The 17th Regiment Virginia Volunteers, C.S.A.

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This thesis is a socio-military history of a Confederate infantry regiment. Formed of companies from the city of Alexandria and surrounding counties, the Regiment fought in the Civil War as part of Corse's brigade, Pickett's division, Longstreet's Corps, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Through diaries, memoirs, letters and newspapers, the writer has traced the Regiment from its beginnings as individual companies to its last hours at Appomattox. Whenever possible the narrative focuses on the officers and men who comprised.the unit. Therefore, except to provide clarity, little attention is paid to the movements of sister regiments, overall strategy or politics. Instead the emphasis is on the soldiers perceptions of his experiences in camp, on the march and the battlefield. Seeing extensive action, the Regiment fought at Blackburn's Ford, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Frayser's Farm, Second Manassas, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Manassas Gap, Flat Creek, Drewry's Bluff, Bermuda Hundred, Five Forks and Sayler's Creek. Success or failure is measured by the units' individual performance and therefore is not evaluated with the army as a whole.

Appomattox brought defeat and surrender to the men of the 17th Virginia. However, the designation of victor and vanqished is of secondary importance. Duty faithfully performed, in spite of incredible hardship, in the face of overwhelming odds, by a band of heroic, valiant men is the more enduring memory.