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olina regiment, was promoted to Brigadier-General, and assigned to the command of Pettigrew's brigade, about the 10th of August, 1863.


The brigade left camp at Rapidan station, where it had been in cantonment, on the 8th of October, 1863, and marched rapidly with a view of engaging General Meade at Culpeper Courthouse. General Meade fell back and avoided a conflict at Culpeper Courthouse, but was overtaken at Bristoe station. Here on the 14th of October, 1863, a bloody and disastrous engagement was precipitated between Cooke's and Kirkland's brigades, and the bulk of Warren's corps, supported by a powerful artillery with a railroad embankment as a fortification. In this fight, so inopportune and ill-advised and not at all in accordance with the views of General Lee, the 44th regiment greatly distinguished itself. Advancing through an open field directly upon the line of fortifications of the Federal artillery, it sustained a heavy loss without flinching. Three different couriers rode up to the regiment and delivered a message to fall back. The order was disregarded and the regiment moved steadily on under heavy fire of both artillery and infantry, and when close upon the works, with the shout of victory in the air, only retreated under peremptory orders from Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill. The loss of the regiment in this engagement in killed and wounded was large. This was the first time the conduct of the regiment fell under the observation of Colonel Wm. MacRae, of the 15th North Carolina Regiment, and afterwards its brigade commander. He was struck with admiration at the splendid conduct of the men, and often afterwards referred to their steady valor upon the field. It endeared the regiment to him, for he loved brave men, and it became his habit to frequently place himself with the colors of the regiment, for, said he, "If I am with the 44th regiment and am lost, I shall always be found in the fore-front of the fighting."


General Lee, having received information that General Grant had commenced the passage of the Rapidan on the night of the 3rd of May, 1864, broke up his cantonments on the 4th, and prepared to meet him. The 44th North Carolina, with Kirkland's brigade, left camp near Orange Courthouse on the 4th, and bivouacked the same night at Verdiersville, about nine miles from the battlefield of the

Wilderness. Two roads led in parallel lines through the denşe thicket which gave its name to the territory upon which the battle was fought. One was known as the Orange Plank Road, and the other as the Turnpike. The 44th marched by way of the Plank Road, and became heavily engaged about 2 o'clock of the afternoon of the 5th. The right rested immediately upon the Plank Road, and next in line to it, with its left on the road, was the 26th North Carolina regiment. This immediate locality was the storm centre of the fight, and it is doubtful if any more violent and sanguinary contest occurred during the entire Civil War than just here. The road was swept by an incessant hurricane of fire, and to attempt to cross it meant almost certain death. It was at this point of the line that three pieces of Confederate artillery were seriously menaced with capture. The horses belonging to the guns had all been killed and disabled, whilst the gunners were subjected to an incessant and murderous fire.

Lieutenant R. W. Stedman, of Co. A, volunteered to drag the guns down the road, out of danger, if a detail of forty men were furnished. Forty men immediately stepped to his side and said they would follow him, although they all knew the effort was full of peril. The work was done successfully, but only three of the volunteers escaped unhurt. Lieutenant Stedman was severely wounded by a grape shot. For his personal gallantry in this action he was honorably mentioned in high terms of praise in an official order from division headquarters. The loss of the regiment in the engagements of the 5th and 6th was exceedingly heavy; a large proportion of its officers were killed and wounded; amongst the latter the major of the regiment. Both officers and men won the special commendation of brigade and division commanders. On the 8th the regiment moved with the brigade towards Spotsylvania Courthouse. On the 10th Heth's and Anderson's divisions, commanded by Early, had a serious conflict with a portion of Grant's army, which was attempting to flank General Lee by what was called the Po River road. In this engagement the 44th suffered severely and fought with its accustomed valor.

Captain J. J. Crump, of Co. E, elicited by his conduct warm commendation from the General commanding.


On the 12th the regiment was assigned its position directly in front of Spotsylvania Court House, and was in support of a strong force

of Confederate artillery. Repeatedly during the day it was charged by the Federal columns, their advance always being heralded and covered by a heavy artillery fire. Every assault was repulsed with great loss to the assailants, whose advance was greeted by loud cheers from the 44th regiment, many of the men leaping on the earthworks and fighting from under cover. The loss during this engagement was comparatively slight. The major commanding the regiment, was again wounded, and sent to a hospital in Richmond, and was not able to rejoin his regiment until a few days before the battle at Ream's Station.

The regiment participated in all the engagements in which its brigade took part, from Spotsylvania Court House to Petersburg, constantly skirmishing and fighting as Grant continued his march on Lee's flank. On the 3d of June, 1864, it was heavily engaged with the enemy near Gaines' Mill. In this fight, General W. W. Kirkland, commanding the brigade, was wounded. Pursuing its march and almost daily skirmishing, the regiment reached Petersburg on on the 24th day of June, 1864, and commenced the desultory and dreary work of duty in the trenches. During the latter part of July, 1864, the regiment left Petersburg for Stoney Creek, and whilst on the march, Colonel William MacRae, of the 15th North Carolina regiment, joined the brigade and assumed command, under orders. This gallant officer was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general in August, 1864, and from that time, never left the brigade, of which the 44th was a part, until the last day at Appomattox. From Stoney Creek, the regiment returned to Petersburg.


The regiment bore its part with conspicuous good conduct in the brilliant engagement at Ream's station, on the 25th of August, 1864. Upon the investment of Petersburg, the possession of the Weldon road became of manifest importance, as it was Lee's main line of communication with the South, whence he drew his men and supplies. On the 18th of August, 1864, General G. K. Warren, with the 5th corps of Grant's army and Kautz's division of cavalry, occupied the line of the Weldon road at a point six miles from Petersburg. An attempt was made to dislodge them from this position on the 21st, but the effort failed. Emboldened by Warren's success, Hancock was ordered from Deep creek bottom to Ream's station, ten miles from Petersburg. He arrived there on the 22nd and promptly commenced the destruction of the railroad track. His infantry force

consisted of Gibbons' and Miles' divisions, and in the afternoon of the 25th he was reinforced by the division of Orlando B. Wilcox, which, however, arrived too late to be of any substantial service to him. Gregg's division of cavalry with an additional brigade commanded by Spear, was with him. He had abundant artillery, consisting in part of the 10th Massachusetts battery, Battery B, Ist Rhode Island, McNight's 12th New York battery, and Woemer's 3rd New Jersey battery.

On the 22nd Gregg was assailed by Wade Hampton with one of his cavalry divisions, and a sharp contest ensued. General Hampton, from the battlefield of the 22nd, sent a note to General R. E. Lee, suggesting an immediate attack with infantry. That great commander, realizing that a favorable opportunity was offered to strike Hancock a heavy blow, directed Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill to advance against him as promptly as possible. General Hill left his camp near Petersburg on the night of the 24th, and marching south halted near Armstrong's Mill, about eight miles from Petersburg. On the morning of the 25th he advanced to Monk's Neck Bridge, three miles from Ream's station, and awaited advice from Hampton. The Confederate force actually present at Ream's station, consisted of Cooke's and MacRae's brigades of Heth's divisions, Lane's, Scales' and McGowan's brigades of Wilcox's division, Anderson's brigade of Longstreet's corps, two brigades of Mahone's division, Butler's and W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry, and a portion of Pegram's battalion of artillery.

Being the central regiment of the brigade, MacRae's line of battle was formed on it, as was customary. Just previous to the assault upon General Hancock's command, the regiment was posted in the edge of a pine thicket, about 300 yards from the breastworks held by the Federal troops. When the order was given to advance, the men threw themselves forward at a double-quick in a line as straight and unbroken as they presented when on parade, and without firing a gun, mounted the entrenchments and precipated themselves amongst the Federal infantry on the other side, who seemed to be dazed by the vehemence of the attack, and made a feeble resistance after their ranks were reached.

A battery of artillery captured by the regiment, was turned upon the retreating columns of the enemy. It was manned by sharpshooters of the 44th, who had been trained in artillery practice. Captain Oldham, of Company K, sighted one of the guns repeatedly, and when he saw the effect of his accurate aim upon the dis

armed masses in front, was so jubilant, that General MacRae, with his usual quiet humor, remarked: "Oldham thinks he is at a ball in Petersburg."

The Federal loss in this battle was between six and seven hundred killed and wounded, and 2, 150 prisoners, 3, 100 stands of small arms, twelve stands of colors, nine guns and caissons. The Confederate loss was small, and fell principally upon Lane's brigade; it did not exceed 500 in killed and wounded. The casualties in the 44th regiment were trifling, as well as other regiments of the brigade, as Hancock's men in its front fired wildly above the mark, being badly demoralized by the fire of the Confederate artillery, under cover of which MacRae's men advanced to the assault.

James Forrest, who carried the colors of the regiment, became famous for his chivalrous devotion to the flag, and his gallantry upon every field.

On the night of the 22nd of August, 1864, the regiment returned with MacRae's Brigade to its position on the line of entrenchments at Petersburg, held by General Lee's right, and continued to perform the routine of duties incident to such a life until the 27th day of October, 1864.


The enemy having forced back our cavalry, and penetrated to a point on our right known as Burgess' Mill, on the 27th of October, 1864, General MacRae was ordered to attack, with the understanding that he should be promptly reinforced by one or more brigades. Reconnoitering the enemy's position, he pointed out at once the weak part of their line to several officers who were with him and ordered his brigade to the assault. It bore down everything in its front, capturing a battery of artillery, and dividing the corps which it had assailed. The Federal commander, seeing that MacRae was not supported, closed in upon his flanks and attacked with great vigor. Undismayed by the large force which surrounded him, and unwilling to surrender the prize of victory already within his grasp, MacRae formed a portion of his command obliquely to his main line of battle, driving back the foe at every point, whilst the deafening shouts and obstinate fighting of his brigade showed their entire confidence in their commander, although every man of them knew their situation to be critical, and their loss had already been great. Awaiting reinforcements, which long since ought to have been with him, he held his vantage ground at all hazards, and against enormous

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