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Buffalo soldiers’ raid had incidental casualties

by | Jan 18, 2016 | Confederate affiliation, Pasquotank

When a party of Buffalo soldiers raided the family farm in 1863, my mother’s two great-uncles were sent into the swamp to hide. Both of the teenage boys died soon after as a result of exposure. This story was told to me by my mother, Margaret Reed Small, who was told the story by her father, and my family has always blamed the Buffalo soldiers for the deaths of the two young boys. According to the Reed family Bible, Edwin H. Reed, age 18, and his brother, Joseph B. Reed, age 16, both died on Feb. 10,1863.  Alex Christopher Meekins writes in Elizabeth City & the Civil War that the weather in February of 1863 was brutal: “In early February … a major winter storm shut down all activity in the old Albemarle area: snow piled as deep as a foot in some areas, & the temperature plunged to as low as 8 degrees F. Yet, by February 6, the snow had completely melted due to a driving rain that followed the winter storm.” Noted Buffalo Thad Cox was killed by guerrillas on Feb. 9, 1863, so the raid on the Reed farm could have been in retaliation for Cox’s death. Alternatively, the Reed farm could have been raided prior to Cox’s death, and the boys just lingered until February 10. R. B. Creecy said in Grandfather’s Tales of North Carolina, “Eighteen-hundred & sixty-three was the dark year in the history of the Civil War in this town & the adjacent section of North Carolina. It was the dark & bloody district. Human life was not more valued than a raccoon’s.”

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