Henry King Burgwyn, Jr

Henry King Burgwyn, Jr

Birth
Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 1 Jul 1863 (aged 21)
Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 5841191 · View Source
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Civil War Confederate Army Officer. Known as the “Boy Colonel” because of his achieving high rank at an extreme young age, he was born outside of Boston, Massachusetts while his parents were vacationing in the North. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1861, where one of his instructors was Thomas Jonathan Jackson, soon to be famous as “Stonewall” Jackson. He joined the Confederate Army as soon as the Civil War began, and served on recruitment and training duty before being commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the 26th North Carolina Infantry regiment. He participated in the March 1862 Battle of New Bern, North Carolina before his unit was assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee. At the July 1, 1862 Battle of Malvern Hill, he participated in the failed rebel assaults on Union positions, with the 26th North Carolina taking numerous casualties. In August 1862 the regiment’s commander, Colonel Zebulon Vance, was elected as Governor of North Carolina, and Henry K. Burgwyn was promoted to Colonel and commander at the age of twenty. Conflict with his brigade commander, Brigadier General Robert Ransom, saw the Colonel Burgywn and his men transferred back to North Carolina, where they spent the fall and winter in skirmishes with Union forces. In May 1863 the regiment was transferred back to the Army of Northern Virginia, and owing to it’s relatively inactive recent service it became the largest unit in the army. As part of Brigadier General John J. Pettigrew’s Brigade, Major General Henry Heth’s Division, Colonel Burgwyn’s command was part of the infantry that met and fought first Union cavalry, then Union infantry in the opening moves of the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg northwest of town. There in the afternoon, in the Herbst Woods near Willoughby Run, the 26th North Carolina met the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry from the Union’s famed “Iron Brigade”. The two regiments blazed at each other in a stand-up fight that inflicted great casualties on either side. Colonel Burgwyn was leading his men in advance when the color bearer next to him was shot down. He himself them pick up the flag, and after allegedly handing it off to another bearer he was shot through the lungs as the remnants of his men crested McPherson Ridge. Mortally wounded, he died two hours later. In the fight his unit lost 588 men out of 800 brought into the battle. Interred in a field along Chambersburg Pike, his family retrieved his remains in 1867, and had them interred in the family plot in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor by the Confederate governor for his bravery in the battle. Today, his name is inscribed on the 26th North Carolina Infantry Monument on Meredith Avenue in the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Bio by: Russ Dodge



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Oct 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5841191
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry King Burgwyn, Jr (3 Oct 1841–1 Jul 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5841191, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .