Magazine Index

Thomas Jefferson Wilkie

3d Regiment N. C. Cavalry

( 41st Regiment N.C. Troops )

Thomas Jefferson Wilkie volunteered for the cavalry on March 8, 1862 at Carbonton, N.C., a few miles from his home near Goldston. He was assigned to the Macon Mounted Guards, an independent cavalry company mustered into state service as the 41st Regiment N.C. Troops n December 14, 1861. The company commander was Capt. Peter G. Evans.

 

The unit was subject to the orders of Confederate authorities in the area of service. It was subsequently transferred to Confederate service as the 3d Regiment N.C. Cavalry and was in Bakers's-Gordon's-Barringer's Brigade. A cavalry company contained 64-100 men when organized. The men were reimbursed by the Confederate government for the use of their own horses. Thomas Jefferson was present for duty and paid for horses from April 15, 1862 to August 1, 1862.

On March 13, 1962, 2d Lt. J.L. Haughton, one of the company officers, received orders to report to the commanding general at the railroad crossing on the Beauford Road. After reporting, Lt. Haughton was ordered to burn the bridge on the road between Capt. Evans' and the Croatan Battery. Lt. Haughton left the Croatan breastworks (one mile above the mouth of Otter Creek which is ten miles below New Bern on the south side of the Neuse River) with ten men an established a picket at Evans' Mill. The group was cut off by enemy pickets, escaped through Trenton, and reached Kinston at sunup on Sunday.

On March 14, 1862 the company took part in the Battle of New Bern and retreated with General L.O.'B Branch's command to Kinston.

On March 17, 1862, the Macon Mounted Guards were assigned to Branch's Brigade.On April 19, 1862 the company was assigned to Ransom's Brigade, Branch's Division, District of Pamlico, Department of North Carolina.

On April 28, 1862 William Whitfield Carraway was elected company commander

.On June 17, 1862 the company was on the south side of the Neuse on picket duty with orders to keep the enemy close to New Bern. Cavalry pickets extended nearly to Deep Gully on the Trent Road and from the railroad near Tuscarora

On June 27, 1862 the unit was at Swift Creek, N.C.

In July and August 1862 the company was near Kinston.

 

On September 3, 1862, the 3d Regiment N.C. Cavalry was organized by Special Orders No. 206 and independent cavalry companies were assigned to it. At the time of organization the company was in Lenoir County (Kinston) and remained there for the balance of 1862. Lenoir County was part of the District of Pamlico with district headquarters in Goldsborough. Major General Gustavus Smith commanded the "right wing of the army" with departmental command as far south as the Cape Fear.

On November 4, 1862, Co. E was at Kinston.

On November 17, 1862, Col John A. Baker assumed regimental command and used the three companies at Kinston as a nucleus to organize the regiment. The Macon Mounted Guards became Co. E and was one of the three companies at Kinston.

Between December 10 and December 20, 1962 the unit participated in the Battle of Goldsborough. Goldsborough was an important east-west and north-south railroad junction. The Federal forces were under the command of Major General John G. Foster, Shanks Evans commanded the Confederate forces.

On December 13, 1862 (Saturday), the Federals approached Kinston in force. Engagements occurred at Hines' Mill and two miles from Kinston Bridge. Evans retired toward the Neuse. The engagement lasted ten hours.

On December 14, 1862, after a three-hour battle, Evans retired across the Neuse and then to Kinston with the enemy pursuing. He then retired to Falling Creek under heavy fire. The Federals recrossed the river and moved toward White Hall. Evans sent infantry and 600 dismounted cavalry under B.H. Robertson to defend the crossing at White Hall.

On December 17, 1862, Foster burned the main bridge of the Weldon-Wilmington RR over the Neuse River. (OR 18, 57, 109-110).

January 5, 1863: From W.H.C. Whiting to Col. Baker: On advance of enemy in force for attack on Wilmington, you will endeavor to ascertain the route he takes with his main column. A part of your cavalry will fall back to Holly Shelter Road, a part on plank road. Enemy's advance should be delayed by every means in your power.

January 13, 1863: From Whiting to Baker. Unless Robertson has given instructions, send one company back to Col. Harrison and with remainder watch their flank, moving if forced across Cape Fear (northeast branch) and protect railroad and telegraph. If they land below New River, watch their rear and follow them up.

January 16, 1863: Whiting to Baker. Impede enemy's advance by every device within your means; destroy all bridges in his route, however trifling. Accustom your men to skirmish with his advance, to ambuscade, etc.

January 18, 1963: Whiting to Baker. Dispatch of 18th received. I want accurate information of route and advance of enemy. Advance by Tuckahoe, on railroad, toward Kenansville should be communicated to telegraph office there; on Jacksonville Road should be forwarded here.

January 25, 1863: Baker to Major Hill (from Golding Place). Enemy has passed Trenton on way to Kinston.

February 25, 1863. Longstreet was appointed to command the Department of Virginia and North Carolina which extended from Richmond to Cape Fear. It consisted of three departments: Department of Richmond under Elzey, Department of Southern Virginia under French, and Department of North Carolina under D.H. Hill. Sometime during February or March Co. E (together with Companies B, C, F, I & K) moved to the Blackwater line in southern Virginia.

March 7, 1863. Bridge over New River burned by Baker.

March 19, 1863. Baker's cavalry at Blackwater line.

March 24, 1863. M. Jenkins proposed "a dash of Baker's regiment upon enemy cavalry at Windsor Road (4-5 miles this side of Suffolk).

April 6, 1863: Longstreet to Jenkins: Have command ready to cross Blackwater on Friday. Baker's regiment should be ready to move with you. Cross at Franklin Bridge. Cavalry should be provided with wires to stretch across roads in case of enemy cavalry charge.

April 11-May 4, 1863. The regiment took part in Longstreet's Suffolk Campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to allow Confederate commissaries to gather food in eastern N.C. (OR 18, p. 942). The campaign was broken off soon after the Federals crossed the Rappahannock on April 29, 1963. The 3d Cavalry was used mainly on picket and outpost duty and saw no heavy action. On April 21, 1863, the regiment was assigned to B.H. Robertson's Brigade, but remained on detached service on the Blackwater.

May 2, 1863: Longstreet to French: Major Mitchell hopes to get wagons over tonight. If he succeeds, Picket to move and send Baker to you.

May 20, 1863. The regiment remained on the Blackwater at Ivor Station (French's headquarters) on the Norfolk & Petersburg RR.

June 11, 1863. A detachment of the 3d NC Cavalry burned Dollard's Wharf on the south side of the James River.

June 18, 1863. The regiment repulsed attempts to cross the Blackwater.

July 1, 1863. The regiment moved north of Richmond to intercept raiders and watch the Pamunkey. It was at Old Church (northeast of Richmond) near New Castle Ferry. Baker had 200 dismounted men. In a dispatch to Seddon, D.H. Hill wrote "with Baker at Old Church, we ought to get timely notice of an advance upon Hanover Junction."

 

July 4, 1863. The regiment was on the right at the South Anna Bridge and took part in repulsing the Federal infantry advance.

 

July 11, 1863. The unit was ordered back to Petersburg; however, one company remained to act as cavalry escort to C.E. Lightfoot's expedition to Matthais Point (ENE of Fredericksburg, 22 miles, in King George County, Virginia). Col. Baker was with the company.

 

July 18, 1863. The company that went to Matthais Point rejoined the regiment which was assigned to Ransom's command on July 18 by Special Order No. 170.

 

July 27, 1863. The regiment moved back to the Blackwater and took up positions at or near Ivor Station where they rotated picket and outpost duty.

 

August 5, 1863. Baker reported no enemy at Bower's Hill.

 

July-October 1863. The regiment remained on the Blackwater near Ivor Station. Records reflect that on August 1, 1863, Thomas Jefferson was detailed as a teamster because he had no horse. On October 8, LTC Waddell was commanding near Ivor Station. In October the regiment moved back to N.C.

 

October 23-24, 1863. The regiment was in camp below Kinston.

 

November 1863. Co. E (with Co. H) was stationed below Greenville. It was under Picket's command and had 32 officer, 589 men.

 

December 17, 1863. Thirty-five men of Co. H were captured when surprised in camp. Major Roger Moore reported, "one of my companies picket 16 miles below here, on the other side of the river, 1-12 miles below on this side, and I have only one small company as a reserve here and as a support to the battery, and none to act independently." Major Moore was killed on December 30 in an attack on a Federal reconnaissance party six miles south of Greenville. Sometime during this period, Thomas' mules were captured by the enemy.

 

January 29, 1864. Seven companies detached to Neuse and Trent picket line.

 

January 31, 1864. Col. Baker sent to the railroad at Croatan. It was a dark and rainy night and he could not cross the swamp.

 

February 1, 1864. Col. Baker returned to the main body.

 

February 3, 1864. Picket began retiring toward Kinston.

 

February 20, 1964. Col. Baker attacked where the Neuse Road crosses Batchelder's Creek, eight miles from New Bern at Brice's Creek.

 

The detachment near Greenville (including Co. E) remained on station through February, but rejoined the regiment in March 1864. Co. E probably did not participate in the February action at New Bern on February 1-4, 1864.

 

April 22, 1864. The regiment was ordered to proceed by highway to headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, for assignment to James Gordon's Brigade, Fitz Lee's Division, Cavalry Corps, Stuart commanding. The move was delayed until May 8 because of a Federal move on New Bern.

 

May 8, 1864. The regiment started for Weldon early in the morning and arrived at Weldon on May 10.

 

May 13, 1864. The unit arrived at Petersburg.

 

May 14, 1864. The unit accompanied Beauregard on his way to Drewry's Bluff. Beauregard moved by way of Swift Creek, and at Chesterfield Courthouse met and scattered a small Federal force. He arrived at Drewry's mansion at 3:00 a.m., May 14. (Lee's Lieutenants, Vol. III, p. 478.)

 

May 16, 1864. The regiment was not engaged in the battle at Drewry's Bluff, but remained on position until ordered to move to Richmond on May 22.

 

May 26, 1864. From Richmond the regiment joined Gordon's Brigade at Hanover Courthouse. After Gordon's death, General R. Barringer assumed command. The regiment was engaged in screening the Army of Northern Virginia and observing the Federal army during Grant's march down the peninsula.

 

May 27, 1864. The regiment was on the Hanover Town Road on the Pamunkey.

 

May 29, 1864. Lee ordered a forced reconnaissance by calvary to locate the Federal army. (Lee's Lieutenants, Vol. III, p. 499-500). In a seven-hour fight (with the 5th S.C. Cavalry), the unit helped repulse the 2d Federal Cavalry Division at Haw's Shop.

 

May 30, 1864. The regiment was near Hanover Courthouse.

 

May 31, 1864. The regiment was at Ashland.

 

June 3, 1864. The regiment was near Meadow Bridge. (Second Cold Harbor occurred on June 3).

 

June 11, 1864. The unit was engaged at White Oak Swamp.

 

June 15-16, 1864. The unit was engaged at Malvern Hill and Harrison's Landing.

June 18, 1864. The regiment crossed the James River and headed toward Petersburg.

June 21, 1864. While guarding the Petersburg & Weldon RR just below Petersburg, the brigade drove back a Federal infantry division under General Francis Barlow at Davis' farm (where Col. Baker was captured). After this engagement, the regiment was detached for picket duty on the Petersburg & Weldon RR south of Petersburg where it remained until ordered north of the James River.

July 30-August 2, 1864. The regiment was north of the James River.

August 2, 1864. The regiment returned to its old camp south of Petersburg, but was ordered north again.

 

August 15-16, 1864. The regiment was engaged at White's Tavern and White Oak Swamp. It then moved south to engage a force on the Petersburg & Weldon RR.

August 21, 1864. The cavalry was successful at Yellow House.

August 25, 1864. The unit was engaged at Ream's Station. From Ream's Station, the brigade moved to Stony Creek.

September 11-16, 1864. The unit took part in Hampton's Beef Raid. Following the raid, the cavalry was stationed on the right of the line protecting the Petersburg & Weldon RR from Petersburg to Stony Creek.

November 20-October 4, 1864. The regiment was engaged in numerous skirmishes while on picket duty.

October 4, 1864. Thomas Jefferson Wilkie was absent on horse detail.

October 28, 1864. The regiment took part in the battle on Boydton Plank Road.

November 16, 1864. Thomas Jefferson Wilkie transferred to Co. H, 26th N.C.

 

  By Dee Ball