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History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.

By General James H. Lane.

Campaign of 1864--anecdotes about Captain G. G. Holland, Twenty-Eighth North Carolina troops.

Captain Gold G. Holland, of North Carolina, though a postmaster, a magistrate and over the conscript age, would avail himself of none of these excuses to keep out of the army, but voluntarily entered the Twenty-eighth North Carolina regiment as a private, and rendered himself so conspicuous by his gallantry that he soon won the respect and admiration of the whole brigade, though he knew scarcely anything about tactics. As an officer, he preferred to fare like his men, and always marched with his knapsack on his shoulders, and sometimes he would carry a fying-pan and a camp-stool with him. He was blessed with good health, and though he was in most of the battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, he never was wounded. During the summer of 1864, he was thrown in command of his regiment, and when it was advancing under fire, on the north side of the James, he rushed in front of it, and extending both hands — sword in right and fryingpan in left — exclaimed, “I command the Twenty-eighth North Carolina regiment--men, follow me.” The regiment did follow him and did noble work that day.

Not long afterwards, he took a very active part in that glorious charge made by Cooke's, McRae's and Lane's brigades, all North Carolina troops, on Hancock's fortified position at Reams's Station. He was among the first of his brigade to mount the enemy's works, and finding [354] them filled with troops, he yelled out, “Yankees, if you know what is best for you, you had better make a blue streak towards sunset.” The Captain had the satisfaction of seeing a long streak of blue coats pass over the works towards sunset as prisoners of war. The old patriot pushed on, and was soon after seen in an ambulance driving back a pair of spirited horses, in “two-twenty style,” which he had captured under fire of the enemy's second line of battle.

Brilliant dash of the sharpshooters on the enemy's skirmish line.

Soon after my return to the army, and while we were camped on the outskirts of Petersburg, near “Battery 45,” Major Wooten commanding our sharpshooters, asked permission to attack, at night, the enemy's skirmish line at a dwelling owned by Mr. Davis, immediately in our front. Permission was granted, and the attack was made without any loss whatever on our side, while the Major emptied the enemy's riflepits of so large a number of prisoners, he and his command were complimented in a special written communication from Army or Corps Headquarters, I have now forgotten which. The enemy subsequently burnt the residence at which the attack was made.

This was the beginning of a series of dashes made by Major Wooten and his picked men, on the enemy's skirmish line during the following winter, known to us as Wooten's seine-haulings, in all of which he was very successful, and never lost a man.

Battle of Jones's farm.

On the morning of the 30th of September, troops from the right of the line were ordered by General Lee to the north side of the James to support the forces then and there engaged, and the new works near the Pegram House were necessarily left to be defended by a weak skirmish line of dismounted cavalry. After crossing the Appomattox and marching beyond Ettricks, we were ordered back, as our right was threatened.

That afternoon my brigade was formed in line of battle to the right of the road leading to the Jones House, and another of Wilcox's brigades was formed on the left. The enemy were driving our cavalry skirmishers back so rapidly, that Major Wooten, to cover the formation of my line, was compelled to deploy his sharpshooters at a double quick and push rapidly forward. This he did so quickly, so handsomely, and with the capture of so many prisoners, that it elicited the outspoken [355] admiration of a large group of general officers who witnessed the gallant dash. One of them remarked that it was the handsomest thing of the kind he had seen during the war.

My line was formed just beyond a stream of water, and the ground in front, particularly on the right, was rising, and served, somewhat, to shelter my men. I put the Thirty-third regiment on the right, as I feared a flank movement in that direction, and I had unbounded confidence in the bravery, coolness, and judgment of its Colonel, R. V. Cowan. I made known my fears to Cowan and instructed him, should such a movement be attempted, to manceuvre his regiment at once to meet it and not to await orders from me. Not long after leaving him, and a short time before the general advance, there was heard a volley and a shout on the right. A large body of the enemy had formed perpendicular to Wooten's line of skirmishers, under the impression, I suppose, that it was my line of battle, and were advancing rapidly. But Cowan was on the alert, his men were brought to attention, and when the Yankee line was nearly opposite his colors, he moved his command to the top of the hill, and with a well directed, converging, flank fire, broke the whole line and sent them back in great disorder into the hands of our cavalry, which had been posted still further to the right.

We encountered the main body of the enemy at the Jones House, and after a short but obstinate resistance, drove them back, in the greatest confusion, to the Pegram House. I never saw a richer battle field, as oil-cloths, blankets, knapsacks and the like, were scattered in every direction by the retreating foe; some of whom in their flight actually cut their knapsacks from their shoulders, as evidenced by the appearance of the straps.

In passing through the garden I had occasion to order forward a man who had stopped to plunder, when a real soldier arose from one of the walks to my left and said that he was neither a plunderer nor skulker, but was there with his brother who had just been wounded. I went to him, and finding that his brother had been shot through the head, was unconscious and was dying, I replied, you know the orders — the ambulance corps is detailed to take care of all such cases — but as I know what it is to lose a brother under similar circumstances I cannot order you forward. I passed on, and when about to enter the woods beyond the garden, this brave fellow overtook me and remarked, “Here I am, General, I have thought over what you said and I am going to the front.” He did go quickly forward, and I soon lost sight of him, as my presence was required on the right, where my flank was again [356] threatened. I am sorry I cannot give the name of this hero — I only know now that he belonged to the gallant old 7th.

When we had closed with the enemy at the Jones House, McRae's North Carolina brigade, which had been formed in our rear as a support, rushed forward to participate in the fight. Some of my own command requested that they should be kept back, as they were not needed, but this was not done, and the two brigades fought together for the rest of the day. We captured a large number of prisoners in this engagement.

My Aid, Lieutenant Everard B. Meade, and my Brigade-Inspector, Captain E. T. Nicholson, two accomplished officers and gentlemen, displayed great gallantry on this occasion, and were of very great assistance to me, particularly as my physical condition was such as to prevent my moving about rapidly.

About dark we fell back to the edge of the woods — the Jones House side — where we slept on our arms.

Action at Pegram House.

Next morning we advanced through the woods again and formed line of battle in full view of the enemy at the Pegram House. I was informed that our attack here on the 1st October was intended as a feint, and that the main attack would be made on the Squirrel Level road under General Heth. Soon after our line was formed Brander's artillery took position on our right and a little to our front, where it could enfilade the works then occupied by the enemy. Brander's fire was both destructive and demoralizing. As the enemy were rushing back in great disorder, the ever vigilant and courageous Wooten dashed among them with his brave sharpshooters, and brought back twice as many prisoners as he had men. Brander's artillerists seeing these prisoners, and thinking it was an advance of the enemy, turned their guns upon them and fired several times before they discovered their mistake. Some of the prisoners were wounded, and I think a few were killed; but all of our sharpshooters escaped unhurt. Major-General Wilcox was very near being killed by this fire.

Our main line of battle now advanced and took possession of the works where we were subjected to a very annoying fire from the fort to our left and front. Exposed to the rain we held these works until dark, and then returned to the line of works near the Jones House.

The whole brigade behaved nobly in these two engagements, and again proved themselves worthy of the high esteem of our Commanding General.


Winter quarters.

Not long after the fight at the Pegram House, we went into winter quarters. Our huts were built on each side of the road leading to the Jones House — our right resting near the residence of a widow lady named Banks; and our left extending a little beyond a dam thrown across the stream in front of our works.

List of casualties in Lane's brigade from May 5, 1864, to October 1, 1864.

names of battles with dates.killed.wounded.missing.Total.aggregate.
Wilderness, May 5th and 6th34016213513824391415
Spotsylvania C. H., May 12th641101061329429441470
Sharpshooting and shelling at Spotsylvania C. H., May 13th to 20th 111 4167
Action near Spotsylvania C. H., May 21st11112 321618
Jericho Ford, May 23110574 10694100
Action at Storrs's farm on Tottapottamoi creek, May 31st 2219  22123
Turkey Ridge, near Gaines's Mill, June 3d to 12th12327  42933
Action at Riddle's shop, near Frazier's farm, June 13th   5 2 77
Action 3 miles southeast of Petersburg, June 22d 7446 545862
Action in front of Petersburg, June 23d15 12  11718
Battle of Gravel Hill, July 28th3854547312126138
Battle of Fussel's Mills, on Darbytown road, August 16th to 18th2654912688189
Battle of Reams's Station, August 25th2101582 61798115
Battle of Jones's Farm, September 30th181087 511100111
Action at Pegram's farm, October 1st 4 8   1212
Grand Total2114577786235661211,4971,618

remarks.--Down to Storr's farm this list was made from official reports The remainder from written regimental and company lists of killed, wounded, &c., found in the Adjutant-General's desk after the war.

Resolutions of the Twenty-Eighth North Carolina regiment.

Headquarters, Twenty-Eighth N. C. T., February 5th, 1864.
Complying with the request of the officers and men of the Twenty-eighth regiment, it gives me pleasure to report to General Lane [358] that his gallant old regiment — knowing that the term of service for which it re-organized under his command would expire in September next, and believing that the cause in which it then enlisted so cheerfully, is just and righteous, and that it still demands the undivided efforts of all — has resolved to re-enlist for the war, adopting the resolutions of Company C, which are enclosed herewith.

I only embody the universal sentiment of the Twenty-eighth North Carolina regiment, when I express the hope that the kindly relations, which have heretofore existed between it and its original Colonel, may be perpetuated, and that he may be spared to command us to the close of the war.

I am, Captain, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

W. H. A. Speer, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding. Captain E. J. Hale, Jr., Assistant Adjutant-General.

Resolutions of Company C, Twenty-Eighth N. C. T.

At a meeting held in Company C, Twenty-eighth North Carolina troops, January 30, 1864, Captain T. J. Linebarger was called to the chair, and Corporal G. A. Abernethy appointed secretary.

The object of the meeting having been explained by the President, Lieutenant M. A. Throneburg, and privates J. M. Grice and J. P. Little were appointed a committee to draft resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the meeting.

Lieutenant Throneburg from the Committee on Resolutions reported and read the following preamble and resolutions which were unanimously adopted:

whereas, The term of service for which we enlisted will expire in August next, and whereas, the exigencies of the services demand of every soldier to remain at his post and to do battle for his country's rights; therefore, be it

Resolved, By the officers and men of Company C, Twenty-eighth North Carolina troops, that we, believing our cause to be a holy and just one, do hereby pledge ourselves to re-enlist for the war; and do further declare our intention never to lay down our arms or abandon the struggle till our Government shall be recognized, our soil freed from the invader, our liberties secured, and peace restored to our bleeding country.

Resolved, That we earnestly request a general convention of the regiment to meet on Monday, February 1st, 1864. [359]

Resolved, That the secretary communicate a copy of these resolutions to Brigadier-General Lane; also a copy to Colonel Speer, with the request that they be published on parade this afternoon.

On motion the meeting adjourned.

T. J. Linebarger, President. G. A. Abernethey, Secretary.

Resolutions of the Eighteenth North Carolina regiment.

camp of the Eighteenth regiment, N. C. T. February 6th, 1864.
At a meeting of the Eigtheenth regiment, North Carolina troops, held this day, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:

whereas, It has been brought to our attention that our brothers in arms, actuated by the justice of the existing struggle for independence, a firm determination of true patriotism in its vindication, and an honest desire to assist our young nation in its establishment, have voluntarily tendered their services, with the solemn pledge of their lives, by a reenlistment for the period of the war; and whereas, animated by a like spirit of devotion to our sacred cause, we are determined that no regiment shall surpass us in rendering our arms effective to our country, or in evincing a true desire to uphold our leaders in our struggle; be it

Resolved, by the officers and soldiers of the 18th Regiment, North Carolina Troops, That we do cheerfully tender to the government our services for the period of the war, pledging our lives and our sacred honor, all that we possess — that we will never lay down our arms until the last enemy upon our soil shall be destroyed or driven from it.

Resolved, That the spirit of submission, which, we regret to say, seems to have seized the hearts of many bad men in North Carolina, will, if persisted in, prove ruinous to our cause, dangerous to our liberty, and disgraceful to the fair name of our State; we, therefore, express our entire disapprobation of the course of these traitors, and earnestly appeal to them to desist from their ruinous policy, and sustain our government and leaders.

Resolved, That in President Davis and Governor Vance we recognize the able statesmen, virtuous rulers and true patriots, and pledge ourselves to sustain them throughout these trying times.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to our Brigadier-General; also to the Fayetteville Observer and Wilmington Journal, with a request that they be published.


Headquarters Lane's brigade, February 6th, 1864.
To the officers and soldiers of the Eighteenth Regiment, North Carolina Troops:
comrades:--It were not possible to read the eloquently patriotic resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by you to-day, without emotions of pride and gratitude — of just pride that I have the honor to command such men — of well merited gratitude in the nation's behalf and mine, for this exhibition of high resolve and patriotic action at the time of the nation's greatest need.

Permit me to thank you for sending me a copy of the resolutions, and to pray God speed to you and our great cause.

Believe me, your friend,

James H. Lane, Brig.-General.

Resolutions of the Thirty-Seventh North Carolina regiment.

37TH regiment N. C. Troops, February 10, 1864.
At a meeting of the 37th Regiment of North Carolina Troops, held this day, the following committee having been appointed to propose resolutions for the consideration of the meeting:

Captain Wm. T. Nicholson, Company E; Captain D. L. Hudson, Company G; Captain A. J. Critcher, Company B; Sergeant J. M. Black, Company A; Private Rufus Holdaway, Company A; Sergeant H. D. Hagaman, Company B; Private P. W. Turnmine, Company B; Sergeant J. W. Alexander, Company C; Private J. W. Barnett, Company C; Private K. M. Hasty, Company D; Private K. M. Dees, Company D; Sergeant Alfred Green, Company E; Private James C. Coffy, Company E; Sergeant R. M. Staley, Company F; Corporal J. C. Duncan, Company F; Corporal C. C. Pool, Company G; Private A. Campbell, Company G; Sergeant J. J. Ormand, Company H; Sergeant R. B. Tucker, Company H; Sergeant J. C. Flow, Company I; Private D. L. McCord, Company I; Private D. H. Douglas, Company K; Private S. V. Box, Company K.

Captain W. T. Nicholson, chairman of the committee, reported the following resolutions as recommended by all of the committee, except Sergeant J. W. Alexander, of Company C. He recommends none in lieu of them:

Resolved, That we are still determined that our country shall be a free and independent nation, notwithstanding the absurd proclamations [361] of Abraham Lincoln; and we do hereby pledge anew our property, our lives, and our honor and our all, never to submit to Abolition tyranny nor Yankee rule.

Resolved, That we originally enlisted as a regiment for twelve month because we believed that our country needed us in the field, and that we afterwards re-enlisted for two additional years of the war before the Conscript Bill had been introduced in Congress, because we thought she still needed us; and that now, actuated by the same belief, we tender to the Government of our country our services in the field for the war, unconditionally and without reserve.

Resolved, That we are perfectly satisfied with the present organization of our army, and have unlimited confidence in the skill, bravery and patriotism of our Generals.

Resolved, That while we endeavor to do our duty, we shall expect the authorities to do theirs; we shall expect them to see all deserters and skulkers from our ranks shot at the stake in disgrace. We shall expect them to allow us to visit our homes once every twelve months, at such times as the exigencies of the service will permit; and shall expect them to feed, clothe and shoe us, and not to allow worthless subordinates to make us suffer by their indolence.

Resolved, That we are ready to endure without a murmur all necessary hardships and privations which the good of the cause may demand.

Resolved, That we call confidently upon all good people at home to give us their sympathy and support, to send us food to sustain life and recruits to fill our wasted ranks.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Congress of the Confederate States, to the Secretary of War, through regular official channels, to His Excellency Governor Vance of North Carolina, and to the newspapers for publication.

The above resolutions were then submitted to the regiment and opportunity was allowed for a fair and free expression of opinion, when it was found that out of nearly 500 who were present, only about twenty were opposed to the resolutions.

The resolutions were accordingly declared adopted, and the meeting adjourned.

Wm. M. Barbour, Colonel Thirty-seventh N. C. T., President of Meeting.

The other two regiments of our brigade — the Seventh and Thirty-third North Carolina--were not volunteers. They were raised by the State and organized as war regiments from the first.

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