Holcombe Legion

The Holcombe Legion of South Carolina fought in the American Civil War as part of the Confederate States Army. It was a true legion, being made up of different types of units, in this case cavalry (four companies) and infantry (initially eight companies, later expanded to ten).[1]

Private Jackson A. Davis of Co. E, Holcombe Legion South Carolina Cavalry Battalion

Peter Fayssoux Stevens, former superintendent of the South Carolina Military Academy (and after the war a bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church), was authorized by South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens to raise a legion consisting of an infantry regiment, a cavalry battalion and artillery.[2] When asked to name it, Stevens chose to honor the governor's wife, Lucy Holcombe Pickens, in the couple's presence.[2] The unit's motto was "It is for the brave to die, but not to surrender."[2]

The artillery component never materialized, but the legion was organized in fall 1861[1] and assigned to Evans' Brigade.[2] William Porcher DuBose, later an Episcopal priest and noted theologian, served as its adjutant until 1862.[3][4] The legion helped defend Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 1862.[2] On July 17, Evans was ordered to move his unit to Richmond, Virginia.[5] After reaching the city, the legion's infantry and cavalry were separated, never to be reunited,[2] a common fate for Civil War legions. The cavalry was assigned to bolster the city's defense and eventually became part of the 7th South Carolina Cavalry Regiment.[1] The Holcombe Legion fought in the Second Battle of Bull Run (or Second Manassas), South Mountain and Antietam (or Sharpsburg), all in August and September 1862.[1] The legion suffered 24 dead and 131 wounded at Second Manassas,[1] and DuBose wrote, "The Holcombe Legion was practically destroyed as a regiment; when we gathered up the remains there were about a hundred men."[6] The legion served as skirmishers for a delaying force at the Battle of South Mountain.[7] In September 1863, it mustered 276 men.[1] It participated in the 1864 Siege of Petersburg and the 1865 Appomattox Campaign which ended in Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the war.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Battle Unit Details: Holcombe Legion, South Carolina". National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Stone, Dewitt Boyd (2002). Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. 24. ISBN 9781570034336. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  3. ^ Onofrio, Jan (January 1, 2000). South Carolina Biographical Dictionary. Somerset Publishers, Inc. pp. 192–195. ISBN 9780403093076. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  4. ^ Stone, DeWitt Boyd, Jr., Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade, University of South Carolina Press, 2002. ISBN 1-57003-433-8
  5. ^ Stone, Dewitt Boyd. Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade. p. 28
  6. ^ Stone, Dewitt Boyd. Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade. p. 56
  7. ^ Stone, Dewitt Boyd. Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade. p. 60

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