AUTHOR: Joshua N. James; edited by Cheri Todd Molter
My great-great-grandfather Abner Lee Snow was born to Richard Snow and Sally Tucker Snow in 1843 in Surry County, North Carolina. Surry County was then and is still very rural. The landscape is dominated by the looming presence of Pilot Mountain, a bizarre monadnock that seems to by will alone have pulled itself 1,500 feet out of the green, rolling hills and into the sky.
Abner, like many North Carolinians of the time, grew up on the family farm, which according to unsubstantiated family legend now forms part of Interstate 77 southbound. By the time Abner was conscripted into the Confederate army in August 1862 he had seven siblings – five brothers and two sisters.
Four of his brothers also served in the Confederate army: twins Thomas (b. 1826) and James (b. 1826), Byrd (b. 1832), and Frost (b. 1840). James and Thomas both resigned from the army in August 1862 when they reached age thirty-five, and James went on on to serve in the Home Guard. Yet another brother, John W. Snow (b. 1837) did not serve in the Confederate army, and I haven’t been able to learn the reason for this.
Abner, Frost, and Byrd served together in Company C of the 21st North Carolina.
Frost was wounded at the Battle of 2nd Manassas in August 1862, not long after Abner was conscripted, but he survived. Frost returned to duty after a short time. The 21st NC Infantry was called into battle at Chancellorsville on May 3 1863, and by that point, Frost had been promoted to Second Lieutenant and Byrd to Captain. At this battle Frost was wounded again, most likely in sight of his two brothers serving in Company C with him. He was struck by a shell fragment, according to service records. Later that same day at Chancellorsville, Byrd was struck in the arm, and the limb had to be amputated. Byrd survived and returned to duty. Frost, however, lingered in a military hospital in Richmond until his death on June 5 1863. He was 23 years old and had never married. Frost is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA (Officer’s Section, Lot X-134)
The remaining Snow brothers, Captain Byrd Snow and Private Abner Lee Snow, moved on from Chancellorsville, through Gettysburg and Cold Harbor, to Hatcher’s Run, Virginia, in February 1865. Company C lost two men at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, one of whom was Byrd.
Legend has it that Abner, having become something of an orphan in the 21st NC, packed his brother’s body in sawdust and had it shipped back to the family farm in Surry County. The youngest of the Snow boys then became the only one in active Confederate service. Abner continued on in the war until the surrender at Appomattox with the Army of Northern Virginia.
He married in December of 1865 and eventually had 7 children, one of whom was my great-grandfather. Abner died young at the age of 53.