56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment

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56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment

56th Infantry Regiment completed its organization in July 1862 at Camp Magnum, near Raleigh, North Carolina. Its members were recruited in the counties of Northampton, Cumberland, Pasquotank, Camden, Orange, Cleveland, Alexander, Rutherford, and Mecklenburg. The regiment conducted reconnaissance between Goldsboro, Wilmington, and Tarboro, and then served on the Blackwater. Attached to M. W. Ransom's Brigade, it fought at Gum Swamp, Plymouth, and Drewry's Bluff, endured the hardships of the Siege of Petersburg south of the James River, and fought the enemy around Appomattox. The regiment had 149 men captured at Gum Swamp, lost 4 killed and 84 wounded at Plymouth, and reported 90 casualties at Ware Bottom Church. Many were disabled at Sailor's Creek, and only 9 officers and 62 men surrendered with the Army of Northern Virginia. The field officers were Colonel Paul F. Faison, Lieutenant Colonel G. Gratiott Luke, and Majors John W. Graham and Henry F. Schenck.

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Recommended Reading: Across the Dark River: The Odyssey of the 56th N.C. Infantry in the American Civil War. Description: The 56th was one of a few Confederate regiments that, in a three day and night battle, held Petersburg, Virginia, against Grant's Army of the Potomac at bay until Lee could rush the Army of Northern Virginia to its assistance. The regiment played an important part in all the battles in the Richmond-Petersburg area until the end of the war. These included The Crater, Globe Tavern, Fort Stedman, Five Forks, and Sayler's Creek (aka Sailor's and Saylor's Creek). Continued below...

And it was represented by a handful of men at Appomattox Court House. During the last months of the war, the regiment was virtually annihilated in the final battles around Petersburg and Richmond. But in its final destruction, it found itself as a stalwart military unit -- as well as giving unexpectedly a final, more lasting message to modern America. And, as an added bonus, the book describes these events in realistic detail.

 

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 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."
 
Recommended Reading: The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (444 pages) (Louisiana State University Press) (Updated edition: November 2007) Description: The Life of Johnny Reb does not merely describe the battles and skirmishes fought by the Confederate foot soldier. Rather, it provides an intimate history of a soldier's daily life--the songs he sang, the foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant, sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb. In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I. Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared in the great conflict of the 1860s. Continued below...
About Johnny Reb:
"A Civil War classic."--Florida Historical Quarterly
"This book deserves to be on the shelf of every Civil War modeler and enthusiast."--Model Retailer
"[Wiley] has painted with skill a picture of the life of the Confederate private. . . . It is a picture that is not only by far the most complete we have ever had but perhaps the best of its kind we ever shall have."--Saturday Review of Literature
 
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!

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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