North Carolina in the American Civil War

41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry)

Date Regiment Organized

Mustered In

 Date Regiment Ended

Mustered Out


September 3, 1862 (on paper)
(took over a year to assemble)

Kinston, NC

April 9, 1865

Appomattox, VA


Field Officers


Lt. Colonel(s)




John A. Baker

Alfred Moore Waddell,
Roger Moore

Roger Moore,
Charles W. McClammy, Jr.

Alfred Moore Waddell,
Thomas S. Warren

F.M. Byrd



Assistant Surgeon

Assistant Surgeon

Assistant QM(s)

Roger Moore,
John N. Smith

Benjamin M. Walker

Benjamin W. Sparks


Thomas J. Tunstall

Companies / Captains

Company A-New Hanover County
Rebel Rangers

Company B - Onslow County
Gatlin Dragoons

Company C - Caswell County
Caswell Rangers

Company D - Harnett County
Highland Rangers

Company E - Lenoir County, Craven County, Pitt County, Chatham County
Macon Mounted Guards

Capt. Abram F. Newkirk,
Capt. Charles W. McClammy, Jr.,
Capt. Alfred C. Ward

Capt. Edward W. Ward,
Capt. Bryan Southerland

Capt. Hannon W. Reinhardt,
Capt. John W. Hatchett

Capt. Alexander Murchison,
Capt. Thomas J. Brooks

Capt. William W. Carraway,
Capt. Lemuel H. Hartsfield

Companies / Captains (Continued)

Company F - Burke County
Davis Dragoons

Company G - Halifax County
Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen

Company H - Onslow County
Humphrey Troop

Company I - Wake County
Wake Rangers

Company K - Martin County, Washington County, Beaufort County, Pitt County
Clark Skirmishers

Capt. Elisha A. Perkins

Capt. Atherton B. Hill,
Capt. George A. Higgs,
Capt. Benjamin G. Smith

Capt. Lott W. Humphrey,
Capt. Julius W. Moore,
Capt. Alfred G. Hankins

Capt. Rufus S. Tucker,
Capt. David A Robertson

Capt. William Jordan Walker,
Capt. George W. Ward,
Capt. Frederick Harding

Brief History of Regiment*

The 41st NC Regiment (State Troops) was a regiment of cavalry; in the official enrollment it was thus denominated, but it was commonly styled and known as the 3rd Cavalry. For a great portion of its honorable history it was scattered over an extended field of operations and served as detached companies of cavalry.

It should be understood that the system adopted in numbering the several regiments does not represent the order of the organization of the companies in behalf of the defense of the State and the rights of the Southern people.

For example, ten (10) regiments raised under what was called the "Ten Regiment Bill." and enlisted "for the war," as was stated, were allowed to ante-number all previous volunteer organizations, most of them having been enrolled for twelve (12) months, although, as a matter of fact, all finally served throughout the struggle. The 1st NC Volunteers Regiment by special Act of the Legislature, was styled the "Bethel Regiment." It was afterwards under a new organization known as the 11th NC Regiment, but with an almost 100% turnover of personnel.

Regiments like the 18th NC Regiment and the 20th NC Regiment had been in service many months at the forts before being placed in regimental organization; the latter even containing companies fully equipped before the attack upon Fort Sumter in South Carolina (April 12-13, 1861).

In like manner many of the Independent Companies which were organized into the 41st NC Regiment at Kinston, in the Fall of 1862, had already seen large and faithful service, and it is to be hoped that surviving members of these gallant troops, that contributed so much to the protection of Eastern North Carolina, will leave memorials of their valuable services and chivalrous deeds of daring.

There was something attractive to the younger Southerner in the life of a bold Dragoon; especially among those whose circumstances had made them fearless horsemen, and whose life in the open air and participation in field sports had rendered them the finest recruits in the world for this form of military duty.

Of this class, the flower of the young men of the State, were the various "Dragoons," "Mounted Rifles," and similar bodies composed who bivouacked from the lower James River to the Cape Fear River, content to serve where duty called, under their bold Captains.

The fall of Hatteras (August 29, 1861) and the fate of Roanoke Island (February 7-8, 1862) early in the war were unavoidable events, under the circumstances. Without ordnance to contend against a powerful fleet that stood without range, and shelled at pleasure a garrison practically defenseless, the fate of the Hatteras Inlet Batteries was sealed.

But the capture of New Bern ought not to have occurred—at least it need not have taken place on March 14, 1862, long before the war was twelve (12) months old, if the authorities at Richmond had given it help with half the troops uselessly sent down afterwards.

But the importance of the position was hardly apprehended by either side. Certainly a commander of the order of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, or of Federal Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan would have cut the great line of supply of General Robert E. Lee's army, the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, and overwhelmed Wilmington from the rear.

That this was not done, must be attributed largely to the activity and energy of the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry), before and after its formal organization as a regiment, and the other commands serving in like capacity, or as partisan rangers.

The companies were somewhat unequal in size. As the war progressed and the Confederate Congress insisted upon measures of conscription, those arriving at military age frequently volunteered in companies containing friends, or raised in special localities. Some of these were from towns or counties in the hands of the enemy, and recruits were not easily available. Other companies were stationed at posts favorable for accession to their ranks.

Moore's Roster gives 1,158 men in the ranks of the regiment, but as the deficiency of that enrollment are well known, it is probable that the number was not less than 1,200, if not indeed considerably more.

John A. Baker, of New Hanover County, serving on the staff of Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French (MS), at that time in command of the Department of North Carolina, with headquarters at Wilmington, was commissioned as Colonel, on September 3, 1862, of the 3rd Cavalry, officially designated as the 41st NC Regiment.

The remaining Field Officers were not assigned until nearly a year afterwards; Alfred M. Waddell having been commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on August 18, 1863, and Roger Moore as Major, on the same date. Previous to that, Alfred M. Waddell had served as Adjutant, and Capt. Roger Moore had served as Assistant Quartermaster (AQM). Both of these gentlemen were from Wilmington. Upon the resignation of Lt. Col. Waddell, on August 10, 1864, Maj. Roger Moore was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and on December 9, 1864, Capt. Charles W. McClammy, of Company A, was promoted to the vacant Majority. Lt. Col. Roger Moore became commanding officer, as Col. John A. Baker, who had been taken prisoner by the enemy, on June 21, 1864, did not rejoin the regiment.

Capt. Thomas J Tunstall, of Mississippi, another officer who had been serving at headquarters of the Department of North Carolina, was made Assistant Quartermaster (AQM), on November 19, 1862. Benjamin W. Sparks was commissioned Assistant Surgeon on September 1, 1862, and was from Georgia; but on February 1, 1863, Dr. Benjamin M. Walker, of Plymouth, NC, was ordered to the regiment as full Surgeon. Lt. John N. Smith, of Texas, served as drill master and also as acting Assistant Commissary Sergeant (ACS). Rev. S. M. Byrd, of Virginia, was assigned as Chaplain on October 3, 1864.

The following were the non-commissioned staff: Thomas S. Armistead, Sergeant Major, Plymouth, Washington County; Calvin J. Morris, Quartermaster Sergeant, Bertie County; A. L. Fitzgerald, Ordnance Sergeant, Caswell County; Neil M. Buie, Hospital Steward, Harnett County; Joseph W Sorey, Chief Bugler, Martin County; Levi J. Fagan, of Plymouth, Color Sergeant.

The several companies composing the regiment may be briefly named as follows: (Most of the names of enlisted men can be found in the honorable roll compiled by order of the State, and known as "Moore's Roster," but that record, it is well known, is imperfect, many rolls having perished, which recorded the changes incident to time and disease and the casualties of war.)

Company A, known originally as the "Rebel Rangers," was from New Hanover County, and had seven (7) commissioned, nine (9) non-commissioned officers, two (2) musicians and 155 privates; total, 153. Abram F. Newkirk was commissioned as Captain on October 19, 1861; Charles W. McClammy, Jr. was promoted to Captain from 1st Lieutenant on September 12, 1863, and subsequently to Major on December 9, 1864, when Alfred C. Ward was made Captain from 1st Lieutenant. The remaining officers were, as successively promoted: First Lieutenant, Alfred C. Ward; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Robert Davidson, David J. Nixon, John W. Howard, Alfred C. Ward, John W. Howard, Lewis W. Howard, Joe R. Newkirk, and Robert C. Highsmith.

Company B, the "Gatlin Dragoons," of Onslow County, had eight (8) commissioned and ten (10) non-commissioned officers, and 122 privates; total, 139. Edward W. Ward was made Captain on December 28, 1861, and Bryan Southerland succeeded him on November 30, 1863, having been promoted from 2nd Lieutenant. The other officers were 1st Lieutenants Lott W. Humphrey, Jere W. Spicer; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Bryan Southerland, (promoted as stated), Jere W. Spicer, John D. Spicer, David W. Simmons, Stephen H. Morton, David Williams, and John C. Shepard.

Company C, the "Caswell Rangers," of Caswell County, had four (4) commissioned, nine (9) non-commissioned officers, and 87 privates; total, 100. Hannon W. Reinhardt was made Captain on February 28, 1862, and John W. Hatchett succeeded him; on September 8, 1864 1st Lieutenants John W. Hatchett, Nathaniel S. Henderson, and Stephen A. Rice; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Thomas W. Farish, Stephen A. Rice, and James A. Williamson.

Company D, the "Highland Rangers," of Harnett County, had four (4) commissioned, eight (8) non-commissioned officers, and 90 privates; total, 102.Alexander Murchison, Captain, was commissioned on March 5, 1862, succeeded by Thomas J. Brooks on April 20, 1863; 1st Lieutenants, Thomas J. Brooks, Gustavus W. Beaman, John K. Ray; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, James M. McNeill, John K. Ray, James M. White, and William M. McNeill.

Company E, the "Macon Mounted Guards," from Lenoir and Craven counties chiefly, with members from Pitt and Chatham counties, had five (5) commissioned, nine (9) non-commissioned officers, and 64 privates; total, 78. William W. Carroway and Lemuel H. Hartsfield were Captains, the former commissioned on April 29, 1862. 1st Lieutenants Lemuel H. Hartsfield, Stephen B. Evans, Isaac Roberts; 2nd & 3rd Lieutenants, William W. Carraway, John L. Haughton, Orren A. Palmer, Isaac Roberts, and Shadrach H. Loftin.

Company F, the "Davis Dragoons," from Burke County, had nine (9) commissioned, six (6) non-commissioned officers (whose names have been preserved), and 96 privates; total, 111. Thomas George Walton was made Captain on October 7, 1861, and succeeded by Elisha A. Perkins on May 13, 1862. 1st Lieutenants, Hugh C. Bennett and Junius C. Tate; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Joshua A. Stewart, Willoughby F. Avery, Rufus J. Kincaid, Jacob A. Connelley, and Henry P. Lindsay.

Company G, the "Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen," from Halifax County had eight (8) commissioned, seven (7) non-commissioned officers, and 108 privates; total, 123. Atherton B. Hill, who was made Captain on October 9, 1861, succeeded by George A. Higgs on May 1, 1862, was succeeded by Benjamin G. Smith promoted from 2nd Sergeant on October 7, 1862. 1st Lieutenants, William H. Smith, George A. Higgs, Norfleet Smith, and John Y. Savage; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Atherton B. Hill, George A. Higgs, James G. Anthony, Aquilla P. Hyman, Theodore B. Hyman, James H. Lawrence, John T. Savage, Francis M. Pender, Nortleet Smith, Alfred Wiggins, and David C. Camp.

Company H, the "Humphrey Troop," from Onslow County, had five (5) commissioned, nine (9) non-commissioned officers, and 85 privates; total, 99. Captains, Lott W. Humphrey was commissioned on May 15, 1862, Julius W. Moore was commissioned on December 10, 1862, Alfred G. Hankins was commissioned on date not known. 1st Lieutenants, Thomas B. Henderson, Richard W. Ward, and Alfred G. Hankins; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, Julius W. Moore, Alfred G. Hankins, James Bryan, J.D. Spicer, and Brice W Trott.

Company I, the "Wake Rangers," from Wake County, had eight (8) commissioned, eleven (11) non-commissioned officers, and 88 privates; total 107. Rufus S. Tucker, Captain, was commissioned on January 27, 1862, and on his resignation on December 20, 1862, David A. Robertson was made Captain. 1st Lieutenants, Thomas Jefferson Utley and Joseph W. Bowling; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, David A. Robertson, William W. Clements, Giles J. Allison, Willie G. Riddick, and Allen R, Rogers; Bugler, Jesse I Winburn.

Company K, the "Clark Skirmishers," of Martin and Washington counties, with Beaufort and Pitt counties contributing, had eight (8) commissioned, ten (10) non-commissioned officers, and 68 privates; total, 86. William Jordan Walker (October 27, 1861), George W. Ward (February 12, 1863), and Frederick Harding, who was commissioned on August 12, 1863, were Captains. 1st Lieutenants, George W. Ward, Frederick Harding, William R. Hyman, and William B. Slade; 2nd and 3rd Lieutenants, George W. Ward, William Slade, Frederick Harding, Jesse A.B. Cooper, James E. Moore, Burton Stilley, Thomas J. Harrison, and Edwin S. Moore. Of this company the writer (Joshua B. Hill) had the honor of being 1st Sergeant, having joined its ranks on May 16, 1862.

This completes a review of the personnel of a regiment remarkable for the high spirit and mental and physical strength, no less than for the moral worth and patriotic devotion to duty which characterized it. How many of the names on its official roster and the muster rolls of the privates in the ranks were honored for bravery in the service during the dark years of the war, or have risen to distinction among those of their fellow citizens in various sections of the State?

It has been already intimated that this regiment was a bulwark of protection for the great railroad from Weldon to Wilmington, and all that portion of the thirty (30) counties east of it, not completely in the hands of the enemy, with their combined naval and military power in the great sounds of North Carolina.

To many minds the idea of soldierly value is confined to the fleeting hours of the battlefield, and the efficiency of a regiment is measured by the number of men cut to pieces or left on the field, although both may occur through unskillful management of commanding officers, and may result, perhaps, in unnecessary, even valueless slaughter.

But there is an infinity of duties besides the actual shock of pitched battle, on a great scale. Cavalry has been well termed "the eyes and ears of an army," and well may this be said of the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry - State Troops). In a great arc, sweeping from the Cape Fear River (near NC/SC state line) to the Blackwater River (at VA/NC state line), it was the omnipresent guardian of the people. A large proportion of its troopers were natives of the east and knew its roads and fords, its swamps and streams. Picketing an enormous line, protecting the villages and settlements from forays, gathering supplies, and especially forage for the needs of the army of Virginia and the garrisons of the forts, guarding the crossroads and fords, communicating with friends in the lines of the enemy and checking his approach whenever he dared to advance beyond his gunboats, this regiment and its gallant brethren of similar commands, though for a long time denied the laurels that fell upon Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart (VA) and his bold troopers in their own scene of action, yet daily and hourly performed service of the most vital importance to the maintenance of our communications through North Carolina and to the protection of one of the most important regions of the country, if not the capital of the State itself.

Propositions to have the regiment assemble at Garysburg and move northward were repeatedly declined by the State authorities. But eventually the need of cavalry to reinforce the right wing of the army in the defense of Richmond be came most urgent. The impartial historian must say that the importance of maintaining cavalry in full efficiency was hardly fully realized in the Army of Northern Virginia. It was expected to take care of itself, and so it did. But as supplies grew scarce and horses and men grew gaunt with hunger, few animals could be found to replace the fiery steeds of the first squadrons, and such bloody massacres as Bristoe's and Brandy Station had wiped out whole squadrons, never to be replaced. It is no wonder, then, that when this regiment finally reached the lines of Petersburg it endured labors and hardships almost unparalleled even in that dread conflict.

On the other hand, with the wealth of the world in money, men and horses, the Federal cavalry, well trained and supplied with everything possible, was pushed, under Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, to its utmost effectiveness in the last campaigns.

After the fall of Roanoke Island on February 8, 1862, Capt. Rufus S. Tucker's company, the "Wake Rangers," was sent to guard Weldon Bridge, and afterwards to picket the Tar River from Greenville nearly to Washington. There were at this time other North Carolina commands on similar duty stationed to the south; Evans' Battalion between New Bern and Goldsborough, and Capt. Nethercutt's cavalry across the Trent River in Jones County.

In November following, Capt. W. W. Carroway's company, the "Macon Mounted Guards," were on duty at Kinston, and Capt. E.W. Ward's company served for some time, after the capture of New Bern, in picketing the streams of Onslow County and vicinity.

On September 28, 1862, Governor Zebulon B. Vance protested earnestly against calling off the regiment to Garysburg, and said that without the protection of the cavalry the finest provision region of the State would in a few days be desolated. So much in earnest was he that he was moved to exclaim: "If it is not the intention of the President to protect us, we must protect ourselves."

In late October or early November a squad of fourteen (14) men of Company K, under command of Levi J. Fagan, Color Sergeant, was sent on picket about ten (10) miles from Plymouth, which town was largely garrisoned by Federal troops. The darkness of the night, together with a blinding rain, rendered it difficult to perceive the approach of an active battalion of infantry from the enemy's lines, which suddenly surrounded and captured the squad. Taken on foot to Plymouth and thence by transport to New Bern, this small body of prisoners was held in captivity, though kindly treated, until paroled on December 4th.

A brilliant exploit performed by the "Rebel Rangers," Company A, subsequently, is reported by Brig. Gen. William H.C. Whiting, commanding District of Wilmington. He says, on November 28, 1862, that Capt. A.W. Newkirk's cavalry and Capt. Adams, with a section of a field battery, captured a steam gunboat of the enemy on New River. Her crew escaped, but her armament, ammunition, and small arms were captured.

Shortly afterwards the "Caswell Rangers," Company C, rendered brave and efficient service in repelling the raid of Federal Maj. Gen. John G. Foster upon Goldsborough Bridge, and was complimented for its coolness in action in the report of Colonel Stevens, of the Engineers, to Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith (GA), commanding.

Another company, that of Capt. Rufus S. Tucker, was in the expedition under Brig. Gen. James G. Martin (NC), who, with the 19th NC Regiment, Adams' Artillery, and the respective cavalry of Walker, Boothe, and Tucker, made an attack upon the forces of the enemy at Washington, NC on September 5, 1862. Capt. Tucker assaulted the town independently, the other companies being under the command of the gallant Capt. John G. Boothe (19th NC Regiment), who received a wound on that occasion that subsequently caused his death.

Capt. Rufus S. Tucker's command performed many difficult and hazardous feats. They had started at early morning, their gallant Captain at the head and again and again they routed and dispersed the enemy, only to meet additional parties stationed to repel Capt. Tucker's advance. "Charge!" was the repeated order, which was so successfully executed that the loss was slight, Bugler Winborne and a private near the head of the command having been dismounted, and captured by the enemy.

A portion of the enemy was completely driven out of the town in this brilliant engagement, but the heavy artillery of the gunboats completely commanded the whole of Washington, which is situated upon the Pamlico River, and as the occupation by Confederate forces involved the entire destruction of the place, without adequate military result, the command deemed it proper to evacuate and return to original lines.

The Davis "Dragoons," under Capt. Elisha A. Perkins, at Big Northeast Bridge, near Jacksonville, met a party of Federal cavalry, killing one (1) captain and five (5) privates and routing the balance without loss.

Seven (7) companies of the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) were concentrated for operations in Eastern North Carolina and on the Virginia border early in 1863, and so effectually did the command make its mark that Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins (SC), Brigadier commanding on the Blackwater River, proposed a dash of Col. John A. Baker's regiment of cavalry upon the enemy's camp of cavalry on the Windsor Road, four or five miles from Suffolk, VA.

Service along the narrow Blackwater River, guarding its fords and tributaries, involved much exposure to malaria and incessant contact with the enemy. Lt. Gen. James Longstreet (VA) issued preparatory orders for his demonstration against Suffolk, on April 16th, and was particular to direct that wires be stretched across the roads leading to the strong cavalry camps of the United States troops.

On the 21st of the same month, by orders from Richmond, the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) was attached to Brig. Gen. Beverly H. Robertson's (VA) Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, but it was placed almost immediately on detached service on the Blackwater River.

On June 11, 1863, Capt. Milligan, of the Confederate Signal Corps, announced that with a detachment of the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) he had burned Dillard's Wharf, on the south side of the river from Jamestown Island. This was a favorite landing place for predatory incursions of the enemy. Under date of June 18th, Maj. Gen. Daniel H. Hill (NC) reports:

"The Yankees, with ten regiments of infantry, two of cavalry and sixteen pieces, have been feebly attempting to cross the Blackwater for the last five days. They have been repulsed at all points with ease by the forces of General M. Jenkins, Colonel John A. Baker and Colonel Alf. Coppens."

The regiment was now in demand in various directions, remaining but a brief period at any point. On July 1st, it was ordered to Old Church to intercept raiders coming up the Peninsula and to watch the Pamunkey River. Hard service had left about two hundred (200) men of the command without horses.

On July 18th, the regiment was made a part of the division of Maj. Gen. Robert Ransom, Jr. (NC). On July 20th, Maj. Gen. William H.C. Whiting asked for it from General Samuel Cooper, saying, "I need very much an additional force of cavalry, can I not have Baker's regiment from Petersburg?" On July 22nd, he applied for it again to go to Brig. Gen. James G. Martin (NC) at Kinston to stop raids of the enemy, but the Union forces having appeared at Murfreesboro, the regiment was ordered on July 27th to the Blackwater River to check an advance toward Weldon, NC.

In August it was encamped at Ivor, a station on the railroad then called Norfolk & Petersburg, now a portion of the Norfolk & Western line.

It was about this time that newspaper reports, upon the Gettysburg campaign and others, had been full of extravagant praise for troops of certain other States, but North Carolina had been treated with neglect and even gross injustice. A proposition was made that official reporters should accompany the army, or at least that the authentic official reports of officers on the field should be published.

This was brought to the attention of General Robert E. Lee by the Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, to whom the great commander replied, on September 9, 1863, in words which should bring the glow of pride to the heart of every North Carolinian:

"In the reports of the officers justice is done the brave soldiers of North Carolina whose heroism and devotion have illustrated the name of their State on every battlefield in which the Army of Northern Virginia has been engaged, but the publication of these reports during the progress of the war would give the enemy information which it is desirable to withhold."

In November the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) was camped near Weldon, but by the end of the year it was on the ground where it was organized, reporting, on December 31st, 31 officers and 554 men present for duty, although the rolls have 971 names.

On December 30, 1863, it was engaged in a skirmish near Greenville, NC. This incident was quite remarkable. In the darkness of the night, Companies I and K led by Maj. Roger Moore, which were scouting below Red Banks Baptist Church, suddenly engaged the enemy returning from the church, which they had set on fire. Amid sharp firing in close contact and the clash of contending sabres, both columns forced a way through to their respective lines. Our loss was an officer and one private killed and several slightly wounded. A trooper of the enemy, well equipped, unconsciously fell into our lines, and rode on well satisfied, until at daybreak a vigilant officer. Lt. Buck Slade, perceived the stranger's predicament and divested him of his steed and arms. Surprised and disgusted, the astonished prisoner broke down completely.

Toward the end of January, General Robert E. Lee sent Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett (VA) with five (5) brigades to attack and attempt to recapture New Bern. The 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) was a portion of the cavalry ordered upon the expedition. This cavalry endured great hardships in breaking up the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad between Morehead City and New Bern, in passing around the town and in crossing the river. This much was accomplished, though the general undertaking was defeated.

On April 22nd, Col. John A. Baker was ordered to report to General Robert E. Lee for the assignment of the regiment to Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon's (AL) Brigade. But when in camp near Weldon it was ordered (May 3rd) by Brig. Gen. Walker, toward New Bern, and it took part in the feint executed by Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke (NC) in that section. Brig. Gen. James Dearing (VA), then commanding all the cavalry near New Bern, ordered it to Kinston, which was reached on the evening of May 7th. Thence by Maj. Gen. Hoke's orders, it proceeded by the highway to Weldon. The three (3) companies serving in the Department of North Carolina were ordered on May 2nd to join their regiment, which on May 15th was ordered to move with Maj. Gen. Hoke's Division to protect the right flank in the movement near Petersburg, of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard (SC) against Federal Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler.

General Braxton Bragg (LA), then in command at Richmond, complained to General Samuel Cooper (Adjutant and Inpsector General) that Col. John A. Baker's cavalry had been detained by General Pierre G.T. Beauregard (SC) after its orders to protect Richmond, and that thus the safety of the capital had been jeopardized.

General Beauregard answers the complaint as follows, and incidentally expresses his high appreciation of the North Carolina troopers:

"General Bragg in his communication has declared that the Third North Carolina (Cavalry) was detained for three weeks without the shadow of authority; and that by the delays occasioned by unauthorized assumptions in the movements of troops the safety of the capital has been jeopardized.

"I beg leave respectfully to reply that on 25 April, General Bragg authorized me to detain Baker's cavalry until the New Bern expedition should be completed, or until it should be relieved by another. The New Bern expedition terminated 6 May and Colonel Baker with his command, started immediately to Weldon, which he reached on the 10th and thence to Petersburg where he arrived with a portion of the command on the 14th. On the same day he proceeded, under my orders, with me to Drewry's Bluff.

"At this time General Butler was threatening the capital with a force largely superior to my own. There were with me including Baker's, but one regiment of cavalry and fractions of two others, viz: the Seventh South Carolina and a part of the Fifth South Carolina. These, with the Third North Carolina, were essential to the protection of the right and left flanks of my command. They participated in the battle of 16 May at Drewry's Bluff, and so far from jeopardizing the safety of the capital by delay in the execution of orders, they contributed essential service to its defense. All the troops which could be spared from the capital were being sent to me to defend it on the south side, and it did not occur to me to send forward the regiment to Richmond, merely to be returned, for the important purposes already indicated.

"Although the enemy was defeated on the 16th, and driven back to his works at Bermuda Hundred, he still greatly outnumbered me and held a menacing position dangerous to the safety of the capital. I did not deem it prudent and wise therefore, to send it on the 17th to Richmond, but directed it to watch and protect my flank on James River.

"22 May, Colonel Ferebee, with the Fourth North Carolina, having relieved Colonel Baker, was ordered immediately to report to General Bragg at Richmond, and he did so on the evening of the 23d. The detention was authorized, I respectfully submit, by the exigencies of the case and demonstrated by the signal service the command rendered on the 16th at Drewry's Bluff.

He asked for a court of inquiry, but General Robert E. Lee expressed himself as satisfied, dismissed General Braxton Bragg's complaint, and refused a court.

On this occasion Col. John A. Baker repeats that his marches were thirty (30) miles a day, and that as soon as pickets and couriers readied camp under orders at midnight, he started at 3 a m. Little rest was there for the wearied soldier for the remainder of the bloody struggle.

A few weeks later, on June 21, 1864, the regiment lost Col. John A. Baker by capture. He was considerably in advance of the regiment, with but one or two men. It is thus told by the enemy:

"June 21, 1864, 5:10 p.m.
"Theo. Lyman to Major General Meade:
"I have just been to meet General Barlow. About a mile from the railroad (W. & W and Petersburg) he engaged dismounted cavalry and two guns; took the Colonel of the Third North Carolina Cavalry, who thinks Early is behind on the railroad."

[Note, this date was the start of the engagment known as 2nd Weldon Railroad, Jerusalem Plank Road, or Well's Farm. The writer of this narrative does not assert that the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) actually participated in this battle, so I leave it off. For now.]

During the month of August the re-organization of the Field Officers took place, as heretofore referred to, and Maj. Roger Moore (promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on August 10, 1864) was left in command. The regiment was now in the brigade of Brig. Gen. Rufus C. Barringer (NC), where it remained for the rest of the war. It was in the division of Maj. Gen. William H. F. Lee (VA), under command of Maj. Gen. (soon Lt. Gen.) Wade Hampton (SC), commanding the Corps of cavalry.

It participated in' the brilliant attack on the enemy at Reams' Station, on August 25, 1864. From Maj. Gen. Hampton's report the following is taken:

"General Barringer, whom I had sent with his brigade to the east of the railroad, reported that he had met a strong force of infantry with cavalry I ordered him to picket the road strongly and join me with his command at Malone's Crossing. * * * Colonel Roberts, with his regiment, charged here one line of the rifle-pits, carrying it handsomely and capturing from sixty to seventy-five prisoners. * * * He struck the rear of the enemy, with Barringer's Brigade in the center of his force. Under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry the line advanced steadily, driving the enemy into his works. Here he made a stubborn stand, and for a few moments checked our advance, but the spirit of the men was so fine that they charged the breast-works with the utmost gallantry, carried them and captured the force holding them. This ended the fighting, my men having been engaged twelve hours. We captured 781 prisoners, 25 commissioned officers, buried 143 of the enemy and brought off 66 of their wounded. Our loss was: Total killed, 16; wounded, 75; missing, 3. Of these Barringer had 10 killed, 50 wounded, 1 missing. * * * General Barringer commanded Lee's Division to my satisfaction, while his brigade commanders, Colonel Davis and Colonel Cheek, performed their parts well."

The following letter from General Robert E. Lee to Governor Zebulon B. Vance, in reference to this gallant achievement, will live in history as one of the fairest laurels ever won by sons of the Old North State. Under date of August 29, 1864, he writes:

"I have frequently been called upon to mention the services of North Carolina soldiers in this army, but their gallantry and conduct were never more deserving of admiration than in the engagement at Reams Station on the 25th instant.

"The brigades of Generals Cooke, McRae, and Lane, the last under the command of General Connor, advanced through a thick abatis of felled trees, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery and carried the enemy's works with a steady courage that elicited the warm commendation of their corps and division commanders, and the admiration of the army. On the same occasion the brigade of General Barringer bore a conspicuous part in the operations of the cavalry, which were not less distinguished for boldness and efficiency than those of the infantry.

"If the men who remain in North Carolina share the spirit of those they have sent to the field, as I doubt not they do, her defense may be securely intrusted to their hands.

"I am with great respect, your obedient servant,"
R. E. Lee,
His Excellency, Z. B. Vance, Governor of North Carolina.

The dark and gloomy winter, the last of the war, was approaching. The regiment was now to endure the most extreme hardships of a soldier's life in cold, fatigue, hunger, pain, and anxiety. As the lines drew closer and forage became scarcer, the horses perished and the few must do the work of many. The middle of November found the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) in Brig. Gen. Rufus C. Barringer's (NC) Brigade, encamped near Gladcross' Mill, four (4) miles southwest of Petersburg, on the Boydton Road. Constant encounters took place on a small scale, and on December 9th, in an action near Belfield, in what was later known as the Stony Creek Raid, the enemy was handsomely driven back. Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton (SC) says in his subsequent report (21 January, 1865):

"The cavalry of the enemy which we met was driven in rapidly with loss and in confusion, and the infantry of the rear guard was gallantly charged. * * *

"The pursuit on our part continued during the remainder of the day, the enemy blockading the road, destroying the bridges and only fighting at the obstacles he had placed in the road. At Moore's Mill we drove him from the bridge, and pushing on, we soon met some cavalry, charging and dispersing them.

"The leading squadron of the Third North Carolina (Forty-first) dashed into the main body of the enemy, who were found preparing to go into camp. Finding their whole force there I withdrew to Moore's Mill, two miles back, to bivouac. From this point I notified General Hill of the position of the enemy. * * * My officers and men behaved admirably— losses small—250 to 350 prisoners taken."

On March 1, 1865, the official report showed 78 officers and 1,298 men present for duty in Brig. Gen. Rufus C. Barringer's (NC) Brigade, and the fact that this number is actually more than one-third of the total cavalry of General Robert E. Lee's army, which was reported at 3,761, is a proud evidence of the devotion to duty of these gallant men in the darkest hours. On March 27th, the Brigade was at Stony Creek.

The position of General Robert E. Lee's army is thus described by Swinton, the fairest historian on the Union side:

"The right of Lee's intrenched line running southwest from Petersburg covered Hatcher's Bun at the Boydton Plank Road. Thence it extended for a considerable distance westward, parallel with Hatcher's Run, and along what is known as the White Oak Road. This line directly covered Lee's main communication by the Southside Railroad. Four miles west of the termination of this intrenched front, a detached line running also along the White Oak Road covered an important strategic point, where several roads from the north and south, converged on the White Oak Road, from what is known as the 'Five Forks.'"

Swinton further declares of General Robert E. Lee:

"From his left, northeast of Richmond, to his right, southwest of Petersburg, there were thirty-five miles of breastwork, which it behooved Lee to guard, and all the force remaining to him was 37,000 muskets and a small body of broken down horses!"

As it became evident that the meager numbers of General Lee could not longer hold back the immense hosts under Federal Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, arrangements were quietly made looking to retreat in the only possible direction, the west.

Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (VA) relates that on March 28th he was ordered from his position on the extreme left of the line north of the James River to Petersburg, and to Southerland's Station, on the Southside Road, nineteen (19) miles distant, on March 29th. There the division of Maj. Gen. William H. F. Lee (VA), containing Brig. Gen. Rufust C. Barringer's (NC) Brigade, joined him.

On March 31st, they attacked a very large force of the enemy's cavalry at Five Forks, killed and wounded many, captured one hundred (100) and drove them to within half a mile of Dinwiddie Court House. While Col. Thomas T. Munford held the front Maj. Gen. William H. F. Lee (VA) and Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser (VA) went to turn their flank, found a stream in the way, with strong defenses, carried the defenses, but with loss to Maj. Gen. Lee and Maj. Gen. Rosser—and Col. Munford also carried the works in his front. At Hatcher's Run, a whole corps of Federal infantry attacked two (2) small brigades of Confederate cavalry on the Boydton Plank Road (aka White Oak Road).

Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (VA) further says:

"On 3 April I protected Anderson's rear and skirmished with the enemy's advance to Amelia Court House." In his language, "At another of the temporary halts upon this march, to check the enemy in the vicinity of Namozine Church, that very excellent North Carolina brigade of W H. F Lee's Division, suffered severely. The troops had been placed in motion again to resume the march. This brigade was the rear of the column and I was obliged to retain it in position to prevent the enemy from attacking the remainder of the command.

"While getting in motion, their rapidly arriving forces soon augmented the troops it was so gallantly holding in check, and produced a concentration impossible for it to resist. Its commander, Brigadier General Barringer, was captured while in the steady discharge of his duties, and his loss was keenly felt by the command."

Of this event the Federal Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt claims (3 April):

"The command moved forward at daylight and occupied the forks which the enemy had abandoned during the night. The First and Third Division (United States) cavalry marched in pursuit toward Amelia Court House. Wells' Brigade had a spirited fight with Barringer's Brigade of rebel cavalry, routing, dispersing or capturing the entire command, including the rebel general himself."

This extraordinary report is more clearly, correctly defined by official returns from the commanders more closely engaged. Two (2) entire divisions of cavalry were enveloping the retreat of the Confederates, worn out man and horse, by six (6) day's marching and fighting. Another and doubtless more correct report from a Federal commander is the following:

"April 3, at night, went on picket at Five Cross Roads (called by the Confederates Five Forks), distance about twenty miles from Namozine Church, and by the aid of Major Young, Chief of Scouts, captured and brought into our lines General Barringer and part of his staff, the regiment being detached from the brigade at the time."

The few faithful horse that were left were invaluable in prolonging the retreat to Burkeville where General Robert E. Lee expected to meet the train of supplies and ammunition. That, by some fatal blunder, this train had been fired and all hope of succor for the starving horses short of Lynchburg had to be abandoned, is now familiar history.

In his last report General Robert E. Lee says (Appomattox, 12 April, 1865):

"After successive attacks, Anderson's and Ewell's Corps were captured or driven from their position. The latter general, with both of his division commanders, Kershaw and Custis Lee, and his brigadiers were taken prisoners.

"Gordon, who all the morning aided by General W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, had checked the advance of the enemy on the road from Amelia Springs, and protected the trains, because exposed to his combined assaults, which he bravely resisted and twice repulsed; but the cavalry having been withdrawn to another part of the line of march and the enemy massing heavily on his front and both flanks, renewed the attack about 6 p.m., and drove him from the field in much confusion."

Some of the cavalry escaped with Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser (VA) before the end, but in the Providence of God the close of the great struggle had come. At the actual surrender, the whole division of Maj. Gen. William H. F. Lee (VA) numbered but 298 men and officers, of which Brig. Gen. Rufus C. Barringer's (NC) Brigade had 2 officers and 21 men, total 23, for parole. A few had escaped; most of them had been taken, man by man, dismounted from horses which hunger, disease,and wounds rendered incapable of supporting their starving but dauntless riders.

This narrative does not purport to be a complete history of the varied experiences of the 41st NC Regiment (State Troops), but is simply offered as a contribution towards an account of the various marches and battles that illustrate its eventful career.

I am indebted to the brave and courteous Thomas S. Armistead, Sergeant Major of the regiment from the time of its organization, for his valuable notes concerning the various movements and services of the companies detached, or of the regiment as a whole, from time to time. His recollections are vivid and lucid, and a more gallant officer never mounted horse. I am also indebted to the gallant Burton Stilley, 2nd Lieutenant in my own company, K, the "Clark Skirmishers," for his recollections of certain casualties in the regiment and other information. Writing on August 9, 1895, he says:

"While camping at Franklin, VA, on the Blackwater, in pursuing Schocknett's cavalry toward Suffolk, Lieutenant Al. Wiggins, of Company G, was killed. His horse becoming frightened, ran past the rear of the retreating Federal column.

"In an engagement with Graham's North Carolina Volunteers (Union) below Greenville, NC, in the night, Lieutenant Camp and Private Ferrall, of Company G, were killed. In an engagement on Sunday evening, near Hanover Court House, Sergeant Jeffreys, of Company I (Raleigh) and Private Patrick, of Company H, were killed, and Private L. A. Jones, of Company K, severely wounded. In an engagement between Richmond and Charles City, near White's Tavern (aka Fussell's Mill, New Market Road, Bailey's Creek, Charles City Road), on August 17, 1864, I was wounded severely and in September, 1894, had my leg amputated and am still suffering. Also Privates H. M. Patrick and Kenneth Daniels, of Company K, were killed by the same shell that wounded me."

Dr. Stilley writes in the strain of devotion to the memory of glorious days and noble martyrs.

It has been deemed better to recite the history of the 41st NC Regiment (3rd Cavalry) from official sources, rather than to attempt to revive the fading scenes of memory after so many years, especially as the following circumstances will explain the separation from my beloved comrades, so keenly felt by the writer.

When the regiment was on duty near Yellow Tavern, VA, on June 27, 1864, I was sent as Orderly Sergeant in charge of a party to secure forage. The wagons were only partially loaded when the enemy suddenly firing upon us, in the middle of a wheat field, brought on a regular engagement of both cavalry and infantry. I was shot in the right arm and sent to the hospital at Petersburg. The result was a long period of suffering and inability for service. T. B. Slade was then promoted to Orderly Sergeant. In January of 1865, I was detailed as unfit for active service and ordered to report to Captain Crenshaw at Magnolia. Subsequently, being in the retreat of General Joseph E. Johnson's (VA) army before the greatly superior forces of Federal Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, my military service was closed near New Salem, NC, when the surrender of General Johnston near Greensborough, put an end to operations in North Carolina.

Many men of distinction in our beloved State are today proud of their membership in the old 3rd Cavalry, and others have passed away in the fullness of years. Among those still living is a gallant young private of Company K, known throughout the country now, Julian S. Carr, commander of the State Veterans' Association, and who has been one of the most generous and devoted friends of Confederate veterans.

It has been said, "To have fought in the cavalry under Hampton is to be more than a Knight of the Garter." Let me add—to have been praised by General Robert E. Lee, is to have been honored by the greatest hero of the world.

J. B. Hill.
Raleigh, NC
9 April, 1901

* The above was written by former Sergeant Joshua B. Hill on April 9, 1901, and provided as Pages 766-787, in the compilation known as "Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-'65 - Volume II," edited by Walter Clark, and published by E. M. Uzzell, Printer and Binder, in 1901. Minor edits, additions, and deletions were provided by this Author for clarity and consistency.

Known Battles / Skirmishes**


Battle / Skirmish

September 5, 1862

1st Washington, NC

November 24-25, 1862
(Company A Only)

Capture of U.S.S. Ellis, NC

December 11-12, 1862
(Company C Only)

Skirmishes on the Kinston Road, NC

December 13-14, 1862
(Col. John A. Baker - Advisor)

Skirmishes at Southwest Creek, NC

December 17, 1862
(Company C Only)

Goldsborough Bridge, NC

January 23, 1863
(Company F Only)

Big Northeast Bridge, NC

April 11 - May 4, 1863

Siege of Suffolk, VA

July 4, 1863

South Anna Bridge, VA

December 5, 1863
(Company B only***)

Skirmish Between New Bern and Kinston, NC

December 30, 1863
(Company I and Company K only)

Greenville, NC

February 1-3, 1864
(Companies A, B, C, D, F, and I only)

2nd New Bern, NC

May 5, 1864
(7 of 10 Companies)

Block House, NC

May 6-20, 1864

Bermuda Hundred Campaign, VA

May 12, 1864

Meadow Bridge, VA

May 12-16, 1864

2nd Drewry's Bluff, VA

May 28, 1864

Haw's Shop, VA

June 1, 1864

Hanover Court House, VA

June 1, 1864

Ashland, VA

June 21-23, 1864

1st Weldon Railroad, VA

August 14-20, 1864

Fussell's Mill, VA

August 18-21, 1864

2nd Weldon Railroad, VA

August 25, 1864

2nd Reams Station, VA

September 14-17, 1864

Hampton's Beefsteak Raid, VA

October 27-28, 1864

Burgess' Mill, VA

December 7-12, 1864

Stony Creek Raid, VA

March 31, 1865

Boydton Plank Road, VA

April 1, 1865

Five Forks, VA

April 3, 1865

Namozine Church, VA
** Not all battles/skirmishes above are described in the narrative provided by Sgt. Hill earlier herein. Thirteen (13) engagements (including one overarching campaign) above are described in the book "North Carolina Troops: 1861-1865, A Roster, Volume II - Cavalry," on pages 178-180. Reminder, this website uses the Southern names for all battles/skirmishes. If no link, this Author could not find anything on the web.

***Skirmish found in "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XXIX, Part 1, PP.909-910.


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