Third Corps, Army of Northern
Confederate States of America
This is the account
of my great grandfather, William Tate Crawford,
and his regiment: The 44th Regiment NC Troops, during the
War Between The States.
William was born on
October 13, 1838 in Orange County, NC, to James and
Nancy Crawford. They made a living by farming at the Bingham Township town
of Oaks. He was 22 when the war started, and the regiment he later would join
had been organized near the state capitol of Raleigh on March 28, 1862 at a place
called Camp Mangum. After some preliminary drill and instruction, the 44th
departed for Greenville, NC, via Tarboro, NC, where it served on picket duty. At
Tranter's Creek on June 5th, portions of the 44th were engaged in a brief skirmish.
On July 5th, the regiment
was relocated from eastern NC to Petersburg, Va and
united with the 47th and 52nd NC Troops under the command of Gen. James G.
Martin. The brigade was ordered to Drewry's Bluff on the James River to build
fortifications and do picket duty. Later, the brigade returned to Petersburg, and
the 26th NC regiment joined their ranks. Gen James J. Pettigrew took over as
comnmander. Their 1862 role was to protect the Wilmington & Weldon and
Petersburg & Weldon RR's, as well as to harrass and engage the enemy in
southeast Va and eastern NC.
During this period,
on November 1, 1862, William Tate Crawford answered the
call of the newly enacted Confederate conscription, enlisting as a Private at Camp
French, which was east of Petersburg, Va., and was assigned to Company G, 44th
Regiment North Carolina Troops.(Click here for the Field and Staff page of the
44th Regiment NC Troops.)
During the unsuccessful
campaign of March 1863 to recapture New Bern and
Washington, NC, Pettigrew's brigade was assigned to flank New Bern from
Magnolia and shell Fort Anderson. On March 14th, Pettigrew commenced bombard-
ment of Fort Anderson to prepare an attack by the 26th and 44th; however,
Pettigrew called off the advance upon being outgunned by superior Federal
artillery. The brigade sucessfully repelled a Federal relief column at
Blount's Creek on April 11th. The campaign was abandoned on April 15th when
Union reinforcements reached Washington by way of the Pamlico River.
Late April to early
May saw the brigade serving in detached duty. After
leaving Kinston, NC by rail to Richmond, the brigade was sent to Hanover
Junction, where detachments were assigned to protect the Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac RR and key bridges over the North and South Anna
Rivers. The 44th served on outpost duty in the Meadow Bridge-Mechanicsville
area. (Read Richmond Enquirer article dated 5/12/1863 which describes
the role of the 44th in the funeral procession of Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall"
Jackson.) After the threat by Federal cavalry had passed, the brigade was re-
united at Hanover Junction; but the brigade was on the move again by early
June...all except the 44th Regiment. Its job was to remain behind and defend
7 bridges and river fords from Milford to the South Anna River.
brigade moved to Hamilton's Crossing near Fredricksburg, and
later marched through the Shenandoah Valley and into history in the infamous
Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, men of the 44th Regiment were making history
of their own. On June 26, 1863, Companies A & G, consisting of 90 men,
defending the Virginia Central RR bridge over the South Anna River, fended
off numerous violent assaults by a Union force of over 1,100 cavalry and
troops. Overwhelming Federal odds prevailed, but only after bloody hand to
hand combat. Company A's losses were heavy, having lost 7 killed, 13 wounded,
and 30 captured. Company G's losses were not as severe. The remainder of the
44th served on picket duty near Hanover Junction, and on July 24th the entire
regiment was ordered to Gordonsville.
After rejoining the
brigade in early August 1863, which was now under the
command of Col. Thomas Singletary, upon the untimely death of Gen. Pettigrew
at Gettysburg, the 44th occupied a line on the Rapidan River. Col. Singletary
was replaced on August 29th by Gen. William Kirkland as brigade commander.
Lee had moved his forces to the Rapidan in response to Meade's move across
the Potomac from Gettysburg, taking up position on the Rappahannock. In
October, Lee decided to strike; a move which drove Meade back towards
Centreville. During the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14th, the 44th
under Kirkland was involved in an attack upon Federal troops entrenched
behind a RR embankment. Heavy infantry and artillery fire greeted the brigade
as it moved down an open hill and towards the Union line. Unable to take the
position, the brigade was forced to retreat, but many of the men refused to
recross the open area, and were captured. Losses to the 44th were 23 killed
and 63 wounded, as well as the wounding of Gen. Kirkland. Col. Singletary
again assumed command of the brigade. Meade continued his retreat towards
Centreville, during which battles raged at Rappahannock Bridge and Kelly's
Ford, on Nov. 7th. In late November, both armies entrenched across Mine Run
Creek, but on Dec. 2nd, Lee discovered that Meade had withdrawn. Lee then
ordered his army into winter quarters, whereupon the 44th Regiment, with
Kirkland's brigade, encamped near Orange Court House.
The winter of 1863-64
is recorded as having been especially damp and cold,
which undoubtedly took a heavy toll on the young men of the army, one being
Private William Tate Crawford. Records show that he was present with Company
G in November and December; however it also indicates that he was listed as
"absent-sick" from January thru March, 1864. Furthermore, a receipt roll for
clothing issued to William at Camp Winder General Hospital in Richmond,
dated October 10, 1863, would seem to indicate that he had been admitted to
that hospital in the fall of 1863 also; the records do not show a reason, but
most likely due to sickness.
The year 1864 saw both
armies side stepping their way towards Richmond. The
brigade was again under the command of the recovered Gen. Kirkland. At The
Wilderness, on May 5th, the brigade saw action once again. Hill's corps, which
Kirkland's brigade was a part, occupied the crossroads at Parker's Store after
driving back Union cavalry. Later the brigade, including the 44th, was order-
ed into reserve behind the brigade of John R. Cooke, which held the center
line across the Orange Plank Rd. A 4:00pm Federal attack brought Kirkland's
brigade into action, and later onto the offensive, but failed in routing the
enemy. At 5am on the morning of the 6th, 13 Union brigades drove swiftly and
severly into Hill's 8 brigades, causing the entire right wing of Lee's forces
to fall back in disorder. Kirkland's brigade and others were brought up in
support of Cooke, but again the line was broken. A complete collapse was
averted at the last moment by the arrival of Longstreet's corps. Hill was
later sent to Chewning Plateau to strengthen the line between Longstreet and
Ewell. The battle raged throughout the day until nightfall; during the battle
the 44th suffered a high loss of officers.
Grant began side stepping
southeasterly once again late on May 7th. Lee rushed
the army in advance of Grant and successfully established defensive works at
Spotsylvania Court House on the 8th. Hill's corps, temporarily commanded by
Gen. Jubal Early, was placed on the right wing. Gen. Heth's division, which
Kirkland's brigade (44th included) was a part, maintained the extreme right
of the line until May 10th. The division was temporarily moved to the extreme
left of the Confederate line to attack an exposed Union flank, but was order-
ed to its original position on the extreme right on the morning of the 11th.
Later, Kirkland's brigade was placed on detached duty in support of artillery
positions and saw no action in the intense fighting at the "Mule Shoe" on
attempts against the Confederate lines convinced Grant of
the futility of his position, and he began moving once again. A clash at the
North Anna River near Hanover Junction, in which Heth's division was not
involved, prompted Grant to continue his march. A brief attack on the Union
left near Bethesda Church, by Gen. Early on May 30th, indicated that Grant
was still moving to Lee's right. Finally the 2 armies met at Cold Harbor on
June 1, 1864, where fresh fighting resumed. The next day, Heth's division
aligned with that of Ewell (Early) to mount an offensive on Federal positions,
during which Gen. Kirkland was seriously wounded and was replaced by Gen.
George Faribault of the 47th NC. The battle raged on as Union forces mounted
a 3 point assault upon the 6 mile long Confederate line, commencing at 4:30am
on the 3rd. Heth's division fought off 3 seperate assaults upon their position.
Late in the afternoon, Heth's division was sent to rejoin Hill at Turkey Hill.
Afterwards, both armies dug in and remained so until the 12th, when Grant
decided to move once again.
As Grant crossed the
James River and began his move on Petersburg, Lee count-
ered. Hill was ordered into position on the Confederate right wing, arriving
near Globe Tavern on June 18th. Hill entrenched near the line of the Petersburg
& Weldon RR. On the 28th, Heth's division was sent to confront a Federal column
on the north side of the James River. This turned out to be a Union ploy to
distract from the Federal offensive planned at "The Mine", on July 30th. Heth's
division returned to their original position August 2nd. During 3 weeks of
relative calm, Col. William MacRae of the 15th NC was appointed, and later
promoted to, brigadier general in command of Kirkland's brigade.
Grant, in a move to
extend his line westward, sent a force to occupy Globe
Tavern on August 18th. Hill's corps tried unsuccessfully on the 19th and 21st
to drive out the Federals; MacRae's brigade played a minor role on the 21st,
holding onto the center of the Confederate line. Hill's corps, including
MacRae's brigade, successfully broke the Union line at Ream's Station on
August 25th, routing the Federals and capturing 2000 men and 9 pieces of
artillery. Afterwards, Hill's men returned to the trenches of Petersburg.
Heth's division enjoyed
a respite until September 30th, when the Confederates
attempted to prevent Grant from extending his line once again. During the
Confederate defeat at Jones' Farm on that date, Pvt. William Crawford was
wounded, later sent to the 5th Division General Hospital, Camp Winder,
Richmond, Va. On October 27th, Union forces attempted to occupy high ground
north of Hatcher's Run at Burgess' Mill, thereby cutting the Boydton Plank Rd and
the South Side RR. Hill's forces were marginally successful in attempting to prevent
this; Union forces withdrew on the 28th, and on October 29th, MacRae's brigade went
into winter quarters near the Hart House.
The fate of the Confederacy
deteriorated rapidly during the final year of the
war. In early February, Hill's troops tried in vain to prevent Grant from
cutting supply lines on the Boydton Plank Rd, and the Union line was later
extended to Vaughn Rd at Hatcher's Run. On April 1st, Grant routed Confederate
forces at Five Forks. Lee's forces, now vulnerable from flank and rear, were
assaulted over the entire line south of Petersburg on the 2nd. Union troops
broke thru and swept the defenses. MacRae's brigade withdrew to a 2nd line
of entrenchments, which they held until nightfall. On the night of the 2nd,
Lee ordered his forces to abandon the line, and the Army of Northern Virginia
began its march to Amelia Court House.
Lee was counting upon
the arrival at Amelia CH of desperately needed supplies;
their fate was sealed on April 4th and 5th as they arrived, only to discover
that the supplies had not. The retreat continued; rear columns commanded by
Generals Ewell and Anderson were overtaken and destroyed and/or captured by
the Federals. Near Farmville on the 7th, MacRae served as rear guard as Lee's
beleagured army inched towards Appomattox Court House. Having an army of weary,
hungry men, who were outnumbered and surrounded in all directions, Lee donned
his finest uniform, met Grant at Appomattox CH on the 9th, and surrendered.
As the Army of Northern Virginia stacked its arms before Union hero Gen.
Joshua Chamberlain, only 82 members of the 44th NC were present to receive
their paroles, on April 12, 1865. (Click here to view a list of those paroled at
Appomattox CH, Regimental Field and Staff and Company G inclusive)
Thus ends the history
of the 44th NC Troops. After being furloughed for 60
days from his hospital in Richmond, on November 28th or 29th, 1864, my
great grandfather, William Tate Crawford, never returned to duty. He was
reported absent without leave on March 9, 1865. On August 26, 1866, William
married Margaret Conklin, who had 2 brothers who also served with William
in Company G of the 44th. They were Pvt. Cave M. Conklin, who enlisted at age
19, and Pvt. John Conklin, elder of the two who enlisted at age 27. Both resided
in the same county as William. John was captured at Burgess' Mill on October 27,
1864, and was held at Point Lookout, Md until paroled on March 17, 1865.
Interestingly, younger brother Cave was reported absent without leave on
March 9, 1865.....the same day as William Tate Crawford. Records show that
my great grandfather's name appears on a Roll of Honor of the 44th Regiment
NC Troops. After the war, William and Margaret resided in Hillsboro, NC,
and had four children, one being my grandfather, Gordon Bingham Crawford.
William died on April 30, 1919 in Guilford County, and is buried in the Green Hill
Cemetery in Greensboro, Section 9, Lot 66, Grave # 4, located near the Fireman's
Marker. (Links for 1860 and 1870 Census Records re: Crawford family)
(Click here for obituaries)
John W. Taylor
Greensboro, North Carolina
Great Grandson of Pvt. William Tate Crawford
Carolina Troops, 1861-1865", Vol.X
Editor: Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr.
Compiled by: N.C. Confederate Centennial Commission
pp. 393-396, 454, 458
"The Official Military Atlas of the Civil
By: Maj. George B. Davis, US Army, Leslie J. Perry, Civilian Expert,
Joseph W. Kirkley, Civilian Expert
Compiled By: Capt. Calvin D. Cowles, 23rd US Infantry
"The Appomattox Roster"
Antiquarian Press, Ltd.
Special thanks to my cousin, Karen Crawford
Brown Summit, NC, for providing genealogical and family
Thank you for your
interest in the 44th Regiment N.C. Troops, and for visiting this page.
Please visit the guestbook page for additional resources regarding the regiment.
I would like to establish this page as a source of contact from other individuals,
groups, or family members whose ancestors fought with the 44th. Please
feel free to leave remarks, as well as email addresses and web pages
for anyone interested in the 44th Regiment N.C. Troops,
regardless of which regimental company the
ancestor was a member of.
Sign the 44th's GuestBook ] - [ Read
the 44th's GuestBook ]
[ GuestBook by TheGuestBook.com ]
Go To The 22nd Regiment NC Troops Web Page ]
(for the story of my great great grandfather,
James Franklin Freeman, and his regiment)
Web Ring Membership
War Heritage Ring site is owned by
John W. Taylor.
Enlist in the Civil War Heritage Ring!
|[Skip Prev] [Prev] [Next] [Skip Next] [Random] [Next 5] [List Sites]|
"All the bitterness has gone out of my heart, and in spite of a Confederate bullet in my body, I do
not hesitate to acknowledge that their valor is part of the common heritage of the whole country. We can never challenge the fame of those men whose skill and valor made them the
idols of the Confederate army. The fame of Lee, Jackson, the Johnstons, Gordon, Longstreet,
the Hills, Hood and Stuart and many thousands of non-commissioned officers and private soldiers
of the Confederate armies, whose names are not mentioned on historic pages, can never be tarnished
by the carping criticisms of the narrow and shallow minded."
Col. David F. Pugh, gallant federal officer and
commander of the Grand Army of the Republic,
June 7, 1902.
"Sometimes he won, then hopes were high;
Again he lost, but it would not die;
And so to the end he followed and fought,
With love and devotion, which could not be bought."
This site promotes HERITAGE,
NOT HATE, and was last updated on
November 28, 2005.