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The 57th North Carolina at Fredricksburg (Hood's Division, Law's Brigade)

Discussion in 'The Eastern Theater' started by Seth VA/NC, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Seth VA/NC

    Seth VA/NC Retired User

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    So my GGGG grand uncle served with the 57th North Carolina, and upon looking at the regiments history I saw they suffered a high casualty rate of 32 killed and 192 wounded, it said they actually charged union positions and forced them back, and Hood's after battle report says the regiment charged the Union positions alone, this was the 57th NC first combat experience, anyone know any more facts about this regiment at the Battle of Fredricksburg, please respond, any info or comments are welcome.
     
    east tennessee roots likes this.

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  3. AUG351

    AUG351 Captain Forum Host

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    The Battle of Fredericksburg:
    After the regiment was organized at Salisbury, in the summer of 1862, it was
    ordered to Richmond, and was there attached to Davis'Brigade in the division
    of General G. W. Smith, commanding the Department at Richmond. The main army
    at the time lay along the line of the Rapidan. The Fifty-seventh Regiment
    remained at Richmond until 6 November. While there it had been carefully
    drilled and admirably disciplined; it was well equipped, and when it was sent,
    in November, to join the army upon the Rapidan, it numbered more than 800
    rifles, and was a soldierly looking body of men. It was attached to Law's
    Brigade, Hood's Division, along with the Fourth Alabama, Sixth North Carolina
    and Fifty-fourth North Carolina. Within a few weeks after it joined the army
    at the front, came the battle of Fredericksburg, on 18 Dec 1862..... About 3
    o'clock in the evening General Law was ordered by General Hood to make another
    effort to clear the enemy from the railroad. He ordered the Fifty-seventh
    Regiment to make the addack, supported by the Fifty-fourth NC, also a new
    regiment. The regiment, when it received the order, was in the woods, and in
    order to clear the woods, owing to swamps and thickets, was compelled to go
    across a corduroy road out into the open. It went by fours-left-in-front. As
    the first company cleared the woods, a battery opened on it from the Bowling
    Green road, yet under this fire, company after company, as it cleared the
    woods, went steadily into line without a falter or sign of confusion, and the
    line was formed as accurately as if on parade; then at "quick step" it
    started for the enemy's line on the railroad. It was in full view of almost
    the entire Confederate army on the surrounding hills, and of a larger part of
    the Federal along the Bowling Green road. As it started there came a cheer
    from the hills. The line moved at "quick step," with arms at right-shoulder-
    shift. The enemy's artillery redoubled its fire, but the marksmanship was
    bad, and the regiment was receiving little punishment, and moved as if on
    parade. At about 400 yards the enemy opened with their rifles from the
    railroad, but the regiment had been ordered not to return the fire until the
    enemy broke, and so they marched in silence. Then the files began to fall
    out, killed or wounded sometimes from shells and sometimes from the infantry
    fire, but the gaps were closed up and the regiment marched steadily forward
    still silent. Then the bullets flew thick and the ground in the wake of the
    regiment began to be strewn with those brave men, thicker and thicker. Then
    the fire became terrific, and at about 125 yards from the railroad the order
    was given to "double-quick."

    Then it was that those men who had never seen a battle before, had never seen
    Confederate troops in action, raised that Confederate yell that seemed to be a
    part of the nature of the Confederate troops. There was a sudden dash forward
    into the thunder and smoke of guns, and the Fifty-seventh Regiment was at the
    railroad with their guns loaded, and those of the enemy who had not fled were
    captured then and there. The regiment had no orders to halt at the railroad,
    so Colonel GODWIN, in obedience to what he considered his orders, planted his
    colors upon the far bank of the railroad, and immediately the regiment was
    again in line and making towards the Bowling Green Road. It was now attacked
    upon its flank, yet it never faltered nor hesitated until it had gone through
    this ordeal, a distance of nearly 200 yards, and an order came from general
    Law to retire to the railroad.

    THEN was seen what is rarely seen even with veteran troops. The regiment
    faced about under a murderous fire, marched back and took its position in the
    railroad cut without confusion. Just before this movement, Company F, from
    Cabarrus, which occupied the left of the line, made a half turn to the left
    and held the enemy in check upon Hazel Run while the regiment was retiring to
    the railroad. It was ONE company standing alone in the midst of a great
    battle field, and yet when its task was done it went in good order to the
    railroad. The struggle had lasted in all perhaps twenty-five minutes, and in
    that time 250 of the Fifty-seventh Regiment were stretched dead or wounded
    upon the plain. Of the officers, four of the Captains were either killed or
    permanently disabled. Captain Miller and his two Lieutenants - Frank Hall and
    Lawson Brown - were killed; Captain Cannon of the Cabarrus company, was
    permanently disabled, and Captain Speck, of Lincoln County, lost a leg.
    Captain E. J. Butner, of Campany D, from Forsyth, was also killed.

    This was the first experience of this regiment in battle, and the writer looks
    back now in wonderment how these raw troops endured so manfully the shock of
    such awful battle. They were nearly all conscripts and nine-tenths of them
    were farmers or farmers' sons from the counties mentioned above. They fought
    under the eye of their comrades on the hills, who cheered them with a mighty
    cheer when they came back to the railroad. They fought too, under the eye of
    their great Commander-in-Chief (Godwin) and he repaid them with a flattering
    notice in an order issued the next day.

    This regiment was engaged in many battles after this, and when it surrendered
    at Appomattox its fame was still untarnished, but it had no such trial as
    befell it upon the threshold of its experience. The lesson that the writer
    drew from this experience was that, the high-spirited Scotch-Irish and the
    patient Germans of North Carolina are unsurpassed in the qualities that go to
    make great soldiers.

    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~eabosti/html/57th_regiment.html

    You can see where Law's Brigade made the attack on this map by Civil War Trust
    http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fredericksburg/maps/slaughterpenfarmmap.html
     
  4. lenjolley

    lenjolley Cadet

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  5. lenjolley

    lenjolley Cadet

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    Gen. Law and his VADC, my g.g.g. uncle John Cussons, newly promoted to Captain, moved forward with the 54th and 57th NC. Law had his horse shot from under him by sharpshooters from a New Jersey Brigade. My g.g.g. uncle wrote a short letter home to his parents, in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, about the battle. He stated that the two NC regiments were like seasoned veterans. Apparently, his parents didn't get the letter until after Longstreet's 1st Corps had moved to besiege Suffolk
     
  6. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    My GGG Grandfather, Andrew Williams, was a member of the 57th NC, company B, and he was among the 192 reported wounded. According to his service record:

    Wounded in the left hand at Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 13. Andrew was admitted for a gunshot wound to hand then furloughed between 15 Dec 1862 and 30 Dec 1862 at Chimborazo Hospital No. 3 in Richmond
     

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