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Friday, September 13, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): George Morrison, Wounded in the Wilderness

 Caption:  George Josiah Edwin Gray Morrison

Credit:   Carol Morrison, “George Joseph Morrison,”, May 26, 2017

Born in 1836, George Josiah Edwin Gray Morrison enlisted in the Petersburg City Guard, the 12th Virginia's Company A, as a private on June 11, 1861.  He had been a clerk.  Morrison was promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1862.  He suffered a severe right shoulder wound in the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.  Nonetheless, he surrendered with the Petersburg Regiment at Appomattox.  After the war, he went into the dry goods business in the Cockade City with James Edward "Eddie" Whitehorne, who had served as First Sergeant of the 12th's Company F, the Huger Grays.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): Augustus S. Andrews, Wounded at Bradshaw's Farm

Caption:  Augustus Spencer Andrews 

Credit:  John Early Andrews, “Augustus Spencer Andrews,”, May 26, 2017

On April 30, 1862, Augustus Spencer Andrews enlisted as a private in the 12th Virginia's Company K, the Archer Rifles, at Craney Island near the mouth of Elizabeth River near Norfolk.  He was born December 21, 1841 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, across the Appomattox River from Petersburg.  The Archer Rifles had been raised in May 1861 at Petersburg and were said to include every kind of man "from a Methodist preacher down to a horse thief."  On May 8, 1864, at the beginning of the fighting around Spotsylvania, Andrews suffered a slight gunshot wound to the head at Bradshaw's Farm.  He surrendered with the Petersburg Regiment at Appomattox.  He died January 29, 1922.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): William Henry Harrison, Captured October 27, 1864

Caption:  William Henry Harrison

Credit:  The Progress-Index (Petersburg, Va.), April 30, 1961

Born in 1831, William Henry Harrison, a married man, enlisted in the 12th Virginia's Company A, the Petersburg City Guard, on March 3, 1862.  He was promoted to corporal November 1, 1863.  At the battle of Burgess Mill southwest of Petersburg on October 27, 1864, Harrison belonged to a contingent of the Petersburg Regiment sent to reinforce the sharpshooters of Weisiger's brigade on the brigade's (and the attacking Confederate force's) extreme left.  The sharpshooters and their reinforcements did not receive word to retreat until long after the rest of the Secessionist force had withdrawn.  As light waned that overcast evening, the group got lost in the woods and captured a few Federal cavalrymen, then a train of Unionist ambulances.  While others plundered the wagons and secured horses, Harrison and a comrade from the 12th's Company I, the Meherrin Grays or "Herrings," started out toward what they thought was the southwest and Dinwiddie Court House.  Instead, they were tramping southeastward.  Around 9 p.m. then fell into the hands of the 7th Wisconsin.  Subsequently exchanged,  Harrison surrendered at Appomattox.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

J.T.L. Preston, a Founder of V.M.I. and One of Stonewall's Staff Officers

This is to help Richard Cheatham, VMI 1970.  f you are interested in honoring J. T. L. Preston, a founder of VMI and staff officer for Stonewall Jackson, please click on the following link.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): Allen Washington Magee, Another Brief Banner Carrier at Spotsylvania

Caption:  Allen Washington Magee

Credit:  George Seitz, “Allen Washington Magee,”, May 26, 2017

May 12, 1864 east of Heth's Salient at Spotsylvania was a very bad day for the 12th Virginia Infantry, the Petersburg Regiment.  After Federals from Burnside's Corps shot color bearer Ensign Ben May and his banner fell to Cpl. William Carrington Mayo.  Seconds later, another Unionist plugged Mayo and the flag fell again.  Pvt. Allen Washington Magee of the 12th's Company C, the Petersburg New or "B" Grays, seized the flag.  Magee had been a clerk in civilian life.  Burnside's bluecoats fled and the 12th's men searched for friends and relatives among the dead and wounded.  The remnant of the 12th’s color guard stood near a dogwood. A shell burst among these soldiers while First Lt. James Eldred Phillips of the 12th's Company G, the Richmond Grays, was talking to Pvt. Doncey Dunlop of the New Grays, recently returned to the ranks from a detail as wagon master with the regimental quartermaster. Two of the color guard died instantly. Magee, wounded in the left forearm, dropped the flag. Phillips ran around the dogwood and picked up the colors. Nearby Sgt. William Crawford Smith of the 12th's Company B, the Petersburg Old or "A" Grays, the lone member of the color guard still on his feet, had recovered from his wound of six days earlier. Phillips gave the flag to Smith, who got through the fight unscathed despite the hail of lead that the colors drew in his direction.  Smith had carried the regiment's colors into the Wilderness on May 6, 1864, but after being wounded then had turned them over to May.

Magee survived to become a first lieutenant and the 12th's color ensign October 28, 1864.  He and Pvt. Charles David "Charlie" Blanks laid down their arms at Appomattox after returning from furloughs, and did not received paroles but were not imprisoned.  Magee became a tobacconist after the war.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): William Carrington Magee, Carried the Colors Briefly at Spotsylvania

Caption:  William Carrington Mayo

Credit:  American Civil War Museum
East of Heth's Salient at Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864, a savage melee erupted in front of the 12th Virginia's center and left with elements of Burnside's Corps.  Shot by a Federal, Ensign Ben May dropped the colors.  They fell to the Richmond Grays’ Cpl. William Carrington Mayo. A graduate of Yale fluent in a dozen languages, this engineer had returned from France on a blockade runner in early 1863 and immediately enlisted, refusing an officer’s commissioner. Mayo’s hold on the regiment's banner lasted just seconds. A Yankee drilled him in the chest and the colors fell again.

Soldiers from the Richmond Grays ending the war at Appomattox included Mayo, survivor of the bloodbath east of Heth’s Salient and by that time a sergeant.  After the war, Mayo became a prominent Richmond lawyer and businessman.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Faces of the 12th Virginia Infantry ("Petersburg Regiment"): Hugh Ritchie Smith, Helped Cease Fire after Longstreet's Wounding

Caption:  Hugh Ritchie Smith

Credit:  The City of Petersburg:  The Book of its Chamber of Commerce

Captain Hugh Richie Smith, a former clerk, had enlisted in the 12th Virginia's Company C, the Petersburg New Grays, on April 19, 1861.  He became a corporal on September 1, 1861, a sergeant on May 1, 1862, sergeant major on June 1, 1863, and the regiment's adjutant and a captain on November 21, 1863.  His brother was Sgt. William Crawford Smith, the architect of the Germanna Ford bridge in April 1863 and the 12th's last color bearer.  

At the battle of the Wilderness, after the 41st Virginia (or maybe the two companies of the 12th with the 41st) had shot Longstreet at the climax of his flank attack, Hugh Smith waved a handkerchief atop the point of his sword. The musketry quickly stopped. The eight companies with the 12th’s colors recognized the troops firing on them as men of their own brigade.

On June 12, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Hugh Smith informed Pvt. George S. Bernard of Company E ,author of War Talks of Confederate Veterans (1892) and Civil War Talks (2012), that the regiment had suffered 159 casualties since the campaign’s beginning, mostly in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania.

At the climax of the battle of Globe Tavern on August 19, 1864, according to The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864, with the 12th and the rest of the Virginia Brigade facing envelopment, brigadier David A. Weisiger gave his horse to Hugh Smith and sent him to tell division commander William Mahone that the Unionists threatened to surround Weisiger’s force. On the way, Smith met courier Robert Randolph Henry bearing an order from Mahone for Weisiger to withdraw and reform.

During the retreat from the battle Burgess Mill on October 27, 1864, Smith Hugh Smith lent his horse to Cpl. John R. Turner of the 12th's Company E, the Petersburg Riflemen. The Riflemen’s Pvt. Richard Henry May mounted the animal, took Turner up behind him and eventually took him to safety through dark woods that helped swell the numbers of the 12th captured to 92, three of them wounded. 

Captain Smith surrendered at Appomattox.  After the war, he manufactured soap and candles and served as a state legislator.