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.
|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|
|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|
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.|
The regiment lost 3 men killed and 16 wounded.
|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.|
Siege of Chattanooga
|November||Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Ransom’s Division, Department of East Tennessee|
Siege of Knoxville
|March||Assigned to Wharton’s Brigade, Department of Western Virginia|
|April 23||Captain William A. Yonce of Company C was promoted to major|
Captain William Hanson Tate of Company B was killed.
Battle of North Anna
Battle of Totopotomoy Creek
Assigned to Wharton’s – Forsberg’s Brigade, Breckinridge’s – Wharton’s Division, Army of the Valley
|July 7-8||Frederick, Maryland|
|September 26||Brown’s Gap|
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|
The battle flag of the regiment was captured.
|March 27||Union Furnace (detachment)|