Friday, November 16, 2012

North Carolina's Edgecombe Guards: First At Bethel

From the March 2011 Historical News "Civil War Sketches."

In May of 1861, North Carolina became the last southern state to secede and promptly accepted 10,717 volunteers to defend the state. .  One of these group was a company of 133 that became known as the Edgecombe Guards.

They were destined to become the first Confederate troops to engage Union forces in battle (after Fort Sumter).  They marched into history at the Battle of Big Bethel in Virginia.

Tarboro, North Carolina's Henry Lawson Wyatt was a typical Confederate infantryman.  He owned no slaves and was fighting in defense of his state, state's rights and the Southern way of life.  There wasn't much to set him apart from the other men in his company, other than he was about to die for those beliefs on that hot June day in 1861, the first of 258,000 to die as "the Confederacy marched from cause to effect to fated failure."

The nineteen-year-old carpenter met his death as did so many others, following orders.

First At Bethel.  --Old Secesh

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