The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of the Seventy-Second Regiment of the North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States, 1861-'65

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Title: History of the Seventy-Second Regiment of the North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States, 1861-'65

Author: John Wetmore Hinsdale

Release date: July 15, 2020 [eBook #62649]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by John Campbell and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
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Some minor changes to the text are noted at the end of the book.

(author’s signature)
Yours Truly
Jno. W. Hinsdale.









Col. John W. Hinsdale

of Raleigh, N. C.


[Pg 3]



It affords the writer pleasure to respond to the invitation of Judge Walter Clark, himself a distinguished officer of the boy-soldiers, to make a lasting memorial of the courage and heroism of the brave and patriotic lads who composed the Third Regiment of Junior Reserves, known since the war as the Seventy-second Regiment of North Carolina Troops. It is to be regretted that the task has not been performed at an earlier day, before the stirring scenes in which these youths took so conspicuous a part have faded into the dim outline of a shadowy dream. Some inaccuracies must now necessarily creep into this sketch. The writer was Assistant Adjutant-General of Lieutenant-General Theophilus H. Holmes, who commanded the Reserves of North Carolina, and he has in his possession many valuable records pertaining to that office, access to which has been of great assistance in the preparation of this regimental history.

It is deemed not inappropriate here to narrate some things of a general nature concerning the Reserves.

The year 1863 closed with depression and gloom throughout our young Confederacy. Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and the Arkansas and Mississippi Valleys had been lost. Vicksburg, with its ill-fated commander, had surrendered. Gettysburg, in spite of the heroic efforts of Carolina’s best and bravest, had been turned by Longstreet’s default into a Union victory. All of our ports had been blockaded. Sherman with his army of bummers, was preparing for his infamous march through Georgia and the Carolinas, in which he emulated the atrocities of the Duke of Alva, proclaiming as his excuse that “War is hell,” and violating, with fire and sword, every principle of civilized warfare. Grant had been placed in command of all the Union armies and was preparing to take personal charge of a campaign of attrition against the Army of Northern Virginia, willing to swap five[4] for one in battle, if need be, in order to exhaust his straitened adversary—a process by which with his unlimited resources of men, he knew he was bound to win in the end.

It was in such dire distress that the Confederate Congress 17 February, 1864, aroused to a full sense of the magnitude of the struggle, and recognizing the necessity for putting forth our whole strength in the contest for Southern independence, passed an act for the enrollment of the Junior and Senior Reserves—the former, lads between 17 and 18 years—the latter, old men, between 45 and 50 years—thus, in the language of President Davis, “robbing the cradle and the grave.”

Lieutenant-General T. H. Holmes was entrusted by President Davis with the organization of the reserve forces in North Carolina. General Holmes was the son of Governor Gabriel Holmes. He graduated at West Point in 1829, and was assigned to duty with the Seventh Regiment of Infantry. With this regiment he served with distinction in the Seminole War and also in the Mexican War, in which he was brevetted Major for conspicuous gallantry at Monterey. With his keen sense of honor, pure Christian character, devotion to duty and utter forgetfulness of self, he was fit to be a companion of the knights who sat at King Arthur’s round table. A true son of the Old North State, he had promptly responded to her call, and resigning a Major’s commission in the United States Army, had been appointed by the President first Colonel, then Brigadier, then Major-General and finally Lieutenant-General. As courageous as a lion, he was as gentle as a woman. At the battle of Helena, Arkansas, amid a storm of shot and shell, with a coolness which the writer has never seen surpassed, he rode into Graveyard Hill, upon which was concentrated the fire at short range of fifty cannon and five thousand muskets. It was a daring and fearless ride. Like General Pettigrew, he was one of the few men who declined promotion. Well does the writer remember the receipt by General Holmes, when commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department in Little Rock, of a Lieutenant-General’s commission, all unsought and unexpected. He at once dictated a letter to the President, declining with grateful thanks the high honor and requesting him to bestow it upon a[5] worthier man. It was only upon Mr. Davis’ insistence that the promotion was afterwards accepted.

Mr. Davis in his “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,” says of him:

“He has passed beyond the reach of censure or of praise, after serving his country on many fields wisely and well. I, who knew him from our school boy days, who served with him in garrison and in the field, and with pride watched him as he gallantly led a storming party up the rocky height at Monterey, and was intimately acquainted with his whole career during our sectional war, bear willing testimony to the purity, self abnegation, generosity, fidelity and gallantry which characterized him as a man and as a soldier.”

A truer, braver, purer heart never beat under the Confederate gray.

General Holmes on 28 April, 1864, established his headquarters at Raleigh, N. C., and undertook the task of organizing the Reserves of the State. His staff consisted of:—

Lieutenant-Colonel Frank S. Armistead, a graduate of West Point, as Inspector-General. He was later elected Colonel of the First Regiment of Junior Reserves and was afterwards assigned to the command of the Junior Reserves brigade consisting of the first three regiments. He was recommended by General Holmes for the appointment of Brigadier-General in terms of high praise.

Captain John W. Hinsdale, as Assistant Adjutant-General, who had served in this capacity on the staffs of Generals J. Johnston Pettigrew at Seven Pines, and William D. Pender, through the Seven Days’ Fight around Richmond, and also with General Holmes in the Trans-Mississippi.

First Lieutenants Charles W. Broadfoot and Theophilus H. Holmes, Jr., Aides-de-Camp. The latter, a mere boy, soon afterwards gave his young life to his country while gallantly leading a cavalry charge near Ashland, Virginia. The former, a member of the Bethel Regiment, rose from private to[6] Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Junior Reserves, and is now the first lawyer of the upper Cape Fear.

First Lieutenant Graham Daves, appointed Aide-de-Camp after the death of young Holmes and the promotion of Lieutenant Broadfoot. He was a brave and efficient officer of scholarly attainments and high integrity.

A. W. Lawrence, of Raleigh, Ordnance Officer.

Major Charles S. Stringfellow, now one of Richmond’s most distinguished lawyers, succeeded Captain Hinsdale as Assistant Adjutant-General upon the latter’s promotion to the Colonelcy of the Third regiment of Junior Reserves.

A roster in the writer’s possession shows that the Medical Department of the Reserves was organized as follows:

Dr. Thomas Hill, now an eminent physician of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Medical Director.

Dr. G. G. Smith, Assistant Surgeon of the First Regiment of Junior Reserves.

Dr. A. W. Eskridge, Assistant Surgeon of the Second Regiment of Junior Reserves.

Dr. E. B. Simpson, Assistant Surgeon of the Third Regiment of Junior Reserves.

First Lieutenant J. M. Strong, Assistant Surgeon of the Fourth Regiment of Senior Reserves.

Dr. W. L. Glass, Assistant Surgeon of the Fifth Regiment of Senior Reserves.

Dr. A. W. Nesbitt, Assistant Surgeon of the Sixth Regiment of Senior Reserves.

Dr. David Berry, Assistant Surgeon of the Eighth Regiment of Senior Reserves.

Dr. G. H. Cox, Assistant Surgeon of the Eighth Regiment of Senior Reserves.

Dr. James S. Robinson, Assistant Surgeon of the Second Battalion of Senior Reserves.


The Third Regiment of Junior Reserves was formed 3 January, 1865, by the consolidation of the Fourth Battalion, commanded by Major J. M. Reece; the Seventh Battalion,[7] commanded by Major W. F. French; and the Eighth Battalion, commanded by Major J. B. Ellington. It is proper, therefore, to give an account of their services as separate organizations.


The Fourth Battalion, four hundred strong, was organized at Camp Holmes, near Raleigh, N. C., on 30 May, 1864, by the election of J. M. Reece, of Greensboro, Major; John S. Pescud, of Raleigh, was appointed Adjutant. Pescud was a brave, true-hearted lad, and is now an honored citizen of Raleigh. The battalion was sent to Goldsboro 2 June. It was composed of the following companies:

Company AFrom Guilford County—John W. Pitts, Captain; J. N. Crouch, First Lieutenant; T. A. Parsons and George M. Glass, Second Lieutenants.

Upon the resignation of all the company officers, W. W. King was elected First Lieutenant and Davis S. Reid Second Lieutenant. The former was in command of the company at Fort Fisher, Kinston and Bentonville. He also acted as Regimental Adjutant for a time, when D. S. Reid commanded the company. Both of these officers were intelligent, brave and efficient.

Company BFrom Alamance and Forsyth Counties—A. L. Lancaster, Captain; A. M. Craig, First Lieutenant; William May and C. B. Pfohl, Second Lieutenants.

Company CFrom Stokes and Person Counties—R. F. Dalton, Captain; G. Mason, First Lieutenant; G. W. Yancey and J. H. Schackelford, Second Lieutenants.

Company DFrom Rockingham—A. B. Ellington, Captain; J. P. Ellington, First Lieutenant; F. M. Hamlin and William Fewell, Second Lieutenants. This company was added to the Battalion 15 June. Captain Ellington was promoted to the Majority when the regiment was formed.

Lieutenant J. P. Ellington in July, 1864, was drowned in Masonboro Sound, while in the discharge of his duty as officer of the day, visiting the pickets on the beach. His body was recovered by exploding torpedoes in the sound.


Lieutenant F. M. Hamlin was promoted to the First Lieutenancy and commanded the company until he was made Adjutant of the regiment.

The battalion soon after its organization was ordered to Goldsboro to report to Brigadier-General L. S. Baker, commanding the district of Southern Virginia and Eastern North Carolina. It was sent thence to Kinston and there did guard and picket duty. On 15 June it was ordered to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Frank S. Armistead at Weldon. He had been placed in command of the defences at that point. On 26 June the battalion was ordered to report to General W. H. C. Whiting, at Wilmington, the only remaining blockade-running port of the Confederacy. The battalion thereupon was stationed at Camp Davis near Wilmington, on Masonboro Sound, under command of Colonel George Jackson, an efficient officer, and did picket and guard duty on the sound and the beach to prevent the landing of the enemy, the escape of slaves to the blockaders and all communication with the passing vessels. It was here that young Ellington, of Company D, lost his life, crossing the Sound in a storm while on his rounds as officer of the day. He was a zealous and capable officer. The salt works, from which large supplies of salt were obtained for the army, were in the vicinity of this camp, and were guarded by the battalion.

From Camp Davis the battalion moved to Sugar Loaf, on the Cape Fear River, about fifteen miles below Wilmington, six miles above Fort Fisher and one mile from the ocean, where it drilled and did guard and picket duty. “Sugar Loaf” is a singular formation. It is a high sand hill running from the river bank half way across the peninsula, steep on the exterior, but sloping on all sides to a basin in the centre. It is a natural fortification, which the engineering skill of General Whiting, by fosse and rampart, had converted into an almost impregnable intrenched camp, containing perhaps one hundred acres.

On 9 December, 1864, the battalion went from Sugar Loaf to Belfield, Virginia, in company with the Seventh and Eighth Battalions. Its future movements will be described in connection with the other two battalions.



The Seventh Battalion, 300 strong, was organized at Camp Lamb, near Wilmington, in June, 1864, by the election of W. F. French, of Lumberton, Major, and E. F. McDaniel, of Fayetteville, was appointed Adjutant. This battalion was composed of the following companies:

Company AFrom Cumberland, Robeson and Harnett Counties—T. G. Hybart, Captain; D. S. Byrd, First Lieutenant; C. C. McLellan and C. S. Love, Jr., Second Lieutenants.

Upon the death of Captain Hybert, on 9 September, D. S. Byrd was promoted to the Captaincy.

Company BFrom New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus Counties—John D. Kerr, Captain; J. B. Williams, First Lieutenant; E. H. Moore and B. F. Gore, Second Lieutenants.

Company CFrom Richmond County—Donald McQueen, Captain; A. B. McCollum, First Lieutenant; A. C. McFadyen and S. A. Barfield, Second Lieutenants.

The battalion did guard duty at Wilmington until the middle of July. Here Captain Donald McQueen died of typhoid fever on 25 June. He was a fine soldier, an honor to his name and his cause. Lieutenant McCollum succeeded him in command of the company.

On the night of 3 July, 1864, Lieutenant Cushing, of the Federal Navy (the same who blew up the Confederate ram “Albemarle” at Plymouth), with a few detailed men, entered the Confederate headquarters at Smithville (now Southport) and carried off General Paul O. Hebert’s Adjutant-General to the Federal fleet. Thereafter the Seventh Battalion was ordered from Wilmington to Smithville for its protection. It camped in a beautiful grove of live oaks back of the town. Here it did its full share of guard and picket duty under the command of General Hebert, an old officer who had served with distinction in Mexico and had been Governor of Louisiana. It was here that Captain T. G. Hybart, of Fayetteville, was stricken with typhoid fever and died 9 September, 1864.[10] He was one of the best officers in the command, and had he lived and the war continued, would have made his mark. The battalion remained at Smithville until 9 December when, with the Fourth and Eighth Battalions, all under Colonel Jackson, it moved to Belfield, Virginia, to repel a Federal raid.


The Eighth Battalion, three hundred strong, was organized at Camp Vance, near Morganton, N. C., on 7 June, by the election of James B. Ellington (First Lieutenant of Company D, Sixty-first North Carolina Regiment), as Major. It was composed of the following companies:

Company AFrom Iredell County—W. G. Watson, Captain; George Rufus White, First Lieutenant; Amos M. Guy and Sinclair Preston Steele, Second Lieutenants.

Captain Watson resigned in January, 1865, for the purpose of joining a cavalry regiment in Lee’s army. He returned home to procure his outfit for the service, but was captured by Stoneman and sent to prison in Louisville, Ky. He is now the excellent and popular clerk of the Superior Court of Rowan County. Upon his resignation, Lieutenant White was promoted to the Captaincy.

Company BFrom Catawba—J. R. Gaither, Captain; J. M. Lawrence, First Lieutenant, (both captured at Fort Fisher); Charles Wilfong and J. M. Bandy, Second Lieutenants.

Lieutenant Wilfong resigned after the battle of Kinston, and Lieutenant Bandy thereafter until the surrender, commanded the company. He made a fine officer. After the war he was for a number of years a professor in Trinity College. He now resides in Greensboro, where as a civil engineer he ranks high in his profession. Sergeant James M. Barkley was elected Second Lieutenant and F. H. Busbee Junior Second Lieutenant. Both of them were excellent officers. Lieutenant Barkley is now an able and eminent minister of the gospel in Detroit, Mich. I am indebted to him for many data which I have incorporated into this sketch. Lieutenant[11] Busbee is now one of the first lawyers of the State—a brilliant advocate and a wise and learned counsellor.

Company CFrom Burke and Caldwell Counties—Lambert A. Bristol, Captain; Marcus G. Tuttle, First Lieutenant; George T. Dula and Horace W. Connelly, Second Lieutenants. Captain Bristol is now the worthy Clerk of the Superior Court of Burke County.

George T. Dula resigned and John W. Harper was elected Junior Second Lieutenant. He soon thereafter laid down his young life on his country’s altar. He was killed at the battle of Kinston.

The battalion remained for some days at Camp Vance and was drilled by Lieutenant Bullock, a drill master. On 24 June, it was ordered to Raleigh and at Camp Holmes was uniformed and equipped with small rifles, which were very inferior and quite dangerous—to the “man behind the gun.”

On 26 June the battalion was ordered to Wilmington. It went into camp at Camp Davis. It afterwards did picket and patrol duty on Masonboro and Wrightsville Sounds under Colonel George Jackson. On 4 August it was ordered to report to General L. S. Baker, at Goldsboro, but returned to Wilmington 16 August and was again placed under Colonel Jackson’s command at Masonboro Sound.

On 2 September, under orders from the War Department, Major Ellington, who when elected Major was disabled from active service by wounds, and who afterwards recovered, was relieved of his command and sent to his company near Petersburg, Virginia. He was soon afterwards killed at Fort Harrison, Virginia. Major Ellington was a gallant officer and much beloved by the boys. It was a mistake to have relieved him. General Holmes afterwards secured a ruling of the War Department by which the officers of the Junior Reserves after they reached the age of 18, were retained with their commands. But the privates and non-commissioned officers were still required to be sent to General Lee as fast as they became eighteen years old.

Captain William G. Watson succeeded Major Ellington in the command of the battalion. In the fall, the battalion was ordered to Sugar Loaf, on the Cape Fear river, where for[12] several months it did picket duty, drilled, etc. On 10 December it was ordered to Belfield, Va., under Colonel Jackson. Its further career will be traced in connection with the Fourth and Seventh Battalions from which it never after separated until Johnston’s surrender.


On 8 December, 1864, General Whiting was notified by General Lee that the Fifth and Second Corps of Grant’s army, with Bragg’s Division of Cavalry, were moving under General Warren upon Weldon, and that they were near Belfield and that Hill and Hampton were following them. One object of this raid was to destroy the railroad bridge at Weldon and thus cut off supplies for Lee’s army from that direction. General Whiting at once ordered Colonel George Jackson to proceed with the Fourth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Battalions of Junior Reserves and four pieces of Paris’ Artillery with three days’ cooked rations, to Weldon, and there report for temporary service to General Leventhorpe, commanding. The latter, an Englishman by birth, was the first Colonel of the Thirty-fourth and then of the Eleventh North Carolina Regiments, and had done splendid service in clearing the enemy from the Roanoke river and in defending the Wilmington & Weldon Railway.

The four battalions assembled in Wilmington from Sugar Loaf and Smithville. Through the efforts of Major French, the troops were here shod. They were placed on flat cars and thus exposed, were transported to Weldon. The weather was intensely cold. More than once the train had to be stopped, fires made in the woods and some of the boys lifted from the train and carried to the fires and thawed out. Many went to sleep in their wet clothes to find them frozen stiff upon awakening. This suffering was undergone without a murmur. The old guard of Napoleon on the retreat from Moscow, never displayed more heroism and fortitude than did the boy-soldiers—the “Young Guard of the Confederacy.”

Under the law, the reserves could not be required to cross their State lines, but without hesitation and without an exception, the brave boys at Weldon hurried on to Belfield, Virginia, there to meet the invading foe. The Federals withdrew, leaving their dead unburied, after a sharp fire and re[13]pulse from the reserves who had just reached the battlefield, and the latter joined in the pursuit across the Meherrin river at Hicks’ Ford. On 17 December, 1864, the General Assembly of North Carolina, recognizing their heroism, passed the following resolutions:

Whereas, The Legislature has heard with satisfaction of the good conduct of the officers and soldiers of the Junior Reserves and Home Guards, who volunteered to cross the State line into Virginia, in order to repel the late advance of the public enemy on Weldon; therefore,

Resolved, That the officers and soldiers of the Junior Reserves and Home Guards, so acting, deserve the commendation of their fellow citizens, and are entitled to the thanks of this Legislature.”

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be transmitted to Lieutenant-General Holmes and Major-General R. C. Gatlin, that it may be communicated to the commands which they are intended to honor.”

From Belfield the four battalions, together with the First and Second Regiments of Junior Reserves, were ordered, under Colonel Leventhorpe, to Tarboro to repel a Federal raid from Washington, N. C. The command moved to Hamilton, some miles below Tarboro. The enemy retired upon the advance of the Confederate troops. The battalions remained there a day or two and returned to Tarboro. The troops camped about a mile northeast of the town for several days. The boys were without overcoats, tents or tent flies, and lay upon the bare ground in the rain and sleet and snow. Many of them were frost bitten. A good old farmer along side of whose fence the boys camped on the first night of their stay, kindly gave them leave to start their fires by using the top rail of his fence. When he came back next morning there was not a rail to be seen. When he protested with some warmth, saying that they had taken more than he had given them leave to take, one wag said: “No, sir; as long as there was a top rail, we had your permission to burn it. We never took any but the top rail.” The old man laughed good naturedly and left.

The severity of the experience of the Reserves on the Belfield expedition may be realized when it is stated that although[14] they had been in camp over six months and had been somewhat enured to a soldier’s life, over one-half of them were sent to the hospital when the battalions returned to Wilmington.

The command was marched from Tarboro to Goldsboro and by train was conveyed to Wilmington, and thence back to Sugar Loaf. There they remained under the command of General W. W. Kirkland until the battle of Fort Fisher. This officer was a splendid fighter and a superb soldier. He was Colonel of the Twenty-first North Carolina Regiment, and afterwards commanded Early’s Brigade, Pettigrew’s Division. He had taken part in many of the desperate battles of Virginia and had been twice severely wounded. He was transferred to Wilmington late in December and established his headquarters at Sugar Loaf.


The three battalions composing the Third Regiment of Junior Reserves participated brilliantly in the defence of Fort Fisher, when attacked by General B. F. Butler and Admiral Porter on 23, 24 and 25 December, 1864.

Fort Fisher was located on the point of a narrow peninsula which extends southwardly from New Inlet between the ocean and Cape Fear river, near its mouth. It defended Wilmington, the last remaining port through which army supplies, ammunition, clothing and food for Lee’s Army were brought in by blockade runners. Under its guns, the “Ad-Vance” brought in supplies of inestimable value to the North Carolina troops. Its defence was of supreme importance to the Confederacy. It was an earthen fort of an irregular form, with bastions at the angles. The land face, 250 yards long, was continuous from ocean to river. The sea face was 1,300 yards long. Both faces were mounted with heavy guns, mortars and light artillery, presenting a formidable front to the enemy. It was the strongest earthwork built by the Confederacy, and really, as Admiral Porter said, “stronger than the Malakoff tower which defied so long the combined power of France and England.” Two miles above the fort were the Half Moon and the Flag Pond Batteries,[15] and a mile and a quarter below, and at the extreme end of the peninsula, Battery Buchanan with four heavy guns.

When Butler’s expedition of 8,000 men set forth against it, the fort was garrisoned by only 667 men—a totally inadequate force for its defence. General Butler, with General Weitzel and his troops, appeared in transports off New Inlet, near Fort Fisher, on 15 December. The navy under Admiral Porter, did not appear until the 18th. He had collected the largest and most formidable naval expedition of modern times. The weather being stormy, prevented any hostile operations until the 23d. On the night of the 23d, Admiral Porter anchored a powder ship, containing 215 tons of powder, about 800 yards from the northeast salient of the fort. It was anticipated that the explosion of this mass of powder would greatly impair, if not destroy, the works, and the least effect expected was that the garrison would be so paralyzed and stunned as to offer but small resistance to subsequent attacks. The explosion did no more harm than a Chinese fire-cracker. Colonel William Lamb, then in command of the fort, wired General Whiting at Wilmington that one of the enemy’s fleet had blown up, so little impression did it make on him.

General Benjamin F. Butler, of New Orleans fame, in his autobiography, gives an amusing account of an interview with Major Reece, who commanded the Fourth Battalion of Junior Reserves and was captured at Fort Fisher. Butler says: “I inquired of him where he was the night before last (the night of the explosion of the powder boat). He said he was lying two miles and a half up the beach. I asked him if he had heard the powder vessel explode. He said he did not know what it was, but supposed a boat had blown up, that it jumped him and his men who were lying upon the ground, like pop-corn in a popper, to use his expression.” It is hard to tell which most to admire, Butler’s gullibility or Reece’s “jollying” extravagance.

The next day, 24 December, was employed by Porter in bombarding the fort, dropping into it as many as 130 shells a minute. At this time the three battalions of Junior Reserves, about 800 strong, were encamped near Sugar Loaf, six miles up the Cape Fear river from the fort. On the night[16] of the 24th, the Fourth, Seventh and Eighth battalions were assembled at Sugar Loaf under Brigadier-General William W. Kirkland. Major French had been temporarily assigned to the command of a regiment of Senior Reserves, but at his request was permitted to return to his own command and follow its fortunes. General Whiting directed General Kirkland to send these battalions to Battery Buchanan, there to take boat for Bald Head and relieve Colonel J. J. Hedrick and his seasoned veterans, in order that they might reinforce Fort Fisher. They marched soon after midnight through Fort Fisher to Battery Buchanan, on the extreme end of the peninsula. In the darkness, many of the boys while passing through the fort, stumbled into the holes which were made in every direction by the shells. All the battalions arrived at Fort Buchanan before day. The boat which was to carry them to Bald Head could not make a landing on account of the tide, whereupon Captain Bristol early in the morning reported in person the situation to Colonel Lamb, who ordered the Juniors into the Fort. This was early Christmas morning.

Between Fort Buchanan and Fort Fisher is a clear, open beach, upon which a partridge could not hide himself, over which they must pass in full view of the fleet. As soon as the march began the fleet poured upon the command a terrific discharge of shot and shell. The first one killed at Fort Fisher was private Davis, of French’s Battalion of Juniors, who on this march was cut in two by a large shell. Another private was severely wounded by the same shell. Nothing but the poor practice of the fleet saved the boys from utter destruction on this perilous march. When they reached Fort Fisher a scene of desolation met their gaze. The barracks had been destroyed and the interior of the fort was honeycombed by holes in the ground large enough to bury an ox team, made by the huge shells from the fleet. French’s battalion and as many of the others as could be accommodated, were placed in the already over-crowded bomb-proofs. Those who could not obtain protection here were carried by Major Reece to the breastworks at Camp Wyatt, three miles above the fort. The gunboats soon discovered their presence there and enfiladed the trenches with a terrific fire. The boys sought[17] shelter under the banks of the river, where they spent the day listening to the music of the great guns of the fleet and watching the great shells as they passed over them into the river—a grand, but not a very engaging spectacle.

It was dark when Major Reece determined to take his command back to the fort. Late in the afternoon he heard the report of small arms in the direction of the fort. He knew that a land force was attacking the fort, and he felt that it was his duty to take his boys to the rescue. He marched them down the river towards the fort but unfortunately he failed to put out a skirmish line and fell upon a regiment of General Weitzel’s troops by whom he and a majority of his command were captured and carried to Point Lookout. The following is a list of the officers who were taken prisoners:

Major J. M. Reece, Captain J. R. Gaither, First Lieutenant J. M. Lawrence, of Company B, Eighth Battalion; First Lieutenant M. G. Tuttle, Company C, Eighth Battalion; Second Lieutenant George W. Yancey, Company C, Fourth Battalion; Second Lieutenant C. P. Pfohl, Company C, Fourth Battalion. Those officers who escaped were Captain A. L. Lancaster, Company B, Fourth Battalion; First Lieutenant G. R. White, Company A, Eighth Battalion; Second Lieutenant Amos Guy, Company A, Eighth Battalion; Third Lieutenant S. P. Steele, Company A, Eighth Battalion.

First Lieutenant F. M. Hamlin, Company D, Fourth Battalion, a brave young subaltern, led part of his company up the river and escaped capture. They found their way to Kirkland’s Brigade at Sugar Loaf and rejoined their command at the fort next day.

The fleet bombarded the fort until 12 o’clock Christmas day, when Butler landed 2,500 troops near the Half Moon Battery, about two miles north of Fisher. He immediately pushed up Curtis’ Brigade within a few hundred yards of the parapet of the fort. A skirmish line was then advanced to within seventy-five yards of the fort. Upon the approach of the enemy, the Junior Reserves sprang to the parapet of the land face which was swept by the guns of the fleet, and by a well-directed fire, delivered with a coolness which could not be excelled, they repelled the attack. One[18] little fellow from Columbus County, whose name is not remembered, being too small to shoot over the parapet, mounted a cannon and fired from there as coolly as if he were shooting squirrels, until he fell wounded. About dusk the Reserves were ordered to the palisades in front of the parapet and immediately under the guns of the fort, where they remained till morning. The guns of the fort were discharged over their heads. The rain was descending in torrents. That night the Federals re-embarked most of their men.

General Whiting in his report says: “Colonel Tansill was ordered to the command of the land front. The gallant Major Reilly, with his battalion and Junior Reserves, poured cheering, over the parapet and through the sallyport to the palisades. The enemy had occupied the redoubt (an unfinished fort) and advanced into the port garden. A fire of grape and musketry checked any further advance. The garrison continued to man the out-works and channel batteries throughout the night, exposed to a pelting storm and occasionally exchanging musket shots with the enemy. The fire had been maintained for seven hours and a half with unremitting rapidity.”

Colonel William Lamb, the hero of Fort Fisher, who, under General Whiting, commanded the troops, in his report says: “At 4:30 p. m., 25 December, a most terrific fire against the land face and palisades in front commenced, unparalleled in severity. Admiral Porter estimated it at 130 shot and shell per minute. The parapet and the guns were manned by regulars and the Junior Reserves.

“During the night the rain fell in torrents, wetting the troops and their arms, but it did not dampen their spirits nor interfere with their efficiency. * * *

“On Tuesday morning the foiled and frightened enemy left our shores. I cannot speak too highly of the coolness and gallantry of my command.”

Colonel Lamb at another time said: “Be it said to the eternal credit of these gallant boys that they, from this first baptism of fire, emerged with a reputation for bravery established for all time, and that to no troops more than these is due the honor of our splendid victory.”

1. John W. Hinsdale, Colonel. 5. H. W. Connelly, 2d Lieut., Co. C.
2. W. Foster French, Lieut-Colonel. 6. J. M. Bandy, 2d Lieut., Co. E.
3. W. W. King, 1st Lieut., Co. A. 7. D. S. Reid, 2d Lieut., Co. K.
4. Jno. W. Harper, 2d Lieut., Co. C. 8. C. W. Taylor, Orderly Sergt., Co. C.
9. J. L. McGimpsey, Private, Co. B.

The troops were complimented in general orders by General[19] Bragg for their heroism and gallantry. The heaviest loss suffered by any one command in the fort was by the Junior Reserves. Thus ended the first glorious defence of Fort Fisher.

When the news was flashed to Raleigh that Butler’s ships had appeared off Fort Fisher, Lieutenant-General Holmes promptly tendered his services to assist in repelling the threatened attack and was assigned to duty by General Bragg in the city of Wilmington, where he was put in charge of the movement of troops at that point. The writer who accompanied General Holmes as his Adjutant-General, unfortunately did not participate in the battle of Fort Fisher. He is indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel French for most of the foregoing details.

On 26 December, the reserves were moved to camp on Bald Head Island, where they remained on guard and picket duty for several days when they were ordered to Camp McLean, at Goldsboro, N. C.

On 6 December, there had been an attempted consolidation of these three battalions near Sugar Loaf, when Captain William R. Johns was elected Colonel; Captain C. N. Allen, Lieutenant-Colonel; and A. B. Johns, Major. Captain W. R. Johns, a disabled officer, was then in the enrollment service under Colonel Peter Mallett, the Commandant of Conscripts of North Carolina, and being unable to undergo the hardships and exposure of camp life, declined the election. Captain Allen, the Lieutenant-Colonel, declined for the same reason. Major Johns was never assigned and never entered upon the discharge of the duties of Major and so the battalions continued to serve under separate organizations. Major Johns afterwards formally tendered his resignation, which was accepted.


On 3 January, 1865, while the regiment was at Camp McLean, near Goldsboro, it was finally organized by the election of Captain John W. Hinsdale, Colonel; W. F. French, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain A. B. Ellington, Major. On 7 January the last two were assigned to duty. Frank M.[20] Hamlin, one of the gallant young officers who refused to surrender with Major Reece, was appointed Adjutant. But from time to time Lieutenants W. W. King, Andrew J. Burton and Frank S. Johnson, son of Senator R. W. Johnson, of Arkansas, who had shortly theretofore left the University of North Carolina and volunteered in the Third Regiment, acted as Adjutant. J. K. Huston was appointed Quartermaster Sergeant, and George B. Haigh, of Fayetteville, grandson of the Hon. George E. Badger, Commissary Sergeant. Drs. E. B. Simpson and J. S. Robinson were assigned to the regiment as Surgeon and Assistant Surgeon.

The companies composing the regiment were then lettered and designated as follows:

Company AFrom Guilford County—Captain, John W. Pitts.

Company BFrom Alamance and Forsyth Counties—Captain, A. L. Lancaster.

Company CFrom Stokes and Person Counties—Captain, R. F. Dalton.

Company DFrom New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus Counties—Captain, John D. Kerr.

Company EFrom Catawba County—Captain, J. R. Gaither.

Company FFrom Iredell and Rowan Counties—Captain, W. G. Watson.

Company GFrom Burke and Caldwell Counties—Captain, L. A. Bristol.

Company HFrom Cumberland, Robeson and Harnett Counties—Captain, D. S. Byrd.

Company IFrom Richmond County—Captain, A. B. McCollum.

Company KFrom Rockingham County—Lieutenant, F. M. Hamlin.

Colonel Hinsdale, upon receiving notice in the city of Raleigh of his election, at once signified his acceptance, but it was questioned by General Holmes whether he was eligible under the orders of the War Department, by reason of the fact that he was not a disabled officer. The matter was re[21]ferred to the authorities in Richmond and after considerable delay the department decided in Colonel Hinsdale’s favor and he was assigned to the command of the regiment on 14 February, 1865, by the following all too partial general order:

Headquarters Reserves North Carolina,   
Raleigh, N. C.
, 14 February, 1865.

General Orders No. 4.

“Major C. S. Stringfellow, Assistant Adjutant-General C. S. P. A., will relieve Captain John W. Hinsdale, Assistant-Adjutant-General of Reserves of North Carolina, and the latter officer will proceed to join the Third Regiment Reserves of North Carolina as its Colonel, he having been duly elected to that office on 3 January, 1865.

“The Lieutenant-General commanding in taking leave of Colonel Hinsdale, tenders his warm congratulations on his promotion and earnestly hopes that the intelligence, zeal and gallantry, which has characterized his services as a staff officer may be matured by experience into greater usefulness in his new and more extended sphere.

Theo. H. Holmes,    
“Lieutenant-General Commanding.”

While at Camp McLean, near Goldsboro, the regiment was ordered to Halifax to repel another Federal raid. It remained there only a day or two, the enemy having withdrawn. It returned to Goldsboro where it remained drilling and doing guard duty until the last of January. It was then ordered to Kinston and camped near the beautiful home of Colonel John C. Washington. It was here employed in constructing the breastworks and fortifications for the defence of the town and especially of the county bridge across the Neuse river. Kinston was in easy reach from New Bern and had been visited by many Federal raiding parties from time to time. Our boys were heartily welcomed by the good people of that town.

The rations which were issued to officers and men while here and at Goldsboro were very scant. They consisted of half a pint of black sorghum syrup, a pint of husky meal[22] every other day, a third of a pound of pork or Nassau bacon and a few potatoes occasionally. The old soldiers will all remember Nassau bacon, a very gross, fat, porky substance which ran the blockade at Wilmington and was distributed among Lee’s veterans as bacon. When a ration of cornfield peas was issued, the boys were in “high jinks” indeed. But never was there collected together more uncomplaining men. They recognized the fact that the Confederacy was doing for them its best.


Upon the discovery of the advance of the enemy from New Bern, whence they set out early in March, General Hoke’s Division was ordered to Kinston. On 6 March, the Junior Reserve Brigade, consisting of the First Regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles W. Broadfoot; the Second under Colonel John H. Anderson, and the Third under Colonel Hinsdale, and Millard’s Battalion under Captain C. M. Hall, all under Colonel F. S. Armistead, marched through Kinston and across, to the south side of Neuse river, which here runs in an easterly direction, past the breastworks which they had so laboriously constructed. They marched down the river road which leads out in a southeasterly direction to Southwest creek. This creek is a sluggish, unfordable stream, which runs in a northerly direction and empties into the river about six miles below Kinston. The regiment was placed in some old breastworks on the margin of a swamp, about a hundred yards from the creek. Our pickets were stationed on the creek. The next day the enemy made their appearance on the other side of the stream and established a line of skirmishers and sharpshooters. During the day our skirmishers were engaged and occasionally a minie ball would whistle over the breastworks as each individual boy of the regiment believed, “just by my ear.” On the morning of 8 March, General Hoke, whose troops were also stationed along the line of the creek, was relieved by the arrival of D. H. Hill’s troops. Hoke’s Division crossed the creek and made a detour down the lower Trent road which crossed the British road at Wise’s Fork, about three miles in our front. The lower Trent road runs in a southeasterly direction to Trenton. The British[23] road runs in a northeasterly direction towards the river. General Hoke with his usual dash surprised a Federal brigade, captured it and sent it to the rear. The reserves held the breastworks throughout the 8th. On the morning of the 9th, the reserves crossed Southwest creek on an improvised bridge constructed by them about 200 yards above the bridge on the Dover road which had been destroyed. This bridge was made by felling trees across the creek and covering them with lumber taken from Jackson’s mill in the vicinity. Line of battle was formed on the east side of the creek on swampy ground and the brigade was ordered forward under fire through fallen trees, brush, brambles, and bullets—making it difficult to preserve the alignment. They advanced as steadily as veterans, driving the enemy who were fresh troops from New Bern, well dressed, well fed, well armed and well liquored, as was evidenced by the condition of some prisoners captured. The Third Regiment suffered the loss of a number of brave officers and men, among them Lieutenant John W. Harper, a gallant young officer of Company C, from Caldwell. Here also Lieutenant Hamlin was wounded in the arm. That night General Hoke undertook a flank movement down the British road and the Neuse river road, the Junior Reserves being a part of his command. We could plainly hear the enemy at work on their fortifications. The night was rainy and so dark you could not see your hand before you. After marching through slush and rain about six miles, we countermarched and returned. On the afternoon of the 10th all of our troops fell back to the entrenchments on the British road, and later in the day we re-crossed the Neuse, burning the bridge behind us, and marched through Kinston, our brigade camping at Moseley Hall. This retrograde movement was the consequence of the arrival of Sherman’s army in North Carolina.

The operations near Kinston, sometimes called the battle of Kinston, but usually the battle of South West Creek, were upon the whole a Confederate success, and when the disparity in numbers between the contending forces is considered, were very creditable to the Confederates. General Bragg in general orders thanked the troops for their heroism and valor and complimented them upon their achievements.


The arrival of Sherman in Fayetteville and the approach of the troops from Wilmington to form a junction with Sherman at Goldsboro, made it necessary for us to withdraw to prevent being cut off and in order to form a junction with General Johnston’s Army, which was moving in the direction of Smithfield. On 15 March Colonel John H. Nethercutt, of the Sixty-sixth North Carolina, was placed in command of our brigade which was permanently assigned to Hoke’s Division.


Arriving at Smithfield 16 March, we remained two days and there witnessed one of the saddest spectacles of the war—a military execution. The regiment constituted a part of the military pageant which attended the shooting to death of G. W. Ore, a private of Company B, Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment, who had been tried and condemned for mutiny by a court-martial. The poor fellow was first marched around, to the solemn music of the Dead March, in front of the regiments which were drawn up in an open square, facing inwards, he was then made to kneel, and was tied to a stake on the open side of the hollow square. A detail of twelve men drawn up at ten paces from him performed the painful duty of carrying out the sentence of the court. At this late stage of the war, when the struggle was perfectly desperate and all hope of success had fled, the execution seemed to us to be little less than murder.

fought March 16th, 1865.

On 18 March we marched again, not to the West, but to the South. We knew that Sherman was approaching from that direction, and we surmised that there was serious work before us. General Joseph E. Johnston, who rode for a short distance on that day at the head of the Third Junior Reserves, said as much to its commander. Sherman was moving from Fayetteville in the direction of Goldsboro in two parallel columns, about a day’s march apart. General Johnston had determined to take advantage of the fact that Sherman’s left wing was thus separated from the right, and to strike a bold blow on the exposed flank at Bentonville in Johnston County.



As soon as General Hardee, 19 March, our corps commander, reached Bentonville with his troops, he moved by the left flank, Hoke’s (our) division leading, to the ground previously selected by General Hampton. It was the eastern edge of an old plantation, extending a mile and a half to the west, and lying principally on the north side of the road and surrounded east, south and north by a dense thicket of black-jacks. There was but one road through it. Hoke’s Division formed with its line at right angles to the road on the eastern edge of the plantation and its left extending some four hundred yards into the thicket on the south. The Junior Reserves constituted the right of Hoke’s Division and supported a battery of Starr’s Battalion of artillery commanded by Captain Geo. B. Atkins, of Fayetteville. The brigade of Juniors were led by Colonel John H. Nethercutt, who had superseded Colonel Armistead. This gallant officer was Colonel of the Sixty-sixth North Carolina Regiment—a plain, blunt man, but every inch a soldier. The Third Regiment threw out a skirmish line which was commanded by Captain Bristol and hurriedly constructed a rail fence breastworks. Here under a fire of artillery we suffered many casualties. The troops belonging to the Army of Tennessee were formed on the right of the artillery. A wooden farm house in front of the Third Regiment for some time afforded cover for a number of sharpshooters, who did excellent practice on our line, until Captain Atkins, with a few well-directed shells, caused them to pour out like rats from a sinking ship.

The enemy soon thereafter charged Hoke’s Division, but after a sharp contest at short range was handsomely repulsed.

On the morning of the 20th it was reported that the Federal right wing had crossed over to unite with the left wing which had been driven back, and was coming up rapidly upon the left of Hoke’s Division. That officer was directed to change front to the left. By this movement, his line was formed parallel to and fronting the road. Here light entrenchments were soon made out of dead trees and such material as could be moved with our bayonets. From noon to[26] sunset Sherman’s army thus united made repeated attacks upon Hoke’s Division of six thousand men and boys, but were uniformly driven back. The skirmish line of our brigade was commanded by Major Walter Clark, of the Seventieth Regiment (First Juniors), on the 20th and 21st. On the 21st the skirmishing was heavy, and the extreme of the Federal right, extending beyond our left flank made our position extremely hazardous in view of the fact that the bridge over the creek in our rear was our only chance of retreat. The Seventeenth Army Corps of the enemy late in the afternoon broke through our line considerably to the left, but by superhuman effort, its leading division was driven back along the route by which it had advanced.

That night the Confederate Army re-crossed the creek by the bridge near Bentonville and were halted beyond the town two miles north from the creek. The Federals made repeated attempts to force the passage of the bridge, but failed in all. At noon the march was resumed and the troops encamped near Smithfield. Sherman proceeded on his way to Goldsboro to form a junction with Schofield, without further molestation. The Confederate losses in the battle of Bentonville were 2,343, while that of the Federals was nearly double. (For many of the foregoing facts, see Johnston’s Narrative, pages 381 and 393, from which liberal extracts have been made.)

The Confederates never fought with more spirit, and the Federals with less, than in the battle of Bentonville. General D. H. Hill remarked upon this and said: “It may be that even a Yankee’s conscience has been disturbed by the scenes of burning, rapine, pillage and murder so recently passed through.”

General Hampton said of this last great battle of the Civil War, that in his opinion it was one of the most extraordinary: “The infantry forces of General Johnston amounted to about 14,100 men, and they were composed of three separate commands which had never acted together. These were Hardee’s troops, brought from Savannah and Charleston; Stewart’s from the Army of Tennessee; and Hoke’s Division of veterans, many of whom had served in the campaigns of Virginia. Bragg, by reason of his rank, was in command of this[27] latter force, but it was really Hoke’s Division, and the latter directed the fighting. These troops, concentrated recently for the first time, were stationed at and near Smithfield, eighteen miles from the field, where the battle was fought, and it was from there that General Johnston moved them to strike a veteran army numbering about 60,000 men. This latter army had marched from Atlanta to Savannah without meeting any force to dispute its passage, and from the latter city to Bentonville unobstructed save by the useless and costly affair at Averasboro, where Hardee made a gallant stand, though at a heavy loss. No bolder movement was conceived during the war than this of General Johnston when he threw his handful of men on the overwhelming force in front of him, and when he confronted and baffled this force, holding a weak line for three days against nearly five times his number. For the last two days of this fight he only held his position to secure the removal of his wounded, and when he had accomplished that he withdrew leisurely, moving in his first march only about four miles.”

The Junior Reserves lost quite a number of officers and boys in this battle. Their conduct was creditable to the last degree. General Hoke, their attached and beloved commander, thus writes concerning them: “The question of the courage of the Junior Reserves was well established by themselves in the battle below Kinston, and at the battle of Bentonville. At Bentonville you will remember, they held a very important part of the battlefield in opposition to Sherman’s old and tried soldiers, and repulsed every charge that was made upon them with very meagre and rapidly thrown up breastworks. Their conduct in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield was everything that could be expected of them, and I am free to say, was equal to that of the old soldiers who had passed through four years of war. On the return through Raleigh where many passed by their homes, scarcely one of them left their ranks to bid farewell to their friends, though they knew not where they were going nor what dangers they would encounter.”


The regiment remained in camp near Smithfield until 10[28] April. During this time our corps under command of General Hardee was reviewed by General Johnston, General Hardee, Governor Vance and others. There was not in the grand parade of that day—the last grand review of the Confederate Army—a more soldierly body of troops than the Junior Reserves. Later in the day, Governor Vance made a stirring speech to the North Carolina troops, which by its eloquence aroused enthusiasm and caused the fire of patriotism to burn more brightly in our hearts. On 10 April we begun our last retreat before Sherman.


On 12 April we reached Raleigh. I recall how we marched through Raleigh past the old Governor’s Mansion on Fayetteville street, facing the Capitol, then up Fayetteville street and west by Hillsboro street past St. Mary’s young ladies school in a beautiful grove on the right. How the servants stood at the fence with supplies of water for us to drink! How the fair girls trooped down to see us pass! How one tall, beautiful damsel exclaimed: “Why, girls, these are all young men,” and how one of our saucy Sergeants replied: “Yes, ladies, and we are all looking for wives!” It was in Raleigh that we heard the heartrending rumor of General Lee’s surrender.

Our line of march was through Chapel Hill. The University at that place was deserted and many refugees from the lower counties were again preparing to fly. After leaving Chapel Hill we camped on the Regulators’ Battleground, thence our line of march was on the Salisbury and Hillsboro road, over which 200 years before the Catawba Indians passed in their visits to the Tuscaroras in the East. Governor Tryon and later Lord Cornwallis had led their troops over this historic way in the vain endeavor to subdue the men whose sons now trod, footsore and weary, over the same old red hills, engaged in a like struggle for local self government.

When we reached Haw river on Saturday, 15 April, we found the steam rising rapidly. In crossing the river, several of our boys were drowned by leaving the ford to reach some fish traps a short distance below and being caught by[29] the swift current and swept down into the deep water. On reaching Alamance creek we had a novel experience. On account of heavy rains the stream was much swollen and the current very strong. General Cheatham’s command was moving in front of General Hoke’s Division and on attempting to ford the stream several men were swept down by the current, whereupon the others absolutely refused to move. This halted the entire column, and as the enemy’s cavalry were closely pressing our rear, the situation was becoming critical. General Cheatham rode to the front and learning the cause of the halt, ordered the men to go forward, but, emphasizing their determination with some pretty lively swearing, they doggedly refused to move, whereupon General Cheatham seized the nearest man and into the stream they went. After floundering in the water awhile, he came out, after repeating the process for a few times, they raised a shout and proceeded to cross. Three wagons, two with guns and one with bacon, capsized and were swept down the river. Some lively diving for the bacon followed, but I guess the guns are still rusting in the bottom of the creek. I am sure none of them were disturbed on that occasion.

In the midst of the peril of the crossing of the river, Lieutenant-Colonel French realizing the danger to which the smaller boys were exposed, jumped from his horse, and stationing himself in mid-stream just below the line of march, rescued several of the brave lads from inevitable death. Standing there, watching his chance to save life, he was every inch the faithful officer and brave soldier, and no wonder the boys loved him. Within the last twelve months he, too, has crossed over the river and is now resting under the shade of the trees. Farewell my dear old comrade!

We reached Red Cross, twenty miles south of Greensboro, late on 16 April. Here we stayed until the following Easter Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon, a bright boy from Cleveland County, named Froneberger, was killed in camp by lightning within ten steps of regimental headquarters. His death was instantaneous. The next morning, 17 April, after a scanty breakfast we made ready as usual to resume the march, but received no orders. We waited till noon, then all the afternoon, then till night, and[30] still no orders. The next morning we heard that General Johnston had surrendered.

We camped at Red Cross for a few days. Meanwhile it became known that we had not surrendered; but that Johnston and Sherman had undertaken to make terms for the surrender of all the then existing armies of the Confederacy and for the recognition of our state governments—one of the decent acts of Sherman’s life. But it came to naught by reason of its disapproval in Washington. The armistice which had been entered into for this purpose was terminated, and the toilsome, weary, hopeless march was resumed, but we all knew that the war was over.

It was at this time that a quantity of silver coin, in Greensboro, belonging to the Confederate Government was seized by General Johnston and distributed among his officers and men—each receiving one dollar and twenty-five cents without regard to rank. The writer has in his possession the identical Mexican milled silver dollar which came to him on this occasion. On one side of it has since been engraved “Bounty to John W. Hinsdale for four years’ faithful service in the Confederate Army.” One hundred times its weight in gold would not purchase this old piece of silver, associated as it is with loving thoughts of comrades and heart-breaking memories of surrender.

The regiment marched about eight miles to Old Center Meeting House, in Randolph County, staying here about three days and then we moved by way of Coleraine’s Mills to Bush Hill (now Archdale), and came to a halt one mile from old Trinity College.


General Johnston on 26 April made his final surrender of the army to General Sherman and on 2 May, 1865, at Bush Hill, all who remained of the one thousand boy-patriots of the Third Junior Reserves were paroled, and turned their faces sorrowfully homeward. The last roll had been called, the last tattoo beaten, and the regiment was disbanded forever.

Fac-simile of parole of Jno. W. Hinsdale, Colonel, 72d Regiment (3d Junior Reserves).


________________________ 1865.

In accordance with the terms of the Military Convention, entered into on the twenty sixth day of April, 1865, between General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding the Confederate Army, and Major General W. T. Sherman, Commanding the United states Army in North-Carolina,


has given his solemn obligation not to take up arms against the Government of the Unites States until properly released from this obligation; and is permitted to return to his home, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as he observe this obligation and obey the laws in force where he may reside.

_______________________ _____________________

_______________ U. S. A., _____________ C. S. A.,

Special Commissioner. Commanding.


This was the end of all our hopes and aspirations. Might had prevailed over right, and the conquered banner had been furled for all time.

Judge Clark in his Regimental Histories reproduced fac-similes of two paroles, one of an officer in the army of Northern Virginia, who surrendered at Appomattox Court House, the other, of the writer of this sketch, an officer of the last grand army of the Confederacy, commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. This parole appears on the opposite page. It was in keeping the inviolate faith of a similar parole issued to our great commander, Robert E. Lee, that General Grant, be it said to his everlasting credit, stayed the hand of President Johnston, who, soon after the war, issued a shameful order for the arrest of the “noblest Roman of them all.” By this one act, General Grant won the respect and esteem of the entire South.

North Carolina has much to be proud of. She was first at Bethel, she went farthest at Gettysburg, she was last at Appomattox, her dead and wounded in battle exceeded in numbers those of any other two States of the Confederacy together. But, her last and most precious offering to the cause of Liberty were her boy-soldiers, who at her bidding willingly left their homes, and marched, and fought, and starved, and froze, and bled, and died that she might live and be free. God bless the Junior Reserves. Their memory will ever be cherished by the Old North State they loved so well.

The following patriotic lines, written by the author of the “Conquered Banner,” will appeal to the heart of many a mother whose young son marched away with the Junior Reserves:

“Young as the youngest, who donned the Gray,
True as the truest who wore it,
Brave as the bravest he marched away
(Hot tears on the cheeks of his mother lay)
Triumphant waved our flag one day—
He fell in the front before it.
Firm as the firmest where duty led,
He hurried without a falter;
Bold as the boldest he fought and bled.
And the day was won—but the field was red—
And the blood of his fresh young heart was shed
On his country’s hallowed altar.
On the trampled breast of the battle plain,
Where the foremost ranks had wrestled,
On his pale pure face not a mark of pain,
(His mother dreams that they will meet again),
The fairest form amid all the slain,
Like a child asleep he nestled.
In the solemn shade of the wood that swept
The field where his comrades found him,
They buried him there—and the big tears crept
Into strong men’s eyes that had seldom wept,
(His mother—God pity her—smiled and slept,
Dreaming her arms were around him).
A grave in the woods with the grass o’ergrown,
A grave in the heart of his mother
His clay in the one lies lifeless and lone:
There is not a name, there is not a stone,
And only the voice of the winds maketh moan
O’er the grave where never a flower is strewn,
But his memory lives in the other.”

John W. Hinsdale.

Raleigh, N. C.,

26 April, 1901.


The writer appends hereto two letters received by him approving the accuracy of the foregoing sketch—one from the distinguished jurist, who was his comrade in arms in the Junior Reserve brigade, and to whom the old soldiers owe a debt of gratitude for his monumental service in editing the Regimental Histories, the other by one of Lee’s best fighters and most trusted lieutenants, and the beloved commander of the boy-soldiers, whose valor is only equaled by his modesty.




Raleigh, N. C., October 18, 1901.

Colonel John W. Hinsdale,

My Dear Colonel,

**** *** ***

Let me congratulate you upon your sketch which is decidedly one of the most interesting and valuable in the whole four volumes, and your conclusion is the most eloquent and touching thing I have read in many days. The Juniors will take off their hats to you.

Your friend and comrade,    


R. F. Hoke, President.

Raleigh, N. C., January 4, 1901.

Colonel John W. Hinsdale,

My Dear Colonel,

I am pleased to read your sketch of the Third North Carolina Junior Reserve Regiment, that you kindly sent me, which is very accurate as to their service while they were in my command. Not knowing whether you intended me to keep it or not, I return it with my thanks, and wishing you a most happy and prosperous New Year, I am,

Very truly your friend,



Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within the text and consultation of external sources.

Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text, and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

Pg 5: ‘insistance that’ replaced by ‘insistence that’.
Pg 15: ‘Fourth Batalion of’ replaced by ‘Fourth Battalion of’.
Pg 23: ‘of Campany C’ replaced by ‘of Company C’.
Pg 23: ‘we countermached’ replaced by ‘we countermarched’.
Pg 25: ‘sharp shooters, who’ replaced by ‘sharpshooters, who’.
Pg 28: ‘heartrendering rumor’ replaced by ‘heartrending rumor’.
Pg 30 (Illustration): ‘and is ermitted’ replaced by ‘and is permitted’.
Pg 31: ‘fac similes’ replaced by ‘fac-similes’.
Pg 32: ‘lifeless aud lone’ replaced by ‘lifeless and lone’.