Monday, September 28, 2015

“That Handful of Brave North Carolinians -- Two Hundred Fifty Against Fourteen Thousand”

Henry W. Grady, The New South

“Henry Grady’s Father in the Battle of the Crater:

Garland S. Ferguson, of the Twenty-Fifth North Carolina, at a large Confederate reunion held at Waynesville, N.C., in October [1893], paid his tribute to Major [William S.] Grady, father of Henry W. Grady of [Athens] Georgia [Henry W. Grady became a well-known Atlanta newspaperman].

“I can never forget the 30th of July, 1864, in front of the crater. My Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel were in the hospital with wounds and sickness, my Captain dead on the field, and my senior Lieutenants in the hospital, how good old Major Grady, with 250 of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Regiment, and a remnant of the Twenty-sixth South Carolina, stood between Grant’s army and the city of Petersburg, for two long hours, until [General William] Mahone brought reinforcements; how, with that handful of brave North Carolinians, he held back fourteen regiments of Federal troops.

The coolness and courage with which he walked the line of his men, directed the manner of their firing, and checked every advance movement of the enemy; while he saw of his best and most beloved officers and true and tried men carried from the field either dead or badly wounded; how he led the gallant charge which, after a hand-to-hand fight, drove the enemy from our works with a loss of 6,000, and fell mortally wounded just as victory perched on our banners.

Never Sparta had braver representatives or Thermopylae more courageous defense, yet North Carolina does not note how he died in her cause, or Virginia in her defense. The Petersburg papers gave credit for the victory to Mahone and the Virginians, which was won by the courage and blood of the North Carolinians under the command of Major Grady.”

Major Grady’s connection with the North Carolina Regiment occurred in this way: His company [G, Highland Guards] was raised close by the North Carolina line [Clay and Macon counties, and Athens, Georgia], and at that time Georgia volunteers were only taken for six months, whereas they wanted to enlist for a year, and consequently they became part of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina [Company G enlisted at Franklin, North Carolina on 8 July 1861]”

(Confederate Veteran, November 1893, page 326)

Two Hundred Fifty Against Fourteen Thousand


  1. 49th NC left out entirely. They too paid the price in defense of the Crater.

  2. My wife's kin died two days prior up there. Jeptha Turner of the 22nd South Carolina volunteers. Been curious how his last days went.

    1. I am sure and guess you've exhausted all means.

    2. Poked around a little. Found his sign up paperwork and his kia paperwork. Haven't looked into where he was those days leading up yet.

    3. Is there a good site or book that covers those days before the crater? He died July 28th in Petersburg. That's all I know.

    4. Maybe see if SC has something similar.

      Private Leon, A Jew, Served In 53rd NC (My Family's Unit)
      Private Leon was a Jew who served in Company B, 53rd NC. My great grandfather and great uncle served in Company C. Many years ago I was advertising in the Confederate Veteran for information concerning this regiment, and I was sent Private Leon's diary by a gentleman in NC. I, in turn, sent it from California back to NC for Mr. Weymouth Jordan in the Division of Archives and History. He replied stating that he had never seen such, and after reading it over the weekend was certain he would use it. Fortunately, it was just in time to be included in Volume XIII, NC Troops published in 1993, and Private Leon is quoted extensively. Mr. Jordan also included some of the information I provided concerning my family.

      Private Leon's diary was published later, and his last words bear repeating.

      "When I commenced this diary, of my life as a Confederate soldier I was full of hope for the speedy termination of the War, and our independence.

      I was not quite nineteen years old. I am now twenty-three. The four years that I have given to my country, I do not regret, nor am I sorry for one day that I have given - my only regret is that we have lost that for which we fought. Nor do I for one minute think that we lost it by any other way than by being outnumbered at least five, if not ten to one. The world was open to the enemy, but shut out to us. I shall now close this diary in sorrow, but to the last I will say that, although but a private, I still say our Cause was just, nor do I regret one thing that I have done to cripple the North."

    5. I didn't even think about publishing it when I had it. In retrospect I could have done it and used the money for the Cause.