Confederate Major General A.P. Hill’s infantry division was busy tearing up the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Maryland in the autumn of 1862. Hill ordered Brig. Gen. James Lane’s brigade to move further north than his other brigades, entering a region where a live ‘Reb’ was a curiosity. Lane’s quartermaster had not procured new uniforms to take the place of the worn, tattered, and ragged relics of the recent Maryland Campaign.
One of Lane’s soldiers later wrote, “We were rather ragamuffins, that’s a fact. Tearing up railroads is not a very pleasant business, and we had enjoyed about twenty-four hours, when Captain K went to a house to get something cooked, and got into quite an interesting conversation with the good lady of the house:
Old Lady – You is an officer, isn’t you?
Captain K – Yes madam, I am a captain in the Seventh North Carolina infantry.
Old Lady – Thar, now Betsy Ann, I told you he was an officer. I kin tell an officer whenever I lays my two eyes on ’em. The officers they have the seat of their breeches patched, and the common soldiers doesn’t.”
Ballou’s Monthly Magazine, Volume XXVIII, Jul.-Dec., 1868. Pg. 99.
A number of officers in the 7th NC had the initial K, but this was most likely Capt. John G. Knox of Company A, a pre-war student from Rowan County, NC. Later in the war, he was captured and sent to Fort Delaware. He was not released until June 16, 1865. His peers described him as a “cool, brave, and popular officer, and a splendid tactician.”