General Lane's Brigade : Battle of Hanover Court House

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Map of the Battle of Hanover Court House Battlefield Maps Pictures
Lebanon Church
May 27, 1862
(Part of the Peninsular Campaign)

North Carolina Standard
June 4, 1862

The Fight at Hanover Court House
Richmond, Virginia, May 30, 1862

I give you an account of the fight at Lebanon Church in Hanover County
on the 27th inst.

About 11:30 a.m., a captain of the Virginia cavalry informed Colonel
Charles Lee of the 37th N.C.T. that the enemy was advancing but that
he believed it would be a mere marauding party which might be captured
by prompt action.

General Branch was at his headquarters more than a mile distant and as
no time could be lost, Colonel Lee at once sent three of his companies
under Lt. Col. Barber to meet them and notified General Branch of the same. 
Colonel Lee soon learned that the enemy was advancing in considerable
force; he, therefore, sent forward the remainder of his regiment and placed
it in line of battle across the road and sent back for Captain Latham’s artillery
to reply to the battery which had opened upon his regiment.  He also asked
Colonel Wade of the 12th N.C.T. to place his regiment in the woods on the
right to prevent flank movements.  He then deployed Company A of the 37th
as skirmishers to protect the left flank.

Captain Latham with two guns of his battery came forward and replied
vigorously for a short time until a shell was thrown into his caisson which
caused it to explode killing two men and two horses and wounding seven
men.  Our guns ceased to fire while moving back the disabled section. 
Company F of the 37th now opened fire with Enfield Rifles upon the advancing
enemy and put him to flight, killing a lieutenant and two of his men.  The
enemy now retired from view having engaged us for two hours.

General Branch about this time came upon the field and ordered the 18th
and 37th forward to support Colonel Lane’s 28th N.C.T., which had been
sent early in the morning to support two companies of the 37th on picket
some four miles distant.  These two regiments commenced to advance in
charge of Colonel Lee, the respective regiments being commanded by Col.
Cowen of the 18th and Col. Barber of the 37th. 

Colonel Lee soon ascertained that the enemy had planted a battery of artillery
on a hill in front of him with strong infantry support.  This was reported to
General Branch.  General Branch ordered Colonel Lee to charge the battery
with the 18th and 37th.  Colonel Lee sent to the General, asking him to
cause Latham to engage the battery and to send up other infantry support
for the 18th and 37th.

The 18th and 37th commenced the charge—the 18th sweeping gallantly
through an open field in the face of a terrible fire with good effect.  At the
same time the 37th advanced with rapidity and steadiness through a dense
forest in which the undergrowth was so thick that a man could not see more
than 30 steps. 

The 37th rushed forward with enthusiasm until it encountered Yankees who
were concealed behind logs, trees, and in the cut of a roadway which was
bordered by a fence of cedar brush.  Here the enemy had every advantage
of position while his force was vastly superior but Colonel Lee’s men stood
like veterans.  Officers and men stood as firm as rocks within fifteen to twenty
paces of the Yankee line.  Volley after volley of grape from the cannon and of
minie balls from their infantry mowed down our men, still the 37th moved
forward, driving the enemy before them.  Unable to withstand the well directed
fire of the 18th and 37th, the enemy fled from their battery, leaving their flag
in the field. 

While these two regiments were fighting as only brave men can fight, and were
driving from their position the enemy of six regiments of infantry and one battery
of artillery, strange to say, no assistance was sent to them though General
Branch had at his side a battery of artillery and four regiments of infantry.

At last when no more able to stand alone against such heavy odds, the two
regiments fell back stubbornly, contesting the ground as they retired.  They
had fought long, especially the 37th which had been under fire nearly six hours. 
Their loss was very heavy.  The 37th had only seven companies on the field
(Companies D and E being on picket and Company B being detailed to
guard the wagon train), yet it lost 160 in killed, wounded and missing,
more than one out of every three men.  The loss of the 18th was quite
severe they leaving 160 of their men on the field.

Colonel Campbell’s 7th and Colonel Wade’s 12th N.C.T. now covered the
retreat, holding the enemy in fine style.  None of our other troops were in the
action except Capt. Saunders’ Company of the 33rd N.C.T. which, while
deployed as skirmishers, captured a Yankee hospital and with it a surgeon,
four men and ten horses.  The hospital contained 49 wounded Yankees. 
Their loss was quite severe—greater, perhaps, then our own, including
field officers.

Our officers all behaved well. Colonel Lee and Major Dickerson were both
knocked from their horses by shells.  Lt. Col. Barber’s horse was killed
under him and he was slightly wounded in the neck.  Adjutant William F.
Nicholson’s horse was killed and then very nearly killed him.

Colonel Lane’s regiment was entirely cut off and had to take care of itself. 
Colonel Lane has cause to be proud of his men.  They encountered the
advance regiment of the enemy and killed some eighty or more and captured
some 68 prisoners who were sent to Richmond.

Colonel Lane was then opposed by a superior force which almost entirely
surrounded him yet he conducted his command off and reached Richmond
yesterday.  His loss, however, is great and as many of his men broke down
and it is believed were captured by the Yankee cavalry.

Captain Ashcraft and Farthing of the 37th with some 140 men were on picket
and started to Colonel Lane when they heard the firing.  Captain Ashcraft with
44 of his men and 15 of Captain Farthing’s escaped; the rest, it is feared,
were captured.

North Carolina Standard
June 18, 1862

(Transcriber’s note, very faded, some were illegible)

Killed, wounded and missing, Battle of Lebanon Church, May 27

Company A

Killed:  J.P. Sh – brood, John El - - - - n
Wounded:  George Bryant, several flesh wounds in hip, (first name illegible)
Marsh, shot through body and both hips flesh wounds, A. Gentry, face,
probably mortal, Jonathan Perry, elbow, W.J. Davis, arm, George Craven,
both legs, Reuben Sexton, shoulder, missing, John Ward, heel shot off by
ball, L. Cox, John Weaver, shot in legs, missing, Lowry Miller, side, missing,
H.H. He - - - trin, cheek, severe, missing, Sgt. Reuben Darby, leg, missing
Missing:  H. Blevins, David Eldreath, Jacob Eldreath, Eli Calloway, J.H.
Vannoy, Robert Gentry, W.A. Walker, Robert McCormack, John A.
Henderson(?), C.R. Carter, John Wyatt, William Walsh, Joshua S - - - -
per, M.V. Mullins, W. Cox, Jr., W. Cox, Sr., R.R. M. Lane, George Black,
Lt. W.A. Stuart

Company B

Missing:  L.H. Carlton, C.C. Miller, S. Grier

Company C

Wounded:  Frank Warsham, slightly in hip and finger, J.L. Reid, slightly in
finger, R.r. Warsham, slightly in finger
Missing:  Samuel L. Hucks, Thomas A. Sloan

Company F

Killed:  James L. Caldwell, Daniel L. (last name illegible, starts with a ‘D’,
maybe Davis?), R.M. H - - key, William Willes(?)
Wounded:  Lt. George R. - - - - ath, mortally wounded, shot in the head;
A.L. Bell, slightly wounded in thumb, Thomas P - - - - - -, finger shot off,
William J. Martin, breast injured, Jno Wallace in shoulder, Sgt. P.(?) M.
Sales, arm, L. Bu - - -  in arm, A.S. Hannah in thigh, one name totally illegible
Missing:  A. Anderson, W. Anderson, J.B. Barlow, J.A. Botnigarm(?), L.
Dala(?) or Dale(?), J.C. Howell, B.H. Kelley, Moses Treadway

Company G

Killed:  Jas. Robinette, W.P. Robinette, J.B. Robinette, Anderson Reid,
John N. Austin
Wounded:  H.P.(or F.?) Echart(?), shot through jaw and half of tongue cut
off; Lawson Crench(?), slightly in jaw, A. Brown, severely, V.S Teague,
flesh wound left arm, Sgt. T.H. Chapman, shot through jaw passing out
through the mouth, Corp. W.C. Walker, hip severe, H.C. Puishel(?) hand,
A.E. Robinette
Missing:  Corp. William D. McCracken, John Hennington, N.G. Fox,
William Fox, G.w. Barnes, Lt. R.L. Steele, David Austin, Hiram Kirby,
John C. Robinette, Thomas Winkler, Noah De – ler(?) A.A. Gryder, W.W.
Gryder, George Barnes, wounded and missing

Company H

Killed:  Andrew Summey, Robert Turner, H.A. Wright, George F. McGinnis
Wounded:  Capt. William G. Morris, slightly in neck, Lt. H.C. Fite in arm,
H.M. Rhine in arm badly, John W. Weathers shoulder, Jas. A. Cannon arm,
Robert F. Ragan face, ------- Ford, face, W.G. Ford shoulder, Jas. P.
Briomer(?) side, John Thomason slightly in arm, George W. McKee head,
Jas. Fite, hand, Emmanuel Clortiger hand, W.R.D. Abernathy, arm,
missing, George Ball shoulder, missing, Oliver Brown in body badly,
missing, John Jenkins, in body badly, J.H. Pas - - - in arm badly,
Robertus Rutledge badly in leg, P.S. Rhyne, missing, Jas. A. Stowe, in
body, missing, P.W. Watson, missing
Missing: Rufus Armstrong, L.J. Clemmer, L. Canedy, Jessie Elmore,
Robert Ferguson, T.A. Wilson, L.W. Lyriah, G.N. Ferguson, James Neal,
David Morrison

Company I
Killed:  Sgt. E.B. Wolf, Abram Clouts, J.J. Spears, David Stinson
Wounded:  Joseph Black, supposed killed and left, Jas. Montgomery,
supposed killed and left, A.P. Young, supposed killed and left, Jacob
Shor (Shar?) badly wounded and left, Stirling Russell, supposed killed,
Robert Walker, supposed killed, Corp. Wilson, flesh wound in arm, J.P.
Gordon, slight in hip, G.W. Williamson, arm and shoulder, Lowry Adams
in foot, William Kisiah, in foot, J.S. Tagert in thigh, W.D. Conlay in leg,
Thomas A. Sharp in hand, Eli Patterson in hand slightly, B.G. Henry in
Missing:  L.A. Barnes, John Higginson, James Phillips

Company K

Killed:  William R. Muller, G. Douglas, W.D. Jones
Wounded:  Capt. J.B. Johnson slight in foot, John Price, right forefinger
shot off, J. M. Halsay, right forefinger shot off, D.K. Evans, severe in shoulder
Missing:  J.K. Bingham, mortally wounded, Corp. F. Lory, mortal in side,
M.D. L. Parsons, flesh wound in thigh, Abram Evans, Corp. W.R. Jones,
John Gurbb(?), James Richardson, and Isham Jones

Company D and E were on picket duty and surrounded by the enemy, but
Company D escaped with 50 men and 15 of Company e.

The 37th Regiment was during the engagement proper under the direction
of Lt. Col. Barber as I had charge of a larger force.  The North Carolinians
will have cause to remember the Battle of Lebanon Church as the bloodiest
battle they were ever in.

C.C. Lee
Colonel, 37th Regiment

Losses Company A, Capt. E.F. Lovell, Surry, 28th (?) N.C. Regiment in the
late Battle at Hanover Court House, Virginia

Killed:  P.H. Roberts, J.R. Key
Wounded:  Hugh Puckett
Missing:  Corp. W.C. Key, S. Axum, Jas. Ashburn, C.H. Atkinson, J.T.
Blackwood, R. Brown, E.W. Bray, L.H. Burris, J.W. Cockerham, J.H.
Childress, D. Edwards, W.A. Gregg, M. Glascoe, John Harris, William Morris,
H.G. Pool, W.C. Parks, Albert Parsons, H. Patterson, James Puckett, John
Reid, Oliver Stanley(?), John Hyatt

North Carolina Standard
June 18, 1862

Headquarters, 18th N.C.T
Casualties in the fight at Hanover Court House

Company A, from New Hanover—German volunteers
Capt. T.W. Brown, Jr., missing; 1st Lt. G.A. Johnson, mortally wounded (since dead);
Sgt. John Bonsold, missing; Corps. A. Simmons, Wm. Hall, wounded; Ptes. A.
Slobohn, John Hoerner, G.D. Hackerman, H.R. Kyhl, Ernest Ortman, Henry Steller(?),

Company B, from Bladen
Captain W.J. Sykes, killed; Sgt. H. Edwards, missing; Corp. J.N. Wilson, killed
Killed:  Ptes. J. Guyton, D.(or O.) Hammond, T.N. Metichee(?), D.P. Shaw(?)
Wounded:  D.J. Jordan, R.S. Cheshire, L. Blackwell, C.L. Hilburn, H.W. Singletary,
N. Edwards, J.E. Nance, Edward Pate, R. Roberts, H. Weeks
Missing:  Wm. Lovett, D. Pate, J.F. Rackley, A. Regan, M.B. Singletary, Drummer
F. Tilley

Company C from Columbus County
2nd Lt. Samuel A. Long, wounded but fought the battle out; Sgt. E.V. Latta, wounded
Killed:  Moses Williams, Jas. M. Long, W.W. Long, J.L. Ward, J.E. Bellamy, J.M. Jones
Wounded:  Sgt. W.J. Lay, Corps. James M. Bennett, Charles Jones, Ptes. E. Meares,
W.R. Ward, S.P. Wilkins, D.M. Williamson, William Best, B. Strickland, E. Tait,
W.D. Rhodes
Missing:  W.R. Best, E.K. Vance, S.A. Vance, Robert Wilson, Daniel Green, Burwell

Company D from Robeson County
2nd Lt. Neill Townsend, Sgt. Needham Thompson, wounded
Killed:  Corps. Elias Woodell, Guilford W. Edwards, Pte. Bunyan Stancil, (first name illegible)
Edwards T.F. Gilbert, Jno Barnes, E.J. Britt, Thomas Capps(?), K. Lovitt, James M.
Missing:  John Brett, Alva Lawsen

Company E, from New Hamover
Killed:  Quincey Williams, B.F. Bridgen, Owen Kinion(?)
Wounded:  Corp. A. Pridgen, D.J. Corbett(?), T.D. Malpass, A. Flanagen, A.B.
Roche(?), G.W. Malpass, Henry Moore, J.L. Pigford, H.L. Peterson, J. F. Pridgen,
W.T. Stringfield, W.F. Brown, G.F. D – l - - se (Deluise?), W.R. Garriss
Missing:  Sgt. D.P. Stringfield, Corp. D. J. Stringfield, Ptes. C.(?) M. Taylor, G.A. Hariss

Company F, from Richmond County
Killed:  Ptes. A.J. Clark, A.B. McLauchlin, Alex Jones
Wounded:  Corp. M. Calhoun, N. Brown, William Buchanen, H.P. Graham, John A.
Henderson, A.H. McNeill(?), H.L. Patterson, A.W. Roper, A.A. Huckabee, John M.
McLauchlin, John F. McLean, W.H. McNeill, Samuel Wright
Missing:  Corps. John F. McNair(?), N. McN Smith, H.C. Calhoun, John Hughes, M.
McCormick, D. McKinnen, A.L. McRae, L.C Palma(?), D.M. Gibson, John G. Martin,
M. McDuff, W.H. Murphy, W.H. Nelson, E. Norton, C.N. Tintower(?), William Wallace

Company G, New Hanover Light Infantry
Killed:  Pte. Sam D - - r
Wounded:  Corp. S.J. King, J.B. Morrison, T.F. Mills
Missing:  Corp. C. F - - nner, J.M.K. W - - ted, (first name illegible) Mills, Ellis Bright

Company H, Columbus County
Wounded:  Corp. G.R. Polly(?) Kelly(?), Melvin Hinson(?), Pte. Bryant A. Young(?),
A.M. Watkins, John J. Edwards, L.(?) Newman, William Lemore Frisk(?), W.M. Harper(?),
Henry B - - - - - - , William J. Hinson, John J. Siddett(?), John W. Telder(?)
Missing:  Corp. Major(?) McKee, Daniel Sutherland, Joseph Fisher, John Proctor(?)

Company I, New Hanover—None

Company K, Bladen
Killed:  1st Sgt. A. Rinaldi, 1st Corp. J.N. A - - - ers, Ptes. C.W. Bryan, A. King
Wounded:  S.B. P - - - - , W.E. Atkinson, A.S. Wells, J. Crommaire(?)
Missing:  C. Swindell, J. McKetchen(?), C. (last name illegible), Lewis Farr(?), Corp.
W.J. Maltsby(?), T.F. Bridgen, Henry McA- - ,  J.R. Dinnan(?), W.S. McDuffie, James
Davis, D. Ferguson, W.J. McMilan, W.H. Si - - - , M.V. Sutton

The above includes all the missing up to this date, June 3.  Many missing on the day
of battle have come in.  Those reported wounded and left on the field were for the most
part carried to the field hospital which afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy.  We
had no ambulances and no means of bringing them off.  There can be no doubt some
of those left on the field are dead.  It is possible some of the missing may come in—
some of them are doubtless wounded—the most of them prisoners.

North Carolina Standard
July 2, 1862

North Carolina Wounded and Captured
Correspondent of the Petersburg Express
Near Richmond, Virginia, June 22, 1862

Mr. Editor:

Permit me to communicate through your columns the following list of wounded
belonging to the “Branch Brigade” who were in the engagement at Hanover Court
House on May 27 and are still prisoners with the enemy.

Teph Burgess, Latham’s N.C. Battery, wounded in left temple and eye
Martin Messer, Company B, 7th N.C.R., compound fracture of left thigh
Thomas T. Robeson, Company E, 12th N.C.R., wounded left side
Lewis Hedgpeth, Company I, 12th N.C.R., flesh wound right thigh

The following are from the 18th N.C., Colonel Cowan:
Lt. George A Johnston, Co. A, perforating wound of chest, considered mortal
George D. Hackerman, Co. A, flesh would right leg
Moses Williams, Co. C, flesh wound right leg
Wallace Long, Co. C, flesh wound right thigh
William D. Rhodes, Co. C, wounded in abdomen, June 9
J.M. Pherrell, Co. D, compound fracture of right leg, amputated below knee when
last seen June 17, was in a dying condition
Thomas Cape(?), Co. D, perforating chest wound last seen June 17 in a dying condition
Bunyan Stan - - - , Co. D, compound fracture of right leg, amputated below knee
Archibald B. Brooks, Co. E, penetrating wound of the chest
George W. Malpass, Co. B, right shoulder and breast, died June 15
Enos Tart, Co. E, flesh wound left thigh
William H. McNeal, Co. F, flesh wound foot
Samuel Wright, Co. F, flesh wound in back
Lewis Cassilun, Co. E, wounded in left knee joint, thigh amputated, died June 14
Corp. Samuel King, Co. G, compound fracture right leg, amputated below knee, died June 11
John William Tedder, Co. H, flesh would left thigh
Albert R - - - li, Co. K, flesh wound left thigh
Pte. --------- Brown, flesh wound in back

The following belongs to the 33rd Regiment N.C.T., Colonel Robert Hoke:
John Guy, Co. A, finger of right hand shot off and afterwards amputated

The following belong to the 37th Regiment N.C.T.:
L.A. Cox, Company A, compound fracture right thigh
Benjamin C. Coldron, Co. A, perforating wound of the brain through the right eye, died June 11
Sgt. William Hurley, Co. A, wounded in the right knee joint
George Craven, Co. A, right knee joint, thigh amputated, died June 12
Robert Gentry, Co. A, perforating chest wound
M.V. Mullins, Co. A, left thigh and testicle, died of tetanus June 9
Jas. Cardell, Co. F, flesh wound right thigh
Peyton Rhyne, Co. H, wound in left cheek, tongue and fracture of inferior maxilla
E.P. Clemmer, Co. B, perforating chest wound, died June 16
R.D. Rutledge, Co. B, flesh wound left leg
John B. Nicholson, Co. I, wound in left side
M.D. Parsin, Co. K, flesh wound right thigh
Corp. William Walker, perforating wound in abdomen, died June 2

These wounded are partially in my charge within the enemy lines.  They have been
removed to Fortress Monroe.

It may be encouraging to the relatives of the wounded and it is due the enemy to state 
that all the Confederate wounded are kindly treated and well cared for all receiving like
accommodations and attention.  No preference is shown to the Federal wounded. 
In this respect, at least, our foe conforms to the usages of civil warfare.

J.F. Shaffner
Surgeon, C.S.A.
33rd Regiment N.C.T.

Source:  North Carolina Standard (Raleigh) June 4, 1862

Recommended Reading: Battle of Hanover Court House: Turning Point of the Peninsula Campaign, May 27, 1862 (Hardcover). Description: Researched from official reports as well as contemporary accounts, this is the first detailed look at the battle most widely known as Hanover Court House and Slash Church. The opening chapters set the stage for this crucial battle and outline the events that led up to May 27, 1862, and the high tide of the Peninsula Campaign. Continued below...
The book’s main focus is the series of battles that took place between the forces of Union V Corps commander Fitz John Porter and Confederate general Lawrence O’Bryan Branch. Photographs of the battle's central participants are included, along with appendices featuring the official reports of commanders and lists of casualties from both sides.

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Recommended Reading: General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse (624 pages). Editorial Review (Publishers Weekly): You cannot say that University of North Carolina professor Glatthaar (Partners in Command) did not do his homework in this massive examination of the Civil War–era lives of the men in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Glatthaar spent nearly 20 years examining and ordering primary source material to ferret out why Lee's men fought, how they lived during the war, how they came close to winning, and why they lost. Continued below...

Glatthaar marshals convincing evidence to challenge the often-expressed notion that the war in the South was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight and that support for slavery was concentrated among the Southern upper class. Lee's army included the rich, poor and middle-class, according to the author, who contends that there was broad support for the war in all economic strata of Confederate society. He also challenges the myth that because Union forces outnumbered and materially outmatched the Confederates, the rebel cause was lost, and articulates Lee and his army's acumen and achievements in the face of this overwhelming opposition. This well-written work provides much food for thought for all Civil War buffs.


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During Hill's Tar Heel State study, the reader begins with interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "Old North State" soldiers that fought during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Tar Heels to the first battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North Carolina’s contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes with Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
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Recommended Reading: The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (444 pages) (Louisiana State University Press) (Updated edition: November 2007) Description: The Life of Johnny Reb does not merely describe the battles and skirmishes fought by the Confederate foot soldier. Rather, it provides an intimate history of a soldier's daily life--the songs he sang, the foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant, sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb. In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I. Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared in the great conflict of the 1860s. Continued below...
About Johnny Reb:
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In the course of his work, he made a sobering side trip to cover a "murder that was provoked by the display of the Confederate flag," and he spoke to a number of people seeking to honor their ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Horwitz has a flair for odd details that spark insights, and Confederates in the Attic is a thoughtful and entertaining book that does much to explain America's continuing obsession with the Civil War.

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