Duncan F. Parrish(left) and his brother Marcus Edward Parrish both enlisted on May 28, 1861. This photo is a post war remake. Two photographs were combined into a single photo. Duncan was discharged on November 28, 1861. Marcus was captured at Gettysburg but survived the war. He is wearing a 6th North Carolina regimental belt buckle.
History of the Cedar Fork Rifles
First and Fatal Blood
The entire regiment went into camp on June 1st, 1861, in an old field along the Railroad, east of Company Shops on the North Carolina Railroad. Here at Camp Alamance the basic skills of becoming a soldier were learned.
One of the first letters to come back home from this new and unfamiliar way of living, which they would come to know all too well, was from James S. Beavers. Him and his brother had been some of the original men who showed in on May 28th to enlist. James had a rocky past in the community where he lived around Mt. Pisgah Church in western Chatham County. James had been a member of this church and in 1860, the congregation had favored a move to support equality of the black and white members. This move did not sit well with the 25 year old and fought this movement. The clash between Beavers and the members of the church came to a climax with James being excommunicated. When war came, we can infer that James' motivation for enlistment was defend the slaveholding institution. His letters and those of his brother give us the best picture of soldiering in Company I.
James would continue to write as the unit was armed, outfitted, and trained in the art of war. The men were drilled in marksmanship, marching, and the use of their new muskets. Using tactics written by William J. Hardee, who was a instructor at West Point who chaired a committee revised infantry tactics in the antebellum army. Their schedule was one of constant drill, intermingled with short periods of eating and ending in guard duty. On July 3rd the unit would officially be turned over to the Confederate States of America and the long, bloody career of the unit would start.
On July 8th Governor John W. Ellis died and Companies B and C were sent down to Raleigh, and acted as an escort for the body
After the first taste of battle at Manassas the weary men of the 6th went into camp to lick their wounds, resupply, and come to terms with the realization of real war. Fisher's unit represent the only North Carolina unit at the balttle. 23 men of the 6th were killed and 23 wounded. Several days were spent at "Camp Bee" named in honor of General Bernard E. Bee who was their brigade commander who was struck down in the battle but not before uttering his most famous words, "Their stands Jackson like a stone wall." On August 1st, "Camp Jones" was established near Bristoe Station. It was here sickness and disease began to stalk the 6th North Carolina and several men were lost to the deadly effect of germs rather than bullets. The weary men pulled out of this area on September 18 and moved north to a temporary site along the Potomac which would become "Camp Hill". Finally their battle-summer was over when the permenant winter quarters were established on December 18. It was here the men waited out the winter and preparing for the battles that would come at the onset of spring. **clarks regiments p. 17, Jordan. NCTroops. Vol. 4, p. 258
Return to Chapter 3
Continue to Chapter 5: The Earth's Secrets
Return to main page