SUBMITTED BY: Tom Fagart
The luckiest Fort Fisher man just may be Pvt. Henry Vines, 3rd Co G, 36th Regiment, 2nd NC Artillery. Pvt. Vines was born 5 July 1843, enlisted 30 Apr 1862, Brunswick County, Wilmington, NC at age 20. He is listed as prisoner #597 arriving in Elmira on 1 Feb 1865. He had both legs amputated to the knees because of frostbite. He survived all the other conditions in Elmira. When the Elmira Prison closed on 11 July 1865, he was transferred on 13 July 1865 to the Union Army Hospital also located in Elmira. On 26 July 1865 he was paroled and released after taking the Oath of Allegiance and returned to North Carolina. On 5 February 1911, Pvt. Vines died. He is buried in the Vines Cemetery, Delco, Columbus County, NC. His headstone reads, “He was a faithful soldier in the Confederate war and served under Carl Lamb and Capt. Daniel Russel Company G, 36th NC”, The other side of his headstone reads “Make the perfect man & behold the upright for the end of that man is peace” and “Gone but not forgotten”.
A news article from the North Carolina Star News, Wilmington, NC 1 March 1911 reads:
February 28, 1911
“Henry Vines of Newberlin (NC) in Columbus County died at age 67. He was 20 when the war broke out and left his young wife to enlist in Co G, 36th North Carolina Infantry”.
“He was captured at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher and sent to Elmira Prison in New York where he, with other Fort Fisher defenders suffered terrible hardship. There, he had both legs amputated at the knees for frostbite.”
“His family had not heard from him in months at the war’s closing and had given him up for dead when fellow Fort Fisher veteran Edward Wells spotted him in Wilmington and he was reunited with his family in Newberlin (which is in the Delco area).”
“The area is now called New Berlin and is a short distance northwest of Wilmington.”
Note: 36th North Carolina Infantry is mentioned in Henry Vines’ obituary. The 36th NC was originally designated the 36th Regiment North Carolina Volunteers. After the fall of Fort Fisher, any remaining men of the 36th would later serve as infantry and referred to as “Red Leg Infantry”. The color red is the designated color for artillery as light blue is for infantry. Elements of the 36th NC Regiment, 2nd NC Artillery would later serve as infantry in the Battle of Bentonville, NC. The last major land battle of the war.
Pvt. Henry Vines was much luckier than five other compatriots who were also captured at Fort Fisher. These five men died of Gangrene of the feet caused by frostbite and are buried in the Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, NY.
Cpl. Joseph Carroll From Elizabethtown, Bladen County, NC , 2nd Co K, 40th Reg., 3rd NC Artillery, Plot #296
Pvt. John A. Folks from Whiteville, Columbus County, NC., 2nd Co A, 36th Reg., 2nd NC Artillery, Plot #1672
Pvt. Pipkin Galloway from Darlington, SC , Co H, 21st South Carolina Volunteers, Plot #2397
Sgt. Samuel Joyner from Whiteville, Columbus County, NC, Co E, 36th Regiment, 2nd NC Artillery, Plot #2148
Pvt. Chancy G. Mercer from Brunswick County, NC. 2nd Co A, 36th Regiment, 2nd NC Artillery, Plot #1839