Did two Hyde County soldiers shoot Stonewall Jackson?

Published 5:29 pm Monday, January 6, 2020

Did two Hyde County soldiers fire shots that struck Confederate General Stonewall Jackson?

R.S. Spencer Jr., writing in the Fall 2019 issue of High Tides, states that oral history holds that his grandfather, Kit Spencer, and Matthew O’Neal may have taken part in the tragedy on the night of May 2, 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia.

High Tides, semiannual publication of the Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society, is now for sale.

Records indicate that Jackson and several of his staff rode out along Plank Road to reconnoiter Union positions in the dark. While returning, they rode into the picket line of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment who fired successive volleys at a possible attack.

Spencer and O’Neal were among skirmishers of the 33rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, arrayed between the 18th’s picket line and Union skirmishers. Firing they heard along the picket line was behind them, so presumably they about-faced and fired into the darkness at what they believed were enemy troops to their rear.

General Jackson was struck three times. Four staff members were killed and three others wounded. His left arm was amputated the following day in a field hospital. His recovery seemed promising until pneumonia set in and caused his death on May 10.

R.S. Spencer Jr. sets out the two soldiers’ war records and their ancestors, siblings and descendants, acknowledging help from Bea Emmert and Wanda Parks. Emmert descends from Matthew O’Neal.

High Tides also contains Dr. Lewis Forrest’s account of the Confederate blockade-runner Star and the names of its masters.

And there’s the history of Mount Olive Church of Christ near Clark’s Mill and Leechville fork, plus a biography of its “father” Samuel Littleton Davis and evangelist Harvey Spruill Davenport.

The story of Burgess Mill on Rutman’s Creek and the family of which it was named is chronicled.

There’s a brief 1889 view of New Lake community.

Reported to be dead of wounds received in France in World War I, Gilbert Bernard Swindell survived, returned to Hyde County and lived until 1972, High Tides reports.

And 90 Hyde County deeds between March 1792 and May 1794 are abstracted.

High Tides from Spring 1980 to present are available at R.S. Spencer Inc., Box 159, Engelhard 27824, or may be ordered by phone at 252-542-0000 or by email to romsandy@embarqmail.com. Price is $15 plus $4 shipping and handling; discount for 10 or more issues.