INK ID’D IMAGE OF SOUTH CAROLINA COLONEL DANIEL A LEDBETTER OF ORR’S RIFLES - DIED OF WOUNDS AT 2ND MANASSAS

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Item Code: 846-149

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CDV shows Ledbetter seated by a column. He wears a dark frock coat with a single star of a Confederate major visible on the collar and light trousers with a dark leg stripe. Clarity and contrast are good. Paper has light toning and the mount and paper have minor surface dirt. Bottom of the mount has nice strong period ink inscription “COL. D. A. LEADBETTER.”

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for QUINBY & CO…CHARLESTON, S.C.

Daniel Alexander Ledbetter was born in Townville, South Carolina in 1828. He was educated in local schools and served as a millwright. As a young man he joined a local militia company and was well versed in military training and tactics rising to colonel in the state forces before the Civil War began.

Ledbetter was commissioned major in the 1st South Carolina Orr’s Rifles on July 20, 1861. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 29, 1862 while the regiment was serving on Sullivan’s Island. As a soldier and officer, he was described thusly “… his love for his men was that of a father to his children, and often, when on a march, he would give up his horse to some sick or broken-down private. A physical giant among men, he was tall, athletic, muscular and powerful, well-proportioned in height & weight: 6 feet 6 inches & 200 pounds. Ledbetter posed a gallant, strikingly handsome, command presence. A moral giant among men, he was most respected for setting a sterling example of integrity, goodness and valor, thereby living a life worthy of praise and emulation and was much esteemed for conscientiousness, vigilance, and courage."

In early 1862 Orr’s Rifles were assigned to Gregg’s Brigade of Hill’s Division. They were heavily engaged at Gaines’ Mill during the Seven Days battles losing 81 killed and 234 wounded of the 537 men engaged.

At 2nd Manassas the regiment lost 116 men defending the Railroad Cut on August 29, 1862. Their commander, Colonel Jehu F. Marshall, was killed and Lt. Colonel Ledbetter took command only to fall mortally wounded. “Fellow soldiers tenderly carried their seriously wounded and greatly respected…commander from the Manassas Battlefield to a nearby rear-echelon sector. During late afternoon of 29 August 1862… Ledbetter received emergency medical care at an improvised wartime field hospital, located in the historic stone farmhouse named "Bushy Park", in Prince William County, VA.”

“During the next several days (30 August until 1 September 1862), Ledbetter lingered in a personal, mighty, twilight fight: clinging to waning mortal life, while suffering in agony from the destructive gunshot wound within his torso, abdominal side. …Ledbetter was bleeding to death as he fought his last fight for life.”

“On 1 September 1862, 3 days after being mortally wounded… Ledbetter breathed his last breath, and died in Bushy Park Farmhouse Confederate Field Hospital, Prince William County, Virginia.”

“A fitting epitaph for … him was written by Clement Evans, Confederate States Military Historian, as follows: "No braver soldier, more honorable citizen, kinder father and husband, gave his life to the lost cause."

According to his records at the National Archives Ledbetter had been promoted to colonel with rank to date from August 29, 1862.

There is a marker to Colonel Ledbetter in the Sudley Church Cemetery in Manassas, Virginia.

Orr’s Rifles served with the Army of Northern Virginia from April 1862 through to the end of the war. The regiment served in all three corps of the army during its time and saw action at Gaines’ Mill, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Falling Waters, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Winchester and Petersburg.

Items relating to Orr’s Rifles are very rare and much sought after.  [AD]

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