Saturday, January 09, 2010

4th Virginia Infantry....

The juggernaut still rolls - more grist for the mills of the Shenandoah has left the painting table...

This unit represents the 4th Virginia (the flag is theirs, by the way, but from later in the war).

The 4th (their brigade nickname was the "Harmless Fourth" because they had no fights in camp!) was first assembled at Winchester, Virginia, in July, 1861. Its companies were made up of militia contingents from the counties of Wythe, Montgomery, Pulaski, Smyth, Grayson, and Rockbridge (all of these were mostly south & south west Virginia).

The Regiment consisted of the following lettered companies:

A. "Wythe Grays" (Wythe county) - Capt. William Terry - Organized in 1859, from the southwest Virginia county of Wythe
B. "Fort Lewis Volunteers" (Montgomery County) - Camp. D Edmundson
C. "Pulaski Guards" (Pulaski County) - Capt. James A Walker
D. "Smyth Blues" (Smyth County) - Capt. Albert G Pendleton
E. "Montgomery Highlanders" (Montgomery County) - Capt. C A Ronald
F. "Grayson Dare Devils" (Grayson County) - Capt. Peyton N Hale
G. "Montgomery Fencibles" (Montgomery County) - Capt R G Terry
H. "Rockbridge Grays" (Rockbridge County) - Capt. James G Updike
I. "Liberty Hall Volunteers" (Rockbridge County) - Capt. J J White - comprised almost exclusively of students, graduates and professors from Washingtpon College, Lexington, Virginia.
J. "Rockbridge Rifles" (Rockbridge County) - Capt. S H Letcher

Late in July, the "Rockbridge Rifles" transferred to the 5th Virginia. Taking its place in the 4th Regiment was company L, a unit without nickname also from the Blacksburg section of Montgomery County.

The regiment fought at First Manassas, Kernstown (as we know), and in the rest of Jackson's Valley Campaign. It then participated in many conflicts of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbour, was with Early in the Shenandoah Valley, and saw action around Appomattox.

The unit reported 5 killed, 23 wounded, and 48 missing at Kernstown, by the time they got to Appomattox Courthouse on April 9 1865, the regiment surrendered with only 7 officers and 38 men (other sources say 1 and 60 but whose counting in the face of such monumental losses??), of which only 17 men were armed...

The first colonel of the 4th Virginia Infantry Regiment was Colonel James Francis Preston of Whitethorn; however, his poor health and a wound suffered at the Battle of First Manassas prevented him from carrying out his duties as regimental colonel for very long. Captain Charles A. Ronald (company E) was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and was assigned to command the 4th Virginia.

Figures are (again) Newline Designs 20mm - this time almost all from "25AC13 Infantry in slouch hat and shell jacket" though I did mix in a couple of guys in kepi.. I'm not too sure whether they'd have been wearing slouch hats, so much this early in the war, but hey, they look good..

The grey for this unit is much darker than my previous regiment - and like my previous concerns I'm not too sure whether this isn't now too dark!

Onwards and upwards however, the next units will be artillery for both sides... after that, more infantry (at least one more regiment per side) and then a regiment of cavalry each...

By the way - this is my 300th post!


  1. Hi Steve,

    I wouldn't worry too much about the correct shade of grey. This was long before colorfast dyes, and after exposure to all kinds of weather, washings, and general wear and tear, there would be a lot of variations, even in the same company, let alone the regiment!

    That's a snazzy looking unit that I'm sure "Ol' Jack" will be proud of!

  2. Cheers martin - my thoughts (about the grey) exactly! :o)

    Only time will tell if my table top ol' Jack will agree though...

  3. STW,

    are you going to do any butternut uniformed rebs?

  4. Hi Geoff - my research continues but I suspect not... my specific area of interest lies in the first two years of the war (as I wanted zouaves in those fantastic uniforms!), and I don't think butternut started to make an appearance until some time later...

  5. Hi Steve,

    Your 4th Virginians look very nice! The darker grey is fine, though you could easily apply a few judicious highlights on shoulders, hats, and upper arms if you want to. I had a great, great grandfather, who was a drummer boy in a North Carolina regiment by the way.

    Best Regards,


  6. Great looking regiments!

    I'd have to dig out references, I've been "off" the ACW for nearly 10 years, but, I seem to recall firstly some Union eye witness reports from the Valley that mention butternut rebs (from Battles & Leaders possibly?) and 2ndly a study that found, contrary to popular belief, Reb uniformity was at a low in '62 and only sank as low again in 65. Wouldn't vouch for that till I found the source again, it had something to do with a combination of getting organized, the blockade etc, Apparently '63 might have been the highpoint. Some of the '63 shades of imported grey in Longstreet's corps were dark enough then to be mistaken for Union blue at a distance. So yeah various shades are good. Not sure about the unoffical slouch hat thing for Virginia but seems to me (again based solely on rusty memory of research from last century) that they were regulation in one of the Carolinas at the start.

    -Ross Mac

  7. Thanks Stokes...

    Ross - new period for me so I'm feeling my way in gently - all feedback would be much appreciated... what is it about US national wars (ie. within America) that leads to such confusion about uniforms?? In the AWI (my other area of interest) the Continentals seemed to change uniforms on a monthly basis, as well.. ;o))

  8. Steve,

    Congratulations on your 300th! Interesting, as always.

    I'm looking forward to the next 300 and beyond.

    -- Jeff

  9. Oh, and one of the books that I got for Christmas . . . and which went on the list of "possibles" due to a post of yours, is Stuart Asquith's "War in the Sudan 1884-1898: A Campaign Guide".

    I've just started it and so far I'm really enjoying it. Thank you.

    -- Jeff