The Letters Private John James Wilson enlisted in Company B of the Fifty-First North Carolina on April 19, 1862. The 19-year-old Duplin County native listed his occupation as a farmer when he signed up for the war. Over the next year, Private Wilson regularly wrote to his mother, Amanda. Twenty of his letters survived; they… Continue reading The John J. Wilson Letters: A Summary
Before reading this post, think of a 14-year-old boy you know. Then imagine him as a Confederate soldier, facing the Union onslaught at Battery Wagner or fighting for his life at Cold Harbor. Confederate Army regulations established the minimum age for soldiers as eighteen years old. However, regiments often ignored this rule and enlisted any… Continue reading Boys in Battle: The 51st North Carolina’s Youngest Soldiers
After major engagements, North Carolina Regiments submitted casualty lists to their hometown newspapers. Private William Brewer’s name appeared twice in casualty lists, once as killed and again as mortally wounded. Despite being killed twice, Brewer maaged to survive the war. William Brewer enlisted as a private in Company F, 51st Regiment NC Troops on March… Continue reading Private William Brewer: Killed Twice but Survived the War
Gage’s Letter to McKethan Recently, I came across an interesting letter on UNC-Chapel Hill’s “The Civil War Day to Day” website. The letter was from Brigade Commissary R. S. Gage to Colonel Hector McKethan, commanding Clingman’s Brigade. Gage informs McKethan that the turnips and cabbage he recently issued to the brigade’s soldiers were not in… Continue reading The Turnips Were Not a Peace Offering
One soldier’s account of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign was published in the Wilmington Journal on June 2, 1864. HEADQ’RS BEAUREGARD’S ARMY, Near Drewry’s Bluff, May 25th, 1864. Messrs. Editors: As our Regiment (the 51st NC) was made up in the Cape Fear District, a few lines relative to its whereabouts and conditions may not… Continue reading The Order Was Given to Forward, and We “Forwarded.”
On June 23, 1864, the Wilmington Journal printed the following heartfelt tribute from “One Who Loved Him” to Private Joel P. Atwood, Company C, 51st Regiment North Carolina Troops: “Young and ardent, impelled by no motive but honor and zeal for the Southern cause, he has fallen, like many other noble spirits of the day,… Continue reading Private Joel P. Atwood: A Brave Boy and a True Patriot
Private George Mincey enlisted in Company F, 51st Regiment NCT on March 10, 1862. He only served with the regiment for three months before he was discharged for an unspecified reason. In June 1893, George married his second wife, Mary Eliza Floyd, at Galivants Ferry, SC. “Liza” was only 24 when she married the 53-year-old… Continue reading Mary Eliza Mincey, the Fifty-First Regiment’s Last Widow
Sergeant Samson Hawley, Company K, didn’t return from the war. Comrades told his wife, Winiford, that Samson was killed near Malvern Hill (Cold Harbor). In 1885, the North Carolina legislature passed a new law granting widows of Civil War veterans a pension. Winiford applied for her pension right away, but the State put her application… Continue reading What Happened to Samson Hawley?