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John Craig

John Craig

Rank: Orderly Sergeant, Company F, 21st Virginia Infantry

Descendant: Craig R


John Anthony Craig, age 18, lived at “Rosewood” at Port Walthall Junction, between Richmond and Petersburg. He joined his father and brother when there was a threat of U. S. troops invading the State of Virginia. He enlisted as a Private in Company F, 21st Virginia Infantry Regiment of the Virginia State Militia on 21 April 1861.

The militia was transferred to the Army of the Confederate States of America in May when Virginia seceded from the Union.

Craig was promoted to Orderly Sergeant on 2 February 1862.

He was detailed as clerk to the division surgeon, Dr. Richard T. Coleman, a prominent Richmond physician who was surgeon to the 21st Virginia through most of the war. Dr. Coleman was part of the operating team that amputated the arm of General Stonewall Jackson near Wilderness Tavern on 3 May 1863. Published reports indicate Sergeant Craig was present at the amputation, probably assisting Dr. Coleman, who administered chloroform to the General.

On 2 January 1864, Sgt. Craig was appointed Hospital Steward. He later served as clerk to General John B. Gordon.

At the Battle of the Wilderness, the 21st Virginia was positioned in Saunders Field where the present-day wood bridge crosses the Confederate trenches off Hill-Ewell Drive at Route 20. The Confederates along this line initially were driven back across the road down a ravine by Union forces before reinforcements arrived and drove the Federals back across the field. During this part of the battle, the 21st,s Brigade Commander, Brigadier General John M. Jones, was killed.

Note: The wood bridge noted above no longer exists. There is now a rope barrier blocking the path.

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