(1830 - 1910)
Home State: South Carolina
Education: The Citadel, Class of 1849;Class Rank: 1
Command Billet: Regimental Commander
Branch of Service: Artillery
Unit: Holcombe (SC) Legion
see his Battle Report
"In January 1861, South Carolina Governor Pickens ordered Major P. F. Stevens and a detachment of cadets to man a battery on Morris Island. His orders were to fire on any vessel bearing the United States flag entering Charleston harbor. The result was the historic driving back of the United States vessel Star of the West."
An 1849 graduate, Stevens was the Superintendent of the Citadel as South Carolina secceeded. A very religious person, he resigned from The Citadel in October 1861 to become an Episcopal priest. After Port Royal fell to Federal troops, Governor Pickens asked Stevens to form a "legion for coastal defense". Stevens proposed to name the unit after the governor's wife, Lucy Holcombe Pickens, and the governor agreed. He then organized the Holcombe Legion on November 21, 1861, and was it's first commander. After a period of training in the coastal swamps south of Charleston, the Holcombe Legion was one of the units assigned to the new Evans' Brigade on July 17, 1862. [The organization of the Holcombe was never completed: it never received an artillery unit and its cavalry companies did not get to Richmond in time to proceed with Evans' Brigade and were stationed there and later assigned to the 7th Cavalry.] The brigade was sent north to assist in the final mopping-up activities after the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, and then fought at Rappahannock Station, Second Manassas, and South Mountain.
On the Campaign
As the senior colonel in Evans' Brigade, Stevens was in command of the brigade at Boonsborough and at Sharpsburg while Evans commanded a division. Probably fewer than 300 men of Evans' Brigade were present to fight at Antietam. As he afterward says, "Two days after, General Evans took command of the brigade and I of my regiment."
The rest of the War
On October 8, 1862, Stevens decided that he had volunteered to defend his home state, not to fight in Virginia or Maryland, and he resigned to return to the ministry.
After the War
In his post-war ministry he worked to educate the former slaves, and he assisted a number of black men to enter the ministry.
References & notes
1910; burial in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, SC