 1863. 

1. E. Fletcher Satterfield, Captain. Co. H. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

2. T. D. Falls. Promoted to 2d Lieut., Co. C, Gettysburg, Julv 3, 1863. 

3. J. A. Whitley. Promoted to Sergeant, Co. E, Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 299 

that evening. Davis' Brigade, during the night, was moved 
from its position on the railroad cut near the Seminary to a 
piece of woods across Willoughby Run, west of the mineral 
springs, and there rested during the 2d. On the night of the 
2d it was moved to its position on the Confederate line known 
as Seminary Ridge, on the right center, and stationed in Mc- 
Millan's woods. Our division (Heth's) on the left of Long- 
street, and Davis' Brigade the left centre of the division. 
General Heth had been wounded on the 1st and General Pet- 
tigrew was in command of the division. General Pickett's 
Division of Longstreet's Corps was on the right of Heth's 
Division, and occupied a position just in the edge of Spang- 
ler's woods. 


It was from these positions that we moved out to that 
last fatal charge, on the afternoon of 3 July. Heth's Divis- 
ion was not supporting Longstreet, as has been repeatedly 
published, but was on line with his troops. Our regiment 
had suffered so greatly on the 1st that in this charge it was 
commanded by Captain Gilreath, and some of the companies 
were commanded by non-commissioned officers. But the men 
came up bravely to the measure of their duty, and the regi- 
ment went as far as any other on that fatal charge, and we 
have good proof of the claim that a portion of the regiment 
led by Captain Satterfield, who was killed at this time, 
reached a point near the Benner barn, which was more ad- 
vanced than that attained hy any othe?' of the assaulting col- 
umns. Lieutenant T. D. Falls, of Company C, residing at 
Fallstown, Cleveland county, and Sergeant Augustus Whit- 
ley, of Company E, residing at Everitt's, in Martin county, 
who were with Captain Satterfield, have recently visited the 
battlefield, and have made affidavit as to the point reached by 
them. This evidence has been corroborated from other 
sources and the place has been marked by the LTnited States 
commission, and the map herewith copied from the United 
States official survey of this historic field will show the posi- 
tion attained by these men of the Fifty-fifth Regiment, in 
relation to other known objects on the battlefield such as the 

300 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Beiiner bani and the Bronze Book which marks the high- 
water mark of the struggle for Southern independence. The 
measurements for the map were made by the late Colonel 
Batchelder, of the United States Commission, and by Colonel 
E. W. Cope, United States engineer, for this field. This 
map shows that those killed farthest to the front belonged to 
the Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment. 

The forces engaged in this last charge which settled, not 
only the result of the battle of Gettysburg, but the fate of the 
Confederacy, were as follows : 

Longstreet's Corps, composed of: 

1. Picheit's Division — Kemper's Brif/ade, First, Third, 
Seventh, Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiments; 
Garnett's Brigade, Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty- 
eighth and Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiments, supporte<l by 
Armistead's Brigade, Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, 
Fifty-third and Fifty-seventh Virginia Regiments in the sec- 
ond line. 

2. Iletli's Division, connnanded by Brigadier-General Pct- 
tigrew ; Archer s Bngade, commanded by Colonel Fry, Thir- 
teenth Alabama Regiment, Fifth Alabama Battalion, and 
the First, Seventh and Fourteenth Tennessee Regiments; 
Pettigi^ew's Brigade, commanded by Colonel Marshall, Elev- 
enth, Twenty-sixth, Forty-seventli and Fifty-second North 
Carolina Regiments; Davis' Brigade, Second ^'eventh and 
Forty-second Mississippi Regiments and the Fifty-fifth 
North Carolina Regiment ; Brochenhorough' s Brigade, For- 
tieth, Forty-seventh and Fifty-fifth Virginia Regiments, and 
Twenty-second Virginia Battalion. 

3. One-half of General Pender's Division, t.o-wit. : Scales' 
Brigade, commanded by Colonel Lowrance, Thirteenth, Six- 
teenth, Twenty-second, Thirty-fourtli and Thirty-eighth 
North Carolina Regiments, and Lane's Bngade, Seventh, 
Eighteenth, Twenty-eiglith, Tliirty-third and Thirty-seventh 
North Carolina Regiments. 

So there were eighteen regiments and one battalion from 
Virginia, fifteen regiments from North C. rolina, three reg- 
iments from Mississippi, three regiments from Tennessee, 

[the new YORl^l 


showing +he scene of 




anci fhe !bsifion5offher^5pecfiKbodies(fTroops1hensinofhaihamiies 


one bosecf \jpor fhe evicence carefully gathered frorr 
all sources ana cclia^aa by said Commission. 

lt.ColE.B. cope. Engineer. 





200 300 400 





SH. Hammond Ass't Ens 


Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 301 

and one regiment and one battalion from Alabama, in the 
assaulting columns. 

The contention between Pickett's division and Heth's 
Division, the latter commanded then by PettigTew, has doubt- 
less arisen from the following: The portion of the enemy's 
forces just in front of Pickett's Division was behind a low 
rock wall which terminated at a point opposite Pick- 
ett's left. About eighty yards to the rear of this point there 
was another stone wall which commenced there and 
ran along by Benner bam towards the cemetery, and the 
enemy, instead of continuing his line to his right from the 
termination of the first wall, and through the field, 
dropped eighty yards to the second wall, and continued his 
line behind that. So to have reached the enemy in Pettigrew's 
front, his troops must have,.marched eighty yards beyond a 
continuation of their line from the point where Pickett reach- 
ed the enemy in his front. Some of Pickett's men passed over 
the first line of the enemy and a few of them reached a point 
some forty yards in the rear of the line and near the Federal 

Some of the Fifty-fifth Korth Carolina Regiment reached 
a point within nine yards of the rock, wall in front of them. 
That was seventy-three yards beyond a continuation of the 
line of the first wall, and allowing two yards for the thickness 
of the first wall, and adding to that the forty yards beyond the 
rock wall to the point reached by some of Pickett's men, and 
running a line parallel with the first wall so as to strike the 
most advanced point reached by Pickett's men, and continu- 
ing beyond to the most advanced point reached by the men 
of the Fifty-fifth Regiment, it will be found that the latter 
point is thirty-one yards in advance of that line. 

The Fifty-fifth Regiment was a part of the rear guard on 
the retreat, and in the attack made upon them at Falling 
Waters, they lost several killed and wounded. The loss of 
the regiment at Gettysburg amounted to 64 killed and 172 
wounded, including the few casualties at Falling Waters and 
the number of captured, about 200, added to these made an 
aggregate of more than one-half the number of men in the 
regiment. All of the field officers and all of the Captains 

302 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'(35. 

were either killed, wounded or captured. Lieutenant M. 
C. Stevens, of Company G, was the ranking officer, and com- 
manded the regiment on the retreat until it reached Falling 
Waters, when Captain Whitted had sufficiently recovered 
from his wound to take command. Captain R. W. Thomas, 
of Company K, however, returned to the regiment soon after 
we went into camp on the Rapidan, and commanded the regi- 
ment with great acceptability until Lieutenant-Colonel Belo's 
return the following winter. In the official report of his 
division at Gettysburg, made by General Ileth, and found in 
the records published by the United States Government, Col- 
onel Connally, Lieutenant-Colonel Smith and Major Belo are 
particularly mentioned for gaUant and meritorious conduct, 
but Col. Connally was so severely wounded that he was never 
able again to command the regiment. This was a great loss, 
for he was not only brave and loyal in his support of the 
Southern cause, but his sentiments and conduct were so chiv- 
alric, that he impressed all the men and officers of the regi- 
ment with his own lofty ideals, and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith 
was dead. The very soul of honor, he was older and less 
impetuous than Colonel Connally, but gentle and refined as a 
woman ; he was conscientious and painstaking in the dis- 
charge of every duty and enforced among the men the same 
rigid rule of attention to duty he prescribed for himself. No 
hasty utterance and no unclean word ever escaped his lips, 
and by his daily life, he taught us what a beautiful thing it 
is to be a Christian gentleman. 

Colonel Connally was left in a house near the battlefield 
and fell into the hands of the enemy. His left arm was am- 
putated and from that and the wound in his hip it was 
thouglit for a long while he would die. His brave spirit 
pulled him through. As a lawyer and in politics he attained 
high position in Galveston, Texas, and Richmond, Va., but 
after several years he became an eloquent preacher of the 
Gospel and now resides at Asheville, N^. C. 

The regiment, after its return to the line of the Rapidan, 
was engaged in drilling and picketing at the fords until Oc- 
tober, when it went with the Army of Northern Virginia to 
Manassas and became engaged in the battle of Bristoe Sta- 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 303 

tion. The position of the regiment in that battle was on the 
left of the brigade, which was just to the right of Cooke's Bri- 
gade. A piece of forest w^as in front and consequently our 
loss was slight as compared to the loss of some of the regi- 
ments of Cooke's Brigade. The regiment was also with the 
army at Mine Run, and was a part of a line that was formed 
for the charge upon the enemy's left flank in the early morn- 
ing, when it was discovered after throwing out a skirmish 
line that General Meade, during the night, had withdrawn 
his forces. 

Colonel Belo returned to the command of the regiment late 
in January, 1864, but he had not entirely recovered from his 
wound received at Gettysburg. It was made on the leg by 
the fragment of a shell, and in his determination not to be 
captured, he fell back with the army from Gettysburg. A 
portion of the time he was in such danger of capture that he 
exposed himself greatly, and by the lime he reached Win- 
chester the condition of the wound was so serious that for sev- 
eral days it was feared that amputation would be necessary. 

Soon after his return to the regiment, our brigade, one 
severely cold night, was ordered out of camp and marched to 
Gordonsville. As soon as it reached that point, the Fifty- 
fifth Regiment was sent out to picket the roads on the south. 
The rain was falling and sleeting and the clothing on the 
men was frozen. The next day the regiment with the brigade 
was marched some distance to the southwest and bivouacked 
for the night with orders to have very few fires, the purpose 
being to intercept a raiding detachment of the Federal army, 
but the detachment went around us, and after enduring the 
intensest suffering that night, the regiment returned to camp. 

the wilderness. 

On 4 May, 1864, the regiment. Colonel Belo, now recov- 
ered of his wounds, commanding, left its camp near Orange 
Court House, and commenced its march to the Wilderness. 
It was going down the Plank road towards Fredericksburg 
about 2 :30 o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th, when it was 
discovered that the enemy were advancing up the road, 
Heth's Division was formed into line of battle, not for the 

304 North Carolina Troops, 1 801 -'05. 

pin*pose of ach^ancing or bringing on an engagement, hut as 
General Lee said to A. P. Hill, to hold tlie enemy in check 
imtil Longstreet's Corps and Anderson's Division of A. P. 
Hill's Corps should come up. Da\'is' Brigade was formed on 
the left of the road; our regiment was the right centre of the 
brigade and on the crest of a small hill or ridge. It was in a 
dense forest of small trees ; the hill in our front sloped gradu- 
ally to a depression or valley which was a few yards wide, and 
then there was a gradual incline on the opposite side until it 
reached a point of about the same altitude as that occupied by 
us, about 100 yards from our line. We had 340 men, includ- 
ing non-commissioned officers, in our regiment. About 3 :30 
o'clock, our skirmish line was driven in and the first line of 
the Federal forces charged, but they got no further than 
the crest of the hill in front of us, and were repulsed with 
great loss ; from then until sunset, they charged us with seven 
successive lines of battle, but we repulsed every one of them. 
Our line never wavered. The officers and men of the regi- 
ment realized that the safety of the army depended upon our 
holding the enemy in check until the forces left behind could 
come up, and there was a fixed determination to do it, or to 
die. About 6 o'clock the enemy w^ere pressing us so heav- 
ily wath their successive lines of fresh troops it was thought 
that they would annihilate us before nightfall, and a 
conference of the general officers on the field determined that 
it would probably become necessary as a last resort, to make 
a vigorous and impetuous charge upon them with the hope 
that we might be able to drive them back. Colonel Belo, 
who was sitting just in the rear of the regiment by the side of 
a little poplar tree, sent his orderly to the line to the writer 
of this sketch (C M. Cooke), instructing him to report to him 
immediately. I went at once. He then stated to me that 
the necessity of a charge seemed apparent and that the order 
for making it would probably soon be given, and he desired 
that I return to the line and notify the men that they might 
be prepared for it, and take the command of my own com- 
pany and also C, which was the flag company, the command- 
ing officer of which had a few moments before been severely 
wounded, and to see that the flag was kept well to the front, 

1. John P. Caiinady, Serfreant, Co. K. 
a. Win. KIlis Royster, t'orporal, Co. K. 
3. Hetn-y C. Ailcock. Musician, Co. K. 
■1. John II. Willianis, I'nvate. Co. K. 

(Killed n.-ar I'.t.TsburK, Oct., 1864.) 
5. Rhodes Frazier, I'livate, Co. K. 


Albert Eaks. Private, Co. K. 

John H. Dean. Private, Co. K. (Killed 

at the Wilderness.) 
James C. Kiiutt. Co. K. (Killed at 

(iettysburj;, July 1- 18<;3.) 
James W. Adcock, Private, Co. K. 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 305 

and to make the charge with all the dash that was possible. I 
went back to the line and gave the men the information. They 
expressed hope that it might not be necessary to make the 
charge, bnt there was no disposition to shirk the duty if it 
had been imposed. Bnt the order for the charge was not 
given, and about sunset the firing had nearly ceased in our 
front, and Thomas' Georgia Brigade of Wilcox's Division 
came in and relieved us, and we were sent to the right of the 
road where we rested for the night. We had held the enemy 
in check. Not one yard of our line had given away one foot 
during the three hours the fearful onslaughts had been made 
upon us, but of the 340 of the regiment, 34 lay dead on the 
line where we fought and 167 were wounded. The Sergeant 
of the ambulance corps counted the next day 157 dead Fed- 
eral soldiers in front of our regiment. 

On 6 May^, early in the morning before sunrise, the Fed- 
eral forces opened the battle on our left before Davis' Brigade 
was in line, and while our arms were yet stacked, and forced 
the troops to the left of us, and our brigade along with them, 
back upon and along the road. These were fresh troops which 
Gen. Grant had moved into position during the night, and 
they were attacking the troops of A. P. Hill's Corps, which 
had been fearfully depleted by the engagements of the day be- 
fore. But just at this time Longstreet's Corps came up and 
Kershaw's Division relieved our division. Our regiment was 
not engaged further during the Wilderness fight. Our bri- 
gade composed part of the rear guard of the army on its 
march from the Wilderness to Spottsylvania, and consequent- 
ly, the regiment did not reach Spottsylvania until 9 May. We 
had some skirmishes along the march — nothing serious. On 
the afternoon of 10 May our regiment was part of the force 
which made an attack upon the enemy's right near Talley's 
mill. We charged and captured a piece of artillery and drove 
the enemy across the Mattapony. The regiment upon this oc- 
casion behaved with great gallantry, charging for half a mile 
up the hillside through an old field. Though subjected dur- 
ing this charge to a fire from both artillery and small arms, 
the loss was not very great ; we were charging up hill and the 


306 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

&te of the eiienij went over our heads. On tliis charge three 
color bearers were shot down in succession before we captured 
the artillery. The regiment was engaged in the battle of 
the 12th at Spottsjlvania, but as we were behind temporary 
breastworks, and some distance to the right from the point 
where Grant broke the Confederate lines, its losses on that 
day w'ere comparatively small. 


At the second battle of Cold Harbor the regiment reached 
the field late in the afternoon of 2 June. The Federal troops 
were attempting to occupy an advanced position on our left 
for the battle of the next day. Davis' Brigade was put in to 
prevent this, and charged them just about sunset. We 
checked the advance of the enemy, but it was a fearful charge. 
The ground was unfavorable on account of a thick under- 
growth and tlie loss "svas considerable. Colonel Belo was seri- 
ously wounded in this charge and w^as never able aftenvards 
to take command of the regiment. We were engaged in the 
battle all the next day, but we were protected by temporary 
breastworks, and we did not suffer as heavily as some of the 
regiments, but the punishment we inflicted upon the enemy 
was fearful. 

Colonel Belo's wound was in the arm, half way between the 
elbow and shoulder joint; the bone was shattered and the op- 
eration of re-section was performed. The loss to the regi- 
ment was irreparable. He had been with the regiment in 
all its hard-fought battles, and had the absolute confidence of 
every man in the regiment. He was cool and intrepid. He 
never lost his head in the midst of the fiercest conflict, nor 
failed to discover and seize the advantage of a position. He 
had a genius for organization, and appreciated every detail 
that contributed to the effectiveness or character of a military 
organization. He was in North Carolina at the time of 
General Lee's surrender. He went to General Beauregard 
and was assiV^ed by him to the command of a force. He was 
detached f ro^i the main body of General Johnston's army, and 
W'hen the latter surrendered, instead of surrendering with it, 
he and Captain Lillington, of Company H, who was with him 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 307 

at the time, rode off to join the army of General Kirby Smith, 
across the Mississippi. But before he reached that army it 
had surrendered and he went to Galveston and made that 
place his home. He became the editor of the Galveston News 
and acquired both fame and wealth. He died at Asheville, 
N. C, a few months ago and was buried at Salem, IST. C, his 
old home. 

The regiment after this time was commanded at various 
times by Captain P. M. Mull, of Company F ; Captain R. 
W. Thomas, of Company K; Captain W. A. Whitted, of 
Company G ; Captain B. F. Briggs, of Company A ; Captain 
N. W. Lillington, of Company H ; and Captain John T. 
Peden, of Company B ; but Captain Whitted was in com- 
mand the greater part of the time. 

The regiment, after Cold Harbor, spent about a month on 
the north side of the James river, near Malvern Hill, and 
during that time had an engagement with the enemy near 
White Oak Swamp, in which the Federals were repulsed, and 
the regiment lost several men. We were afterwards trans- 
ferred to the lines southeast of Petersburg, and the point oc- 
cupied by the Fifty-fifth Regiment was to the right of the 
point where the mine was sprung on 30 July. The part of 
the line occupied by our regiment was so near to that of the 
enemy that sharpshooting was kept up constantly between the 
lines with casualties of almost daily occurrence. The en- 
emy had a number of mortar guns planted just in rear of 
their lines, from which shells were discharged almost con- 
stantly night and day. As some measure of protection, the 
men and officers of the regiment dug holes in the side of the 
hill, upon which the line of our regiment was formed. The 
headquarters of the regiment was a hole six by nine feet 
square, thus made in the side of the hill with an open- 
ing to the rear, and it was in this place that the writer. Ad- 
jutant of the regiment, received all orders from superior of- 
ficers, received and made all reports and all regimental or- 
ders, and there the commanding officer and himself slept at 


On the morning of 29 July, the Federal commander made 

308 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'05. 

a feint by advancing a part of his forces on the north side of 
James river, near Malvern Hill, towards Richmond. This 
was done in order to cover his real purpose of springing the 
mine near Petersburg, and to weaken opposition at that 
point by inducing us to withdraw our troops towards Rich- 
mond. The Fifty-fifth Regiment, with its brigade, was a 
part of the forces which were moved rapidly across the coun- 
try, crossing the James river near Drewry's Bluff, to check 
the enemy's advance. We reached a point in front of the 
enemy not far from Malveni Hill, on the niglit of the 29th, 
and were placed in line to reinforce troops already there, but 
the enemy made no attempt to advance further. At a very 
early hour the next morning, we were awakened by the rever- 
beration of a great sound which seemed to have been produced 
a long way off, and at the same time there was a trembling of 
the earth, such as that caused by an earthquake. A few houra 
afterwards a courier came with orders directing us to return 
at once to the lines near Petersburg. We commenced tc 
march immediately and beneath a scorching sun ; we went at 
almost a dciible-quick, and in crossing the large, shadeles& 
fields in the low-lands of the James river, a number of men 
were overcome by the heat, but we reached Petersburg on the 
night of the 30th, and found that the enemy had been driven 
back from the advanced position which they had gained, and 
for a while occupied after the springing of the mine. Early 
next morning, there was a truce for several hours to bury the 
dead between the lines, and our line was formed then just as 
it was before, except there w^as a bend around the excavation 
made by the explosion of the mine. The position of our reg- 
iment was some yards to the south of the excavation. The 
Fifteenth regiment of Cooke's Brigade was just in the rear of 
it. The springing of the mine was a complete surprise to 
us, and both officers and men were for several weeks thereaf- 
ter anxiously expecting a repetition of the act, and were ner- 
vous over it. At one time or another, every member of the 
regiment was sure that he heard the sound of the sappers and 
the miners digging away down in the ground beneath him. 
There was scarcely a night that some one of the regiment 
would not come out of his hole and crawl to the regimental 




1. Geo. W. Ciirrin. Private, Co. K. 

(Killed at (iettysl)iirfr. July 1, 18t)3.) 

2. James K. Wilkerson, Private, Co. K. 

3. Charles Stovall, Pi'ivate, Co. K. 

rKilleil at (iettyshiir^.) 

4. Marion 11. Hester, Private, Co. K. 

5. Thomas H. Danie', Private, Co. K. 


Alexander Adcock, Private, Co. K. 

Robert H. Klli.xnn. Private, Co. K. 
(Wounded seven times at Gettys- 
burg. July 1, 1S03. Taken prisoner 
and died at Point Lookout.) 

John P. F.llixon, Private, Co. K. 

Benjamin P. Thorp, Private, Co. K. 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 309 

headquarters and whisper the announcement that he could 
plainly hear the sound of the digging in the ground way be- 
low him. The suggestion of the adjutant or commanding 
ofhcer that it was mere imagination would never avail, and so 
it would often happen that a good part of the night was spent 
by those officers in going around and testing the accuracy of 
these reports ; and in assuring the men that there was no real 
sound, but only that of imagination. It was customary to 
relieve the regiment about one day in every ten from the ter- 
rible strain of this service in the trenches, and to take them to 
some point in the rear where there was shade, and allow them 
to bathe themselves and to wash their clothing. 


The 18 August was one of those days off with Davis' 
Brigade. About one-third of the men had been detailed that 
morning and sent to work on the breastworks. The balance 
of the brigade about the middle of the afternoon, were rest- 
ing about a mile in the rear of the line, when we were or- 
dered to move rapidly to the right some twO' or three miles, 
to meet the enemy, who, passing around the extreme right of 
our infantry line, had crossed the Petersburg & Weldon Rail- 
road at Davis' farm. As soon as we came in sight of the en- 
emy, we were formed in line of battle and ordered to charge. 
The charge was made with the Fifty-fifth Regiment in the 
center of the brigade. The charge was made with dash and 
spirit, at double-quick, for half a mile, and through a corn 
field a greater part of the way, under a fierce fire of both ar- 
tillery and infantry. After passing through the com field, 
we came to a pine forest of scattering growth. We drove the 
first line of the enemy through this, and then came to a for- 
est from which the large trees had been mainly cut, and whicn 
was very thick with small growth and under-brush. It was 
so dense that the enemy, who were only about 75 or 100 
yards from us, behind some temporary breastworks, could 
not be seen. We stopped a moment and reformed our line 
and then continued the charge, but in the difficulty to our ad- 
vance presented by the thick undergrowth and the brush from 
the large trees which had been felled, we had not gone more 

310 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

than forty yards before we were repulsed with great loss. It 
was then about twilight, and the volley the enemy poured into 
our ranks appeared to be a veritable sheet of flame. The 
losses of our regiment there were relatively greater than in 
any other battle in which it participated. There was scarcely 
an officer or man who did not bear either in his body or cloth- 
ing the marks of the terrible conflict. Of the 130 men who 
went into the charge, at least one-half were either killed or 
wounded. Lieutenant J. J. Hoyle, of Company F, was 
killed while gallantly loading his company ; he was ever a 
faithful and conscientious officer ; Lieutenant W. H. Townes, 
of Granville county, as brave an officer as ever drew a 
sword, commanding Company D, was mortally wounded. 
Of the thirteen men of Company I present, three were 
killed and all the others were wounded. After the re- 
pulse, we fell back some fifty yards waiting and expecting 
that the enemy would advance, but this he failed to do, and 
during the night we were moved further to the rear. Cap- 
tain Whitted commanded the regiment in this engagement. 
The next afternoon the men detailed the day before having 
come in, our regiment had nearly as many men in ranks as it 
had the day before, and Captain B. F. Briggs, of Company 
A, was in command. Our line was lengthened by fresh 
troops, and late in the afternoon another attempt was made 
to dislodge the enemy from his position, our regiment charg- 
ing over the same ground as on the day before, and it was re- 
pulsed at just about the same point, and with very nearly as 
great losses. We returned to the trenches near Petersburg 
and there remained until the engagement on 1 October on the 
right of our line, in which General ITeth's Division was en- 
gaged with an infantry division of the Federal forces and 
some of their cavalry, and in which General Archer was mor- 
tally wounded. The losses of the Fifty-fifth Kegiment in 
this engagement were slight. In the battle of Hatcher's Run 
or Burgess' Mill, on 27 October, the right of our brigade 
rested on Hatcher's Run. One of the Mississippi Regiments 
was on the right, and our regiment was in the centre. About 
4 o'clock in the afternoon, the enemy had broken tlirough our 
lines on the south side of Hatcher's Run and the first we 

Fifty-Fifth Regiment. 311 

knew of it they had crossed the run and were firing into our 
rear. General Heth and General Davis, who were just in the 
rear of our regiment at the time, directed Colonel Stone, of 
the Second Mississippi, since Governor of the State of Missis- 
sippi, to wheel the three right regiments of the brigade per- 
pendicular to our line, and to drive the enemy back across the 
run. The order was promptly executed, and the Fifty-fifth 
Regiment, being the third regiment from the right, was next 
to the angle, and was subjected, therefore, to enfilading fire 
from the main army of the enemy, and to a front fire from 
the flanking force. The charge was made with great despera- 
tion and the enemy were driven in great disorder and confu- 
sion across the run, and our lines on the south side were re- 
established. The losses of the regiment were serious. Lieu- 
tenant M. C. Stevens, who, up to this time, had escaped un- 
hurt, rashly exposed himself in this exigency and was killed. 


About 1 December, 1864, when the enemy with considera- 
ble force of both cavalry and infantry, cut the Petersburg & 
Weldon Railroad, near Jaratt's Station, and threatened the 
base of our supplies at Belfield, our regiment was a part of the 
force that was sent to attack and drive him back. We came 
upon the enemy near Jarratt's station, and drove in his skir- 
mish line. We formed in line of battle and charged through 
a piece of pine forest that was covered with sleet; the long 
icicles hung from every limb, and the trees were so weighted 
that many of the limbs touched the gi'ound. It was fearfully 
cold and the men suffered terribly, for we were neither well 
shod, nor warmly clad. A few shots were fired into our 
column as we were marching through the forest, but when we 
emerged from it into an open field near the railroad, the ene- 
my had fled. This movement was noted for the great suffer- 
ing of the men on account of the severe weather. The snow 
and sleet fell upon us the second night after we left camp. 

On 6 February, 1865, the regiment in the meantime having 
been transferred to Cooke's Brigade, participated in the fight 
of Cooke's, Johnson's and Pegram's Brigades with some 
of the Federal forces, in the battle fought between the 

312 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

lines north of Hatcher's Run. The casualties of the regi- 
iiunit wvvQ small. On 24 March the regiment, with its brig- 
ade was moved to the left and put into position to support 
General Gordon's attack the next morning, on the forts and 
line of the enemy cast of Petersburg. When the attacking 
forces moved over the intrenchments for the charge, we moved 
into their places, but as the attack was a failure we were not 
put in action; when we returned to our former position 
we found that the enemy had just attacked and captured the 
men we had left in the rifle pits in the morning. They made 
a movement as if they were going to charge our main line, 
but after a few shots from us they changed their purpose. 


Wliou the general attack washiade iipon the right of our 
line on 31 March, we occupied a position a few hundred yards 
north of Hatcher's Run. In the battle- that day, the writer 
of this sketch was seriously wounded. ' Thb regiment was en- 
gaged with its brigade in the stubborn resistance that was 
made and continued until the morning of 2 April to prevent 
the enemy from turning our flank. The lines around Peters- 
burg being broken that day, the glorious remnant of the un- 
con(]nered Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment shared in the 
vicissitudes of the heroic and historic retreat which ended in 
the surrender at Appomattox. The handful of the regiment 
on 9 April, 1865, was commanded by Captain W. A. Whit- 

C. M. Cooke. 


9 April, 1901. 


[public library. 



1. Paul F. Faison. Colonel. 4. John W. (Iraham, Major. 

2. ♦G. G. Luke, Lieut.-Colonel. 5. E. J. Hale, Adjutant. 

3. H. F. Schenck, Major. I). Moses John de Rosset, Surgeon. 

r. James M. Clark, Ensign. 


By ROBERT D. GRAHAM, Captain Company D. 

This regiment was composed of ten companies which assem- 
bled at the camp of instruction, known as Oamp Mangum, 
located on the North Carolina railroad, four miles west of 
Raleigh, in the Spring and Summer of 1862. 

Company A — Camden Comity, mainly — As twelve 
months' volunteers, they had formed a part of the detach- 
ment captured at Hatter as 29 August, 1861, and had recently 
been exchanged. Its officers were successively as follows : 
G. Gratiott Luke, Captain, April, 1861, elected Lieutenant- 
Colonel 31 July, 1862 ; Noah H. Hughes, Captain, 1 August, 
1862, from First Lieutenant 17 April, 1862, died 1 Jime, 
1864; Thomas P. Savilles, Captain, 1 June, 1864, from Sec- 
ond Lieutenant, 17 April, 1862 ; Henry W. Lane, First Lieu- 
tenant, 1 August, 1862, transferred from Company G, killed 
12 June, 1864; Edward P. Hanks, First Lieutenant, 12 
June, 1864, from Second Lieutenant 17 April, 1862 ; Caleb 
L. Grandy, Second Lieutenant, 1 June, 1864; Wm. H. Sey- 
mour, Second Lieutenant, 12 June, 1864; Caleb P. Walston, 
First Sergeant, became Captain in the Sixty-eighth Regi- 

Company B — Cumberland County — This company came 
in under Frank N. Roberts. A good portion of this com- 
mand was from the old ante helium organization known as 
the Lafayette Light Infantry, and with their present Cap- 
tain had formed a part of the First North Carolina Volun- 
teers known as tlie "Bethel" Regiment, who were six months' 
volunteers, and who had been in the battle of Bethel 10 June, 
186L Its officers in succession were: Francis iSI. Roberts, 
Captain, 30 September, 1861 (who had been a Lieutenant in 
the Bethel Regiment), killed 18 June, 1864; Alexander R. 
Carver, Captain, 18 June, 1864, for gallant service from Sec- 

314 North Carolina Troops, ] 861-65. 

ond Lieutenant, 1 May, 1864, served in Betliel Regiment, 
was retired 22 February, 1865, being disabled by wounds; 
William T. Taylor, Captain, 22 February, 1865, from Ser- 
geant-Major, served in Bethel Regiment ; R. W. Thornton, 
First Lieutenant, April 1862, captured 22 May, 1863; Dan- 
iel M. McDonald, Second Lieutenant, 1 April, 1862, cap- 
tured at Hatteras 29 August, 1861 ; Captain White being then 
tenant, 1 April, 1862, killed 20 April, 1864, at Plymouth; 
James A. King, Second Lieutenant, 1 July, 1864, killed 21 
August, 1864, at the Davis House, near Petersburg. 

Company C — Pasquotank County — Alexander P. White, 
Captain, April, 1862 ; Matthew W. Fatherly, First Lieuten- 
ant, 26 March, 1862 ; John B. Lyon, Second Lieutenant, 23 
April, 1862, resigned, and appointed Captain in the Sixty- 
eighth Regiment; William P, Bray, Second Lieutenant, 23 
April, 1862 ; Edward S. Badger, Second Lieutenant, 1 
March, 1864. The bulk of (!'ompany C, under original en- 
listments, had been among the earliest volunteers and cap- 
tured at Hatters 29 August, 1861 ; Captain White being then 
Lieutenant in the Independent Grays, commanded by Cap- 
tain Thomas Calioon. 

Company D — Orange County — This company w^as 
brought in by John W. Graham, who had entered the service 
as Second Lieutenant 20 April, 1861, in the Orange Guards, 
which with the Guilford Grays, (both of them ante helium 
volunteer companies,) had been ordered to coast defence duty 
at Fort Macon. In June, 1861, he was appointed Aide-de- 
Camp to General R. C. Gatlin, commanding the Department 
of Eastern North Carolina, and received a commission as First 
Lieutenant in the Eighth Regiment North Cai'olina State 
Troops. The company was officered as follows: John W. 
Graham, Captain, April, 1862, from Aide-de-Camp, pro- 
moted to Major 1 September, 1863 ; Robert D. Graham, Cap- 
tain, 1 September, 1863, from First Lieutenant 22 May, 
1863, from Second Lieutenant 17 May, 1862, from private. 
David S. Ray, First Lieutenant, 17 May, 1862, from private, 
killed 22 May, 1863; Joseph B. Coggin, First Lieutenant, 1 
September, 1863, from Sergeant, wounded 17 June, 1864, 
and died therefrom in Petersburg hospital 16 September, 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 315 

1864 ; Robert T. Faucett, First Lieutenant, by promotion and 
transfer from Second Lieutenant in Company H 18 Sep- 
tember, 1864, from First Sergeant of Company D ; Charles 
R. Wilson, Second Lieutenant, 17 May, 1862, from private; 
William Turner, Second Lieutenant, 25 July, 1863, from 

Company E — Northampton County, mainly — Jos. G. 
Lockhart, Captain, \pril 1862, resigned 11 October, 1864; 
King J. Rhodes, Captain, 11 October, 1864, from First Lieu- 
tenant 4 May, 1863, and Second Lieutenant February, 1863 
(served in Bethel Regiment) ; Jarvis B. Lutterloh, First 
Lieutenant, 1 April, 1862, killed 28 April, 1863 (had served 
in the Bethel Regiment) ; John Jacobs, First Lieutenant, 11 
October, 1863, from Second Lieutenant 4 May, 1863 ; George 
B. Barnes, Second Lieutenant, 1 April, 1862, promoted to 
Assistant Quartermaster 1 August, 1862, with rank of Cap- 
tain; Wm. S. Moody, Second Lieutenant, 1 April, 1862, re- 
signed 1 February, 1863 ; Robert B. Peebles, Second Lieu- 
tenant, 5 August, 1862, from First Sergeant, promoted and 
transferred to Adjutant Thirty-fifth North Carolina Regi- 
ment, later A. A. G. Ransom's Brigade ; Alex. B. McDougald, 
Second Lieutenant, 9 June, 1863 ; Cornelius Spivey, Second 
Lieutenant, 18 September, 1863, killed 17 June, 18v64; 
Wm. J. Thomas, Second Lieutenant, 1 I^ovember, 1864. 

Company F^ — Cleveland County, mainly — Henry F. 
Schenk, Captain, April, 1862, Major 31 July, 1862, retired 
1 September, 1863 ; Benjamin F. Grigg, Captain, 5 August, 
1862 (Lincoln county,) from Lieutenant 10 May, 1862, (had 
been First Sergeant in the Bethel Regiment) ; V. J. Pal- 
mer, First Lieutenant 10 May, 1862 (Rutherford county) ; 
John R. Williams, Second Lieutenant, 10 May, 1862, killed 
at Ware Bottom Church, near Drewry's Bluff, 20 May, 
1864; Alfred R. Grigg, Second Lieutenant, 10 August, 
1862 ; A. B. Percy, Second Lieutenant, 20 May, 1864. 

Company G — Henderso'iv County — ^Henry E. Lane, Cap- 
tain, April, 1862, resigned 31 May, 1864; Otis P. Mills, Cap- 
tain 31 May, 1864, from First Lieutenant 12 April, 1862; 
Benjamin D. Lane, First Lieutenant, 1 June, 1864, from 
Second Lieutenant 12 April, 1862 ; James M. Davis, Second 

316 North Carolina Trooi-s, 186 1 -'65. 

Lieutenant, 12 April, 1862 ; Julius A. Corpcning, Second 
Lieutenant, 1 October, 1864, from private; Wm. F. Kinsey, 
Second Lieutenant, 1 October, 1864. 

Company H — Alexander, Caswell, Orange, and other 
Counties — T. C. Halljburton, Captain, April, 1862, appoint- 
ed Assistant Commissary of Subsistence 1 August, 1862 ; 
Wm. G. Graves, Captain, 1 August, 1862, from Second Lieu- 
tenant 22 April, 1862, (had served in the Thirteenth Regi- 
ment) ; J. D. Patterson, First Lieutenant, 22 April, 1862, 
resigned 13 Febmary, 1863; Samuel R. Holton, First Lieu- 
tenant, 13 February, 1863, from Second Lieutenant 22 April 
1862, (often detailed on brigade staff) ; Robert T. Faucett, 
Second Lieutenant, 28 February, 1863, from Sergeant, and 
transferred with fifteen men from Company D, promoted to 
First Lieutenant and transferred back to Company D 18 
September, 1864; Robert W. Belo, Second Lieutenant, 1 
March, 1863, from First Sergeant (lost a foot at Ware Bot- 
tom Church 20 May, 1864) ; Solon G. Birkhead, Second 
Lieutenant, 18 September, 1864, from First Sergeant in 
Company D, enlisted from Randolph county. 

Company I — -Rutherford County — This company was 
composed of recruits mainly from Rutherford county and en- 
listed March, 1862, by First Lieutenant J. W. Kilpatrick 
and Private L. Harrill, both then of Company D, Sixteenth 
North Carolina Troops, sent home for recruits. They se- 
cured 76 men and organized 7 April, 1862, at Fredericks- 
burg, Va., by electing J. W. Kilpatrick Captain, L. Harrill 
First Lieutenant, J. H. Sweezy Second Lieutenant, and H. 
A.. L. Sweezy Third Lieutenant. Later the following officers 
were elected to fill vacancies and promoted as follows : At 
tlic battle of Seven Pines Captain J. W. Kilpatrick was killed 
and L. Harrill promoted to Captain 31 March, 1862, J. H. 
Sweezy to First Lieutenant, H. A. L. Sweezy to Second Lieu- 
tenant, and Joseph jVi. Walker elected Junior Second Lieu- 
tenant. During the Summer of 1862 J. H. Sweezy, First 
Lieutenant, resigned on account of ill health and soon after 
wards died. This caused the following promotions: H. A. 
L. Sweezy t^) First Lieutenant 2 August, 1862, J. M. Walker 
to Second Lieutenant, and Philip H. Gross was elected Third 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 317 

Lieutenant from the ranks. At the battle at the Davis House 
on the Weldon Railroad 21 August, 1864, First Lieutenant 
H. A. L. Sweezj was killed, and the following promotions fol- 
lowed : J. M. Walker to First Lieutenant, P. H. Gross to 
Second Lieutenant, and Orderly Sergeant L. M. Lynch to 
Third Lieutenant. During the month of February, 1865, 
in the siege at Petersburg, Lieutenant L. M. Lynch was 
killed, and C. P. Tanner was elected Third Lieutenant. This 
company was attached to the Sixteenth N^orth Carolina State 
Troops and made the thirteenth company in that Regiment. 
On 8 April, commenced the long march to Yorktown, a dis- 
tance of 130 miles, and arrived on the 19th. On 2 May, 
1862, Yorktown was evacuated, and at Williamsburg the Six- 
teenth Regiment was held as a reserve to support the line of 
battle. This was on the famous retreat of General Joseph E. 
Johnston up the Peninsula between the James and York riv- 
ers. At Seven Pines 31 May,1862,this attached company, only 
in service about two months, went into that fearful battle and 
fought like veterans. Captain J. W. Kilpatrick, Drummer 
J. G. Price, W. M. Brooks, A. K. Lynch and H. R. Sorrels 
were killed, and seven wounded. Soon after this battle the 
company was ordered to Camp Mangum, Raleigh, N. C, and 
was made Company I, Fifty-sixth ITorth Carolina Troops. 

Total commissioned and non-commissioned officers and 
men of Company I were (first and last), 146; killed in bat- 
tle and died from wounds, 23 ; wounded and sent to hospital, 
24; died from diseases, 29; discharged for disability, 5; be- 
sides a large number of slight wounds not reported. 

Company K — MecMenburg, Iredell, etc. — Frank R. Al- 
exander, Captain, April 1862, mortally wounded in night 
charge of 17 June, 1864, at Petersburg, and died 20 June, 
1864 (Mecklenburg) ; John F. Mc^N'eely, Captain, 20 June, 
1864, from First Lieutenant 11 December, 1863, and Sec- 
ond Lieutenant 1 April, 1862 (Iredell) ; James A. Wilson, 
First Lieutenant, 1 April, 1862, resigned 11 December, 
1863 (Mecklenburg) ; James W. Shepherd, First Lieutenant, 
20 January, 1864, from Second Lieutenant 1 April, 1862 
(Iredell) ; Charles M. Payne, Second Lieutenant, 20 De- 
cember, 1862, from Sergeant (Davidson county), often de- 

318 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

tailed on Regimental Staff as Acting Adjutant; John A. Low- 
rance, Second Lieutenant, 1 July, 1864 (Mecklenburg). 

May 21, 1862, Colonel H. B. Watson assumed command of 
the Camp of Instruction, with Captain Alfred H. Belo as Ad- 
jutant of the Post and Battalion Drillmaster. The letter 
designation above given for each company showed the rela- 
tive rank of its Captain ; but the dates of their commissions 
as they now appear in Moore's Roster, are not thus accurately 

July 31. — Organized to-day by the election of Field Of- 
ficers, The following shows the result, with Staff and succes- 
sion as far as preserved : 

Paul F. Faison, Colonel. Had been Major Fourteentli 
North Carolina Regiment. (Northampton.) Class of 1861 
at West Point. 

G. Gratiot Luke, Lieutenant-Colonel, from Captain of 
Company A. (Camden.) 

Henry F. Schenk, Major, from Captain Company F, 
Retired 14 August, 1863. (Cleveland.) 

John W. Graham, Major, 1 September, 1863, from Cap- 
tain Company D. (Orange.) 

Edward J. Hale, Jr., Adjutant, 1 August, 1862 ; promo- 
ted to Assistant Adjutant General of Lane's (N. C.) Brigade 
24 October, 1863. (Cumberland.) 

John W. Faison, x\djutant, 1 December, 1863. (North- 
ampton. ) 

George B. Barnes, Assistant Quartermaster, 1 August, 
1862, from Lieutenant Company E. (Northampton.) 

T. C. Hallyburton, Assistant Commissary, 1 August, 
1862, from Captain Company H. 

James M. Clark, Color Sergeant 1 August, 1862, and En- 
sign 12 September, 1864, from Sergeant Company D. 

C. A. Thomas, Surgeon. (Warrenton.) 

Charles H. Ladd, Surgeon. (South Carolina.) 

Moses John DeRosset, Surgeon. (Wilmington.) 

Cader G. Cox, Assistant Surgeon. (Onslow.) 

Wm. T. Taylor, Sergeant-Major, from private Company 

FiF^TY-SixTH Regiment. 319 

B, promoted to Captain Company B, 22 February, 1865. 

John Mable^ Sergeant-Major, 21 April, 1863, from pri- 
vate Company K. (Mecklenburg.) 

Wm. W. Graves^ Quartermaster Sergeant, from Com- 
pany A. (Pasquotank.) 

Stephen C. Mullen^ Commissary Sergeant, from Com- 
pany A. (Onslow.) 

John J. Eleno^ Ordnance Sergeant. (Onslow.) 

Bailey Brice^ Hospital Steward, from Company A. 

Wm. Fenoni, Dnim Major, (Italy), 1 August, 1862. 

Wm. W. Wallace, Drum Major. (ISTorthampton.) 

1 August, 1862, Colonel Faison assumed command, and on 
the 8th the regiment moved to Goldsboro. 

For the next three months we were frequently on the 
inarch and counter-march in reconnoissances between Golds- 
boro, Warsaw, Magnolia, Beaver Dam Church, Wilmington, 
the seacoast and Tarboro. Off the coast we saw the blockad- 
ing squadrons, which oiir Advance and other vessels eluded 
on frequent trips. 

3 November, marched through Tarboro to meet our forces 
retreating from Williamston, and all went into camp near 
Cross Roads Church. The Twenty-sixth Regiment was sent 
out on reconnoissance. 

4 N^ovember, Governor Z. B. Vance, who had been elected 
Governor from the position of Colonel of the Twenty-sixth 
Regiment, arrived with General J. G. Martin, Adjutant Gen- 
eral of North Carolina. Vance's reception by his old com- 
mand was something unique. As the enemy were not in 
speaking distance, so fine a disciplinarian as their model com- 
mander, Harry Burgwyn, had to waive ceremony for the 
time being. The sincerity of their congratulations was at- 
tested by utterly ignoring the dignity hedging about his new 
position, and recalling the camp-fire scenes where the jovial 
spirit by his wit and humor had always found a silver lining 
to the darkest cloud, and led them to look upon any sacrifice 

320 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

that might be offered in the name of "the good Old North 
State," as a privilege. 

CHECKING fostp:r's raid. 

5 November, Martin's command, consisting of the Seven- 
teenth, Twenty-sixth, Forty-second, Fifty-sixth and Sixty- 
first North Carolina Regiments, Walker's squadron of cavalry 
and two or three batteries of artillery, set out for Hamilton. 
Within six miles of that place the enemy was reported be- 
tween us and Tarboro. Countermarched to within three 
miles of Cross Roads Church. Just at niglitfall Crawford's 
company of the Forty-second Regiment encountered the en- 
emy's cavalry, losing none, and the enemy, according to pris- 
oners captured on the 6th, suffering a loss of sixteen killed 
and wounded. Six of their dead were left on the field. Slept 
in line of battle expecting a general attack at daybreak. 

6 November, the enemy retreated, and we pursued through 
a drenching rain ; bivouacked in six miles of the terminus of 
the railroad from Tarboro. 

7 November, it snowed through the day and into the night ; 
Marched to the railroad terminus. At this point General 
Martin organized three brigades of the six regiments, the 
Forty-fourth North Carolina Troops luiving joined us on 
the 5th ; Colonel Faison commanding a brigade composed of 
the Seventeenth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lamb, and the 
Fifty-sixth under Lieutenant-Colonel Luke. The Forty- 
seventh North Carolina Regiment, Colonel Sion IL Rogers, 
came in on the 9th. 

11 November, Faison's Brigade reached Hamilton. It is 
evident now that the campaign is ended, and the enemy 
frightened from his attempt on Tarboro, has returned to 
Washington, N. C. Their raid was under command of Gen- 
eral Foster, late a superintendent of the United States Mili- 
tary Academy at West Point while Colonel Faison was a 
Cadet there. The utterly wanton destruction of household 
and other private property left in their trail has not inspired 
their pursuers with any respect for their soldierly qualities. 
It is estimated that they have carried off 3,000 laborers 
(slaves) from Martin and adjoining counties — a more legiti- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 321 

mate prize, as without such wasting of the sinews of war, 
the struggle may be prolonged indefinitely. 


15 IN'oveniber, the Fifty-sixth Regiment takes up line of 
march for Franklin, Va., and crosses the Roanoke at Hill's 
Ferry, a mile from Palmyra. 16 j^ovember, through Bertie 
county by Woodville, bivouacked in a mile of Rockville, mak- 
ing nineteen miles. 17 November, reached Murfreesboro, 
about twenty-two miles. 18 ^NTovember, marched through the 
town ; reception and escort^ by Colonel Wheeler's Cavalry. 
Reached Monroe, Va., a ferry on the N^ottoway river, eigh- 
teen miles. 19 November, crossed the Xottoway, passed 
through Franklin, six miles beyond, and went into camp. 
Line of defense includes this point with old South Quay and 
Cherry Grove. Heavy intrenchments thrown up along this 
line, — a week's work. General Roger A. Pryor, with a por- 
tion of Pettigrew's Brigade, is in command at Franklin, Gen- 
eral Pettigrew's headquarters being at Petersburg. 

8 December, a detachment of the Fifty-sixth, with another 
from the Forty-second jSTorth Carolina State Troops, have 
rebuilt the bridge over the Blackwater at Joyner's Store. A 
gunboat on the river was fired into bj' a portion of Company 
I, under Lieutenant Sweezy. 9 December, detachments re- 
turned from Joyner's Store, bivouacked near the Fifty-sec- 
ond North Carolina Troops, who had been with us at Wil- 
mington last Summer. 10 December, rejoined the regiment 
in camp, expecting an advance of the enemy by morning. 
Lieutenant Fatherly, of Company C, had fired into a patrol 
gunboat at the junction of ISJ^ottoway and Blackwater rivers. 
11 December, Colonel Faison, with six companies, reported to 
General Pryor at Franklin, leaving four with Colonel Luke 
at IsTew South Quay. General Pryor made a foraging expedi- 
tion across the river through Carrsville and Windsor, return- 
ing on the 28th without loss, and having taken one prisoner. 

While on the Blackwater we were thrown with the Elev- 
enth ]Srorth Carolina Troops, now under Colonel Collett Lev- 
enthorpe, who had been a Captain in the British army. To 
this regiment the Fifty-sixth would concede the palm for 

322 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

superiority in the manual of arms, wliile for excellence in 
tactics, military bearing and discipline, it yielded to none. 
Colonel Faison was fresh from West Point, and the officers 
had chosen him with a full appreciation of the importance of 
these essentials. Of our service along the Blackwater the 
writer heard General Pryor say : "Colonel Faison was always 
on time with his regiment." 

The regiment was also fortunate in the assignment of its 
Quartermaster, Connuissary and Surgeons, Captains Bower 
and TIallyhurton being efficient men of affairs, while Drs. 
Thomas, Ladd, DePosset and Cox stood high in their profes- 
sion. Dr. DeRosset had taken a foreign course, and was an 
accomplished French and German scholar. 


4 January, 1863, oft" with Pettigrew's Brigade for Rocky 
Mount, N". C, reaching that point about dark. 17 January, 
on to Goldsboro, and camped within a short distance of 
Cooke's Brigade, Daniel's being on the other side of the town. 

An advance of the enemy is anticipated from the coast. 
20 January, went into bivouac near Pettigi-ew's Brigade, 
two miles east of Magnolia Station. 21 January, bivouacked 
near the academy east of Kenansville, and reported to Gen- 
eral Robert Ransom, and thus became a part of that brigade. 

22 February, off for Wilmington, and at Camp Lamb until 
24 February, when we marched out to Old Topsail Sound. 
9 M;irch, General Ransom followed with the Twenty-fifth, 
Thirty-fifth and Forty-ninth Regiments. 

28 March, Captain John W. Graham, Company D, de- 
tailed to relieve Adjutant Hale as Judge Advocate, 
since early in January, of court-martial, sitting in Wilming- 
ton. T^ieut. R. D. Graham has been acting Adjutant in the 
absence of Ijieiitenant Hale. Brigade remaining here 
about ten days, and passing through Goldsboro, where a 
short halt was made, reached Kinston 1 April. 

17 April, marched out of camp, east of the premises of 
George Washington, and proceeding across the river, ex- 
pected to go down the Dover road some eighteen miles to re- 
inforce the Firty-ninth North Carolina, which had engaged 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 323 

the enemy at Sandy Ridge. Learning of their withdrawal, 
bivouacked on the south side of the river. 19 April, march 
to Wise's Fork, and offer battle ; but the enemy withdrew, and 
we returned to camp at Kinston. 

24 April, the Fifty-sixth is on picket duty east of Wise's 
Fork, below Kinston. Companies H and K, under Captain 
F. R. Alexander, hold the Neuse river road ; E, G and I, un- 
der Captain L. Harrill, the Dover road at Gum Swamp, while 
A, B, D and F, under Major H. F. Schenk, were posted on 
the Upper Trent road at ISToble's Farm. Company A was 
held in reserve. 

first gum swamp. 

28 April, the enemy driving in the picket line, attack Com- 
panies E, G and I about 3 p. m. Their line shows four flags, 
indicating as many regiments, say 1,600 men, in the front 
line, while our total is 180 men, with earthworks proving 
rather a death-trap than a defence. The slight elevation of 
the railroad embankment, four or five feet, as it emerges east- 
ward from the swamp, had been utilized to face the enemy ad- 
vancing on our left flank. This faced north, while a breast- 
work of equal length, say 150 yards, facing east, starting at 
a right angle from this improvised line, extended around 
southward and then westward into the same sw^amp. 

Thus the enemy, advancing to the crest of the elevated 
ground on the south, overlooking the railroad embankment, 
could count our men aligned along it. In this unequal con- 
test the detachment of three companies under Captain Har- 
rill held their position for two hours, when they were joined 
by the Colonel, who, after continuing the fight stubbornly on 
this and the second line occupied on the west side of the. 
swamp, over three hours, at the approach of night, finding the 
enemy in sufficient numbers to surround his men, withdrew 
them. Citizens in their rear report the enemy's loss at 10 
killed and 18 wounded. Our loss was one officer and three 
men killed. This officer is Lieutenant Jarvis B. Lutterloh, of 
Fayetteville, commanding Company E. His genial spirit 
and gallant behavior had made him a favorite throughout the 
regiment. The men killed were N. T. McNeill, of Harnett ; 

324 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

W. M. Vickers, of Orange, and Miles Nelson, of Henderson 

A courier from General D. 11. Hill about sundown reached 
the four companies at the upper Trent river crossing to warn 
them that they were now cut off, when Major Schenk drew in 
his pickets, and avoiding tlie column by a circuitous march, 
had all at Wise's Forks within the lines about sunrise. This 
was the Major's last field service. He had long fought 
against failing health, but was now completely broken down 
and was at once sent to the hospital, from which he was even- 
tually retired by the board of examining surgeons, Avith the 
respect and sympathy of his many friends. 

16 May, Cooke's North Carolina Brigade has come to Kin- 
ston from the vicinity of Charleston. 17 May, the Fifty- 
sixth relieves a regiment of Daniel's North Carolina Brigade 
on outpost duty at Gum Swamp, which is eight miles below 
Kinston, on the Dover road. The line of defense has been 
improved by Colonel Rutledge with his Twenty-fifth Regi- 
ment of Ransom's Brigade. The breastw^ork, already noted, 
extending out of the east side of the swamp at a point on the 
south (right), and continuing around to the north to the fatal 
railroad embankment, (here running back through the swamp 
at a right angle,) is now carried across it, extending the arc 
of the circle northwest until it enters the sw^amp again. The 
railroad embankment thus becomes a traverse, while others 
are added against the enfilade from the east and soutli. The 
country road from New Bern to Kinston here winding like 
the letter S crosses the railroad three times, and thus with it 
completes a dollar mark ($) within two miles behind us. A 
redoubt with one gun commands the first crossing immedi- 
ately in our rear. 

21 May. Scouts late this afternoon report an advance of 
the enemy from New Bern, four companies of cavalry having 
crossed Core Creek. 


22 May. While the regiment is in line of battle, seven 
companies occupying the circular earthworks, with the other 
three posted at gaps in the swamp occurring on the right 

Ipobuc umm^^^ 


1. A.. P. AVhite. Captain, Co. C. 

a. Matthew W. Fatherly, Isl Lt., Co. C. 

3. John 15. Lyon, !.M Lieut., Co.. C., and 

Captain in f)8th Kegiineiit, 

4. Robert D. (irahaiii. Captain, Cd. I). 

David S. Ray, Lieut., Co D. 
Robert T. Faueette, 1st Lieut.. Co. D. 
B. F. (iritjfj. Captain. Co. F. 
Valentuie J. Fahner, 1st Lieut., Co. F. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 325 

flank, Company I occupying the extreme point a mile to the 
south, our pickets are driven in at daylight. Lieutenant Gra- 
ham soon thereafter calls the attention of the Colonel to an 
order plainly heard on the left, "Throw out your skirmish- 
ers," and is sent out with six men to reconnoiter. Finds the 
enemy advancing a strong line of skirmishers, with a line of 
battle behind them, opens the battle by getting the first fire, 
and returns to report their position. The left wing, ready 
and waiting for them as they rush forward to the assault, re- 
ceives tliem with a steady fire, and they take shelter in a 
screen of dense woods separated from us by an open space of 
100 yards in width. 

The fire here is maintained briskly for some time, and 
then their next regiment advances against the right wing of 
our seven companies, where the reception is equally effective, 
again silencing their fire. These demonstrations after a 
considerable interval are renewed with the same result, and 
the third time all is silent. 

At this point Colonel Faison expressed to the writer a de- 
termination to charge them, and sent him around their right 
flank with twenty men to locate them. It was soon evident 
why they had not up to this time, about 10 :30 a. m., used 
against our front their third regiment of infantry supporting 
the first two, nor the three pieces of artillery held under 
cover near the Dover road and supported by the four com- 
panies of cavalry, of which we heard the evening before, con- 
stituting the brigade here assembled. Another force, whose 
strength we must learn by feeling it, is now rapidly closing 
in on the Dover road directly in rear of our right flank. 
They have not pierced any point in the line committed to the 
Fifty-sixth ; but however there, they have gained the rear of 
the redoubt, and can soon rake the road through the swamp 
with our own gun. The Colonel is amazed that there is no 
attack upon them by the always reliable regiment that had 
been posted at the next crossing as our reserve. They soon 
develop a considerable force, taking the redoubt in the rear, 
and a hasty retreat along the railroad before they can gain 
it, now offers the only escape from capture by the two brig- 
ades between which the battalion is being wedged in. Colonel 

326 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

Faison accordingly withdrew it, and keeping up a running 
fire, saved the greater portion of his command before the en- 
emy got possession of the railroad. 

The enemy had rushed in between Graham's reconnoiter- 
ing party and the retiring battalion, but by a circuitous route 
through the swamp, he joined the rear companies as they 
were successfully replying to an attack from the swamp upon 
the left flank of the column. The defence was here vigor- 
ously maintained for some time, Lieutenant-Colonel Luke 
shouting: "Give it to them boys; it will be all right to-mor- 
row." But the left flank and rear of our new line of battle 
are now open to the advancing brigade that we have fought 
throughout the morning on the east side of the swamp, while 
our right flank and its rear are commanded by the other brig- 
ade, which after gaining the crossing that was occupied by our 
reserve regiment when the battle opened, is rushing in from 
that point on the west to join the line coming over the rail- 
road embankment from the south, and thus completing the 
circle around us. 

The battle is evidently over, and we must save as numy 
men as we can through the swamp in our rear north of the 
railroad. Plunging into the dense tall growth of reeds, we 
were met by demands to surrender. The alternative seemed 
to be capture or to receive a volley of musketry at close quar- 
ters. But the cover of the reeds was complete at a short dis- 
tance. Taking advantage of this and playing men as pawns, 
the writer sent the smaller number between himself and the 
enemy directly into their hands. Without waiting to see 
this manoeuvre completed, he faced about and set the column 
in motion in another direction. The enemy realized only 
about 20 per cent of the prize that was within tlieir grasp at 
this point; for 150 men were thus rescued with the assistance 
of Lieutenant Charles M. Payne, of Company K, since an 
able Presbyterian Doctor of Divinity, recently deceased. 

Adjutant Hale, who liad acted witli coolness and gallantry 
throughout the whole engagement, was near this point of the 
rear guard and brought out a good number. 

If there was any officer of the regiment who failed to meas- 
ure up to liis duty in either of the two battles at this outpost, 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 327 

we never discovered it. A court of inquiry acquitted the 
Colonel commanding. Of this result none of his comrades 
had entertained the least doubt. 

Major E. J. Hale has recently written me: "I notice that 
Professor D. H. Hill, in 'Confederate Military History,' 
Vol. IV, page 155, says that the Fifty-sixth and Twenty-fifth 
Regiments were surprised at Gum Swamp 22 May, 1863. 
This is not true of the Fifty-sixth, whatever may be true of 
any others. We had been engaged for some hours at inter- 
vals with the enemy in our front, which we had completely 
protected and defended by repulsing his three several attacks. 
JSTo part of the line defended by or belonging to the Fifty- 
sixth was punctured. 

"After the third repulse of the enemy an order was given 
to withdraw the regiment to the Kinston side of Gum Swamp, 
as the enemy had crossed it some miles south of us. I was 
shot while directing this movement, but paid no attention to 
the matter until next day. Shortly after we had gotten most 
of the men across the country road, I remember that you and 
I were chatting beside the railroad about the want of orders. 
We saw the Twenty-fifth in line a few hundred yards to the 
rear (west). Word was started to them that with a change of 
front to the south, we would join them in attacking this new 
force of the enemy which was then coming up from that direc- 
tion. But suddenly the Twenty-fifth was marched away to- 
wards Kinston. Our support being thus withdrawn, we then 
had nothing to do but to save as many as possible from cap- 

Captain W. G. Graves now writes : "I have never felt any 
scruples about this fight, as no blame could be placed upon the 
men or regimental officers." 

General R. Ransom, just returned from sick leave, barely 
escaped capture as he was coming to the outpost and had only 
passed to the front of the reserve, when he was met by a vol- 
ley from the enemy at that instant emerging from the swamp 
to attack the rear of the redoubt and of our right flank. Two 
regiments of the enemy had gained this position, led by a 
native guide in a circuitous, all night march of fourteen 
miles in single file through a marsh that they found well nigh 

328 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

impassable. Thev thus avoided bv several miles the line 
committed to the Fifty-sixth, and came upon the field from 
the southwest. 

Colonel Faison was just then quiet for the want of some- 
thing to shoot at ; and was ready to make a counter-charge at 
the most favorable point; but it seems that his silence was 
mistaken in the rear for a surrender. This misunderstand- 
ing and the consequent withdrawal of the Twenty-fifth at the 
very instant when it should have charged and united with us 
to crush their rear attack, was the mistake of the day. But 
from such mistakes even IS^apoleon was not free. 

Major-General D. H. Hill, reaching the outpost with Ran- 
som's and Cooke's Brigades about 5 p. m., pushed the enemy 
back within his fortifications at New Bern, a shell there kill- 
ing Colonel J. R. Jones, of the Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania, 
who had commanded the two brigades in the attack on the 
Fifty-sixth North Carolina. The brigade in our front was 
immediately under Colonel Pierson, of one of the four Mas- 
sachusetts regiments, while Colonel Jones accompanied the 
column that penetrated the swamp. He was a brave, ener- 
getic officer, and doubtless would have been appointed a gen- 
eral for this affair wliich he reported that afternoon as "par- 
tially successful." He therein says that "the enemy was 
able to defend himself sometime under cover of a swamp, and 
when finally l>roken, his men mostly escaped," and that he 
"almost took General Ransom himself, who was accidentally 
at the post." 

Our loss was three Lieutenants and 146 men captured, 
Lieutenant D. S. Ray, of Company D, dying of his wounds 
next day in New Bern. He was a gallant and meritorious 
officer, who had the confidence and affection of the company, 
of which he was in command. Captain John W. Graham 
being on detail as Judge Advocate of the court-martial at 
Wilmington. Lieutenant Graham was promoted to First 
Lieutenant, and Sergeant Wm. Turner to Second Lieutenant. 

Query: How did it liappen, when it was known at the 
outpost on the afternoon of 21 May, and presumably at head- 
quarters early in the evening, that a column was advancing 
from New Bern on the same road by which the four regi- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 329 

ments had attacked this outpost within the last four weeks, 
and this cohimn was morally certain to reach it next morning, 
that an effective force of three brigades at Kinston, only eight 
miles distant and ample to give the enemy a complete sur- 
prise by striking the first blow, or at least simultaneously with 
their assault upon our single regiment and possibly cutting 
off their line of retreat, if strategically disposed during the 
night, did not start towards the scene of action until the next 
afternoon, after the incident was closed ? No explanation 
is found in the official records or other source of information. 

28 May. The brigade is off for Virginia via Goldsboro 
and Weldon, reaching Petersburg by train in the night. 29 
May, on to Richmond, and bivouacked at Camp Lee, (State 
Fair Grounds.) 

2 June. Right-about to Petersburg again, and next day 
proceeded to Ivor, on the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad. 

13 June. Brigadier-General R. Ransom has been promo- 
ted to Major-General ; Colonel M. W. Ransom to Brigadier- 
General to-day. Back in Petersburg and march over to 
Drewry's Bluff on the James river, half way between Peters- 
burg and Richmond. The appearance of troops in perma- 
nent quarters, on garrison duty, is here a novel sight to our 
command, so constantly in motion. 

17 June. Back to Petersburg, and 21 June to Half-way 
Station, towards Richmond. Occupied former cabins of 
Daniel's ISTorth Carolina Brigade. 

During this month all the enlisted men captured at Gum 
Swamp, have been exchanged and returned to duty. 

26 June. Night march to Seven Pines. 

29 June. Ransom's Brigade is engaged in dismantling 
breastworks constructed here by the enemy under McClellan 
a year ago. Major-Generals Arnold Elzy, Robert Ransom, 
and Daniel H. Hill have recently been successively in com- 
mand at Richuiond. Both Ransom's and Cooke's Brigades 
had been ordered up to participate in the counter-invasion 
to the north, but at the solicitation of these post commanders 
were retained for protection of the capital. General Lee's 
letter on the subject says : "I have always considered Cooke's 

330 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

and Ransom's Brigades as part of the Army of Northern Vir- 


Ours was now a duty of obsei'vation and reconnoissance to 
meet any demonstration of the enemy from the seacoast. Thus 
an opportunity was given to participate in one of the most 
brilliant campaigns of the war — sharp, quick and decisive. 
The enemy watching our capital could learn approximately 
the strength of the small force, protecting it. Accordingly 
General Dix and General Keyes, advancing cautiously by 
the way of the White House, apparently had a Avalk-over. 

2 July. General D. H. Hill, without waiting for them to 
approach nearer to his fortified line of defence, which he had 
not enough troops to adequately man, moved out rapidly upon 
them with Ransom's North Carolina, Cooke's North Caro- 
lina, and Jenkins' South Carolina Brigades, Branch's Vir- 
ginia Battery of Artillery and three others,^ — -a total of six- 
teen guns — and a squadron of cavalry. He met them at 
Crump's farm, near Deep Bottom bridge, between sunset and 
dark, and immediately opened such a vigorous assault that 
the enemy were compelled to assume the defensive, and night 
found them in full retri^at, doubtless believing that those 
three brigades must have been immensely reinforced since 
their last reports had come in. Ransom's Brigade sustained 
the only loss on our side, one man killed and two wounded. 
Six or seven prisoners taken admitted a loss of thirty on 
their side. 

11 July. To Petersburg again, and camped on Dunn's 


28 July. A part of the Forty-ninth and three companies 
of the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Regiment and a bat- 
tery of Georgia Ai*tillery, met Spear's Regiment of New 
York Cavalry and Dodge's Mounted Riflemen and several 
pieces of artillery at Boone's Mill, ten miles south of Weldon 
and two miles from Jackson, N. C. The Fifty-sixtli Regi- 
ment arrived that evening, but the enemy had withdrawn. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 331 

Disposition was made for attack that night ; but they did not 
return. The Forty-ninth lost one man killed, and in the 
Twenty-fourth three were wounded. The enemy buried 11 
of their dead on the field. 

1 August. Back to Garysburg, and camped near Mr. 

12 August. To Halifax Court House, and 13th took boat 
for Hamilton. Down the Roanoke seventy-three miles, ar- 
riving in the afternoon. 

14 August, Company D, under Lieutenant Graham, de- 
tached to Poplar Point, and threw up breastworks covering 
the river landing. 

16 August. Returned through Palmyra and Halifax to 

1 September. Captain John W. Graham, on retirement 
of Major Schenk, is promoted to Major, Lieutenant Robert 
D. Graham to Captain, and Sergeant Joseph B. Coggin to 
First Lieutenant. For the succeeding four months, eight 
companies of this regiment and the Twenty-first North Car- 
olina Regiment were posted in the West tO' meet any in- 
cursions from East Tennessee, and to break up the refuge 
found there by deserters and lawless characters from the 
several States, and to see that the conscript act was fairly en- 
forced. The effort was to gain friends, and make no new 
enemies for the State in her desperate struggle, and thus keep 
the people united in domestic tranquility. The moral effect 
of this movement was salutary, Avhether now viewed from a 
Confederate or Federal standpoint, and it is beyond doubt 
that it was so regarded by General Grant when the war was 
over, and the proscription naturally following it was at fever 

Two companies, H and E, under Captain W. G. Graves, 
were protecting the building of the Confederate ram Albe- 
marle on the Roanoke near Halifax, at Edwards' Ferry. 

24 Octx)ber. Adjutant E. J. Hale, Jr., is promoted to 
Assistant Adjutant-General and assigned to Lane's Brigade. 
As his modesty naturally forbade the incorporation of his 
military record in his history of the Bethel Regiment, and as 
he contributed so largely to the efiiciency of the Fifty-sixth, 

332 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

it will be a pleasure to every survivor of the latter to have an 
outline of so brilliant a career here preserved for the honor 
of the State that we all love so well. 

Private in Bethel Eegiment 17 April to 13 November, 
1861 ; Second Lieutenant 2 December, 1861, and Adjutant 
Fifty-sixth Eegiment 1 Augiist, 1862, to 24 October, 1863 ; 
Judge Advocate Court-martial at Wilmington January to 
March, 1863. 

Designated by General Lee to convey to General Grant as- 
sent and pei-mit to remove his dead and wounded lost at Cold 
Harbor 2 June, 1864, Grant reluctantly thus acknowledging 
a defeat. 

Assigned as Assistant Adjutant-General to Taliaferro's 
Division, Army Northern Virginia, but reassigned to Lane's 
Brigade on petition of its officers, in consequence of General 
Lane being absent, wounded. 

For ''conspicuous gallantry and merit" recommended by 
Generals Lane, Wilcox and A. P. Hill for Colonel of the 
Twenty-eighth Regiment on request of all its officers then 
present, 26 September, 1864; but the act of Congress was 
found to provide only for the regular line officers. 

In March, 1865, he was commissioned Major and Assist- 
ant Adjutant-General ; wounded at Second Gum Swamp and 
at the Wilderness, and was in the surrender at Appomattox. 
At the crisis in the battle of Fuzzell's Mills, 16 August, 1864, 
(commanding the Darbytown road in front of Richmond), 
Lane's Brigade was put in under the eye of General Lee to 
recapture the lost line. Colonel Barber commanding, was 
wounded and the charge arrested, but the Adjutant-General 
assumed command and pushed forward to a speedy victory. 
In the presence of the troops he was thanked by the chief 
engineer, General Stevens. For the latter's consideration he 
then recommended that the line of defense be here so changed 
as to give full effect to the modem long-range small arms, 
commanding approaches over wide plains, therefore to be pre- 
ferred instead of precipices. This was then a new departure 
in fortifications, but was promptly adopted and superintend- 
ence of the work given to Captain Hale, so that when the next 
morning dawned the enemy found four miles of such de- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 333 

fences awaiting their assault, and withdrew. It was effect- 
nallj adopted by the Turks at Ple^^la, while much later the 
British lost Majuba Hill by adhering to the antiquated sys- 
tem. ' 

In the N'orth Carolina victory at Eeams Station, 25 Au- 
gust, 1864, he had a similar experience. General Conner 
was disabled and Colonel Speer killed just as Lane's Brig- 
ade started forward. He assumed command, and they were 
among the first over the line. 

Losing only by a legal technicality the promotion to Colo- 
nel in the line, as above mentioned, the extraordinary com- 
mission of Major and Assistant Adjutant-General of Brigade 
was given him as some measure of compensation. He was 
succeeded as Adjutant by John W. Faison. 


In January, 1864, an expedition was organized for the re- 
capture of ISTew Bern, under Major-General George E. 

28 January. Reached Goldsboro, and on the night of the 
80th proceeded to Kinston, where the Fifty-sixth reported to 
General Corse, commanding a Virginia Brigade. At night 
General Barton, commanding his own brigade and the other 
four Regiments under General Ransom, marched out on the 
I^Teuse River road for 'New Bern. 

31 January. Column consisting of Hoke's Xorth Caro- 
lina, Clingman's J^orth Carolina, and Corse's Virginia Brig- 
ade (temporarily including the Fifty-sixth North Caro- 
lina), took the Dover road, passed through Gum Swamp, 
whence we marched down the railroad track some six miles, 
turning into the country road again at Sandy Ridge, the 
scene of a fight between the Forty-ninth North Carolina and 
the enemy last year, and went into bivouac about eight miles 
beyond, making twenty-three miles that day. Skirmishers 
out that night from Corse's Brigade under Major Graham, 
of the Fifty-sixth North Carolina. 

1 February. Set out at 2 a. m. and captured the outpost 
at Bachelor's Creek. Here Colonel Shaw, Eighth North 
Carolina State Troops, was killed at the opening of the en- 

334 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

gagenient. A portion of Hoke's men, with Companies B and 
I, of the Fiftj-sixth, were actively engaged. Our total loss 
was eight killed and fifty wounded. We captured 250 pris- 
oners with the block house. The railroad crosses the creek 
at this point, and the Fifty-sixth made a race to strike the 
track in the rear of the train carrying the residue of the en- 
emy to New Bern. They escaped. The fort was destroyed 
and a large quantity of Quartermaster and Commissary 
stores secured. 

Our part being thus accomplished, we listened in vain for 
Barton's guns as a signal for our further advance. At night 
Captain R. D. Graham, with 100 men from Companies D 
and K, of the Fifty-sixth, with two pieces of artillery, was 
posted by General Corse on the Washington road as a force of 
observation against a garrison cut off in the fort at the cross- 
ing of Bachelor's Creek. At daylight Colonel Chew came 
out with the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Virginia Regi- 
ments and with Graham's detachment moved upon tl"i(! gar- 
rison. The Thirtieth and the artillery was moved around to 
the right of the road, while the rest of the force took position 
on the left. A demand was then made for surrender; and 
the enemy finding himself within point-blank range of the 
artillery in his rear, to which he could not reply, without 
bringing his own outside the fort, capitulated. Our spoils 
were a section of artillery with caisson, and 100 stand of 
small arms, with a supply of ammunition. The prisoners, 
120 men and four officers. Captain Cowdy commanding. 
Meanwhile the enemy had advanced from New Bern upon 
Hoke, and been repulsed. 

General Martin, on the Wilmington road, had carried 
everything before him up to the reserve works. Every as- 
sault had been successful, and General Barton could read- 
ily have found men to take the task assigned him. But as he 
reported it impracticable, the whole expedition was finally 
abandoned, when it seemed the general opinion that a deter- 
mined assault would have been crowned with success. 

I leave the above recital, as most of this sketch, just as 
written during the war. On consulting U. S. Official Rec- 
ords, I now find that I have expressed the opinion of both 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 335 

General Hoke and General Pickett. But it therein also 
appears that General Barton in his official report, says that 
before abandoning his attempt to cross Brice's Creek, he 
made, together Avith the two brigade commanders mider him, 
a personal reconnoissance. He requested a court of inquiry, 
and this request was recommended accordingly to Adjutant- 
General Cooper by General Lee. 

5 February. Rejoined our own brigade under General M. 
W. Ransom at Kinston, and 7 February reached Weldon on 
train via Goldsboro. 

8 February. Ordered to Richmond, but countermanded 
just as the train is about to pull out. In camp again near 
the Moody house. Daily exercises in company and battal- 
ion drill, each Captain successively acting as regimental com- 


26 February. Off for Franklin, Va., on the Blackwater, 
crossed at Old South Quay, and marched to South Mills, Cam- 
den county, IST. C. From this point commissary stores are 
gathered ; and a detachment of the enemy appearing, is chased 
down the Dismal Swamp canal by Colonel Dearing with his 
battalion of cavalry to within twelve miles of N'orfolk. Cap- 
tured a First Lieutenant, Surgeon and half a dozen privates. 
The object accomplished, the wagon trains under our pro- 
tection having been loaded and started back, the return com- 
mences on the night of 4 March, and at the tw^o creeks first to 
be crossed, Graham's company of the Fifty-sixth, as rear 
guard, had prepared bright fires that there should be no delay 
in crossing. The enemy were reported to have ascended the 
Chowan river, and were expected to pay us some attention 
before we were back across the Blackwater with our long train 
of wagons loaded with provisions. Halted at Sandy Cross, 
twenty miles from South Mills, for two days. !N^o appear- 
ance of the enemy. 


7 March. Proceeded to within eight miles of Old South 
Quay and learned that the enemy had again occupied Suffolk. 

9 March. Passed through Somerton at 10 a. m., and at a 

336 North CakolixNa Troops, 1861-65. 

church within three miles of Suffolk, routed a cavalry out- 
post and pressed on to the railroad. Here the enemy's cav- 
alry formed to charge the Twenty-fourth Regiment; but a 
few well-directed shots put them to fliglit. Captain Cicero 
Durham, promoted to Assistant Quartermaster for gallantry 
in the line and known as the Fighting Quartermaster of the 
Forty-ninth, gathered a squad of a dozen mounted men among 
the teamsters, and charged them in turn. Seeing the paucity 
of his numbers, they made a stand, but were attacked with 
such vigor that they resumed their flight before the infantry 
could get within range. The Fifty-sixth was second in the 
column, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Luke, and complimented 
on the good order sustained on a double-quick pursuit of 
three miles. The only escape for the cavalry was by com- 
pleting a semi-circle outside the earthworks, defending the 
town, before we could run through on the street and road 
forming the chord to the arc. With their spurs and the aid 
of the shells from our artillery, they beat the race. 

We had no cavalry and did not lose a man, but General 
Butler, like Job's war horse, "smelleth the battle afar off," 
and pens to the Secretary of War the following bulletin as it 
appears in Official War Records: 

Fort Monroe, 12 March, 1864. 
No. 1. 

Cole's Cavalry, Second United States, had a skirmish the 
day before yesterday with the enemy near Suffolk, Va. 
While making a rcconnoissance, they came upon Ransom's 
Brigade, consisting of four regiments of infantry, four pieces 
of artillery and 300 cavalry. The enemy made a charge 
upon two squadrons of Cole's, and were handsomely repulsed 
with a loss of about sixty. 

The charge brought the colored soldiers into a hand-to- 
hand fight with the rebels, and the enthusiastic testimony of 
their officers is that that they behaved with the utmost cour- 
age, coolness and daring. I am perfectly satisfied with my 
negro cavalry. 

Bexj. F. Butler, 


Hon. E. M. Stanton. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 337 

We pursued them to Bernard's Mills, capturing the camp 
of the white troops and returned with one piece of artillery 
and considerable stores. 

Three negro soldiers took refuge in a house in town and 
refusing to surrender, j)erished in its flames. Another, rush- 
ing out with his gun and fighting to the last, was shot. 

11 March, rieturned to Franklin via^ Carrsville. 12 
Marcli, off by rail to Weldon, and in camp near Mr. Moody's 
at Grarysburg, and 17 March, muster and inspection for Jan- 
uary and February, 1864, by Colonel Paul F. Faison. 


14 April. The Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth and Fifty- 
sixth ]^orth Carolina State Troops, under General M. W. 
Ransom, set out by rail and reported to Brigadier-General 
R. F. Hoke at Tarboro. The Forty-ninth was on outpost 
duty near Edenton, and its place was now supplied by the 
Eighth, from Clingman's Brigade. 

15 April. The column, consisting of Hoke's JSTorth Caro- 
lina Brigade under Colonel Mercer, of the Twenty-first Geor- 
gia Regiment, which was then with it ; Kemper's Virginia, 
under Colonel Terry, and Ransom's ISJ'orth Carolina Brigade 
with Pegram's Battery, under General Ransom, and Strib- 
blings', Graham's Virginia, Miller's, Moseley's and Reade's 
batteries of artillery belonging to Colonel Dearing's command, 
and Dearing's Battalion of cavalry, took up the line of march 
against Plymouth. At Hamilton we were joined by the 
Thirty-fifth i^orth Carolina. Passing through Williamston 
and Jamesville, we reached the vicinity Sunday, the l7th, a 
little before nightfall. 

Immediately a strong line of skirmishers, including Com- 
pany I, of the Fifty-sixth, was thrown out from Ransom's 
Brigade, under Major Graham, and pushed forward nearly 
to the entrenchments. A picket post of eleven men was sur- 
prised, nine captured, one killed and one escaped. A recon- 
noissance in force was made in front of Fort Gray, on War- 
ren's I^eck, between the mouths of two creeks emptying into 
the Roanoke, two miles west of Plymouth, and Dearing's ar- 

338 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

tillery crippled one of the boats so that it sank on reaching 
the wharf. A redoubt Avas innnediately ])egun on the James- 
ville road leading south for our 3'2 -pound Parrott gun. The 
iron-clad Albemarle, Captain J. W. Cooke, was expected 
during the night. Fort Gray's armament was one 100- 
pounder and two 32-pounders 

18 April. The Albemarle, for some reason, was making 
slow progress down the Koanoke, and the day passed without 
a sign of it. Shelling at inter\'als was kept up, the Fifty- 
sixth suffering but one casualty, the wounding of a man in 
Company H. During the night Colonel Faison, with 250 
men, had completed the earthwork near the Washington and 
Jamesville road from which to bombard the fort at Sander- 

At sundoAvn a demonstration on both sides of Lee's Mill, 
Bath road, was made against the enemy's south front by the 
artillery and Ransom's Brigade. Our assaulting column 
w'as formed with the left resting on Frank Fagan's house on 
the Jamesville road, a mile and a quarter south of town, and 
two regiments, the Twenty-fourth and Eighth, beyond the 
Lee Mill road at Redd Gap. The Fifty-sixth was next on 
the left, and then the Thirty-fifth, while the Twenty-fifth 
connected us with Hoke's right. The batteries following on 
the heels of a battalion of sharpshooters composed of Com- 
panies B, I, E and A, of the Fifty-sixth, under their worthy 
Captains, Roberts, Harrill, Locldiart and Hughes, led by 
Captain Jno. C. Pegram, Assistant Adjutant-General, driv- 
ing the enemy over their breastworks, advanced steadily from 
position to position, firing with the utmost rapidity, while the 
rest of the brigade in the line of battle kept pace with tliem. 
Ransom was conspicuous on the field, keeping his mount 
throughout the engagement. This was kept up till 10 p. m., 
the enemy replying with great spirit from his forts and gun- 
boats, carrying twenty pieces. The object was as far as pos- 
sible to draw the enemy's fire in this direction, while Hoke's 
Brigade assaulted in earnest the "85th Redoubt" at the San- 
derson house, some distance to our left. The fort was carried 
after a very stubborn resistance and the death of its com- 
mander, Captain Chapin. Among our killed we mourn the 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 339 

loss of the brigade commander, the gallant Colonel Mercer, 
of the Twenty-first Georgia. Lieutenant Charles R. Wilson, 
of Company D, and 14 men of the Fifty-sixth North Carolina 
were wounded at our end. Colonel Mercer was a West Point 
classmate of Generals J. E. B. Stuart, Hood, Custis Lee, and 
W. D. Pender. He is buried at TarboTo beside his last 
named comrade. 

19 April. Towards day Colonel Wm. J, Clarke, with his 
own, the Twenty-fourth, and the Fifty-sixth Regiment, was 
posted below the town on the Columbia road, to prevent escape 
in that direction. But the enemy was still confident in the 
strength of his fortifications, even after the loss of the "85th 
Redoubt" and the arrival of our ram, Albemarle, the same 
night passing the big gims at Warren's Neck unharmed. It 
sank one of their gunboats, the Southfield, and chased off the 
other two, the naval commander, Flusser, being killed on the 
deck of the Miami. The enemy still held a continuous, thor- 
oughly fortified line, well constructed, from a point on the 
river, near Warren's Neck, along their west and south fronts, 
and terminating on the east in a swamp, bordering which a 
deep creek, known as Conaby, a mile or two further east, 
runs into the Roanoke river, on the south bank of which Ply- 
mouth is situated. It has four streets parallel with the river 
and five at right angles to it. Fort Williams, projecting be- 
yond the south face of the parallelogram, is ready for action 
on all four sides and enfilades, right and left, the whole south 
front of the fortifications, while Battery Worth was built to 
command the west, water and land, approach. Between the 
latter and Warren's Neck was 85th Redoubt at Sanderson's 
house. At Boyle's steam mill near the road entering Second 
street from the west was another redoubt outside the en- 
trenchments, and within the southwest angle still another at 
Harriet Toodles'. On the east centre was Fort Comfort, 
with a redoubt on either side of the Columbia road at James 
Bateman's and Charles Latham's. General Hoke ordered 
an assault from this (east) side by Ransom's Brigade. Ac- 
cordingly that night our sharpshooters effected a crossing 
of Conaby creek on felled trees with some opposition. A 
pontoon bridge was laid, and before the night was far ad- 

340 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

vanccd, the l)rig-ad(> was over. Witli a line of skirinisliers out 
in front, tlic brigade slept in line of battle, and perhaps never 
more soundly, for tired nature's sweet restorer was welcome, 
even on the eve of certain battle. 

•20 A]n-il. At the first break of day Ransom was again in 
the saddle, and his ringing voice came down the line: ''At- 
tention, brigade!" Every man was upon his feet instantly, 
and the adjusting of twisted blankets across the left slioulder 
and under the belt at the right hip was only the work of an- 
other moment ; the line of battle was formed, "Fix bayonets," 
"Trail arms !" "Forward march !" and the charge began. 
The aligiiment was as follows : The Fifty-sixth on the right, 
flanked by Company I, as sharpshooters, (resting on the 
Roanoke and near the "Albemarle," then engaged, as it had 
been at intervals through the night, with Battery Worth on 
the river face of the town), and Twenty-fifth, Thirty-fifth, 
Eighth and Twenty-fourth successively on to the left. On 
our part of the line a large drove of cattle was encountered 
and driven on as a living w^all between us and the enemy until 
they reached the canal, down which they refused to plunge, or 
escort us further. Maddened by this strange spectacle of 
"man's inhumanity to man," they turned about, and "with 
no reputation to lose," dashing through our line, sought safety 
in flight. The canal was found with steep banks, but fortu- 
nately with fordable water. Ranks were necessarily broken 
in getting across, but were soon in perfect order on the farther 
side, and the forward movement resumed. The next obsta- 
cle was a swamp, in places waist deep, through w'hich the 
regiment floundered as best it could, impeded by the mire and 
cypress knees with which it abounded. The Fifty-sixth was 
the first through, and immediately reforming under an 
oblique fire from the left, charged up a slight hill, and routed 
the opposing regiment sheltered behind a fence of palings, 
here the outer line of the town. This and the adjacent houses 
blocked further advance in regimental line of battle. 

But the halt here was only for a moment. Company I 
pressed straight forward, sweeping everything before them 
between Water street and the river bank, while the Twenty- 
fifth on getting through the swamp and finding the Fifty-sixth 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 341 

in its front, debouched to the right and thus went up Water 
street between the Fifty-sixth and its detached company. At 
the same instant General Ransom, reaching this point, the 
Fifty-sixth moved off by the left flank and entered the town 
on the next street east, by filing to the right, left in front. 
Major Graham was at the extreme left, now head of column, 
and on gaining the open space about the county jail, deployed 
the regiment foi-ward into line of battle, just in time to check- 
mate a battery of artillery taking position to rake the street 
with its guns. These movements and the obstacles encoun- 
tered, again divided the regiment, carrying the Colonel and 
Lieutenant-Colonel back to Water street to direct the extreme 
right, while the Major, with eight companies, pressed 
forward to silence the artillery. The fire, delivered before 
we could reach them, was fortunately a little too high, the 
shells in a direct line being plainly visible as they passed 
over, and the guns were at once in our possession — not, how- 
ever, until one brave fellow had blown up his limber in our 
faces, killing his nearest horses and wounding several of our 
men. It would be a pleasure here to record his name. The 
man retreating with the caisson was killed in the street, wdth 
four of his six horses, by a shell from Fort Williams. 

This wing of the regiment, then, without Avaiting for any 
support, as all seemed to have enough to do, swept on fighting 
between these two streets the entire length of the town, and 
without a halt charged the redoubt in their front, oonstitut- 
ing a west section of the enemy's heavy line of fortifications, 
facing front and rear. Here they captured a Pennsylvania 
regiment, and Major Graham, mounting the works with the 
regimental flag, waved it to Hoke's Brigade, now under Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Lewis (afterwards Brigadier-General), and 
thus announced that the way was open on that side. In this 
last charge the Twenty-fourth went in abreast with us, having 
entered the town by the Columbia road, which leads into Sec- 
ond street, after crossing Conaby creek with a northwest 
trend and then midway changing to due west. While the 
Eighth and Thirty-fifth swung around to invest Fort Com- 
fort, the Twenty-fourth overcoming all opposition before 
them at the Bateman and Latham redoubts, pushed forward 

342 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

and connected with our left flank as we struck tlie fortifica* 
tions, — redoubt and entrenched camp. 

Major Graham's prisoners, some 300 of infantry and artil- 
lery, were turned over to Captain Joseph G. Lockhart, when, 
under shelter of a ravine, uniting his battalion with Hoke's 
Brigade, he swept down first the west and then the south in- 
trenchments to Fort Williams, into which General Wessels 
had withdrawn with the remnant of his army. The Twenty- 
fourth came up on the other side. After consultation with 
Colonel Lewis, it was deemed unnecessary to assault it, as its 
surrender would be compelled by our artillery with the aid of 
shai-pshooters being rapidly posted to overlook its interior 
from the windows and tops of the nearest houses. The two 
opposing generals then met in a personal interview, and the 
demand to capitulate was refused. But the inevitable was 
soon acknowledged by raising a white flag, as w^e had silenced 
every gun in the fort. 

Meantime, the part assigned to Harrill's men, under their 
fearless leader, had been as effectually accomplished. Through 
water hip deep, they had crossed the canal and swamp, and 
keeping near the river, passing around houses and bursting 
through garden and yard fences, they reached the rear of 
Battery Worth, containing the 200-pounder, specially pro- 
vided to anticipate the coming of our iron-clad Albemarle. 
One volley was sufficient. The white flag was run up and the 
battery, with some twenty artillerymen, surrendered to him. 

Taking the prisoners with them from this battery on the 
river, they immediately charged to their left and thus struck 
in the flank and rear the right section of the enemy's line of 
battle occupying the breastworks, here on Water street, fac- 
ing up the river. His demand to surrender was promptly 
complied with, and while Harrill here gathered in his prison- 
ers, largely outnumbering his own rank and file, Lewis' men 
who had held the attention of the enemy in their front, came 
in at a double-quick over the causeway leading through the 
swamp on the west of Plymouth^ passed Hai-rill's position 
and joined Graham's detachmout at the upper ravine further 
to the south, as above noted. 

How (Iocs it happen, then, that tlic eapt\ire of Battery 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 343 

Worth, or Fort Hal, noted above as by Company I, has been 
claimed for Company B, with whom were Colonel Faison 
and Colonel Bearing, a portion of the Twenty-fifth support- 
ing the artillery ? Both claims are literally tnie. 

A correspondent to the Fayetteville Observer, 22 April, 
1864, says: "On the river face of the town was a camp en- 
trenched to resist any attack from the water, and a little lower 
down an earthwork for the same purpose." The latter, admit- 
ted to be Battery Worth, we must observe the distinction be- 
tween the two, though close together. 

As to the time of the first movement, Captain Harrill's re- 
port is embodied in the foregoing narration. General Wes- 
sells report: "x\t daylight the following day, 20 April, while 
my right and front were seriously threatened, the enemy ad- 
vanced rapidly against my left, assaulting and carrying the 
line in that quarter, penetrating the town along the river and 
capturing Battery Worth." This left the entrenched camp 
not yet captured, and as no other Confederate troops were in 
that quarter at that early hour, the claim of Company I to 
Battery Worth is thus afiirmed. 

From this point of time General Wessells thus continues: 
"A line of skirmishers was formed from the breast^vorks per- 
pendicularly towards the river in hopes of staying the ad- 
vance. This effort succeeded for a time; but the troops 
seemed discouraged and fell back to the entrenchments." 

The conduct of the Fifty-sixth was well calculated to create 
such discouragement, as it broke through all obstacles, driving 
the enemy from the streets, yards, houses, cellars, and bomb- 
proofs from which Major Graham says they came out like a 
colony of prairie puppies, or g-round hogs on the 2d of Feb- 
ruary. As those not captured in this charge were thus gradu- 
ally pressed back to their double-faced entrenchments, the in- 
fantry garrison in the entrenched camp at Battery Worth, 
guarding the water approach and, owing to the contour of the 
ground, not in sight from his side of the fortifications when 
Capt. Harrill some two hours before had taken the artillery- 
men out of the battery, appear now to have had their attention 
diverted from the commotion of the Albemarle down stream 
to their right and Hoke up the river to their left. They now 

344 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

for the first time saw their enemy in the town, and were ready 
with the portion of the retreating line that had joined them, 
to enfilade Company B as it came up. Here Colonel Faison, 
with this gallant company under Captain F. N. Roberts, had 
his hands full for some time and accomplished important re- 
sults, as described by the subsequent Captain, then First Ser- 
geant A. R. Carver: 

"In this charge our Lieutenant, B. W. Thornton, fell on 
Water street witli a bullet through the side of his forehead 
near the eye. I stopped long enough to see the wound, and 
thought liini dead; but he survived for a day or two. Our 
company had become detached by the evolutions and obstacles 
in getting through the town. Just before General Wessells 
capitulated, say by 9 or 10 oS3lock, we had reached the vicin- 
ity of Fort Hal, with the 200-pound gun bearing on the river. 
It was full of the enemy, on whom we were firing with our 
rifles and they were briskly returning our fire. Colonel 
Faison came up to me during this firing, when I pointed to a 
hill on the right overlooking the fort, and said if the artillery 
were posted there, we would have the fort in five minutes. 
Soon after he left me, I saw our battery open from tlie hill, 
and immediately a white handkerchief was hoisted on a bay- 
onet alxtve the fort. T Avas very near and ran fnr the fort. 
Geiun'al Dearing got across the moat and into the fort ahead 
of me, and jumped on tbe big gun as if he were going to spike 
it, wlicii T met an officer at the gate and dcMiianded his surren- 
der. He asked to be allowed to surrender to some higher 
ofiieer. I called General Dearing and he told him to surren- 
der to me. He thereupon handed over his swor<l and ])isr()l, 
wliieh 1 kept during the war. I think he belonged to ihc in- 
fantry. He had on his overcoat." 

So tliere were two captures of tlic sauic fort, separated by 
an interval of two or tliree liours. 

General Dearing (Colonel at Plymouth), snl)se(iuenlly fell 
6 A]n-il, 18ri5, at High Bridge, on the retreat towards Ap- 
pomattox Court House, in a hand-to-hand contest with ]\Iajor 
Read, of G(meral Ord's stafi", both antagonists going down 
together. The big gun was natiirally llic cliiof attraction to 
him, and of course he Indievcd to the dav of his deatli that his 

ItHS new YORK 





April 17- ?0, 1864. 
By Capt R. D. Graham, 56tf f?eg. N.C. S.T. 

Afhr Onginal by Solon E.AIlis, ZlttReg. Mass.]/. Militia , 

October, 1865. 

Ancf Comments of W. M. Bafeman, Superior Court Cl&rk. , 



500 1000 1500 

'■ I I I ' 





Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 345 

portion of the line had captured it, whereas it clearly appears 
that it had been silent for at least two hours, ever since Cap- 
tain Harrill carried off the artillerymen who had served it. 
It was the infantrv' of the adjoining entrenched camp, to- 
gether with some others, who had taken refuge in the vacant 
fort, that he and Colonel Faison so effectually silenced ; and 
we may say in the spirit of the generous Schley, "there was 
glory enough for all." 

The possibilities of such independent actions by detach- 
ments may be better understood when it is remarked that 
within tlie fortifications on the west side were three ravines, 
and on an elevation between the lower one and the river was 
planted Battery Worth, with the entrenched camp lower 
down. The redoubt at Boyle's steam mill on the road on 
this side of the town, appears to have been blown up by a 
shell entering its magazine, and so it offered no resistance 
to our infantry, wliile that at Harriet Toodle's, about the 
southwest angle, and the intervening entrenched camps were 
taken with the connecting breastworks. 

The writer was near General Hoke when he received Gen- 
eral Wessels, accompanied by his officers, as his prisoner. 
There was everything in his courteous and considerate bearing 
to lessen the sting of defeat. Dismounting from his horse 
and clasping the captive's hand, he assured him of his respect 
and sympathy, and added : ''After such a gallant defense you 
can bear the fortune of war without self-reproach." 

General Wessels' official report, made after his exchange 
four montlis later, says that Hoke's conduct was courteous and 
soldier-like. His return of casualties, killed, wounded and 
missing was 127 officers and 2,707 men, from the Sixteenth 
Connecticut Infantry, Second Massachusetts Heavy Artil- 
lery, Second North Carolina (Union) Infantry, Twelfth 
New York Cavalry, Eigthy-fifth Ne^v York Infantry, Twen- 
ty-fourth New York Battery, and One Hundred, and First 
and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania Infantry. Be- 
sides 3,000 stand of small arms and some twenty pieces of 
artillery, there was a large quantity of all other supplies. 

In our advance there were no shirks. The respective mus- 
ter rolls might be exhibited as lists of those deserving hon- 

346 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

orablo mention. The splendid conduct of Color Guard Cor- 
poral Job. C. Hughes, of Camden county, is here gratefully 

The regimental colors were carried by a Sergeant, later on 
given the rank of Ensign by the Confederate Congress, and 
he was supported by eight volunteer Corporals. This guard 
of three ranks in line of battle formed the extreme left of the 
right centre company. This position fell to Company D, 
and was retained by it to the end of the war. It was thus 
in the assault upon the redoubt beyond the head of Second 
street that the Captain of this company found Hughes at 
his side while a blue coat in front was drawing a bead on 
him within a space less than the width of the street — 
"Hughes, kill that Yank," followed, and the enemy's aim 
was as deliberately changed to save his own life. There 
was one report from two rifles, and both men went down. 
It was the last shot ever fired by the Federal. His 
sight was as good as that of his focman, his minie ball per- 
forating Hughes' blanket thirteen times, as it was twisted 
and worn as above described, but ended with the penetration 
of the breast-bone^ — probably owing to his not having driven 
the ball home in too rapidly loading his piece. Within about 
a month he was at his post again. He was a brother of the 
gallant Captain of Company A. In this charge the brave 
Corporal Wm. Daves, volunteer to the Color Guard from 
Company I, was killed, and J. P. Sossaman, of Company K, 
was also severely wounded at the flag. 

The "Albemarle" had advanced along the river front with 
the charge, firing over the line. The honor of capturing Fort 
Comfort on our left, fell to the Thirty-fifth ^STorth Carolina 
and it was renamed Fort Jones in honor of its Colonel. 

General Hoke was thereupon promoted to Major-General 
in recognition of this successful initiation of his campaign, 
and of a well earned record for gallantry and efliciency in 
the Army of Northern Virginia, and Colonel Bearing was 
made a Brigadier-General. Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis was 
soon thereafter promoted to Brigadier-General. 

In the Fifty-sixth Regiment, wo have one complete com- 
pany rejiort of casualties: 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 347 

Company D : Mortally wounded, James W. Hall, John 
W. Holsenback, and Simpson Riley — 3. Severely wounded, 
Lieutenant Charles R. Wilson, Corporals G. W. Montgomery, 
and Wm. W. Redding, Privates Wm. F. G. Barbee, D. W. 
King, Cyrus Laws, James R. Miller, Burroughs Pool, James 
Roberts, Lewellyn Taylor, Thomas J. Taylor, Harris Wil- 
kerson — 12. The commander of the company and others 
were also struck, but not put hors du combat. In Company 
F, Lieutenant V. J. Palmer, bravely leading Company F, 
was severely wounded as we passed the court house. Lieuten- 
ant B. W. Thornton, of Company B, was mortally wounded, 
the ball entering just above the eye, and coming out near the 
ear, but was still able, tliough his sight was gone, to recognize 
the writer when he visited him with other wounded that even- 
ing. He was a faithful and efficient soldier from Fayetteville. 
The other regiments of the brigade also bore conspicuous 
parts. One company, at least, of the Fifty-sixth, and perhaps 
nearly the whole regiment, here secured a complete equip- 
ment of first class rifles. 

Company I was most fortunate in doing its gallant part, 
having none permanently disabled and the ever faithful 
Daves at the colors being its only man killed to-day. 

Since writing the above we have found in the files of the 
Fayetteville Observer, 9 May, 1864, the report of Adjutant 
John W. Faison, and give the casualties accordingly : 

Company A — Killed : L. Sawyer. Wounded : Sergeant 
S. Smith, Corporal T. G. Ferrell, Wm. Garrett, J. C. Hughes 
(in breast), J. H. Johnson, Henry Williams, Wm. Gallopp 
and Wm. Gilbert. 

Company B — Wounded : Lieutenant B. W. Thornton, 
mortally. Sergeant L. H. Hurst, W. Caiwer, J. T. Moore, 
Wm. Handy and R. H. Averitt. 

Company C — Wounded : J. S. Sawyer, B. Hackney, J. 
Howard, R. Pendergrast, L. Williams and J. Parker. 

Company D — (Given above, 3 killed, 12 wounded). 

Company E — Wounded : Lieutenant J. M. Jacobs, Ser- 
geant A. Harrill, Coi-poral Wm. Turner, H. MclSTeill, H. 
Wheeler, W. H. Holland, W. H. McBryde, W. H. Thomas 
and Joseph Banks. 

348 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

CoMPA^'Y F — Lieutenant V. J. Palmer, Corporal A. No- 
lan, Allen Cogdale, Adney Cogdale, Wm. Chitwood, H. M. 
Gladden, J. G. We])l), J. W. Lindsay, T. P. Cabiniss and N. 
W. Koss. 

Company G^ — Killed : T. W. Nobbin and Izark D. Kinzey ; 
wounded, IL Allen, E, Carlin, J. Hollingsworth, L. M. Greei, 
H. Perry, Leroy Smith, and S. Taylor, 

Company H — Wounded: Lieutenant S. R. Holton, C. 
Donolio mortally, T. J. Barnwell, N. Fox, T. Gately, J. 
Miles, D. Miller, B. J. Page, Wm. Thompson, D. Thompson 
and J. Chisenhall. 

Company I — Killed : Wm. Daves, T. P. Canipl>ell, Sam 
Green, IL Harrill, J. P. Philbeck, H. W. Price and R. H. 

Co:srPANY K — Wounded : Jolm Strider, J. P. Sossaman 
and W. Auten. 

In the same issue is found the report of Captain S. IL 
Gee, x\ssistant Adjutant and Inspector General, giving Ran- 
som's total casualties in the three days' operations, as fol- 
lows : 







Officers. Men. 

8th N. C. T. 



5 102 


24 th 



3 85 






35 th 



4 84 




4 80 


Maj. Moseley's 





Maj. Read's 


1 9 


5 57 17 397 476 

The surrender, already noted, took place at 10 :30 a. m. 
Several interesting, though partial, accounts of this affair 
were published in the Fayetteville Observer soon after the 

21 April. Major J. W. Graham, with Company I, Twen- 
ty-fourth, Captain Boykin ; Company K, Twenty-fifth, Lieu- 
tenant Bullerson ; and Company D, Fifty-sixth, Captain R. 
D. Graham, was jdaced in charge of Fort (Jray on Warren's 

22 Ajuil. Visited by the commanding Major-General, 
who found the post in much better order than we had. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 349 

25 April. Detachment rejoined the brigade. At 10 a. m. 
the column set out for Washington, ]^. C, leaving as a garri- 
son at Plymouth Martin's ]^orth Carolina Brigade, which 
has just joined us. 

26 April. Arrived in front of Washington, N. C. Some 
shells thrown at us from the enemy's forts. The enemy 
withdrew during the night to concentrate at 'New Bern. Thus 
the second point in the campaign was scored in Hoke's favor, 
this time without the loss of a man. 

28 April — 2 May. At Greenville probably awaiting the 
arrival of the Confederate marines and pontoons from Rich- 
mond. Crossed the Tar river here and Contentnea creek at 
Coward's bridge, where we were joined by Whitford's Sixty- 
seventh ]^orth Carolina State Troops. 

5 May. We passed the l^euse on a pontoon bridge, not 
far from where we left the Contentnea. On nearing ISTew 
Bern, Lewis' Brigade made a dash upon the redoubts at Deep 
Gully; but the enemy fled to avoid capture. The main 
column then crossed the Trent River at PoUocksville, cap- 
tured a block house near a mill dam, and took position near 
the railroad bridge. Dearing's cavalry and artillery moved 
to the south and captured the block house on Brice's creek 
that General Barton thought such a Gibraltar last February, 
and took fifty prisoners. A section of Dixon's ISTorth Caro- 
lina Battery, from Orange county, under Lieutenant Halcott 
P. Jones, supported by part of Evans' South Carolina Brig- 
ade, now under General "Live Oak" Walker, moved to the 
front and engaged the enemy's railroad iron-clad monitor. 
Ransom's Brigade was not far from the south bank of the 

Preparations were made for putting in the river that night 
a pontoon bridge, first parallel with the stream, securing it 
to the bank at the lower end and swinging the other across 
with the current under the protection of our guns, to the 
New Bern side within the enemy's line of fortifications. The 
spirit of the troops assured success, and thus was to culminate 
our l^orth Carolina campaign of 1864. 


6 May. The intended assault has been abandoned, and 

350 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'G5. 

Geueral Palmer, U. S. A., is left in quiet possession of New 
Bern ; for the morning finds us on a forced march for old 
Virginia again. General Benjamin Franklin Butler is com- 
ing up the south side of the James river via Bermuda Hun- 
dreds, with 30,000 men to attack Petersburg. If possible, 
we must get there first. General II. F. Hoke, in a recent letr 
ter, says: "Your mention of what was intended at New Bern 
is correct and I had no doubt of its success. The recall was 
one of the greatest disappointments I ever had." 

8 May. Reach Kinston at 8 a. m. and via Goldsboro pro- 
ceed to Weldon. 

9 May. Off for Petersburg by rail as far as Jarratt's Sta- 
tion. Here Kautz's Federal cavalry have dashed in and cut 
the line of railway. March thence along the track to Stony 
creek, about twenty miles, that night. The weird hooting 
of the great owls in the swamps was almost human in its in- 
tonations and called forth comments, half in earnest and half 
in raillery, here and there along the line, such as: "That is 
a bad sign, boys ; hard times in old Virginia, and worse 

10 May. At Stony creek we take the trains that have 
come out to meet us, and are soon in Petersburg. Stack arms 
on Poplar Lawn. The generous hospitality of Judge Lyon, 
Wm. R. Johnson, and other citizens is pleasantly remem- 
bered. Hear that the place has been held till our an'ival by 
the single brigade of Johnson Hagood's South Carolinians. 
Lieutenant-General D. H. Hill, too earnest to be long quiet, 
is occupying the anomalous position of volunteer Aid-de- 
Camp to General Beauregard, commanding at Petersburg, 
pending a dispute with the President as to an assignment 
proper to his rank. (This quarrel seems to have resulted in 
a faiJure to present his appointment to the Congress for con- 
firmation.) He was noted for a disposition "to feeel the en- 
emy;" and on such occasions his feelings were very rough. 
Our coup de main of 2 July, 1863, at Crump's farm below 
Richmond, he had just repeated here with more terrible odds, 
against General Butler's advancing column. With this 
handful of men, he had met him near Chester and made such 
a desperate assault as to put him on the defensive to await 





1. Otis P. Mills, Captain, Co. G. 

a. A. C. Roliertson, Ord'ly-Sergt., Co. G. 

3. W. (i. Graves, Captain, Co. H. 

4. L. Harrill, Captain. Co. I. 


Jos. 31. •Walker, 1st Lieut., Co. I. 
C. V. Tanner. Cd Lieut., Co. I. 
.1. F. Mc.N.'.'lv. Captain. Co. K. 
T. W. Sli.-plieid, 1st Lieut.. Co. K. 

9. Chas. M. Payne, 2d Lieut., Co. K. (Picture in Suppl.uieutary Group, 4th vol.) 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 351 

further developments. In the time thus gained reinforce- 
ments arrived, and we knew that with the Army of Northern 
Virginia we could successfully hold Richmond and Peters- 
burg against all opposing forces then in the field. With 
Major-General Iloke, there were now Ransom's North Caro- 
lina, Lewis' North Carolina, Walker's (formerly Evans') 
South (.^arolina. Corse's Virginia, and Kemper's Virginia 
Brigades. This division took position a short distance be- 
yond Swift creek. 

11 May. Moved to Half -Way House. The enemy now 
appears in great force between us and Petersburg, occupying 
both the railroad and turnpike. We offer battle; but noth- 
ing follows beyond some sharp skirmishing. Ransom's Bri- 
gade forms the extreme Confederate left, near the river. 


12 May. This brigade is moved across the turnpike and 
posted near the winter quarters on rising ground to the 
right, facing Petersburg, forming now the right flank. In 
the afternoon, advanced down the railroad towards Peters- 
burg, and occupied breastworks at a point near where the 
fortified line crosses this road. Here the line terminates 
after changing its general bourse and running off at almost a 

right angle (towards the river on the left near • 

house). Our artillery is engaged with that of the enemy 
in the woods to the front. A line of skirmishers is scarcely 
formed and thrown out to our right and rear for a recon- 
noissance under "the fighting Quartermaster of the Forty- 
ninth," Captain Cicero Durham, when they receive a volley 
from a line of battle in ambush, and this gallant leader and 
many of his brave comrades have fought their last fight. A 
rush is made by the enemy, and Generals Hoke and Ran- 
som, just arrived at the house for consultation, barely escape 
capture. On came the line as to an easy victory, but not as 
quick as was our command in leaping to the other side of the 
breastworks. After a sharp fight they were repulsed by the 
well-directed shots of a portion of the Fifty-sixth Regiment 
holding the top of the steep bank of earth, while their com- 
rades in the deep ditch below handed up their rifles as rapidly 

352 North Carolina Trooj's, 1 SGI -'65. 

as they could be reloaded. There were here many instances 
of individual bravery, and it is a matter of regi'et that the 
State, at whose call these men offered their lives, has no fuller 
account of them. In Company B, D. P. Blizzard was killed, 
and the gallant A. K. (^irvci-, then a Lieutenant and subse- 
(lucntly Captain, lost an arm. I)a\i<l .McKce, of Company D, 
Orange county, is now remembered as among the conspicuous 
ones in the position which he occupied, and from which he 
fired sixteen times with steady aim, and it is thought, with 
fatal effect, at such close quarters. When the exposed portion 
of the brigade, after resisting the assault upon it, had been 
withdrawn behind this effective fire, the Fifty-sixth as rear 
guard, retired in perfect order. They had simply practiced 
the tactics of Forrest and checkmated a rear attack of the en- 
emy. "Face about and get in their rear," was his only order 
for a similar occasion. The perfect discipline of the command 
was evinced by there being no sign of a panic. Thomas 
Owens and George Griffin, of Company I, were also among 
those who displayed coolness and courage in this action, the 
former being severely wounded. From exposure he had lost 
his voice so that he could not speak above a whisper. The 
wound directly above his breast instantaneously cured his 

But the enemy is evidently in such force that we concen- 
trate upon our second line of defences. Each side watches 
for the initiative from the other. x\t night there is cheering 
along our lines, and the cause is that Beauregard has just 
come in from Petersburg. 

SECOND day's fight. 

13 May. The writer saw Beauregard on the field. Of 
medium size and military bearing, his most striking feature 
is his sharp bright eye, and a thoughtful, intelligent expres- 
sion befitting his reputation as one of the best military en- 
gineers. Firing kept up through the day by the artillery and 

THIRD day's fight. 

14 May. Brigadier-General Ransom is severely wounded 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 353 

in the left arm by a minie hall and does not return to the bri- 
gade till the fall. Colonel Wm. J. Clarke, of the Twenty- 
fourth, as senior Colonel, succeeds him. Battle at long range 
continued through the day. 


15 May. Yesterday's program continued, in which we 
again lose a brigade commander, Colonel Clarke being 
wounded in the shoulder by the fragment of a shell. Colonel 
Leroy M. McAfee, of the Forty-ninth, then assumes com- 
mand. The Fifty-sixth occupied a position on the line near 
the Washington Artillery, of New Orleans. 

Without the means of coiToboration, I here note that we 
hear that the President, who has come down from Richmond, 
orders General Beauregard to make a general assault to-mor- 
roAV, and that Beauregard files a protest, in view of the ter- 
rible odds against his available force — at least 3 to 2, proba- 
bly double that — and protected by breastworks. 


16 May. Soon after midnight the brigade is moved from 
the trenches, occupied for the last three days, and -formed in 
line of battle across the turnpike, facing towards Petersburg, 
with the left of the Fifty-sixth resting on the turnpike. Up 
to this time it was thought we were going out to get a rest. 
This opinion, however, was dispelled by the issuing of an 
extra quantity of cartridges. But for the first time in our 
history, we start in on the reserve line. Just before dawn 
we move forward supporting Bushrod R. Johnson's Tennes- 
see Brigade. They suffer severely near the turnpike, their 
advance being impeded by obstructions of telegraph wire 
upon which many of them are tripped within deadly range. 
But they gallantly carry the line in their front, while our 
Twenty-fourth and Forty-ninth take the enemy's line of 
works in a piece of woods to their right. The assault is, as 
Mr. Davis had predicted, successful at every point; while 
Major-General Robert Ransom, having come out from Rich- 
mond with three Brigades, is sweeping down their left flank, 
and rear, capturing some regiments entire. Before Ransom 


-B64 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'G5. 

•reaches them, spasmodic efforts here and there are made to 
regain lost points along the line, from which we had dis- 
lodged them ; hut they are repulsed in each instance. They 
rush down the turnpike with their artillery nearly to our 
lines, just taken from them, and open fire; but their guns are 
soon in our hands, men and horses going down under the ter- 
rible fire with which they are met. It was not far from this 
point that tlie writer saw the President during this battle. 
He was probably nearer Butler than he had been for four 
years, as his courier whom we captured in the vicinity, said 
he was then very near the general. (At the National Demo- 
cratic Convention of 1860, in Charleston, S. C, Butler gave 
fifty-seven successive votes for Davis as his choice for Pres- 
ident of the United States. ) 

And now we waited anxiously for the attacks to be made 
on the right flank and rear of the enemy by General Whiting 
with the two or three l:)rigades in his hands on the Petersburg 
side. But in vain ! This plan carried out with the courage 
for which the General had already made a reputation among 
the bravest and the best soldiers in the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, should have resulted in the capture of all Butler's ar- 
tillery and wagons, (that he was safely withdrawing in our 
sight), and a good portion of his Army of the James. Gen- 
eral D. H. Hill was with General Whiting, but without com- 
mand. Both his prayers and imprecations to deliver the 
coup de grace were without avail. Is it an evil genius that 
thus hovers above the Confederate cross ? For this is not the 
first time that it has been checked on the high tide to an effec- 
tive victory by a voice that certainly came not out of the 
North, saying: "Thus far shall thou go, and no farther." 

The only casualty remembered in the regiment as of to-day 
is the mortally wounding of Green Bowers, of Company D, 
by a rifle ball which also went through an artillery horse near 
him on the front line. 


17 May. Though we have not captured Butler, we have 
"bottled him up" (as General Grant reports it to Mr. Lin- 
coln), between the James and Appomattox rivers, and a 

PUBLIC library] 


Region embraced in the Operations of the A.rmies 
Reduced from Map of tlie Engineer Bureau, War Dept 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 355 

much smaller force will be amply sufficient to hold our shorter 
line across the naiTOw neck from bend to bend of the here 
converging rivers, which lower down diverge considerably be- 
fore uniting, thus suggesting General Grant's figure. Our 
line extends from near Bermuda Hundreds on the fonner to 
a point in the vicinity of the Confederate Fort Clifton on the 
latter. D. H. Hill urges another assault. 

18 May. With a picket line advanced, we throw up a 
counter line of works, receiving a shelling from Butler's gun- 

19 May. Company D is out in front, some 500 yards to 
the right of the Howlett house, rectifying the line of rifle 
pits to conform to the possible line of attack and defence. 
Consultation with General W. G. Lewis, recently promoted 
from Lieutenant-Colonel to Brigadier-General, and well 
known as an engineer of ability, who appears on the line. 


20 May. Companies B and H, Captains F. N. Roberts 
and W. G. Graves, relieve Company D, which joins the regi- 
ment. About 2 p. m., Beauregard makes a general assault 
from right to left on Butler's line, and drives it in three- 
quarters of a mile on the right, and something less on the left. 
Our troops on this part of the line were put in too spasmodi- 
cally, in unsupported detachments, allowing the enemy to re- 
inforce from point to point as successively threatened, or to 
make a counter-charge and flank movement with fresh troops 
against ours before they could recover from the disorder in- 
cident to a headlong rush into the contested positions. The 
fight upon the part of the Fifty-sixth ended with the enemy's 
picket line, from which we had driven their advanced line of 
battle, in our possession. The loss to the Fifty-sixth was 90 
killed and wounded in less than half as many minutes, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Luke being one of the wounded. In Com- 
pany D, as follows: Washington Blackwood, Jesse Clark, 
John Clark, James Hicks, Elzy Riley, James Roberts, Wm. 
N. Simmes and Corporal J. Erwin Laycock ; also James M. 
Clark, Ensign, and Jesse Brown and William E. Faucett, all 
wounded. Jesse Brown, like Corporal Hughes at Ply- 

356 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65". 

iii(iuf]i, luul his twisted l)lankct. pierced a dozen times by a 
miiiie ball which burnt his arm without breaking the bone, 
and he will return to duty in a few days. The Ca])tain of 
Company D promoted Solon E. Birkhead from ])rivate to 
First Sergeant for conspicuous bravery in this battle, known 
as the battle of Ware Bottom Church, or Clay's Farm. 
Among the wounded in Company H was Lieutenant R. W. 
Belo, who lost a foot. Company I lost some of its best men : 
Sergeant Amos Harrill (brother of the (Japtain), Coq^oral 
W. C. Beam, George Griffin and the brothers, Jack and Joe 
Tessenear, all killed, and twelve men wounded. Company 
A here lost a great favorite in the killing of the brave Isaac 
G. Gallopp. 

21 May. Busy strengthening the new line, and 22 May 
Lieutenant Charles R. Wilson and others rejoined the com- 
pany, having been wounded at Plymouth. 

23 May, Flag of truce to bury the dead on the contested 
ground between the tw^o lines. A ghastly sight. Some are 
not recovered, as they fell wdthin the enemy's lines, three 
days ago — a sad uncertainty around some hearthstones until 
peace on earth shall return again. Information is obtained 
of the gallant "Live Oak" Walker, whom we met on the field 
just tO' our right, 20 May, in command of Evans' (S. C) 
Brigade, Colonel Elliott now commanding. The enemy re- 
port him doing well after the amputation of his leg. 

Some of the casualties of the last week's operations were J 

Company B — Killed : D. P. Blizzard ; wounded. Lieuten- 
ant A. R. Carver and John Tart. 

Company C — ^Wounded : Corporal J. Matthews and Wm. 

Company E — Sergeant J. IST. Clark and B. Garner; 
wounded, B. F. Sikes. 

Company G — Killed: James Tucker; wounded, R. P. 
Smith and C. Love. 

Company H — Wounded : Sergeant T. J. Montague, Cor- 
poral 'N. A. Home, David May, J. O. Scoggins, Sergeant S. 
A. Thompson, Corporal H. C. Murchison, W. F. Lackey 
(supposed killed), 11. Bledsoe, J. Bolin, G. W. Bogle, S. L. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 357 

Garden, John Lee, F. Patterson, T. J. Peel, M. Stewart, J. 
H. Vickers, W. S. Whitaker, G. Roberts, W. T. Patterson. 
Missing: K. P. Combs, J. L. Casote and J. S. Massey. 

Company K — Wounded: Sergeant J. J. MclSTeely, G. W. 
Edwards, Z. Morgan and A. C. Shields. 

Company I — Wounded : Sergeant C. P. Tanner, G. W. 
Spurlin, D. P. Smart, J. M. Michael, J. W. Campe and J. J. 

Company F — Wounded: Lieutenant J. R. Grigg, W. C. 
Wolf, M. Crowder. 

25 May. In the romantic intimacy that has sprung up 
between the j^ickets of the two opposing armies, a soldier in 
the Twenty-fifth North Carolina lends his pick to a Yankee 
to dig his rifle pit, a new one being made necessary by our 
last move upon them ; and the blue coat returns it after com- 
pleting the job. 

31 May. Major-General Hoke, with his division, consist- 
ing now of Clingman's ISTorth Carolina, Martin's IsTorth Car- 
olina, Hagood's South Carolina and Colquitt's Georgia Brig- 
ades is ordered to Cold Harbor. 

2 June. A demonstration in force by us is made along the 
whole of the line between the two rivers, leaving the enemy's 
right intact, but pushing back their left some 400 yards, 
while in the centre the ground lost by them in the first as- 
sault is recovered by a counter-charge. During the whole 
night our pickets kept up a rapid firing. 

During this week General Bushrod R. Johnson re- 
ceives a commission as Major-General, and to him are as- 
signed Ransom's North Carolina, Evans' South Carolina 
(commanded l\v General Elliott, promoted to succeed Walk- 
er), Grade's Alabama, and Wise's Virginia Brigades. 
This division now holds Butler in the bottle by guarding 
the shortened line from the Howlett house (near Dutch 
Gap), to Fort Clifton. Captains Grigg and Graham, with 
two companies of the Fifty-sixth North Carolina, relieve the 
picket line just before day, and find that the innocent fire- 
flies have caused much of the commotion of the night, the 
men firing at the flicker without waiting for the crack of a 

358 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

rifle or the sound of a bullet. No more ammunition was 
wasted in such mimicry of war. 

3 June, 1864. Grant, at 5 a. m., renews the assault at 
Cold Harbor, pressing up to our works in solid columns. But 
the contest is over in sixty minutes, and they are repulsed 
with a loss of 12,737 (as per official report), many of these 
being negroes. An advance is again ordered by him at 8 a. 
m., but his men refuse to move. He had doubtless hoped to 
make these assaults the culmination of his "Wilderness Cam- 
paign." The former Adjutant of tlie Fifty-sixth, now Assist- 
ant Adjutant General of Lane's North Carolina Brigade, was 
the bearer of General Leee's reply to General Grant's proposi- 
tion tliat botli parties might bury their dead and attend to 
their wounded. General Lee, having none uncared for, de- 
clined this, and only yielded when General Grant formally 
asked to be allowed to care for his own. 

4 June. Ransom's Brigade, Colonel H. M. Rutledge com- 
manding, proceeds to Bottom's bridge on the Chickahominy, 
below Richmond, and reports to Major-General Robert Ran- 
som. Colonel Rutledge is taken sick and sent to the hospital 
and the command of the Brigade goes to Colonel Paul F. Fai- 
son, of the Fifty-sixth, Lieutenant-Colonel Luke command- 
ing the regiment. 

5 June. The Forty-ninth and Fifty-sixth are posted near 
the railroad bridge. 

7 June. Company K, Captain F. R. Alexander, and 
Company D, Captain R. D. Graham on picket line near the 
stream. Our friends, the enemy, make a proposition to us. 
the Dutch Captain declaring, "T Avould like to keep de beace- 
aple as far as bossiple." We agree that long range isolated 
sharpshooting shall not be indulged in. They were Penn- 
sylvania dismounted cavalry. 

9 June. Brigade marched to Cliaffin's farni, and occu- 
pied the winter quarters at Fort Harrison. The rest is very 
much enjoyed, and a uuinber of us visit friends belonging to 
the Confederate fleet in the James. 

13 June. In toucliing distance of our baggage to-day for 
the first time since we crossed the State line — over a month 
since. Such is war. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 359 

investment of peteksbueg begun. 

15 June. Crossing the James on a pontoon bridge at 
Drewrv's Bluff, we marched all night to Petersburg. 

16 June. The Fifty-sixth is detached at Pocahontas 
Bridge, and held in readiness to report to Geaieral Gracie, 
commanding the Alabama Brigade, if called for, at Swift 
Creek. The rest of the Brigade under Colonel Faison re- 
ports to General Beauregard on the line of intrenchments to 
the east of Petersburg, and south of the Appomattox river. 
The head of Grant's army is now on the south side of the 
James and advancing from City Point. Petersburg is evi- 
dently the new objective point. Hoke's Division has here 
met their first assault, and after a very stubborn contest, re- 
tired from a section of the outer line near Jordan's house. 
Beauregard with this reinforcement, makes a counter-charge, 
and re-establishes the original line. This is on the south 
of the Appomattox, and out near the Baxter road. Here 
Captain John C. Pegram, our efiicient Adjutant-General, 
was mortally wounded while placing the Brigade in position. 

Late this evening the Fifty-sixth North Carolina, being 
joined by the Forty-ninth North Carolina returning from 
the position just named, where the brigade had been hotly en- 
gaged, and well handled, under Colonel Faison, moves out to 
Swift Creek, and uniting with Grade's Brigade, the column 
advances under that gallant officer, driving Butler back to 
Bermuda Hundreds and establishing a junction with Pick- 
ett's Division coming down from Richmond. The enemy 
had torn up the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad at the point 
of crossing the turnpike. 

Having thus put Butler back into his bottle, we turn the 
cork over to Pickett's Division, the line now confronting him 
again being the same that was occupied by Beauregard's 
army immediately after the defeat of Butler at Ware Bottom 
Church 20 May. The emergency had compelled Beaure- 
gard to quietly abandon for the time this position to meet 
Grant's advance from City Point, posting Gracie at Swift 
Creek to check Butler in any attempt to enter Petersburg 
from the north side of the Appomattox. 

17 June. Morning finds us crossing the Appomattox 

360 North Carolina Troops, 1 861 -'65.. 

again, with scarcely an hour's rest, and that was spent in 
waiting for a, train. The Forty-ninth and Fifty-sixth imme- 
diately go into line of battle, with our brigade, al)out a mile 
to the east of Petersburg, and extending at a right angle 
south from the Jerusalem road. Here we throw up a new 
line of breastworks. After some very desperate fighting, in 
which the three other regiments bore their full share, in front 
of this position, Beauregard found the original line here un- 
tenable with such odds against him, and had Avithdraw^n thus 
far, preserving each organization, l)ut losing several pieces 
of artillery, especially in Graham's Petersburg Battery. 
Johnson's Tennessee Brigade is said to have sustained the 
heaviest losses. In this new position a box of cartridges 
npon one of our men of the Fifty-sixth was exploded by the 
concussion of a bullet from the enemy — the only instance 
recollected during the war. Here, too. First Lieutenant Jos. 
B. Coggin, of Company D, a brave and efficient officer, from 
South Lowell, Orange county, was mortally wounded. 


About dark, word is passed along the line that General 
Beauregard says that if we will hold our own until 10 o'clock, 
all will be well. The 'Tving of Spades" did not explain. So 
the guess lay between whether we would then get a rest, or 
have the privilege of digging another hole in the ground. 

Before the time is up, and without other troops taking 
our place. Ransom's Brigade was rapidly moved down tlie 
rear of the line, by the left flank, and took position in some 
pine woods near the Baxter road. In a short, time the line 
was advanced and took position on tlu^ open ground in front. 
The men supposed ^ve were supporting a line of battle in our 
front held by Wise's Brigade; but the fact was* that they had 
been ovei*powered and compelled to abandon this positioru 

We were now the only line between the enemy and Peters- 
burg. Tliis was soon made evident by a terrible volley, 
which killed among others, that fearless and most competent 
ofiieer, and courteous gentleman. Captain Frank R. Alexan- 
der, of Mecklenburg, as he was advancing to make a recon- 
noissance with his splendid Company (K). From the cap- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 361 

tured line the brigade was now exposed to the rapid fire of 
a double line of battle, the flash of their guns coming both 
from the ditch and over the embankments above it in its 
rear, as they now faced us. ]^o organization could wait 
for orders or live in short range of such a fire. We must 
make a change of base immediately. With a simultane- 
ous impulse the brigade arose and dashed forward. In a 
few minutes the line was ours, and the roar of musketry over. 
The Thirty-fifth met with the fiercest resistance, and in their 
hand-to-hand struggle in the works, lost their own stand of 
colors temporarily and took two from the enemy. In this 
charge was also the Twenty-second South Carolina, of El- 
liott's Brigade, gallantly moving forvvard with the first on 
the left, and sweeping the enemy's line before them. The 
complete casualties cannot now be given ; but the heaviest loss 
was sustained by the Thirty-fifth jSTorth Carolina, which lost 
70 killed, among them their superb leader, that Christian gen- 
tleman, Colonel Jno. G. Jones, of Person county. The wound- 
ing of Wm. I. Gillis, Frank Roberts, James Beri'y and James 
McKee, of Company D, Fifty-sixth iSTorth Carolina, are re- 
called as a part of the casualties in this remarkable battle. 
The prisoners were passed up the line to the right. Soon 
thereafter, the Captain of the Color Company of the Fifty- 
sixth North Carolina noticed what seemed (in the night), 
to be a good portion of the brigade abandoning the works and 
moving compactly to the rear. Rushing out to them with 
commands and entreaties, and protesting against immedi- 
ately giving up what had been gained at such a cost, he discov- 
ered that these were the prisoners there consolidated and on 
the march to the rear. Of course, he did not further inter- 
fere with the procession. 

Later in the night a Federal ofiicer was foimd on the cap- 
tured line, suffering too severely to move, and begging to be 
sent to the rear; but on being quietly asked if he would not 
rather take his chances with his own people in the morning, 
as it was now evident that we were about to be recalled, he 
with cheerful and very quiet resignation awaited our de- 

Company I secured an equipment of Springfield rifles and 

362 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

a supply of ammunition. Some of these guns were orna- 
mented on the stocks with candngs of fish, animals, snakes, 
turtles, etc. They w^ere highly prized and carried by the 
men to the close of the war. They were carved hy the Min- 
nesota Indians, from whom they were here captured. 


18 June. The brigade was withdrawn towards Peters- 
burg by the Baxter road, and after crossing a streamlet, east 
and in sight of Blanford cemetery, was assigned a position 
on the crest of the first rising ground, the right resting on the 
Jerusalem Plank Road. Major John W. Graham covered the 
movement with a line of skirmishers, composed largely of 
Company I under its gallant Captain, retiring them in the 
early dawn, after repulsing an attack by an opposing line of 
skirmishers. Soon a new line was laid out by the engineer, 
and with the insufficient tools brought out of the battle of 
last night, as gathered on the field, the men prepared to re- 
ceive an assault. The Captain of Company D insisted that 
his company should lie placed further to the front at the 
brow of the hill so as to command its eastern face. 

Assent is about to be given by the engineer in charge, Colo- 
onel D. B. Harris, when the enemy are seen constructing a 
battery out to the left which threatened a partial enfilade of 
this salient. This objection he met by a proposition to con- 
struct traverses against tliis cross fire, being confident that 
the enemy could never reach the top of that hill if his men 
could sight them from the time they began the ascent. The 
location of a section of artillery (from Pegram's Virginia 
Battery), already in position immediately to the left of this 
spot, (to the right of a ravine crossing the line,) doubtless 
decided the engineer to adhere to his first plan. Momen- 
tous consequences and one of the bloodiest battles of the 
war are to follow tliis decision. The work proceeded as 
rapidly as could be with men sO' long on a constant strain, 
and now three consecutive nights without sleep, and faring 
almost as roughly as to rations. Lieutenant-Colonel G. G. 
Luke, disabled by a severe carbuncle, which is aggravate<i by 
this exposure, reluctantly seeks relief at the hands of the sur- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 363 

geon in the rear, and Major Graham is left in command, giv- 
ing his attention specially to the left wing, while the right 
separated from his by the ravine and the artillery just men- 
tioned, is under Captain Frank IT. Roberts, of Company B. 
This is the third day of the three for which our grand com- 
mander, the invincible Lee, has sent us word that we must 
hold Petersburg for him at all hazards. The question of mar- 
tial courage would seem to have been already decided ; and 
now comes that of physical endurance. The men work with a 
will, cracking jokes with their wonted cheerfulness. Mean- 
while the legions of Grant are not idle, as we can see them 
massing in our front, and their artillery has again commenced 
playing upon us. But for the turn affairs took last night, this 
new line would have been ready by daylight for the enemy's 
reception. As it is, we must meet them again while it is barely 
inhabitable, as nearly every man came off the battle field 
Ihis morning with an extra gun, while spades and picks are 
the exception ; and considerable time has been consumed in 
gathering in implements as best we could from the town. 

The contour of the ground enables the enemy to form their 
lines of battle unmolested some 300 yards in our front behind 
the intervening ridges, while from their redoubts, as fast as 
completed, they give us a raking fire in different directions. 
Elliott's South Carolina Brigade is now immediately on our 
right, with the left resting on a section of Wright's Virginia 
Battery in the Jerusalem road. They are the first to receive 
the compliments of the enemy to-day, and get material as- 
sistance from the right wing of the Fifty-sixth ISTorth Car- 
olina, as our line following the lay of the ground trends from 
him to the northeast, and thus commands a portion of Elliott's 
front across the road, as his faces east. 

Soon after midday over the ridges just described the en- 
emy to the south of the road is seen advancing in splendid 
array five columns deep and with perfect alignments. On 
they come over half the distance, with few shots wasted on 
them. Now the battle opens in earnest, and they make a 
dash for Elliott's lines. But in vain. They reel before the 
well-directed fire of the men who were trv'ing to make every 
shot tell. The ranks waver, break and rally again, only to 

364 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

meet a similar reception. A Federal officer, mounted on a 
beautiful gray, is seen gathering group after group about him 
upon which to ronrganize a line of battle, as he dashed about 
the field. 

The best marksmen in the Fifty-sixth North Carolina suc- 
cessively try to bring him down, and a Captain's shot cuts a 
small limb just over his head. It was felt that if he went 
down, the charge was over on that side of the road. But the 
death of such a man would not only be a loss to his country, 
but to humanity ; and the charge not being renewed, it is a 
satisfaction even on this side to know that he escaped. Now 
their artillery seems detenuined to make our regimental right 
wing its target in revenge for our deadly cross-fire ; but their 
gunners come in for our best attention, though at such a dis- 
tance, and their fire materially slackens. B\it in this can- 
nonading we lost the commander of our right wing. Captain 
F. N. Roberts. Faithful to every duty, his genial presence 
always brought good cheer with it, and no one in the whole 
brigade was more universally beloved. To every camp-fire 
he was always a welcome addition. 

Company D barely escaped a wholesale slaughter. A shell 
ricochetting across the field, bounded into the trench ; but 
'[uick as tliought, Jolm Alvis Parker had it ii])on his spade 
and hurled it back, with the simple exclamation, "Get out of 
here." It exploded as it went over. There was no braver 
deed during the war. 

Next the storm shifts to the left of our salient, along the 
fronts of the left wing of the Fifty-sixth, the Twenty-fifth 
and the Thirty-fifth. The charge is delivered just as Field's 
Division, of the Anny of Northern Virginia, have come up 
the line from tlic left as far as this salient and ravine, and 
that Iialf of Ransom's Brigade is about to be replaced. They 
thus find a double line ready for them, though crowded into 
unfinished works. The commander of the Fifty-sixth, now on 
the left, says: ''At this ])oint the fine array of the troops of 
Gen. Grant, who had also l)een sent to the south side of the Ap- 
pomattox, could lie seen; and the old flag floating proudly to 
the breeze, recalled memories of other days, when covering 
a united countrv, and eoidd but (^xtort a feelinj:: of adniira- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 365 

tion for the men so proudly advancing beneath its folds, as 
foeinen worthy of our steel." But they recoil before the with- 
ering fire. The first act in the bloody drama, south of the 
Jerusalem road, is simply here repeated. This is about 3 
p. m., and here this commander. Major John W. Graham, re- 
ceive* a flesh wound through the right arm, retiring him from 
duty. That portion of liansom's Brigade is then relieved by 

The open ground and ravine necessary to be crossed in pass- 
ing the artillery at the salient, delay our relief from moving 
further to the right until darkness shall conceal the move- 
ments that there are no sufiicient trenches to cover. Mean- 
while the enemy is organizing a movement against the other 
portion of Faison's brigade line held by the Twenty-fourth 
and the right wing of the Fifty-sixth, from the right on the 
Jerusalem road back northward to this hill that we were so 
anxious this morning to render secure against the enemy's 
investment. Last night they had been routed by a forlorn 
hope, a single line of battle, that had left its own position va- 
cant and driven them from a captured section. They may 
now hope to find a weak joint in our harness, if we have 
practiced a similar strategy to give them the last two 
bloody repulses to-day. Their troops are rapidly massed 
now in our immediate front, and rush to cover below 
us along the nm at the foot of the steep hill. Just before 
sundown they advance up the slope, and it is with difiiculty 
that the ardor of the men to fire at the first view of 
them is restrained ; but they appreciate the order to wait 
until they can sight the belt-buckle as a target, when one 
or two well-directed rounds ends the business of the day, and 
it is thought with greater loss to them than on either our 
right or left, as this time they have been allowed to come in 
speaking distance. 

Thus the day closes ; but at the foot of this salient, the 
enemy, out of reach of shot and shell, has come to stay, as pre- 
dicted to the engineer this morning. But more of this here- 

In the night Kershaw's Division moved up our lines as 
we march out under a sharp musketry fire of the enemy, — 

3G6 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

doubtless, from the commotion, expecting a counter-charge. 
We hear this was soon followed by a second charge on our 
position, only with increased loss. John Clark, of Orange, 
was credited with having unhorsed a field or general officer 
in til is battle. 

In the unique affair of last night, the loss of the gallant 
Lieutenant, Cornelius Spivey, of Company E, killed on the 
field, should have been noted. Also that that faithful and 
intrepid officer, Captain Thomas P. Savilles, of Company A, 
of Camden, was severely wounded through the arm just as 
the forward movement began, and immediately reporting to 
the Captain of Company D that this left his company without 
an officer, requested that he would lead both companies, as 
he was knocked out, and must retire. But the present recol- 
lection is that upon the suggestion that it would be found 
pleasanter behind the enemy's guns, than before them, he 
pushed forward wdth the first to enter their lines. Any of- 
ficer might well be proud to connnand Company A on any 
occasion. They were mostly young men, laughing in the 
face of danger, and bearing the fatigues of tlie campaign with 
a cheerfulness that was an inspiration to all around them. 
Captain Savilles was their worthy Captain. Captain Noah 
H. Hughes, after holding out with a wonderful tenacity, 
had broken down and died in a Kichmond hospital the first 
of the month. His worth was attested by the affectionate 
attachment and admiration of such a company. 

19 June. The brigade remains in reserve, the Twenty- 
fourth, Twenty-ninth and Fifty-sixth in bivouac on the 
Plank road, near the comer of Sycamore street, leading to 
New Market. We are not beyond the long range of the en- 
emy's rifles, and with little shelter find the sun very oppres- 

A letter of 20 June, 1864, from Sergeant M. Cagle, gave 
the following additional casualties of Company B in late en- 
gagements: "Wounded: Sergeant L. H. Hurst, Corporal 
Holmes, Henry Usry, Olin Jackson (arm lost), Calvin Cul- 
breth, B. C. Johnson, Joel Hudson (mortally), B. F. Ken- 
drick, E. T. Gardner, Joel Barefoot, and D. Vann. Missing: 
W. L. Brown, Wm. Bowden, J. D. Blizzard, L. L. Tart and 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 367 

!Fumey Wood. Most of the above occurred in tlie night 
charge of the 17th instant. The company greatly deplores 
the loss of Captain F. iST. Robei'ts. He was highly esteemed 
and greatly beloved by all the regiment." 


22 June. The Brigade reports to Lieutenant-General A. 
P. Hill, on the extreme right to the south of the city near the 
Jones house. He attacks the left flank of the enemy, cap- 
turing about 1,600 prisoners, with very small loss on our side, 
Lane's and Scales' Xorth Carolina Brigades leading the as- 
sault, our regiment being in reserve. 

23 June. Xear the scene of yesterday's action we make a 
further protest against Grant's pei^petual extension by the 
left flank, and present towards him a line of breastworks run- 
ning off south from our south front at a right angle and fac- 
ing east. This completed, Elliott's and Ransom's Brigades 
return to the east of the city after night. 

24 June. At midnight the Brigade moves out again, still 
imder the command of Colonel P. F. Faison, of the Fifty- 
sixth, and enters the line to the south of the Petersburg & 
]N^orfolk Railroad. There is no covered way here, and the 
movement, liable to draw a fusillade from the enemy at short 
range, at the least noise, is necessarily executed very slowly 
over the exposed ground. Thus daylight finds two lines of 
troops '^occupying the same space." There is a gap in the 
works caused by a stream of water immediately on our left, 
towards which we are moving. So we remain close neigh- 
bors until night shall come again to enable the troops we are 
relieving to get out quietly. In the progress of the siege, 
(though the word up to this date may as appropriately be 
applied to either of the contending annies, each behind strong 
works and each with its line of supplies still intact), such 
streams are dammed to form impassable ponds in front of 
the lines. 

25 June. Day is breaking before we are fairly in posi- 
tion. The left of the brigade rests on the N'orfolk Railroad. 
We hear that General Lee, in that spirit of banter with which 
he would occasionally pay a compliment, says of our sue- 

368 North Carolina Troops, 1801 -'65. 

cessful, though unexpected, night charge of the 17th instant, 
whieli restored the broken line, and further checked the en- 
(■iii\'s advance, that he has had other troops to straggle to 
the rear, hut Ransom's are the first to straggle to the front. 

I hit of more serious import is his declaration, as repeated 
to us: ''I now have General Grant just where I want liim." 
His whole demeanor shows that he is perfectly sincere in this, 
and the army is inspired by the same buoyant hope. He 
has seen many of his bravest and best men go down in the last 
sixty days, hut it is well known that the enemy taking the 
initiative against him in this campaign, have suffered fright- 
fully, and it is thought no exaggeration to estimate the total 
loss on that side so far as equal to Lee's total effective opposed 
to him through the long series of bloody engagements from 
the Wilderness to Petersburg. (Statistics have since fully 
confirmed this.) 

progress of titk siege. 

Lee's line protecting Richmond and Pctei*sburg, facing 
north, east, south and then east again, now extends consider- 
ably over thirty miles. He still has tlie railways to Weldon, 
and to Danville intact for supplies, and Virginia and North 
Carolina have united and completed a connection between 
Danville and Greensboro, the people of Mecklenburg, North 
Carolina, contributing the rails of the line but recently laid 
between Charlotte and Davidson College. 

Our first duty now is to make our ditclies, that we will in 
all probability, occupy for some time while awaiting develop- 
ments, as strong and comfortable as we can. Bnish is 
brought in from the rear to construct bootlis for sliade, and 
blanket houses are set up and staked by a simple device with 
horizontal poles on forki'd posts; the inner facinii; .f the 
breastworks is strengthened witli revetments of tind>er; the 
streets and sinks kept thorougidy ])oli('ed ; and safe covered- 
ways construct^^d at convenient intervals to avoid the losses 

incident to a beleaguered line of l)attle and its c miunica- 

tions. We are now becoming familiar with a new engine of 
destruction, the mortar gun. The name is derived from its 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 369 

resemblance to the domestic utensil. It is remarkable with 
Avhat accuracy a shell thrown out at an elevation of from 45 to 
75 degrees may be made to come down on a given point. A 
cannon ball passes sO' swiftly that it leaves the whistling 
sound through the air to follow it ; but the mortar shell slowly 
revolving in its descent overhead, aided by the hissing of the 
fuse, heard first on one side, then on the other, leaves its audi- 
ence in a state of uncertainty, not to say anxiety, as tO' which 
seat the stranger intends to take. To' the question addressed 
to a young Captain by one of his company, "Don't you dread 
those mortar shells more than anything else ?" the reply was 
made : "j^o ; they are the first things I have yet encountered 
that a man ought not to be afraid of." "How is that?" 
"Why, the oinniverous beast is a ventriloquist; you cannot 
dodge it ; and it is a poor philosophy that fears what it can- 
not avoid." 

For days the losses on both sides are considerable from this 
annoyance. Then bomb proofs are constructed by making 
perpendicular excavations immediately behind the trenches 
along covered ways leading to tliem or beyond ; over these 
square or oblong recesses are laid stout logs ; then a bed of 
leaves ; and on that a mound of earth. Gradually sleeping- 
apartments were thus supplied along our whole eastern front, 
as at any point along this line, battle might be delivered at 
any time, night or day. The men thus protected began 
jocosely to treat mortar-shelling as an entertainment ; and it 
was not out of order for veterans to run to cover when the 
play began. As the siege progressed, unexploded shells and 
fragments were gathered by our ordnance department, and 
payment made tO' the soldiers who' brought them in from the 
field. A whole shell was a prize, and races were made in 
some instances for them while yet in mid-air, with such excla- 
mations as: "That's mine, I saw it first;" and, "No, you are 
out of its range; it is coming my way." It might explode in 
mid-air, or after striking the ground ; but that was viewed 
rather as a matter of disg-ust than of fear. Mortar guns of 
proper calibre were specially cast by the Confederates to re- 
turn some of these shells to the enemy. 

370 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'C5. 

fokt hell and moktak bed, 

Strong forts for heavy ordnance and at points most threat- 
ened, especially the salients and on the cavalier lines, are 
constructed and mounted. Of course this was not the work 
of a day, nor a M'eok, nor a month, but goes on steadily, one 
third of the coimiiiind under arms, the others working by de- 
tails. Where the distance between the lines will ])ennit, a 
picket line is established and protected by rifle pits. This is 
tiuihiuhI c^icli night to prevent a surprise, and the skirmish- 
ers withdrawn therefrom at daylight. Near the salient occu- 
pied by the portion of Pegram's Virginia Battery, on which 
the centre of the Fifty-sixth Kegiment rested in the battle of 
18 June, tlie enemy have gradually dug in towards our line 
irntil they are in speaking distance. Here at the slightest 
commotion, taken as a demonstration on either side, an in- 
ce-ssant musketry fire is begun and continued through the 
night. The point is called "Fort Hell." 

The field where our line crosses the Norfolk Railroad is 
called "The Mortar Bed," for a similar reason. These mis- 
siles are rained upon Colquitt's salient facing Fort Stedman 
at the crest of the hill, here nearest the railway, and upon the 
cavalier line immediately behind it. But' the daily returns 
have almost ceased to show casualties from the mortars. 
There is no difficulty in catching a sight of these shells 
against a white cloud in the air after the report of the gun, 
and before they have reached the altitude from which they 
are to descend ; but with a clear sky, the first warning of its 
vicinity may be the puzzling hiss of the fuse in its descent. 

27 June. Wm. Cole died of wounds received in the bat- 
tle of the 18th instant. He was an exemplary citizen and 
a good soldier. 4 July, James R. Miller is wounded on the 
skinnish line guard duty. 

22 July. Wm. J. Tinnin is mortally wounded, and dies 
on the 23d. He had sei'ved faithfully as First Sergeant, and 
in the diflScult position of Commissary Sergeant. On this 
date Thomas C. Scarlett was severely wounded. 


The Army of Northern Virginia, to which Beauregard's 

[the new "s^oR^I 



1. T. P. Savillps, Captain, Co. A. 

2. , Henry Williams, Private, Co. A, 

3. Frank N. Roberts, Captain, Co. B. 

4. J. A. KiuK. -M Lieut., Co. B. 

0. J. K. B. Walker, Private, Co. B. 


D. M. McDonald, 2d Lieut., Co. B. 
Wni. J. McDonald, Private, Co. B. 
.Joseph G. Lockliart, Captain, Co. E. 
Jarvis B Liitterloli, 1st Lieut., Co. E. 

(^Picture in Supplementary Group, -Ith vol.) 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 371 

army has been transferred as the Fourth Corps, under Gen- 
eral 11. H. Anderson ( Longstreet having recovered from his 
Wilderness wound and returned to his old corps), has now 
successfully withstood attacks from front, rear, flank, and 
overhead. Is there any other direction on earth from which 
the ingenuity of man may hope to approach ? ISTo. But 
there is an untried route under the earth. Early in 
this month, the enemy began running tunnels from two or 
three different points to undennine our lines. Our sap- 
pers and miners go down into the earth to meet them, and 
time after time, while Brigade Officer of the Day, has 
the writer placed his ear to the wall of a tunnel cut beneath 
Colquitt's salient, sometimes occupied by our brigade, but 
was unable to distinguish any sound different from the nat- 
ural roaring experience by closing the ear. All along 
our line, at points facing practical bases on their side 
for such underground operations, we were boring for them 
with our long range augers. These augers were constructed 
with poles for handles, and on the larger end a fold of sheet 
iron or steel securely fastened, which w^ith two upright edges 
lacking, say, two inches of coming together, formed the bit 
of the chisel. As fast as these filled with the compact earth 
in digging, they were withdrawn and cleaned out with a bay- 
onet. A depth of twenty-five feet had failed to disclose the 
modem catacomb. But evidently great expectations are 
raised over the way, and we must be on the qui vive. Three 
o'clock each morning now finds us in full line of battle, there 
to remain until the sun is fully up. 


30 July. Six weeks ago to-day occurred the dispute over 
the location of the line to defend the first salient at the ravine 
north of the Jerusalem road, then held by the right centre 
company of the Fifty-sixth E'orth Carolina State Troops. 
Meanwhile our brigade has moved one space to the left, re- 
placed by Elliott's. To-day the spot takes its place in history 
to be remembered long after the disputants shall have been 
forgotten. At sunrise, as our line of battle was about to break 
ranks for another day, a dull thud is heard to our right and a 

372 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

cloud of dust and suiokc liides the horizon. This salient has 
thus become tlu^ centre of the Crater at Petersburi;'. Soon 
after tlie lodg-nient at its foot, to which they had been repulsed, 
on the l<Sth ult., the idea of spriniiinii: a mine here occurred to 
tlic cueniy (original ing' witli Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants, a 
coal miner of Pennsylvania), and now under the complete 
cover afforded, and with the racket at Fort Hell, they have at 
last effected it. It was to have been exploded while it was yet 
dark ; but the fuse went out and had to be relit. The im- 
mediate loss to us is 256 men from the Twenty-second South 
C'ar(dina Ilegiment of Elliott's South Carolina Brigade, and 
the detachment still there from Pegram's Battery. A field 
piece of ours here carried up by the explosion, falls across the 
enemy's line, so close are they at this point. The smoke and 
dust have not cleared away before Colonel L. M. McAfee, in 
command of Ransom's Brigade, is moving the Twenty-fifth, 
now on our right under Major W. S. Grady, and the Forty- 
ninth joining them, under Lieutenant-Colonel Flennning, to 
the first ridge between the Crater and Petersburg, and in a 
few minutes they are in position to receive any advance in 
that direction, while the Fifty-sixth, under Captains Lawson 
Harrill, acting Colonel, and P. D. Graham, acting Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel, followed by the Thirty-fifth and Twenty-fourth, 
deploy in single file, and move up the line to the right to 
meet any demonstration in their front, contributing by theii* 
steady fire nuiterially to hold the enemy in check, while a 
forlorn hope is being organized for a countercharge. It was 
sure death for one of them even to start to the rear from this 
(north) side of the crater. Elliott's fine Brigade, though 
yielding gi'ound to the avalanche of earth thus thrown against 
them, are not stampeded, but immediately take position on 
the south and also facing the crater, similar to McAfee's to 
the north and west, leaving a gap for the play of our resen'e 
artillery at Blandford Cemetery, 

The explosion has made an excavation along our line 170 
by 65 feet. The cloud of dust and smoke is seen rolling away 
against the rising sun ; but all is still quiet along Bumside's 
line. It had been intended that his colored division should 
lead the assault ; but this was countermanded for fear of the 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 373 

moral effect, if it should prove to them a second Cold Har- 
bor. So Ledlie's Division, the First of Bumside's Corps, led 
the charge as far as the excavation, into which they all went. 
They were followed by Potter's Division, piling in on them. 
Griffin's Brigade of this division climbs to the edge of the 
Crater, and advances to sweep through the gap in the Confed- 
erate line, but are driven back into the hole by our concen- 
trated fire of musketry from right and left, and the eight field 
guns and mortars facing them from Blandford Cemetery. 

Another Brigade of Potter's Division is then brought for- 
w^ard, but does not come over their line. Then Burnside's 
Third Division, under General Wilcox, rushes out to the Cra- 
ter, which they now find too- full to admit them. A short 
dash over the intervening space gives them possession of a sec- 
tion of the Confederate line between the Crater and the Jeru- 
salem road. But this emergency had been anticipated, and 
now from embrasures enfilading this line, Wright's Battery 
rakes them with gi'ape and canister from left and right, and 
their only safety is back on the other side of the breastwork. 

The three white divisions having effected no permanent 
lodgment, Burnside now sends in his colored division under 
General Ferrero. They gain the vacant Confederate line, 
but not one of Wright's guns, or if so, but for a few minutes. 
Their punishment is much severer than that received by Wil- 
cox's men ; and they are compelled to beat a retreat, leaving 
many dteiad, wounded and prisoners in the trenches. 

The Eighteenth Corps then comes in, and Turner's Divis- 
ion makes the next advance. Though suffering severely they 
effect a partial lodginent within our lines behind traverses 
and in covered ways. 

It is now about 2 p. m. While the enemy has made five 
desperate and distinct ventures to break through the gap, we 
have only been waiting for General Mahone to bring us a 
small, but. important reinforcement of one brigade to our line 
of battle from the extreme right at Hatcher's Run, to make 
a counter-charge. He now arrives, and the forlorn hope, 
made up for this pui-pose, consists of "the Twenty-fifth and 
Forty-ninth Regiments of Ransom's NoTth Carolina Brigade, 
Wright's Georgia Brigade, Grade's Alabama Brigade, part 

374 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

of Elliott's South Carolina Brigade, and Wieseger's Virginia 
Brigade, all under command of Major-General Mahone. 
The intervening space was raked by the artillery and mus- 
ketry of the enemy, but a quick dash through the storm of 
shot and shell restores the line to the right and left of the 
Crater, from which a white handkerchief is soon hoisted, and 
the battle is over. 

The severest loss to the enemy is in and around the Crater, 
for into this frightful gap where their troops were massed in 
great numbers, our mortar guns had been playing for some 
time, while the surface of the ground was here commanded 
by the Fifty-sixth and other infantry regiments of the two 
Carolinas and the artillery. The writer from what he saw 
during and immediately after the battle, estimated their loss 
at fully 3,000, and a few days thereaftxsr before making his 
notes obtained a Northern paper putting the loss at 5,000. 
Ours, all told, is only about 500, as the distance charged 
across is very short, and other^vise we have had the advantage 
of position since their first mad rush was over. Among oth- 
ers we mourn the loss of Major W. S. Grady, our "Rough 
and Ready," who led the Twenty-fifth, and Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel Flemming, who fell at the head of the Forty-ninth. 
Major Grady's splendid constitution and vitality bore liim 
up for thirty days in spit© of his nine severe wounds. The 
eight field pieces of artillery brought up between this gap and 
Petersburg, and continuing in this fight to the finish', I was 
informed, were those of Latham's NTorth Carolina and Ram- 
say's North Carolina Batteries, while Wright's Battery and 
the remaining guns of Pegram under those two officers, were 
served effectively on the disputed line. 

Conjointly witli this attempt on Petersburg, General Grant 
has to-day made an equally fierce assault upon Fort Harrison, 
where he found General Lee in his usual attitude ready to 
meet liim. This liad taken every available man from the 
south side of the James I'ivcr, so that our only ui(\ins of check- 
ing Bumside's advance, at the Crater, was by reducing the 
line of battle to a skirmish line on either side of the captured 
section, and with the surplus thus formed and Mahone's addi- 
tion of one brigade, about one-fifth of the forlorn hope, crush- 

Fifty-Sixth Rigiment. 375 

ing theon before thej discovered our weakness. We have 
been crediting Grant with more courage than generalship. 
In tliis instance he has shown both ; but at both points he has 
been met by equal courage and greater skill, and his superior 
numbers have availed him nothing. The dead lay thicker 
on this field than any before seen by the writer, and he thinks 
that the negroes came in with the desperate belief that they 
were tO' receive no quarter from their friends in the rear or 
the foes in their front, and thus continued the struggle after 
all hope of escape was over. This is inferred from conver- 
sation with negroes wounded on the field. 

A heavy cavalier line is next constructed in rear of the Cra- 
ter, despite the continued attentions of the enemy to retard 
it. Sharpshooting and mortar-shelling go on briskly. Upon 
our parapets we make loop-holes with sand bags and gabions, 
and also used blocks of wood with iron facings for the rifle- 
men. Occasionally a man is struck through the little port 
hole made for his rifle. 


The first Thursday in August, 1864, the North Carolina 
regiments vote in the trenches under fire for Governor. The 
candidates are the incumbent, Zebulon B. Vance, and William 
W. Holden, editor of the North Carolina Standard. We feel 
toward Vance that he is one of us, by former comradeship, 
and his able administration, doing so much for his State 
troops in the field. So that the vote is overwhelmingly in his 
favor. The path of public safety lay in keeping our people 
united to the end, whatever that might be. The credit for 
this most illustrious part of his whole career he generously 
divides with his two chief counsellors in his Chapel Hill ad- 
dress on the life of Governor Swain. 

life in the TRENCHES. 

Now for days we have incessant rains ; great sickness fol- 
lows, and disease from the exposure is claiming more victims 
than the missiles of death. The writer finds himself fre- 
quently in command of the regiment in the changes thus oc- 
casioned, but for a greater portion of the time we are under 

376 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

Captain Harrill. Captain W. G. Graves was disabled for a 
time by a slid] wound. 

Nothing can abate the grim humor of the Confederate sol- 
dier. A gentleman appearing on the line in a silk hat was 
seriously condole<l with u])on the loss of his cow. Upon re- 
plying that he had nevt^r owncnl a cow, he was asked : ''Well, 
then, what are you doing with that churn upon your head in 
mourning ?" A little further on he was requested to con- 
tribute that stove pipe to complete a 1)omb proof. The heal- 
ing balm was applied when in sympathetic tones he was told 
not to mind those fellows; tliat they were teasing every fool 
that passed by. But the Avitticisms of the time, running 
from grotesque to the pathetic, would make a separate v(jlume. 
Behind their flashes nuiy l)e found the esprit de corps of the 
veterans who, in the trenches, faced death almost continu- 
ously for ten months. 


The following, familiar to nil the Army of Xorthern Vir- 
ginia., illustrates the complacent pride with which the North 
Carolina soldiers adopted the distinctive sobricpiet of Tar 
Heels, first banteringly g-iven them. Historians had gen- 
erally ignored our first steps in the contest with Great Bri- 
tain and disposed of our later domestic status with the 
statement that the principal productions of North Carolina 
are ''tar, ]iitcli ;ind turpentine" — which, of excellent quality, 
are found in aliout one-fifth the area of the State. Thus 
after one of the fiercest battles, in which their supporting 
column was driven from the field and they successfully 
fought it out alone, in the excliange of the compliments of the 
occasi(m the Noi'th (^irolinians were greeted with the ques- 
tion fi'om tlic passing derelict regiment: "Any morc^ lar down 
in the Old North State, boys?" Quick as thought came the an- 
swer: "No; not a bit; old Jeff's bought it all up." "Is that 
so; what is lie going to do with it f was asked, "lie is going 
to put it on vou'ns heels to make von stick IxHter in the next 

20 August. Ransom's Brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Harris, of the Twenty-fourth, Captain TJ. D. Graham in 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 377 

command of the Fifty-sixth, marching through Petersburg 
to the extreme right, reported to Major-General Henry Heth. 
General Grant, persisting in his left flank movement, is now 
uncomfortably near the Weldon Railroad. 


21 August. General Heth moves forward to the assault, 
with Hearing's ArtillerV' behind us, playing over the woods 
in our front upon the enemy on the far side. Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Harris, leading the brigade and Captain W. G. Graves, 
who has just returned after recovering from his wound, act- 
ing as Colonel of the Fifty-sixth Regiment, with Captain R. 
D. Graham acting Lieutenant-Colonel. The five regiments 
move forward in splendid style by company front, with inter- 
vals corresponding to regimental strength, across the open 
field at the Davis house, and just to the east of the Weldon 
Railroad. At the skirt of the woods each is thrown forward 
into line on its right company, and the battle opens. 

As we drive the enemy's skirmishers before us, their artil- 
lery far out in the open field beyond the woods in front and 
Hearing's from our rear, exchange shots, which pass each 
other above our heads. Abatis impede our advance; but 
once through this, the alignment is quickly restored under a 
galling fire, and the movement is steadily fomvard again. 

And now in face of the foe, who are still doing all the 
shooting, our line of battle, under the severe punishment it 
is receiving at short range, staggers and writhes like a mon- 
ster serpent, mortally wounded, and as if about tO' snap at 
eveiy vertebra. A beardless youth shouts : "'On with the 
yell, boys ; on with the yell." 

It had been observed that a soldier never turned to the 
rear with this shout of defiance and victory on his lips, and 
that its effect was two-fold ; subjective, in that it raised to 
the highest pit«h the enthusiasm of the advancing column ; 
and objective, in that it had a correspondingly demoralizing 
effect upon the line thus assaulted by a foe who assumed vic- 
tory as already assured to them. It does not fail on this oc- 
casion. The old Fifty-sixth, in the centre, responds with a 
will and volume that the Comanche tribe might have envied ; 

378 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

the deadly aim of the enemy is diverted at random, and the 
fusillade slackens perceptibly, while the brigade, like a hu- 
man tornado, iiishes over their line. 

Lieutenant M. W. Fatherly, commanding Company C, was 
the first man in from this regiment, and Wm. Bowen, about 
the same time, the first from Company D. Re-alignment is 
quickly made, and we rush forward to the next line of the en- 
emy, found dismantled, along the south edge of the woods. 
It is abandoned before we reach it. Here, while the enenly 
strongly posted on elevated ground across an open field, are 
playing on us with shell and canister, w^e are also now in 
the deadly range of our own artillery. We send back to ask 
if the third line is wanted, and are answered : ''No ; the first 
line was enough," and are withdrawn to that. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, Captain Graves and Lieutenant 
S. R. Holton, of Company H, Fifty-sixth North Carolina, act- 
ing on brigade staff, are among those remembered for conspic- 
uous bravery to-day, but not a man faltered. No casualty list 
is at hand. The brave Corporal, D. F. A. Sloan, of Mecklen- 
burg, was shot down with the colors, but gallantly supported 
and rescued by his comrades, P. J. Sossaman and R. J. 
Stough. Lieutenant H. A. L. Sweezy, always at his post and 
to-day gallantly leading his company (I), was killed; also 
Rufus Davis, of the same company, and the ever faithful 
Lieutenant James A. King, Company B. The brigade, as 
showm above, is commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel, and has 
only two other field officers preseni- for duty. In the night 
the brigade skirmish line is thrown out um'er Captain Gra- 

22 August. Back to the trenches again, the left of the 
Brigade resting on the City Point Railroad. 

25 August. Major John W. Graham returns to the regi- 
ment, having recovered the use of his arm, wounded 18 Jime 
near the salient that became tlie Crater of 30 July. During 
his absence he had attended the wedding of Colonel John A. 
Gilmer, of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina, married on 
crutches with other wounded officers as groomsmen, includ- 
ing Lieutenant-Colonel Jos. C. W(^1)b, also of the Twenty- 
seventh, and himself. 


Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 379 

SIEGE life continued. 

Quite a contrast to such sceues were the bare trenches, 
glaring in the summer sun, when dry, and slippery with mud 
after a rain. Occasionally the sharpshooting, and artillery 
duels by tacit consent would be off for some days. The re- 
newal of the bloody work would not begin until in perfect 
good faith the attacking party had given warning by some 
such cry as, ''Rats to your holes." From time to time un- 
ofl&cial interviews in which tobacco, coffee, newspapers, etc., 
were exchanged, would take place in front of the lines in easy 
range of the guns of either side. A victory gained by them 
in any quarter they would announce to us by a fierce salute 
of half a day or more from shells and mortars, to which cour- 
tesy the scarcity of our ammunition did not permit us to re- 
ply. Battles to the right, as that at Reams Station, 25 Au- 
gust, 1864, for possession of the railway, or to the left, to 
find and probe any weak point in our armor, could be dis- 
tinctly heard. 

In September, taking advantage of a very dark night, they 
rectified their line in our front from the City Point road 
south to their batteries on Hare's Hill. This change of line 
was to escape the enfilade from our forts firing across the Ap- 
pomattox. The writer as Brigade Officer of the Day, pointed 
this out to Engineer Officer Cohen, and sat by him on the bat- 
tery, at Colquitt's salient until he had drawn a complete dia- 
gram of it. Then lifting our hats to a sharpshooter on Hare's 
Hill, about 300 yards in front, who had complimented us with 
a half dozen close shots, we retired. That night while still 
on duty and making his rounds, he was knocked senseless by 
a bullet on the left of the neck. Fortunately the speed of 
the ball had been affected materially by striking the ground ; 
and then ricochetting over the breastwork, it was received on 
the coat collar. Otherwise, instead of a few days suffering, 
the result would have been immediately fatal. He was at 
the time the last effective ofiicer left with his company, and 
as the Fifty-sixth had many others who would have done the 
same, mention is here made of Company D's next morning 
report (of 23 September). Under the heading of officers 
present effective, it read: "1 Captain, if it is a fight; but not 

380 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'G5. 

for a march/' Such still was tlie grim detomiination in Lee's 

24 September. Beauregard informs us that the enemy are 
going to open a terrific shelling upon our position, and we 
must "lie low." This was awaited for some time ; but James 
W. James, going out too soon, was pierced through the chest 
by a shrapnel shcdl back at tlie wagon yard on the west side 
of Petersburg. He survive<l this frightful wound until that 
night. He was a brave and faithful soldier. 

About the middle of August, ])etween the Grater and Col- 
quitt's salient, we exploded a mine under a portion of the en- 
emy's line. I think there were no casualties in the Fifty- 
sixth — again under Captain Harrill. In fact, it amounted 
to nothing beyond an object lesson. 

20 September. B. H. McKee, and 1 October J. F. Brown 
and Jesse Clark, were wounded in the trenches — all first- 
class men. It is lutpcd that some account may yet l)e had 
of the casualties of each of the companies of this regiment 
through the war and a more detailed sketch of their particu- 
lar experiences. There was a considerable list of casualties 
auKUig officers and men that I did not note, and cannot now 

1 November. Thus the time wore on, with many inci- 
dents, however, that cannot be recalled. At the divisi(m in- 
spection now made, the regiment is complimented on its fine 
military appearance and the general condition of arms and 
accoutrements. As much could not be said of clothing, for 
none were indebted to the Quartermaster for an overdraft, 
and no re(pnsiti<m had been honored for some time. 


But the event of this ]Kn-iod is an inspection by General 
Lee in person. He is neatly attired in regiilation gTay, but 
without the general's white buff coat collar and cuffs. A turn- 
down collar, of the same material as the gray cloth coat, bears 
three stars : but there is no gold wreath around them, nor a 
particle of gold lace upon the sleeves, where from cuff to el- 
bow a full dress uniform would have given him four parallel 
cords throuii'h manv a twist and turn foi-ming the hiero- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 381 

glyphic chevron interpreted to be the initials C. S. A. With 
the modest suggestion of rank on the collar, he might have 
been mistaken for a Colonel in his best fatigue suit, if the 
triplicate arrangement in the two rows of buttons ujwn the 
breast were overlooked. His hat is a soft black felt ; but in 
the summer he had been seen along the lines with a white 
straw. Hair and full beard are both short. Complexion 
is of a healthy, ruddy hue, indicating a temperate life. He 
is six feet high and well proportioned. There is a fearless 
look of self-possession without a trace of arrogance, while tlie 
bright, intellectual, sincere, even sympathetic expression of 
the eye inspires a feeling of confidence and comradeship in 
which one forgets to note its color. Such is Lee in the zenith 
of his fame, age 57, in November, 186-i. At the outbreak of 
the war the Confederate Congi'ess had created five ofiicers with 
the rank of full General, These were appointed in this suc- 
cession : Samuel Cooper, who continued through the war as 
Adjutant-General, having just resigned the same position in 
the United States Army. Albert Sidney Johnston, killed in 
the battle of Shiloh ; Robert E. Lee ; Joseph E. Johnston ; and 
P. G. T. Beauregard. Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith 
were subsequently given the same rank. Around Lee as 
around no other, clung the hearts of the soldiers in the field 
and of the people at home. The Congress voiced the unani- 
mous demand when it raised him to the rank of General-in- 
Chief. This made the second vacancy in the rank of Gen- 
eral, filled as above noted. His General Order No. 1, as 
Connnander-in-Chief, was issued 9 February, 1865. 

An incident illustrating General Lee's though tfulness of 
others, occurred just after his passing to the right of the 
Fifty-sixth. At the exposed point, before noted in Colquitt's 
salient, he got up and leisurely examined the change in the 
line that had been reported to him, against the entreating pro- 
test of General Gracie, of Alabama, then holding that point, 
who informed him that more than one man had already been 
picked off there by sharpshooters. Finally looking around 
and seeing that he had not been allowed to make this exam- 
ination alone, he said: ^'General Gracie, I think you ought 

382 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'05. 

not to expose yourself here ; let's get down." We hear that 
General Gracio is killed at this point a few days lat^r. 

Equally characteristic is the following incident, which I 
might have recalled to Captain Williams before he closed his 
admirable sketch of Company C, Tenth Regiment (Artil- 
lery). It is given as received from his predecessor, in com- 
mand of that battery at the battle of Gettysburg. During 
the ferocious artillery duel preceding the charge of Pettigrew 
and Pickett, General Lee, with other officers, was for a time 
immediately in the rear of this battery below the crest of the 
hill. A young Lieutenant, from a command not yet en- 
gaged, finely mounted, galloped up and stationed himself in 
an exposed position out in front and near by, and was look- 
ing back to see if he had attracted the desired admiration. 
General Lee took in the situation at once. Beckoning him to 
come back, and then ignoring the rank designated by his full 
dress unifoi-m, said : ''Young man, who are you V He was 
answered with name, rank and command, and replied: 
"Thank you for the information ; I might have mistaken you 
for some citizen who wished to Avitness a battle. As I am 
somewhat older than you, will you pardon me for expressing 
an opinion ? I think you should not expose your life unnec- 
essarily ; your country may need it. Return to your com- 

The Army of Northern Virginia knew its leader, and he 
knew them. It had been demonstrated that the Araiy of the 
James could not enter Petersburg; also that the two cities 
were safe even after the Army of the Potomac, though re- 
pulsed at point after point, had made its way down by the left 
flank and joined it. For it had now taken "all summer," 
and General Grant had not yet been able to "fight it out on 
this line." 

''the last ditch.'' 

But it was true as he said, we had "robbed the cradle and 
the grave," and were now "in the last ditch." While our 
additions were individually raw recruits, they did not consti- 
tute new organizations, but were immediately consolidated 
with younger members of their families and neighbors al- 
ready constituting veteran corps. They were generally 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 383 

familiar with tlie use of fire arms. Our only trouble was 
that there were not enough of them. 

While our last stake is being thus played for all it is worth, 
confident even in our last ditch, the Northern people have 
been fully aroused to the determination that the war shall not 
last another year. Volunteers coming ? No ; the day for 
them on both sides has long since passed. Drafts are made 
of many more additional men than we can number in the ag- 
gregate of veterans and conscripts combined, thus making 
the odds here at least 4 to 1. Draft riots in New York in- 
spire a faint hope that the Empire State will give no more 
men against us. But quiet is soon restored up there, and 
there is a mighty increase of population in our front. Some 
expectation was raised that the vote for General McClellan 
against Mr. Lincoln (on the encouragement of which Mr. 
Stephens and Mr. Davis had a very acrimonious controversy, 
see their correspondence in re Cable, see Official Records) 
would be strong enough at least to indicate a desire of the 
Union States to have some offer submitted to us looking to a 
settlement by arbitration. Delusive hope. A feeling akin 
to that which on our side had in August elected Vance over 
Holden, in North Carolina, now on the other carried Lincoln 
triumphantly through over McClellan. If Grant found his 
force again insufficient, he could again double it, and all 
would be properly equipped and fed. We had no more. 

Among the drafted men confronting us circulars were sent 
by ''grapevine telegraph," offering them protection and oc- 
cupation in our rear, if they were peaceably inclined. This 
at first met with some success, and as many as twenty-five 
one night came through our regimental picket line from a 
single regiment. 

Recently, Hampton had made a cavalry dash in the rear of 
Grant's left flank, and driven from their pens into our lines 
1,600 head of fine beef cattle. (See Vol. I, Ninth North 
Carolina.) This showed that the spirit that had opposed 
Grant all summer, was still with us. Friendly exchanges 
of tobacco, crackers, newspapers, etc., had ceased with the 
appearance of the too friendly circulars ; but nothing could 
keep down the spirit of banter, now and then cropping out 

384 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

between the lines. Thus a blue coat calls over to know if 
Johnny has ''any corn dodgers for supper," and is answered : 
"We have something very good with them." "'Wliat's that?" 
"Why, Hampton's beef." 

It so happened that quite a numl)er of our recent 
pcryyicment visitors had been from drafted iiicii assigned to 
the Fiftli New IIam]:)shire. A call was made (nie night 
to know if ,r<)hnny was awake, and answered in the affirma- 
tive. Then: "What regiment is that over there," and from 
the Fifty-sixth was shouted back, as reliable war news: 
"The Fifth New Hampshire." The niglit was very still, 
and voices could be heard at a long distance (piite distinctly. 
This sally was met witli the heaviest shout of laughter re- 
mend)ered to have been heard during the war, and as the 
joke was passed down their line, it was taken up from point 
to point, with merry peals luitil lost in the distance. 


The winter in the trenches was one of great hardship, 
though scarcely an assault was delivered from either side. 
Fuel had to be brought in by hand, about a mile, as had beeii 
the tind)er for the bomb-proofs in the summer. Our winter 
quarters, as well as chimneys, were made of barrels, boxes, 
or any material that could be had, and held in place with 
daubs of mud. 

The cases were not isolated through the regiment, of men 
who had gone through every movement by day or night, and 
had never missed a battle. Some had been wounded, on dif- 
ferent occasions, but had managed to return in time for the 
next, while others, always to the from, had been spared 
from both wounds and disease. The following therefore 
is given not as exceptional, but as of a class. At the 
close of 1864, the Captain of Company D obtained leave of 
absence on business. On the application was endorsed by the 
regTinental connuander: "Approved. Has not missed a 
march or a fight in which his company was engaged." By 
the Brigade Commander: "Approved, because desei'ved." 
By the Division Commander: "Approved, as by Brigade 
Commander," and so on to the headquarters. 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 385 


Christmas, 1864. '^Peace on earth, good will to men?" 
No, not yet; but evidently a proposition in some shape is 
about to be made from the Confederate side. Rumors have 
been current of inducing General Longstreet, who is said to 
be a .personal friend of General Grant's, to have an interview 
with liim, and submit a proposition that he can now take his 
pick of the blue and the gray, and enforce the Monroe Doc- 
trine against Napoleon III, now occupying Mexico. The 
above is given as recorded in my journal. The U. S. Official 
Records show that General Longstreet that winter, at the re- 
quest of General Ord, commanding the Army of the James, 
finally met him in an interview, and was informed that there 
might be a satisfactory adjustment through a military con- 
vention, and if General Lee desired an interview, it would 
not be declined. (See Mr, Davis' message to Confederate 
States Congress, 13 March, 1865.) 

On our part of the line, while the officers were strict disci- 
plinarians, knowing that the bravest mob counts for little on 
a battlefield, they were "with the boys" off duty, and many 
life-long friendships M^ere thus formed in the field. The 
writer would thus be asked (in confidence) this winter if he 
hadn't really given up all hope. The most effective reply 
was, that we all had the same opinion of General Lee ; that he 
was as humane as he was brave ; that he would not uselessly 
sacrifice the lives of men who' always protested against his ex- 
posing his own — the protest having been actually enforced at 
Spottsylvania Court House — that he had often shown his 
confidence in us, and that we must not prove unworthy of it; 
that when all was over, he was great enough tO' say so. 

On Christmas day, a dinner was distributed from the 
ladies of Petersburg to the soldiers on the line, and highly 
appreciated. But it was evident that at many a hearth- 
istone there was now suffering for food. Home letters to 
the soldiers were in many cases anything but cheerful. So 
the year closed. Of this period. Captain L. Harrill says : 

"During this long siege the men were on short rations, 
scantily clothed, and lived under ground, in what was known 
as bomb-proofs. They would eat anything. The writer was 

386 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'05. 

invited to a "sciiiiiTcl dinner" of large, grey wharf rats found 
along the Appomattox river." 


January, 1865. The left of the Fifty-sixth North Car- 
olina is resting on the City Point Railroad. In the south 
side of the deep cut is excavated regimental headquarters, 
protected by bracings and supports of heavy timber. The 
Forty-ninth and Twenty-fifth to our right; the Thirty-fifth 
and Twenty-fourth to our left. Here the Peace Commis- 
sioners, authorized by Congress and appointed by Mr. Davis, 
crossed the lines, going out to meet Mr. Lincoln and Mr. 
Seward, of his Cabinet, at Fortress Monroe. The appointees 
were Messrs. A. H. Stephens, Vice-President Confederate 
States ; R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, formerly United States 
Senator, now a Confederate States Senator; and J. A. Camp- 
bell, of Alabama, formerly Associate Justice Supreme Court, 
United States, now Assistant Secretary of War. The feeling 
in the army that all had been done, which our resources and 
human valor could accomplish, was manifested by the pro- 
longed cheers which greeted their departure as the news ran 
along the line. North Carolina had a right to be heard from 
in this matter. The first States had seceded without awaiting 
an overt act towards the destruction of slavery after Mr. 
Lincoln's election ; but after a thorough canvass, with the 
Chief Executive and almost all the State press in favor of it, 
she had in February, 1861, voted down the proposition to 
call a State Convention with authority to consider a ques- 
tion that had not yet arisen. But with the opening of the 
war at Fort Sumpter 12 April, 1861, and the call of Mr. Lin- 
coln for a quota of troops, her volunteer companies, of which 
thei-e were a number throughout tlie towns, immediately re- 
ported themselves to Governor Ellis, who had replied to the 
Federal Government, substantially: "You cannot get a man 
from North Carolina." The State Convention in afterwards 
unanimously witlidrawing from the LTnion, had acted deliber- 
ately, and though she swore to her own hurt, yet to the end she 
changed not. Casting al)out 11 '3,000 votes, she has contribu- 
ted over 125,000 troops, and her dead heroes slain in battle 


Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 387 

cumber twice those from any other State. I^ot for a moment 
did she think of deserting her associates. Terms with one 
must be terms with all. In this spirit Senator William A. 
Graham, in full accord and after consultation with General 
Lee, introduced the peace commission resolution, which was 
adopted ; and he would have gone out as its Chairman, but for 
Mr. Stephens' unexpectedly accepting the complimentary ten- 
der of the position which Mr. Davis thought his state of health 
would compel him to decline. General Lee not only ap- 
proved, but urged the measure and prompt action, saying, 
•'My lines may be broken any night, and where I am to rally, 
I do not know. The truth is, I shall not rally at all." When 
K)ld that the commission was appointed, but their hands were 
tied by the President's instructions to insist upon the recog- 
nition of our independence, he exclaimed, not profanely, but 
with great feeling, "I wish to God that I was dead ; the war 
is over, and Mr. Davis ought to acknowledge it." 

This account of the origin of the Peace Commission of Jan- 
uary, 1865, and of General Lee's full concurrence with him, 
I received from Governor Graham just after the close of the 
war. He also said that Mr. Davis explained this compli- 
mentary tender to Mr. Stephens as an effort to conciliate him. 
from U. S. Official Records it is now evident this referred 
to a sharp and bitter correspondence in the matter of Mr. 
David F. Cable, of Ohio. 

What was General Lee to do ? A soldier cannot resign his 
sword while under fire. He must see the battle through 
first. And there had been almost a continuous battle since 
the first of the preceding May. Congress raised him to the 
first rank of General-in-Chief of the Confederate States 
Armies ; but it had not yet empowered him to treat for 
peace. It was afterwards further understood by us that in 
some way, General Grant was sounded by him and had de- 
clared himself powerless to settle any question not purely mil- 

Of course, the Commission accomplished nothing. Diplo- 
macy made all out of the Federal refusal of independence 
that was possible. There were bonfires and speeches in 
Richmond ; but they did not decrease the overwhelming num- 

388 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

bers and resources of General Grant, or add to the depleted 
ranks and supplies of General Lee. Mr. Blair, who opened 
the matter on the Federal side, gave no encouragement to in- 
sert in the Confederate commission the clause : '^and to secure 
peace to the two countries," and Mr. Lincoln's surprise at 
finding it there is manifest in his special message to Con-= 

Through January and February there was bitter weather, 
with rain, sleet and snow. There was some comfort in the 
bomb-proofs with a coal fire, which often liad to be started 
with nothing but a match and freshly cut green pine wood. 
With pocket knives we would whittle a lot of shavings, very 
thin, perseveringly dry these in the blaze until they would 
ignite, and thus eventually get a starter upon which to put 
the coal, occasionally at last to have the chimney knocked in 
by a shrapnel shell, if it protruded at all, after becoming a 
better target with its smoke. 

Furloughs were cut off unusually early by the failure of 
the Peace Commission, if such it can be called. And even 
before that any officer returning after the expiration of his 
leave, must report in pei'son to General Lee. Means of 
transportation were limited. On some lines there were tri-' 
weekly trains, which the ever ready Vance facetiously said^ 
meant that the train went up the road one week, and tried to 
get back the next. At Greensboro the writer returning with 
two Virginia ladies, managed to get them on a train exclu- 
sively for the Confederate TreiTsury girls fleeing before Sher- 
man from Columbia for Richmond ; but the guard was inex^ 
orable against their escort. His time was up next day, and 
this the last chance to make it. The ladies kindly smuggled 
him in at a window about the centre of the car, and thus he 
kept his record. 

The crisis was evidently approaching. In the army op- 
posed to us were not only white men from this and other coun- 
tries, but the colored troops alone within the call of its com- 
mancling officer for the next campaign, were not less than 150 
regiments ; more than our effective present, as given above. 
The States claimed by us as Confederate had contributed to 
the Union armies 350,000 men. First and last, the Confedei*- 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 389 

ate soldiers actually in the field were hardly more than dou- 
ble that ; while the other soldiers brought out from the North 
and West, were six times as many. Truly the ISTorth was in 
earnest at last, and many men who had admitted the Consti- 
tutional right of a dissatisfied State to secede, were in the 
front fighting for the Union, just as on the Southern side the 
strongest original Union men, Avith the old cry: "Blood is 
thicker than water," were now in to the finish to help their 
neighbors out of a difficulty with "the last man and the last 
dollar." These had been Mr. Holden's pledge, when he 
signed the Ordinance of Secession 20 May, 1761, and our in- 
imitable Vance alluded to it when taken to Washington by 
his captors, saying: "We have spent the last dollar, and I 
have come on as the last man." 

Some idea of the status of our money is shown when it is 
stated that at Christmas, 1864, the writer obtained as a spe- 
cial favor, at $125.00 a side of calf-skin out of which to have 
a pair of boots made. The lowest water-mark reached by 
Federal currency was $2.56 for $1.00, some time prior to 
Gettysburg and Vicksburg, occurring the first week in July, 
1863. Meal was now $50 per bushel and flour $700 per bar- 
rel, reported by Mr. Davis as prices then paid by the Govern- 
ment. He thereupon submitted a proposition to try tO' bor- 
row gold, and make specie payments. 


15 March. We were relieved by Gordon's Corps, and 
Ransom's Brigade (probably wdth the rest of Johnson's Divis- 
ion in their vicinity,) moved out to the extreme right on 
Hatcher's Run. The change from living in the ditches 
and sleeping in bomb-proofs, is very much enjoyed. The 
days are occupied by guard-mounts, company and squad 
drills in the forenoon, and battalion drill and dress parade 
in the afternoon. ISTine days pass without the enemy's front 
persistently protruding beyond our right flank. We must 
go back and w^ake him up. 

24 March. While in the execution of battalion evolutions 
on the drill gi*ounds, a courier rides up and delivers a dis- 
patch to the commanding officer. Major John W. Graham. 

300 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Back to quarters, where the evening is spent in cooking ra- 
tions and getting ready for a night march. 


25 March. Before daylight the hrigade under Colonel 
Eutlcdge moves through Petersburg, and a little before dawn 
finds us on familiar ground near the line between City Point 
Railroad and the Norfolk Railroad. Ransom is put in com- 
mand of Wallace's Brigade, with his own. But the halt 
here is only long enough to form in line of battle for a dash 
at the enemy in our front; for Gordon's people, who had re- 
placed us here on the 15th instant, have just been moved up 
the line to the right and are to advance in line abreast with us. 
The left of the Fifty-sixth, the regiment to-day again under 
Major Graham, is near the City Point road, and to its 
right is the Forty-ninth and then the Twenty-fifth. Captain 
Lawson Harrill, in command of Company I, now on the left, 
and Lieutenant Charles M. Payne, of Company K, on the 
right, now move briskly over the line with the skirmishers, 
and on their heels follows our line of battle. The skirmish 
line quickly unhooks our chevaux de frise. Through them 
pass the nearest sections or platoons, and wheeling immedi- 
ately into line, we rush forward bounding over their breast- 
works, and the position is ours before the enemy are ready 
for the work of the day. At the earliest dawn we know that 
the line is ours as far as we can see up to the crest of Fort 
Stcdman on Hare's TTill, to our right. We are now on the 
Baxter country road at the old race track, and find that the 
Fifty-sixth forms the extreme left of tlie Confederate line, 
that has come in. Our movement had been covered by the 
darkness, and we now look for troops to come up on our left. 
We understood that Pickett was to come from Butler's front 
at Drewry's BlufF, and take the lino from our left to the 
river. The morning woi-c (ni, with ilic enemy paying us 
their respects both with infantry and distant artillery on our 
left, and shelling from a point to our right. The men who 
had charged through Plymouth before breakfast, were not 
to be idle spectators, for the rest of the day of the drama in 
which we had acted only the first scene. So "Major Graham 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment, 391 

prepared to wheel to the left and charge in the rear the fort 
on the City Point road. It was supported by a Michigan 
Brigade, commanded by Colonel Ely, (whose acquaintance 
was subsequently made, while we were recovering from 
wounds, in Petersburg,) and they had shown no disposi- 
tion to get out of our way, or let us alone. At the same 
time we are in the range of a fort on the south and an- 
other on the north bank of the Appomattox river to our left, 
who are displaying a spirit of rivalry in their attentions to 
us. Before our assault can be delivered against our nearest 
foe, a solid column of blue appears upon the rising ground 
to our front and right. Their alignment is perfect, and down 
they dash only to be repulsed by the steady volleys from our 
line. Over again they come, and again they are driven back. 
The third time they meet with no better success. Now, ex- 
cept to our left and an occasional shell from the right, there 
is comparative quiet. 

Here we find a peculiar use for those troublesome bayo- 
nets, for the retaining of which we had been complimented on 
the inspection of the division. As a protection against the 
flank fire we dig the loose earth and form ridges between 
which to lie. Every man in this section was soon protected ex- 
cept Robert Kell Gates and the Captain of Company D. In a 
few minutes Gates was instantly killed, and the Captain 
wounded in the leg. About the same time, we could see on 
our extreme right that the captured line was being gradually 
abandoned. Major Graham held the regiment together until 
it could be ascertained whether there was any order to that 
effect, when Adjutant Thomas R. Roulhac, of the Forty- 
ninth, came down the line to transmit the order from General 
Ransom, and the Fifty-sixth, as ordered, waited its turn and 
came off last from the field. The writer gratefully remembers 
the gallant Sergeant Hotchkiss, who assisted him back within 
our line. The command of the company was turned over to 
Lieutenant Robt. T. Faucett. Before reaching the lines he 
was struck again, this time in the shoulder by a piece of shell 
from the artillery at the Appomattox. The enemy regTetting 
their neglect to turn out in time to meet us more handsomely 
in the early morning, were now doing all in their power to 

392 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

make the procession more interesting as we returned. While 
we had advanced and taken their second line, they liad lesseoi- 
ed the gap we had made in their first line, finally overwhelm- 
ing and capturing half of Company I, with its gallant Captain 
fighting to the last, and their trenches here were lined now 
with men by whom we had to rush on our return without an 
exchange of compliments. In this galling fire on our flank, 
many good men went down, and it is a matter of sincere re- 
gret that subsequent events have allowed no opportunity to 
get a complete list of casualties even in any company. In 
this enfilade, Major Graham fell, pierced through both legs 
by the same ball, but was borne by his devoted men within the 
lines, directed by the gallant Lieut. V. J. Palmer, and Capt. 
W. G. Graves. On his way to the rear the stretcher was 
stopped by a kindly word of General Lee, who inquired his 

The behavior of the whole regiment and brigade was i;ever 
better than in this action of 25 March, 1865. Advancing 
from a point in the lines that we had held all winter, and of 
course considered impregnable against those people, and their 
own seeming as strong as ours, no man had faltered in his 
duty. The pluck of the Confederate soldier was probably 
never better sliown than to-day by our Ensign, James M. 
Clark, of Orange county. Cut down in the terrible flank 
fire, with a \og bone shattered below the knee, he delivered 
the colors that he had borne aloft through so many storms of 
battle, to Bedford McKee, by whom they were brought across 
our lines. Then seizing between his teeth the folds of his 
Idaukct, s])read beneath him, he crawh'd over the ground until 
safely back in one of our rifle pits. Standard and banner 
had been ripped and rent, but never a stain upon its lionor. 
Coni])any K went in un(h'r Captain Origg with forty-four 
men, and came out with only eight un(h>r Lieutenant Palmer. 

Company I was on the extreme left of that part of the 
lines lield l)y the C(infe(U>ratcs, and ;ifler the linttle Ii;id been 
raging for some tini(% Ca])tain Ilarrill received an order 
from General Kansoni with his compliment.s, saying the 
tnircrsc there iniisl he held. The defense of this traverse 
for tlie time, checked the eneniv iMisliinc; al<in<j: theii' main line 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 393 

to enfilade the regimemt. Aboi;t 9 or 10 o'clock, as the regi- 
ment was withdrawing last from the field, the enemy made 
another desperate charge in front and at the same time the 
Second Michigan Regiment rushed along the main line and 
captured Captain Harrill and about twenty of the company, 
while Lieutenants J. M. Walker and P. H. Gross and some 
twenty of the men escaped with the regiment, J. C. Gross 
and Thomas Robbins were killed. Lieutenant Walker, in 
command of the remnant of Company I, passed through the 
battle of Five Forks and some skirmishes on the retreat to 

The post of the regiment was a most critical and impor- 
tant one, protecting the flank and rear of others, withdrawn 
one by one, ahead of it, and it might have surrendered with 
honor after this was accomplished and itself almost sur- 
rounded at close quarters. But it was needed back on the 
line, and tO' the line it went, though with a loss of about 250, 
over one-half. Major Graham and Captain Graham were 
taken froan the Confederate hospital to be the guests of Mr. 
Wm. R. Johnson, and received every attention from that ele- 
gant and patriotic family, and the well known physician, Dr. 
Lassiter. Here General Ransom was our earliest caller and 
telegraphed our friends of the provision made for our com- 

In this battle the gallant Captain Taylor, of Company B, 
Fifty-sixth, from Fayetteville, lost a leg, and Captain White 
was shocked by the immediate explosion of a shell. 

It was said that Pickett's Division had failed to make con- 
nection with our left because of the breaking down of the 
railroad trains furnished them. Exactly the dimensions of 
this sortie, the writer has never learned, but it was evidently 
a reconnoissance, possibly to be followed up by a last desper- 
ate venture. (General Lee's report sustains this view, and 
says he found the enemy's interior line too strong tO' be taken 
without a costly sacrifice of life.) The loss probably fell 
heaviest on the Fifty-sixth North Carolina, as it was the last 
to retire; but we were in no condition to lose one man even 
for four of the enemy. The Federal officers met during the 
removal of the dead, were exultant and evidently found some 

394 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

satisfaction to-daj for the terrible punishment they had re- 
ceived in the battle of the Crater, to which they referred. 

The Confederate loss in this affair was, according to Gen- 
eral F. Lee, 2,949, including 1,000 captured. The enemy 
report a loss of 98 killed and 509 wounded, 481 missing of 
their infantry ; and four killed, fourteen wounded and twen- 
ty-five missing of the artillery. That afternoon General 
Ransom meets General Hartranft and during the flag of 
truce 120 Confederate dead and 15 badly wounded are turned 
over to us. Nearly one-half of the Confederate loss to-day 
fell on Ransom's Brigade, Colonel Rutledge reporting 1,364 
lost out of his 2,300. General Lee says in his report: "All 
the troops engaged behaved most handsomely, including two 
brigades under Brigadier-General Ransom." 

Somehow the war had not been foiight out on the line last 
summer; but if we are now spoiling for a fight. General 
Grant evidently has enough people with him at last to read- 
ily accommodate us, and get home by next summer. His 
losses can be supplied ; ours cannot. 

26 March. The brigade moves out to the right, and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel G. G. Luke, who has just returned, 
takes command of the Fifty-sixth. On the east front and 
particularly near the Crater, night after night witnesses the 
most continuous musketry firing, the reverberating vol- 
leys, heard back in the city, rivaling discharges of artillery. 
Behind such rackets the most important movements 
are made. Gaps might probably be found now in either line, 
as in ours particularly 17 June, and 30 July, 1864. 
But only on one side was there a thought of making an- 
other advance. On the other side the alternative might 
now be presented of fighting our way through to Gen- 
eral Jos. F. Johnston's army then rctii'iug through the Caro- 
linas before Geueral Slici'iiuni. (u- ;i race for the mountains of 


Tf there was I'le faintest hope of a reconsideration of the 
Hampton Roads affair, it was vain. The time had passed. 
For it now appears that the interview referred to across the 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 395 

line between General Ord and General Longstreet, took place 
about the first of March. Pursuant thereto General Lee 
wrote to General Grant, 2 March, 1865, ''sincerely desiring 
to leave nothing untried which may put an end to the calam- 
ities of war," and adding: ''I am authorized to do whatever 
the result of the proposed intenaew may render necessary or 
advisable." Evidently our President and Confederate Sen- 
ate had at length fully acquiesced in the measure so earnestly 
seconded by General Lee at its initiation. But it was now 
too late. 

General Grant replied from City Point, 4 March, 1865: 
''In regard tO' meeting you on the 6th instant, I w^ould state 
that I have no authority to accede to your proposition for a 
conference on the subject proposed. Such authority is vested 
in the President of the United States alone. Gen. Ord could 
only have meant that I would not refuse an interview on any 
subject on which I have a right to act, which, of course, would 
be such as are purely of a militaiy character, and on the sub- 
ject of exchanges, which have been entrusted to me." 

The situation had changed since January. Mr. Lincoln 
himself could not now control it, and General Lee was 
put upon his mettle; for to the last he was resolved to die 
rather than submit to an unconditional surrender of the 
Army of T^orthem Virginia. 

The record of this event is thus expanded because many 
of the most intelligent of the rank and file of this regiment 
were deeply interested in all that was heard of it at the front, 
and on a satisfactory compromise being attained, were ready 
with more than its quota if the joint expedition to oust the 
unfortunate Maximilian from Mexico were seriously called 
for. Though the too diplomatic instmctions to our commis- 
sioners proved fatal, no one doubted tlie sincerity of Mr. 
Davis' convictions or that he had the courage of them. When 
the subsequent steps taken to reopen the matter all failed, he 
followed with a message to the Confederate Congress, 13 
March, 1865, making a very able presentation of his side of 
this affair, and in the concluding sentence portraying with 
prophetic ken the "Fool's Errand," (the attempt to set up 
carpet-bag State Governments) : "There remains then for 

396 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'G5. 

us no choice but to continue the contest to a final issue, for 
the people of the Confederacy must be but little known to 
him who supposes it possible they would ever consent to pur- 
chase at the cost of degTadation and slavery permission to 
live in a country garrisoned by their own negroes and gov- 
erned by officers sent by their conqueror to rule over them." 
For data relating to much of the battle of Hare's Hill and 
subsequent events the writer is indebted to survivors of Com- 
panies D, F, H, I and K, the statement of Mr. C. P. Tanner, 
well known as one of the bravest men in Company I, being 
the most exact. The regiment was engaged skirmishing 
through the 27th and 2Sth of March and worked all night 
of the 27th constructing breastworks beyond the pond on 
Hatcher's Run at Battery 45. With about an hour's rest, 
they marched back into line of battle on the night of the 28th 
and were skirmishing and manoeuvering all day of the 29th, 
the enemy several times dashing against their line only to be 
promptly driven back. This was in the vicinity of Burgess' 
Mill, on Hatcher's Run. All day of the 30th they awaited 
an attack at Five Forks. 


As Grant now resumed his left flank movement, to gain 
the only roads by wliicli Lee could hope to effect a junction 
with Joseph E. Johnston, retreating before Sherman in 
JSTorth Carolina — the Southside Railroad from Petersburg, 
and the Lynchburg from Richmond intersecting at Burke- 
ville Junction, — Lee had sent out this detachment four miles 
to his right to meet Sheridan at Five Forks on his ad- 
vance from Dinwiddle (^ourt House, a few miles southeast. 
The road from Dinwiddle Court House trending northwest 
towards Petersburg, comes into two others, the White Oak 
running east and west, and the Ford road north and south, at 
the point of intersection ; hence the name of Five Forks. At 
sunset on 30 March, General Pickett with Corse's, Terry's 
and Stuart's Brigades of his own, and Ransom's and Wal- 
lace's of B. R. Johnson's Division under General Ransom, 
took position in line of battle and awaited the assault. The 
enemy not coming within range, they, next day, 31 March, 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 397 

moved upon him, took one line of battle, and drove Sheridan's 
advance back to the Court House that afternoon, where night 
ended the battle, in which the cavalry divisions of Rosser, W. 
H. F. Lee and Fitzhugh Lee also participated under the lat- 
ter. The Fifty-sixth, under Colonel Luke, was with the bri- 
gade under Colonel Rutledge, in the left wing of this column, 
and after crossing a creek under fire, charged the right flank 
of the enemy, and compelled the retreat of the wdiole line, 
after their left had been steadily resisting Pickett's right 
lower down the creek. 

Early next morning, 1 April, the detachment, occupying 
this exposed position, fell back nearly to the White Oak road 
in time to check the movement of Warren's Fifth Corps 
against their left rear. While Rosser was sent off to guard 
the wagon train, W. H. F. Lee was posted to the right and 
Mumford to the left of Pickett ; but there was the gap of four 
miles between them and the right of Lee's lines. Ransom's 
Brigade was immediately to the right of Mumford. Mum 
ford was at 4 p. m. ovei-whelmed and Ransom's left flank 
and rear hotly assailed, while the demonstrations against W. 
H. F. Lee were not so strong, and by a counter-charge were 

But Pickett's whole conmaand was soon enveloped from 
front, left, and rear, and his right seriously threatened. For 
some time the unequal contest was gallantly maintained. 
The Fifty-sixth, fighting the enemy on the front and rear, 
repulsed five distinct charges. Captain Sterling H. Gee, our 
Assistant Adjutant-General, was killed at the point so stub- 
bornly held by this regiment. No officer had a better record, 
and he was the happy bridegroom of only a week. He was 
succeeded by Adjutant Robert B. Peebles, of the Thirty-fifth 
North Carolina Troops, well known for bravery and efliciency 
throughout the command, and who had risen from the ranks 
in Company E of the Fifty-sixth. Pickett's loss is 4,000 
men, 13 stands of colors and 6 guns, over half of his forlorn 

In this battle the Fifty-sixth Regiment maintained its 
record for courage and discipline. True to that, it could not 
retire without orders. After little rest for a week, these last 

398 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

manoeuvres had extended over two days. It was successful 
both in charging and afterwards in repeatedly repulsing the 
heavy columns of the enemy. With their support on the left 
flank crushed at last by a rear attack, they vainly believed, as 
did General Ransom, that to^ others would be assigned the 
part of checkmating the odds of over 5 to 1, now gradually 
surrounding them. Captain Graves had opened the battle 
in command of the regimental sharpshooters, and now with 
Lieutenant-Colonel Luke, Adjutant Faison, Lieutenants Pal- 
mer, Walker, Faucett, Badger, Wilson, Turner and others, 
shared with the men in handling the muskets most effectu- 
ally. xVnother round would have killed a few more of the en- 
emy, but it only meant a needless massacre of the survivors on 
our side by overwhelming numbers now in touching distance. 
In the final melee here and there men escaped, as General 
Ransom, with his staff and a forlorn hope on the right, cut 
their way out to the Southside (Danville) Railroad, where 
they were consolidated that night with Anderson's Corps. In 
this last charge he lost his second horse of the day, the superb 
thoroughbred Ion, shot under him. Bitter criticisms were 
made of the management of this reconnoissance ; but we may 
generously grant that its commander (Pickett) was fortunate 
in getting back with any portion of his force ; and the choice 
of that portion was hardly left to him. 

Here closed the career of the Fifty-sixth as a regiment, 
contributing to-day its full proportion of the 700 men lost by 
the brigade. But there remained about a company's strength 
with all the rear guard details, disabled men returning to 
duty, and the surgeon's, quartermaster's and ordnance corps. 
With a few general lines we will now see these to the end. 

2 April. With little resistance except at Fort Gregg, on 
the south front, where there is some stubborn fighting, the 
Confederates now concentrate upon their inner line, running 
around Petersburg from the Appomattox on the east to the 
same river on the west, where they repulse all assaults to 
dislodge them. Richmond and Petersburg cannot be held 
another day. General Lee's dispatch is delivered to Mr. 
Davis, while attending morning service at St. Paul's church 
in Richmond, that he must start that night "or run the risk of 

Fifty-Sixth RegimExNt. 399 

being cut off in the morning. It will be a difficult, but I 
hope not an impracticable operation. The troops will all be 
directed to Amelia Court House." 

THE retreat. 

As we file across the Pocahontas Bridge over the Appomat- 
tox, the blowing up of the iron-clad gunboats in the Jam^ 
can be heard, while the sky is lurid with the burning of to- 
bacco warehouses and army stores in Richmond. The writer 
hoping soon to be able to report for duty, if then within the 
Confederate lines, was fortunate in meeting an old Chapel 
Hill friend, Captain Bradford, commanding a field battery 
from Alabama. On a horse loaned by him, he made his way 
via Goode's Bridge to Amelia Court House and found the 
command reorganizing. Was indebted for similar courtesies 
by the way to Dr. John E. Logan, of Greensboro, IS^. C, a 
Surgeon in Grimes' Division, and to Captain Gregory, of 
Washington, X. C, belonging to the same command, and to 
Captain A. B. Williams, Company C, Tenth I^orth Carolina 
Regiment (artillery). 

5 April. Lee has concentrated his forces at Amelia Court 
House, his losses in the last ten days being one-third of his 
effective force, leaving him now less than 30,000 infantry. 
Here trains had arrived with ample rations for his army, on 
Sunday, 2d April, and in the excitement some one had hur- 
ried them on to Richmond without stopping to unload. Since 
reading Colonel Cheek's sketch of the Ninth (First Cavalry), 
I think that one of Sheridan's scouts in gTay here played us 
this trick, and acted the officious quartermaster. 

From the cribs in the country the men. were furnished with 
raw corn, to take their chances of roasting it on the retreat. 
Three small infantry corps were now formed from what re- 
mained of the Army of Northern Virginia, and to these com- 
mands are assigned Longstreet, Ewell and Anderson, (Major- 
General John B. Gordon commanding, the latter at the 
surrender), while Fitzhugh Lee has the cavalry corps, the 
remnant of the regiment and brigade being in Anderson's 
Corps. (See General Lee's report to Mr. Davis, 12 April, 
1865.) Captain McNeely commanded the last of the Fifty- 

400 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

sixtli. Tlic naval battalion from tlie destroyed gimboats, were 
under C/oinnKxlorc Tucker, and assigned to Custis Lee's Divis- 
ion under Ewell. This point is thirty-eight miles southwest 
from Richmond, and within twenty miles of Burkeville. 
But after this fatal delay of twenty-four hours, Lee can no 
longer hope to connect with Johnston, and resumes his march 
on the night of 5 April for Farmville, over on the Lynch- 
burg Railroad, distant thirty- five miles west. 

April. At Sailor's Creek, surrounded and without artil- 
lery, the commands lose in killed, wounded and prisoners 
6,000 men. Generals Ewell, Custis Lee, Kershaw and 
Dubose of Ewell's Corps, and Generals Corse and Hunton 
of Pickett's Division, Anderson's Corps, are captured. Ran- 
som's remnant got through with little damage. 

7 April. At Farmville rations have been brought down 
from Lynchburg. These are issued and the command now 
reduced to two corps, under Longstreet and Gordon, marches 
out four miles on the road towards Lynchburg, and halts on 
chosen ground to allow the wagon train to get ahead. Here 
the assaidt of Humphrey's Corps is repulsed after he has lost 
571 men. The honor of this aifair, a part of which passed 
under the eye of the writer, belongs to Hoke's Brigade \mder 
General William Gaston Lewis. After a loss of two-thirds 
of the men carried into action, he rejoined the retiring army 
that had safely passed in his rear, and deeply affected by the 
slaughter of so many brave comrades, with streaming eyes 
he asked General Gordon why he had sent his brigade in 
alone against such odds as twenty to one, and was assiired it 
was the last resort to save the corps. No higher compliment 
could have been paid. 

Within seven miles of Appomattox a deteraiined effort was 
made to break through the line of retreat held by the remnant 
of Cox's and Lewis' Brigades, the latter connecting with 
Cummings' North Carolina Battery. This was defeated with 
great loss to the enemy. General Lewis assisting to serve the 
guns, firing grape and canister, was dangerously wounded 
and left at a house near by. 

That night, the 7th, Lee pushes on towards Appomattox 
Court House, with Gordon in front, followed closely by 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 401 

Longstreet, and Fitzhug'h Lee covering the rear. Progress is 
slow and cantious. The vicinity of the Court House is 
reached on tlie evening of the 8th. But Sheridan Math two 
strong divisions of cavalry, Ord's infantry and the Fifth 
Corps of the Army of the Potomac is across our path. 

9 April. The Confederate cavalry has moved from the 
rear to the front during the night, with orders to resume the 
march at 1 a. m. As late as the night of the 8th, General 
Lee had not abandoned all hope of escape; and as to an un- 
conditional surrender, lie said : "Sooner than that I am re- 
solved to die." 

Accordingly he directed Gordon and Fitz Lee to attack 
Sheridan's cavalry at daylight on the 9th. The charge was 
made, Cox's I^orth Carolina Brigade leading, and the cav- 
alry pushed back with the loss of two guns and a number of 
prisoners. But the gray line is then ordered to come back. 
The Army of Northern Virginia has made its last charge, and 
fired its last shot. 

The surrender is on terms with the honors of war. In the 
conclusion of the formalities there is nothing to humiliate the 
vanquished. The skeleton regiments unattended stack their 
arms at the points designated, and there silently and forever 
furl their banners. The wounded receive attention from 
the medical corps of both sides. The writer, not yet recov- 
ered, is furnished an ambulance back to Burkeville Station 
in company with Captain H. A. Chambers, wounded in 
command of the Forty-ninth at Five Forks and also still dis- 

An interesting volume could be made up of deeds of daring 
along the retreat. In his report of the surrender, three 
days thereafter, General Lee states his effective force at 
7,892 infantry with arms, and 75 rounds of ammunition, and 
63 pieces of artillery with 94 rounds of ammunition, and he 
believed the cavalry who had reached Appomattox Court 
House about 2,100 effective men. The number since pub- 
lished in the U. S. Official Records includes without distinc- 
tion the quartermaster's, ordnance and medical corps and 
the disabled. The total here surrendered by this brigade 

402 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

consolidated, was 41 officers and 394 men. Here I saw a 
largo number of Federal prisoners turned over to General 
Grant's armj. The inevitable should have been gracefully 
acknowledged by the civil authorities at Hampton Roads the 
last of January, 1865, and the further sacrifice of life and 
j)roperty avoided ; but under constraint of his office and for 
the last three months against his own private judgment, Lee 
had fought to a finish. 

10 April. On the printing press at General Grant's head- 
quarters the forms of parole to be signed by the Confederate 
officers for themselves and on behalf of their men, with the 
certificates furnished to the officers, are printed and dated as 
of to-day, Monday. This done, and General Grant having 
shared his rations with us, the homeward march in small 
bands of unarmed men commences, many carrying a copy of 
General Lee's farewell address, which is as follows. 

General Orders No. 9. 

Headquartees Army of ISToethern Virginia^ 
Appomattox Court House^ 10 April, 1865. 

After four years of arduous service, marked by unsur- 
passed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers 
and resources. I -need not tell the survivors of so many hard- 
fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that 
I have consented to this result from no distrust of them ; but 
feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that 
could compensate for the loss that would have attended the 
continuation of the contest, I have determined to avoid the 
useless sacrifice of those whose past sei-vices have endeared 
them to their countrymen. 

By the terms of agTeement officers and men can return to 
their homes, and remain there until exchanged. You will 
take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the con- 
sciousness of duty faithfully performed ; and I earnestly pray 
that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and pro- 

With an unceasing admiration for your constancy and de- 
votion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your 

Fifty-Sixth Regiment. 403 

kind and generous consideration of mvself, I bid you an af- 
fectionate farewell. R. E. Lee^ 


For the preservation of many dates and much of the r late- 
rial in this imperfect sketch, grateful acknoAvledgmeiit is 
here made to the writer's valet and friend, David Blount, who 
reached him and his brother at Petersburg a few days after 
they were both wounded, and attended him thence faithfully 
to Appomattox Court House, and back again. He carried 
his journal through in a small valise, and was thus occasion- 
ally the target for a joke by the wayside. Hailed with the 
question whether he was carrying baggage for the division, 
he replied with the utmost politeness and sincerity : "No, sir ; 
this is just Marse Robert's valise." He was told by his new 
acquaintances at Appomattox Court House that he could do 
much better by going North with them, but replied that when 
he wanted friends, he knew where he could find them. He 
accommodated them, however, with a few hundred dollars in 
Confederate money for as many units in greenbacks. Safe 
at home again, he told his fellow freedmen in his 4 July 
speech, 1865, at Hillsboro, IST. C, that he knew who were his 
best friends, and that he had stood by two of his white folks 
when General Grant was mortarfying Petersburg, and when 
he could do nothing more, he had surrendered with General 
Lee at Appomattox. At his honored grave I now pay this 

Thirty-odd years have passed since the events herein but 
partially portrayed. The issues then settled can never arise 
again. The wind was sown, and the harvest was the w^hirl- 
wind. Inter arnia silent leges; by a higher law than all 
constitutions, out of a vital germ slumbering through eigh- 
teen centuries, came emancipation. 

The Constitution had guaranteed slave-property to the 
owners as a vested right. The South to perpetuate this 
right, broke the Union. The ISTorth, to preserve the Union, 
as a military necessity, broke the Constitution. But the os- 
tensible issue was the right of any State to secede on its own 
motion. This brought about another double paradox ; for 
while a full proportion of the Union lines was composed of 

404 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

men who before the war had never disputed the proposition 
as a reserved State's right, however inexpedient, they were 
confronted on every battlefield, from first to last, by men in 
gray, who (relying only on the inalienable right of revolu- 
tion), could find nothing whatever, expressed or implied, in 
the Constitution providing for a secession. The motto on 
either side, however, when the conflict came, was that of the 
brave Decatur: ''My country! Right or wrong, my country." 
To the North this meant the Union. To the Confederate sol- 
dier it meant his State; and her call he obeyed. 

Like the Protectorate of Cromwell, the Confederacy has 
taken its place in history, with the powers that be no more. 
England under the restoration, may ignore her Ironsides ; but 
N^orth Carolina accepting the situation in good faith, and re- 
turning to a Nation whose origin she was the first boldly to 
propose, will never blush to exhibit her long Roster of Con^ 
federate Soldiers. 

Ro. D. Graham. 
Washington, D. C , 

9 April, 1901. 





1. H. C. Jones. Colonel. 4. John Heard, Captain, Co. C. 

2. A. C. Godwin, Colonel. 5. William Johnston, Captain, Co H. 

3. James A. Craige, Major. G. James F. Litaker, 1st Lieut., Co. F. 

7. John D. Harrier. Sergeant, Co. F. 


By colonel HAMILTON C. JONES. 

The Fiftj-seventh l*^orth Carolina Regiment was organ- 
ized at Salisbury on 6 July, 1862. Its field officers were: 

Archibald Campbell Godwiis^^ Colonel. 
Hamilton C. Jones, Lieutenant-Colonel. 
James A. Craige^ Major. 
Edward A. Semple^ Adjutant. 
William G. McNeely, Quartermaster. 
Charles S. Morton^ Surgeon, 
A. II. BiNiON^ Assistant Surgeon. 

Of the company officers, the Captains were as follows : 

Company A^ — Eowan County- — William H. Howard. 
Company B — Rowan County — William S. Brown. 
Company C — Rowan County — John Beard. 
Company D — Forsyth County — James E. Mann. 
Company E — Caiawba County — Daniel Rhyne. 
Company F — Cabarrus County — James C. Cannon. 
Company G — Lincoln County — John F. Speck. 
Company H — Rowan County — William H. Howerton. 
Company I^ — Alamance County — William A. Albright. 
Company Iv — Rowan County — Alfred Miller. 

There were many changes in the personnel of the company 
officers in the course of time, by resignation or death. 

Of the field officers Colonel Godwin was a native of ISTanse- 
mond county, Ya. He had left home when only 19 years old, 
and in 1849 crossed the plains on foot in the throngs of the 
thousands seeking the gold fields of California. There he re- 
mained until the beginning of the war, having in the mean- 
time amassed considerable fortune, a greater part of which 
he left in California and hastened east to tender his services 

406 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

to Virginia, his native State. At the beginning of the war 
he was made Major in the Confederate regular army, and 
for a short while was assistant Provost Marslial of Richmond, 
and afterAvards was sent as commandant of the prison at 
Salisbury, where he organized the Fifty-seventh Regiment. 
He was in every sense a magnificent gentleman. He was of 
commanding presence, being about six feet high and sym- 
metrically formed. He was a man of intelligence, possessed 
a high order of courage and very great self-reliance, all of 
which combined to make him the type of the Confederate sol- 
dier. He commanded the regiment until 5 August, 1864, 
when he was made Brigadier-General, succeeding to the com- 
mand of Hoke's Brigade, and was killed in the battle near 
Winchester 19 September, 1864. 

•James A. Craige, the ]\lajor of the regiment, had seen ser- 
vice with the Sixth Regiment prior to his appointment to 
the Fifty-seventh, and the writer, the Lieutenant-Colonel, 
had seen service as a Captain in the Fifth North Carolina 
State Troops. Of the company officers, non-commissioned 
officers and privates, few, if any, had seen any active service. 
There were many Scotch-Irish from Rowan, Iredell, Cabar- 
rus, and Mecklenburg; there were Germans from Catawba, 
Lincoln, Rowan, Forsyth and Alamance. They had been 
reared in the ways of peace, but they made magnificent sol- 
diers, patient, enduring and fearless. 


After the regiment was organized at Salisbury, in the 
summer of 1862, it was ordered to Richmond, and was there 
attached to Davis' Brigade in the division of General G. W. 
Smith, commanding the Department at Richmond. The 
main army at the time lay along the line of the Rapidan. 
The Fifty-seventh Regiment remained at Richmond until 
6 November. While there it had been carefully drilled and 
admirably disciplined ; it was well equipped, and when it was 
sent, in November, to join the army upon the Rapidan, it 
numbered more than 800 rifles, and was a soldierly-looking 
body of men. It was attachcKl to Law's Brigade, Hood's 
Division, along with the Fourth Alnl^ama, Sixth North Caro- 


Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 407 

lina and Fifty-fourth jSTorth Carolina. Within a few weeks 
after it joined the army at the front, came the battle of Fred- 
ericksburg, on ]3 December, 1862. In that battle the Con- 
federate army occupied a semi-circular line of hills that over- 
looked the river bottom below Fredericksburg, and terminat- 
ing at Marye's Heights, just above the town. The enemy 
occupied Fredericksburg, the river bottom, and the Bow- 
ling Green road that runs not far from the river. Across 
this river bottom ran the railroad, about half way be- 
tween the Confederate line and the Bowling Green road. 
The fight began on the Confederate right and left. Furi- 
ous assaults had been made on Marye's Heights and had 
been repulsed. Repeated assaults had been made on A. P. 
Hill's Division on the Confederate right, and were meeting 
with momentary success, when the Federal troops were driven 
back by General Hoke, then a Colonel commanding a brigade. 
During this furious fighting on the extreme right and left, 
the Federal troops had effected a lodgment in the railroad 
cut just where it crosses the small stream known as Hazel 
Run. This railroad cut was just deep enough to make an 
excellent breastwork for infantry, and the position was occu- 
pied by a brigade of jSTew Jersey troops. Two co'mmands 
had been sent by General Hood to dislodge this force from 
the railroad, but w^ere both repulsed. A line of woods 
stretched along the outer edge of the river bottom, where 
the ground was marshy, and between this line and the rail- 
road there was some six or eight hundred yards of almost 
level ground. About 3 o'clock in the evening General Law 
w^as ordered by General Hood to make another effort to clear 
the enemy from the railroad. He ordered the Fifty-seventh 
Regiment to make the attack, supported by the Fifty-fourth 
l^orth Carolina, also a new regiment. Tlie regiment, when 
it received the order, was in the woods just spoken of, and in 
order to clear the woods, owing to swamps and thickets, was 
compelled to go across a corduroy road out into the open. It 
went by fours-left-in-front. As the first company cleared 
the woods, a battery opened on it from the Bowling Green 
road, yet under this fire, company after company, as it 
cleared the woods, went steadily into line without a falter or 

408 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

a sign of confusion, and the line was formed as accurately as 
if on parade; then at ''quick step" it started for the enemy's 
line on the railroad. It was in full view of almost the entire 
Confederate army on the surrounding hills, and of a larger 
part of the Federal along the Bowling Green road. As it 
started there came a cheer from the hills. The line moved at 
"quick step," with amis at right-shoulder-shift. The enemy's 
artillery redoubled its fire, but the marksmanship was bad, 
and the regiment was receiving little punishment, and moved 
as if on parade. At about 400 yards the enemy opened with 
their rifles from the railroad, but the regiment had been or- 
dered not to return the fire until the enemy broke, and so 
they marched in silence. Then the files began to fall out, 
killed or wounded sometimes from shells and sometimes from 
the infantry fire, but the gaps were closed up and the regi- 
ment marched steadily forward still silent. Then the bul- 
lets flew thick and the ground in the wake of the regiment 
began to be strewn with those brave men, thicker and thicker. 
Then the fire became terrific, and at about 125 yards from the 
railroad the order was given to ''double-quick." Then it was 
that those men who had never seen a battle before, had never 
seen (confederate troops in action, raised that Confederate 
yell that seemed to be a part of the nature of the Confederate 
troops. There was a sudden dash forward into the thunder 
and smoke of guns, and the Fifty-seventh Regiment was at 
the railroad with their guns loaded, and those of the enemy 
who had not fled were captured then and there. The regi- 
ment had received no orders to halt at the railroad, so Colonel 
Godwin, in obedience to what he considered his orders, 
planted his colors upon the far bank of the railroad, and im- 
mediately the regiment was again in line and making towards 
the Bowling Green road. It was now attacked upon its flank, 
yet it never faltered nor hesitated until it had gone through 
this ordeal, a distance of nearly 200 yards, and an order came 
from General Law to retire to the railroad. Then was seen 
what is rarely seen even with veteran troops. The regiment 
faced al)Out under a murderous fire, marched ])ack and took 
its position in the railroad cut without confusion. Just be- 
fore this movement. Company F, from Cabarrus, which oc- 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 409 

cupied the left of tlie" line, made a half turn to the left and 
held the enemy in check upon Hazel Run while the regiment 
was retiring to the railroad. It was one company standing 
alone in the midst of a great battle field, and yet when its 
task was done it went in good order to the railroad. The 
struggle had lasted in all perhaps twenty-five minutes, and 
in that time 250 of the Fifty-seventh Regiment were stretched 
dead or wounded upon the plain. Of the officers, four of the 
Captains were either killed or permanently disabled. Cap- 
tain Miller and his two Lieutenants — Frank Hall and Law- 
son Brown — were killed ; Captain Cannon, of the Cabarrus 
company, was permanently disabled, and Captain Speck, of 
Lincoln county, lost a leg. Captain E. J. Butner, of Com- 
pany D, from Forsyth, was also killed. 

This was the first experience of this regiment in l^attle, and 
the writer looks back now in wonderment how these raw 
troops endured so manfully the shock of. such awful battle. 
They were nearly all conscripts and nine-tenths of them were 
farmers or farmers' sons from the counties mentioned above. 
They fought under the eye of their comrades on the hills, who 
cheered them with a mighty cheer when they came back to 
the railroad. They fought, too, under the eye of their great 
commander-in-chief, and he repaid them with a flattering 
notice in an order issued the next day. This regiment 
\\'as engaged in many battles after this, and when it sur- 
rendered at Appomattox its fame was still untarnished, but 
it had no such trial as befell it upon the threshold of its 
experience. The lesson that the writer drew from this ex- 
perience was that, the high-spirited Scotch-Irish and the pa- 
tient Germans of North Carolina are unsurpassed in the qual- 
ities that go to make great soldiers. 

It is not the purpose of the writer in any degree to dispar- 
age the conduct of the Fifty-fourth North Carolina Regi- 
ment, for it came across that awful plain in good order, but 
the place assigiied it was too far in the rear to break the force 
in any great measure or the shock to the Fifty-seventh, but 
it did all that it could do and all that it was required to do, 
luider the leadership of its gallant commander, Colonel James 
C. S. McDowell. 

410 North Carolina Troops. 1861-'65. 


The winter of 1862-'63 the regiment spent in camp at Port 
Royal, on the Rappahannock, below Fredericksburg, where it 
remained until the opening of the campaign in the spring of 
1863. When General Hooker crossed the river on 2 May, 
1863, and took his position on the line of Chancellorsville, 
Early was left with his division and several other brigades to 
hold the line below Fredericksburg, while General Jackson 
made his celebrated flank movement and gave the enemy bat- 
tle at Chancellorsville. During this engagement the enemy's 
extreme left, under General John Gibbon, pressed forward 
and occupied the turnpike leading out of Fredericksburg, a 
few miles above Marye's Heights. Here on 4 May the Fifty- 
seventh had another rough experience. General Hoke was 
ordered with his command to dislodge a part of the enemy 
"^rom a strong position on this turnpike. Unlike the posi- 
tion at Fredericksburg, the ground in front of the enemy's 
position up to within 100 yards of the turnpike was broken 
by defiles, and covered with the stunted post oak that seems 
to grow in that part of Virginia where nothing else is planted. 
The advance was under the immediate leadership of General 
Hoke, and was exceedingly difficult, and anything like true 
alignment was out of question, so that when the advancing 
line of four regiments reached the level ground near the en- 
emy's line it was necessarily in considerable disorder. Here, 
as it reached the open ground, it was greeted with a most ter- 
rific fire of musketry and canister from the enemy's line. 
For a moment it looked as if the exploit would result in a 
failure, but in that supreme moment there came that same 
Confederate yell, so well known to Confederate ears, and 
equally well understood by the foe, and in another instant 
there was a rush, the enemy's line was taken and the en- 
my driven back with great confusion. The regiment had 
maintained its former renown, but it won another bloody 
victory. Colonel Godwin, its gallant leader, was wounded, 
as was also Adjutant-Lieutenant Semple. Among the com- 
pany officers. Captain William C. Lord, of Conqiany A, a gal- 
lant and gifted gentleman from Salisbury, was killed, as was 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 411 

also First Lieutenant John H. Boyd, of Lincolnton, who com- 
manded Company G, and Captain William Johnston, of 
Company H, of Cabarrus. 


When the Gettysburg campaign opened, General Early's 
Division led the column into the valley and surprised Gen- 
eral Milroy at Winchester. With him went Hoke's Brigade, 
under the command of Colonel Isaac E. Avery, of the Sixth 
North Carolina Regiment, that brave and most efficient com- 
mander, who within a few weeks was to fall mortally 
wounded on the heights of Gettysburg. Milroy's command 
was surrounded by an entrenched camp and consisted of some 
1,500 or 2,000 men, and Hoke's Brigade, the Fifty-seventh, 
being still a part of it, was selected to charge one face of the 
entrenched camp. The enemy made a poor defence, how- 
ever, and were all captured with little or no loss to the Con- 
federates, Milroy having in the meantime effected his escape 
and left his command to their fate. Then came the momen- 
tous march into Pennsylvania. Early's Division, with 
Hoke's Brigade, marched by Gettysburg and went to the city 
of York. During the march of the division through Penn- 
sylvania to this point, within twelve miles of the Susque- 
hanna river, the column had encountered no opposition, had 
seen no Federal troops, nor even heard the sound of their 
drums or bugles. The country through which it had marched 
was largely inhabited by Germans, proverbially phlegmatic, 
and no sign of excitement had been visible among them. The 
Confederate army was restrained by strict orders and there 
was little sign of invasion from an hostile army to be seen 
along the route of their march. The barns were filled with 
grain, the fields were dotted with cattle and horses, and the 
Confederate Quartermaster and Commissary in an orderly 
way provided the army with sustenance. There was no 
straggling and consequently the passing araiy left only the 
tracks of its soldiers and its artillery on the highway; it left 
the fences and the houses, too, yet these same men had just 
come from the Valley of Virginia, a fenceless and houseless 
country, thanks to the presence of the Federal army. 

412 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

ix the eneimy^s country. 

The column entered York on Sunday morning. It looked 
as though they were unexpected, for the church bells were 
ringing and crowds of well-dressed men and women were on 
the sidewalks on their way to church. They stopped and 
gazed at the troops as they passed with something like stu- 
pefaction, but there was no sign of alarm even among 
the ladies. They, however, seemed to give up the idea of 
going to church tluit day, and the ladies went to their 
homes and during our stay there they were rorolv ever 
seen on the streets. The men, however, mingled freely with 
the Confederate officers, and there was little or no sign of bitr 
terness apparent. They drank together and discussed the 
war and many other subjects together. Some of the men, 
of course, were ardent Union men, and expressed their senti- 
ment freely, but a great many, and it seemed to the writer a 
majority of them, were bitterly hostile to Mr. Lincoln's ad- 
ministration and condemned the war on the South. The 
seeming preponderance of the anti-adminisi ration sentiment 
might have been due to the fact that the Union men had fled 
or were keeping themselves close. When the division left 
the place some prominent men even went so far as to insist 
that leading Union men should be arrested and carried away 
prisoners, for the reason, as they said, that the Union men 
had been dominating and tyranizing over them ever since (he 
war began. General Early preserved the most perfect order 
during our stay there. He levied a contribution of $100,000 
on tlie banks, but took no private property without paying 
for it. A foundry in the outskirts of the town wliich was 
used by the government for the manufacture of war mate- 
rial li(^ burned. 


After remaining sonic five or six days in York, the divis- 
ion took up its march for Gettysburg. Its march was leis- 
urely, for no enemy had been seen or heard of since leaving 
Virginia. As the head of the column reached a point some 
three or four miles from Gettvsburg, somewhere about mid- 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 413 

day, two reports of field guns were heard in the direction of 
Gettysburg, and forthwith officers began to discuss the sig- 
nificance of it. Owing to a peculiar atmospheric condition, 
the sound seemed farther off than it really was, and it was 
supposed by all to be a cavalry engagement some twenty miles 
away, but in a few minutes the firing became rapid, many 
guns apparently being engaged, many more, in fact, than 
were generally used in cavalry engagements. While officers 
were still discussing the matter, John W. Daniel, now^ United 
States Senator from Virginia, then the young and brilliant 
Adjutant-General on General Early's staff, was seen ap- 
proaching the head of the column at full speed. He brought 
an order from General Early saying General A. P. Hill w^as 
hard pressed at Gettysburg, and for the division to make all 
haste to his assistance. Men disengaged themselves of their 
blankets and whatever else encumbered them, leaving them 
to be gathered by the rear guard and wagon train, and took 
the quick step for Gettysburg. The last mile was made at 
double-quick, for they could already see a cloud of white 
smoke floating over Gettysburg and could hear the noise of 
the great conflict. When the division reached the suburbs 
of Gettysburg it took position on the extreme left of the Con- 
federate line. There was three brigades, Hoke's under Isaac 
E. Avery, on the extreme left, next Hays' Louisiana, and 
then Gordon's Georgia Brigade. The division went intO' line 
and halted ten minutes to rest the men. From our position we 
could see the Confederate and Federal lines arrayed one 
against the other in open ground, no breastworks, no fortifi- 
cations, but they stood apart in battle array and were in plain 
view for two miles except where the line was lost in the de- 
pressions of the hills. Then a Confederate brigade away on 
our extreme right, moved f or\vard upon the expectant enemy ; 
there came a jet of white smoke from along the enemy's line 
and a scarcely audible roar of musketry, filled in by the sound 
of the artillery ; then there came the expected yell, a rush, 
and the enemy's line broke. As this first brigade moved, a 
second was moving in echelon ; there was the same yell, the 
same rush, and the same flight of the enemy. Still another 
brigade; the sound of the conflict and yell of men becoming 

414 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

more distinct; a rush forward and the Stars and Stripes were 
seen in full retreat. As the conflict neared our position the 
effect was marvelous ; the men were wild with excitement, 
and when their time came they went in with the wildest of en- 
thusiasm, for from where they stood they could see two miles 
of the enemy's line in full retreat. It looked indeed as if 
the end of the war had come. Tlie Fifty-seventh Regiment 
was on the extreme left of the Confederate line, and its op- 
ponents broke at the first fire, in fact they scarcely waited to 
receive the fire, and consequently the loss of the regiment at 
this point was comparatively slight. On the right of the 
brigade, however, the Sixth and Twenty-first Regiments had 
a bloody combat with their portion of the enemy's line. The 
Federal troops retreated to Cemeterv' Hill, broken and ap- 
parently utterly routed. There was not an officer, not even a 
man, that did not expect that the war would be closed upon 
the hill that evening, for there was still two hours of day- 
light when the final charge was made, yet for reasons that 
have never been explained, nor ever will be, under the eye 
of that matchless commander, that the South loves and re- 
veres, and the whole world honors, some one made a blunder 
that lost the battle of Gettysburg, and, humanly speaking, the 
Confederate cause. 


During the night of the 1st, the brigade lay in position be- 
tween the town and Cemetery Hill. The night passed qui- 
etly, except that we could hear the picks and shovels of the 
enemy engaged in fortifying their line, and the rumble of 
guns and the tramp of infantry, as at intervals during the 
night their reinforcements arrived. When morning came, 
they had worked wonders in fortifying that hill in so short a 
time. Towards evening heavy cannonading began on our 
right, extending all along the full extent of our line from 
the town towards Round Top. Immediately afterwards 
Longstreet assailed this position with part of his corps, but 
was unsuccessful. Late in the evening General Hays, of 
Louisiana, received orders to attack the ridge in front of us 
with liis brigade and ours, he being the senior of Colonel 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 415 

Isaac E. Avery, who was in command of our brigade 
(Hoke's). The Louisiana brigade, though composed of five 
regiments, was small in numbers, and of our brigade only 
three regiments were present, the Fifty-fourth having been 
detached at Hai*per's Ferry on special duty. All during the 
day these two brigades, Hoke's and Hays', had lain quietly 
in a depression that in some measure protected them from 
the fire of the enemy's guns. The sun was low when the 
order came, and when the bugle sounded the advance, the line 
advanced in beautiful order, and as it pointed to the south- 
west there was a glint all along the line of bayonets that was 
very striking and marked how beautifully they were aligned. 
In an instant after becoming visible the enemy opened fire 
with artillery, but the brigades went forward in the same beau- 
tiful order across the interposing valley lying between the 
town and Cemetery Hill, l^ot only from the front but 
away out towards Gulp's Hill, on the enemy's extreme right, 
artillery had opened on us. Before the hill was reached, 
the musketry fire had become very heavy, and the Fifty-sev- 
enth Regiment, which was on the extreme left of the line, 
suffered heavily from both artillery and infantry. At the 
point where this attack was made there was a sort of bay or 
indentation in the ridge which compelled the Fifty-seventh 
Regiment, or rather the left battalion of it, to swing round 
almost half a turn before it struck the face of the ridge. In 
the meantime the Sixth and Twenty-first Regiments and the 
right battalion of the Fifty-seventh had reached the foot of 
the ridge and were driving the enemy from his intrenchments 
up the hill, so that when the Fifty-seventh was fully in posi- 
tion a rush was made and the enemy driven to the top and 
over the crest of the hill. There was but little daylight left 
when the attack commenced and twilight and then darkness 
settled on the conflict as this comparatively small force 
reached and occupied the summit of the historic Cemetery 
Hill. They had driven everything before them and dis- 
lodged every portion of the enemy's line in their front except 
a redoubt occupied by a battery of artillery and a body of 
infantry. The two brigades had lost heavily and were more- 
over much exhausted by the labor of the struggle, otherwise 

416 North Carolina Tkooi's, 18(51 -'65. 

even this last strongliold would have boon carried. Had ihey 
received a reinforcement of another brigade they would un- 
doubtedly have eti'ected a permanent lodgment upon the crest 
of the ridge, which they had won. But no reinforcements 
canie, but instead there came an order to retire, which was 
effected with considerable loss, as reinforcements began to 
arrive on that part of the enemy's line. So far as the writ- 
er's knowledge extends, this was the only portion of the crest 
of Cemetery Ridge that was taken and lield by any portion 
of the Confederate line. 


In this charge the gallant Colonel Isaac E. Avery, who 
commanded Hoke's Brigade, fell mortally wounded and the 
command of the brigade devolved upon Colonel A. C. God- 
win, of the Fifty-seventh Regiment. Colonel Avery fell 
before reaching the foot of the hill and his fall seriously 
impeded tlie attack, as it was not known to some parts of the 
line for some little time that he had fallen. The writer sup- 
poses that others will write the story of Colonel Avery's mil- 
itary life, or perhaps have done so, but I cannot forbear to say 
here that he was a gallant soldier, a very efficient brigade com- 
mander and had he lived, would have do\d)tloss risen rapidly 
in rank. 

The Fifty-seventh took no further part in the battle of Get- 
tysburg after this attack on Cemeteiw Hill 2 July. It was in 
the rear of the army on tlie march to Hagerstown nii<l after- 
wards to the Potomac river. It crossed at the ford just above 
Falling Waters about 2 o'clock in the evening on the day that 
General Pettigrew was killed ; in fact we distinctly heard the 
volley, the short struggle as the enemy's advance struck Petti- 
grew's Brigade. After the return of the army to Virginia, 
the regiment, along with the other regiments, picketed along 
the line of the Rapidan river until the campaign began which 
closed with the battle of Bristoe Station. In tliis last named 
battle the Fifty-seventh Regiment was detached from the 
brigade and was formed at right angles with tlie railroad to 
protect the right flank of Johnston's Division during the 
fight. The enemy made no attack on this position and conse- 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 417 

quently neither this regiment nor any part of the brigade was 
actively engaged. 


After this battle of Bristoe Station the anny was with- 
drawn behind the Rappahannock river and lay at Culpepper 
and on the plains of Brandy Station until 7 J^ovember. In 
the meantime detachments were engaged in tearing up the 
railroad for the benefit of the iron, which was much needed 
in the Confederacy. In order to facilitate this work a pon- 
toon bridge was kept at the point where the Orange & Alex- 
andria Railroad crossed the Rappahannock, and on the north 
side were some earthworks covering this bridge, and these on 
7 J^Tovember were occupied by Hays' Louisiana Brigade. 
On that day Oeneral Sedg^vick with his corps advanced from 
Manassas and threatened the Louisiana Brigade. Hoke's 
Brigade, undex the command of Colonel Godwin, was sent 
across the river to reinforce the Louisianians. x\fter crossing, 
the brigade was directed to move to the left and occupy some 
slight trenches some three or four hundred yards off. It 
had scarcely reached the position assigned wdien a heavy 
column, composed of three lines of infantry, moved directly 
upon General Hays' position at the bridge. They met with 
a warm reception, but being protected from our artillery fire, 
across the river, by the nature of the ground and the breast- 
works, they speedily overpowered the Louisianians, driving 
them from their position and captured the works overlooking 
the bridge. By this movement Hoke's Brigade was entirely 
cut oif from retreat. The position occupied by it was threat- 
ened by a line in its front, but the Sixth and Fifty-seventh 
Regiments were formed outside of the breastworks and at- 
tacked the enemy in their position at the bridge head, wdiile 
the Fifty-fourth kept the line at bay in front. In the first 
charge the enemy were dislodged from a portion of the works 
that they had captured, but succeeded in holding the works 
commanding the bridge. The struggle here lasted with vary- 
ing fortunes until nightfall, w^hen the enemy sent forward a 
large body of troops and completely enveloped the brigade 
except on the side where lay the deep waters of the Rappa- 

418 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

hanuock riv^er, which at that point had been dammed. A 
few managed to escape by swimming the river, but almost the 
entire brigade, officers and men, were captured. Some few 
of the officers were afterwards exchanged and took part with 
the regiment in its subsequent campaign, but the most of 
the rank and file remained in prison until the close of the war. 
It had been a bloody combat, and besides those captured, 
many hiy dead and wounded about the breastworks. 

As was always the case, there were a good many veterans 
of the Fifty-seventh Regiment who at the time of this disas- 
ter were in the hospitals and on detached service, and a few 
of the officers along with them. Among the latter were 
Major Craige and Captain John Beard, of Salisbury. Of 
the latter the writer will have more to say later on. It is suf- 
ficient to say here that he had been with the regiment through 
all its service and had acquired a reputation both for courage 
and skill in the handling of his company. As the senior 
officer, Major Craige gradually gathered together this rem- 
nant of the Fifty-seventh and in the course of time conscripts 
were sent to him and the regiment was again filled up to 
respectable proportions. Colonel Godwin, who at the time 
of the capture of the regiment was its Colonel, was exchanged 
in the summer of 1864, but was soon after promoted to the 
position of brigadier general and placed in command of 
Hoke's old brigade. The writer, Mdio was Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel at the time, was not exchanged until February, 1865. 
Major Craige, the only other field officer, was severely 
wounded in the knee in the Valley campaign in August, 
1864, and disabled for active service. The writer has not 
been able to communicate with him and so the greater part 
of this sketch, after the capture, has been furnished by Cap- 
tain Beard. The Twenty-first North Carolina of our bri- 
gade was on detached service in North Carolina and thus es- 
caped capture. 

After the capture of the brigade, as above stated, the rem- 
nant of the regiment, under the command of Major Craige, 
retreated with the army behind the Rapidan, and in Decem- 
ber the brigade was sent to North Carolina to participate in 
the campaign against Plymouth. The Fifty-seventh did not 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 419 

participate in the capture of Plymouth, as it was left at Kin- 
ston to guard against a movement from New Bern. It re- 
turned to Petersburg just in time to meet General Butler 
and there participated in the battle of Drewry's Bluff. From 
there it was ordered to the South Anna to join the main army 
under General Lee, and was present at the second Cold Har- 
bor battle, where it engaged the enemy on the second day, 
capturing many prisoners. From there it was sent to Rich- 
mond and thence to Lynchburg by rail to meet the threatened 
invasion under General Hunter, who was advancing up the 
valley. Upon the approach of General Early's command 
General Hunter commenced his retreat, but was overtaken 
by Early at Liberty, where a severe action took place, re- 
sulting in the complete defeat of General Hunter. In this 
battle the Fifty-seventh bore its part, having by this time 
been considerably recruited. General Hunter having re- 
treated through West Virginia, Early's command moved 
down the valley to Harper's Ferry, which it reached on 4 
July, 1864, while the Federal troops were engaged in cele- 
brating the day with a great feast. 


This the Confederates, after driving the Federals off, coolly 
appropriated — that is, the eatables and drinkables — and 
many of the Confederates got gloriously drunk on the whis- 
key and wine that was not prepared for them. The next day 
they crossed the river and some skirmishing was had with the 
enemy under General Lew Wallace. In this fighting Lieu- 
tenant F. M. Graham, of Rowan county, a most excellent 
officer of the Fifty-seventh Regiment, was killed and the 
regiment sustained a heavy loss in men and officers. Colonel 
Godwin, soon after made Brigadier-General, was in command 
of the brigade, which was left at Frederick, Md., during the 
battle of Monocacy to protect the rear of General Early's 
march. It fell to the lot of the brigade to care for the wound- 
ed of that battle and to have them removed to Frederick and 
while so doing, had quite a spirited action with some Federal 
cavalry. It then followed General Early to Washington. 
Here it was posted on the Georgetown pike, where it had sev- 

420 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

eral skiniiislics witli the caxali'v (if llic cni'iiiv. Ii l)rn\iii;lit up 
the rear of the army wlicii it recrossed the Potomac, skiniiish- 
inp; witli the enemy, at intervals, but getting across the river 
with no great loss. After crossing the men started for Win- 
chester. At this time the regiment was in command of Major 
Craige. On the march they met the enemy east of Winchester. 
The action began with the shaqishooters of the l)riga<le, com- 
manded by Captain John Beard, and witli this skirmish line 
the enemy were twice driven back. They, however, suc- 
ceeded in getting a body of cavalry in the rear, and Captain 
Beard was ordered to fall back. In this action Major Craige, 
commanding the Fifty-seventh Regiment, was severely 
wounded in the knee and thereafter incapacitated for active 
field service. The regiment participated in all the subse- 
quent actions in the valley, the now historic contest between 
Earlv and Sheridan for the masterv of that luckless reinon. 


On 19 September occurred near Winchester another very 
serious engagement. General PegTam had been attacked 
by a heavy force and General Godwin, with his brigade, went 
in haste to his support. Pegram, overwhelmed, was retreat- 
ing when Godwin came up. This for a time threw Godwin's 
Brigade in confusion, and here again the Fifty-seventh Regi- 
ment exhibited its old-time steadiness. It rallied first in the 
retreat and upon it the rest of the brigade soon rallied and 
opposed the advance of the enemy. At this point General 
Ramseur, in command of the division, finding the position 
untenable, took up a new position about 000 yards to the rear. 
Then ensued a very desperate and bloody fight. Time and 
again the enemy assailed the line and time and again they 
were repulsed with great loss. This continued until sun- 
down, the fight having lasted nearly all day, when the Fed- 
eral troops again turned onr flank and compelled our some- 
what precipitate retreat. From this battlefield and under 
these circumstances Godwin's Brigade, after an all-day's des- 
perate fight, and ^\ath the enemy threatening and pressing its 
fiank, came back in perfect order and without the slightest 
sign of confusion. 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 421 


It bore with it, however, the dead body of its beloved com- 
mander, for General Godwin had fallen dead in the thickest 
of the fight. Captain Beard tells how, after one of the many 
attacks of the enemy had been repulsed. General Godwin 
rode np to him and with his hand on his shoulder said: "I 
am proud of the conduct of my old regiment, the Fifty-sev- 
enth." Before Captain Beard had time to reply a shell ex- 
ploded just over them and a fragment striking him in the 
head, he fell from his horse into Captain Beard's arms, dead. 
The writer has spoken elsewhere of this gallant gentleman 
and brave soldier and would be glad, if space permitted him, 
to say more here, but will add only this, that he was univer- 
sally beloved as a man and universally admired as a soldier 
by all his comrades throughout his entire service. A Vir- 
ginian in command of a jl^orth Carolina regiment, and after- 
wards of a Xortli Carolina brigade, he was as much beloved 
and admired by those under him as if he had been a [N^orth 
Carolinian or they Virginians. 

There died on that battlefield another man in humble 
rank and far less famous, but none the less loyal and true. 
He was a color-bearer of the Fifty-seventh Regiment^ — Geo. 
B. Swink, of Company C, from Rowan county. After being 
wounded, and his color-guard almost destroyed, he stuck his 
colors in the ground and seizing a rifle fell dead, fighting for 
the maintenance of his cause and his flag. 

After this engagement the brigade fell back to Fisher's 
Hill. Sheridan having followed Early up the Valley the two 
forces again confronted each other at Fisher's Hill. There 
was considerable and heavy skirmishing for twenty-four hours 
at that place, in which the Fifty-seventh Regiment took a 
prominent part. The Federal troops, however, succeeded in 
turning General Early's flank and getting partly in his rear, 
and the Confederate forces were driven in confusion still 
further up the Valley, with Sheridan still at their heels, till 
they reached Brown's Gap, where another stand was made. 


About the middle of October, Early again moved down the 

422 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

valley as far as Cedar Creek. On the night of the 18th the 
Fifty-seventh Regiment formed a part of the force which 
crossed the monntains and fording the Shenandoah river, at- 
tacked General Sheridan's forces in the rear. Seldom in the 
annals of war has there been witnessed such vicissitudes of 
fortune as befell these armies that day. By 8 o'clock the 
Confederate forces had captured the entire camp equipage 
of that army, twenty-four pieces of artillery and a large 
number of prisoners, but by 9 o'clock that night the tide had 
so completely changed that the Confederate forces were again 
in full retreat up the Valley. It has been many times re- 
corded that General Robert D. Johnston's Brigade of North 
Carolinians was the largest body of Confederate troops that 
retired from its position on that field of battle in good or- 
der. Beside this noble brigade stood tlie Fifty-seventh Reg- 
iment, which was next in line, and this regiment came off 
with Johnston's Brigade in like good order and with great 
steadiness. This closed the fighting in the Valley and the 
Fifty-seventh Regiment with the rest of the brigade, was 
sent to Petersburg and stationed on our extreme right at 
Hatcher's Run. Here it participated in what is known as 
the "Fight at Hatcher's Run," and tliero it saw much hard 
service, the ground being covered with snow and ice. After 
this it was sent to a position immediately in front of Peters- 


At this point before Petersburg, in the month of Febru- 
ary, 1865, the writer, having been exchanged, took command 
of the Fifty-seventh Regiment as Colonel. He found the 
regiment in command of Captain Philip Carpenter, of Lin- 
coln county. Captain Beard being absent on some detached 
seiwice. The brigade was under command of General Gas- 
ton Lewis, who had been temporarily assigned to the com- 
mand of it. On 25 March, about 3 o'clock in the morning, 
the writer was summoned to General Walker's headquar- 
ters — or to General Lewis'. There he found General 
Walker, General Robert D. Johnston, General Matt. W. Ran- 
som nnd, lio tliinks. General Gordon also. H(^ was informed 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 423 

that it was contemplated to make an attack upon the enemy's 
line before daylight and the writer was informed that he 
would command the force directed against Fort Steadman, a 
part of the enemy's line; and was directed to indicate two 
regiments which he would choose to make the attack at this 
point. He chose his own regiment, the Fifty-seventh, and 
the gallant Sixth, one that had never flinched on any of the 
many battlefields in which it had borne a part from First 
Manassas down to that eventful morning. It was then com- 
manded by Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate. 


In front of Fort Steadman there was a chevmix de fnse of 
rails sharpened, stuck deep into the ground and pointing out- 
ward. These had been bound together by a strong wire. To 
cut down this obstruction in front of the advancing line vol- 
unteers were called for from the two regiments and were 
quickly in readiness. At the writer's request, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Sanuiel McDowell Tate designated an officer of the 
Sixth Regiment to command this apparently forlorn hope. 
He chose for this service Lieutenant W. W. Flemming, of the 
Sixth, a beardless boy not more than 19 years old. It was 
desperate work, and he knew it, but he was marvelously cool 
and at parting the writer said to him : 

"If you do this work this morning, and we both sunave, 
your rank will unquestionably be considerably advanced." 
He replied : 

"I do not say that I do not regard this, but I assure you if 
these men follow me, we will cut that abatis in your front." 

Then in the dead silence of the night he moved out with 
his detachment armed with axes and they spread themselves 
along the front of Fort Steadman, and the two regiments 
moved out and lay down just behind this party. In the 
meantime the obstructions in front of the Confederate line 
had been stealthily removed. General Walker, who com- 
manded the division had notified us that the signal for the 
assault would be the firing of a pistol immediately in our 
rear. There was a wait in perfect silence for perhaps 20 

424 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

minutes or jjossihlv halt' ;in Imur. There was absolutely no 
sign of life along the enemy's lines. Their pickets lay just 
in front of their aliatis in their rifle pits. xVway in the east 
there was a hand of white light in the sky which marked the 
approach of day. 


Su<ldculy there rang out on the stillness the sharp crack of 
a ])istol. Instantly the enemy's pickets tired and there was 
a muffled sound of feet where Lieutenant Flemming's party 
was and along the line of the two regiments. Then came the 
rush and the rapid sound of axes and the crash of falling 
timber and the wild cheer from the axemen. The two regi- 
ments were at their heels and followed rapidly. Instantly 
there came a heavy fire of artillery and rifles from Fort 
Steadman, but it was of short dui'ation, for in another minute 
the assaulting party mounted the enemy's works, capturing 
their guns and many prisoners. The writer's impression is 
that Lieutenant Flemming was the first man u])on the breast- 
works, for he stood there when the line reached it and around 
him stood some of his men with their axes still in their hands. 
The enemy were pushed back, and through this gap the Con- 
federate forces pushed in. 


On the right, however, at Fort Ileiskel the attack had been 
less fortunate and thus when the <lay broke the enemy com- 
menced a furious cross fire and from the front Lewis' Bri- 
gade was ordered to assault an earthwork diagonally to the 
left, ihe name of which is unknown to the writer. It was 
heavily armed, however, and after a desperate struggle the 
regiment was forced back after suflering very heavy loss. 
Idle writer was among the wounded and the command of 
the regiment (h'VolvcMl u])on Ca])tain Carpenter, a most gal- 
lant and etliciciit dtlicer, who had borne a ])art in nearly every 
struggh' in wbich the i-cgiuicnt had been engaged. Ulti- 
mately the whole line was oiMlored back within the Confed- 
erate lines and Ca])taiu <'ar])eiitcr bi'dught ofi' the regiment 
in as good ordci' as jiossihle under the uiunlerous cross fire. 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 425 

Next day Captain Beard returned and took command of the 
regiment and was in command of it during the eventful 
march from Petersburg to Appomattox. 

After the bloody repulse at Hare's Hill on 25 March the 
Confederate line retired tO' its trenches before Petersburg 
and lay there like a wounded lion at bay. Before it was the 
magnificent Federal army commanded by General Grant — a 
great captain of a great host. That army, infantry, artil- 
lery and cavalry was armed, equipped and supplied wdth all 
that money poured out in lavish abundance could supply. 
Its ranks were fully recruited, its horses fresh, its caissons 
and ordnance wagons loaded down with tons of ammunition, 
its commissary trains abundantly suppplied — all in readiness 
to receive the word from its great commander that would 
launch it on its hapless foe. And that foe ! It was but the 
shadow of its former self, a remnant after the carnage of a 
hundred battlefields and of four years of ceaseless marching 
and fighting. Its ranks were thin, its guns were worn with 
use, its ordnance and commissary stores but scant. The men 
w^ere but half clothed and were pinched from want and con- 
stant exposure in the trenches. But there they stood ! jSTo 
bugle could recall to their aid the thousands of their dead 
co-mrades whom they had buried on the battlefield, but the 
spirit of their noble dead abided Avith them and they feared 
nothing but God and the shame of fear ; and so they waited. 

On 1 April the great tragedy began. General Sheridan 
attacked our extreme right at Five Forks and drove back our 
cavalry and infantry supports. By this movement our flank 
was completely turned and the position at Petersburg ren- 
dered untenable. On the 2d the Federals opened all along 
the line, the fire was kept up during the entire day, and 
repeated assaults were made at different points in overwhelm- 
ing numbers. At some points they were repulsed, at others 
they w^ere successful, or partially so, but the result of it 
all w^as that the immediate evacuation of Petersburg and 
Richmond became necessary. By the morning of the 3d the 
army had crossed to the Chesterfield side. Tlien commenced 
the memorable march to Appomattox ; and the Fifty-seventh 
Regiment was in the midst of it all, still patient, obedient 

426 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

and fearless. Day by day they struggled on without food 
and with incessant fighting. Almost hourly they had to 
turn and beat off the attacking Federals, but they struggled 
on with spirits still undaunted as though they hoped that even 
at the last fate itself would relent at the sight of their devo- 
tion to their fast-falling cause. This march from Petersburg 
to Appomattox M'as not simply a retreat nor yet a conflict; it 
was the funeral procession of the Confederacy; it was an 
oblation of blood to the Manes of a heroic nation that had 
been born and had died on the field of battle. 

But the struggle went on. On the second day after leav- 
ing Petersburg General Lewis was wounded and Captain 
Beard, of the Fifty-seventh, took command of the brigade as 
senior officer. When the command reached Sailor's creek on 
7 April, they found that the bridge had been broken down, 
and General Gordon, in whose corps our brigade was, turned 
and made a last fight to hold the enemy in check till the 
bridge could be repaired and thus enable the artillery and 
trains to pass. The fighting was fierce. The brigade occu- 
pied a position where the crossing of the road by a de- 
pression in the bed of the road afforded a slight protection. 
Here the enemy were repeatedly repulsed. The Fifty-sev- 
enth Regiment maintained its reputation on this last of its 
battlefields and faced its foe with imdaunted courage, but the 
end of it was that the constantly increasing numbers of the 
enemy enabled it to surround this brigade and capture it 
almost to the last man. This was the last of the many bat- 
tles in which the Fifty-seventh played its part so well, and 
here the curtain falls upon its story. 

The writer has prepared this sketch from his personal rec- 
ollections of the events where he was present and for the rest 
he has used the notes furnished him by Captain Beard. 
There were from first to last in this n^giment men and officers 
who richly deserved mention and encomium, but it is impos- 
sible in the allotted space to mention them. Some died 
valiantly fighting and some are still alive, and some have 
passed nway in the peaceful walks of life since that Sunday 
at Apponuittox. But there are some names in addition to 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 427 

those already mentioned that occur to the writer in conclud- 
ing the sketch, which for special courage deserve at least a 
passing tribute, and this without detraction from others. 


Among those who fell while fighting with this regiment 
was Lieutenant Daniel W. Ringo. His home was in Arkan- 
sas and his father was Judge Ringo of that State. He came 
to the regiment a mere boy, I think from some military 
school, and became a Second Lieutenant. On every occasion 
and upon almost every battlefield that the Fifty-seventh took 
part, he was conspicuous not only for his high courage, 
but for his remarkable intelligence and aptitude for the busi- 
ness of a soldier. After being shot in the knee and disabled, 
he served with the sharpshooters upon horseback and was 
killed on 19 September, 1864, near Winchester. 

Captain Joseph G. Morrison, of Lincoln county, served 
wdth this regiment, first as Adjutant, which position he re- 
signed to become Aide-de-Camp to General (Stonewall) Jack- 
son, who was his brother-in-law. After the death of the lat- 
ter he became Captain of Company F. Later he resigned to 
take a place on General Hoke's staff, in which position he lost 
a foot in the early struggles around Petersburg. He was 
well known throughout the brigade for his coolness and alert- 
ness in the face of the enemy. 

Lieutenant James F. Litaker, of Cabarrus county, was a 
quiet, unambitious man, but possessed of a courage rarely 
equaled and never excelled by any one the writer saw on the 
field of battle. Lieutenant L. H. Roney, of Alamance 
county, was distinguished likewise for great courage and ef- 
ficiency. He was killed at Gettysburg and fell dead on the 
skirmish line. Lieutenant A. E. Semple, the first Adjutant, 
was also a gallant and very efficient officer. He was wounded 
on 4 May, 1863, above Fredericksburg and disabled from ac- 
tive service. The quartermaster, Captain Wm. G. McN"eely, 
of Rowan, is entitled to mention for his faithful service dur- 
ing the entire history of the regiment. The surgeon. Dr. 
Charles S. Morton, and the Assistant Surgeon, A. H. Binion, 

428 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

were able, cool and very efficient officers and were universally 
beloved in the command. 

John D. Barrier, anotlier member of Company F, though 
a mere boy, was distin<2;uished for his cool courage and at 
the battle of Hatcher's Tfun Captain Beard selected him to 
bear the colors of the regiment, whicli he did through most 
trying circumstances and most heroically. 

Sergeant J. F. Pace, of Company C, from Salisbury, was 
only 16 years of age at the organization of the regiment, and 
was a private in Company C. His courage was so conspicu- 
ous at the battle of Fredericksburg that he was made First 
Sergeant of his company and in many of the later battles he 
commanded his company with great courage and skill. Ser- 
geant J. M. Muse, of Company H, of Union county, was a 
most gallant soldier. In the retreat from Fisher's Hill, 
Hoke's Brigade covered the rear, marching all day in line of 
battle. On this retreat Sergeant Muse commanded his com- 
pany and in one of the many attacks made upon the rear 
guard, he was killed, hat in hand cheering his men. 

Richard VanFaton, of Davie county, a private of Company 
A, was also a most gallant soldier. 

Among those most conspicuous for his gallantry and who 
fell at the head of his company at Gettysburg, was Captain 
S. W. Gray, of Company D, from Forsyth county. He had 
been in all the battles in which the regiment had taken part 
and in all save the battle of Fredericksburg he had com- 
manded his most excellent company. 


In conclusion, tlie writer has (uily to say tliat wlieii in the 
course of time liistoi'v of tliis groat civil struggle comes to be 
written by able and impartial historians, it is not to be ex- 
pected that any one regiment can be designated among so 
many as specially distinguislied for courage or efficiency; 
but in justice to the men and officers of the Fifty-seventh Reg- 
iment tlie writer can conscientiously say that few, if any, 
contributed more to tlic imperishable renown that surrounds 
the memory of tlie Confederate soldier. They did their duty 

Fifty-Seventh Regiment. 429 

well and valorouslv, and in fighting, in common with their 
comrades, they have fixed a standard for the American sol- 
dier below which it is hoped he will never fall. 

Hamilton C. Jones. 
Chaklotte, N. C, 

9 April, 1901. 


1. John B. Piilmor, Colonel. 

2. Benjamin F. Bninl. Captain, Co. D. 
a. a. W. F. llarpiT. Major. 

4. Isaac II. Bnilev. Captain, Co. B. 
.'). F. .\. Tohcy. Captain. Co. A. 
G. Diniv 1). Cotfcv. StTL't'ant-Ma.ior. 


By G. W. F. harper, Major. 

In preparing the following sketch as a contribution to the 
History of North Carolina Troops, official records have been 
consulted where accessible. The dates and other memoranda 
in many cases were obtained from the writer's personal jour- 
nal, in which daily entries were made during the war. 

The part referring to the battle of Bentonville was writ- 
ten and published in 1887, in the Raleigh Observer and other 
papers in I^orth Carolina and Tennessee. It is much to be 
regretted that repeated efforts failed to secure the pictures of 
more of the rank and file, and particularly of those devoted 
men, officers and privates who laid down their lives for their 
home-land on the field of battle. 

The writer esteems it a privilege to bear witness to the 
courage, patience and endurance of his comrades, and he 
offers this imperfect sketch as an humble tribute to the high 
soldierly qualities which they uniformly displayed. 

The regiment was organized in Mitchell county, North 
Carolina, 2-i July, 1862, by the election of — 

John B. Palmer, Colonel, of Mitchell county. 

Wm. W. Proffitt, Lieutenant-Colonel, of Yancey county, 
(resigned in 1863). 

John C. Keener, Major, of Yancey county (resigned in 

The regiment was raised as a part of a Legion of the three 
arms of the service to be commanded by Colonel Palmer. 

The other field, staff and company officers and their suc- 
cessors, as appears in the Roster of North Carolina Troops, 
Vol. Ill, p. 633, and Vol. IV., p. 429, with some additions 
and corrections made by the writer are as follows, the refer- 
ence last named, however, through error of copyist or com- 

432 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

positor, (Icsiiiuatcs the rcgiiiiciit after llic l■('(l^^•;mizati()n, 
Marcli, 18(i5, as the Sixtieth, whereas it should liave been 
given as the Fift_v-eii>-litli and Sixlictli Rciiiiiients consolida- 

LiEUTE.\A.\'r-( 'oi.OKELs — Echiiuud Kii'hy, of \'ii'ij;-iiiia, 
kilk'd at Cliickaniauga 20 September, 1803; Thomas J. Dula 
(resigned "lU August, 18G4) ; S. M. Silver, promoted from 
Major September, 1864 (resigned March, 1865) ; Thaddeus 
M. Coleman, commissioned March, 1865. 

Majors — T. J. Dula, wonnded at Chickamanga, promoted 
to Lieutenant-Colonel 14 August, 1864; A. T. Stewart, killed 
at Jonesboro, Ga., 31 August, 1864; S. M. Silver, promoted 
to Lieutenant-Colonel 14 August, 1864; G. W. F. Harper, 
promoted November, 1864, from Captain Company II. 

Adjutants — Edmund Kirby, of Virginia, promoted to 
Lieutenant-Colonel; Benjamin L. Perry, Beaufort, jST. C. ; 
Orville Ewing, Nashville, Tenn. 

Surgeons— W. A. Collett (resigned 1863) ; W. H. Harris. 

Assistant Surgeons — O. M. Lewis, T. J. Mitchell, 
Alonzo White. 

QuARTERMASTEii — M. J. Bcardcu, Buncombe co\inty. 

Sergeant Majors — H. Herndon ; Jas. Inglis, killed at 
Dalton, Ga., 25 February, 1864; D. D. Coffey. 

Quartermaster Sergeant — John E. Medearis, Caldwell 

Ordnance Sergeant — John A. Llensley, Yancey county. 

Drum Majors — H. Estes, Caldwell county ; J. Caldwell 
Blair, Caldwell county. 

Hospital Steward — James M. Riddle, ^Mitchell county. 

Company A — Mitchell County — Captains: ^lartin 
Wiseman (resigned 1862), F. A. Tobey. Lieutenants: F. 
A. Tobey; W. 11. Wiseman, killed at Chiekainanga 20 Se])- 
tember, 1863; J. J. Wise, W. A. Vance. 

Company B — MitcJicU County — Ca]itains: Jacob W. 
Bowman (resigned 1862), Isaac IT. Bailey, severely wounded 
and permanently disabled at C^hickamauga 20 Scptemlxu-, 
1863. Lieutenants: J. C. Conley, J. W. Pitnuin, I. H. 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 433 

Company C — Yancey County — Captains: J. P. Horton, 
resigned 1862; S. B. Briggs. Lieutenants: M. P. Hampton, 
W. M. Austin, wounded at Chickamauga. 

Company D — Watauga County — Captains: D. C. Har- 
mon (resigned 1862), B. F. Baird. Lieutenants: B. F. 
Baird, W. P. Mast, D. F. Baird, A. F. Davis, W. M. Har- 

Company E — Caldtrell County — Captains: A. T. Stew- 
art, promoted to Major and killed 31 August, 1864; Thomas 
J. Coffey. Lieutenants: J. B. Marler; T. J. Coffey; W. E. 
Coffey (dropped). 

Company F — McDoivell County — Captains : W. Conley, 
died November, 1862 ; C. O. Conley, killed June, 1864, at 
iSTew Hope Church, Ga., H. C. Long. Lieutenants: C. O. 
Conley; J. D. Morrison, killed at Chickamauga 20 Septem- 
ber, 1863 ; J. A. Fox, T. P. Epps, R. H. Sisk, J. B. Morgan. 

Co]MPANY G — Watauga County — Captains: J. L. Phillips, 
wounded at Chickamauga and permanently disabled ; John 
R. Norris, promoted from Lieutenant September, 1863. 
Lieutenant : C. R. Byrd, wounded at Chickamauga. 

Company' H — Caldwell County — This company was 
raised for Z. B. Vance's Legion, enlarged by transfers from 
Companies F and I of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Reg- 
iment, and went into camp of instruction at Kittrell, N. C, 
May, 1862. 

The effort to raise and organize the Vance Legion being 
unsuccessful, this company was assigned to. the Fifty-eighth 
Regiment which it joined at Johnson City, Tenn., August, 

Captains: T. J. Dula, promoted to Major; Gr. W. F. 
Harper, wounded at Resaca, Ga., 15 May, 1864, promoted 
to Major November, 1864; L. W. Gilbert. Lieutenants: 
W. W. Lenoir, promoted to Captain Thirty-seventh Regiment 
July, 1862 ; G. W. F. Harper ; E. M. Hedrick ; A. D. Lingle ; 
L. A. Page, killed at Dalton, Ga., 25 February, 1864; L. W. 
Gilbert, promoted to Captain November, 1864. 

Company I — Watauga County — Captains: John A. Mil- 

434 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

ler, Wm. R. Hodges, J. C. McGhee. Lieutenants: J. C. 
McGhee, W. S. Davis. 

Company K — Mitchell County — Captains: S. M. Silver, 
promoted to Major; D. R. Silver. Lieutenants: J, W. Dun- 
can, L. D. Silver. 

Company L — Ashe County — Captains: W. Gentry, Cal- 
vin Eller, L. Hurley. Lieutenants : L. Hurley, E. Hurley, 
P. Blevins. 

Company M — Watauga and Ashe Counties — This com- 
pany consolidated with Company G in 1863. Lieutenants: 
Geo. W. Hopkins, Thos. Ray, J. R. I^orris. 

The regiment was moved September, 1862, to Cumberland 
Gap and assigned to the division of General Stevenson, then 
investing that post. 

On the retreat of the Federal Garrison, Colonel Palmer 
was placed in command at the "Gap" with his regiment. Ca- 
per's Georgia Battalion and a battery of artillery until the 
prisoners coidd be paroled and the captured stores secured, 
after which it moved into Kentucky, but unexpectedly met 
Bragg's army on its retreat. 

During the winter of 1862 and 1863 it was stationed at 
Big Creek Gap, near Jacksboro, Tenn., with the Fifty-fifth 
Georgia, Thornton's Alabama T^cgion, Kolb's Alabama' Bat- 
tery and Baird's T^orth Carolina Cavalry Battalion, the bri- 
gade under the command of Colonel Palmer. The winter 
was spent in outpost duty, picketing this and neighboring 
passes in the Cumberland mountains, and making several 
expeditions into Kentucky. The details for guard duty in 
this service were excessive, and the command suffered 
greatly from privation and exposure. The loss by death 
from disease was appalling, camp fever and an epidemic of 
measles being extremely fatal, the natural result of inexperi- 
ence and a deplorable lack of hospital accommodations and 

In the summer of 1863 the brigade was placed under the 
command of General J. W. Frazer, and the troops were sta- 
tioned at Clinton and various other points in East Ten- 
nessee, the regiment eventually joining the army of Ten- 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 435 

nessee under General Bragg, near Chattanooga, when it was 
assigned to Kelly's Brigade of Preston's Division in Buck- 
ner's Corps. 

In the battles of Chickamauga, 18-20 September, the regi- 
rnent bore a prominent part, and in the charge which cap- 
tured the stronghold of the enemy on Snodgrass Hill at the 
close of that eventful Sunday, the loss in killed and wounded 
was over one-half of those carried into action. The Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel, Edmund Kirby, of Virginia, was killed, and 
Colonel Palmer and Major Dula wounded ; Captains Bailey 
and Phillips severely wounded, Lieutenants Wiseman and 
Morrison killed, and Lieutenants Austin, Byrd and others 
wounded. In the capture of the prisoners, eight Colt's army 
rifles were taken, of which, by the order of General Preston, 
four were turned over to the color guard of the Fifty-eighth 
North Carolina, and two each to the Fifth Kentucky and 
Sixty-third Virginia Regiments, also of Kelly's Brigade. 

The report of Colonel Palmer, made on the succeeding day, 
gives the names of the killed and wounded, and makes the 
loss in his regiment: Killed, 46 ; wounded, 114; missing, 1 ; 
total, 161; over 50 per cent, of the number carried into 

It will be seen by referring to the official reports that the 
casualties in the regiment exceeded the combined loss of the 
other regiments of the brigade. A steel tablet erected by 
the Chickamauga jSTational Park Commission marks the posi- 
tion on the crest reached by the regiment at sunset, when the 
prisoners were captured and the battle ended, and bears the 
following inscription, to-wit. : 

"Kelly's Beigade. 

"Preston's Division — Buckner's Corps. 

"Col. John H, Kelly. 

"September 20, 1863, 7 P. M. Last Position. 

"65th Georgia — Col. R. H. Moore. 

"5Tn Kentucky — Col. Hiram Hawkins. 

"58th j^orth Carolina — Col. John B. Palmer. 

"63d Virginia — Maj. James M. French. 

"The Brigade, the Sixty-fifth Georgia being attached to 

436 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'6o. 

"support a battery, reinforced about 6 p. m. by a regiment 
"from Anderson's Brigade of Hindman's Division, after an 
"hour's severe figliting on the slope in front of the knoll next 
"left of this position, participated there at dusk, with Trigg's 
"Brigade, in the capture of the Union troops occupying that 
"knoll. Of these 251 were captured by Xelly's Brigade. 

"This was accomplished by Kelly's Brigade charging their 
"front, while Trigg's Brigade swung across to the ridge 
"further to the left and closed up the Union line from the 
"rear. While the Union troops were surrendering, the right 
"of Kelly's Brigade received a volley from the front of Van 
"Derveer's Brigade of Brannan's Division. This was about 
"7 p. m., and was the last firing in the battle. 

"Strength in action 876. Casualties: killed, 62 ; wounded^ 
"238 ; missing, 29 ; total, 329. Percentage of loss, 37.55." 

Shortly after the battle Colonel Palmer was detached from 
the regiment and placed in command of the Department of 
Western ISTorth Carolina, with headquarters at AshevillCy 
where he remained until the close of the war, the regiment 
thereafter being under the command of a Lieutenant-Colonel 
or Major. General Kelly was transferred to the cavalry, 
and General A. W. Reynolds ("Old Gauley"), of Virginia, 
placed in command of the brigade, now consisting of the 
Fifty-eighth and Sixtieth North Carolina, the Fifty-fifth 
and Sixty-third Virginia and the Fifth Kentucky Regiments, 
in Bushrod Johnson's Division of Longstreet's Corps, with 
which it began its march to Knoxville. Before proceeding 
far, however, the brigade was recalled, 22 November, to take 
part in the battles then opening around Chattanooga, and 
deployed in a thin line, was placed in the trenches at the foot 
of Missionary" Ridge. Here it was annoyed by the prema- 
ture explosion of the shells from our batteries on the ridge in 
rear, firing upon the enemy in front. A veteran of Com- 
pany H, with a grim sense of humor, suggested to his Cap- 
tain that the command occupy the other side of the breast- 
w^ork — a brisk musketry fire then coming from the enemy. 
The suggestion was not adopted. 

After three days in this position, with the larger part of 


Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 437 

the troops on duty day and night, the regiment (one com- 
pany at a time deployed in a skirmish line) was recalled to 
the top of the ridge, the charge of the enemy being made as 
the last company moved out. The Confederate line on the 
ridge, a very thin one, with no reserve line, was broken — it 
seemed almost without a fight — at a gap in the ridge some 
distance north of the position occupied by the Fifty-eighth, 
and the troops on this part of the line moved by orders to the 
rear and formed a line of battle across the road near the base 
of the ridge. Here occurred the only stubborn fight the reg- 
iment was engaged in during this battle. The opposing 
force, led by General Sheridan in several charges was hand- 
somely repulsed, the battle continuing under the light of a 
full moon until long after dark. General John C. Breck- 
inridge, in command at this point, when the troops were 
withdrawn about midnight enquired for the regiment then 
filing into the road, and being told, raised his hat and com- 
plimented the '^Tar Heels" very highly on their part in the 

The army went into winter quarters at Dalton, Ga., under 
the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, in whom the 
army reposed unlimited confidence. 

On 25 February, 1864, Sherman pushed forward a por- 
tion of his army to the front of Dalton, and several partial 
engagements ensued before he retired. A number of casual- 
ties occurred in the Fifty-eighth. Among the killed was 
James Inglis, Sergeant-Ma j or, a Scotchman by birth, whose 
death was deeply regretted by his comrades. 

On 7 May, Sherman again appeared before Dalton, and 
after several ineffectual assaults on Johnston's line moved 
by his right flank, and threatened Resaca, to which place the 
Army of Tennessee was withdrawn. On the 14th and 15th, 
in the general engagements at Resaca, the regiment bore its 
full part and sustained serious loss in killed and wounded. 
The writer being here Avounded, and disabled for service 
until the latter part of the summer, cannot give details of the 
Atlanta campaign, in all the battles of which the Regiment in 
Reynold's Brigade, Stevenson's Division of Hood's Corps, 
participated. The loss in the numerous battles was con- 

438 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

siderable, and the published records are very incomplete. 

After the fall of Atlanta, the brigade was consolidated 
with Brown's Tennessee brigade, under General Jos. B. Pal- 
mer, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., a gallant officer, in whose bri- 
gade the regiment served until the close of the war. The 
name of this officer must not be confounded with that 
of Colonel John B. Palmer, who raised the Fifty-eighth Reg- 
iment and was its first commander. It is a singular coinci- 
dence that two officers bearing the same name and initials, 
and from different States, commanded the same brigade. 
They were both most gallant and efficient officers, without 
fear and without reproach. 

In the march to jSTashville the garrison at Dalton was cap- 
tured, and the railroad north of Atlanta destroyed in many 
places. The army crossed the Tennessee river at Florence, 
Ala., 2 November, but unfortunately for the success of the 
expedition, was there held inactive until the 20th waiting 
for supplies. 

At Columbia, Tenn., 28 November, the regiment led the 
advance of S. D. Lee's Corps on the Mount Pleasant pike, 
pushing vigorously the retiring enemy, and on entering the 
town, was ordered to seize the fort overlooking it, the block 
house enclosed being on fire, and the small arms ammunition 
therein keeping up a rattling explosion. The men, without 
orders and with the indifference to danger that so often char- 
acterized them, carried out the boxes of ammunition, some of 
them blazing, and the fire was soon subdued. 

The town had been in the possession of the enemy for 
nearly two years, and the ladies were overjoyed to see the 
Southern Army, to which they were so loyal, and in which 
served so many of their relatives and friends. Our Tennes- 
see brigadier rode at the head of the column, and the writer 
seeing him dismounted and affectionately embraced by 
females of all ages, congratulated him on meeting so many 
"kinfolks." He said it was his misfortune not to be ac- 
quainted with any of them. The scattering shots of the skir- 
mishers did not check the ovation. 

The regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Silver, with the 
prisoners it had captured and others sent to it (altogether 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 439 

about 1,700), was left as garrison for the fort and town, and 
thus missed the bloody battles at Franklin and Nashville, 
and later on Hood's disastrous retreat, by being ordered 14 
December to Corinth, ]\Iiss., with the prisoners. 

At Corinth, relieved of the prisoners, it was sent 26 De- 
cember to Okalona to drive off a cavalry raid which had cut 
the railroad near that point. 

On the return of the remnant of Hood's army to Tupelo, 
Miss., the regiment rejoined the brigade, now very small, and 
with it moved by rail to Branchville, S. C, and 4 February 
again confronted Sherman. IvTumerous skirmishes occurred 
at the various crossings of I^^orth and South Edisto, in all 
cases the enemy being repulsed, only to find unoccupied or 
undefended points above or below at which they crossed. 
The brigade reached the vicinity of Columbia 14 February, 
1865, and was greatly disappointed in finding there no im- 
portant reinforcements. The regiment had the post of honor 
as rear guard, and held the south bank of the Congaree until 
the morning of the 16th, when it was withdrawn and the 
bridge burned. On the 16th the brigade picketed the river 
bank, with its reserves in the nearest streets, receiving the 
fire of the enemy's skirmishers, which it was not permitted to 
return. The enemy, nevertheless, threw shells into the town, 
several of them striking the capitol, wliere their marks may 
still be seen. The following night the brigade moved to near 
the forks of the Broad and Saluda to prevent the crossing of 
the enemy until trains could be taken out of the city, and on 
the 17th began its march. Leaving the railroad at Black- 
stocks and fording the Catawba at Landsford, the brigade 
reached Charlotte on 23 February, from which point a week 
later it moved by rail to Smithfield Station (now Selma), 
where General Joseph E. Johnston, reinstated in command, 
was endeavoring to concentrate his small army. 

The men thinly clad, carrying each a single blanket, with- 
out tents, and most of the time with scant rations, passed 
the severe Avinter of ]864-'65 in active field service. In the 
prime of life, active, cheerful and full of fun, living in the 
open air the year round, a great part of the time on the march, 
the men became inured to hardships and the winter's cold. 

440 North Carolina Troops, 18G1-'65. 

and complaints of suffering from exposure to the weather 
were rarely lieard. The question of rations gave them more 
concern. All of this applies also to the field and company 
officers, who were equally exposed with the private soldiers. 

In the transfer of the brigade to the East, the horses of the 
field and staff officers were left with the wagon trains in 
Mississippi, and only rejoined the command, then near 
Smithfield, about the first of April — all officers, the General 
and one or two members of his staff excepted, marching 
through South Carolina, and to and from Bentonville on foot. 
Wading the broad Catawba in February did not dampen or 
cool the ardor of the men, and no officer of the regiment dis- 
graced himself by attempting to shun the swift, icy current. 

A portion of the Army of Tennessee in detached commands 
arrived, and on 18 Mai-ch, 1865, General Johnston made a 
forced march to Bentonville, where a concentration was ef- 
fected with Hardee's Corps from Charleston, Hoke's Division 
and other troops from Eastern North Carolina. The pres- 
ence of General Johnston again in command of veteran troops 
ins]:)ircd tlie fullest confidence in the small army, which en- 
gaged in the battles of the succeeding day in fine spirits. 
The Fifty-eighth, in this, its last battle, numbered about 300 
effectives. The brigade (Palmer's) was selected as the direct- 
ing column for the Army of Tennessee in the assault on the 
enemy's line. The charge was made with great spirit and 
dash, and I lie ciuMuy entrenched and with a high fence built 
in their front, gave way before inflicting great' loss on their 
assailants. Tn the pursuit which followed, two pieces of 
artillery. liiiil>criiig \\itli all haste to tlu^ rear, were captured 
anil driven back into our lines with their teams complete. 
In running down and taking the guns some of the artillery- 
men were shot wliilc on the chests, and th(> old ]u'ue field Avas 
strewn witli blankets, provisions and plunder of all sorts 
thrown away by the flying foe. 

The rapid pursuit over fences and a deep i-nvine so scatter- 
ed the attacking enliuini that n halt was madi^ to reform — 
this a half a mile or more beyoml the entrenchments charged, 
and there was not an enemy in sight nor a gim nearby being 
firecl. Before the line was completely adjusted the reserves 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 441 

came up in splendid order. Pettns' Brigade before in sup- 
port of Palmer now took the advance, and in a short time 
struck the enemy reinforced in a new position. Our lines 
having become too short for the circle so extended by pushing 
back the enemy, most of the regiments of Palmer's Brigade 
were prouiptly moved up to fill the gaps in the front line, 
which was now in the thick pine woods. 

The Fifty-eighth ISForth Carolina on the left of the brigade, 
under the direction of a staff officer, was moved up in sup- 
port of and close to the front line, here facing south, and 
at the time hotly engaged. Firing was also going on on the 
right, extending partly to the rear, but not so near, and a bat- 
tery of artillery kept up a most aggravating enfilade fire 
over the regiment, which would have made the position ex- 
tremely uncomfortable if the gunners had slightly depressed 
their pieces. As it was, very little could be seen for the 
smoke which filled the woods, and the ground gently rising 
toward the battery, their shells for an hour flew almost harm- 
lessly through the timber some ten feet or more overhead, and 
most of them burst in rear. The incident following will 
give some idea of the situation. The brigadier, very shortly 
after the regiment had reached the spot, rode up and asked, 
"Which is the right of your regiment ?" A strange question 
from such a source at such a time the writer thought, but 
surprise was turned into amazement when the reply was 
quickly followed by the command: "Major, countermarch 
your regiment." It seemed just a little unnecessary to re- 
mind him that the regiment was already facing the enemy, 
who was close at hand, and being heard to that effect in a 
most convincing sort of way. The Major, however, did pre- 
sume to say as much, only to hear, "Yes, I know, but I want 
you to look after these fellows over here," pointing over his 
shoulder to our rear and right. The regiment was accord- 
ingly countermarched, halted on the spot and fronted — this 
time facing north, or opposite to the direction we had just 
before faced — dressed on a line of guides a little oblique to 
the original line and the men ordered to lie down for shel- 
ter ; General Palmer the meanwhile quietly seated on his 
horse apparently unconscious that anything unusual was 

442 North Carolina Troops, ]861-'65. 

going on, thongh musket balls were flying pretty thick, and 
some of the enemy's shells must have passed near his head. 
After witnessing this singular manoeuver, and leaving the 
Fifty-eighth Regiment "to look after those fellows" as or- 
dered, the general leisurely rode off to some other part of his 
brigade on the front line, where the business in hand was 
not so dull and uninteresting. He did not have far to go. 

The slender line without earthworks that so nearly en- 
circled our position, held its ground against repeated assaults 
of the enemy in heavy force until 8 o'clock at night, when 
the firing ceased, and at midniglit tlic array resumed the posi- 
tion of the morning. 

A more remarkable experience befell a detachment of 
Tennesseeans of the brigade. In filling a gap in the front 
line as stated. Colonel Searcey in command, found a flank of 
the enemy which he proceeded at once to turn and attack in 
reverse. Before the movement, wliicli was being success- 
fully acciomplished, had proceeded very far, liowevcr, a Fed- 
eral reserve ap])eared, closed the gap and cut off the return 
of the Colonel with a part of his command. The detachment 
thus cut oft' made its way successfully through Shemian's 
lines and near his trains, capturing as they went an officer 
and forty men, to whom they were in tlie act of surrender- 
ing, but, discovering the small opposing force, the Tennessee- 
ans seized the guns which had been thrown down and com- 
pelled the surrender of their would-be captors. The detach- 
ment marched with their prisoners through the woods and 
over obscure roads to Raleigh, and rejoined the brigade near 
Smithfield ten days after the battle, greatly to the surprise 
and delight of tlioii- friends, who were ready to give them 
up as lost. 

The restoration of General Joseph E. Johnston to the com- 
mand gave great confidence to the Army of Tennessee, and 
the forward movement, as was generally the case, put the 
men in fine spirits and willing to attempt any duty that he 
would require of them. In illustration of the faith of the 
men in their chief: two days after the principal battle, when 
Shenuan's cavalry came so near seizing ihc bridge^ in the 
rear, tlie firing attracted attention, and soini^ (uu^ asking 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 443 

"what that fire in rear of the army meant," the reply came 
promptly from the ranks of the Fifty-eighth in the most un- 
concerned manner, "Don't be uneasy, my son. Old Joe has 
a wagon train back there some where, and there is no danger 
where HIT is." The general had well earned in the At- 
lanta campaign a reputation for taking care of his trains; 
but for the opportune arrival here of Henderson's little bri- 
gade of Stevenson's Division, en route for the army, his pres- 
tige in that particular, and perhaps in some others, might 
have been lost, together with our "spider wagons" and ord- 
nance trains. 

Referring to the published account of this incident Gen- 
eral Johnston wrote 11 January, 1888, to the undersigned : 

"The newspaper slip containing your article on Palmer's 
Brigade at Bentonville and the letter accompanying it were 
duly received, but at a time when press of business compelled 
me to postpone compliance with your request. 

"I do not think, as you do, that the part taken by Cum- 

ming's Brigade, then commanded by Colonel Henderson, was 

a matter of luck. That Brigade was a part of at least 1,000 

men that joined us from Charlotte that morning, and was 

made one of four little reserves, and was the nearest one to the 

point of attack on the Federal division, in which part of 

Hampton's and all of Wheeler's cavalry joined — defeating 

that division in a few minutes — before Taliaferro's Division 

and the three other reserves had a chance to join in the action. 

They were on the way to the place when it occurred. They 

and all of our cavalry made the wagons you mention quite 

safe, for they were fully able to dispose of one Federal 



The letter shows that the General was neither surprised 
nor unprepared in this encounter, and the old veteran's com- 
placent feeling of trust and confidence in his chief was not 

Tn the list of the killed was the name of a young recimit, 
Augustin Greeen, from Watauga county, who came from his 
home to the Fifty-eighth Regiment the day before the battle. 
In the ranks near this unfortunate man marched a veteran of 

444 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

the Mexican war and of the gi'eat Civil War. The one was 
taken and the other left. The old veteran came out of both 
wars unscathed, and still living (1901), draws a pension for 
serAdce in Mexico. 

The following extract is from General Order of Major- 
General Stevenson 23 March, 1865, relating to the part taken 
by the regiment in the battle of Bentonville : 

"Never was more dash and gallantry displayed than was 
exhibited by Palmer's Brigade in their successful assaults 
upon the breastworks of the enemy." 

General Palmer, who is since dead, in a letter to the under- 
signed, in 1888, says: 

"The orders published by me at the time will show and 
it now gives me great pleasure to repeat that the Fifty-eighth 
and Sixtieth North Carolina Regiments in this engagement 
behaved with distinguished gallantry, and won for them- 
Sfclves a merited fame, which will last as long as the liistoric 
fields of Bentonville, will appear on the pages and in the 
annals still to be written of this grand old State, on whose soil 
her native sons have achieved such splendid distinction." 

On 22 March the army was withdrawn to the railroad near 
Smithfield. While encamped here the Anny oi Tennessee 
was reorganized, and companies, regiments and brigades, all 
now very small, were consolidated. The Fifty-eighth and 
Sixtieth T\egiments were designated as the Fifty-eighth and 
Sixtieth North Carolina battalion, with Lieut. -Col. Thaddeus 
M. Colcinan and Major G. W. F. Har[:)er as field officers. 

The army under General Jolmston marched 10 April from 
Smithfield via Raleigh, and on the 16th encamped at Greens- 
boro. Here the regiment was selected as a guard for the 
large accumulation of North Carolina quartermaster's stores, 
a duty that was faithfully discharged, the men being practi- 
cally exempt from the demoralization which the pending sur- 
render so generally developed. At Greensboro tlie regiment 
was paid in Mexican silver dollars — one dolLu' nnd fourten 
cents to each officer and enlisted man present. 

There being no means of making change for the cents, the 
men, in groups of seven, drew for the surplus dollar. This 
pitiful amount was the only payment received for months, 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 445 

and was the first coin seen by many of the men during the 
war. General Johnston's General Order ISTo. 18, announc- 
ing the surrender of the army, was received 27 April. 
The paroles were received 2 May and distributed to the 
regiment, which immediately, as an organized body, marched 
to Statesville, where it disbanded — some marching to 
their homes in Ashe and Watauga counties, the greater num- 
ber taking the cars for Hickory and Icard Station, the latter 
then the terminus of the railroad. 

In the march from Greensboro one-third or more of the 
men, by order, retained their arms and forty rounds in the 
cartridge boxes. A small wagon carried a chest of reserve 
ammunition, a few rations, and after caring for any who 
might be sick, the blankets of the men. No excesses or dep- 
redations were committed, and the men cheerfully responded 
to the orders of their officers, to whom, as all knew, respect 
and obedience could no longer be enforced. The conduct of 
the rank and file of the regiment in the closing days of the war 
was in keeping with the fine soldierly qualities uniformly 
displayed by them throughout the long struggle, and reflects 
on all high credit and honor. On returning to their wasted 
homes, with rare exceptions, they proved themselves to be 
model citizens. 

A small fraction only of those who went forth in the sixties 
in response to the call of their country now (1901) survive — 
the others have joined the mighty and daily increasing host 
beyond the dark river, and there answer to the general roll 
call of the just and unjust. 

Truth will rise in triumph, and impartial history will 
surely tell to an admiring world the story of the heroic strug- 
gle and ''how ye fell." 

''Rest on embalmed and sainted dead." 

"E^or shall your glory be forgot 
While fame her record keeps, 
Or honor points the hallowed spot 
Where valor proudly sleeps." 

G. W. F. Harpek. 
Lenoir, N. C, 

26 April, 1901. 





*. E(limin(lKirby.LitMit.-Colonel.( Killed 4. 
at CliickainauKa ) 5. 

1. S. m. Silver, Lieut. Colonel. 

2. L. W. Gilbert, Captain, Co. n. G. 

3. E H. Crump, Serireant, Co. H. 
(Severely wouudeil at ChioUaniauga.) 

E. L. Moore, Serpreant, Co. ¥.. 

J. L. Craijj. Private, Co. H. (Captured 

18G4, and died in prison.) 
A. C. Craig, Sergeant, Co. II. 


By ISAAC H. BAILEY, Captain Company B. 

The Fifty-eighth Regiment, Jno. B. Pahner, Colonel com- 
manding, was composed of companies from the counties of 
Mitchell, Yancej, McDowell, Ashe, Caldwell and Watauga. 

Mitchell County — Company A, Colonel Palmer's old 
company, commanded by Captain M. D. Wiseman ; Com- 
pany B, by Captain Isaac H. Bailey; Company K, by Cap- 
tain S. M. Silver. 

Yancey — Company G, by Captain S. B. Briggs; Com- 
pany G, by Captain J. W. Peck. 

McDowell — Company F, Captain C. O. Conley. 

Caldwell — Company E, Captain A. T. Stewart, and 
Company H, Captain G. W. F. Harper. 

Watauga and Ashe — Captain Geo. W. Hopkins, Com- 
pany M. 

Watauga — ^Company D, Captain B. F. Baird ; and Com- 
pany I, Captain Jno. A. Miller. 

Ashe — Company L, Captain W. Gentry. 

There were also three companies of cavalry. Do not re- 
member where they were from, except Captain J. Milton 
English's company, from Mitchell. However, they were all 
from Western ISTorth Carolina. The cavalry companies were 
transferred when the idea of creating a legion was dropped. 

The first general encampment of the Fifty-eighth N"orth 
Carolina was at Johnson City, Tennessee, in the Spring of 
1862. They were mustered into ser\dce as Partizan Ran- 
gers, but were soon attached to the regular army, where they 
gallantly submitted themselves to the orders of superior of- 
ficers of the Confederate Army. 

448 North Carolina Troops, 1801-65. 

Their itineracy from Johnson City, Tenn., \vas as fol- 
lows : 

First to Bean's Station, 'I'enn. ; thence to Ciuiiberland Gap, 
at which place we were at the evacuation of tlie Federals. 
From the above place we followed the Federals to near Per- 
ry ville, Kentucky, where we joined General Bragg. Shortly 
after we returned to Tennessee with the amiy. After this 
we were stationed for a short time in tlie winter of 1862 at 
Big Creek Gap, ClintxDu, London, and still later at Chatta- 
nooga, Tenn. ; and were in Chattanooga at the evacuation of 
General Bragg's army in the direction of Chicamauga, Ga. 

In Februaiw and March, 1863, the regiment was stationed 
at Big Creek Gap, Tenn. In April, 1863, the Fifty-eighth 
and Sixty-fourth North Carolina, together with the Fifty- 
fifth Georgia and a battery of artillery composed a brigade at 
Clinton, Tenn., commanded by Colonel John B. Palmer. On 
31 July, 1863, tins same brigade under General J. W. Fra- 
zer, was at Bell's Bridge, Tenn. 

The writer had been ordered to Richmond for supplies for 
the Fifty-eighth North Carolina, consequently does not know 
all of the moves of the army before the important battle of 
Chicamauga. Leaving the main army at Chattanooga, Tenn., 
he was cut off from his return by way of East Tennessee by 
the Federal anuy having taken possession of the State. So 
he had to return through North and South Carolina, and 
found his command at LaFayette 18 September, 1863. 

It was here that General Bragg called his army around 
him, telling them how he had retreated from Chattanooga, 
and how often he had offered the enemy battle, and that they 
had always failed to make the attack, and now had retired be- 
fore him at all points. "We shall now turn on the enemy in 
the direction of Chattanooga, where in the providence of God 
we will lead the army to victory, and some to death." 

The long dusty columns were drawn u)), ready to uuirch. 
The clothes of many of the men were in rags, and their feet 
bare; but their faces were bright and their bayonets glitter- 

Orders had been issued that the men were not to cheer, for 
fear of attracting the enemy's attention, and the troops as 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 449 

they passed before their generals, only took off their ragged 
old hats and waved them around their heads. This silent 
greeting seemed to touch the great generals greatly. 

The long shadows made by the declining sun that evening 
I shall never forget. I will here state that the Fifty-eighth 
IS^orth Carolina Regiment Volunteers belonged to Kelley's 
Brigade, Preston's Division, Buckner's Corps. 


As we approached the creek from LaFayette, the enemy 
was discovered in a large com field on the opposite side. Our 
regiment, the Fifty-eighth i^orth Carolina, together with 
the balance of the brigade, was put in position immediately 
in front of the enemy, and the division formed in line of bat- 
tle to the left. A brisk skirmish was kept up until after 
dark, in which a portion of General Grade's Brigade was 
engaged. We, the Fifty-eighth l^orth Carolina, bivouacked 
that night in front on the battlefield (corn field) and without 

On the morning of the 19th, at a very early hour, just as 
soon as you could distinguish the blue from the gi^ay, the 
whole army was put in position as far as we could see. 

Our brigade was formed at the upper side of a wheat field, 
forty yards below the fence and woods that ran parallel with 
our division. After remaining in line about forty-five min- 
utes the command was given: "Unfurl your banners." At 
this moment the sun broke forth, dispelling the fog, and as 
our banners floated out on the breeze the Federals, our enemy, 
General Boynton's command (with w^hom I am now ac- 
quainted), commenced playing "Yankee Doodle" and to 
move out eastward on an almost parallel line with ours. Al- 
most immediately we were ordered to march in a parallel 
direction, the enemy inclining to the right and to the left. 

Thirty years, one month and four days after this move. 
General Boynton, of the Federal army, told me that he im- 
mediately dispatched to Lee and Gordon's mills for twenty- 
tM'o pieces of artillery, to be turned on us at once. 

Wliether it was twenty-two or thirty-two there was soon a 

450 North Carolina Troops. 18P)1-'65. 

terrible cannonading around us, but with little damage — 
none to the Fifty-eighth iS'orth Carolina. Very soon after 
this we captured a battery of artilleiy on a round eminence 
in a com field, and greatly hoped to get to guard them, but by 
the time we had exchanged a few chews of tobacco, we were 
ordered away. For the balance of the day, with the rest of 
the brigade, we were held in reserve. 

At about 7 o'clock Sunday morning, the 20th, the two 
^flanking companies, A and B, commanded by Captains Bailey 
and Toby, of the Fifty-eighth ISTorth Carolina Volunteers, to- 
gether with five companies from the other regiments, were 
put under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kirby, of the 
Fifty-eighth, and ordered in the direction of Alexander's 
l^ridge across the west prong of Chicamauga river as skir- 
mishers to feel the strength of the enemy in that direction. 

We proceeded about one and a fourth miles when we came 
to an open field lying along the Chicamauga river some three 
fourths of a mile in length and about the same in breadth. 
AVlion we had gone nearly half way down through tlie field, 
Ave could see fortifications all up and down the river the full 
length of the field and about twenty-five yards from the river 

Notwithstanding we knoAv that the enemy was behind the 
breastworks, we had to advance to feel his strength. So we 
slowly advanced until we came to the fortifications of fence 
rails leaning from our advance in the direction of the river 
to where the enemy had fallen back to and under the bank 
of the river to draw us over, then to fire on us as we would 
have to retreat over the fortifications just passed. As soon as 
the line of skirmishers had passed over the fortifications, the 
enemy fired from their ranks, three or four men deep, a most 
galling and enfilading fire into our ranks. We had now as- 
certained by sad and painful experience what we had been 
sent out to do. 

We were then obliged to retreat through the rail fortifi- 
cation upon the woods and across the old fields of broom 
straw waving in the melancholy wind, and over a number of 
our most loved comrades left dead on the field. One of 
them, Thos. G. Tipton, had just saved the ^vriter's life. 

Fifty-Eighth Regimknt. 451 

The battle was raging furiously all the day long from end 
to end of the field and for five or six miles up and down the 
river of death (Chicamauga). Charge after charge was made 
by the Confederate and Federal lines, each in turn, while 
the shells from the opposing batteries lumbered and burst 
over our heads. At about 3 :30 p. m. we regained our regi- 

The Fifty-eighth jSTorth Carolina Vounteers, the Sixty- 
third Virginia and the Fifth Kentucky, in order named, 
moved to the front and formed in line of battle, the left rest- 
ing on the Chattanooga road. The enemy occupied a range 
of ridges, from which they had repulsed no less than seven as- 
saults made by our troops. 

The approach to these ridges was along spurs and where 
ridges intersected ridges and through intervening depres- 
sions or hollows, all more or less wooded, but more open and 
exposed opposite the right of the brigade. One of the as- 
saults had been male by General Anderson's brigade. Before 
we could reach him in such a way as to successfully relieve, 
he had been repulsed. 

The line being again formed, the Fifty-eighth North Car- 
olina, which was on the right, moved with steadiness through 
this comparatively open space till the extreme right arrived 
within ten or twelve feet of the enemy. The line of the bri- 
gade formed with the line of the enemy an angle of perhaps 
83 to 24 degrees, the right of the Fifty-eighth being at the 

After exchanging fire with the enemy for about one and 
three-fourth of an hour, we attempted' to dislodge him by as- 
sault, and for this purpose the Fifty-eighth ISTorth Carolina 
was transferred from the right to the left of the line, and 
moved forward, swinging somewhat to the right. When we 
arrived at the base of the hill, the enemy was heard to cry: 
"We surrender! We surrender!" 

Coloned John H. Kelly, Eighth Arkansas Regiment, was 
in command of the brigade. He immediately stepped to the 
front, two horses having been shot from under him within the 
past few minutes, and called upon the officer who seemed to 

452 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

be in command and demanded that if he proposed to surren- 
der he should lay down his arms. 

He came to the front saying: ''Wait a moment!" 
Kelly replied : "No, sir ! lay down your arms instantly, 
or I will fire upon you," and turned to give his command, but 
before he could give the command ready, the enemy poured 
upon us a terrific fire, with a loud exclamation: ''You are 
firing upon your friends." Having discovered that no friends 
were in advance, but that it was a most treacherous act on the 
part of the enemy, firing was continued with vigor. A deadly 
fire was, and had been ever since we came within range, 
poured into our ranks by the foe. 

After a desperately contested fight from 3 :30 p. m. to 
nearly nightfall, we succeeded in gaining the hill from which 
the enemy made three or four unsuccessful attempts to dis- 
lodge us by assault. However, owing to the conformation of 
the ground, the Fifty-eighth North Carolina was exposed to 
a galling fire from the front and on both flanks, the left flank- 
ing company being within ten or twelve feet of the enemy. In 
this action the regiment lost about half of its numbers, by 
official report of Colonel Kelly, commanding the brigade. 
Company A, Captain Toby, started on the charge with thirty- 
four muskets and" reached the top of the hill with only twelve, 
losing twenty-two. In conjunction with Colonel K. C. Trigg, 
Fifty-fourth Virginia,, commanding another brigade, we cap- 
tured two regiments of the enemy, which surrendered to Col- 
onel Trigg during the temporary absence of Colonel Kelly, 
commanding our brigade. As the column commenced 
moving with the prisoners a volley was fired into our ranks 
causing a good deal of coufusion, it then being dark. 
Early in the action Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Kirby, 
while gallantly cheering his men, fell pierced by four bul- 
lets. Major Dula was wounded early in the engagement. 
Vol. .51, Official Records Union and Confederate Armii's, 
p. Jf-Jfl Colonel Palmer, the only field officer M-ith tlie reg- 
iment, was here wounded, but still continued in com- 
mand, with his senior Captain, Isaac H. Bailey, to aid him 
as Major and Lieutenant-Colonel, after which Captain 
Bailey fell almost mortally wounded, left leg broken, shot 

Fifty-Eighth Regiment. 453 

through the right side and one ear almost severed from 
his head Thirteen commissioned officers, including the 
Adjutant, had been killed and wounded ; two-thirds of the 
right flanking company, Captain Toby's, having been killed 
and wounded, and about seven-tenths of the left flanking 
company, Captain Bailey's. 

Arrangements having been made to replenish our supply 
of ammunition, we went into bivouac and rested for the night, 
on the hill which the Fifty-eighth, together with the remain- 
der of the brigade, had so gallantly won, fighting against a 
superior force, posted in an apparently impreg-nable position. 
We moved steadily forward, beat and captured many of the 
enemy, and slept in his "stronghold." Whether you may call 
it whipping them or not, there was not a Federal to be found 
within thirteen miles of us by next morning who was at all 
able to get away. 

The roll of honor of the regiment at this battle published 
in general orders, was as follows: 

Company A, Sergeant Wm. A. Vance; Company B, Pri- 
vate William F. Bradshaw ; Company C, Sergeant John 
Hughes ; Company D, Private Braxton Cox ; Company E, 
Private, W. N. Pender (killed) ; Company G, Private C. 
Gentry ; Company F, Private George Jarrett ; Company H, 
Private W. P. Bumgarner ; Company I, Sergeant John Egg- 
ers (killed) ; Company K, Sergeant P. H. Duncan; Company 
L, Private M. Harrel. 

As all of the Fifty-eighth N^orth Carolina did their duty so 
well it seems useless to make particular mention of any one; 
yet, I cannot refrain mentioning in a special manner Ebbin 
Childs, Colonel Palmer's orderly, whose smooth girlish face 
I see before me now, and whose bright sword flashed for the 
last time in the rays of the setting sun, as he fell within 
twenty steps of the enemy's line. His beardless face ablaze 
with the animation of battle, and his youthful figure trans- 
formed into a hero's statue. The dry parched earth of Snod- 
grass Hill was never reddened with nobler blood, and a braver 
man or boy never died. The regiment marched with the 
army from Chicamauga to Missionary Ridge. 

From April to July, 1864, the regiment was in A. W. Rey- 

454 North Carolina Troops, 1801-65. 

nold's Brigade, which in August was temporarily commanded 
by Colonel Wash. M. Plardy, of the Sixtieth North Carolina ; 
then with Hood on his march to Nashville and return. Then 
at the battles of Cassville, Savannah, and the hard-fought bat- 
tle of Averasboro, N. C, on 16 March, 1865. On 19-21 
March at Bentonville, the last battle ever fought by our war- 
worn soldiers, it was a part of General Jos. B. Palmer's Bri- 
gade and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Silver, fought 
with its accustomed valor. On 9 April, 1865, the Fifty- 
eighth and Sixtieth consolidated into one regiment, Avere 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Thad. Coleuian, and 
belonged to Brantley's Brigade, D. H. Hill's Division, S. 
D. Lee's Corps, in the Army of the West, then stationed near 
Smithfield, N. C. This is their last report (Official Records 
Uiiion and Confederate Ar-mies, Vol. 98, p. 106 Jf.) and as 
General Johnston began his last retreat 10 April, they were 
probably thus surrendered. The army passed through Ral- 
eigh 12 April and were near High Point when surrendered 
26 April. They were paroled 2 May, 1865, the fragment of 
an ever glorious regiment and true to the last. Gallant, 
noble, battle-scarred veterans who had breasted the storm in 
each of these battles, and the intervening skirmishes. Now 
and hereafter the question may be asked, why we did not suc- 
ceed ? The answer is : They who justly deserve success, 
do not always win it. Braver men never fought or died, 
but overpowering numbers and munitions of war were 
against us. 

Isaac H. Bailey. 

Bakersville, N. C, 

26 April, 1901. 




1. Jos. B. Cherry, Captain, Co. F. 3. D. W. Lewis, 2d Lieut., Co. D. 

'i. Lewis B. SultoB, 2d Lieut., Co. F. 4. .1. M. Wright, 2d Lieut., Co. A. 


(fourth cavalry.) 

By W. p. SHAW, Second Lieutenant Company D. 

It may be questioned if in the entire range of our 
thought, there can be found any object more deserving of the 
highest admiration, and more worthy of the lasting gratitude, 
of the people of the South than the true Confederate soldier, 
or if there can be found any cause more worthy of the his- 
torian's patient labor than an honest and earnest effort to 
keep fresh and green the memory of his patriotic devotion 
to his country and home, together with his invincible valor 
so eminently displayed through the four long years of self 
sacrificing hardships and bloody strife of the Civil War. 
"Truly no dark ingratitude should ever overshadow the cher- 
ished memory of our gallant dead, whose manly forms rent 
and mangled by shot and shell, pierced by the bayonet's 
thrust, or borne down by the sabre stroke, fell upon the bloody 
battlefield, or wasted and died, in the hospital and the camp, 
of gaping wovmds or burning fever." Yet little has been 
done to preserve from oblivion and forgetfulness the gal- 
lant deeds, self-sacrificing devotion to duty of those true 
sons of jS^orth Carolina, who so bravely stood for "the Lost 
Cause," and how rapidly the glorious deeds of our heroes are 
fading from our memory is made more apparent as we look 
about us for published data and the record of the glorious 
deeds done by the soldiers of our State. Especially is this 
true, as we look for historic records of separate regiments and 
commands. And now since time has kept his steady, restless 
and unbroken march, year after year, until more than an en- 
tire age has passed between us and the events we would put 
on record, we find many of the scenes and incidents once so 
clear to our memory, so vivid in our minds, "fast becoming 
a tangled web and in some instances they have already be- 
come a confusing maze." 

456 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

Ti'ulv this is so as regards the writer and the part borne 
in the bloody strife, by the Fifty-ninth Regiment of North 
Carolina Troops (the Fourth Cavalry) with reference tx) 
which he would write. 

This regiment was organized at Garysburg, X. C, in the 
summer of 1862. Colonel Dennis D. Ferebee, of Camden 
county, whose commission as Colonel bore date 10 August, 

1862, was its first commander. He was a gentleman of edu- 
cation and polish, having graduated at our State University 
in 188!). He read law under Judge Gaston at New Bern, 
but never entered actively in the practice, preferring the life 
of a planter. He frequently held civil office and several 
times represented his county in State legislation. Though 
not possessing military training, yet he was in many respects 
a good organizer of men.' He w^as careful and neat in dress 
and had great respect for law and order. It is related that 
Governor Swain once said of him, when at college, that he 
was more regular than the college bell. As an officer he was 
faitliful and bi'ave. After the war lie lived many years at 
his honu' in the cdunty of Camden, and died greatly respected 
and a(hnived by his friends and countrymen. 

Lieut(mant-Colonel (^'antwell, of the city of Wilmington, 
was the second officer in command. He had seen service in 
the war with ]\Iexico, and seldom has the flag of any army 
waved over a braver soldier. At ]\li(ldlel)urg on 18 June, 

1863, at llie head of a detachment of his regnment, after 
fiercely contesting every inch of gTound witli a force several 
times larger than his own, he stood up urging his men not to 
yield, until surrouncU^d and overpow^ered, his sword was 
snatched from his hand and he was made a ])risoner. 

J. M. Mayo, of Edgecombe county, wlio luul been severely 
Avounde<l and promoted for gallantry in the ariillery service, 
was assigned to tlie i-egiment as its ]\lajor. He was a young 
officer of great bra\('ry and dash, and while leading a charge 
of a squadron of liis regiment through the streets of Upper- 
vill(\ on 21 June, 1863, was captured and ii('\(m- returned to 
his regiment, liaving been held a prisoner until the close of 
the war. The Adjutant of the regiment was T. J. Moore, of 
Mecklenburg. Aftci- the war he siiulicd nic(]i('ine and prac- 

Fifty-Ninth Regiment. 457 

ticed his profession in Kichmond, where he died a few years 
since highly respected and honored by his many friends. 

The surgical department of the regiment at its organization 
was well and ably represented by Dr. John W. Hutchins, of 
Hertford county, and Dr. J. W. Sessoms, of the adjoining 
county of Bertie. Later Dr. James Mitchie was surgeon, 
with Drs. Eaves and Barnes assistants. Captain W. D. Hol- 
loinan, of Hertford county, was Assistant Quartermaster and 
but few regiments had a better officer in this department of 
the service, while Captain R. B. Gaddy, who was selected to 
write a sketch of the regiment, but who passed away and 
joined his comrades beyond the river without completing his 
work, was its efficient Commissary. With this reference to 
the field and staff officers, it occurs to the writer that notice 
of the different companies composing the regiment will be 
next in order and he will name them in their regular alpha- 
betical order: 

(Company A — L. A. Johnson, Captain; G. D. Sibley, First 
Lieutenant; J. M. Wall, J. P. Kincall, J. M. Wright, Sec- 
ond Lieutenants ; all of Anson county. 

Company B — James T. Mitchell, Captain ; E. Brock Hol- 
den. First Lieutenant ; Henry S. Thaxton, Robert T. Jones, 
Second Lieutenants ; all of Caswell county. 

Company C — R. M. Mclntyre, Captain; J. H. Blood- 
worth, First Lieutenant ; Jesse Wilder, R. B. Rhodes, Second 
Lieutenants ; all of New Hanover county. 

Company D — ^William Sharp, Captain, Hertford county; 
Thos. Ruffin, First liieutenant, Bertie county ; D. W. Lewis, 
and W. P. Shaw, Second Lieutenants, Hertford county. 

Company" E — John Y. Bryce, Captain, Mecklenburg 
county ; Robert Gadd, First Lieutenant, and William Bryce 
Second Lieutenant, both of Cabarrus county. 

Company F — ^Joseph B. Cherry, Captain ; George 0. 
Cherry, First Lieutenant; Louis B. Sutton and Charles W. 
Speller, Junior Second Lieutenants ; all of Bertie county. 

Company G — Demosthenes Bell, Captain ; Stephen P. 
Wilson, First Lieutenant; Isaac N. Tillett and J. B. Lee, 
Second Lieutenants ; all of Currituck county. 

Company H — Arthur Barnes, Captain ; S. P. Clark, Cap- 

458 North Carolina Troops, 1861 -'65. 

tain; M. M. Williams, First Lieutenant; Wm. C. Terrell, 
Second l^ieutenant, all of Wilson county. 

Company T — J. O. Cherry, Captain ; G. D. Ward, Cap- 
tain, both of Bertie county ; C. C. Lovejoy, First Lieu- 
tenant, Wake county ; M. Bond, Second Lieutenant, Cleve- 
land county. 

Company K — James V. Sauls, Captain; Wm. Vann, First 
Lieutenant; Dallas M. Beal, Second Licntonant; all of 
Northampton county. 

In the latter part of the war Company I was commanded 
by Captain G. D. Ward, a gallant officer, who was severely 
wounded near Petersburg, and who Avas in command of the 
regiment at Gettysburg. 

Companies I and K were transferred to the regiment from 
the Twelfth Battalion of Cavalry which, under command of 
Major S. J. Wheeler, had rendered service along the Chowan, 
and had met the enemy in their advance on Jackson, N. C. 

on the blackwater. 

Shortly after the organization of the regiment it was or- 
dered to Franklin, ^"irginia, and saw its first actual service 
along the Blackwater and upper Chowan rivers, making fre- 
quent reconnoissance in the country beyond the river in the 
direction of Suffolk, then strongly garrisoned by Federal 
troops and almost daily picket firing and skirmish fighting 
with detachments of the enemy's cavalry were kept up with 
occasional losses in killed and wounded on either side. In 
the skirmishes Companies A and B took an active part. At 
this time, the Federal grmboats which had frequented our 
waters since the fall of Koanoke Island, had become bold and 
defiant and were making occasional trips up our smaller 
streams, throwing shot and shell on either side as they ad- 
vanced. With a view of shelling our camps and driving 
away the troops located near Franklin, several boats made a 
trip up the Blackwater river, near the town, when Lieutenant 
Tbomas Ruffin marched his company down to the edge of the 
narrow river and then stationing his men behind trees and 
bushes awaited the coming of the foremost steamer, which 
was soon abreast of them, when a sharp volley of rifle shot. 

Fifty-Ninth Regiment. . 459 

poinded into the pilot house and other exposed parts of the 
steamer, quickly drove the pilot from the wheel and the men 
from the deck, rendering the steamer powerless to move, or 
her men to work the guns and her capture seemed to be as- 
sured until other steamers coming up near began to drop shot 
and sliell by her side where Lieutenant Ruffin and his men 
were stationed, forcing them to retire with a loss of a few 
men wounded. The reported loss of killed and wounded on 
board the steamer was quite heavy. However this may have 
been, the gunboats from this time ceased to make their runs 
up our narrow rivers. 


Early in the month of December, 1862, the regiment was 
ordered to make a forced march to Goldsboro to meet an ex- 
pected attack of the Federal forces, under General Foster, 
on that town. The object of General Foster's advance being 
to cut the line of communication between Richmond and the 
States south of this point. Foster's forces consisted of five 
brigades of infantry with reinforcements of artillery and cav- 
alry, and was much greater than any force which could have 
been readily placed in his front, yet after reaching the ISTeuse 
river and burning the bridge which crossed it, he at once re- 
treated in the direction of Kinston, closely followed by our 
cavalry, which kept up the pursuit until the Federal troops 
finally fell back around New Bern. 

About the first of March following the regiment was or- 
dered to join D. H. Hill's forces, then operating against 
Washington and New Bern. On arriving at the former place 
our men were dismounted and for several days occupied posi- 
tions under the shelling of the enemy's gunboats with con- 
stant skirmish fighting with detachments of troops from 
the town. Finally our troops were quietly withdrawn, the 
enterprise seemingly having failed to be characterized by 
any profitable results. 


The Fifty-ninth and Sixty-third North Carolina Regi- 
ments (Fourth and Fifth Cavalry), having been attached to 
General Robertson's Brigade, for some weeks following had a 

460 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

rest in camp, and then received orders to take up a line of 
march for the Army of Northern Virginia and unite their 
future destiny with the brave heroes who rode with that true 
representative of Southern dash, chivalry and courage, Gen- 
eral J. E. B. Stuart. "It is now 1 June, 1863, and the be- 
ginning of serious and perilous times. General Lee is look- 
ing northward and plans for the Gettysburg campaign have 
already been commenced." 

The cavalry command under General Stuart, consisting of 
twenty-one regiments assigned to five brigades, commanded 
by Generals Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee, W. H. F. Lee, Robert- 
son and Jones, encamped upon a broad plain near Culpep- 
per Court House. All that could be accomplished in arm- 
ing, equipping and organizing this arm of the service had 
been effected in every possible detail and manner. 


On 5 June General Stuart, surrounded by a coterie of of- 
ficers, both civil and military, with a large number of ladies 
and other spectators, from a stand on a gentle elevation, had 
the cavalry brigades consisting of about 8,000 men, to pass 
in review before him and his attendants. Truly this was a 
grand pageant, such as modern times has but seldom wit- 
nessed in this or any other country. The mounted troops at 
first moving in column of squadrons at a slow pace, passed be- 
fore their gallant commander, then at a charge, while the 
guns of the horse artillery poured forth volley after volley of 
thunder and smoke, Avhich together wath the yelling of the 
men and rising clouds of dust gave every appearance of 
real battle, rather than a harmless military display, to be so 
very soon followed by a terrible encountx?r of blood and car- 
nage on the same field. Three days later General Lee, ^^'hose 
long column of infantrv^ were then pressing their way toward 
Maryland, reviewed the cavalry with much less of the pomp 
and display, however, than that which had so signally marked 
the previous review. The review being over, the troops went 
into camp, the Fifty-ninth taking up quarters near the 
fanu of John Minor Eotts, with pickets guarding the lower 
fords of the Rappaliannock river. 


Fifty-Ninth Regiment. 461 

BRANDY station. 

On the same evening General Pleasanton, commanding 
the Federal cavalry, approached the opposite bank of the 
river and concentrated his forces preparatory to an early 
crossing the following morning to make a reconnoissance 
which, if possible, might disclose the movements of General 
Lee's army. With the advance of his forces our pickets 
were driven in and there on the broad plain near Brandy Sta- 
tion occurred the most extensive cavalry engagement of the 
Civil War. According to the report of General Pleasanton^ 
the Federal troops engaged in this contest numbered 10,981 
eifective men, while on the Confederate side, including the 
horse artillery, the effective total numbered about 8,500 men. 
Though the light continued nearly throughout this long day 
of 9 June, yet not all of the Confederate cavalry force was 
engaged. General Robertson's Brigade, to which our reg- 
iment belonged, though often under artillery fire, was held 
mostly in reserve and its casualties were small. But soon 
now the fortune of this command must change. 


Taking up its line of march as ordered in rear of General 
Lee's moving army eight days thereafter it reached the town 
of Middleburg, which had been previously occupied by the 
enemy's cavalry, and here a fierce contest ensued just out- 
side of the town, resulting in the rout and capture of nearly 
the entire force in our front, which proved to be the First 
Rhode Island Cavalry. 

Then commenced a series of cavalry battles, continuing 
through several days, in which the Fifty-ninth was an 
active participant, suffering great loss in killed, wounded 
and captured. On 21 June the Federal cavalry having been 
strongly reinforced, made a general advance, pressing our 
forces heavily and forcing us to retire in the direction of 
Upperville, "our artillery in the meantime doing good ex- 
ecution from every position of advantage and the cavalry 
meeting every charge and recharging whenever opportunity 
and conditions afforded." As we neared the town the fight- 
ing became desperate — often hand-to-hand with severe loss 

462 North Carolina Troops, 1861-65. 

on both sides ; especially is this true of Robertson's Brigade. 
Here the brave Colonel Evans, of the Sixty-third fell fear- 
fully wounded, and Major J. M. Mayo chafgipi^ in tlie town 
at I lie head of a squadron of the Fifty -nintli, met a severe 
fire from l)(4iind rock fences and barricades and a strong 
mounted force in front as well, and together with the men 
who followed him, not previously killed or wounded^ wa? 

In this charge our loss was great and included a number 
of the best men of the regiment. Company D lost seven- 
teen men, killed, wounded and captured, together with Cap- 
tain William Sharp, captured, and the gallant Thomas Ruf- 
fin, wdio was wounded and died in the hands of his captors. 
In this engagement Captain J. B. Cherry's company sus- 
tained heavy loss and other companies as well. Indeed all 
the companies of the regiment were engaged in this fight and 
sustained losses. 

The next day the opposing forces fell back toward Middle- 
burg. The moving column of General Lee's army at this 
time are mostly north of the Potomac. General Stuart, with 
three brigades of cavalry, had gone to the right of the army to 
make a crossing east of the Blue Ridge while Robertson's and 
Jones' brigades were ordered to cover the rear and left flank 
of the infantry. 


Our brigade entered Maryland, crossing the Potomac at 
Williamsport and thence made our way to Hagerstown, 
which we reached on the evening of the 30th, and went into 
camp at night near Green Castle. On the following day, 1 
July, we marched to Chambersburg, reaching the town about 
six o'clock in the evening. Here we found the citizens qui- 
etly sitting about the public grounds or moving about their 
homes wath anxious looks and wondering expectancy as to 
what might next occur. 

An orderly march characterized the movement of our 
troops and no body of men could have been more observant of 
the orders previously given by the commanding general of 
the Army of Northern Virginia with regard to private prop- 


Fifty-Ninth Regiment. 463 

erty and non-combatants. Remaining here until late at night 
we moved, at first in the direction of Carlisle, then turning 
to the right hurried on to Gettysburg, arriving there tired 
and hungry on the morning of 3 July. We had only a short 
pause for rest when Jones' Brigade suddenly became en- 
gaged with the enemy's cavalry near Fairfield, which was 
stubbonily resisting his advance until being reinforced by 
Robertson's Brigade, which charged and routed the opposing 

The charge up the bloody heights of Cemetery Hill had 
now been made and tlie battles of Gettysburg practically 
ended. During the night of 3 July, 1863, the main army 
was withdrawn to a crest of hills westward of the town and 
plans for the withdrawal of the army were under considera- 
tion. Our men, careworn, tired and hungry, drenched by 
the rain storms, are anxiously awaiting orders. 

On the following day Robertson's Brigade with Jones' Bri- 
gade, was directed to follow and guard the Avagon trains then 
moving over a mountainous road in the direction of Wil- 
liamsport. Tlie route was crowded for miles witli wagons, 
ambulances and thousands of wounded and disabled sol- 
diers, and the narrow pass was not infrequently obstructed 
as they moved along this rough way in the heavy falling 
rains. On our reaching the Jack Mountain passes about 
nine o'clock at night, there ensued one of the most eventful 
night battles of the war. 


Kilpatrick's cavalry having come up by an unguarded 
road, made an attack on the train and the men in front. It 
was so very dark that it was impossible to locate our own or 
the enemy's troops except by the flash of the rifles. Here 
until late in the night we fought against heavy odds and our 
loss in this engagement in killed, wounded and prisoners was 
large. From this place Robertson's Brigade made its way 
onward towards Williamsport. As we approached Hagers- 
town, we encountered the enemy's skirmish line, which was 
driven in and, reinforcements coming up at this time, the 
enemy was driven through the town and a general pursuit 

464 North Carolina Troops, 1 801 -'05. 

began with our command a part of the time in front and the 
enemy occasionally stopping to give battle and though forced 
to fall back, inflicting loss. As we approached Williamsport 
the Federal troops turned in the direction of Sharpsburg 
and we moved on to Williamsport and established our pickets 
on the extreme wing of the army where we I'emained from 
the 7th to the 1.3th of July. ''Days which will ever be re^- 
membered by those present as days of unprecedented hard- 
ship and anxiety, as with scant rations amid a country swept 
bare of provisions, with the enemy hanging round in every 
direction and the swollen waters of the Potomac at our backs." 
On the night of the 13th the army commenced recrossing the 
river; the arduous and difficult task of protecting the rear, 
was assigTied to the cavalry which followed next day. 

It is worthy of note in this sketch that while these events 
were transpiring with the main army, Captain L. A. John- 
son, of Company A, of our regiment, a gallant officer who, 
with Lieutenant D. W. Lewis, of Company D, was left with 
a strong picket force to guard the pass at Ashby's Gap, had 
handsomely repulsed a large body of the enemy's cavalry in 
an attempt to force a passage at this point. 


In this campaign, lasting about fifty days, our regiment 
had lost about half of its officers and men, and even many 
of those now answering to the roll call being dismounted or 
disabled for duty. After this the infantry was Avithdra\VTi 
to the south side of the Rapidan and the cavalry to the line 
of the Rappahannock, and for some weeks the anny enjoyed 
comparative rest, during which time a reorganization of the 
cavalry had been effected. The Fifty-ninth was assigned to 
General L. S. Baker's command which then comprised the 
Ninth, Nineteenth, Fifty-ninth and Sixty-third North Car- 
olina Regiments (First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Cavalry), 
and was known as the North Carolina Cavalry Brigade. The 
period of rest following the Gettysburg campaign was broken 
in September by an advance of the enemy's cavalry into Cul- 
pepper county, and on the 22d of the month we had an en- 
gagement near Jack's Shop in which the Fifty-ninth did 

Fifty-Ninth Regiment. 465 

good service. Here tlie brave General L. S. Baker Avas 
severely wounded and permanently disabled for the field, and 
afterwards transferred to another branch of the service, and 
General James B. Gordon, having been promoted, was as- 
signed to the command of the North Carolina Brigade. 


On 9 October following. General Lee connnenced a move- 
ment of his army around General ]\[eade's right, which move- 
ment is known as the Bristoe Cajnpaign and in which the 
cavalry bore a conspicuous part.. On 11 October our regi- 
ment being rapidly advanced on the Speri*yville Turnpike 
toward Culpepper Court House, encountered a detachment of 
Xilp a trick's cavalry which after a stubborn resistance, was 
driven back with considerable loss. In this fight our gal- 
lant Colonel Ferebee was wounded, and Lieutenant Benton, 
of Company A, with others of the Fifty-ninth, were killed and 
Adjutant Morehead, of the Sixty-third, was severely wounded 
in the face. There are many incidents connected with the 
campaign worthy of note in which the Fifty-ninth bore its 
due part, but which must needs be omitted in this short 

With the opening of the spring campaign, the Fifty- 
ninth was assigned to the brigade commanded by General 
James Dearing, and bore an active part in the numerous cav- 
alry engagements between Petersburg and Jfichmond. On 9 
May General Kautz, with a large force of cavalry and some 
artillery, made an attack upon the city of Petersburg from 
the south side. At this time the city was defended by the 
home guard or militia, and the attack came so sudden that the 
enemy was near the corporate limits before his presence was 
manifest. At this time our regiment w^as on the opposite 
side of the river, and by a hurried running march reached 
the point of attack, which was being bravely defended by 
the citizen soldiery, in time to reinforce them and prevent 
further advance upon the town and save it from capture. 
The gallantry of the brave men of Petersburg as displayed 

466 North Carolina Troops, 1861-'65. 

on tliis occasion is worthy of the highest commendation, sev- 
eral of them having- been there killed or wounded. 

On 4 May commenced the campaign of the Wilderness. 
Five days later General Stuart fell mortally wounded near 
Yellow Tavern, in his effort to save the Confederate capital 
from capture. He lived a short while thereafter and expired 
on 12 May in the city of Richmond. As the shadows of life's 
sunset ^vere gathering about him, he said, "I am willing to 
die if God and my country think I have fulfilled my destiny 
and done my duty, God's will be done." With these last 
utterances the great Southern cavalier's light of life went 
out and his soul passed into the vast beyond. 


About this time we were ordered below Petersburg and 
experienced much hard service on that part of the line, the 
extreme right of the army, and during the entire summer as 
Grant extended his left we had almost daily picket firing 
with now and then a man picked off the outpost, or killed in 
brisk skirmish fights — losses which never found their way 
into the general report as did the casualties of great battles, 
and our command, being constantly diminished with no addi- 
tional recruits, was almost daily growing smaller. On 27