26th Infantry

Second Lieutenant Abner Burgess Hayes

Company F (the “Hibriten Guards”), 26th Regiment N.C. Troops

Abner Burgess Hayes (born October 21, 1839) farmed with his parents and eight siblings in the Summers District, Caldwell County. The family was prosperous and owned one slave.

Abner enlisted at Lenoir on July 15, 1861, in the “Hibriten Guards,” subsequently Company F, 26th Regiment N.C. Troops. He was reported present through 1861 with the exception of a period in November –December when he was absent with leave. When Company F reorganized for the duration of the war in April 1862, Abner was elected third lieutenant and was promoted to second lieutenant on October 1, 1862.

Muster rolls are extant for Company F from September 1862 through June 1863, but no cards abstracted from those documents appear in Abner’s compiled military service record. It is likely the cards were either lost or misfiled with the records of another soldier.

It is therefore unknown if Abner participated in the invasion of Pennsylvania and the Battle of Gettysburg, but it is likely he did not. Company F sustained one hundred per cent casualties at Gettysburg, and Abner’s name is not on a postwar list of those casualties compiled by Captain Romulus Tuttle. His name does appear on Fuel Requisitions for Company F for August and September 1863. Those documents are often signed by the company commander, and it appears that Abner, the only company officer not killed or wounded at Gettysburg, assumed command of Company F during that period.

Abner was severely wounded at the Battle of Bristoe Station, October 13, 1863, by a gunshot wound “through flexor muscle right fore arm.” He was hospitalized at Richmond until October 23, when he was granted a thirty-day furlough. The same day he drew his back pay, amounting to $144.30. The furlough was extended in December, and possibly again in February 1864.

Like most regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia, the 26th North Carolina bled incessantly during the Overland Campaign of May-June 1864. From the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, the 26th suffered 196 casualties, including forty-nine men killed or mortally wounded in action. One of them was Abner, who was hospitalized in early June with a “Gun Shot Wound of the Breast,” probably sustained at Cold Harbor, and died on June 7, 1864.

On October 7, 1864, Abner’s father, John Hayes, filed a claim with the Confederate government for Abner’s back pay. There is no evidence the claim was ever settled.

Image: N.C. Office of Archives and History.

Source Note:
1860 U. S. Census, Summers District, Caldwell County, North Carolina, population schedule, page 41, dwelling 324, family 293, John Hayes household; 1860 U.S. Census, Summers District, Caldwell County, North Carolina slave schedule, page 2, John Hayes, slave owner; Clark, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions, 5:601-603; Manarin et. al., North Carolina Troops 7:533; Mast, “North Carolina Casualties”; service record files of Abner B. Hayes, 26th Regiment N.C. Troops, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers from the State of North Carolina (M270), RG109, NA.