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J.W. Ratchford

J.W. Ratchford

Confederate (CSA)


James Wylie Ratchford

(1840 - 1910)

Home State: South Carolina

Education: North Carolina Military Academy, Davidson College

Branch of Service: Staff

Unit: D. H. Hill's Division

Before Sharpsburg

A cadet at the North Carolina Military Academy (NCMA), he enlisted in the First (Bethel) North Carolina Regiment, under former NCMA superintendent D.H. Hill, and was wounded in the forehead in action at Big Bethel, VA on 10 June 1861. He may have been the first Confederate wounded in the War. He was appointed Lieutenant and aide-de-camp to General D.H. Hill on 11 September 1861, and promoted to Major and Assistant Adjutant General, PACS, on 30 September. He was again wounded, in action at Seven Pines, VA on 30 May or 1 June 1862.

On the Campaign

From General D.H. Hill's Report:

Major [J. W.] Ratchford, Major Pierson, chief of artillery, and Lieut. J. A. Reid, of my staff; were conspicuous for their gallantry.

The rest of the War

He had later service as AAG to Generals Hindman, Hood, and S.D. Lee, and was wounded for the third time, in the leg at Nashville, TN on 17 December 1864.

After the War

He returned to South Carolina, but went to Texas in 1867 and was a teacher, surveyor, and county clerk in Concho County.

References & notes

Service from Krick1. His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of an excellent post-War photograph of him. He published the brief Some Reminiscences of Persons and Incidents of the Civil War in 1909. A larger volume was published as Memoirs of a Confederate Staff Officer: From Bethel to Bentonville , edited by Evelyn Ratchford Sieburg (1998). His picture, probably as a cadet, from one of unknown provenance used on the cover of his published Memoirs.


02/24/1840; Yorkville, SC


12/03/1910; Paint Rock, TX; burial in Paint Rock Memorial Cemetery, Paint Rock, TX


1   Krick, Robert E.L., Staff Officers in Gray; A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003, pg. 251  [AotW citation 17590]