Four Hopkins boys served, and four came home
Four Hopkins Boys “Four Hopkins boys walked off in early November of 1861 to join the fight,” my dad related to me after I told him about finding Barney Hopkins — sergeant, Company H, 38th Regiment of North Carolina — buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. I had stumbled across Barney’s grave while looking for an ancestor of my mom’s. The four “Hopkins boys” included two brothers, Miles and Stokes, accompanied by their two first cousins, also brothers, Nelson and Barney. They left their homes in New Hope (in southern Randolph County, the heart of the Piedmont) to “fight the Yankees,” joining on Nov. 4, 1861 what was to become the 38th Regiment, Company H, the “Uwharrie Boys,” named for the geologically ancient mountains of their home. Nelson became a lieutenant and Barney was elected sergeant of Company H. Miles, interestingly enough, became a teamster for a while, and Stokes was wounded (thankfully, slightly) at Hanover Junction. All four survived the war. Miles and Stokes ended up being captured outside of Petersburg and were sent to Point Lookout, Maryland. Stokes told his Grandson Riley that the Yankees “nearly starved us to death.” Miles and Stokes took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on June 27, 1865, and promptly began walking home, all the way to New Hope from Point Lookout. After the war, Stokes (my great-grandfather) married a Civil War widow in the neighborhood and raised a family. Miles and Nelson also raised families. Barney, on the other hand, did not. He lived at the family homestead until he became too elderly to live alone, at which time he went to the Confederate Veterans’ Home in Raleigh. Before leaving, he asked Jimmie Hopkins, the son of Stokes, to “please see that his body be returned for burial at his beloved home of New Hope upon his death.” I don’t know why, but his request was not fulfilled. Instead, Barney is buried where we found him: on a hill under the shade of a great oak tree, among fellow veterans who fought so long ago in that great yet awful Civil War.