What was the Best North Carolina Brigade in the ANV?

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OldReliable1862

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"First at Big Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg, Last at Appomattox": North Carolina, for a state that was hardly a hotbed of secession, certainly shed her share of blood for it. The "Tar Heels" acquired a reputation for hard fighting, a great deal of it with Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia.

While there were Tar Heel regiments in a number of brigades with troops from other states, I am focusing on the brigades that consisted entirely or mostly of North Carolina soldiers. These brigades served in the ANV for almost all of the war:
- the Branch-Lane brigade
- the Pender-Scales brigade
- the Garland-Iverson-Johnston brigade
- the Anderson-Ramseur-Cox brigade

These brigades served with the ANV, but were detached for at least several months of the war:
- the Ransom brigade
- the Daniel-Grimes brigade
- the Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae brigade
- the Hoke-Lewis brigade
- the Clingman brigade
- the Martin-Kirkland brigade

EDIT: Added the Hoke-Lewis, Clingman, and Martin-Kirkland brigades.
 
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nc native

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That's a tough choice to make; the Tar Heel brigades were some of the hardest fighting units in the Army of Northern Virginia and had the casualties to prove it in battle after battle. I'd have to choose two of the brigades on your list that would be tied for first place - the Pender/Scales brigade and the Anderson/Ramseur/Cox brigade. When I think about the Pender/Scales brigade, I think about Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville, A.P. Hill's Light Division saving the day for the Army of Northern Virginia after a seventeen mile march to reach the battlefield and Gettysburg where it lost over half of its men charging a position supported by heavy artillery and infantry on the first day. Dorsey Pender was probably the most promising young general (under thirty) before his mortal wounding at Gettysburg in the Army of Northern Virginia and his brigade had received high marks for its discipline, marital ability and courage on the battlefield.

When I think about the Anderson/Ramsuer/Cox brigade, it brings to mind the attack on Casey's redoubt at Seven Pines, the Bloody Lane at Antietam and plugging the gap that Upton's attack at the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvaina created and saving the day for the Army of Northern Virginia. This brigade fired the last shots for the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox and captured more men that it had in its ranks at Gettysburg on the first day. George Anderson was an aggressive brigade commander, Stephen Ramseur was another promising young brigade commander until his death at Cedar Creek and William Cox was a courageous leader who was wounded five times in various battles during the Civil War.

North Carolina provided more men to the Confederate cause than any other state and 1 out of 4 of the men who died fighting for the South were from this state. It's soldiers and leaders were very capable and able fighters but at the brigade level, these two brigades were
probably among the best it had to offer.
 
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Luke Freet

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"First at Big Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg, Last at Appomattox": North Carolina, for a state that was hardly a hotbed of secession, certainly shed her share of blood for it. The "Tar Heels" acquired a reputation for hard fighting, a great deal of it with Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia.

While there were Tar Heel regiments in a number of brigades with troops from other states, I am focusing on the brigades that consisted entirely or mostly of North Carolina soldiers. These brigades served in the ANV for almost all of the war:
- the Branch-Lane brigade
- the Pender-Scales brigade
- the Garland-Iverson-Johnston brigade
- the Anderson-Ramseur-Cox brigade

These brigades served with the ANV, but were detached for at least several months of the war:
- the Ransom brigade
- the Daniel-Grimes brigade
- the Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae brigade
Hard choice, but, think I have to go with Ramseur's brigade. 4th North Carolina is legendary on its own; it (the brigade) produced 4 generals of high quality: G. B. Anderson, Stephen Ramseur, Bryan Grimes, and William R. Cox. It was heavily engaged at Seven Pines; the Seven Days; at Antietam it held the Sunken Road; bloodied at Chancellorsville; broke Robinson's division on the first day of Gettysburg, after several disasterous attacks by the larger brigades of the division; and helped reestablish the Confederate line at the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania.
2nd place goes either to Lane's Brigade or Garland-Johnston's brigade. Iverson messed up at Gettysburg; however, the brigade under Johnston gave exceptional service throughout the later campaigns, taking part in Gordon's Flank attack at the Wilderness; getting decimated pushing back the federals from the Mule Shoe; and carrying on fighting for the rest of the war, despite horrificly depleted numbers (I believe after May 12th the brigade numbered under 600 men). Lane's Brigade meanwhile I believe was the cream de la creme of the Light Division (maybe sharing the top billing with Gregg's-McGowan's Palmettos), and performed admirably throughout the war.

Note: forgot to mention John G. Walker's-Cooke's Brigade and Hoke's-Lewis'- Brigade. Also, one could include the 2 Tarheel brigades of Hoke's Division, Clingman's and Martin's-Kirkland's
 
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Luke Freet

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Stephen Ramseur was another promising young brigade commander until his death at Second Winchester
Ramseur was killed at Cedar Creek. Might be confused with division commander Rodes being killed at 3rd Winchester (Opequen Creek).
Also, I feel Bryan Grimes should be mentioned amoung the 3 commanders of the brigade, as he was the Colonel of the 4th North Carolina from Seven Pines to Spotsylvania, where he was promoted to command Daniel's Brigade.
 

nc native

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Ramseur was killed at Cedar Creek. Might be confused with division commander Rodes being killed at 3rd Winchester (Opequen Creek).
Also, I feel Bryan Grimes should be mentioned amoung the 3 commanders of the brigade, as he was the Colonel of the 4th North Carolina from Seven Pines to Spotsylvania, where he was promoted to command Daniel's Brigade.
Thank you for catching that and bringing it to my attention! The original post has been corrected. You are right about the 4th NC Infantry and its service record being nothing short of extraordinary. At Seven Pines, it lost around 80% of its strength and soldiered on after that to play a prominent role in many of the battles that the Army of Northern Virginia fought in. Your other choice for best brigade from the Old North State is a good one too. I must admit that choosing the best brigade to come from North Carolina during the Civil War is like
a mother having to choose who is her favorite child, they are all good children in her eyes.
 
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