Contributed by: Claude T. Hardison, Jr.
Serving the Cause
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.
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
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
(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
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
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
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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