Lt. Col. Powhatan Bolling Whittle, C. S. A.
An uncle of Matoaka Sims, Powhatan Bolling Whittle was the youngest of James Whittle's eight brothers. He was named after his ancestor, the Algonquian chieftain Powhatan. Reputed to have been a near-giant of a man, he was commanding officer of the 38th Virginia Infantry.
Possibly because of his remarkable height, Powhatan Whittle was noted and mentioned in an account of Pickett's Charge written by Gen. James Longstreet: “Colonel Whittle of Armistead's brigade, who had been shot through the right leg at Williamsburg and lost his left arm at Malvern Hill, was shot through the right arm, then brought down by a shot through his left leg.”
A relative described him: “Powhatan Bolling…served gallantly all through the war; lost an arm and was several times wounded. After the war he practiced law and was Judge of the Corporation Court of the City of Macon, Georgia…. He lived in Valdosta, Georgia, and was several times in the legislature. Your Uncle Powhatan [said] that in one of his campaigns for the legislature in Georgia he was talking to one of his supporters as to his chances for election and his reply was something like this, ‘I tell you Col. Whittle, an empty sleeve down in my neighborhood is a hell of a momentum.’…He was a magnificent looking man. Was six feet and a half tall and as straight as his Indian namesake and grandfather, eight times removed. He was a lovable and courteous old gentleman.”
- The Powhatan Whittle photograph is from the collection of the late H. George Carrison, Awendaw, South Carolina (a descendant of Powhatan's brother Lewis Neale Whittle).
- The Powhatan Whittle description was written by Ruth Drewry Whittle around 1920, and was provided by her grandson, Henry D. Whittle, Danville, Virginia (a descendant of Powhatan's brother William Conway Whittle).
- An account of Lt. Col. Whittle's falling “badly wounded” at Malvern Hill is found in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command: Volume One: Manassas to Malvern Hill, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1942, p. 645. Maj. Joseph R. Cabell documented Powhatan Whittle's having been severely wounded three times in quick succession during Pickett's Charge (“Supplement to the OR, V, pt. 1, 333, Report of Major Joseph R. Cabell,” quoted in John Michael Priest, Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, White Mane Books, Shippensburg, PA, 1998, pp. 165-166).
- Gen. Longstreet's mention of Lt. Col. Whittle is found in James Longstreet, “Gettysburg — The Third Day,” From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America, J. B. Lippincott Co., 1895, p. 394.
- See June 27, 1861, letter from Powhatan Whittle to James Whittle.
- Extensive correspondence referring to and involving Powhatan Whittle is found in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina (#1517, Whittle Family Papers; #777, Lewis Neale Whittle Papers).
- Information about Powhatan Whittle's boyhood home and burial place near South Hill, Virginia, is posted as part of the W. P. A. Virginia Historical Inventory Project in files for Millbank and its cemetery.
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Copyright © 1999–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.