By RUFUS W. WHARTON, Lieutenant-Colonel
C.Troops), was organized in January,
1864, and was composed of nine
companies of infantry and one of
cavalry. The several companies had been
organized a considerable time prior to
the organization of the regiment. Some
of them in the early part of the war,
and had been employed on outpost duty in
the vicinity of New Bern and Washington,
N. C., after those towns fell into the
hands of the enemy early in 1862. These
companies and the regiment, after its
organization, were paid, fed and clothed
entirely by the State of North Carolina,
were subject to the orders of the
Governor of the State and could not be
removed beyond the limits of the State
without his consent and order. In fact,
however, they were under the immediate
command and subject to the orders of the
Confederate officer in command of the
Military district of Eastern North
The Field Officers and Staff of the Regiment were :
JOHN N. WHITFORD, Of Craven county, Colonel.
RUFUS W. WHARTON, Of Forsyth county, Lieutenant-Colonel.
EDWARD WHITFORD, Of Craven county, Major.
SAMUEL G. SCHENCK, of Beaufort county, Adjutant.
THOMAS M. ROBINSON, of Beaufort county, Quartermaster.
WILEY F. HIGGINS, of Craven county, Commissary.
JOSEPH GRAHAM, of Orange county, Surgeon.
WILLIAM E. MORROW, of Orange county, Assistant Surgeon.
The writer of this sketch, at the time of his appointment by Governor Vance, belonged to the Army of Northern Virginia, in which he had served from and including the first battle of Bull Run up to that time. He is, therefore, unable to give a detailed account of the services of the several companies composing the regiment prior to the time joined the same, which was in February, 1864; soon after the Pickett expedition against New Bern. The regiment participated in that expedition, being a part of the troops intended to attack Fort Anderson, opposite New Bern, on the north side of Neuse river. The conditions under which the attack was to be made did not occur, and no attack was made. When the writer joined the regiment he found seven companies encamped at Coward's bridge, on Contentnea, twelve miles below Kinston. They were:
Company A, from Craven, James H. Tolson, Captain
Company B, from Craven, Stephen Barrington, Captain
Company C, from Wilson, D. W. Edwards, Captain
Company E, Charles A. White Captain
Company F, from Craven, David P. Whitford, Captain
Company G, Asa W. Jones, Captain
Company I, from Pitt, Edward F. White, Captain
The other three companies,
Company D, from Craven, Daniel A. Cogdell, Captain
Company H from Duplin, Jones and Craven, Christopher D. Foy, Captain
Company K (cavalry), from Wayne, Joseph D. Myers, Captain
were encamped some miles in front, nearer the enemy's lines, and engaged in scouting and doing picket duty in the vicinity of New Bern and Washington. Captain Foy was a man of 6O years, was six feet and a half high, wore a long, flowing white beard that reached to his waist and was unique both in personal appearance and in the influence which he wielded over the men of his company. He was familiarly known in the regiment by the name of "Tecumseh." When the writer first saw him he was marching at the head of his compapy of 65 or 70 men, who were following him, Indian-like, in single file. As the men had had but little opportunity for company and none at all for battalion drill, the companies at regimental camp, spent the next few weeks in these exercises. About the last of April, 1864, another expedition against New Bern was undertaken, this time under command of Major-General R. F. Hoke, who had just won his promotion by the brilliant battle and capture of Plymouth, N. C. In the expedition the Sixty-seventh headed the column. Nothing of importance happened until we reached Deep Gully, eight miles from New Bern. Here we came on a strong outpost af the enemy which made some resistance, but was quickly driven in by the Sixty-seventh, which remained in this vicinity for the next two days, while General Hoke proceeded with the balance of the troops, down the Trent, on the south side, to the vicinity of New Bern. Before the capture of New Bern, which was almost a certainty, was accomplished General Hoke, to his great disappointment, received orders to hasten back to Virginia with his command. He arrived in Petersburg just in time to save that city from capture. The regiment returned to its former position and continued in the same service as before for a short time, but was soon removed to the vicinity of Kinston, where it remained, doing outpost duty until October, when it was ordered to Washington and Plymouth, N. C., to relieve the troops stationed at those points. Occasionally we had to repel incursions made by the enemy, outside of his lines and sometimes we made incursions into the territory occupied by him. In one of these raids a squad of men, about fifty strong, led by Major Whitford, proceeded down Neuse river on the north side to a point several miles below New Bern, crossed the river in boats at night and made its way to the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad at a point between New Bern and Beaufort, where it arrived about daylight on Monday morning. The object of the raid was to capture General Palmer, the officer then in command at New Bern. It was understood by us that he was in the habit of spending Sunday at Beaufort, returning to New Bern Monday morniing. While arranging to capture the train, our force was discovered by some colored people who notified the Yankee troops at a fort a mile away. The party finding that their presence had been discovered and being many miles inside the enemies lines, considered it imprudent to await the arrival of the train. It, however, passed while they were in hearing distance and, as they afterward learned, had General Palmer aboard. Another party, under the lead of Levi Howland, of Carteret County, blew up and so damaged the lighthouse at Cape Lookout that it was never of any further use. This enterprise was a daring and dangerous one. The party had to cross the sound, seven or eight miles wide, in small boats, running the risk of capture by a steamer which the Federals kept on guard constantly near the lighthouse. Of course the thing had to be done at night. Arriving at the light house they first notified the persons in charge to keep in door and make no alarm, at the peril of their lives. They then placed a keg of powder, which they carried with them, in the lighthouse and connected it with a trail of powder to which they applied a slow match. The match failed to ignite the powder and as the steamer on guard had begun to move up near to the lighthouse, one of the party procured from 1he keeper's house a shovel of live coals and running near the door of the lighthouse, threw the coals on the trail of powder. The keg of powder exploded and the tall structure was so badly wrecked as to be unsafe for further use. In June, 1864, a strong party of Federals and Buffaloes, as the natives who joined the enemy were called, attempted to capture Captain Cogdell and his company. They were on outpost duty ten miIes below Kinston on the south side of the Neuse. Captain Cogdell was on the alert and did not fall into the trap set for him. They did, however, capture Colonel G. N. Folk, of the Sixty-fifth North Carolina (Sixth Cavalry). At the time he was attempting to reach Cogdell. As before stated, the Sixty-seventh was ordered to relieve the troops stationed at Washington and Plymouth N. C., in October, 1864. The writer and three companies stopped in Washington while Colonel and Major Whitford, with the other seven companies proceeded to Plymouth. Plymouth is only eight miles above the mouth of the Roanoke and was protected by the Confederate ram Albemarle, which was anchored a short distance below the town and which had done such fine service the previous spring at the capture of the town from the Federals, though defended by several gunboats on the river and several thousand troops, well fortified, on the land. It was a part of the duty of the garrison to keep a strong guard on the ram day and night, to protect it from any effort that might be made secretly to destroy or injure it. About a week after Colonel Whitford assumed command at Plymouth, during dark night, a small steam launch which had approached without noise or any other sign of its presence, was suddenly discovered by the sentinenl on duty very near the ram and approaching it rapidly. The sentinel immediately fired on the approaching boat, but in an instant it struck the side of the ram and at the same time exploded a torpedo or some explosive of great force. The parties in the launch attempted to back it off, but failed. In the darkness and confusion one of the boat's crew jumped into the river and escaped unnoticed. Two others and the launch were captured. A large hole was torn in the side of the ram by the explosion and it immediately sank to the bottom, though a portion of it still remained above water. Two days thereafter several Federal gunboats came up the river and shelled the town until the garrison was withdrawn. The party who escaped by swimming ashore was Lieutenant Cushing, of the Federal navy, and was entitled to the credit of planning and carrying out the attack on the ram. Immediately after the abandonment; of Plymouth, the writer was ordered to remove all the military stores in Washington and withdraw from the place. There were quite a large number of heavy guns mounted in the several forts in and around the town--some weighing 10,000 pounds, and no means of getting them to a place of safety except by hauling them seven miles into the country. Two weeks were spent in executing the order. After the evacuation of Plymouth and Washington, N. C., Colonel and Major Whitford, with the greater part of the regiment, returned to Winston, while the writer with the balance was stationed at Greenville for a few weeks. About this time Colonel Whitford, with a part of the regiment, went to Hamilton, on the Roanoke, to repel an invasion of that section by the enemy who came up the river in gunboats. The enemy were soon driven back with the loss of one of the gun-boats. In January, 1865, the enemy made a demonstration in force from New Bern, on Kinston, and came with in four or five miles of the town, but were promptly driven back by the Sixty-seventh and other troops then at Kinston. Nothing else of importance occurred in that district until the latter part of February, 1865, when General J. D. Cox with a large Federal army advanced from New Bern on Kinston, with the purpose of making a junction, at some point further west, with Sherman, who was coming from South Carolina in that direction. General Braxton Bragg, with such Confederate troops as could be spared from other points, was sent to meet him. The two armies met at South West Creek four and a half miles east of Kinston, where for two days, 8th and 9th of March, 1865, there was sharp fighting and several hundred prisoners captured, mostly by the division of General R. P. Hoke, to which the Sixty-seventh was attached. On the first day of the battle General Hoke, with his command, the Sixty-seventh, being in front, executed quite a brilliant manoeuver by which he surprised and after a short fight captured about 700 Federals. The next day General Hoke made another attempt to outflank and surprise the enemy on another part of his lines. This time the Federals were on the alert and gave him such a warm reception that he withdrew to his own side of the creek. After contesting the advance of the enemy for four days, General Bragg withdrew to the north side of the Neuse, destroyed the bridge over the same and marched in the direction of Goldsboro. General Hoke with his division, remained in the vicinity of Kinston two or three days longer and then joined Bragg at Goldsboro. At Goldsboro the Sixty-seventh and Sixty-eighth, the latter commanded by that brave officer and excellent gentleman, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward C Yellowley, were formed into a brigade and placed under command of Colonel John N. Whitford, of the Sixty-seventh . At that time the Sixty-seventh reported 700 for duty and the Sixty-eighth 300; total 1,000,( 99 Vol. Official Records Union and Confederate Armies, p. 1424.) The Sixty-seventh and Sixty-eighth were ordered from Goldshoro to a bridge over the Neuse river a short distance east of Bentonville. We reached the bridge about noon, when the enemy appeared in large numbers on the opposite, the south side. On that side the river is bordered by a swamp about half a mile wide. After posting a strong skirmish line on the south side, in the swamp, the balance of the brigade formed a line on the north side above and below the bridge and near the river. Early next morning the enemy attacked in force and gradually drove our skirmishers back, who, when near the bridge, quickly crossed over, setting fire as they did so to some combustible material which had been placed there. The brigade remained near the bridge until it was nearly consumed and then withdrew, the object having been accomplished which was to prevent the enemy from crossing to the north side of the river during the battle of Bentonville. We then joined General Johnston's army at Smithfield a day or two after the battle of Bentonville. We remained at Smithfield one day and then marched eastward by way of Wilson and Tarboro. Our purpose was to get to the rear of the enemy and interrupt and destroy as much as possible the enemy's transportation, which was by both river and rail fron New Bern via Kinston and Goldsboro. The Sixty-eighth remained near Tarboro. The Sixty-seventh proceeded to Greenville and went into camp in the grove at the north end of the Greenville bridge. These two regiments were accompanied by a battalion of the Thirty- sixth North Carolina (Second Artillery) acting as infantry, and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John D. Taylor. From Tarboro a small company of cavalry was sent over to Greene county in the direction of Kinston, which had several skirmishes with the enemy's forage parties, in one of which Lieutenant Titus Carr, in consequence of the falling of his horse, was captured. From Greenville, Company A, of the 'Sixty-Seventh, a large and fine company, commanded by Captain James H. Tolson, was dispatched to Neuse river, between New Bern and Kinston, with instructions to operate both on the river and railroad running from the former to the latter place. Many of the men in this company were citizens of Craven county and familiar with the country and would doubtless have done good service had not the war practically ended a few days thereafter. They tore up the railroad at one point and captured and burnt a steamer and two barges on the river, all loaded with supplies for the Federals. On 9 April Colonel Jno. N. Whitford made the following report (98 Official Records Union and Confederate Armies, 1134) "On 5 April, Lieutenant Marshall, Com- pany F, Sixty-seventh North Carolina, burnt the steamer Mystic, near Maple Cypress. On the same day Captain Tolson, Company A, Sixty-seventh Regiment, destroyed a transport loaded with commissary stores near Cowpen Landing, and on the 7th instant four privates of Company A, viz: George Hill, Turner May, William Salter and R. Brewer, captured and burned a side-wheel steamer, the Minquas, and two barges, all loaded with quartermasters and commissary stores. Very little was saved from the boats." The four men named opened fire with their muskets on the steamer which was immediately run aground on the other side of the river. The crew and passengers, of whom there was a considerahle number aboard, jumped into the mud and water on the shore side and made their way into the swamp. The captors having no boat, swam over to the steamer and after securing the flag and papers of the steamer and a few other articles, set fire to all three of the vessels and returned to their own side of the river. The flag and papers were brought to the writer of this sketch at Greenville. In the same report Colonel Whitford further says: "On the 5th instant Captain Joseph Y. White, Company E, Sixty-seventh Regiment, captured fifteen Negroes and two Yankees at Biddles Ferry engaged in trying to raise a sunken craft. The reason I have not forward you a report of my command is because the companies and regiments are scattered so far apart that it is impossible to get a report from them." These were bold operations in the rear of the whole Federal army. There were many other daring feats, but the falling back ot Johnston's army prevented further official reports and the lapse of time and the death of so many actors prevent an authentic and accurate recital of them now. It should be remembered that the Sixty-seventh and Sixty-eighth were North Carolina Regiments, which were never mustered into Confederate service and were paid by the State. About this time some veterans of Lee's army arrived in our camp and told us the sad news of Appomattox. In a few days the country was full of parties of disbanded Confederate soldiers returning to their homes. Knowing that our cherished cause was lost in all things except in the influence which the heroic deeds, the cheerful endurance of hardships and the dangers by the Confederate soldiers and the patriotic and unselfish devotion of the women of the Confederacy would exert upon all who should hereafter read the true history of the four years' war, the Sixty-seventh was also disbanded. Most of the officers and men were from the eastern counties of the State and went directly to their homes. The writer with Captain J. M. Robinson, and a few officers and men who were from the counties of Wayne and Green, made their way to Stantonsburg in the latter county, and on 28 April, 1865, were paroled by a detachment of Federals from Goldsboro. The writer had been in the service four years less two weeks. Many of the men and officers were much affected by this termination of all our labors and sufferings in the cause of self-government. The writer well remembers the inconsolable grief of Lieutenant John W. Aldridge, now a resident of Pamlico county, a good soldier and man. May he live long and prosper.
Rufus W. Wharton
Washington, N. C.
28 April, 1901
Here is a brief history of the founding of the companies that went to make up the 1st Battalion NC Troops, their service with the Battalion and their transfer to the 67th Regiment upon it's formation.
On June 25, 1861, John N. Whitford, a merchant of New Berne (Craven Co.) aged 24, began the recruiting of a company of for the defense of New Berne. In the summer of 1861, this company was organized as an artillery company and was stationed at Fort Thompson, near New Berne. On October 17, 1861, the company was officially mustered into State service as Co. I, 10th NC Regiment (1st NC Artillery). The company was transferred to Confederate service on October 27, 1862. The company remained at Fort Thompson, and, although records are scarce, it is assumed the company was trained with heavy (fortification) artillery. In March, 1862, the Union attacked and captured New Berne. Fort Thompson was evacuated and the company moved to Kinston. At Kinston, the company was converted to an infantry unit and assigned with other displaced artillery companies to a battalion, under the command of Brig. Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch, Army of the Pamlico. Within a few days, NC authorities began to fear a similar attack against Wilmington and the company was again assigned artillery duties and sent to coastal defense fortifications near Old Brunswick, NC. The company was not long to remain here, reporting as an infantry unit engaged in scouting and outpost duties outside New Berne at Swift Creek (Craven Co.) by June, 1862. The company took part in a skirmish against marauding Union troops at Batchelder's Creek, near the Neuse river in Craven Co. on August 20, 1862. The company remained at Swift Creek, reporting as Company I, 10th NC Regiment through the winter of 1862/63. In March, 1863, the company and Captain Whitford were especially mentioned in dispatches by General Pettigrew, noting their efficient and gallant service against crushing odds. In April, 1863, the company was divided into two companies and officially designated a battalion, at which time Captain Whitford was promoted to Major in command. The two companies were designated 1st Battalion, NC Local Defense Troops, Co. A, (Capt. Edward Whitford, commanding) and Co. B. (Capt. Stephen G. Barrington, commanding). (Note: All of the men in Co.'s A & B at their foundation had previously served in 1st Co. I, 10th Regiment NC Troops. It is not unusual to find men who had served in 1st Co. I. NC Troops, then Co. A or B, 1st Battalion NC Local Defence forces, then were transferred to an another company within 1st Battalion raised later, then again transferred to another new company even later. It seems that during the formation of later companies [excepting perhaps Co.'s C & D], experienced men were transferred into them from existing companies already in the Battalion. When looking at rosters, always consult later rosters to see if a particular soldier might have transferred to a company raised later.) Co. C (Captain Daniel W. Edwards, commanding) appears to have already been organized in Greene and Lenoir counties, being enlisted into State service in January, 1863. It was assigned to the Battalion in April or May, 1863. Co. D (Captain Daniel A. Cogdell, commanding) war organized with recruits from Wayne, Lenoir and Pitt counties, beginning in January, 1863. It was accepted into State service on February 21, 1663 and was assigned to the Battalion in April or May, 1863. (It is not known exactly whether Co.'s C & D were raised independently or raised for the purpose of being added to the Battalion, but at the time of the founding of the Battalion or soon after, the Battalion appears to have consisted of Co.'s A -- D.) Co. E (Captain Charles A. White, commanding) was organized at Camp Burney, near Greenville, Pitt Co. in early 1863 and was accepted into State service on February 10, 1863. It was assigned to the Battalion in April or May, 1863. It appears that Co. E was organized for the purpose of being added to the Battalion, as it appears to have joined the Battalion in July or August, 1863. Co. F (Capt. David P. Whitford, commanding) was organized in Craven Co. in April and June, 1863. It appears that Co. F was organized for the purpose of being added to the Battalion, as it appears to have joined the Battalion in July or August, 1863. Co. G (Capt. Asa W. Jones, commanding) also seems to have been organized at Camp Burney for the specific purpose of being added to the Battalion (Capt. Jones previously having served in Co. E. of the Battalion), entering State service soon after June 30, 1863. It was attached to the Battalion in July or August, 1863. Co. H (Capt. Christopher D. Foy, commanding) is shown as having been organized between late June and early August, 1863. The lieutenants of the company were appointed by the State on August 12 and 20th, 1863, and the company was enrolled in State service on August 20th, 1863. This company seems to have had men from a wide area across eastern North Carolina, with significant numbers of men from Craven, Lenoir, Duplin, Jones, Onslow, and Sampson counties. Captain Foy had earlier served as captain Co. A, Nethercutt's Partisan Ranger Battalion (8th Battalion, NC Troops). There are records that indicate that he was invalided for service and had to resign his commission due to a broken leg suffered in the fall of a horse while in the service, but it is not known if that injury occurred while he was captain of this company or while serving with the previous company. It appears that the company was commanded by Francis M. Foy later in the War. Co. I (Capt. Edward F. White, commanding) began organization in Pitt Co., was accepted into State service on September 22, 1863 and was attached to the Battalion at this date or soon after. Captain White, 2nd Lt. George White, most of the non-commissioned officers and a number of men in this company had previously served in earlier-organized companies within the Battalion. Co. K (Captain Joseph D. Myers, commanding) began organization in Pitt Co. and was accepted into State service and assigned to the Battalion about September 30, 1863, as a "mounted infantry" company. Again, Captain Myers and many of the men in this company had previously served in other companies within the Battalion. With the organization of these ten companies into the Battalion by late 1863, the Battalion had increased to the size of a full regiment; indeed, some companies signed their November -- December muster rolls as "67th Regiment, NC Troops" while other signed their muster rolls as "Whitford's Battalion". On January 18, 1864, the Battalion was officially renamed the 67th Regiment, NC Troops by NC State authorities. All the companies in the Battalion were transferred to the 67th Regiment and carried over their previous company letter designations to the new regiment. Note that the regiment never was enrolled in Confederate service, but remained a "State service" regiment from the date of it's founding until the end of the War. Union troops made a number of raids into north-eastern NC from New Berne and surrounding areas in late 1862 and 1863, either to disrupt traffic on the Wilmington-Weldon railroad or to attempt to destroy gunboats being built on or near the Roanoke river. In July, a force of about 3,000 Union troops, with 6 artillery pieces and a squadron of cavalry, attacked Tarboro NC and burned Lt. Gilbert Elliott's boatyard there, destroying what would have been an ironclad gunboat and also a smaller gunboat and a large number of tools and materials. As part of this raid, Union General Edward E. Potter's men overwhelmed an outpost stationed by men of Co. C, 1st Battalion 15 miles below Greenville and captured at least ten men. Raids against Elliott's boatyard at Edward's Ferry near Scotland Neck NC against the unfinished ironclad ram C.S.S. Albemarle were unsuccessful, but another large raid on November 25th, 1863 resulted in the capture of over 50 men from Co.'s E and I at Haddock's Cross Roads, near Greenville, NC. See Lt. Colonel Wharton's excellent history (from Clark's "Histories ....", 1901) for detailed descriptions of the Regiment's service after January, 1864. Also, please note that several contemporary accounts (in family records or State pension applications) refer to a "Company L, 67th NC Regiment", but no records of such a company are shown in Moore's"Rosters of North Carolina Troops" (published by the State of NC, 1881) or modern publications by the NC Division of Archives and History.. At least two of the men said to have belonged to this company are listed as serving Co. H of the 1st Battalion. In Moore's "Rosters of North Carolina Troops" (published by the State of NC, 1881), a company is listed under the designation "Company K, 67th Regiment" which list a roster of men different from the roster of men shown in modern compilations under "Company K, 1st Battalion" -- also, Moore appends the note "It is not certain that the numbering of this Company is correct". More research is needed to attempt to provide accurate listing of men who may have served in "Co. L" of the 67th (or to ascertain if indeed any such company was formally organized -- this might have been a designation used informally by the men in a company that was not taken up as an official designation by the State authorities).