Once again – Happy Friday!
I don’t know what it’s like where you’re sitting right now, but I believe this is the hottest day of the year so far!
I have the pleasure of a visiting cousin in my house, Richard Ford’s delightful eleven year old daughter Aerin. Aerin and Paige look like they’ve melted. As soon as it gets cooler – I’m going to toss them into the bay to swim with the crabs. The water in the bay is so hot right now – the crabs are cooking themselves.
Lately, I’ve been corresponding with another blogger, Tipper Pressley. She runs a web site and blog called: The Blind Pig and the Acorn. It’s a wonderful site about life in Appalachia. We’ve been writing about our ancestors who fought in the Civil War- some Yankee, most Confederate. I have a passion for Civil War Research. I could care less about the battles and who won them, I’m more interested in the men who fought and the women who tried to keep the home front together while they were away.
If anyone has an interesting Civil War story about our family, please email me the details and I’ll put together a profile like the one I’m about to post below. My email is email@example.com.
You might ask… Who is Rufus Rowland and how is he related to us! I haven’t mentioned Ole Kenzie for a while, in fact I believe the last post about his was another Friday Update back in June, to read that post click here! Old Kenzie had a brother named James. James two sons who fought in the Civil War, Rufus and Kinzie. Kinzie was mentioned in the last message, Rufus hasn’t been talked about very much.
The wife of Rufus, Lynea Hale was a midwife who apparently assisted in almost every birth in the Narrow’s area of Giles County for many years. The Giles Historic Society believes that Rowland street , right in the center of town, was named after her – not her husband the war hero! So posted below is the history of our Uncle or Cousin Rufus F. Rowland.
I’m also looking for information on some other Rowland’s from Mercer County. Jonathan Jackson Rowland – son of James, brother to Kinzie and Rufus. He married Sally Gott. I can’t find a record of his death. James Rowland, died or disappeared around 1859, son of Old Kenzie Rowland and Esther Locke French. If you know anything about them please drop me a line! firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the Civil War Records, right from National Archives follow this link to Rufus and Kinzie Rowland Documents.
Civil War History – Rufus F. Rowland Confederate States of America (CSA )1st Lieutenant 24th Virginia Infantry Company G. Company G. was formed by the citizens of Mercer County,Virginia
Researched and Written by Laurie Stone - April 14, 2011
Rufus Rowland enlisted in Company G of the 24th Virginia Infantry during early June of 1861. Company G was formed by a group of men from Mercer County, Virginia (It became West Virginia during 1863). The men gathered in Princeton, and were mustered in at Lynchburg, becoming part of the Army of Northern Virginia. The 24th was under the command of the very colorful Jubal Early who later became the Brigade commander. Once Early was promoted, the 24th was placed in Kemper’s Brigade, under the direct leadership of Col. William R. Terry. Rufus started his tour of duty as a private and the company quickly entered the front lines on July 1861 at the First Battle of Manassas. In May 1862, the 24th “fought with distinction” during the Battle of Williamsburg. Company G was singled out for particular acts of bravery in action. During the battle Rufus received a serious wound to his leg. This almost ended his service, he was even paroled at one point (National Archives), but instead chose to take a two month furlough at home to recover.
He did recover, and was promoted to Sergeant when he returned (National Archives). His return to duty left very little additional downtime. During the second half of 1862, the 24th participated in the following battles: Frayser’s Farm, Malvern Hill, the “Seven Days”, Second Manassas, South Mountain, Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. The 24th had taken such a hard causality hit, that it was reduced to only 100 men by the end of the year. They spent the winter on “light” duty in Southeast Virginia while recruitment and realignment efforts were being conducted on their behalf.In the late spring of 1863, the 24th began their journey to Berryville to receive fresh supplies then joined forces with the Army of Northern Virginia heading north towards Gettysburg.
In July of 1863, the 24th Va along with the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 10th were assigned as follows: CSA – Army of Northern Virginia – Longstreet’s Corp -Pickett’s Division -Kemper’s Brigade.
On July 3, 1863, around 1:30 PM during the hottest part of the day, the 24th VA formed the right line of Kemper’s Flank along Seminary Ridge. The Union was across the field at Cemetery Ridge. The far right side of the flank was the most exposed of all Confederate positions and also left the 24th and the 11th Infantry within firing range of a building, located on the far right side of the flank, occupied by the 11th and 13th regiments from Vermont. The men moved at “route step” or 110 steps per minute towards the Union line. (Gottfried) The Union army had taken a defensive position on Cemetery Ridge, which is little more than a rise but it was protected by a stone wall. When the 24th was about half way across the field, they came under intense fire from the Union line and the 24th was also taking fire from the 11th and 13th of Vermont to their right, but they kept advancing. Pickett’s line was able to reach Cemetery Ridge and break the Union line.
While scholars are very critical of the decisions made by the Regiment commanders for this action, the same scholars who study the Confederate side of the war consider Pickett’s charge to be one of the most heroic and glorious encounters of the battle.
This engagement came with a very high cost for the 24th of Virginia. On the morning of July 3, 1863 there were 395 men attached to the 24th, by the end of the day there were only 165 who were able to return to General Lee’s headquarters at Seminary Hill. The majority were dead, left seriously wounded on the battlefield or taken prisoner.
Such was the fate of Rufus Rowland. He was seriously wounded by a gun shot to his left leg. Rufus was taken prisoner at the battlefield on July 3. Official records (National Archives) show he didn’t receive treatment for his wound at an official hospital until July 25. On July 31, 1863, while still a prisoner, Rufus was sent to Baltimore and received treatment at U.S.A. General Hospital, West Building (National Archives). Rufus Rowland was paroled on August 24 and delivered , most likely by boat, to Confederate troops during a prisoner exchange at City Point on August 25. He was readmitted to General Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, under Confederate control.
Rufus, for the second time in his civil war career, was given a 50 day furlough to recover from his wounds. At some point, the wound resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee. The date of the amputation isn’t documented, however a document found in records at the Library of Virginia states that Rufus was permanently disabled by the amputation for the wound he received at Gettysburg. He requested compensation in the form of a prosthesis or payment. Rufus received $30.00 as a settlement from the United States Government.
Regardless of when the amputation occurred, it appears that Rufus was unfit for duty until April 30, 1864 when he rejoined his company in Greenville, North Carolina. Still recovering from wounds, he was immediately engaged in battle upon his return. On May 2, 1864 the men from company G began their march north towards Virginia, stopping for two days beginning May 4th to participate in a skirmish with Union troops in New Berne, North Carolina. From North Carolina, the regiment was able to catch the train to Petersburg however; they were not given any time for respite. By May 16th, this unit participated in the Battle of Drewey’s Bluff, a Confederate Victory and sorely needed morale booster. Kemper’s Brigade was able to capture the flag of the Union forces, most likely Rufus was part of the parade of soldiers from the 24th who marched through Richmond on May 17th, displaying the colors of the captured Union Flag (Southern Historical Society). The 24th spent the rest of the war camped in trenches of Petersburg, mostly near Dunn’s House.Dunn’s House”
During this time, Rufus was unanimously elected by his company and commanding officers to the position of 2nd Lieutenant (National Archives). The siege and trench war fare in Petersburg lasted over ten months.
Rufus was once again given a field promotion to 1st Lieutenant on August 10, 1864. The Fall and Winter of 1864-1865 saw the 24th still engaged in trench warfare however; the Union forces were growing stronger and the Confederate army continued to lose ground to the east and were pushed further south and west. This unit fought its final battle at Five Forks, where most of the few remaining members were captured or killed and others just deserted.
Rufus Rowland, who was possibly one-legged at the time, was one of only 23 members of the 24th Virginia Infantry who surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. He was twenty-six years old. Rufus Rowland and his wife, Lynea raised their family in Giles County Virginia and still have descendents in the area.
Read Full Post »