55th North Carolina Infantry Regiment

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55th North Carolina Infantry Regiment

55th Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, North Carolina, in May 1862. Its companies were recruited in the counties of Pitt, Wilson, Wilkes, Cleveland, Burke, Catawba, Johnston, Alexander, Onslow, Franklin, and Granville. The unit served in the Department of North Carolina and then relocated to Virginia where it was assigned to General J. R. Davis' and Cooke's Brigade. It served in the Army of Northern Virginia from Gettysburg to Cold Harbor, served in the Siege of Petersburg south of the James River, and was active in the Appomattox operations. The regiment lost thirty-one percent of the 640 engaged at Gettysburg, and fifty-nine percent of the 340 at the Wilderness. It surrendered with 4 officers and 77 men on April 9, 1865. The field officers were Colonel John K. Connally; Lieutenant Colonels Alfred H. Belo, Abner S. Calloway, and Maurice T. Smith; and Major James S. Whitehead.

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Recommended Reading: 55th North Carolina in the Civil War: A History And Roster. Description: Drawing on letters, memoirs, diaries and recollections, it depicts the Civil War through the eyes of the soldiers, enhancing modern-day understanding of what it was like to fight for the Confederate States of America. While providing information on the battles in which the 55th North Carolina took part (including the little known Suffolk campaign), the main focus of the work is the everyday life of the men—the ever-present influence of politics and religion as well as the effects of disease and combat. Continued below...

Appendices provide a breakdown of the companies in the regiment; the regimental roster; a list of men who died of disease; and a record of the men from the 55th who were killed in battle. Contemporary photographs are also included.
 
NEW! Recommended Reading: Deliver Us from This Cruel War: The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle, 55th North Carolina Infantry. Description: Joseph J. Hoyle enlisted in the Confederate Army in May 1862 as a private. By the time of his death in September 1864, he was serving as a lieutenant in the 55th Regiment North Carolina Troops. Continued below…
The personal letters of this soldier, supplemented by the editor’s overview of the events and actions of the regiment, offer a view of the common soldier as well as battlefield and camp culture. The letters also reveal, among other things, how this former schoolteacher urged his fellow soldiers forward at Gettysburg despite a sense that the cause was lost. About the Author: Jeffrey M. Girvan is a social studies professional development specialist with Prince William County Schools in Virginia.

 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina. Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes were fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of the war. John Barrett presents the complete story of military engagements across the state, including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General George Stoneman's Raid. Also available in hardcover: The Civil War in North Carolina.

 
Recommended Reading: Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865. Description: The author, Prof. D. H. Hill, Jr., was the son of Lieutenant General Daniel Harvey Hill (North Carolina produced only two lieutenant generals and it was the second highest rank in the army) and his mother was General “Stonewall” Jackson’s wife's sister. In Confederate Military History Of North Carolina, Hill discusses North Carolina’s massive task of preparing and mobilizing for the conflict; the many regiments and battalions recruited from the Old North State; as well as the state's numerous contributions during the war. Continued below...
During Hill's Tar Heel State study, the reader begins with interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "Old North State" soldiers that fought during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Fighting Tar Heels to the first battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North Carolina’s contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes with Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Highly recommended!
 
Recommended Reading: The Flags of Civil War North Carolina. Description: Compiled and written by educator and Civil War expert Glenn Dedmondt, The Flags Of Civil War North Carolina is a very straightforward reference presenting photographs, color illustrations, descriptions and history of the titular flags that flew over North Carolina when it seceded from the Union. Each page or two-page spread features the different flags of the various North Carolina regiments. A meticulously detailed resource offering very specific information for history and civil war buffs, The Flags Of Civil War North Carolina is a welcome contribution to the growing library of Civil War Studies and could well serve as a template for similar volumes for the other Confederate as well as Union states. Great photos and illustrations! Continued below...

Flags stir powerful emotions, and few objects evoke such a sense of duty and love for the homeland. In April 1861, the first flag of a new republic flew over North Carolina. The state had just seceded from the union, and its citizens would soon have to fight for their homes, their families, and their way of life. Each flag is meticulously detailed and scaled to perfection. The Flags of Civil War North Carolina is the history of this short-lived republic (which later joined the Confederacy), told through the banners that flew over its government, cavalry, and navy. From the hand-painted flag of the Guilford Greys to the flag of the Buncombe Riflemen--made from the dresses of the ladies of Asheville--this collection is an exceptional tribute to the valiant men who bore these banners and to their ill-fated crusade for independence. About the Author: Glenn Dedmondt, a lifelong resident of the Carolinas and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, shares his passion for the past as a teacher of South Carolina history. Dedmondt has also been published in Confederate Veteran magazine.

 
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every student."

Sources: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Walter Clark, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-1865; National Park Service: American Civil War; National Park Service: Soldiers and Sailors System; Weymouth T. Jordan and Louis H. Manarin, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865; and D. H. Hill, Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865.

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