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Trim: 7 x 10
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-942294-66-5

26th Battalion Virginia Infantry

Terry Lowry

In the Spring of 1862 Captain George Mathews Edgar, an 1856 graduate of V.M.l. and member of the 59th Virginia Infantry, was authorized to organize a battalion out of five companies raised in the mountain counties of western (West) Virginia, particularly Monroe, Greenbrier, and Mercer.

The earliest known organization of these companies into Edgar’s Battalion was April 29, 1862. Many of these men had served previously in local militia units and the 59th Virginia Infantry.

On May 20, 1862 Edgar’s five companies, comprised of many conscripts, militia, and raw recruits, were mustered as a battalion into the Confederate States Army.

Three days later the new battalion was engaged at the battle of Lewisburg, where a large portion of the command fled the field in panic, an act which caused the other Confederate units to suffer heavy casualties. Edgar was seriously wounded and captured in the affair.

The battalion, having added two additional companies and officially called the 2uth Battalion Virginia Infantry, began to redeem itself in the 1862 Kanawha Valley campaign and at Tuckwiller Hill in early 1863. At the battle of White Sulphur Springs the men made a brilliant stand against the enemy and gained back the respect of their fellow regiments.

Although not involved in the actual combat at Droop Mountain in late 1863, Edgar and his 26th Battalion Virginia Infantry entered the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 and fought alongside the V.M.I. Cadets at New Market, lost over half the battalion that were killed, wounded, and captured in the Cold Harbor campaign, defended Lynchburg, marched-on Washington, D.C. with Jubal Early, and engaged in all the major battles in the Shenandoah Valley. At the battle of Winchester in September the battalion’s brigade organization was nearly destroyed and Lieutenant Colonel Edgar (still suffering from a wound received at Cold Harbor) was captured. Defeat and additional losses followed at Fishers Hill and Cedar Creek.

The final year of the war saw the remnants of the 26th Battalion protecting Saltville and southwest Virginia from raider General George Stoneman until disbanding in Christiansburg in April of 1865 upon news of Lee’s surrender.

Pages: 169