Lt Elias S Trainum
13th VA Infantry, Pegram’s Brigade, Early’s Division, Ewell’s 2nd Corps CSA
Elias was born in 4 Jul 1833. He was described as being dark complexioned with gray eyes and dark hair. He was a laborer before the war.
On 17 April, 1861, he enlisted into Company C, the Gordonsville Grays, in Orange County, VA as a Private. His unit was part of the 13th VA Infantry, Pegram’s Brigade, Early’s Division, Ewell’s 2nd Corps CSA. The unit was mustered out 22 May 1861, but it was reorganized 23 April, 1862. By Dec 1862, he had been promoted to Color Sgt; by 6 Apr 1864, he had been promoted to Lt and then Ens.
At the Battle of Malvern Hill, Elias picked up the flag after it had fallen from the 3rd color bearer to be killed that day. He tied the flag around his waist and rushed into battle, screaming “You may kill me but I will never give up the flag”. He was wounded, but he never gave up. He carried the colors with bravery from Malvern Hill to 2nd Fredericksburg. At Fredericksburg, the colors were struck from his hands by enemy fire, and, at great danger, he recovered them and bore them off the field after the action had closed. On time, he even used one of his shoelaces to tie the flag back onto the staff.
On 3 May 1863, his unit was near Fredericksburg, when General Jackson was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. During the battle, the flag received 100 hits by mini balls and was again shot from the staff. General Lee rode up, untied his own silk sash, gave it to Elias as a reward for his conspicuous gallantry. Elias kept the sash after the war. His children and grandchildren often played with the sash, not knowing the rue significance of it. In the mid1950’s, his grandchildren presented it to the Museum of the confederacy in Richmond.
He was wounded in Spotsylvania in May 1864 and hospitalized from 13 May to 20 Jul 1864 and again on1 August 1864. He was taken prisoner at Cedar Creek 19 Oct 1864, taken to Pt Lookout, MD, Old Capitol prison, and Ft Delaware, MD. He signed the Oath of Allegiance to the US and released 17 Aug 1865.
HE returned to Louisa, Virginia and began farming. In 1865, he married Lucetta Shefflett. They raised 4 children. By 1880, he was a lawyer. He died 27 Mar 1889 in Louisa Co, VA and was buried in the family cemetery in Louisa, VA.