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JOSIAH HUDSON & JOHN HAYWOOD BYRD

CIVIL WAR DESCENDANTS PAUSE TO REMEMBER

 

FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF THE LATE JULIA M. BYRD,  A NATIVE OF JOHNSTON COUNTY, GATHERED FOR LUNCH FOLLOWING MRS. BYRD’S FUNERAL SERVICES IN DUNN RECENTLY WITH SOME OF THE FAMILY UNAWARE OF THEIR CONNECTION IN LOCAL HISTORY.

JULIA (HUDSON) MOORE BYRD WAS THE GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER OF JOSIAH HUDSON, A DECORATED CIVIL WAR SOLDIER.  MANY FAMILY MEMBERS WERE NOT AWARE OF A DOUBLE CIVIL WAR CONNECTION.  THE LATE CLEO CORNELIUS BYRD, SR., JULIA’S HUSBAND, WAS THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF JOHN HAYWOOD BYRD, ANOTHER DISTINGUISHED CIVIL WAR SOLDIER.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE DAILY RECORD IN 2003 CONCERNING JOHN HAYWOOD BYRD’S GRAVE BROUGHT THE MATTER TO THE ATTENTION OF THE CLEO C. BYRD FAMILY.  “WE WERE TOLD THEN IT WAS THE GRAVE OF OUR GREAT-GREATGRANDFATHER,” SAID KENNETH E. BYRD, JULIA AND CLEO’S SON.  “I MADE A MENTAL NOTE THEN TO DO SOME RESEARCH ON JOHN HAYWOOD’S WAR RECORD.  WE ALREADY HAD QUITE A BIT OF INFORMATION ON JOSIAH HUDSON’S RECORD.”
 “SOME OF US REALIZED AT MOTHER’S FUNERAL THAT HERE WERE DESCENDANTS OF THE TWO CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN THE SAME BATTLES ALMOST A CENTURY AND A HALF AGO,” HE CONTINUED.  “IT WAS A SPECIAL TIME IN THE HISTORY OF OUR TWO FAMILIES.

WE TALKED ABOUT GETTING THE BYRDS AND HUDSONS TOGETHER TO GIVE A FITTING TRIBUTE TO JOSIAH AND JOHN HAYWOOD.   IN THEIR DAY THEY WERE TWO OF THE AREA’S FINEST,” BYRD SAID OF HIS GREAT-GREATGRANDFATHERS.  HISTORICAL REFERENCES AND MILITARY RECORDS OF THE CSA INDICATE JOSIAH HUDSON AND JOHN HAWOOD BYRD LIVED LESS THAN TEN MILES FROM EACH OTHER.  ALTHOUGH IN DIFFERENT NORTH CAROLINA REGIMENTS, BOTH MEN FOUGHT IN THE SEVEN DAYS’ BATTLES, CULMINATING AT MALVERN HILL, VIRGINIA, JUNE-JULY OF 1862.  THE SOUTH SUFFERED OVER 14,000 CASUALTIES IN JUST TWO DAYS OF THE SEVEN DAYS’ BATTLES, BUT DEFLECTED GENERAL McCLELLAN’S UNION FORCES AND SAVED RICHMOND FOR THE CONFEDERACY.   JOSIAH HUDSON JOINED THE SAMPSON COUNTY BASED ‘INDEPENDENT BLUES’ IN 1861 AT AGE 23, LATER TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE NORTH CAROLINA 20TH REGIMENT.  HE WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED IN THE SEVEN DAYS’ BATTLE AT MALVERN HILL, VIRGINIA, IN 1862, WITH A MINIE BALL TO THE NECK, PIERCING HIS LUNG AND EXITING HIS STOMACH.  HE RECOVERED TO FIGHT IN THE BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE TEN MONTHS LATER.

 IN THE BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE JOSIAH WAS AGAIN WOUNDED, LOSING HIS LEG.  IN ONE HISTORICAL DOCUMENT JOSIAH STATES, “MY LEFT LEG WAS SHOT OFF AT MY KNEE.” JOSIAH HUDSON WAS AWARDED THE BADGE OF DISTINCTION FOR GALLANTRY AT CHANCELLORSVILLE AND IS LISTED IN THE CONFEDERATE ROLL OF HONOR.  THE SAMPSON COUNTY HISTORY MUSEUM HAS HONORED JOSIAH WITH AN EXHIBIT NOTING HIS WAR SERVICE WITH PERSONAL ARTIFACTS, MEMORABILIA AND PHOTOGRAPHS.
  
HE DIED IN 1932 AT THE AGE OF 94 AND IS BURIED IN THE HUDSON FAMILIY CEMETERY OFF GREEN PATH ROAD ON THE JOHNSTON-SAMPSON COUNTY LINE.

JOHN HAYWOOD BYRD WAS AMONG THE FIRST MEN FROM HARNETT COUNTY TO VOLUNTEER IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY.   HIS REGIMENT, THE NORTH CAROLINA 50TH, MUSTERED AT CAMP MANGUM NEAR RALEIGH IN APRIL OF 1862.  FOLLOWING THE REGIMENT’S VIRGINIA ENGAGEMENTS, THEY RETURNED TO NORTH CAROLINA AND SAW ACTION IN NEW BERN AND WASHINGTON AND DEFENDED WILMINGTON. 
 IN NOVEMBER OF 1864 THE N.C. 50TH MOVED SOUTH AND SHARED IN THE DEFENSE OF SAVANNAH.  SENT BACK TO NORTH CAROLINA, THEY FOUGHT AT AVERASBORO AND MADE THEIR LAST STAND AT BENTONVILLE ON APRIL 26, 1865, SURRENDING A FORCE REDUCED TO 250 MEN.  JOHN HAYWOOD FOUGHT FOR THE CONFEDERACY FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE WAR WITHOUT BEING WOUNDED, BUT, ACCORDING TO FAMILY MEMBERS, SUCCUMBED IN 1916 AT AGE 82 TO INTESTINAL DISEASE CONTRACTED DURING THE WAR FROM THE DRINKING WATER.   HIS GRAVE IS LOCATED ABOUT 50 FEET SOUTH OF THE DUNN-ERWIN TRAIL NEAR WATAUGA AVENUE, DUNN. 

THE TWO SOLDIERS SHARED BATTLEFIELDS, VICTORIES AND DEFEAT, NOT KNOWING THE KINSHIP THAT WOULD FOLLOW WITH THE MARRIAGE OF THEIR GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN, JULIA AND CLEO.  THEY DIDN’T KNOW THAT 141 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE BLOODIEST WAR IN AMERICAN HISTORY THEIR GREAT-GREATGRANCHILDREN WOULD PAUSE DURING A MOMENT OF PERSONAL LOSS TO REMEMBER THEM.

THE CIVIL WAR ENDED WITH THE SURRENDER OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE AT APPOMATOX COURTHOUSE, VIRGINIA, ON APRIL
1865.