Visiting the Goldsboro Bridge Battlefield

I visited the Goldsboro Bridge Battlefield last week. It was interesting to walk on the same ground that my great-grandfather fought on 161 years ago. The park is owned and maintained by a non-profit, the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield Association (www.goldsboroughbridge.org). The battlefield is free, is open 24/7, is unattended, and it has no facilities (gas… Continue reading Visiting the Goldsboro Bridge Battlefield

The Difference Between 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants

Q: My ancestor received a commission as a Second Lieutenant, but he is listed as a Third Lieutenant on muster rolls. Why? A North Carolina infantry company was led by four commissioned officers: a captain and three lieutenants. Among the lieutenants were a first lieutenant, a second lieutenant, and a third lieutenant (also referred to… Continue reading The Difference Between 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants

Cover-Your-Ass Basics: Document and Escalate

Anyone who has ever tried to accomplish an assigned task and hit a bureaucratic brick wall will appreciate the following letter. Those who served in the military will especially relate to Lieutenant Maurice’s predicament. Some things never change. Ordnance Office, Clingman’s Brigade, Sullivan’s Island, S. C., Nov. 12, 1863 [To:] Capt. Wm. F. Nance, A.… Continue reading Cover-Your-Ass Basics: Document and Escalate

How Tall Were the Men of the Cape Fear Region?

Height Data I recently gathered height measurements for 783 of the 1,431 soldiers who served in the 51st Regiment North Carolina Troops. The sample size is large enough to apply to the entire regiment. And since the regiment was drawn from across the Cape Fear region of North Carolina, it is probably representative of that… Continue reading How Tall Were the Men of the Cape Fear Region?

Equipping the New Companies

Equipment Requisitions I have located the initial equipment requisitions for seven of the 51st North Carolina’s ten companies. The documents reveal a lot about the process for equipping an infantry company. Here’s what I learned. Equipment Required by an Infantry Company There appears to have been no standard guidelines for what and how much clothing… Continue reading Equipping the New Companies

Chaos in Command, Part 2: Lt. Col. Allen Resigns

In an earlier post, “Feuding in the Officers’ Ranks,” I described the squabbling among the Fifty-First’s officers that left the regiment with only one field officer for almost four months. In this three-part series I add further details gleaned from documents contained in the NARA compiled service records of some of the officers involved during… Continue reading Chaos in Command, Part 2: Lt. Col. Allen Resigns