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Brunswick guard. [from the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, October 21, 1900.]

A detailed account of its fine Record.



Its marches, fights and roll of members.

The 5th Virginia Battalion was, in 1862, transferred to General L. A. Armistead's brigade, Huger's division; was at the battle of Seven Pines, the Seven Days fight around Richmond, and Malvern Hill. In July of the same year it was transferred to General A. P. Hill's division, was ordered to the south side of James river, and ordered to camp at Falling Creek, and was there placed in the division of General R. H. Anderson. The battalion broke camp in August, 1862, and moved to Louisa Courthouse, from there to Orange Courthouse, thence to Clark's Mountain, then to Warrenton Springs, and from there to the battle of Second Manassas. It went from Second Manassas to Leesburg, wading the Potomac river, crossed over into Maryland at Frederick City, and from Frederick City proceeded to Harper's Ferry, and crossed back again over into Maryland at Shepherstown, and was at the battle of Sharpsburg; crossing back in the night over into Virginia. It reached Harper's Ferry, and was in the fight at this place. It then went into camp near Winchester.

I should have stated that shortly after the battle of Sharpsburg company A, Brunswick Guards, was disbanded and put into company H, 53rd Virginia regiment. At that time there were forty-nine of the roll of the Brunswick Guards, and between thirty to thirty-five reported to that regiment. Those not reported were reported either sick in hospitals or joined other commands by transfers.

In November, 1862, Armistead's brigade was transferred to Pickett's division, which at that time was composed entirely of Virginians.


Cowhide Moccasins.

From the camp at Winchester we moved to Culpeper Courthouse. The troops were without shoes at this place, and General Armistead [9] detailed men to make moccasins out of green cowhide for his men.. While used for marching in the wet these stretched so that the men would have to cut them off. When the soldiers stopped at night and dried out their boots they would have to cut them off their feet. This ‘footwear’ answered very well for camp duty, but not for marching. From Culpeper Courthouse we went to Fredericksburg. This was a very hard march on account of the extremely muddy roads and the cold and freezing weather. We went into camp at Fredericksburg, and were at the battle of Fredericksburg on the 13th December, 1862. After the battle at this place we went into camp at Guinea Station.

The winters of 1862—‘63 were the hardest of the war. Our men were without tents, and had only ‘tent flies’ and brush houses. At Guinea Station general orders were issued that the men could build fires during day, but that at night they should be extinguished, and the ashes swept away. We slept where the fires had been.

While in camp here we were on hard duty all the time, working on breastworks from Hamilton crossing to Spotsylvania Courthouse.


Hard Times, indeed.

In February, 1863, we broke camp at this place and marched to Richmond, and from Richmond to Chester Station. While at Chester Station we were entirely without tents or tent flies, and the men had to lie on the bare ground without any protection. During the night the snow fell several inches deep, and the soldiers were covered completely. They knew nothing of it until they were waked up the next morning, and fared as comfortably as if they had been in a house.

From Chester Station we marched to near Petersburg and camped below Petersburg on the Prince George road. Thence we marched to Fort Powhatan, and worked on fortifications until about the 1st of April. Our line of march from this place led to Suffolk, by way of Franklin. We crossed Blackwater river at South Quay, with four days cooked rations. On reaching Suffolk we formed line of battle. Our regiment was sent on picket. The line of battle never advanced, but we had severe picket fighting. Several of our company were hurt. Three of the Brunswick guards were also wounded—one mortally.

In May the company was ordered back, marching by way of Ivor Station. We camped at this place a few days, guarding supplies [10] collected. This might be termed a foraging campaign. The enemy being in pursuit of us, we burned the bridge across the Backwater and left the supplies we had collected on the opposite side of the river. We had to transfer them across in what we called ‘dugouts.’ We next marched from this place to Petersburg by way of Jerusalem, in Southampton county; from Petersburg to Falling Creek; from Falling Creek to Hanover Junction. Armistead's brigade was ordered from Hanover Junction to Newtown, King and Queen county, and from Newtown to Culpeper Courthouse, where we camped a few days. The command was ordered from Culpeper with four days cooked rations in their haversacks, and ten days rations on the wagon. We did not know where we were going, but crossed the Blue Ridge at Snicker's Gap, waded the Shenandoah at Sheppard's Mill, and camped at Berryville for a few days. We passed through Martinsburg, crossed the Potomac river over into Maryland at Williamsport, marched through Hagerstown, entered Pennsylvania at Middleburg, marched to Chambersburg, camped there one night, and then marched from Chambersburg to Gettysburg over the South Mountain at Gettysburg.

The command was frequently fired on during the day by bushwhackers. It was in the charge of Gettysburg on the 3d of July. The Brunswick part of the company had fifteen men in the charge --five were killed and seven wounded. Two prisoners were captured unhurt, one belonging to the ambulance corps escaped unhurt.

The division crossed the Potomac back to Virginia on July 7th, and went in camp near Petersburg, and rested. In October the command broke camp, and was ordered to Kinston, N. C., and from Kinston to New Berne. In February, 1864, it was ordered back to Virginia. They took the train for Richmond, stopped at the Nine Mile road, and camped there until the last of March or about the first of April. Our regiment with another was detailed to guard the fishing squad. In May we were ordered back to the command, and stopped on the Brook turnpike for a few days. We were then sent to Drewry's Bluff, and on the 16th of May, 1864, were in the fight at that place. On the 19th of May the division was sent as reinforcements to the Wilderness, and met the command on retreat from that place. The two armies marched in parallel columns to Cold Harbor, skirmishing nearly all the way. They had a hard battle at Cold Harbor. We went from Cold Harbor to Malvern Hill. About the 19th of June there was a forced march from Malvern Hill. We crossed the river at Drewry's Bluff on pontoon [11] bridges, and met the enemy on the Petersburg turnpike, tearing up the railroad. Here the fight commenced. We re-established the Howlett line about the 20th of June, but had a very hard fight. Here General Lee complimented Pickett's division. The General did not wish to bring on an engagement at this point, and sent repeated orders to Pickett to halt. These orders were transmitted to the troops, but were of no avail.

Pickett's men dashed on in spite of the efforts of their officers to stop them, in a fierce and impetuous charge, and drove Butler into his own works, and re-established Beauregard's line, with the enemy in front and the woods afire behind us. This drew the following complimentary letter from General Lee to General Anderson, then commanding Longstreet's corps, he (Longstreet) having been wounded at the Wilderness:

Clay's House, June 17th, 5:30 P. M.
Lieutenant-General R. H. Anderson, commanding Longstreet's corps:
General,—I take pleasure in presenting to you my congratulations upon the conduct of the men of your corps. I believe they will carry anything they are put against. We tried very hard to stop Pickett's men from capturing the breastworks of the enemy, but could not do it. I hope his loss has been small.

I am respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

In this connection I will say your division stayed on the Howlett line until about the 1st of March, 1865, Armistead's brigade being ordered at different times to reinforce other commands at different places, viz: Chaffin's Bluff, Fort Harrison and the Darbytown road, and in pursuit of Sheridan's raid around Richmond.


Killing deer.

I will relate an incident which happened on the Howlett line. Two deer passed through our company on the main lines of battle to the picket line, and both our pickets and the enemy's fired on them and killed them. They agreed that the game should be divided, and they went forward from each line and carried in the carcasses.

From the Howlett line we were ordered to Petersburg, and camped at or near Old Town Run, and worked on fortifications for a few days. From this place we went to Sutherland Station, thence to [12] Dinwiddie Courthouse, fighting all the way, and then back to Five Forks, fighting all day. At Five Forks we had a hard battle. The fighting force of the enemy was 3,100 infantry, and all of Sheridan's cavalry. Pickett's division constituted all the infantry of the Confederates.

The writer of this article was captured at this place, and thus ended his career as a Confederate soldier. What I have written is from memory.

I will mention several of the members of the original company (Brunswick Guards), viz: James A. Riddick was the only member of the original company who ever held a commission after it was disbanded, and placed in Company H, 53d regiment. He was elected lieutenant, and made a capable and efficient officer.

Adolphus Johnson, one of the color guards at the battle of Gettysburg, was killed upholding his flag. He was the last one of the guards to carry the colors, and bore them to the stone wall.

Fenton Williams was in only two battles of the war-Seven Pines and Gettysburg. He was severely wounded at Seven Pines, and sent to the hospital, where he contracted small-pox. He was killed in his first day's service after leaving the hospital, at the battle of Gettysburg.

I will add an extract from a letter received by the writer of these lines from Captain J. L. Latane, who commanded our company:

Of my opinion of the men as soldiers of the Old Brunswick Guards I cannot be too strong in words of praise, for, as I said on a former occasion, they were never called on to perform any duty day or night that it was not done most cheerfully, without a murmur or complaint, entirely subject to discipline, and to a man, as far as I can remember, doing what was ordered by those in authority. When I forget them and their deeds of heroism, may a just and righteous God forget me.

(Signed.)

John L. Latane, Late Captain Company H, 53d Regiment Virginia Volunteers.


The roll of members.

The following is a roll of the officers and members of the Brunswick Guards, who first saw service in the 5th Virginia battalion, and later in company H, 53d Virginia regiment: [13]

Captain.—D. T. Poynor, dead.

Lieutenants.—First, George B. Clark; Second, B. A. Lewis (dead); Third, Charles H. Wilkes (dead).

Sergeants.—First, George Claiborne; first lieutenant (dead); Second, H. H. Heartwell; Third, A. B. Morrison (dead); Fourth, Charles P. Montague (ambulance sergeant).

Corporals.—First, J. J. Percival; Second, W. H. Michael (transferred to 59th Virginia regiment); Third, J. W. Buford (wounded at Gettysburg-dead); Fourth, James T. Lashley.

Privates.—John Bass (dead), J. B. Battle (dead), John F. Bennett (died in service), Alex. Barrow (dead), W. S. Bacon (wounded at Dinwiddie Courthouse), M. A. Clark (dead), Edward W. Crichton, James Crichton (transferred to 12th Virginia regiment, dead), John Clayton (dead), Benjamin D. Clayton (sergeant), George W. Clayton (dead), George E. Clayton, T. F. Duane, J. H. Dameron, George Dameron (died in service), Littleton Edmonds (dead), Thomas Flournoy (dead), Benjamin B. Graves (first sergeant, killed at Gettysburg), Charles Gibbon (dead), John A. Heartwell, W. E. Hammonds (wounded at Gettysburg), Turner Hammonds (sub.), A. W. Hammonds, James H. Hall (wounded at Suffolk), R. W. Hall, William D. Hicks (dead), George Hicks (died in service), Thomas J. Hines (died from wounds), R. C. Haskins, R. E. Haskins, E. M. Harris, Robert Hitchcock, W. H. House (dead), William Hagood (died in service), John Hagood (killed at Gettysburg), George Harrison, captain (dead), D. J. Johnson, Adolphus Johnson, color corporal (killed at Gettysburg), Richard Johnson, John R. Jolly, George H. Jolly (dead), John S. Kelley, James W. Kelly (died in service), F. P. Kirkland (dead), J. M. Kirkland (wounded at Gettysburg), W. J. Kirkland, S. E. Lanier, B. W. Lashley, John Laird (died in service) Peter Laird (died in service), F. E. Lewis (dead), Richard Lewis (sub., died in prison), W. M. Manning, George E, Michael (wounded at Gettysburg), G. W. Mitchell, T. B. Machen (wounded at Gettysburg, killed on retreat from Petersburg), J. H. Machin, S. J. Morrison (dead); (Greenesville county), Myrick Walter (killed at Fort Harrison), Richard E. McCoy (drummer), George Nicholson (dead), (Gosh) Oscar H. Nicholson (dead), Algernon Nicholson, James M. Northington, John H. Newton, second sergeant (dead), M. A. Orgain, sergeant (wounded at Dinwiddie Courthouse), William Orgain, William H. Poyner (killed at Gettysburg), R. H. Prichett (dead), James A. Riddick (lieutenant), [14] Benjamin L. Riddick (dead), J. J. Reeves (dead), J. Royal Robinson (dead), John J. Rawlings (died in prison), John H. W. Robinson (dead), W. J. Steed (died from wounds), William E. Stith, L. A. Scoggin, G. A. Short, B. B. Saunders (dead), E. W. Travis (dead), James A. Traylor (dead), W. T. Thomas, quartermaster (dead), E. R. Turnbull (quartermaster), W. H. Venable (quartermaster), W. A. Vaughan, H. M. Vaiden, lieutenant (dead), B. J. Walker (wounded at Gettysburg), John Wray, John L. Williams, L. Fenton Williams (wounded at Seven Pines, killed at Gettysburg), — Woodruff, William Young (died in service), H. E. Young, corporal (wounded), William Peebles (died in service), B. A. Stith (wounded).

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