The regiment was organized under the command of Colonel William J. Clarke at Weldon, North Carolina in July, 1861. The regiment was originally designated as the 14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers and was to serve for twelve months service. The regiment originally had nine companies (A, B, C, and E through K). Company D was added to the regiment in May, 1862. The regiment remained at Weldon until August 18, 1861 when it was moved to Richmond, Virginia. |
NOTE:When the Civil War began, Clarke was made colonel of the 14th North Carolina Regiment (later redesignated the 24th) and served in that rank throughout the war. Clarke was highly acclaimed as an officer, and at one time he was recommended for promotion to brigadier general. A petition submitted by his commanding officer, M. W. Ransom, and signed by many others was placed before Jefferson Davis. Davis never made the appointment, however, and Clarke is said to have been bitterly disappointed. During the battle at Drewry's Bluff in Virginia on 15 May 1864, Clarke's shoulder was shattered by a shell fragment, and he never returned to his regiment. On his way home from Virginia, Clarke was ambushed, captured, and kept prisoner at Fort Delaware from January to July 1865.
|General John Buchanan Floyd
After arrival just west of Richmond, Virginia…the regiment received orders to move to Staunton, Virginia. Here, the men from North Carolina joined General John B. Floyd's Army of the Kanawha. General Floyd, a former governor of the state of Virginia and the 24th U.S. Secretary of War under President James Buchanan was appointed as a Brigadier General of the Confederate Army, on the 23rd of May 1861.
Their new home was at Bunger's Mill, a few miles west of Lewisburg, Virginia. Here the regiment remained until September 9, 1861 when it was ordered to join General Floyd's main force then located near Carnifix Ferry, Virginia.
However, as the 14th was preparing for the move, Union troops led by General William S. Rosecrans moved against Confederate General John Floyd's position on September 10, 1861 and forced him to fall back to Anderson, Va. When the 14th NC Volunteers did join forces with those of General Floyd, they were at Sewell Mountain. |
Note: On September 10, 1861 our Great Great Uncle John Washington Strickland, a private in CO. E (“Lone Star Boys”) of the 14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers, died of disease, while at home on furlough.
They then were moved as a part of General Floyds force to Meadow Bluff, sixteen miles west of Lewisburg, Va. General Floyd had left a portion of his troops under the command of General Henry Wise at Sewell Mountain, twelve miles away. Here, General Robert E. Lee, who was commanding troops in the western part of Virginia, arrived at Sewell Mountain and assumed command on September 25, 1861. General Lee decided his new position at Sewell Mountains too weak to hold back a Union assault and ordered General Floyd send troops to reinforce this position. The 14th NC regiment marched to Camp Defiance, Fayette Court House, and from there to Sewell Mountain.|
On October 17, 1861 the regiment moved again. This time to Meadow Bluff where they remained there until November 12, 1861. However, they did not stay long as they were again ordered to move, this time to Blue Sulphur Springs. It was here at Blue Sulphur Springs where the regiment was redesignated as the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops by Special Orders No. 222, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Richmond.
After just two weeks at Blue Sulphur Springs, the troops who were now suffering largely from sickness incurred from poor rations, bad weather, and extremely hard marching through the Virginia mountains. The regiment was again moved to camp near Petersburg, Virginia to rest. It took some time to move all of the companies, but by December 17, 1861, all of the now 24th Regiment N.C. Troops were encamped in their winter quarters at Camp Refuge, outside Petersburg, Virginia.
The 24th Regiment N.C. Troops remained around Petersburg until February 12, 1862, when it received orders to protect the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad, near Garysburg, N.C. Again on the 20th of February, the regiment moved to Franklin Depot, Va, and on 21st of February was again ordered to Murfreesboro, Va. |
The 24th Regiment N.C. Troops was asked to defend the multiple approaches and various strategic points on the railroad. The regiment was broken up into several smaller pieces on the 25th of February, with Companies A, E (Note: Our Great Great Uncle Marshall Strickland was also a Private in this company), and G being ordered to Devil's Elbow on the Meherrin River; Companies C and K were sent to Griffin Bluff, North Carolina; Companies B and F were detailed at Potocapie Bridge and Company I being sent to Nottoway Bridge, Va.|
||General Theopolous Holmes
On the 28th February 1862, Companies A, C, F, G, and H were ordered to Suffolk, Va. They remained here until 14th of March 1862 when they were marched to Murfreesboro, N.C. On 7th of May 1862, the regiment, was transferred from the Department of Norfolk, under the command of General Benjamin Huger, to the Department of North Carolina, commanded by General Theophilus H. Holmes.|
On May 14-15, 1862, the regiment moved from Murfreesboro, N.C. to Garysburg, N.C. and on 16th of May 1862, it was reorganized to serve for three years or the duration of the war. Also, Company D, under the command of Captain David C. Clark, joined the regiment. Two days later, the 18th of May 1862, the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops was again moved, this time to Camp McCulloch near the Roanoke River. Again, not to stay any one place too long, on the 22nd of May 1862 they reported at Bridger's Ferry, nine miles below Halifax, N.C. |
North of the 24th Regiment of N.C. troops’ position, in Virginia….the Peninsula Campaign was starting to heat up. Confederate General Johnston was in need of reinforcements to face the Union Army commanded by General George McClellan. General Johnston had aligned his soldiers in a defensive position east of Richmond, Va; but was greatly outnumbered by the superior forces of the Federal army. Since things were quiet in North Carolina, he (General Johnston) called for reinforcements from the Department of North Carolina.
Answering the call for help, the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops moved to Goldsboro, N.C. on the 2nd of May 1862. Here they remained until a week passed and they moved again to Petersburg, Va. Here, the troops of the 24th Regiment N.C. troops were reassigned to be a part of the Second Brigade, commanded by General Robert Ransom, Jr.
|General Robert Ransom
General Ransom, a veteran of the US Army prior to North Carolina’s secession from the Union, resigned his commission on the 31st of january 1861, and returned to North Carolina to serve his home State and the Confederacy. Here, he was commissioned Captain of Cavalry, C. S. A., and the Ninth of the first ten regiments of State troops was organized under his direction near Ridgeway. Of this regiment, thereafter known as the First North Carolina Cavalry, he was the first Colonel. He started with his regiment to Virginia, October 13, 1861, and in November commanded at Vienna, in the first encounter of the cavalry of the opposing armies. On the 6th of March 1862, he was promoted Brigadier-General for the express purpose of organizing the cavalry of Generals Johnston and Beauregard in the West and Southwest, but New Bern having fallen, his destination was changed, and he was engaged for a time in holding in check the Federal Army in eastern North Carolina.
Afterwards, he was given command of the Second Brigade which consisted of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops, 25th Regiment N.C. Troops, 26th Regiment N.C. Troops, 35th Regiment N.C. Troops, 48th Regiment N.C. Troops, and 49th Regiment N.C. Troops. |
It was not long and the 24th Regiment, as part of the 2nd Brigade was on the move again. This time the regiment was transferred to Richmond, Va., where after arriving on the 25th of June 1862, was ordered to reinforce General Huger's command along the Williamsburg Road. The troops of the 2nd Brigade were assigned mostly as reserve, but several of its regiments took part in the fighting at King's School House.
The 25th Regiment of N.C. Troops and the 49th Regiment of N.C. Troops were sent up to the line, then later that day, the 24th Regiment of N.C. Troops were moved up to relieve the 49th. The 24th advanced up to the picket line, as the Federals probed the line but were repulsed. During this quick but hotly contested skirmish, the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops lost two men killed and seven were wounded. Later in the day, the 26th regiment moved up to relieve the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops. However, the 26th of June 1862, found the 24th Regiment of N.C. Troops back on the picket line and held off repeated combined Federal infantry and stayed their position under insistent artillery attacks. |
The successive battles here described became known as the Seven Days Battles, a series of six major battles over seven days (June 25th to July 1st, 1862). During these battles, General Johnston was wounded and General Robert E. Lee became overall commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.|
General Lee succeeded in forcing the Federal army back across the Chickahominy River. The Union forces facing the Confederates of General Huger withdrew as well, and General Ransom's 2nd Brigade, less the troops of the 48th Regiment followed as a part of General Huger's command and was engaged at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862.
||Major General Benjamin Hugher
General Ransom later reported his brigade's actions in the aforementioned battle as follows: |
”At 7 p.m. I received word from General John B. Magruder that he must have aid, if only a regiment. The message was so pressing that I at once directed Colonel Clarke [24th Regiment N.C. Troops] to go with his regiment and report to General Magruder, and at the same time sent my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant [William E.] Broadnax, to General Huger for orders. Lieutenant Broadnax brought me somewhat discretionary orders, to go or not, but not to place myself under General Magruder.
The brigade was at once put in motion by the right flank, as the line we had been occupying was at right angles to that upon which the battle was raging. Colonel Clarke's regiment [24th N.C. Troops] had already gone; Colonel [Henry M.] Rutledge [25th Regiment N.C. Troops] next followed, then Colonel [Matthew W.] Ransom [35th Regiment N.C. Troops]. Colonel [Stephen D.] Ramseur (49th Regiment N.C. Troops] and Colonel [Zebulon B.] Vance [26th Regiment N.C. Troops] all moved to the scene of conflict at the double quick. As each of the three first-named regiments reached the field they were at once thrown into action by General Magruder's orders. As the last two arrived they were halted by me to regain their breath, and then pushed forward under as fearful fire as the mind can conceive.
In the charge made by Colonel Ransom's regiment he was twice wounded and had to be taken from the field. The Lieutenant-Colonel, [Oliver C.] Petway, then took command, and in a few moments he fell mortally wounded. Colonel Rutledge's regiment went gallantly forward and the Colonel was seriously stunned by the explosion of a shell and his Major severely wounded. The fire was so fierce that the three regiments were compelled to fall back under the crest of some intervening hills. At this juncture I arrived with Ramseur's and Vance's regiments, and ordering the whole to the right, so as to be able to form undercover, brought the brigade in line within 200 yards of the enemy's batteries. This was upon our extreme right. The hills afforded capital cover. I had no difficulty in forming the line as I desired. In going to this position I passed over a brigade, commanded by Colonel [George T.] Anderson, from Georgia, and requested him to support me in the charge which I was about to make. This, to my sad disappointment, he declined to do.
It was now twilight. The line was put in motion and moved steadily forward to within less than 100 yards of the batteries. The enemy seemed to be unaware of our movement. Masses of his troops seemed to be moving from his left toward his right. Just at this instant the brigade raised a tremendous shout, and the enemy at once wheeled into line and opened upon us a perfect sheet of fire from musketry and the batteries. We steadily advanced to within 20 yards of the guns. The enemy had concentrated his force to meet us. Our onward movement was checked, the line wavered, and fell back before a fire the intensity of which is beyond description. It was a bitter disappointment to be compelled to yield when their guns seemed almost in our hands. It was now dark, and I conceived it best to withdraw the brigade, which was quickly done to near the point from which we had started at about 7 o'clock.”______
Following the successful routing of the Army of the Potomac, General Lee withdrew his army to Richmond while Union General McClellan withdrew to Harrison's Landing and, not long after withdrew from the peninsula. During the Seven Days battles the regiment lost 9 men killed, 42 wounded, and 12 missing.
General Ransom's brigade marched to Drewry's Bluff on the 7th of July 1862 and only two days later was again ordered to Petersburg. Here, they made camp on the City Point road. The brigade remained near Petersburg until the 19th of August 1862, when it recalled to Richmond. On the 23rd of August 1862, the brigade was marched to a point near the James River, here they remained until the 26th of August 1862 when they marched into Richmond, Va. to board a train, with General John G. Walker's brigade, for Rapidan Station. Once arrived at Rapidan Station, they joined the Army of Northern Virginia.
On the 26th of August 1862 the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops was transferred out of 2nd Brigade, but the remainder of General Ransom’s troops were combined with that of General Walker's brigades and were together designated as Walker’s Division. They were assigned to General James Longstreet's corps and joined the Army of Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Va. on the 3rd of September 1862; just before General Lee started his Maryland Campaign, crossing the Potomac River on the 4th of September 1862.
As the Army of Northern Virginia moved northward to Frederick, Md; General Lee dispatched General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson to move against the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va; and had General Longstreet continue moving to Hagerstown, Md. On the 9th of September 1862, General Walker’s troops were moved from their position at Monocacy Junction, near Frederick, Md. to the mouth of the Monocacy River. Here they were to destroy the railroad bridge crossing of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The crossing was captured after a brief battle with its Union defenders. However, destroying the crossing proved to be more difficult than thought and before this could be carried out, the Division was orderd to support General Jackson’s capture of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. General Walker’s troops recrossed the Potomac River and marched toward Loudoun Heights, just southeast of Harpers Ferry.
On the 13th of September 1862, General Walker placed two regiments atop the heights overlooking Harpers Ferry and the remainder of the division were placed on the right bank of the Potomac, preventing any escape of the Federal troops in that direction. General Jackson, directing the placement of General Lafayette McLaws's division, reinforced by General R. H. Anderson's division, on the Maryland Heights while placing his own troops on Bolivar Heights, surrounded Harpers Ferry. With no way out, the Union commander surrendered his garrison.
The taking of Harpers Ferry complete, General Lee ordered General Jackson to rally on him and concentrate the Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Md. Here, General McClellan was massing his Army of the Potomac to counter general Lee’s movements. General Walkers division was ordered to a position on the right flank of General Lee’s line, but on the 17th of September 1862 was orderd to take up position in reinforcement of General Jackson’s troops on the left flank of General Lee’s position.
In his report, General Ransom wrote:
”About 3 o'clock in the morning of the 17th instant, the brigade, followed by the other of the division, was moved to the extreme right of the position occupied by our troops and posted upon some hills which commanded an open country. Here it remained in line until about 9 a.m., when an order from General Lee directed the division to the left, where the enemy was pressing back our forces.
From the first position the brigade moved, left in front, until we had passed the town of Sharpsburg some half mile to the north, when it was formed into line by inversion, bringing the Forty-ninth on the right.
The line was formed under a severe fire and in the presence of some of our troops who had been driven back. As soon as formed, the whole brigade was pushed rapidly forward, and, after passing some 200 yards, I received orders to form to the right and resist the enemy, who were in possession of a piece of woods.
The change of direction was effected with three of the regiments - the Forty-ninth, Twenty-fifth, and Thirty-fifth - but the Twenty-fourth, on the extreme left, had come upon the enemy and opened fire, and continued in the first direction upon the left of General [William] Barksdale's brigade.
Upon reaching the woods, met parts of [John B.] Hood's and [Jubal A.] Early's commands leaving them, and immediately encountered the enemy in strong force, flushed with a temporary success. A tremendous fire was poured into them, and, without a halt, the woods were cleared and the crest next the enemy occupied.
At this time I determined to charge across a field in our front and to a woods beyond, which was held by the enemy, but he again approached, in force, to within 100 yards, when he was met by the same crushing fire which had driven him first from the position. I now went to recall the Twenty-fourth, which had passed on, and which had been directed, as I afterward learned, by General [J. E. B.] Stuart, to occupy a position near the extreme left, but, finding that it was so far away, returned.
During my absence, the enemy again attempted to force the position, after subjecting us to a fearful storm of iron missile for thirty minutes. Colonel [Matthew W.] Ransom, commanding during my absence, repulsed him signally, and put an end to any further attempt, by infantry, to dislodge us. Immediately after this, fire from two large batteries was opened upon us and continued with occasional intermissions until nightfall.”
Note: It is amazing to me that at this moment in time, I had not only my Great Great Uncle Marshall Strickland, part of General Ransom’s Brigade in the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops on this field of battle, but also have documented that my Great Great Grandfather George Right Smith, a member of the 18th Gerogia Regiment of Volunteer Infantry and part of Hood’s Texas brigade was fighting alongside him.
Due to valiant efforts of all the Confederate troops fighting there, the left flank held and General McClellan redirected his efforts against the Confederate right. The troops of the Army of Northern Virginia were severly tested, tired and badly mangled by the overwhelming Union troops, but held the line and repelled the best the federals could throw at them. Through the next day the Southern and Northern troops rested, keeping a close watch on one another and waiting to see who would blink. On the night of 18 September 1862, General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia retired back across the Potomac River. The Maryland Campaign came to an end, with the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops losing 20 men killed, 44 wounded, and 2 missing.
|General George B. McClellan
The Army of the Potomac, not having taken advantage of their own strengths and pursuing the Army of Northern Virginia, saw the relief of Geneal McClellan by General Ambrose Burnside. General Lee had his troops remain in the Shenandoah Valley until receiving word that the Union army was on the move, crossing the Blue Ridge on the 26th of October 1862.
On the 28th of October 1862 General Longstreet's corps, including troops of General Walker's division, was ordered east of the mountains and on to Culpepper Court House, Va; General Jackson's corps took up a position near Winchester, Va. General Lee had his scouts out to gather information on the Union troops movements and once he was certain they were moving towards the Rappahannock River across from Fredericksburg, Va, General Lee ordered General Longstreet's corps to take a position on Marye’s Heights above Fredericksburg, Va. and had General Jackson place his troops into line protecting the Confederate’s right flank. General Ransom, who recently was given overall command of Walker’s Division, was given orders to take up position between Marye Heights and Willis’s Hill, extending the line already held by General T. R. R. Cobb's brigade. The Union troops advanced across the Rappahannock River on the 11th December 1862 and occupied Fredericksburg, then prepared to attack the Confederate defenses above the town.
General Ransom wrote the following description of his and his troops part in this battle: |
”About 11.30 a.m. on the 13th, large numbers of skirmishers were thrown out from the town by the enemy, and it soon became evident that an effort would be made to take our batteries which I was supporting. [John R] Cooke's brigade was ordered to occupy the crest of Marye's and Willis' Hills, which was done in fine style. By this time the enemy backed his skirmishers with a compact line and advanced toward the hills, but the Washington Artillery and a well directed fire from Cobb's and Cooke's brigades drove them quickly back to their shelter in the town. But a few minutes elapsed before another line was formed by the enemy, he all the while keeping up a brisk fire with sharpshooters. This line advanced with the utmost determination, and some few of them got within 50 yards of our line, but the whole were forced to retire in wild confusion before the telling fire of our small-arms at such short range.
During this attack two of Cooke's regiments, being badly exposed (for there were then no rifle-pits on the hills), were thrown into the road with Cobb's brigade. For some few minutes there was a cessation of fire, but we were not kept long in expectancy. The enemy now seemed determined to reach our position, and formed apparently a triple line. Observing this movement on his part, I brought up the three regiments of my brigade to within 100 yards of the crest of the hills, and pushed forward the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers to the crest. The enemy, almost massed, moved to the charge heroically, and met the withering fire of our artillery and small-arms with wonderful staunchness. On they came to within less than 150 paces of our line, but nothing could live before the sheet of lead that was hurled at them from this distance. They momentarily wavered, broke, and rushed headlong from the field. A few, however, more resolute than the rest, lingered under cover of some fences and houses, and annoyed us with a scattering but well-directed fire. The Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers reached the crest of the hill just in time to pour into the enemy a few volleys at most deadly range, and then took position shoulder to shoulder with Cobb's and Cooke's men in the road.
During this attack the gallant Brigadier-General Cobb was mortally wounded, and almost at the same instant Brigadier-General Cooke was wounded and taken from the field. Colonel [E. D.] Hall, Forty-sixth North Carolina Volunteers, succeeded to the command of his brigade.
Nothing daunted by the fearful punishment he had received, the enemy brought out fresh and increased numbers of troops. Fearing lest he might by mere force of numbers pass over our line, I determined to resist him with every man at my disposal, and started in person to place the remaining two regiments of my brigade. Just at this instant Brigadier-General [Joseph B.] Kershaw dashed on horseback at the head of one of his regiments up the new road, leading from the Telegraph road and near the mill, and led it into the fight immediately at Marye's house. A second regiment from his brigade followed and took position in rear of and near the graveyard on Willis' Hill and remained there. I now advanced my regiments, and placed one a few yards in rear of Marye's house and the other on its right and a little more retired. With his increased numbers the enemy moved forward. Our men held their fire till it would be fatally effective. Meantime our artillery was spreading fearful havoc among the enemy's ranks. Still he advanced and received the destructive fire of our line. Even more resolute than before, he seemed determined madly to press on, but his efforts could avail nothing. At length, broken, and seemingly dismayed, the whole mass turned and fled to the very center of the town.
At this time I sent my adjutant-general to the road to ascertain the condition of the troops and the amount of ammunition on hand. His report was truly gratifying, representing the men in highest spirits and an abundance of ammunition. I had ordered Cobb's brigade supplied from my wagons.
The afternoon was now nearly spent, and it appeared that the enemy would not again renew his attempts to carry our position. Again, however, an effort, more feeble than those which had preceded, was made to push his troops over the bodies of the now numerous slain. The sun was down, and darkness was fast hiding the enemy from view, and it was reasonable to suppose there would be no further movements, at least toward the point we held; but the frequent and determined assaults he had made would not permit me to despise either his courage or his hardihood; and thinking that as a last alternative he might resort to the bayonet, under cover of darkness, I massed my little command, so as to meet such an attack with all the power we were capable of exerting. Instead, however, of a charge with the bayonet, just after dark he opened a tremendous fire of small arms and at short range upon my whole line. This last desperate and murderous attack met the same fate which had befallen those which preceded, and his hosts were sent, actually howling, back to their beaten comrades in the town.
A short time before the last attack, Brigadier General [James L.] Kemper had reported to me with his brigade. With two of his regiments I relieved the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, which had been in the ditch two days, and placed the others in close supporting distance of the crest of the hill. During the whole time the enemy's artillery had not ceased to play upon us, but our batteries took no notice of it, reserving their fire and using it against his infantry as it would form and advance with extraordinary effect. Thus ended the fighting in front of Fredericksburg.”
Note: Again, my ancestors were together on this field of battle: Pvt Marshall Strickland as part fo the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops…. in his fighting position at the bases of Marye’s Height and Willis’s Hill, just to the left of the famous sunken road and stone wall, where my Great Great Grandfather George Right Smith, still a Private himself, with the 18th Georgia, was at the right end of the “wall”. Both doing their very best to repulse the onslaught of the entire Army of the Potomac…. in their failed attempt to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia.
During the battle of Fredericksburg the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops lost 4 men killed and 24 wounded.
During the winter following the Battle of Fredericksburg, General Ransom's was ordered to take his brigade back into North Carolina, to guard the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. They arrived on the 3rd of January, 1863. Soon after, the 36th Regiment N.C. Troops were also assigned to the brigade. The brigade was now made up of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops, 25th Regiment N.C. Troops, 35th Regiment N.C. Troops, and 49th Regiment N.C. Troops.
The regiment left Fredericksburg, Va the 3 of Jan 1863. Arrived in Petersburg, Va. the 7th of January 1863. On the move again on the 16th of January when they were loaded on railroad cars and arrived in Goldsboro, N.C. the 17th of January 1863. This time they were on the march and on the 19th of January 1863, headed to Kenansville, N.C; where they arrived on the 21st of January 1863. Then it was on to Magnolia on the 23rd of February 1863 and once again loaded aboard the train and moved to Wilmington, N.C. that very day. From Wilmington, N.C. they were marched to Island Creek, then to North East Station, then Goldsboro, then back to Magnolia, finally ending up at Kinston, N.C. on the 3rd of April 1863. Several toimes for the next 7 weeks the regiment was moved from one place to another, but remained in or around the Kinston area until the 30th of may 1863.
While most of the Army of Northern Virginia was preparing for an upcoming invasion of the north, General Ransom’s brigade remained around the Petersburg, Ivor Station, Blackwater Bridge areas until the 14th of june 1863 when the brigade marched to Drewry's Bluff on the James River near Richmond. Again, they were moved back to Petersburg where they remained until the 21st of June 1863 and then back to Drewry's Bluff. On the 25th of June 1863, while camped outside Richmond, Brigadier General Robert Ransom was promoted to Major General. He was replaced by Colonel Matthew W. Ransom who had recently been commanding the 35th Regiment N.C. Troops. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and took command of the brigade.
In early July 1863, while General Lee was fighting in Gettysburg, Ransom’s brigade was sent to Bottoms Bridge which crossed the Chickahominy River. Here the brigade was involved in skirmishes with the enemy on the 4th of July 1863. On the 8th of July 1863 the brigade was again in Richmond and then moved back to Petersburg, Va.|
The ending days of July found the brigade in Weldon, protecting the railroad bridge from raiding Union cavalry. The brigade was then moved to Garysburg, N.C; they remained here or near Weldon until the 28th of October 1863, when they were ordered to the town of Tarboro, N.C. On the 1st of November 1863, the regiment was dispersed by sending Companies B, F, H, and I to Greenville, N.C. and the remainder of the regiment moved to Hamilton, N.C. and went on picket at Rawls' Mill, in Martin County, N.C. On the 22nd of November 1863, the regiment was ordered to Williamston, N.C. and was posted on the picket line along the Roanoke River. In late December the regiment returned to Weldon, N.C.
||Major General George Pickett
On January 2, 1864, General Robert E. Lee, aware of the critical state of affairs in North Carolina, wrote President Jefferson Davis that if an attempt could be made to capture the enemy’s forces at New Bern, N. C; it should be done. A large amount of provisions and other supplies were said to be at New Bern, which were much wanted for his army. Davis willingly approved of Lee’s plan. Major General George E. Pickett was selected to command the operation. |
Ransom's brigade moved from Weldon to Kinston on January 28-29 and joined General Pickett's substantial force. General Pickett had derived a plan which included dividing his troops into three columns, which beagn its move against the Union troops at New Bern on the 30th of January 1864. Brigadier General Ransom's brigade moved as part of General Seth M. Barton's column, which was on the south side of the Trent River. Another column moved on the north side of the Neuse River and still a third column moved in the center between the Neuse and Trent rivers.
General Pickett had ordered a simultaneous assault by all three columns to commence on the 1st of February 1864. General Pickett was unaware that General Barton, once reaching his assigned position had found the Union defenses were too strong and was unable to commence his part of the attack. Learning of this failure, General Pickett was unable to force the issue with the other two wings of his force and decided to abandon the entire New Bern operation.
The brigade marched back to Kinston, and on the 6th of February 1864 the brigade returned to Weldon, N.C. again to protect the railroad there. In the later part of February 1864, Ransom's brigade, supported by a battalion of cavalry, drove a Federal force down the Dismal Swamp Canal to within twelve miles of Norfolk. On the night of the 4th of March 1864, General Ransom had his brigade again on the march towards Suffolk, Va. After driving the Federal defenders from Suffolk on the 9th of March 1864, the brigade held the town for the next two days. Once again ordered to Weldon, N.C., they arrived on the 12th of march 1864.
The brigade remained in or around the Weldon area until the 14th of April 1864, when they were prdered to support General Robert F. Hoke's attack on the town of Plymouth, N.C., along the Roanoake River. As part of a combined operation with the ram CSS Albemarle, the forces under Confederate Maj. Gen. R.F. Hoke, attacked the Federal garrison. The CSS Albemarle sank the USS Smithfield, damaging the USS Miami, and driving off the other Union ships supporting the Plymouth garrison.
CSS Albemarle(Norfolk Navy Yard ca. 1865)
Ransom's brigade was involved in heavy fighting on the 18th of April 1864 but failed to penetrate the Union defenses. General Hoke's brigade was successful in capturing Fort Wessells. General Ransom's brigade then began a successful push against the Union defenses located at the south end of Plymouth, N.C. Fort Williams was the last Federal stronghold, but was compelled to surrender after an artillery bombardment, around 10:00 A.M. on the 20th of April 1864. |
Along with General Hoke’s forces, the brigade then moved against Washington, N.C., but after hearing that the Union forces were evacuating, made no effort to press the attack. As the Union troops evacuated on the 30th of April 1864, it is believed they set the torch to the town and by the time the Confederate forces moved in, nearly half the town was burned.
Again the brigade, still in support of General Hoke’s campaign, moved against New Bern, N.C. and, after pushing back the Union pickets, moved down the south bank of the Trent River and prepared to assault the city. However, once again fate spared the Union garrison and General Hoke was ordered to return all of his combined force to Petersburg, Va. Union General Benjamin F. Butler was moving against Richmond and this necessitated a call to North Carolina for reinforcements. On the 10th of May 1864, Generals Hoke and Ransom’s troops arrived in Petersburg, Va.
Note: During the heated fighting around Drewry’s Bluff in mid May 1864, my Great Great Uncle Marshall Strickland was slightly wounded. However, he remained with his company and continued the fight.
|General Robert F. Hoke
General Hoke was now in command of a Division of which General Ransom's brigade was now a part. Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, commanding the Confederate forces at Petersburg, ordered General Hoke to place his division at Half Way House, just north of the city. The 24th Regiment N.C. Troops was ordered to take up a defensive position at Drewry's Bluff. On the 12th of May 1864 and through the 20th of May 1864, the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops fought an action which "bottled up" Union General Butler's force at Bermuda Hundred. On the 31st of May 1864, General Hoke’s division was ordered to move north of Richmond, Va. to join his forces with that of the Army of Northern Virginia. However, General Ransom's brigade remained behind at Bermuda Hundred, and soon became a part of General Bushrod A. Johnson's newly formed division on the 2nd of June 1864.
Brigadier General Ransom's brigade moved on to Bottoms Bridge, just below Richmond, on the 4th of June 1864 and then again on the 9th of June the brigade was at Chaffin's Farm, also known as New Market Heights. In early June 1864, fighting against overwhelming odds, General Lee had fought the Army of the Potomac to a near stand still. However, general grant had swung his large army and once again moved towards Petersburg, Va.|
|General P.G.T. Beauregard
On the 15th of June 1864, General Ransom's brigade joined the forces under General Beauregard to defend the city, marching all night from Drewry's Bluff. They were positioned in the earth works east of the city. Fighting on that first night was furious and they fought to drive the enemy from captured works with success but then fell back to defensive lines. The following morning they were again in the thick of the fighting and helped to repulse Federal assaults. Later in the day of 16 June 1864, other Confederate units fresh from the battles around Richmond and the Overland Campaign, arrived at Petersburg and that evening the men of General Ransom's brigade were relieved and moved away from the defensive positions to the relative safety of the rear, for a well deserved rest.
The 22nd of June 1864, found General Ransom’s brigade in camp on the just outside of Petersburg. Until they received orders take up position on the extreme right of the Confederate defensive line south of Petersburg. General A. P. Hill, headquartered near the Jones' House, placed Geeneral Ransom's brigade in reserve, and they did not take part in the fighting on the Jerusalem Plank Road. On the 24th of June 1864 the brigade moved into the trenches south of the Petersburg & Norfolk Railroad.
On the 30th of July 1864, Lt. Colonel Pleasant, commanding the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, had his soldiers tunnel under the Confederate trenches around Petersburg, and had them place 320 kegs of gunpowder, totaling 8,000 pounds of explosives. At 4:44 A.M., the charges were exploded in a massive shower of earth, men, and guns. The crater is still visible today. It measured 170 feet long, 60 to 80 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. Between 250 and 350 Confederate soldiers were instantly killed in the blast. |
Petersburg Crater(Seated Union Soldier near Tunnel entrance)
This large explosion happened just to the right of Ransom's brigade. While Union troops poured into the resulting crater, the 24th Regiment N. C. Troops, along with the 49th Regiment N.C. Troops moved to their right and sealed off the wrecked defensive line. Soldiers of the 25th Regiment N.C. Troops were sent to reinforce the second Confederate line of defense. More Confederate reinforcements under Maj. Gen. William Mahone, gathered together as they could for a counterattack. In about an hour's time, they had formed up around the crater and began firing rifles and artillery down into it, in what General Mahone would later describe as a "turkey shoot". |
Even though it was obvious the Federals had blundered, they continued to send in men. Combined troops from all the Confederate units close to the crater continued their rifle and artillery shots into them and nearly slaughtered the Union IX Corps as it attempted to escape from the crater. Some Union troops eventually advanced and flanked to the right beyond the Crater and on to the earthworks, driving the Confederates back for several hours in hand-to-hand combat. General Mahone's led a sweep out of a sunken gully area about 200 yards from the right side of the Union advance and reclaimed the earthworks and drove the Union force back towards the east. This precented the Federal attackers from breaking through, and, after sustaining 4,000 casualties, the enemy was repulsed. During this battle, general Ransom’s brigade suffered 14 men killed, 60 wounded, and 8 missing.
After being very active in the “Battle of the Crater”, General Ransom's brigade posted in the trenches to the left of the crater. Here they remained until the 20th of August 1864, when they were ordered to join forces with that of General Henry Heth, on the exteme right of the Confederate defenses. Once with General Heth, they were part of an effort to drive the Union troops away from the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. On the 20th of August 1864, the brigade took was involved in a very successful attack at Globe Tavern, but once again was returned to the trenches east of Petersburg on the City Point Railroad on the 22nd of August 1864.
The men of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops and their fellow soldiers in the regiment, burrowed into the ground or heaped soil into impromptu structures know as “bombproofs”. Most of the men sat in the dirt and mud, doing what was necessary to survive from day to day. Most did not dare stick their heads above the rims of the trenches that had become their home, for fear of being shot by Union sharpshooters.
The brigade remained in the trenches until March 1865 and was often under artillery bombardments and shot at by the Federal sharpshooters.
On the 15th of March 1865, the regiment was in defensive positions at “Hatcher’s Run”, but were ordered back to Petersburg on the 24th of March 1865 and formed in line to take part in Confederate General Gordon’s planned attack on the Union Fort Stedman.
Fort Stedman(Photo taken in May 1865)
General Gordon assembled his troops under the cover of night and quietly captured the Union picket-line. This reduced the distance the Confederates would have to charge over, to less than 50 yards. However, reinforcements for General Gordon had to come from north side of the James River and due to a railroad accident were delayed. The charge was not made until after daylight, but was somewhat successful by passing through the enemy lines between Fort Stedman and and Union Battery 10. They then turning to their right and left, captured Fort Stedman and the battery, with all the arms and Union troops in them. They also carried Union batteries 11 and 12 and then turned toward City point.|
It was not long before the Union commanders were able to organize a counter attack and many of the Confederates found themselves cut off or forced to fall back over open ground. General Ransom's brigade suffered many many casualties. Two of the companies listed under the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops, lost over half their number taken by the Union troops as prisoners of war.
On the 25th of March 1865, my Great Great Uncle Marshall Strickland was taken prisoner at Fort Stedman, and was confined at Point Lookout, Md. on 26 March 1865. He was paroled after taking the Oath of Allegiance on 20 June 1865
General Ransom moved the brigade back to “Hatcher's Run” on the 25th of March 1865. On the 26th of March 1865, Union cavalry under General Phil Sheridan attempted to crosse the James River and move on Petersburg, threatening the Confederate right flank and the defenses around both Richmond and Petersburg.
General Lee sent General Pickett with a force, including General Ransom’s brigade to face the union onslaught at Dinwiddie Court House. On the 32st of march 1865, Major General Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry, coupled with General Pickett’s infantry forces met the Union cavalry north and northwest of Dinwiddie Court House and drove it back, stalling the General Sheridan’s approach. However, Federal infantry was approaching from the east and General Pickett withdrew his infantry to the junction of Five Forks, before day break. Pickett wanted to withdraw to a position behind Hatcher’s Run, but received a dispatch from General Lee to stop and hold the line at Five Forks. "Five Forks" referred to the intersection of the White Oak Road, Scott's Road, Ford's Road, and the Dinwiddie Court House Road.
The dispatch read “Hold Five Forks at all hazards. Protect road to Ford's Depot and prevent Union forces from striking the Southside Railroad. Regret exceedingly your forces' withdrawal, and your inability to hold the advantage you had gained.”
On the 1st of April 1865, General Sheridan’s cavalry and infantry forces moved against General Pickett’s defensive works at Five Forks. The Federals were successful and separated the lines between General Pickett's force and those of the Confederates at Hatcher's Run. Overpowering General Pickett's men and driving them from the battlefield with heavy casualties and the loss of many prisoners. It was a decisive Union victory, in which nearly a third of General Pickett's 9,200 men were casualties. The Union victory enabled the Federal as opportunity to advance to the rear of the Petersburg defenses. General Lee, realizing the Confederate forces were unable to continue holding the defenses around Petersburg and Richmond ordered a general evacuation on the 2nd of April 1865.
The Army of Northern Virginia began to pull out of it’s defensive positions that very evening. By the 5th of April 1865, they made their way to Ameilia Court House, but had been under constant harassment from Union cavalry. Here they were to find badly needed stored supplies, which had been ordered to be transferred there. However, the supplies did not make it and the army had to continue its withdrawl without replenishment.
On the 6th of April 1865, a rear guard action was fought at Saylor's Creek. Here, the Union forces were able to cut off, decimate and capture nearly a third of the Army of Norrthern Virginia. By the end of the affair at Saylor’s Creek, general Lee had lost 7,700 of his nearly 17,000 remaining men, including six generals captured.
The Confederate Corps under the command of General John B. Gordon, of which General Ransom's brigade was now a part, was badly chewed up and barely able to escape total destruction.
The 7th of April 1865, found the Army of Northern Virginia near Farmsville, Va; where they were to be resupplied. However, Union cavalry had remained in contact with the retreating Confederates and interrupted that resupply. At Cumberland Church north of Farmville Union troops struck General Lee’s decimated forces once again. The desperate fighting resulted in 570 Union casualties and the Confederate army remained unbroken. On the night of 7 April 1865, Union General Grant sent his foe his first note which suggested that general Lee surrender. General Lee refused, and continued his retreat west.
The next day, the 9th of April 1865, the remaining forces of the Army of Northern Virginia were cut off at Appomattox Courthouse. Confederate probes tested the Union lines and found them to be too strong. That afternoon, "Palm Sunday", Lee met Grant in the front parlor of Wilmer McLean's home to discuss peace terms.
The actual surrender of the Confederate Army occurred 12 Apr., an overcast Wednesday. As Southern troops marched past silent lines of Federals, a Union general noted "an awed stillness, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead."
Fifty five members of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops were present to receive their paroles.