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SUBMITTED BY:  Linda H. Barnette (vetted by Cheri Todd Molter)

As both a genealogist and a member and supporter of the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center, I decided to try to find out how many of my 8 great-great-grandfathers actually fought in the Civil War. I knew that 2 of them had been soldiers who I had already written about. During my research for this project, I found 4 more. Of the 8, one was too old and another one too young. My main sources were the North Carolina Troops books and 2 other locally written books, a roster of Davie County troops and one for Davidson County troops.

First, was my Grandfather Smith’s grandfather, William Harden Smith, who was born in 1836 in the Farmington area of Davie County. He married Phebe James in 1856, and they had 6 children, including my grandfather’s mother. William enlisted in the Confederate Army when he was 27 years old. He served as a private in Company F, 42nd Infantry of the North Carolina troops. Military records state that William deserted and was arrested on October 12, 1863. He returned to service in 1864. Pension records indicate that he was wounded in his right hand on March 1, 1865, at Kinston, NC. William was paroled on June 7, 1865 at Mocksville, NC. He lived until 1919 and is buried in the Bethlehem United Methodist Church Cemetery, where his tombstone lists his service.

James Ledbetter Bowles, whose name is incorrectly listed in the N.C. Troops book as James L. Bolds, was my great-grandfather who married Jerusha Jacobs in 1850. They were the parents of my great-grandmother, Lovie Belle Bowles Dwiggins. James enlisted in the Confederate Army in Davie County on March 18, 1862 when he was 28 years old. He was also a private in Company F of the 42nd Infantry, North Carolina troops. There is no record of any particular events involving him, and he was paroled at Greensboro, NC on May 1, 1865. He came home to farm in the Mocksville district as he had done before the war. He died in 1909 and is buried at Center United Methodist Church Cemetery, where many of my family rest.

Newberry Potts was my Grandmother Hartley’s grandfather. Born in 1843 to William and Sarah Potts, he was a private in Company E of the 42nd Infantry, NC troops. Before the war, he worked for his father, who was a cooper in the Fulton district of Davie County. Newberry enlisted at age 18 in 1862, was paroled at Salisbury on June 5, 1865, and took the Oath of Allegiance there as well. He married Edie Ann Carter in 1868, and they had 4 children, one of whom was James Potts, my great-grandfather. Newberry died in 1920 and is buried at Fork Baptist Church. His brother, Hiram, also served in the army and returned home safely.

John Henry “Bud” Young was born in 1830 in Davidson County, NC. He married Eliza Brooks in 1850 and had 7 children, one of whom was my great-great grandmother, Eliza Young Hartley. I did not find John Henry “Bud” Young listed in the North Carolina Troops book, but I did find him mentioned in Joshua Howard’s Forgotten Heroes: Davidson County, North Carolina and the War Between the States. According to Howard, John was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 66th [Battalion] of the North Carolina Militia. However, my ancestor apparently left the army and served in the Home Guard: A March 1864 letter about him from Lt. Colonel Jesse Hargrave states, “Tell Mr. J. H. Young he is not exempt and must report for service in your Home Guard.” In his book, Howard located where Civil War soldiers were buried in Davidson county. Not surprisingly, John Henry Young is buried in the Sandy Creek Lutheran Cemetery in Tyro, North Carolina, where many of my other family members are interred. He died in 1908, and his service in the Confederate Army is listed on his tombstone. It reads: “CSA Veteran Second Lieutenant, Reeds District 66th Regiment (sic) NC Militia and in Lt Colonel Hargrave’s Home Guard.” His tombstone lists his name as 2 LT John Henry “Bud” Young, Jr.

Although none of these men were killed or severely wounded, I can only imagine the disruptions in their lives caused by the war and from leaving their families and their homes for several years. None of these people were wealthy or owned slaves, yet they obviously felt the call of duty to their state.


Mary Alice Hasty and Hazel M. Winfrey. The Civil War Roster of Davie County, North Carolina.

Joshua Howard. Forgotten Heroes: Davidson County, North Carolina and the War Between the States.

North Carolina Department of Archives and History. North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865.

Christopher Watford. The Civil War Roster of Davidson County, North Carolina.

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