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The 3rd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment:
Kershaw's Brigade:


By Mac Wyckoff

Young John, usually called Y.J., Pope was born on April 10, 1841 in
Newberry, South Carolina.  His parents were Thomas Herbert and Harriett
Neville (Harrington)  Pope.  He attended Male Academy in Newberry and then
graduated from Furman in August of 1860.  He studied law under his uncle,
the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.  He stood 5-11 with a
fair complexion, gray eyes and light colored hair.
He was one of three brothers who joined Company E, 3rd South Carolina.
Y.J. enlisted as a sergeant on April 14, 1861.  He became very sick with
fever and was hospitalized from August 31, 1861 until January 21, 1862.  One
of his brothers, Bert Harrington Pope, also became sick and died of typhoid
fever on August 10, 1862.  At the regiment's re-organization on May 13,
1862, Pope was elected adjutant, a position he held for the rest of the war.
Pope fought in the battles of Savage Station, Malvern Hill, Maryland
Heights, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.  A few days before
Fredericksburg, Lieutenant Colonel William Rutherford had just returned from
furlough with boxes of food resulting in a festive party.  When Pope
returned from exhaustive picket duty along the snow covered banks of the
Rappahannock River, he ate dinner and went to bed, but about midnight the
merrymakers woke him and the men were having so much fun that he had to
laugh, "whether I wished to do so or not."  No one was laughing or having
fun during the Battle of Fredericksburg when the 3rd South Carolina lost its
seven highest ranking officers and 40% of it men.
Soon the men's spirits rose and boys will be boys.  Learning that a "fair
maid" lived on an island in the Rappahannock just above Fredericksburg,
Adjutant Pope and a Mississippi officer went to see her despite the risk of
being captured or being charged with AWOL.  "She was not only beautiful,"
wrote Pope, "but very interesting."  Pope did not return, "as a fair lady in
another state would have had a right to expect no such conduct on my part."
Yet, he added, "I never regretted my visit to the island!"  He did not marry
until eleven years later. 
At Gettysburg, on July 2, 1863, he was struck with three bullets in
the thigh, hip and arm.  They must not have been severe wounds as he was
able to travel to northern Georgia six weeks later.  At Chickamauga he was
again wounded this time severely in the left leg.  He returned in February
of 1864, but was admitted to a hospital in Richmond on June 14th when the
old leg wound "reopened."  A couple weeks later, he was furloughed for 40
days.  He returned in he late summer only to be again wounded, this time in
the mouth at Berryville on September 3rd.  
It must have been very minor, because he was present with the army
at Cedar Creek on October 19th.  In that battle, the Confederates overran
the Union defenses and pushed the Northerners back several miles.  However,
the defense stiffened and in mid-afternoon counterattacked.   The
Confederates skirmish was quickly pushed back and General John Gordon's
Division broke.  The divisions of general Stephen Ramseur's and Joseph
Kershaw formed a new line a half-mile to the rear.  Then General George
Custer unleashed his cavalry on the Confederate left and pandemonium broke
out.  Pope was "perfectly astonished" that the Southern left was unprotected
and later referred to it "as one of the greatest errors" of the war.
Adjutant Pope rallied part of Kershaw's Brigade.  According to D. Augustus
Dickert of the 3rd South Carolina, Pope made a "masterly effort" to stem the
tide of retreat and formed a solid line.  Pope had single handedly
stabilized the situation at least long enough to give the wagons and
artillery a chance to get back safely across Cedar Creek.  However, a bullet
struck Pope in the face destroying sight in the left eye and without any
other officers present to take charge, this line collapsed and the rout was
on.  Pope had performed magnificently in his last battle, but it wasn't
enough to prevent the Confederate disaster at Cedar Creek. 
Pope served as District Judge from 1865 until the job was abolished by
the Radical Republicans  in 1868.  On August 3, 1874 he married Sallie H.
(Fair) Rutherford, the widow of Colonel William D. Rutherford of the 3rd
South Carolina.  Pope served as mayor of Newberry from 1871-1876 and was
elected to the state legislature in 1877.  In 1888 he was elected to the
State Senate and in 1890 as state attorney general.  He was appointed State
Supreme Court Justice in 1891 and re-appointed five years later.  He
assisted his friend D. Augustus Dickert in writing "A History of Kershaw's
Brigade."  Since Dickert was wounded at Wilderness and away from the army
for some time, Pope wrote the section about Spotsylvania, North Anna, and
Cold Harbor.  None of Pope's other writings such as letters, diary or memoir
are known to exist.

Y.J. Pope died on March 29, 1911 and is buried in Newberry's Rosemont
Cemetery.  His friend Dickert, write of him, "Of all the officers in the 3rd
S.C. Adj. Pope, I believe, was the most loved." 

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