Drawing of North Carolina state flag and Confederate flag]
FIRST AT BETHEL
FARTHEST TO THE FRONT AT GETTYSBURG
LAST AT APPOMATTOX
ZEBULON B. VANCE, GOVERNOR, 1862-1865.
HISTORIES OF THE SEVERAL REGIMENTS AND BATTALIONS FROM NORTH CAROLINA, IN THE GREAT WAR 1861-'65
WRITTEN BY MEMBERS OF THE RESPECTIVE COMMANDS
EDITED BY WALTER CLARK, (LIEUT.-COLONEL SEVENTIETH REGIMENT N. C. T.)
VOL. III.NASH BROTHERS,BOOK AND JOB PRINTERSGOLDSBORO, N. C.
|FORTY-THIRD REGIMENT, by Colonel Thomas S. Kenan,||1|
|FORTY-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. if. Waddill||63|
|FORTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT, by 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. Marshall Williams||267|
|FIFTY-FIFTH REGIMENT, by Adjutant Charles M. Cooke||287|
|FIFTY-SIXTH REGIMENT, by Captain Robert D. Graham||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 if. 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. Cabo||725|
|SIXTY-NINTH REGIMENT, by Lieutenant-Colonel W. W. Stringfield||729|
1. Thos. S. Kenan, Colonel.
2. W. Gaston Lewis, Lieut.-Colonel.
3. James G. Kenan, Captain, Co. A.
4. Ruffin Barnes, Captain, Co. C.
5. Drury Lacy, Adjutant.
6. Wm. R. Kenan, 2d Lieut. and Adjutant.
7. R. H. Battle. 1st Lieut., Co. I.
By COLONEL THOMAS S. KENAN.
This regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, about three miles west of Raleigh, in March, 1862, by electing Junius Daniel, Colonel; Thomas S. Kenan (Captain Company A, formerly Captain Company C, Second North Carolina Volunteers), Lieutenant-Colonel; and Walter J. Boggan (Captain Company H), Major, commissions bearing (late 25 March, 1862. Daniel was at the time Colonel of the Fourteenth 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 subsequently 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 information being officially conveyed by the hands of Lieutenant 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 Lewis (Major of the Thirty-third) was elected Lieutenant-Colonel, commissions bearing date 24 April, 1862.
The staff and company officers, and their successors by promotion 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 operations of the regiment, were:
ADJUTANTS-Drury Lacy, W. R. Kenan. SURGEONS-Bedford Brown, Jr., William T. Brewer, Joel B. Lewis.
QUARTERMASTERS-John W. Hinson, Joseph B. Stafford. COMMISSARY-W. B. Williams.
CHAPLAINS-Joseph W. Murphy, Eugene W. Thompson.
SERGEANT-MAJORS-W. T. Smith, Hezekiah Brown, Thos. H. Williams, Robert T. Burwell, W. R. Kenan.
COMPANY A-From Duplin-James G. Kenan (succeeded T. S. Kenan); number of enlisted men, 117. The company entered the service in April, 1861, and was Company C, Second North Carolina Volunteers (Colonel Sol. Williams), stationed near Norfolk. 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, hereinafter 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.
COMPANY B-From Mecklenburg-Robert P. Waring, William E. Stitt. Enlisted men, 73.
COMPANY C-From Wilson-James S. Woodard, Ruffin 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 (succeeded W. J. Boggan), Hampton Beverly. Enlisted men, 112.
COMPANY I-From Anson-Robert T. Hall, John Ballard. Enlisted men, 139.
COMPANY K-From Anson-James Boggan, Caswell H. Sturdivant. Enlisted men, 120.
COMPANY A, James G. Kenan, Robert B. Carr.
COMPANY B, Henry Ringstaff, William E. Stitt.
COMPANY C, Henry King, Ruffin Barnes, L. D. Killett.
COMPANY D, Thomas W. Baker, John S. Whitaker.
COMPANY E, James R. Thigpen, Wiley J. Cobb, Charles Vines.
COMPANY F, William C. Ousby, Henry A. Macon, J. H. Morris.
COMPANY G, Levi P. Coleman, Alfred W. Bridgers.
COMPANY H, John H. Coppedge, Hampton Beverly, Benjamin 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. Killett, 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. Williams.
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 E. Flake,
The regiment was ordered to Wilmington and Fort Johnson at Smithville, on the Cape Fear river, where it remained about a month in General French's command, and thence to Virginia. Daniel's Brigade, composed of the Thirty-second, Forty-third, Forty-fifth, Fiftieth and Fifty-third Regiments, was placed in the command of Major-General 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 Hill 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 protection 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 regiment 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 regiment 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 commander to supervise their construction. Shortly after quarters were prepared for the winter, the brigade was ordered to Goldsboro, in December, 1862, to reinforce the Confederates in opposing the advance of the Union troops from New 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 operations 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. H. Hill having assumed
command of the department, directed demonstrations to be made in aid of military operations at other points and to compel 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, N. C., and was there subjected to the artillery fire of the Union forces occupying that place, but, with the exception 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 North Carolina Battalion then constituting the brigade-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.
ON THE MARCH.
Upon arriving at Brandy Station the brigade was placed in line of battle to meet any attempted advance of Union infantry 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.
IN THE THREE DAYS' FIGHT.
Upon arriving at Gettysburg, on Wednesday, 1 July, 1863, about 1 o'clock p. m., a line of battle was formed near Forney'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
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 upon 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 encouraged 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 shining 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 Corps 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 upon the enemy was made, the line of works (formed by felled trees) taken, but the charge upon the 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 command devolved 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 the army moved to
Hagerstown. On the retreat it was assigned the rear position, 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 Darksville. Later, they were in front of the Federal army, on the south bank of the Rapidan river, guarding the fords, and engaged 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 comparatively 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 North 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 North Carolina Regiments and the First North Carolina Battalion, and attached to it were the Forty-third North Carolina and Twenty-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, discovering 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 regiment got within about twenty or thirty yards of the track
the train was passing at its highest speed, and shots were exchanged between the opposing parties. If success had attended 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 successful, and the troops fell back to Kinston, remaining there a few weeks, and then marched on Plymouth.
THE BATTLE OF PLYMOUTH.
April 18, 19 and 20, 1864: General Hoke, who succeeded to the command of all the forces in this department, directed the campaign, and was also authorized by the Navy Department to secure the co-operation of the Confederate ram, Albemarle, 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 command and was subsequently promoted to Brigadier-General. The fort was taken and the Albemarle simultaneously steamed down the river and engaged the enemy, sinking one of their gunboats and driving their flotilla a considerable distance 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 circuitous 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 brigades, 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 movement, which was planned and faithfully executed according to the directions of the commanding officer, received recognition in the following:
Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of
- FORTY-THIRD REGIMENT.
- 1. R. B. Carr, 1st Lieut., Co. A.
- 2. Robt. Turnbull Burwell, 1st Lieut., Co. B.
- 4. B. F. Hall. Sergeant, Co. A.
- 3. L. L. Polk, 2d Lieut.. Co. I.
- 5. Robert J. Southerland, Sergeant, Co.A.
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, N. C., was next threatened, and after an artillery 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 within sight of the town. At this juncture, when the capture of the town seemed probable, orders were received to march immediately back to Kinston and thence to Petersburg, which point General Butler, of the Union army, was 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 possible 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 Richmond, 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 available to meet real or supposed movements of the Union army. In the meantime reinforcements were brought in, and General Beauregard commanded the Confederate forces in the engagement which took place the next day.
THE BATTLE OF DREWRY'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 dislodged. 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 battery 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 Ransom and Hoke during most of the engagement. Hoke, being appointed Major-General after the battle of Plymouth, was assigned to the command 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 distinguished group, consisting of President Davis, Generals Beauregard, Ransom and Hoke, with their respective staff officers. 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 Butler'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 Fredericksburg Railroad, reaching there about noon on 21 May, 1864.
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 22d. Late in the afternoon, information 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-night 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 General Bryan Grimes, Daniel having been killed at Spottsylvania on 12 May, 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 ground a line of battle was formed northwest of the Junction and earthworks thrown up. After dark this line was abandoned and the regiment withdrawn about a mile to the rear, and occupied the bank of a railroad cut, leaving the brigade sharpshooters in possession of the first line. Next 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 instructions 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 this they responded with a quick and destructive fire at close range, and, after a hand-to-hand fight of several minutes, forced them to the opposite side of the breastworks, and the assault was fiercely continued about two hours. Encouraged by the forward movement of the brigade and the firing of a field battery constituting their support, the Union 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
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 retired towards Richmond to confront the Union army, then moving in the same direction.
Nothing of special note occurred, except frequent skirmishing, 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. Stitt (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-Major Kenan, who had been appointed by the brigade commander, 10 June, a Junior-Second Lieutenant. On 13 June the Second 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 enemy 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 22d the troops rested at Salem, and resumed the march on the 23d in
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 Division 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 battle continuing nearly all day. On the 7th they moved through Crampton's Gap towards Frederick, and after frequent 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 direction of Washington City, and, after a hard march in extremely hot weather and over a dusty road, arrived in front of Fort Stevens about 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 riflepits. In the afternoon the enemy threw forward a heavy line 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 considerable. On account of the arrival of the above-mentioned reinforcements, 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.
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 defeated with severe losses.
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 threatening 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 then Rodes' Division, sometimes in detachments and at others in a body, marched and countermarched between the Potomac river and Fisher's Hill until September 22d. During this time the Forty-third Regiment was engaged in al-most daily skirmishing, and took part in the battles of Winchester, 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 received, and then, on 1 October, returned down the valley, reaching Fisher's Hill on 13 October. The Forty-third composed 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
Market, 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 attacked and routed by Rodes' Division between New Market and Mount Jackson. This ended the noted Valley campaign of 1864.
About a week before Christmas, the Forty-third, with the other troops composing the old Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, returned to Petersburg and went into winter quarters 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 Petersburg, on 15 February, 1865. Here the regiment remained with the other troops of the division till about the middle of March, when they were ordered into the trenches in front of Petersburg to relieve General Bushrod Johnson's Division, which was to occupy another position.
The increasing disproportion in the numbers of the opposing armies made it necessary for Rodes' Division, now composed 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 required one-third of the men on picket duty in front of the trenches and one-third on duty in the trenches, where the mud was frequently more than shoe-deep and sometimes knee-deep, while the remaining third caught a broken rest on their arms. No 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 constant 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 Gordon'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
25th by the Division Corps of sharpshooters, who, with unloaded 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 batteries on elevated positions, and, having massed large bodies of infantry at this point, forced the withdrawal of the Confederates with considerable loss in killed, wounded and prisoners. After this fruitless effort to dislodge the enemy the Forty-third resumed its position in the trenches and remained until Saturday, 1 April. About 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 Confederates in heavy force at several points, effecting an entrance 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, which stood on an elevation about fifty yards in front of the main line. The division, massing in this direction, attacked the enemy at close quarters, 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 Sergeant-one from the Forty-third (now commanded by Captain Cobb, Captain Whitaker having been mortally wounded just previously), and the other from the Forty-fifth Regiment 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 fortmore than one hundred in number-perhaps in ignorance of the small force of Confederates, and surprised at the boldness of the movement, surrendered
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 Rodes' 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 intervals of rest, Amelia 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, Colonel D. G. Cowand, of the Thirty-second, being in command of Daniel's Brigade. The enemy's cavalry, emboldened by success, frequently rode recklessly into the Confederate 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 culminated in a general engagement on the afternoon of the 6th at Sailor's creek, near Farmville, Va., where the Confederates, 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 army having taken
parallel 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 intelligence that the Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered.
Manifesting under defeat the same spirit of fidelity and endurance which had characterized them in success, the remnant 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 laying down their arms, dispersed on foot, many in tattered garments 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 Regiment, 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. R. 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.
Duplin Rifles. Organized in Kenansville, N. C., 1859.
ADDITIONAL SKETCH FORTY-THIRD REGIMENT.
By COLONEL THOMAS S. KENAN.
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 by army regulations, the "Duplin Rifles" and "Lumberton Guards" were taken out, and with eight other companies, formed the Second Volunteers and elected Sol. Williams, Colonel; Edward Cantwell, Lieutenant-Colonel and Augustus W. Burton, Major; 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 companies was subjected to repeated shellings from the long-range guns of the Union 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 with other companies in their stead, and numbered the Twelfth Regiment of State Troops, after the reorganization.
Upon the return of the company to Duplin county, 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. Hinson, Second Lieutenants ; ordered to Raleigh in March, 1862,
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," organized 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 with the Army of Northern Virginia 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. Brown, Alex. Chambers, Thomas E. Davis, Lewis J. Grady, R. M. S. Grady, Alex. Guy, James G. Halso, Jesse Home, Hargett Kornegay, 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 disability, 12; transferred to other regiments, or companies, 5.
THOS. S. KENAN.
RALEIGH, N. C.,
9 APRIL, 1901.
- FORTY-FOURTH REGIMENT.
- 1. Taz well F. Hargrove, Lieut.-Colonel.
- 2. Elkanah E. Lyon, Captain, Co. A.
- 3. R. C. Brown. Captain, Co. B.
- 4. Robert Bingham, Captain, Co. G.
- 5. Thos. Hill Norwood, Captain, Co. H.
BY MAJOR CHARLES M. STEDMAN.
This brief record of the organization, movements and achievements of the Forty-fourth Regiment, North Carolina Troops, could not have been written except for the assistance of Captains W. P. Oldham, Robert Bingham, Abram Cox, and Lieutenants Thomas B. Long and Richard G. Sneed, officers of the regiment, who participated in its career, and especially am I under obligations to Captain John H. Robin-son, of the Fifty-second North Carolina Regiment, who was detailed during the latter part of the campaign of 1864, at the request of General William MacRae, 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 the 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 operations of the regiment, and its participation in the various engagements described have been used without reserve, as they are known to be correct, nor has there been any hesitancy in quoting 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 Raleigh, 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 skirmish with Federal troops at Tranter's Creek, in Eastern North Carolina, on 5 June, 1862. He was an officer of extraordinary 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
in his stead. Lieutenant-Colonel Cotten resigned, on account 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. Stedman, 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 Cherry.
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. Enlisted men, 148.
COMPANY B-Captains, Elisha Cromwell, Baker W. Mabry, 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.
COMPANY C-Captains, William L. Cherry, Macon G. Cherry ; First Lieutenants, Abram Cox, Andrew M. Thigpen, Samuel V. Williams; Second Lieutenants, Andrew M. Thigpen, Macon G. Cherry, Samuel V. Williams, Reuben E. Mayo, Samuel Tapping. Enlisted men, 131.
COMPANY D-Captain, L. R. Anderson ; First Lieutenants, Cornelius Stevens, John S. Easton ; Second Lieutenants, John S. Easton, James M. Perkins, George W. Parker, Thomas King. Enlisted men, 116.
COMPANY E-Captains, R. C. Cotten, Charles M. Stedman, James T. Phillips, John J. Crump; First Lieutenants, Charles M. Stedman, James T. Phillips, John J. Crump, N. B. Hilliard; Second Lieutenants, R. C. Cotten, Jr., James T. Phillips, John J. Crump, Thomas B. Long, N. B. Hilliard, 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. Montgomery; Second Lieutenants, John C. Montgomery, Alexander M. Russell, George W. Montgomery. Enlisted men, 127.
COMPANY G-Captain, Robert. Bingham; First Lieutenant, 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. Moffitt, James T. Townsend, R. W. Singletary; First Lieutenants, James T. Townsend, William H. Carter, Thomas IT. 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; Second 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
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, N. 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 unfortunate in that its accomplished commander lost his life.
From Eastern North 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 North Carolina, the Forty-fourth North Carolina, the Forty-seventh North Carolina, and the Fifty-second North Carolina, 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 appreciation of his great qualities by their conduct on the battle-field under 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 communications with Richmond. Colonel T. C. Singletary with two companies, remained at the junction. Major Charles M. Stedman, with four companies, commanded north of the junction and the bridges of the Fredericksburg and of the Central (now the C. & 0.) Railroad across the South Anna and the Little Rivers, four in number, were entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove, who posted one company at each bridge, remaining personally with Company A at Central's bridge across the South Anna, the post of greatest danger. On the morning of 26 June, 1865, the Federal troops, consisting of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, two companies
of a California cavalry regiment, and two pieces of artillery, about fifteen hundred, all included, commanded by Colonel, afterwards General Spear, appeared before Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove, and his small force of forty men, stationed in a breastwork on the south side of the river, built to be manned by not less than four hundred men. Before Colonel Spear made his first attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove 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 outnumbering 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 Hargrove in his rear, which was entirely unprotected, when Company G, consisting of 40 men, having been ordered from Central'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 Company 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 Company A from across the river with like results. During a lull in the fighting the Federal force on the north side was reinforced by four hundred men, and an assault on both Companies 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 Company 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
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 Colonel Hargrove that: "The resistance made by the Confederates 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 communications with Richmond." No more gallant fight was made during the entire Civil War, than by Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove'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 North Carolina Regiment, was promoted to Brigadier-General and assigned to the command of Pettigrew's Brigade about 10 August, 1863.
ON THE MARCH.
The brigade left camp at Rapidan Station, where 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 hack and avoided a conflict at Culpepper Court. House, but was overtaken at Bristoe Station. 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 fortification. 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 delivered a message to fall back. The order was disregarded and the regiment. moved steadily on under heavy fire of both artillery and infantry, and when close upon the works, with the
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 afterwards its brigade commander. He was struck with admiration at the splendid conduct of the men, and often afterwards referred to their steady valor upon that field. It endeared the regiment to him, for he loved brave men, and it became his habit to frequently place himself with the colors of the regiment for, said he: "If I am with the Forty-fourth Regiment 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 North Carolina, with Kirkland's Brigade, left camp near Orange Court House on the 4th and bivouacked the same night at Verdiersville, about nine miles from the battlefield of the "Wilderness." 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 the 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 storm-center 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 incessant 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
killed or disabled, whilst the gunners were subjected to an incessant and murderous fire. At this juncture Lieutenant 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, although they all knew the effort was full of peril. The work was done successfully, 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 engagements 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 division 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.
SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE.
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 by the Federal columns, their advance always being heralded and covered by a heavy artillery fire. Every assault was repulsed with great loss to the assailants, whose advance was greeted by loud cheers from the Forty-fourth Regiment, many of the men leaping on the earthworks and fighting without cover. The loss during this engagement was comparatively slight. The Major commanding the regiment was again wounded and sent to a
- FORTY-FOURTH REGIMENT.
- 1. It. W. Stedman, 2d Lieut., Co. A., Famous Scout.
- 2. E. A. Moffitt, 2d Lieut., Co. H.
- 3. John Ruffin Buchanan, Sergeant, Co.A.
- 4. Joseph M. Satterwhite, Private, Co. A.
- 5. James Andrew Wilson, Private, Co. A.
hospital in Richmond, 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 Court House to Petersburg, constantly skirmishing and fighting as Grant continued his march on Lee's flank. On 3 June, 1864, it was heavily engaged with the enemy near Gaines' Mill. In this fight General W. W. Kirkland, commanding the brigade, was wounded. Pursuing its march, and almost daily skirmishing, the regiment reached Petersburg on 24 June, 1864, and commenced the desultory and dreary work of duty in the trenches. During the latter part of July, 1864, the regiment left Petersburg for Stoney Creek, and whilst on the march Colonel William MacRae, of the Fifteenth North Carolina Regiment, joined the brigade and assumed command under orders. This gallant officer was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in November, 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, 1864.
Upon the investment of Petersburg the possession of the Weldon road became of manifest importance, as it was Lee's main line of communication 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 army, 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 Warren's success, Hancock was ordered from Deep Bottom to Reams Station, ten miles from Petersburg. He arrived there on the 22d and promptly commenced the destruction of the railroad track. His infantry force consisted of Gibbons' and Miles' Divisions, and in the afternoon of the 25th, he was reinforced by the division
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 Woerner's Third New Jersey Battery. On the 22d Gregg was assailed by Wade Hampton with one of his cavalry divisions, and a sharp contest ensued. General Hampton, from the battlefield of the 22d, sent a note to General R. E. Lee, suggesting an immediate attack with infantry. That great commander, realizing that a favorable opportunity was offered to strike Hancock a heavy blow, directed Lieutenant-General 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 Armstrong's Mill, about eight miles from Petersburg. On the morning of the 25th 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 McGowan'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 Battalion 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 regiment 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
turned upon the retreating columns of the enemy. It was manned by sharpshooters of the Forty-fourth, who had been trained in artillery practice. Captain Oldham, of Company K, sighted one of the guns 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 Petersburg."
The Federal loss in this battle was between six and seven hundred killed and wounded, 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 principally upon Lane's Brigade; it did not exceed five hundred in killed and wounded. The casualties in the Forty-fourth Regiment were trifling, as well as in other regiments of the brigade, for Hancock's men in our front fired wildly and above the mark, being badly demoralized by the fire of the Confederate artillery, under cover of which MacRae's men advanced to the assault.
James Forrest, who carried the colors of the regiment, became 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 entrenchments at Petersburg, held by General Lee's right, and continued 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 October, 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
not supported, closed in upon his flanks and attacked with great vigor. Undismayed by the large force which surrounded him, and unwilling to surrender the prize of victory already within his grasp, MacRae formed a portion of his command obliquely to his main line of battle, driving back the foe at every point, whilst the deafening shouts and obstinate 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. No 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 position. Facing his men about, they cut their way through a new line of battle which had partially formed in their rear. In this encounter the Forty-fourth North Carolina bore a brilliant part; it drove the Federal line, everywhere in its front, steadily to the rear. Lieutenant R. W. Stedman, 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 commencement of the fight. The affair at Burgess' Mill was marred 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 who were entirely unable to produce the slightest demoralization or panic. At Southerland's Station the fight was severe. On the night of the 5th it left Amelia Court House and reached Appomattox on the morning of the
9th, where, together with the bleeding remnants of the army of Northern Virginia, it stacked its arms and its career was ended.
The esprit de corps of the regiment was of the very highest order. Neither 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 Appomattox Court House, were as eager and ready for the fray on that last memorable day, as when, with full ranks and abundant 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 members with chivalrous devotion, and which was never lost or captured on any field. The first flag was carried from the commencement of its campaign until about 1 January, 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 be distinctly seen by other regiments during brigade drills, and as the Forty-fourth was always made the central regiment, upon which the others of the brigade dressed in line of battle, as well as on parade, 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 North 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 attention 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.
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 carried 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 presented to Mrs. Della 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 husband had ever followed it with fidelity and fortitude upon every field where it waved. Captain Bingham, whose home is in Asheville, N. 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.
- FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT.
- 1. Junius Daniel, Colonel.
- 2. John R. Winston, Colonel.
- 3. J. Henry Morehead, Colonel.
- 4. Samuel Hill Boyd, Colonel.
- 5. Andrew J. Boyd, Lieut.-Colonel.
- 6. Thomas M. Smith, Major.
- 7. Samuel C. Rankin, Captain, Co. B.
- 8. J. A. Roach. Sergeant, Co. E.
- 9. C. B. Watson, Sergeant, Co. K.
BY CYRUS B. WATSON, SECOND SERGEANT, COMPANY K.
The Forty-fifth Regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, Raleigh, N. C., in the early spring of 1862, with:
JUNIUS DANIEL, Colonel, of Halifax County.
JNO. HENRY MOREHEAD, Lieutenant-Colonel, of Greensboro, N. 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 enlisted and organized for three years' service. At 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 North Carolina had been invaded; Fort Macon had been captured, and the city of New Bern was occupied by the Federal forces. The authorities at Washington were putting forth tremendous energies in organizing and equipping great armies for the subjugation of the seceding States. The Confederate Government at Richmond, to meet these mighty preparations, had called upon the States of the South for more troops.
These ten companies were raised and commanded by such
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 Company 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 afterwards 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 whose 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 Company 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 uniform kindness to the boy soldier, the writer of this sketch, who served under him, will always be held in the fondest remembrance.
Junius Daniel, the first Colonel of the Regiment, was an officer in the old army and a graduate of West Point. He was transferred from the command of the Fourteenth Regiment to the Forty-fifth Regiment, of which he was elected Colonel upon its organization. He was promoted to Brigadier-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
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 prisoner, and remained a prisoner of war until exchanged in May, 1864. He then returned to the army and took command of the regiment on 17 May, at Spottsylvania; was killed two days thereafter while gallantly leading his regiment in a charge upon the enemy's line. A few moments before the charge, in which he lost his life, he received a gunshot 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. Nature had fashioned him for a soldier. He was a man of deep piety, of stern integrity and the coolest courage in battle. He was often wounded, but rarely left the field because of wounds. Was wounded and captured at Gettysburg 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 Nassau, 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 Wilderness, Spottsylvania 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 Winchester, 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 was 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 surrendered with the army of his great Chieftain.
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 Spottsylvania 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. Major Andrew J. Boyd, 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 remained Major of the regiment only a short time until he became Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second North Carolina Battalion.
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 great difficulties. Very few of the officers of the regiment are living. In looking over the Roster of the noncommissioned 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 recollection.
It will be seen that the men who composed this regiment were drawn from four contiguous counties, Forsyth, Guilford, 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 soldiers under almost any circumstances. The rank and file of the regiment was composed of men from the farm, from the shop, from the school room, from the office, from mercantile pursuits, in fact from all the walks of life. Many of them 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
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 Mechanicsville, 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 became 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 engaged 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 with cartridges. A few stray balls of the enemy were falling around the regiment. While the regiment was loading its guns, a field battery opened fire directly enfilading the line. At the same time a squadron of Confederate 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 Company 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 excuses for having lost his head. Just at this time the two companies, 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
misunderstood the order and had marched up the lane. Colonel Daniel replied, with a smile on his face: "Yes, Captain, I saw the companies march up 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 laugh all through the regiment, the two Captains joining in the fun. By a mistake 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 the enemy's flank in time to have done effective service. The next day the sanguinary conflict of Malvern Hill 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 Maryland. We were ordered to Richmond and remained in the city one day, awaiting transportation to Culpepper. The enemy made a demonstration on Drewry's Bluff and we were hurried back to that point. We went into camp immediately in the rear of Fort Darling, where we remained until ordered to North Carolina in the late fall of 1862. The brigade went to Kinston; was engaged through the spring of 1862 in marching and counter-marching in the country between Kinston and New 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 Fredericksburg before the battle of Chancellorsville, but were delayed for want of transportation facilities, and arrived at Fredericksburg just after the battle had closed and were immediately attached to General Rodes' Division of Ewell's Corps.
Early in June the army broke up camp and started on the memorable Gettysburg campaign. The first excitement occurred over the great cavalry battle of Brandy Station. The brigade double-quicked from Culpepper Court House most of the way to Brandy Station one hot evening, going to the relief of General Stuart, but arrived on the field only
in time to receive a few parting shots from the retreating enemy. 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 engagement, and cut off the retreat of Milroy, whose entire command fell into the hands of General Ewell as prisoners of war at Winchester. Ewell's Corps immediately took up its line of march into Pennsylvania, and Rodes' Division went as far North 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.
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG.
I was not present with my regiment at the battle of Gettysburg. I was left at Front Royal, on the march to Gettysburg, 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, Md., and Gettysburg, 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:Association in 1897 published "A History of the Gettysburg Memorial Association with an Account of the Battle," from which I quote as follows:
"Another of Bodes' Brigades, Daniel's North Carolina, moved past the front of Robinson's Division, and while the Fifty-third Regiment of the brigade, with the Third Alabama of O'Neal's, which had been detached from its brigade, and the Twelfth North Carolina, of Iverson's, attacked the Seventy-sixth New York, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and One Hundred and Forty-seventh New 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
Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, of Stone's Brigade, which regiments had been withdrawn from their first position and placed along the Chambersburg Pike to meet this attack. These regiments were from the lumber region of Pennsylvania and were expert riflemen, and the vollies with which they greeted Daniel's men were said by the Confederate officers 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 recrossing the Potomac, I remember that General Daniel inspected the regiment, passing 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 regiment, "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 Rappahannock 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 quarters near Morton's Ford. Winter being now upon us, we thought all fighting was over for the year 1863, but shortly afterwards, General Meade, not satisfied with the result of the recent campaign,
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 advantage, fell back across the river, and both armies returned to their quarters to remain during the winter. Each commander 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.
THE WILDERNESS AND SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE.
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 forward 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
thicker by the interlacing bamboo briers that had grown up in a little depression of the earth, parallel with our line, followed 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, went at them. On reaching a little narrow thicket, which, with clubbed muskets, was instantly leveled, we discovered 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 approached 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 have 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 emerged, while the enemy went in the opposite direction. Shortly afterwards the position we held was given to another brigade and our brigade 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 between 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 of Hill and Longstreet and the greater part of Grant's army. We remained in our position
during the night of the 6th and all day of the 7th with continued heavy picket and artillery firing. Early in the night of the 7th we moved out by the right flank, having been cautioned to make as little noise as possible, and commenced what turned out to be, a hurried flank movement to Spottsylvania 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 commanded 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 overwhelming numbers; that we were now in half mile of his extreme right; that the enemy would, within a few minutes, turn his flank and get possession of a most favorable position 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
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 Rodes, our commander, who had by this time arrived 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.
THE HORSE SHOE.
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, N. 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
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 darkness 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 occupying 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. Suddenly, 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 dashing up to the rear of our regiment. He was instantly recognized by the men who saw him, as General Ewell, our corps
commander. He had outstripped his staff officers who were following him, but not then in sight. He halted in the rear of the Forty-fifth Regiment, 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. Now, 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 guns 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 between the lines. A fine-looking Federal officer stood in the front of their line with 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 commanding 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, Battle's Alabama Brigade, one or two regiments from Ramseur's Brigade and a part of the brigade of General R. D. Johnston. But I remember well that a few days thereafter, we had in the company a Richmond paper, giving an account of the battle as communicated by an army correspondent, as having been won and the lost line recovered by certain Virginia brigades; this, indeed, was quite a common thing with the Richmond papers. As we recaptured the line the brave artillerymen, one company of which was the Richmond Howitzers, as fine a body of men as ever wore a uniform, rushed up with rammers in hand; wheeled the guns to their places and commenced, pouring canister into the ranks of the
retreating 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 ground was covered with the dead and wounded from both armies. The gallant Colonel Brabble, of the Thirty-second North 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 belonging 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 comfortable 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 noncommissioned 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 Colonel Huling addressed the regiments of the brigade; reminded them that during the preceding battles many company officers had been killed or permanently disabled, and that he expected to keep an eye on the non-commissioned officers 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 us: "I want you boys to remember that if the enemy come over these breastworks today, you are to receive them on your bayonets."
The night of the 11th was dark and drizzly. We sat with guns in hand the entire night, with a man to each 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 evidently 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 position 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 gathering 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 with 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 commanded 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 occupying that position. In the meantime the battalion of artillery, 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
occupied. We dropped upon our knees and opened fire upon the enemy, every man loading and firing as rapidly as possible. Immediately the artillery in our rear opened fire over our heads. For a little while the rush of canister and shrapnel 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 see, 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 enveloped 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 we 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 Johnson'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
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 preserved to show the effect of the musketry 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 enemy'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 artillery fire compare with the second day at Gettysburg." I do not remember Captain London's reply, but General Daniel 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 them 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 fighting of any consequence along our part of the line until the morning, as I remember, of the 16th, when the enemy advanced just at daylight in heavy forces, but were easily
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 Ramseur'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 were 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 instances one lying across the other, and in one or more instances 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 conflicts, 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 company, who was frying meat at the fire, "You would have saved rations by going with me, for I will have no more
appetite for a week." On the 19th our corps marched in the afternoon 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 reinforcements 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 suffered severely. The Colonel of our regiment, the brave Samuel H. Boyd, was killed while leading a charge. My own company came out of the fight with not an officer nor noncommissioned 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 Winder Hospital in Richmond, listening to the roar of the guns. After nightfall the wounded began to arrive from the field. I remember how the wounded in my ward lay upon their beds and inquired, as the wounded were brought in from their companies and regiments, as to the result of the battle and as to friends engaged. There I first learned of the death of Major Smith. The ward masters and nurses were principally composed of disabled men, assigned to light duty. I remember that about 10 o'clock that night, a man was brought in from an ambulance upon a stretcher, and when brought to the light, was found to he the only brother of our ward master, and mortally wounded. The next morning I learned of the death of a dear friend and school mate, a member of Manly's Battery, M. F. Cummins. He was shot through the head while mounted on the breastworks, cap in hand, watching the effect of a shell fired from his gun; a brave, gallant fellow. Soon after this battle, the regiment was sent
to join General Early, and with his command 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 regiment 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 commander, 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 September, 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 army. It was on this occasion 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 the stirrup of his saddle, assisted the soldier in placing 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
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 Petersburg. 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 campaign and by the spring of 1865 had become a mere skeleton.
During the month of March, the regiment occupied a position a little to the right of Petersburg and just to the left of Fort Mahone and near the Crater. Just in front of the left of the regiment stood Fort Steadman which the boys called Fort "Hell," a powerful earthwork of the enemy.
On the night of 25 March, the regiment participated in an assault upon Fort 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. Hence 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 berth 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 continuing his hold, coming out with him. On getting outside in the open, the fight became an unequal one. Hence's fixed bayonet on the end of his gun while thus held by the hair, was no match for the saber in the hands of his adversary, and but for timely aid from one of his comrades, he would have been quickly 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
morning of 2 April, just before daylight, the enemy advanced upon our works in massed columns ; brushed aside the chevaux 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 the 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 enmy. As these traverses filled, with the Federal troops, these batteries in the rear opened upon them with grape and canister. Major-General Bryan Grimes commanded our division, 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 bursting six feet under ground. Long before noon all of our batteries had been silenced, and the conflict on our side was maintained by infantry alone. I saw the men of my regiment 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
this din of battle, time after time they would 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 its during the day that we did not receive reinforcements. We did not know that our lines were broken throughout their length and that every soldier 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 retreat which ended at. Appomattox Court House. If General Grant had succeeded in successfully breaking through our lines at Fort Mahone, he would have cut the army in two, and the war would have ended at Petersburg instead of Appomattox 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 disappointment when we ascertained at this point that by some cruel mistake, the train loaded with provisions for our sustenance had gone through to Richmond and was in the hands of the enemy.
On 6 April, we started toward Lynchburg. Shortly after sunrise we were attacked by Sheridan on our left flank, and all day long we retreated and fought and fought and retreated, arriving at Farmville after night, leaving thousands of prisoners 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
before day the next morning again started on the march toward 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 battle 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 soldiers. 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 annihilation. In the kindness of his great heart, he determined that his soldiers had done enough, and he yielded to "overwhelming 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 ceremonies 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 submitting 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 regret that it had not been written years ago, while facts might have been furnished by the actors, most of whom are now dead.
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.
CYRUS 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-seventh anniversary of the battle. I here met about sixty-five of the said survivors, some of them attended by wives and daughters. 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 North Carolina, and the conflict was bloody. The monument bears the following inscription:
"IN COMMEMORATION OF THE DEEDS OF THE FIRST REGIMENT
Three hundred and ninety-eight of whose members fell with-in an hour around this spot during an action, May 19th, 1864, between a division of the Union Army commanded by General Tyler, and a corps of the Confederate forces under General Ewell.
Erected by 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 are pre-served without change all round the horse shoe. The old
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 suffered 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 younger 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 armies 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.
- FORTY-SIXTH REGIMENT.
- 1. W. L. Saunders, Colonel.
- 2. A. C. McAllster, Lieut.-Colonel.
- 3. R. A. Bost, Captain, Co. K.
- 4. Robt. Preston Troy, Captain, Co. G.
- 5. J. K. Heflin, Captain, Co E.
- 6. O. W. Carr, Captain, Co. G.
- 7. Adolphus Theodorus Bost, Captain, Co. K.
BY J. M. WADDILL, SECOND LIEUTENANT, COMPANY B.
Well may North 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 circumstances. Truly she has good cause to be proud of her sons. But of the long list of gallant regiments which marched away from her soil, none shed greater luster on the mother State than the Forty-sixth (Infantry) the subject of this sketch.
Others may have been as brave, others as patient and true, but few, if any, united all these virtues, which, combined with the perfect harmony 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 regiment. 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 appear.
Promoted to the line from the Quartermaster's Department after much of the history of the Forty-sixth was made, he gives, prior to that event, the story as heard from participants, not having been an eyewitness of some of the facts narrated.
The many acts of individual gallantry, then so brilliant and conspicuous, have in large measure, faded from his memory, leaving but a shadowy recollection of a group of heroes,
bound together as a band of brothers, vieing with eath other on the battlefield, affectionately helping each other on the march and in camp, or tenderly caring for each other in the hospital.
The memory, indistinct though it be, of the daily, hourly sacrifices of these gallant ones brings 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 hillsides of Virginia, those begrimed, unkempt 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 surpassed only by that bloodless, but no less heroic battle of life, when returned to their blasted homes, they began the struggle for bread and raiment for loved ones, absolutely empty handed.
What success has crowned their efforts is best illustrated in the wellfilled barns, the numberless tall factory chimneys, and the busy marts of numerous populous cities all over the once Southern Confederacy.
ORGANIZATION OF THE REGIMENT.
The Forty-sixth North 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, R. M. Norment.
COMPANY B-From Rowan and Burke-Captain, W. L. Saunders.
COMPANY C-From Warren-Captain W. A. Jenkins.
COMPANY D-From Richmond-Captain, Calvin Stewart.
COMPANY E-From Granville-Captain, R. J. Mitchell.
COMPANY F-From Randolph-Captain, A. C. McAlister.
COMPANY G-From Randolph-Captain, R. P. Troy.
COMPANY H-From Moore-Captain, N. McK. McNeill.
COMPANY I-From Sampson-Captain, Owen Holmes.
COMPANY K-From Catawba-Captain, A. T. Bost.
The organization of the field and staff was as follows:
E. D. HALL, Colonel, Wilmington.
W. A. JENKINS, Lieutenant-Colonel, Warrenton.
R. J. MITCHELL, Major, Oxford.
S. T. GREEN, Surgeon, Warren county.
V. O. THOMPSON, Assistant Surgeon, Warren county. J. A. MARSH, Quartermaster, Randolph county. G. HOLMES, Commissary, Sampson county. RICHARD MALLETT, Adjutant, Cumberland county.
T. S. TROY, Sergeant-Major, Randolph county. J. AI. AVAIwILL, Quartermaster Sergeant, Warrenton. O. P. SHELL, Commissary Sergeant, Warrenton. T. C. HUSSEY, Hospital Steward, 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, Quartermaster, March, 1864; Major R. M. Norment, 11 September, 1862.
DEATHS-Lieutenant Richard Mallett, killed August, 18 63.
PROMOTIONS-Captain W. L. Saunders, Company B, to be Major, 1 October, 1862; to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 January, 1863; to be Colonel, 1 January, 1S64; Captain R. M. Norment, Company A, to be Major, 4 August, 1862; Captain A. C. McAlister, Company F, to be Major, 1 January, 1864; to be Lieutenant-Colonel about June, 1863; Captain N. McK. McNeill, Company H, to be Major, 18 March, 1864; Surgeon Jenkins, of Charleston, S. C. appointed surgeon upon the resignation of Surgeon S. T. Green; Sergeant-
Major T. S. Troy, 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, 1864.
For a few weeks after its organization the regiment remained at Camp Mangum, receiving instruction in the art of war at the hands of sundry drill masters, removing thence to Goldsboro, N. 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.
Near 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 Regiment, Thirtieth Virginia Regiment, Second Georgia Battalion, Cooper's Battery of Artillery.
Previous to the Seven Days battles the regiment was stationed 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 "Change of Base."
During these trying days the regiment was but little under fire, being usually in reserve, though it sustained a few casualties 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 the 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 Second Manassas, over which lay scattered hundreds of dead bodies, rotting in the sun-thence to Leesburg and beyond,
crossing the 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, Md. 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 regiment knew, as the night was pitch dark and the country totally unknown.
Nothing was accomplished, however, and at dawn a hurried 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 (?) triumphed over by Lee's foot cavalry.
The chill of the water, the multitude of boulders which literally 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 Confederates.
From Harper's Ferry the command moved to Shepherdstown, Va., arriving on 16 September, crossed immediately over into Maryland and was once more united with the Army of Northern Virginia.
In the great battle of the 17th, near Sharpsburg, Md., the Forty-sixth bore a conspicuous part, calling forth from the division commander especial mention of its gallant colonel and staff for distinguished bravery and coolness under fire, as well as for the line, which received the shock of battle like veterans of an hundred fields.
It was said by an eyewitness 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 superior numbers." During the day the regiment occupied several different positions of importance and great danger, in which on every occasion it exhibited that steadiness and coolness 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 regiment 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 undertaken by the regiment, and in the mad rush from Harper's Ferry to Sharpsburg, many of the men were physically unequal to the task and fell by the wayside from exhaustion, rejoining 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 1S September 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, vegetables, 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 commanded the 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 war.
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
highest esteem, for his care of the force under his command, as well as for his courage and coolness under the most trying conditions.
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 appearance.
A year or less thereafter all doubts had vanished, for "that kid" had proven his ability on many occasions. It is doubtful if any general officer in the army, with the exception of Lee and Jackson, was more beloved by the men of his command than was John R. Cooke. Young, brave, generous and kindly in his dealings with officers and men, there ever existed 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 Upperville, 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 two, the regiment made its way to Fredericksburg, arriving in front of that place 22 November. 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 weather, all conspired to the utterance of some bad language, which history does not require should be reproduced literally.
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,
protected by the wall about breast high, all day long it shot down the brave men who charged again and again across the level plain in front, vainly yet most gallantly striving to accomplish an impossibility. The loss in the regiment in killed and wounded during the day was seventy-one. Among the wounded was Colonel W. L. Saunders, shot by a minie ball through the mouth. It was related by those near the Colonel, that during a lull in the firing, he was enjoying a hearty laugh at some remark when the minie entered the wide open mouth, making its exit through the cheek. It was said to have been the most abruptly ended laugh heard during the war.
Among the lamented dead in this engagement was Lieutenant Samuel P. Weir, a young officer of great promise--a gentleman and a Christian.
The command remained in front of Fredericksburg 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 accumulation of conveniencies as come, no one knows how, in a camp of some days. Instead of moving a mile, as was expected, the next stop with any semblance of permanency was at Holly Shelter near Wilmington, N. C., which found the men in much lighter marching order, having laid aside their burdens of benches, buckets, tables, etc.. Holly Shelter proved 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 Mile House," whence the command moved to Pocataligo, S. ('., a camp dubbed by the regimental wit as "The Devil's Misery Hole."
Insects in millions invaded the camp by day and night, developing a biting and stinging power hitherto unknown to the up-country men composing the regiment.
Rations were scarce and Commissary Sergeant Shell made
- FORTY-SIXTH REGIMENT.
- 1. Thomas Troy. Lieutenant, Co. G.
- 2. Henry C. Latta, 2d Lieut., Co. E. (Killed at Petersburg, Nov. 12, 1864.)
- 3. W. C. Bain, Sergeant, Co. G.
- 4. James A. Crews, Sergeant, Co. E.
- 5. C. R. Thomasson, Private, Co. E.
affidavit before Sergeant-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 Wilmington, where the usual army ration was totally disregarded for the luscious oyster, to be had in the sound for the getting.
8 May camp was broken and the regiment moved to Goldsboro, from whence it took a bloodless part in the Kinston campaign.
6 June the command left North 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 Union 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 Company B, four killed and ten wounded.
Late in July, 1863, found the regiment near Fredericksburg, where it remained until 30 August. During this time the death of Adjutant Mallett, at the hands of deserters from another regiment, whom he was endeavoring to arrest, cast a gloom over the entire regiment.
This gallant young officer had endeared himself to every member of the regiment by his excellent hearing 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 with 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 September
orders were received to repair to Gordonsville, where 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 follows, Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth, Forty-eighth and Fifty-fifth) was attached to General Harry Heth's Division, and was thus attached until the close. The Division was 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 running 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, immediately attacked with groat gallantry. In the charge made by this devoted brigade, the gallant Cooke fell, shot in the forehead, when the command 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 his position proving futile, the command was withdrawn in good order
out of rifle shot, which position it held until the next morning, by which time the enemy had disappeared.
It was said that General Lee most severely criticised General 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 commanding 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 quarters.
About this time the Forty-sixth lost its brilliant, Colonel, E. D. Hall, who resigned to accept a civil office in North Carolina. Col. Hall had brought the regiment up to a high standard 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 regret that his regiment bade him farewell. On the hillside, near the Rapidan, huts were built and the men proceeded to make themselves comfortable, 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 engagement were not. realized, and 12 November found the Forty-sixth in camp near Rapidan Station, on the south hank of the river, from which on 27 of November it again moved to confront Meade 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 occupied its winter quarters near Rapidan, the monotony varied
by one or two bloodless and brief expeditions to the left wing of the army, caused by Federal cavalry demonstrations.
On 8 February, new quarters near Orange Court House having been constructed, the command again moved. This camp was the best yet occupied, in a well-wooded and watered section, and the severe winter of 1863-'64-what remained of it-was spent here in comparative comfort.
The monotony here was unbroken by any event worth re-cording save possibly the great 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 regiments were getting into position, a long line of gray skirmishers 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 Twenty-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 possession of a cooking vessel vowed that "he had owned it for many months," it is doubtful if a single article was ever returned.
The Kirkland men being dissatisfied, sent a formal challenge to Cooke, for a "settlement" the next day, which was had in a ceremonious way in presence of an immense crowd of onlookers, including a number of general officers with their staffs from other commands.
The result was disastrous in the extreme, to Cooke's command, which was utterly routed, losing nearly one-half its officers and men as prisoners of war, who were confined and informed that they would be detained until the "skillets" were produced, but the approach of night and the increasing cold frustrated this purpose and all hands returned to their
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 North Carolina.
The months of March and April witnessed a series of revivals 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, numbering 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 being 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 brushwood for hours, ceasing only when exhaustion and night commanded a rest.
The fight in General Cooke's front was opened by the gallant 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 number, including their fearless commander 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-
ed of both sides. Early on the morning of the 6th, the battle 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 when Longstreet's Corps, fresh from the west, with Lee at its head, trotted through the weakened line and forming under fire, soon had 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 North Carolina, killed 39, wounded 251, total 290, out of an effective strength of 540 men. The following were instantly killed: Captain N. N. Fleming, of Company B; Lieutenant George Borah, 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 Company 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 Appomattox.
On 10 May, the regiment was again engaged at Spottsylvania Court House, where Cooke's Brigade made a most brilliant 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 Routh, of Company K, mortally.
Again on 12 May was the Forty-sixth engaged-suffering slightly. From the 12th to 19th, the Forty-sixth was continuously in line, confronting the enemy-with small loss.
The continual lateral movement of both armies brought them near Mechanicsville, on 28 May, being a series of skirmishings to this date.
On 2 and 3 June the entire brigade did some handsome
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 very close quarters-so close that conversation could be carried on between the opposing forces.
12 June; the sidelong movement was resumed. 15 June the regiment was 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 terrible years than that of Lieutenant Small-a Christian and one of nature's noblemen.
18 June the command crossed the James river, above Drewry'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 "Nine 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 with 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 Railway, driving from their works two lines of the enemy, but was checked in its mad rush at the third line by a withering 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 grape 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
failed to drive them, when Cooke's and Kirkland's were sent forward, and in a most terrific storm of thunder and lightning, steadily advanced over the field, facing a deadly fire, and with a yell carried everything before them, capturing seven stands of colors, nine guns, 2,100 prisoners and a large quatity of camp equipage.
The bayonet was freely used in this affair, and Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. McAlister distinguished himself by his daring in leading the regiment to the muzzles of the cannon.
Loss in the Forty-sixth, seventy-three killed and wounded. Among the wounded were Captain H. R. KcKinney, of Company A; Captain A. T. Bost, of Company K; Captain Troy, of Company G; Lieutenant T. R. Price, of Company C; Lieutenant M. N. 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 December, when winter quarters were built on Hatcher's Run, near Burgess' mill, about ten miles from Petersburg and immediately in front of the enemy.
About 7 December took place the famous Bellfield expedition, 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 remained in winter quarters, with little to vary the monotony.
5 February, 1865, took place the affair at Hatcher's Run, in which the regiment was engaged, with some loss, among the killed being Lieutenant J. W. Brock, of Company G, by a shell.
27 February Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. McAlister was detached 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 Randolph, Chatham, Montgomery and Moore, North Carolina. This force was composed of the Seventh North Carolina, Major James G. Harris commanding, and two companies each from the Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth, Forty-eighth and Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiments, designed for the protection of that section from raiding parties of the enemy, as also to
preserve order in enforcing the Conscript Act. This force was actively employed 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 disorganized cavalry, which undertook to capture the Government stores in the warehouses, and incidentally the town generally. The cavalry was driven out, but not without a number 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 Petersburg 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 supreme moment at Appomattox its unity was preserved, its men, those whom the bullet and disease had spared, answering 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 North 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 disgrace or shame, for about its folds shone the glories of Malvern Hill, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Bristoe, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Mechanicsville, Cold Har-
bor, White Oak Swamp, Petersburg, Reams Station, Davis' Farm and Hatcher's Run.
Not 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.
OFFICERS OF THE FORTY-SIXTH. (Compiled mainly from memory,)
COMPANY A-R. M. Norment, Captain, promoted, succeeded 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. Wishart, for many months, was commander of the regimental skirmish line. (The writer, during the latter months of the war, was intimately associated with Lieutenant Wishart, then Captain of Company B, and testifies to his absolute indifference to danger and his total ignorance of fear, laughing and joking under fire as in camp, always wanting to "get at 'ern.") He survived the war only to be treacherously murdered by Henry Berry Lowry. Upon the promotion of Lieut. Wishart to Captaincy of Company B, his brother, Wellington Wishart, 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 Lieutenant and John Hammond from Ensign.
COMPANY B-Captain W. L. Saunders having been advanced to a Majority, Lieutenant N. N. Fleming became Captain and served as such until his death on the field at the Wilderness, when Lieutenant Frank M. Wishart, of Company 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
promoted to be Second Lieutenant., serving as such until sent on detached service under Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. McAlister.
COMPANY C-Upon the promotion of Captain W. A. Jenkins, Lieutenant Stephen W. Jones became Captain, serving gallantly in that capacity until the close. Lieutenants, W. A. J. Nicholson, Samuel M. Southerland, Leon S. Mabry, Thomas R. Price and Thomas G. Jenkins. The latter two were several times wounded in discharge of duty.
COMPANY D-Captain Colin Stewart was with his company in the one capacity from the organization to the final ending, and (I think) never received a wound. Daniel Stewart 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 promoted to Major, Lieutenant R. L. Heflin 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.
COMPANY F-Captain A. C. McAlister, promoted to Major, Lieutenant Thomas A. Branson was advanced to Captaincy, losing his life on the field at Davis' Farm, near Petersburg, 1364, when Sergeant M. M. Teague, 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. Samuel 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 remained 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 succeeded as Second Lieutenant by J. W. Brock, killed at Hatcher's
Run 5 February, 1865, and Robert W. Stinson also killed at Petersburg.
COMPANY H-The promotion of Captain N. McK. McNeill to Major, led to the advance of Lieutenant George Wilcox to a Captaincy, serving until the close. Charles C. Goldston, First Lieutenant, having resigned, J. A. Blue succeeded 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 company from beginning to the end-was in nearly every engagement, 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 mortally wounded at Reams Station 25 August, 1864. Lieutenants J. M. Hoover and Sidney Shuford were then in command 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 others. 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.
GREENVILLE. S C.,
9 April, 1901.
- FORTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT.
- 1. Sion H. Rogers, Colonel.
- 2. W. C. Lankford, Lieut.-Colonel.
- 3. Campbell T. Iredell, Captain, Co. C.
- 4. J. J. Thomas, Captain and A. Q. M.
- 5. John H. Thorp, Captain, Co. A.
- 6 Geo. W. Westray, 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 who made the aggregate of its ten companies, organized the Forty-seventh North Carolina Regiment.
As the companies were coming together, New Bern was taken by the Federal General, Burnside, 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 returned to Raleigh, and with the other companies, now arrived, completed their organization with Sion H. Rogers, Colonel; George H. Faribault, Lieutenant-Colonel, and John A. Graves, Major.
On 5 January, 1863, 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 captured at Gettysburg 3 July, 1863, from which he died; Crudup became Lieutenant-Colonel March, 1861, and William C. Lankford, Captain of Company F, Major at the same time. Faribault and Crudup were wounded and the first resigned 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 occasions 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. Winstead and Josiah C. Fowler, Assistant Surgeons, of the regiment. Thomas C. Powell was Adjutant.
COMPANY A-Nash County-It was first commanded by Captain John W. Bryan, who died in June, 1862, when Lieutenant John H. Thorp became Captain and commanded to the end of the war. The Lieutenants of Company A were: George W. Westray, who was killed at Cold Harbor; Wilson Baily, who died; Sidney H. Bridgers, killed at Bristoe Station; B. H. Bunn (since member of United States Congress) and Thomas Westray.
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 Lieutenants were Harvey D. Griffin, who died; Sherrod J. Evans, Hugh H. Perry and William B. Chamblee.
COMPANY C-Wake County-The first Captain of Company C was Edward Hall, who died 1 September, 1862, when Cameron T. Iredell became Captain, was killed 3 July, 1863, and George M. Whiting became Captain, taken prisoner at Gettysburg and died after the war of disease contracted in prison. The Lieutenants of this company were Nathaniel L. Brown, David M. Whitaker, Marmaduke 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. N. 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.
COMPANY E-Wake County-John H. Norwood was the first and only Captain of Company E. Its Lieutenants were Erastus H. Ray, Benj. W. Justice, promoted A. C. S. of the regiment; Leonidas W. Robertson and William A. Dunn.
COMPANY F-Franklin 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. Thomas, promoted A. Q. M. of the regiment; Sylvanus P. Gill, W. D. Harris (resigned) and H. R. Crichton.
COMPANY G-Franklin and Granville Counties-Joseph J. Davis was the first Captain of Company G, and was wounded, captured and a prisoner 3 July, 1863, and remaining
a prisoner, no other could succeed to the Captaincy. Its Lieutenants were P. P. Peace, Richard F. Yarborough, promoted to Colonelcy of another regiment; W. H. Pleasants, George D. Tunstall and George Williamson. Captain Davis was afterwards member of United States Congress and Justice of our Supreme Court.
COMPANY H-Wake County-Charles T. Haughton, first Captain of Company H, died in June, 1863, when Lieutenant Sydney W. Mitchell became Captain and was, to the close of the war. Its Lieutenants were T. L. Lassiter, Sydney A. Hinton, J. D. Newsom and John T. Womble.
COMPANY I-Wake 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 regiment.
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 Lieutenants were James H. Watson, Thomas Taylor, Jacob Boon and Felix L. Poteat.
After a short stay at Camp Mangum, in Raleigh, during which time it was drilled incessantly, the regiment was camped between New 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 condition.
At this time the predominant desire was to go to the scenes being enacted around Richmond, where General Lee and his illustrious co-generals were entering on that career which as
leaders of the Army of Northern Virginia, made them so famous. But the boon is not yet granted 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 Petersburg. So thoroughly trained itself, it efficiently executed the delicate duties of guard in this important city, then a military center. During its stay the strongest of friendship was formed between civilian and soldier. Not a single unpleasant 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 Federal General Foster 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 were run off immediately, ordered to pile our knapsacks, overcoats and blankets, which we never heard of afterwards, and doublequicked to the 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 here."
Foster did not come, but night soon did, and we 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 two miles toward Kinston without finding the enemy, and after night A and K went to Kinston to learn that Foster had advanced up the south bank of the Neuse. He attempted to cross at White Hall, but was driven back and continued his
march toward Goldsboro, to which the Forty-seventh was marched 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 away.
A few days afterwards the regiment is on Blackwater under General Roger A. Prior, protecting Eastern Virginia. Now 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 immonent, but one did not occur. It was skirmishing, retreating, advancing on another distant point, over a large extent of territory to keep the enemy pushed within his limited lines.
ATTACK ON NEW BERN.
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 returned to Eastern North Carolina. The points of Rocky Mount, Magnolia and Goldsboro, as they were threatened, were quickly covered, and thence we were marched in D. IT. 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 (lays in bleak winter, Pettigrew, in the early (lawn, drove in the enemy's pickets and passed one of his block houses, which protected New Bern, but by failure of other troops to co-operate time was lost and the enemy got one of his gunboats in action, with which our brigade was terribly shelled. Pettigrew being unable to reply with cannon, or to cross the water with his infantry, withdrew his brigade in regiments by echelon in such masterly manner, the men exhibiting the utmost coolness, that not a man was lost,
though the retreat was a long way over an open, level field. Soon after this we went to Greenville and thence to Washington, crossing the Tar in canoes in high water, when the regiment threatened the town and waked up the enemy's gunboats again; we lost one man killed and several wounded.
But the main object, on the part of the Confederate authorities, of these operations in Eastern North 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 becoming thoroughly efficient for the sterner activities of actual battle, the Forty-seventh Regiment is at length, and henceforth to the end, will be with the Army of Northern Virginia. It was well it had a thorough training, for soon it was to go through 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 Shepherdstown. On the north 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 by the fullness of an opulent city, but no one dared to loot it. On 29 June we camped near Cashtown, and on the 30th were marching rapidly into Gettysburg with the avowed object of shoeing our barefooted men. Already the non-combatants had gotten (as they always do when danger is far off) to the front, and we were almost at our destination when a person in citizen's dress, on a farm horse, rode leisurely from the adjacent woods up
to the fence, on the other side of which we were moving, inquired for our commander, and paced up to the head of our column. On his arrival there the command "Halt!" rang down our line. Was this a spy? "About face quick time, march!" 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 Gettysburg. It is remembered that Company A had eighty-two trigger pullers, each with forty rounds of ammunition, and the other companies were perhaps 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 better. 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 broken to pieces. The day was a hot one, and the men had 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 forward through the growing wheat breast high, toward a body of the enemy in sight, but 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 gun-barrels on the wheat heads. Though taken by surprise the roar of our guns 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
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 Federals swarmed around him as bees cover their queen. In the midst of a heterogeneous mass of men, acres big, he approached 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 genuine 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 remained 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, moonlight night.
On the 2d we were not engaged save in witnessing the marshaling 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 preparing to make that celebrated, but imprudent charge, familiarly 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 Pettigrew supported Pickett instead of Pickett supported Pettigrew, is also incomprehensible. It is certain that the two divisions (Pettigrew 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. Pickett's Division was perfectly fresh. Pettigrew's had just passed through 1 July in which even its commander (Heth) had been knocked out.
If further witness he sought, the respective numbers of dead men in the correctly recorded spots where they fell, supply it. But let it be distinctly understood Pettigrew's men appreciate that it was not the brave Pickett and his men, who claimed for themselves pre-eminence in this bloody affair.
- FORTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT.
- 1. J. D. Newsom, 2d Lieut., Co. I.
- 2. J. Wilie Jones, 2d Lieut., Co. I.
- 3. J. Rowan Rogers, 2d Lieut., Co. I.
- 4. Thomas Westray, 2d Lieut., Co A.
- 5. B. H. Bunn, 2d Lieut., Co. A.
- 6. George B. Moore, Sergeant, Co. C.
- 7. Luke E. Estes, Private, Co E.
- 8. John Wesley Bradford, Private, Co. G.
- (Picture in Supplementary Group,
- 4th volume.)
They remember, vividly remember, how Pickett chafed while waiting to make his spring, like an untamed lion for his 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 foresights." 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 down 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 Regiment) ought to be recorded. He 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 file of the army of Northern Virginia did not realize the bigness of the event that had just happened; nor can we believe the Army of the Potomac (lid, 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 clowns. On the 1st as it double-quicked on Reynold, it had an equal chance with the enemy and had hurled 30,000 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
main weapon. The skeleton of its former self it returned to the place whence it began its charge and began business without a field officer, and during the balance of the day and the succeeding night welcomed the return of several of our members who, unscathed or wounded in various degrees, crawled from the field of carnage, for the space between the armies continued neutral ground, being covered by the wounded of both. On the 4th General Pettigrew told us that had we succeeded the evening before, no doubt our army would have been on the road to Washington and perhaps negotiations for peace would then be on foot. Surely the esprit de corps of our regiment was undaunted.
On the night of the 4th we moved off leisurely toward Funktown, where we stood up on the 11th to meet a threatened 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 Potomac. 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 received 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 number of prisoners mainly by cutting our men off from the pontoon bridge.
A few days rest was taken at Bunker Hill, thence we marched to Orange Court House, where we recuperated rapidly by the return of those who had been wounded and a goodly number of recruits from home. So that on 14 October the Forty-seventh carried quite a strong force 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 Meade's retreating army, and without awating reinforcements made a furious attack against it thoroughly entrenched. This was a gross blunder on the part of our corps' general (A. P. Hill) who sent us in. Let it be
recalled that the ground over which we charged sloped down to the railroad embankment behind which were the enemy's infantry, and sloped up 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 year as prisoners, when the rest of the line being 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 battle 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 frequent manaeuvering; Meade and Lee, like two big bulls, each trying to put his head into the other's flank, and once at Vidiersville an imminent battle was avoided by the two generals 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 enemy'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 Potomac, 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
returned to the command of the brigade, and Colonel Faribault to the command of the Forty-seventh.
On 5 May, 1864, Grant moved out on Mine Run 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 intermission in the winter) till 9 April, 1865.
We first struck the enemy's cavalry, dismounted, and gradually pushed them back over five miles, during which we now and then lost a man, till the middle of the evening, when we came up to Cooke's Brigade just engaging the enemy's infantry 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 order; 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 disordered 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 companies into line," and without any halt continued their advance 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 they had taken in the morning, mingling vast numbers of dead Federals among the Confederates 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 without much resistance. This was a battle in which the powder used far exceeded a commensurate loss of men on
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 regiment 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 desperately 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 themselves 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 ordered, rushed after and harrassed their rear for two miles. This was the battle of Bethesda Church, and amid the tremendous 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 evening. 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 MacRae succeeded to the command of our
brigade about this time, and through every vicissitude proved the equal of any brigadier in the army. Quite a number of the men of the Forty-seventh were killed and wounded in the engagement.
General Heth, with his division, remained on the ground taken that night, fortified and awaited to-morrow. Early on to-morrow the enemy massed a host in our front and attempted to break through us all day. They were in the woods, we on the edge of it with a small field behind us. This enabled them to get very near us, perhaps forty to sixty yards, and we learned by sound rather than by sight, when they arose to charge, and kept them in check by shooting in the direction of their noise, as they would attempt to encourage their men. It was literally an all-day affair. Among our other embarrassments we were nearly surrounded, and once when the enemy's cannon sent a shell from our rear and our men had craned their necks, General Heth coolly commanded an aid "to go stop that battery-tell them they are firing into my men." Fortune was propitious, and they did stop, doubtless, because they could suppose their own men to be fired into by their shelling, 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, inflicting heavy loss. From Gaines' Mill we crossed the Chickahominy. Thence about the middle of June we crossed the James and a few days after the Appomattox rivers, and our division took position on the extreme right of General Lee's long line of defense extending from the Chickahominy to Hatcher's Run, a distance of about thirty-five miles.
Hatcher's Run and its vicinity are henceforth to be the scene of our operations, and it was around this flank and in this vicinity that General Grant did most of his hammering, and near here he finally broke through Lee's lines to begin the Appomattox campaign.
Once, in July, our division recrossed the Appomattox to
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.
On 25 August MacRae's, with Lane's and Cooke's Brigades distinguished themselves in the battle of Reams Station. Hancock had fortified this place and other Southern troops had failed to dislodge him, when these North Carolinians 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 triumphant Federals must have smiled as they beheld the small force advancing against them, and intended to withhold their fire until 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 behold the assault is successful. The result is several flags and cannon, a large number killed and wounded, and 2,100 prisoners. A Federal officer, as he sat, a surprised prisoner, remarked 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
was Grant's way, a continual extending his left with fresh troops and making his line impregnable with the spade and cannon.
On the 27th the enemy again felt, for our right flank, and at Burgess' Mill 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 pointing 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 prisoners. MacRae complained bitterly about his superiors in command 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 Association, but no sign of it was visible at the close of the campaign-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! It 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 great deal, and a few who supposed they could bear no more deserted to the enemy, who stood with outstretched arms to welcome them. The Forty-seventh furnished very few of this class.
As General Grant received a steady flow of reinforcements he invariably sent them to extend his left and in the severest
weather the 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 successful 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 irresistible force on his left, which was daily feeling for our right, and on 2 April broke through our attenuated line nearer to Petersburg 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 appeared in that quarter. Lieutenant Westray, of Company A, with thirty 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 skirmishers of the Forty-seventh had (lone picket duty on the extreme of our right the night of the 1st and were returning on the morning of the 2d along the breastworks 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 complete surprise.
Things everywhere on our side were now getting in a desperate 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 near Southerland's Station, where McRae was so pressed 2 April that he must
need turn and fight. Two charges of the enemy were repulsed and the third was being made when a column of the enemy arrived on our left and rear. A fierce struggle ensued in which 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 toward Amelia Court House, MacRae 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 7th our men snatched some rations from a government commissary store which 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, when Fitz Lee and Gregg's Cavalry Brigades charged each other, in which Gregg 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 battle to charge the enemy who were visible in front, but when MacRae commanded "Halt," and without any further order as to rest, etc., so contrary to his rule as a disciplinarian, 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 Company 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 enemies) flocked among us by the hundreds and showed their highest respect for their late antagonists. To see General
Lee was the burden on every tongue. There was no exultation; 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 spared.
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. No Federal officer of rank was in sight. There was no music. 'Twas silent-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 North Carolina Regiment. 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 II. THORP.
ROCKY MOUNT, N. C.,
9 April, 1901.
ADDITIONAL SKETCH FORTY-SEVENTH
BY J. ROWAN ROGERS. SECOND LIEUTENANT COMPANY I.
I have accepted the task of writing this additional sketch of the Forty-seventh North 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 Gettysburg 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 marching some distance from our camp on the morning of 1 July, the Forty-seventh Regiment was fired into from both sides of the road and a halt. was immediately called, when the enemy 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. Notwithstanding this was a great surprise to all of our regiment, you could plainly see pleasure depicted upon the face of every officer and man in the regiment, for we all were anxious for the fray. Every one waited anxiously for orders, which were given by our Colonel, G. IT. Faribault, who ordered Captain Cameron Iredell, of Company C, to take five men front 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
Faribault then gave the order for our regiment to march in column to the right by fours, thus heading our column directly towards the attacking party, 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 gallant regiment, to the left of the road, thus the brigade faced three ways. The main line composed of the Forty-seventh and Fifty-second, faced in the direction of Gettysburg, while the two skirmish lines faced the enemy on our right, and left respectively. As soon as the rear and left of the Forty-seventh 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 passed the 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 the road. This being done, a forward movement by the Forty-seventh and Fifty-second was again ordered, one on the right and one on the left, which was gallantly done without any loss except four or five slightly wounded. The enemy broke and fled to-wards Gettysburg at the second volley from the two regiments. The Eleventh and Twenty-sixth were not engaged in this skirmish. Marching in the rear, they did not have room to form in line in time, for the Forty-seventh and Fifty-second had about 1,300 men in line in both regiments. After repulsing the attack at this point we again marched back to the road, called in our skirmishers and took up our march, which was continued about one mile, when we were subjected to a severe cannonading from batteries in our front and here
we commenced to get into position and form line of battle for the great struggle which was about to take place on 1 July, 1863. Then the Fifty-second North 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 and Eleventh North Carolina had lost two-thirds of their numbers, for when the word of command was given they rushed forward against a largely superior force which was stationed 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-seventh 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 ordered 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 Yankees who are stationed upon a. hill, and we drive them down the hill on the other side, pell mell. 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
the morning of 1 July. Now when the rattling of musketry is growing 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 steadily 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 through 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-seventh and Fifty-second are pushing 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 this was going on the infantry in our front tried hard to rally their somewhat broken lines and regain the ground they had lost. This was a hot time for the Twenty-sixth and Eleventh. Men had fallen wounded 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 attempting 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 without striking their own men. At this critical moment Captain Cam. Iredell, who commanded Company C, which was the color company of the Forty-seventh, seeing one of his men
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 enemy which caused his death, not, however, until he had seen the enemy again turn and flee. The Forty-seventh lost heavily 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 balance 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 about 3 p. in., 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 perhaps 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 heard loud and clear, "Attention, Battalion," and this was repeated by the brave and beloved lieutenant-Colonel, John A. Graves. Every man sprung into line and was ready to go forward, the men knew not where, 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 was 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. No 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 so close that they could not use their cannon. As our regiment advanced great gaps would be knocked in our lines by the Yankee artillerymen,
at almost every five or ten steps, but they were immediatly filled in 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 continued to pour in on us from the time we started until we were so close under their guns 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. Many 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 this Lieutenant J. Wiley Jones was shot through the thigh leaving Lieutenant J. Rowan Rogers as the only officer with Company I. As 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, which was fired after the charge was started and he rushed to his Captain (Mitchell) and says to him, "Captain, they have wounded me, but I want to lead Company H," and gallantly did he lead it. He fell terribly wounded with his foot upon one rail of the fence that ran along the road, next to the rock fence behind which the Yankee line was posted. Our color-bearer, a member of Company K, Faucett's Company from Alamance county, succeeded in passing over this fence, but fell mortally wounded. He died that night with his face to the enemy. Our colors fell with our brave color-bearer not ten steps from the rock wall. About 150 yards from the rock wall, while crossing one of the many fences, which ran across the ground we were charging over, I was shot in my left leg and thrown from the fence. When I arose the remnant of our once fine regiment was reduced to a mere handful of brave men, still going forward from thirty to as close up as ten steps to the rock wall. Seeing this and having recovered from my fall and my leg not seeming to be badly hurt, I made
a rush to join the set of brave men nearest the enemy, when I was startled to hear the command given the Yankee skirmishers "To the front," and immediately I heard our brave Lieutenant-Colonel Graves give the order for the handful of brave men to lie down, hoping thus to hold his position until reinforcements 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, afterwards member of Congress 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 missing, 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 think 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, Pettigrew's Brigade was again given the post of honor which was to bring up the rear of our retreating army. At Falling Waters, or
about one and a half miles from there, while our regiment was halted to give our wagon train and the troops who were to cross at Falling Waters protection while passing the river, we were surprised and charged by a squadron of cavalry. Our beloved General J. Johnston Pettigrew was on the extreme right of our line and was shot while drawing his pistol. 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 mount, a Yankee officer riding 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 Yankee seeing that Pettigrew did not intend to surrender, fired and hit him. General Pettigrew fell 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 drunk. 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 possible. When a few days thereafter we camped at Bunker Hill, our regiment numbered 98 men for duty. My company (I) lost at Falling Waters eight men killed, wounded and captured. I remember the loss particularly, because I was acting adjutant of the regiment, our gallant Adjutant Thomas Powell having been captured at Gettysburg.
At the Wilderness, the Forty-seventh Regiment 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 increased 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-fourth
regiment was the first regiment after the Forty-seventh to become 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 position on the left of the road, but was soon moved over to the right of the road, where we held our position for three hours, the enemy charging us almost continuously. During this time the heaviest fighting took place which, with our regiment, was about 2 o'clock p. m. The black-jack saplings were skinned by the bullets like a young apple tree is in the 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 boyhood 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 Junction, Second ('old 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 wound 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 T should now he living, for T was out of my head for several days after I was wounded. On account of this wounding I missed the battles which took place from then until the day after the Reams Station fight (25 August, 1864), where the Forty-seventh covered itself with glory as did all the troops engaged, all being North Carolinians, viz: Cooke's, Lane's and MacRae's Brigades, the last being the one to which the Forty-seventh then belonged. I was thenceforward with the regiment until 2 April, 1865.
2 APRIL, 1865.
On that day I was captured on the Cox road about five
miles west of Petersburg, while with the skirmishers of the Forty-seventh Regiment holding the enemy back till the handful of Lee's army 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 fight the Forty-seventh, like almost all the Southern troops which were on the south side of Petersburg, 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 Petersburg, 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. Willie Jones, of Company I, and Corporal Rufus Sanders of Company C, who are now living in Wake county. After 2 April the Forty-seventh had very few men but its organization was kept up till General Lee surrendered. On the 2d the Forty-seventh was bringing up the rear of General 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 when placed in charge of the skirmishers of the Forty-seventh Regiment on that day to hold our position at all hazards. The enemy was never able to break through my skirmish line, but it was completely surrounded and we were captured by the enemy coming from our rear. Gaston H. Mooneyham, a private of Company E, Forty-seventh Regiment, who is now living in Barton's Creek Township, this county, was with me when I was captured and stood manfully by me in this fight, the last fight we made for the Confederacy.
J. ROWAN ROGERS.
RALEIGH, N. C ,
9 APRIL, 1901.
- FORTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT.
- 1. Samuel H. Walkup, Colonel.
- 2. William Hogan Jones, Major.
- 3. W. H. H. Lawhon, Captain. Co. D.
- 4. John R. Winchester, Adjutant and 1st Lieut.
- 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 1861, 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 campaign. The Federal army 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 North Carolina 25 February, 1862.
At this time volunteer companies were being raised in all parts of the State. Many of the patriotic sons of North Carolina volunteered, most of the men who were drafted joined some company then being raised. A few hired substitutes who 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 Forty-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, Captain.
COMPANY D-Moore County-Benjamin R. Huske, Captain.
COMPANY E-Union County-John W. Walden, Captain.
COMPANY F-Union County-Samuel H. Walkup, Captain.
COMPANY G-Chatham County-William H. Jones, Captain.
COMPANY H-Davidson County-John Michael, Captain. COMPANY I-Union County-Elias C. Alexander, Captain.
COMPANY K-Forsyth County-Jesse W. Atwood, Captain.
It was organized on 11 April, 1862, choosing:
ROBERT C. HILL, Colonel, of Iredell County.
SAMUEL IT. WALKUP, Lieutenant-Colonel, of Union County.
BENJAMIN R. 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 Colonel 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 carried 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 order and disorder, but mostly in disorder. A horse was cut
on the leg with 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. Not 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. Next 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 behind a fence and we in an open field. However, 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 D, and Captain Atwood, Company K, killed; and Captain Michael, Company H; Captain Walker, Company C; Lieutenant Anderson, Company I); and Lieutenant Stilts, Company A, were wounded. We lost non-commissioned officers and men: Killed 21, wounded 46; and of the 46 wounded, 19 died, according to the North Carolina Roster.
Some unpleasantness occurred between General Ransom and Colonel Hill, which resulted in the Forty-eighth Regiment 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
Oak Swamp, on 1 July. We were a little too late to take part in the Malvern 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 our regiment was recruited by conscripts and before we had time to drill them we were ordered to march and were now on the memorable Maryland campaign. We took part in the capture 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 Shepherdstown, and on the night of the 16th were placed to guard a ford on the Antietam river, about two miles south of Sharpsburg. The battle on the left opened very early on the morning of the 17th, and about 9 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 coming into the gap. Walker's Division drove them back and held the field. If we had been a few minutes later the Confederate 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 were 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-seventh North Carolina Regiment and Third Arkansas Regiment, a part of Walker's Brigade, were sent to the right, and the Forty-eighth North Carolina and Thirtieth Virginia Regiments to the left, leaving a gap between us that would have required several men to have filled, but fortunately for us,
the enemy did not see it. Then, about 4 o'clock p. m., Colonel Hill was ordered with his regiment, the Forty-eighth, to the extreme left of the line, where there was some hard fighting. 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 Dunkard Church about dark, where we remained until the night of the 18th, when we recrossed the Potomac.
After the Army of Northern 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, belonging 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; Captain John Moore, Company I; Captain J. F. Heitman, company H; Lieutenant J. K. Potts, Company C; Lieutenant 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 January, 1863, to Pocataligo, S. C., where we remained until April, and were then ordered back to Eastern North Carolina until July. While here we did a good deal of marching, were in a little skirmish at Gum Swamp, and drove the Yankees 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 Fredericksburg, were there about a month; then to Gordonsville, where we joined the regular army and marched to Bristoe
Station on 14 October, 1863. We had missed all the hard marching on the campaign to Pennsylvania and the great battle of Gettysburg, but at Eris-toe 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 quarters.
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 General 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 growth, which was cut down 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 undergrowth was 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 morning. At daylight the skirmish firing began. At sunrise the enemy advanced in several lines. In the meanwhile a battery of small guns was brought in and opened on the advancing lines of Federals which were between us and the rising 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
rounds, when General Longstreet's Corps advanced and drove them back into and out of their breastworks and took possession of the same. This was a most gallant act. Longstreet with one line drove several lines of Federals back, leaving 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, captured a few days afterward, reported that several corps were ordered back as they thought we were advancing.
The regiment 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 Hanover. The solid shot were falling and bouncing thick on the ground. The only casualties I remember were Sergeant C. Lawhon and Corporal M. C. You, Company D, Forty-eighth North Carolina, both killed with the same shot. Our next engagement 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. Howard, 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
passing through a ravine where some Yankee prisoners were under guard. A very large, gruff looking Yankee was standing up slurring the rebels. He asked: "Why do you rebels wear such dirty, ragged clothes?" An Irishman by the name of Forrest, belonging to Company D, Forty-eighth Regiment, 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 with us now," pointing to a dead Yankee near by. This wit 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 Confederate lines, only some cavalry being on our left. This was, with us, probably the very hardest-fought battle of the war. Just as we got in position on an old road-and it was about sun up-the Federals, in heavy force, made a charge which we met and after a hard struggle, which lasted some time, repulsed. They soon made another charge. We were assisted in repulsing this one by a battery 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 within 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, with a rebel yell, and poured lead into them, cutting down numbers of them. The old field in front of us was almost covered with their dead. At no time during the war did the Forty-eighth and Twenty-seventh do better fighting.
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 explosion. We returned and on the next day took up our quarters in the trenches. The Forty-eighth occupied that position which had been blown up. Here we remained for several weeks, when we 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 extend 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 sharpened, making it very difficult to reach the works. The position of the Forty-eighth was near the centre of the line, the 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
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 position on the right of the lines. The next march we took, and I think it was in December, was to Bellfield, where we had a skirmish with Yankee cavalry. Sergeant H. B. Cox, of Company D, lost his foot by a shell. This was all the loss I remember. We remained on Hatcher's Run until the Confederate lines were broken, 2 April, 1865. We had several skirmishes 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 possession 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. I believe that Lieutenant Austin was the last man killed in the Forty-eighth as I do not remember any other being killed afterwards.
We only held our picket post about two days, as our pickets were captured on 28 or 29 March, and on 2 April, the lines to our left were broken. We took up the line of march 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 memorable 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, 9 April, 1865. The Twenty-seventh and Forty-eighth Regiments were ordered out to
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 Captain lost his hat, running from a Yankee horseman, and would have been captured had it not been for a deep gully near by into which he went and got out of the horse's way.
At the surrender the Forty-eighth Regiment had been reduced in number until we did not have men enough to make more than one full company.
Now 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 campaign 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 Northern Virginia. He was 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 regiment 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 memorable campaign of 1864.
Major B. R. Huske was a very mild, gentle and kind-hearted man, a well posted and good officer. The whole regiment was grieved at his death, which occurred on 15 July,
1862, from wounds received in the battle of French's Farm, 25 June.
Captain F. L. Wiatt, of Company A, was promoted to Major at the death of Huske. 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 return.
H. A. Gunter, of Wake, was our first Adjutant. From some cause he was not with us in the battle of French's Farm. Lieutenant 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 became 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 reference in this history, and the writer 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.
- FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT.
- 1. S. D. Ramseur. Colonel.
- 2 James T. Davis. Lieut. Colonel.
- 3. John A. Flemming, Lieut.-Colonel. (Killed at Petersburg)
- 4. Cicero Durham, Captain and A. Q. M.
- 5. Henry A. Chambers, Captain, Co. C.
- 6. Edwin V. Harris, Captain, Co. E.
BY THOMAS R. ROULHAC, FIRST LIEUTENANT COMPANY D.
The Forty-ninth Regiment of North Carolina State Troops was composed of ten companies of infantry, raised in the counties of McDowell, 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 soldiers, 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. RAMSEUR, Colonel.
WILLIAM A. ELIASON, Lieutenant-Colonel.
LEE M. MCAFEE, Major.
LIEUTENANT RICHMOND, Adjutant.
GEORGE L. PHIFER, Sergeant-Major.
CAPTAIN E. P. GEORGE, Commissary.
CAPTAIN J. W. WILSON, Quartermaster.
DR. JOHN K. RUFFIN, Surgeon.
REGINALD H. GOODE, Assistant Surgeon.
PETER NICHOLSON, Chaplain.
The non-commission staff was completed with James Holland, Quartermaster-Sergeant; Harrison Hall, Hospital Steward, and James H. Geiger, Ordnance Sergeant.
The history of Ramseur is known to all the people of North Carolina. No one of her sons ever contributed, by his devotion to her service, skill and heroic bravery on the field of battle, and fearless exposure and ultimate sacrifice of his life, more to the historic lustre of the name and honor of this, one
of the greatest of the American States. He gave untiring energy 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 for a few years an officer in the regular army, endowed with 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 encounters, and with a spirit fired with a determination to excel in the profession of arms; it is not to be wondered at, that, under his capable authority and the influence of his stirring example, 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 subsequent career demonstrated, be retained, not alone to characterize 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 retreating, in sunshine and storm, through the long and wearing siege of Petersburg, 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 reinforcements could be brought seven miles to retake the crater; 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 way, and victory perched on their well-worn battle flag; when death 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. North 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
priests, her soldiers and her patriots, holds within her bosom the dust of no nobler or more perfect man than that of Stephen Dobson Ramseur.
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 enables 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 Hornets' Nest of North Carolina a fortress of independence and a terror to their country's invaders.
Soon after its organization Lieutenant-Colonel Eliason resigned, Major McAfee succeeding him, and Captain John A. Fleming, of Company A, was promoted to Major.
When the operations of McClellan's army around Richmon, culminating in the seven days' battles, began, the regiment 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 conflicts 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 Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain Pinckney B. Chambers, of Company C. was made Major. During the summer of 1862 Adjutant Richmond fell a victim to typhoid fever, and the life of this brave and capable officer was thus destroyed-no less an offering on the altar of patriotism than if he had laid it
down on the battlefield. Cicero A. Durham, of Cleveland county, prior to the war a cadet of the Military Institute of General D. H. Hill, at Charlotte, and who afterwards became so famous throughout the army as the fighting quartermaster, was appointed adjutant. He served 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 Sergeant-Major, was appointed Adjutant, and continued in that position during the remainder of the war, actively on duty until some time in the spring of 1864, when bad health caused his absence to the close of hostilities.
By reason of the losses in front of Richmond in this campaign, both of officers and men, changes in the roster of officers 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 had.
George W. Lytle succeeded to the Captaincy of Company A; Henry A. Chambers was, on 10 December, 1862, appointed to the command of Company C; Columbus H. Dixon was made Captain of Company G, on 17 November, 1862, in the place of Captain Rufus Roberts; Charles F. Connor, on 1 February, 1863, succeeded Captain W. W. Chenault, 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. Corresponding changes ensued in the other grades of company officers.
From Richmond the scene of action was speedily transferred by General Lee to the Potomac and beyond; and then back to the capture of Harper's Ferry, thence to Sharpsburg, or Antietam, the command moved under the orders of that great figure in our military history. At Sharpsburg it
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-Colonel Flemming, was killed and a dozen men of his company 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. Ransom and Adjutant Walter Clark, who were riding at. the head of the Thirty-fifth, were close behind and barely escaped the shell which was evidently 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 Fredericksburg, beginning 11 December, 1862, where it took position 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 quarters 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 the 17th, when it left for eastern North Carolina.
Front this time on until the spring of 1864, the regiment, with the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-fifth and Fifty-sixth Regiments, composed Ransom's Brigade which protected the line of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad from those two terminal points, and that of the road from Goldsboro to below Kinston; being constantly on the move, appearing one day at the other end of the line from that at which they were the day before, and vigilantly guarding the territory of Eastern North Carolina, from which such abundant supplies were contributed for the support of our armies. Strategically, it was the right wing of the Army of Virginia; and General Scott, whose plan of campaign delineated
at the beginning of hostilities, of intersecting the Confederacy, was verified by events, and the consummation of which resulted 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 portion of the Confederacy. The closing events of the war demonstrated the accuracy of his judgment and his consummate skill as a strategist. That it was not done sooner must convince the student of history how severely taxed were the powers and resources of the Federal government to meet and hold in check the main armies of the South, and that its dismemberment was deferred so long alone by the magnificent courage and endurance of its soldiery. Ransom's Brigade was the most important force in the section mentioned' for many months; and, occupying in quick succession Weldon, Warsaw, Kenansville, Goldsboro, Kinston, Wilmington and Greenville, it was always on hand to confront any movement of the 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 Virginia, the Federals would send out expeditions; but, in each instance, no great distance would be traversed before they were confronted by Ransom's Brigade. Besides the protection thus afforded to the main army in Virginia, an extensive and fertile section of the country was thus kept open for supplies of corn and meat to the Confederate forces; and it was not rare for other supplies and needed articles to reach our lines through that territory. Meanwhile, the ranks of all the regiments in that brigade were recruited; drill and discipline 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, containing a greater number of effective, well-trained, veteran soldiers.
On 22 May, 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 cavalry, were surrounded by a considerable force of the enemy; and, 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 New Bern. The balance of the regiment being moved from Kinston to the support 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 year 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 demonstration 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 Chickahominy; 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 North Carolina. During the residue of the summer and succeeding fall and winter it was constantly on the move.
On 9 June, 1863, Thomas R. Roulhac was appointed Sergeant-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 Lieutenant of Company D, in June, 1864.
On 28 January, 1864, the command left Weldon for Kinston,
and there became a part of the forces under Generals Pickett and Hoke in the movement against New Berm General Pickett proceeded down 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 Batchelor's Creek, capturing about four hundred prisoners, two pieces of artillery, a large number of small arms, horses and camp equipage, and drove the entire Federal force precipitately towards New Bern.
ATTACK ON NEW BERN.
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 February the picket post of the Federals was reached and surprised without the escape of a single man. Every precaution 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 information of the movement from reaching the commander of the Federals; and it is now certain that a complete surprise to . him was effected. As soon as the picket post was taken, each regiment of Ransom's Brigade was ordered to throw forward a company as skirmishers, Company C, of the Forty-ninths being selected from that regiment. This was done largely on account of the well-earned reputation of its commander, Captain Henry A. Chambers, for prudence, vigor and courage. No officer of his rank hi 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 distinguished 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
of Captain Cicero A. Durham, the fighting Quartermaster, until the enemy's fortifications were reached. It was the opinion of the officers 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 begun 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 Palmer, the commander of the Federals at New Bern, bearing a dispatch to the officer in command at Morehead City, stating that, unless reinforcements were quickly sent him, he must surrender.
It was during this expedition to New Bern that Commander Wood, of the Confederate Navy, made his daring attack 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, destroyed it. Beyond these small results, however, nothing was accomplished; unless the whole movement was intended as a demonstration, merely.
During the entire day of 2 February, Company D, under Lieutenant Barrett, and Company E, under 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 quarters, was from Weldon, via Franklin and South Mills, in the direction of Norfolk. The enemy was met along the Dismal Swamp canal, driven in after the capture of a number
of prisoners by Colonel Dearing, in command of the cavalry, and the capture of Norfolk threatened. This 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 exciting little affair, in which our troops met negro soldiers for the first time. Quick work was made of their line of battle, 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 fire 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 destroyed. 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 their 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 Norfolk and Fortress Monroe to meet us; but, though we offered battle, no attack was made, and when 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 returned via South Quay and Murfree's Station, to Weldon.
On 30 March we began our march from Weldon, by way of Murfreesboro 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 beautiful Albemarle Sound the month of April, 1864, was spent in the fullest enjoyment of all the delights of springtime, beautiful
scenery on sound and river, and in the opening life of woods and flowers. The fish and other delicacies of this favored 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 memories of officers and men as the last space of repose and comfort, 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 burning a considerable portion of the town. Pushing on from Greenville, we crossed Contentnea creek, the Neuse 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.
At the date last mentioned (May, 1864), Butler's movement on Drewry's Bluff, with Richmond as the objective point, had begun; and from this date until Five Forks every day was a day of battle for us. Butler had seized the Richmond 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 North Carolinian, Robert F. Hoke, caused its withdrawal to the river side of the pike. At Half-Way House Hoke offered battle, but the enemy slowly retired before him,
and the way was opened to Drewry's Bluff for the reinforcements to Beauregard. As soon as we arrived there Ransom's Brigade was ordered to the right of our lines, and had barely reached there and occupied the works when the first assault of the battle of Drewry's Bluff was made upon us. While repelling this attack in front, but fortunately for the Forty-ninth Regiment, which was on the extreme 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 fire in our rear, and advanced to the charge from the woods on our right. But brave Durham had his skirmishers there; and though they were few in number, he was ever a lion in the path of the foe. Foot by foot he contested the ground until the charge in our front was broken, when the Forty-ninth and Twenty-fifth Regiments leaped over the works and poured a destructive volley into the ranks of the flanking party, before which their line melted away. Poor Durham-truly a Chevalier Bayard, if ever nature placed a heart 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 presence in battle, he never missed a fight; was always in the thickest at the forefront of the tempest of death; he gloried in the fray, and earned a reputation throughout the army as the fighting Quartermaster, which added lustre to the valor of our troops, and which North Carolina and North Carolinians should not suffer to perish. He was but a boy, an humble, devout Christian, as pure and chaste as a woman, and in the intensity of his love for his State and the cause she had espoused he counted the sacrifice 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 afterwards commanded during the summer and till his return at different times, by Colonels Clarke, Rutledge, McAfee, Faison and Jones. The Fifty-sixth Regiment being hotly assailed in falling back, lost a number in killed and wounded; but repulsed every assault with telling effect. The Forty-ninth lost eleven killed and a considerable
number of wounded in this engagement of the evening 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 Linebarger, of Company H, was mortally wounded. Dr. Goode, Assistant Surgeon, and three litter-bearers were captured, 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 abandoned 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 for 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 Robert Ransom. Ransom struck the enemy on their extreme right, carried their works, and turned their flank, each brigade in turn assisting to open the way to the next attacking one.
Blow after blow fell thick and fast on Butler's army. All parts of his line were heavily pressed, so that none could render 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 had 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 command of his forces, conducted by him in person on the field, it was unsurpassed by any fight on this continent; and but for Whiting's moving from his position on the turnpike in Butler's rear, thus allowing him to escape without molestation to Bermuda Hundreds, it would have resulted in the capture of his entire army. It. is difficult now to understand how so many blunders could have been committed at
critical moments by Confederate generals in important commands, save that the hand of Fate had penned the decree of our defeat; but of all those, which contributed to our downfall, 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 Regiments were ordered to the right flank of Bushrod Johnson's Brigade, on the right of the turnpike facing towards 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 with 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 commanded 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 shelter of a skirt of woods; and in a short time Major James T. Davis, Colonel McAfee having been wounded, and Lieutenant-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' company 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 Captain 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 wounded, and Lieutenants Daniel Lattimore, of Company B, and B. F. Dixon, of Company G, were severely wounded.
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, Captain George L. Phifer, of Company K, was wounded. Companies 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. Ruffin 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 River 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 became a part of Bushrod Johnson's Division. After marching 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 shot 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 Gracie's Brigade, drove hack the Federal cavalry which had attempted to cut our communications with Richmond, and enter Petersburg from that direction. We were then marched along the Richmond pike until about midnight, when we opened cornmunication 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 captured 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
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. When flanked on our right, we would fall back to meet the flank attack, repulse 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 Avery's farm to Blandford cemetery was fought over and over again.
Ransom's Brigade played a conspicuous part in these movements. 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 those 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 Regiment 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 anxions hearts we saw he night wear on, not knowing what fate the morning would bring us, if we survived to see it; and it was with a glad shout that, as the sun rose, and the Federals were massing on our right flank to crush us, we welcomed the head of Longstreet's column coming at a trot to our right wing. The contemplated charge upon us was not made; rifle pits were hastily dug and strengthened into formidable entrenchments on the new line; and thus began the siege of Petersburg.
From this date until 16 March, 1865, just nine months, in the lines east of Petersburg, occupying at different times positions from the Appomattox river to the Jerusalem plank road, often not a hundred yards from the works of the enemy, constantly exposed to danger and death from mortar and cannon shells and halls, grape, shrapnel and the deadlier minie balls, we engaged in daily battle. Exposed to sun and storm,
- FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT.
- 1. George L. Phifer, Captain. Co. K.
- 2. B. F. Dixon, Captain, Co. G.
- 3. Thos. R. Roulhac, lst Lieut., Co D.
- 4. Edward Phifer, 1st Lieut., Co. K.
- 5. James Greenlee Flemming, 1st Lieut., Co. C. (Killed at Sharpsburg)
heat and cold, with scant food and insufficient supplies, the ranks thinning hourly from deaths, wounds and sickness, depressed 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 Company C, was wounded in the right shoulder by a piece of shell. On 23 July Captain John C. Grier, of Company F, was wounded in the arm and thigh by pieces of a mortal shell.
THE CRATER AT PETERSBURG.
On 30 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, and on the left of Elliott's South Carolina Brigade. The Twenty-fifth North 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 confusion, amid the flying debris and mangled men, the enemy charged in great force, effecting a lodgment in our lines, and a large number of the flags of Burnside's Corps floated on our works. Reinforcements poured to their support and a vigorous assault was made on our line on both sides of the crater. In the van were negro soldiers, crying, "No quarter to the rebels." Most fortunately for 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 charge to retake our works, but the enemy massed his troops so rapidly into the broken salient that it
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 commanded 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 Battery 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 were caught in a trap. When 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 pretense and insincerity, he did not desire nor practice the arts which seek popularity. But he was so brave, so ready, so steadfast and constant in all trying conjunctures, as in his friendships, that his officers and men loved and respected
him and followed him with implicit zeal and faith. 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 lie would have few regrets 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 Forty-ninth North Carolina 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 North Carolina and retook the entire salient, inflicting frightful slaughter upon the enemy. Our lines were re-established, and the Federals were driven hack 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 former 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.
Nothing 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 under 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.
We remained in the trenches until 16 March, 1865, when we were relieved by Gordon's troops, and moved to the extreme right of our lines, occupying Mahone's old winter quarters, and there we stayed until the evening of the 25th, when we were marched to Petersburg, and back to our old position on the lines. We reached there about midnight, and soon the arrangements were made for the attack on Fort, Steadman, or Hare's Hill, under General John B. Gordon. Just at daylight the next morning we advanced to the assault, Ransom's Brigade being 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 R. Roulhac, following the storming party led by 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, with a rush, climbed the chevaux de frise of the enemy, and clambering through and over the deep ditches in their front, went over the enemy's works and captured them before they aroused from their slumbers. The surprise was complete. Sweeping down 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 were not taken, although we enfiladed that part of the line, and with our fire on their flank, it could have been easily done. Their fort near the river was thus enabled to annoy us greatly. Here Colonel McAfee was again slightly wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel James Taylor Davis was 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 Chambers, of Company C, was left in command. We held our position until all the troops on our right had fallen hack, and most of those on our left. When the order to fall back finally reached us, the retreat was made under the most trying circumstances.
We were exposed to a raking fire from three directions, many were falling at every step, but at last we returned 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 H, 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 Piekett's Division, and the next morning were marched down the White Oak road to Five Forks, the Federal cavalry making frequent reconnoissances to ascertain our movements. From Five Forks we marched on to Dinwiddie Court House and engaged in battle that afternoon with Sheridan's cavalry, driving them hack. 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, Ransom'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 skirmishers 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 Roulhac and connected with our cavalry on the left. These dispositions had hardly been completed when clouds of Federal skirmishers were advanced against our skirmish line, but
these were held at bay. Twice they charged with lines of baffle, and were driven back by our skirmishers. Heavy columns of infantry-Warren's whole Corps-were observed massing on our left, and moving around our flank. Frequent reports were made of this by Lieutenant Roulhac, but apparently 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 Bowers, and to report in person to General Ransom, who had already communicated the reports to General Pickett. Proceeding to do this, he reached General Ransom 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 regiment 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 by 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 Roulhac, 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 Brigade, lent the assistance of one regiment, all he could spare from the right of his command, our Thirty-fifth North Carolina 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
of battle. We were penned in like rats in a hole, but the old regiment which Ramseur formed, and McAfee, Flemming, Davis and Chambers had led, still fought with desperation, and though its ranks were thinning fast, the survivors held their ground and did not yield. A slight attempt was now made to reinforce us by another regiment from Wallace's Brigade and one of Pickett's regiments which tried to reach us on our left and extend our new line, but the enemy was pouring 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 constricting 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 conflicts of the historic retreat to Appomattox, where with numbers still further reduced, the reminant of the glorious regiment 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. Accidentally, 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
was deprived of his leg. Others may have escaped my recollection. I have intended them no slight. I would that I could 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 exacting 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 grim 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 prosperity, usefulness and honorable repose when age has sapped their energies and wasting strength has unfitted them for further toil. My heart fills with sadness and distress when T 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, Durham, 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 Sherrill. As was said of a group of noble young Englishmen, it may be truly said of them:
- "Blending their souls' sublimest needsWith tasks of every day;
- They went about their greatest deedsLike noble boys at play."
How their bright young faces come back over the vista of all these 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
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 performed, 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 survive.
To the memory of those who fell, and those, who have since passed away, this imperfect tribute is offered. To the veterans of the Forty-ninth, who are still among the living, an old comrade salutes you.
THOMAS R. ROULHAC.
9 April, 1901.
ADDITIONAL SKETCH FORTY-NINTH
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 outbreak of the war because he had been told that the war would not last sixty days. Indeed some of those war prophets offered 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 discipline, and the great Southern army 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 left 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 countryman kept regular hours 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
meals a day at regular intervals, and to depart from that custom was a hardship difficult to meet. While the townman was in the habit of keeping late hours, and eating at uncertain 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 McDowell-Captain Flemming. He afterwards became Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, and was one of the bravest men in Lee's army. He fell dead, shot through the heart at the Crater in front of Petersburg. George W. Lytle and J. M. Higgins were successively Captains.
COMPANY B-Cleveland County-Captain Corbett. This company was transferred to the Forty-ninth Regiment from the Fifteenth Regiment. Captain Corbett was fearfully hurt in a railroad wreck near Cherryville, N. C., while 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. Magness was promoted to the Captaincy of the company.
COMPANY C-Rowan County-Captain Pinkney B. Chambers. On his promotion to Major he was succeeded as Captain by Henry A. Chambers.
COMPANY D-Moore County-Captain William M. Black. Upon his resignation David S. Barrett became Captain.
COMPANY E-Iredell County-Captain Alex. D. Moore.
COMPANY F-Mecklenburg County-Captain Davis. Captain Davis was promoted to Major and Lieutenant James P. Ardrey was promoted to Captain. Major Davis was killed in front of Petersburg 25 March, 1865, just a few days before the surrender. He was a brave and true soldier. Captain Ardrey was killed at Drewry's Bluff. I could not keep
back the tears when they told me that he was killed. I loved him like a brother. He was succeeded as Captain by Lieutenant John C. Grier.
COMPANY G-Cleveland County-Captain Roberts. Captain 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 promoted 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. N. Torrence became Captain.
COMPANY I-Catawba County-Captain W. W. Chenault. Lieutenant Charles F. Connor afterwards 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 gentlemen 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. Colonel Eliason resigned and Major McAfee was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and after the promotion of Colonel Ramseur, McAfee became Colonel of the regiment and commanded 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 sharp-shooters and was killed at Drewry's Bluff while bravely leading 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 participated,
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 the 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, 1865.
Half-clad and half-rationed these brave, devoted men held the lines for nine long months, including one of the most terrible winters that ever spread its white mantle 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 the 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 rushed out of his bomb-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 to 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
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 officer 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 old 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 shell. No wonder men became inured to danger, 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. No intimations were made against the character of canned beef-we had none-a piece of fat
bacon and a hard and mouldy cracker were luxuries. A soldier in the trenches asked me to write a letter to his wife 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 Gibbons' 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 will 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
and the little ones every night and morning, and I know the good God will not let you suffer more than you are able to bear. Your loving husband, etc."
This man was barefooted in January, 1865, when he dictated 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, with 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 without weariness and fight all day without 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 Forty-ninth Regiment was in General M. W. Ransom's Brigade during all these weary months, together with the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-fifth and Fifty-sixth North Carolina Regiments. This brigade stood between Petersburg and the enemy, and if you will ask any citizen of that city he will tell you how they loved and honored Ransom'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, which the enemy had charged with eight thousand pounds of powder, was fired and a terrific explosion was the result. Many thought the judgment day had come. The earth, 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 were thrown hundreds of feet into the air. Simultaneous with the explosion the enemy opened two hundred pieces of artillery on our lines. The Forty-ninth was to the
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 back, 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 arrived and with the Twenty-fifth North 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 turning the 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-established and the dead of the enemy lay in heaps upon the ground. I mention this battle for the reason that, taken unawares as we were, with the heavens filled with dust and smoke, and the earth rocking beneath our feet, with out-speaking 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 Grant would have taken the city and Lee's army could have been destroyed. 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 Carolinians, 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 engaged 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, including
Fort Steadman, together with a large number of prisoners. The main body of our army followed and took possession of the works and then lay down and waited until the enemy could reinforce their lines, and still waited until they came upon us in front and by flank in numbers so great that they could not be counted, then we were ordered to fall back to our own lines, which we did through such a storm of shot and shell as I never dreamed of before. How any man escaped death I have never been able 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 blundered."
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 through Petersburg for the last time in a drenching rain, and lay at Battery No. 45 all night; then we were moved daily from place to place until the morning of the 31st we moved in the direction of Dinwiddie 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 simply run over us and crowded us so that it became impossible to shoot. 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
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 Carolina 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 requirements 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 voters, 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 batteries, 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 regiments killed in action, or died of wounds. She had six Major-Generals in service, and three of them, namely: Pender, 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 victory 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 Chancellorsville in May, 1863, there were forty North Carolina 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 great 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
killed upon the battlefield, against 9,000 as the highest number 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.
- FIFTIETH REGIMENT.
- 1. John C. Vanhook, Lieut.-Colonel.
- 2. Wm. A. Blalock, 1st Lieut., Co. A.
- 3. J. T. Ellington, 1st Lieut., Co. C.
- 4. J. C. Ellington, 2d Lieut., Co. C.
BY J. C. ELLINGTON, SECOND LIEUTENANT COMPANY C.
The Fiftieth Regiment North Carolina Troops was organized 15 April, 1862, at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, composed of the following companies:
COMPANY A-Person County-Captain John C. VanHook.
COMPANY B-Robeson County-Captain E. C. Adkinson.
COMPANY C-Johnston County-Captain R. D. Lunaford.
COMPANY D-Johnston County-Captain H. J. Ryals.
COMPANY E-Wayne County-Captain John Griswold.
COMPANY F-Moore County-Captain James A. O. Kelly.
COMPANY G-Rutherford County-Captain G. W. Andrews.
COMPANY H-Harnett County-Captain Joseph H. Adkinson.
COMPANY I-Rutherford County-Captain John B. Eaves.
COMPANY K-Rutherford County-Captain Samuel Wilkins.
Marshall D. Craton, of Wayne county, was elected Colonel; 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. Parker, of Wayne county, Commissary; W. H. Borden, of Wayne county, Adjutant; Jesse Edmundson, of Wayne, Sergeant-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 almost constant drilling from morning till night. There was
not, during this time, a single musket in the regiment, but as a substitute we were armed with what was then known as the "Confederate pike." This formidable implement of war consisted of a wooden handle about ten feet long, at one end of which a dirk-shaped spear was securely fastened, and attached to this spear at the shank, 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 was remarkably well drilled, considering all the circumstances. On 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 went into camp at Dunn's Hill, near the city. In a short while we were moved from here to Pickett's factory, on Swift creek, where we remained until 26 June, on which date we were ordered 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 North Carolina Regiments, and Second North Carolina Battalion, with General Junius Daniel in command of the brigade.
IN FRONT OF RICHMOND, 1862.
On Sunday, 29 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 North Carolina Regiments and Brem's (later Graham's), Battery, General Daniel crossed the James river on a pontoon bridge, and after a bard day's march over almost impassable roads, we reached a point near the two contending armies 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
movements of our troops, made its appearance above the tree tops. Our line was immediately 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 New 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 Chaffin's Bluff soon after Daniel's Brigade left Drewry's Bluff, for the purpose, as he states in his official report, of supporting General Holmes at his urgent request.
The aforementioned troops, together with a squadron of cavalry under command of Major Burroughs, constituted the command of General Theo. H. Holmes, which, 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,
just opposite and about 900 yards distant, with a perfectly open field intervening. The scene was awe-inspiring, especially to raw troops who were under fire for the first time. Such a baptism of fire for troops not actually engaged in battle has 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 this 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 stampeded 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 he 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 incident to this affair, and the effort of the men to escape injury 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 planted 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 Malvern Hill at short range with grape and canister, together with solid shot and shell. We were now under a heavy cross fire, with no protection from the fire of these batteries. The Confederate batteries 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,
they never wavered, but stood by their guns and served them to the close of the fight. As the fire from Malvern Hill continued to increase, new batteries being constantly added, General Holmes requested General Daniel to send forward the guns of Brem's battery to reinforce Colonel Deshler. 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 afforded 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 regiment, 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 we were marched back up the road to a piece of woods and camped for the night. On the following day, 1 July, we took position near that of the day before, and remained in line of battle during the day and all night. For six days in succession the Confederates had been
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 reach 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 sacrifice 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 powerless to interpose any obstacle.
Without presuming to criticise the conduct of this battle, or fix the responsibility for failure to capture McClellan's entire army, a result which at this time seemed almost absolutely 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 Malvern 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, while the 6,000 troops under General Holmes for two days and nights served no other purpose than to furnish targets for the Federal gunboats and batteries.
On 2 July we commenced the march back to our former camp at Drewry's Bluff, reaching there about 8 o'clock the next morning.
On 6 July we were ordered to Petersburg, where for several weeks we were employed in constructing breastworks around the city and doing picket duty along the river.
On 31 July, just one month after the battle of Malvern Hill, the infantry brigades of Generals Manning and Daniel, and the artillery brought over by General Pendleton, consisting of forty-three pieces, together with the light batteries belonging to General D. H. Hill's command, making seventy pieces in all, left Petersburg on a secret mission. In order
to conceal the real design, the report had been freely circulated that it was a demonstration against Suffolk. We left Petersburg at 7 o'clock a. in., marched seven miles and were halted at Perkinson's Mill, where rations were issued to the men. Late in the afternoon we resumed the march, having received orders that all canteens or anything that was calculated 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 prevailed. 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 in time to make the 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 the 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, the 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 compelled to lie until midnight of 1 August.
This day, 1 August, was the date set apart by the State authorities of North Carolina for the casting of the soldier vote in the State election, which was then held on the first Thursday in August. We, therefore, had the novel experience of conducting an important and exciting election while lying flat on the ground 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
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 maintenance 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 considered all-sufficient.
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 effectually conceal their guns and horses from the observation of the enemy when they sent up their balloon next morning, which was 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 fortunately they were not discovered. Each commander of a battery had certain specific work assigned him by General Pendleton, and they spent the entire day in selecting locations and routes by which they could reach the same the following 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 the river. The plan was to make the attack precisely at midnight, but it was 12:30 before everything was in readiness. Forty-three of the seventy guns had been placed in position on the bank of the river, some of them at the very water's edge. The other guns were not considered of sufficient range, and were, therefore, not brought into action. By 12 o'clock the infantry had been quietly formed, moved across the road, and drawn up in line between the church and the river, in rear of our guns. We were held in suspense for half an hour when the expected "signal" gun was fired. Immediately and simultaneously the forty-three guns were discharged. Each of the guns had been supplied with from twenty to thirty rounds, with instructions to fire these as rapidly as possible, hitch up and retire. The noise and the flashes of light produced by the rapid and continuous fire of
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 the 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" No. 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 Captain Dabney. The damage inflicted on the enemy will perhaps never be known. General McClellan, in his first report 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 report, "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 affairs 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 suddenly and hurriedly to abandon his camp at Harrison's Landing, and a few days thereafter the writer rode down the river and went through and took a general survey of the camp. I
have never witnessed so great destruction of property as I saw then. Articles of clothing and blankets (all new) by the thousands, were piled in great heaps and apparently saturated 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 great haste.
In 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 enjoyed a jolly Christmas and congratulated ourselves on being comfortably housed for the winter, but on the last day of December the brigade received "marching orders," and on 1 January, 1863, we started for North Carolina and reached Goldsboro on 3 January. We remained here until 3 February, when we started on the march to Kinston in a very heavy snow storm. We reached Kinston on 7 February, and went into camp.
ATTACK ON NEW BEEN.
A plan for a general and concerted movement along the coast region between Norfolk and Wilmington had been arranged for the early spring. A part of the plan was to make a simultaneous and combined attack on 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 \vas to follow on the south side, while General Robert Ransom moved down the Trent river, these last two commands to attack from the land side and the rear of the city. The Forty-third, Forty-fifth and Fiftieth Regiments of Daniel's Brigade left the camp near Kinston on the morning of 12 March, moving down on the south side of Neuse river, accompanied by General D. H. Hill in person. Late in the afternoon
of 13 March, we encountered the enemy in considerable force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, and strongly fortified at "Deep Gully," a small stream a few miles west of New Bern.
General Daniel led the attack in person, and after a lively skirmish the enemy retired hastily 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 infantry, 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 Regiment 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 Fiftieth Regiment to feel for the enemy in the thick wood in our front. When they had advanced only a few paces in front of the main line they received a volley from the enemy, to which they promtly replied, and then followed a lively skirmish, our line slowly, but steadily, advancing all the while. 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 guns 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.
WASHINGTON, N. C.
On 25 March, 1863, the Fiftieth Regiment left Kinston for Greenville, and on the 29th, crossed the Tar river, and joining Garnett's Brigade moved on Washington, which we invested 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 enemy, 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 Pettigrew 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 occupied 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 between the town and Rodman's Point. The Fiftieth Regiment was sent across the low land and took position immediately 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 blockade," 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 succession of broad sides with grape and canister, until we "doublequicked" across the open ground and found cover behind a swamp. The garrison now being relieved by an ample supply
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 Greenville.
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 was ordered to Kinston, and on the 7th moved down near Core creek, on the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad, and tore up several miles of the railroad track. Together with Colonel Nethercutt'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 fortifications around the town and occasionally raiding the enemy's territory around Washington until 3 July, when we returned to Kinston.
On 19 July, 1863, we received orders to intercept General Potter, who was raiding the eastern counties from New Bern to Rocky Mount. This expedition, composed chiefly of the Third New York Cavalry and "North Carolina Union Troops," mostly negroes, left New 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 steamboats, all provisions they could find, and eight hundred bales of cotton. Some of the above might be excused as being
legitimate in time of war, but the conduct generally through the country traversed was wholly inexcusable, cowardly, and infamous in the extreme. Where they visited plantations they ordered the negroes to take the horses, wagons, buggies and carriages and plunder their owner's houses, taking whatever they wished and join the procession. General Potter, in his official report, states that some three hundred of these negroes reached New Bern with him. This 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 New 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 effect his capture. Unfortunately we had no cavalry except a small detachment of Colonel Kennedy's men. Colonel Faison, with the Fifty-sixth North Carolina 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 contending with the movements of cavalry in an open country can be fully appreciated, especially as they kept constantly 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, crossing plantations and traveling unused country paths, they succeeded in escaping with the head of their column about daybreak on the morning of the 22d. We succeeded, however, in reaching the point in time to intercept the rear of the column consisting mostly of negroes, traveling in every conceivable style. General Potter, in his haste to escape, with his troops, abandoned his "contrabands," as he calls them, to their fate.
On reaching the "Burney Place" we opened fire on the column 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 unexpected
that the effect was indescribable. The great cavalcade, composed of men, women and children, perched on wagons, carts, buggies, carriages, and mounted on horses and mules, whipping, slashing and yelling like wild Indians, was suddenly halted by our fire upon the bridge. This fire was upon some negro troops who were in the rear of Potter's column. One negro Captain, who was driving a pair of spirited 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 buggy 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 frightened 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 plantations 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 become unmanageable and take to the woods, wrecking the vehicles and scattering their contents. I saw a number of instances where the carriages had been upset and the throats of the horses cut to prevent their falling into our hands. The Fiftieth Regiment, with the exception of the 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
and nights without rest, sleep or rations. When we reached the ferry that night there was perhaps not more than one-fourth of our men in line. The writer had charge of the remnants of four companies, but 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 New Bern and that a number of transports had reached the Ferry with heavy reinforcements, and that we were in very great danger of being captured. Acting upon the supposition that this report was true, we left our campfires brightly burning, and retiring in midnight darkness, marched the balance 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 Street'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 various 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 entire regiment, men and officers, were poisoned by eating flour which had been poisoned and sent through the blockade. No deaths resulted directly, but the serious effects were felt for a long time and much sickness resulted. This was the second occurrence of the kind at Wilmington. We remained in and around Wilmington until the spring of 1864, engaged in constructing fortifications, doing picket duty along the coast, and provost duty in the city. Nothing except an occasional shelling from some of the enemy's guns and watching our steamers successfully, and with a regularity almost equal to
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 Tarboro. On 30 April, started on the march to Plymouth. The town had, after two days of desperate fighting by the Confederate infantry, led by the gallant Hoke, assisted by Captain 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 regiment, from this time to the latter part of October following, was raiding the eastern counties lying along the coast from New 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 resulted. 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 much valuable property 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 permission to make the attempt to carry 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.
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 concealed themselves near by and awaited the arrival of the Government mail boat, plying between 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 surrendered his boat. They secured the United States mail pouches and such other valuables as they could carry, and then released 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 exchanged. 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, reached 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 adventure might be recorded, but this sketch must necessarily be brief.
23 October the regiment was relieved and ordered to Tarboro, and on the night of 27 October Lieutenant Cushing, 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 engagement 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 making it possible for the enemy to recapture Plymouth, which they did on 31 October. This feat of Lieutenant Cushing 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 Fiftieth Regiment was in charge, but always failed, and several
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 Plymouth 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 army 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 November 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 special 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 Foster, 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 & Savannah Railroad for the purpose of destroying the long trestle 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 condidition and circumstances justified disobeying the orders of
the Governor, and the train which contained the troops was shifted to the Charleston & Savannah road, reaching Hardeeville 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 Confederate commander prior to the arrival of the troops. This forced General 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 Carolina, sent from Charleston, reached the field too late to participate. The Confederate forces present and engaged consisted 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 Regiments; Forty-fourth Massachusetts (colored), and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts; Twenty-fifth Ohio; Twenty-sixth, Thirty-second, 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; wounded, 42; total, 50.
Federals: Killed, 88; wounded, 623; missing, 43; total, 754.
The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts reports the loss of its Colonel and 100 men in five minutes, and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (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 no parallel in history.
On 2 December the regiment reached Savannah, and on the 3d was ordered to the Forty-five Mile Station on the Georgia Central Railroad. The other troops were ordered back to the entrenchment at Savannah, leaving the Fiftieth Regiment and a small squadron of Wheeler's Cavalry alone to meet and contend with Sherman'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 possible. On the 7th we commenced to skirmish with the vanguard, 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 naturally strong position on the right of the road, and Lieut. Jesse T. Ellington, of Company C, was sent with a strong skirmish 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 enemy 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
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 swamp. 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 promptly obeyed by every man. As they made the break it was discovered 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 through the lines. As the night was dark they were guided in their course by the guns 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 following night brought them near the lines of the two contending armies, which were now facing each other around and near the city. It was now daylight and the fighting was in progress all along the lines which, at this point, were only a short distance apart. Discovering a short and unoccupied space in the Federal line, they made a sudden dash, at the same time signaling to our troops not to fire. They were discovered and drew the combined fire from the right and left of the enemy's line, but reached our line safely.
On 10 December, Sherman commenced the investment of the city 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 Sherman sent in a flag of truce and demanded an unconditional surrender of the city. The reply of General Hardee, characteristic of the man and soldier, was: "I have plenty of guns, and men enough to man them, and if you ever take Savannah 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 along 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 arranging with General Foster for reinforcements 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 unequal supporting power, made a very uneven surface, and the flooring being of a variety of lengths and thickness, still further increased a tendency to slide to the low places and otherwise get out of place, especially as it was entirely unsecured. In addition to the pontoon bridge, it was necessary to construct a long stretch of roadway across an impassable swamp and bog between the river and roads traversing the rice farms. This was done effectually by the liberal use of rice straw and
sheaf rice which was secured in abundance at a near by rice mill.
Extract from a communication 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 the surrender of Savannah and its dependent forts is refused. With respect to the threats conveyed 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 I 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 communication of General Sherman to General Grant 18 December:
"I wrote you at length by Colonel Babcock on the 16th instant. As I therein explained my purpose, yesterday I made demand on General Hardee for the surrender of the city of Savannah, and to-day received his answer refusing. * * * I should like very much indeed to take Savannah before coining to you; but, as I .wrote you before, I will do nothing rash or hasty, and will embark for the James river as soon as General Easton, who has gone to Port Royal for that purpose, reports to me that he has an appropriate number of vessels for the transportation of the contemplated force. * * * I do sincerely believe that the whole United States, North and South, would rejoice to have this army turned loose on South Carolina to devastate that State, in the manner we have done Georgia."
On 19 December, General McLaws, in whose division the
Fiftieth North Carolina Regiment belonged, received the following communication from General Hardee:
"GENERAL:-Lieutenant-General Hardee directs me to say 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 withdrawal 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 attempt to carry out any private baggage. Shortly after day of the 20th, this work had been accomplished and we commenced 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. Several teams were lost in this way. After we crossed the swamp and struck the road across the rice field we were in full view of the enemy, who had occupied the South Carolina side of the river for the purpose 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 before 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
view of the fight as we were passing over the long stretch of level and perfectly open rice field.
We reached Hardeeville safely that evening, but spent a restless and anxious night. Orders had been issued and arrangements 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 Coosawhatchie and a large fleet co-operating. And yet General Hardee, with his "8,000 or 10,000 militia and fragments," as General Sherman puts it, held this large and splendidly 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 Royal arranging with General Foster for more troops and guns, did not reach the city until the 22d, more than twenty-four hours after General Hardee had safely withdrawn his entire forces.
On 26 December, McLaws' 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 Coosawhatchie, as they had complete range of the road at this point. On reaching Pocataligo the Fiftieth Regiment occupied the extreme advance position at a small stream beyond "Old Pocataligo." General L. S. Raker, 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 every officer and man in the brigade, as did
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 Colonel Washington M. Hardy.
On the second day after reaching Pocataligo the writer, who was on duty on the advanced picket line, received a request from Colonel Hardy to report at once to his headquarters. 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 purpose 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."
I 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 thoroughly 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 by a private foot path leading through a swamp to the peninsula formed 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 country 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 description of all the surroundings, after which I sent a man back with him to pass him through 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 which I and the men with me received his thanks.
On 14 January, 1865, a sudden and undiscovered movement
of the enemy from the island below, around our left flank, came very near cutting off the only line of retreat of the Fiftieth Regiment and Tenth Battalion at "Old Pocataligo." There was considerable confusion and excitement for some time, as the enemy seemed to confront us in whatever direction we turned. We finally 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 River's and Buford's bridges, and made repeated attempts to throw their pontoon bridge across the river and break through McLaws' 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, 1805, Company I, of the Fiftieth Regiment, commanded by Captain John B. Eaves, was ordered to move down to a high point of the river bank, which was ascertained to be not under water, for the purpose of watching and reporting movements of the enemy. Captain Eaves received his orders from Colonel Hardy, commanding the North Carolina Brigade, and at the same time General McLaws had ordered Colonel Ficer, with his Georgia Brigade, to another point on the river for a like purpose. The river flats were heavily timbered and all under water, at the same time a dense fog prevailed. As a consequence of these conditions 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. Captain Eaves reported to Colonel Hardy, asking for reinforcements and a fresh supply of ammunition, as his was nearly exhausted. Colonel Ficer was reporting to General McLaws and asking for help; each side was being reinforced
as rapidly as possible. Captain Eaves had lost several of his men, and Lieut. W. M. Corbitt had taken one of their guns and was leading the men forward, firing from behind 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 Captain Eaves' company, had approached near enough to discover that Colonel Ficer's men were Confederates, and before the reinforcements called for had reached either side, this sad and distressing affair had ended. The loss in Colonel 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, widowed 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 midnight, and just after halting and building campfires, the Fiftieth 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 instructed 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 attempting 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
young lad came riding into our camp with the news that General McLaws' lines had been broken and our entire forces driven back that morning. He stated that General McLaws started a courier with the information that we were entirely cut off from the 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 entering the other side. We were favored by the dark night and a succession of impassable 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 commenced 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 remaining 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 instruments 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
to wait, but instead of going through to Charleston, on reaching 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 given up as lost.
We now made a stand and fortified our position on the Edisto river, but as usual the enemy, with his overwhelming force of both infantry and cavalry, flanked our position, forcing 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 Gilmore in reference to the destruction of the vast amount of rolling stock between Sumterville and Florence, uses the following 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 General 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 property, devastation and ruin which followed in the wake of his army.
The history of this campaign, which ought to go down in history as a disgrace to the civilization of the American Nation, 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
has removed much of the bitterness which then existed between the two sections, General Sherman's friends have endeavored to defend his conduct and refute the charges made at the time, but the fact that the "record" is against him still remains.
On the part of the troops of General Hardee's little army, the campaign through Georgia and South Carolina, embracing the entire winter of 1864-'65 was a severe and trying one, but there was no complaint 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 disposed 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 trays 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 February. This was owing to the fact that we were compelled 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 overflowing with sympathy for the thousands of now homeless ones who had been so kind and generous to us. Now we must look forward to a like condition which was in store for our own people.
General Joseph E. Johnston, on 6 March, assumed command 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 "burning" and to be in position to promptly report any change of movement. While General Hardee was on the march from Cheraw to Rockingham, N. C., General Sherman suddenly
changed his course in the direction of Fayetteville, N. C. General Johnston promptly informed General Hardee, but the 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 Fayetteville 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 the town on 11 March and destroyed the old United States arsenal and burned the business portion of the town.
On 15 March we occupied a position on the Averasboro road, leading from Fayetteville to Smithfield and Raleigh, near Averasboro. As the enemy had retired from our front the day before, we were ordered to make ourselves comfortable 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 the advance position where the Smith's Ferry road intersects the Averasboro road near Smith's house. Elliott'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 Rhett was directed by General Hardee in person to advance his skirmishers. They were soon heavily engaged by the enemy, 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 South Carolina Infantry. Nothing more than 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 infantry and artillery. Their infantry made repeated attempts to carry our position, but were always repulsed with heavy
loss. After about four hours' fighting, at 11 o'clock, they made a vigorous attack upon the left of the line, at the same time massing on and overlapping the right, forcing retirement on the second line occupied by Colonel Elliott. Repeated attacks were made on this line, but in each case they were gallantly repulsed.
About 1 o'clock they moved a heavy force in the direction 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 Taliaferro, with his force, which had been engaged up to this time, occupied position on both sides of the main road, General McLaws the left, and General Wheeler with his dismounted cavalry, 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 Federal 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 army was crossing the Black river at several points. His persistent attempt to open the Averasboro road seemed to indicate that his objective 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 intersection 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 17th General Hampton, who was at the front near Bentonville, received a request from General Johnston, who was then at Smithfield, about sixteen miles away, for full information as to the location of the various commands of Sherman's army, and his views as to the advisability of attacking the enemy. General Hampton reported at once that the Fourteenth Corps was in his immediate front; the Twentieth Corps was on the same road, five or
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 at 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 the concentration of his forces at this point. In a few hours he received a reply from General Johnston stating that he would move at once, and directing him to hold the position if possible. Early on the morning of the 18th General Hampton moved his cavalry forward until he met the enemy, and kept up a lively skirmish, slowly falling back, until in the afternoon 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 commanding position far to the right of his line, and entirely unsupported, and made a bold 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 informed 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 Bentonville, 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
facts and conclusion. I quote from "Johnston's narrative": "The enemy attacked Hoke's Division vigorously, especially it's left, so vigorously that General Bragg apprehended that Hoke, although slightly entrenched, would be driven from his position. He therefore applied urgently for strong reinforcements. General Hardee, the head of whose column was then near, was directed, most injudiciously, to send his leading division, McLaws', to the assistance of the troops assailed."
General Hampton in his account of the battle, says: "Hoke repulsed the attack made on him fully and handsomely. Had Hardee been in the position originally assigned him at the time Hoke struck the enemy, and could his command 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 fire until their near approach had driven the enemy from the shelter of their entrenchments, in full retreat, to their second line. After firing a few rounds the Confederates again pressed forward, and when they were near the second intrenchment, now manned by both lines of Federal troops, Lieutenant-General Hardee, after commanding the double-quick, led the charge, and with knightly gallantry, dashed over the enemy's breastworks on horseback in front of his men. Some distance in the rear there was a very thick wood of young pines, into which the Federal troops were pursued, and in which they rallied and renewed the fight. But the Confederates continued to advance, driving the enemy back slowly. Night coming on prevented the further advance d the Confederates who, elated with victory, were now anxious to continue the pursuit of the fleeing enemy."
The close of the first day of this hotly, contested battle found the Confederates victorious at every point, not only
holding their own lines, but at many points they rested for the eight in full possession of the fortified position of the enemy. About midday of the 20th the other two corps of the enemy which had been moving on the Fayetteville and Goldsboro road, crossed to the Averasboro road and appeared in full 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. McLaws' Division was now shifted to Hoke's left, with the Fiftieth North Carolina Regiment and Tenth North Carolina Battalion forming 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 occupied only by a very thin skirmish line of our cavalry. These newly arrived forces assaulted our line from Hoke's right to McLaws' 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 Taliaferro 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 Cumming's Georgia Brigade to the left to protect 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
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 General 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 return of the Seventeenth Corps to its position in line, and there was no other attempt made to carry any part of our line. General Hampton states that the Confederate forces engaged in this affair did not exceed three hundred. While General McLaws held the extreme left of our lines and the enemy were endeavoring to turn our flank the Fiftieth North Carolina Regiment and Tenth North 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 ease 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 McLaws 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 officer. He was in front of his men leading the charge, and at the first volley he rushed forward with his hat in one hand and his sword in the other, and pacing up and down in front of and within 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 utterly 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 without a scratch.
On the night of the 21st the enemy kept up a heavy picket
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 22d 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 and 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 November, 1864, was recruited from the camp of instruction at Raleigh to something over 900, and now mustered less than half that number, the others being lost from various causes during the severe and trying campaign through which they had passed.
The Confederate forces in this battle were about 17,000 infantry, 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 account 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 December, 1864, nor had they slept under shelter since leaving Tarboro in November 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 disbanded.
RETREAT AND SURRENDER.
On 10 April we received information that General Sherman had commenced to move his troops from Goldsboro in the direction of Raleigh. Our army commenced to fall back and on the 11th we camped a few miles east of the city of Raleigh on the present site of the town of Garner, entering the city early on the morning of the 12th. Our rear guard left Raleigh 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 were rejected and General Johnston being so informed, was again on the defensive. We resumed the march, passing through Chapel Hill and halting at a point near Greensboro where the final terms were agreed upon 26 April. The army was paroled 2 and 3 May.
In crossing the Haw 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 swollen and the current very strong. General Cheatham's command was moving in front of General Hoke's Division and on attempting to ford the stream several men were swept down by the current, whereupon the others absolutely refused to move. This halted the entire column, and as the enemy's cavalry was closely pressing our rear, the situation was becoming critical. General Cheatham rode to the front and learning the cause of the halt, ordered the men to go forward, but, emphasizing their determination with some pretty lively swearing, they doggedly refused to move, whereupon General Cheatham seized the nearest man and into the stream they went. After
floundering in the water awhile he came out and, after repeating 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 impatient 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 shoulder, and another and another until he had a long line, swam his horse across the narrow stream and discharging his cargo safely on the opposite bank, would quickly return for another. 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 distance up the stream at Ruffin'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 hands with the understanding that they would afterwards meet at some rallying 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
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 to 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 Wortham.
LIEUTENANT-COLONELS: J. A. Washington, George Wortham, John C. Van Hook.
MAJORS: George Wortham, John C. Van Hook, H. J. Ryals.
ADJUTANTS: W. H. Borden, Jesse W. Edmondson.
SURGEONS: Walter Duffy, Francis W. Potter, John D. Patton.
QUARTERMASTERS: E. B. Borden, E. W. Adams. COMMISSARY: E. S. Parker.
CHAPLAINS: Dr. R. S. Moran, Thomas B. Houghton. SERGEANT-MAJORS: Jesse W. Edmondson, John H. Green.
COMPANY A-Person County-John C. Van Hook, James A. Burch.
COMPANY B-Robeson County-E. C. Atkinson.
COMPANY C-Johnston County-R. D. Lunsford, Thos. R. Youngblood.
COMPANY D-Johnston County-H. J. Ryals, W. B. Best.
COMPANY E-Wayne County-J. B. Griswold, P. L. Burwell, W. T. Gardner.
COMPANY F-Moore County-J. A. O. Kelley.
COMPANY G-Rutherford County-G. W. Andrews.
COMPANY H-Harnett County-Joseph H. Atkinson.
COMPANY I-Rutherford County-John B. Evans.
COMPANY K-Rutherford County-Samuel Wilkins, G. B. Ford.
COMPANY A-James A. Burch, W. T. Blalock.
COMPANY B-Atlas Atkinson.
COMPANY C-Thomas R. Youngblood, Jesse T. Ellington.
COMPANY D-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.
COMPANY A-W. T. Blalock, R. D. Ramsey, Albert O'Bryant.
COMPANY B-R. P. Collins, W. B. Walters, W. B. Jenkins.
COMPANY C-G. W. Watson, William Lane, J. C. Ellington, R. H. Yelvington (Ensign).
COMPANY D-William M. Adams, Young J. Lee, J. J. Penny.
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. Brantly, 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
were verified by a careful search of "The Official Records of United States and Confederate Armies," and may be relied on as strictly authentic.
J. C. ELLINGTON.
RALEIGH, N. C.,
26 April, 1901.
- FIFTY-FIRST REGIMENT.
- 1. Jno. L. Cantwell, Colonel.
- 2. Hector McKethan, Colonel.
- 3. Robert J. McEachern, Captain, Co. D.
- 4. George Sloan. Captain, Co. I.
- 5. W. F. Murphy. Captain. Co. K.
- 6. H. C. Rockwell, Captain, A. Q. M.
BY A. A. McKETHAN, SECOND LIEUTENANT COMPANY B.
The Fifty-first North Carolina Regiment could well be called a Cape Fear Regiment, as the ten companies composing 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.
HECTOR 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. ALFORD, Chaplain.
The regiment went into camp near Wilmington, spending the Summer at various camps near that city and at Smithville (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 Wilmington we were ordered in August to Kinston, N. 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
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 gallantry and forced the enemy to retire before them. The regiment 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 returned 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; Captain 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 command 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 Regiment was sent to Morris' Island as a garrison for Battery Wagner, where we were almost continuously exposed to the sharpshooting and cannonading of the enemy until the 18th,
suffering almost beyond endurance from heat and great scarcity of water and rations, to say nothing of the inferior quality 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 quarters for officers and men, and bomb-proofs capable of holding from 800 to 1,000 men. There were also bomb-proof magazines and heavy traverses.
On 18 July, the armament consisted of one 10-inch Columbiad, one 32-pound rifle, one 42-pounder, two 32-pound Carronades, two Naval 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 superior and longer range guns of the enemy from sunrise until sunset.
The garrison at this time consisted of part of the Thirty-first North Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel Knight commanding, which had been sent over on 17 July; the Fifty-first North Carolina, Colonel Hector McKethan; a Charleston battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gaillard, with Tatum's and Adams' companies of the First South Carolina Regulars, acting as artillery; Buckner's and Dixon'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 Carolina 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
works, guarding the left gorge and sallyport. Two of Captain DePass' field pieces were also outside.
During the bombardment we had concentrated upon our little band forty-four guns and mortars from the land batteries 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 enemy 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 man, 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, supported by Putnam's Brigade of five regiments, with Stevenson'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, between 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 protection, 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. Colonel Shaw, who was hardly more than a boy, fell dead on the top of our breastworks, in advance of his men, struck with three mortal wounds. His followers broke and fled in
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 guns 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 North Carolina, but to hold only for a short time. Their commander was killed, and the Thirty-second Georgia Regiment 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, surrendered and put an end to the day's fighting.
Brigadier-General Taliaferro 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 Sullivan's Island, the officers and men being complimented by General Beauregard for the manner in which they had behaved. A writer from another State referring to this engagement, used the following language: "The Fifty-first North Carolina brilliantly sustained the honor of their State and were highly commended, especially the field officers, Colonel
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, tad