A History of the 24th Regiment N. C. Troops
(14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers)
This regiment was organized under the command of Colonel William J. Clarke at Weldon in July, 1861; it was then mustered in for twelve months service and designated the 14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers. The regiment was composed originally of nine companies (designated A, B, C, E, F, G, H, I, and K) but was assigned a tenth company (Company D) in May, 1862. The regiment remained at Weldon until August 18, 1861 when it moved by rail to Richmond, Virginia.
After one day in camp west of Richmond the regiment was ordered to Staunton to join General John B. Floyd's Army of the Kanawha. The regiment encamped at Bunger's Mill, four miles west of Lewisburg, where it remained until September 9 when it was ordered to join General Floyd's main force at Camp Gauley, near Carnifix Ferry. Before this juncture could take place, however, a Federal army under General William S. Rosecrans attacked Floyd's force on September 10 and forced the Confederates to retire. This regiment joined Floyd at Anderson on September 1 and retired with the army to Sewell Mountain. After leaving a portion of his force at Sewell Mountain under the command of General Henry A. Wise, Floyd moved the remainder of his army, including this regiment, to Meadow Bluff, sixteen miles west of Lewisburg and twelve miles distant from Wise's position. On September 24 General Robert E. Lee, who was coordinating Confederate operations in western Virginia, arrived at Wise's camp; he assumed command of Wise's force on September 25 after Wise was ordered to return to Richmond. Lee decided to strengthen the Sewell Mountain position and directed Floyd to send reinforcements. This regiment marched to Camp Defiance, Fayette Court House, on September 24 and from there to Sewell Mountain. On October 17 the regiment moved from Sewell Mountain to Meadow Bluff; it remained there until November 12, when it moved to Blue Sulphur Springs. While at Blue Sulphur Springs the regimental designation was changed from the 14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers to the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops (14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers) by Special Orders No. 222, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Richmond.
The regiment remained at Blue Sulphur Springs until November 26 when, racked by sickness as a result of inadequate provisions, bad weather, and hard marching while in the mountains, it was ordered to Petersburg to recuperate. Three companies left by rail for Petersburg on December 12 and three more entrained on December 13. The remaining companies boarded the cars on December 15 and rejoined the regiment at Petersburg on December 17. The men then went into winter quarters near Petersburg; they named their encampment Camp Refuge or Camp Refugio.
The regiment remained at Petersburg until February 12, 1862, when orders were received to move to Garysburg to protect the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. On February 20 the regiment moved up the track to Franklin Depot, Virginia, and on February 21 it was ordered to Murfreesboro. In order to defend the several avenues of approach and various strategic points on the railroad, Colonel Clarke dispersed his companies on February 25. Company I was sent to Nottoway Bridge, Virginia; Companies A, E, and G were ordered to Devil's Elbow on the Meherrin River; Companies C and K were sent to Griffin Bluff, North Carolina; and Companies B and F were detailed at Potocapie Bridge. On February 28 Companies A, C, F, G, and H were ordered to Suffolk, Virginia, where they remained until March 14 when they were marched to Murfreesboro. The regimental return for April 1862, reported that "the different companies ... are posted mostly at different points on the Meherrin River." On May 7 the regiment, after a period of jurisdictional confusion occasioned by its simultaneous service in Virginia and North Carolina, was transferred from the Department of Norfolk, commanded by General Benjamin Huger, to the Department of North Carolina, commanded by General Theophilus H. Holmes. The regiment was not assigned to a brigade and remained under the direct orders of the departmental commander.
On May 14-15, 1862, the regiment moved from Murfreesboro to Garysburg, and on May 16, in accordance with the provisions of the Conscription Act of April 16, 1862, it was reorganized to serve for three years or the duration of the war. On May 16 Captain David C. Clark's company joined the regiment and was designated Company D. The regiment left Garysburg on May 18 and marched to Camp McCulloch on the Roanoke River five miles beyond Jackson; on May 22 it was reported at Bridger's Ferry, nine miles below Halifax.
During the period when the 24th Regiment was engaged in the foregoing operations, the theater of action in Virginia had shifted from the northern part of the state to the peninsula between the York and James rivers, where a powerful Federal army under General George B. McClellan was advancing toward Richmond. The Confederate army under General Joseph E. Johnston had established a defensive line east of the city and, because the situation in North Carolina was relatively quiet, troops from that department were sent to reinforce Johnston. On June 2 this regiment was ordered to Goldsboro and from there, on June 9, to Petersburg, where it was assigned to the Second Brigade, commanded by General Robert Ransom, Jr. In addition to this regiment, Ransom's brigade was composed of the 25th Regiment N.C. Troops, 26th Regiment N.C. Troops, 35th Regiment N.C. Troops, 48th Regiment N.C. Troops, and 49th Regiment N.C. Troops.
On June 24, 1862, Ransom's brigade was transferred to Richmond, where it arrived the next day and was ordered to report to General Huger's command on the Williamsburg road. There the brigade was assigned to the reserve, but several of its regiments took part in the fighting at King's School House on June 25. First the 25th Regiment and then the 49th Regiment were sent in. In the afternoon the 24th Regiment relieved the 49th and advanced to the picket line. There it repulsed an enemy probe and lost two men killed and seven wounded. At sunset the regiment was relieved by the 26th Regiment. The next day the 24th Regiment went back on picket and held the line against a combined infantry and artillery attack.
To the north of King's School House the Army of Northern Virginia, now commanded by General Robert E. Lee, was concentrated against the Federal right wing and, in a series of battles during the next few days, succeeded in forcing it back across the Chickahominy River. The Federal troops opposite Huger's position withdrew to join forces with the retiring right wing, and Ransom's brigade, minus the 48th Regiment which had been transferred, followed as a part of Huger's command and was engaged at Malvern Hill on July 1. General Ransom reported the brigade's movements as follows (Official Records, S. I, Vol. XI, pt. 2, pp. 794-795):
At 7 p.m. I received word from General John B. Magruder that he must have aid, if only a regiment. The message was so pressing that I at once directed Colonel Clarke [24th Regiment N.C. Troops] to go with his regiment and report to General Magruder, and at the same time sent my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant [William E.] Broadnax, to General Huger for orders. Lieutenant Broadnax brought me somewhat discretionary orders, to go or not, but not to place myself under General Magruder.
The brigade was at once put in motion by the right flank, as the line we had been occupying was at right angles to that upon which the battle was raging. Colonel Clarke's regiment [24th N.C. Troops] had already gone; Colonel [Henry M.] Rutledge [25th Regiment N.C. Troops] next followed, then Colonel [Matthew W.] Ransom [35th Regiment N.C. Troops]. Colonel [Stephen D.] Ramseur (49th Regiment N.C. Troops] and Colonel [Zebulon B.] Vance [26th Regiment N.C. Troops] all moved to the scene of conflict at the double quick. As each of the three first-named regiments reached the field they were at once thrown into action by General Magruder's orders. As the last two arrived they were halted by me to regain their breath, and then pushed forward under as fearful fire as the mind can conceive.
In the charge made by Colonel Ransom's regiment he was twice wounded and had to be taken from the field. The Lieutenant-Colonel, [Oliver C.] Petway, then took command, and in a few moments he fell mortally wounded. Colonel Rutledge's regiment went gallantly forward and the Colonel was seriously stunned by the explosion of a shell and his Major severely wounded. The fire was so fierce that the three regiments were compelled to fall back under the crest of some intervening hills. At this juncture I arrived with Ramseur's and Vance's regiments, and ordering the whole to the right, so as to be able to form undercover, brought the brigade in line within 200 yards of the enemy's batteries. This was upon our extreme right. The hills afforded capital cover. I had no difficulty in forming the line as I desired. In going to this position I passed over a brigade, commanded by Colonel [George T.] Anderson, from Georgia, and requested him to support me in the charge which I was about to make. This, to my sad disappointment, he declined to do.
It was now twilight. The line was put in motion and moved steadily forward to within less than 100 yards of the batteries. The enemy seemed to be unaware of our movement. Masses of his troops seemed to be moving from his left toward his right. Just at this instant the brigade raised a tremendous shout, and the enemy at once wheeled into line and opened upon us a perfect sheet of fire from musketry and the batteries. We steadily advanced to within 20 yards of the guns. The enemy had concentrated his force to meet us. Our onward movement was checked, the line wavered, and fell back before a fire the intensity of which is beyond description. It was a bitter disappointment to be compelled to yield when their guns seemed almost in our hands. It was now dark, and I conceived it best to withdraw the brigade, which was quickly done to near the point from which we had started at about 7 o'clock.
Following the battle General Lee withdrew his army to Richmond while McClellan withdrew to Harrison's Landing and, within a few weeks, from the peninsula. During the campaign the regiment lost 9 men killed, 42 wounded, and 12 missing.
Ransom's brigade moved to Drewry's Bluff on July 7, and on July 29 it was ordered to Petersburg, where it went into camp on the City Point road. The brigade remained near Petersburg until August 19, when it returned to Richmond. On August 23 the brigade was marched to a nearby pontoon bridge over the James River; there it remained until it returned to Richmond on August 26 and boarded the train, with John G. Walker's brigade, for Rapidan Station to join the Army of Northern Virginia, which was moving northward. (On August 26 the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops was transferred out of Ransom's brigade.) Ransom's and Walker's brigades were designated a division, under General Walker, and the division was assigned to Longstreet's corps when it joined the army near Leesburg on or about September 3. The army began crossing the Potomac River at the Leesburg fords the next day.
Upon reaching Frederick, Maryland, the army halted, and General Lee dispatched General Thomas J. Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry while Longstreet moved to Hagerstown. On September 9 Walker moved his division from Monocacy junction, near Frederick, to the mouth of the Monocacy River, under orders to destroy the aqueduct of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The aqueduct was captured after a skirmish with its Federal defenders, but efforts to destroy the facility proved futile. Under orders from Lee to assist Jackson in the capture of Harpers Ferry, Walker then recrossed the Potomac and marched toward Loudoun Heights southeast of the town. On the evening of September 13 Walker positioned two regiments atop the heights and placed the remainder of his division on the right bank of the Potomac to prevent the enemy from escaping by that route. Across the river General Lafayette McLaws's division, reinforced by General R. H. Anderson's division, occupied Maryland Heights while Jackson's troops occupied Bolivar Heights west of Harpers Ferry. Surrounded, the Federal garrison surrendered on September 13.
With the fall of Harpers Ferry, Lee ordered the army to concentrate at Sharpsburg, where the Federal army under McClellan was ponderously massing for an attack. When Walker's division arrived on the field on September 16 it was positioned on the right flank of Lee's line. On the morning of September 17 the Confederate left under General Jackson was vigorously assaulted, and Walker's division was ordered to reinforce Jackson. General Ransom reported the brigade's activities as follows (Official Records, S. I, Vol. XIX, pt. 1, pp. 919-920):
About 3 o'clock in the morning of the 17th instant, the brigade, followed by the other of the division, was moved to the extreme right of the position occupied by our troops and posted upon some hills which commanded an open country. Here it remained in line until about 9 a.m., when an order from General Lee directed the division to the left, where the enemy was pressing back our forces. From the first position the brigade moved, left in front, until we had passed the town of Sharpsburg some half mile to the north, when it was formed into line by inversion, bringing the Forty-ninth on the right. The line was formed under a severe fire and in the presence of some of our troops who had been driven back. As soon as formed, the whole brigade was pushed rapidly forward, and, after passing some 200 yards, I received orders to form to the right and resist the enemy, who were in possession of a piece of woods. The change of direction was effected with three of the regiments - the Forty-ninth, Twenty-fifth, and Thirty-fifth - but the Twenty-fourth, on the extreme left, had come upon the enemy and opened fire, and continued in the first direction upon the left of General [William] Barksdale's brigade. Upon reaching the woods, met parts of [John B.] Hood's and [Jubal A.] Early's commands leaving them, and immediately encountered the enemy in strong force, flushed with a temporary success. A tremendous fire was poured into them, and, without a halt, the woods were cleared and the crest next the enemy occupied. At this time I determined to charge across a field in our front and to a woods beyond, which was held by the enemy, but he again approached, in force, to within 100 yards, when he was met by the same crushing fire which had driven him first from the position. I now went to recall the Twenty-fourth, which had passed on, and which had been directed, as I afterward learned, by General [J. E. B.] Stuart, to occupy a position near the extreme left, but, finding that it was so far away, returned. During my absence, the enemy again attempted to force the position, after subjecting us to a fearful storm of iron missile for thirty minutes. Colonel [Matthew W.] Ransom, commanding during my absence, repulsed him signally, and put an end to any further attempt, by infantry, to dislodge us. Immediately after this, fire from two large batteries was opened upon us and continued with occasional intermissions until nightfall.
The Confederate left held with the aid of reinforcements, and the main Federal attack then shifted to the Confederate right. Although severely crippled, the Confederate line held during the terrible day long battle on September 17. The next day the two armies rested on the field, and during the night of September 18 the Army of Northern Virginia retired across the Potomac River and went into camp. During the Maryland campaign the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops lost 20 men killed, 44 wounded, and 2 missing.
The Army of Northern Virginia remained in the Shenandoah Valley until the Army of the Potomac began crossing the Blue Ridge on October 26, 1862. On October 28 Lee ordered Longstreet's corps, of which Walker's division was still a part, to move east of the mountains to Culpepper Court House; Jackson's corps was ordered to move closer to Winchester. When it became apparent that the Federal army, under General Ambrose E. Burnside, was concentrating on the Rappahannock River across from Fredericksburg, Lee ordered Longstreet's corps to take a position on the heights overlooking the town while Jackson's men went into the line on Longstreet's right. (During this movement General Walker was transferred and was replaced as divisional commander by General Ransom, who, at the same time, retained command of his own brigade.) On the evening of December 1 this regiment was moved from its position behind the artillery on Marye's Heights and Willis' Hill to the road at the foot of the two hills, thereby extending the line already held there by General T. R. R. Cobb's brigade. Burnside's army crossed the river on December 11-12, occupied Fredericksburg, and prepared to attack the Confederate defenses above the town. General Ransom reported the ensuing battle of December 13 as follows (Official Records, S. I, Vol. XXI, pp. 625-626):
About 11.30 a.m. on the 13th, large numbers of skirmishers were thrown out from the town by the enemy, and it soon became evident that an effort would be made to take our batteries which I was supporting. [John R] Cooke's brigade was ordered to occupy the crest of Marye's and Willis' Hills, which was done in fine style. By this time the enemy backed his skirmishers with a compact line and advanced toward the hills, but the Washington Artillery and a well directed fire from Cobb's and Cooke's brigades drove them quickly back to their shelter in the town. But a few minutes elapsed before another line was formed by the enemy, he all the while keeping up a brisk fire with sharpshooters. This line advanced with the utmost determination, and some few of them got within 50 yards of our line, but the whole were forced to retire in wild confusion before the telling fire of our small-arms at such short range.
During this attack two of Cooke's regiments, being badly exposed (for there were then no rifle-pits on the hills), were thrown into the road with Cobb's brigade. For some few minutes there was a cessation of fire, but we were not kept long in expectancy. The enemy now seemed determined to reach our position, and formed apparently a triple line. Observing this movement on his part, I brought up the three regiments of my brigade to within 100 yards of the crest of the hills, and pushed forward the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers to the crest. The enemy, almost massed, moved to the charge heroically, and met the withering fire of our artillery and small-arms with wonderful staunchness. On they came to within less than 150 paces of our line, but nothing could live before the sheet of lead that was hurled at them from this distance. They momentarily wavered, broke, and rushed headlong from the field. A few, however, more resolute than the rest, lingered under cover of some fences and houses, and annoyed us with a scattering but well-directed fire. The Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers reached the crest of the hill just in time to pour into the enemy a few volleys at most deadly range, and then took position shoulder to shoulder with Cobb's and Cooke's men in the road.
During this attack the gallant Brigadier-General Cobb was mortally wounded, and almost at the same instant Brigadier-General Cooke was wounded and taken from the field. Colonel [E. D.] Hall, Forty-sixth North Carolina Volunteers, succeeded to the command of his brigade.
Nothing daunted by the fearful punishment he had received, the enemy brought out fresh and increased numbers of troops. Fearing lest he might by mere force of numbers pass over our line, I determined to resist him with every man at my disposal, and started in person to place the remaining two regiments of my brigade. Just at this instant Brigadier-General [Joseph B.] Kershaw dashed on horseback at the head of one of his regiments up the new road, leading from the Telegraph road and near the mill, and led it into the fight immediately at Marye's house. A second regiment from his brigade followed and took position in rear of and near the graveyard on Willis' Hill and remained there. I now advanced my regiments, and placed one a few yards in rear of Marye's house and the other on its right and a little more retired. With his increased numbers the enemy moved forward. Our men held their fire till it would be fatally effective. Meantime our artillery was spreading fearful havoc among the enemy's ranks. Still he advanced and received the destructive fire of our line. Even more resolute than before, he seemed determined madly to press on, but his efforts could avail nothing. At length, broken, and seemingly dismayed, the whole mass turned and fled to the very center of the town.
At this time I sent my adjutant-general to the road to ascertain the condition of the troops and the amount of ammunition on hand. His report was truly gratifying, representing the men in highest spirits and an abundance of ammunition. I had ordered Cobb's brigade supplied from my wagons.
The afternoon was now nearly spent, and it appeared that the enemy would not again renew his attempts to carry our position. Again, however, an effort, more feeble than those which had preceded, was made to push his troops over the bodies of the now numerous slain. The sun was down, and darkness was fast hiding the enemy from view, and it was reasonable to suppose there would be no further movements, at least toward the point we held; but the frequent and determined assaults he had made would not permit me to despise either his courage or his hardihood; and thinking that as a last alternative he might resort to the bayonet, under cover of darkness, I massed my little command, so as to meet such an attack with all the power we were capable of exerting. Instead, however, of a charge with the bayonet, just after dark he opened a tremendous fire of small arms and at short range upon my whole line. This last desperate and murderous attack met the same fate which had befallen those which preceded, and his hosts were sent, actually howling, back to their beaten comrades in the town.
A short time before the last attack, Brigadier General [James L.] Kemper had reported to me with his brigade. With two of his regiments I relieved the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, which had been in the ditch two days, and placed the others in close supporting distance of the crest of the hill. During the whole time the enemy's artillery had not ceased to play upon us, but our batteries took no notice of it, reserving their fire and using it against his infantry as it would form and advance with extraordinary effect. Thus ended the fighting in front of Fredericksburg.
During the battle of Fredericksburg the regiment lost 4 men killed and 24 wounded.
General Ransom's brigade was ordered to North Carolina on January 3, 1863, to guard the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. (During January the 36th Regiment N.C. Troops was assigned to the brigade which, in addition to the new regiment, was now composed of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops, 25th Regiment N.C. Troops, 35th Regiment N.C. Troops, and 49th Regiment N.C. Troops.) The 24th Regiment did not take part in the move against New Bern in March and early April, but the field and staff muster roll for December 31, 1862-April 30, 1863, reported regimental activities related to the New Bern campaign:
The regiment left Fredericksburg, Va the 3 of Jan 1863. Arrived in Petersburg the 7th. Left Petersburg the 16th on the cars, arrived in Goldsboro, N.C. the 17th. Marched from Goldsboro the 19th. Arrived in Kenansville, N.C. the 21th. Left there the 23rd of Feb. Marched to Magnolia, took the cars, arrived in Wilmington the same day. From Wilmington marched to Island Creek, 14 miles, March 15th and back to North East Station, 5 miles the 16th. Left N.E. Station for Goldsboro March 19th. Left there for Magnolia the 28th and moved back to Goldsboro the 29th. Left there the night of the 2nd of April and arrived Kinston the 3rd. Marched to Contention Creek April 7th and back the 8th, again to Contention Creek the 10th, back the 11th. Marched to Wise's Fork the 19th; the 20th to Gum Swamp, the 26th moved back to camp near Kinston.
The regiment remained in the Kinston area until May 30, when it took the cars to Petersburg, Virginia. Although under orders from General Lee to rejoin the Army of Northern Virginia for the forthcoming invasion of the North, the brigade was detained at Petersburg by the War Department. On June 2 the brigade moved by rail from Petersburg to Ivor Station and marched to Blackwater Bridge, where it remained until June 12; it then marched back to Ivor Station and took the cars to Petersburg. The brigade remained near Petersburg until June 14 when it marched to Drewry's Bluff. It then moved back to Petersburg and remained there until June 21, when it returned to Drewry's Bluff. Four days later the brigade marched to Richmond and camped near the city. During this period Brigadier General Robert Ransom was promoted to Major General and Colonel Matthew W. Ransom of the 35th Regiment N.C. Troops was appointed Brigadier General and assigned to command the brigade.
Early in July, 1863, the brigade moved to Bottoms Bridge, on the Chickahominy River, where it skirmished with the enemy on July 4. On July 8 the brigade returned to Richmond; it remained there a few days and then returned to Petersburg. On July 20 the brigade was ordered to Weldon to protect the vital railroad bridge at that place from raiding Federal cavalrymen, who were defeated and turned back at Boone's Mill on July 28. The brigade then moved to Garysburg, where it was reported at the end of August, and then to Weldon. It remained there until October 28, when it moved to Tarboro. On November 1 Companies B, F, H, and I of this regiment marched to Greenville while the remainder of the regiment moved to Hamilton and went on picket at Rawls' Mill. On November 22 the regiment was ordered to Williamston, where it went on picket duty on the Roanoke River. In late December the regiment returned to Weldon.
In January, 1864, Confederate authorities decided to attempt the recapture of New Bern, and General George E. Pickett was assigned to command the expedition. Ransom's brigade moved from Weldon to Kinston on January 28-29 and joined Pickett's force. Pickett then divided his troops into three columns and advanced against New Bern on January 30. Ransom's brigade moved in General Seth M. Barton's column on the south side of the Trent River while another column moved on the north side of the Neuse River and a third column moved in the center between the Neuse and Trent. A simultaneous assault by the three columns was ordered for February 1; however, when General Barton reached his assigned position he found the Federal defenses too strong and failed to attack. Although Pickett's other two columns met with limited success, the entire operation was then cancelled.
The brigade marched back to Kinston, and on February 6 it returned to Weldon by rail. In mid-February the regiment was reported in camp at Dunn's Hill, near Petersburg. It returned to Weldon a few days later, and on February 25 four companies were sent on a raid into eastern North Carolina. The remainder of the regiment moved with the brigade to Franklin, Virginia, on February 26, and then marched to South Mills, Camden County, North Carolina, where the aforementioned detached companies apparently rejoined the command. Ransom's brigade, supported by a battalion of cavalry, then drove a Federal force down the Dismal Swamp Canal to within twelve miles of Norfolk. On the night of March 4 Ransom began marching toward Suffolk by way of South Mills. After driving the Federal defenders from Suffolk on March 9, Ransom's men held the town for two days before continuing the march. They reached Weldon on March 12.
The brigade remained in the vicinity of Weldon until April 14, when it moved to Tarboro to take part in General Robert F. Hoke's attack on the Roanoke River town of Plymouth. On April 17 Hoke, with Ransom's brigade on the right of his line, surrounded the town on the land side and awaited the arrival of the Confederate ironclad ram Albemarle, which was descending the Roanoke to prevent Federal reinforcement or escape by the river. Ransom's brigade was involved in heavy fighting on April 18 but failed to penetrate the Federal defenses; however, Hoke's brigade succeeded in capturing the Federal defensive works at Fort Wessells. After a day of artillery exchanges on April 19, the Albemarle, which had been delayed by low water, river obstructions, and Federal gunboats, arrived on the morning of April 20. Ransom's brigade then began a successful push against the Federal defenses at the south end of the town. Fort Williams, the last Federal stronghold, was compelled to hoist a white flag after an artillery bombardment, and the garrison surrendered around 10:00 A.M. on April 20.
General Hoke then moved against Washington, North Carolina, but made no effort to storm the place since, according to reports, it was about to be evacuated by the enemy. As the last Federals departed on April 30, fires broke out which consumed about half the town. When the Confederates moved in they found " Little Washington" in ruins.
Hoke then moved against New Bern and, after driving in the Federal pickets at Deep Gully, some eight miles from New Bern, on the evening of May 4, moved down the south bank of the Trent River and prepared to assault the city. Before preparations could be completed, however, Hoke received orders to move to Petersburg, where the activities of a Federal force under General Benjamin F. Butler necessitated a call to North Carolina for reinforcements. Hoke's command, including Ransom's brigade, reached Kinston on May 8 and then moved to Weldon. On May 9 the troops left by train for Petersburg, where they arrived, after a forced march around part of the railroad line which had been cut by Federal cavalry, on May 10. (Hoke's command was designated a division at about this time, and Ransom's brigade thus became a formal part of Hoke's division.) General P. G. T. Beauregard, in command at Petersburg, moved Hoke's division to Half Way House, north of the city, and the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops was engaged in the defense of Drewry's Bluff on May 12-16 and in the action which "bottled up" Butler's force at Bermuda Hundred on May 16-20. On May 31 Hoke was ordered to move his division north of Richmond to join the Army of Northern Virginia. Ransom's brigade remained behind at Bermuda Hundred, where it was assigned to General Bushrod A. Johnson's newly formed division on June 2.
Ransom's brigade marched to Bottoms Bridge, below Richmond, on June 4; on June 9 it moved to Chaffin's Farm. To the north, where Lee had just defeated but not repulsed the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor, General U. S. Grant began moving his forces across the James River and threatened Petersburg. On June 15 orders came for Ransom's brigade to join Beauregard in the defense of that vital city, and, after crossing the James on a pontoon bridge at Drewry's Bluff and marching all night, the men arrived at Petersburg the next morning. They were immediately sent to the Confederate line cast of the city, where they were under attack throughout June 16. That night the brigade drove the enemy from some captured works and then fell back to a new defensive line, where they repulsed a Federal assault the next morning. During the day advance units of the Army of Northern Virginia arrived on the field, and that evening Ransom's weary men were relieved and marched to the rear.
The brigade remained in camp on the outskirts of Petersburg until June 22, when it was ordered to report to General A. P. Hill near the Jones' House, south of the city on the extreme right of the Confederate line. Ransom's men were held in reserve during Hill's successful engagement on the Jerusalem Plank Road on June 22, and on June 23 the brigade returned to Petersburg. It was moved into the trenches south of the Petersburg & Norfolk Railroad at midnight on June 24.
On the morning of July 30, 1864, the Federals exploded a large mine under the Confederate outer defense line to the right of Ransom's brigade. While Federal attackers swarmed into the resulting "crater," this regiment and the 49th Regiment N.C. Troops moved to their right to seal the broken trench line, and the 25th Regiment N.C. Troops was sent to reinforce the second Confederate line of defense. More Confederate reinforcements arrived as troops on the left and right of the crater prevented the Federal attackers from breaking through, and, after sustaining 4,000 casualties, the enemy was repulsed. During the "Battle of the Crater" Ransom's brigade lost 14 men killed, 60 wounded, and 8 missing.
Ransom's brigade remained in the trenches to the left of the crater until August 20, when it was moved to the extreme right of the defensive line to join General Henry Heth's command in an effort to drive the Federals back from the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. The brigade took an active part in the successful attack at Globe Tavern on August 21 and returned to the trenches east of Petersburg on the City Point Railroad on August 22. Bombproofs were constructed all along the line and the troops went into winter quarters. The brigade remained in the trenches until March of the following year and was subjected to occasional bombardments and the attentions of Federal sharpshooters.
During the night of March 24-23, 1863, the brigade was moved back to Petersburg (from a position it had occupied at Hatcher's Run since March 15) and formed in line to take part in a planned attack on Fort Stedman. Early on the morning of March 25 the Confederates launched an assault which, after some initial success, was shattered by a massive Federal counterattack. Many Confederate units were cut off or forced to retire over open ground, and Ransom's brigade suffered heavy casualties. Two companies of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops lost over half their number as prisoners of war. The brigade moved back to Hatcher's Run the next day.
On March 26 General Phil Sheridan's powerful cavalry command, under orders from Grant, crossed the James River and rode toward Petersburg. This movement, which threatened to unhinge the right flank of the Richmond-Petersburg defense system, was temporarily thwarted on March 31 when a Confederate force (including Ransom's brigade) under General George E. Pickett drove Sheridan's cavalry back to Dinwiddie Court House. Pickett then retired to Five Forks, where a defensive position was established to anchor the extreme right of Lee's line. On April 1 Federal infantry and cavalry moved Against Five Forks and drove a wedge between Pickett's force and the Confederate line at Hatcher's Run. Pickett's men were then overpowered and driven from the field with heavy casualties and the loss of many prisoners. This victory opened an avenue of advance to the rear of the Petersburg defenses, and Lee, realizing that the lines could not be held in any case against the repeated attacks delivered against them on April 2, ordered a general evacuation.
The decimated Army of Northern Virginia began its withdrawal from the Richmond-Petersburg defenses on the evening of April 2 and, moving westward to Amelia Court House, succeeded temporarily in breaking contact with the enemy. On April 5 the weary and half-starved Confederates, under hit-and-run attack by Federal cavalry, reached Amelia Court House, only to find that the vital supplies ordered sent to that place had not arrived. At Saylor's Creek the next day the rear guard of the army was cut off and destroyed, with the loss of approximately a third of Lee's remaining force. General John B. Gordon's corps, of which Ransom's brigade was now a part, was severely battered during this affair but escaped the total destruction inflicted upon the units under Generals Richard S. Ewell and Richard H. Anderson. The army continued to move westward until April 9, 1865, when its last route of retreat was blocked by superior Federal forces. General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House that day. Fifty five members of the 24th Regiment N.C. Troops (ten from Company K) were present to receive their paroles.
This information is taken from "North Carolina Troops: A Roster"; Volume VII and is placed here for private, non-commercial use only.