Thursday, September 11, 2014

The 19 Confederate Colonel's of Gettysburg, Part II

Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery

       I last posted about the Confederate colonels killed on the first day at the Battle of Gettysburg, here I will give brief bio's on the colonels killed on the second day. Isaac Erwin Avery would be killed at Gettysburg at the rank of colonel, but he was leading a brigade (which was the job for a brigadier general). The reason he was still a colonel is because he was leading Hoke's brigade, that officer having been wounded, would soon return to his command and Avery would revert to his position as commander of the 6th North Carolina Infantry. Avery had been a pre-war planter and part owner of a railroad in North Carolina. He went by the nickname of "Ike" and stood six-foot, four inches in his socks and arrived at Gettysburg at the age of 34. He saw action at First Manassas where he was wounded, Seven Pines, and was wounded again at Gaines Mill. He was back in command for Chancellorsville and took command of the brigade when Robert Hoke was wounded there. During the assault on Cemetery Hill near dark on July 2, 1863, he was shot in the neck and mortally wounded. He was bleeding profusely, his right hand was paralyzed, and he was unable to speak. His aide knelt by his side as he wrote a note with his left hand and using his own blood which read, "Major, tell my father I fell with my face to the enemy." He died sometime that night, either late on July 2 or in the early hours of July 3. He rests today in Rosehill Cemetery in Hagarstown, Maryland. He was considered "true, brave, gallant, and efficient." 

Isaac Erwin Avery

The note written in Avery's own blood to his father

Isaac Erwin Avery

Grave of Colonel Isaac Avery

       Colonel James William Carter is a little more elusive than the others. I have yet to find a photograph of the 33 year old colonel who arrived at Gettysburg in command of the 13th Mississippi Infantry. He was a pre-war planter. He saw action at First Manassas, the Seven Days battles when he would be wounded at Malvern Hill. He would see action again at Antietam and Fredericksburg. He would lead the 13th Mississippi Infantry into the fighting on the second day of Gettysburg under General William Barksdale and they would break through the Federal lines at the Peach Orchard on the southern part of the battlefield. Seven years after the Civil War ended, his remains were removed from Gettysburg and he rests today in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia which is considered the Arlington of the Confederacy.

Col James William Carter

A small section of the Gettysburg dead in Hollywood Cemetery

William Davie DeSaussure

       William Davie DeSaussure arrived at Gettysburg in command of the 15th South Carolina Infantry at the age of 43. He would be the oldest Confederate colonel to die there. He had graduated from the University of South Carolina and led an extremely busy life before the war. He'd been a lawyer, politician, fought in the Mexican War, and served in the U.S. Army until the Civil War began. He'd seen action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He came to Gettysburg leading the regiment in Joseph B. Kershaw's brigade. His regiment was in reserve during Kershaw's fight at the Peach Orchard, but he was soon sent to help Semmes's brigade in its assault on the Rose Farm to the south. He was leading his men forward when he was struck in the chest by a bullet and killed instantly. DeSaussure was known for his reckless courage. He rests today in the 1st Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Columbia, South Carolina.

William Davie DeSaussure

Grave of William DeSaussure against the wall of the church

       John Abraham Jones arrived at Gettysburg at the age of 41 and commanding the 20th Georgia Infantry. He was nicknamed "Little Jack". Before the war he'd been a lawyer, politician, and fought in the Mexican War. His regiment was a part of Benning's brigade in John Bell Hood's division which assaulted the far south flank. This brigade saw action near the Devil's Den and Triangular Field at Gettysburg. After some Parrott Rifled cannons had been captured, the enemy opened fire with their artillery. A shell struck a rock, and a shell fragment glancing off the rock passed through Jones's head, killing him instantly. Benning said, "He behaved with great coolness and gallantry." Following the war, his remains were being sent back to Georgia when the ship sank and his body was lost at sea. 

Col John A. Jones

Memorial marker to Colonel Jones in Linwood Cemetery, Columbus, Georgia

       Trevanion Dudley Lewis arrived at Gettysburg in command of the 8th Louisiana Infantry at the age of 27. He saw action under Stonewall Jackson during the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. They fought during the Seven Days, 2nd Manassas, and he was wounded at Antietam. He was captured at Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville Campaign. Exchanged, he would lead the regiment at Gettysburg. Considered a modest man, he would be in reserve as Hays's brigade attacked Cemetery Hill late on July 2. I have yet to find details on how he was killed, most of the fighting being after dark and Hays's report on the battle barely mentions him. Initially buried on the field, his remains probably rest today in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. 
       Joseph Wasden came to Gettysburg in command of the 22nd Georgia Infantry and was 33 years old. He was a pre-war lawyer. He'd seen action during the Seven Days and been wounded at 2nd Manassas. He would charge Cemetery Ridge on July 2 along with the rest of Ambrose Wright's brigade. During the fateful charge, he was riddled by canister fire and killed. Federal Colonel Horatio Rogers of the 2nd Rhode Island found his body and noted that he had a Masonic certificate in his pocket decided to bury his brother with military honors. Following the war, his remains would be removed to Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia where he rests today. It was said that the service contained no truer officer than Joseph Wasden. 

Joseph Wasden

Grave of Joseph Wasden in Savannah, Georgia

       The colonels killed on day 3 at Gettysburg will be in the next blog.

1 comment:

  1. I am very happy to see my ancestor, Joseph Wasden, included in this. Thank you!