Sergeant Willie Meadows ?? Company B- “Flat River Guards”

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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.

Sergeant Willie Meadows ??
Company B- “Flat River Guards”

Image found on the internet at various sites.

Discussion of photograph- Is this REALLY Willie Meadows?

At the time of this writing, this photograph has appeared in several places on the internet, some describing it  as the photo of Sgt. Willie Meadows. To date I have been unable to uncover the provenance that positively links this photo to this soldier, through a family member for example. One on-line auction site simply listed it as “Great Silhouetted Ninth Plate Ambrotype Of A Confederate Sergeant In Thermoplastic Case.”

According to Uniform expert Bob Williams, this image was once in the collection of William Albaugh and was published in. “Even More Confederate Faces” back in 1983. He is ID’d as belonging to the Madison Rangers, Co. B, 6th NCST.

There are several puzzling things about this photo. First is his forage Cap. It has a metal “B” which would correctly indicate his company, but below that are what appear to be “M R”.

Company B of the 6th North Carolina State Toops was known as the “Flat River Guards” and there are several photographs of their members wearing Hardee hats with the letters “FRG”.

Company B of the 6th North Carolina Infantry Volunteers (16th North Carolina Troops) was known as the “Madison Rangers”.  “M R” probably stands for Madison Rangers.

There was indeed a Willie Meadows in Company “B” of the 6th North Carolina State Troops, (see below) but his compiled service records show him as a private and a corporal, through 1864. He is listed as a Sergeant only on the Appomattox Parole listing in April of 1865.

That fact that the Cap has “hat brass” would indicate an early war photo. Veterans learned to remove these “targets” fairly early on. So while this would seem to be an early war photo, Willie Meadows of Company “B”, 6th NCST, was not a Sergeant until the late part of the war, and at that late date, its doubtful he had the proper uniform, anyway.

The upside down Sgt. Chevrons are unusual. While the jacket is similar to an early war NC style sack coat (fatigue jacket) it is not the same pattern. There are too many buttons, too close together and the black shoulder patches are going the wrong way, almost like officers shoulder boards.

A quick Google image search of “Civil War Sgt Chevrons” or “Civil War Sgt stripes” shows pages of photos, but none like the Sergeant stripes in this photo, making this pattern a mystery to me. I also scanned through Greg Mast’s “State Troops and Volunteers” and did not find a similar uniform jacket or upside down stripes amongst his many photos.

None of the known photographs of 6th North Carolina State Troops soldiers, especially several of the Flat River Guards, resemble this particular uniform.

I reviewed the 6th North Carolina Volunteers, which became the 16th NCT and found no Willie Meadows  on their roster. Additional reseach will be required to find out who the Sergeants of the 16th NCT were.

The etched sword, enhanced in the photo with added gilt, looks more like an officers sword, or maybe even a ceremonial sword. It could possibly be a photo studio prop, but he is wearing what appears to be a metal scabbard on this hip. This may be a little overkill for a prop.

His belt buckle is hidden by the sword, so no clue there and the buttons are obscured by the added gilt. Sadly there is no way to identify this as a North Carolina uniform, Much less as Willie Meadows.

If anyone can provide further explanation or provenance, I would love to share it with my readers.

Sergeant Willie Meadows  
Company B- “Flat River Guards”

Resided in: Orange County
Prior Occupation: unknown
Enlisted: May 1, 1861, for the war
Where: Orange County
Age at enlistment: 23
Rank at enlistment: Private
Service Record:

  • Note: he is listed as W., Willie, Wilie, and Wiley on the Compiled service records
  • Wounded in the leg at Malvern Hill, Virginia, July 1, 1862.
  • Appointed Corporal on April 1, 1863.
  • Captured at Fredericksburg, Vir­ginia, May 4, 1863, and confined at Fort Delaware, Delaware, until paroled and exchanged on May 23, 1863.
  • Captured at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, November 7, 1863, and confined at Point Lookout, Maryland, until paroled and transferred to Aiken’s Landing, James River, Virginia, Sep­tember 18, 1864, for exchange.
  • Paroled at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. Rank given on parole as Sergeant.


Source Notes:

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

2) 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; Meadows, Willie


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