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California Genealogy and History Archives

Mendocino County Civil War Veterans
Submitted Sep 2010 by Ronald Cannon, MA

 

  

Peter Cuttino Dozier, 12 January 1838 SC-24 November 1877 (Confederate)
Ensign, Co. B, 21 SC Inf. CSA
Russian River Cemetery, Ukiah (S-5, Lot 4, NE)

PETER CUTTINO DOZIER – Born in Georgetown, South Carolina, January 12, 1835. Died inUkiah, California, November 24, 1877, Aged Forty-two Years, Ten Months – Named for his maternal grandfather, who was a 
direct descendant of the Cothonneau of the French nobility...

Being the second of the three older sons of the family and nearly of the same age as Gaillard, the older, and Leonard, the younger, these three boys grew up under the same conditions...In their youth they attended the same aceademy at Cokesbury, South Carolina; but after completing that course of instruction they became widely separated; Gaillard going to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Cuttino to the university of Virginia, and Leonard to the South Carolina Military Academy...After graduation from the College of Law of the University of Virginia, Mr, Dozier took up the practice of his profession at Kingstree, the county seat of Williamsburg County, South Carolina. About the same time he became also the editor of the county newspaper, known as “The Kingstree Star.”

His success both as a lawyer and as a writer became quickly recognized and gave promise of a brilliant future in his chosen vocation...But the promising career which seemed to be opeing up before the young lawyer was soon to be rudely interrupted by the gathering of the war clouds that quickly followed the secession of South Carolina from the Union of States. On August 7th, 1861, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Gerard and took her to his father’s home for protection and support during his anticipated abscence at the war front.

Fired by that patriotic ardor that filled the breast of every soldier of the Civil War on both sides of this conflict, he volunteered for service in the Confederate army and was appointed “Ensign” (color bearer) in the twenty-first regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, under the command of Col. Graham.

This regiment was first assigned to duty in the defense of the harbor of Charleston and was soon in the midst of the heat of battle.

At what was known as the “first battle of Fort Wagner,” on Morris Island. Charleston Harbor, the young officer, while bravely leading his regiment with the colors into battle, was shot through the thigh and severely wounded, the ball missing the main artery of the leg by a very small fraction of an inch. At the close of the battle, a colored servant, named Dave, who accompanied him to the army, was missing and was never afterwards heard of. 

He was probably captured by the Federal forces.

Thanks to good care and a strong constitution, Ensign Dozier fully recovered from his wound rejoined his regiment, now transferred to the field of operations in Virginia.

He took part in a number of the bloody conflicts that have made the history of “The Old Dominion” as memorable in the records of war as it had been noted in the records of peace, and he always bore himself with a courage well befitting the character of his youth.

But on that fateful third day of June, 1864, when the battle of Cold harbor, one of the bloodiest of the war, 
brought temporary disaster to the Union army, the impetuosity of Col. Graham’s Color Bearer, combined with his 
indomitable courage, cost him his liberty and very nearly cost him his life.

In the midst of the battle the order to “charge” was given to the regiment, in obedience to which the Color 
Bearer sprang forward with his comrades as the “guide” of the regiment.

Before reaching their goal the order to “halt” was given, but Ensign Dozier did not hear the order. He continued to advance in double quick upon the enemy’s lines, unconscious that his regiment had stopped.A bullet plowed through his neck, and thinking that the jugular vein had been cut, he wrapped the colors about his neck to stay the flow of blood, but pressed forward until he landed in the enemy’s lines. Here he was taken prisoner by the astonished Union soldiers and with equal astonishment awoke to the fact that his regiment was not with him.
So severe was his wound that he was consigned to a hospital with no expectation of his recovery. And in this connection there occurred one of those strange coincidences of history that cause us to wonder at the providence of God.

The war correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger, in writing for that paper an account of the battle of Cold 
Harbor, gave a glowing description of the impetuous courage of Ensign Dozier and how he braved all alone the rain of bullets from the Union forces, landing in their midst mortally wounded and faint from the loss of blood, with the colors of his regiment wrapped about his neck. He added to his account that the young officer had died from his wound.

A copy of this paper fell into the hands of Lieutenant Anthony W. Dozier, Jr., a younger brother, who had fallen 
into the hands of the Federals some months previously under somewhat similar circumstances and who was then 
incarcerated with other Confederate prisoners of war at Fort Delaware, New York.

Lieut. Dozier read this account of his brother’s “fatal charge” and mourned him as dead, though rejoicing in 
the circumstances of his death.

A few weeks later, while walking in the barracks of the prison, a slap on the shoulder from the rear caused him to turn about, and he found himself facing the brother of whose death in battle he had recently read.Needless to say that the surprise of each was intense, but was surpassed by the joy of meeting, even under conditions so unpropitious.

But this joy was destined to be short-lived.

A few days later Lieut. Anthony Dozier was placed with three companions of equal rank in a dark cell under 
sentence of death in retaliation for the sentence of death recently pronounced upon four confessed Union spies 
captured in Richmond.

The brothers did not see each other again until a year later, when they met at their father’s home after the close of the war.

An interesting incident in the life of the Color Bearer occurred in the heat of one of the battles in Virginia, clearly illustrating the providential care that protects those for whom God has further and nobler use in life. A bullet struck him squarely over the region of the heart and would have inevitably ended his career, had not its course been stoppped by a New Testament which he carried in his pocket. The deadly messenger plowed its way through the leaves of the sacred volume until it touched the thirty-third verse of the thirteenth chapter of Mark: “Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.” There its murderous force was exhausted; its mission had been accomplished: the solemn warning had been accentuated, but the precious life preserved.
At the first state election after the war, Peter Cuttino Dozier was chosen as a member of the Legislature of 
South Carolina, to assist in preparing the State for restoration to its place in the Union.

Before his term of office had expired he was appointed as a member of the faculty of the Baptist Women’s College at Greenville, South Carolina, with many functions of the executive office of the institution added. To this congenial and responsible position he brought the enthusiasm of an ardent nature, the polish of a cultured intellect and the sobering influences of the severe ordeals through which he had been made to pass. Until the autumn of 1869 he devoted all of his talent and his energy to this important work, at which time a call from California College, a Baptist institution then located at Vacaville, Solano Co., combined with the fact that his 
parents and all of his brothers and sisters had removed to California, induced him to cast his lot with those most dear to him amid the comforts and the promises of the Golden West.

The discouragements and vicissitudes that attended the young and struggling institution at Vacaville induced 
Mr. Dozier to yield to the lure of his former profession as a more promising field of activity, especially in meeting the requirements of a growing family. Resigning his professorship at California College, he entered upon the practice of law at Fairfield, Solano Co. Subsequently a broader field presenting itself further north, he removed to Ukiah, the county seat of Mendocino County, where he opened his law office and where he spent the remainder of his life.

Though still in the prime of early manhood and diligently pursuing the work of his profession, he was called 
upon to lay down the burdens of life while he still seemed abundantly able to carry them. But he recognized that in the hands of the God whom he had served and trusted are the destinies of men, and he uncomplainingly yielded himself to the inscrutable providence that called him from the bosom of a dependent and devoted family.

On the 24th of November 1877, he quietly closed his eyes in deathand the spirit returned to the God who gave it.
He was buried in Ukiah, where later was also laid to rest the body of his faithful and loving wife, to await the 
voice of God that shall awaken the dead to life everlasting in the day of resurrection.

The survivors of the family are Mrs. Lulu E. Strauss of San Francisco an Mrs. Mary Agnes Young of Oakland, Cal.; 
both of them women after God’s own heart, meeting the sacred obligations of motherhood and performing their share of the world’s great work as every true woman should.

April, 1920 (Annual Publication of the Historical Society of Southern California, 1933, 5-9.)

1860 U.S. census, Williamsburg Dist., South Carolina, population schedule, Murray’s Ferry, p. 334 (stamped), dwelling 551, family 524, A W Dozier; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1228.