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Chapter 20:

Here may be resumed the narrative of the services of South Carolinians in the army of Northern Virginia, as recorded in the fragmentary reports and itineraries which are preserved.

The returns of August, 1864, show the following South Carolina commands on duty in Virginia:

Elliott's brigade of Bushrod Johnson's division, Col. Fitz William McMaster commanding the brigade: Seventeenth regiment, Maj. John R. Culp; Eighteenth, Capt. R. H. Glenn; Twenty-second, Lieut. T. N. Able; Twenty-third, Capt. H. H. Lesesne; Twenty-sixth, Lieut.-Col. J. H. Hudson.

Hagood's brigade of R. F. Hoke's division, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Hagood commanding the brigade: Eleventh regiment, Maj. John J. Gooding; Twenty-first, Lieut. N. A. Easterling; Twenty-fifth, Capt. William B. Gordon; Twenty-seventh, Lieut.-Col. Julius A. Blake; Seventh battalion, Maj. James H. Rion.

Bratton's brigade of Field's division, First army corps, Brig.-Gen. John Bratton commanding the brigade: First regiment, Col. James R. Hagood; Second rifles, Col. Robert E. Bowen; Fifth regiment, Col. A. Coward; Sixth regiment, Col. John M. Steedman; Palmetto sharpshooters, Col. Joseph Walker.

Kershaw's old brigade of Kershaw's division, First army corps: Second regiment, Col. J. D. Kennedy; Third, Col. William D. Rutherford; Seventh, Capt. Elijah T. Goggans; Eighth, Col. J. W. Henagan; Fifteenth, Col. John B. Davis; Twentieth, Col. Stephen M. Boykin; Third battalion, Lieut.-Col. William G. Rice.

McGowan's brigade (Brig.-Gen. Samuel McGowan commanding) of Wilcox's division, Third army corps: First regiment, Lieut.-Col. Andrew P. Butler; Twelfth, Capt. Robert M. Kerr; Thirteenth, Capt. David R. Duncan; Fourteenth, Lieut.-Col Edward Croft; Orr's rifles, Maj. James T. Robertson.

Cavalry brigade of Brig.-Gen. John Dunovant, of Maj.-Gen. M. C. Butler's division, cavalry corps, army of Northern Virginia, Maj.-Gen. Wade Hampton commanding: Third regiment, Col. Charles J. Colcock; Fourth, Col. B. Huger Rutledge; Fifth, Lieut.-Col. Robert J. Jeffords; Sixth, Col. Hugh K. Aiken.

Capt. ugh R. Garden's battery was with Maj. J. C. Haskell's battalion; Capt. W. W. Fickling's with Maj. Frank Huger's battalion [347] of the First corps; the Pee Dee artillery, Capt. E. B. Brunson, with Pegram's battalion, Third corps; Capt. J. F. Hart's battery with Hampton's corps.

The Holcombe legion, Capt. A. B. Woodruff, brigade of Gen. H. A. Wise, was under General Beauregard's immediate command, department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, as were also Elliott's and Hagood's brigades.

Bratton's brigade, which was left in a previous chapter at New Market heights, north of the James river, was unmolested until the middle of August, when Grant ordered an advance in that quarter simultaneous with his attempt to gain the Weldon railroad. On the 14th Bratton's pickets were driven in, and Captain Beaty, of the Sharpshooters, one of the most efficient officers of the regiment, fell mortally wounded. Following this, the movements of the enemy up the Darbytown and Charles City roads necessitated a sliding of the whole division to the left. Next morning the situation was more serious. The enemy took a part of the line about Fussell's mill, and the Fifth regiment and Second rifles were sent down to recover that position, a work in which they most effectively assisted.1 Meanwhile Bratton's thin line repulsed assaults near the Libby house. In the afternoon Bratton took command of the whole line from his left to Chaffin's farm, and by the second day had recovered all that had been lost. General Lee's report of August 21st reads:

The enemy abandoned last evening his position north of James river and returned to the south side.

This morning General Hill attacked his position on the Weldon railroad, and drove him from his advanced lines to his main intrenchments, from which he was not dislodged. Over 300 prisoners, exclusive of wounded, were captured. Our loss was principally in Hagood's brigade, which mounted enemy's intrenchments. Supports failing, many were captured.

General Hagood reported that he took into this Weldon railroad fight, line officers (number not given) and 681 [348] men, and only 18 officers and 274 men came out unhurt. General Hagood was personally distinguished in rescuing the colors of the Twenty-seventh at the enemy's works. In his report he testified to the splendid gallantry with which his devoted men carried out the part of the attack assigned to them. On the 25th A. P. Hill attacked the Federals again at Reams' Station and won a splendid victory. McGowan's brigade was present, and Pegram's artillery took a prominent part. Dunovant's cavalry brigade was held in reserve by General Hampton, protecting the rear and flank of Hill's corps. General Butler handled his division skillfully in the fight.

On the morning of September 14th General Hampton moved upon his famous expedition to capture a herd of cattle which the Federal army was grazing near Coggins' point, on the James river. He took with him the division of W. H. F. Lee, Rosser's and Dearing's brigades, and 100 men from Young's and Dunovant's brigades, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, Sixth South Carolina. Moving down Rowanty creek to Wilkinson's bridge the first day, General Hampton next found it necessary to pass to the rear of Grant's army and force his lines at some point. He selected Sycamore church, Prince George county, as his point of attack, and before night of the next day had his men on the Blackwater at Cook's bridge, where he believed the enemy would not be looking for him, the bridge having been destroyed. After constructing a new bridge, he crossed at midnight, and his force advanced in three columns, one under Lee, another under Dearing, while Hampton himself, with the commands of Rosser and Miller, moved directly on Sycamore church. Each column was successful in its attack early in the morning, though stubbornly resisted, and Rosser pushed on and secured the cattle, 2,486 in number, and everything was withdrawn before 8 o'clock. Though heavily attacked on his return, Hampton saved the captured property, repulsed all assaults, captured [349] 304 prisoners, and returned after an absence of three days, with the slight loss of 10 killed and 47 wounded. Among those complimented for their services were Sergeant Shadbourne, Jeff Davis legion, who furnished the information about the cattle, and guided General Rosser; Sergeant Hogan, in charge of Butler's scouts, and Sergeant McCalla, First South Carolina, the only scout who was killed.

Of the operations of all the South Carolina commands during this and later periods of the siege, little detail is to be found in the Official Records. The report of General Bratton is alone preserved, giving a consecutive account. His brigade, after the August fighting north of the James, was on duty on the Petersburg lines until September 29th, when it was again ordered to the New Market road. In that vicinity renewed Federal activity had resulted in the capture of Battery Harrison, and Bratton's South Carolinians, after a rest at Fort Gilmer, were ordered to support Anderson's brigade in an assault to recover the Confederate work. It was necessary for the brigade to file out at double-quick, and without moderating the step to move by the right flank in line against the enemy. ‘My orders were obeyed,’ Bratton reported, ‘and my dead, close under the enemy's works, attest their honest efforts to achieve the object for which they were given.’ The right regiment, Walker's, streaming along at a run, was halted a moment and put in on the left against a little redan, which it carried; but the main assault had failed. Another assault was made by General Hoke, but without effect. Bratton took into action that day (September 30th), 1, 165 muskets and 129 officers, and his loss in killed and wounded was 377. Hagood's regiment mourned the loss of the gallant Captains Grimes and Kirk and Ensign Bellinger. Part of the Second Rifles, says Colonel Bowen, reached Fort Harrison, but could do nothing, and it was far more hazardous to leave the fort, once in it, than to enter, [350]

On the 7th of October the brigade moved down the Darbytown road and struck the enemy's outposts, which Colonel Coward drove in to the Federal works. Then, in conjunction with Anderson's brigade, Bratton drove the enemy from the works, capturing one piece of artillery, other guns falling an easy prey to Gary's cavalry brigade (Hampton legion, Seventh South Carolina and Twenty-fourth Virginia), which, before the arrival of reinforcements, had been doing heroic duty holding back the advancing Federals. Bratton then joined the division line, and advancing found the enemy near the New Market road in heavy force and behind log breastworks. He came under a terrific fire against which he could make no headway, and was compelled to fall back with a loss of 190 killed and wounded, nearly half in Walker's regiment. General Bratton was wounded; Captain Quattlebaum, of the Sharpshooters, a most faithful officer, was killed; Lieut. W. T. Norris, Fifth, was wounded and captured; Lieutenant Lewis, Sharpshooters, lost a leg and was captured; Captain Sorrel, adjutant-general, was badly injured by the fall of his horse. General Bratton was disabled for several weeks, during which Colonel Walker was in command of the brigade. In this engagement, Haskell's battalion took a conspicuous part. Major Haskell narrowly escaped death, and Lieutenant Mc-Queen, of Garden's battery, was severely wounded.

The last service of Bratton's brigade in 1864 was a hurried expedition by rail to Gordonsville, December 23d, to the assistance of General Lomax, confronting Sheridan, from which it returned without loss. At the beginning of 1865 General Bratton reported that he entered the campaign with a total of 2,016, had lost 176 killed, 1,094 wounded and 94 missing, total, 1,364, and had present at the date of his report, a total of 1,820. He particularly commended Colonels Hagood and Howard and their regiments, and the valuable services of Adjt.-Gen. J. B. Lyle.

Elliott's brigade remained on the Petersburg lines with [351] Johnson's division through the fall and winter, and the reports of General Johnson show that they had almost daily losses in killed and wounded. On the night of October 27th, the enemy carried a part of the picket line of the Holcombe legion, and Gen. W. H. Wallace, then in command of Elliott's brigade, immediately sent forward a force of 200 men from the legion and Eighteenth regiment, under Captain Brown, who retook the line, with 14 prisoners. On the night of November 5th, 200 men of the legion, under Captain Woodruff, attacked the Federal line in front of the Crater, and 600 men attempted to intrench the position gained, but they were all compelled to retire, with a loss to the brigade of 95 men.

In the latter part of September, General Heth and Hampton's cavalry administered a severe check to the enemy at Hatcher's run, and on the Vaughan and Squirrel Level roads. In the latter fight, General Dunovant was killed at the head of the South Carolina cavalry. The continued activity of the enemy on the Hatcher's Run line resulted in the battle of Burgess' Mill, October 27th, fought by Mahone and Hampton. In a gallant charge by Butler's division, Lieut. Thomas Preston Hampton, aide-de-camp, fell mortally wounded, and Lieut. Wade Hampton, of the general's staff, was severely wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffords was killed at the head of his regiment, the Fifth South Carolina, and Maj. T. G. Barker, division adjutant-general, was dangerously wounded. The gallant Captain Hart lost a leg while fighting his guns close up to the enemy.

Kershaw's brigade, under Gen. James Conner, and later under Colonel Kennedy, served gallantly under Early in the Shenandoah valley. At the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19th, a day of victory and disaster, the brigade suffered a loss of 205. Maj. James M. Goggin, subsequently commanding, reported the gallant service of Lieut. Y. J. Pope and Cadet E. P. Harllee, both wounded; of De Saussure Burrows, killed; of Couriers Crumley [352] and Templeton, of the brave Capt. B. M. Whitener, who fell in command of the battalion of sharpshooters; of Maj. B. R. Clyburn, who lost a leg, and of Major Todd, commanding Third regiment, severely wounded. Among the captured were Colonel Boykin and Lieutenant-Colonel McMichael, of the Twentieth.

In the latter part of December, Hoke's division was ordered to Wilmington, N. C., to meet the expedition against Fort Fisher. Hagood's brigade, then containing 720 effective men, took part in the operations which resulted in the withdrawal of the Federal forces under B. F. Butler. Besides the brigade, the Second cavalry was present.

In mid-January the attack on Fort Fisher was resumed, with a tremendous bombardment during the 13th and 14th, and an infantry assault on the 15th. Col. R. F. Graham, commanding Hagood's brigade, at Fort Anderson, was ordered to support the garrison, and on the afternoon of the 15th, the Twenty-first and Twenty-fifth regiments, under Captains DuBose and Carson, were landed, but the enemy's fire was too severe to land any more. The Twenty-first at once moved up to Fort Fisher, and the other regiment reached there later in the day, but the brave Confederate garrison was compelled to abandon the fort and surrender. The remainder of the brigade did not again join the army of Northern Virginia, but closed its record in the campaign in the Carolinas. Early in January, Conner's brigade, Kershaw's old command, was sent to General Hardee at Charleston. Butler's cavalry brigade accompanied General Hampton when he took command of cavalry in the Carolinas.

The South Carolina commands which participated in the final struggle to hold the defensive lines of Richmond and Petersburg in 1865, were as follows, as compiled from the reports and parole lists of Appomattox:

Brig.-Gen. John Bratton's brigade of Field's division, First corps: First, Fifth, Sixth regiments and Second [353] rifles, Colonels Hagood, Coward, Steedman and Bowen, and the Palmetto sharpshooters, Capt. A. H. Foster.

Brig.-Gen. Samuel McGowan's brigade, Wilcox's division, Third corps: First regiment (provisional army), Lieut.-Col. A. P. Butler; Twelfth, Capt. J. C. Bell; Thirteenth, Col. I. F. Hunt; Fourteenth, Lieut.-Col. Edward Croft; Orr's rifles, Lieut.-Col. J. T. Robertson.

Brig.-Gen. William H. Wallace's brigade, of Johnson's division, Lieut.-Gen. R. H. Anderson's corps: Seventeenth, Capt. E. A. Crawford; Eighteenth, Lieut.-Col. W. B. Allison; Twenty-second, Col. William G. Burt; Twenty-third, Lieut.-Col. John M. Kinloch; Twenty-sixth, Maj. Ceth S. Land; Holcombe legion.

In the cavalry under Fitzhugh Lee, were the Seventh regiment, Col. A. C. Haskell, and the Hampton legion, Lieut.-Col. R. B. Arnold, of Brig.-Gen. M. W. Gary's brigade, the last troops to leave the capital of the Confederacy.

With the artillery were the South Carolina batteries of Capt. H. R. Garden, Lieut. E. L. Purse (Fickling's), and Capt. T. E. Gregg.

Wallace's brigade suffered severely at the battle of Five Forks, only a remnant marching thence to Appomattox Court House.


1 Of this movement Col. R. E. Bowen writes: ‘The regiment marched fully one mile under a continuous fire of shell, grape, canister and minie balls, without losing a single man-one of the most remarkable events of the war.’

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