WILLIAM A. BOLICK
Posted By : manager
Posted : January 31, 2024
THE GALLANT PRIVATE WILLIAM A. BOLICK
By Compatriot Mike Thomas
William A. Bolick of Chester SC, first entered Confederate service as a private in the 1st SC Infantry (Butler’s) in 1861 at age 17. Described as being slightly cross-eyed, he easily transformed from a blacksmith’s son into a fine soldier. In June 1862, after his enlistment expired, he joined Company K, 1st SC Cavalry, and was immediately sent to Virginia. There, he saw much action and quickly distinguished himself as a capable and daring cavalryman.
Bolick was appointed as one of Wade Hampton’s “Iron Scouts” in late July 1863 and immediately began building a reputation. Hard riding with numerous combat actions showed his mettle as one who remained cool and collected despite the circumstances. Barely 6 weeks after becoming a scout, Bolick was one of “…a party of 12 select men…” chosen personally by General JEB Stuart to raid a Union camp to capture a Yankee general. This daring and dangerous raid failed to make the capture but caused much embarrassment to the Yankees. It also solidified Bolick’s reputation.
In October 1863 Bolick and another scout infiltrated and surveyed Union General Meade’s headquarters camp well behind Union lines. Before they departed, the daring duo captured 5 Yankees along with their horses and arms and without alerting other troops nearby. This bold exploit made Northern newspapers bring criticism and embarrassment to Meade. The 2 scouts received great praise from Stuart and Robert E. Lee.
Private Bolick continued his scouting within Union lines through autumn and into the winter until February 14th, 1864. On that day, Bolick was 1 of 10 “Iron Scouts” to ambush a large Union patrol near Brentsville, Virginia deep in enemy territory. One report states that 17 of the 21 Yankees were shot. Unfortunately, Bolick was killed in that action. Sensing Union reinforcements were nearby, the other Scouts had little choice but to wrap Bolick’s body in a blanket and place it in nearby woods before departing the scene. His loss was acutely painful to his compatriots and their later actions showed they had no intentions of leaving him unattended. What happened next reflects the closeness within Hampton’s Scouts and shows the respect Bolick had from his peers. Two days after Bolick’s death, a large party of Scouts returned to the scene with a coffin in a 2-horse wagon and recovered his body. They then drove to a site near his Virginia sweetheart’s home at Arrington’s Crossroads and buried him there. This trip of about 10 miles took several hours and was made in broad daylight despite being deep in enemy territory and in an area heavily patrolled by Union cavalry. Certainly, there were Scouts in front of and behind the wagon to warn of any approaching Union patrols. The “Iron Scouts”, always careful to avoid unnecessary risks, felt an overriding conviction that providing a suitable burial for one of their own outweighed the dangers they might face.
Arrington’s Crossroads was later renamed David’s Crossroads. The area was eventually absorbed by the Quantico Marine Corps base. Diligent searches for his grave in recent years have been fruitless. It is presumed Bolick’s grave site was somehow forgotten and is lost to posterity. Yet, the courage and boldness of this superb soldier who died at the age of 20 lives on. His burial is one of the most remarkable in the annals of the entire war.