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21st Va INF sources/History

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  • 21st Va INF sources/History

    Pulling info off a couple of Historical Society sites i am a member of:

    Website HPTL:
    ProQuest powers research in academic, corporate, government, public and school libraries around the world with unique content

    more to follow...
    21st Virginia Infantry Regiment (Confederate)

    - Organized on Apr 21 1861
    - Mustered out on Apr 9 1865 at Appomattox Court House

    Available statistics for total numbers of men listed as:
    - Enlisted or commissioned: 1378
    - Drafted: 8
    - Transferred in: 11
    - Killed or died of wounds: 155
    - Died of disease: 156
    - Prisoner of war: 231
    - Died while prisoner of war: 18
    - Disabled: 79
    - Missing: 7
    - Deserted: 42
    - Discharged: 131
    - Mustered out: 6
    - Transferred out: 86

    Roster for this Regiment

    Battles involving this Regiment

    Assignments for this Regiment

    Historical notes and Reports:

    Twenty-first Virginia Infantry

    Cedar Mountain, VA after action report:

    No. 38.

    Report of Capt. W. A. Witcher, Twenty-first Virginia Infantry.

    August 13, 1862.
    SIR: In obedience to order I offer the following report of the Twenty-first
    Virginia Regiment in the battle of Slaughter Mountain on the 9th after the
    fight had considerably advanced:

    The regiment was posted in line of battle in the woods about 40 paces back
    of the road to the left of the battery in the field and facing to the
    road, a small party being sent to the road in front of our extreme left to keep
    watch. In this position the men were ordered to lie down to protect them
    from the enemy's cannonading, which was kept up with great vigor. A
    number of shells exploded in our vicinity, one of which struck and killed
    Capt. William H. Morgan, of Company F, a young officer of great merit.
    In about half an hour a volley of musketry was heard on our left, when the
    party on the road immediately returned and reported that a regiment was
    advancing along the road and fence. Lieut.-Col. Cunningham ordered
    our regiment forward to the edge of the road, which order was obeyed
    promptly, all seeming eager for the engagement. Soon after reaching the
    road and engaging the enemy, another regiment of them emerged from a
    corn field and arrayed themselves in line of battle to our left oblique. This
    seemed to heighten the ardor of our men, who fought with all the gallantry
    and energy that could have been desired, and completely checking the
    enemy's advance. The fight was raging fiercely and our men in high spirits,
    when suddenly and without any warning whatever a murderous fire was
    poured upon us from the rear, at least a brigade of the enemy having passed
    through the woods and reached within 20 or 30 paces of us. We had
    supposed that our rear was protected; why it was not is not for me to say.
    About this time Lieut.-Col. Cunningham appeared at the left of the
    line and gave some command, which, amid the firing, I could not
    understand. I ordered those near me, however, to about-face. Some obeyed,
    but many others were so intent upon firing at the enemy before them and so
    little apprehensive of danger from the rear, that they seemed not to
    understand the command. Lieut.-Col. Cunningham again gave some
    command, which, owing to the circumstances, I could not distinctly hear. He
    waved his hand toward the fence rather to the right, and after several times
    ordering it, I got the men to start in that direction. In making the movement
    they became somewhat scattered and confused, some going fast, while others
    would load, turn, and fire as they went. To add to the confusion of the
    moment, in addition to the many other brave men and officers who fell at
    this point, our gallant and beloved leader, Lieut.-Col. Cunningham,
    fell mortally wounded. The adjutant was taken by the enemy, though
    afterward escaped; the sergeant-major was shot down; the flag-bearer was
    shot dead; a corporal of the color-guard, seizing the colors, shared the same
    fate; and a private who nest raised them fell, wounded in three places. Under
    these unfavorable circumstances a portion of the regiment rallied and formed
    at the crest of the hill, not more than 150 paces from the road. Here some
    troops which had fallen back rallied and joined us, and after a spirited
    contest of ten or fifteen minutes drove the enemy, who had advanced into the
    road and field, back into the woods. We then turned our fire upon the
    enemy's line of battle in the meadow, which soon broke and began to retire.
    From this on we pushed forward wherever the fight seemed thickest,
    assisting in the repulse of the cavalry charge and mingling in the fire upon
    the retreating foe until he had entirely disappeared from the field.

    No troops, in my opinion, could have behaved with more daring and
    obstinacy that those of the Twenty-first. There were instances of individual
    heroism which I refrain from mentioning lest injustice should be done to

    Before concluding this report I deem it my duty to bring to your notice a fact
    which shows the barbarous and brutal manner in which this war is being
    conducted by our adversaries. Second Lieut. Thomas W. Brown, of
    Company K, was taken prisoner at the time our regiment
    left the woods. He was afterward found in the woods mortally wounded, and
    before dying stated to Lieut. Roach, of the Twenty-first, and Capt.
    Turner, of the Irish Battalion, that he was taken unhurt, but when the enemy
    were forced to retreat they knocked him down with their guns and bayoneted
    him in several places. He was in his proper mind at the time of making this
    statement, and died the same night. Accompanying this report I forward a
    list of casualties.*

    Respectfully, your obedient servant,

    W. A. WITCHER,
    Capt., Commanding Twenty-first Virginia Regiment.

    Commanding Second Brigade.

    Source: Official Records
    [Series I. Vol. 12. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 16.]
    [B][I]Skip Owens[/I][/B]


    [U]Southern Guard Living History Assn.

    The Company of Military Historians[/U]

  • #2
    Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

    Would that Captain happen to be Vincent A. Witcher who later became the commander of the 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry? I had a few relatives in that unit who transfered to the 34th. I would like to know a little more about the 21st myself.
    Justin Connor


    • #3
      Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

      I think that the Initals on the Undersigned action report is W.A Witcher and your ancestor is V.A. Witcher. Now this doesn't completely rule out a likeness. Any family records of your ancestor in the 21st? Be mindful that this REGT was from all over the central VA region.. Richmond proper and some of the counties west of Richmond.

      There are some more sources, but like Jerry stiles posted the "Jacksons Foot Cavalry" is the best source and the author is in Co. F from Richmond proper. Point of note, they were not in the ORG Stonewall BDE but in his Division following re-org in early 62'


      [B][I]Skip Owens[/I][/B]


      [U]Southern Guard Living History Assn.

      The Company of Military Historians[/U]


      • #4
        Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

        A quick soldier search turned up this on your ancestor you mentioned above. nothing about a 21st VA... Interesting find, as a LT COL and mustered into A CO (TRP) 34th BN... limited info to come to a conclusion yet, but clearly not the same, sorry. Let me know if you need anytype of help. I have access to many sources.

        V. A. Witcher (Confederate)

        - Enlisted as Lieutenant Colonel

        Mustering information:
        - Commissioned into A Company, 34th Battn Cav (Virginia)

        where as for William A Witcher

        William Addison Witcher (Confederate)

        Biographical data and notes:
        - Pre-enlistment occupation: Lawyer
        - William Addison Witcher died on Jan 29 1888 at Pittsylvania, VA
        - He is buried at Family cemetery, Callands, VA
        - Son of Vincent Witcher. Postwar VA House of Delegates. Died of Bright's disease.

        - Enlisted on Jun 29 1861 at Pittsylvania County, VA as Captain

        Mustering information:
        - Commissioned into I Company, 21st Infantry (Virginia) on Jun 29 1861
        - Surrendered while serving in 21st Infantry (Virginia) on Apr 9 1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA

        Intra-company transfers:
        - Transferred from I Company to Field and Staff on Dec 1 1862

        - Promoted to Colonel (Full, Vol) on Dec 1 1862

        Listed as:
        - Wounded on May 3 1863 at Chancellorsville, VA
        - Wounded on May 17 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA
        - Returned on Jul 16 1864

        Sources for the above information:
        - The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, (1987
        Last edited by elcid01; 04-24-2008, 01:17 PM. Reason: additional information discovered
        [B][I]Skip Owens[/I][/B]


        [U]Southern Guard Living History Assn.

        The Company of Military Historians[/U]


        • #5
          Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

          Certainly two different people, but surely related.

          Bio material on Vincent A. Witcher:

          Born Pittsylvania County, Virginia, February 16, 1837. Lawyer in Wayne County. Captain, Co. A, 34th Virginia Cavalry Battalion, December 11, 1861. Major - June 1, 1862. Lt. Col. - May 2, 1863. Dropped during 1864, but the order was revoked later in the year. Lawyer in Utah and West Virginia post-war, before returning to Pittsylvania as a farmer. Died Riceville, Virginia, December 7, 1912.
          -- Robert K. Krick. Lee's Colonels, 3rd edition (Morningside Press, 1991) p.404

          Eric J. Mink
          Co. A, 4th Va Inf
          Stonewall Brigade

          Help Preserve the Slaughter Pen Farm - Fredericksburg, Va.


          • #6
            Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

            Witcher was not my ancestor, but I did have 2 who were in the 21st who later transferred to the 34th, Felix and Andrew Cole of Buchanan County, VA.
            Justin Connor


            • #7
              Re: 21st Va INF sources/History

              I am blood related to these two Witchers via the mother of the elder one. You are correct that they are related and not the same guy.

              William Addison Witcher was born about 1823, most likely in Pittsylvania County, VA. His parents were Vincent Oliver Witcher and Nancy Newbill. They were married 5 Mar 1810 in Franklin County, VA, but I believe they settled in Pittsylvania County, VA, where the Witcher family was. William married Evelyn E. Major on 27 Apr 1847 in Pettis County, MO. At this time he was described as being of Washington, AR, which was a gathering point for troops in the Mexican War. I do not know whether he may have served in that war, but it is certainly possible. The minister that performed the marriage in MO was William Burwell Leftwich who was married to William's aunt Catherine Newbill. This William Addison Witcher was an editor for a time as well as a lawyer. He and his wife had three children in MO, but they appear to have separated before 1860, and he returned to Pittsylvania County, VA where he enlisted as you've noted.

              Vincent Addison Witcher was a nephew of William Addison Witcher. His parents were Nathaniel Newbill Witcher (brother of William Addison Witcher) and Paulina W. Adams. He was born in 1837 in Pittsylvania County, VA. He was a lawyer as well.