History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.
No. 1.[We are indebted to our gallant friend, General Lane, for a full history of his splendid brigade of North Carolinians. We shall continue the series from month to month until the whole is completed.]
Campaign of 1862--organization.After the battle of Newberne, North Carolina, the Confederate troops at that place fell back to Kinston, fresh North Carolina troops were ordered to the same place, and soon afterwards the whole force was divided into two brigades. The first was placed under the command of General Robert Ransom, and the second, composed of the Seventh, Eighteenth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third and Thirty-seventh North Carolina regiments, was commanded by General L. O'B. Branch. This brigade was known as the Second North Carolina brigade from the time of its organization until it was assigned to General A. P. Hill's command. It was then designated as the “Fourth brigade of the light division” until orders were issued directing that all brigades, divisions and corps should be called by the names of their respective commanders. In obedience to these orders, this gallant body of North Carolina troops was then called “Branch's brigade” until the battle of Sharpsburg, where the heroic Branch was killed. I was soon afterwards promoted to fill the vacancy caused by the death of General Branch, and from that time to the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse this command was known in the Army of Northern Virginia as “Lane's brigade.”
Ordered to Virginia.Early in May, 1862, this command was ordered to Virginia, and, on reaching Richmond, it was at once sent to Gordonsville. It remained there and at Rapidan station, on the Orange and Alexandria railroad, only a short time, when it was ordered to the Valley to join General Ewell, but, on reaching the base of the Blue Ridge, the order was countermanded and it was taken to Hanover Courthouse. From that point it was moved, on the 26th of May, to “Slash church,” near Peake's turnout on the Virginia Central railroad.
Battle at Slash church and Hanover Courthouse.Early next morning General Branch sent the Twenty-eighth regiment under me to Taliaferro's mill to cut off a body of marauders, but it was itself cut off from the remainder of the brigade by an overwhelming force of the enemy — the whole of Porter's division and a part of Sedgwick's — and at Dr. Kinney's farm it fought most heroically. Lieutenant Pollock, of Fauquier county, Virginia, at one time on duty at General R. E. Lee's headquarters, informed me that he heard General Lee, on several occasions, speak in very complimentary terms of the retreat and escape of this regiment under such trying circumstances, as well as of its gallantry in the fight of that day. General Branch, with the other four regiments of his command, engaged the enemy at Slash church, but was overpowered and forced to fall back after a most gallant and stubborn resistance.
Official report of General Branch.
Battle of Hanover Courthouse-Colonel J. H. Lane's report.