Lewis Peterson

This information is contributed by Don Matthews

Lewis Peterson, Benjamin W. Matthews Duplin County neighbor, and a person of an 
approximately similar age as him, was also one of my grandfathers. He also
served as a Pvt. Company B, 1st Heavy Artillery Bn. However, he apparently enlisted 
somewhat later than Benjamin W. Matthews did. I'm not sure about what
date. He too survived the war. I have no further information on his military service. 

In 1880, he was a farmer and a head of household in Upper Rockfish Twp.,
Duplin County, N.C. His age was given as 61 at the 1880 census date. His wife Mary 
E. (her maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Rich) was 52 in 1880. Their son
Luther T. was 17 at that date and their daughter Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth) was 12. 
That was the family in 1880. I don't know when Lewis Peterson died.
In Duplin County, N.C. in 1888 one of Benjamin W. Matthews sons, George Thomas 
Matthews, would marry Lewis Peterson's daughter Frances Elizabeth Peterson.
George Thomas Matthews and his wife "Bettie"  would eventually leave Duplin County 
around the turn of the 20th century, moving first to a farm in Pender County, N.C. where 
my father Donovan P. Matthews was born in July 1908. (My dad unofficially changed 
his name sometime later in his life through common usage to Donald P. Matthews, but 
when he was married in Brunswick County, Va. in March 1928 he still gave his
name as Donovan P. Matthews.) The Matthews family sold their Pender County farm 
circa 1913. From there they moved to Wilmington, N.C. where my grandfather George
worked for Wilmington City Streets Dept. for the rest of his life. Grandfather George Thomas 
Matthews died in Jan. 1928. His wife "Bettie" my grandmother died in 1944 while my father 
was still overseas in the Pacific with the Navy during WWII. Grandmother Bettie Matthews
lived on Campbell Street in Wilmington as late as WWII. I know from personal contacts 
that she died in the summer of 1944, but I haven't been able to locate a N.C. death certificate 
for her. She may have lived the last few years of her life with one of her children elsewhere 
in North Carolina or in Virginia.

My dad served in the Navy Seabees from May 5, 1942 until sometime in October 1945. 
His name on all Navy records was Donald P. Matthews. He was a 2nd Class
Petty Officer. Honorably discharged. Pacific Theatre Ribbon.
The following information is in reference to the the 1st N.C. Heavy Artillery Battalion in which 
both Benjamin W. Matthews and Lewis Peterson served:
No official records of this unit survive after about mid-1864 but what is known is that this 
particular Artillery battalion was one of the main defending units assigned to the forts 
around Wilmington, NC. Following the first battle at Ft. Fisher in December
1865 and the second battle there in January 1865 which resulted in the loss of the fort, 
these battles being events that claimed the lives or limbs of many of this particular battalion, 
the survivors of the unit were combined with survivors of several other artillery
units to form a small infantry brigade. This little makeshift brigade was referred to at the time 
as the "Red Infantry" (because the color designation of Artillery within the Confederate Army 
was red - Infantry was blue - and all these men had patches or bands of red on their uniform 
caps or lapels). Long after the war was over, this battalion was referred to in Judge Walter 
Clarks "North Carolina Regiments" as the 9th North Carolina Regiment as part of his effort
to make some kind of numerical sense out of the often bewildering Confederate unit 
designations, and it is under Judge Clark's arbitrary designation of the unit as the 9th N.C. 
Battalion that the men who served in this unit after the fall of the Wilmington forts are
remembered today. The Ninth N.C. Battalion is the unit designation memorialized at 
Bentonville, where this little N.C. battalion alone broke the first Federal line to their front 
and held their salient position under heavy fire from three sides for about an hour
before being forced to retire from their exposed position to redress the Confederate line. 
This little battalion was decimated in this fight (over 50% dead and wounded in this one battle)
and never recovered to combat capability. After Bentonville, this unit was assigned to outpost 
duty in Bladen County, N.C. which is where it was located when the war ended a month
later. The men were simply discharged on the spot by their superiors and went home with 
their guns and ammunition intact. Benjamin W. Matthews survived the war and was paroled 
at Goldsboro, N.C. in May 1865. Lewis Peterson also survived the war, but I have no
further information on him.

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