Thursday, March 14, 2013

33rd Virginia Infantry

Pushing on while the painting mojo is strong.... 

First though - that post I did on Old School has gone 'positively viral' (as the young people say) 800+ views so far, against my more usual levels of a tenth of that....  blimey....  still this post should manage to return us to more usual levels!

For a change of flavour (and a change is as good as a rest) this time I decided to make the next unit one for the American Civil war project, so let me introduce you to the 33rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

The 33rd was organized in the lower Shenandoah Valley during the months of April, May, June and July of 1861 but was mustered into service on 17 April 1861, it was one of five infantry regiments that made up the "Stonewall" Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia and comprised ten company's. The regiment was assigned to Colonel Arthur C. Cummings, a prominent lawyer
from Abingdon, Virginia who was a veteran of the Mexican War.

Cummings came from Washington County, Virginia and was the son of James and Mary Cummings; born October 1, 1822. He was licensed to practice law in 1846.In May, 1846, he raised, and was elected captain of, two different volunteer companies whose services were offered to the President of the United States for the war just beginning (Mexican American war); but the offer was declined (full quota of volunteers had been received) Undeterred he obtained a commission as captain of Co. K, 11th Regiment of U. S. Infantry and reached Vera Cruz with his company, July 1, 1847. 
Cummings was dangerously wounded in an engagement with a large guerrilla force at Paso Ovejas, near the National Bridge leading to the City of Mexico; and, on August 15, 1847, he was made brevet major for gallant conduct in that engagement. He continued to serve with great credit till the War ended. He was mustered out of the service, August 19, 1848.

On his return home, he resumed the practice of law but was commissioned colonel of the Fifth Regiment of Artillery, in the State's Militia, on October 22, 1849. In May, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of Virginia Volunteers, and was ordered to report to Jackson at Harper's Ferry, where he was assigned command of the 2nd (later 10th) Regiment.

In June, 1861, by order of General Jackson, he organized the 3rd Regiment, followed by the 33rd which he was then assigned the command of. He commanded this regiment at the first battle of Manassas, and until the reorganization, in 1862 where for reasons unknown (some say he'd had a disagreement with Jackson) he refused reelection as Colonel and went on to a career in politics. He passed away on the 19th of March, 1905
(Source: The Military History of the Virginia Military Institute from 1839-1861, by: Jennings C. Wise, Publ: 1915. Transcribed by: Helen Coughlin) 

The ten company's (comprising 60 to 100 men each) were as follows:

CompanyNameCounty FormedFirst Captain
"A"Potomac Guards (mustered June 17th)Hampshire County, WVP.T. Grace
"B"Independent GreysShenandoah CountyEmanuel Crabill
"C"Page Greys (mustered June 19th)WoodstockJohn Gatewood
"D"Mountain Rangers ( made up men from the small farms and cabins in the hills around Winchester; mustered July 26th))WinchesterFrederick W. M. Holliday
"E"Emerald Guard [clicky](made up mostly of Irish Emigrants; mustered June 1)New MarketMarion N. Sibert
"F"Mount Jackson Rifles (reported by a local newspaper, " made up of many of our best citizens and represents a large amount of wealth"; mustered June 15)Mount Jackson areaGeorge W. Allen
"G"Tom's Brook Guard Company (had so many members of the Crabill family in the company, it was oftentimes known as the "Crabill Company"; mustered July 8th)Mount Jackson areaGeorge Crabill
"H"Shenandoah RiflemenPage CountyWilliam D. Riffeter
"I"Rockingham Confederates (mustered June 22nd)Rockingham CountyJohn R. Jones
"K"Hardy GreysHardy County, WVAbram Spengler

By all accounts the 33rd saw hard fighting throughout the war - under Jackson, they fought at First Manassas, Kernstown*, Port Republic, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After Jackson's death they fought with the rest of the brigade at Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness Campaign and Spotsylvania, where the majority of the Brigade was overrun and captured.

Those that weren't captured were re-organised and went on to see action at Monocacy, Cedar Creek, Fisher's Hill, Petersburg, Saylor's Creek and finally Appomattox, where only 14 men were left to surrender!
The 33rd Virginia remained in the Stonewall Brigade in Thomas J. Jackson's Second Corps until the restructuring of the Army of Northern Virginia after his death in the spring of 1863. It was then put under Richard Ewell's command until the spring of 1864, when it dissolved at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

* The 33rd played a large role in holding a stone wall against overwhelming numbers, until being ordered to retire as their ammunition became expended. The regiment suffered 23 killed, 12 wounded and 18 captured out of  275 effectives at the start of the battle) See here [clicky] for a first hand account from Cummings himself...

Figures are 20mm from the inestimable Newline Designs [clicky] - flag is my own design, basic flag found on the web and then doctored...


  1. Nicely painted and presented! The tents are really cool, and banner is very fitting for the scene. Good job.

  2. Wow super nice unit! What can you tell me about the tents? I could certainly use some.

    1. Thanks Brent.. I try! :o)

      Re. the tents... I honestly can't remember... they may be these though they don't look quite right:

      I have a suspicion they were one-off's that someone had just bought to a wargame show and I saw them....

  3. Great looking troops!