SOPO Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of five guest posts by Dr. Nigel Lambert, a semi-retired British biochemist with a lifelong interest in the American Civil War. Nigel has worked closely with Bryce Suderow over the first half of 2021 thoroughly researching the Confederate Order of Battle at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865. Read on and you will soon see why this is such a difficult task. I want to thank Dr. Lambert for his generous decision to publish this series of articles here at the Siege of Petersburg Online. This article is the copyrighted work of Nigel Lambert and may not be reproduced without his express written consent. All rights reserved.
Rebel Units and Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run.
Article 1: The Rebel Second Corps
By Dr Nigel Lambert, March 2022
This article (number 1 in a series of 3) explores the Rebel organization of the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) Second Corps as pertaining to the battle of Hatcher’s Run (February 5-7th 1865). As February dawned, the Corps was composed of three divisions; which were formally termed: Early’s, Gordon’s and Grimes’. The latter is usually viewed as not taking part in the battle and is thus not discussed in this article. However, there are isolated sources which claim that Brig.-Gen. Philip Cook’s Brigade of Brig.-Gen. Bryan Grimes Division did play some part in the fighting late on February 5th 1865a. The Second Corps artillery is also not included in this analysis.
The two participating divisions were each made up of three brigades. The following schema depicts the Rebel units involved in the battle of Hatcher’s Run and adopts the formal nomenclature used at the time to describe them. These units will be explored in turn to reveal: the regimental structure of each brigade, who was actually commanding these units at the battle, and areas of contention.
GORDON (Second Corps)
Early’s Division Gordon’s Division [Grimes’ Division]
Pegram’s Brigade Terry’s Brigade probably not involved
Johnston’s Brigade York’s Brigade
Lewis’ Brigade Evan’s Brigade
Second Corps (Maj.-Gen. John Gordon)
By November 1864, R. E. Lee’s ANV was besieged around Petersburg and Richmond, trying to save the Rebel capital and hence prolong the war. In a desperate reorganization, the divisions of Generals Gordon, Early (commanded by Pegram) and Grimes, of Lt-Gen. Jubal Early’s Rebel Army of the (Shenandoah) Valley were ordered to join Lee at Petersburg. The three divisions arrived at Petersburg during mid-December 1864 / early January 1865. Gen. Gordon was given command of all these forces in what became the re-formed ANV Second Corps. At the end of 1864 the Corps numbered 8,600 effectives. Given their recent mauling in the Shenandoah Valley, there was significant concern over the fighting morale of these demoralized troops1.
Brig-Gen. John Pegram
Pegram had taken command of the renown Early’s Division in the Shenandoah Valley back on September 22nd 18642. After several Rebel defeats, Pegram along with many of the Rebel forces in The Valley, were ordered back to the Petersburg area in December 1864 (see above). He got married3 in a lavish wedding on January 19th. Three weeks later, Pegram led the division (some 2,400 infantry) into battle at Hatcher’s Run and was killed on February 6th in the fighting around Dabney’s Mill4. In a presumed typographical error, the “Civil War in the East” (CWE) database reports that Pegram was killed on Feb 26th; it then states that Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston took over the division, a view shared by others5. Other sources6 have Brig-Gen. James Walker (Stonewall Jim) taking over divisional command. The eye-witness account of Kyd Douglas, supported by historian Lee Sherrill, appears to give the most likely version of events7. They report that in the immediate aftermath of Pegram’s death, Brig-Gen. William Lewis took responsibility for the division. Several days later (after February 10th) when Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston (the senior divisional officer) returned from an absence, he took over command of the Division. On February 26th Brig-Gen. James Walker was assigned to the Division and took over command on 27th February. Strangely, one acclaimed battle account refers to a “Walker’s Brigade of Pegram’s Division”; no such brigade existed at Hatcher’s Run8.
Although technically this was “Early’s Division”, on all modern maps of the battle it is always labelled “Pegram”. Similarly, in any modern textbook account of the battle, it is referred to as Pegram’s Division9. Lt-Gen. Jubal Early himself, played no part in the battle of Hatcher’s Run. What is noticeable for all the brigades in this division, is the frequent lack of senior regimental field officers above the rank of major.
Col. John Hoffman
13th Va10 – Capt. George Cullen
31st Va – Capt. Nathen Clawson / Major William Cooper
49th Va – Capt. Jerome Norvill
52nd Va – Lt-Col John Lilley / Capt. Cyrus Coiner
58th Va – Lt. Col John Kasey
Formally, this unit was known as Pegram’s Brigade, but with Pegram taking over the division (see above), brigade command had passed to Col. Hoffman, however because Hoffman wasn’t a Brig-General, it was still technically called Pegram’s Brigade. Again, on modern battle-maps, the attribution “Hoffman” (and not Pegram) is used to label this brigade11. Col. Hoffman was seriously wounded on February 6th, in the same action around Dabney’s Mill that killed Pegram12. In fact, Kyd Douglas and Federal General E. Ord incorrectly wrote that Hoffman was “mortally wounded”13. Hoffman required the amputation of his left foot and did indeed come close to dying from his wounds14. As senior regimental officer, Lt-Col. John Kasey took immediate command of the brigade upon Hoffman’s incapacitation15 and led the brigade until he was captured at the Fort Stedman battle on March 25th 1865.
|Brig-Gen. John Pegram; he was shot and killed at the battle of Hatcher’s Run|
|Major Henry “Kyd” Douglas; present when Gen. Pegram was killed|
However, Trudeau writes that Major Kyd Douglas took over command from Hoffman before Kasey16. I have found nothing to support this view, although it is true that Douglas did eventually get to formally lead the brigade in the closing days of the war17.
The regimental structure presented above is consistent across the CWE database for January 31st 1865 and a Confederate Inspection Report for January 28th 1865, the latter reporting the brigade strength at 631 infantrymen18. There are two issues to highlight regarding this data as it pertains to the battle of Hatcher’s Run, just over a week later. The commander of the 52nd Va regiment, Lt-Col. John Lilley was on-leave during January and hence he wasn’t listed in the above Inspection Report. However, he was present at Hatcher’s Run, as sources report his wounding on February 5th, thus he was presumably the regimental commander leading his troops into the battle; once wounded, Capt. Coiner seems to have taken over once more19.
The command of the 31st Va (Hoffman’s former and famed regiment) in early 1865 is an interesting story. On some pages, the CWE database has Major Cooper as commander and on others it’s Capt. Clawson20. In fact, this command issue was a long running “dispute” which even reached Gen. Robert E. Lee21. Cooper although outranking Clawson had poor health and was frequently on administrative duties in Richmond, meaning that Clawson was nominally in charge of the regiment for large periods. Regarding the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Cooper was ill in bed and Clawson was commanding in the field. This kind of minutia is why it’s very difficult to say with certainty, who was in charge of regiments on most given days.
Casualty data for some of these regiments at the battle of Hatcher’s Run has fortunately been recorded22 and is as follows:
31st Va; 2 killed, 7 wounded (one mortally), 1 captured
52nd Va: 11 wounded
58th Va: 2 killed, 12 wounded
Col. John “Gimlet” Lea
5th NC – Major James Taylor
12th NC – Capt. John Drake
20th NC – Major Duncan Devane23
23rd NC – Captain Abner Peace24
1st Battalion NC Sharpshooters – Capt. Reuben Wilson25
Significant command conflicts exist within accounts of this North Carolinian brigade. Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston was the long-landing commander and the Army Inspection Reports for the end of January 1865 recorded Johnston commanding a brigade of 775 men26. However, it appears that he was absent in early February 1865 and only returned to the brigade after February 10th. During this absence, which included the battle of Hatcher’s Run, Col. John Lea (commander of the 5th NC) took Johnston’s place as brigade commander27. Many modern authoritative texts and battle-maps refer exclusively to Johnston’s Brigade, without stating that
|Brig-Gen. William Lewis; he took over divisional command upon the death of Pegram.|
|Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston; he was absent for the battle of Hatcher’s Run and his brigade was led by Col. John Lea.|
Col. Lea was in fact commanding28. This view has echoed on many websites, maps and derivative texts. I will highlight other examples (both in this article and the following one) of generals who were also absent from the battle, but these absences are explicitly noted. The strong suspicion is that many authors were not aware that Johnston was absent, and wrote accordingly. This is certainly the case in at least one highly acclaimed account where Johnston is mentioned in person as being present. Given the reliability of the End of January 1865 Inspection Reports, it is understandable that chroniclers assumed Johnston was present a week later.
The CWE database reports that Major Taylor commanded the 5th NC regiment for January and February 186529. Taken at face-value, (as any reader would, who accessed the site), this is incorrect. Col. Lea (when not standing-in for Gen. Johnston during his brief absence) would have been in command of his own regiment (the 5th NC) for much of this time-frame. The CWE database is populated from the O.R. and Sibley’s reference text30. What is likely to have occurred is that some evidence showed that Major Taylor was in command at some point in January and at some point in February, not that he was in command throughout both months and that no source was found that mentioned Col. Lea, hence his omission. Col. Lea is for instance completely absent from the Jan 28th Inspection Report31. The lesson from this rather esoteric discussion is that databases / reference books are only as accurate as the data entered and the completeness of the data available. On the whole, the CWE database does a good job, but down at the regimental level in particular, it can be unreliable and misleading.
Regarding the regimental commanders, the CWE data for January 1865 is identical to that found in the January 28th Inspection Report32, with the exception of the 1st Battalion; the Inspection Report has a Lt. Cornelius Shultz commanding and not Capt. Reuben Wilson as reported in the CWE database. However, Col. Lea’s official brigade report of the battle33 reveals significant differences in regimental commanders listed in the Inspection Report one week earlier. Lea’s report shows that Capt. Reuben Wilson was indeed commanding the 1st Battalion during the battle, but that a Capt. Pleasant Smith was not commanding the 20th NC regiment and a Capt. Frank Bennett34 was not commanding the 23rd NC regiment as recorded in both the Inspection Report and CWE database. The de facto commander of the 12th NC, Lt-Col. William S. Davis seemed to have been absent in January 1865 and not present at the battle of Hatcher’s Run according to Lea’s report; Davis resigned on February 10th 186535. Similarly, the formal commander of the 20th NC regiment, the oft-wounded Col. Thomas Toon, was hospitalized for much of the 1864/1865 winter, according to Lea’s report (see above) he wasn’t back for the Hatcher’s Run battle. He did resume command at some point following Hatcher’s Run, only to get wounded again at Fort Stedman on March 25th 1865 which ended his war36.
The first-hand accounts of these five NC regiments in Clark’s five-volume anthology37 report surprisingly little for this period. Only the account for the 23rd NC mentions the Hatcher’s Run battle in any detail. Indeed, the account for the 5th NC (Lea’s own regiment) has no mention of the battle at all, it places the regiment on the North Carolina / Virginia border for the 1864/65 winter period. They all discuss the move from The Valley to Petersburg in December 1864 and then an assignment to North Carolina to round-up deserters (a significant problem for the Rebel army at this time), although there are conflicts as to whether this took place before February 5th or after February 8th. There then follows lengthier accounts of the fight at Fort Stedman on March 25th. Given the significant involvement of these regiments in the Hatcher’s Run battle, one is left to speculate on why it received so few words; to the point of ignoring it entirely in the case of the 5th NC regiment, when in fact their commander was leading the brigade at the battle. Hatcher’s Run (or Dabney’s Mill as it was sometimes termed) is on a list of battles fought by the 5th NC regiment, as reported by the “North Carolina in the American Civil War” website38.
Brig-Gen. William Lewis
6th NC – Capt. John McPherson
21st NC – Capt. John Byrd Snow
54th NC – Capt. R.A. Barrow
57th NC – Capt. John Beard
I have described above how Brig.-Gen. Lewis immediately took over divisional command after Pegram was killed at the Hatcher’s Run battle. Lee Sherrill’s detailed biography of the 21st NC is a significant source of information on the battle; this account places both Gen. Lewis and Capt. Snow with Pegram and Hoffman when they were both shot (see above); Lewis was unharmed but Byrd Snow was killed39. The regimental commanders above are identical to those listed in the Inspection Report for the end of January40, which records the brigade strength at 902 infantrymen.
The first-hand accounts of these NC regiments in Clark’s 5 volume anthology, again report very few details of the Hatcher’s Run battle41. The de facto commander of the 57th NC regiment Col. Hamilton Jones, had been taken prisoner in November 1863, and was still absent for the Hatcher’s Run fight. He was exchanged sometime later in February and was severely wounded at Fort Stedman on March 25th 186542. Ad hoc casualty data for the Hatcher’s Run battle reports: 2 killed, 7 wounded and 23 captured for the 21st NC regiment; 5 wounded and 9 captured for the 54th NC regiment43.
Brig-Gen. Clement Evans
Previously commanded by Gen. Gordon, Evans took over divisional command in December 1864, when Gordon was made commander of the re-formed Second Corps. As Evan’s was not a Major-General, the unit was still known as Gordon’s Division, although in modern battle accounts and maps, it is termed Evans’ Division44. Estimates of the division strength going into battle at Hatcher’s Run, vary from 2,695 – 3,500 men45.
Col. John H. Baker
13th Ga – Lt-Col. Richard Maltbie
26th Ga – Major Benjamin Grace46
31st Ga – Col. John Lowe
38th Ga – Lt-Col. Philip Davant
60th Ga + 61st Ga – Col. Waters Jones
12th Ga battalion – Capt. George Johnson
This brigade was formerly commanded by Brig-Gen. Evans before he took over command of the division. In terms of unit nomenclature, from a memoir written by a former brigade soldier, he knew it as the Lawton-Gordon-Evans brigade47; clearly not a useful moniker when labelling maps or for battle narratives.
This brigade presents another significant command conflict. In many mainstream accounts and battle-maps of the Hatcher’s Run battle, this Georgian brigade is commanded by Col. John Lowe48. The CWE database (end of January 1865) and the Brigade’s Inspection Report for 30th January 1865 both record Lowe in command, with Col. Baker being completely absent, even from commanding the 13th Ga, his old regiment49. However, others sources reliably show that Col. John Baker was in brigade command at the battle of Hatcher’s Run, a little over a week later50.
In his personal account of the 61st Ga regiment, Private Nichols provides the following paraphrased information51: “Col. Baker commander of the 13th Ga, took over brigade command from Gen. Evans when he took charge of the Division in December 1864. On January 18th 1865 the depleted 60th and 61st Ga regiments were merged. Major Walters Jones was promoted to colonel to command the combined unit and Capt. S. Kennedy was promoted to Lt-Col. to be second in command. Kennedy was seriously wounded at Hatcher’s Run. Col. Baker led the brigade at Hatcher’s Run where he was slightly wounded. Baker was in brigade command for several months. He was seriously wounded at Fort Stedman (March 25th 1865) and Col. Lowe (of the31st Ga) immediately took over command of the brigade which he led to the end of the war”.
For February 1865, the CWE database reports Baker as brigade commander and Lowe is back to being in charge of his 31st Ga regiment52. The brigade strength was reported to be 1,156 infantrymen at the end of January 186553. As alluded to above, the regimental structure at the time of the Hatcher’s Run battle has some differences to that reported in the CWE database and Inspection report a week earlier. In these sources the 60th and 61st Ga regiments are not combined and a Capt. Perry is listed as commanding the 31st Ga regiment54.
|Brig-Gen. William Terry; commanded a consolidated brigade of Virginian regiments at Hatcher’s Run.|
|Brig-Gen Clement Evans; Division commander at Hatcher’s Run|
Brig-Gen. William Terry
2nd Va, 4th Va, 5th Va, 27th Va, 33rd Va. – Col. Abraham Spengler
21st Va, 25th Va, 42nd Va, 44th Va, 48th Va. – Col. Norvel Cobb
10th Va, 23rd Va, 37th Va. – Lt.-Col. Dorlias Martz
This was a “consolidated brigade” made up of the remnants of numerous Virginian regiments that were all what remained of three famous Rebel Brigades (the Stonewall Brigade, Jones’ Old brigade and Steuart’s Old Brigade) by December 9th 1864, when they transferred from the Valley to be part of the re-formed Second Corps at Petersburg55. The regimental structure in the CWE database is mostly consistent with the End of January Inspection Reports56 with Spengler leading the Stonewall Brigade remnants, Cobb commanding the Jones Brigade remnants and Martz leading the Steuart Brigade remnants. However, the CWE database included the 50th Va regiment in Cobb’s collection and the 36th Va instead of the 37th Va in Martz’s group. This is an error as both the 36th Va and 50th Va stayed in the Valley with Gen. Wharton’s Division and were effectively destroyed / captured at the battle of Waynesboro on March 2nd 1865; information that is also provided by the database on the regimental pages57. The Inspection Report on January 28th 1865 records a brigade strength of 1,104 infantrymen58. Accounts of some of these units in “The Virginia Regimental Histories Series” reveal casualty data for the battle of Hatcher’s Run and other interesting observations59:
21st Va: 1 killed, 6 wounded.
25th Va: 4 wounded, 1 captured.
33rd Va: Lt-Col. George Huston was killed in battle on 6th February.
37th Va: 2 wounded.
42nd Va: 6 casualties total.
44th Va; 1 killed, 11 wounded (I mortally).
These regimental histories show that desertion was rife, with soldiers simply walking across into Federal lines to surrender. The lack of food and clothing during a harsh winter being contributing factors, but a major issue was a widespread dissatisfaction with the regimental consolidation.
Col. William Peck
1st La, – Lt. Enoch Farmer.
2nd La, – Capt. Charles M. Farris.
5th La, 6th La, 7th La, – Lt. James E. Weymouth.
8th La, – Capt. Louis Prados.
9th La, – Lt. T. A. Upshaw.
10th La – Lt. Enoch Farmer
15th La. – Lt. J. B. W. Penrose.
In October 1864, the ten regiments of the famous “Louisiana Brigade” now amounting to only ~500 men, were reorganized as a battalion of six companies, although it was still referred to as a “consolidated brigade”. The 10th Louisiana merged with the 15th Louisiana into one of the companies. In early December, the “Brigade” transferred from The Valley to Petersburg and became a part of Evans’ Division in the re-formed Second Corps. Their commander Brig-Gen. Zebulon York, struggling to recover from a wounding at “3rd Winchester” (September 1864) was replaced by Col. William Peck (commander of the 9th La), who himself had also been wounded at “3rd Winchester,” but had returned to the field in December60.
The data above is from the Inspection Report on 28th January 1865 and reveals the confused picture, with many of the “regiments” commanded by Lieutenants rather than Colonels. The 10th La and 15th La don’t appear to be merged on that particular day. In the CWE database, the 15th La is shown as merged with the 14th La, (not in the Inspection Report) and the 8th La is merged with the 9th La. What is noteworthy, is that Col. Eugene Waggaman of the 10th La (see below) is missing from both the CWE database and the Inspection Report61 suggesting he was absent from duty for some reason. The Inspection Report shows Lt. Farmer the 1st La commander also leading the 10th La regiment, which graphically highlights the plight of this “brigade”.
It is clear that Col. Peck led York’s Brigade of 434 infantrymen62 into battle at Hatcher’s Run. William Peck was promoted to Brig-Gen. soon afterwards (on 19th February) and was then transferred to the west, consequently, Col. Eugene Waggaman took command of York’s “Brigade” which by then amounted to just over 400 men63. Modern accounts of Hatcher’s Run and battle-maps, refer to Peck and Peck’s brigade and the technically-correct York attribution is largely ignored64. This presumably reflects the fact that Gen. York’s absence was well known to chroniclers.
This article addresses many of the conflicting narratives regarding which Rebel Second Corps commanders were present at the deadly, three-day Battle of Hatcher’s Run. While one should never expect forensic consistency across hundreds of historical accounts, the substantial areas of discordance in mainstream, highly acclaimed accounts of the battle, require understanding.
The key issues revealed are:
1) Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston was NOT present at the battle; his Brigade was instead commanded by Col. John “Gimlet” Lea.
2) Col. John Baker and NOT Col. John Lowe was commanding Evans’ Brigade at Hatcher’s Run. Col. Lowe was most likely commanding his 31st Ga regiment.
3) The above relatively unknown commander issues, together with more familiar commander absences and the confused nature of Rebel unit nomenclature, has resulted in significant confusion within modern texts and especially battle-maps.
4) On the death of Brig-Gen. Pegram, NEITHER Brig-Gen. Robert Johnston nor Brig-Gen. James Walker took over immediate command of the Division. Neither of these generals were present at the battle. Brig-Gen. William Lewis took command following the death of Pegram, remaining in post for about a week.
5) The 36th Va and 50th Va were not part of Terry’s Brigade and were operating at the time in The Shenandoah Valley, many miles away.
Many more minor disparities and oddities are also described. It is important to explicitly differentiate between a person’s name used to define a given unit and who was actually commanding the unit; this is especially salient for modern accounts of the battle. Despite having Rebel brigade Inspection Reports for the end of January 1865, only a week before the battle, absences and returns from absences in those few days clearly occurred, leading to many of the current conflicts on this topic. Finally, issues with databases and reference texts are highlighted, regarding incomplete “fine-grained” data at the regimental level.
In the next article of this series, the spotlight is focused upon those Rebels present in Lt.-Gen. A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at the battle of Hatcher’s Run.
Information about the photographs uses and full details of the bold references are provided in the Introduction text along with “Acknowledgements”.
a This was the renowned “Doles-Cook Brigade”, composed of the 4th Ga, 12th Ga, 21st Ga and 44th Ga infantry regiments. J. Graham (1901) Clark vol 2, p451-52; and R. Driver (2003) “1st and 2nd Maryland Infantry C.S.A”, p310-312; both specifically mention this Georgian brigade taking part in the final assault on February 5th 1865. Henry Thomas (1903) “History of the Doles-Cook Brigade of Northern Virginia, C.S.A”, is the seminal book on the brigade and within it there is scant mention of the Hatcher’s Run battle. However, on page 486 it stated that Col. James Beck, commander of the 44th Ga, exposed himself at the battle, developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. The section covering the exploits of the 21st Ga regiment mentions that after December 1864: “The next engagement in which our regiment took (a) prominent part was near Hatcher’s Run to the right of Petersburg, the enemy’s sorties being repulsed in a number of instances” (page 348). Within the rosters there is Private George Brown, Company “I” 21st Ga, who was reported captured Feb 6th at Hatcher’s Run.
1 Hawks, Army of The Valley December 1864 webpage, Army of the Valley, December 1864 (civilwarintheeast.com) ; Kyd Douglas, p307; Sherrill, p403-407; Mark Boatner (1959) Cassell’s Biographical Dictionary of the American Civil War, p179-181. Interestingly, in an acclaimed Jubal Early biography (Millard Bushong (1955) “Old Jube” p267) the transfer of the divisions of Gordon, Pegram and Grimes (his senior generals) to Petersburg in December 1864 is not mentioned. Grimes’ division may have arrived a bit later, in early January 1865 Bearss, p183. Also noteworthy is that in both Gen. John B. Gordon’s “Reminiscences of the Civil War (2015 ed)” Chap 26 p245-259 and Ralph Eckert’s (1993) John B Gordon: Soldier, Southerner, American p105-107 there is no mention of the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, nor the death of Gen Pegram, one of his three divisional commanders. January and February 1865 are generally glossed over, before concentrating upon his meeting with R. E. Lee to discuss an attack on Fort Stedman. Interestingly, R.E. Lee had been given command of all Rebel forces on 6th February during the Battle of Hatcher’s Run. Douglas Freeman (1961) “Lee” 1 vol Abridgement, p445-46. The morale of the returning troops is discussed in Waters and Edmonds (2013) “A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia” p172.
- Hawks, the 5th NC regiment webpage, History of the 5th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the Civil War (civilwarintheeast.com) ; Hawks, the Army of The Valley September 1864 webpage Army of the Valley, September 1864 (civilwarintheeast.com); Kyd Douglas, p298.
- 3. Kyd Douglas, p311-12. Gen. Pegram married southern belle Hettie Carey of Baltimore on January 19th 1865 in St Paul’s Church Richmond, in a ceremony attended by senior Rebel political and military leaders. The fact that the same congregation was attending his funeral three weeks later is especially poignant. Valgene Dunham (2013) “Allegany to Appomattox: The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers” p157, gives a detailed account of the wedding and bride.
- 4. Kyd Douglas, p312, Bearss, p214, Trudeau, p320, Sherrill, Sherrill, p413 quotes a division strength of 2,400, the End of January Inspection Report records 2,353 infantrymen; NARA, (1973) M935, Roll 14, 16.P.51, 065: Inspection Reports and Related Records Received By the Inspection Branch in the Confederate Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, hereafter referred to as NARA (1973). Kyd Douglas was present at the time and Pegram died in his arms.
- Hawks, The webpage for the 5th NC regiment History of the 5th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the Civil War (civilwarintheeast.com); Bearss, p226 reports that Brig-Gen. Johnston was in command of the division the day after Pegram’s death; this is unlikely given that Johnston wasn’t at the battle. Calkins, p22.
- Trudeau, Organization of Forces Annex p498; General James A. Walker Wiki page, James A. Walker – Wikipedia; Clark, 23rd NC account vol2, p262. These are mostly ambiguities rather than errors; Walker did (eventually) become divisional commander three weeks after Pegram was killed. However, as I have described, two other officers took command before Walker’s appointment and most importantly for this article, Gen. James Walker was nowhere near Hatcher’s Run during the battle.
- Kyd Douglas, p313; Sherrill, p417.
- Gen. James Walker was an experienced commander, he was wounded (a smashed left elbow) at the battle of Spotsylvania in May 1864 where he’d led the famed Stonewall Brigade. Following recuperation at home, he then took on various responsibilities in the ANV from July 1864 to mid-February 1865 such as guarding railroads, bridges, organizing prisoners etc. In the days following the death of Gen. Pegram and incapacitation of Col. Hoffman at Hatcher’s Run, he was given command of Hoffman’s brigade and by March his promotion to Maj- Gen. was formalized and he took over divisional command from Gen. Johnston. Edward Christian Campbell (1972) “JAMES ALEXANDER WALKER- A BIOGRAPHY,” MA History Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, p55-56. This is consistent with both Kyd Douglas, p313 and Sherrill, p417 who report that Gen. Walker took over divisional command from Gen. Johnston on Feb 27th 1865. Johnston and his brigade then went to North Carolina to round-up deserters, significantly depleting the division. Trudeau, p319, refer to a captain in Walker’s Brigade of Pegram’s Division, no such brigade existed at the time.
- 9. A selection of modern authoritative references that use the Pegram Division notification and not Early, the technically correct label: Trudeau, p301, 317-319; John Horn (1993) “The Petersburg Campaign” p203; Bergeron, p30,34; Bearss, 184-214; CWBT map
- The 13th Va was in fact Gen. James Walker’s old regiment; it had originally been organized and commanded by none other than A.P. Hill. Hawks, 13th Va regimental webpage HIstory of the 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War (civilwarintheeast.com); James Robertson (1987) “Gen. A. P. Hill: The Story of a Confederate Warrior” p36.
- 11. A selection of modern authoritative references that use the Hoffman Brigade notification and not Pegram, the technically correct label: Bearss, p206-207, 214-15; Bergeron, p30,34; Sherrill, p415; Waters and Edmonds (2013) “A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia” p171-73.
- Sherrill, p415; Wooddell, p426
- Kyd Douglas, p312. General Ord’s official report is cited in Wooddell, p427, footnote 906.
- Wooddell, p426-432
- Sherrill, p415; Wooddell, p426.
- Trudeau, Organization of Forces Annex, p498
- According to Wooddell, p434-36, following the capture of Col. Kasey at Fort Stedman (March 25th), Major Cooper (the same officer as discussed for note 21) was “left in command of the brigade”. As late as April 2nd, Cooper was commanding the brigade in fighting. He claims that Kyd Douglas took command of the brigade on April 3rd. Kyd Douglas however claims that he was placed in temporary command of the brigade on March 24th and led the brigade at the Fort Stedman fight, Kyd Douglas p313. This view is not shared by Petersburg National Park Historian W. Wyrick (2008) “Lee’s Last Offensive”, Blue & Gray Magazine vol25, p15, who reports Col. Kasey in brigade command at Fort Stedman, until captured. What I find noteworthy is that Lt-Col. Kasey is not referred to once in the Kyd Douglas book, despite being a senior commander in the same brigade and brigade leader for several weeks? There seems no dispute that Kasey was present at Fort Stedman as he was captured there. It seems highly implausible that Major Douglas would be placed in brigade command over Kasey on the eve of battle. This is clearly a conflict that needs addressing by those researching the Fort Stedman story. Kyd Douglas p315 claims he was promoted to Brig-Gen. around March 25th, although whether all the formal paperwork was ever completed is unclear.
- 18. Hawks, Pegram division webpage for January 1865, Early’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com); NARA (1973), M935, Roll 14, 18.P.51, 0684, 0686.
- 19. Schulte, 52nd Va webpage, 52nd Virginia Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com); Robert Driver (1986) “52nd Virginia Regiment”, p73; Neither a regimental history (John Robson, (1876) “A History of the 52nd Virginia Regiment”) nor an obituary of Colonel (there is no evidence he achieved this rank) John D. Lilley, Confederate Veteran Magazine (1914), Vol 22 p33, mention his wounding or the Hatcher’s Run battle.
- Hawks, Pegram division webpages for January and February 1865 Early’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, February 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com) has Capt. Clawson in command, yet on the 31st Va webpage 31st Virginia Infantry Regiment (civilwarintheeast.com) Major Cooper is listed as commanding after Hatcher’s Run.
- Wooddell Chapters 11-12. Regimental command of 31st Va at Hatcher’s Run is specifically described on p427.
- 22. David Riggs (1988), “The 13th Virginia Regiment”, p74; John Ashcraft (1988), “The 31st Virginia Regiment”, pp73; Robert Driver (1986), “The 52nd Virginia Regiment”, p73; Robert Driver (1990), “The 58th Virginia Regiment” p75.
- Report by Col. John Lea, O.R. Addendum Reports, Vol 46, Serial Number 95, p803- 807; states that Maj. Devane was commander of the 20th NC at Hatcher’s Run..
24 Ibid; Clark Vol2, p262; both attest to Capt. Peace being in command of the 23rd NC regiment.
- 25. Following the battle of Hatcher’s Run much of the brigade was sent to North Carolina to round up deserters (see note 8). It was during this duty that Reuben Wilson and his sharpshooters earned a notoriety that outlived the war. The Western Piedmont region from which Wilson hailed, was a complex mixture of staunch Rebels, Union sympathizers and renegade mobs of deserters. On March 16th Capt. Wilson’s troops removed five men from a local jail and marched them out into nearby woods and shot them. For the rest of the war and afterwards this led to the call for Wilson’s prosecution. On April 2, 1865, in a charge at Petersburg, his left leg was cut off by a shell. He was hospitalized, paroled on April 21, re-arrested, and taken to Libby Prison, where he remained until December 20, 1865. David C. Williard, (March 2012), “Executions, Justice, and Reconciliation in North Carolina’s Western Piedmont, 1865–67.” Journal of the Civil War Era, Vol. 1, No. 1, p31-47.
- OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1180-83 provides a summary of the Confederate Inspection Reports for Jan 26th-31st 1865; NARA,(1973), M935, Roll 14, 19-P-51, 0696.
- Report by Col. John Lea, O.R. Addendum Reports, Vol 46, Serial Number 95, p803-07; Sherrill, p412-417; Kyd Douglas, p313; Trudeau, Organization of Forces Annex p498 also has Lea taking over from Johnston at some point between December 1864 and April 1865. Waters and Edmonds (2013) “A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia” p173-4. The nature of Johnston’s absence is uncertain, but wherever he was, he hadn’t returned by the evening of February 10th (Sherrill, p416-17), returning around February 13th when he assumed temporary divisional command from Gen. Lewis who returned to his brigade (Sherrill, p417). Kyd Douglas, p313; is less specific about the timing of Johnston’s return, but has it around the same date.
John Gimlet Lea was in fact a character of some notoriety. Wounded at the battle of Williamsburg 1862, he had been found and cared for by none other than George Custer (then a Federal Lieutenant), an old West Point friend. During his recuperation at a nearby house, Lea met and fell in love with a daughter of the family household and they were married three months later. Custer frequently visited Lea during his convalescence and was a groomsman at the wedding. Emerging Civil War, “Brothers at Bassett Hall”, posted October 25, 2011 by Daniel Davis, Brothers at Bassett Hall | Emerging Civil War.
- Schulte, The Battle of Hatcher’s Run (or Dabney’s Mill): February 5-7, 1865 webpages; The Battle of Hatcher’s Run (or Dabney’s Mill): February 5-7, 1865 — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com): Valgene L. Dunham ( 2015) in “Gregory’s New York Brigade: Blue-Collar Reserves in Dusty Blue Jackets” Chap 6; Bergeron, p30-37; Trudeau, p318 refers to “Johnston’s brigade” without qualifying that he wasn’t in command, unlike for Mahone’s Division p319-20, where he makes clear that Gen. Finegan was commanding. Calkins p17; p21-22 mentions Johnston in person and has Johnston mentioned on two maps. Johnston’s name appears on markers at the actual battlefield site, Bill Couglin 2007, The Battle of Hatcher’s Run Historical Marker The Battle of Hatcher’s Run Historical Marker (hmdb.org).
Bearss p206-211. On p210 it states: “Johnston and Lewis led their cheering troops out of the timber ….”; Bearss, p226, states for the day after Pegram’s death: “…Gordon posted Pegram’s Division (now commanded by Gen Johnston)…”.
- Hawks, Pegram Division webpages for January 1865 and February 1865 Early’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com) .
- Schulte, 5th NC regiment webpage, 5th North Carolina Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
- OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1180-83.
- Ibid; Hawks, Pegram division webpage for January 1865, Early’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com) .
- Report by Col. John Lea, O.R. Addendum Reports, Vol 46, Serial Number 95, p803- 807.
- Although Capt. Bennett was not commanding the 23rd NC regiment at Hatcher’s Run, he was present at the battle because he was wounded there and lost an arm. Clark, vol 2, p262.
- 35. Schulte, 12th NC webpage, 12th North Carolina Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com); Report by Col John Lea, O.R. Addendum Reports, Vol 46, Serial Number 95, p803- 807.
- 36. Schulte, 20th NC webpage 20th North Carolina Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com); Maud Smith (1996) “Thomas Fentress Toon” NCPedia, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, University of North Carolina Press, Toon, Thomas Fentress | NCpedia; Cape Fear Historical Institute, “Brig-Gen. Thomas F. Toon”, General Thomas F. Toon of Columbus County (cfhi.net).
- Clark vol 1 p289-90, p650; vol 2 p124, p262-63.
- 5th North Carolina Regiment (Infantry), 5th NC Regiment (Infantry) (carolana.com).
- The 21st North Carolina Infantry was one of only two North Carolinian regiments that in 1865 could boast “From Manassas to Appomattox,” i.e., they were with the ANV from the start to the finish of the war. Sherrill, p415.
- OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1180-83; NARA (1973),M935, Roll 14, 17-P-51, 0668, 0670.
- Clark, vol 1 p328; vol 2 p143; vol 3 p281-82, p422.
- 42. Schulte, 57th NC webpage, 57th North Carolina Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com); William Pittman (1988) “Hamilton Chamberlain Jones”, NCPedia, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, University of North Carolina Press Jones, Hamilton Chamberlain, Jr. | NCpedia.
43 American Civil War, Thomas’ Legion, North Carolina Civil War Regiments and Battles, 21st North Carolina Infantry: Battles and Casualties (thomaslegion.net); 54th North Carolina Infantry Regiment: Battles, Casualties (thomaslegion.net)
- In late November 1864, after John B. Gordon took over command of the re-formed 2nd Second Corps, Evans was given the temporary rank of major-general and command of Gordon’s old division. Robert Grier Stephens ed (1992) “Clement Anselm Evans, Intrepid Warrior: Clement Anselm Evans, Confederate General from Georgia; Life, Letters, and Diaries of the War Years”; M. Boatner ed. (1959), “Cassell’s Biographical Dictionary of the American Civil War” p267.
A selection of modern authoritative references that use the Evans Division notification and not Gordon, the technically correct label: Trudeau, p301,318; John Horn (1993) “The Petersburg Campaign” p203, 206; Bergeron, p30, 34; Bearss, p206-07, 213; Steven Stanley (2016) Civil War Trust, Map of the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Battle of Hatcher’s Run – February 5, 1865 | American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org) .
- 45. Sherrill, p413 reports 3,500, whereas the January 1865 Inspection Report records 2,695, NARA (1973),M935, Roll 14, 20-P-51, 0/01.
- Major Grace was killed at the Hatcher’s Run battle on February 6th 1865, with a Capt. Knox taking over regimental command, Schulte, 26th Ga webpage, 26th Georgia Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
- George W. Nichols (1889) “A soldier’s story of his regiment (61st Georgia) and incidentally of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans brigade, Army Northern Virginia.”
- Hawks, Gordon’s division webpage for January 1865 Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com) (although the heading says Jan 1864); OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1180-83; Bearss p186-190; Bergeron p30-37; Valgene L. Dunham (2015) “Gregory’s New York Brigade: Blue-Collar Reserves in Dusty Blue Jackets” p86. It is Lowe’s name and not Baker’s that is on the battle map used by the Civil War Battlefield Trust, Steven Stanley (2016) Civil War Trust, Map of the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Battle of Hatcher’s Run – February 5, 1865 | American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org) ; Calkins, p15-17; p172; Schulte, Battle of Hatcher’s Run webpages, The Battle of Hatcher’s Run (or Dabney’s Mill): February 5-7, 1865 — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
- Hawks, Gordon’s Division, January 1865 webpage, Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com); NARA (1973),M935, Roll 14, 22-P-51, 0/04, 0/41; OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1181.
- Waters and Edmonds (2013) “A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia” p173-4; The Atlanta Weekly Intelligencer, April 12th 1865, vol 7, No. 38, column 5; this Georgian newspaper article provides a detailed account of the battle and reports on the actions of Col. Baker leading the Georgian Brigade. George W. Nichols (1889) “A soldier’s story of his regiment (61st Georgia) and incidentally of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans brigade, Army Northern Virginia” p37, 210-13. Ed Gleeson (1998) “Erin Go Gray: An Irish Rebel Trilogy”, p36. Dale Nichols (2017) “Hurrah for Georgia”, p214-16; which also explains that Baker was wounded on February 6th. P. Johnson (Ed) (1979) “Under the Southern Cross”, p222-23. These accounts clearly place Col. John Baker as brigade commander, while Trudeau, Organization of Forces Annex p497 is also consistent with this view.
- George W. Nichols (1889) “A soldier’s story of his regiment (61st Georgia) and incidentally of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans brigade, Army Northern Virginia” p37, 210-13.
- Hawks Gordon’s Division webpages for February 1865 Gordon’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, February 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com).
- 53. NARA (1973),M935, Roll 14, 22-P-51, 0/04.
- 54. Hawks, Gordon’s Division, January 1865 webpage, Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com); OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1181.
- Hawks, Gordon’s Division, January 1865 webpage, Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com); Hawks, Gordon’s Division December 1864 webpage, Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, December 1864 (civilwarintheeast.com); Hawks, 2nd Virginia regiment webpage 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment (civilwarintheeast.com); Schulte, 10th – 23rd – 37th Virginia webpage, 10th-23rd-37th Virginia Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com) .
- Gordon’s Division, January 1865 webpage, Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com); OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1181.
- 57. Hawks webpages for 36th and 50th Va regiments, 36th Virginia Infantry Regiment (civilwarintheeast.com) ; History of the 50th Virginia Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War (civilwarintheeast.com); Hawks, Wharton’s Division webpage, February 1865, Wharton’s Division of the Army of the Valley, February 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com).
Although the 36th and 50th Va are correctly absent on the February 1865 webpage Gordon’s Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, February 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com).
59 Susan Riggs (1991) “The 21st Virginia Regiment”, p52; Richard Armstrong (1990) “The 25th Virginia Infantry and 9th Battalion Virginia Infantry”, p86; Lowell Reidenbaugh (1987), “The 33rd Virginia Regiment” p82, this mentions the killing of Col. George Huston and his replacement by Col. Abraham Spengler. The death of Col. Houston (sic) of the Stonewall Brigade at Hatcher’s Run is also reported in the Richmond Daily Dispatch, February 11th 1865, page 3 column 2. However, there is no evidence to confirm that George Huston was ever promoted to a colonel and that his true rank at Hatcher’s Run was Lt-Col. and hence he was always junior to Col. Spengler, National Park Service Battle Unit Details, “33rd Regiment Virginia Infantry”, Battle Unit Details – The Civil War (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov); Thomas Rankin (1987) “The 37th Virginia Infantry”, p75; Kevin Ruffner (1987) “The 44th Virginia Infantry”, p58; John Chapla (1983) “The 42nd Virginia Regiment”, p53.
- 60. Hawks, webpage for 14th La regiment 14th Louisiana Infantry Regiment (civilwarintheeast.com). Civil War Wiki, “William R. Peck” William R. Peck | Civil War Wiki | Fandom (wikia.org); Terry Jones (2002) “Lee’s Tigers, The Louisiana Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia” p220-22. Interestingly, with these changes of commands, someone as senior as Brig-Gen. William Peck does not feature anywhere in John Horn’s (1993) The Petersburg Campaign, June 1864 – April 1865 Rebel Orders of Battle p267-289.
Gen, Zebulon York is an interesting character, after his lengthy recuperation, he was assigned to recruiting duty in various prisoner-of-war camps. After the ANV surrender at Appomattox, York with a small number of infantry and artillery successfully defended the Yadkin River Bridge from an attack by Stoneman’s Raiders (April 12th 1865), enabling the fleeing Rebel President Jefferson Davis to evade capture for some time, Military Wiki, “Zebulon York” Zebulon York | Military Wiki | Fandom (wikia.org); Anne Brownlee (2003) Trading Ford History, “Stoneman’s Raid: Salisbury and the Yadkin River Bridge” Stoneman’s Raid: Salisbury and the Yadkin River Bridge (trading-ford.org).
- OR Series 1, Vol 46, p1181; Hawks Gordon’s Division webpage for January 1865 Gordon’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January 1865 (civilwarintheeast.com).
- 62. NARA (1973),M935, Roll 14, 21-P-51, 0/2
- Hawks, 10th La regiment webpage, 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment (civilwarintheeast.com) ; Terry Jones (2002) “Lee’s Tigers, The Louisiana Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia” p222; Schulte, York’s Louisiana Battalion Infantry webpage, York’s Louisiana Battalion Infantry — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
- A selection of modern authoritative references that use the Peck Brigade notification and not York, the technically correct label: Bearss, p207-08; Bergeron p30-37; Valgene L. Dunham (2015) “Gregory’s New York Brigade: Blue-Collar Reserves in Dusty Blue Jackets”. Chap 6, p86; Wooddell, p426; Waters and Edmonds (2013) “A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia” p173; Steven Stanley (2016), Civil War Trust, Map of the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Battle of Hatcher’s Run – February 5, 1865 | American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org);
About the Author
Dr Nigel Lambert is British and lives near Norwich, England. Semi-retired, Nigel is a biochemist by profession, although from the turn of this century he has been involved in health research from a social perspective. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, he has been privileged to visit many of the wonderful battlefields on several occasions. A recent chance encounter with a civil war rifle ignited his interest in the battle of Hatcher’s Run. Surprised by the sparse and conflicting literature on the battle, he decided to employ his scientific knowhow to create this series of articles exploring the Rebel Order of Battle for Hatcher’s Run.