by Robert Hester


This Company was formed in late spring or early summer of 1861 by Captain Henry Sylvester Gibbs, and comprised of 76 officers and men. At the present time we have no descriptive information of the activities of the Company other than the following: The officers of Gibbs’ Company show up in the Hyde County Militia in September of 1861. Enlisted men are found in Companies F and H of the 33rd Regiment in the fall of 1861, Company B of the 17th Regiment (2nd Organization) in the spring of 1862, and in Swindell’s Rangers and Spencer’s Cavalry in the early winter of 1863. Some of these men never enlisted in other Confederate units.

In Confederate pension applications two of the members of Gibbs’ Company list their unit as Halls’ Battalion. While there is no record of this unit, Major E.D. Hall of the 7th Regiment did command three Companies of the 33rd and two Companies of the 7th at Middletown, Hyde County during the winter of 1861-62. Further in the “Official Records” in Confederate correspondence, it is mentioned that in February, 1862, that three Companies of the 33rd and two Companies of the 7th, have been moved from Middletown to New Bern, and that left at Middletown was one Company of local defense troops. This was doubtless Gibbs’ men.

In 1864 Henry S. Gibbs, resigned from the Hyde County Militia as Lt. Colonel and was elected to the North Carolina Legislature.

Note: Over one out of seven Hyde County men enlisted in Confederate units formed outside of Hyde County.

(1st Organization)

This company enlisted in Swan Quarter in May of 1861 for twelve months service. Its Captain was James J. Leith, a Sladesville farmer, and the unit was known as the Hyde County Rifles. This company enlisted a total of 94 officers and men primarily from Hyde County. (A typical Confederate company included from 80 to 100 men.) The 17th Regiment was almost completely captured in the invasion of the Outer Banks in late August 1861. The company was mustered out of service on March 26, 1862 at Suffolk, Virginia. Its members formed the nucleus of Company B, (2nd organization) as well as providing men to other units. For example among the officers, 2nd Lieutenant William Miles Brock Swindell became captain of Company H, 33rd Regiment, and ordinance Sergeant Edward S. Swindell subsequently became the organizer and captain of Swindell’s Rangers.


This company known as the Dixie Invincibles, enlisted at Middletown in Eastern Hyde County on September 9, 1861. Captain Thomas Mayhew headed this unit that included during the course of the war at least 112 people from Hyde County. During the summer of 1862 a 58-man contingent from Orange County was added to bolster the companies ranks as a result of combat losses. The Invincibles, after the battle of New Bern, joined the army of Northern Virginia and fought through until the surrender at Appomattox with this Confederate Army.


Company H of the 33rd regiment was formed on October 17, 1861 in Swan Quarter and included over 97 men from Hyde County with the majority of the balance of 167 men during the entire war being from Forsyth County. Captain William Miles Brock Swindell led this unit until killed at Cedar Mountain, Virginia on August 9, 1862. Like its sister company, the Dixie Invincibles, Company H served with the Army of Northern Virginia, and participated in all the major battles of General Lee’s army including being a part of General Stonewall Jackson’s flank attack at Chancelorsville, and being in the bloody Pickett/Pettigrew charge at Gettysburg.

(2nd Organization)

Company B, (2nd organization), the Stonewall Rifles, enlisted in Hyde County on May 1, 1862. Many of the officers and men had previously served in Company B, 17th Regiment (1st organization) including the companies captain James J. Leith whom was killed at Newport Barracks. In the course of the years of war some 165 men served in this unit, most of who were from Hyde County. The Stonewall Rifles served primarily in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia until placed under the command of Major General Robert Hoke and fighting with the Army of Northern Virginia in 1864. This unit later served with Hoke in General Joseph Johnston’s army in North Carolina during the last phases of the War for Southern Independence.


Little is known of the activities of this unit known as the Hyde Rangers. It operated within enemy lines and located and brought out supplies from Hyde and surrounding counties. On March 4, 1863 this unit ambushed a large federal column near Swan Quarter killing and wounding a number of Yankees and having five of its men killed. The last known information was a requisition by Captain Swindell calling for clothing for seventy men. From a logistics standpoint the Hyde Rangers, were attached to the 68th regiment North Carolina Troops. Approximately 90 men primarily from Hyde County served in this unit.


This unit comprised 86 men mostly from Hyde County and was commanded by Captain William H. Spencer. There is information that the 68th regiment, North Carolina Troops, supplied this company but some rosters identify Captain Spencer and some of the other officers and men as belonging, at some period of time, to the 66th regiment North Carolina Troops. This unit was accepted into service on February 7, 1863 and operated within the enemy lines in Hyde, Beaufort, Tyrrell and Washington Counties. On February 20, 1864, during a snowstorm Captain Spencer and 26 other officers and men were captured near the Florida Canal just west of Fairfield. Those who failed to escape were confined at Point Lookout, Maryland where a number died of disease. On September 4, 1864 the balance of the company reported to Colonel George Wortham and his command at Plymouth.

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1. Any last, first, or middle name or initial in parentheses indicates that there is question regarding the proper name being placed on the original roster reports or that in transcribing the roster a mistake was possible made. The name or initial in parentheses is what we believe to be the proper one.

2. There is likely repetition of some individuals that served in more than one unit. For example, the Henry Clay Gibbs listed in Gibbs’ Local Defense Company may be the same individual who enlisted as Henry Gibbs in Company F of the 33rd Regiment. Where we are not sure that the two are the same individual we have entered both.

3. In the three columns that identify Rank, Regiment, and Company, where an individual served in several units the first unit or rank is listed first and correlates with the first information in the subsequent columns.

Smith Sam J. Sgt, 1st Lt. 17th, 33rd B (1st Org.) F

This example shows that Sam J. Smith was a Sergeant in the 17th Regiment, Company B, 1st Organization, and later served as a 1st Lieutenant in the 33rd Regiment, Company F. Gibbs’ Local Defense Company as well as Spencer’s and Swindell’s Rangers, for the purpose of this roster are not listed as belonging to a Battalion or Regiment.

4. In the last two columns, Regiment and Company, information in parentheses further clarifies that unit the individual served in. For example: (1st Art) means 1st North Carolina Artillery; (2nd Cav) means 2nd North Carolina Cavalry, and (Hyde Mil) means Hyde County Militia.

5. With the exception of Gibbs’ Local Defense Company, Spencer’s and Swindell’s Rangers and the 13th Regiment Hyde County Militia, all unit designations represent units of the Confederate States of America Army, and were under the control of the Confederate States Government not the North Carolina Government.

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Copyright 2001

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