Richard H Koonce

Contributed by: Claude T. Hardison, Jr.

Serving the Cause By Claude Thomas Hardison, Jr.
Corporal Richard H. Koonce
Confederate States of America Army of Northern Virginia North Carolina Infantry 27th Regiment, Company I and 2nd Regiment, Company G April 11, 1862 ~ June 30, 1865 On April 11, 1862, two young sons of James Wiley Benjamin Koonce and Mary Jane Hawkins mustered into the Confederate Army from Jones County, N.C. The older of the two brothers, Elijah Benjamin Koonce, who was named after his Grandfather, Reverend Elijah Koonce, paid the ultimate sacrifice on the bloody battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2-3, 1863. As a result of a bullet wound to his shoulder, Elijah died 7 July 1863 at the tender young age of 20. His body rest in one of the mass gravesites with a multitude of brave young lads who sacrificed their lives for the Cause, in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. After the War, his family was awarded the Southern Cross by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Wiley Koonce

Elijah and Richard Koonce's youngest brother, Wiley Koonce, also a Confederate veteran, with the Southern Cross pinned to his lapel

Note the Southern Cross Wiley is wearing. That was given to the Koonce family by the DAR for Elijah Koonce who was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, PA - wounded in the left shoulder in battle of July 2nd - 3rd and died July 7th, 1863. Buried in mass grave at Gettysburg, PA.

My Great Grandfather, Richard H. Koonce, although wounded twice during the war and a prisoner under the terrible conditions in the military prison of Elmira, New York, survived the war and prison, returned to his home land, married, raised a family, and as a result of his enduring war wounds, succumbed at the age of 39, on March 1, 1883, in Jones County, North Carolina and was buried by his wife and family.

Richard Hawkins Koonce

Richard Hawkins Koonce

(Taken after the Civil War at about 24 years of age)

The 27th Infantry Regiment of the North Carolina State Troops The 27th Infantry Regiment was formed at New Bern, North Carolina, June 1861, as the 9th Regiment, then reorganized in September of 1861 as the 17th Regiment and later designated as the 27th Infantry Regiment of N.C. Men for this unit were recruited in Orange, Guilford, Wayne, Pitt, Lenoir, Perquimans and Jones Counties, N.C. The 27th Regiment was assigned to General R. Ransom's, J.G. Walker's and Cooke's Brigade. After fighting at New Bern, N. C., the 27th saw action in the Seven Day's Battles and at Sharpsburg, Maryland on 17 September 1862, with 325 men, of which 205 were lost in that battle. Private Richard H. Koonce was wounded in his left knee. He was sent to the military hospital in Richmond, Virginia for treatment and rehabilitation. He was appointed Corporal on October 1, 1862 and was discharged on April 17, 1863, after providing a substitute. In November of 1863 he re-enlisted in Company I of the 27th Regiment and on November 5, 1863, he was transferred to Company C, of the 2nd Regiment, N.C. State Infantry Troops which was assigned to Generals Featherstoneís, George B. Anderson's, Ramseur's, and Cox's Brigade. The 2nd Infantry Regiment of the North Carolina State Troops The North Carolina 2nd Infantry Regiment State Troops were assembled at Garysburg, N.C., in May of 1861, with slightly more than 1,300 men from the counties of New Hanover, Wilson, Surry, Carteret, Duplin, Guilford, Sampson, Craven, Jones, and Pamlico, N.C. After serving in the Department of North Carolina, the unit moved to Virginia where it was assigned to Generals George B. Anderson's, Ramseur's, and Cox's Brigade. It took an active part in the difficult campaigns of the army, from the Seven Day's Battle to Cold Harbor, fought with Early in the Shenandoah Valley, and ended the war at Appomattox, VA. In the battle of Gettysburg, PA, on July 2-3, 1863, the 2nd Regiment lost 61 of their 243 men. One of which was Corporal Richard H. Koonce's brother, Private Elijah Koonce. The 2nd Regimentís last battle was near Farmville, VA on the 9th of April 1865, a day before the Civil War officially ended. The 2nd Regiment surrendered with only 6 Officers and 48 men surviving in the field, of the more than 1,300 men who originally enlisted. The 2nd Regiment had been in engaged in at least 177 battles during the course of the war.

2nd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment Battle Flag

2nd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment Battle Flag

Richard H. Koonce fought in many battles of the 2nd N.C. Infantry Regiment and when they fought on 31st of May 1864 at Mechanicsville, VA. Richard was wounded a second and final time. According to his daughter, Addie Bertha Koonce, my Grandmother, he received a grazing rifle bullet wound just above the left ear, taking off part of the top of his ear. Bleeding profusely and disoriented from the wound, he was captured by Union Army Troops. He was taken prisoner and held at Point Lookout, Maryland. On July 8, 1864 he was transported by train to Elmira, New York and imprisoned. The great Civil War ended at Appomattox, VA with the surrender of the Army Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, on April 10, 1865. Richard H. Koonce, now 21 years of age, wounded twice, a survivor of many bloody battles, emotionally wounded by the loss of his brother Elijah, and a prisoner of war, took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of American on June 10, 1865, three months after the war officially ended. He was released from the Elmira, New York Military Prison, given his release and allowed to walk back home to Kinston, N.C., a short distance from his farm home near Trenton, the county seat of Jones County, N.C. The arduous and dangerous trip took him about three months, arriving home just before winter. Richard H. Koonce returned to what remained of his family and farm in Jones County, North Carolina. Four years later, at the age of 24, he married Eliza King of Kinston, N.C. She was 22 years of age. Richard and Eliza had five children, one son and four daughters, one of which was my Grandmother, Addie Bertha Koonce. As a result of his enduring war wounds, Richard succumbed at the early age of 39, on March 1, 1883, in Jones County, North Carolina. His wife and family buried him on his land.

Addie Bertha was only 5 years old when her father died. After a respective wait of three years, Eliza King Koonce married W. G. Eubanks, also a Confederate Veteran. They had one daughter and a son. Eliza King Koonce Eubanks passed away May 1924 and was buried in the Maplewood Cemetery, Kinston, Lenoir County, N.C

Addie Bertha Koonce married Edward Henry Hardison in 1902. They had four daughters and two sons, one of which was my father, Claude Thomas Hardison. Addie lived for 85 years and was buried with her husband in the Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Norfolk, VA. Her son Claude, married Ila Mae Neese-Hedrick of New Brookland, S.C in 1927 and they had 4 daughters and one son. My father Claude lived for 67 years and is buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery, West Palm Beach, FL. My Mother, Ila Mae, at 98 years of age, passed away July 7, 2005 and was interned with my Father, Claude.

The only known heirloom belonging to Corporal Richard H. Koonce, CSA, is a small glass bottle, shaped like a log cabin, in which he kept his medicinal concoctionís for the head aches he continuously sustained due to the head wound he received in the battle at Mechanicsville, VA. That little log cabin bottle is in the possession of one of Richard's gggGrandsons, who resides in North Carolina today. More enduring though, is the heritage, pride and honor that Richard H. Koonce has passed down through his surviving generations.

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