By R. H. BRADLEY, PRIVATE COMPANY A, BETHEL REGIMENT.
The first soldier killed in battle on the Confederate side was, as is well known, Henry T. Wyatt, of Company A, Bethel Regiment. Three times as many men died in hospital as were killed on the battlefield, but it is not so well known that the first soldier from North Carolina who lost his life for the Confederacy was James Hudson, of Company B (Hornet's Nest Rifles), of the same regiment.
The "Pettigrew Hospital (as it was afterwards cafled), was the first military hospital that was organized in the State of North CarMina (during the war behveen the States. It was located on the old Fair Grounds, east of Raleigh, near the present "Soldiers' Home," and in the house fomierly occupied by the keeper of the Fair Grounds, which house is still standing and is occupied by a colored family.
It was organized by the late Dr. E. Burke Haywood, individually, and not by the State, as many may think. Dr. Haywood's memory is revered by many an old soldier, who was relieved and save from an untimely death by his great medical skill, love and sympathy. Dr. Haywood was greatly assisted by W. H. Dodd, Esq., as druggist, whose pleasant smiles and persasive words would make the pills disappear easier, let them be ever so bitter. How many (except the oldest citizens) remember Bill Dodd as a pill roller?
The first Regimental Hospital was organized by Dr Peter E. Hines, then of New Bern, now of this city.
The company of which I was a member, "Edgecombe Guards," arrived in Raleigh on 30 April, 1861, from Fort Macon, where we were first ordered by the Governor.
I was just recovering from the measles when I took severe cold from exposure, incident to camp life (my camp was at horse stall No.55, on the old Fair Grounds), which terminated in pneumonia, and I was sent to the hospital which contained but few patients at that time. I recollect two besides myself-one was a young physician, Dr. 4. 4. Lawrence, from my company, and the other was James Hudson, a memher of the Hornet's Nest Rifles, from Mecklenburg county. Mr. Hudson died on 11 May; his company followed his remains to the depot and fired a salute in honor before the departure of the train.
Mr. Hudson was the first man who lost his life in the service of North Carolina in the late struggle between the North and South, which fact, I have no doubt, has been lost sight of by all save a few who were present and had the fact impressed upon their minds. He and myself, both being sick with pneumonia, were quartered in the same room.
I shall ever remember this sad death and never forget his last night's struggle with fever and delirium, with no mother or sister to bathe his feverish brow and with love and affection speak words of consolation to him in his last moments on earth. He was delirious all night previous to his death from the effects of fever.
Pat, the Irish nurse, who was always fond of sampling the spirits, to ascertain whether or not Mr. Dodd was furnishing the patients with a good quality, and myself, were witnesses of his last hrnirs of pain and distress, and his passage "over the river," which was at last peaceful.
His name does not appear upon the roster of North Carolina troops, for the reason that he died two days before the regiment was mustered into service; nevertheless he died in defence of his State, as much so as the soldier who died on the field of battle, for he was in camp in response to the call of the Governor for troops to defend the Commonwealth.
The following contemporary notice is copied from the Raleigh Register of 15 May, 1861, which is on file in the State Library:
"Death of a Volunteer. - We regret to learn that Mr. James Hudson, a highly esteemed member of the Hornet's Nest Rifles from Charlotte, died at the hospital of the encampment, in this city, on Saturday last. His disease was pneumonia. This is the first death that has occurred among the volunteers in this city. The remains of the deceased were escorted to the Central depot on Saturday afternoon, when after depositing them on board of the train hound to Charlotte, the company fired a salute in honor of his memory, and then returned with saddened hearts to their encampment."
ROBERT H. BRADLEY.
RALEIGH, N. C.,
31 December, 1901.