My great, great grandfather and uncle were in the 53rd NC which was part of Rhode's division until the general was killed and replaced by General Bryan Grimes.
|Private Leon, A Jew, Served In 53rd NC|
“[Company E, 20th North Carolina Regiment] was next in the Gettysburg campaign and was a part of Gen. [Robert] Rhode’s division that drove [the enemy’s] forces from Berryville and Martinsburg out of the valley.
It then crossed the Potomac into Williamsport for the second time, the Brigade to which this company belonged being the first to enter Maryland and also Pennsylvania, then back to Gettysburg and was engaged in the first day’s fight and lost four men [killed]: Marion Cogdell, Richard Bennett, Jesse Baker and Ashley Tew. Wesley Campbell, James D. Ireland, Joseph H. Kornegay, Dallas Price, John L. Tew, and B.B. Carr were so severely wounded that they were either discharged or placed on light duty.
Giles Martin and Reuben Branch were also severely wounded, and every one of the thirty members of the company then present that went into the fight were either killed, wounded or captured except William Barfield, and he went in with the sharp shooters and not with the regular lines. Only nine were captured unhurt. Capt. L.T. Hicks and Lieuts. A.D. Hicks and J.B. Oliver were captured and remained in prison until near the close of the war, and the company was out of a commissioned officer until the close of the war.
The 23rd, 20th, and 5th Regiments of Iverson’s Brigade in this battle were nearly all killed, wounded or captured. Of the 20th Regiment every officer, 24 being present, were killed, wounded or captured. So far is known, every officer, about 250 in the Regiment, that went into line of battle were killed, wounded or captured. Only sixteen men of the 20th Regiment, commanded by one Lieutenant, J.L. Ireland, marched away from Gettysburg.
Lieutenant Ireland and a portion of these sixteen men marched Gettysburg after the first day of fighting. The remainder were members of the skirmish corps who escaped.
Iverson’s Brigade was uselessly sacrificed. Gen. [Richard] Ewell, in his report said,
“The left of Iverson’s Brigade was thus exposed, but these gallant troops obstinately stood their ground until the greater part of three regiments (5th, 20th and 23rd) had fallen where they stood in line of battle. A few of them, being entirely surrounded, were taken prisoners. A few escaped.”
Gen. Rhodes officially reported of Iverson’s Brigade:
“His men fought and died like heroes. His dead lay in a distinctly marked line of battle. His left was overpowered and many of his men, being surrounded, were captured.”
The 20th North Carolina went on to fight at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and….the Second Cold Harbor. [After the last battle General Robert E. Lee commended the regiment for its valor:]
“Yesterday evening the enemy penetrated a part of our line and planted his colors upon the temporary breastworks erected by our troops. He was immediately repulsed, and among the brave men who met him, the 20th North Carolina, under Col. T.F. Toon, of the brigade commanded by Gen. R.D. Johnson, captured his flag. It was brought to me by Major John S. Brooks of that Regiment who received his promotion for gallantry at Chancellorsville, with the request that it be sent to Governor Vance. I take great pleasure in complying with the wish of the gallant captors, and respectfully ask that it be granted, and that these colors be presented to the State of North Carolina as another evidence of the valor and devotion that have made her name eminent in the armies of the Confederacy.”
(Flashes of Duplin’s History and Government, Faison Wells McGowen & Pearl Canady McGowen, editors, 1971, pp. 228-230)
North Carolina’s War Between the States Sesquicentennial“The Official Website of the North Carolina war Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission”