THE CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES OF ROBERT "BOB" FARMER
On May 3, 1862, Robert Farmer was mustered into service at Charleston by col. T.J. Glover in the First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, (2nd) Company H. as a Private. He was 23 years old and had a wife (Mary Elizabeth Harrison Farmer) and one daughter (age 3 or 5 years) and one son (age 14 months).
In July, 1862, Col. Johnson Hagood, head of First Reg't SC Vols, was promoted to brigadier-general and the First regiment came under the command of Col. Thomas Glover. By early August, 1862, Generals Thomas F. Drayton and H.G. Evans were sent from South Carolina to reinforce General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia. These generals took with them: the First Regiment, Col. Glover; the Fifteenth Regiment, Col. W.E. DeSaussure; the Seventeenth Regiment, Col. (Gov) J.H. Means; the Eighteenth, Col. J.M. Gadberry; the Twenty-second, Col Joseph Abney; the Twenty-third, Col. H.L. Benbow; Holcombe legion, Col. P.F. Stevens; Third Battalion, Liet-Col. G.S. James, and Capt. R. Boyce's Battery, all South Carolina organizations.
Col. Thomas J. Glover of the First, SC Battalion was killed in the two day battle at Manassas, August 29-30, 1862. Of First (Hagood's) Regiment, 124 were wounded or killed or died from wounds.
Lt. Col. D. Livingston became the commander of the First Reg't upon the death of Col. Thomas J. Glover. The next battle was the Battle of Boonsboro Gap, September 14, 1862. The First Reg't lost 1 killed and 15 wounded.
In the Battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam) September 15-17, 1862, Lt. Col. D. Livingston of the First Reg't was wounded.
The Battle of Fredericksburg, November 13, 1862, drove back the bold assault of Meade's Federal trou\ops. Col. D.H. Hamilton was the senior officer of the First Reg't. The suffered 15 killed and 58 wounded. On the company Muster Roll, Nov and Dec, 1862, Robert Farmer was absent. He was sent to the hospital at Culpepper, Virginia on November 14, 1862. Could Robert have been injured in the Battle of Fredericksburg? After the Battle of Fredericksburg, both the North and South armies went into winter quarters and remained inactive until the middle of April, 1863.
PRIVATE ROBERT FARMER WAS ADMITTED TO CHIMBORAZO HOSPITAL NO. 5, RICHMOND VIRGINIA ON FEB 16, 1863 WITH "DEBILITY" AND "CONTIN FEVER". He was received from the Wayside Hospital or general Hospital No. 9, Richmond, Virginia. He was returned to duty on April 1, 1863 from the Chimborazo No. 5 Hospital.
Around the first of May, 1863, the North and South began preparing for the Battle of Chancellorsville in Northern Virginia. The First Reg't was under the command of Col. D.H. Hamilton. On May 2nd the attack began by the South catching the North by surprise. The North was defeated at Chancellorsville. Robert Farmer's Company Muster Roll for May and June, 1863 stated that he was "absent at hospital since May 15, 1863."
In June, 1863 the First Reg't was commanded by Major C.W. McCreary. They were a part of the three corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and were commanded by A.P . Hill. The South Carolina Brigade, which included the First Reg't, was commanded by Col. Abner Perrin. Their march was headed into Pennsylvania. The SC First Reg't was in Gettysburg by the last day of June, 1863. They had only 100 men left. By July 4, 1863, the Southern Army was retreating in defeat. Lee's armies arrived back at the Potomac River on July 14, 1863. Robert Farmer, according to the Company Muster Roll, was present in July and August, 1863.
General James "Old Peter" Longstreet and two of his divisions were sent by Lee from Richmond, Virginia on September 8, 1863 to Georgia and Tennessee. The two divisions consisted on 12,000 men who traveled by train by way of southern Virginia, both Carolinas and finally across the width of Georgia. The trip of 1000 miles started at Orange Courthouse, Richmond, Virginia, and ended at Catoosa Station, Georgia. They arrived September 19, 1863, near the Chickamauga, Georgia battle site.
The two divisions traveling from Virginia with Gen. James Longstreet were from South Carolina.
On October 28, 1863, the First Reg't was in a battle near Look Out Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were under the command of Col. Franklin Kilpatrick and were a part of Hood's Division commanded by Brig-Gen. Micah Jenkins. At the Battle of Look Out Mountain, Col. Kilpatrick was shot through the heart early in the engagement.
On November 4, 1863, Longstreet and the divisions of McLaw's and Hood (now under Jenkins), roughly 15,000 men, were ordered up the Tennessee Valley to Knoxville, Tennessee. They crossed the Holston River at Loudon, Tennessee and were joined by Bushrod Johnson's Division. By November 17, 1863, the arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee. On November 29, 1863, Longstreet attacked the Federals at Fort Loudon (named Fort Sanders by the Federals). The attack resulted in carnage for the Confederates and they retreated. The Confederates lost 129 killed, 458 wounded, and 226 captured. Could Robert Farmer have been among the wounded or captured? Maybe he was captured and escaped and headed north of Knoxville toward Barbourville, Kentucky.
At the same time, Bragg had fallen back from the Battle of Chattanooga and headed toward Atlanta. He sent word to Longstreet to head to Georgia or Virginia. Longstreet heard that Sherman was headed toward Knoxville with six divisions. In Shelby Foote's book, it is reported that on the night of Dec. 3, 1863, Longstreet put his trains in motion toward Virginia and followed shortly after dark the next evening with his infantry, unobserved.
The book by Judith Lee Hallock said that on December 4, 1863, the Confederates withdrew from Knoxville. They settled into winter quarters between Russellville and Greenville, Tennessee. Not until the spring of 1864 did Longstreet receive orders to
rejoin Lee in Virginia.
By May, 1864, Longstreet had his corps again in Virginia. However, Private Robert Farmer was not present. The Company Muster Roll from August 31 to December 31, 1863, indicates Robert was absent. The remarks on the roll are "Straggled on
march from Knoxville, Tennessee Dec 6, 1863. Absent without leave."
Robert Farmer settled in Barbourville, Kentucky and as far as we know he never returned to South Carolina. Why this happened, we will probably never know. Barbourville is approximately 50 miles north of Knoxville.