35th Regiment, North Carolina Troops, October 1862

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The 35th Regiment, North Carolina Troops in October 1862

The 35th Regiment, North Carolina Troops in October 1862

David P. Hunter and Christopher A. Graham

The North State Rifles

The 35th NC organized at Camp Mangum in Raleigh on November 8, 1861. The companies represented every region of the state and “…there were few officers or men in the regiment of distinguished political position.  The rank and file were chiefly farmers and small merchants, comparatively few were owners of slaves.”

Company

Home County

Nickname

A

Onslow

“Onslow Rough and Readys”

B

McDowell

“Marion Men”

C

Moore

“Moore County Scotch Riflemen”

D

Chatham

“Haw River Boys”

E

Person

“Person Boys”

F

Union

“Redwine Beauregards”

G

Henderson

“Henderson Rifles”

H

Mecklenburg

“Mecklenburg Farmers”

I

Wayne

“Wayne County Volunteers”

K

Burke, Catawba

“Burke and Catawba Sampsons”

In January 1862, the regiment joined the State forces under Lawrence O’B. Branch resisting Burnside’s advance into eastern North Carolina.  The 35th NC received its baptism of fire at the Battle of New Bern on March 14.  The regiment occupied a position near the center of the Confederate line, with a battalion of local militia on their right flank. The Federals attacked the militia, which promptly broke ranks and fled.  This disaster permitted the Federals to flank the 35th and forced the regiment into a disorderly retreat.  The Confederates could not hold the Federals back and lost New Bern.  Branch’s force then withdrew west to Kinston.

At Kinston on April 21, the regiment reorganized “for the war”.  The soldiers voted out the officers found lacking in leadership at New Bern and selected new officers who had demonstrated talent.  The men also selected a new regimental commander, Matt W. Ransom. The regiment was assigned to Robert Ransom’s brigade while at Kinston. On June 19, the brigade, composed of the 24th, 25th, 26th, 35th and 49th NCT, moved to Virginia where it joined Huger’s division outside Richmond.   Between June 25 and June 28, the 35th NC “was involved in some sharp minor engagements with General Philip Kearny’s division” near King’s School House.  It saw no further combat until Malvern Hill on July 1, where it attacked with the brigade and suffered heavy losses.  Despite the repulse, the brigade commander stated that the 35th acted with “admirable gallantry” during this attack. 

The Maryland Campaign and Aftermath

While Lee’s army marched west to defeat Banks at Cedar Mountain and Pope at Second Manassas, Ransom’s Brigade remained in the Richmond-Petersburg defenses, digging trenches and defending Drewry’s Bluff against the approach of Federal gunboats up the James River.

On August 26, the brigade moved by rail to rejoin the main body of Lee’s army.  The brigade, less the 26th NCT, was now assigned to a new division commanded by Brig Gen. John G. Walker.  The division rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia near Leesburg on September 3 and crossed the Potomac the following day.  After an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the C&O canal aqueduct near Monocacy Junction, Walker’s Division moved to Loudon Heights on September 14, to intercept Federals trying to escape Jackson’s envelopment of Harper’s Ferry.  The division remained on the right bank of the Potomac during the siege and the surrender of the Federal garrison, then marched on towards Sharpsburg without obtaining any of the supplies captured with the town. Walker’s Division arrived at Sharpsburg on September 16, and Lee placed it on the extreme right flank of the army.

The 35th NC awoke at 3:00 a.m. on September 17 and took its position with the remainder of the brigade.  The Federals launched strong attacks on Stonewall Jackson’s forces near the Dunker Church and the West Woods, which Jackson’s men were hard-pressed to halt.  As the situation worsened in the West Woods, Lee directed Walker’s Division at 9:00 a.m. to reinforce Jackson’s beleaguered command.  Ransom’s Brigade led this move arriving there an hour later.  The brigade immediately attacked into the right flank of the Federal division and routed them.  Ransom’s Brigade remained in position for the rest of the day and repelled “three determined infantry attacks”.  Along with the brigade, the 35th NC remained under “a most persistent and terrific artillery fire” during this period.  (While in this position, Private William Hood of Company H, climbed a tree under fire to act as an observer for Stonewall Jackson). 

Ransom’s Brigade recrossed the Potomac late on September 18, marching through Martinsburg to a bivouac “north of Winchester.”  It remained in this camp until October 23 and occasionally sent details to destroy portions of the Winchester and Potomac Railroad. 

The 35th NC departed this bivouac on October 23 as the army consolidated east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Lieutenant William H.S. Burgwyn, of Company H, detailed the movements and events in his diary during the last week of October:

DATE

DESTINATION

DISTANCE MARCHED

WEATHER

NOTES

23 OCT

Millwood Town

15 miles

“windy…also fair”

One halt during march

24 OCT

Upperville Town

10 miles

“fair”

Forded Shenandoah River; then passed Ashby’s Gap.

25 OCT

Remained at Upperville

“fair all day”

26 OCT

Remained at Upperville

“cold rain all day”

27 OCT

Remained at Upperville

“fair and windy”

28 OCT

Remained at Upperville, alerted for movement

“fair”

Regt Inspection, 1200

29 OCT

Paris, “encamped half mile of the town”

Not stated

“rain”

On picket line 2.5 miles from Upperville

30 OCT

Remained near Paris, “expected…a brush with the enemy at Upperville”

“fair and tolerably warm”

“inspected and mustered at 7:00 a.m.”

31 OCT

Towards Culpeper Court House

12 miles

“fair and warm” 

“detailed as guard for the wagons

Credit: northstaterifles.com

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