"A soldier that Silent Sam represented... Born and raised in Caldwell County, John Thomas Jones was a student at the University of North Carolina when he enlisted in the Orange Light Infantry in April 1861. This company became part of the 1st Regiment N. C. Vols, a six-month regiment, and fought in the first significant land battle of the war at Big Bethel, Virginia on June 10, 1861. Following the dismissal of the regiment in November 1861, Jones returned home to help raise the "Caldwell Guards" which became Company I, 26th Regiment N. C. Troops. He would rise through the ranks to Captain of the company, and by the time Gettysburg came around, he was Major. He, in fact, commanded the 26th NC during the third day's charge. He was promoted to Lt. Col. following Gettysburg and was mortally wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in May of 1864. When told that his wound was mortal he said that "it can't be as I was meant to accomplish more." He was one of the 287 former students of UNC that the memorial was dedicated to in 1913. He was a hero."
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