1st Battalion Sharpshooters

Second Lieutenant Newell Wesley Sapp

Company B (the “Forsyth Grays”), 1st Battalion N.C. Sharpshooters

Newell Wesley Sapp boarded with a merchant (who may have been his employer) in the Deep River District of Forsyth and in 1860 declared that his occupation was “clerk.” On May 24, 1861, he enlisted as private in a company known as the “Forsyth Grays,” and on July 10 was promoted to first sergeant.

The “Forsyth Grays” joined a twelve month regiment, the 11th Regiment N.C. Volunteers, as Company E. In November 1861 the 11th was redesignated the 21st Regiment N.C. Troops. The 21st North Carolina was twelve companies strong. As it was Confederate policy that infantry regiments comprise only ten companies, on April 28, 1862, Company B (the “Yadkin Gray Eagles”) and Company E (the “Forsyth Grays”) were detached and organized as a separate two-company battalion, becoming Companies A and B, respectively. The correct name of the new unit seems to have been “9th Battalion N.C. Sharp Shooters,” but it is invariably referred to in contemporary documents as the “1st Battalion N.C. Sharpshooters.” (Despite that appellation, suggestive of an elite status, there is no evidence that the battalion received specialized weapons or training.)

The battalion remained with its parent unit, the 21st North Carolina, through early 1863. For the rest of the war, however, the 1st N.C. Sharpshooters performed a variety of tasks: in addition to combat duty, the men were used as wagon train guards and provost guards, and, during the winter of 1864-1865, they were dispersed behind the lines of the Army of Northern Virginia to arrest deserters.

Except for hospitalizations for illness in early 1862 and early 1865 Newell Wesley Sapp was always reported present for duty. He was promoted to third lieutenant in January 1863. As a second lieutenant, he commanded Company B when it surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 (Sixty-eight members from the two companies of the 1st N.C. Sharpshooters received paroles at Appomattox—more than in several regiments.)

Newell Wesley Sapp (February 28, 1838-July 30, 1904) is buried at Main Street United Methodist Church Cemetery, Kernersville, Forsyth County.

Image: Sixth-plate ambrotype, Walter Brown Jr., descendant.

Source Note:
1860 U. S. Census, Deep River District, Forsyth County, North Carolina, population schedule, pp. 81-82, dwelling 661, family 62, John H. Hester household; Manarin et. al., North Carolina Troops 3:77, 6:577; service record files Newell W. Sapp, 9th Battalion N.C. Sharp Shooters, 21st Regiment N.C. Troops, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers from the State of North Carolina (M270), RG109, NA; http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62988152