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was held until March, 1865, wh^ he was exchanged, but, being sick
at the t^e, did not rtf^oyer until the war had ceased. He returned
to Witshington in Septeu^ber, 1865, and resumed, his occupation as
a carpenter. He has been very prpminent in the organization of
labor ijj the District of Columbia, was the fits* president of the
IJijiited Brotherhood- of, Carpentgrs^ and Joiners, in i88i, is. promi-
nent in the Carpenters' national, organization,, representing ij in the
congresses of the American Federation of Labor during eight ye^rs,
ayd iij the federatiqn ha§ hesld eivery ofEce except that of president.
He is also a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Washington
Association of Confederate Veterans. In April, 1865, he was. mar-
i;ifd in Fauquier coqnty, Va,, to Mary A. Folliij, who died in iSSg,
leaving one daughter, now the wife of William A. Miller, of Wash-
ington. In 1875 he was married to Mary I. Barker, daughter of
J^nies W. Barker, of Virginia.

Qney ^, Edwvds, of Pottsmputh, a, survivor of the gallant pr-
ganization known *_s Armisteftd's brigade, Pickett's division, army
of Northern Virginia, was born at Portsmouth, June 6, 1827. His
ancestors were brave and energetic men, both his father, Amos Ed-



850 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

wards, and his grandfather, Oney Edwards, having served in the
war of 1812. His father, a business man of Portsmouth, who sur-
vived until 1864, married Mary A., daughter of Capt. James Waug-
hop, of the merchant marine. At the outbreak of the Confederate
war Mr. Edwards held the office of lumber inspector for the city,
and was a member of the Portsmouth Rifle company, with which
he went into active service on April 20, 1861. He served several
months at Pig Point, and took part in the artillery fight with the
Federal vessel, the Harriet Lane. In April, 1862, he marched
with his company to South Mills to reinforce three regiments of
Georgia troops under Colonel Wright, and subsequently moved to
Petersburg and Richmond and participated in the battle of Seven
Pines. He was frequently in action during the Seven Days' cam-
paign and shared the gallant and fatal assault upon the Federal
works at Malvern Hill. Advancing northward with Longstreet's
corps, he was in the battles of Warrenton Springs, Second Manassas,
Harper's Ferry and Sharpsburg, and in December following was in
the Fredericksburg fight. Remaining at Fredericksburg until the
spring of 1863 he then participated in the Suffolk campaign of Long-
street's corps, marching through rain and snow. From Hanover
Junction he marched with his division through Maryland and on
the afternoon of July 2d, camped within two miles of the field of
Gettysburg. On the afternoon of the next day he took part in the
famous assault upon Cemetery hill, after lying five hours under an
intense sun and exposed to the enemy's artillery fire. He was one
of the six men of his company left to report for duty on the follow-
ing day. On the retreat he guarded the last body of Federal prison-
ers brought ?cross the Potomac. During the fall and winter he was
with his command at Petersburg and at Kinston, N. C, and took
part in General Pickett's expedition against New Bern. Thence
called to the defense of Petersburg, Corporal Edwards fought in
May, 1864, at Chester Station and Drewry's Bluflf against Butler, in
the latter battle receiving severe wounds. Subsequently he was on
duty as quartermaster-sergeant under Major Myers at Salisbury
prison, and on guard at Yadkin river bridge until his petition to re-
turn to the front was granted. He rejoined his command on the
Bermuda Hundred line in November, 1864, but was soon afterward
sent to the field infirmary, was examined and retired, and in Febru-
ary was transferred to Charlotte, N. C. He was paroled with John-
ston's army, and then returned to Portsmouth, which has since been
his home. Under the first administration of Mr. Cleveland he held
the office of lumber inspector at the navy yard.- He is highly re-
garded by his comrades and maintains a membership in Stonewall
camp, Confederate Veterans. In 1862 he was married to Elizabeth
A. Brittingham and they have three children: Vara, Lizzie and
Newton.

Captain Oscar Edmonds Edwards, of Norfolk, president of the
Virginia Pilot association, is a son of Maj. Oscar Edmonds Ed-
wards, seaman, soldier and merchant, who was prominent in the
earlier days of that Virginia port. The latter was born in Surry
connty, Va., in 180^. At the age of sixteen he was appointed mid-
shipman in the United States navy, but, not fancying the position,
he resigned and took ship for New Orleans, where, on learning of
the death of his father, he bound himself to the captain as an ap-



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 851

prentice. This oflScer took great interest in the boy and gave him
rapid promotion upon the Tiger, so that, when he died at Liver-
pool, Edwards was mate of the vessel, though only twenty years of
age, and stepped at once into practical command of the ship as well
as succeeding by will to the worldly possessions of the captain. Af-
ter some years he returned to Norfolk and was very successful as a
merchant. When troops were first raised for the Mexican war, he
organized a company at Norfolk, which was not accepted, as Vir-
ginia's quota (one repment) was already filled. Nevertneless he
maintained the organization one year at his personal expense. In
1847 he was appointed captain of Company B, First regiment of U.S.
Voltigeurs, and with his men joined General Scott at Vera Cruz.
From there to the City of Mexico he served in every battle, receiv-
ing the brevet of major at the field of Churubusco. After his return
to Norfolk the gold excitement led him to sail for California by
way of the straits of Magellan, but, three djys after his arrival at
San Francisco, death terminated his adventurous and promising
career at the age of forty-two years. While Major Edwards and wife
were temporarily in Massachusetts, September 16, 1836, their son
Oscar was born. A few weeks later he was brought to Norfolk,
which has since been his home. After serving an apprenticeship
under the pilot laws of the State, he was commissioned as a pilot at
twenty years of age. In this service he remained until April, 1861,
when he entered the Confederate service and was assigned to the
sigrnal service as officer in charge at Sandy Point, Va. Next month
he was transferred to the navy and commissioned by Governor
Letcher as lieutenant of the privateer Florida, upon which he
cruised out of Hatteras inlet and captured several prizes, but was
finally chased ashore by a United States man-of-war. The boat
was burned to keep her from the enemy. Edwards was then pro-
moted master in the Confederate navy and stationed at Glass Island
navy yard, on the York river, until that place was evacuated when
he was ordered to the gunboat Teaser, under Capt. Hunter David-
son. In July, 1863, he resigned from the navy to accept position as
one of the four special messepgers of General Gorgas, chief of ord-
nance, as which he rendered important and valuable service until he
surrendered under the capitulation of Gen. R. E. Lee. Then, re-
turning to Norfolk, he resumed his profession as pilot, becoming in
1870 president of the Virginia pilot_ association. His retention in
that position until the present time is an evidence of the esteem in
which he is held by his fellows in that profession. Captain Edwards
was married in 1868 to Miss Sarah A. Baker, daughter of John
Baker, formerly State pilot of Virginia, who died at the early age of
twenty-eight years. Their home is blessed with four children. Cap-
tain Edwards maintains membership in several fraternal orders and
is a comrade of Pickett-Buchanan camp.

Walter A. Edwards, of Norfolk, now holding a place of well-
earned prominence in the journalism of southeastern Virginia, was
born in Norfolk, October 27, 1842. His gallant record in the army
of Northern Virginia may be in part due to an inheritance of soldier-
ly qualities from his father, O. E. Edwards, who led a company of
voltigeurs from Norfolk, under General^ Scott, in the Mexican war,
was promoted brevet major for meritorious service at the storming
of Chapultepec, and subsequently becoming one of the "argonauts



852 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

o£ 1849," died in California in the year 1851, His wife was Mary A.
Jones, a native of Massachusetts, who died in i860. Major Edwards
was born in Surry county, Va., where his family had resided since
early coloiiial days. H? was direct descendant of William Edwards,
who with his brothers, John and Henry, came from England and
went into possession of a large tract of land opposite Jamestown,
by grant from the London company. Walter A. Edwards, orphaned
at an early age, found employment at the, age of ten years in the of-
fice of the Southern Argus newspaper at Norfolk, and. was there
qccupied as a printer until the spring of 1861, when with other patri-
otic youth of Norfolk he was eager to enter the service of the State.
He became a private in the Independent Grays, afterward mustered
in as Company H of the Sixth Virginia regiment of infantry, and
becoming part of the famous brigade of Gen. William Mahone, the
first colonel of the regiment. During most of his service, Edwards
held the rank of orderly-sergeant of his company. He participated
in all the battles of the army of Northern Virginia, excepting those
of Chancellorsville. when he was disabled from duty, and the aSair
of the "Crater" when he was absent upon a well-deserved furlough.
He took part in the battle of Drewry's Bluff, the Seven Days' fight
before Richmond, and at Malvern Hill, then in the northward ope-
rations, fighting at Second Manassas, Crampton's Gap, Sharpsburg,
Bristoe Station, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Falling Waters.
In the campaign of 1864 he fought from the Wilderness to Cold
Harbor and subsequently in the engagements about Petersburg. At
the "Crater", when he was absent as has been stated, his company
was almost annihilated. At Hatcher's Run and Burgess' Mill he
took part, and in February, 1865, served willi his division upon the
Appomattox line. After the evacuation of Richmond he was in ac-
tion at Jetersville, and on April 7th took part in the affair near
Farmville, in Prince Edward county, where he was captured. The sur-
render of Lee immediately following, he was paroled at Burkeville,
April I2th, but on returning to Norfolk was put under guard on ac-
count of the excitement attending the assassination of President
L4ncoIn. He was released, and returned to cjvil life, April 19, the
fourth anniversary of his enlistment. He thea resumed his fornfier
employment, soon becoming a forem^, and so was engaged until
in 1876 he formed a partnership with Col. J. Richard Lewellen (who
afterward withdrew) and Joseph G. Fiveash, and established the
Evening Public Ledger, which has steadily grown in circulatio|n a^
influence until it now ranks as one of the best daily papers of Nor-
folk. He has also served the community ia an official capacity as
commissioner of the fire department, member of the city council,
and representative in the State legislature. He is now a member of
the board of visitors of William and Mary college. Mr. Edwards is
prominently connected with various fraternal organizatipns, being
past commander, with, rank of colonel, of the Pickett-Buchanan
C3,mp, U. C. v., and haying, received many honors from the orders
of Masons, Knights Templar?, Knights of Pythias, Improved Order
of Red Men, and t^e Royal Arcanvun.

W. E,r Edwards, p., D,, a chaplain of the-Confederate army, now
conspicuous in the ministry of the Methodist church, was bom in
Prince Edward county, Va., in ifcp2. In his professional work he
continues the career of his father, the Rev. John E. Edwards, I>. D.,



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 853

who was one of the leading ministers of the Virginia conference up
to the time of his decease in 1891. The wife of the latter was Eliza-
beth A., daughter of Col. John Clark, of Prince George county, an
officer in the war of 1812, and a man of considerable wealth. W. E.
Edwards was graduated at Randolph-Macon college in 1862, and
soon afterward entered the Virginia conference and accepted an as-
signment to a nominal charge with the intention of serving as a
chaplain in the Confederate army. Receiving a commission in this
capacity, he was assigned in June, 1863, to the military post at
Drewry's blufif, that important station on the James river between
Richmond and Petersburg, which, on so many occasions during the
war, proved an immovable rock in the way of the advancing Fed-
erals. Here he served with the troops during the remainder of the
period of Confederate occupation of Richmond, and, after the close
of the struggle, he gave his parole at Burkeville and returned to his
church work as soon as the unsettled condition of the country per-
mitted. Since then he has had charge of a number of prominent
charges, being assigned in succession to Portsmouth, Manchester,
Charlotte, Farmville, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Lynchburg,
the Centenary church, Richmond, Monumental church, Portsmouth,
Danville, and the Washington street church, Petersburg, the scene
of his labors at the time of this writing. His life has been one of
great intellectual activity and, beside his strictly ministerial func-
tions, he has contributed liberally to the religious press, has written
and published a popular work entitled "Story of College Life," and
has rendered valuable services for education as a trustee of the Ran-
dolph-Macon system of colleges. From Randolph-Macon college,
in 1882, he received the well-deserved degree of doctor of divinity.
Mr. Edwards is a member of the army of Northern Virginia so-
ciety, and of the A. P. Hill camp. United Confederate Veterans.
During the war he married Anna, daughter of Dr. William Carter.
She died in 1874, leaving two children, Ida M. and Sherwood. By
his second marriage, in 1876, to Anna, daughter of Joseph G. Watts,
Mr. Edwards has six children: William E., John E., Annie Louise,
C. Almon, Pauline and Joseph G.

Andrew Roy Ellerson, a resident of Hanover county, with im-
portant business interests at Richmond, Va., was born October 12,
1844, in Chesterfield county. His residence in Hanover county
began at the age of seven years, and he was there reared and
educated until the State called out her military strength, when he
enlisted as a boy of seventeen for the bloody struggle which was
to follow. He became a private in March, 1861, of the Hanover
Troop, which was mustered in as Company G of the Fourth Vir-
ginia cavalry, and served with that gallant command through the
subsequent battles and skirmishes until January, 1865, when, on
account of disability, he was detailed to the medical department.
On this duty he was in Richmond until the evacuation was or-
dered, when he went to Danville on duty, and was there paroled
after the surrender at Appomattox. The more important engage-
ments in which he shared were Rapidan Station, Williamsburg,
the Seven Days' battles (in which he was guide for Generals Lee
and Longstreet), Bridgewater, Port Republic, Winchester (with
Early). Aldie, Kelly's Ford, Getty.sburpr, Cold Harbor, Chancellors-
villa, Fredericksburg (where, at the first battle, he performed the

Ya 54



854 CONFEDERA TE MILITARY HISTORY.

dangerous feat of stopping a spent cannon ball with his hands) ; the
Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and Yellow Tavern, where
he was wounded by a piece of shell. After this gallant service as a
trooper in the army of Northern Virginia, he returned to his home
in Hanover county and remained occupied with local interests until
1880, when he engaged in dealing in fertilizers at Richmond, a
business in which he is still engaged, and which has grown to
extensive proportions under his management. He still cherishes
the memories of the days of soldiering, and is a comrade of New-
ton camp of Confederate Veterans and a member of the Hanover
Troop association

Captain Thomas Ellett, a prominent citizen of Richmond, sec-
retary of the Virginia mechanics' institute of that city, achieved
a notable record in both the infantry and artillery commands of
the army of Northern Virgmia. He was born at Richmond, in
1832, and passed his youth and early manhood in that city, pre-
vious to the beginning of the war of the Confederacy. In April,
1861, among the first to volunteer for the defense of the State
from aggression, he enlisted as a private in Company F of the
First Virginia regiment of infantry. With this command he served
until March 7, 1862, attaining the rank of third sergeant, and was
then transferred to the artillery service, as orderly-sergeant of the
Crenshaw battery, light artillery. A few weeks later he was elected
junior second lieutenant of that command, and, in November,
1863, was promoted captain of the battery, his commission dating
back to April, 1863. In this rank he served with remarkable effi-
ciency until the close of the war. A brief list of the engagements
in which he took part is sufficient to indicate, though inadequately,
the long and arduous service which he rendered. After being
engaged at Aquia ci-eek and on the Chickahominy, he was de-
prived for a time of the privilege of field service by severe sick-
ness, from June 22 until July 20, 1862. Recovering, he rejoined
the army on the plains of Manassas, and fought at Cedar Run,
August 9th,Warrenton Springs, August 24th, Manassas Junction on
the 27th and the second battle of Manassas, August 28th and 29th.
Then, joining in the Maryland campaign, he was engaged at Har-
per's Ferry, September 15th. and at Sharpsburg on the 17th. In the
battle of Fredericksburg, the next winter, he served gallantly.
His oldest brother, James Ellett, in command of the Crenshaw
battery, was killed en this field, December 13, 1862. During the
battle of Chancellorsville, in 1863, he was detailed on duty at Rich-
mond, and was not able to add that engagement to his experi-
ence, but, soon joining his battery, he participated in the hard
fighting at Gettysburg during the entire three days, and on the
third day received a slight wound in the shoulder. His subsequent
engagements were Bristoe Station, October 14, 1863; Rixeyville,
November 9th; Mine Run, December i8th; Spottsylvania, May loth,
nth and 18, 1864; Jericho Ford, May 23d; Turkey Ridge, June 9th;
Battery No. 40, on the Petersburg lines, July 22d; Archer's Farm,
August I2th, 13th, i8th and 19th; Davis House, before Petersburg,
August 2ist; and Jones' House before Petersburg, September 30th.
He was then disabled by illness until November i, 1864, after which
he fought at Jarrett's Depot, December loth; Crow House, February
6, l86S; Hatcher's Run, February 7th; Petersburg, March 2Sth; and



CONFEDERA TE MI LIT A R V HIS TOR V. 855

Five Forks, April ist. After the retreat was under way his battaHon
had a spirited encounter with the enemy on April 7th, about ten
miles from Appomattox, and when within six miles of that place,
being close pressed by the enemy, he spiked his guns and made
his escape with the intention of joining Johnston's army. He had
nearly reached the crest of Blue Ridge when informed of the sur-
render. He then proceeded to Gordonsville and remained there
until the middle of May, when he returned to Richmond and was
paroled in June. Resuming his civil occupations he has ever since
resided in the city, and honorably supplemented in peace his dis-
tinguished record during the years of war.

Captain Charles Grice Elliott, one of the citizens of Norfolk most
prominently connected with its remarkable development since the
war period, is a native of North Carolina, born at Elizabeth City,
Pasquotank county, March 8. 1840. The first of his family in that
State was Peter Elliott, a native of Ireland, who became clerk of
Camden county, where he made his home. Peter Elliott married
Tamer, daughter of Dempsey Burgess, who represented his district
in Congress in 1795 and was lieutenant-colonel of the Second North
Carolina regimen^ in 1776. Their son, Gilbert Elliott, father of
Captain Elliott, was born m Camden county, N. C, and embraced
the profession of law at Elizabeth City, in which he had attained
distinction before his early death at the age of thirty-eight years.
His wife was Sarah A. Grice, daughter of Charles Grice, a ship-
builder, who was one of the founders of Elizabeth City, N. C, and
who held the offices there of clerk of the court and sheriff of the
county. Her family, of Welsh descent, settled first at Philadelphia,
establishing a line of shipbuilders, one of whom, Francis Grice, a
nephew of Charles, built the Niagara, one of the six first-class
frigates constructed by the United States government in 1856, and
a number of other navy vessels. The mother of Captain Elliott sur-
vived to the. age of seventy-two years and, during the progress of
the war of the Confederacy, did notable work in behalf of the
soldiery of North Carolina, which won for her a warm place in the
hearts of the people. She was also active in the founding and main-
tenance of the Orphan asylum at Oxford, N. C. Captain Elliott
was reared and educated until fourteen years of age at Elizabeth
City, and then became a clerk in a general store, fitting himself for
a mercantile life. At the age of fifteen he received, without his pre-
vious knowledge or request, but through the offices of influential
friends, an appointment to the naval academy at Annapolis. But
this he declined, not desiring a naval career. Two years later he
was appointed deputy clerk of Pasquotank county by James W.
Hinton, clerk, and for four years Captain Elliott practically had
charge of the office. The coming of the momentous year of 1861
found him the orderly-sergeant of a military company at Elizabeth
City called the "State Guards," under Capt. William F. Martin.
This company, with which young Elliott had been connected two
years, was mustered into the Confederate army in April, 1861, as a
part of the Seventh regiment of North Carolina volunteers, of
which Captain Martin became colonel. Elliott became lieutenant
upon the promotion of Lieut. John B. Fearing to the captaincy.
The regiment was assigned to coast duty, Fearing's company be-
ing stationed at Roanoke island and afterward at Boddie island to



856 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

garrison a small fo^t at Oregon inlet. The Hatteras inlet forces
being attacked by the enemy and captured, Fearing's company and
one other fell back to Roanoke island, where they were reinforced
by the Third Georgia regiment under Col. A. R. Wright, and the
island was fortified. The two companies of the Seventh regiment
then formed the garrison of a battery on Pork Point. Colonel
Wright made an expedition to Chickamicomico beach and engaged
the Twentieth Indiana regiment, driving it under cover of the Fed-
eral guns at Fort Hatteras. In this expedition Lieutenant Elliott
commanded a detachment of his company. In February, 1862, the
island was attacked by the expedition under General Burnside and
Admiral Go'.dsborough, and during this action Lieutenant Elliott
commanded the only rifle gun on the island. After two days' bom-
bardment by the fleet and an attack by the largely superior force of
Burnside, the entire Confederate garrison surrendered and, after
ten days' detention on board ship, were released on parole. Lieu-
tenant Elliott did not obtain an exchange until the fall of 1862. At
this time Brig.-Gen. James G. Martin offered him a commission as
first lieutenant and aide-de-camp, which he promptly accepted and
joined the staff of the general before Petersburg, Va. Soon after-
ward General Martin was assigned to command the district of
North Carolina, with headquarters at Raleigh, and charged with the
duty of completing the organization of the troops. Lieutenant El-
liott was engaged in this service until the fall of 1863, when General
.Martin was assigned to duty in the field in North Carolina. Elliott
■was then promoted to be captain and assistant adjutant-general and
served with the command on the line from Virginia to Cape Fear
and, during its subsequent assignment at Wilmington, in the de-
partment of Major-General Whiting. In February, 1864. the bri-
gade made a successful expedition to Shepherdsville, near More-
head City, destroying a railroad bridge, defeating the enemy and
■severing the Federal communications with New Bern. After the
•capture of Plymouth, N. C, by General Hoke, Martin's brigade was
stationed there, but soon afterward was ordered to Petersburg to



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 91 of 153)