Author to discuss Randolph Hornets at High Point Museum
Wally Jarrell hadn’t planned on becoming an author of local history, but an interest in Civil War re-enacting led him down that path.
Today, he’s considered the preeminent expert on the Randolph Hornets, a feisty band of soldiers making up Company M of the 22nd North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War.
Jarrell will speak about the Randolph Hornets during a presentation Wednesday morning at the monthly meeting of the High Point Museum Guild.
“I had been interested in re-enacting for a long time, so back in the mid-1990s I joined a local living history group and started doing some re-enacting, too,” the 61-year-old Randolph County man recalls. “We adapted the Randolph Hornets as our namesake, and we started going to a few re-enacting events.”
Meanwhile, Jarrell — who had been a genealogist since the late 1970s — started coming across bits of information about Company M in his research, so he began collecting it.
“Then when we started going to re-enactments as this company, I decided to take what I had and put it in a booklet to take with us,” recalls Jarrell, who lives in the Coleridge community and works for Randolph Hospital in Asheboro.
Eventually, he decided to write a book about Company M, and the result was “The Randolph Hornets in the Civil War: A History and Roster of Company M, 22nd North Carolina Regiment” (McFarland & Co., 2004).
The book, which won the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award from the N.C. Society of Historians, was a labor of love for Jarrell. He gathered facts for the book for about six years, then spent another two years doing more extensive research and writing the book.
The result is a detailed narrative of the company’s experiences from 1861 to 1865, including a history of the company’s battle flag, a full roster and as much personal history of each soldier as Jarrell could dig up through his research.
“I did a family history search on each person and wrote a biography on each man that served — about 200 men altogether,” he says.
According to Jarrell, the Randolph Hornets fought at such places as Gettysburg and Petersburg, and the handful remaining at the end of the war surrendered with the rest of Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox.
Jarrell’s book also includes a section about his re-enactment group.
In addition to discussing the Randolph Hornets during his presentation Wednesday, Jarrell will also talk about genealogy.
The program is free and open to the public.
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Want to go?
Wally Jarrell, author of “The Randolph Hornets in the Civil War,” will be the featured speaker at this month’s meeting of the High Point Museum Guild.
The guild will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave.
Admission is free.
For more information, call the museum at 885-1859.