Saturday, March 14, 2015

26th North Carolina Regiment at New Bern

Last year my husband and I toured Battlefield Park at New Bern and had a wonderfully informative chat with one of the volunteers. As we walked the battlefield, which is wooded and quite hilly for coastal North Carolina, we discovered this monument to the 26th North Carolina Infantry.

26th North Carolina Infantry monument at
New Bern Battlefield Park

Twenty-Sixth Regiment
North Carolina Troops
Zebulon Baird Vance, Colonel

Abner Bynum Carmichael, Major
Henry King Burgwyn, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel

"Soldiers!! the enemy is before you and you will soon be in combat. You have the reputation of being one of the best drilling regiments in the service. Now I wish you to prove yourselves one of the best in fighting. Men, stand by me and I will by you."

Lt. Col. Henry Burgwyn, Jr.
To the men of the 26th NC on the eve of the battle...

On March 14, 1862, a combined Union army and naval expedition, consisting of 11,000, under the command of Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commenced an assault against Brig. Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch's 4,000 man Confederate defenses at New Bern.

The 26th NC was assigned to defend the right section of the Confederate line following Bullen Branch from the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, west to Bryce's Creek. The right wing of the 26th NC's line covered Weatherby Road and was manned by companies B, E and K of the 26th NC and several attachments, all under Lt. Col. Burgwyn's command. The center of the 26th NC's line, companies C, F, H and I, were under the direct command of Colonel Vance.

The left wing of the 26th NC was defended by companies A, D and G, and was under the command of Major Carmichael. From this line, east to Wood's Brickyard, occurred the most intense fighting of the day. For over three hours the 26th NC, with assistance from the 7th NC and 33rd NC, repelled the enemy's assaults along the railroad and Bullen Branch. A final Union assault on the brickyard succeeded in breaking the Confederate center.

With this, the Confederate forces, holding the line from the brickyard to Port Thompson, retired to New Bern destroying the bridge over the Trent River. The 26th NC, cut off and nearly surrounded, was the last Confederate unit to leave the field. This engagement was the baptism of fire for the 26th NC, which at Gettysburg would sustain the largest numerical losses of any unit, North or South, during the entire course of the war.

26th NC Soldiers Who Died at New Bern
Major Abner B. Carmichael -- Capt. William P. Martin, Co. H
Corporal Michael M. Woode, Co. A
Private M. Kevley, Co. C -- Private Thomas M. McRory, Co. B
Private Joseph Miler, Co. C -- Private Solomon Mullin, Co. B
Private Jackson W. Pope, Co. D -- Private Hugh M. Ray, Co. H
Private William Taylor, Co. A -- Private Lewis B. Tysor, Co. H

In addition to the 11 members who died at New Bern, the 26th NC also lost: 1 man mortally wounded, 9 men wounded, 2 men wounded and captured and 68 men captured for a total of 91 casualties.

Under the leadership of Colonel Zebulon Baird Vance, these North Carolinians made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their native soil. May they always be remembered.

Erected by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment North Carolina Troops
March 10, 2007

Battle of New Bern

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