Confederate Regiments & Batteries * Virginia

The 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment was organized in Virginia in May of 1861 and surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.

May Organized in Danville and Farmville under Colonel Robert E. Withers, Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Carrington and Major George C. Cabell.
June 20 Assigned to Colonel Philip St. George Cocke’s Fifth Brigade, Army of the Potomac
July 21
First Battle of Manassas, (Bull Run)

Commanded by Colonel R.E. Withers. Six enlisted men were killed, Captain Matthews and 23 enlisted men were wounded and one enlisted man was missing.

July Assigned to Cocke’s Brigade, First Corps, Army of the Potomac
October Assigned to Cocke’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Division, Army of the Potomac
January Assigned to Cocke’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Division, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia
March Brigadier General George E. Pickett took command of the brigade.
May Attached to Pickett’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia
May 30-June 1
Battle of Seven Pines

Lieutenant Colonel Carrington was wounded

June 27
Battle of Gaines’ Mill

Brigadier General Pickett was wounded, and Colonel Hunton of the 8th Virginia Infantry took command of the brigade. Colonel Withers was badly wounded and Captain Wall was badly wounded leading the regiment in its attack on a battery, losing his leg.

August Attached to Pickett’s Brigade, Kemper’s Division
August 28-30
Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)
September Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett took temporary command of the brigade, which was transferred to Major General David R. Jones’ Division
September 14
Battle of South Mountain

The regiment was commanded by Major George Cabell. It brought about 120 men to the field, and lost 7 killed, 27 wounded, and 7 missing.

From Major Cabell’s Official Report for the 18th Virginia at South Mountain:

About 5 p. m. on Sunday, September 14, the 18th Virginia Regiment, about 120 strong, under my command, after a rapid and fatiguing march from Hagerstown, was directed to a position a little north of the gap in South Mountain, near Boonsborough, Md. We were not fairly in position before the enemy’s skirmishers were seen not far off and to their rear, their line of battle approaching. Fire was soon opened along the entire front of the Eighteenth Regiment, when the skirmishers retired, and soon the main body of the enemy fell back a short distance, sheltered themselves behind trees, rocks, &c., and opened a heavy fire upon us, which was replied to with spirit and vigor for some time.

After some three-quarters of an hour, word was brought that the regiments on our left had fallen back, and that the left of the 18th was wavering. I at once repaired to the left of the regiment and aided in restoring comparatively good order, but soon after the order came along the lines to fall back, which was done, halting in a ravine about 100 yards to the rear of the position we had just left. Here the regiment was reformed. General Garnett did not approve of this last position, so he ordered the regiment to the edge of the wood and across a fence some 200 yards distant. In going to this position, the ground being uneven, and covered with bushes and briars, the regiment became a good deal scattered. As many of the regiment as could be, were collected, and, together with Captains Claiborne and Oliver, I marched them forward and took position on the left of Jenkins’ brigade, which had just come up, and again engaged the enemy, the men fighting bravely. In some twenty-five or thirty minutes information was brought that General Garnett’s brigade was ordered to retire. The men were then withdrawn, and, together with General Garnett, who was upon our left, retired from the field.

It is but just to say that the regiment was very much exhausted when it went into the fight, having marched in quick time from Hagerstown and around the mountain some 4 or 5 miles, and therefore fought under disadvantages. It nevertheless did good and effective fighting, and, had it been supported on the left, would have maintained its ground throughout the entire fight.

There were only seven officers besides myself with the regiment, and three of the companies were commanded by second sergeants.

The regiment lost 7 killed, 27 wounded, and 7 missing, a report of which has already been forwarded.

September 15 The regiment marched to Sharpsburg and formed line of battle east of the village,
September 17
Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam

The regiment was commanded by Major George C. Cabell. It brought 75 men to the field and lost 4 men killed and 27 men wounded.

From the War Department marker to Garnett’s Brigade on the Antietam battlefield:

Garnett’s Brigade reached Sharpsburg at 11 A.M. September 15th, and took position on the southwest slope of Cemetery Hill where it remained until the morning of the 17th, when it relieved Geo. T. Anderson’s Brigade in support of the Washington Artillery. When that command was relieved by S. D. Lee’s Artillery in the afternoon, the Brigade advanced into the cornfield in front of Lee’s guns, between this point and the cemetery wall, and engaged the right of the advancing Federal line.

The right of the Confederate line west of the Burnside Bridge Road being turned, the Brigade was withdrawn, by the cross streets, to the north of the town, and cooperated with Drayton’s Brigade and A.P. Hill’s Division in the attack on the Federal left.

From Major Cabell’s Official Report for the 18th Virginia in the Battle of Antietam:

Early on the morning of September 17, the 18th Virginia Regiment, about 75 strong, under my command, was marched by the left flank into a position in rear of two batteries of the Washington Artillery, posted on a hill to the south and east of Sharpsburg, Md. The enemy were pouring a heavy fire of round and canister shot upon the hill when the brigade commanded by General Garnett was put in position, which was continued furiously during the day until about 3 p. m. Our position was changed two or three times during the morning, as circumstances required, moving alternately to the left and right, to shelter the men from a dreadful fire, to which it was impossible to reply with small-arms. The 18th Regiment lost by this artillery fire alone 10 killed and wounded.

About 3 p. m. the enemy crossed the creek in heavy force and advanced upon us. My regiment, with the remainder of the brigade, was ordered to the summit of the hill, and fire was at once opened upon the enemy’s skirmishers, who were soon driven back to their advancing line of battle, composed of two or three regiments, immediately in our front. The enemy came up rapidly, and we advanced a short distance to meet them. They, soon after receiving our first fire, fell back some little distance, and took shelter behind a rail fence, and opened a furious fire upon us. The fighting now became general along the line of the brigade, we gaining rather than losing ground, when the enemy was re-enforced by two or three regiments. These last regiments came up upon the left of the regiments already engaged with us, and extended their line perpendicularly to the rear, and opened a severe oblique fire, which was directed principally upon the 18th and 8th Virginia Regiments. We were compelled to change the front of several of our companies at this juncture, our fire never slackening. The enemy, though outnumbering us at least five to one, were held completely in check, and did not advance a pace.

About this time the brigades of Generals Kemper and Drayton fell back, and a large force opposed to them swung round toward Sharpsburg and were already getting in our rear, when General Garnett, from sheer necessity, ordered his brigade to retire. We had moved back some 50 yards when it was discovered that a battery ([A. S.] Cutts’, I think) would be endangered by our falling back. I halted my little regiment, faced it about, and waited until the battery limbered up and moved off. The regiment was then drawn off with the remainder of the brigade.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the coolness and gallantry of my men. No man of the 18th Regiment left his post until disabled, and all kept up a rapid and well-directed fire. The officers, too, acted with great gallantry.

Captains [T. D.] Claiborne, [J. A.] Holland, and [E. D.] Oliver; Lieuts. R. S. Jones, acting adjutant, and [W. H.] Smith, of Company K, and Sergeant Muses, Company G, were particularly active in the discharge of their duties.

The regiment lost in this fight 4 killed and 27 wounded, a report of which has been already forwarded. My entire color-guard was either killed or wounded.

Official Records: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam – Serial 27) , Pages 899 – 901

 September 18 The army left the battlefield in the evening and pulled back across the Potomac River via Boteler’s Ford.
November 28 Brigadier General Garnett was given permanent command of the brigade and George E. Pickett was given command of the division, assigned to to Longstreet’s newly-created 1st Corps..
December 13
Battle of Fredericksburg
February Took part in Longstreet’s Suffolk Expedition, missing the Battle of Chancellorsville.
May Rejoined Lee’s main army on the Rappahannock.
July 2-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Carrington and brought 312 men to the field. It took part in Pickett’s Charge on July 3, sustaining heavy casualties. The regiment lost 54 men killed, 134 wounded, and 57 missing or captured. Lieutenant Colonel Carrington was wounded and captured. It is not clear who commanded the survivors of the regiment after the charge.

Officer casualties were very heavy. Lieutenants James Harvey, Aurelius A. Watkins, and William Cocke were killed, and Lieutenants William Austin and Edward B. Harvey mortally wounded. Captains Zachariah Blanton, James Holland, William Johnson, Robert McCulloch, and Elijah D. Oliver and Lieutenants James P. Glenn, George Jones, Lewis Vaughn, John Weymouth were wounded and captured. Captains Archer Campbell and Edmund R. Cocke and Lieutenants Edwin Muse, John Smith, James Walthall, and Robert D. Wade were wounded. Lieutenant Thomas Durphy was captured.

From the marker to Garnett’s Brigade on the Gettysburg battlefield:

July 2. Arrived about sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler’s Woods.

July 3. In the forenoon formed line on Kemper’s left in the field east of the woods. At the cessation of the cannonade advanced and took part in Longstreet’s assault on the Union position in the vicinity of the Angle. This advance was made in good order under a storm of shells and grape and a deadly fire of musketry after passing the Emmitsburg Road. The lines were much broken in crossing the post and rail fences on both sides of that road but with shattered ranks the Brigade pushed on and took part in the final struggle at the Angle. Gen. R. B. Garnett fell dead from his saddle in front of the stone wall.

July 4. Spent the day in reorganization and during the night began the march to Hagerstown.

July 8 Surgeon John M. Gaines was wounded
July 14 Surgeon Gaines was captured.
September 9 Pickett’s Division was detached from the 1st Corps and transferred to the Richmond area.
March 3 Lieutenant Colonel Carrington was exchanged
May 16

Drewry’s Bluff

Major Cabell was wounded

May 21-23 Returned north of the James river and rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia attached to the 1st Corps under Major General Richard Anderson.
May 23-26
Battle of the North Anna
June 3
Battle of Cold Harbor
July 21 Colonel Withers retired. Lieutenant Colonel Carrington was promoted to colonel, Major George Cabell was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain Edwin G. Wall of Company D was promoted to major.
June 18 Siege of Petersburg begins
November 5 Major Wall retired.
March 31
White Oak Road
April 1
Battle of Five Forks 

The regiment suffered heavy casualties.

April 6
Saylor’s Creek

Almost all the survivors of the regiment were captured.

April 9
Appomattox Court House

Two officers and 32 enlisted men who had eluded capture at Sayler’s Creek surrendered.