1st Lt. Albert Newton Leatherwood

Kinsman of Frank Leatherwood

 

   Albert Newton Leatherwood was born North Carolina in 1835 and Died in 1910 in Cherokee County North Carolina.

   He enlisted early in the War for Southern Independence on November 6, 1861.  He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Company E, 39th North Carolina Infantry Battalion.  The unit was renamed North Carolina State Troops.

   His unit distinguished itself in 1862 at the Battle of Murfreesboro Tennessee by capturing several Union field pieces.  He was severely wounded in the shoulder in the battle and placed on detached duty to recover and enlist new men.  He was placed on the Roll of Honor for his actions during the battle and promoted to 1st Lieutenant on February 28, 1863.

   On February 18, 1864 he, along with two of his brothers were captured.  Albert was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio and later to Fort Delaware, Delaware.  On August 20, 1864 he was sent to Hilton Head, South Carolina. 

   He he became an unwilling participant in one of the most vile actions of the entire war.  The Union commander ordered that 600 Confederate Officers be placed in the open between the two forces.  They were kept there and fed with condemned food and only the water they could dig from the sand under them.  They were kept in the direct line of fire and used as human shields.  They were offered a chance to escape their misery by signing the oath to the Union.  Less than one in a hundred took that route.

   The survivors were transferred to Fort Pulaski Georgia on October 20, 1864 but their treatment was not much better.  They suffered through a bitter winter without blankets.  Their loyalty to their Country and their cause gave them the title "the immortal 600".  In March of 1865 the survivors were sent back to Fort Delaware where, in an effort to cover their war crimes, the Union guards fattened them up and released them.  A special medal was created after the war to honor these men.

   On June 16, 1865 Albert finally made his way back to his mountain home in Cherokee County North Carolina.  There, in 1899, he married Minnie Anna McTaggart. He and Minnie lived quietly, running their farm and raising their four children.  They are now resting peacefully in the Peachtree Memorial Baptist Cemetery in Murphy, North Carolina. 

His courage, devotion to cause, and strength of character is an example to be emulated and admired by all of his descendents, whether by blood or brotherhood of service.

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