Captain James W. Kilpatrick
Company N (the “Rutherford Rifles”), 16th Regiment N.C. Troops (6th Regiment N.C. Volunteers
James W. Kilpatrick (born December 3, 1833), a Rutherfordton dentist, enlisted in the “Rutherford Rifles,” the first company from that county, on May 1, 1861, and was elected first lieutenant. The “Rifles” subsequently joined the 6th Regiment N.C. Volunteers as Company D; that regiment was redesignated 16th Regiment N.C. Troops in November 1861.
The 16th North Carolina campaigned in western Virginia during the summer and autumn of 1861, often under the command of General Robert E. Lee. By November, however , the regiment was ordered east to the Manassas area and entered winter quarters. In March 1862 Kilpatrick and a private in Company D, Lawson Harrill, were detailed home to Rutherford County on recruiting duty. Their efforts were successful, and a new company was organized, with Kilpatrick as captain and Harrill as first lieutenant. The new command (also known as the “Rutherford Rifles”) became Company N of the 16th North Carolina.
Despite its extensive campaigning during 1861, the 16th North Carolina did not participate in a major battle until Seven Pines on May 31, 1861. Losses amounted to nearly one hundred men wounded in action and twenty-four men killed or mortally wounded in action. One of the latter was Captain Kilpatrick, who died on May 31.
When Company N joined the 16th North Carolina in March 1862 it brought the number of companies to thirteen. Confederate policy was that infantry regiments have no more than ten companies (There were a handful of exceptions). On June 19, 1862, Company N was ordered to Camp Mangum, Raleigh, where it was attached to the newly organized 56th Regiment N.C. Troops as Company I. Companies A and L of the 16th North Carolina transferred to the Infantry Regiment, Thomas’s Legion, in October 1862 and became 1st Company A and Company E, respectively, of that command.
Image: Copy print in author’s possession.
Lawson Harrill, Reminiscenes 1861-1865 (Statesville: Brady, the Printer, 1910), 9-10; Manarin et al., North Carolina Troops, 6:38, 116, 715, 13:682; Mast, “North Carolina Casualties”; service record files of James W. Kilpatrick, 16thth Regiment N.C. Troops, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers from the State of North Carolina (M270), RG109, NA.