The 50th Virginia Company D Bloody Half-Hundred

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   We have routed the Enemy from every position and driven them about seven miles.....Our Regt. has been in all the fighting and has covered herself with glory. No Regiment in the whole Army has behaved more gallantly, it has suffered heavily......

Lt. William Smith
50th Virginia
Battle line near Chancellor, Va May 4th, 1863


History of the 50th Virginia Company D

The 50th Virginia, Co D began organizing as a militia unit somewhere between April and May of 1861. The unit was comprised of mostly farmers, laborers, and citizens from Grayson County, Virginia and nearby Ashe County, North Carolina becoming known as the “Wilson Rifles” and the “Grayson Hornets”. The original enlistments included four officers, Captain Lynville J. Perkins, 1st Lt. Ambrose Pugh, 2nd Lt. Thomas F. Mitchell, and 3rd Lt. John L. Cowardin. These officers and seventy plus men enlisted at Fork of Wilson moved on to Wytheville, Virginia in June of that same year answering a call from the newly formed Confederate Army to help protect Virginia and her borders from invasion of the United States Union Army and thus becoming Company D of the 50th Virginia Regiment Infantry.

The 50th Virginia Regiment was one of the few regiments to see action in both the Army of the West and the Army of Northern Virginia. It served in the first year in the Army of Kentucky and saw action in Carnifex Ferry, Princeton, and Cross Lanes in Western Virginia. Wintering that first year of the war in Tennessee, it fought in the Battle of Fort Donaldson, escaping General Grant’s siege of the fort and made its way back to Virginia on foot.

In the early spring of 1862 the 50th Virginia was assigned to the Second Army Corp in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson, staying there until the close of the war.

The 50th was engaged in the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness Campaign consisting of the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor. They were with General Jubal Early on his raid on Washington, and one of General Robert E. Lee’s leading units west of Appomattox Court House at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in April of 1865.

I recently acquired a nice spiral bound copy of the history of the 50th Virginia Regiment which includes material from the Official Records. It is a diverse compendium of the regiment and not only has histories of the action the regiment was engaged in, but also has a list of all members known in the complete regiment. The cost was $30 and is available from: MTS Regiment Reports. Michael T. Shay. 1930 Oberlin Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111 747-939-0885  He publishes many Confederate reports and Federal Reports.


Captain Jim Lemon