Powhatan B. Whittle was born at Millbank Plantation in Mecklenburg County, VA, and was the son of Fortescue Whittle (1778-1858) of Ireland and his wife, Mary Ann Davies (1788-1869), a descendant of Pocahontas through her grandmother, Anne, a daughter of John Bolling of Cobbs. The couple had 14 children (11 sons and 3 daughters), and Powhatan was the youngest. (Crowder) He attended the University of Virginia in sessions 24-26 (1847-1850). While there, he studied law.
Whittle moved to Macon, Georgia in the 1850s, where he set up his law practice with his brother, Lewis Neal Whittle. On the outbreak of the Civil War, Powhatan Whittle joined the Jackson Artillery of Georgia as a 1st lieutenant. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Whittle resigned from that unit, and joined the Macon Volunteers, already en route to Virginia. When he arrived, Virginia Governor John Letcher offered him the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and assigned him to recruit men for the 38th Virginia Infantry Regiment. (Crowder)
Whittle was wounded five times in battle, and lost his left arm at the Battle of Malvern Hill. He assumed command of the 38th Infantry at Gettysburg, and led the regiment at Pickett’s Charge, where the 38th reached farther into enemy territory than any other participating Confederate unit. (Crowder; Mitchell)
After the Civil War, Col. Whittle returned to Macon, GA, and resumed his law practice there. He served in the Georgia legislature and was Judge of the Macon Corporation Court. (Harden) Whittle never married or had children. He is buried in the Davies-Whittle Family Cemetery near Whittle’s Mill in Mecklenburg County. (Crowder)
- Crowder, Max B. Lineage of the Fortescue Whittle family of Millbank Plantation and Whittle’s Mill in Northeastern Mechlenburg County, Virginia. c2009. http://www.whittlesmill.org/Whittle-Family-of-Virginia.html
- Harden, William. A history of Savannah and south Georgia. Chicago, Il, 1913. v.2, p.906-907.
- Mitchell, Henry H. “Lt. Col. Powhatan Bolling Whittle, C. S. A.” [webpage] http://www.victorianvilla.com/sims-mitchell/history/whittle_pb/index.htm
- Withers, Robert Enoch. Autobiography of an octogenarian. Roanoke, VA, 1907.