Sons of Confederate Veterans

   Adam Washington Ballenger Camp #68

 

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 CAPT. RIAL BENJAMIN SEAY
Born November 21, 1826 in Boiling Springs, SC 

Died May 15, 1864 at Drewry’s Bluff, Va.
 


In April, 1861, Seay recruited a group of men from Spartanburg and called them the Lawson Fork Volunteers and gathered in Columbia on April 14th joining up with the 5th SC Volunteers under Colonel Micah Jenkins.  The 5th consisted of 12 Companies which included the Lawson Fork Volunteers as Company C under Capt. Rial B. Seay.  On June 3rd the 5th mustered into the Provisional Army of the CSA and left for Richmond, arriving there on June 10th (830 strong) and were assigned to General P. G. T. Beauregard.

On June 21st, during the Battle of First Manassas, they attacked a Federal Artillery positioned at Grigsby’s Log Barn where they received fire not only from the Federals but also from the 17th Mississippi at their rear.  The four Union Regiments retreated into the woods but the 5th was still ordered to withdraw.  It is reported that even Jeff Davis commented upon the brilliancy and daring of the action.

On Sept 4th they set up position on the south bank of Great Falls at 7am and at 8 am opened fire on the Federals on the other side of the Potomac.  Capt. Seay killed two Federals with his “long ranger rifle” (Yorkville Enquirer, Sept 26, 1861). They were the first to march to the banks of the Potomac and fight the enemy across it.

Mid October the 5th camped along Bull Run near McLean’s Ford.  During October and November, the army under Gen. Beauregard was organized into four divisions.  The 5th SC Regiment was assigned under Maj. Gen. Longstreet.  Longstreet was happy to the 5th in his division.  Longstreet’s Aid de Camp described the 5th as “one of the finest, if not the finest, regiments in the Army”.

During the period of May 31st thru Sep 17th, they participated in many battles including Seven Pines, Turkey Hill, Gaine’s Mill, Frayser’s Farm, Second Battle of Manassas, Battle of South Mountain and Battle of Sharpsburg.

Capt. Seay resigned his commission on Nov 15, 1862 and returned home.  On July 10, 1863 He enlisted into Company G, 1st (Charleston) Battalion SC Infantry which subsequently became Co. K, 27th SC Infantry (Galliard’s Regt.), and was elected Brevet 2nd Lt. on  Oct. 23, 1863.  The unit was part of the Coastal Defense forces in Charleston until they were sent to Virginia.

During the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, the 27th helped stop initial Federal probes at Port Walthall Junction.  They were then assigned to occupy the area around Drewry’s Bluff, and were part of the force that defeated the Union drive on Richmond on Friday, May 13, 1864.  On Sunday May 15th he went with two friends to show them where the battle took place and, while standing in approximately the same spot he was in during the battle,  fell over dead from a brain hemorrhage.

 

submitted by Ray A Crawley, Camp #68

 

 

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