This regiment was formed in Virginia early in 1863 by adding new companies to the Second Battalion of five companies, which had made a gallant record at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Cold Harbor, Glendale, Manassas Plains, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg (see Second Battalion). Capt. Joseph M. Jayne was promoted to Colonel January 19, 1863, and assigned to command of the Forty-eighth Regiment, Featherston's Brigade, Anderson's division, Longstreet's corps. This was about the same time that Gen. Carnot Posey took command of the brigade. The other field officers of the new regiment were Thomas B. Manlove, Lieutenant-Colonel; L. C. Lee, Major; and the staff, M. R. Campbell, Adjutant; A. A. Lyon, Surgeon; W. W. Scott, Assistant Surgeon; Thomas M. Folkes, Quartermaster; H. L. Coffee, Commissary; W. Smith, Sergeant-Major.
The brigade was in camp near Fredericksburg, with occasional picket duty on the river, until the middle of February, when it was posted at the United States ford, whence they moved to Chancellorsville April 29, when the river had been crossed at other forts by Hooker; and from Chancellorsville to the crossing of the Mine and Plank roads, Chancellorsville being occupied by Hooker after their departure.
The regiment had a gallant part in the extraordinary service of Posey's brigade in the series of battles about Chancellorsville. (See Twelfth and Sixteenth.) The brigade first encountered the enemy on the Plank road on the morning of May 1, when Lieut.-Col. T. B. Manlove gallantly led a line of skirmishers with good effect. In the famous charge upon the Federal breastworks about Chancellorsville, May 3, Colonel Jayne was wounded. On the afternoon of the same day, the brigade being moved near to its position before the battle at United States ford, the Nineteenth and Twelfth engaged the enemy's skirmishers. The casualties of the regiment were 10 killed, 50 wounded, 11 missing.
After this they were at Fredericksbnrg until Lee's army was in motion for Pennsylvania, A. P. Hill's corps, to which they were now attached, being the last to leave the front of Hooker's army. The brigade was moved below Fredericksburg and occupied the line of the valley road, the Forty-eighth Regiment being thrown to the front and deployed as skirmishers along the river bank. The enemy, desiring information of the movements of General Lee, on the 5th of June placed pontoons in the river and crossed a large force of infantry and artillery. After a spirited engagement the Forty-eighth Regiment was compelled by superior numbers to fall back to the line occupied by the other regiments of the brigade. The enemy did not pursue. (Harris' Diary.) Next day the brigade began to march to Pennsylvania, and they reached the battlefield of the 1st July, near Gettysburg, on the evening of that day. Next day they were advanced to the front of the Federal line on Cemetery ridge.
The regiment went into battle July 2 on the left of Wright's Georgia brigade, in that part of the field where their division, Anderson's of A. P. Hill's corps, attacked the Federal positions at the peach orchard and in the vicinity of Little Round Top. Wright reported that he drove the enemy from the crest of the ridge before him, a continuation of the Cemetery ridge that Pickett and Pettigrew could not carry the next day, and gained the key of the whole Federal line. "Unfortunately, just as we had carried the enemy's last and strongest position, it was discovered that the brigade on our right (Perry's Floridians) had not only not advanced across the turnpike but actually given away and was rapidly falling back to the rear, while on our left we were entirely unprotected, the brigade (Posey's) ordered to our support having failed to advance." Often there were such fatalities. Posey had been instructed by General Anderson to advance but two of his regiments and deploy them as skirmishers. When Wright advanced the Forty-eighth, under Colonel Jayne, advanced on his left. On the left of the Forty-eighth was the Nineteenth, which pushed up the slope until a Federal battery was within sixty yards of the right of the skirmish line. To go further without dislodging this battery was impracticable, and the dislodging of it occupied the regiment until dark. This may explain the failure to more closely follow General Wright. But the want of coordination was a strange feature of the battle for which the men were not to blame. The casualties were 6 killed, 24 wounded.
The brigade was for some days in line of battle at Hagerstown after this, and after the retreat to Virginia they went in camp at Orange Courthouse. They were with Hill’s corps in the advance across the Rappahannock, and under a heavy fire at Bristoe Station October 14, where General Posey was mortally wounded. The regiment there had 1 killed and 3 wounded. They encamped at Brandy Station, went into line of battle November 17, at the time of the Rappahannock bridge affair, retired thence beyond the Rapidan, and when Meade followed went into line of battle on Mine Run. The winter was passed in camp on the Rapidan, whence the brigade was ordered to the battlefield of the Wilderness May 5, 1864, where their service was most important and gallant. Operating on or near the Plank road, they charged and repulsed the Federal flank movement against the brigades of Davis, Perry and Law, capturing 150 prisoners, but suffering considerable loss.
Lieutenant-Colonel Manlove was severely wounded at the head of his regiment. Two days later a line of skirmishers under the command of Capt. W. R. Stone, of the Forty-eighth, advanced and, encountering a body of the enemy's cavalry, captured 80 prisoners, 107 horses and equipments and two guidons. On the morning they made a hurried march to Spottsylvania Courthouse, were in action that day and next at the Po River bridge, and on the 12th shared the famous service of the brigade in the Bloody Angle (see Twelfth, Sixteenth and Nineteenth Regiments.)
Among the killed at the salient were Captains McAfee, Davis and Reynhart. General Harris mentioned the gallant conduct of Courier A. W. Hancock and Private F. Dolan, who repeatedly went after and brought up ammunition under the terrific fire which tore away the trees. The casualties May 6-12 were 9 killed, 29 wounded, 33 missing.
A--Capt. H. T. Coffee, missing; Lieut. Nell Dawson, killed.
B---Capt. J. M. McAfee, killed.
C--Lieut. W. B. Williams, wounded; Capt. John M. Shackleford, wounded.
D--Capt. N. P. Davis, killed.
E--Lieut. H. Reynhart, missing and wounded.
F--Lieut. S. D McClellan, wounded; Lieut. S. B. Walker, wounded.
G--Lieut.. D. Damovan [killed, wounded, or missing not stated].
H--Lieut. W. M. Bullock missing.
I--Lieut. C. J. Lewis, wounded.
On this line and the North Anna line and later at Cold Harbor, the regiment was in almost continuous battle for weeks, without time for a bath or change of clothing. The lines were so close at Cold Harbor that the least noise of the movement of troops caused a heavy outburst of artillery and infantry fire. June 6 General Harris was ordered to advance a body of picked men and feel the enemy's position. The order was executed, the skirmishers of the enemy being forced back to their main line and the fact ascertained that Grant's army had not yet begun a change of line. Over half the force engaged in this reconnaissance was killed and wounded, including the gallant Lieut. Neil Dawson, of the Forty-eighth, killed. For a week officers and men fell daily under the constant fire of artillery and sharpshooters. Then it was found that Grant's army was advancing on Petersburg, whence the brigade was transferred June 18. Harris' brigade participated in the battle of June 22, and aided in the defeat of the first Federal attempt at seizing the Weldon Railroad, June 24, when the brigade suffered considerable loss. Among the severely wounded was Lieut. Archey Baugh. The casualties in May and June were 37 killed, 76 wounded, 14 missing. They were in battle on the Darbytown road, north of the James River, August 18, and on the Weldon Railroad, where the Federals had finally taken position and entrenched August 21. In this battle Colonel Jayne commanded the brigade, General Harris being sick. A sturdy attack was made by Mahone's division, but in vain, and the brigade lost heavily, the regiment having 17 wounded. For more than two months the brigade occupied Rives’ salient on the Petersburg lines, under fire of artillery and sharpshooters all day, and sharpshooters and mortars at night. Outside of this position they were in battle at Hatcher's Run October 27, where among the killed was Lieut. Samuel Walker of the Forty-eighth, a brave and accomplished officer who had been wounded at Cold Harbor. In the battle of Burgess' Mill, February 6, Lieutenant-Colonel Manlove commanded the skirmish line and while bravely encouraging his men to hold back the Federal line he was dangerously wounded and could not be taken from the field. In the famous deed of April 2, 1865, distinguished in the annals of military chivalry, the Forty-eighth Regiment, under Colonel Jayne, was posted with the Nineteenth in Battery Whitworth, from which all the artillery was withdrawn. From this position they aided materially in the defense of Fort Gregg, against which the main attack was made, as well as repulsed the demonstration against their own fort, made by Harris' West Virginia brigade and other troops. When Gregg was captured many of the Nineteenth and Forty-eighth were compelled to surrender. Their fortification supported Gregg and could not be held longer. Some escaped by dint of hard running and reached the new Confederate line that their valor had given time to establish. Colonel Jayne was shot down. with a bullet through his hip, as he came out of the fort. The retreat westward followed, and finally the remnant of the Forty-eighth, with other survivors of the brigade, stacked arms near Appomattox Courthouse April 12, 1865. (See also sketches of the Twelfth, Sixteenth, and Nineteenth Regiments for facts regarding the service of the whole brigade.)