HART'S ENGINEERS

CO E, 3RD REGIMENT

CONFEDERATE STATES ENGINEERS

A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF AN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

ENGINEERING COMPANY

DEDICATION

This brief history is dedicated to the men of Hart's Engineers, Co E, 3rd Regiment, Confederate States Engineers for whom we, in our small way, try to honor.

Les Revier

1st Sgt. Co. E

"The Third [Regiment] accompanied the Army of the Tennessee through its few triumphs and many miseries. Pontoon bridges and field fortifications--that was their story."

Nichols, in "Confederate Engineers"

HART'S ENGINEERS
Co E, 3rd Regiment
CSA

A Brief Chronology of an American Civil War Engineering Company

    The following is a chronological summary of the civil war activities of one company of the 3rd Regiment, Confederate States Engineers. This company was commanded by Lieutenant, later Captain, William T. Hart throughout it's formation in 1863 and tragic end in April, 1865. The company was originally known as "Hart's Engineers", but later became Co E of the 3rd Regiment. Although the company was officially attached to the 3rd Regiment which was assigned to the Army of The Tennessee, Hart's Engineers served for the most part as a detached engineer company in the Western Virginia and Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. 
    Hart's Engineers served with distinction under Generals John Breckinridge and Jubal Early during the Shenandoah Valley campaigns of 1864-65. This history of Hart's Engineers is presented as a chronology. It was done so that significant information on the units, commanders, and events influencing the actions of Company E could be portrayed. Most of the records of the Confederate Corps of Engineers were destroyed during the evacuation and occupation of Richmond during the last days of the war, thus most of the information gathered here represents dates and facts gathered from books, journals, biographies, and the Official Records of the Civil War.

1862

Sept. 11 - Confederate States Pioneers under the command of Lieutenant W. T. Hart, clear roads of fallen tree obstructions placed by retreating Union troops following an engagement near Fayette Court House, Virginia in the Kanawha Valley Campaign. Hart and the confederate pioneers worked in cooperation with Colonel Wharton's brigade under the overall command of Brigadier General John S. Williams commanding Second Brigade. Dept of South West Virginia (Official Records, Series I, Volume 19, Part 1, page 1083).
Oct. 4 - Jeremy F. Gilmer, Lieutenant Colonel (Date of Rank: 16 March, 1862). Appointed command of the Confederate Engineer Bureau. (Nichols James L., Confederate Engineers, Confederate Centennial Studies, page 29, Confederate Publishing Co., Tuscaloosa Alabama, 1957)
Nov. 25 - Army and Dept. to which Co E is assigned is renamed (Trans-Allegheny) West Va. from South West Va. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 903).
Dec. 10 - The Army & Dept of West Virginia is at this time commanded by Sam Jones, Major General (date of rank: March 10, 1862). (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 903).

1863

March 18 - In Southwestern Virginia, as Confederate troops are mobilized to different fronts in order to respond to potential Union threats, Lieutenant W. T. Hart, Confederate Engineers, reports to General Sam Jones, Department Commander,and Brigadier General John Williams that there were two ferry boats available and in working order for river crossing at Pack's Ferry, Virginia of Confederate troops en-route to Raleigh Court House, Virginia. (Official Records, Series I. Volume 25, Part 2, page 674). March 20 - General Orders No. 66, Confederate States Government. "To provide and organize engineer troops to serve during the war." This general order expands and provides for the establishment of five new regiments in the Provisional Army of the Confederacy. Prior to this time the Confederate States Engineer Corps was comprised mostly of engineering officers and senior non-commissioned officers. (Jernigan, C., and Settle, R., History and Handbook for the Engineer Reenactor, !995, Page 23).
June 15-18 - Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Gilmer, Confederate Engineer Corps, orders Captain S. W. Presstman to organize his available engineer and pioneer forces under Generals Bragg and Hardee into 3rd Regiment, Confederate States Engineers. The regiment was organized and attached to the Department of West Virginia and East Tennessee. The regiment was formed by the addition of two companies to a unit known as Presstman's Confederate States Engineers Battalion The unit was also known as the 3rd Confederate States Sappers and Miners. Soon after mustering into the confederate army the 3rd Regiment was attached to the Army of the Tennessee. (Walter, John F., Third Confederate States Engineers: Official History, 1994.; Nichols James L., Confederate Engineers, pages 94-95, Confederate Centennial Studies, Confederate Publishing Co., Tuscaloosa Alabama, 1957).
Sept. 13
-
Captain W. T. Hart's engineers, located at New River Bridge, New River Virginia are informed by Confederate Headquarters of the Department of Western Virginia to be alert for Union raiders who may be working their way to the New River Bridge area. (Official Records, Series 1, Volume 29, Part 2, Series 49, Page 717).
Oct. 22
-
Special Orders 38 promotes Brigadier General Danville Leadbetter, to Chief of Department of Engineers of the Department of Tennessee. General Leadbetter is assigned to staff of the commanding general, Braxton Bragg, and Captain S. W. Presstman, is appointed to command the engineers of the Army of the Tennessee which included the 3rd Regiment. (Official Records Series I, Volume 31, part 3, page 581).
Oct. 31
-
Hart's Engineers (Co E) are detached from 3rd Regiment, Army of the Tennessee and remain with the Army and Dept. of Western Virginia. The Department is commanded by Sam Jones, Maj. Gen., with headquarters located in Dublin Depot, Dublin Virginia The area is an important railway communications center for the Confederacy. Strategically located to provide for communications between the two major armies of the Confederacy, the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of Northern Virginia. The Department includes the salt-works at Saltville, the lead mining works at Wytheville, Virginia, both essential to the government and armies of the Confederacy. Co E is listed as an unattached company of engineers of the 3rd Regiment, Confederate States Engineers. William T. Hart, Captain, Commanding. Co E. roster includes 4 officers and 54 enlisted engineers. (Official Records Series I, Vol. 29, part 2, page 813 also see page 909, same volume and series).
Dec 10
-
Official Rosters formally indicate that Major S.W. Presstman, commands 3rd Regiment, CSA Engineers, including Co's A, B,C,D,F and G with Army of Tennessee. Co E is attached with the Department of Western Virginia. (Official Records, Series I. Volume 31, Part 3, page 808; Katcher, Philip, Civil War Source Book, Facts on File, New York, 1995, Page 227 ).
Dec 31
-
The Official Records indicate that Hart's Engineers is still an unassigned engineer company in the Army/Department of Western Virginia William T. Hart, Captain, Commanding. Co E, 3rd Confederate Engineers. Company Roster includes 3 officers and 43 enlisted engineers. (Official Records, Series I, Vol 31, Part 3, page 908 also see page 892, same volume and part.)

1864

Jan. 31 - William T. Hart, Captain Commanding Co E. Roster includes 2 Officers and 45 enlisted engineers. Co E is still assigned to the Army and Dept. of Western Virginia. (Official Records, Series I, Part 3, Volume 33, page 1136).
Feb. 25- John Breckinridge, Major General, CSA. (date of rank: February 14, 1862) Assigned command of Department Army & Dept of Western Virginia replacing General Sam Jones, on February 25, 1864. General Breckinridge takes actual command of the army on March 5, 1864. General Orders No. 14. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 83).
Feb. 29 - Hart's Company of Confederate States Engineer Troops, William T. Hart, Captain, Commanding Co E. Co E is now assigned to Colonel John McCausland's infantry brigade, in Jones' Division, Army/Department of West Virginia, Dublin Depot, Dublin, Virginia. Company Roster includes 2 Officers and 48 enlisted. Headquartered at Dublin, Virginia. ( Official Records Series I, Part 3, Volume 33, pages 1203 and 1204).
March 30 - Hart's Engineers, William T. Hart, Captain Commanding. Co E. is now listed as a miscellaneous company, separate from McClausland's Brigade, but still in Breckinridge's Division. The division includes Echol's Brigade, McCausland's Brigade, Wharton's Brigade, Bosangs Company, (Co. C, 4th Virginia. infantry). Company Roster includes 2 Officers and 48 enlisted engineers. (Official Records, Series I, Volume 33, page 1298).
March 31 - William T. Hart, Captain Commanding Co E. Army/Department of Western Virginia, attached with Col. John McCausland's Brigade, of Breckinridge's Division, Commanded by Major General John C. Breckinridge, includes 36th Virginia infantry regiment and 45th Virginia Battalion, and 60th Virginia infantry regiment. Company Roster includes 2 Officers and 48 enlisted engineers. (Official Records, Series I, Volume 33, Pages 1250 and 1251)
May 8 - Colonel McCausland, former Co E brigade commander takes command of Morgan's and Jenkin's calvary troops staves off Union calvary threats thereby protecting Dublin Depot, and the communities of Saltville, and Whytheville, Virginia. (Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume IV, Page, 423 )
May 10 - Union General Franz Sigel's army moves up the Shenandoah Valley towards New Market, Virginia. Hart's Engineers see action at New River Bridge, Virginia. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 588).
May 14 - Confederate Colonel John McCausland is promoted to Brigadier General and assumes command of a confederate cavalry brigade. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 523).
May 15 - General Breckinridge with Wharton and Echols' brigades, including Hart's Engineers, and the cadets from the Virginia Military Institute fight in the Battle of New Market, Virginia defeating Union units under Union General Franz Sigel, thwarting an Union occupation of the upper Shenandoah Valley. Hart's Engineer Company comprising 37 engineer officers and enlisted, fight as infantry on the confederate left incurring 27 percent causalities. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 588; Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume IV, page 491; Davis, William C., The Battle of New Market, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1975, pages 104 and 131).
June 6 - Robert E. Lee orders Breckinridge's Division comprised of the brigades of Wharton, and Echols, including Hart's engineers, east to lend support to the Army of Northern Virginia in the Cold Harbor Campaign. Co E fights with Breckinridge in the Battle of Cold Harbor. Breckinridge's Division and A.P. HiIl's Corps are assigned to the Confederate right flank. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 162; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 247).
June 12 - In order to counter Union General David Hunter's attacks on the Shenandoah Valley, Robert E. Lee assigns Major General Jubal A. Early of the Army of Northern Virginia's II Corps to independent command in the Valley. Breckinridge's Division, composed of the brigades of Echols and Wharton, including Co E, is assigned to Early's army. Early's orders are to frustrate General Grant's plans, move down the Shenandoah Valley, and threaten Washington, D.C. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 254; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 251). ).
June 16 - Breckinridge and his division after searching for Union General David Hunter for a week discover that his intentions are to attack Lynchburg, Virginia, a vital manufacturing and communications link located on the Virginia and Tennessee railroad which goes between Knoxville, Tennessee and the confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Breckinridge's division fortifies and holds Lynchburg until General Early's units, now known as the Army of the Valley, arrive. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 252).
June 18 - General Early defeats Union General David Hunter at Battle of Lynchburg, Virginia. Breckinridge's Division, including Co E, fight under General D. H. Hill since Breckinridge was recovering from injuries received when his horse fell on him at Cold Harbor. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 255, 497; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 254).
June 27 - Early reorganizes his Army into two corps with Breckinridge now second in command to Early and also the commander of one of the two corps. This corps includes Breckinridge's Division, composed of Wharton, Echols, including Hart's Engineers and John B. Gordon's Division. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 180; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 264).
July 9 - Battle of the Monocacy, Virginia. Breckinridge's Corps assigned to Early's right flank, crosses Monocacy River and fights and defeats troops from Union VI Corps . (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 255; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 273-274).
July 11 - Early at outskirts of Washington, D.C. Early and Breckinridge occupy Blair House, the house of Francis Blair, Lincoln's Postmaster General. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 284-285).
Sept. 9 - Falling back from Washington, Early's army retires behind a line of defense established at the Opequon Creek, Virginia. Hart's Engineers assist in surveying surrounding area for military purposes. (Hotchkiss, Jedediah, Make me a Map of the Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, 1973, Southern Methodist University Press, page 227).
Sept. 19 - Battle of Winchester, Virginia. General Early defeated by Union Gen Phil Sheridan and retreats further up the Shenandoah Virginia. Breckinridge's division with Co E were overrun by the Union VIII Corps. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 338).
Sept. 20 - General Breckinridge, his staff, and some troops are reassigned back to Department of South West Virginia. Richmond reassigned Breckinridge in order to cope with "a bad state of affairs in West Virginia and East Tennessee". Wharton with Hart's engineers remain with Early. (Hotchkiss, Jedediah, Make me a Map of the Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, 1973, Southern Methodist University Press, page 230; Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 341). )
Sept. 22 - Battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia. Hart's Engineers partaking in Early's line of retreat from Battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia are ordered to hold the bridge and to stop retreating confederate troops from crossing the river beyond Mount Jackson, Virginia. (Hotchkiss, Jedediah, Make me a Map of the Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, 1973, Southern Methodist University Press, page 231).
Oct. 19 - Battle of Cedar Creek. Early's Army defeated by Sheridan. Shortly afterwards General Early again reorganizes Army. Wharton's (old Breckinridge's) division now under Major General John B. Gordon. (Nichols James L., Confederate Engineers, pages 94-95, Confederate Centennial Studies, Confederate Publishing Co., Tuscaloosa Alabama, 1957; Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol IV, pages 522-530)
Nov. 14 - Early's Corps goes into winter quarters around New Market. Hart's Engineers assigned into camp near Confederate Headquarters. (Hotchkiss, Jedediah, Make me a Map of the Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, 1973, Southern Methodist University Press, page 243).
Dec. 6 - All of Early's division's, except Wharton's are now reassigned to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 384).
Dec. 22 - Breckinridge's Headquarters of Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee, headquartered at Whytheville, Virginia, requests General Early to reassign Hart's Engineers to the Department. (Official Records ,Series I, Volume 43, Part 2, Page 945).
Dec. 27 - Hart's Engineers on duty at Lexington, Virginia, attached to General Early's command, Valley District, CSA, are assigned to the repair of a critical bridge in order to restore vital confederate lines of communication. (Official Records, Series I, Volume 43, Part 2, Page 945).

1865

Jan 11 - Hart's Engineers are ordered by General Early to report to Major General Breckinridge in the Department of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee, headquartered at Whytheville, Virginia to assist in the repair of 33 destroyed railway bridges on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. (Official Records, Series I, Volume 43, Part 2, Page 945).  Feb 4 - Major General John Breckinridge appointed Confederate Secretary of War by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 386).  
Feb. 20 - Department of Western Virginia, to which Co E is assigned, is renamed Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 904).
Feb. 20 - Lieutenant General Early appointed replace John Breckinridge as commander of the Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, page 386).
Feb. 28 - Hart's Engineers, along with Company A, a pioneer company of the 3rd Regiment, CSA Engineers, are assigned to the Engineer Battalion of the Department of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. The Battalion is commanded by Captain R. C. McCalla, CSA Engineers, who is also the commander of Co A. (Official Records, Series I, Part I, Volume 49, Page 1022). 
March 3
-
Battle of Waynesboro, Virginia. General Early's "Army", comprised mostly of Wharton's Division is destroyed by Union troops under the command of Phil Sheridan. Almost all troops, wagons, and artillery are captured. Most Confederate resistance in Shenandoah Valley ends. General Early is relieved of command of the Army and Department by Robert E. Lee shortly afterwards. (Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992, pages 387-390).
March 30- General John Echols assumes command of Department of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 259)
April 9
- Robert E. Lee Surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia. (Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. IV, page 739). 
April 9
-
General Echols moves to join Robert E. Lee when the Army of Northern Virginia surrenders. Confederate units, including Co E, which are still assigned to the Department of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee are disbanded at Christiansburg, Southwest Virginia. (Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York. Page 259; Bible, Donahue, Trampled Honor: Vaughn's Brigade at Piedmont, in Columbiad, Cowles History Group, 1997, Vol 1, Number 3, Page 138).

ENGAGEMENTS AND BATTLES

Hart's Engineers (Co E, 3rd Regiment, Confederate States Engineers)

DATE

LOCATION

OVERALL COMMANDER

09/11/62

Kanawha Valley, Va.

W.W. Loring

05/04/64

New River Bridge Va.

John Breckinridge

05/15/64

New Market, Va.

John Breckinridge

06/03/64

Cold Harbor, Va

Robert E. Lee.

06/17/64

Lynchburg, Va.

Jubal Early

07/09/64

Monocacy, Md.

Jubal Early

09/19/64

Winchester, Va

Jubal Early

09/22/64

Fisher's Hill, Va.

Jubal Early

10/19/64

Cedar Creek, Va

Jubal Early

ENGAGEMENTS AND BATTLES:

3rd Regiment

DATE

BATTLE/ENGAGEMENT

OVERALL COMMANDER

11/07/63-12/06/63

Knoxville, Tenn.

B. Bragg, Army of the Tenn.

05/13/64-05/16/64

Reseca, Ga

J. Johnston, Army of the Tenn.

06/17/64-06/18/64

Lynchburg, Va

J.Breckinridge, Army of W. Va. & Early

06/27/64

Kenasaw Mtn., Ga

J. Johnston, Army of the Tenn

08/25/64

Atlanta, Ga.

S. Hood, Army of the Tenn.

08/31/64-09/01/64

Jonesborough, Ga.

S. Hood, Army of the Tenn.

10/09/64

Cedar Creek, Va

J. Early, II Corps, ANV, indep. Commd

12/15/64-12/16/64

Nashville, Tenn.

S. Hood, Army of the Tenn.

03/02/65

Waynesborough, Va

J. Early, Army of the Valley

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 4 vols., 1983.

Boatner III, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, revised, Vintage Books, Random House, Inc. New York.

Freeman, D.S., Lee's Lieutenants. 3 vols., New York, 1942-44.

Hotchkiss, Jedediah, Make me a Map of the Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, 1973, Southern Methodist University Press.

Jernigan, C., and Settle, R., History and Handbook for the Engineer Reenactor, 1995.

Katcher, Philip, Civil War Source Book, Facts on File, New York, 1995.

Nichols, James L., Confederate Engineers, Confederate Centennial Studies, Confederate Publishing Co., Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1957.

Osborne, C. C., Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA, Algonquin Books, of Chapel Hill, 1992.

Walters, John F., Third Confederate States Engineers, Unpublished Review of The Offical Records, July, 1994.

War Department., The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 Vol., 1880-1891.