The Civil War in the East

1st Virginia Infantry Regiment

The ancestry of the 1st Virginia Infantry dates back to the 1600's. its commanders included George Washington and Patrick Henry.


April 19

Ten companies of militia were organized into the 1st Infantry at Richmond under Colonel Patrick T. Moore, Lieutenant Colonel William H. Fry and Major William P. Munford:

Company A, Richmond Grays
Company B, Richmond City Guard
Company C, Montgomery Guard
Company D, Old Dominion Guard
Company E, Richmond Light Infantry Blues
Company F, Captain Cary's "F Company";
Company G; Captain William H. Gordon's company

Company H, Captain Randolph's Howitzer company

Company I, Captain Robert Morris' company

Company K, Virginia Rifles

The Richmond Fayette Artillery was also attached to the regiment.

April 21

Company A, Richmond Grays left for Norfolk. In August of 1861, they were assigned to the 12th Regiment of Virginia Volunteers. Company E, the Richmond Light Infantry Blues, and Captain Cary's Company F, left Richmond for Fredericksburg, and were never returned to the regiment. Company E was replaced by the "Washington Volunteers" for one year's service.

April 25

The Richmond Fayette Artillery was detached from the regiment, and in May, was stationed at the Richmond College artillery barracks. Captain Randolph's Howitzers, Company H, went into quarters at the Spotswood Hotel on April 19, but later moved to Richmond College, where they were detached from the regiment and reorganized into an artillery battalion.

April 27

Marched to Camp Lee at the Fair Grounds on the western edge of Richmond.

April 29

The Old Dominion Guard was mustered into service as Company D.

May 4

Captain Francis J. Boggs' second company of Richmond Grays was assigned to the regiment, replacing Captain Randolph's Howitzers as Company H.

May 17

Major Munford resigned to become lieutenant colonel of the 17th Virginia Infantry and Frederick G. Skinner was appointed major.

May 25

Eight companies (all except E&F) left by train for Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction.

May 26

Eight companies arrived at Manassas Junctions.

June 20

The regiment was assigned to the Fourth Brigade of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Colonel G.H. Terrett

June 30

Mustered into Confederate service.

July 18

Battle of Blackburn's Ford

Colonel Patrick T. Moore was badly wounded in the head and disabled from future field service. Lieutenant Colonel Fry took command of the regiment. Captain J.K. Lee of Company B was killed.

July 21

Battle of Manassas

Assigned to Longstreet's Brigade.

July 24

Moved to Centreville.

July 25

Assigned to the Fourth Brigade of the first Corps of the Army of the Potomac.


The regiment reported 570 men available for duty.

August 16

Moved to Fairfax Court House.

November 11

Lieutenant Colonel Fry resigned.

November 18

Major Skinner was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain John Dooley of Company C was promoted to major.



Company E and Company K were disbanded at the expiration of their one year service; the regiment was reorganized with six companies and assigned to A.P. Hill's Brigade. Major Dooley was dropped.

April - May

Siege of Yorktown

April 27

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Williams of the 7th Virginia Infantry was transferred to the 1st Virginia and promoted to colonel. Adjutant William H. Palmer was elected major.

May 5

Battle of Williamsburg

Colonel Williams was badly wounded and captured. Major Palmer took command even though he was slightly wounded.

May 25

Brigadier General A.P. Hill was promoted to division command, and the brigade was taken over by Colonel James Kemper.

May 31-June 1

Battle of Seven Pines


Colonel Williams was exchanged and returned to command the regiment

June 25-July 1

Seven days before Richmond

June 30

Battle of Frayser's Farm


The brigade was under the temporary command of Colonel Montgomery Corse while Brigadier General Kemper took command of a temporary division.

August 30

2nd Battle of Manassas

The regiment lost 28 men of the 140 engaged. Lieutenant Colonel Skinner was badly wounded in the chest and would not return to field service.


Brigadier General Kemper resumed command of the brigade, which became part of the division of Brigadier General David R. Jones in Longstreet's Command

September 14

Battle of Boonsborough (South Mountain)

The regiment was commnaded by Captain George F. Norton

September 17

Battle of Sharpsburg

Commanded by Major William Palmer.


Assigned to Kemper's Brigade, Pickett's Division, First Army Corps

December 13

Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost nine men wounded



Suffolk Campaign

May 2

Major Palmer became A.A.G. to A.P. Hill when Hill was given command of the Third Corps. Captain Francis H. Langley of Company G was promoted to major.

July 3

Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Lewis B. Williams and brought 209 men to the field. It took part in Pickett's charge on the right flank of the attacking column, taking heavy casualties from the flanking fire of the Vermont Brigade. The regiment lost 27 men killed, 73 wounded, and 13 missing. Colonel Williams was mortally wounded.


Many of the officers of the regiment became casualties: Major Francis H. Langley was wounded, Captain James Hallihan was killed, Captains Tomas H. Davis, , Eldridge Morris, George Norton and Albert Watkins were wounded, Lieutenants Adolphus Blair, Paul Cabell, John Dooley, Ellison Martin, Jesse Payne, Edward Reeve and William Woody were wounded, Lieutenant William Caho was mortally wounded and captured and Lieutenant William Kenningham was wounded and captured.


From the marker on the Gettysburg battlefield:


July 2. Arrived about sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler's Woods.


July 3. In the forenoon formed line in the field east of the woods with right flank near Spangler's Barn. At the close of the cannonade advanced and took part in Longstreet's assault upon the Union position in the vicinity of the Angle. Exposed to a severe fire of artillery and vigorously assailed beyond the Emmitsburg Road by infantry on the right flank with ranks thinned and much disorganized by its losses especially of officers it pressed on against the Union line at the stone wall where after a fierce encounter the struggle ended. Gen. J. L. Kemper fell wounded in front of the stone wall.


July 4. Spent the day in reorganization and during the night began the march to Hagerstown.


Escorted prisoners back to Virginia. Lieutenant Colonel Skinner was promoted to colonel even though he was not fit for field duty due to his wound from Second Manassas. Major Langley was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain George F. Norton of Company D was promoted to major.


Detached from the Army of Northern Virginia and assigned to the Department of Richmond


April 17-20

Battle of Plymouth, N.C.

May 16

Drewry's Bluff

The regiment lost 12 killed and 25 wounded

May 18

Howlett House

May 22-26

Battle of the North Anna

June 1-3

Battle of Cold Harbor

June 16

Clay Farm


Siege of Petersburg begins


February 6

Colonel Skinner was officially retired to the Invalid Corps.

March 3

Dinwiddie Court House

April 1

Battle of Five Forks

The regiment lost 1 man killed and 77 wounded.

April 6

Sayler's Creek

The regiment lost 40 men captured, including Lieuteant Colonel Langey and Major Norton.

April 9

Appomattox Court House

Surrendered 17 men under the command of Sergeant Major Andrew J. Simpson

About the Author • ©2015 Steve Hawks