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Chancellorsville Fight, the 6th N.C.S.T. at the Forgotten Battle of 2nd Fredericksburg

by Frederick E. Walton, 6th N. C. S.T. Historian (C) 2017

Setting the stage

Following the battle of Fredericksburg In December 1862, Law’s Brigade and the Sixth North Carolina State Troops went into camp near Hamilton’s crossing, south of Fredericksburg. On January 19, 1861, they were transferred along with the 54th and 57th Regiments N. C. Troops to General Robert F. Hoke’s brigade. Hoke’s new “North Carolina” brigade consisted of the 6th Regiment N.C. State Troops, 21st Regiment N.C. Troops (11th Regiment N. C. Volunteers), 54th Regiment N. C. Troops, 57th Regiment N. C. Troops, and the 1st Battalion N. C. Sharpshooters. The newcomers had to march 20 muddy miles to join Hoke’s Brigade, camped further south of Hamilton’s Crossing near Port Royal, Va., where they remained on picket duty for the remainder of the winter of 1862-1863.

On March 3, 1863 the regiment took another long march back to their old campground near Hamiltons Crossing where they continued picketing along the Rappahannock keeping an eye on the Federal troops on the other side.2

Battlefield around Chancellorsville composed by Stonewall Jackson. This shows the relative position of Hamilton’s Crossing, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. (See the following website for the interesting history of this map- https://npsfrsp.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/stonewall-jacksons-last-map/)

The Battle of Chancellorsville
On April 28, 1863, word came that the enemy was finally on the move. Federal troops under General Hooker were advancing up the Rappahannock to get behind the Confederate position at Fredericksburg. Across the river from their position the Federals were preparing to cross in force. Sergeant B. Y. Malone recorded the excitement in his journal:

“ The morning of the 28 befour I got up I herd a horse come threw the camp in a full lope and it was not meney minutes untell the man come back and sais Boys you had better get up we will have a fight hear to reckly and I comenced geting up and befour I got my close on they comenced beating the long roal and and it was not but a minnet or too until I herd the Adgertent hollow fall in with armes the Reg. then was formed and marched to the Battel field the Yankies comenced crossing the river befour day and by day they had right smart force over the pickets fought sum on the 29 and a good deel of canonading was don and it raind sum in the eavning” 3

The Battle of Chancellorsville had begun, but instead of moving westward with the rest of Lee’s Confederates, the 6th N. C. State troops were posted at a critical junction, miles away, tasked with keeping the Federal’s in check. Lee had entrusted General Early with this important task. They were not part of Stonewall’s grand flank attack at Chancellorsville that swept the Yankees back across the Rappohannock, but that didn’t mean they weren’t engaged with the enemy. General Early’s Corps, including Hoke’s brigade, had their own fight, starting near the familiar battleground of Hamilton’s Crossing and Deep Run.

Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone, 6th N. C. S. T., Co. H
source- “Whipped ’em Every Time”

 

On a very foggy May 1st, the regiment was sent out on picket duty early in the morning and, according to private Malone, found themselves within 500 yards of “a very strong line of Scirmishers “ when the fog lifted “we cood see a great meney Yankees on the other side of the river but we couldent tell how meney was on this side”. Two divisions, from the I and VI corps, making up the Federal left wing, had crossed the Rappahannock river to threaten the Confederate picket line. They were sent to stage a demonstration in an attempt to deceive Lee about the real location of the attack. Lee quickly rearranged his troops to counter the threats on two fronts. That evening the Sixth N. C. “could hear very hevy canonading up the river” recorded Malone “It is repoted that our men and the Yankees was a fyting at Keleys Foad” What they were hearing was what we traditionally call the battle of Chancellorsville, far from the fighting they were about to commence in their section of the long Confederate line.4

The Sixth North Carolina and Hoke’s Brigade fell back to the safety of their breastworks the next morning May 2nd. Around 10 am two Confederate batteries opened on the Federals, drawing counter battery fire. They “ kept up about a hour but no damedge don as I have herd of”, eyewitness Malone reported. General Lee had suggested to General Early that he use his long range artillery to feel out the enemies strength. Further away, cannonading could still be heard near Kelly’s ford. Colonel R. H. Chilton of General Lee’s staff arrived with verbal orders directing General Early to Chancellorsville. Chilton had misunderstood Lee’s instructions. Lee wanted Early to come to Chancellorsville only if the Federals in his front appeared to be moving toward Chancellorsville. Chilton ordered them there immediately. Sergeant Malone describes the ensuing confusion as the Yankee’s feint continued:

“ about 5 o’clock in the eavning we could see the Yankees a marchen up on the other side of the river by regiments and most all went back from on this Side of the river and General Earley thought that they was all a going back and taken all of his men but a Louisiana Bregaid and started to reinforce General Lea And about the time we had gone 6 miles they come orders that the Yankees was atvancen again whar we had left And then we had to turn back and march all the way back about 10 o’clock in the nite. And the next morning which was the 3 day [May 3, 1863] our men comenced Buming [bombing] the Yankees and they returned the fyer and ther was right smart canonading and picketing don untell about 12 o’clock and then for sum cause we was all ordered to fall back about a half of a mile to our last breast works but as soon as dark come we marched about 2 miles up the River .”5

Early had ordered his division back to Fredericksburg to hold the line with two other brigades and a portion of the reserve artillery. Hoke’s brigade was placed in line at Deep run on the right of Early’s line, below Fredericksburg, near where the Sixth had fought the December before.

Map from “Jubal A. Early at Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church” by Garry W. Gallagher in “Chancellorsville, The Battle and Its Aftermath.”, UNC Press, 1996.

On the morning of May 3, while General Lee was engaging Hooker at Chancellorsville, General Early was informed that the Federals had crossed the river at Fredericksburg. General Sedgwick, commanding the Federal forces around Fredericksburg, advanced beyond the town, attacking and capturing Marye’s Hill in a desperate fight. Since Sedgwick’s force appeared to be poised to strike the right of Lee’s line near Chancellorsville Hoke’s Brigade was rushed forward to block this threat. Captain Neil W. Ray described the movement:

Captain Neil W. Ray

“Our brigade was commanded by General Hoke, and we were at once moved from our position below Deep Run, so as to attack the enemy, who was then on the hills south of the town. [Marye’s heights]  The conflict was sharp, but short., and the enemy was soon on the retreat. In this fight. General Hoke was wounded. By the next morning Hooker and his army were again on the north side of the Rappahannock.” 6

General Lee personally joined General Early near Hoke’s line to discuss the impending attack. Captain York, commanding Co. I of the 6th N. C. S. T. recalled that all the marching and countermarching of the previous two days had caused the men to become demoralized and lose confidence in their officers. The appearance of Lee in their midst helped them regain confidence and commence readiness for the upcoming attack. Word went down the line that “All is right, Uncle Robert is here. We will whip them.”7

Later that afternoon, General Early watched as Hoke’s and Hay’s brigades, on the Confederate right, pushed north, with vigor, across Hazel run, down into the little creek valley and up the other side to emerge on the Plank road, blocking the Federals from Fredericksburg and sweeping them back, a moment he later termed “a splendid sight”.8

Map from “Jubal A. Early at Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church” by Garry W. Gallagher in “Chancellorsville, The Battle and Its Aftermath.”, UNC Press, 1996.

Then, disaster struck as Colonel Hoke was shot from his horse when he reached the Plank road. A Minnie ball broke his shoulder bone causing him to be unseated from his horse, falling heavily to the ground.9

General Robert F. Hoke

Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery

Colonel Isaac E. Avery, as the senior commander, ascended to command of the brigade. Hoke had been instructed to wheel his brigade to the left, when he reached the Plank road, to straighten his line and maintain contact with Hays on his right. Avery, not having been informed, led his eager troops forward, entering a patch of woods and collided into Hays’ troops pouring forward,  entangling the two brigades. As the confused mass pushed ahead they were counter attacked by a concealed 6th Vermont, who was lying in wait beyond the crest of a hill and rose to fire a well timed volley into the surprised Confederates. As darkness fell, the Federal troops withdrew toward the river to regroup, eventually being ordered back across, frustrating Early’s hope of dispatching the enemy with their back to the river.10

Aftermath
The price was extremely high. Casualties for the 6th North Carolina State Troops were 29;  eight killed and twenty-one wounded11 including:

    • Cornelius Mebane, the regimental adjutant.
    • Captain Guess of Company C
    • Captain Vincent of Company K
    • Lieutenant John S. Lockhart of Company B was badly wounded in the foot.

(for complete casualty list see https://ncara.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/remembering-the-battle-of-chancellorsville-150-years-ago-today-2/)

Private John Henry Marcom of Company C (listed as Markham in the roster), was honored by a sad epitaph in the June 10th, 1863 Hillsborough Recorder:

“The deceased was not only endeared to his company, but also to the entire Regiment. He was a faithful soldier, and although he has been numbered with the gallant dead of the noted 6th, his comrades will ever remember him.”

 

Hillsboro Recorder, Hillsboro N. C., June 10, 1863

 

“The brigade lost a total of 35 killed and 195 wounded for a grand total of 230. Early’s division suffered a total of 136 killed, 838 wounded, and 500 missing; the total loss was 1,474 men who could not easily be replaced because most of them were veteran soldiers.”12

Sergeant B. Y. Malone described his own injuries as well as that of some of his comrades:

“I was slitley wounded above the eye with a peas of a Bumb non was kild in our company. Lieutenant Walker was slitley wounded in the side. I. R. Allred was wounded in the arm hat to have it cut off. I. E. Calmond was slitley wounded in the arm. I. L. Evins had his finger shot off”.13

North Carolina Surgeon General Edward Warren wrote:

“ A great number of our soldiers have been killed and wounded; for, as usual, North Carolina bore the brunt of the fight. You may rest assured that every attention shall be given them–that each one shall be visited and cared for to the extent of his necessities. I am resolved that they shall all feel that their state has a personal interest in them. I find it unnecessary to visit the army as all the wounded are being forwarded to this city.”

This was followed by a more solemn note:

“Dr. Grissom returned to day in charge of six hundred wounded men.”

The most serious loss to the Sixth North Carolina and Hoke’s brigade was General Hoke himself who was shot from his horse while leading a charge. A minie ball shattered his shoulder bone near the shoulder joint. Surgeons wanted to amputate but Hoke adamantly refused. His recuperation would take most of the summer.14

A far more devastating blow to the Confederate cause occurred by the accidental shooting of Stonewall Jackson. As the Confederates were sweeping the surprised Federals from the field in Chancellorsville, Jackson was cut down by his own troops in the shadowy darkness of the scrub forest between the two armies. Lee sadly wrote to Jackson, when hearing of this tragedy armies. Lee sadly wrote to Jackson, when hearing of this tragedy

“Could I have directed events, I should have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead”

Following the defeat of the Federals at Chancellorsville and Salem Church, the Army of Northern Virginia returned to the Fredericksburg line. After Jackson’s death, Lee reorganized his army into three corps. Hoke’s brigade, Now commanded by Colonel Avery remained in Early’s division, which was assigned to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell’s corps.

Major Robert F. Webb

Colonel Avery, being senior colonel of the brigade, was automatically placed in the position of brigade commander, but without the corresponding rank of Brigadier General. Lt. Colonel Robert Webb, recently recovered from his Sharpsburg wound was given command of the Sixth. He was later promoted to full colonel on July 2, 1863.

Foot Notes:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128; Washington, 1880–1901), Ser. I, Vol. XXII, XXXIII Conf. Corr., etc, #4, Special Order No. 19, Jan 19, 1863.
  2. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina, record group 109, NARA 270, Roll 0158, Record of Events, Company I, 6th North Carolina State Troops, March 1  to May 11, 1863

  3. Malone, Bartlett Yancey. Whipt ‘em Everytime. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1991.
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  6. Clark, Walter. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-’65. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1991; “Sixth Regiment” by Neill W. Ray.
  7. Gallagher, Garry.Chancellorsville,The Battle and its Aftermath. Chapel Hill, N. C., UNC Press, 1996, 51-52
  8. ibid
  9. ibid
  10. Sears, Stephen W. Chancellorsville. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1999, 415.
  11. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128; Washington, 1880–1901), Ser. I, Vol. XXV, pg 808.
  12. Iobst, Robert W. The Bloody Sixth.Gaithersburg, Md: Olde Soldier Books (reprint), 1965, pg 120; Other Casualty records compiled from various sources including the O. R.’s, Iobst, N. C. Troops and various newspaper listings.
  13. ibid
  14. ibid

General Sources:

Clark, Walter. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-’65. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1991.
Iobst, Robert W. The Bloody Sixth.Gaithersburg, Md: Olde Soldier Books (reprint), 1965.
Jordon, Weymouth t. (Editor). North Carolina Troops, 1861-65, Raleigh, NC: NC Department of Archives and History, 1981.
Malone, Bartlett Yancey. Whipt ‘em Everytime. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1991.
Stackpole, Edward J. Chancellorsville, Lee’s Greatest Battle.Harrisburg, Pa: Stackpole Books,1988.

Faces of the Sixth- Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone Co. H

 

Faces LogoThe 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.


Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone, Co. H

Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone, Co. H
source- “Whippt ’em Every Time”


B. Y. Malone was borned in the year of our Lord 1838 rased and graduated in the Corn field & Tobacco And inlisted in the war June the 18th 1861 And was a member of the Caswell Boys which was comanded by Capt Mitchel And 25 was attatched to the 6th N. C. Regt. which was comd by Coln Fisher who got kiled at the first Manassas fight which was fought July the 21st 1861.” From his diary

Best known as the author of the diary that was later published as “Whipt ‘Em Every Time“, Malone served in Co. H, “The Caswell Boys” commanded by Captain Alfred A.Mitchell.

Enlisted: June 6,1861 for the war

Where: Caswell County

Age at enlistment: 22

Pre-War Occupation: Farmer

Appointed Corporal: May/June 1861

Promoted to Sergeant: February 1, 1863

“The first day of February which was the Sabath was a pritty spring day.”

from his Diary (He doesn’t mention his promotion)

Wounded: Malvern Hill, Va. July 1, 1862

“And the next morning whitch was the first day of July just twelve months from the time I left home we crost over and about 10 oclock we overtaken the scamps again And they comenced throwing bumbs amung us And we amung them And thar was a very heavey canonading cept up all day And a little befour night the pickets comenced fyring And from that time untell about a hour in the night thar was very hard fiting don indeed And a great meney kild and wounded on boath sids in our company M. Miles L. Smith, B. Murphey, I. Calmond, G. Lyons And my self was all hurt”

from his diary

Wounded: Chancellorsville, Va., May 4, 1863

 “And the next day which was the 4 we was marching about first from one plais to a nother a watching the Yankees untell about a hour by sun and the fight was opend our Bregaid went in and charged about a half of a mile and just befour we got to the Yankee Battery I was slitley wounded above the eye with a peas of a Bumb”

from his diary

Captured: Rappahannock Station, Va. November 7, 1863

“And about dark the yanks charged on the Louisianna Bregaid which was clost to the Bridg and broke thir lines and got to the Bridge we was then cutoff and had to Surender”

from his diary

Confined: at Point Lookout Maryland

“The first day of July 1861 I left home, and the first day of July 1862 I was in the fight of Malvern Hill, and the first day of July 1863 I was in the fight at Gettysburg, and today which is the first day of July, I am at Point Lookout Md.”

from his diary

Paroled & Exchanged: Aikens Landing Va. Feb. 25-Mar. 3, 1865- Admitted to hospital in Richmond after being exchanged.

“The 21st all Prisnor capturd at Rappahanoc Station was cauld we all went out and Signed the Parole and was put in the Parole Camp and staid there most all the 24th then we was put on the Steamer George Leary we got to Fortress Monroe about dark And then run as far as Hampton Roads and there we staid all night Started next morning at light which was the 25 got to Acorns Landing about 10 Oclock which was about 12 miles from Richmond on the James River we then marched from there to Camp Lea we got to Camp Lea about dark We then Staid at Camp Lea untell the 27 when we wen over to Camp Winder.”

from his diary

Married: Mary Frances Compton (1842 – 1892) on 15 Nov 1866

Post War Occupation: Farmer

Death Date:  4 May 1890

Cemetery: Lynches Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Corbett, Caswell County, North Carolina, USA


Source Notes:

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

2) Malone, Bartlett Yancey, and William Whatley Pierson. Whipt ’em everytime: the diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot, 1987.

3) North Carolina, Index to Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868

4) North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011

5 )Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgipage=gr&GRid=54151398&ref=acom

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

Faces of the Sixth- Private Rufus H. Beavers, Co. I

 

Faces LogoThe 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 Rufus Henry Beavers
Company I- “Cedar Fork Rifles”

Private Rufus Henry Beavers Post war photo age about 35 Contributed by descendant Philip Snell

Private Rufus Henry Beavers
Post war photo age about 35
Contributed by descendant Philip Snell


Born: 3 Feb. 1830

Prior Occupation: Farmer

Enlisted: unknown

While fighting in the upper Shenandoah Valley under General Early, Beavers was captured at Halltown, West Virginia on August 22, 1864, and confined at Camp Chase, Ohio, until transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, March 18, 1865. Exchanged at Boulware’s Wharf, James River, Virginia, March 27, 1865. Descendants recall him saying he was imprisoned in Illinois before being sent to Pt. Lookout.

Note: Halltown, Va. (Now W.V.) is located just south of Harpers Ferry.
On August 10, 1864 the 6th North Carolina was at Bunker Hill Va. (Iobst- The Bloody Sixth, P. 225). The Confederates pursued Sheridan’s Federals beginning August 17, as General Early moved his army from Strasburg toward Winchester, where Ramseur’s division faced a “Considerable Skirmish”

The Confederates pursued Sheridan to his stronghold at Harpers Ferry before withdrawing back to Their own strong position at Bunker Hill.

It could be that Beavers was captured during skirmishing, while on Picket duty or on patrol. No records exist that give details about his capture.

Brother of 6th NCST members Sidney, Charlie and G.T. Beavers.

Married Louise Lewter (b. Dec. 29, 1834 – d. June 7, 1879)  on 2 Feb 1854. together they had fourteen children.

Died in 12 Mar 1909 and buried at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, Chatham County, NC


Grave of R.H. Beavers in Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, Chatham Co. N.C.


Source Notes:

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

2) Compiled Service records at North Carolinas State Archives, Sixth Infantry, Be-Ca F.6.21.4P (NA-MC270-159), 7/24/2004, Co. I, 6 NC Inf

3) Chatam County Marriages, 1772-1860, pg 46

4 )Find A Grave:  https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39537773

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

The Sixth at Manassas

Copyright (C) 2016 by Frederick Walton

Here is an account of the 6th North Carolina State Troops and their participation in the first battle of Manassas on Sunday, July 21, 1861. This was written by Captain Benjamin Franklin White and published in “Histories of the several regiments and battalions from North Carolina, in the great war 1861-’65: Volume 5“. Edited by Chief Justice Walter Clark of the North Carolina Supreme Court, a Confederate veteran, and first published in 1901, today it is a valuable resource for North Carolina historians who generally refer to the 5 volume set simply as “Clark’s”.


 

[581] original Page numbers

Sixth Regiment [North Carolina State Troops] at Manassas
21 July, 1861
By B. F. White, Captain1


The main facts related by Major A. C. Avery (Vol. 1 of this work, pp. 240-349)2 in reference to the part the Sixth Regiment took in the first battle of Manassas are correct, but owing to his absence through sickness from the regiment when all points of the battle were discussed and the field visited and reports made to the commission sent out by Governor Clark, he has fallen into some errors. He fails to state that the Sixth Regiment halted for some time in front of the Lewis House, and that while here. Colonel Fisher rode forward to ascertain at what point to lead forward his regiment, at this juncture Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot requested Major R. F. Webb to ask, for him, the privilege of putting the regiment into line of battle, as Colonel Fisher had not drilled the regiment and was incompetent to do it, and further that Colonel Fisher and himself were not on good terms. (This request Colonel Fisher refused.) Colonel Lightfoot’s conduct towards Colonel Fisher had been such as to create an estrangement and their relations were very far from cordial.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 11.03.37 AM

The Lewis House, Portici, “Headquarters of Gen. Jos. E. Johnston, during the battle of the 1st Bull Run” LOC LC-DIG-ppmsca-20479

    On Colonel Fisher’s return, the regiment was moved several hundred yards and drawn up at a right angle from its former position. Avery states that this was our first position. After remaining here for some time a few shells from the enemy’s battery passed over our heads. One passed through our ranks as it bounded on the ground ; the men opened ranks and as it did not burst no one was hurt. Immediately after this we were ordered forward, marching in file, turned a little to the left, passed down a hill through a wood. On emerging from the woods into an old sedge field, [582] we crossed a branch (which I think was called Drake’s branch)3 While making this move quite a number of Louisianians and a part of a Mississippi Regiment in disorder, passed up a hill to the rear

    Here the Sixth Regiment halted for a short time. Then the regiment leaded for a point in the rear of where Colonel Bartow fell. When approaching near that point a courier or mounted officer called to Colonel Fisher not to go in that direction, for his regiment would be cut up by the Yankee cavalry. Thereupon the regiment was turned abruptly to the left, crossing an old worm fence, and passing behind a dense pine thicket immediately in the rear of the Fourth Alabama, Second Mississippi and two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi.

road

Old road at Manassas battlefield running behind Confederate lines Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

On reaching an old road the regiment turned to the right and passed along a thick copse of wood on the left and soon emerged from the pines opposite the Mississippi troops. When the right of the Sixth Regiment got opposite the left of the Mississippi Regiment, I heard distinctly one of our field officers call to Colonel Fisher, “Colonel, turn the head of your regiment this way.” To this Colonel Fisher paid no attention whatever, but passed on into an angle formed by the Yankees in the Sudley road and the New York Zouaves marching to turn our left flank. When the left of company F, (third company in regiment), commanded by First Lieutenant Carter, came opposite the Mississippi
regiment, one of our field officers called out, “Halt.” Carter repeated the command, then “Right face4.” Colonel Fisher, who was but a short distance away, called out sharply, “Who in the hell gave that command? I am Colonel of this regiment; follow me.”

Captain Robert F Carter co F

1st Lt. Robert F. Carter, Co. F, courtesy of descendant Dan Morrow

    Lieutenant Carter gave the command, “Left face, forward, march.” No other company up to this time either halted or right faced. Company F immediately followed the two companies in its front. Lightfoot remarked, “Did any body ever see the like.” Soon after this we were fired upon at an angle from our left, the balls passing mostly over our heads, only one man in our company being hit. He was shot in the head. The second and third volley came low. About this time Colonel Lightfoot came through the left of company F [583] and was slightly wounded, but this did not interfere with his locomotion, calling out as he left, ”Boys, take care of yourselves,” and to their discredit or discretion, many took his advice and emulated his example, but did not stop till they reached Manassas, five miles away.

Point of Attack from Woodline by the 6th NCST at Manassas Battlefield Park Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

Point of Attack from Woodline by the 6th NCST at Manassas Battlefield Park Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

Company F faced to the rear and made a left wheel until they came on a line somewhat in advance of the Mississippians and opened fire upon a section of Sherman’s battery5 and two howitzers commanded by Captain Ricketts. About this time Companies A, E, F and D got considerably mixed up. I was much employed in driving home with a stone the balls for our Irish comrades. I was often called to, “Lieutenant, take this stone and drive me ball drown.” The kick of the gun was similar to that of a mule, and the report was not much less than a rifled 4-pounder.6 

00963v

Gen. O.B. Wilcox
Digital ID: (digital file from original neg.) cwpbh 00963 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpbh.00963

    About this juncture a Federal officer rode up to us waving his hat and calling, “For God’s sake stop ; you are firing on your friends.” On discovering his mistake he attempted to ride away. As he passed the left of the Mississippians he reeled and fell. He and his horse were both captured. This officer turned out to be Wilcox, who afterwards became a Major-General. Colonel Liddell, of the Eleventh Mississippi, got his horse and rode him for many a day.

2 gun section of Griffins Battery at Manassas Battlefield Park, located near where the guns attacked by the 6th NCST were Located

Two gun section of Griffin’s Battery at Manassas Battlefield Park, located near where the guns attacked by the 6th NCST were located Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

    About this time the charge was made upon the battery. On reaching the battery I found all the horses killed. The two guns, 40-pounder brass howitzers, were unlimbered, but not trained upon our regiment, but rather pointing in the direction of the Second Mississippi. Our line passed the battery and on approaching the old Sudley road, were subjected to a heavy fire from Yankees stationed in the road, and also from the New York Zouaves on our left.

The Flagpole at the Manassas Battlefield Park Visitors Center Marks the approximate spot where Colonel Fisher Fell. Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

The Flagpole at the Manassas Battlefield Park Visitors Center Marks the approximate spot where Colonel Fisher Fell. Copyright (C) 2005 Frederick Walton Photography

    In coming out of the fight I passed down the line of the Zouaves. Whether Colonel Fisher was killed by the Yankees charging from the Sudley road, or the Zouaves on our right, or from scattering shots from our own men, will never be known.

    Colonel Isaac E. Avery informed us that Captain Ricketts, in a conversation with his brother, Col. Waightstill Avery, informed him that ”the position of Fisher’s Regiment was such [584] that he supposed them to be a support for his battery; ” that had he a minute’s time longer, that he would have swept the whole head of our column down; that all of his men were either killed or wounded. This was the turning point in the battle. In falling back we passed directly in front of the Zouaves and were subjected to a heavy fire, the balls passing mostly over our heads, doing us little damage.
    Our line passed the battery and on approaching the old Sudley road were subjected to a heavy fire from the enemy stationed in it and also a flank fire from the New York Zouaves on our left, we were compelled to retreat. On leaving the field we passed through the line of Kirby Smith’s men, who were coming up as a support. On reaching the battery they found the dead and wounded Yankees lying around and honestly supposed that they did it. I passed a Virginia Colonel who I was told was Colonel Fletcher or Colonel Kemper. On getting back to the branch at the foot of the hill and edge of the woods the scattered men of the Sixth were formed into line and marched forward to the left of Kirby Smith’s command and led to the rear of one of our batteries, which did fine execution on the retreating columns of the enemy. We pursued the enemy as far as the stone house. There was still firing to the east. Here we were halted and addressed by President Davis, who told us of the glorious victory we had won. On the roll being called there were found to be present one hundred and twenty-five (125) men of the Sixth Regiment7. Twenty-five of these were from Company F.

The Stone house seen from the top of Henry Hill Copyright (C)2006 Frederick Walton Photography

The Stone house seen from the top of Henry Hill Copyright (C)2006 Frederick Walton Photography

Captain James Craige, whose company (G) was near the left of the regiment, was leading up his company in file, when he received a fire from an advancing column from the Sudley road, ten of his men fell dead in a bunch8, being only two less than one-half of the number killed in the regiment. Two-thirds of the regiment was blanketed by the three or four forward companies and the left companies took very little part in the fight simply from the position of the regiment and conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot. I have passed over the ground four times that the Sixth Regiment passed over in going into action. There was not at that [585] time, forty years ago, a gully which a man on horseback could not easily have crossed. The two guns brought over the Sudley road to the front of the Henry House were never fired from that position, not because of the nature of the ground, but simply because the battery was disabled, the men being either killed or wounded.

Author standing at the Magnum sign, notice the flagpole at the Visitors Center behind me. Copyright (C) 2006 Frederick Walton Photography

Author standing at the Mangum sign, notice the flagpole at the Visitors Center, behind me, where Col. Fisher fell. Copyright (C) 2006 Frederick Walton Photography

   I am of the opinion that Colonel Fisher, Lieutenant Magnum and others were killed by our troops over on the old Sudley road and not by the enemy9. Where the Sixth Regiment fought is free from gullies or steep hillsides. At the time of the battle all that ground was in virgin forest, piney old field and sedge, except where we joined in the flank movement.
On the evening of the battle I heard Colonel Fletcher, of Virginia, boasting of the capture of the battery by his regiment. I told him how it was done, but he would not stand
corrected. The Virginians still claim the honors, I believe.

B. F. White.
Mebane, N. C. ,
31 December, 1901.

Note —A very interesting account of the Sixth at Manassas is also
given by Gen. Clingman in this vol. at p. 29, ante.—Ed.


NOTES: 

[1] Clark’s “Histories of the several regiments and battalions from North Carolina, in the great war 1861-’65: Volume 5” has been digitized by The North Carolina State Archives and is available at http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/269146/rec/8

[2] Clark’s “Histories of the several regiments and battalions from North Carolina, in the great war 1861-’65: Volume 1” has been digitized by The North Carolina State Archives and is available at http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/265484/rec/6

[3] I have been unable to identify a stream on the Manassas battlefield called Drake’s Branch. (There is a town in Charlotte County, Va. called “Drake’s Branch” but this would not be relevant.) This may have been a local nickname, but in studying period maps of the battle field I do not find this reference. I believe he may be referring to “Hokum’s Branch”, a tributary of the Bull Run which lies between the Lewis House (Portici) and their position in front of Griffin’s Guns. This branch also forks off into a couple of smaller unnamed branches that may have crossed their path.

[4] When a Column is marching by the left flank, as these troops were, the command right face, would have placed them in a two rank battle front facing the right, or in this case the enemy on their right. This is actually a proper reaction to a halt, however,  a company  commander should not assume the Colonel’s intention, but should have waited for the command.

[5] Although most of the early accounts of this battle call this battery “Sherman’s” it was, in fact, Griffin’s Battery.

[6] YIKES! what a dangerous practice! when a muzzle loaded black powder rifle is fired several times the interior of the barrel gets fouled making it very difficult to drive the lead mini ball home with a ramrod. Hitting the ramrod with a stone is one way to accomplish this, but considering that the explosive black powder is already at the bottom if the barrel, a spark could result in a deadly accident.

[7] There are several number’s floating around, but the guesstimates for the Regiments strength at Manassas range from the 600’s to the 800’s.

[8] A review of the regimental Roster shows 8 killed and 6 wounded, of which 2 were severely wounded, one of these dying as a result of the wound. The regimental losses were 16 Killed, 57 Wounded, 1 Missing for a total of 74 Casualties, reported in the 7-31-1861 North Carolina standard taken from Lt CoL Lightfoot’s official report and verified against North Carolina Troops Roster (Jordon) & Bloody Sixth Roster (Manarin).
by Rick Walton 7/18/2006. Click here and go to bottom of page for details

[9] In Major A. C. Avery’s article “additional Sketch of the Sixth Regiment” in Volume 1 of “Clark’s Regimentals” (page 346) he writes: “For many years the writer [A. C. Avery] shared in the opinion generally entertained by the soldiers of the Sixth, who participated in the fight, that the men who fired upon us, and caused us to fall back, were Confederates ; but the story was not credited by the general officers, who could locate none of our troops in the skirt of woods referred to…When General Sherman wrote his memoirs it appeared from his report that a Massachusetts regiment in his brigade wore a gray uniform, and were mistaken by Confederates for their own men. He describes their position as that of the soldiers who occupied the woods to the left and front of the Sixth. The account given by General Sherman is the solution of what before had seemed an inexplicable mystery. We were fired upon by a regiment of the enemy, and not by Confederates.”

 

Faces of the Sixth- Private Anderson G. Gibbons Co. G

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 Anderson G. Gibbons
Company G

Anderson G Gibbons, Co G, 6th NCST

Source: Photo provided by descendant Gary Gibbons


Prior Occupation: Farmer

Enlisted: May 29, 1861,for the war.

Where: Mecklenburg County

Age at enlistment: 22

Wounded: South Mountain, Maryland, September 14, 1862.

Born in Davidson County and resided in Rowan County, he was present or accounted for until paroled at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. Took the Oath of Allegiance at Salisbury on June 3, 1865.


Source Notes:

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

 

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

Faces of the Sixth- Private William Thaddeus Redmond- Co. C

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 William Thaddeus Redmond
Company C

 


 

William Thaddeus (Thad) Redmond fought with Company “C” of the 6th North Carolina Troops. According to family lore, he was wounded in the right arm while carrying the colors. This photo was taken on his 83rd birthday in 1926. Thanks to Donnie Brogden of Durham, NC for supplying this picture of his cousin.

Enlisted: May 1, 1861 for the war

Where: Orange county (his residence)

Age at enlistment: 18

Wounded: Right Arm in Gettysburg, Pa. July 1, 1863

Promoted Corporal: Oct. 1, 1862

Promoted Sergeant: August 1 1863

 

Source Notes:

 

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

 

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

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