|Description and Photograph||
C. Higginbotham left Lynchburg Military Institute as an 18 year old cadet
to form a Confederate infantry company, the Upshur Grays, in April 1861.
On April 30, 1861, a flag bearing Virtue standing over a defeated Tyranny surrounded by the motto “Virginia” and “Sic Semper Tyrannis” (thus ever to tyrants) was adopted when Ordinance No. 30 was embraced by the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861. This ordinance was ratified by a vote of the electorate in May. Following its adoption, Virginia Governor Letcher ordered flags made for each Virginia Regiment.
The 25th Virginia Infantry fought on:
3, 1861: a Skirmish at Philippi, followed by retreat to Beverly.
13, 1861: The Battle of Allegheny Mountain where the 25th Virginia lost 9
killed, 23 wounded, 10 captured.
13-14, 1863: Skirmishes near Potomac River, 25th Virginia casualties: 3
captured. The total losses in the Pennsylvania invasion were 6 killed,
38 wounded brought off of the field, and 21 wounded and taken prisoner.
An additional 26 uninjured were captured and one man was missing in
Jones rode up to rally his troops. One of his men heard him say he "would rather die before he would go back another inch." Moments later, he was shot and killed. Higginbotham, now commanding the Brigade, tried to rally the Virginians, but without success. With defenses in depth, the Confederates counterattacked to stabilize the situation.
Colonel Higginbotham took command of the brigade. Both the 25th Virginia's regimental history and the Higginbotham family's genealogy website claim that Higginbotham was promoted to brigadier general.
On the night of May 7, the armies departed the thickets of the Wilderness and moved to Spotsylvania. The 25th Virginia held the southern side of a giant salient in the Confederate lines known as the Mule Shoe. In reaction to Upton's breakthrough on the west side of the Mule Shoe, Higginbotham faced his men about, and charged Upton’s men, the Confederate counterattack repulsed Upton's attack. But Higginbotham did not live to see it. As his regiment approached the breakthrough, Higginbotham was hit in the heart.
The spring campaign had begun as the most ferocious of the War. At the Battle of The Wilderness the 25th Virginia suffered 6 killed and 2 wounded and taken prisoner.
It would be much worse at Spotsylvania, where the 25th, as a regiment was destroyed, losing 266 men, including Colonel/General Higginbotham. A letter the next day to Higginbotham's father said the Colonel died as the sun was setting. The letter-writer added that the body would be sent home for burial. The ferocity of the campaign did not allow time to return the Colonel’s body, so it never was sent home. In the unknown section of the Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetery, is a row of nine known soldiers, lies the remains of the highest-ranking officer in the entire cemetery. The first stone from the left in this row bears the name "John C. Higginbotham," without rank or unit.