AUTHOR: Tony L. Crumbley
Benjamin and Jane Pinion had eight children, all born between 1839 and 1867. The Pinion family resided in Stanly County, North Carolina. On August 8, 1862, two of their sons, Thomas W. and Joe Darling Pinion, joined Company B of the 5th N.C. Regiment. They had traveled to Wake County to enlist as privates in Colonel William J. Hill’s regiment, which had been formed a year earlier in Gates and Halifax Counties, and both men were assigned to D. H. Hill’s division.
On August 28, 1862, the entire division moved to join the Army of Northern Virginia, arriving at Chantilly and reaching the Army on September 2nd, then crossing together into Maryland a couple of days later. Once they arrived in Frederick, Maryland, the Army halted until General Lee decided to send Longstreet’s troops to Hagerstown. On September 10th, D. H. Hill’s Division moved out of Frederick, serving as the rear guard of Longstreet’s column. For the next seven days, the Pinion brothers were embroiled in serious battle. The Confederate troops held their line until they retired across the Potomac River on the night of September 18th. The Maryland Campaign resulted in 40 dead, 210 wounded, and 187 missing.
The Army of Northern Virginia remained in the Shenandoah Valley until the Army of the Potomac crossed the Potomac River east of the Blue Ridge. On October 28, 1862, Longstreet’s core moved east of the mountains to Culpepper Court House, and D. H. Hill’s division was posted at the fork of the Shenandoah River to guard the mountain passes. It was at this time that the Pinion brothers’ stories deviate from those of the other men in their division: According to official records, Thomas W. Pinion deserted on October 25, 1862 and was later arrested for desertion in March 1863. However, Thomas deserted again on May 9, 1863. He was given a federal parole in Charlotte, NC on May 18, 1865. Furthermore, the Confederate records of Joe Darling Pinion describe his being placed on the role of Honor after having been supposedly killed in action on October 26,1862. The place and cause of his death were not reported.
However, Joe Darling Pinion’s story doesn’t end there—perhaps his ghost just continued on—because records reveal that he traveled to Tennessee and joined forces with the Union troops. Joe traded his gray uniform for one of blue. At the end of the war, Joe Darling Pinion returned to North Carolina, married, and had 15 children, the first of whom was not born until 1872. Whether it was Joe or his ghost, that was lucky for me because Joe Darling’s third child Daisy Bell Pinion, who was born in 1885, was my great-grandmother. Joe Darling Pinion was officially buried on September 15, 1918, and he has not been seen since.