34th North Carolina Civil War Reenactment Group

Unit History

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34th North Carolina

The 34th North Carolina was mustered to the service of the state of North Carolina on October 25, 1861 at Camp Fisher. Company H of the 34th N.C. was comprised of men mainly from Cleveland County. The regiment was transferred to the Confederate Army near Raleigh on January 1, 1862. Upon joining the Confederate Army, the 34th reported its strength at 709 enlisted men and 37 officers. The regiment was divided into 10 companies, bearing the letters A through K. In early 1862 the 34th was assigned to General Joseph R. Anderson’s brigade.

After Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia on May 31, 1862, a major reorganization effort took place within the army. The 34th N.C. was transferred from Anderson’s brigade to Pender’s brigade of A.P. Hill’s division. The men of the 34th saw there first heavy action at Mechanicsville, VA and participated in Seven Days Battles during which they incurred a loss of 53 men killed and 158 men wounded. After this campaign, the army was again reorganized and A.P. Hill’s division fell under Jackson’s Command (a unit similar to a Corps). The 34th N.C. then saw action at Cedar Mountain and Manassas, and played a crucial role of the capture of Harper’s Ferry under Jackson. On September 17, 1862 the 34th missed most of the carnage at Sharpsburg, as they were assigned to guard Union prisoners following the capture of Harper’s Ferry, but did see some action later in the day. Following the battle of Fredericksburg, the 34th set winter camp to serve picket duty on the Rappahannock River.

On May 2, 1863, the 34th found itself involved in the attack on Hooker’s exposed flank at Chancellorsville. The 34th N.C. saw heavy action throughout the battle and suffered losses totaling 110 wounded and 18 killed. The victory at Chancellorsville came at a heavy price, as the South lost one of its most promising leaders in Stonewall Jackson. Following Jackson’s death, Pender was promoted and the 34th was transferred to Scales brigade, Pender’s division of A.P. Hill’s corps. Hill’s corps began its move north in early June of 1863. On June 30, Hill’s corps arrived in Cashtown. The 34th, with Pender’s division, saw thick fighting toward Seminary Ridge on July 1 at Gettysburg and suffered heavy casualties. On July 2, as Longstreet and Ewell’s men saw most of the action, the 34th was only subject to some skirmishing. On July 3, 1863, the brave men of the 34th crossed a vast, open field on the left of the Confederate lines in Pickett’s Charge. The 34th retreated from Gettysburg having lost 16 men killed, 48 wounded, and an unknown number captured.

Gettysburg, PA
Little Round Top, Gettysburg

Following the battle of Gettysburg, due to losses in the command structure, the 34th was placed in Scale’s brigade, Wilcox’s division, of A.P. Hill’s corps. The men saw little action for the remainder of 1863, and wintered at Orange Court House where they received reinforcements. In early May of 1864, the 34th found itself in the thick of the battle of the Wilderness and were forced to fall back in disorder. The unit fought again at Spotsylvania, and saw action in June of 1864 at Cold Harbor. The 34th N.C. was heavily engaged around Petersburg, and successfully defended a large section of the area’s railroads. On April 9th of 1865, the men of Wilcox’s division received orders to join the attack on the Union just to the west of Appomattox Court House. Before they could reach the lines, the order came to cease fire. Lee’s Army had surrendered. Upon parole on April 12, 1865, the 34th surrendered 168 men, and among them were the men under the command of Captain Samuel A. Hoey. Captain Hoey’s Company H, through brave deeds on the fields of glory, had earned the nickname “the Rough and Readys” that followed them throughout the War Between the States.