The 58th

North Carolina

The 58th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry--was organized in Mitchell County, North Carolina, in July , 1862. Its twelve companies were recruited from the counties of Mitchell, Yancey, Watauga, Caldwell, McDowell, and Ashe. In September it moved to Cumberland Gap and spent the winter of 1862-1863 at Big Creek Gap, near Jacksboro, Tennessee. During the war it was assigned to Kelly's, Reynolds', Brown's and Reynolds' Consolidated and Palmer's Brigade. The 58th participated in the campaigns of the Army of Tennessee from Chickamauga to Atlanta, guarded prisoners at Columbia, Tennessee, during Hood's operations, then moved to South Carolina and skirmished along the Edisto River. Later it returned to North Carolina and saw action at Bentonville. It lost 46 killed and 114 wounded at Chickamauga, totaled 327 men and 186 arms in December, 1863, and took about 300 effectives to Bentonville. The unit was included in the surrender on April 26, 1865. Its commanders were Colonel John B. Palmer, Lieutenant Colonels Thomas J. Dula, John C. Keener , Edmund Kirby, William W. Proffitt, and Samuel M. Silver.


58th North Carolina Links


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58th North Carolina Officers       

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58th North Carolina Photographs        

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58th North Carolina Roster        


From the book "Childsville" on sale at the Avery Museum Bookstore

"This company was known as the “Mitchell Rangers”.  John B. Palmer recruited this legion of cavalry, infantry and artillery from the mountains of Mitchell County around his home.  John B. Palmer was born in Clinton County, New York and had been a farmer in Mitchell County prior to his enlistment at age thirty-six.  He was appointed Captain around December 11, 1861 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel around May 13, 1862.  The first to join the 58th were the men who now realized that the war was not going to be won in a matter of months as originally thought.  In order to win this war, they themselves would have to become a part of it.  Some of these recruits were Union sympathizers, who felt they would be forced to join once the conscription law was passed and they would rather join the 58th in the hopes of getting close to Union lines so they could desert and go north...."

"...By the summer of 1862, Palmer had recruited ten infantry companies and three of cavalry.  Confederate leaders did not approve of legions and therefore broke Palmer’s legion up by sending the cavalry units to become the center of the 5th North Carolina Cavalry.  Colonel Palmer commanded the 58th North Carolina with Company’s A through M, which formed within the next two years.  The 58th was mustered into service on July 24, 1862 with ten companies.  Leaving their mountain home, they marched to their first post, Johnson’s Depot or Johnson City, as it is known today...  The 58th became part of the Army of Tennessee and on August 25th, Palmer was ordered:

  'Your regiment having been ordered to report to Brig. Gen. C. L. Stevenson, you will see that it is not encumbered with any superfluous or unnecessary baggage, the soldier taking only his proper kit.  But 5 wagons will be allowed to a regiment and not more than one tent to each company.  All other property, including the trunks of the officers, must be left at the railroad or turned over to the proper department for storage.  The men were supplied with three days’ rations and 40 rounds of cartridges.  Twenty rounds extra per man should be carried with the baggage.'"

"The 58th was to be brought in as re-enforcements for a full-scale invasion of Kentucky.  Through-out the winter of 1862-1863 they were assigned to Big Creek Gap where their duties were picketing the gap and other mountain passes, as well as passing the time with gambling and profanity.  Private William H. Horton of Company I wrote to his sister in October 1862: 'this…is the worst Co. to swear and gambol you ever Seen in your life (t)hey play Cards day and nite but I hant played A game Since I played in Carry (Carolina?) and if I keep in the Same notion…I never will play another game while I live and I have quit Swearing prit near Sometimes I git out of hart and git mad and I Say dam be fore I think but I am going to try to do better…'"

In the diary of Major G. W. F. Harper of Company H, 58th N.C. he states: '…guard duty…were excessive,'  'and the command suffered greatly from privation and exposure.  The loss…from disease was appalling, camp fever and an epidemic of measles being extremely fatal, the natural result of inexperience and a deplorable lack of hospital accommodations and facilities.'  During that winter, at least one hundred men deserted.  Private L. L. Estes of Company E. wrote:  '(I)f we stay here two months longer I don’t think Col Palmer will have a hundred men left.”   Winter passed and in April with no threat of Yankees the 58th enjoyed a day of “boatriding, fishing, and bathing.” Harper wrote:  “Our Brigade is in fine spirits,” “and all seem…anxious to have a trial at the Yankees.'" 

"The 58th seemed to march and countermarch in Tennessee, going to wherever they were needed.  The reports of the regiment’s movements tell of their constant marching and 4:00 a.m. reveille’s." 

'Stayed at Lenoir’s 4 days lay in line of battle 2 days.  Retired from Lenoir’s Station the 29th of Aug. at 5 o’clock in the after-noon and arrived at Louden that night at 11 o’clock.  Started next morning at 5 o’clock and marched 12 miles and took up camp near Sweet Water, Tenn.  About 8 o’clock, were ordered to fall in line in ten minutes.  Marched 4 miles and took up camp in a field.  Starting next morning at 4 o’clock marched 11 miles to Riceville, Tenn., and camped about 5 o’clock.  Before day next morning started and marched past Charlestown 6 miles and camped at a large spring about 2 o’clock.  Remained there and went on picket that night.  Next day, Sept. the 3rd, started at 12 and marched until 1 that night and camped at Georgetown, Tennessee.' ... 

"...The 58th North Carolina had their first major engagement at the Battle of Chickamauga, in September 1863."