North Carolina State Troops

Tarheels During the Civil War

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yet More Preservation News

Having just returned yesterday from the 150th First Manassas re-enactment, this is apropos. The CWT has another preservation opportunity at the Manassas Battlefield, containing core Second Manassas battlefield. Below you will find information and maps so check it out and please donate.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I apologize for the lack of posts in the recent weeks. I have been busy with a lot of stuff here recently not including getting ready for the 150th First Manassas festivities next weekend. Have finally gotten back to the Archives last weekend and found some interesting items. I am currently working on an article that will be posted here, so stay tuned.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Preservation Opportunities

Fortunately, I have been sounding like a broken record in regards to preservation over the last year. Here are some more opportunities that have come down the pipeline from the Civil War Trust. First is an update on the Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg, which was saved 5 years ago, but not fully paid off; 60% of the mortgage on the property is paid, with another 5 million dollars still needed to finalize the purchase. This is an extremely important piece of property, and core battlefield land in relation to the battle of Fredericksburg. Here is where you can donate towards the Slaughter Pen property. Also, there is an opportunity to acquire a 1.4 acre tract on route 20 near the Wilderness battlefield, just off of Rt. 3. Here you will find information how to donate to preserve this piece of land. For more information on the battle of the Wilderness, including maps of this preservation opportunity, go here. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Third North Carolina at Sharpsburg

Report of Major S.D. Thruston to Governor Zeb Vance on the action at Sharpsburg.

Head Quarters, 3d No. Ca. Troops
Camp near Winchester, Va.
Septr. 27th, 1862.

            In consequence of a severe wound received by Col. Wm. L. DeRosset, it becomes my duty to report to your excellency, the part acted by my Regiment (3d No. Ca.) in the battles of the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th September, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
            The evening of the 13th, Sept. about 7 o’clock P.M. we moved from our Camp on the Antietam River to the Town of Boonsboro and bivouacked near the west base of the Blue Ridge for the night:- at an early hour on the morning of the 14th were ordered forward to the top of the Ridge:- Reaching by the right flank along the Western Turnpike we reached the summit of the mountain, where this Pike crossed; here changing directions to the right, we moved along the Ridge to [blank] Gap, and were formed in line of battle preparatory to an attack upon the enemy, who was here massed in heavy force.
            In this position we rested for an hour or more, when we again moved by the right flank, to give place to Genl. Anderson’s[?] Brigade; which formed on our left at the time, I was ordered to take four Companies of my Regt:- and deploy them as skirmishers:- I proceeded to organize companies “A”, Lt. Williams; “D” Capt. Meares, “F”, Lt. Radcliffe, and “I”, Capt. Craige, as a Battalion of skirmishers, and deployed them about (200) two hundred yards in advance and covering the entire Brigade front:- This being completed, we advanced in line of battle up the side of a steep and rugged mountain, covered by an almost impenetrable growth of ivey; advancing along half a mile, my line of skirmishers, came in contact with similar line from Genl George B. Anderson’s Brigade deployed in a direction nearly perpendicular to my line, and masking my entire right:- Making a reconnaissance in person, I discovered the line of battle occupied by my Regt, and Genl Anderson’s Brigade to be so nearly at right angles to each other, as to render both inactive; this I immediately communicated to Brig. Genl. Ripley Comdg the Brigade, who ordered us to fall back to the base of the mountain which was done in good order; here the Companies of skirmishers, were ordered to their proper position in line, and the Regt. again moved by the right flank up the mountain by a steep and narrow road, falling [passing?] as the right reached the top of said mountain it being now about 9 P.M.; we rested in this position, within (200) two hundred yards of the enemy, until about 11 P.M., when we took the road to Sharpsburg. Our casualties during the day, were two (2) wounded and two (2) missing; the latter supposed to be asleep, when we left the mountain, and are prisoners.
            My Regt. dide not get an opportunity of meeting the enemy on this day, owing to some misfortunate error of position, when it was ordered forward, but evinced its readiness, as it ever has done, to defend that Flag which must leade to peace and prosperity.
            The morning of the 15th found us drawn up in line of battle, in front of the town of Sharpsburg, watching the advance of the enemy, who made his appearance about 1 P.M., a desultory fire of artillery, [illegible] we kept our position, under cover, and supporting our artillery during the day without any casualty, and slept on our arms at night.
            Early on the morning of the 16th, the enemy opened with a  heavy fire of artillery, upon the batteries supported by us, which, continuing at intervals during the morning, our position was the same as on the 15th; until about 6 P.M. when we moved by the left flank to an exposed position near the center, and in supporting distance of Genl Hoods[?] Brigade, then skirmishing with the enemy:- here we rested for the night; prepared at a moment to move in that direction where our service might be required.
            The 17th of Sept. found the Regt. at its post, while heavy skirmishing commenced in front:- about 6 A.M. the enemy opened with artillery in front and flank, subjecting us to a heavy and destructive cross fire, from which we suffered much in wounded, yet the [illegible] kept those “[illegible]” quietly and calmly awaiting orders to move forward to the attack. About 6 ½ A.M. the command “Forward” was given; we advanced in line of battle until a burning building in front, forced us to change direction by the right flank, so as to clear the obstacle, which soon as accomplished, the command by the “left flank” caused us again to advance; these manouvres, the Regt executed in splendid order, and soon placing the burning building in its rear, marched by the left flank, to unite with the other Regts of the Brigade, which had moved directly forward:- this union being accomplished we advanced with a shout to the encounter:- Advancing to about 100 yards, we opened fire upon the steady and well formed ranks of the enemy; drawn up in three lines of battle, and supported by artillery; here we fought unsupported by artillery, while our ranks melted rapidly before the well directed fire of the enemy’s rifles, grape and canister; in a short time, our gallant Colonel fell severely wounded, and was borne from the field. Capts Rhodes and MEares, Sts. McNair, Quincey, Corraw[?] and Gillespie had sealed their devotion to their Country, with their own glorious life bloode, which Captains Horne, Emmett and Craige; Lts. Radcliffe, Williams, Wardes[?], Graham, Bevin, DeRosset, Garland and Rhodes had been borne from the field severely wounded:- My Regt. now reduced to a mere handful, with only eight officers still gallantly held its position, with five rounds of ammunition per man, and no support yet on the field, while the enemy was bringing his third line to the attack (the 1st having broken and the 2d breaking) with these five rounds we still held the field and not until[?] the last, was fired, and the order came, did we yield one inch. Forced to retire, we did so in good order, the men turning and firing as they chanced to find a cartridge lying on the field. We continued in this manner to retire until relieved by the Division of Genl McLaws; we were then drawn off to the rear to procure ammunition and organize our shattered units, this completed we were again ordered to the front; while executing this move, a shell from one of the enemy’s guns exploded in our midst, killing instantly, the brave and gallant Captain Williams, and the young and intelligent Lieut, Speight, while (14) fourteen men were disabled. Arriving on the field, I was requested by Maj. Fairfax (Genl. Longstreet’s Staff) to relieve Col. Cooke’s Regt, then supporting a battery in the center, this being readily agreed to, I was ordered by Genl Longstreet to hold the position at all hazards; on assuming my new position, the Regt was subjected to a terrific fire of the enemy’s artillery from 2 P.M. until darkness closed the action:- the casualties during this period, were sixteen (16) wounded. Having received a painful shell wound during the action, which, growing more serious in the night, I left my Regt in command of Lieut. Thos. Armstrong (the [illegible] officer) and retired for the purpose of seeking relief; returning at an early hour on the morning of the 18th., I found it occupying the same position of the evening of the 17th:- having remained the whole time without food or even water – about 9 A.M. – on the morning of the 18th. we were relieved, and rested during the day immediately in rear of the main line of battle. At 9 P.M. we took up the line of march for the Potomac, which we crossed and bivouacked on the Va. side. Thus ended the bloody battles of the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th, in which many gallant soldiers fell a sacrifice to Northern Vandalism and Yankee brutality.
            The list of casualties, as shown by the accompanying reports, is heavy, including those of the bravest and best of the Sons of the Old North State:- while we mourn the loss of our comrades in arms, yet we have the consolation to know, that they fell at their post, gallantly defending that flag, which is alone the symbol of the free; to say that my officers behaved with coolness and bravery, is but a small meed of honor, compared with their gallant deeds, on the memorably 17th. No mark of distinction can be made, in favor of any, but the deeds of each and all will live forever in the hearts of their grateful countrymen. To the men of the Regt. all honor is due, for their noble conduct on the field and march; enduring privations and hardships without a murmur, and fighting manfully for the Honor and love of their Homes.
            To Sgt. Maj. Clarke and Prvts. Williams, Eason[?] and J.R. Heath of Co: “A” all credit is due, for their gallant services in volunteering to burn a building, directly under the fire of the enemy, and the very satisfactory manner in which it was accomplished.
            To my acting Adjutant, Lt. VanBokkelen, I am indebted for the gallant manner in which he performed his duty on the field. Of the Regiment, I can safely say, it will never betray the trust bequeathed by its “Good Old State.”
With much respect, I am Sir,
Your Very Obt. Svt.
S D Thruston,
Major Comdg. 3d No. Ca. Troops

To Hon. Zeb. Vance,
Gov: of North Carolina, in
Raleigh N.C.

Source: William L. DeRossett Collection, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, N.C.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Peninsula Campaign: Orders & Correspondence Pertaining to the 5th NCT

Orders for the 5th NCT and Ripley's Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign.

Lee's Farm, April 8, 1862.
Major-General McLaws:
General: Three regiments of General Early's brigade (now at Lebanon Church, viz, Colonel Terry's Twenty-fourth Virginia, Colonel McRae's Fifth North Carolina, and Colonel Cumming's Twentieth Georgia) and Colonel Williams' South Carolina regiment, now at the crossroads half a mile below, will move at early dawn to-morrow morning, and will report by a staff officer to you, awaiting at the cross-roads, each [such] orders as you may send them, provided there should be any move of the enemy on your right to cross the river which will make such orders necessary.
These regiments are not destined permanently for your division, but are intended to meet any emergency which may arise form any unexpected movement of the enemy in your vicinity.
Lieutenant Lyon, of the Fifteenth Virginia Regiment, has not reported to these headquarters.
By order of Major-General Magruder.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Henry Bryan,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Series I Vol. XI ( Part III). Ch. XXIII Pgs. 432-433.

Headquarters, June 12, 1862.
Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill:
General: Please move one of your brigades to the pine wood where General Ripley's has been and relieve his till to-morrow.
I send you the best affairs that we can get up for Williamsburg and the Seven Pines. I only send you two "Williamsburg," one for the Fifth North Carolina and one for the Twenty-fourth Virginia. If there are others entitled to it send up for others.
I send enough of the Seven Pines for your troops, but think that neither of the regiments that left the battle-field have the slightest claim to it nor the regiment that lost its colors. Properly, it is not even entitled to colors.
We must endeavor to have this thing select, or it will be of no service. Any regiment that goes through the battle creditably I think entitled to the inscription; but I hold that no regiment goes through creditably when it leaves the field before the fight is over; particularly when repeated efforts have to be made to get it back upon the field. 
I have spoken in strong terms about this, because I am entirely satisfied that it is just.
Most respectfully,
James Longstreet,
Major-General, Commanding.
No regiment of mine can ever have the name of a battle upon its banners if it quits the field before the battle is ended.

Series I. Vol XI (Part III) Ch XXIII Pgs. 595-596.

Monday, May 16, 2011

James Turner Keith Letter

Letter written by James Turner Keith of Company C, 1st NCT. Transcribed by myself.

Nov. the 28, 1861
Fredericksburg, Va
Fare [?] Sister
            I reseaved your Welcom an kind letter whitch came [illegible] too hand I was mity glad too here from you an mother an all of you an glad too her that all was well an In [?] good he both I am not well yeat but is rite smart beter than I was when I riten too you beefour & Marin is her he came here the 25 I was glad too see him he has had rite good helth every sins hee has ben gone he will remain her in his compinay now this winter eny how and I expet all of the time he will go too town too day an ree turn too morrow it is ten miles too town from the camp by rail road I gowt a leter from ropers [?] last week he an [illegible] an the lidel wons is all well an in good helth an all of the pepel thar is well and in good helth ropers [rofers] will gow holm Sundy if nothing happens Georg Suney [?] has ben home a gain an back too Richmond I tould you a bout the way Col S[illegible] trebled [?] Zilpha [?] in it is sertin sow an I think rof [Ross?] will pay him good for it when gows there. [illegible] has gowt the shop [sheep] fenst in an sed he will rof Keith whether he gates it or not evry body thar is rofs frends an sey that they will see him out in eny thing that he dos I gess that bob [?] furthens [?] will lefe [?] that when he goose
Sow I will close this leter
            Tempy I will be home in less than three weeks or at Raleigh one sertin an sure for Luetenan Hardy [?] Fenell told me that he wood fix [?] for me too get of an the [illegible] told captin hines that if I was too ask him for a dis charg that he wood bee a blig too doo it for he cant me [?] now good an I will sertin ask him too morrow if I live [?] So this leter will ples mother an lidel Toney [?] honey [?] baby an I regen that I will bee pleased rite well sow I will clos you can rite too me her an if you [illegible] get all of the leters an anser them Don’t Faill too rite your wanted too have that was ded [?] it was William Stuckey.
            Tell the yales [?] howdy [?] for me I remain your Brother
Jams Turner Keith
Too Tempy R Keith

Source: James Turner Keith Letter, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, N.C.

Monday, May 2, 2011

T.G. Cozart Letter

T.G. Cozart of Co. B, 6th NCT, describes the Battle of Bristoe Station, October 14, 1863.

Bivouac near Rappanhanock River
Oct the 23d 1863
Well Patty[?]
            As none of the family will not write to me I thought I would write to you as I want to say a few words to you about those molasses you must not eat them all up from use You must preserved at least one barrel for my special benefit as you know I am a dear lover of molasses How many barrels do you think Pa will make also has he made any cider if so I want one barrel of them I would like very much now to have some cider and sweet potatoes now We have had a very hard march we left Summerville Ford to night two weeks ago and have been marching ever since we have been here two days We left Summerville and went back to Orange C H and from there to Madison C H and then to Warrenton marching all the time in valleys to keep the enemy from discovering our movement We then went to Bristoe Station where Cookes and Kirklands Brigade had a fight the same day I walk over the battle field next day there was no killed lying on the field except our own as the Yankees had taken theirs the night before but I saw several of the Blue Jacket fellows lying about as we came along as we were skirmishing with them all the time after we left Warrenton It is a horrid scene to walk over a battle field the men are lying about in different forms I hate to look at our men but I can look at dead Yankees all day Lunsford Wheeler was wounded in the knee at the Battle of Bristoe Dick Harris was slightly wounded in a skirmish the other day I think the Yankees got the best of the fight at Bristoe they were lying behind the Railroad and our men were in full [v]iew in an open field We did not drive them from the Road but they fell back that night If Genl Heth had been worth any thing in the world he would have whipped them completely every body says it was badly managed but it was all owing to the incompetency of Genl Heth We took any quantity of prisoners all along on our march Our Cavalry whipped them several times We drived[?] them beyond Centreville The Infantry did not go any farther than about one mile beyond Bristoe The Cavalry followed them up Bristoe is 32 miles from Alexandria You all can find out more about our move from the papers than I can tell you Our Regt is cooking 3 days rations this evening we are going some where but I don’t know where some say it is just go over the river on picket Write soon
H G [J G?] Cozart[?]

The Cavalry had a right lively little fight over the river this evening I have written five letters home before this and have received one only

Source: North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, N.C.