of James D. Sedinger
Company E, 8th Virginia Cavalry
James D. Sedinger, an original Border Ranger scout, left a valuable written record of this Civil War unit's activities. This transcription is taken from a typescript copy of Sedinger's manuscript and is part of the Boyd B. Stutler Collection, West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, West Virginia. Minor typographical errors, such as transposed letters, have been corrected. Parenthetical corrections have been preserved as they appear in the typed version. The location of the original manuscript and the date it was written are unknown.
Sedinger was born in Monroe County, Virginia, in 1838. He joined the Rangers in 1860 at Greenbottom, Cabell County, the home of noted Confederate Albert Gallatin Jenkins. The unit was officially sworn into the Confederate Army on May 28, 1861. Sedinger re-enlisted on April 30, 1862, and was captured at the Battle of Fisher's Hill in Virginia on September 22, 1864. Although the entire account is written as though Sedinger was an eye-witness, his fate after capture until the end of the war is not a matter of record. After the war, Sedinger was very active in the Camp Garnett chapter of the United Confederate Veterans in Huntington, as well as a Border Ranger's veterans' organization. He was instrumental in relocating Jenkins's body from the family burial plot at Greenbottom to the Confederate plot in Huntington's Spring Hill Cemetery in 1892. Sedinger died on February 9, 1901.
The Border Rangers were the first Civil War unit organized in the Cabell County area of western Virginia. The group came together under Ira McGinnis and Albert Gallatin Jenkins in November or December 1860. In August 1861, the Border Rangers became Company E of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry, seeing action in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
The most useful study of the Eighth Virginia is Jack Dickinson's Eighth Virginia Cavalry (1986), which includes discussions of the battles as well as biographical sketches of the officers and a complete roster of enlisted men. Dickinson is also the author of a biography of Albert Gallatin Jenkins, Jenkins of Greenbottom (1988).
This Command was first organized at Guyandotte, Va., Dec. 10th, 1860, to protect a Virginia flag that floated from a flag staff erected on the bank of the Ohio river with Ira J. McGinnis as Captain. We kept the flag afloat until the 20th of April, when Albert Gallatin Jenkins came to see us and made us a speech, when we disbanded and went with him to his home on Green Bottom with what arms we could get -- principally shot guns and then we eat our dinners. Each man cut himself a piece of lead pipe of the Captain for he had plenty. >From there we went to the old Green Bottom Baptist Church and met the boys from Mason County who was armed the same way we were. Then we elected Albert Jenkins our Captain and started to the mouth of Coal river to get into camp. For the first time we felt as if we were soldiers. Camped all night at Buffalo on the Kanawha river on a gentleman's farm by the name of Hall. He fed us and our horses. The next morning we started for St. Albans arriving about two o'clock that day. Went into camp in the Episcopalian parsonage. Had to cook our own dinners. There was just (101) one hundred and one of us reported at roll call. The next morning we was all mounted tolerably well. Then we drilled Cavalry drill and thought we could whip the world.
Our Commissary department was looked after by the ladies of Cabell and Mason counties who kept us well supplied with boiled ham and roasted chicken, baked light bread and biscuit cake and pies. Everything that they could think of to tickle the palate and we enjoyed ourselves better than we ever did afterwards. Our clothing the same way -- whenever a wagon would come into camp the boys would make a break for it and he would be certain to find something for him from his sweetheart, sister or mother. After 3 weeks of this kind of life we were detailed to do picket duty on the Kanawha river road and James river and Kanawha Turnpike. We continued picket and scout duty until the 20th of May when we completed the organization by the election of H. C. everett first lieutenant (killed January 3d, Jonesville, Virginia); A. H. Samuels, 2nd Lieutenant (wounded Greenbrier Bridge); G. W. Holderby, Jr., 2nd Lieutenant (Captain Company D, 8th Cavalry, Forrest Cavalry) Wm. R. Gunn, Orderly Sergeant (Surgeon General McCausland's Brigade Cavalry); Robert Stribling, 1st Sergeant, (Magazine Quartermaster); James Smith, 2d Sergeant (died 1861); Isaac Ong, 3rd Sergeant (died, May 16th, Cavalry); James Newman, 4th Sergeant (promoted to 2nd Lieutenant); John Thompson, 1st Corporal; Jesse Dodson, 2nd Corporal (afterward promoted to 2nd Lieutenant); James D. Sedinger, 3d Corporal (promoted to Orderly Sergeant -- Sergeant drowned); James M. Whittington, 4th Corporal (promoted to Orderly).
Was sworn into Confederate service 29th day of May, 1861. Continued to scout. On starting one morning DeKalb Hughes who was armed with a shot gun and an old horse pistol -- his horse would not keep in line to count off by fours -- struck his animal over the head with the pistol. On the rebound the fire-arm exploded, knocking Hughes off his horse and hurt him pretty badly. We finally started. During the march when near Winfield, Putnam county, the advance guard come back with the word that the Yankees were advancing. The company was ordered to prepare for action. One of the young Blankenships in getting his shot gun unslung and capping the same let it go off, shooting his brother in the breast with buck shot but not killing him as he survived the war, but was never a well man. These (were) our only accidents happening to us during our first encampment at Coalsmouth [St. Albans]. On the 11th of July was ordered to Barboursville in Cabell county. We made the march in 10 hours.
On the morning of the 12th the 2nd Kentucky advanced to Barboursville and charged the militia that was posted on the hill in front of the town. The militia after delivering one fire broke and left the field. The company marched off the hill in order, without firing a gun and marched back to Coalsmouth without the loss of a man or horse. We took the fire of the regiment best. No one was hurt of the company. A Mr. Reynolds was killed by the fire and three others slightly wounded of the militia. The loss to the 2nd Kentucky was four killed and 20 wounded. We scouted the road as far down as Teays Valley.
On the 14th the scouts discovered the advance of the 2nd Kentucky, taking the Winfield road for Kanawha river. They reported the fact to headquarters, and the same scouts were ordered to move down the Kanawha 3 miles below Scary and watch the enemy on that road, and also on the Bill creek road. On the 17th John Thompson and another member of the company on vidett on the Bill creek road discovered the Yanks moving by skirmish line through a corn field some 300 yards away. Sat their horses until the line came within one hundred yards of them. The Yanks opened fire on them -- both succeeded in getting away without getting hurt. Thompson lost his hat and his false teeth. This was at 9 o'clock in the morning. The two men fell back on the infantry at the mouth of Scary. One of them was to Camp Tompkins [Coalsmouth] after the rest of the infantry, and the Border Rangers at Mouth of Coal. The company fell in line and started, but was stopped by some young ladies who presented us with a flag. The ensign was received by Captain Jenkins in a neat speech in which the promise was made that it should never be dishonored. The Captain and company fought through to this promise, and it was the only flag on the field at Scary and was literally shot to pieces on that day. It was carried by the company until the battle flag was adopted by the Confederacy. Then a member of the company brought the flag to this county and gave it to a young lady to keep until the war was over which was done and the young lady after the member of the old company was married gave him back his flag. He laid it away to be cherished as a keep sake but his wife who was of a practical turn of mind one day in wanting some red striping for a rug tore up the flag for that purpose, 20 years after the war was over.
The enemy drove in our skirmishers at Scary about 11 o'clock in the day, and the fight opened in earnest. Our company took position with our artillery. Captain [James Clark] Welch was killed while sighting one of his guns. About this time the right flank was turned and the Yanks were firing at us from front, flank and rear. Captain [George S.] Patton ordered the Kanawha Rifles [Co. H, Twenty-second Virginia Infantry] to follow him in a charge and he fell badly wounded. We now received some fresh troops from Coal Mountain who charged the flanking party and drove them back. The charge was successful in turning the left flank of the enemy who now broke leaving their Lieut. Col. [George W.] Neff on the held and 18 men killed who we buried the next day. Our company mounted their horses and rode over to where the Yankee line of battle was on top of the hill near Mrs. Simms' house. While sitting there in line Colonel [William E.] Woodruff, Colonel [Charles A. DeVilliers] Devillins and their staff rode up to Captain Jenkins and said to him, "Well, you have given the Rebels a good sound thrashing today," when he ordered them to surrender which they did with considerable grumbling. It was twilight and they could not distinguish our uniforms from theirs.
On the next morning some of the boys on going down to the river to wash for breakfast discovered a Yank who had taken refuge in a hollow tree during the fight and pulled him out. He was the worst scared man I ever saw. When we found Colonel Neff (Norton) after the fight he was wounded and left on the field. The Captain asked him who he was. He told him he was Colonel Neff. The Captain dismounted took him by the hand and told him Mrs. Jenkins' words should be made good -- that he should be treated gentlemanly and if we remember rightly he was paroled after having his wound dressed. It was in reply to what Colonel Neff had told the Captain's wife that if ever he caught her husband he intended to hang him but the tables were turned on the gallant Colonel in this his first fight. The Colonel had moved his command from Gallipolis down on the Captain's farm, drove off all his stock and nearly everything that was movable about the house. It was about 10 days before the fight at Scary that the conversation between the Captain's wife and the gallant Colonel Neff took place.
On the 14th of July the company fell in and marched to the Ohio river. When we discovered the steamer Fannie McBurnie coming up the river, the company dismounted in a piece of woods and slipped down a ravine and hid themselves in a pawpaw thicket. The Captain walked out on the bank and hailed the boat. When she made the bank we charged her. Old Captain Blagg turned to Mr. Holloway the pilot and told him to back her out after hiding behind the smoke stack of the boat. The pilot told him to come up and take the wheel if he wanted her backed out. We went aboard and searched the boat and took everything we could find that would do a soldier service. A case of swords and 4 revolvers was all we found on her. We mounted our horses and rode down to the Captain's house. When we were about one hundred yards Mrs. Jenkins met us and the Captain proposed three cheers for his little wife. The boys responded right nobly to the call and made the welkin ring. The family was placed in carriages and all the baggage in wagons and we started for the Kanawha Valley. Upon reaching our old camp we found that General [Henry A.] Wise had ordered a retreat from the Valley. We boys felt pretty blue over the matter as we had just gave the Yanks a thrashing on our side of the river and General Wise with three times the force we had leaving without firing a gun. Heard officers proclaiming that Western Virginia was sold out but the old company stuck to their colors and started up the Kanawha. At 2 Mile Creek below Charleston the enemy had possession of the river bank and planted a battery to try to cut us off. We had two steamboats with us carrying the commisary stores and the infantry who had to leave their boats and come ashore after setting them on fire and destroying them. We then run the gauntlet of the infantry and artillry fire and continued our march up the Kanawha leaving almost everything we held dear behind us in possession of the enemey. We went into camp at the mouth of Lens Creek [Kanawha County] and was ordered to act as rear guard from that time on until we reached the White Sulphur Springs. When the company was divided and two companies made of it, Captain [James M.] Corns was elected Captain of one company and Joseph Ferguson Captain of the other. Captain Jenkins having resigned we then formed a regiment and Captain Jenkins was made Colonel of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. The old original Border Rangers was made Company E of the 8th and Ferguson's company was made Company K. After remaining at White Sulphur Springs some 10 days longer when the company was ordered to move by forced march to join General Wise near Dogwood Gap on the James River and Kanawha Turnpike. We ran into an ambuscade. No one hurt. Colonel Jenkins had a horse killed under him. A number of the boys lost their hats and blankets. On August 25th we were ordered to make scout on Peters Creek in Nicholas county where we met the 7th Ohio Infantry. Sedinger wounded. We fell back on the infantry under General [John] Floyd and camped near [Kesslers] Cross Lanes [Nicholas County].
The command formed line of battle and slept on their arms. The morning of the 26th we moved in the direction of the enemy who we found cooking their breakfast. The infantry charged the enemy and broke them all up. The Border Rangers then charged down the Peters Creek Road capturing 60 prisoners with their arms and accoutrements. We then took charge of that road picketing and was kept busy catching Yanks for about 4 days in the mountains in each side of Peters Creek. On one of these scouts on Panther Mountain, George Rupell was badly wounded in the knee by a party of the enemy that he met who was trying to get away from us. On September 1st General Floyd ordered Captain Corns to report to his headquarters with his company. Upon arriving we were formed in line and the General and his (staff?) rode down the line and inspected the company whom he found armed with new Enfield rifles that we had taken from the 7th Ohio Infantry. He made us a speech complimenting us on the part we had in the fight and telling us to keep the guns we had captured and never to lay them down until we had driven every Yank out of Virginia. September 8th Captain Corns was ordered to Powels Mountain. Upon arriving we found Captain [Alfred] Beckley trying to whip [General William S.] Rosecrans Army with the Logan Wild Cats. We undertook to help them. When the Yanks sent a brigade of infantry on our flank and it was all we could do to make the run, but we were successful in our escape.
Captain Beckley and infantry started for Summersville and we tried to hold the road ourselves, but we could do nothing with them as they kept a regiment as advance guard so we fell back every time they developed enough strength to drive us. It took General Rosencrans 24 hours to move us from Fielding McClungs to Nicholas Court House. We eat our breakfast and mounted our horses for at this time cavalry of the enemy was on the outskirts of the town and we had to go again. We continued our march and rode into the breastworks at Carnifax Ferry with the loss of but two men, Doc Kennedy and James Poindexter who was taken prisoner by the Rosencran Cavalry at Summersville. September 10th the fight opened at Carnifax Ferry about one 1'clock p.m. by the Infantry led by General Lytle charging the left center of our line which was repulsed after the General was wounded and fell from his horse, the horse coming inside our breastworks. The fight continued until dark with all the advantages with us for we had lost only 2 men killed and six wounded. After dark we moved out of the works and crossed the Gauley river on our pontoon bringing everybody and all our goods with us -- guns, artillery, not leaving either our dead or wounded comrades with the enemy. The Company acting as rear guard on the 11th of September marched to Dogwood Gap and again joined our old Brigade (Wise's). We was then ordered to join our regiment at Fayette Court House. We marched to Loup Creek -- the enemy being encamped at mouth of Gauley river. There was continuous fighting between the out-posts for ten days. The company lost one man, W. C. Bramlette. The enemy finally crossed the river in force, and drove General Floyd from Cotton Hill [Fayette County]. Driving from Loup Creek we were thankful to get away as the last three days we lived on baked pumpkin and parched corn -- all that we could find to eat. On November 5th the regiment was ordered to march to Guyandotte, Virginia. The boys were all happy then. We were going home for the first time since we left in the spring. We arrived November 9th at 9 o'clock at night and charged the town. The Border Rangers charged the Suspension Bridge and took it with orders to hold it. Upon arriving at the Bridge the drummer boy was beating the long roll and never quit until some one shot a hole through his drum.
The Yanks were forming in companies on each side of the bridge against the railing. We went through them and dismounted on the west side of the Bridge and formed at the end of the pier. About 5 minutes after forming the enemy concluded to cross and cut out. We waited until they were in 50 feet of us when we opened fire on them. What became of them after that I never knew but think they jumped over the rail into the river. One swam ashore and came up the bank and surrendered to us, Mr. James Woods after staying where we were until all firing had ceased. We cross the Bridge over into the town and kissed all the girls in the town. The Company lost al Long Killed and Jo Collier and John McMahon wounded. Collier died from his wounds. McMahon soon got well. We captured all we could find of the Yanks, their arms and commisary stores, put out pickets, and stayed all night and left town the next morning with 110 prisoners for Dixie. (The picket about the center of Suspension Bridge fired his gun and killed al Long. Some one of the company shot him. This happened as we charged the Bridge. Why he did not throw down and surrender was always a mystery to us. He was a small red headed man -- would weigh about one hundred pounds.)
We marched to Tazewell Court House and there received orders to go into winter quarters at the Old Camp Meeting ground in Russell county, Virginia. December 1st Lieutenant Everett received orders from General Floyd to take his company down Sandy and arrest Vincent A. Witcher and his command and bring them to his headquarters. We started and on the 6th of the month found Witcher about 2 miles below Paintsville [Kentucky] engaged in a fight with some Yanks. Had to help him whip them which we succeeded in doing after a right stubborn little fight, capturing the entire outfit. The men were paroled and their arms and horses turned over to General Humphrey Marshall's command at Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
General Marshall upon ascertaining that Witcher was under arrest ordered Everett to release him which was done after the necessary papers were made out. We marched back to Russell Camp Meeting Ground and rested up a few days and on January 1st, 1862 the Captain received orders to report to Colonel [Walter H.] Jenifer at Princeton, Mercer county. The Captain upon arriving reported for duty. We were ordered to Jumping Branch to do picket duty on all the roads leading to Raleigh Court House.
On January 25th Lieutenant Samuels and 15 men went to Shady Springs on the Pike leading to Raleigh Court House, formed an ambuscade and waited for the Yanks who came along pretty soon and eight of them were killed and wounded. None of the company hurt. At the same time 10 of the boys were sent to Richmond Falls on New River to capture Wm. Richmond. They succeeded in their enterprise but on their return trip, after marching all night, all the boys stopped at a house for breakfast but Arthur Williams and the prisoner who went on. After going about one mile Richmond complained of being very tired and asked Arthur to let him ride behind him. Williams complied with his request and had not gone very far before the first thing Arthur knew Richmond was trying to cut his throat and came very near doing it, but Arthur succeeded in getting away from him rolling off the horse on one side and Richmond on the other. Richmond had Arthur's gun which he snapped at Williams and then broke for the timber, getting away. The young man was three months getting over his scuffle with Richmond but he never let another Yankee ride with him -- it made no difference how tired he was.
February 8th. The enemy drove us from Jumping Branch to Mouth of Blue Stone on the New River where we found the 45th Virginia Infantry in line ready to receive our friends the enemy. After a skirmish lasting about two hours the boys fell back to Raleigh Court House where they, leaving us in possession of the field for which we was thankful to them as the most had fallen in love with some of the girls in the neighborhood and we did not want the Yanks to keep us hemmed up on the wrong side of Blue Stone. There was a little incident that happened while we were in camp here that ought to be preserved. One morning Lieutenant Samuels asked one of the boys to saddle his horse and go with him on an independent scout. They both started. After riding some four miles from camp Samuels stopped at a farm house and told his friend to get off with him as this was the end of the scout. When the people opened the door Captain Corns and one of his friends had charge of the fort. Samuels and his friend saluted the Captain who addressed Samuels in this manner, "Lieutenant, I understand you told Captain James Sheffy that you thought I was a man who thought discretion was the better part of valor. I want to know if you said it." Samuels said to him, "Yes sir, I made the remark and I believe and will prove it to you right now. You are armed I see. Draw your pistol for here is mine." The Captain broke for the door, his friend with him and Samuels hit the door facing with his shot as the gallant Captain beat a precipitate retreat for his horse. Samuels friend asked him why he did this. His reply was that the Captain did not show him any courtesy and he had simply given him a chance to get even and he had accepted it.
We continued performing scout and picket duty as before -- the enemy holding Raleigh Court House and the company holding the country between Shady Springs and Princeton. March 10th received orders to report to Princeton forthwith. Upon arriving at Princeton we found the town deserted and the enemy just coming in. Fell back from before them fighting them the best we could and whenever an opportunity presented itself until we reached Seddon the county seat of Bland County, Virginia where we found the regiment. The Yanks we had met was General [Jacob D.] Cox's command from Raleigh. From Seddon we marched to Walker's (Wolf's?) Creek and went into camp. We received orders to mount and move on Pearisburg, the county seat of Giles county, Virginia. We found the enemy in possession of the town. The infantry moved on them and a charge was ordered and right gallantly responded to by the men. We drove them to the mouth of East River and fell back to the Narrows of New River which we fortified and the Company was sent up Walker's (Wolfs?) Creek to picket all roads that led to Princeton. While the Company was performing this duty, Captain Corns was elected Colonel of the Regiment and H. C. Everett, Captain; A. H. Samuels, 1st Lieutenant; and John Thompson, Jr., 2nd Lieutenant. The 34th Ohio Infantry on May 15th crossed the East River Mountain by a bridal path and surprised the Company -- succeeding in killing Ed Doyle, capturing John Ong and Thad Flowers -- no one else hurt or lost.
On the 16th Lieutenant Samuels and 20 men sent to the mouth of East River on the Monroe side of the river and then was deployed as skirmishers. Stayed there two days and was engaged as sharp shooters fighting the 12th Ohio Infantry and a battery of six pieces. We did (not?) lose a man or horse during the time. On the morning of the 18th our forces on the Mercer side of the river moved down the river on the enemy who left in a hurry. The 20 men on the Monroe side under Samuels forded the river and joined the Company who led the advance until within two miles of Princeton, where at dark we ran into three piles of knapsacks that belonged to three different regiments. It being dark we could not see what to do. Waited for the Infantry to come up. While waiting yelled that the enemy was planting artillery in the road to shell us, ran away and did not return for three days. General [Henry] Heth and staff came up and ordered us to fall back. We hated to leave our capture but some of the boys nailed 3 or 4 knapsacks apiece and spent the next day seeing what they could find that would be of benefit to them. There was a good many letters from their sweethearts that afforded the boys considerable amusement. The enemy retreated from Princeton and . . .
[One page of the manuscript is missing, including a report of the first part of the action at Lewisburg, Virginia, on May 23, 1862.]
. . . line of battle changed. The enemy with Rowan's Battery lost all the guns and left the field as we seen it in a disgraceful manner. General Heth ordered a retreat with the loss of one battery and some 50 prisoners. The Company covered the retreat back to Union in Monroe County. The enemy left Lewisburg that night and gave us Greenbrier County which we soon occupied. General Jenkins was sent to us and took the command of the cavalry at this time. We stayed in Monroe and Greenbrier counties until the 20th of August, when we left for the Tygarts Valley. Our command consisted of the 8th Cavalry and Jackson's Battalion. We struck a scouting party of the Yanks about 8 miles from Beverly [Randolph County] with the advance. The General ordered a charge and led the attack. The party all run but the officer who undertook to fight all of us. The officer was killed, John Thompson had his horse shot, General Jenkins then flanked to the left with the command and crossed the Rich Mountain. He ordered Captain Everett to hold the Tygarts Valley with our Company until dark and then to follow the command which we did. Marched all night reaching the brigade at daylight next morning. The Company fed and ate breakfast. Slept about one hour. Started after the command again about 10 miles in the rear.
The first cross roads we come to in our march we found about 100 citizens had assembled with shot guns and squirrel rifles to dispute our passage. Everett ordered a charge and the citizens broke after firing at us and we had lots of sport catching them. It appeared to me they was all in uniform as each and every one of them had red flannel back in his vest and in his shirt sleeves. All of them we caught we took their guns away and Everett told them to go home and behave themselves or some of them would get killed. We had to make three different charges from French Creek to Buchanan [Buckhannon] that morning all about like the first one. There was no one of the Company hurt but several of them had close calls there. We the militia did not fare so well as several of them was hurt pretty bad. The General and Command had captured the town before we caught up with them. Captured 130 prisoners and a great quantity of all kinds including sugar, coffee, flour, bacon, clothing of all kinds, 5,000 muskets, 1 piece of artillery. All this stuff was burned up and destroyed. General Jenkins paroled the prisoners and we started on our march to Weston that night in time to reach the town at daylight, the morning of the 1st of September.
It was a foggy morning and the Colonel detailed 20 men of the Company to locate the enemy who we was told had concluded to use foundation of the asylum as breastworks. The 20 men felt their way clean to the walls but found the enemy gone. Sent one of the boys back to the General with the information that enemy was gone. The 20 men deployed as skirmishers, went across the open field and found the camp of the enemy in possession of a few camp stragglers who they took in. Found that it was the Sixth West Virginia Regiment who had left some time in the night, they did not know when. Pretty soon the infantry picket came in and they surrendered to us. The General paroled 50 prisoners here and destroyed everything that was left, camp equipage and stores. We started on our march for Grantsville but found no enemy. Then resumed our march and started for Spencer. On our way the advance in passing a farm house, an old lady having seen us come running to the fence her hair disordered and her home spun dress half fastened very much excited asked us who we were. The boys told her we were Confederate soldiers. She upon receiving this commenced yelling for Jeff Davis and singing, "Glory Hallelujah! Is my son John with you?" We did not know John so we had to leave her.
Upon arriving near Spencer, the advance halted and waited for Command to come up as we had learned the fact that Rathbone's regiment 11th West Virginia Infantry and Captain John P. Baggs' Company Independent Scouts. The General then spread the Command out so as to show off as large as possible. We did look as if we were some three thousand strong and we were in plain view of Spencer. The General sent in flag of truce demanding the surrender of the force. Colonel Rathbone finally stacked arms and ran up the white flag. We marched into town and was received by the citizens as their deliverers as the Southern people had been treated badly especially by Baggs' Company. Our Company was detailed to look after the prisoners that night and to pay particular attention to the Independent Company which we did and the full complement of prisoners was there next morning. We had to agree to guard the prisoners to the Ohio river before parolling as they said they would all be killed in making the march without arms to Ripley. The advance spread the report that we was following with the Yanks as prisoners. The whole country turned out to greet us men, women and children. In passing through the Parsons neighborhood one of the ladies pointed out a Yank that had visited them the day before and mistreated her to her husband. He wanted satisfaction there and then. The officer in command asked the Yank about it. He denied the story but the lady told him he was the man. The officer asked the Yank if he was willing to fight Parsons. He said yes if he had fair play. The boys formed a ring around them and the Southern man had the best of the fight. It was a bare knuckle fight to the finish. The lady told her husband she was proud of him and she reckoned the Yankees would let her alone in the future.
Upon arriving at Ripley the General decided to go into camp for the night, picketing all roads leading to Ripley. Wash Smith who was on Vidette on the Ravenswood road caught a Quartermaster trying to slip through the woods and get to the Ohio river. The Captain surrendered to Wash who brought him into camp with his outfit and turned him over to the general. Upon examination it was found that his chest contained ($7,000.) dollars in greenbacks. The money was exchanged with the boys for Confederate money and that money turned into the Quartermaster of our brigade, and the boys who had friends and relatives on the Border left the greenbacks with them for their use. After breakfast we fell in and resumed our march to the Ohio river at Ravenswood. We charged the town and captured several Yanks. Here all the prisoners were paroled and told to take care of themselves.
There was some Yanks on the Ohio side of the river who kept up a constant fire on us from 9 A.M. until 2 P.M., when the regiment was ordered to fall in, ford the river and capture them if possible. The moment the Command started to ford, the Yanks ceased firing and we never could find any of them. Upon reaching the road the General concluded to continue on down the river on the Ohio side to Racine, which we did, capturing that town after a little skirmish with the enemy at a small bridge above the town. There we recrossed the river to the Virginia side without the loss of a man or horse. The boys made several horse trades with the Buckeye farmers along the road, and generally had the best of it in their trades. We marched from opposite Racine to Buffalo on the Kanawha river. No incidents worth recording occurred during our march.
Ten men in charge of an officer were sent from Buffalo to Mud Bridge, now Milton, with orders if anything was wrong in Cabell to report to the General at Green Bottom. The 10 men that went to Milton continued on down the turnpike to within a half mile of Barboursville. There they met two citizens in a buggy whom they knew, who told them to go back for God's sake as the town was full of Yanks. After finding out from the citizens all that they knew was that they saw an officer and 8 or 10 men turn the corner and they supposed they merely the advance of some regiment coming to take possession of the town. We concluded to ride into town and take a look at them. We rode in as far as Thornburg's store on top of the hill where the officer ordered a charge having seen a blue coat. We found them at Hatfield's hotel. About half of them went over the river bank and the rest ran in all directions, the boys firing at them as they ran in all directions, the boys firing at them as they ran. We caught two of them before they could get out of the hotel. Lieutenant Brown the officer in command of the Yanks hid in a bake oven in the back yard of Oscar Mathers' house. This was the Sabbath day and church was going on at the time in the Southern Methodist church. Three of four bullets struck the building. The preacher did not have to dismiss the congregation. It was found getting towards home as fast as they could possibly go without waiting for the benediction. The boys felt good over the result of their charge.
We went on to Guyandotte and charged the town. There we found no one but citizens. Told them to stay at home and they should not be disturbed. We went around town shook hands with every one and felt as if we were at home once more. We waited for the Command to come down the Ohio from Green Bottom. We rejoined the Company and went to Barboursville where a scout from Hurricane came down and reported to the General that [General Joseph Andrew Jackson] Lightburn and all forces in the Kanawha Valley was retreating by the way of Barboursville. He left one Company of Cavalry to watch them and fell back up the Guyan river and made a forced march through Wayne county up 12 Pole into Logan County. We went through Wyoming onto Coal River, down Coal River and struck the Kanawha River at Brownstown. From there we went to Charleston and reported to General [William Wing] Loring for duty September 27th. The old Company sent to Colonel Ferguson of the 16th regiment for duty too, as his command was all raw recruits. We moved down the Kanawha River to Red House Shoals.
The advance of the Company here found the cavalry pickets of the Yanks, charged them, and drove them to the infantry. They fell back and waited for Colonel Ferguson to come up. Upon his arrival he wanted to know where the enemy was and rode down to within 200 yards of where the Yanks were in a thick cluster of pawpaw bushes. The Colonel asked if any of the Company would ride down with him to where we thought they were. Three of them responded, rode down and just in the edge of the thicket the infantry was in line with guns and gave us a volley at a distance of 10 feet. The Colonel saw them, having been shot through both wrists. Captain Everett lost his hat, A. A. Hanley his pistol and Sedinger his horse killed. We fell on the infantry stationed at Charleston.
General Loring ordered retreat from the Kanawha Valley. The regiment covered the retreat and it was a continuous fight for 4 days with the advance cavalry of the Yanks. Our last stand was just below Kanawha Falls. Whether we hurt (them?) or not don't know. After we had barricaded the road and fired 3 or 4 volleys at them we left. We thought we had every one in line but found S. N. Keenan missing, but in about an hour Newt Turned up all right. We marched to White Sulphur Springs where we was ordered to New River Bridge for winter quarters. We spent the time there in company with what was left of the Louisiana Tigers [Wheat's Battalion, Louisiana Infantry], and we had our horses in North Carolina all winter.
On the 24th of March 1863, we broke camp for a march to the Ohio River on foot. By the time we reached Cabell county half the boys was barefooted. We reached Hamlin now Lincoln County about dark and put out pickets on all the roads. About daylight the morning of the 29th the sentinel on the road towards ( ?) brought in a man with two horse team who had been hauling bacon to the Yanks at Hurricane Bridge. The man thought we were Yanks and told us all he knew. While the officer was talking to him Rod Noel of the old Company noticed that he had on a good pair of shoes. Rod was barefooted and said to him, "Could or would you give an old Confederate soldier a good pair of shoes?" That was the first intimation that the man had we were Rebels. He said to Rod that he would if he had any but those he had on. Rod asked him if he had any more at home. He told him, "Yes." "Well," Rod said to him, "Give me them, you can stand it better to ride home barefooted in your wagon than I can to walk." The man pulled off his and gave them to Rod. He was scared so badly he did not know what he was doing. He and his wagon and horses were sent on to the General who told him to go home and behave himself.
We marched all night, nearly the next night, arriving at Hurricane Bridge about daylight. The General sent in a flag of truce demanding a surrender. The Captain in command refused and moved into a fort that was near by and held it against us as we had no artillery with us. John Payne of the Company was killed. We flanked the fort and moved that day to Buffalo on the Kanawha River, captured two flat boats, went aboard and floated down the Kanawha to Point Pleasant, went ashore and charged the town. The Yanks got possession of the Court House and we held the jail. Ed Guthrie was badly wounded, Lieutenants Samuels and Holderby both taken prisoner. The enemy reinforced from Gallipolis, we left the town and fell back up the river to the mouth of 10 Mile, crossed the Kanawha and marched to Howell's Mill in Cabell County where we went into camp. The infantry and cavalry from Charleston undertook to cut us off but failed. We then resumed our march back to Dixie where we found our horses awaiting us in good condition. The regiment was taken away from Jenkins' Brigade and sent to the marshes of Coal to do picket duty for Colonel [John] McCausland. While the Company was on Picket duty between Raleigh and Fayette Captain Thurman (Thurmond) the Partisan Ranger, ambushed two companies of 2nd Virginia Cavalry, Yanks, who fled their horses. That night their horses came to the picket post. The videttes halted them but they would not stop. The boys fired at them and the pickets formed across the road and stopped them, capturing some 25 horses, saddles and bridles and sabers. The horses of the Yanks were so frightened that they were trembling with fear, and it took us an hour to quiet them. The sabers rattling and striking against the saddles came very near to demoralizing the picket post as we could see them until we were in two feet of them. There was another incident connected with our Company while here. One of the boys had a sweetheart who he used to call on pretty often. One day he went out to see her. The old gentleman had sent his daughter out to the corn field to straighten up the corn and do what little hoeing was necessary to do, as he had finished ploughing the field, the boys all being in the army. The young man went over to help the young lady, taking the hoe in his hand to do the work himself. He was not doing the work to suit her so she took her foot to show him where to hoe and cut off her big toe almost. She discarded him on the spot and made him leave the field. The story got out somehow and John Mitchell never heard the last of it.
On July 14th three companies of the regiment were sent to the mouth of Loup Creek to burn a large wharf boat that was filled with stores for the Yanks. Upon reaching the river just at daylight was some Yankee cavalry lying down asleep, their horses tied up to the bushes that was near them. We charged them, run through them, capturing nearly all of them except a few who hid themselves in the weeds and bushes near by. We started out with our prisoners and had to run the fire of a full regiment of infantry across the Kanawha River. Hansford Stewart was killed and Walter Kingsolving so badly hurt that he never was able for duty afterwards.
On July 20th an officer was sent down the Clear Ford of Coal River on a scout and up the Marsh Fork at Mr. Petrie's found some Wyoming Yanks under the command of a Captain Cook. We dismounted, slipped through a corn field to within 10 feet of the enemy who we found with their guns stacked. We charged them and they all ran leaving their guns. We caught two of them before they got over the fence on the other side of the house. They were waiting for their dinners. Whether we killed any of them, don't know -- did not stop to see. There was 10 men in our party and we captured 25 guns. No one was hurt on our side. Eat the dinner that was being prepared for the Yanks and left for camp with our prisoners. Upon arriving at camp we found the regiment ready to move, having received orders to head off a raid on Wytheville.
We found the Yanks on Walkers Creek in Bland County, Virginia. After a skirmish with the head of the command the enemy took to the Mountain and we held the road until daylight. In the morning of the 23d of July we then moved on their trail through the Mountain. We found several of them that we took prisoners -- one in particular ought to have a name in history. We think her name was Peery, in Tazewell County, Virginia. One of the 34th Ohio went to the house, no one at home but the girl. He told her he wanted a horse. She told him there was no horse on the place but her riding horse and he could not have that. He went to the stable to take the animal, the girl following. He went inside to get the horse, setting his gun down by the door. She picked up the fire-arm, examined it, found it was loaded, then presented to Mr. Yank and told him to throw up his hands or she would shoot. The Yank complied with her request and she marched him out of the stable made him fasten the door, then made him march to the house and guarded him until we come along and relieved her. Then the girl broke down and Mr. Yankee looked to me as if he thought he ought to be hung. He was completely cowed by his experience with a mountain girl of Virginia. She told us afterwards that he did not offer to do her any bodily harm.
We stayed in Tazewell and Mercer counties, Virginia, until October 7th, '63, when we were ordered to Abingdon, Virginia to report for duty to General Wm. E. Jones. The regiment was sent to Bristol, Tennessee, with orders to do picket and scout on all roads leading to Bristol. This kind of service was kept up until the 1st of November. There was at this time hard service for the boys. One day while moving out with part of the Company under Lieutenant Thompson, our orderly Sergeant Daniel Ruffner, who had been drinking, struck a citizen with his revolver. The man who was armed shot the Orderly and killed him. He made his escape and was hid by his friends. We never could find him. Ruffner was a gallant soldier and a perfect gentleman when sober.
On another occasion 8 of the boys went on a little scouting expedition of their own into Sullivan county, Tennessee. There was an old gentleman of well- known Union sentiments in that part who had some pretty daughters and some old apple brandy. The boys slipped by our pickets in round about way and struck the road about 1/2 mile from the Yankee guard and come up and charged the old man's house about 12 o'clock at night, waking the gentleman and all his family. He thinking we were Yanks ordered the whole family to get up and give the best the house afforded. We had a splendid supper and plenty of fun with the girls. He gave us all the brandy we wanted and filled our canteens when we left. Told us to call at any time we was in that part of the country, and each one of us should have one of his daughters as they should not marry any one but a Union soldier. We thanked the old gentleman, kissed the girls and left, going the way we came, towards the Yankees. I don't think he ever knew any better.
On November 6th was ordered to prepare 3 days rations and march to Rogersville, Tennessee. On the morning of the 8th the old Company was ordered to the front and told to form by 4's as we were to charge a house that was full of militia, and Company A was to support us. We formed with our revolvers in our hands and started ready for action at any time. On topping a little hill we found ourselves within 20 feet of a company of Yanks. Captain Everett ordered a charge, and at them we went head foremost. They started to run and it was a horse race for 3 miles in the mud. We did get them all but the Captain -- his horse was too fast for us or we would have gotten him. They was the muddiest set of Yanks when we went back to see how many there was of them, we think, that was ever captured. No one of the Company was hurt. We re-formed after the charge, went into Rogersville and gobbled about all of them that was there. Our captures that morning amounted to 800 prisoners and one battery of artillery and a large amount of stores. The boys was pretty well clothed and shod when we had finished up for the day. We had plenty to eat for a Confederate soldier -- sardines and hardtack. Several of them had their haversacks well filled and the canteens was not forgotten.
We started on our return to Bristol but was stopped upon reaching the line of the Yanks' retreat to Knocksville and received orders to follow them which we did catching stragglers all day. We kept this up for two days. There was no fighting but a continuous run catching Yanks. Upon arriving near Knoxville we was part of the line in the siege. We stayed until the charge was made on Fort Sanders. The loss to the infantry was terrible. The next morning, December 2nd, was ordered to Clinch River near Walkers Ford. Was skirmishing all day. In the morning when we first found the enemy the Company formed in an open field and was sitting on our horses awaiting orders when some one from the woods fired a shot at us striking A. G. Ricketts. We helped Gallie off his horse and carried him to a little cabin near by leaving him in charge of his cousin Joseph Wilson. Went on after the Yanks and drove them across the Clinch River at Black Fox Ford. An officer and 30 men was left to hold the Ford. The men all dismounted and hid their horses the best they could. Built themselves what little fortifications they could and got ready for business. A regiment of cavalry on the opposite side moved up, dismounted, formed line, marched down to the bank and opened fire on us. The enemy was armed with Henry rifles and it was a continuous fire for 30 minutes. Then they about-faced and started back for their horses, remounted and moved off leaving us in possession of the Black Fox Ford. The boys on our side of the river keeping up their fire until the Yanks got out of range. The only thing hurt on our side of the Clinch was an old gray horse that belonged to one of the boys. He could not find shelter for him. It was the hottest fire we was ever under for the length of time.
One little incident connected with this ford is worth repeating. One of the colored boys forded the river, caught one of the Yanks and brought him over. General Jones and staff was there when the boy came back with his prisoner. The General asked him who he was and what command he belonged to -- all of which he answered. When the General started to leave him the Yank says, "General, what are you going to do with me?" The General replied, "You belong to that negro. He can do what he pleases with you!" "Oh, my God, General! Don't leave me that way!" (exclaimed he with) tears rolling down his cheeks. But the boy held onto his capture and was turned in by him with the other prisoners captured. We left the ford about dusk and moved up to the little cabin where we had left Gallie. He was still unconscious. The Surgeon said he could not get well as it was concussion. We left him in charge of an old gentleman, John Cabbage, who sat by his bedside until the next morning when he died. He was buried by him in his own private burying ground on top of one of the highest Mountains in east Tennessee. As gallant a soldier as ever wore a spur he deserved a better fate. His last words were for his mother, "Tell mama I died a brave soldier." He was never conscious afterwards.
We moved from there to Knoxville and from there to Louden where we met [General Ulysses S.] Grant's advance to relieve [General Ambrose] Burnside at Knoxville. It was fight every day from that on until the 10th of December. At Morristown we had a right stiff fight of 3 hours duration. Drove them back and captured several prisoners. Sampson Simmonds of the Company was badly wounded. On December 14th the enemy tried to drive us from Bean's Station and we gave them a right decent thrashing. No one of the Company hurt. On December 16th at Powder Spring Gap the Yanks attacked at daylight. Skirmish and fight all day. At dark fell back in a piece of woods. The enemy turned our flank. Lem Wilson and Sedinger wounded. Will Symington was taken prisoner. On January 2d broke camp at dark and marched all night. At daylight on the morning of the 3rd Captain Everett was ordered to take the old Company and companies I, K, and D, and charge the picket post. The Captain made the charge and was successful in capturing the entire force on picket, some 80 men; but Lieutenant Samuels who succeeded in cutting through the Yanks went on and charged the main body and a battery succeeded in driving the enemy away from his guns. Samuels was killed while sabering one of the gunners. Lon Love, Henry Baumgardner, Will Shomaker, and Charles Morris were killed at the same time. Uriah Martin, George Heath, George Burnsides, John Mairs, and H. H. Saxton were all badly wounded. The fight continued from that time until 4 o'clock in the evening when the enemy surrendered to us after an all days fight in which they lost a good many men. The regiment rested in the Powell Valley for some 4 days, then received orders to move to Strawberry Plains. Found the Yanks in possession charged them and drove them before us capturing some prisoners. Held our ground and lived off the country by foraging. On January 20th Sedinger was elected Lieutenant caused by the death of Samuels. Continuous foraging and fighting.
On February 22nd fight at Wymer's Mills, Tennessee. Fight opened at daylight by the regiment charging the camp. S. S. Vinson in command of Company K led the charge. Vinson's horse fell shot just as he struck the enemy's line, and caught Sam under him. Jess Meeks and Anderville Frazier were killed. Jim Shelton was wounded in this fight. Colonel Davis in command of the enemy attacked an officer of the Company who exchanged 3 shots with the Colonel at close range when the Colonel tried to get away but the officer caught him after an hundred yard run and found him badly wounded. We captured almost the entire regiment and considerable stores. We found plenty of hardtack and coffee, bacon, etc. The boys enjoyed their breakfast for we had marched all night without any thing to eat.
On March 5th found the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry at Panther Spring Gap. Charged their camp and they scattered to the Mountains. Captured 100 prisoners and about all their camp equipage. No one hurt of the Company but Byrd Hensley and he thought he was killed. In making the charge a bullet struck his haversack knocking the breath out of him. One of the boys after the fight went to him and asked him how he was hurt. "Shot through!" was his reply. Upon examination it was found that Byrd had two pieces of wheat bread that was baked on a flat shell rock common to that country. The bread was made up of salt and water, rolled out flat, and baked Johnny Cake fashion before the fire. The bread was in his haversack and a bullet went through one piece and half way through the other, knocking the young man off his horse and making a blue place on his side about the size of a silver dollar; but it took 3 of the boys half an hour to convince Byrd that he was not shot.
On March 10th, 1864, the regiment fell in for re-enlistment. The entire regiment re-enlisted, but the Border Rangers refused. General Jones wanted to know what the trouble was. We told him we wanted to leave the Brigade and Regiment. We gave him our reasons for it and immediately he gave the Company 60 days furlough. The boys all came home to the Border and such a time the boys had. One of 8 went through the country to Parkersburg. Spent 3 weeks in that city and on Blennerhassett Island and had a chance to see how the Southern people felt inside the lines. The party finally left Parkersburg one night about 9 o'clock by walking down to the wharf and shoving a skiff out in the river with 2 sets of oars in it and starting down the river for Cabell County and from there through to Dixie there were many sad partings on that trip for the mothers all felt that it was the last time they would see their boys and with a good many it proved true -- in fact too many. Upon going back we found Jones' Brigade in Wythe County, Virginia. The Company served the balance of the war without re-enlisting.
The Brigade rode from Wytheville to Staunton, Virginia. Fought the advance of General [David] Hunter for one half a day. Fell back to Waynesborough. Crossed the Mountain into Nelson County, Virginia; from there through Nelson into Amherst County; through Amherst into Campbell County; passed through Lynchburg to Liberty where we met Hunter's advance. Fought the enemy all the way back to Lynchburg where we met Gordon's division of infantry in line of battle ready to fight Hunter. We was very glad to see the infantry for we had been fighting Hunter for 3 three days and could not stop him. Went on vidette 2 days and nights. When Hunter retreated we followed him to Salem, Virginia, where we charged him and broke into a pack of artillery, capturing a battery. Fell back and waited for the infantry to come up. By this time Hunter was across the mountain. We started on the march for Winchester, Virginia. Down the valley found the federal forces well fortified. Flanked them when they started on a retreat; then it was a race for the Potomac. We captured several prisoners and a goodly amount of war material. Crossed the Potomac and marched to Frederick City, Maryland, the regiment leading the advance.
On July 8th we found the 8th Illinois Cavalry drawn up in line of battle. Formed for a charge when the Illinois regiment left the field. We followed them, their battery shelling us, our regiment losing 14 men and several horses by the explosion of a shell in our ranks. Among the number was Harvey Wilson who was a conscientious Christian soldier from our county, and as gallant a man as ever drew a saber.
On July 9th McCausland's Brigade of cavalry made an attack on [General James Brewerton] Rickett's division of infantry at Monacy (Monocacy?) Junction. The 16th regiment of cavalry lost a considerable number of men and some gallant officers. Among the number was Captain Joseph Morris and Lieutenant Robert Holderby who was an old member of the company promoted to a lieutenantcy for gallant and meritorious conduct on many battle fields.
On July 10th the brigade left [General Jubal] Early's command at Monaccey (Monocacy) Junction and started to burn the bridge across Gunpowder River between Baltimore and Philadelphia. Destroyed the bridge and tore up the railroad track for miles. On the evening of the 12th of July found us in the outskirts of Baltimore. The streets were barricaded, but the enemy was only militia and what a picnic we had driving them before us going almost into the heart of the city. One of the incidents of the march -- the boys found a dairy filled with ice cream, cake, smear-case and everything manufactured of milk, about six miles out from the city for the city market and such a time as we had with the old German that it belonged to. Two of the Border Rangers got hold of a two gallon freezer of cream and one of the cakes. While riding along on the march eating the cream and cake, one of the Lieutenants of Company C, of the regiment said, "Hello boys, what have you to eat?" They told him. His reply was that he had the same dirt for his breakfast. The boys tried his can and found it was Dutch cheese. The boys gave him some of theirs. He cleaned his can out and the boys divided with him. It was the first cream he had ever tasted and the first and last the company ever had during the war.
Flanked Baltimore and marched on the Washington pike and drive a regiment of cavalry before us into Washington. While on this pike we passed a large seminary full of young lady students. The professor and matrons of the institution tried to control the girls but they could not do it. Every southern girl was over the fence and lined up cheering us as we passed and any lucky Knight they knew would have to dismount and the whole line would kiss him after an introduction. It made braver men of the boys after witnessing the scenes at that school; the devotion of the Southern girls to the cause.
After driving the enemy to the forts that protected the city on that side we found them too strong for us. Flanked them and found General Early's command near Georgetown. Early retreated. The brigade covered the retreat fighting the cavalry to Poolville. The regiment was dismounted and deployed as skirmishers and from 10 A.M. until dark held the enemy in check. Charles Shomaker was wounded badly. We mounted and started for the Potomac; was halted and told to lay down with our horses fastened to us to be ready for any emergency. About 11 o'clock the enemy had slipped a battery up to within 200 yards of our line and turned loose on us with grape and cannister causing great confusion. It took us 20 minutes at least to find out where we were.
July 20th found us at Winchester, Virginia, fighting the federal cavalry. We held the field driving the Yanks to Berryville. On July 23rd fought the federal cavalry at Kernstown. Gave the enemy a right decent flogging in this fight. While our regiment was in line waiting for orders there was a Yank charged through our line and back again with his saber in his hand. He did not hurt any one neither was he hurt.
July 24th at Winchester, Fought General [George] Crook and drove him before us to the Potomac. That night was a terrible night. It was a continuous fight from dark until daylight next morning -- burning wagon trains and caissons, shells exploding -- it was terrible but beautiful the entire night. We captured one hundred prisoners as our part of the night's work.
On July 26th the brigade was ordered to join General McCausland and go with his brigade into Maryland and Pennsylvania. On July 29th captured Hagerstown, Maryland and levied contribution of $200,000. On July 30th captured Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The General levied contribution of $300,000 on the city which the mayor and city council refused to pay. The General told the gentlemen he would give them 30 minutes to change their mind. They at the expiration of time still refused when he ordered Dunn's batallion to burn the town. Then we witnessed to the fullest extent the horrors of war. The ladies and children of that city knew for the first time what war was as they was frightened so badly that some of them would not leave their homes and had to be carried to places of safety. The mayor and city council had told the General that if he burned the city General [William Woods Averell] Averill would catch us and hang every one of us. It was then that the General pulled his watch and (gave) the reply that he would burn the town and whip General Averill whenever he found him.
On July 31st General Averill overtook us at Hancock, Maryland. After a two hours fight he fell back and left us in charge of the field.
On August 1st tried to take Cumberland, Maryland, but they were too strong for us and we had to go. On August 2nd captured a block house at Old Town, Maryland, 153 O (Officers?) taken prisoner. A train of iron clad cars came up and took part in the fight. Captured the cars, artillery and stores. Sedinger wounded. On August 4th tried to take New Creek Station on the B. and O. Found the enemy very strongly entrenched and we fell back to Romney. J. C. Rice was wounded in the hand.
August 7th at Moorefield [Hardy County]. The command was surprised at daybreak in the morning by General Averill's command. The Company went out on the Winchester road and rallied at the foot of the Mountain. Fought Witcher's regiment, 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, and held them in check for 30 minutes until flanked by 4 companies of cavalry. We had to go to save ourselves. Louis Woodrum was killed and Maurice Pennybaker wounded, and rode from Moorefield to Harrisonburg, Virginia, without having his wound dressed. Sampson Simmonds was taken prisoner.
On August 15th fight with federal cavalry near Strasburg, drove them to the Potomac and across the river. On August 17th the federal cavalry came back to us near Winchester on the Berryville pike. 4 hours pretty hard fighting[.] By flank movement got them to going and drove them back on their infantry supports. Roddy Noel hurt with shell. On August 25th fight with cavalry near Shepherdstown. Had the best of the fight and drove the enemy through the town.
August 26th. Fight with cavalry near Halltown [Jefferson County]. Drove them through piece of wood-land and ran into the infantry and two batteries which turned loose at us with grape and cannister. We was too glad to get away from them. From this time until the 19th of September it was a continuous fight and get away. On September 19th the fight at Winchester opened at daybreak in the morning by a New Jersey brigade of cavalry charging a South Carolina regiment of infantry on their picket posts. The Colonel of the regiment had his men in a hollow square at this time. Our regiment was in line. We charged the cavalry and drive them away from the infantry capturing a good many prisoners. The Company lost one man killed. Joseph Shelton's horse ran away with him at the commencement and carried him through the cavalry brigade ahead of the regiment into the federal infantry who killed him. The battle lasted the entire day with about equal advantages until about 5 o'clock in the (evening) when our left flank gave away and almost made a rout of it. Our brigade of cavalry and Pegram's brigade of infantry covered the retreat to Kernstown where Pegram's brigade of infantry took the stone fence to the right of the pike and held it, while our brigade held the left and center. On came the federal cavalry charging by squadrons. When we turned loose on them they found a hornets nest that did not suit them by any means. What the effect was upon them was manifested by those that were alive getting away as fast as possible. The road was full of horses and cavalrymen, dead and wounded. We then resumed our march up the valley to Fisher's Hill where we went into camp unmolested for two days throwing up breast-works and getting ready for our next fight.
September 22nd. The Yanks moved about 2 P.M. and attacked the entire line but General Crooks with the 8th Corps and the entire federal cavalry struck the left flank and turned it, capturing almost all our artillery and 800 prisoners. Our regiment being up in the woods on the North Mountain dismounted, fighting as infantry. Colonel Cook ordered us to charge which we did, and struck the rear of Crooks corps who about-faced and poured a hot fire into us killing John Beckwith and capturing Sedinger of the old company. Gus Wolcott, Arthur Williams and four others of the old company as they fell back up into the North Mountain captured 7 Yanks and took them out with them. The command retreated up the valley to Woodstock and went into camp. The cavalry picketed all roads leading up the valley. This we continued to do until the 10th of October when we made forward movement down the valley, encountering the federal cavalry, 4 miles from Fisher's Hill driving them down the road until we struck the infantry at Cedar Creek where they were entrenched. We then fell back on the infantry who was throwing up breast works getting ready for trouble. Then it was a kind of give and take warfare until the 19th of October.
The battle commenced at daylight. Wharton's brigade of Breckinridge's division charged the breast works of the 8th corps. Caught the boys asleep and ran over them, driving the 8th corps back and over the 9th, completely demoralizing both corps. When we found the 6th corps in line of battle ready to receive us our success was complete, until about noon when [General Philip Henry] Sheridan coming up turned the tide of battle against us and we lost as much in the evening as we had gained in the morning. This battle was lost by the boys being too anxious to reap the fruits of victory and get what they needed out of the Yankee camps as most of us were bare-footed, naked for clothing and hungry. The Yanks had everything in plenty and the temptation was too great to resist. The result was defeat. In the evening at least 10 thousand of our men was straggling in their eager desire to better condition. We succeeded in getting off with what prisoners we had captured but we lost as many as we had taken from the enemy. We fell back up the valley. We lost Cyrenus Emmons, taken prisoner. He was comfortably dressed and in good condition for a winter campaign when taken. We fell back up the valley to Harrisonburg and went into camp doing picket duty on all roads down the valley.
On November 4th [General Thomas Lafayette] Rosser's brigade joined us and a movement was made on November 12th down the valley, Rosser's brigade taking the back road our brigade taking the main pike. Rosser found [General George Armstrong] Custer at Newtown or when our brigade was at Newtown the couriers from Rosser found us ready for business. We struck Custer in the flank and saved Rosser. Joseph Stewart of the company badly wounded. It was picket duty and skirmishing with the enemy until November 24th when we left the valley and moved on Moorefield -- our brigade and Rosser's. General Rosser in command with the intention of tearing up the B. & O. R. W. We (met) but few Yanks until we arrived at New Creek now called Keyser [Mineral County].
We surrounded the picket post. We all had on blue overcoats. The pickets thought we were federal cavalry until we were completely around them when we told them who we were and told them the first man that opened his mouth or made any kind of an alarm would be killed. That settled the matter with the young men in charge of the picket post. We then rode on to the fort and our brigade formed in squadrons within one hundred feet of the enemy without their having the least idea that we were anything but Brother Yankees. In fact they were talking to us all the time we were forming, asking how many johnnies we had caught and brought with us, and never for a moment doubted us until Colonel Cook gave the order to draw sabres and charge the fort. We caught (them) without a gun in their hands or anything to defend themselves with. We captured the entire garrison, all but Colonel Latham, the commander, who hid himself somewhere. We could not find him. He was afterwards dismissed from the service for cowardice when he could not help himself. If General Sherridan himself had been in command the result would have been the same for the surprise was so complete that it was impossible to stop it.
Part of our brigade went to Piedmont [Mineral County] to destroy the shops there which they succeeded in doing to a considerable extent. The command destroyed great quantities of stores at New Creek when the detachment came back from Piedmont. We left for Dixie with some 500 prisoners, horses, artillery, and everything that was moveable, leaving the siege guns after spiking them. Upon arriving in the valley we went at our usual duties of scouting and picket duty until December 10th when the two brigades moved down the valley to Luray Springs. About 4 o'clock in the morning we found a federal cavalry camp. Our brigade was in the advance and we turned loose on them, running over them. It was dark and we were all mixed up in hand to hand fight. We could not tell friend from foe and General [William Henry Fitzhugh] Payne issued orders for us to fall back and get out of the scrape the best we could. We found out from the prisoners we had brought out that it was General Custer's division of cavalry. Captain Everett was captured trying to rally the 8th Vermont cavalry. Thomas Dodson was taken prisoner. Our force fell back to Harrisonburg and General Custer to Winchester, then moved to Swope's Depot and went into camp. On January 7th we pulled out for Beverly. The roads and weather was terrible. We left with about 800 men and when we arrived at our destination there was not more than 250 of us. It was about 5 o'clock in the morning. We had not found a picket, scout or anything that looked like a Yankee. Our little force formed and moved on the camp where we found every one asleep except some 8 or 10 camp guards which we soon disposed of and then from that time the boys had lots of fun pulling the sleepy Yankees out of bed and getting them ready for their trip to Dixie. There was two regiments, the 8th Ohio cavalry and 34th, commonly known as the Zouaves. We destroyed everything we could find that we did not need ourselves and started with our prisoners for the railroad. It was terrible on the Yanks to make the march on foot as the snow was at least 12 inches deep and the thermometer about zero. The Company fared badly too with frozen feet. Preston Baker was told that he would have to have his feet amputated by the surgeons but he said no he would rather die. He lived to get well and made one of the most respected citizens in our county.
Upon arriving at Swope's our brigade received order to move near Lexington in Rockbridge County where we stayed and recruited until the 6th of February, when we received orders to start on the march for Petersburg. Upon arriving we found Custer in our front again on the north side of the James River where we continued to do picket and scout duty until the evening of the 27th day of March when we was ordered to cross to the south side of the river which we did on the 28th, doing duty on the lines south of Petersburg. On the 29th we held our same position. On the 30th we marched to 5 Forks. Encountered the enemy's cavalry which we drove back on their reserves. Our Brigadeer-General Wm. H. Payne was wounded and left in the enemy's lines. On the 31st of March [General George Edward] Pickett's division of infantry come to our assistance when we gave Sheridan's cavalry a complete thrashing.
On the first of April we fell back to our old position at 5 Forks. At 3 P.M. on the 2nd the enemy with corps of infantry moved on our position and soon crushed our week line and drove us some 3 or 4 miles. On April 3rd the enemy having broken our lines around Petersburg, we abandoned our position and formed the rear guard on the retreat. On the 4th we continued our retreat. On the 5th we received orders to go to Amelia Court House, to protect a wagon train. Drove the Yanks back almost to Cartersville. April 6th acting rear guard for [General James] Longstreet's corps. Found the enemy at High Bridge and drove him off capturing 780 prisoners. 7th of April still acting as rear guard for Longstreet. The cavalry attacked our wagon train. Our division turned loose on him in front, Rossey struck in the rear capturing a good many prisoners including General [Colonel John Irvin Gregg] Greeg. On the 8th we continued our march in the rear of the same corps without being disturbed by the Yanks. Night of the 8th moved to the front under orders. On the 9th at daybreak formed in squadrons supported by General Gordon's infantry. Drove the cavalry in front of us back on 2 corps of infantry when we found they was too many of them for us and fell back on our infantry and cut our way out towards Lynchburg, leaving the artillery and infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia to surrender. The cavalry all went to Lynchburg where we met on College Hill and talked the matter over and all concluded to go home and do the best we could.
James D. Sedinger
Standard bibliographies on West Virginia history during the Civil War are Charles Shetler, West Virginia Civil War Literature: An Annotated Bibliography (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ. Library, 1963), and Harold M. Forbes, West Virginia History: A Bibliography and Guide to Research (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ. Press, 1981). The most comprehensive study of the war in the state is Boyd B. Stutler, West Virginia in the Civil War (Charleston: Education Foundation, 1966). Another helpful, illustrated source is Stan Cohen, The Civil War in West Virginia (Missoula, MT: Gateway Printing, 1976). A number of guerrilla units such as the Border Rangers fought in the Civil War. An analysis of one of the most renowned is Jeffry D. Wert, Mosby's Rangers (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990). For a study of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry's part in the war, see Jack L. Dickinson, 8th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, 1986). A recent look at the war in Barboursville and Guyandotte is Joe Geiger, Jr., Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865 (Charleston: Pictorial Histories, 1991). The battles of Scary Creek and Carnifex Ferry are analyzed by Terry Lowry in The Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861 (Charleston: Pictorial Histories, 1982), and September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry (Charleston: Pictorial Histories, 1985). Contemporary accounts of the Kanawha Valley campaigns can be found in David L. Phillips, War Diaries: The 1861 Kanawha Valley Campaigns (Leesburg, VA: Gauley Mountain Press, 1990). For accounts of George S. Patton and the Kanawha Riflemen, Company H of the Twenty-second Virginia Infantry, see Jay Carlton Mullen, "`Dear Brother . . . I send you a brief account of "The Action at Scarey Creek." . . .' George S. Patton's Baptism of Fire," West Virginia History (33:1): 55-60, and Terry Lowry, 22nd Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, 1988).
Fayette County passed from Confederate to Union control and back throughout the Civil War. See Tim McKinney, The Civil War in Fayette County, West Virginia (Charleston: Pictorial Histories, 1988). For a discussion of the war in Greenbrier County and the action at Lewisburg see Otis Rice, A History of Greenbrier County (Parsons: McClain Printing, 1986). The Weston area is examined in Roy Bird Cook, Lewis County in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Charleston: Jarrett Printing, 1924).
Sources on the war and Unionism in East Tennessee include "`Tories' Amidst Rebels: Confederate Occupation of East Tennessee, 1861-63," The East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications 60(1988): 3-22; Thomas W. Humes, The Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee (1888; reprint, Spartanburg, SC: Reprint Co., 1974); Oliver P. Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War (Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Co., 1899); and Daniel W. Crofts, Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1988).
There are numerous sources on the Civil War in Virginia. For more on the campaigns in which the Eighth Cavalry was involved see Gary C. Walker, The War in Southwest Virginia, 1861-65 (Roanoke: Gurtner Printing, 1985), and Yankee Soldiers in Virginia Valleys: Hunter's Raid (Roanoke: A&W Enterprises, 1989); Robert J. Driver, Jr., Lexington and Rockbridge County in the Civil War (Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, 1989); Jeffry D. Wert, From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987); Thomas A. Lewis, The Guns of Cedar Creek (New York: Harper & Row, 1988); and Ed Bearss, The Battle of Five Forks (Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, 1985).
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