Re: First Land Battle of the WBTS
Great post Joe. My reenactment unit goes "under the banner" of the Third Richmond Howitzers. Randolph's artillery was composed of three companies. Actually four but the Fourth saw little duty. Captain B. H. Smith commanding the Third Company. Their battery consisted of two twelve pounders and two ten pounder Parrotts at Bethel Church. This was the first notation of the Parrott rifle being used in combat. I have no citation but can find it. My GG Grandfather was a member of Company B, 1st North Carolina Volunteers and was there during the engagement. The 1st NC was later redesignated as the 11th North Carolina State Troops and was always known as The Bethel Regiment. Henry Lawson Wyatt was the lone KIA at Bethel Church. He fell in front of one of the Third Richmond's rifles while engaged with Federal sharpshooters. He is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond with a "private" headstone surrounded by decorative shrubbery and a bench for visitors. Randolph's Third Company of artillery was later detached to Hardaway's battallion. In 1864 after the The Battle of Spotsylvania, as the Confederates moved back east towards Cold Harbor across Totopotomoy Creek all three companies of The Richmond Howitzers came together on the field for the first time since 1861. As they were deployed on the field the Third ended up once again beside (in support of) the 11th (1st) North Carolina on the field. One of my gun crew memebers has an old house on Beaulah Church Road in Hanover County, Virginia. It was near this spot that the three Howitzer Companies came together. The Third Company is unfortunately credited with firing the shots that set Pole Green Church on fire during this movement. Pole Green Church was the first "free" house of worship in America. It is marked with an awesome steel frame structure on the actual site. And surrounded with historical markers related to the WBTS and the move to religious freedom (non Church of England) related markers. It is an awesome place to visit. Thanks for your post. On April 1-3, at Endview Plantation near Williamsburg we will honor our ancestors at the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Bethel Church. I'll gather and post links and citations to all of this rambling.