The 11th Virginia Infantry Regiment, C. S. A

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


This thesis is a socio-military history of a Confederate infantry regiment. Formed principally of Lynchburg City and Campbell County men, the Regiment fought in the Civil War as part of Kemper's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Through diaries, letters, memoirs and contemporary newspapers, the writer has traced the Regiment from its inception as individual companies formed in reaction to John Brown's Raid until its surrender at Appomattox. The entire effort focuses, whenever possible, upon the officers and men of the Regiment. Thus, little attention is paid to grand strategy or national politics. Instead, drum rolls call the Regiment into formation for marches to unknown fields. The men fight in battles that later give the fields a place in history: First Manassas, Seven Pines, Frayser's Farm, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Gettysburg, Plymouth, Drewry's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Bermuda Hundred, Five Forks and Sayler's Creek. Even in battle, the emphasis remains on the Regiment. Success or failure is measured by how the men felt they had performed, rather than whether or not the army achieved victory.

The final result for the men of the 11th Virginia was defeat and surrender; yet, having suffered incredible hardship and having faced overwhelming odds, they emerged as rather heroic individuals. The thesis treats neither victory nor defeat, but men who gave their best for a cause in which they had complete faith.