Upon These Steps
Private Edward Scipio Hart of the Pee Dee Guards (Company D) was promoted to Corporal in May 1862 and became the regimental color bearer. Known by his comrades as “Scip,” Hart was captured September 14, 1862 at the Battle of South Mountain. Granville Rifle’s Corporal Kinchen W. Coghill of Kittrell replaced Hart and was the color bearer at the Battle of Sharpsburg. Coghill was severely wounded in the left arm at Sharpsburg and sent home to Henderson to temporarily serve as a clerk in the Quartermaster’s Office.
Hart was thereafter exchanged but captured again on May 2, 1863 at Chancellorsville. He again was released and returned in time to be the color bearer at Gettysburg. On July 1, Hart was overpowered by Captain Joseph H. Richards and First Sergeant Edward L. Gilligan of the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers, with the 23rd’s regimental flag being captured.
Scip was captured a third time ten months later on May 12, 1864 at Spotsylvania Courthouse. He became a member of the Immortal 600, being transferred to numerous prisons. He was released from Fort Delaware on June 16, 1865 after taking the oath of allegiance.
After returning to Richmond County, Scip married Sarah C. Sedberry on September 14, 1865. They had nine children.
Around Rockingham, Edward Hart was known for telling his many war stories, including ones about the five different Union prisons he was an inmate. They included Old Capital Prison, Hilton Head, Morris Island, Fort Pulaski, and Fort Delaware. He told that he was wounded fourteen different times in battles and shot twenty-six times in all with bullets.
Scip was given the opportunity at age 92 to speak at a Confederate veterans dedication ceremony. He is quoted as saying: “If the war had gone on until now, I would have been there yet. I served my country… Lord, not my will but Thine be done. If it is Thine will for me to return, let me return; but if I fall in the field of battle, let me go… I have lived a long time for a man that was shot 26 times; I toted one bullet a long, long time.”
Hart was actually proud of the twenty-six bullets that had struck him, as he apparently counted every one of them. He related that one day he was feeling for the bullet he was carrying inside him, and all of a sudden, “it fell to the floor.”
He also told of the time he was wounded in the leg, left behind, and captured. General Grant came upon him and ordered his soldiers to give the captured Rebel some whiskey for pain. Scip blamed Grant for getting him drunk that day.
H. Clay Wall, author of the Historical Sketch of the Pee Dee Guards, described Scip: “His character for gallantry in action was proverbial among his comrades… that flag was never lowered except once, and that was when he was struck down with the breach of a gun by a Yankee; then of course, the flag fell with him.”
Scip lived to an old age of 96, dying on June 7, 1929. He and his wife are buried in Northam Cemetery in Rockingham.
His noted quote: “I have never run yet except to the front.”