John's Top Matches
About John Randolph Lane
Civil War Confederate Army Officer. When the American Civil War erupted in 1861, he was working as a common farmer in central North Carolina. In May 1861, he pledged allegiance to his native state and enlisted as a Private into Company G of “The Chatham Boys”. Identified also as the “Chatham Grays”, the boys of Chatham County were subsequently assembled and mustered into Confederate service to form the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. In the ranks, his sagacity, kindness and self-discipline became manifest and for this reason, earned the admiration and high regard of his fellow comrades.
Elected to fill a Captaincy vacancy on September 19, 1861, he ably led his command at New Bern, North Carolina on March 14, 1862 during the Regiment’s effort to thwart the advancing blue columns commanded by Union General Ambrose Everett Burnside after this force made an amphibious landing on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Thereafter, Lane was selected for a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and was commissioned to this rank on August 19, 1862.
Accompanying General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia northward during its 1863 summer offensive, he was at hand during the critical first day of fighting at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Entering this crossroads town from the north-west, the ensuing battle was in full progress when he and the 26th North Carolina were deployed in a battle line opposite McPherson’s Ridge where Union General Solomon Meredith’s famed “Iron Brigade” awaited their advance. Assigned the menacing duty of dislodging these black-hatted veterans from their strategic position, Lane led his disciplined Tar Heels from Herr Ridge through a murderous fire to bitterly contest McPherson’s Ridge. At the height of the murderous action, Colonel Henry King Burgwyn Jr., commander of the 26th North Carolina, fell with a mortal wound. Now as the senior officer of the regiment, the leadership and responsibilities of it fell to him. After kneeling to comfort the dying Burgwyn, Lane rose to rally the remnants of his decimated North Carolinians. Pressing through smoke, sound and fury to within 20 yards of the Federal position in Herbst Woods, he was holding the Regiment’s colors aloft when a musket of a 24th Michigan infantryman was brought against him. The Wolverine’s rifle ball entered at the rear of Lane’s neck and passed through his mouth causing life lasting damage. Falling “limber as a rag” on the battlefield, his men charged to the fore without his leadership and continued to press on until the Union soldiers abandoned their position. Promoted to Colonel to date from July 1, 1863, he recovered enough from the ghastly Gettysburg injury to return and continue as the third and last Colonel of the 26th North Carolina Infantry.
For the remaining two years of bloody warfare, he directed his men in battle during all of the minor and major engagements that the Army of Northern Virginia participated. At the Wilderness on May 4, 1864, he “refused a furlough” to recuperate from a wound he received from the melee and likewise would refuse to leave the field after a wound to his right leg at Yellow Tavern, Virginia on June 15, 1864. In the closing year of the war, his accumulated and mounting wounds at last hospitalized him. He was bedridden in a Danville, Virginia infirmary when his 26th North Carolina Infantry stacked their weapons and officially surrendered without him at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. He was paroled on May 2, 1865 at Greensboro, North Carolina.
Upon returning to Chatham County, North Carolina, he became the prosperous proprietor of the Brookside Farm and Land Company. Regardless of never fully recovering from his wounds, he lived to the senior age of seventy-three when on December 31, 1908 he spoke his last words- “I am nearing the shore”. (bio by: Stonewall)