Company A: The Enlistment Story

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Cpt. Egbert Ross was Company A's first commander.

To Field a Company:

The Enlistment Story of Company A,

11th North Carolina Infantry

Thomas Venner

With the start of the Civil War, North Carolina rallied to the Confederacy and the citizens of Charlotte actively sent her sons to defend the Southern case. The first Tar Heel volunteers began to congregate at Raleigh’s Camp Mangum only days after the fall of Ft. Sumter. One of these early volunteers was a 20-year-old Charlotte youth, Egbert A. Ross. The young man was a top student at Hillsboro’s Military Academy; he, along with his school’s professor, Col. Charles C. Tew and a couple dozen senior students, arrived at Camp Mangum and immediately were commissioned to train the hordes of Tar Heels clamoring to get at the Yankees.

 

Bert Ross quickly gathered a collection of volunteers from Charlotte and organized them into a formation called the ‘Charlotte Greys’. This company was mustered into the 1st North Carolina Regiment as Company C with Ross as its commanding officer. This six-month Tar Heel regiment, led by Col. Daniel H. Hill was rushed to Virginia and quickly found itself under fire, and suffered the first Confederate combat death in the Civil War during the battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861.

 

The 1st North Carolina Regiment disbanded a few months later and Cpt. Ross returned to Charlotte with plans to recruit another company of volunteers. He turned to his original company officers; however his first and second lieutenants already had made other plans. Ross accepted his 3rd Lt. as an officer, the 26-year-old carpenter, Charles Alexander. He also took on two sons from a prominent Gaston County family, 20-year-old W. Lee Hand and his 22-year-old brother, Robert Hand. Together, these four officers opened a recruiting office in Charlotte and began to assemble their volunteers.

 

Ross immediately contacted many of the riflemen who had composed the ‘Charlotte Greys’ and a number of them immediately enlisted:

Name DOB Residence
John Alexander 1842 W. Charlotte
Marshall R. Alexander 1837 W. Charlotte
William J. Brown 1843 W. Charlotte
Joseph M. Earnhart 1842 Mecklenburg Co.
James S. Galloway 1837 W. Charlotte
James A. Gibson 1838 W. Charlotte
David P. Glenn 1841 W. Charlotte
James R. Gribble 1840 E. Charlotte
Andrew J. Hand 1828 Charlotte
G. T. Herring    — Mecklenburg Co.
Henry H. Hill 1841 W. Charlotte
Thomas L. Holmes 1839 W. Charlotte
William S. Icehower 1843 Charlotte
William Kennedy 1841 Statesville, Iredell Co.
James G. McCorkle 1839 W. Charlotte
Samuel J. McElroy 1841 W. Charlotte
Robert J. Monteith 1838 W. Charlotte
Thomas W. Neely 1844 W. Charlotte
John Norment 1839 W. Charlotte
James F. Orr 1825 W. Charlotte
N. C. Orr 1840 E. Charlotte
Theo C. Ruddock 1836 W. Charlotte
Robert F. Simpson 1830 Clear Creek, Mecklenburg Co.
James M. Sims 1835 W. Charlotte
John M. Stowe 1837 W. Charlotte
William B. Taylor 1840 W. Charlotte
Angus Wingate 1839 Lincolnton, Lincoln Co.
Charles C. Wingate 1837 Lincolnton, Lincoln Co.
Murchison Wingate 1840 Lincolnton, Lincoln Co.

More Tar Heels signed onto the muster rolls and on February 1, 1862 Bert Ross’ formation was mustered into the 11th North Carolina Regiment as its first company. Ross was commissioned captain with a total of 104 men under his command. His officers and nco’s were:

1st Lt. Wm. Lee Hand
2nd Lt. Charles W. Alexander
2nd Lt. Robert H. Hand
1st Sgt. James G. McCorkle
Sgt. Samuel J. McElroy
Sgt. James M. Sims
Sgt. William B. Taylor
Cpl. James R. Gribble
Cpl. William S. Icehower
Cpl. Thomas W Neely
Cpl. Theo C. Ruddock

Captain Ross commenced training his new company at Camp Mangum and continued to enlist more men into his unit. He would sign 23 more men into Company A during the rest of 1862.

Enlist date Name DOB
5/2/1862 M. D. Raborn 1844
5/3/1862 Hamilton W. Allen 1837
5/3/1862 Jacob C. Allen 1830
5/3/1862 William H. Campbell 1840
5/3/1862 Nathaniel O. Harris 1839
5/3/1862 William C. Harris 1836
5/3/1862 Campbell King 1837
5/3/1862 John A. King 1838
5/15/1862 John P. Elms 1836
5/15/1862 Ferdinand Hobbs 1845
5/15/1862 Thomas M. Howard 1836
5/15/1862 H. M. Pettus 1839
5/15/1862 J. L. West 1833
7/7/1862 P. S. Auten 1836
7/7/1862 James W. Bigham 1835
7/7/1862 William A. Elliott 1841
7/7/1862 William E. Ewing 1837
7/7/1862 Miles Hugh 1828
7/7/1862 Jacob Jenkins 1842
7/7/1862 Moses O. Monteith 1834
12/27/62 John H. Bigham 1843
12/29/1862 J. S. Garrison 1844
12/29/1862 Benjamin Kinney 1822

These new recruits helped offset the company’s losses as men were discharged because of disabilities, transfers, or death from disease. One of these men leaving the company was Cpt. Ross, who was promoted to major on May 5, 1862. His departure meant Lee Hand was elevated to captain, Charles Alexander went to 1st lieutenant, while Robert Hand remained 2nd lieutenant. First Sergeant James McCorkle was promoted to regimental sergeant major in April 1862 and was replaced by John Elms, who had transferred into Company A in May, coming from the 37th NC Infantry.

 

Other Tar Heels were lost from the company:

Date lost Name Reason
4/18/1862 Monroe Blakely Died of disease at Raleigh
4/20/1862 Joseph Creasemon Died of disease at Raleigh
5/30/1862 J. B. Thompson Discharged due to disability at Wilmington
6/6/1862 Milton E. Chester Accidentally shot at

Wilmington

7/11/1862 Robert A. Ross Transferred to Co. H
7/241862 William H. Campbell Died of disease at

Wilmington

7/31/1862 Lewis Hudspeth Died of pneumonia at

Wilmington

8/8/1862 James Byrum Died of typhoid fever at Wilmington
11/13/1862 James C. Deaton Died of hemiplegia at

Wilmington

Thus, Cpt. Charles Alexander had 109 men on his rolls and 88 men of combat capability on December 16, 1862 when the 11th North Carolina came under fire during the battle of White Hall, NC. Captain Alexander’s company suffered two casualties that day; Pvt. Columbus C. Brigman (wounded), and Pvt. Samuel Query (wounded, ‘in lower left extremities’).

In early 1863, Cpt. Alexander dispatched trusted men to Charlotte to recruit replacements. Their mission produced more riflemen for the company:

Enlist date Name DOB
3/1/63 Cyrus A. Allen 1844
3/1/63 Darnell, Jackson J. 1830
3/1/63 Joshua Glover 1829
3/1/63 William J. Goodrum 1845
3/1/63 Sidney A. McGinnis 1836
3/1/63 C. Peysour 1830
3/1/63 Thomas Prim 1845
3/1/63 John W. Simpson 1845
3/1/63 John S. Smith 1827
3/1/63 Taylor Wright 1845
4/1/63 William C. Earnhardt 1828
4/1/63 S. O. Earnhart 1823
4/1/63 William M. Wilson 1845

The battle of Gettysburg proved to be disastrous for Cpt. Alexander’s company. On July 1, 1863, Alexander was able to put three officers onto the field and 82 ‘trigger pullers’, as he called them. By the time the regiment was back in Virginia, three weeks later, the company consisted of one officer, 3rd Lt. William Taylor, two corporals, James R. Gribble and Emanuel Lewis, and 19 riflemen. Even Cpt. Charles Alexander was gone, having been released to the Invalid Corps with, “extensive exotosis of upper and internal portion of left femur.”

 

Lieutenant William Taylor struggled to maintain the company’s strength following the Gettysburg campaign, a problem facing all the Bethel Regiment company commanders. His efforts were rewarded, by October 1863 Company A was able to put 45 men onto the battle line. William Taylor’s formation would lose three  men at Bristoe Station. The company went into the winter of 1863-64 near Orange Court House and veterans were transferred from other units, and more new recruits were added:

Enlist date Name DOB
1/?/64 John W. Pettus    —
1/27/64 J. Q. Taylor    —
2/3/64 Williams S. Alexander    —
2/25/64 Charles H. Goodrum 1845
2/29/64 J. A. McCall 1846
4/22/64 James A. Duckworth 1825

Lieutenant William Taylor led 60 men into the horrific summer of 1864 and by the time the Tar Heels had settled into the trenches outside of Petersburg he only had 48 men in his command. Taylor was promoted to 2nd lieutenant and Sgt. Richard Alexander commissioned 3rd lieutenant. They attempted one last effort to reinforce the company, enlisting a few more at Camp Holmes, outside Raleigh.

Enlist date Name DOB
10/29/64 Ezekiel Black 1820
10/29/64 J. B. Thomasson 1833
11/12/64 J. M. Herron 1828
11/27/64 S. P. Peysour    —
12/?/64 Stephen J. Pettis    —

These final replacements, along with the return of veterans who rejoined the company once they had recovered from wounds, plus the addition of a few men who had been exchanged produced a company totaling 63 Tar Heels. Unfortunately Lieutenant Taylor never had that entire number under his command; his exhausted and war-weary soldiers were often missing due to illness or absent, detailed to duties taking them away from the company.

 

The dreary months of January, February, and March 1865 witnessed Company A’s contraction, as discouraged veterans slipped away, fleeing for home or heading for the Yankee promise of a parole. Lieutenant Taylor led just 41 Tar Heels on the morning of April 2, 1865 and by sunset of that day Company A consisted of eight men. One of these veterans, Pvt. J. E. Orman was captured as the Southerners retreated towards Appomattox, and the rest surrendered with Lee’s army on April 9, 1865.

Rank Name Enlist date
2nd Lt. William B. Taylor 2/1/1862
1st Sgt. Thomas W. Neely 2/1/1862
Cpl. James W. Bigham 7/7/1862
Pvt. G. T. Herring 2/1/1862
Pvt. Monroe Hovis 2/1/1862
Pvt. Robert J. Monteith 2/1/1862
Pvt. H. M. Pettus 5/5/1862

 

 

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One Response to
“Company A: The Enlistment Story”

  • George McConnell says: April 26th, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Thomas,

    My great uncle (my great-grandfather’s brother) was recruited by Maj. Ross and mustered in as a private in Company A in February of 1962-
    John Francis McConnell- died at Gettysburg of wounds received on the 1st.

    George McConnell
    iainmhor12@gmail.com

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