I wonder why some Virginia military units in the Confederate States Army did such a magnificent job in demonstrating courage, bravery and sacrifice in many instances in battles throughout the War For Southern Independence, Yet some others did little. If the written history of the 22nd. Battalion is accurate, these men seemed to have had major shortcomings in courage, or was it bad leadership? As I certainly do not know the answer, this is my reason for this article. I have documented more than 12 of my ancestors, men who served in the CSA, one being Captain William Carter Winn, Co. B, 22nd. Battalion Virginia Infantry and another being an older man , Corporal William T. Dunford my first cousin 3X removed, this man volunteered in Richmond, Virginia at age 42 to be part of the Richmond defenses, some way this unit was rearranged several times, and he was in the CSA all the way to Appomattox , Va. in 1865, dying shortly after the surrender in 1865.
In the case of William C. Winn, he was promoted several times, from Private, to Sergeant and finally to Captain, so I assume he was doing something right, but never the less the unit history as written indicates a problem. It also seems that this Battalion begin life as the 2nd. Regiment Virginia Artillery, and again, in the beginning of the war, the CSA was a brand new army, not yet manned, not yet orginized, it was a work in progress, where were men needed, what types of units, Infantry, Calvary, Artillery, who had what experience and so on. Officers were being obtained, equipment from cannons, caissons, horses, bridles, saddles, horse shoes, powder, lead, rifles, uniforms, shoes, all of these many things were going on at this instant, and so military companies were formed in county courthouses, churches, assembled in places like Richmond, arranged into Regiments, Regiments into Brigades, and so on. It was a super complex and serious matter with time of the essence. So I know that the 2nd. Regiment of Artillery, started out with 10 companies in February 1862. Later in May it was disbanded. Then later a newly formed 22nd. Battalion of infantry was formed, not to be confused with the 22nd. Infantry Regiment. I do not know how many of the former men came from the 2nd. Virginia Artillery, but let us start here for the purpose of this writing.
The 22nd. Battalion fought in may serious and important battles this is not disputed, for example. The regiment was combined with the 40th., 47th. and 55th. Virginia infantry regiments to be a brigade under Gen. Charles W. fields.
Fields brigade was placed with several other brigades under General A.P. Hill an became known as Hill’s Light Division. Soon they were in the battles around Richmond including the seven days battles to stop Union General McClellans plans to take Richmond. NOT SO FAST, as he was defeated and eventually driven back to the James River. Now it seems that so far we have had no problems, but later they were at Chancellorsville, and in and around Fredericksburg, Chambersburg on to Gettysburg. At Gettysburg they occupied the left end of Petteygrews Division under Brokenbrough, who did not seem to be highly favored by some senior leaders, in any case the brigade, and or the 2nd. Battalion did not fight well, and accomplished little or nothing? Why, was it the 22nd. battalions fault, the brigades fault, Brokenbroughs fault, I would like to know more. So in 1863, their performance at Gettysburg on July 3rd. seems not to have been good, later in 1863 and 1864 they fought many more battles including Bethesda church near Cold Harbor where they destroyed Grants attacks by mowing down charge after charge by the new Union general. They performed well. Note that between 1863 and 1864 many men had left and new replacements added, so we have a newer 22nd. Battalion in some regard. Later in 1864 they were down near Petersburg in fighting near the Weldon Railroad, new complaints came out when General Heth sent a letter recommended the 22nd. Battalion be placed back in the rear of the army as they have performed disgracefully from Gettysburg in July 1863 to present time in Oct. 1864. WOW, BAD NEWS FOR THIS GROUP IF TRUE, AND I WOULD THINK IT LIKELY WAS TRUE.
So, without more details, it seems to me that the 22nd. Battalion of Virginia Infantry had problems, I want to know more, Good or bad, but be truthful, use facts as they were provided by the participants of that time, not opinions from today, if you can add anything, please do.