On May 19, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Tarboro, North Carolina
, thence it proceeded to Greenville, North Carolina
, 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 44th regiment, but the entire brigade, which consisted of five regiments—the 11th North Carolina, the 26th North Carolina, the 44th North Carolina, the 47th North Carolina, and the 52nd 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 battlefield 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 44th North Carolina whilst en route
, was halted at Hanover Junction
, Virginia, to guard the railroad connections there entering, and thus protecting 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 C. & O.), Railroad across the South Anna
and the Little River
, 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 the greatest danger.
On the morning of the 26th of June, 1863, the Federal
troops, consisting of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry, two companies of a California cavalry regiment and two pieces of artillery, about 1,500 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 400 men. Before Colonel Spear
made his first attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove
abandoned 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