Company E, 7th South Carolina at Gettysburg

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
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photo credit: @Gettysburg Greg from thread https://civilwartalk.com/threads/rose-pasture-july-5-1863-t-n.134960/#post-1550894

The 7th South Carolina Infantry brought an estimated 408 officers and enlisted men to Gettysburg, but it was composed of 12 companies (A through M) instead of the usual ten. Company E, if of average size, would have had about three officers and 30 men. Many of its members had belonged to an antebellum militia unit known as the “Mount Willing Guards,” and enlisted in their county (Edgefield District) on April 15, 1861, forming Company E.

Brigadier General Joseph Brevard Kershaw, the brigade commander, left a thorough narrative of his brigade’s actions on July 2, both in his official report as well as in post-war recollections, particularly with regard to the 7th South Carolina. Fifth Sergeant James B. Suddath of Company E also wrote a brief account, which matches Kershaw’s description. In a July 9, 1863 letter to his brother, Suddath recalled:

“We went forward, but it seemed to me that my life was not worth a straw. We went right through an open field 500 yards with at least 60 pieces of cannon pouring their deadly missile into our ranks. We met their infantry in the woods on the other side of the field. We drove them back about 100 yards. Meeting a fresh line we in turn was compelled to give back. But another line coming to our assistance we drove them way up the side of the mountain until we come to their breastworks. We then give back a short distance where we lay all night and the next day.”

Suddath’s account can be broken down and summarized as follows.

(A) “We went right through an open field …” He depicts the regiment’s advance from Warfield ridge to the Rose woods, a path covered by up to 30 Federal cannon, which understandably felt like double that number given the destructive hail of fire. An analysis suggests one-third of the brigade casualties were inflicted by enemy artillery. Suddath himself mentioned five from his company who were “disabled by shell,” but they must have recovered quickly and remained with the company, because they do not appear as casualties on the official rolls. Perhaps they were rendered temporarily insensible from concussive effects of one of more bursting shells. Some may even have been taken out of the fight for the day, something to keep in mind when considering this (or any) regiment’s fighting strength, and also recognizing that casualty lists don’t always tell the whole story.

(B) “We met their infantry in the woods … drove them back …” The regiment brushed away an opposing skirmish line and compelled the Fifth Corps brigades of Tilton and Sweitzer to retreat northward.

(C) “Meeting a fresh line we … give back.” The advance of the Second Corps brigades of Zook and Kelly pressured the front of the regiment while flanking its right, forcing it back to near the Rose house, where it regrouped.

(D) “But another line coming to our assistance we drove them …” The advance of Wofford’s Georgians flanked the Federals and signaled a general forward movement of the Confederate line through the Wheatfield and Rose woods to the foot of Little Round Top, whose rocky crest constituted a natural breastwork. It seems Kershaw’s battered brigade did not move forward as a body at this time, but we know some of its soldiers did so.

(E) “We then give back …” Toward dusk those who participated in the final push rejoined their comrades near the Rose buildings, where the regiment tended to its wounded and dead, and rested undisturbed until the late afternoon of July 3, when it moved back with the brigade to Warfield ridge.

Attached maps depict the regiment initially advancing at 6:10 p.m. (1810), confronting Zook (Fraser) and Kelly at 6:30 p.m. (1830), and the final push at 7:05 p.m. (1905) on July 2.

Listed below are Company E personnel (casualties occurred on July 2 unless otherwise noted) in the Gettysburg campaign. I can account for three officers (possibly a fourth), three sergeants, three corporals and 24 privates.

Captain James Mitchell. Present. Born January 7, 1835, he served in the pre-war militia as a corporal before enrolling as a sergeant in the Confederate army on April 15, 1861. Elected 3rd (Junior 2nd) Lieutenant on October 23, he was commissioned captain on May 13, 1862. A notation in his service record indicated he was “brave but inefficient.” However, Mitchell served as captain off and on until September 1864. He was paroled at Augusta, Georgia on May 19, 1865, and died on August 31, 1893.

1st Lieutenant William A. Rutland. Sustaining a severe gunshot wound, Rutland was transported in the wagon train to Williamsport, Maryland, where he succumbed from his wounds on July 8.

2nd Lieutenant James Madison Daniel. Mortally wounded, he was taken to the field hospital established on the Emanuel Pitzer farm, where he died the next day. After the war his remains were reinterred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Born June 28, 1836, he had enlisted as a sergeant. His brother, 1st Lieutenant William L. Daniel of Company I, 2nd South Carolina, was also killed on this field, leaving their aged parents to mourn the simultaneous loss of two of their four children.

3rd (Junior) Lieutenant James W. Pinson. Possibly present at the battle. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on July 6.

2nd Sergeant A. W. Denny. Present, based on his service record (as indicated by being paid on July 1).

3rd Sergeant J. C. H. Rauch. Present, per his service record. Promoted to 1st Sergeant on July 6.

5th Sergeant James B. Suddath. Present; promoted to 3rd Sergeant on July 7. Suddath came through unscathed on July 2 only to be knocked down on July 3 by an artillery shell piece that smashed two fingers on his left hand, but without causing permanent damage.

1st Corporal U. G. McGee. Enlisting in April 1861 in Edgefield District, he was killed at Gettysburg. His back pay and allowances were presented to his mother Jane in 1864.

2nd Corporal Lawrence A. Smith. Temporarily disabled by a shell (possibly a concussion), Smith recovered quickly and remained with the company. Hence no official mention was made of his injury, but Suddath wrote of it in his letter home. Smith was promoted to 4th Sergeant two days after the battle.

3rd Corporal West W. Smith. Present per his service record. He was promoted to 5th Sergeant on July 6.

Private Henry Black. Present per his service record. He enlisted on August 9, 1862.

Private Paul E. Black. Temporarily disabled by a shell (possibly a concussion), he was able to stay with the company. His injury would never have been known, except for Suddath referring to it in his letter home.

Private Jacob H. Corley. Present per his service record.

Private Joshua N. Corley. A minie ball entered his back between his shoulders but to the right of the spine. He was carried back to the field hospital and became a prisoner on July 5. Taken to DeCamp General Hospital in New York harbor, he soon recovered and was paroled. Passing through the Episcopal Church Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia in mid-September 1863, he was furloughed and returned to the company by May 1864.

Private Milledge Crouch. Enlisting on August 9, 1862, he was severely wounded (by gunshot) in the hand at Gettysburg, and was treated at the general hospital in Lynchburg. Returning to the company, he was wounded at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863 and remained hospitalized well into 1864.

Private T. B. Crouch. Present, per his service record.

Private Willis Crouch. Present, per his service record.

Private Elias Crout. Temporarily disabled by a shell (possibly a concussion), he recovered quickly and stayed with the company. His wound was not officially recorded, but Suddath mentioned it in his letter home. Crout would be mortally wounded at Chickamauga.

Private James O. Denny. He received a gunshot wound to his shoulder and another wound to his foot. He was left behind on the retreat and sent to DeCamp General Hospital. Paroled, he passed through Jackson General Hospital in Richmond on November 4, 1863, and returned to his unit by early 1864, but being evidently incapable of resuming active service, he was retired on April 13, 1864.

Private William Douglas (or Duglas). Present, per his service record.

Private Alfred Marony. Temporarily disabled by a shell (possibly a concussion), he recovered quickly and remained on duty with the company. His slight wound did not bear mentioning in his service record, but Suddath noted it in his letter home. Marony survived the war.

Private D. D. W. McCarty. Present per his service record, but he probably missed the battle because he was detailed to drive cattle for the army during this period.

Private Paul M. Mitchell. He was wounded on Maryland Heights on September 13, 1862, and was killed at Gettysburg.

Private William A. Mitchell. Enlisting on April 15, 1861 in Edgefield District, he was detailed later in the year for a few weeks as a wagoner (teamster), entitling him to an extra 25 cents a day. Slightly wounded in the head at Gettysburg, he remained with the company, and later in the war was promoted to corporal. He took the oath of allegiance on May 19, 1865.

Private E. W. Padgett. Temporarily disabled by a shell (possibly a concussion), he recovered quickly and stayed on duty with the company. His wound was not even recorded, but Suddath mentioned it in his letter home.

Private John R. Pinson. He was struck (gunshots) in the lower third of his left leg, across the Achilles tendon of the right foot and the middle third of his right thigh. Taken captive on July 5, he was sent to DeCamp General Hospital and Bedloe’s Island, and later forwarded to Point Lookout, from where he was released for exchange on March 17, 1864.

Private John Pou (or Pow). Present, per his service record. Promoted to 2nd Corporal on July 6.

Private William Riddlehoover. Present, per his service record.

Private William C. Ridgell. Present, per his service record. He was promoted to 4th Corporal on July 6.

Private James P. Salter. Shot in the left thigh, he was left behind on the retreat and taken to DeCamp General Hospital in New York, where he was paroled before the end of the year. He was captured May 7, 1864 at Spotsylvania, and survived the war.

Private Abraham “Abram” Shealey. Present, per his service record.

Private James H. Smith. Badly wounded just as the regiment fell back the first time, he was apparently taken prisoner and died in captivity. His burial site is not known.

Private Louis L. Smith. Wounded in the face (gunshot), he was discharged from Jackson General Hospital in Richmond on November 16, 1863 and returned to the company.

Private James P. Thomson. Present, per his service record.

Sources:
-Official Report of Joseph B. Kershaw.
-Kershaw’s Brigade at Gettysburg, by J. B. Kershaw, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.
-Letters of J. B. Suddath, South Carolina Historical Magazine, April 1962, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 98-99, Charleston, SC: The South Carolina Historical Society.
-Roster of Company E, 7th Regiment, made from memory in November 1893 by former sergeants J. C. H. Rauch and J. B. Suddath, The Lucinda Horne Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Saluda, South Carolina, vol. II, pp. 558-560.
-Compiled Service Records, Fold3.
-https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88390079/james-mitchell
-Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey.
-https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/91948708/james-madison-daniel
 

Attachments

  • Wheatfield1810.pdf
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  • Wheatfield1830.pdf
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  • Wheatfield1905.pdf
    1.9 MB · Views: 9
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