Hargrove, Tazewell Lee, Lt. Col.
-Confederate Medal of Honor-
Lt. Col. Tazewell L. Hargrove distinguished himself at the skirmish/battle at the South Anna Bridge, Va., on June 26, 1863. During the battle, Lt. Col. Hargrove was captured, along with a number of other officers, as well as members of Company A, and a number from Company G. While attempting to research this incident further, I discovered the following reports in the Official Records. These reports give excellent insights into this battle from both sides, so I will include copies of them here. I will include seven pages of these reports, which were written and submitted by the following officers: Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, U.S. Army Commanding the Army of Virginia; Col. Samuel P. Spear, 11th Penn. Cavalry; Col. T.C. Singletary, 44th Regiment North Carolina Troops; Col. D.J. Godwin, commanding cavalry [CSA]; Col. William P. Shingler, Holcombe Legion [USA].
"North Carolina Regiments, 1861-1865" Volume III, pages 24-26, edited by Walter Clark, Lt. Col. 70th Regiment NC Troops, also gives this excellent description of the battle, and the actions of Lt. Col. Hargrove and the men from Companies A and G: "From Eastern North Carolina the regiment was ordered to Virginia and there assigned to the Brigade of General J. Johnston Pettigrew, one of the very ablest commanders of the Army of Northern Virginia...The other regiments of his brigade were with him at Gettysburg aand contributed to his imperishable renown by their steadfast valor, but the Forty-fourth North Carolina, whilst en route, was halted at Hanover Junction, Va., to guard the railroad connections there centering, and thus protect General Lee's communications with Richmond. Colonel T.C. Singletary with two companies, remained at the junction. Major Charles M. Stedman, with four companies, commanded north of the junction and the bridges of the Fredericksburg and of the Central (now the C.&O.) Railroad across the South Anna and the Little Rivers, four in number, were entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove, who posted one company at each bridge, remaining personally with Company A at Central's bridge across the South Anna. the post of greatest danger. On the morning of 26 June, 1865 , the Federal troops, consisting of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, two companies of a California cavalry regiment, and two pieces of artillery, about fifteen hunderd, all included, commaned by Colonel, afterwards General Spear, appeared before Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove, and his small force of forty men, stationed in a breastwork on the south side of the river, built to be manned by not less than four hundred men. Before Colonel Spear made his first attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove abandoning the breastwork as being entirely untenable by so small a force, fell back to the north side of the river, posted his men under cover along the river bank and for two hours successfully resisted repeated efforts to capture the bridge by direct assault, although assailed by a force outnumbering his own at least thirty-five to one. Failing in a direct attack, Colonel Spear sent four hundred men across the river by an old ford under cover of a violent assault in front from the south and was about to assail Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove in his rear, which was entirely unprotected, when Company G, consisting of 40 men, having been ordered from Central's bridge, over the river at Taylorsville, more than three miles distant, arrived and occupied the breastwork north of the river at its intersection with the railroad, and about two hundred yards from the bridge, thus protecting the rear of Company A. Company G had scarcely got into position when the charge of four hunderd cavalry, intended for the unprotected rear of Company A, was delivered against Company G, protected by the breastwork, and was repulsed, as were two other charges made at intervals of about fifteen minutes, while attacks were made simultaneously on Company A from across the river with like results. During a lull in the fighting the Federal force on the north side was reinforced by four hundred men, and an assault on both Companies A nd G was (at the same time) ordered. Colonel Spear crossed the river and ordered the attack made up the river bank against Company G's unprotected right, and Company A's unprotected left flank at the abutment of the bridge. The enormous odds prevailed, but only after a most desperate and hand-to hand conflict with pistol, sabre, and bayonet, in which Confedrates and Federals were commingled. In the final assault Company A lost half its men. The loss of Company G was not heavy. The Federal loss exceeded the entire number of Confederate troops engaged. Colonel Spear retreated after burning one bridge instead of four. He stated in the presence of his own command and that of Colonel Hargrove that: 'The resistance made by the Confederates was the most stubborn he had known during the war; that he supposed that he was fighting four hundred infantry instead of eighty, and that his expedition had entirely failed of its object, which was to cut General Lee's communications with Richmond.' No more gallant fight was made during the entire Civil War, than by Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove's command. He won the admiration of both friend and foe by his personal gallantry, and only surrendered when overpowered and taken by sheer physical force."
An interesting incident occured during the battle that day involving Private Joseph H. Cash of Company A. "The Yankees...charged [at the South Anna Bridge] and a hand-to-hand fight ensued around a little cabin, on the porch of which [Lieutenant] Colonel [Tazewell L.] Hargrove [of the 44th regiment N.C. Troops] was standing, fighting with several Yankees at one time. One gigantic trooper, with drawn sword, was rushing on him when Joe Cash, a mere boy sixteen years old, pierced him with his bayonet, and as he fell another trooper shot Joe, and he fell across the man he had just killed. Before he fell a Yankee called on him to surrender, and though he saw they were overwhelmed by numbers, he replied, 'I'll never do it, till my colonel tells me,' and [he] fought on until he was killed." [Confederate Military History, Volume IV, page 409.]
After the war, Tazewell Hargrove went on to become North Carolina's State Attorney General, 1873-77. After his death, the Sons of Confederate Veterans posthumously awarded Lt. Col. Hargrove the Confederate Medal of Honor for his gallantry displayed at the battle of South Anna Bridge, June 26, 1863. He is one of only 48 receipients of the award.
[44th Reg. NC Troops]-[Field and Staff of the 44th]
G, 44th NC]
This page was last updated on January 15, 2002.