Confederate Regiments & Batteries > Virginia


The 51st Virginia Infantry Regiment was formed at Wytheville in western Virginia in 1861 and was mostly captured or dispersed in March of 1865 with the destruction of Early’s Army of the Valley, although a small detachment escaped to join Lee around Petersburg.

1861
August Eleven companies were recruited in Wythe, Nelson, Bland, Floyd, and Grayson counties and organized at Wytheville for one year’s service. They were under the command of Colonel Gabriel C. Wharton (VMI Class of 1847) and Lieutenant Colonel James W. Massie.
August-December Assigned to the Army of the Kanawha
September 10
Gauley River
September 11
Carnifax Ferry
December 13
Buffalo Mountain
1862
January Assign to Floyd’s Division, Central Army of Kentucky, Department #2
January 15 Company L was transferred to the 23rd Virginia Infantry Battalion as its Company D
February 12-16

Fort Donelson

The regiment lost 9 men killed, 43 wounded, and 5 missing. The regiment was one of two that escaped from the surrender of the fort’s garrison with General Floyd when he took the last steamboat out.

February 18 Lewisburg and Clarksville
February-May Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Army of the Kanawha
May 17 Mercer and Princeton
May 26 The regiment was reorganized. Lieutenant Colonel Massie resigned and Augustus Forsberg was elected lieutenant colonel.
May-September Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Army of the Kanawha, Department of Southwestern Virginia. Colonel Wharton commanded the brigade, while Lieutenant Colonel Forsberg took command of the regiment.
August 28 Lewisburg
September Kanawha Campaign
September 10
Fayetteville

The regiment lost 3 men killed and 16 wounded.

September 25 Charleston
1863
February Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Department of Western Virginia
April 15 Pikeville, Kentucky
July 8 Colonel Wharton was promoted to brigadier general and Lieutenant Colonel Forsberg was promoted to colonel.
September-November
Siege of Chattanooga
November Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Ransom’s Division, Department of East Tennessee
November-December
Siege of Knoxville
1864
February 1 Knoxville
March Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Department of Western Virginia
April 23 Captain William A. Yonce of Company C was promoted to major
May 15
Battle of New Market

Captain William Hanson Tate of Company B was killed.

May 22
Battle of North Anna
May 30
Battle of Totopotomoy Creek
June 1-3
Battle of Cold Harbor
June
Lynchburg Campaign

Assigned to Wharton’s – Forsberg’s Brigade, Breckinridge’s – Wharton’s Division, Army of the Valley

July 7-8 Frederick, Maryland
July 9
Battle of Monocacy
July 11
Fort Stevens
July 13 Rockville
July 24
Second Battle of Kernstown
August 17 Winchester
September 19
Third Battle of Winchester
September 22
Battle of Fisher’s Hill
September 23 Harrisonburg
September 26 Brown’s Gap
October 19
Battle of Cedar Creek
December 1 Leetown
1865
January 7 Fisherville
March 2
Battle of Waynesboro

The survivors of Early’s Army of the Valley were captured or dispersed . A small detachment of the regiment escaped. It made its way to Lee’s army around Richmond and Petersburg and was attached to Gordon’s division.

March 3 Ivory Creek
March 6 Charlottesville
March 25
Fort Stedman (detachment)

The battle flag of the regiment was captured.

March 27 Union Furnace (detachment)