Monday, September 10, 2012

Company E, North Carolina 56th Infantry Regiment: Private Addison Lee Walker, my 3rd Great Grand Uncle

Addison Lee Walker

Addison Lee Walker was born in Granville County, North Carolina in September of 1840.   He is my 3rd Great Grand Uncle.   His mother, Dicey Madison died sometime after his birth in 1840.  He married Mary Jane Williams in Orange County, NC on March 26, 1861.   She would give birth to their daughter Luetta, on May 26, 1862.  Less than 2 months later, Addison joined the Confederate States Army.   He enlisted as a Private in Company E, North Carolina 56th Infantry Regiment on July 18, 1862. 

Addison's 1st Muster Roll

The North Carolina 56th Infantry Regiment completed it's organization at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, North Carolina in July of 1862.   It's men were recruited from Camden, Cumberland, Paqsquotank, Northampton, Orange, Cleveland, Alexander, Rutherford and Mecklenburg counties.  The unit was originally assigned to reconnaissance the areas between Goldsboro, Wilmington and Tarboro, NC.  It was then assigned to Brigadier General Matt W. Ransom's Brigade. 

Brigadier General Matt Whitaker Ransom was wounded 3 times during the Civil War

While being attached to Ransom's Brigade, the 56th saw action at The Battle of Gum Swamp, where the regiment had 149 men captured.  It fought in the Battle of Plymouth where 4 men were killed and 84 men were wounded.  The regiment reported 90 casualties at the Battle of Ware Bottom Church.  This group was entrenched at Petersburg, south of the James River.  The 56th also saw action at Drewry's Bluff and Appomatox.  Severely depleted, they surrendered only 9 officers and 62 men with the Army of Northern Virginia.

Ransom's Brigade played a crucial role in the battle of Plymouth, NC in April of 1864.   On April 17, 1864 around 4:00 P.M., a Union patrol group was captured by Confederate Cavalry.  This made way for a larger Confederate Infantry force to advance down the Washington Road.  Simultaneously, Fort Gray, situated just 2 miles up river from Plymouth, was also attacked by a group of Confederate Infantry.  Union General Henry W. Wessell and his garrison of 3,000 men had held Plymouth since December of 1862.  They were now being attacked by Confederate General Robert F. Hoke's Division of 5,000 men. 

Major General Robert F. Hoke

Hoke's men won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plymouth.   Hoke's Division captured a garrison of 2,834 Union troops.   This act led to his promotion to Major General (effective April 20, 1864).  On a side note, Hoke is buried in Raleigh's historic Oakwood Cemetery.   Oakwood's Confederates will be the focus for a future blog entry. 

Capture of Plymouth, October 31, 1864

On April 18 and 19, Confederate forces focused their efforts on Union Naval vessels and Union earthworks.   The ironclad CSS Albermarle sunk the USS Southfield and damaged the USS Miami.  The final attack came on April 20.  

Historical Marker on Main St. in Plymouth, NC

On April 20, 1864, both Hoke's Brigade and Ransom's Brigade took part in a two pronged attack against the garrison of Union troops.  Hoke'e men were the extreme left flank of the Confederate Forces while Ransom's men assaulted Union lines to the east of Plymouth. 

Historical Marker on West Main St. in Plymouth, NC

The Confederates overwhelmed the Federal forces and the town of Plymouth was surrendered by 10:00 A.M. on April 20th.  This was a significant Confederate victory because it re-opened the Roanoke River to Confederate commerce and military operations. 

This Muster Roll shows Addison was present during the Battle of Plymouth

Following actions in the trenches of Petersburg in October of 1864, Addison was sent to the General Hospital at Camp Winder in Richmond, VA to recover from illness.  The tenuous siege of Petersburg will be the focus of a forthcoming blog entry. 

Hospital Muster Roll for Addison

He remained there for about 2 months before he was sent via Railroad to Durham NC. 

Transport order for Addison

It would appear that Addison spent the remainder of the war at home recovering from his illness.   This is the last service record in his file.  

Last Muster Roll for Addison showing he was sent home on furlough

Addison Lee Walker recovered from his illness.  His first wife died in North Carolina sometime in early 1869.   He relocated to Hopkins County, Kentucky and married his second wife, Sabrina Burton on April 16, 1869.   Together they would have 8 additional children.  Addison died on November 18, 1884.  He was 44 years old.  He is buried in Olive Branch Cemetery in Hopkins County, KY.

Grave of Addison Lee Walker

Here's my relation to Addison:

Addison Lee Walker (1840 - 1884)
is your 3rd great grand uncle
Ellis Walker Sr. (1775 - 1853)
Father of Addison Lee
Ellis Walker Jr. (1805 - 1888)
Son of Ellis
Mildred Walker (1854 - 1922)
Daughter of Ellis
Benjamin Elliott Wheeler (1883 - 1951)
Son of Mildred
Phebe Teresa Wheeler Lewis (1918 - 1977)
Daughter of Benjamin Elliott
Joyce Elaine Lewis (1948 - )
Daughter of Phebe Teresa
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Joyce

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