27th North Carolina    Company D

          "Tuckahoe Braves"

 

History of Co D. 27
NCT

 

"Tuckahoe Braves"

 

27th Regiment of North
Carolina Troops (Infantry)

 

  During the American Civil War, North Carolina contributed nearly 120,000 men to the ranks of the Confederate States
Army.  The vast majority of these were concentrated in sixty infantry regiments.  One of these units, the 27th
Regiment of North Carolina Troops, was formed in New Bern, North Carolina in September of 1861.  Of the ten

companies that made up the regiment, eight hailed from a portion of eastern North Carolina including Wayne, Lenoir,
Pitt, Jones and Perquimans counties, while two were recruited from Guilford and Orange counties in the northern piedmont region of the state.

 

 The men of the regiment were a mixed lot of farmers, laborers, merchants, artisans and students.  Slave owners

and yeoman farmers, the men volunteered, in many cases before North Carolina officially seceded, in order to defend their communities, their state, and their “country” from possible Federal coercion and invasion.  Over the course

of the war, additional volunteers, as well as conscripts and substitutes, provided replacements as disease and
continued combat gutted the strength of the regiment time and again.  By the end of the war, of the nearly 1,500

officers and men that had served in the 27th North Carolina at one time or another, barely 117, representing nine entire companies, surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865.  The remnants of Company F, detached

to provide security in the Greensboro area in February of 1865, were surrendered in North Carolina following the meeting of Joseph Johnston and William T. Sherman at the Bennett Place on April 26.

 

  Initially trained and stationed in eastern North Carolina, where it fought in the battle of New Bern on

March 14, 1862 as part of Lawrence Branch’s small army, the regiment was transferred to Virginia in late May of 1862 and in time became a vital element of General Robert E. Lee’s famed Army of Northern Virginia.  Although on the sidelines during the Seven Days Campaign and completely absent from the battles of Second Manassas, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, thanks to stints of garrison duty in the Carolinas and the Confederate capital of Richmond, the unit was nearly indispensable in several important and hard fought battles throughout the war.

 

  During the Maryland Campaign of September 1862, the 27th was officially organized as part of Manning’s Brigade,Walker’s Division, Longstreet’s Right Wing, Army of Northern Virginia.  At Sharpsburg, Maryland on
September 17, the 27th North Carolina and the 3rd Arkansas, both under the command of the 27th’s colonel,

John Rogers Cooke, participated in a sharp counterattack that disrupted Union attacks between the West Woods

and the Sunken Road and helped ward off Confederate defeat following the fall of the “Bloody Lane.”  This proved

to be the regiment’s first real battle experience and also its bloodiest day of the war; of the 325 officers and men

in the ranks that day, 226 were killed, wounded or captured in less than an hour of fighting.  In recognition of
their heroic actions and sacrifice, the 27th was specifically mentioned in Robert E. Lee’s official report on the campaign, the only infantry regiment in the entire army to be accorded that honor.

 

  The return to Virginia that fall saw the reorganization of the army into two corps; one commanded by

James Longstreet and the other by Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.  The 27th was now organized as part of Cooke’s
Brigade, Ransom’s Division, Longstreet’s 1st Corps.  During the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13,

1862, the regiment held a portion of the famous stone wall at the foot of Marye’s Heights against repeated Union

attacks, helping to repulse each in turn and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy while suffering few losses in
return.

 

 With the beginning of 1863, the regiment, as well as the rest of Cooke’s North Carolina Brigade, was transferred

to Coosawatchie, South Carolina where it provided security for the railroad running between Charleston and Savannah. 
In May, the 27th returned to North Carolina and participated in the skirmish at Gum Swamp east of Kinston.  Following some additional skirmishing with the Federals closer to New Bern, the regiment was transferred back to Virginia in June where it was detached from Lee’s army to serve as part of Richmond’s defenses for the foreseeable future.  With the defeat at Gettysburg and Lee’s withdrawal back into Virginia, however, the 27th officially rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia in September and was organized as part of Cooke’s Brigade, Heth’s Division, A.P. Hill’s Third Corps.  The regiment would retain this organization throughout the remainder of the war.

 

           
 During the
fall of 1863, the armies of Northern Virginia and the Potomac sent large numbers of troops to fight in Georgia and Tennessee, leaving Virginia relatively quiet.  That all changed in October as the Confederates went on the
offensive, driving the Federals from the Rappahannock River all the way back to the Manassas area.  Although this was mostly a campaign of maneuver, the armies collided at Bristoe Station on October 14 in a small but deadly battle.  In the forefront of the Confederate attack against entrenched Union infantry and artillery was the 27th North Carolina.  During the brief but bloody frontal assault, the ranks of the regiment were decimated; of the roughly 450 officers and men sent into the attack that day, at least 209 became casualties including 48 killed or mortally wounded.  Following this disaster, which all but wrecked two North Carolina brigades, Lee withdrew his army back to the line of the Rapidan River.  Aside from a minor Union counteroffensive in late November, culminating in heavy skirmishing along Mine Run, the year ended in relative quiet with both sides going into winter quarters.

 

 Following a harsh winter consisting of regular picket duty amid cold and wet conditions, the spring of 1864 found both armies again preparing for active campaigning in Virginia.  On the Federal side, Ulysses S. Grant assumed command of
all Union armies and planned to attack the Confederates relentlessly all across the South.  For General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, the only hope of continued victory lay in defeating Grant’s designs and inflicting heavy Union casualties thereby possibly affecting the results of the 1864 Presidential election and assuring Confederate independence.

 

 The so called “Overland Campaign” began in early May with severe fighting at the Wilderness.  On May 5, the 27th North Carolina and its parent brigade, held a portion of the Confederate line north of the Orange Plank Road against continued Union assaults, both inflicting and suffering heavy casualties in the process.  This brave stand against vastly
superior numbers allowed A.P. Hill’s hard pressed Third Corps to survive until nightfall brought an end to the fighting.  The next day, in the midst of an enormous Federal attack, the regiment was one of the few that actually held its ground until reinforcements stabilized the lines. In the course of this battle, the 27th suffered nearly 170 casualties, more than one-third of those in action.  Following this indecisive confrontation, Grant kept moving his army south and east trying to
get around Lee and on to Richmond; the result was continued heavy fighting at Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor, engagements in which the 27th played a relatively minor role.  By the time the Union army had ground to a halt at Cold Harbor in early June, the regiment had suffered an additional 50 officers and men killed and wounded, many of these were the result of the intense sharpshooting now practiced by both sides.

 

 With stalemate at Cold Harbor, Grant moved his army towards the important rail-hub city of Petersburg in mid-June.  Lee was initially and un-characteristically slow in perceiving Grant’s intentions but Confederate forces under General Beauregard did succeed in holding the city until the Army of Northern Virginia arrived in force on June 18.  During the
course of these movements, the 27th was involved in severe skirmishing at Gary’s Farm east of Richmond on June 15 and, along with the rest of their brigade, helped strengthen the Confederate fortifications around Petersburg in the following days and weeks.

 

 In mid-August, following nearly two months of unsuccessful siege operations, Federal troops targeted the Weldon Railroad in an effort to cut off Confederate supplies.  During the next week, the regiment was heavily involved
in pushing back these Union operations south of Petersburg.  On August 21, Cooke’s Brigade attacked a strong enemy position near the railroad and was repulsed with moderate losses.  Again on the 25th, the regiment was involved in the Battle of Reams’ Station, in which Union troops of General Hancock’s Second Corps trying to secure a lodgment
on the Weldon Railroad were driven unceremoniously from their position.  The 27th was heavily involved in this action, being the first regiment to reach the enemy’s entrenchments, and suffered more than 50 casualties, nearly one-third of those taken into the fight.  The results, though, were impressive; a major Federal thrust had been parried, resulting in roughly 2,500 Union casualties and the continued use of the supply lines south of Petersburg by Lee’s army.  In addition, the North Carolina soldiers involved in the battle were heavily praised by General Lee for their continued bravery and perseverance despite the odds against them.    

 

          
  For the remainder of 1864, the two armies remained locked in place around Petersburg and Richmond while the fate of the Confederacy was largely decided elsewhere.  William T. Sherman’s armies captured Atlanta in early September, assuring the re-election of Abraham Lincoln and the continuation of the war to total Union victory.  Meanwhile, the officers and men of the 27th North Carolina did all in their power to protect the remaining Southern supply lines running into Petersburg.  From September 1864 through late March 1865, the regiment, as well as the rest of Cooke’s Brigade (15th, 27th, 46th, 48th and later the 55th NC) helped extend and defend the Confederate earthworks guarding the Boydton Plank Road southwest of Petersburg.  During these months they also assisted in thwarting Federal offensives at Peebles Farm, Burgess Mill and Hatcher’s Run, inflicting and suffering relatively modest casualties in the process.

 

 By March of 1865, the Confederate position around Petersburg was becoming untenable; Lee’s army was pinned in place defending a nearly 40 mile front from Richmond to the Southside Railroad southwest of Petersburg.  In the meantime,
Sherman’s armies pushed north through the Carolinas.  Despite the best efforts of the 27th North Carolina and its sister regiments, Union attacks finally broke through the lines on April 2, necessitating a retreat to the west.  During the next week, as Lee attempted to move the Army of Northern Virginia into North Carolina to join forces with General Joseph Johnston, the Confederates were dogged by supply problems and Grant’s pursuit.  Throughout this retreat, which culminated with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, the regiment upheld its well-earned reputation for discipline and tenacity, skirmishing with the pursuing Union forces on more than one occasion and suffering

relatively few losses from desertion during this time.     

 

 Throughout the Civil War, the 27th North Carolina proved to be a tough, reliable, and indispensable unit with a superb combat record, specifically honored on more than one occasion by Robert E. Lee himself.  More than that, the history of the regiment provides a perfect example of the excellent qualities, including courage, honor, duty and commitment, which were inherent in the soldiers of both sides, Confederate and Union, Americans all, who served and fought for what they believed to be right.

 

               
Of the roughly 1,500 officers and men that served in the 27th North Carolina through four years of war, 399 gave the ultimate sacrifice; 184 were victims of the battlefield while 215 died from disease or accidents.  In addition, nearly 600 men were wounded and 328 were captured by the enemy.  Of the 124 officers and men of Company D (“Tuckahoe Braves”), 10 were killed or mortally wounded while 35 died from disease, 52 men were wounded and 33 were
captured during the course of the war.

 

 Companies which formed the 27th North Carolina:

 

  Company A:
“Goldsboro Rifles,” recruited from Wayne County

 

  Company B:
“Guilford Grays,” recruited from Guilford County

 

  Company C:
“North Carolina Guards,” recruited from Lenoir County

 

  Company D:
“Tuckahoe Braves,” recruited from Lenoir and Duplin counties

 

  Company E:
“Marlboro Guards,” recruited from Pitt County

 

  Company F:
“Perquimans Beauregards,” recruited from Perquimans County

 

 Company G:
“Orange Guards,” recruited from Orange County

 

 Company H:
“Pitt Volunteers,” recruited from Pitt County

 

  Company I:
“Southern Rights Infantry,” recruited from Jones and Onslow counties

 

  Company K:
“Saulston Volunteers,” recruited from Wayne County

 

 

 

 Battles and Significant Skirmishes in which the 27th North Carolina
Participated:

 

  New Bern, NC  March 14, 1862

 

  Seven Days’ Campaign, VA  June 25-July 1, 1862

 

  Sharpsburg, MD  September 17, 1862

        
  Fredericksburg, VA  December 13, 1862

 

  Gum Swamp and Core Creek, NC  May 22-23, 1863

 

  Bristoe Station, VA  October 14, 1863

 

  Mine Run Campaign, VA  November 28-December 2, 1863

 

  Overland Campaign, VA  May 4 -June 15, 1864

 

  The Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864

 

  Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-12, 1864

 

  Cold Harbor, June 1-12, 1864

 

  Gary’s Farm, June 15, 1864

 

  Petersburg Campaign, VA  June 15, 1864-April 2, 1865

 

  Weldon Railroad, August 18-21, 1864

 

  Reams’ Station, August 25, 1864

 

  Peebles Farm, September 29-October 2, 1864

 

  Burgess Mill/Boydton Plank Road, October 27-28, 1864

 

  Hicksford Raid, December 8-13, 1864

 

  Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865

 

  Fort Stedman, March 25, 1865

 

  Picket Line Skirmishing, March 25-April 1, 1865

 

  Assaults on Petersburg, April 2, 1865

 

  Sutherland Station, April 2, 1865

 

  Appomattox Campaign, VA  April 3-9, 1865

 

 

 

Commanding Officers of the 27th North Carolina:

 

   Colonel George Badger Singletary:  September – December, 1861 (Resigned over Court Martial)

 

   Colonel John Sloan:  December, 1861 – April, 1862 (Defeated for Re-election)

 

   Colonel John Rogers Cooke:  April – November, 1862 (Promoted to Brigadier General)

 

   Colonel Richard W. Singletary:  November – December, 1862 (Resigned due to Wounds)

 

   Colonel John Alexander Gilmer, Jr.:  December, 1862 – October, 1863 (Wounded and
   later retired to the Invalid Corps)

 

         
   Lieutenant
Colonel George F. Whitfield:  October, 1863 – June, 1864 (Wounded and  later retired to the

  Invalid Corps)

 

  Captain William Larkins (Company I):  June – August, 1864 (Died of Dysentery)

 

  Captain Calvin Herring (Company D):  August, 1864 (Wounded)

 

  Captain John Sloan (Company B): August – October, 1864 (Returned to his Company) 

 

  Major/Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Webb:  October, 1864 –April, 1865

 

 

Sources/Further Reading:

 

 Christopher C. Bingham.  From New Bern to Bennett Place with “Cooke’s Foot Cavalry:”

A History of the Twenty-Seventh Regiment of North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865.     
M.A. Thesis, East Carolina University, 2007.

 

Walter Clark, ed.  Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina,

in the Great War, 1861-1865, Vol. II.  Raleigh: E.M. Uzzell, Printer, 1901.

 

Weymouth T. Jordan and Louis H. Manarin, ed.  North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster: 

Volume VIII, Infantry, 27th – 31st Regiments.  Raleigh: North Carolina Office of Archives and

History, 2004.
  
  
 Compiled by Chris Bingham

 

Image description
Image description

 

      Born in 1833, John Rogers Cooke was the son of Philip St. George Cooke of the US army.  When war came, the young Cooke resigned his commission in the US army, joined the Confederacy, and became colonel of the 27th NC. 
His father stayed in the Union army and achieved a rank of Major General.  Cooke led the 27th at Seven Pines where he was wounded.  Cooke led a light brigade at Sharpsburg and is famous for his charge against the Union center.  Here too he was wounded.  Cooke went on to fight in many more battles with the 27th.  He was promoted to Brigadier General for bravery at Sharpsburg and was wounded seven times in the course of his career.  He was one of the best Southern commanders and after the war; he was a prominent person in Richmond.  He married Nannie G. Patton, of Fredericksburg and they had 8 children.  Cooke
died on April 10th, 1891.

      

       Grave of Brig. Gen. John R. Cooke

         

              Commander of the 27th North Carolina

 

                                                        Photo Courtesy of David Waller