The 56th Virginia Infantry Regiment was organized in Virginia in September of 1861 and surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.
|September||Organized with men from Louisa, Mecklenburg, Buckingham, Nelson, and Charlotte counties. Lieutenant Colonel William Dabney Stuart transferred from the 15th Virginia Infantry.|
|Moved to Tennessee and was attached to Floyd’s Brigade|
|The regiment was captured at Fort Donelson|
|Returned to Virginia and assigned to Pickett’s Brigade|
|May 3||Lieutenant Colonel Stuart was promoted to colonel.|
|June 25-July 1||
Seven Days Battles
The regiment lost 100 men casualties out of 466 men.
Battle of South Mountain
The regiment brought 80 men to the field, losing 40 killed or wounded and 5 missing. Most of the wounded were left on the field as the regiment was forced to withdraw in the darkness.
The regiment was reduced to 40 men. Colonel Stuart was forced to give up command due to illness, leaving Captain John McPhail in command. The men were employed as skirmishers supporting the Washington Artillery. Captain McPhail and 7 enlisted men were 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The right of the Confederate line west of the Burnside Bridge Road being turned, the Brigade was withdrawn, by the cross streets, to the north of the town, and cooperated with Drayton’s Brigade and A.P. Hill’s Division in the attack on the Federal left.
|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..|
|February||Took part in Longstreet’s Suffolk Expedition, missing the Battle of Chancellorsville.|
|May||Rejoined Lee’s main army on the Rappahannock.|
The regiment was commanded by Colonel William D. Stuart and brought 289 men to the field. It was part of Pickett’s Charge on July 3, sustaining heavy casualties. The regiment lost 51 men killed, 72 wounded, and 76 missing or captured. Colonel Stuart was mortally wounded, and died in a hospital in Staunton, Virginia. Lieutenant Colonel P.P. Slaughter took over command from Stuart.
Casualties were heavy among the officers. Lieutenants William A. Blick, Robert S. Ellis, William E. Jones, and Joseph H. Smith were killed. Captain James C. Wyantt and Lieutenant John T. Burton were mortally wounded and captured. Captain Charles J. Clarke and Lieutenant Mathew Brown were wounded, and Lieutenants Stephen D. Cronin, Ira A. Miller, and Henry C. Mitchie were wounded and captured. Captains Joseph D. Frazer, John W. Jones of Company B and John P. Jones of Company D, Lieutenants Francis C. Barnes, George W. Finley, Jacob R. Rudisill and Assiatant Surgeon B.C. Harrison were captured.
From the marker 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 24||Assistant Quartermaster Hilliard Carter died|
|September 9||Detached from the 1st Corps and transferred to the Richmond area.|
|May 16||Drewry’s Bluff|
|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.|
Battle of the North Anna
|June 18||Siege of Petersburg begins|
The regiment suffered heavy casualties.
Almost all the survivors of the regiment were captured.
Three officers and 26 men who had eluded capture at Sayler’s Creek surrendered.