Lieut Stephen Elliott Welch

Lieut Stephen Elliott Welch

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 19 Dec 1938 (aged 95)
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 43344833 · View Source
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From his obit;

Welch witnessed the return of Pierce M. Butler and the Palmetto regiment from the Mexican war when he was five years old. He also saw the torchlight procession in honor of the soldiers. Before the Charleston public school systems was inaugurated Welch attended the Apprentices Library school taught by C. D. Belcher, in Meeting street. When the Bennett school was opened, he was one of the first students and was graduated with first honors in July 1857. His first job was with Lambert & Howell, carpet merchants, but before he could start a climb in the business world, war clouds began gatherine and young Welch joined the Zouave cadets, a group of young men banded together chiefly to compete with Citadel cadets on the drill field. When South Carolina seceded December 20, 1860, the Zouaves were mobilized and with the German rifleman, were ordered to Morris Island. The Citadel cadets later were sent to Morris Island and it was from there that they fired on the federal ship Star of the West as the vessel attempted to relieve Fort Sumter in the harbor. When Wade Hampton was organizing his legion, the Zouaves were disbanded and ordered to Columbia, where McCord's company of Charleston and Orangeburg men were formed. Welch and others of McCord's company were prevented from going with the rest of the legion to Virginia by an epidemic of measles when DuPont's fleet attacked Port Royall, they were ordered to the coast and remained there until after the First Battle of Manassas, when they were sent to join the regiment. In the second battle of Manassas August 20-30 1862, Welch suffered a slight wound in the leg but he continued with his company. He wrote his mother from the battlefield, telling of his wound and describing the battle. He used a captured Yankee canteen can for a desk. He was wounded again in the Battle of Sharpsburg when his scalp was grazed by a bullet. In 1863, at Fredericksburg, Welch was serving with Jenkins' South Carolina brigade and his rations often were two ears of hard corn a day. On the morning of April 9, 1864 he was lieutenant acting adjutant of Hampton's Legion. Richmond, the Confederate capital, had fallen in the Federals and the Legion was covering the Southerners' retreat. Early in the day, the Legion was skirmishing with Sheridan's advance guard, Welch, a member of the Legion, saw Federal officers bearing flags of truce come over to the Confederate side. They informed General Martin W. Gary, commanding the brigade in which the Legion was attached, that Lee was contemplating a surrender and that further hostilities were useless. Gary, Welch recalled, shouted to the Federals, "Surrender be damned, Lee will never surrender." The Confederate general was about to renew hostilities, Welch said when a message came from Lee's headquarters. Shortly afterwards Lee came onto the field and addressed the men telling them that further resistance was useless. Later in the day, the surrender formally took place. The troops started disbanding and, according to Welch, some of the Confederates refused to listed to Lee and followed the fiery General Gary to continue the war in whatever manner they could. Welch did not return home immediately and remained with the Legion as adjutant as he was busy for several days, issuing passes home to officers and enlisted men. Before returning to Charleston Welch, in company with fellow officers, went to bid a formal farewell to General Lee. The Southern leader, Welch said was so moved by the incident that he could hardly speak, finally saying simple, "God bless you, gentlemen". Lieutenant Welch saluted his commander-in-chief and retired with his comrades to begin the journey home. At the time of his death he was the last or one of the last veterans of the state that fought in the war.

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  • Created by: Saratoga
  • Added: 20 Oct 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 43344833
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Stephen Elliott Welch (12 Jan 1843–19 Dec 1938), Find a Grave Memorial no. 43344833, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Saratoga (contributor 46965279) .