WILLIAM BROCK, 1826-1911
In the Confederate Infantry, 1861-1864
Submitted by Bobby Brock, Apex, NC.
Posted by Myrtle Bridges
October 18, 2002
A bit of background information is in order before the main document.
William Brock was bom in April, 1826, and raised in Duplin County, according to Aunt Melvina Brock McLaurin,
as told to me several years ago as I prepared for this report. I have found only one reference to his father,
and none directly to his mother, though I am convinced he had one. In the voter registration of 1902, he lists
his father's name as William, also.
In the early years of his married life, there was always living near him a Mary Brock, listed as head of
household. She was old enough to be his mother, and had a son there the same age as William. (William was
a twin) His first child was named Mary. There was a tendency to carry a name into the next generation. It
is possible that this was his mother, widowed at an early age. It is interesting that a professional
genealogist reached the same speculation in an independent report on the family of John Calvin Brock,
older brother to William.
William was married to Delitha Haney in January, 1849, in Cumberland County. I have seen no record to
specify her parents, but a good many circumstances point to her mother as being Keziah (Hall). Delitha
was a sister to Thomas Haney, grandfather of Daisy Tyndall Brock, wife of John William Brock.
William and Delitha Brock, about 1880
In 1850, William and Delitha are in Sampson County-he being a farmer with $50 worth of real estate. No
record of how he came to own this land. He sold 41 acres to Isaac Williams for $149 on September 3, 1853.
I presume that he then relocated to Cumberland County.
In 1860 they are in Cumberland County, where they lived the rest of their lives. At that time (1860) there
were 2 children Mary K., age 9, and William James, age 5. Mary K. apparently died as a child, as there is
no further record other. There is a grave beside him and Delitha, which we presume to be Mary. Their other
children were Sarah Delitha and Margaret Caroline.
On August 4, 1863, William bought 100 acres from S.R. Hawley for $160. The tract was located "between
Beaverdam Branch and a small branch". The sale document specifies that in the event of his death, the
land was to go to Delitha. Witnesses were Robert Averitt and Henry Averitt. William sold 54 acres to
Thomas Devane for $135 on November 9, 1874.
On February 24, 1885, Governor Alfred Scales approved a grant of 25 acres to William for 12 and one-half
cents per acre. This land joined that of Patrick Bain, Catherine Bain, and W. R. Williams.
William could not read nor write, but Delitha could do both. Judging from pictures, he was of medium size
and build. Delitha was a tall, red-faced, and friendly woman, according to Samuel Fann. They lived in a
log cabin until she died, sometime after 1900, but before April of 1910. William died in June of 1911,
according to the record. He received a state pension for wounds received in the war. He died suddenly,
while crossing a fence, looking for a guinea nest, at age 85. He has a military marker, and Annie Brock
provided markers for Delitha, Mary K., and Caroline Gautier, who is not buried with her husband.
When Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Fuller Fann married in 1913, Grandpa took apart the log cabin and moved it on a
wagon and set it up for them to start housekeeping. This house stayed in the Eason family for many years,
and Larry Eason gave it to me for the moving, as it was in the way of expanding a field. I now have it on
my land in Wake County.
The older brother, John Calvin, lived in the Massey Hill/ Hope Mills section. He had 2 wives, sisters Ada
and Lucy Jackson. Their descendants are still in the Fayetteville area, as well as in the Grantham community
of Wayne County.
THE CIVIL WAR YEARS
The following pages, though not complete in every detail, have the results of many hours of research
into the life and experiences of William Brock in the Infantry of the Army of the Confederate States of
America. I have visited several of the battlefields where he fought.
North Carolina seceded from the Union on May 20, 1861, and joined the Confederacy on May 27. He joined
the Army on June 1, at Lock's Creek in Cumberland County. (The place of enlistment is also shown as
Silver Run and Bethany on different copies of his muster rolls.)
The company in which he was placed was known as "The Cumberland Plowboys".
He was placed in Company F of the 24th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry (State Troops), which was organized
in July 1861. (The designation of the regiment was changed from the 14th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
(State Troops) on November 14, 1861).
Training camps were set up at various locations. His training was at the camp at Weldon, North Carolina.
The Confederate Infantryman was in reality a sharp contrast to the neatly dressed gray-clad soldier of the
books and movies. To be sure, he was issued one of these uniforms upon enlistment, but he was soon glad
to get whatever clothing was available.
The hat was usually a black felt of the type often seen worn by backwoods mountain boys in the Disney-type
movies. It often served also as a water bucket, and at night as a pillow. Shirts and pants were upgraded
as often as possible, many times being taken from dead comrades or even from Yankee Soldiers.
Shoes were just added weight to carry, so they were often discarded until cold weather made it necessary to
acquire another pair - by the same means as mentioned for clothes.
The infantry troops traveled mostly on foot. Barefoot soldiers encountered few problems in their native
land, but were in trouble when they invaded the North and found themselves on paved roads. That's why the
Battle of Gettysburg happened at Gettysburg - the Rebels planned to get shoes from the shoe making factories
there and encountered the enemy when a scouting party went into the town. Around his shoulder was slung a
haversack, made of cloth, which contained numerous items - pencil and paper, crackers, harmonica, tin cup -
to name a few.
A rifled muzzel loader was all he carried in hand. The bayonet was used primarily as multipurpose implement
rather than a weapon. Some of its uses included candleholder and cooking utensil.
Around his other shoulder was slung his ammunition pouch. A cap pouch was fastened to a belt.
One of the most important requirements for service was that a man must have solid teeth. The minie ball
and powder were encased in a thick paper covering and the covering was torn off with the teeth and one
hand, while the other hand held the rifle ready to be loaded. A seasoned soldier could get off 2 to 3
shots per minute using the cumbersome loading process. Every fifth shot was a "cleaner" to remove residues
from the barrel.
The Civil War has to be rated as one of the most horrible of all time. The science of weaponry had been
more highly developed than the medical sciences. Cannon sent loads of up to thirty pounds for an effective
distance of 3 miles or more. The rifled barrel of infantry muzzel loader sent its bullets accurately for
several hundred yards. These bullets, or minie balls, were devastating - designed to expand on impact and
thus tearing a hole larger than your fist as it left the body.
An extraordinarily high percentage of the wounded died shortly because of infection. Many of those wounded
in the limbs became amputees, that process being completed very often without any pain killing agents at all.
The only comfort available was a minie ball to bite on.
Battle casualties were unbelievable. Consider the fact that more than 23,000 men were killed or wounded in
a single day's battle at Antietam (Sharpsburg, Maryland).
The 24th served directly under Colonels Clarke, John L. Harris, and Thomas Brown Venable. The companies
and counties from which the most of the men came were: A - Person; B - Onslow; C - Johnston; D - Halifax;
E - Johnston; F - Cumberland; G - Robeson; H - Person; I - Johnston; and K - Franklin.
National Archives records state that the 24th Regiment was stationed at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia,
in August, 1861, and that the men had not yet received any pay.
The same records a-lso state that the Regiment left Weldon, North Carolina on August 18, 1861, and arrived
in Anderson, Virginia on September 11, 1861.
On September 14, 1861, they marched to the summit of Big Sewell Mountain, Virginia, then to Meadow Bluff,
Virginia on September 16. Then on September 24, 1861, marched to Camp Defiance Fayette, Virginia. On October
17, 1861, Regiment marched from Sewell Mountain to Meadow Bluff, Virginia. On November 12, 1861, they marched
from Meadow Bluff to Blue Sulphur Springs, Virginia.
The Secretary of War ordered the Regiment to Petersburg. On November 26, 1861, the troops left Blue Sulphur
Springs and marched to Jackson River Depot, arriving there on the 29th of November. Companies F, G, and H,
the last companies to leave, left by rail on December 15th and arrived in Petersburg on the 17th.
Absenteeism was very high at this time. Apparently, many were sick or depressed, or both. Many died of
measles. To quote the records, "as a consequence of this alarming situation of the health of the men,
their constitutions are so shattered as to incapacitate them for any military duty until they recouperate.
The place where this can be most effectively accomplished with the least expense to the government is home,
and thither they have been sent". The company muster roll for November 30 to December 31, 1861, shows
William Brock absent on furlough.
The troops returned in January, 1862 to Petersburg and stayed there until February 12, when they marched
to Garysburg. From there they marched to Franklin Depot on the 20th. From there they marched on the 21st
to Murfreesboro, North Carolina. On the 25th, the Regiment was split up, with companies F and B going to
Potecasie Bridge. On the 28th, the company went to Suffolk, Virginia. On orders, the Regiment marched from
Suffolk to Murfreesboro, North Carolina, via Boykins Depot, on March 14 and 15. On May 18, the Regiment
marched from Murfreesboro to Garysburg, North Carolina, and then to Jackson, North Carolina.
The Regiment went to Goldsboro, North Carolina on June 2, 1862. General Lee assumed command of Confederate
forces on June 1, 1862. Sixteen North Carolina regiments of Infantry and one of Cavalry were called to
reinforce Lee for the Battles of the Chickahominy. General Robert Ransom's Brigade, including the 24th
under Colonel Clarke, arrived on June 25th and reported at Richmond and was temporarily assigned to General
Huger. Now the men of the 24th would face the enemy for the first time.
SEVEN DAYS TO MALVERN HILL
During the time of the Seven Days Battle around Richmond (June 25 to July 1, 1862) the 24th Regiment
(Col. Clarke) as a part of General Robert Ransom's Brigade, was involved in some minor but sharp engagements
with General Philip Kearney's Union forces on the Williamsburg Road, in the neighborhood of King's
Schoolhouse. The 24th was listed as one of those "taking the most part in these affairs". These "affairs"
took place on June 25 to June 28. On Sunday, the 29th. General Lee had divided McClellon's Union forces
sufficiently to throw all he had against them. General John B. Magruder was ordered to advance east on
Williamsburg road and attack, with Hill's forces, the rear Union guard north of White Oak Swamp. The 24th
was marching down the Charles City Road with General Huger and were to join up with Magruder. Huger changed
his mind and continued up the Charles City Road. Again, on the 30th, Huger failed to do as expected, so
the 24th saw only light action between June 28 and 30, 1862.
Robert Ransom's brigade, including the 24th, was part of Magruder's forces, after Huger finally came in
place on July 1 for the battle at Malvern Hill. But Magruder was delayed and did not attack (at Savage's
Station) until after sunset, just as Hill retreated with his beaten brigades.
Confederate artillery was to shell the Union line ahead of the infantry attack, but failed to do so.
Seeing this situation, Lee cancelled the infantry attack, but they did not get the word. General Hill
described Magruder's assault: "I never saw anything more grandly heroic than the advance after sunset of
the nine brigades under Magruder's orders. Unfortunately, they did not move together and were beaten in
detail. As each brigade emerged from the woods, from fifty to one hundred guns opened upon it, tearing
great gaps in its ranks; but the heroes reeled on and were shot down by the reserves at the guns, which
a few squads reached... Not only did the brigades which were engaged suffer, but the inactive troops and
those brought up as reserves, too late to be of any use, met many casualties from the frightful artillery
fire which reached all parts of the woods. Union General Porter tributes the attack:
"As if moved by a reckless disregard of life, equal to that displayed at Gaines' Mill* with a determination
to capture our Army and destroy it by driving it into the river; regiment after regiment rushing at our
batteries; but the artillery ... mowed them down with shrapnel, grape, and canister, while our infantry,
withholding their fire until they were within short range, scattered the remnants of their columns. The
havoc made by the rapidly bursting shells ---were fearful to behold. Pressed to the extreme as they were
the courage of our men was fully tried. The safety of our Army - the life of the Union - was felt to be at
Seventy-two men of the 24th were killed, wounded, or missing during this their first week of fighting.
In a report about Company F of the 24th filed on the Cumberland County home page by William Bullard, there
is an interesting reference to William Brock in this battle: "an incident worthy of mention occurred in this
battle. Private William Brock could never keep exact step in march, due (the boys said) to the length of
his feet, so one or another officer often called out "keep the step, Mr. Brock". In the hot test of the
fight, this fine soldier called out "Don't get excited, boys, and bite off the ball of your cartridges.
Say, boys, I don't hear anybody calling "keep step Mr. Brock".
The Regiment was stationed on the City Point Road, near Petersburg until the 19th of August, then marched
toward Richmond and bivouacked near Richmond until the 23rd when it marched to the Pontoon Bridge on the
THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN
Immediately after the Rappahannock Campaign, General Lee, desiring to inflict further injury upon
the enemy ... decided to enter Maryland. He knew that his Army was feeble in transportation, the troops
1 Battles and Leaders, II, page 394
2 Batt1es and Leaders, II, page 418
*Gaines' Mill, or Cold Harbor, earlier in the campaign was described as one of the hottest of the war.,
supplied with clothing, and thousands of them destitute of shoes. Still he felt that his troops, seasoned
by active service and filled with enthusiasm and confidence ... by their successes, could be relied upon for
much self-denial and arduous campaigning. The prospect of shifting the burden of military occupation from
Confederate to Federal Soil and keeping Federals out of the South at least until winter prevented their
re-entering, was alluring.
Between September 4 and 7, 1862, the Confederate Army crossed the Potomac at Nolands Ford near Leesburg
and encamped in the vicinity of Frederick City, Maryland.
Included in this force was General Ransom's Brigade of four North Carolina Regiments, including the 24th
under Colonel J. L. Harris, under General W. H. T. Walker. Ransom's Brigade was ordered to leave the
Monocacy River where, with Walker's Brigade, it had been trying to break the aqueduct.
It was anticipated that as Confederates advanced. Federal garrisons at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg
would be withdrawn. So Walker's troops, along with those of General Jackson and General McLaws were
sent to invest these places. Walker was to occupy Loudoun Height, across the Shenadoah from Harper's
Ferry, as directed in Lee's Special Order 191. This order fell into the hands of Union General McClellan,
after a Yankee soldier found it wrapped around 3 cigars at an abandoned Rebel Camp.
Southern troops marched away from Frederick on September 10-12. Walker's men crossed the Potomac on the
night of the 10th, rested on the 11th, and reached the foot of Loudoun Height on the morning of the 13th.
On the 14th, Walker, Jackson, and McLaws began to batter at the defenses of Harper's Ferry. Jackson was
in command and mapped the strategy. On the morning of the 15th, Walker's guns set rolling the echoes
of Loudoun Height, having been forced to wait until a heavy mist lifted to reveal their target.
Harper's Ferry was surrendered (by Union General Julius White) to Jackson with only light losses to the
Rebels, after only an hour of battle. Confederates made a good haul - 13,000 small arms, 73 cannons and
about 200 wagons and about 11,000 prisoners.
As Walker's column came over the Shenandoah - on their way back to Lee, there was much grumbling because
Jackson's troops had devoured or appropriated all the booty.
After a brief rest, the troops of Walker and Jackson started to join General Lee at Sharpsburg where he
was engaging a vastly superior Army with the Potomac at his back.
By a severe night march, they reached Sharpsburg about 16 miles away, about noon on the 16th. General
Walker's troops were first placed on the right of General Longstreet. While in this position the 24th
assisted Georgia Sharpshooters in preventing Union troops from crossing Antietam Creek at Snavely's Ford.
The terrain here is somewhat rugged, with slopes ranging up to 30-40 percent. A little before 10:00 a.m.
on the 17th, they moved to reinforce the left. Walker's troops charged headlong upon the left flank of
Sedgewick's lines, which were soon thrown into confusion.
General Palfrey, a Federal participant, said in his Antietam and Fredericksburg, nearly 2,000 men were
disabled in a moment. The Confederates did drive the enemy before them in maghificient style; they did
drive them through the woods, but (some of them at any rate) over a field in front of the woods, and over
two high fences beyond and into another body of woods over half a mile distant from the commencement of
In this rout of Sedgewick, the N.C. Regiments were destructive participants. Walker's division (containing
the 24th Regiment) being the first to start the rout. General Ransom's Brigade drove the enemy from the
woods in its front and then - held for the rest of the day, that important position, called by General
Walker the key of the Battlefield, in defiance of several sharp, later infantry attacks. Ransom's men
endured a prolonged fire from the enemy's batteries on the extreme edge of the field. General Walker
reports, True to their duty, for eight hours our brave men lay upon the ground, taking advantage of
such undulations and shallow ravines as gave promise of partial shelter, while this fearful storm raged
a few feet above their heads, tearing the trees asunder, and filling the air with shrieks and explosions, -
realizing the fearful sublimity of battle. Colonel M. W. Ransom, of the thirty-fifth regiment, brother
of General Robert Ransom, was temporarily in command of the brigade while his brother was on official
The battle of Antietam was called the bloodiest single day's battle of the entire war. Twelve thousand
five hundred Federal and 10,750 Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. In the entire Maryland
Campaign, North Carolina losses were as follows: 335 killed, and 1,838 wounded.
During the night and the next morning. General McClellan was joined by reinforcements numbering more
than his losses. Lee received none. Lee remained in position through the 18th, and considered another
attack. But that night, he was pursuaded by Jackson and Longstreet to withdraw and cross the Potomac to
the Virginia side. Lee's army recuperated for about six weeks near Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley.
In late October, McClellan brought his army into Virginia. Lee immediately placed Longstreet's troops,
including the 24th, at Culpeper to check McClellan's advance. Lincoln replaced McClellan with Burnside,
who marched his army to Fredericksburg but the confederate troops were placed and waiting by the time
Burnside was ready to cross the river in late November.
On December 12, 1862, General Lee placed his army on the hills around Fredericksburg, having learned
that General Burnside had three divisions stretched along the North side of the Rappahannock River -waiting
for pontoon bridges to be completed so that he could cross over and attack. Lee's army, on the south side,
extended parallel to the river a distance of about 3 miles from a point across from Falmouth to Hamilton's
crossing. Longstreet convnanded the left; Jackson the right.
General Lee was positioned atop a high hill where he had a very superb view of the direction where the Union
troops were. At this point, he had positioned a number of mammoth cannons which fired a thirty-pound load.
A wide, open plain lay between Jackson's line and the river, across which lay the Union forces under General
Burnside. It was from his vantage point that General Lee uttered It is well that war is so terrible - we
should grow too fond of it as he watched Union
12 troops march in picture book precision to a weak spot in the Confederate
line, temporarily pierce it, only to be pushed back when Jackson hurried in his resources.
A bright sun burned the fog away on the morning of the 13th. Longstreet first thought that federal forces
would bring heaviest attack on the Confederate right (Jackson), but it soon became apparent that the main
assault would be to Jackson's left. He then summoned Ransom's division ( 24th N.C. regiment, Lt. Col. J.L.
Harris) from reserve and placed it to guard Mayre's Heights. The special care of that part of the front was
assigned to Ransom. The previous night, most of Tom Cobb's brigade had been moved down to the Sunken Road
to relieve Barksdale's men. On Cobb's left was placed the 24th. These troops were sheltered behind a stone
fence, a part of which still remains and can be seen just north of the Fredericksburg National Military
visitor center. The wall runs beside the Sunken Road, at the base of a high hill.
These troops had a pet rooster, trained to crow on signal. The signal would be given and the rooster would
crow just before each volley by the sharpshooters. Summers' division made desperate attempts to carry
Mayre's Hill, the salient point of the Confederate left. The heroic defense of the Confederates behind
the stone wall will live perpetually. (1) At the opening of the attack, this wall was held by the gallant
brigade of General Thomas Cobb and by the 24th. As the fighting grew hotter, Ransom sent in more N.C.
regiments. At this point where the 24th fought, occurred some of the heaviest fighting of the battle.
(1) Battles and Leaders II.
General Burnside made a terrible mistake in trying to rout the Rebels at Mayre's Heights. He hurled
brigade after brigade at the stone wall. As one soldier described it, they reach a point within a
stone's throw of the stone wall - that terrible stone wall. No farther. They try to go beyond but are
slaughtered. Nothing could advance farther and live.
Darkness brought a stop to the charge. That night, many of the wounded froze to death as they lay on
the snow covered ground. Federal losses around 5,500. North Carolina losses were: Killed - 173;
wounded -1,294. This battle was termed a terrible defeat of the North by World Book Encyclopedia.
24TH IN NORTH CAROLINA
Soon after Fredericksburg, conditions in North Carolina were getting worse. Federal General Foster
had successfully raided Kinston and -Goldsborough. It was felt that a Great Federal Fleet was to capture
Wilmington, and that North Carolina must be reinforced substantially and at c once. On January 3, 1863,
General Lee ordered Ransom's brigade from Fredericksburg to North Carolina. The troops arrived in Petersburg
on the 7th, left on the 16th by train and arrived in Goldsboro, North Carolina on the 17th. They left
Goldsboro on the 19th and marched to Kenansville, arriving on the 21st. They apparently camped there
until February 23rd, when they marched to Magnolia, took the train to Wilmington, arriving there on the
In mid-March, 1863, General D. H. Hill and General Longstreet planned an offensive move against Federal
troops in New Bern. They both requested men and guns from General Whiting, but he refused. Even so. Hill
and Longstreet made a feeble and unsuccessful attack against New Bern. Among the reasons for failure
heaviest blame of all was put on Whiting for not sending Ransom's brigade from Wilmington.
On March 30, the siege of Washington, North Carolina was begun by General Hill. To cooperate in this
seige. General Whiting sent Ransom's brigade from Wilmington though he maintained that by so doing he
sent two-thirds of his infantry and all that was disciplined and efficient. The seige seemed to cycle
between hope and despair, but on the whole was not successful and was abandoned on April 16, 1863. This
was mostly artillery fire. Troops mostly foraged corn and bacon.
In mid-May 1863, Union General Foster felt that he could make an effective demonstration against the
inland stretch of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. His first move was to order Col. J. Richter
Jones to endeavor to surround the enemy at Gum Swamp a Confederate outpost about 8 miles below Kinston.
This rout took place on the 22nd with Federal troops on three sides. Therefore, the Confederates retreated
to the direction not occupied by Union Troops, which happened to be an almost unpenetrable swamp.
The 24th was apparently involved in this skirmish, as General Robert Ransom was involved.
The Confederates' humiliation at Gum Swamp was partially off-set by reinforcement troops arriving and driving
the Federals back toward New Bern to a stalemate skirmish at Batchelder's Creek.
In late May, Lee transferred many troops from N.C. to Va. See letter from Lee to Hill, dated 5-25-63 P.H.
papers. State Library at Richmond, Va.
The Regiment took a train to Petersburg, Va. on May 30, 1863, arriving on June 1st. The next day they
took the cars to Ivor Station, marched to Blackwater Bridge, left there on the 12th and marched back
to Ivor Station, boarded the train and went back to Petersburg. After more movement in that area, they
marched to camp near Richmond on June 25th.
Robert Ransom was promoted to Major General in May 1863.
On June 15, 1863, Colonel M. W. Ransom, brother of Robert Ransom, was promoted to Brigadier General and
took command of the brigade formerly led by Robert Ransom.
On July 27, 1863, the 24th was involved in turning back a Federal attempt to destroy the bridge of the
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad over the Roanoke River at Weldon. This skirmish involved only about 200
Confederate Infantrymen with 2 pieces of artillery; whereas the Federal troops numbered about 5,000,
including a brigade of Cavalry and nine pieces of artillery.
On July 28, 1863, General M. W. Ransom, with 4 companies and a section of artillery, at Jackson, North
Carolina, routed a cavalry force of 650 men. No mention of which companies.
The Regiment moved by rail from Weldon, North Carolina to Tarboro, North Carolina on October 28th. On
November 1st, companies B, F, H, and I marched to Greenville, North Carolina.
In November and December, 1863, the Regiment was at Hamilton, North Carolina (about 25 miles NW of
Williamston, near the Roanoke River)
In late December, 1863, companies E, I, and F went near Plymouth to ambuscade a regiment of union cavalry.
But it rained so much the powder and ammunition got too wet, so they gave up and went back and rejoined
At end of 1863, Eastern North Carolina was in deplorable condition. Considerable plundering was taking
place with horses and mules being special objects of plunder. Pianos and other costly furniture were siezed
and sent North, while whole regiments of bummers defaced and ruined the finer homesteads in search of
Many Negroes swarmed about, sent back by Federal troops to recruit other Negroes into the Union Army.
In order to alleviate this situation and to capture much needed supplies at New Bern, a force of some
magnitude was sent to North Carolina at the opening of 1864. General George E. Pickett, with a division,
was sent from Petersburg to help troops already there. In Pickett's command was General M. W. Ransom's
brigade, of which the North Carolina 24th Infantry was a part under the leadership of Colonel Clarke.
On January 30, 1864, under Lee's orders. General Pickett set out from Kinston to attack New Bern. Part
of Ransom's brigade was on this operation, but I'm not sure whether or not the 24th Regiment was included.
This expedition was not successful in its objective.
On the night of February 2, 1864, Ransom's men withdrew from Brice's Creek at New Bern to Pollocksville.
The road they took was one vast mudhole about the consistency of batter and about shoe-mouth deep as a
general thing, with frequent places of much greater depth. Boxed pine along the road were lighted, since
the night was very dark.
On March 9, 1864, General Ransom with his brigade and a Calvary force drove the Federals from Suffolk and
captured a piece of artillary and quartermaster stores of much value. Judge Roulhac in his Regimental
History described the battle as a most exciting little affair in which Negro soldiers were faced for
the first time by his troops.
CAPTURE OF PLYMOUTH
Plymouth, North Carolina was held by General H. W. Wessells with a Union Garrison of 2,834 men. Confederate
General R. F. Hoke had been selected to lead an expedition to capture the town and wished naval assistance.
He rode up river to inquire of Commander Cooke (who was building an ironclad at Edward's Ferry on the Roanoke)
when he could get cooperation of the boat. At first, Cooke said it would be impossible to have the boat
ready in time, but Hoke persuaded him and got his promise to take his boat to Plymouth finished or
unfinished. As promised, Cooke started down the river on April 18, finishing work on his boat (which
he named the Albermarle) and drilling his men as he went.
Action also started at Plymouth early on the 18th, about 6:00 A.M., Ranson's men demonstrated in force
against the enemy line east of Fort Williams. This attack, in the face of artillery fire that lighted
the site, took the Confederate within a few hundred yards of the enemy works. But such a heavy dose of
iron was thrown at them that around 1:00 A.M., they withdrew to their position of the morning.
In the early hours of the 19th, the Albemarle dropped down the river and passed the fort at Warren's neck,
under a furious fire. In the rear of Fort Williams, the Albemarle rammed two Federal gunboats, the
Southfield and the Miami. Southfield, with 9 feet of the Albemarle's prow in her side was at the river
bottom in 10 minutes. Other gunboats retreated, being chased by the Albernarle. This action gave General
Hoke a vulnerable point of attack on the river side of Plymouth. Hoke had invested the town with his own
brigade, the brigade of Ransom (which included the 24th) and one of Pickett's under Terry.
In late afternoon of the 19th, Ransom's brigade was ordered to cross Conaby Creek to the east, go around
4 to 5 miles to the Columbia Road, and attack the town from that direction. It was midnight by the time
they were in position so they were allowed to rest until daybreak. At daybreak on the 20th they started
the attack advancing first at quick time, then at double time. They over ran the fortifications and chased
the enemy into Fort Williams.
Cooke returned with the Albermarle and opened fire on Fort Williams. Then Hoke moved Ransom's brigade around
to attack from the river side. Ransom's men gallantly stormed the works, meeting not only the usual
artillery and infantry fire, but encountering hand-grenades thrown from the works. On al1 sides the
Confederate forces closed in, and after a struggle in which both sides fought only as seasoned soldiers
are apt to fight, the town with its garrison of nearly 3,000 men and 25 pieces of artillery was surrendered.
The Confederate Congress passed a vote of thanks to General Hoke and Commander James Cooke and the officers
and men under their command, for the brilliant victory over the enemy at Plymouth. This gallant deed
awakened great enthusiasm in the
state, for it was now hoped that North Carolina might be cleared of
MILITARY SERVICE IS OVER
According to a muster roll of Co. F of the 24th N.C. Regiment, dated July 8, 1864, William Brock was
"disabled by wounds at Plymouth, North Carolina, April 20, 1864".
Another muster roll covering the period June 30 to December 31, 1864 states that William Brock was
discharged and final statement given August 29, 1864. His name appears on a Roll of Honor of Co.
F, 24th Regiment, North Carolina troops. Anyone who is able to amend or clarify this information is
encouraged to do so.
Bobby G. Brock (lineage-Bobby G. Brock-1941-
George Adam Brock-1892-1968 William James Brock-1855-1934 William Brock-1826-1911)
Prepared original January 6, 1970
Updated October 25, 1972 Updated January 1, 1976 Updated September 11, 1995 Updated December 28, 1999
Updated September 1, 2002
Ref: Confederate Military History, Vol. 4, pp. 218-224, Evans, C.A.
William Brock and children: William James Brock;
Sarah Delitha Brock House; Margaret Caroline Brock Gautier (photo ca. 1905-1910)
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