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E.A. Osborne

E.A. Osborne

Confederate (CSV)


Edwin Augustus Young Osborne


(1837 - 1926)

Home State: North Carolina

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 4th North Carolina Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

"Gus" was raised by his father Dr. Ephriam Osbourne on the "frontier" in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, but returned to his native North Carolina about two years before the War.1 He entered service as 2nd Lieutenant, Company C, but was promoted Captain of Company H of the 4th Regiment North Carolina State Troops on the same day. He was wounded in action at Seven Pines in May 1862.2

On the Campaign

At Turner's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862

"Colonel Charles Tew, commanding his own 2nd North Carolina and the 4th North Carolina from G. B. Anderson's brigade, was approaching the wood road intersection from the Mountain House. The colonel halted his two regiments just before they reached the clearing on the northwest corner of the Old Sharpsburg Road and sent Captain Edwin A. Osborne (Company H, 4th North Carolina) ahead on a reconnaissance. The captain jumped over the stone wall along the wood road at the corner of the first field north of the Old Sharpsburg Road and, following the rail fence which ran east from that point, tried to worked his way down the mountain. The sharpshooters of the 36th Ohio, who were hiding in the ravine north of the Hoffman house caught him in the open. Their shots pocked the stone wall behind him and sent him barreling back over the wall into the wood road. He reported to Colonel Tew that they were at the front ..."3

Osborne was wounded in action while in command of the Regiment as senior officer on the field at Sharpsburg on the 17th (Colonel Grimes had been "disabled by the kick of a horse"), and was captured there. Every officer of the 4th was either killed or wounded in the terrible combat at the middle of the Sunken Road, later called Bloody Lane.4

The rest of the War

He was exchanged and returned to service and promoted Major of the Regiment by Christmas 1862. 2 He commanded the Sharpshooter Battalion of Ramseur's brigade at the Wilderness (4-5 May 1864)5, and was again wounded in action at Spotsylvania on the 19th of that month. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment from that date and was appointed Colonel, 4th North Carolina, on 18 July 1864. His active service concluded with his transfer to the Veteran Reserve Corps on 1 April 1865.2

After the War

After the War he returned to North Carolina, married, became a lawyer, and was shortly after appointed Clerk of the Superior Court of Mecklenburg County. After about ten years he resigned that position and entered the ministry, being ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1877. He spent much of his service, at St. Mark's (1885-1910) and the Thompson Orphanage and Training Institution, which he founded and superintended.1

He volunteered for service with the 2nd North Carolina Infantry during the Spanish American War (1898-99) and served as Chaplain of the Regiment at the rank of Captain.6

See a photo of him and brothers in 1907 on a visit to Texas, along with some further family details from his autobiography.

References & notes

Osborne's papers are in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A copy of his autobiography is in the files of Thompson Children's Home, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Thanks to Fred Ray for the copy of the photograph above, from his online sharpshooter photo gallery, originally from Clark.7


05/06/1837; Madison County, AL


10/12/1926; Charlotte, NC; burial in Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, NC


1   Clarkson, Heriot, Address of Justice Heriot Clarkson, Unveiling at St. Mark's Church, Memorial Tablet to Rt. Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire, Jr., and Rev. Edwin Augustus Osborne, Typescript, 4 pgs., Mecklenburg County (NC): unpublished, 1933, pp. 2-4  [AotW citation 571]

2   From State Adjutant General records and unit rosters collected and posted online by Kenneth Robison for the Sons of Spanish-American War Veterans, Micah J. Jenkins Camp No. 164.   [AotW citation 572]

3   Priest, John Michael, Before Antietam: the Battle for South Mountain, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996  [AotW citation 573]

4   From the report of D.H. Hill
US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Serial 27), pp. 1018 - 1030  [AotW citation 574]

5   Ray, Fred L., Shock Troops of the Confederacy: The Sharpshooter Battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia, Asheville (NC): CFS Press, 2006  [AotW citation 575]

6   From transcription by Kenneth Robison; details emailed to the author by Mr Robison.
State of North Carolina, Adjutant-General's Office, Roster of the North Carolina volunteers in the Spanish-American War, 1898-1899, Raleigh: Edwards Brouhgton, and E.M. Uzzell, State Printers, 1900, pg. 49  [AotW citation 596]

7   Clark, Walter, editor, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-1865, 5 vols., Raleigh and Goldsboro (NC): E. M. Uzzell, Nash Brothers, printers, 1901  [AotW citation 576]