Featured Character – 1860
Isaac Byrum was born on a farm in Chowan County on May 2, 1840. At the age of 21, Byrum enlisted as a Private in Company M, 1st Regiment NC Infantry. Though his enlistment was for a period of six months, Byrum’s company was out of service early on November 12th and 13th of 1861. On February 15, 1862, he re-enlisted as a Private in Company F, 11th Regiment NC Troops. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863, Byrum was wounded in the left leg and left for dead. He was later found and the leg was amputated. He later recalled:
“It was a hot day. I tried to drag myself to some shade, but couldn't for all the other wounded and dead lying around. Flies were beginning to blow it, so I tore a piece of my shirt off and wrapped the wound. It was about sundown when they, the Yanks, picked me up off the field. I thought they could have saved the leg if they had picked me up earlier.”
After the war, he returned to the farm at Ryland, where he was raised, and married for the second time, adding nine more children to his daughter, Sarah, from his first marriage. Byrum died and was buried in the Isaac Byrum cemetery in Chowan County, owned by his grandson. His artificial leg can be seen on display at the Museum of the Albemarle’s Our Story exhibit.