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“Four Hopkins boys walked off in early November of 1861 to join the fight,” my dad said 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, and their two first cousins, brothers Nelson and Barney. On Nov. 4, 1861, they left their homes in New Hope (in southern Randolph County, the heart of the Piedmont) to “fight the Yankees,” joining what was to become Company H of the 38th Regiment, the “Uwharrie Boys,” named for the geologically ancient mountains of their home. Nelson became a lieutenant, and Barney was elected sergeant of Company H. Interestingly enough, Miles was a teamster for a while, and Stokes was wounded (thankfully, only slightly) at Hanover Junction. All four men survived the war. Miles and Stokes were captured outside of Petersburg and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland. Stokes told his grandson, Riley, that the “Yankees nearly starved [them] to death.” Miles and Stokes took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on June 27, 1865, and then walked home, all the way to New Hope from Point Lookout. After the war, Stokes (my great-grandfather) married a Civil War widow who lived 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 was 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.

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