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51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate)

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United States   Gotoarrow.png   U.S. Military   Gotoarrow.png   Virginia   Gotoarrow.png   Virginia Military   Gotoarrow.png   Virginia in the Civil War   Gotoarrow.png   51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate)

Brief History

The 51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate)  was formed in August, 1861, with eleven companies. Company L was later assigned to the 23rd Battalion. Its members were recruited in the counties of Wythe, Nelson, Bland, Floyd, and Grayson. During the war it started in General Floyd's and G.C. Wharton's Brigade.
Only a handful remained after the Battle of Waynesborough. The field officers were Colonels Augustus Forsberg and Gabriel C. Wharton; Lieutenant Colonels George A. Cunningham, James W. Massie, and John P. Wolfe; and Majors William T. Akers, Stephen M. Dickey, D.P. Graham, D.S. Hounshell, and William A. Yonce. [1]

Companies in this Regiment with the Counties of Origin

Men often enlisted in a company recruited in the counties where they lived though not always. After many battles, companies might be combined because so many men were killed or wounded. However if you are unsure which company your ancestor was in, try the company recruited in his county first.

Page 100-101, History of Patrick County, Virginia FHL book 975.581 H2m states "According to all available records, more Patrick Countians served in the 51st Regiment of Virginia Infantry than in any other regiment. While our records may not be complete, it appears that at least 370 men from the county served in this unit at one time or another in the war."

Company A (Capt. Stephen M. Dickey's Company)  - many men from Grayson County

Company B (Nelson Rifles) - many men from Nelson County

Company D ( Capt. Ezekiel Youngs Company) - many men from Grayson County

CompanyE (Wythe Rifles) - many men from Wythe County and Nelson County

Company  I  (Capt. John P. Wolfe's Company) - many men from Washington County

Company  K (Bland Tigers) -  many men from Bland County; however, on page 287, FHL book 975.5 M2vr v. 29 titled A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations 1861-1865 states that the company from Bland County in this regiment was Company F (Bland Tigers)

Company  L (Tazewell County Company) -  An eleven-piece band

The above information is from 51st Virginia Infantry, by James A. Davis

Other Sources

  • Beginning United States Civil War Research gives steps for finding information about a Civil War soldier or sailor. It covers the major records that should be used. Additional records are described in Virginia in the Civil War and United States Civil War, 1861 to 1865.
  • National Park Service, The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, is searchable by soldier's name and state. It contains basic facts about soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, a list of regiments, descriptions of significant battles, sources of the information, and suggestions for where to find additional information.
  • Virginia in the Civil War describes many Confederate and Union sources, specifically for Virginia, and how to find them.. These include compiled service records, pension records, rosters, cemetery records, Internet databases, published books, etc.
  • United States Civil War, 1861 to 1865 describes and explains United States and Confederate States records, rather than state records, and how to find them. These include veterans’ censuses, compiled service records, pension records, rosters, cemetery records, Internet databases, published books, etc.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1992- 1995. (Family History Library book 975 M2ss, Ten Volumes.) This gives organization information for each unit and its field officers, assignments, and battles. It also lists sources further reading. Volume 5 is for Virginia.
  • Wallace, Lee A. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations, 1861-1865. Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, 1986. (Family History Library book 975.5 M2vr, Volume 29.) This gives brief historical sketches of each regiment and lists officers, company names, and commanders.


  1. National Park Service, The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, (accessed 6 November 2010).