Carolina Cavalier J.J. Pettigrew Mortally Wounded at Falling Waters

An image of Pettigrew from the N.C. Museum of History‘s collectionOn July 14, 1863, Confederate General James Johnston Pettigrew was fatally wounded by a gunshot to the stomach in a skirmish at Falling Waters, Md. Born in 1828 in Tyrrell County to a wealthy planter family, he entered the University of North Carolina at age 14 and graduated as valedictorian in 1847.

In 1856, Pettigrew was elected to the South Carolina legislature, but his arguments against a series of bills that called for reopening the foreign slave trade ensured his defeat in the next election. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Pettigrew was elected colonel of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry, which he led until he was severely wounded at Seven Pines in May 1862. Taken prisoner, he survived his wounds and was repatriated. For his courage, Pettigrew received a promotion to brigadier general.

In May 1863, Pettigrew’s brigade joined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia for the Pennsylvania Campaign. Between July 1 and 3, Pettigrew led his men at Gettysburg and participated in Pickett’s Charge. Eleven days later Pettigrew was shot in the stomach.

He died three days later in West Virginia and is buried at his family’s plantation.

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