History of the 24th Regiment Co G "Highland Boys"


Fayetteville Observer, Monday, August 24, 1863

Messrs. Editor

No doubt it may be interesting to some readers of the Observer and especially the friends and 
relations of the Highland Boys, 24th N.C. Regiment, to see a short but impartial history of said 
company from its organization to the present time.  I will not attempt a full and complete history, 
but merely a sketch of the most important items connected with the campaign of Western Virginia 
in the Fall and Winter of 1861, the battles of Virginia, Maryland, etc.

After war was declared between the U.S. and the Seceded States, and hostilities were about to 
begin, many attempts were made by the patriotic citizens of Robeson County to organize more 
companies to meet and check the invading columns of the enemy as they advanced on our soil, 
threatening desolation to our homes and firesides, and even death to the advocates of liberty and 
rights once guaranteed but not violated and trampled under foot.  T.D. Love, now major of the 24th, 
succeeded in raising a volunteer company, which is now known as the Highland Boys.  Shortly 
after the formation of the regiment, we were ordered to reinforce General Floyd in Western Virginia, 
who was about overpowered by the cunning and crafty Rosecrans.

The sufferings and hardships we endured on the bleak and deserted mountains of Western Virginia 
are beyond the conception of man.  For six weeks we lay on those dreary mountains, half famished 
and half clad, no cabin nor tented roof protected us from the chilling blasts and numerous snows 
characteristic of that cold and secluded region of the Confederacy; but alas!  This is not all, 
pneumonia, that fatal disease, soon spread among us and transported many of our gallant 
comrades from time into eternity.  Soon that noble band of patriots, which two months earlier 
was one hundred strong, was reduced by death and disease to fifteen for duty.  During the short 
space of six weeks, nine of our number were “added to the catalogue of those that were but are 
not” and they now sleep beneath the shades of some stately chestnuts in the wilds of Virginia.  
Friends!  Mourn not that they are lost, they are at rest, “they are not dead but sleepeth”.

About the 1st December, we were ordered to report to Petersburg.  Many of the Highland Boys 
were unable to accompany the regiment on its return but they were not left alone in their sufferings; 
our brave, noble and generous Captain T.D. Love, remained behind to minister to their wants; they 
loved him as a father and he treated them as his children. 

After our arrival in Petersburg, nothing of importance transpired until the reorganization.  Here T.D. 
Love, who had rendered himself so worthy of his position and was beloved by his company, was 
unanimously re-elected Captain.  By his noble qualities, generous disposition and high-toned 
character, he became the admiration of all and acquired for himself such ties of friendship and love 
as are still unbroken.  It was hard for the company to bid farewell to their noble commander; 
promotion alone could have induced them to submit to his departure.

H. Purcell was re-elected 2nd Lt. and a braver and better soldier never trod the soil of any land.  
I never have seen a man whom I regarded with more respect, whose qualifications I more 
admired and desired, and whose honesty and integrity was more complete; in a word he was 
a perfect model of man.  But alas!  We have lost him, his mild, commanding voice is no longer 
heard in our midst; he is gone and another has taken his place; he was forced to tender his 
resignation which was accepted and he is now far beyond our reach, but his memory still lives in 
the heart of every Highland Boy.

 We participated in the fierce and bloody battles around Richmond, accompanied our army in 
the Maryland campaign, checked the advancing columns of the enemy upon the bloody field of 
Sharpsburg, where four of our number now “sleep the sleep that knows no waking” and withstood 
the numerous and desperate assaults of the invaders upon the blood stained hills of Fredericksburg, 
where the cause of liberty and independence was trice successfully sustained.

Here four more of our number now lie on the land they so nobly defended, but they are not alone 
in their sleep; many noble patriots now moulder with them who fell on the same glorious day.  
“We buried them at dead night” when all was still and calm save the random fire of some stray 

“Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,
As their corpses to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the graves where our heroes we buried.”

A.A. McIver is now Captain.  Dr. J.H.M. McLean is 2nd lieutenant and Dr. John Regan is 2nd 
lieutenant and are two men to whom we are under lasting obligations for their kind and liberal 
attentions to our sick, and when the surgeons had given up some of us as lost, glimmering hope 
still lingered on their sad countenances and energy and perseverance finally crowned their efforts 
with success, which, combined with their other qualifications, render them well worthy of their 
high positions; they are not only noble men but also noble officers.

T. McBryde, who was recently elected Brevet 2nd Lieutenant, has proved himself well qualified 
for the duties of the post he occupied; he also, like the two former, has won the admiration of 
the whole company.

Out of 130 men that once belonged to the company, only about 80 are now members; making 
about 50 killed, wounded, died or discharged.  But few, comparatively speaking, of the original 
number are now living.

“Highland Boy”

Transcriber’s Note:  Given the above short history, below are letters to the editor from November, 
1861 editions of the Fayetteville Observer detailing their trials and tribulations in West Virginia.

Knowing that the friends of this company are ever anxious to hear from it, and knowing the 
inconvenience of writing from our camps, the writer of this article, being a little better situated, 
has concluded to publish our true condition.  A small portion of the Highland Boys are now 
encamped near Meadow Bluff—the rest of the company are in hospitals near Lewisburg, Blue 
Sulphur and White Sulphur Springs.  To tell the plain truth, I must say that our campaign in 
Western Virginia has been a dreadful time.  To prove that we have suffered, I need only tell 
that our company which once numbered 105 hale and hearty men, has now only 17 able to 
answer to their names at roll call. 

This is a bad condition and some may say, that our men have not guarded against disease.  
If there be any so impressed, I can truly inform them that they are mistaken.  Our men have 
taken all of the care of themselves they possibly could under the circumstances.  We know 
what it is to strike tents at midnight, when the rain is coming down in torrents and the forked 
lightening plays against the mountain sides; we know what it is to march all day and night 
through rain and mud, and while on the march to be treated as if we were dogs by the 
inhospitable people living by the roadside; we know what it is to bivouac three weeks in less 
than a mile of the Yankee camp, allowed no tents and but few blankets to shelter us from the 
unmerciful rain; go two days without provision or a week with only two thirds rations; in fact 
we have a little experience in all that is hard and disagreeable service.

Though we did not expect all this, yet we are willing to endure it and not complain; but to be 
treated like dogs when in good health, and like dogs while sick—this, this alone, grinds us 
to the very quick and makes us willing to wade through blood to get to fight Western Virginia.  
To prove that we are treated like dogs while in good health, I only relate that women often close 
their doors as we march along, fearing a tired and hungry soldier may ask them for something 
to eat.  When tender woman stoops to this, you may judge our treatment from the men.  I 
cannot consent to publish this to the world, without saying that like an oasis in the desert, 
sometimes a true hearted man or woman is found.  

To prove that we are treated like dogs when sick, I only ask that our hospitals be visited, and 
that our conveyances to hospitals be taken into consideration.  Our man are hauled off from the 
dreadful bivouac in rough commissary or quarter master wagons.  One of our company died in 
a wagon, while being conveyed from Sewell Mountain to the hospital at Blue Sulphur Springs.  
He was a high minded, honorable, brave boy; had left home and broken away from tender hearts 
to fight for his country—yet his last treatment was as the treatment of a brute.

After getting to hospitals, the Highland Boys have fared some better than the men from other 
companies.  Too much praise cannot be awarded to Drs. A. McLean, J.H. McLean and John 
Regan.  Drs. Regan and Dr. A. McLean watched over our sick until they both were stricken 
with disease—the former with typhoid fever and the latter with pneumonia.  The last I heard of 
Dr. J.H. McLean, he was at Blue Sulphur, nursing our sick.

Much praise to the other members of our company, for the kindness they have shown their 
sick comrades.  I only mention the names of three.  I could mention the names of more whose 
graves should be watered by the tears of many mothers and sisters.  Nine of our company 
have died; the other companies of the 14th Regiment have suffered in about the same proportion.  
Only one has died from a bullet—he was a member of the Roxboro’ Greys, which with the 
Highland Boys, forms the 1st Division of the 14th Regiment.  Our Regiment now has 160 men 
able for duty—we left North Carolina with nearly 1,000.  I do not know the precise number.

It is said here that Georgians and North Carolinians suffer the most from sickness.  Georgians 
and North Carolinians are roughly treated at hospitals; they are frequently hurried out of the 
hospitals before they are fit for duty; this I can prove by the sick of the 13th Georgia and 14th 
N.C. Regiment.

Several reports are extant, as to our winter quarters.  One is that we build huts on a mountain, 
eight miles beyond Lewisburg; another that we quarter at Blue Sulphur Springs; and another is 
that we go to the eastern part of this state.  I hope the latter may turn out to be the true one.  
We would be gratified if we could even get near a railroad.  We frequently hear of the liberal 
contributions of our patriotic county women, but if we winter in the mountains but little of their 
contributions will ever reach us.  

The Highland Boys have been in service a little over five months and by the way we have 
received no pay for it.  We are willing and able to fight for the South—had we feared a fight we 
would not have volunteered, but the whole company have come to the conclusion that Western 
Virginia has disgraced herself and is now not worth a fight.  But, enough from

A Highland Boy
White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, Nov. 9, 1861

Blue Sulphur Hospital, Virginia, Nov. 2
Messrs Editors:

As a great many of your readers are interested in the Highland Boys, of Robeson County, I 
beg to devote a short space in your column that our friends may hear from us.  

As regards the army movements, I can say nothing that would interest them; the general 
impression is that the next move will be for winter quarters—at what place we are not informed.

A few copies of your paper reach us occasionally, reminding us of our dear old homes, and 
could you see how eagerly each line was perused, methinks it would afford you at least some 
satisfaction.  With pleasure and pride we notice the praiseworthy efforts that are being made in 
our county to supply us with articles necessary for our comforts.  We will ever be grateful for 
these marks of kindness, and may the Highland Boys perform their duty as noble as our friends 
are doing theirs.

Our company at this time reports but twenty men for duty; other companies in our regiment 
have become entirely disorganized by sickness.  The hospitals at Meadow Bluff, White Sulphur 
and at this place, can account for the remainder of our company, 23 of whom are here.  The 
surgeons seem to think the men cannot entirely recover in this climate, and have found the 
fever rather of a peculiar type.  There are 300 sick here. The deaths average upwards of two 
a day.  It is to be hoped that someone who had the authority will have our regiment moved to 
another climate for the winter (which the surgeons recommend) so that we can entirely recover. 
If it should be necessary for us to come back to Western Virginia next spring, we will come 
back prepared for service.

We have had one promotion in our company—Dr. J.H. McLean (private) has been appointed 
Hospital Steward at this place.  He has been extremely attentive to the sick, and justly 
deserves the appointment.  Our company will always be grateful to him for his kind and devoted 
attention to the sick.

Our of the large number of sick, five have died out of our company in Virginia, four at Meadow 
Bluff, and one here.  At the burial ground here at this place rest the remains of Sgt. Neill A. 
Clark and at Meadow Bluff lie buried side by side, Privates Morgan Russ, James A. Currie, 
Daniel A. and William C. Conoley.  The latter were brothers and but three days difference in 
the dates of their death.

Oh!  How must their parents have felt when this dreadful news reached them!  Endeared by 
the strongest ties of friendship to the heart of each one of us, we sincerely condole with the 
relatives and friends of each one of them in their sad bereavement.  Hearkening to the voice 
of their country, they went forward to their duty, and when but a few miles from the invaders, 
the mysterious and all wise hand of Providence took them from among us.  By their deaths 
our country has lost some of her warmest advocates.  Their memory will be long cherished 
in the heart of every Highland Boy.  May each one of us be profited by their worthy example.

A Highland Boy

Fayetteville Observer, Monday, May 26, 1862
Garysburg, N.C., May 17
Messrs. Editors:
The election of field officers for the 24th Regiment (formerly the
14th) came off yesterday with the following result:
William J. Clarke, Colonel
John L. Harris, Lt. Colonel
Thaddeus D. Love, Major
Harris and Love took the place of Venable and Evans.
Col. Clarke was elected by the unanimous vote of the company
officers.  Colonel Harris will no doubt make a good officer.  Major
Love, although comparatively a young man, being only 22 years of age,
has the requisite qualities for a good leader.  He was captain of the
"Highland Boys" from Robeson County.
We are once more at this place, which seems almost like home to
us.  We are again upon the soil of good old North Carolina and hope
here to stay, and if need be to die here.

Transcribed by Christine Spencer August 2007

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