Remembering the Volunteers of the 6th North Carolina State Troops on the Anniversary of the 1st Battle of Manassas

Copyright (C) 2016 Frederick Walton

July 21, 1861- First Battle of Manassas

The 6th N. C. S. T. were the ONLY North Carolina Regiment actively engaged at

the Battle of 1st Manassas.


In Honor of Colonel Charles Frederick Fisher and the Volunteers of the 6th North Carolina State Troops

These men answered the call of their state and served bravely and honorably. Let not their sacrifice for North Carolina be forgotten.

 

Colonel Charles F. Fisher

Colonel Charles F. Fisher

President of the North Carolina Railroad and founder of the Sixth North
Carolina.

Killed leading his men of the 6th North Carolina State Troops in a charge
on Griffin’s Battery at First Manassas

Killed in Action July 21, 1861

 

1915_4_5b

“Fisher”Flag- Regimental Flag of the 6th North Carolina State Troops flown at Manassas

Click here to enlarge

Regimental Flag Carried at 1st Manassas. Presented to 6th by Colonel Fishers
Sister.

Flag Photo courtesy: North Carolina Museum of History Accession Nbr:   H.1915.4.5

Scene on the Manassas Battlefield

“When the first battle of Manassas was over and the federal army,
routed, were retreating in great disorder, I beheld a scene I shall never
forget. It was the carrying of the body of Col. Charles F. Fisher, Sixth
North Carolina Regiment, from the battlefield. A rider on horseback bore
the body, cold and stiff in death. He held it carefully and tenderly in
front of his saddle and carried him away from the field of carnage, where
he had fallen while leading his regiment to victory. He was doubtless carried
to his beloved state for interment.” 

T.P. Weakley, 2nd Tennessee

In the Confederate Veteran, October 1897

A patriot had made the supreme sacrifice.


The following is a list of casualties as reported in the newspapers after the battle and cross checked against records in the roster. Many of these boys never made it home to North Carolina and should be remembered for their sacrifice. (Click on Image for a larger view)

manasas casualtiesmanasas casualties2

manasas casualties3

 

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A recollection of the 6th North Carolina State Troops at the First battle of Manassas

Copyright (C) 2016 Frederick Walton

A Brief Sketch of Co. G, 6th NC State Troops by L H Rothrock155 years ago today, members of the 6th North Carolina State Troops were at Piedmont Station, Va. waiting to board a train to be taken to Manassas junction to reenforce General Beauregard, where a battle was shortly anticipated. In fact as I write this, I can see the sun setting, this is about the exact same time the 6th NCST was starting to board the cars.

I present the following recollection from a member of the 6th NCST, in their Honor.
Corporal, later Lieutenant Lewis H. Rothrock of Co, “G” wrote this account “at the rather urgent request of Col. A. H. Boyden”. Why it was requested or written is unclear. It may be related to a Confederate reunion in Durham that occurred around the same time this was written. Rothrock, Born in 1839 was 82 when he penned this account.

The son of a well known Lutheran Minister, he was described as modest, successful, conscientious, able and a wonderful influence on the hundreds of school children he has taught.(Salisbury Evening Post, 26 April 1922) and “still vigorous in mind and body.” at age 83 (Charlotte Observer, 20 April 1922).  In fact he was still teaching when these articles were written and was well known as Professor Rothrock. He was very active teaching Sunday school as well as being an elected official and an officer in the United Confederate Veterans (UCV).

I found this handwritten sketch in the Military Collection of the North Carolina state Archives where I made a copy back in 2007, but only recently took the time to transcribe it. I would like to share it with my readers on this anniversary of the events he described.


A brief sketch of Co. “G”

6th N. C. State Troops
By L. H. Rothrock
sent by Col. A. H. Boyden Sept 30, 1921
(Transcribed by Frederick Walton, 2016)

L. H. Rothrock

from Salisbury Evening Post, 9 May 1922, Tue, Page 4

 


Col. Charles F. Fisher’s 6th N. C.Regiment left Winchester Va.1 about 2 o’clock PM on Friday, 19 July 1861 for Manassas Junction, and arrived at Piedmont Station, Manassas gap R. R. in the early part of the day Saturday, after marching all night. Other troops being in advance of us, did not get aboard the cars until sundown. Had not gone very far, when our train was stopped on account of track obstructions. Col. Fisher now became engineer and general manager and after a detention of two or three hours we were on our way, reaching Manassas Junction a little after sunrise Sunday morning2. There a little delay occurred, when Col. Fisher hurried off with his regiment to the battle-field, some six or seven miles distant. It must have been 12 o’clock before we gained the field of conflict. Col. Fisher halted his men near a ravine to give them a little rest and deposit their knapsacks, blankets, etc., that they might go into the fight fresh, and in light order. Col. Fisher was sitting on his horse and in fiery words to his soldiers “To ‘quit themselves like men”3. A section of Rickett’s battery4 was playing rapidly above our position. I here recall this statement from our beloved Col., ”Men, I intend to take that battery or die in the attempt”.

Colonel Charles F. Fisher

Colonel Charles F. Fisher

Presently the order came to move. Col. Fisher quickly got his men into line, the regiment in fine order crossed the ravine four deep5. The head of the regiment was nearing a dense thicket of pines when the command “File right”6 was given and when the word “front”7 rang out, Co.”G” had a position a little to the left of Ricketts’ battery8. The firing was now very brisk . The 6th Regiment shot down the horses of the battery and the gunners either fell or fled9. At this juncture Col. Fisher from the clump of Pine’s (the left of Co. “G” resting on the thick undergrowth, two other companies on our immediate left not getting into action) called me saying Corp. Rothrock “walk up to the brow of the hill and fire then fall back and load.” I did not know Col. Fisher was near until he called me. I recognized him instantly. He was on his knees, hat off, hands above his head cheering his men.

 

Launch point

Position of Griffin’s Battery on Manassas battlefield Photo Copyright (C) 2006 Frederick Walton Photography

At this crisis Co. “G” lost seven of her best men killed out right10, and seven wounded11. And now there was a lull in the battle and Henry W. Miller, having been wounded and in a standing posture on the top of the hill, called to me, being some 15 or 20 feet behind him; Rothrock,”There goes a gunner, kill him.” I could see his head and shoulders, so I leveled my piece on him and fired and Miller said he fell.”Deponent sayeth not”12. This part of the field was now clear. Col. Fisher had gained a complete victory over this particular stretch of the strife. Now we were ordered to reform and move to the left to support one of our batteries. Where was Col. Fisher? How delighted to have seen him at this moment13! Did not know positively that he was lost to us forever in this world, until the following Monday morning.

Now a more sublime scene rarely presents itself. Gen. McDowell’s army was most beautifully aligned on a slightly elevated plane. Our gunners got the exact range. The first shell fell in the midst of this well formed square. The enemy began forthwith to waver, and the third or fourth shot produced an utter route. Pardon me. Although Col Fisher came in, probably between one or two o’clock, I shall always believe that his regiment did as much or more than any other one regiment in winning the victory over Gen. McDowell’s army. In five minutes’ time not a soldier of our opposing forces was to be seen. Capt. James A. Craig14 and I crossed the valley and viewed the plain where the Union Army had been posted. We passed by an old fence and from one corner, out sprang a fine black Newfoundland dog. He seemed overjoyed to see us, but assumed a cringing attitude. He too was whipped. We made an examination of his lair, and discovered two bottles of fine champagne. The Capt. and I at once made violent charge upon the wine and won a most signal victory; for we were both hungry and thirsty. Where we encamped Monday night, I know not, unless somewhere near the head waters of Bull Run. We had received no food since we left Piedmont station on the previous Saturday, until Monday evening- a space of forty-eight hours.

Tuesday morning we marched back to Manassas Junction and later took up camp near Bristoe Station, four miles below. The two guns “Long Tom” and “Aunt Sal” remain with us as gentle reminders of the glorious achievements of the first battle of Bull Run15. Col Fisher deserves a monument fifty feet high, and present and future historians should not attempt to rob him of the glory and honor which justly belong to his pure unsullied and exalted patriotism. In the name of God’s truth let justice be done.”Honor to whom honor is due”

Gold Hill N. C.

September 21, 1921

L. H. Rothrock

Notes:

1 The 6th North Carolina State Troops was part of General Joseph E. Johnston’s army of the Shenandoah and had traveled from North Carolina, via Richmond, to Winchester., arriving July 14, 1861 after a long forced march, to reenforce Johnston against an anticipated attack by Federal General Robert Patterson. They were assigned to the Third Brigade, commanded by General Barnard E. Bee, serving along side the 4th Alabama, 2nd and 11th Mississippi and the Staunton Artillery.

2 Charles Frederick Fisher was the president of the North Carolina Railroad before resigning to form the 6th North Carolina State Troops, Many of the officers and men were former Railroad employees and had a lot of experience that could be used to repair damaged railroad tracks, engines, etc

3 Acquit- To bear or conduct one’s self; to perform one’s part. i.e.The soldier acquitted himself well in battle.

4 Captain James B. Ricketts commanded the 1st US artillery, more commonly called Ricketts battery. They were deployed along the crest of Henry House Hill across from where the Confederate lines were being formed on the opposite crest. Their Cannons firing into the Confederate lines caused panic as unfortunate men were arbitrarily cut down. Leaves and branches rained down on the untested troops as cannon balls soared overhead.

5 Column of fours- A civil war regiment, standing in two ranks and facing front would count off, from right to left, each soldier, in turn, would be numbered 1 or 2. At the order “right face”, each soldier numbered 1 would turn to the right. Every second soldier, numbered “2” would step to the right of the soldier previously to his right, thereby forming column of four, which would be an efficient, compact way to march along narrow paths.

6 Technically the command is “By file Right (or Left) , March”. At the command March, the first file of the column (i. e. the first four men) will wheel (turn) in the direction specified followed by the rest of the column, each wheeling at the same spot until the entire column has turned 90 degrees. In other words, the column has made a right hand turn.

7 Technically the command is “Company halt, Front” at which time the column will stop marching (halt) and undouble, returning to a two rank battle front, which can be deployed against an enemy.

8 Two guns of Griffin’s battery to move down the Sudley road (about 1:30 PM), into a position in front of the wood line on the far left of the Confederate line in an effort to enfilade the Confederates if they attempted to move forward. At the same time that these guns were being moved, Colonel Fisher had been ordered to move to the left end of the Confederate line and ended up fronting his regiment opposite these newly arrived guns. It is Actually Griffin’s Battery, not Ricketts, that Co, G overlaps on the left.

9 Griffin’s battery moved forward without any infantry support, and was unprepared to defend itself against an infantry attack like this. Shooting the horses would have prevented the battery from withdrawing, allowing the guns to be captured. It is a long running debate about who actually silenced this battery, the 33rd Va. also making the claim.

10 The Richmond Daily Dispatch of August 1, 1861 reported the following seven members of Co. “G” killed: Privates G. Noah, A. B. Corriher, J. R. Corriher, J. S. Smith, Jason D. Setzer, Jno. Hess and Jacob Safrit

11 The Richmond Daily Dispatch of August 1, 1861 reported the following Six members of Co. “G” wounded: privates John Howard and N. Lindsay Dancy, severely wounded; privates W. Rufus Owen, Henry W. A. Miller, Jacob W. Miller, and Bartlett Allen, slightly wounded. Checking the roster, I was unable to find a seventh wounded member of company G.

12 This may refer to a common legal term included at the end of a deposition or Affidavit meaning that the person has nothing further to say… which would certainly be true if the person, in this case, had been fatally shot.

13 I believe he means to say, how delighted we would have been to have seen him at this moment. I suspect he was already dead, having fallen among the guns of Griffin’s Battery when they charged the guns. the following was reported in the Carolina Watchmen,July 25, 1861 “He was killed on the battlefield of Manassas Junction, Sunday 21st July, instant whilst bravely leading his regiment into an engagement. He was struck by a Minnie ball (As was supposed) above the left eye. It cut the rim, and passed through the hat at the band, and came out the back of the head. His death was believed to be instantaneous. No one noticed his fall at the moment, not did anyone know of his death until late in the after part of the day, his presence was missed from his regiment. Search was then made over the field upon which the engagement was had, and his lifeless body was found.”

14 Commander of Company G

15 “Long Tom” was a Federal 30-pounder Parrott Rifle, abandoned at Cub Run after the battle of Manassas and captured by the Confederates to add to their arsenal. I assume “Aunt Sal” had a similar history, but have been unable to find a captured gun by that name.

Hoke’s Brigade at Batchelor’s Creek

In a recent blog I asked: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could ask some of the long gone veterans of the 6th North Carolina State troops what they did during specific battles?

I’m still waiting to hear from someone in the 6th North Carolina (Hint Hint Major York…) but I was surprised to “hear” from a soldier in the 43rd N.C. who was a participant and offered his first hand account to the Feb 23. 1864 “The Western Democrat”  newspaper in Charlotte, N. C. I “stumbled” across this article today when looking for something completely different. Odd…Did I really stumble across this or was it put in my path to trip over…Hmmmm.

Anyway, you can read it for yourself below, but fast forward to the last paragraph where he says:  “The other regiments of this brigade acted their parts nobly, but weren’t called upon as those four battalions mentioned above” . I take this to mean that the 6th NCST was there, but not actively engaged…which is what I had assumed, but now have a confirmation from someone who was there …Thanks “D”.

The_Charlotte_Democrat_Tue__Feb_23__1864_

Faces of the Sixth-Private Henry Speck Harris Company B

Faces Logo

The following photographs and information are original members of the “Bloody Sixth”. I am honored to include their stories and images here. If you would like to share a story or photo about your 6th NCST ancestor, please leave a comment and I will be in touch.


Private Henry Speck Harris
Company B

p009_30534-5e

Image from a tintype. Collection 9. Neg. 100-54. UNC Collection
Photo Source: http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/dig_nccpa/id/5195/rec/7


 

Resided in : Granville County
Prior Occupation: Farmer
Enlisted: May 1, 1861, for the war
Where: Orange County
Age at enlistment: 22
Killed in Action: May 20, 1862
Buried: on the battlefield, unknown


Henry Speck Harris appears in the 1850 Federal Census living in the 1st district of the county of Orange. His father, Marcus, a 40 year old farmer and his mother, Louena, age 35, have 5 children living in their household.  Robert (16),  Archibald (14), Henry (12), Emeline(10) and Nathaniel (8). [1] I have been unable to locate a suitable match for him in the 1860 Census.

Henry Speck Harris was born at Bahama, N.C. on February 12, 1837.[2]

He Resided in Granville County and enlisted in Orange County at age 22, May 1, 1861, for the war. His Compiled Service record show him listed as “Present”  from the date of his enlistment on May 1, 1861 through  May 31, 1862 when he is listed as “Killed at Seven Pines, Virginia, May 31,1862.” [3][4]

The Chaplain of the regiment, K. Y. Stewart, D.D., wrote to the Raleigh Standard about the valor of the regiment and hardship they faced at the battle of Seven Pines, commending the conduct of the 6th N.C. Regiment:

“They stormed the enemy’s lines through an open field and exposed to a rapid fire from the works where they were posted. They charged and drove them from their camps—they ran them for a mile—they then twice charged their

masked works, wading through swamps up to the waist and that under a destructive fire until the approach of night and the absence of artillery, combined with the numbers of the enemy and strength of the works satisfied every one that nothing more could be done.”

1st Lt. B.R. Smith, Adjutant, 6th N.C.T. furnished a report to the newspaper and stated in a note to the editor [5]:

“The regiment was in advance and drove the enemy before them for a mile and a half, capturing their camps with large supplies and valuable property when they were met by large bodies of Federals entrenched with masked batteries. It was in charging these batteries twice that the chief losses were sustained.”

Total casualties for the battle below Richmond for the 6th NCST were

Killed- 11; Wounded-88; Missing-15; Aggregate loss-114 [6]

In this report H. S. Harris is listed as missing. Having fallen during the battle it is unclear if his body was ever recovered. His final resting place is unknown. His parents are buried at the Mount Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery,  located in Mangum Township (North Carolina) across from church at intersection of Bahama Road (SR 1616) and Quail Roost Road (SR 1615).

He was a member of the Flat River Guard (FRG on hat), which became Company B, Sixth North Carolina State Troops.


Source Notes:

1) Harris in the 1850 United States Federal Census; Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Orange, North Carolina; Roll: M432_639; Page: 255A; Image: 505, Reviewed by Researcher Frederick Walton on 7/13/2016 on Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

2) Harris Family Bible – Flat River, Orange County, NC; Author: Marcus Harris; Note: Marcus Harris, Salesman for American Bible Society Rainey M. Harris (Apr. 1991) discovered on Ancestry.com Harris Family Tree

3) Jordon, “North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865

4) The National Archives Publication Number: M270; Publication Title: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina; National Archives Catalog ID: 586957; National Archives Catalog Title: Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations , compiled 1903 – 1927, documenting the period 1861 – 1865; Record Group: 109;Roll: 0161; Military Unit: Sixth Infantry, North Carolina; Harris, Henry S..

5) Both the Chaplain’s letter and the Adjutant’s report can be found in the newspaper- North Carolina Standard; Raleigh; June 18, 1862

6} The Richmond Daily Dispatch: June 9, 1862.

Additional information or photos would be welcomed to complete 
the record of this honorable soldier. 

Soldier Letter from Batchelor’s Creek

John Walker to Mother letter dated February 7, 1864
Walker Papers,Duke University Archives
Copyright (C) 2016 Transcribed by Frederick E. Walton February 17, 2016

18640207 letter John Walker to mother-1
Camp near Kinston, N. C. [1]
February the 7th [1864]
Dear Mother,
I seat myself this morning to let you know where I am and where how I am. I am well with the exception of a bad cold and in camp near Kinston, N. C. but how long we will stay here I don’t know. We just got back from Newbern [2] Thursday. We left the Rapidan Va. the 20th Jan and have been marching and roaming about ever since. We left here Saturday the 30th of Jan and marched on Newbern for the purpose of attacking it and taking it by storm. but for some cause or other for not taking the place I don’t know. Our Brigade had a fierce engagement at Jumping River [4], but succeeded in routing them and driving them on into town. Capturing most of them. but lost but two men[5] in our Regt mortally wounded. Our Brigade done all the fighting that was done. It has been reported in camp ever since we left Va.that our Brigade was going to Salisbury. but I think it doubtful myself but we have orders to leave tomorrow. Some say to go up the Road I dont know, whether it is or not, I hope so. We captured on this raid the rise of 400 prisoners 2 pieces of Artillary 40 horses 300 small arms and equipments some few negros an amount of commisary and quartermaster stores clothing &c. [6] I am going to send some things to Mebanesville by Mr. Wilson and you must send after them. don’t send me anything more until I write for them. I will send my coat and pants back because they dont fit at all. I shall write no more this time J. K. W.

Transcribers comment: This note is written on both sides of a scrap of paper. It is written in ink, in a fairly neat and legible hand, although the ink bleeds through the paper. Walker says “I seat myself this morning…” Because of the steady hand and flourishes in the letters, I picture the writer sitting at a table somewhere with the ease to leisurely write, vs sitting around a campfire with a board balanced on his knee.


Footnotes:

1)  John K. Walker was a member of Co. K, 6th North Carolina State Troops, who were members of Hoke’s Brigade. The Compiled Service records show their movements as Follow: “Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21, 1864. Took the cars at that place January 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. January 24 and remained there about six days. Took the cars at that point for Kinston. Marched to Newbern. Participated in the engagement of Bachelors Creek 1st February 1864. returned to Kinston February 4, 1864. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.”

2) New Bern, North Carolina. The Colonial Capitol of North Carolina that had been under Federal Occupation since the March 1862 Battle of New Bern. The reason Walker was here in 1864 was to recapture this Carolina Port and it’s supplies to support the Army of Northern Va in the upcoming Campaign.

3) Thursday, February 4, 1864

4)  Jumping Run branches off of Bachelors creek and crosses the Neuse road about 2 miles north of the place where Bachelors creek crosses the road. This is approximately where the Federal Outpost would have been located in advance of the Blockhouse protecting the Batchelor’s creek crossing.

5) A search of the 6th North Carolina Roster has been unsuccessful in identifying two mortally wounded soldiers at the time of this battle.

6) General Pickett reported the following in his official report of the incident: “The result may be summed up as follows, viz.: Killed and wounded, about one hundred; captured thirteen officers, two hundred and eighty-four privates, fourteen negroes, two rifle pieces and caissons, three hundred stand of small arms, four ambulances, three wagons, one hundred and three animals, a quantity of clothing and garrison equipage, and two flags.”

 

 

The 6th NCST at Batchelors Creek

Copyright (C) 2016 by Frederick E. Walton

IMG_4871

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could ask some of the long gone veterans of the 6th North Carolina State troops what they did during specific battles? Sure their memories may be a little off, years after the fact. Certainly each soldier’s personal experience would be slightly different. But, if you could ask them, they could tell you exactly what they saw, what they did and where they went, especially if they were ducking Yankee Lead!

Lt Walton and Captain Cheek, 6th NCST Co. I at the 2016 Battle of New Bern Reenactment

There is one place that this information is captured. Directly from the soldiers themselves. In their own words.

At the start of the “Compiled Service records of Confederate soldiers who served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina” (more generally known simply as the CSR’s or Compiled Service records) there is a a section labeled “Unit information”. In the records of the 6th NCST can be found, among other things, a company by company record of their movements during the war. Sometimes it includes casualty figures, but the intention is to show where the Company was when the company muster roll was taken. Sadly the rolls themselves are not readily available, but much if the information has been transcribed to the CSR’s.

The following is an extract of the companies whereabouts during the “engagement” (as they call it) of Bachelor’s Creek between Kinston and New Berne.

You will see that Company by Company recorded almost exactly the same experience, with some minor changes to the wording, but for the sake of completeness they are all included. I noticed several things of note. First, in most cases the Captains are absent, many of them having been gobbled up at Rappahannock Station in November, 1863. We see that in some companies, Lieutenants, and even 2nd Lieutenants are in command. In others it may be down to NCO’s. The men of the Sixth had lost their leadership.

Secondly there is little information about the engagement itself except that they “participated”, although looking at previous muster roll/station CSR cards, this is typical of how they reported. Even at big battles like Gettysburg or Fredericksburg they simply say- “engaged the enemy” or “part of the operations…” Wouldn’t it be nice if they were more specific like saying, “We were the left flank company and came under heavy fire as we attacked the Yankee line” or “As rear Guard, we sat out most of the fight”. It sure would clear up what they actually did during the engagement at Bachelor’s creek.

The Third thing I noticed is there are no casualties mentioned…at all…by any of the 10 companies… Again this is not really the place to report casualties, but looking back at previous cards, they’d often include this information. For Batchelor’s creek, does that mean there were no casualties? In “The Bloody Sixth”, author Iobst mentions that 2 members of the Regiment were mortally wounded. He got this from a letter. Who where they? I manually searched the roster and was unable to find ANY members of the 6th that were mortally wounded at Kinston, Batchelor’s Creek or New Berne.

As frustrating as it is to not know, I can at least share what I do know…from their own words, here is what the officers of the Sixth NCST reported for Batchelor’s Creek.IMG_4876

transcribed from the compiled service records by Frederick Walton, Feb 18, 2016


(Confederate)

CO. ____, 6 Regiment North Carolina Infantry.


Company Muster Roll

Of the organization named above,

For Jan & Feb, 1864,

Shows station of company,
Camp near Kinston

Record of events.
Co. A: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21, 1864. Took the cars at that place. January 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. January 24 remain there about six days. Took the cars at that point for Kinston;
Marched to Newbern. Participated in the engagement of Bachlors creek 1st February 1864. returned to Kinston February 4, 1864. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.
J. A. McPherson, Captain

Co B: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21, 1864. Took the train at that place. Jan. 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. the 24th and remained there about six days. Took the cars at that point for Kinston, N. C.;
Marched from there to Newbern. Took part in the engagement of Bachelors Creek Feb.1,1864 and returned to Kinston February 4, ’64. Whole distance marched about 300 miles.
Geo. R Maynard, Lt. Commanding Co B. 6 N.C.

Co. C: Marched from Raccoon ford Va. to Gordonsville Jany 21-64. Took the cars at that place. Jany 22 arrived at Garysburg 24 remain there six days. and took the trains for Kinston.
Marched from there to the vicinity of Newbern. Took part in the engagement of Bachlors creek Feb1 and returned to this [place] Feb 4/64. Whole distance marched about 300 miles.
W. S. Clinton, Lt. Commanding Co [C]

Co. D: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21. Took the cars at the above place. January 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. Jany 24th remained there about six days. Took the cars at that point for Kinston. Marched to Newburn. Took part in the engagement Bachlors creek Febry 1st,1864. returned to Kinston February 4, 1864. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.
J. S. McPherson, Captain

Co. E: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville January 21 1864. Took the cars at that place. January 22 arrived at Garysburg January 24 remained there about six days. Took the cars at that place for Kinston. Marched to Newburn. Took part in the engagement of Bachlors creek February 1. returned to Kinston February 4. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.
J. A. McPherson, Captain

Co. F: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21-64. Took the cars at that place. Jan 22 arrived at Garysburg 24 remained there six days and took the train for Kinston. Marched from there to the vicinity of Newburn. Took part in the engagement at Bachlors creek Febry 1 and returned to this place Feb 4-64. Whole distance marched about 300 miles.
B. Y. Mebane, Lt. comdg Co.

Co. G: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia Januy 21 1864. Took the Train at Gordonsville Jan 22nd arrived at Garysburg, N. C. Jan 24th1864 remained there about six days and took the train from there to Kinston. Marched from Kinston to Newburn. Took part in the engagement at Bachlors creek Febry 1,1864. returned to Kinston Feby 4th 1864. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.
S. P . Brown, Lt. Comdg Co. G 6 N. C. Troops

Co. H: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Jany 21 1864. Took the cars at place Jan 22 arrived at Garysburg 24 remained there about 6 days. Took the train for Kinston, N. C. Marched from thence to Newburn. Took part in the engagement Bachlors creek Febry 1st,1864. return to Kinston, N. C. February 4, 1864. Whole distance Marched about 300 miles.
L. H. Walker Lt. Co. H. 6 N. C.

Co. I: Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia Jany 21st 1864. Took the cars at that place on the 22 and arrived at Garysburg, N. C. on 24th remained there about six days. Took the cars at that place for Kinston. Marched from Kinston to Newburn. Participated in the engagement Bachlors creek Feby 1/64.Returned to Kinston February 4/64. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.
D. C. Gunter, Lt. Co. “I” 6 N. C. Troops

Co. K: Marched from Raccoon ford, Va. to Gordonsville Jan 21-64. Took the cars at that place. Jan 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. 24 remained there six days. Took the cars at that placefor Kinston, N. C. Marched from there to Newbern. Took part in the engagement Bachelors creek Feb 1,1864. returned to Kinston Feb 4. Whole distance march about 300 miles.
J. S. Vincent Capt, Co. K 6 N. C. T


Members of the 6th NCST at the 2016 Battle of New Bern Reenactment

Since the regimental officers where very general in their description of the part played during the Engagement at Bachelor’s creek, I turned to the Official records and reviewed the reports of General Pickett and General Hoke. Neither mentioned the 6th NCST, but Hoke does mention other regiments in this brigade as taking leading role during the battle. Looking at the following returns and remembering that the 6th NCST was severely impacted during the Gettysburg campaign and the disaster at Rappahannock station in November of 1863, it is not hard to imagine that the understrength regiment would be used in a rear guard or support position, although I can find no records describing their precise role.

Lee Sherrill, Jr. In his book on the 21st North Carolina Infantry devotes and entire, very well documented, chapter on the battle of Batchelor’s Creek. He describes the long standing relationship of the 21st NCT and the 21st Ga. as well as the confidence and longstanding relationship that General Hoke had in these veteran troops. He selected them to cross the creek and flank the enemy blocking his path. He describes Hoke deploying his Brigade on both side of the Dove road in the marshy, Stubby fields that can still be seen today. The 1st Battalion and 43rd NCT were deployed as skirmishers. The 6th NCST is not even given an honorable mention. They were indisputably there, they may have even witnessed the brisk struggle, but their position was not a critical one and their role goes unreported.


The following table, from the CSR shows their strength on the roll as of Decmber 20, 1863, right before this engagement. This would not account for troops that where detailed for other duties or those that fell out during the long March from Virginia or those that were sick from the winter weather or still suffering from injuries from the previous battles. The number clearly demonstrate a regiment below half strength, even when you account for the companies not reporting.

6th North Carolina State Troops Returns as of 20 December 1863

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Extract from General R. F. Hoke’s report filed February 8, 1864 from Camp at Kinston, N. C.

“On Sunday morning, at 6 o’clock, I, with my brigade at the head of the column, proceeded on the Dover road, arresting all persons who saw us, and directed the march, so as to arrive at Stevens’ Ford, a point (10) ten miles from Newbern, and two miles from the outpost of the enemy, after dark, where we encamped without fires until one o’clock Monday morning, the 1st instant, at which time I moved forward, and captured all the outposts, but not without being hailed and fired upon.
I moved down the road with all possible speed, in order to reach Batchelor’s Creek before the bridge could be taken up, but upon reaching the point, found they had been alarmed by the firing of the pickets, and had taken up the bridge.
Here I lost a number of men killed and wounded. The enemy at this point were strongly entrenched, and also had a block-house erected. To avoid the loss of men by storming, I threw some trees across the creek, and crossed two regiments over under command of Colonel Mercer of the Twenty-first Georgia regiment, with orders to move upon their flank and rear, while I would repair the bridge and cross over the remainder of the command. This was soon done, arid we were not long delayed. The enemy, in the meantime, had telegraphed for reinforcements, who were about two miles distant, and arrived in time to form in the field in rear of the creek, artillery and infantry, but we soon drove them before us, and completely routed them. They made my anticipated move, which was to throw troops by cars across the creek on the railroad, and came in our rear. This was what we wanted, and I moved with all possible speed, a distance of six miles, to strike the railroad and capture the train, but the enemy by telegraphic communications were apprised of our move, and returned the train loaded with troops, just five minutes before I reached the road. It was my intention, had I gotten the train, to place my men upon it and go into Newbern.
At this point my brigade was halted to meet any advance of the enemy from the town, while General Clingman was ordered across to the Trent road to prevent the return of the enemy from Deep Gully, and also to take all stragglers, but not knowing the country, he failed to reach the road, which was extremely unfortunate, as during the evening, at different times (500) five hundred infantry and (400) four hundred cavalry, passed into the town panic-stricken, leaving their camps in wild confusion.
After General Corse came up to the railroad, I moved my brigade within a mile to the front of the town, to await the sound of Barton’s guns from the opposite side of Trent river, when, much to my surprise, I saw two trains come into town from Morehead City, which proved clearly that Barton had not reached the point of destination. We remained in front of Newbern all day Tuesday, waiting Barton’s move, when, much to my disappointment, a dispatch was received from him, stating that it was impossible for him to cross the creek. Being junior officer, it does not become me to speak my thoughts of this move. “

Bachelor’s Creek Bibliography:

Barefoot, Daniel W. General Robert F. Hoke, Lee’s Modest Warrior. Winston-Salem, NC: J.F. Blair, 1996. Chapter 6.

Iobst, Richard W. The Bloody Sixth, The Sixth North Carolina Regiment Confederate States of America., Gaithersburg, Md., Olde Soldier Books, Chapter 11, pp 177-180

Sherrill, Lee W. The 21st North Carolina Infantry: A Civil War History, with a Roster of Officers. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015. Chapter 32, “Batchelor’s Creek,” PP 289-303.
Note: Includes drawing of Blockhouse and map of battlefield with some troop positions.

Trotter, William R. Ironclads and Columbiads: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Coast. Winston-Salem, NC: J.F. Blair, 1989. Chapter19, “Pickett does not Charge,” PP 223-231.

Jump to more articles about Batchelors Creek:

Soldier Letter from Batchelor’s Creek

Hoke’s Brigade at Batchelor’s Creek

Sketch of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment.

from the Durham, N. C. “Tobacco Plant” newspaper, Oct 12, 1888, Page 2
Transcribed by Historian Frederick E. Walton 7/11/2016
The Sixth North Carolina Regiment was organ
ized at Burlington, (Company Shops) in June, 1861, as the Sixth Regi
ment of State Troops, under the ten Regiment Act, with the following field and staff officers:

fisher

Charles F. Fisher, killed at Manassas, July 21. 1861

Colonel, Charles F. Fisher;
Lieutenant-Colonel, W. T. Dortch ;
Major, Charles E. Lightfoot;
Captain N. E. Scales, A. Q. M. ;
Captain W. H. Alexander, A. C. S. ;
Lieutenant H. B. Lowrie, Adjutant ;
Surgeon, A. M. Nesbitt ;
Assistant Surgeons, J., A. Caldwell, C. A. Henderson;
Chaplain, Rev. P. H. Dalton, D. D.

The ten companies and original Captains:


A, from Western North Carolina Railroad,Captain, R. M. McKinney;
B, from Durham county, Captain, R. F. Webb;
C, from Durham, Captain, W. J. Freeland ;
D, from Burke, Captain, I. E. Avery;
F, from Alamance, Captain, J. W. Wilson;
G, from Rowan, Captain, James A. Craige;
H, from Caswell, Captain, A. A. Mitchell;
I, from Durham county, Captain, R. W. York;
K, from Alamance, Captain, J. A. Lea.

The Regiment had four Colonels:
Charles F. Fisher, killed at Manassas, July 21. 1861;
W. D. Pender, killed (Major General)- at Gettysburg;
I.E.Avery, killed July 2, at Gettysburg, commanding Brigade;
Robert F. Webb, wounded at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.

Five Lieutenant Colonels :
W. T. Dortch, resigned on account of Governor Ellis’ death ;
Charles E. Light-foot, wounded at Seven Pines, Mav 31, 1862;
I. E. Avery,
R. F. Webb,
S. McD. Tate, wounded at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.

Four Majors:
Charles E. Lightfoot,
Robert F. Webb,
S. McD. Tate,
R. W. York, wounded at Mt. Jackson, September 21, 1864.

Four Surgeons :
A.M. Nesbitt,
J. A. Caldwell,
Pleasant A. Holt,
J. G. Hardy.

Four Assistant Surgeons :
J. A. Caldwell,
C. A. Henderson,
W. A. Collett,
W. A. Bickers;

Two Chaplains :
Rev, A. AY. Mangum, D. D.; Episcopal Methodist;
Rev. .K. J. Stewart, D. D., Episcopal.

A. Q. M.: Captains N. E. Scales, M. W. Page, T. HI. Biame.

A. C. S.: Captain W. H. Alexander.

Adjutants: Lieutenants H. B. Lowrie, B. R. Smith, C. Mebane.

The Regiment was in all the great battles of the army of Northern Virginia, under Generals Johnston and R. E. Lee, with two exceptions: The Regiment was under Picket in his fiasco against New Berne, being engaged at Bachelors Creek; and under Hoke at Plymouth ; and was in the storming Column that took Fort Wessels at Plymouth, and was a part of the army of the Valley under Early that went to Washington, and participated in all the engagements of that army, till the fall of 1864, when it rejoined Lee at Petersburg, and stacked its muskets at Appomattox Court House.

The Regiment, in the Army of the Shenandoah, brigaded in the ‘”Old Third” with 4th Alabama, 2d and 11th Mississippi. In 1863, in Hoke’s North Carolina brigade, 6th, 21st, 54th, 57th regiments and 1st battalion from Salem.

Army commanders: J. E. Johnston, R. E. Lee.
Corps commanders: Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, R. S. Ewell, J. B. Gordon, J. A. Early.
Division commanders: AV. It. C. Whiting, J. B. Hood, J. A. Earlv, S. D. Ramseur, J. G. Walker.
Brigade commanders: Barnard E. Bee, W. H. C. Whiting, E. M. Law, R. F. Hoke, A. C. Goodwin, W. G. Lewis.

Masonic Lodges:

Bee Military Lodge No. 200, under Grand Lodge of Virginia, while in the “Old Third” Brigade. Officers:
R. W. York, W. M.;
S. McD. Tate, S. W.;
Charles E. Lightfoot, J. W.;
W. J. Freeland, S. D.;
Robt. F. Webb, J. P.;
W. B. Allen, Sec;
W. A. Jenkins, Treas.;
J. F. Williams, Tyler. ;

I. E. Avery Military Lodge No. .1, G. L. of N. C:
R. W. York, W. M.;
S. McD. Tate, S. W.;
A. A. Thompson, J W.;
Rev. K. J. Stewart, D. D., chaplain to both lodges.

Went from the regiment :
Captain Robert Martin McKinney, to be Colonel 15th Regiment;
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles E. Lightfoot, to be Colonel of Artillery commanding defenses of Richmond;
Captain James A. Craig, to be Lieutenant-Colonel 57th Regiment;
Colonel W. D. Pender, to be Brigadier and Major General;
Captain A. G. Avery, to be Major Inspector General of D. H. Hill’s staff;
Lieutenant J. A. Rose,to be Aid-de-Camp General Pender’s staff;
Private Jacob Shepard, to be Aid-de-Camp General Pender’s staff;
Surgeon P. A. Holt to be Chief Surgeon Pender’s Division;
Sergeant George F. Bason, to be Lieutenant of Ordinance Scales’ Brigade;
Private Banks Holt, to be Lieutenant in 7th N. C.;
Private David Silver, to be Lieutenant 58th Regiment;
Lieutenant John Carson and Private Charles Stewart, to be Commissioned Officers of Avery’s Battalion.