The Promotion of Adam Washington
Adam W. Ballenger was born in northern Spartanburg
county (then called District) on January 17, 1844. His
parents were Edward B. Ballenger and Cassia Ann Hempley
Ballenger. He was raised on his father's farm, and soon
after the beginning of the war, he enlisted at the
Spartanburg Courthouse in Company C of the 13th
Regiment. Ballenger was a sergeant in Co. C until 1863
when he was promoted for distinguished gallant service
on the battlefield at the 2nd Battle of Cold Harbor.
This promotion came from none other than General Robert
E. Lee. At the battle, a charge was made against the
federals and they were thrown in confusion ---so started
an act of retreat. During all this, Ballenger separated
himself from his command and alone, rushed forward and
mounted one of the guns of the enemy's artillery. The
union driver of the horses carrying the piece jumped off
on the tongue between the horses and made his escape out
at the end of the tongue. Ballenger immediately, in
order to secure the capture of the gun, jumped off the
piece, which he mounted. In returning to his command he
met his Captain J.W. Carlisle, who told Ballenger that
his brother, Joseph, was wounded and left in the rear.
He then went to help his brother. In the meantime, a
group of federals had come around on wing of the
Confederate troops, but finding they were about to be
cut off, retreated, and carried Joseph Ballenger with
them. The federals put Joseph Ballenger in the prison
camp at Point Lookout where he died shortly thereafter.
The conduct of Adam Ballenger was witnessed by General
McGowen. McGowen sent for Ballenger a day or two later.
When Ballenger arrived at headquarters, he was
congratulated by the general, who informed him that he
had recommended that he be commissioned a first
lieutenant. He received his officers commission and was
assigned to Company H of the 13th Regiment.
A few months later, he was appointed to one of the
companies of Dunlop's Battalion of Lee's Sharpshooters,
three companies of which were made up out of McGowen's
Brigade. He remained in this outfit until he was
severely wounded in the arm and hip on the picket line
at Petersburg. He was carried to a hospital in Richmond
and was there at the time of the surrender at
Appomattox. After four months, he was well enough to
return home and was ordered to the State capitol
building in Columbia to take the oath of allegiance.
Ballenger didn't like this idea, so he slipped off and,
bringing his army sword with him, he walked several
miles out of the city and boarded the train for home. He
finally returned home safely.
This story is from Dr.
Landrum's book on Spartanburg County.
LETTER OF COLONEL ISAAC F. HUNT
REGARDING PROMOTION OF ADAM W. BALLENGER
Hd Qua 13th Regt
November 25th, 1864
I would respectfully ask that Sergt. Adam W.
Ballenger, Company C 13th S.C. Regt. be commissioned 2nd
Lieutenant and assigned to Company E 13th S.C. Regt. for
gallantry displayed during the battle at Deep Bottom,
July 28, 1864.
After advancing through a dense wood and driving back
the first line of battle the enemy we encountered the
second line of battle with a battery of artillery posted
behind field works. Our line being in considerable
confusion and subjected to heavy fire from both
artillery and infantry was about to retire when Sergt.
Ballenger rushed forward causing others to follow him,
routing the enemy and compelling him to abandon a
portion of his artillery which fell into our possession,
I consider our success due in a great measure to the
conduct of Sergt. Ballenger.
Company H 13th Regt. being without an officer, I
ordered Sergt. Ballenger to take command of said company
with a view to recommend him for promotion should he
establish himself as a disciplinarian. Since the 28th of
July last he has commanded Company H in three
engagements with credit to himself and command.
Company has two officers -- Captain and 1st
Lieutenant, the Captain a prisoner of war and his right
arm amputated. Enlisted men present 30. Total aggregate
- 53. Having applied to have Company H disbanded is the
reason why I now ask for him to be reassigned to Company
E. There is no man in Company "E" that I can recommend
I request that his commission date from the 28th July
I have the honor to be
your obedient servant,
Col. 13th S.C. Regt.
Adam Washington Ballenger is
buried in the
graveyard of Inman First Baptist Church, Inman, SC
[Sergt. Ballenger received his promotion, and took
the oath on the 21 Jan. 1865 as 1st Lieutenant]