Final Remembrance

Dedication of the gravestone of Daniel C. Wilson, 20 Nov 1998

Daniel C. Wilson was born about 1841 and died 3 Jan 1911.

Daniel C. Wilson was one of approximately 1,900 Catawba County, North Carolina men to enlist in the Confederate cause. Born about 1841, he was typical of the many descendants of pioneer families. His great grandfather, Matthew Wilson came to America in 1745 and settled briefly in Pennsylvania before joining hundreds of other families that came to North Carolina in the mid 1700s.

The son of David and Mary Settlemyre Wilson, he enlisted in Newton at the age of 19. His service began as a private in Co. A, 12th Regiment, NC Troops on April 27, 1861, two weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter. Wilson and other members of the 12th Regiment were transported to one of the four training camps near Garysburg, north-east of Raleigh. The regiment was mustered into Confederate States service on May 18. They left by rail on May 22, bound for Richmond. After a three-day stay they were ordered to proceed by rail to Norfolk, Virginia, for service under Gen. Benjamin Huger. The regiment arrived at Norfolk in the early morning hours of May 27 and encamped at Camp Carolina, on Ward's Farm, near the old fairgrounds. In the succeeding days, various companies moved some seven miles to Camp Fisher, near Sewell's Point.

The regiment underwent further reorganization and on September 14th, Company A, the “Catawba Rifles,” transferred to the 32nd  Regiment, becoming Company E. Six companies, including Co. E, were designated the “North Carolina Battalion” in October, 1861 and was renamed the 1st Battalion N.C. Infantry on November 29, 1861.

The battalion was stationed at Camp Oak Grove, Portsmouth, Virginia, from October, 1861 until February 10, 1862, when it was sent to Winton, North Carolina, to prevent Federal gunboats from ascending the Chowan River. After skirmishing with Federal gunboats near Winton on February 19, the battalion was driven from its position; it retreated to Murfreesboro after being attacked “by many gunboats” on February 20, Company E was then sent to Suffolk, Virginia.

The 32nd Regiment remained in eastern North Carolina through April 1862. On April 19 it was ordered to the support of Colonel A.R. Wright. commander of the 3rd Regiment Georgia Infantry, whose small force was under attack at South Mills in Camden County. When Wright retired to entrenchments on Joy's Creek, about two miles from his position at South Mills, he was joined by several companies from the 32nd Regiment. The regiment was reported at Richardson's Farm at the end of April 1862 and in May it moved to Drewry's Bluff, between Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.

During the Seven Days' Battles near Richmond, June 25-July 1, 1862, the 32nd Regiment was attached to General Benjamin Huger's division and remained at Drewry's Bluff. After the Seven Days the regiment was assigned to Brigadier General Junius Daniel's brigade. On September 25, 1862, the 2nd Battalion N.C. Infantry was assigned to Daniel's brigade. The brigade remained in camp near Drewry's Bluff for the remainder of 1862.

Early in January, 1863, the 32nd Regiment and several other units of Daniel's brigade were ordered to Goldsboro, North Carolina; there they joined the remainder of the brigade which had been transferred to Goldsboro the previous month. The brigade remained in camp near Goldsboro until early February, when it was ordered to Kinston. In March, 1863, Daniel's men took part in General D.H. Hill's attempt to recapture New Bern and Washington, North Carolina. Hill planned a three-pronged attack on New Bern in which one column, under Daniel, was to move directly against the town while two flanking columns, commanded by Generals James .J. Pettigrew and Beverly H. Robertson, were to cut off the Federal defenders and silence their supporting batteries. On March 13 Daniel's men captured the Federal entrenchments at Deep Gully, about eight miles from New Bern; however, both Pettigrew and Robertson failed to accomplish their objectives, and Hill abandoned his attempt to recapture New Bern.

Hill then marched on “Little Washington” and laid siege to the town on March 30. A Federal relief column was turned back by Pettigrew's brigade on April 11, but the arrival of supplies and reinforcements by ship after the Federals ran the blockaded Pamlico River forced Hill to withdraw on April 15. By the end of April, 1863, the 32nd Regiment was in camp near Hookerton, in Greene County, North Carolina. In May, Daniel's brigade, including the 32nd Regiment, was transferred to the Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg, Virginia; there it was assigned to Major General Robert F. Rodes' division of Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell's 2nd Corps.

On June 3, 1863, Ewell's corps, with Rodes' division in the lead left its camp near Fredericksburg on a northward march that would end at Gettysburg. After a brief detour to assist the cavalry in a fight at Brandy Station on June 9, Ewell's corps crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains at Chester Gap on June 12 and entered the Shenandoah Valley. At Cedarville, the same day, Rodes' division was ordered to move in the direction of Berryville and Martinsburg and into Maryland while the other two divisions of the corps (commanded by Major Generals Jubal A. Early and Edward Johnson) advanced against Winchester. Berryville was occupied on ,June 13. and on June 14 the Federal garrison at Martinsburg was defeated and driven in disorder from its works. On June 15 Rodes, after learning of the Confederate victory at Winchester earlier the same day, moved his division to Williamsport, where he crossed the river with three brigades. Daniel's brigade crossed the Potomac on June 17.

Ewell's corps, its three divisions reunited, reached Hagerstown on the evening of June 19 and, after a two-day halt, Rodes' men moved on to Greencastle, Pennsylvania, where they bivouacked on the night of June 22. Rodes' division reached Chambersburg on June 24, and that night Daniel's brigade was ordered to Shippensburg to assist the cavalry,. By June 27 Daniel's men were reunited with the division at Carlisle. It was at this point that history would record the northernmost penetration of an organized Confederate force.

On the night of June 30, 1863, Rodes' division was at Heidlersburg, where General Ewell received orders to proceed to Cashtown or Gettysburg, as developments the next day might dictate. Rodes' division marched .toward Cashtown on the morning of July 1. En route, word came that A.P. Hill's 3rd Corps was moving on Gettysburg, and Rodes was directed to proceed there, also. When Rodes' men arrived on the field, Hill's corps was already engaged. Rodes moved his division into position on Hill's left, placing four brigades on the line and one in reserve. Daniel's brigade was placed on the extreme right of Rodes' line.
As the line moved forward, General Alfred Iverson's brigade, on Daniel's left, became heavily engaged, and Daniel was forced to send the 43rd and 53rd Regiments N.C. Troops to Iverson's support. The 45th Regiment and the 2nd Battalion N.C. Infantry of Daniel's brigade were ordered to attack the Federals to their front, who were “very strongly posted along a railroad cut, and in the edge of the woods in rear of the cut, their line of battle being nearly at right angles with General Iverson's line, and supported by two batteries of artillery posted near a stone barn on the right of the railroad cut, and another on the hill to the left of the railroad.”

At the same time, the 32nd Regiment N.C. Troops, on Daniel's right, was ordered to move forward and attempt to get into position to threaten the enemy's left flank and the battery at the stone barn. Although the attack on the railroad cut succeeded in driving the enemy from that position, the cut proved to be impassable, and Daniel's men were forced to fall back. General Daniel reported the situation and his brigade's part in the ensuing battle of July 1 as follows:

 “Seeing that the enemy was strengthening himself on my right, and was occupying the cut and the hill to the right and left of it in great force, that General Iverson's left had been broken, and that one of the enemy's flags had almost gotten in his rear, I saw the necessity of carrying the hill at all hazards, and ordered Colonel [E. C.] Brabble [of the 32nd Regiment] to advance across the cut, keeping his left on the cut and his line perpendicular to it, and to carry the battery at the barn, and drive in the line of infantry between the barn and the hill. This advance of Colonel Brabble took the enemy in flank. At the same time, I ordered Captain [W. M.] Hammond [adjutant of the 45th Regiment N.C. Troops] to proceed to the left, and order all my troops to advance with the center,.. and also to endeavor to get all the troops on my left to advance with me, as I intended to carry the hill.

About this time a body of troops, which I afterward learned belonged to Major-General [William D.] Pender's division, commenced a most spirited advance on my right .... My own troops advanced in fine order, under a heavy fire .... After severe fighting I succeeded in taking the hill, with a very heavy loss. Here a very large number of prisoners were captured . ... My command continued to move forward until it reached the outskirts of the town. where, ... I halted. Subsequently, having received orders from the major-general commanding [Rodes] to hold the railroad, I rested here during the night, under cover of an embankment.

Colonel Brabble reported the 32nd Regiment's part in the fighting on July 1 as follows:

 “[T]he regiment was drawn up on the right of the brigade, and, advancing, met the enemy about 4 o'clock. At the time the regiment became actively engaged, it was near a railroad cut .... Beyond the cut was a large stone barn, where the enemy was strongly posted. He had also planted upon a wooded hill between us and [the] town a battery, which thoroughly commanded the ground in our front and about the barn.

 “The brigade made an advance to dislodge him from the barn, but the cut in front of the other regiments was too difficult for them to cross, and the Thirty-second fell back for want of support.

 “After a short time, this regiment charged up to the barn, and dislodged the enemy; but, being unsupported on the right and left, and the battery on the hill opening a terrific fire upon it, it again fell back near the cut. The rest of the brigade having now changed direction, so as to advance without hindrance, the Thirty-second moved up beyond the barn, and, waiting a few minutes for the troops on the right advanced near the edge of the town, where it joined the other regiments and rested for the night. In its advance it took a considerable number of prisoners; how many I did not stop to ascertain. Its loss during the day was 78--none of them as prisoners."

On the morning of July 2 Daniel's brigade was moved to the right of the railroad embankment, where it was shelled by Federal artillery during the afternoon. That evening it was moved up to support a planned assault on the enemy lines; after the assault was called off, the brigade moved into Gettysburg. Around midnight General Daniel received orders to move through the town and report to General Edward Johnson, whose troops were engaged at Culp's Hill. After joining General George H. Steuart's brigade in an unsuccessful attack on Culp's Hill, Daniel's men fell back to Rock Creek. Late in the evening of July 3 General Daniel received orders to move his brigade back into Gettysburg to rejoin Rodes' division. The brigade occupied its assigned position on the left of the division on the morning of July 4.

During the night of July 4-5 Rodes' division retired from Gettysburg by moving toward Hagerstown by way of Fairfield. On July 6 the division became the rear guard of the army and was engaged in several brief skirmishes. Daniel's brigade assigned to defend the rear of the division, was constantly pressured by the enemy cavalry. On July 7 the division reached Hagerstown and established a line of battle; it recrossed the Potomac on July 14 and marched to near Darkesville, West Virginia. During the fighting at Gettysburg the 32nd Regiment lost 26 men killed and 116 wounded.

When the Federal army began crossing the Potomac River east of the Blue Ridge in mid-July, General Lee moved his army east of the mountains to interpose it between the enemy and Richmond. By August 1 the Army of Northern Virginia was encamped at Orange Court House, and the Army of the Potomac was at Warrenton. By August 4 Lee withdrew his army to the Rapidan River. In October, 1863, he attempted to turn the flank of the Federal army. That maneuver forced its commander, General George G. Meade, to order a retreat. On October 14 the Federal rear guard was intercepted at Bristoe Station, but a precipitate attack by troops of A.P. Hill's corps resulted in heavy Confederate casualties, and the Federals made good their escape. The 32nd Regiment, although a participant in the Bristoe Station campaign, was not involved in the battle of October 14.

After the escape of the Federal army to Centreville, Lee retired to the upper Rappahannock River. Rodes' division was assigned to guard the river from Wheatley's Ford (three-quarters of a mile above Kelly's Ford). Thus the division had two-mile front. The Federals launched an attack at Kelly's Ford on November 7, but the 32nd Regiment was not engaged. That night Rodes moved his division to Pony Mountain.
Following the battle at Kelly's Ford (and a fight at Rappahannock Bridge on the same date), Lee withdrew his army south across the upper Rapidan River to Orange Court House, where it went into camp. Daniel's brigade encamped near Morton's Ford, and the companies of the 32nd Regiment were detailed for picket duty at various fords on the Rapidan. On November 26 the Federal army crossed the lower Rapidan and turned west to face Lee's army. Lee, believing that the enemy was moving south to a position between the Confederate army and Richmond, shifted his forces eastward to intercept the Federals. By November 29 Lee's men were strongly entrenched at Mine Run, and Meade, unable to locate a vulnerable point against which to launch an attack, also began entrenching. On the morning of December 2, 1863, Lee sent an attack force composed of Cadmus M. Wilcox's and Richard H. Anderson's divisions against what he believed to be an exposed Federal flank; however, the Federal army had silently abandoned the field and retreated during the night. A pursuit was undertaken, but Meade recrossed the Rapidan unmolested.

Thus ended the Mine Run campaign, during which the 32nd Regiment lost three men wounded. Both armies went into winter quarters, and the 32nd Regiment returned to its former camp near Morton's Ford. In March, 1864, Company C was detailed as prison guards at Danville, Virginia. The company remained on detached duty through October, 1864.

On the morning of May 4, 1864, while the Federal army under General U.S. Grant was moving across the lower Rapidan to attack the Confederates, Rodes' division was on picket duty along the upper Rapidan. Around noon on that day Ewell's corps, with Rodes' division second in the line of march, began moving east on the Orange-Fredericksburg Turnpike in search of the enemy. After halting for the night about two miles west of Locust Grove, Ewell's men resumed their march the next morning and made contact with the Federals about 11:00 A.M. Ewell deployed his lead brigades in line of battle, but before they could establish a defensive line they were driven back by a strong Federal assault column. Daniel's brigade was rushed forward and, with the assistance of a brigade commanded by General John B. Gordon, regained the ground lost by their hard-pressed comrades. The enemy continued to launch local attacks throughout the day. No major fighting occurred on Daniel's front on May 6-7.

Late in the evening on May 7 orders were received to close up on the right, and throughout the night of May 7-8 Lee's army moved southeastward. Rodes' division arrived at Spotsylvania Court House the next day and formed on the right of Brigadier General Benjamin G. Humphrey's brigade. After driving an attacking enemy force back to its entrenchments, Rodes' division was placed in the Confederate line on the left face of a convex salient known as the Mule Shoe. On May 10 a Federal assault broke through the line held by George P. Doles' brigade, to Daniel's right, and forced Daniel to pull back his right flank. As reinforcements came up to close the gap, Daniel's men took part in an attack on the enemy's flank and forced him to abandon the captured Confederate trenches. Casualties in the 32nd Regiment were very severe and included Colonel Edmund C. Brabble, the regimental commander, who was killed.

On the morning of May 12 a massive Federal assault broke through near the apex of the Mule Shoe, and daniel's brigade, together with the brigade of Steven D. Ramseur [a local hero who would be remembered in Lincoln County for many years hence] and the division of John B. Gordon, was ordered to counterattack. A desperate melee, during the course of which General Daniel was mortally wounded, continued for the remainder of the day.

It was during this attack that Daniel Wilson was captured. In fierce hand-to-hand fighting he was clubbed over the head with a rifle butt, suffering a fractured skull. Thus subdued, he was taken to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington where he was confined on May 19, 1864. He was transferred to Fort Delaware Prison on June 15, 1864, where he would remain a prisoner for the next year. On June 19, 1865, after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the Union, he was released.

As was the case with most released prisoners, he was probably forced to find his own means of travel home. With the destruction of the transportation infrastructure, many veterans returned to their homes on foot. He never recovered from effects of his wounds and imprisonment, and was never again able to perform manual labor.

A year after he returned home, on 10 May 1866, he was married to Sarah Ellen Miller who was the mother of his first son, Thomas Avery Wilson. Without adequate documentation, she appears to have died before 1879. On August 3, 1879, he married Mary Ann Brooks of Hominy Creek in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. She was the mother of two additional sons, Arthur and Dillon.

He made a pension application June 8, 1903 in Buncombe Co., NC, appearing before Marcus Erwin. The attending physician, Aug. B. Miller(?), M.D. stated that “the applicant, D.C. Wilson, was struck on the top of his head with a gun during the war and has been suffering from a depression in the skull at this point

Since [then] he has severe head aches….Has asthma-very bad at times-general health very poor, disability.” The 1910 veterans census disclosed that he had returned to Catawba County and was a drug salesman.

Until recently, there were no printed records to indicate what had become of him. A search through old newspapers finally determined that he had died on January 3, 1911. Only the newspaper account revealed where he had been buried . A small cemetery that served a church which had long been vacated was the final resting place. A search through Arney's Chapel Cemetery in Longview, NC failed to reveal the final resting place and no grave stone was found.

On November 22, 1998, a stone provided by the Veterans Administration was dedicated to Pvt. Daniel C. Wilson. Attending were descendants of Wilson and a color guard provided by the Reactivated 26th Regiment North Carolina Troops, Col. Jeff Stepp, Commanding Officer. Following a reading of the soldier's military record and a eulogy of his past, a prayer of invocation was given by the Rev. Charles Stephens of Bethel Methodist Church. A volley of musket fire and a salute by a field piece finally gave recognition to a gallant soldier that spent nearly the entire war in the service of his country.


"On January 3rd at 6:0'clock, Daniel C. Wilson passed away. He was in feeble health for the past two years being a sufferer from asthma and something like heart dropsy [congestive heart failure] caused his death. Mr. Wilson was 68 years old. When in early years the call to arms came, he promptly enlisted in Company E, 32nd N.C. regiment and for four years was a brave, faithful soldier. His interests in Confederate matters never abated and he was always to be found at the annual reunions."         [Newton Enterprise, Jan 20, 1911]

"He was twice married. His first wife was Sarah Ellen Miller and to this union were born two children, of which one son survives him [Thomas Avery]. His second wife was Mary Ann Brooks of Hominy Creek, Buncombe county, and to them was born three sons. He is survived by his wife, four sons, one brother, nine grand children and a host of friends who mourn his departure. He was a member of the Methodist Church. His pastor, Rev. Dr. Mann and Dr. J.L. Murphy conducted his funeral which was preached at his home on Lincolnton street and then he was tenderly laid to rest ar Arney's church. [Hickory Democrat, Jan 12, 1911]

Sources:
NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS-A ROSTER, NC Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr. Editor; Vol. IX, pp., 1-3, 54
NORTH CAROLINA REGIMENTS 1861-1865, Nash Brothers, Goldsboro, NC, Walter Clark, editor; Vol. II, p. 530
THE CATAWBA SOLDIER IN THE CIVIL WAR, Clay Printing, Hickory, NC, 1911, Prof. George W. Hawn, compiler and editor; pp. 120, 216

Research performed by Derick S. Hartshorn on behalf of his wife, Lana C. Hartshorn, great-great granddaughter of Daniel C. Wilson.


Original Dedication Program


Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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