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Notes on Ewell's division in the campaign of 1862.

By Col. Campbell Brown, of Ewell's Staff.
[Written at the time.]


September 8TH, 1862.
While on the Rappahannock, in March and April, 1862, our division consisted of Taylor's (eighth brigade), Trimble's (seventh brigade), Elzey's (fourth brigade). These officers ranked — Elzey, Trimble, Taylor. The numbers of the brigades were those they had in the army of the Potomac while at Centreville. Our division was there known as the Third, or Reserve division, and commanded until the middle of February, 1862, by Kirby Smith. The brigades were composed as follows:

Fourth Brigade.--Tenth Virginia regiment, Colonel Gibbons; Thirteenth Virginia regiment, Colonel James A. Walker; First Maryland regiment, Colonel Bradley T. Johnson.

Seventh Brigade.--Fifteenth Alabama regiment, Colonel Jas. Cantey; Sixteenth Mississippi regiment, Colonel Carnot Posey; Twenty-first Georgia regiment, Colonel J. F. Mercer; Twenty-first North Carolina regiment, Colonel W. W. Kirkland.

Eighth Brigade.--Sixth Louisiana regiment, Colonel J. G. Seymour; Seventh Louisiana regiment, Colonel H. T. Hays; Eighth Louisiana regiment, Colonel H. B. Kelly; Ninth Louisiana regiment, Colonel Randolph.

Baltimore Light Artillery, Captain Brockenbrough; Courtney Artillery, Captain A. R. Courtney;1 Wheat's special Louisiana battalion, Major C. R. Wheat.

The Second and Sixth Virginia cavalry were left with General Ewell by General J. E. B. Stuart, when he went to the Peninsula, a few days after our first skirmish, and the burning of the railroad bridge over the Rappahannock. Colonel R. C. W. Radford commanded the Second [256] cavalry; Colonel Field the Sixth. The reorganization occurred while at the Rappahannock, and Colonel Munford, former Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, succeeded Colonel Radford, while Colonel Harrison, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Sixth, was elected Colonel, Colonel Field having been appointed Brigadier-General and sent to Fredericksburg.

While at Conrad's store on the Shenandoah, in the Valley, Brigadier-General George H. Steuart (formerly Colonel of the Maryland regiment) was ordered to report to Major-General Jackson for duty, and to take command of the “Maryland line,” to which the Maryland regiment was assigned, and which he was to organize. Just after we left Conrad's store for Front Royal he reported to General Jackson, and the day after we entered Front Royal he was given a brigade, composed of the First Maryland regiment, and the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Virginia and Twelfth Georgia regiments, of General Edward Johnson's command, which General Jackson had brought with him from the Alleghanies. The same day the Forty-fourth, Fifty-second, and Fifty-eighth Virginia regiments were assigned to General Elzey's brigade at Winchester. Colonel Kirkland, Twenty-first North Carolina, was seriously, and Lieutenant-Colonel Pepper mortally wounded, and Major Fulton took command of the regiment at Middleburg the day previous, or here (I am not sure which) Major Arthur McArthur, of the Sixth Louisiana, was killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Nichols, of the Eighth Louisiana, wounded. He was left behind when we fell back up the Valley.

At Conrad's store the Sixth and Ninth Louisiana regiments had been reorganized, Colonel Seymour reelected, Henry Strong chosen Lieutenant-Colonel, and Nat. Offutt Major in the Sixth. In the Ninth the field officers declined a reelection, and Captain L. A. Stafford was elected Colonel, Captain H. R. Peck Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain-------Major. Major Christy of the Sixth, who failed of a reelection, was appointed Chief of Ordnance to the division with the rank of Captain of Engineers. He joined us from Richmond at Front Royal or Winchester and entered on the duties of his office at once. Major Hugh M. Nelson, of Clarke county, had been appointed Aid-de-Camp by General Ewell, I being appointed Captain and A. A. General at the same time. Major Nelson joined us at Winchester, on our retreat, having narrowly escaped capture by the Yankees the day previous. At Winchester, Trimble's and Taylor's brigades of our division were engaged, Taylor charging a Yankee battery and Trimble opening the fight and keeping it up for a full half-hour alone, when a thick fog came on, which lasted another half-hour and stopped all firing. When [257] it cleared away we heard Jackson's column, which had come down the Valley pike, attacking and we at once reopened. In half an hour the fight was over and the enemy had retreated through the town. At Bolivar heights, between Charlestown and Harper's Ferry, the First Maryland regiment had a brilliant affair — drove three Yankee regiments off the heights, took and held them.

Near Strasburg, on the retreat, the division was partially engaged in a skirmish, that proved to be of very little consequence. That night the cavalry rear guard, being suddenly attacked by the enemy, got stampeded, and it and the artillery (Baltimore battery) came near running over the Louisiana brigade — so the brigade said. Fifteen or twenty cavalrymen were reported captured.

Near Harrisonburg the Fifty-eighth Virginia (then very small — not two hundred men) got engaged with the Pennsylvania “Buck-Tail Rifles,” and had their hands full till the First Maryland came to their help. The fight lasted only half an hour. Our loss was seventy-five, that of the enemy nearer one hundred and fifty. Ashby was killed ten steps in front of the line of the Fifty-eighth Virginia trying to induce them to charge. His horse was killed under him, and he had scarcely disengaged himself and started forward when he, too, was killed, shot directly through the body — some insisted from behind, but I think not, from what I could learn.

At Cross Keys, on Sunday, June 8th, 1862, only Elzey's, Trimble's, and Stuart's brigades were engaged. General Jackson, before leaving for Port Republic in the morning, had ordered General Ewell to send “his best brigade” to report at the bridge there to him. The Louisiana brigade was the largest, and accordingly it was the one sent. It was sent back by General Jackson after reaching the bridge and got upon the field in time to be under an artillery fire, but not to aid in the result of the day. Here General Elzey and General Steuart were both wounded — Elzey slightly. He came on duty again in a week. Steuart is still disabled — he was struck by a grape-shot or cannister in the muscles of the neck and back. The ball was cut out two months after he was wounded. Colonel Posey (Sixteenth Mississippi) was wounded — not dangerously. At Port Republic, next day, Elzey's brigade, under Colonel Walker, and Trimble's brigade were not engaged. Steuart's brigade, under Colonel W. C. Scott, was in the fight, and the Forty-fourth and Fifty-eighth Virginia especially contributed to the success of the day, the fortunes of which, however, were turned by the Louisiana brigade in a charge, by which the enemy were driven back and six guns captured. At this time the two brigades of General [258] Edward Johnson's army, now permanently attached to this division, were officered as follows:

Twenty-fifth Virginia regiment, Colonel George Smith; Thirty-first Virginia regiment, Colonel-------; Forty-fourth Virginia regiment, Colonel-------; Fifty-second Virginia regiment, Colonel-------; Fifty-eighth Virginia regiment, Colonel S. H. Letcher; Twelfth Georgia, Colonel Z. T. Conner.

Colonel Smith had been taken and paroled at Rich Mountain-rejoined his Regiment a day or two before the fight at Port Republic and was wounded there. Just recovered from that wound, he was again wounded in the first day's (Thursday's) fighting at Manassas.

Colonel Conner had behaved extremely well at McDowell, but General Jackson having left his regiment at Front Royal, he stampeded from there in great haste on Shield's approach, and was placed under arrest for “misbehavior in the face of the enemy” charges for cowardice being at the same time preferred against Major Hawkins of his regiment for ordering his men to lay down their arms and surrender to a very inferior force of Yankee cavalry, an order they refused to obey, and under command of their company officers (who prompted and supported their refusal) easily drove back the Yankees. Colonel Harry T. Hays and Lieutenant-Colonel De Choiseul of the Seventh Louisiana were both wounded here, the latter mortally. Major D. B. Penn now took command of the regiment.

While at Somerset (Liberty Mills) near Gordonsville, on our way to the valley, Dr. F. W. Hancock, Division Medical Director, was seized with rheumatism, and having partially recovered from it, and attempted to join us near Front Royal, his horse was shot under him by a bushwhacker or straggling Yankee, and fell, severely injuring his leg, so that although he made out to reach us at Winchester, he was obliged to leave us again, and has been ever since suffering greatly from it, though persisting frequently in going on duty — when we last heard from him fears were entertained of his losing the limb.

On the way to Richmond, all the regiments of General Ed. Johnson were assigned to Elzey's brigade, and the “Maryland line” now composed of the First Maryland Regiment, the Baltimore Light Artillery, and Captain Brown's (formerly Captain Gaither's Company, and in the First Virginia Cavalry) Company of Maryland Cavalry was left under command of Colonel Bradley T. Johnson. While in the valley all the cavalry had been placed under command of General Ashby--after his death Beverly W. Robertson was appointed Brigadier-General and assigned to the command. He arrived just as we left the valley. [259]

I forgot to mention that Captain Hammond's Company of the Cavalry had been acting as couriers for General Ewell till just before we left the Rappahannock; but Captain Elijah V. White's (Loudoun Rangers) was then substituted and has been acting ever since, besides doing a great deal of scouting duty.

At the battle of Gaines's Mill or Cold Harbor, on Friday, June 27th, Colonel Isaac G. Seymour Sixth Louisiana (then in command of the brigade, General Taylor having been sick since Port Republic) was killed, so was Major C. R. Wheat First Special (Tiger) battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel D. B. Penn, Seventh Louisiana slightly wounded. General Elzey was at first thought to be mortally wounded; but is recovering. Major Hooper, Twenty-first Georgia, was severely wounded. Major Nelson was here slightly wounded. The day before the fight at Malvern Hill General Early, just recovering from his wound received at Williamsburg, was assigned to the command of Elzey's brigade which he still retains. At Malvern Hill we were under a very heavy artillery fire for several hours, but no field officers killed or wounded. The Louisiana brigade was pretty hotly engaged for a while, being ordered to charge by some mounted officer, nobody knew whom, and being unsupported by any of the troops on its left (Whiting's), it was necessarily used pretty roughly, until General Winder and his brigade came to its help.

At Westover, near Harrison's Landing, while our division held the advance, our skirmishers and the Yankees did some firing, and General Ewell, who was sitting at a house three hundred yards behind the skirmishers, had a hole put through his cap in some mysterious way without hurting him. At Gaines's Mill his favorite mare was killed under him, and a ball passed through his boot leg and slightly bruised his ankle.

Reports of the brigades while at Westover showed barely 3,000 men for duty in the division. But our loss in killed and wounded while on the Peninsula was nearly 1,000--namely, 987.

While encamped at Strawberry Hill, near Richmond, the Sixteenth Mississippi, one of the very best regiments in the division, was detached from it, and just before we started for Gordonsville the Maryland line was ordered to Staunton to recruit. The Virginia battery which had joined us at Winchester, but on account of want of drill had been only brought into action at Port Republic (accidentally and for a few rounds only) and at Malvern Hill, was left behind at Richmond “for purposes of instruction.” It was afterwards called Carrington's Charlottesville Artillery. [260]

At Cedar Run fight (Cedar Run Mountain or Slaughter's Mountain) we had Latimer's (Courtney) artillery; the Bedford battery, Captain Johnson (formerly Captain Bowyer); the Louisiana Guard artillery, Captain D'Aquin: the First Maryland artillery, Captain Dement; the Chesapeake (Second Maryland) artillery, Captain Brown, and the Manchester artillery, Lieutenant Pleasants (I think) was in command. All these batteries were engaged, and all did good service. Captain Brown was especially commended.

While at Liberty Mills the Ninth Louisiana was transferred to General Starke's brigade, and the Fifth Louisiana (Colonel Forno) and the Fourteenth Louisiana (Colonel York) were added to the eighth brigade. Colonel Hays was made a Brigadier-General and assigned the brigade thus formed, and Taylor was made Major-General and sent to Louisiana. Lieutenant-Colonel Penn thus became Colonel of the Seventh Louisiana. Hays still suffering from the effects of his wound, Forno took command of the brigade. An order came about this time that brigades and divisions were hereafter to be known by the names of their commanders, so we now speak of Ewell's division, of Early's, Trimble's and Hays's brigades. At Cedar Run Early was very hotly engaged, being the advance of the whole centre and left of the army. Trimble and Forno on the front of Slaughter's Mountain, were under a heavy fire of artillery but no musketry. The day after the fight Lawton's brigade of the Thirteenth, Twenty-sixth, Thirty-first, Sixtieth and Sixty-first Georgia regiments and the Staunton artillery were added to the division, by order of General Jackson. Up to this time I have not had enough intercourse with them to remember all the Colonels or commanding officers of these regiments. Colonel Douglas of the Thirteenth, and Colonel Stiles of the Sixtieth, I know. At Bristoe Station on Tuesday, the enemy admit a loss of fifty killed and two hundred wounded. Our loss was not nearly half of these numbers. Lieutenant Turner, General Ewell's aid, had a horse killed under him. At Manassas on Thursday evening, General Ewell was shot when the fight was nearly over. Next day his leg was amputated by Dr. McGuire. Next day General Trimble was wounded in the leg by an explosive ball, and Lieutenant-Colonel Fulton, Twenty-first North Carolina, the only field officer present, having been wounded the day before, the command of the brigade fell to Captain Feagan, of the Fifteenth Alabama. Colonel Forno, Fifth and Colonel York, Fourteenth Louisiana, having been wounded on Friday, Colonel Henry Strong, Sixth Louisiana, was left in command of the brigade. In Lawton's brigade Majors Berry and Griffin were wounded, the former [261] in four places. Colonel George Smith of Early's brigade, was again wounded. This list is only partial, as I left the division with General Ewell on Thursday, and have not since been with it.

After Major Wheat's death his battalion became totally disorganized and was ordered by the Secretary of War to be disbanded, the men being drafted into the other regiments of the brigade. This was done while on the Rapidan, near Raccoon Ford, after the battle of Cedar Run, but before those of Manassas. At Sharpsburg Colonel Strong, Sixth Louisiana, was killed; General Lawton was wounded. Other officers I don't recollect, except Lieutenant H. B. Richardson, Engineer of General Ewell's staff (promoted to Captain for conduct here), wounded. Just after Fredericksburg General J. B. Gordon was promoted to command of Lawton's brigade, and Early made Major-General.

Note, May 4th, 1874.--This is a copy of a memorandum made by me during the fall of 1862 and spring of 1863. The date shows when it was begun — the mention of Fredericksburg that it was finished some time afterwards. I don't know whether these notes are fit to publish, and only contribute it as a small addition to the history of Ewell's division, to be used as the discretion of the Society may dictate.


Johnson's Virginia battery (the Bedford battery), I am persuaded, was also with us at this time. I know we had three batteries.

C. B.

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