The 66th Regiment,
North Carolina Troops
BY GEO. M. ROSE, ADJUTANT.
The Sixty-Sixth Regiment of North Carolina Troops was organized at Winston, N. C., in August, 1863, by General James G. Martin, at that time commanding the District of North Carolina, by combining the Eighth Battalion of Partisan Rangers, consisting of six companies, which. had done faithful and gallant service in the eastern part of the State as an independent command under Major J. E. Nethercutt, and which had for more than a year been of great service to the army in that portion of North Carolina, doing scouting and outpost service, almost every man in the battalion being from that section of the State and perfectly familiar with the character of the country and the positions occupied by the enemy, and the Fourth Battalion of four companies which had been doing service as bridge guards and, also, doing scouting service under the command of Major Clement G. Wright, of Cumberland county.
Upon the organization of these ten companies into the Sixty-Sixth Regiment, A. Duncan Moore, who commanded a battery of light infantry from Wilmington, then stationed at or near Kinston, was made its Colonel. Colonel Moore was a brilliant young officer who had been at the West Point Military Academy and was an officer of remarkable appearance and soldierly bearing. J. E. Nethercutt was made Lieutenant Colonel, and Clement G. Wright was appointed Major of the Regiment. W. G. Williams Adjutant and J. H. Kinyoun, Surgeon.
COMPANY A -- Was largely from Orange county, and was commanded by Joseph W. Latta, Captain;. Albert C. Faucett, First Lieutenant; James G. Latta and J. C. Lynch, Second Lieutenants.
COMPANY B -- Was mostly from the counties of Nash and Franklin, and at the time of the organization of the regiment W. S. Mitchell was its Captain; W. A. Moore, First Lieutenant; D. N. Sills and J. B. Bunting, Jr., Second Lielltenants.
COMPANY C -- Captain, David S. Davis; First Lieutenant, R. E. Davis; Second Lieutenants, James Williams, Jr., and Jesse Holland. This company was from the counties of Wayne and Lenoir.
COMPANY D -- W. T. Robinson, Captain; T. H. Kerney, First Lieutenant; W. A. W. Askew and Lewis Bynum, Second Lieutenants. This company was from the counties of Jones and Lenoir.
COMPANY E -- Steven S. Quinnerly, Captain; I. K. Witherington, First Lieutenant; W. M. Dennis and John Hall, Second Lieutenants. This company was from the counties of Lenoir and Carteret.
COMPANY F -- Willis J. Raspberry, Captain; Chris. D. Foy, First Lieutenant; Frank Foy and S. Sidney Carter, Second Lieutenants. This company was from Jones and Lenoir.
COMPANY G -- E. B. Blackmer, Captain; W. J. Williams, First Lieutenant; W. C. Brandon and J. W. Walker, Second Lieutenants. This company was from Lenoir county, largely.
COMPANY H. -- James G. Davis, Captain; Willis W. Cherry, First Lieutenant; Robert J. Swinson and Edward Williamson, Second Lieutenants. This company was from Duplin and Onslow counties.
COMPANY I -- Jesse P. Williams, Captain; Josiah W. Smith, First Lieutenant; Silas W. Venters and Luby Harper, Second Lieutenants. This company was largely from Wayne, Onslow and Jones counties.
COMPANY K -- John P. Sykes, Captain; Alvin Bagley, First Lieutenant; D. J. Knowles, Second Lieutenant. This company was largely from Wayne and New Hanover counties.
The appointment of Colonel Moore caused, at the time, some friction among the officers, as he was unknown to allof them, but he had not been long in the regiment before they recognized him as a good soldier, a fine disciplinarian and as brave an officer as ever fought for the cause of his country, and after they had witnessed his conspicuous courage, before his death in Virginia shortly afterwards, he became the idol of his regiment.
IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Shortly after its organization, the Regiment was ordered to Wilmington, where it remained some time around the city, doing light picket duty and perfecting the officers and men in drill, and in fitting them for the arduous and dangerous duties which they were very soon to assume.
In the latter part of March, 1864, the Regiment was ordered to Weldon and from there to Plymouth ; remaining at the latter place about two or three weeks. It was then ordered to Tarboro, by way of Washington, and thence to Virginia, reaching Petersburg about 12 May, 1864, and was immediately assigned to picket duty beyond that City, and on 13 and 16 May it was first exposed, as a Regiment, to fire, at Port Walthal Junction, where the Regiment, or part thereof, was sent forward to dislodge one or two pieces of artillery which was doing effective service for the enemy upon our lines. The Regiment acted gallantly in its first "baptism of fire" as an organized regiment. That portion of it which had belonged to Nethercutt's Rangers had long since heard the sound of "shot and shell" and knew the dangers of a soldier's life, but this was the first occasion on wwhich the regiment, as such, had taken part in battle, and its gallantry was conspicuous and favorably commented upon by commanding officers.
Upon its arrival at. Petersburg, it was assigned to Kirkland's Brigade, Hoke's Division, and ever afterwards formed a part of the division so long commanded by that heroic soldier and remained a part of his division until the final roll was called.
After this fight, the regiment was ordered back to Petersburg, and the next day took part in the engagement at Bermuda Hundreds, on the north side of the James. Here it was engaged through three days with heavy skirmishing with the enemy; the third day of which the enemy was driven to its fortifications, with heavy loss in killed and wounded. The loss to the regiment was also heavy. Having repulsed the force with which it was engaged, temporary fortifications were then thrown up, the men using bayonets, tin plates and anything available and which they could put to immediate use. The enemy soon advanced again in heavy force and the charge made by them proved little better then a slaughter pen for them. Lieutenant Davis, of Company C, was disabled while assisting in getting a piece of artillery into position, and was so badly wounded that he was never afterwards able to return to the service.
The regiment remained here and near Bermuda Hundreds until about 1 June, picketing and skirmishing almost every day, Hoke's Division having been ordered to reinforce Lee's army, which had just engaged in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, it marched to form this junction, and on 1 June reached the bloody field of Cold Harbor in time to take a very memorable part in that battle. On the first day of that fight, the enemy charged our front with three columns, but in a few moments the ground was covered with their dead and wounded, and the few survivors falling back to the woods, could not be forced to the front any more on that day.
In the series of fights which ended on 3 June, Colonel A. D. Moore was mortally wounded by a ball striking him in the neck and he died in a very few minutes thereafter. The writer of this sketch did not have the pleasure of knowing Colonel Moore personally, as he was not assigned to the regiment until after he had given up his life to the cause, but so long as he remained with the regiment, and he did so until it was finally disbanded, the memory of his heroic courage was ever present to the officers and men of his command, and oftimes has he heard them comment upon his gallantry and the soldierly qualities he had always exhibited the short time it was given him to command the regiment.
Upon his death, Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. Nethercutt became Colonel of the regiment; Clement G. Wright, Lieutenant-Colonel; and David S. Davis, Captain of Company C, was promoted to Major, their commissions bearing date 3 June, 1864, the day of the memorable battle of Second Cold Harbor.
The regiment, with Hoke's Division, remained in the neighborhood of the battlefield some ten or twelve days, exposed to the sharpshooters and mortar shells of the enemy, but on the 14th was ordered with the rest of Hoke's Division back to Petersburg. The regiment arrived there two days afterwards, about the 16th, after a hurried march to get ahead of the enemy. When the division reached Petersburg, late at night, it found the army of General Grant had gotten in possession of the outer works before the division could get there; but we immediately went to work and established another line as best We could in the dark.
16 MAY, 1864
The next morning the enemy came on in force; our pickets were driven in, and the line assaulted and hardly pressed. The assault on the right wing was made in such force and pressed so far back that it was necessary for a part of the line to retire and a break was made, but the division was ordered to assist in driving the enemy out of the breach which had been made, and it was quickly done and the line reestablished. Here the troops entrenched themselves and remained for some considerable time, exposed to hardships and privations common at that time to the whole army in front of Petersburg. The troops virtually lived under ground, and it was dangerous for a person's head at any time to be exposed, so near together were the two lines, in some places hardly more than a hundred yards apart. AII cooking had to be done in the rear or in trenches; and all rations brought to the officers from their messes had to be brought in the night time. The soldiers frequently, as a matter of amusement, would place their hats on the end of their bayonets or ramrods and raise them a little above the top of the ground and in a few minutes the would be perforated with bullets from the Yankee sharpshooters; and woe to the man who exposed himself within range or within sight of one of those sharpshooters. The picket lines of the two armies were within speaking distance of each other, and frequent conversations were had between them when the officers would permit it to be done; and at all times, both day and night, solid shot or mortar shells fell in the midst of our line.
Here both armies settled for the rest of the summer, and the regiment remained on Mortar Hill and near the memorable crater, until the latter part of August, when it was moved to the right of Petersburg, where it remained until about 29 or 30 September, when Hoke's Division took up its line of march back to Richmond and down the river to take part in the memorable fight of Fort Harrison. The brigade to which the Sixty-sixth was attached was not actually engaged in that fight, but remained in supporting distance and was ready, if it had been ordered so to do, to take part in the assault.
Upon the resignation of W. G. Williams, who was Adjutant of the regiment up to that time, the writer, who had been a cadet at The Virginia Military Institute, and who had recently been appointed First Lieutenant in the regular Confederate Army, was assigned to duty as adjutant of this regiment. The facts given above were related to him by the officers with whom he was associated ever afterwards in the regiment until the surrender it or near High Point It is to be regretted that some one who was familiar with the gallant part the regiment took up to that time in the battles around Petersburg and Richmond, had not been selected to do full justice to the gallant officers and men of this regiment than whom there were no better in the Confederate Army. He has no personal knowledge, and has only gathered these tales and facts from the records or traditions in the regiment at the time of his assignment to it, and from facts gathered since he was called upon to write a sketch of this regiment. He joined the troops while in winter quarters on the Darbytown road in September, 1864, and from that day until 2 May, 1865, was with the command the whole time, not being absent a single day, and the facts given hereafter in the sketch are of his own knowledge, and the matters are known to him.
NORTH OF THE JAMES
Hoke's Division after the battle of Fort Harrison, was kept on the north side of the James, between what is known as the Darbytown and the Charles City roads, and was left there for the purpose of watching the movements of Grant on that side of the river and for the purpose of holding a considerable part of his command there, and preventing it from taking part in the siege of Petersburg. It was assigned to the work of throwing up breastworks, strengthening the approaches, occasionally making demonstrations upon the enemy and repelling assaults upon our line, though no very serious action took place while occupying this position. The division was composed of the brigades of Colquitt, Clingman, Haygood and Kirkland, the Sixty-sixth being part of Kirkland's Brigade.
New and comfortable winter quarters had been built; the line had been greatly strengthened; abatis had been placed in front of the breastworks, and the men were not only ready, but anxious for an attack to be made upon them. Several demonstrations were made and easily and gallantly repulsed.
While occupying these lines in November, 1864, word frequently came that our division was to he ordered to North Carolina. Whenever it became the duty, as was often the case, of the officers to wake up the men at the sound of the long roll in the night time and an order was given to prepare rations for three days, word would be given out along the line that we were going to North Carolina. A shout along the whole line would be raised and Gaston's grand old song, "Tbe Old North State," could be heard from every North Carolina mouth in that division. On more than one occasion, however, instead of going to North Carolina as a division, the order was given to "Unsling knapsacks and go over the breastworks" upon some demonstration, or to engage in some skirmish to direct Grant's attention in that direction.
On 27 October, or about that time, a strong demonstration was made against us, and with a shout and a cheer the enemy were easily repulsed, leaving a arge number of dead and wounded in our front, and not a man in our whole line hurt.
RETURN TO NORTH CAROLINA
On 22 December, howeer, an order came in the night time arousing the division for the purpose, really, this time, of going to North Carolina Hoke's Division having been ordered to Wilmington.
The Sixty-sixth Regiment broke camp on the morning of 22 December, marched to Richmond and crossed the river to Manchester where it remained several hours in the snow and sleet waiting for transportation to Danville. We were placed on and in box cars and flat cars, and the train made its way slowly from Richmond to Danville amid snow, sleet and rain, and the severest bitter cold we had ever experienced. There was no opportunity to have fires, no way to keep ourselves warm and the train worked its way along, the men frequently having to get off and run alongside of it to keep themselves warm, and to fill the tender with water, by buckets, from the mud holes on the side of the track, and to gather wood to keep the fire in the engine burning. In this way we reached Danville about 23 December, and made our way to Greensboro with such transportation as we could get and there took the train for Wilmington. The Colonel of the regiment noting the suffering of his men, telegraphed to the Governor at Raleigh that it was necessary that some stimulant should be furnished his troops for them to stand the bitter cold, and when the regiment reached the city of Rraleigh, it found on the old depot a barrel of corn, persimmon or some other sort of "juice" ready for their consumption. It also found that the Iegislature of North Carolina had just adjourned, and some of the members were at the depot waiting for transportation home and were willing to take any means of conveyance that vvas furnished than. The soldiers very soon left nothing in the barrel but "an empty sound," and a more jolly crowd from there to Goldsboro, along with the members of the legislature, was never seen in North Carolina, I expect, before nor since. The "Solons" did not seem to appreciate their surroundings, and the men had their fun with them. On reaching Goldsboro the train was boarded for Wilmington, and all along the line from Goldsboro to Wilmington, especially at Magnolia and Mt Olive, the ladies hearing of our coming, had such provisions as they could spare from their scanty store to give to the regiment as it passed by, the Sixty-sixth being on the foremost train and getting the best share of all that was prepared for us.
Our regiment reached Wilmington during the night of the 24th, and on the morning of the 25th, Christmas day, took up its weary march along the sandy road below Wilmington in the direction of Sugar Loaf Hill. As it went along and drew nearer and nearer to Fort Fisher, the sound of the shelling from the gunboats assembled there could be more and more distinctly heard, and as we reached a point just below Sugar Loaf Hill and near where "Carolina Beach" now is, the shelling from the gunboats became terrific, but as it was impossible to land troops with transports and keep up the shelling at the same time, we were very soon engaged in quite a strong skirmish with those of the enemy who had landed and were about to land and they were soon driven back. Immediately after this first shelling was over, the division commenced to build a line of breastworks from the top of Sugar Loaf Hill diagonally across the strip of land between it and the ocean and in the direction of a battery which was located on the beach.
Here we remained for some days, throwing up the fortifications which we made strong and, to us, seemed impregnable for any land attack that could be made by land forces; but we were not long allowed to remain. General Bragg having been assigned to the command in that locality, we were ordered back to Wilmington and went into camp a mile or two east of Wilmington for the purpose of holding a grand review.
WHY FORT FISHER FELL
We remained in that camp some days, and while on review the enemy again made his appearance in front of Fort Fisher; this time not in command of "Beast Butler," but General Terry. We were ordered back to our old line, but before we wee able to make the weary march from Wilmington down, the enemy had succeeded in making a lodgment upon the shorn, and had thrown up a line of breast works which General Hoke considered it was impracticable for his men to attack, as his division would be exposed to an enfilade fire from the enemy's gunboats. It has always been the opinion of most of the officers connected with Hoke's Division, so far as I have been able to ascertain those opinions, that if his division had been allowed to remain at Sugar Loaf and not have been carried to Wilmington 1or the purposes of review, that the troops of the enemy could never have made a landing and Fort Fisher would never have fallen into their hands. It is well known that it fell by reason of the land attack and not by reason of the fire from the gunboats. If Hoke's division had been where, it seemed to the officers, it ought to have been, this landing of troops could never have been made and there never would have been a land attack upon Fort Fisher. It is useless, however, to speculate upon what might have been and what might not have been, under such circumstances. General Sherman was going in are direction of the centre of North Carolina and if he had kept on his march, his army would have been in the rear of Fisher and it would necessarily have been abandoned any way, but we would have been saved the loss of the gallant soldiers who met their death at Fisher and would have been spared the humiliation of having had that fort, even after a gallant defense, taken from us.
On the night after its fall, the scene was brilliant; rockets and Roman candles were thrown in every direction from the gunboats in the front, and the soldiers of Hoke's Division had to grind their teeth and hear the humiliation of not having "been there" to prevent the fall of Fisher, and to listen in silence to the shouts and huzzas of the enemy over their victory.
The division, after the fall of Fort Fisher, remained on the Sugar Loaf lines, strengthening the same, living amidst sand and dust and on unsifted corn meal and spoiled Nassau bacon until life became almost unendurable, but the spirit of the troops never flagged; they were always willing to do their full duty, and always glad to see the enemy in their front. Almost every day there would be fighting upon the skirmish line; and sometime in February, I do not now know the date, an attack in considerable force eras made upon us by a negro regiment in command of white officers. The fact of seeing those negro troops in front of us exasperated the men and they fought with great gallantry and easily repulsed the attack made upon us. While here, almost every day the gunboats of the enemy were shelling our line, and we could see the shells about the size of file hoop of a barrel, as they left the mouth of the cannon on the gunboat and came bouncing over the water toward our lines. The men exposed themselves frequently in claiming the parts of the shells when they had burst, so as to make rings and other ornaments out of the brass parts connected therewith. As soon as the missile burst you would see men running in every direction toward the place for the purpose of finding the broken parts. We here buried ourselves literally under the ground, and the shelling had little or no effect upon us.
About 18 February, the division received orders to move back to Wilmington. This we did, and occupied for a day or so a line much nearer to Wilmington - the breastworks of which can now he seen on riding from Wilmington to the beach on the Seacoast Railroad. About the 21st or 22d, the regiment marched to Wilmington, disheartened and dispirited because we were falling back and leaving our "City by the Sea" unprotected and unguarded.
RETREAT FROM WILMINGTON
The enemy were rapidly pressing us, and we fell back across the North East river over a pontoon bridge below the railroad bridge, and had scarcely gotten a skirmish line out before the enemy appeared upon the opposite side of the river. The main part of the division had fallen back and established a line on the edge of the sand hills, back of the swamps, but a good strong force was left at the public road crossing and at the railroad bridge. Very soon the enemy, supposing that no troops bad been left at all upon the north bank of the river, came sown to the water's edge for the purpose of getting water, with torches and other lights in their hands, and some of their cavalry which was in force on their side of the river appeared on the banks. All at once the sharpshooters on our side opened fire upon them with deadly effect and they soon scattered back to the rear. We were falling back, but the men were cool and deliberate, not hurried at all in their marching and ready at all times to face about and meet the foe. The Sixty-sixth Regiment, part of the time, acted as rear guard of the division and did its full duty in retarding the approach of the enemy's cavalry.
We remained a short time near Northeast river, when we fell back toward Goldsboro and stopped at what was then called "Duplin Cross Roads." Here we remained some days, the division expecting, during its stay here, to receive orders to march to Fayetteville for the purpose of joining General Hardee's army and impeding the army of Sherman in his march northward. But these orders never came, and the division u as ordered to Kinston to meet the army of General Schofield, who was moving from New Bern to join forces with General Sherman.
While at Duplin Cross Roads, Lieutenant-Colonel C. G. Wright was taken sick and sent to his home in Greenshoro, where he died about the 13th of the month, and Major D. S. Davis was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in his stead, and captain W. P. Robinson was recommended for Major.
BATTLE OF SOUTH WEST CREEK
We arrived at Kinston on 7 March, and immediately crossed the Neuse river and took position on the railroad some two or three miles below. On 8 March a flank movement was made by Hoke's Division to our right and around the left of the enemy's forces, near Cobb's Mill. We took them completely by surprise, and after a gallant attack We effectually routed them, capturing a large number of prisoners and inflicting a great loss upon them. After having driven the troops back upon their lines, we faced about and started to make another attack upon them oven the same ground from which we had shortly before routed them. The field was covered with dead and dying, broken guns, empty saddles, dismantled caissons and artillery and cavalry horses in great numbers. The field officers were afoot, the regiment being commanded by Major Davis, Colonel Nethercutt during this fight, being familiar with the ground, acting as Chief on General Hoke's staff. Seeing two fine looking black horses standing side by side, the commanding officer, Major Davis, and the writer left the line and ran with all their might to capture these horses, and imagine their surprise to find that their ham-strings had been cut and the animals could not move out of their tracks. Some very fine horses, however, were obtained by some of the more fortunate ones.
On 9 March a similar attempt was made upon the left flank, but for some reason it was not carried out; I suppose, because the situation of the country would not permit of it. We, therefore, retired at night to our old position in the line near the railroad and slept comfortably, dreaming of what would be before us on the morrow.
On the 10th another attack was mode upon the enemy's left flank, at or near Wise's Fork. For some reason our lines were not extended sufficiently far to our right end his left, and an order was given too soon to charge the enemy's line, and when the charge was made we found that the enemy had prepared for us with his breastworks facing both ways, and the same protected by small pines, which had been cut down, lapped over each other and their limbs trimmed and pointing in our direction. When the Sixty-sixth was within about fifty yards of the enemy, it was ordered to lie down to protect itself from the galling fire from the breastworks. The troops on the left of our line did not seem to take in the situation, and did not come to our support, and we were compelled to fall back, leaving a large number of the men of the regiment dead and dying on the field. How many were killed or how many were taken prisoners, we were never able to find out. We only know that at least one-half of the regiment was left upon that fold, and the balance of it, under the command of Major Davis, was cut off from the rest of the army and was in the rear of tile enemy's position. But for his knowledge of the line and the knowledge of others who were with us, we would evidently have been captured. However, by taking the swamps and by-paths we avoided meeting any considerable armed force of the foe, and late in the night made our way back to Kinston, to which place the army
On the next day we took up our march for Goldsboro and to Bentonville, crossing the Neuse river near Smithfield. Here we joined General Stewart's Corps in the Army of the West, and took part in the memorable three days' fight at Bentonville, 19-21 March, 1865, the last well organized and well fought battle of the war in North Carolina.
This fight commenced I9 March near the little village of Bentonville. Kirkland's Brigade was well to the front, with its right resting upon a road that ran along the edge of a field, in which was situated a large white house, that was occupied by the sharpshooter of the enemy. This line was rather a crooked one, the Sixty-sixth Regiment being the farthest to the front, at the point of a bow. Here a very severe attack was made upon us in which we lost a number of men, among others the gallant Council Wooten, a young man from near Kinston, who was killed suddenly while bravely and defiantly waving the colors of the regiment in front of the enemy. The sharpshooters of General Sherman's army located in the trees got in their best work. and many a gallant soldier fell during the 19th and 20th from well directed shots of these sharpshooters. On the 20th it became necessary for Kirkland's Brigade to straighten its line and while in the act of so doing, a very severe attack was made by a Pennsylvania division. The men of Kirkland's Brigade were engaged in rolling together logs and making such defenses as they could when the attack was made upon us. The men were ordered to lie down behind such obstructions as they could find, and to wait the order to fire until the advance came very near to them. When the enemy got within, say 1OO yards, the order was given to fire; the men immediately raised upon their knees and fired a volley full in front of the advancing foe. Their ranks were mowed down like wheat before the scythe, and the attack was repulsed with great loss to the attacking division. Just at this moment an order was given by the commanding officer, Major Davis, to the writer, who was standing near him, to take the picket line to the front, the commanding officer of the picket line having been killed. When the line went forward, the whole front was covered with the dead and dying, and showed the effect of troops obeying the commands of their officers, to shoot low and wait until the enemy was near upon them.
Just at this time, it is said, that General Joseph E. Johnston paid a very high compliment to the troops of Hoke's Division, and Kirkland's Brigade in particular. General Johnston was lying somewhere in the rear, resting after his arduous labors of the three days, when some aide, riding rapidly up, said: "General, they are attacking Kirkland's Brigade." The General quietly rolled over on his pallet and said: "Let them attack. I know of no brigade in the Southern Army I would sooner they would attack."
During the three days' fight at Bentonville, Major Davis was commanding the regiment, Colonel Nethercutt having been assigned to the command of the brigade of Junior Reserves, which took so gallant a part in that fight.
On the 21st, General Sherman's army having been only slightly impeded in its march toward Goldsboro, made a flank movement in the rear of General Johnston's army, which necessitated its falling back during the night across the creek near which the little town of Bentonville was located. After we crossed the creek the enemy appeared in quite a force on the opposite side of the creek and some little skirmishing took place, but no actual harm was done.
They shortly vanished from our front. and our army quietly retired through Smithfield to a camp on the line of the railroad, near where Selma now is, and that was the last armed force that we saw in our front during the war.
THE LAST RETREAT.
We remained at this camp some few days, and on 10 April wearily took up our line of march from there through Raleigh, Haw River, near Greensboro, and to Bush Hill near High Point.
After the division had arrived at a place near Center church, some eight or ten miles from Greensboro, the armistice of ten days had been agreed upon between General Sherman and General Johnston, and the officers and men saw that the end was not far. Word came to them about this time that General Lee had surrendered at Appomattox, and hundreds of both officers and men did not desire to suffer the humiliation of surrender; they, therefore, left in large numbers during these ten days, knowing that they had fought a good fight, they had kept the faith, and they now desired not to suffer the humiliation of surrender. A part of the regiment, however, after the order to march was given, left Center church and marched to Bush Hill, where on 2 May, 1865, the weary remnant of this regiment, which started out 1,100 strong, now reduced by death, sickness and capture to less than a hundred, signed their paroles and scattered to their various homes.
During the time the regiment was engaged in service many changes had taken piece among the rank and file; many had fallen in battle; a record had been made for the regiment which was imperishable; its field officers had changed; its company officers had been killed and captured; and now the flag which had waved over them so long in glory and triumph, had gone down in blood and tears, but, thank God, it had gone down amidst gloom and defeat as pure, as bright, as untarnished in that last decline as when the first ray of morning light proclaimed its rising dawn.
It would be impossible for me to give the times and places where the officers and men were killed and captured, or even to enumerate their names or to refer to their bravery. Where all did so well, it is needless to particularize. Sufficeth to say, that all did the best they could; their cause was lost, and the only duty that now remained to them was to return to their homes and attempt to build up the shattered fortunes of themselves and rehabilitate their State.
I know, in conclusion, that I have given but a very imperfect sketch of the part that this gallant regiment took in the war between the States, but when it is recalled that every field officer, but one, has passed away, and that all the company officers, so far as I am now able to find out, except five, have also "crossed over the river," and I have been unable to see or communicate with those left behind, I feel that I have done the best I could.
For the change in the Company Officers, reference is made to Moore's Roster of North Carolina Troops, Vol. IV, p.107-132.
Geo. M. Rose.
FAYETTEVILLE, N. C.,
26 April, 1901.