North Carolina’s regiments occasionally sent casualty lists to their hometown newspapers. The lists kept the folks at home up to date on how their boys were doing. After a major battle, the papers would be full of the names of the killed and wounded. The list below was written by Company E’s acting commander, First Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Asley, on June 5, 1864. He submitted the list to the Fayetteville Observer.
A Bloody Two Months
On May 7, 1864 the 51st North Carolina rushed from Ivor Station to Petersburg. Benjamin Butler had landed the Army of the James at City Point and Bermuda Hundred. The Union force threatened to capture Richmond and Petersburg. For the next two months, the Fifty-First would be in almost constant combat. The regiment fought at Drewry’s Bluff, Bermuda Hundred, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.
Company E of the 51st North Carolina had 97 soldiers available when the regiment rushed to Petersburg. By the end of June, only 38 men were present for duty.
Captain Willis Pope was wounded in the abdomen and legs on May 16, 1864 at Drewry’s Bluff. He died the next day. Lieutenant Ashley was promoted to Captain, pending receipt of a commission from the Confederate Army. Ashley was wounded in the head on July 1 near Petersburg and died a month later.
Privates Calvin Britt, Charles Floyd, and George Grimsley were all killed on May 14. The 51st North Carolina was involved in heavy skirmishing that day.
Private Andrew Grimsley and Sergeant Sydney Hammond were killed at Cold Harbor on June 1.
Private Peter Lamb was killed on May 16 during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff.
Private Patrick Powell was killed at Cold Harbor on May 31.
Private James Ashley was wounded in the head at Drewry’s Bluff on May 15. Ashley was hospitalized in Danville, VA and then in Wilmington. He returned to duty om August 6, 1864.
Privates John Blackman, William Brogden, Everett Grimsley, and Arthur Ransom were wounded at Cold Harbor on May 31. Blackman was wounded in the hand; he returned to duty in November 1864. Brogden died of his wounds on June 16. Ransom did not return to duty. Grimsley, who had been wounded a year earlier at Battery Wagner, returned to duty after a few months.
Private John Britt was wounded in the hand during the skirmishing at Drewry’s Bluff on May 14. Private Matthew Gregory was wounded in the head the same day. A Minie ball entered his forehead, “mashing the skull in against the brain.” Gregory survived his wound but did not return to duty. Also on May 14, Private Nelson Snipes was wounded and captured. He died of his wounds at Point Lookout two weeks later.
Privates Meredith Bullock, Michael Bullock, and Neill Carter were wounded on May 13 at Drewry’s Bluff. All three men returned to duty.
Private John W. Bullock, Meredith’s brother, was also wounded during this period, but no details of his wound are in his service record.
Privates Isham Butler, Lewis Grimsley, Hugh Ivey, Randolph Pittman, Henry Prevatt, and Rowland Williams were wounded during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff on May 16. Butler had been wounded in the lung a year before at Battery Wagner; he did not return to duty. Lewis Grimsley, the third Grimsley sibling on the casualty list, was wounded in the breast but returned to duty within a week. Hugh Ivey was wounded in the left shoulder and returned to duty in September. Pittman was wounded in the left leg; he returned to duty in November. Prevatt returned to duty after two weeks, only to be captured at Cold Harbor on June 1. Rowland Williams was wounded in the right forearm. He returned to the regiment before September.
Privates Joseph Lane and Wesley McCormick were wounded near Bermuda Hundred in late May while the Confederates were pushing Butler’s army into its “bottle.”
Private Amos Taylor was wounded in the left shoulder at Cold Harbor on June 1. He returned to duty before September 1864.
All the soldiers listed as missing in Ashley’s report, except Private William Hilliard, were captured at Cold Harbor on June 1. The 51st North Carolina had almost been surrounded that day, and the regiment had many men taken prisoner. The captives were sent to Point Lookout and then transferred to Elmira. All survived the Shohola train wreck during the transfer. Nine of the twenty died as a result of their confinement.
Private William Hilliard was captured during the fighting at Drewry’s Bluff on May 16.
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