View single post by rebelnc1987
 Posted: Sun Jul 31st, 2011 03:45 pm
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Transplanted Tar Heel

Joined: Fri Jul 29th, 2011
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 9

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Hey Pender,

That is pretty awesome to have your family so concentrated in the 16th- very awesome unit. Just as a background on my relation to the Light Division- Firstly, years back, before I knew about my ancestors, I for some reason, was always drawn to the Light Division- W.D. Pender specifically. I really enjoyed learning about them and then when I did my geneaology, I found out why I was so into them. My GGG Grandfather was a private in company K 28th NC, William Hinson- he served from March 1862 through May 12 1864 where he was wounded and captured at  Spotsylvania- though no records of his imprisonment survive, I have been able to piece together through family stories that he survived his imprisonment (the CMSRs assume that he died in captivity since he never returned to his unit) and returned home after the war- he appears on census records until 1900. From what I know about William's records- he was at many of the major battles in the eastern theater and was a survivor of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge on July 3rd at Gettysburg.
My other GGG Grandfather, Jacob E. Gurley Co. E 37th NC, signed up late in the war at the encouragement of his brother-in-law, Kenneth Dees of company D of the 37th NC (who had 6 other brothers who served in various units one brother served in Company D as well but died of disease in the Summer of 62') and both of these men were captured on April 2nd at the Petersburg Breakthrough.

I have two 1st cousins who served in Company H of the 18th NC, James and Joshua Hinson.

I have other ancestors in many N.C. units. Including the nearest cousins, about 75 in all. So I tend to have a North Carolina bias whenever they are on the field.

But as for the Light Division itself- I feel that in many battles they played such a key role that is often forgotten by history, unjustly so, in my opinion. I think that A P Hill was a fantastic division leader and that Lee was just in promoting him for the Gettysburg campaign, but his corps leadership left much to be desired. But his Light Division was always up to par and ready to fight.

 For one example of being forgotten on the field, take Fredericksburg 1862. The assault on Marye's Heights gets all the history and publicity, when in modern life, little of that land still exists untouched. However, it was the Light Division that threw back Meade's attacking PA Reserves (one of the best Union units in my opinion). The situation was so dire on the southern end of the field and the Light Division was responsible for driving back the attack (although a misplacing of units left large gaps between brigades left a breach inevitable).

At Gettysburg, Heth's division gets all the attention for their early role in the battle and for their fight with Wadsworth's Division (not that it is not well deserved) but often forgotten is the charge of Scales and Perrin's brigades on day 1. And then on July 3rd- Pickett gets all the attention while the other non-Virginians are forgotten (again not meaning to step on any toes, Pickett's division was spectacular during that assault!)

The point I am attempting to make is that the Light Division's contributions are stellar- in each battle they were put into, they performed above and beyond the call of duty and often times are overshadowed by others. I suppose this is the fate of many units in history whose fighting capabilities are overshadowed by others and are largely forgotten. Although the following statement could make up its own thread, I also feel that Daniel's brigade is often a forgotten unit as well and that it's sacrifices go largely unattended.

As this post is getting rather long, I will end it by saying this, the war brought out many unsung heroes and I believe that the men of the Light Division are some of those men.

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