Norfolk Light Infantry

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Norfolk Light Infantry

N-SSA Seniority number 006

By Thom H. Chapman

The name Norfolk Light Infantry is derived from a company of Confederate volunteers organized at the outbreak of the War between the States. It was mustered into service in Norfolk before being uniformed–a common practice with such companies in the South. John R. Ludlow was Captain, Monfford N. Stokes, 1st Lieutenant, James Maiben, 2nd Lieutenant, and George F. CrawIey, 3rd Lieutenant.

The unit was subsequently attached to the 6th Virginia Regiment as Company D. The regiment was part of Mahone’s and Weisiger’s Brigades, Huger’s, Anderson’s and Mahone’s Division.

The Norfolk Light Infantry remained on duty with the 6th Virginia until February 10, 1862 when the regiment was ordered, upon the fall of Roanoke Island, to Coinjock, or Currituck Bridge in North Carolina to protect it. Upon the retreat of General Wise from Roanoke Island, the 6th Virginia was ordered to fall back to Great Bridge where it remained until Norfolk was evacuated by the Confederates May 10, 1862.

The 6th Virginia Regiment, upon leaving Norfolk, was first ordered to the vicinity of Drury’s Bluff and then the Chaffin’s Bluff on the James River. After the Battle of Seven Pines, the regiment joined the brigade near there, taking part in the following Seven Days Battles. The regiment was heavily engaged at Malvern Hill.

After Malvern Hill, the unit took part in the defeat and route of Union General Pope at Second Manassas; then followed the invasion of Maryland, the investment of Harper’s Ferry and the Battle of Sharpsburg. Mahohe’s Brigade, as part of Anderson’s Division, was under General Jackson’s command at Harper’s Ferry and the Battle of Sharpsburg; and to it was assigned the duty of holding Crampton Gap so that Jackson could dispose of Harper’s Ferry. On September 14, 1862, Franklin’s Corps of 17,000 men attacked Mahone’s Brigade of four regiments, numbering 800 men, and was held in check for four days.

The regiment took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, and was also at Chancellorsville the following May of 1863. It was at Gettysburg and in other minor engagements after that. The 6th Virginia fought through the whole of the campaign of 1864, from Germanna Ford to Cold Harbor.

The unit crossed over the James River at Petersburg and took part in battles there, particularly the Battle of the Crater. The larger portion of the regiment was on picket duty when the news was received that the enemy bad broken through the lines, and there was no time to call them in. Eighty-five men were in camp and these fell in with the rest of the brigade, hurrying to the scene of the breech; here the remnant took part in the charge upon the enemy. Of the 85 with the regiment, 13 were killed, 50 wounded and 12 missing.

After the Crater came the battles of Reams Station, Burgess’ Mill and Hateher’s Run. And when the final crush came and the Army retreated from Petersburg, Mahone’s Brigade, of which the 6th was still a proud part, preserved its organization and courage to the last. On the retreat it fought two battles and repulsed the enemy in both. The 6th Virginia Regiment surrendered with Lee at Appomattox.

Of the 76 men which composed the Norfolk Light Infantry at its formation and induction into Confederate service four years earlier, only seven were still in the ranks at Appomatox.

The reactivated Norfolk Light Infantry received its membership from the North-South Skirmish Association on October 4, 1958, and proudly holds seniority number 6. The unit is among those which hold charter status in the Association. The company is part of the Tidewater Region

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