Isaac "Ike" Irwin Avery (c.1828 - 1863)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Swans Ponds, Burke, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Gettysburg, Adams Co., PA
Managed by: Steven Kelley
Last Updated:

About Isaac "Ike" Irwin Avery

Died in Pickett's Charge

Isaac Erwin Avery (December 20, 1828 – July 3, 1863) was a colonel in the Confederate States Army who perished at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. He is most remembered for a poignant blood-stained note that he wrote as he lay dying on the slopes of Cemetery Hill.

Isaac E. Avery, born at Swan Ponds in Burke County, North Carolina, was the fourth son of Isaac Thomas and Harriet Erwin Avery, who in total had 16 children. Three of the brothers would be killed during the Civil War and another crippled for life.

"Ike" was the grandson of Waightstill Avery (1741-1821), a fiery Revolutionary War hero who served as the first attorney general of North Carolina and who had once been challenged to a duel by Andrew Jackson. Isaac attended the University of North Carolina for one year in 1847, but left to manage a plantation for his father in Yancey County. He formed a partnership with Charles F. Fisher and Samuel McDowell Tate to act as contractors in the building of the Western North Carolina Railroad in the mid-1850s.

With his state's secession from the Union, Isaac returned to Burke County and, with his brother Alphonso, recruited Company E of the 6th North Carolina Regiment. As captain, Isaac commanded the company, which fought in the First Battle of Manassas and the Battle of Seven Pines. In the summer of 1862, he was promoted to colonel. He was wounded at Gaines' Mill and was out of action until the fall. Following the reorganization of the army after the Battle of Fredericksburg, the 6th North Carolina was placed under the command of veteran Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hoke.

With Hoke's wounding at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1862, Avery temporarily assumed command of the brigade in time for the Gettysburg Campaign. The 34-year-old Avery led his troops forward on Day 1 on a wide sweep north and east of the borough of Gettysburg. Union artillery fire from a knoll near Culp's Hill finally halted his advance. On July 2nd, Maj. Gen. Jubal Early ordered Avery and the brigade of Harry T. Hays to assault Cemetery Hill. Attacking in the early evening, Avery was struck in the neck by a musket ball and fell bleeding from his white horse. After the ill-fated charge, the partially paralyzed officer was discovered by several of his soldiers. His aide and former business partner, Maj. Samuel Tate of the 6th North Carolina, knelt by his side. Unable to speak from his mortal wound and with his right hand useless from the paralysis, Avery with his left hand scribbled a simple note for Tate: "Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy. I. E. Avery." He died the following day in a nearby field hospital. A servant, Elijah, carried Avery's body in a cart to Williamsport, Maryland, where it was initially buried.

Accolades were quick to come for the fallen Tar Heel colonel. The man who assumed the brigade command with Avery's demise, Col. Archibald C. Godwin, wrote in his official report, "Here I learned for the first time that our brigade commander (Col. Isaac E. Avery), had been mortally wounded. In his death the country lost one of her truest and bravest sons, and the army one of its most gallant and efficient officers."

General Early in his report wrote, "I had to regret the absence of the gallant Brigadier-General Hoke, who was severely wounded in the action of May 4, at Fredericksburg, and had not recovered, but his place was worthily filled by Colonel Avery, of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment, who fell, mortally wounded, while gallantly leading his brigade in the charge on Cemetery Hill, at Gettysburg, on the afternoon of July 2. In his death the Confederacy lost a good and brave soldier."

The Isaac E. Avery Chapter #282 of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, a fraternal organization, is named in memory of the colonel.

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   Isaac Erwin Avery attended the University of North Carolina for one year in 1847, but left to manage a plantation for his father in Yancey County. He formed a partnership with Charles F. Fisher of Salisbury and Samuel McDowell Tate of Morganton to act as contractors in the building of the Western North Carolina Railroad in the mid 1850s.
   With his state's secession from the Union, Isaac returned to Burke County and, with his brother Alphonso, recruited Company E of the 6th North Carolina Regiment.
   Col. Avery was killed July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg. Avery lead the attack of Cemetery Hill on a white horse, the only mounted man of the command. He was struck by a ball at the base of the neck and fell from the saddle.  As he lay among the wounded and dying, he brought out paper and pencil and wrote in uncertain letters to his aide, Captain McPherson: "Major tell my father I died with my face to the enemy, I. E. Avery." The original note is now in the North Carolina State Archives. His body was brought by his faithful servant Elijah, in a cart to Williamsport where it was buried. In 1874, Avery's remains were reinterred in the newly established Washington Confederate Cemetery at Hagerstown, Maryland. Unfortunately misspelled, he was registered as "Col. J. E. Ayer, 6th N.C.S.T., July 3, 1863." ,
   The man who assumed the brigade command with Avery's demise, Col. Archibald C. Godwin, wrote in his official report, "Here I learned for the first time that our brigade commander (Col. Isaac E. Avery), had been mortally wounded. In his death the country lost one of her truest and bravest sons, and the army one of its most gallant and efficient officers."
   Major General Jubal Early in his report wrote, "I had to regret the absence of the gallant Brigadier-General Hoke, who was severely wounded in the action of May 4, at Fredericksburg, and had not recovered, but his place was worthily filled by Colonel Avery, of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment, who fell, mortally wounded, while gallantly leading his brigade in the charge on Cemetery Hill, at Gettysburg, on the afternoon of July 2. In his death the Confederacy lost a good and brave soldier."
   The good news:
   On Saturday, November 3, 2008 at 11 a.m. in the Confederate Cemetery at Rose Hill Cemetery/Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland, there will be a ceremony dedicating a new stone, with correct spelling, at the final resting place of Col. Isaac Avery of the 6th North Carolina Regiment.
  1. _EDUC:

1839 University of North Carolina

  1. Military:

CSA, officer, Confederate Army, 6th North Carolina Regiment, Hoke's Brigade; following the reorganization of the army after the Battle of Fredericksburg, Isaac Avery's regiment was placed under the command of General Robert F. Hoke; Avery took command of Hoke's Brigade when the general was injured at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. He was killed during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

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Civil War Confederate Army Officer. Served during the Civil War as Colonel and comander of the 6th North Carolina Infantry. At the Battle of Gettysburg, on the evening of July 2, 1863, he led his Brigade as he stormed East Cemetery Hill trying to dislodge the Union forces. Halfway up the hill he was killed. His final words were "Tell my father I died with my face to the enemy." His body was borne to the rear and later buried at or near Ball's Bluff National Cemetery near Leesburg, but was later removed to Hagerstown, Maryland. (bio by: Ethan F. Bishop) -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_E._Avery

Isaac Erwin Avery (December 20, 1828 – July 3, 1863) was a planter and an officer in the Confederate States Army. He died at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Avery is most remembered for a poignant blood-stained note that he wrote as he lay dying on the slopes of Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg.

Early life

Isaac Erwin Avery was born at Swan Ponds in Burke County, North Carolina, the fourth son of Isaac Thomas and Harriet Erwin Avery, who in total had 16 children. Three of the brothers, including Col. Clark M. Avery of the 33rd North Carolina, would be killed during the Civil War and another crippled for life.

Avery was the grandson of Waightstill Avery (1741–1821), a fiery American Revolutionary War hero who served as the first attorney general of North Carolina and who had once been challenged to a duel by Andrew Jackson. Isaac attended the University of North Carolina for one year in 1847, but left to manage a plantation for his father in Yancey County.

Avery later formed a partnership with Charles F. Fisher and Samuel McDowell Tate to act as contractors in the building of the Western North Carolina Railroad in the mid-1850s.

Civil War service

With his state's secession from the Union, Isaac returned to Burke County, and with his brother Alphonso, recruited Company E of the 6th North Carolina Regiment. As captain, Avery commanded the company, which fought in the First Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Seven Pines. In the summer of 1862, he was promoted to colonel. He was wounded at Gaines' Mill and was out of action until late in the fall. Avery's recovery caused him to miss the battles at Second Bull Run and Antietam. Following the reorganization of the army after the Battle of Fredericksburg, the 6th North Carolina was placed under the command of veteran Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hoke.

Gettysburg and death

With Hoke's wounding at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Avery temporarily assumed command of the brigade in time for the Gettysburg Campaign. The now 34 year old Avery led his troops forward on July 1 on a wide sweep north and east of the borough of Gettysburg. Union artillery fire from a knoll near Culp's Hill finally halted his advance. On July 2, Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early ordered Avery along with the brigade of Brig. Gen. Harry T. Hays to assault eastern Cemetery Hill. Attacking in the early evening, Avery was struck in the neck by a musket ball and fell from his white horse, bleeding badly. Apparently he was alone at the time, and the brigade's attack was delivered without coordination. After the ill-fated charge, the partially paralyzed officer was discovered by several of his soldiers. His aide and former business partner, Maj. Samuel Tate of the 6th North Carolina, knelt by his side. Unable to speak from his mortal wound and with his right hand useless from the paralysis, Avery with his left hand scribbled a simple note and gave it to Tate. It said: "Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy. I. E. Avery."

Avery died the following day in a nearby Gettysburg field hospital. He was initially buried in Riverview Cemetery in Williamsport, Maryland, but later reburied at Washington Confederate Cemetery, part of Rose Hill Cemetery, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Legacy

Accolades were quick to come for the fallen Tar Heel colonel. The man who assumed the brigade command with Avery's demise, Col. Archibald C. Godwin, wrote in his official report: "Here I learned for the first time that our brigade commander (Col. Isaac E. Avery), had been mortally wounded. In his death the country lost one of her truest and bravest sons, and the army one of its most gallant and efficient officers."

Gen. Early in his report wrote: "I had to regret the absence of the gallant Brigadier-General Hoke, who was severely wounded in the action of May 4, at Fredericksburg, and had not recovered, but his place was worthily filled by Colonel Avery, of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment, who fell, mortally wounded, while gallantly leading his brigade in the charge on Cemetery Hill, at Gettysburg, on the afternoon of July 2. In his death the Confederacy lost a good and brave soldier."

The Isaac E. Avery Chapter #282 of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, a fraternal organization, is named in memory of the colonel.

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Colonel Isaac "Ike" Avery (CSA)'s Timeline

1828
December 20, 1828
Burke, North Carolina, United States
1863
July 3, 1863
Age 34
Gettysburg, Adams Co., PA
????
Washington Confederate Cemetery, Hagerstown, MD