Loyalty and Civil
Liberty in Fayette County During the Civil War
By Lou Athey
The founding of West Virginia during the Civil War created a unique state heritage that has generated conflicting historical interpretations. An early generation of scholars placed the emergence of West Virginia in the context of East-West struggles within the nation and the state. Echoing the ideas of Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" that American movement westward fostered democratic development, these scholars set the founding of West Virginia in the democratic nationalism of the West.1 A few years later, a new generation of historians rejected the optimistic environmental determinism of Turner in favor of the sectional economic conflict theory of Charles A. Beard. This group argued that West Virginia was a natural outcome of the struggle between opposing societies--one an oligarchical, agrarian society based on slavery, the other an urbanizing, industrial society based on free labor.2 Each of these approaches relied upon a dialectic of opposites, reflecting perhaps the dominant bipolar thought deeply lodged in Western thought. These macrohistorical models have been expanded and modified by later studies. Beard's interpretation of the Civil War as the Second American Revolution still has its proponents, and the influence of Turner on his student Charles H. Ambler had a long-term impact on West Virginia historical studies. Each theory inspired studies of pro-union or pro-secessionist behavior of western Virginians.3
Richard O. Curry used quantitative history to study the question of statehood and secession within West Virginia. Analyzing county voting results, Curry demonstrated that pro-secessionist majorities existed in one-half of the counties and 40 percent of the inhabitants of the land that became West Virginia favored secession. His analysis emphasized the political-cultural realignment taking place in the southwestern counties after 1828.4 Recently, Kenneth Noe confirmed Curry's argument about the political transformation of southwestern Virginia inhabitants, but Noe uses modernization theory as an explanatory model for the changes and conflicts occurring in the western counties of Virginia. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad became the technological link that tied two differing cultural regions together, Noe argues, and it changed southwestern Virginians between 1830 and 1860 into defenders of Southern interests in slavery and the cash crop. Effectively depicting the limited, organized military operations in the state, Noe characterized the Civil War in western Virginia as predominantly one of "mountain fire-fights, ruthless guerilla raids, random violence, confused loyalties, and desolation. . . ." It was a "brutal affair" that brought glory or fame to few.5
Feelings of loyalty and why individuals change those feelings are crucial to understanding the behavior of people in war, particularly civil war. John W. Shaffer examined in detail the loyalty conflicts in Barbour County. He believes the primary factor determining allegiance was family heritage, Northern or Virginian. Shaffer limits the import of his extensive data by restricting his context to "an essentially political struggle over secession."6 Seeds of sectional conflict in Barbour County, according to Shaffer, were sown decades before the war via migration of peoples with contrasting cultural heritages into the region, one Northern and one Virginian. A careful student, Shaffer does not elaborate on the elements in, or compare differences between, these distinct cutural heritages. A broadened cultural conflict approach to the study of loyalty, North and South, may yet arise from the data offered by Shaffer.
Civil liberty, a cornerstone of democratic cultures, is a civil process endangered by war. The Union and the Confederacy sought to maintain civil liberty while simultaneously demanding loyalty from their citizens. The celebrated Civil War cases of John Merryman, Lambdin P. Milligan, and Clement Vallandingham in the Union or William G. "Parson" Brownlow in the Confederacy have been analyzed extensively and cited in textbooks.7 On the issue of loyalty George Frederickson contended that Northern intellectuals during the war transformed notions of loyalty based upon "constitutional liberty" into the idea of "unconditional loyalty."8 Intellectuals during the Civil War were capable of requiring "unconditional loyalty" at the expense of civil liberty. Using an empirical approach which relied less on intellectuals, Daniel Crofts in Reluctant Confederates documented the various forms of loyalty to the Union in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina between November 1860 and April 1861.9 Crofts findings suggest that loyalties shifted in response to external events.
Mark Neely, Jr. also has raised new questions and suggested new research directions on issues of loyalty and civil liberty during the Civil War.10 Neely s work, while sensitive to constitutional theory, concentrates on arrest records, how and why individuals were arrested, and how the process worked in the North and South. He finds that presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were quite similar in their approach to civil liberties.11 Both were practical problem solvers who used arrests of civilians and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus as tools of war. In his survey of the literature, Neely found that studies of habeas corpus in the Confederacy neglected to name a single civilian who had been arrested by Confederate military authorities. To fill this void, Neely compiled the records of 2,672 civilians arrested by the Confederate military.12 The total number of civilians arrested in the Confederacy, he argues, when adjusted for population differences, appears to be about the same as the number arrested in the Union. These civilian arrests were concentrated near the borders with the enemy just as they were in the North, and President Davis faced sharp dissent from residents of western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri just as President Lincoln did from the "copperheads" of the middle west and certain ethnic groups in Pennsylvania and New York.13 Although Neely is not an alarmist on the issue of civil liberty, his work suggests that both governments used their power to demand and enforce a culture of loyalty.
Issues of loyalty and civil liberty and how to respond to them engaged Fayette County residents in a complex range of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. An examination of select Fayette County residents in conjunction with a detailed study of James B. Hamilton permits some comparisons and contrasts of individual reasons for decisions on loyalty and behavior. Loyal behavior, however, is affected by governmental policies and practices, so the treatment of Fayette County civilians by the Confederacy needs examination.14 The cases presented here suggest not only which civilians were arrested for disloyalty and why but also how Confederate policy and practice regarding loyalty evolved in a locale where citizens had divided loyalties. A profile of the county in 1860, drawn from the census, points to similarities and differences extant among the residents on the eve of war.
Fayette County's population in 1860 comprised 5,997 people living in 1,005 households that were diversified in occupation, wealth, and cultural origins. The overwheling majority of the population, 97.2 percent, were born in Virginia, usually in Nicholas or Greenbrier counties from which Fayette County had been carved in part. Of the 164 people, 2.8 percent, not born in Virginia, 29 had been born outside the United States--11 in England, 8 in Germany, 5 in Scotland, 4 in Ireland, and 1 in Canada. Of residents migrating to Fayette County from other states, New York with 34 and Massachusetts with 20 led the free states in origins of in-migration, while North Carolina with 16 and Maryland with 10 provided the largest number of in-migrants from slave states.15 New England migrants came to the Mt. Cove District in the early 1850s when a religious utopian community was established near Mt. Cove under the guidance of Thomas Lake Harris, a spiritualist who taught direct communion with the dead.16
Churches were central cultural institutions in the rural, mountain county that was moving toward a town-centered culture. There were twenty-five churches in the county: fifteen Methodist, eight Missionary Baptist, one Christian Baptist, and one Dunkard. A sharp cleavage within the Methodist churches had occurred. Ten of the Methodist churches had affiliated with the Methodist Church South, five with the Methodist Church North. This two-to-one pro-South division in the Methodist church signaled the ominous cleavage within the most important institution in the county prior to the Civil War.17
Farming occupied the majority of Fayette County heads of households, but farming varied in importance across the four county districts. The Kanawha District, located largely on the west side of Gauley Mountain along the Kanawha River, contained the largest industries and most of the modernizing occupations--agents, superintendents, engineers, coal diggers, etc. The Forest Hill Mining and Manufacturing Company, capitalized and staffed by English professionals, annually produced fifty-two thousand barrels of refined coal oil and employed over forty men. This industrializing district also had the largest percentage of heads of household with no real estate and the least number of farming households, 55.4 percent. In the Fayetteville and Mt. Cove districts, located on the plateau and separated by the New River, farm households, 72.8 percent and 75.8 percent respectively, prospered while the towns of Fayetteville and Mt. Cove grew in importance. Sewell Mountain, the easternmost district, had 82 percent of its households farming the county's least productive land. It also had the largest percentage of landless farm laborers whose livelihood depended upon seasonal farm work or bee hunting, fishing, and hunting/trapping.18
The county's 64 slaveholders owned 271 slaves, 4.5 percent of the population, and constituted a significant part of the county elite.19 These men held a large part of the county s wealth, and they exerted a powerful influence on county governance at Fayetteville which predominantly favored secession in 1861.20 Unionism was strongest in the Kanawha District where merchants and manufacturers had tied their economic and cultural interests to the Ohio River via the crucial transportation link along the Kanawha River.
When war came, citizens had to decide their loyalty to the state or to the Union. A typical response was that of Robert Augustus "Gus" Bailey (1839-63) of Fayetteville. A promising young attorney and son of Circuit Court Judge Edward B. Bailey, Gus Bailey was a captain in the 142nd Regiment of the local militia. Enlisting in June 1861, Bailey was elected captain of the Fayetteville Rifles and participated in the West Virginia campaigns of 1861-62. Cited for bravery, he won promotin to major. At the battle of Droop Mountain in 1863, Bailey received a mortal wound while trying to rally his men. Loyal to Virginia, Bailey represents one model of loyal behavior in 1861.21 Why he committed himself to Virginia is not known with certainty, but his father was part of the Virginia legal system. Paralleling Bailey's response to war but with an opposite loyalty was W. T. Timberlake. A dedicated Union loyalist, Timberlake volunteered to serve in the United States army, rose to the rank of captain and survived the war to become the first Fayette County superintendent of schools. Bailey and Timberlake represent similar behavior in their commitment to enter the military to fight, and had either been captured, they would have been treated as military prisoners of war.22
Fayette County, however, had its opponents of war. Among them were the Dunkards, a German Baptist sect later called Brethren, who were firmly committed to peace and had been opposed to slavery since 1782. Although the exact size of the Fayette County congregation is not known, the Dunkard church could accommodate six hundred people, the largest church building in the county in 1860.23 One Dunkard minister was imprisoned by Confederates for preaching a doctrine of peace, although members of the church usually did not involve themselves in affairs of state or resort to the courts to resolve conflict.24
Northern and Southern refugees also need study as to their loyalties and the impact of their out-migration. What they did, what happened to them, and how their property was handled have not received sufficient attention. Laban Gwinn, one Fayette County refugee to the Union, has been thoughtfully examined by Eugene Cox, but many more such studies are needed.25 One significant refugee group comprised former members of the spiritualist community located near Mt. Cove. Migrating to Fayette County from upstate New York and Massachusetts between 1849 and 1852, these "Yankee families" became successful merchants and farmers after their utopian community dispersed. With the onset of war, the Hopping family sought refuge in the Union but asked the Hunt family, who remained, to look after their property.26 George Hunt was among the first men in the county arrested and imprisoned for disloyalty by Confederates. While her husband was imprisoned, Nancy Hunt managed the farm and cared for the Hopping property. After some months in prison, George Hunt swore an oath of loyalty to Virginia, the implication being that he would not commit overt pro-Union acts. The Hunts four sons fled to Ohio to avoid Confederate conscription. There the four young men eventually joined the Union army and served until the war ended. Pro-Union in thought and feeling but inactive in overt behavior against Virginia, George and Nancy Hunt represent a group of people who were subject to foraging from both sides in the war.27
The experiences of Otey Fellows and Kennedy Cassady show yet another dimension in the range of loyal thought and behavior. Otey Fellows moved onto Big Laurel Creek in the Fayetteville District after wedding Mary Cassady. He and his children farmed the homestead while two older sons worked as day laborers on nearby farms. Too old to enter the military, Otey divided his loyalties. Three of his sons joined Confederate General Henry Wise's Legion; after one was killed in the battle on Scary Creek, the other two sons came home and later joined the Union army. Confederates considered the Fellows, the Cassadys, and other families living on Big Laurel Creek near Cassady s mill to be pro-Union since James Cassady formed a Union Home Guard unit and became a county political leader in the formation of West Virginia.28
The Cassadys of Big Laurel Creek thus became a military-political target for Confederate raids during 1861. To capture disloyalists, Confederates sent a "former Yankee" into the little community to talk to residents to determine loyalties. The "Yankee"talked to Otey Fellows about a raid which had resulted in the capture of Kennedy Cassady. Otey replied that if he knew the raiding party had been "Sam Woods and his damned bunch of rebels," he would have fired upon them. Months later, under interrogation by a military commissioner, Otey complained that he did not know the man was not a "Yankee." He lamented that his brothers-in-law, James and Kennedy Cassady, were loyal to the Union, but his sympathies were really pro-Southern. Still, "he had to walk a tightrope since he did not want to support either side." The commissioner decided that under the influence of his in-laws this "old man desires to hold with both sides" so he should be held as a prisoner of war.29 Imprisoned although not charged with an overt act of disloyalty, Fellows had engaged in "disloyal" speech so he was a "disloyal Virginian." Otey seems to have had a "go along to get along" mentality, and he may well have felt pressure to adjust his views to those of the Cassadys. His usual practice, it appears, was constantly to adjust his views to fit his particular situation.
Kennedy Cassady, Fellows's brother-in-law, surrendered to a group of Caskie's raiders the night prior to Otey Fellows's arrest. Ordained a Methodist preacher in 1858, Cassady, his wife, and five children lived in his two hundred-dollar-homeplace on Big Laurel Creek. Prior to the war he rode the circuit, preaching throughout the county. After his arrest, Cassady vehemently denied belonging to the Home Guard unit formed by his brother James but admitted he had once passed through Union lines to hear a representative of the Wheeling government speak. The commissioner s judgment rested heavily upon information received from the raiding party.30
In order to entice the Cassadys from their mill, the raiders whistled the "sounds of the whippoorwill and the owl" to imitate the Home Guard since these calls were "signals of the Tories." Kennedy Cassady responded that he had heard those sounds but thought it was just Otey Fellows's boys trying to scare him. He was at the mill simply to take advantage of high water to grind corn. When he heard shots nearby, he picked up a musket that was hidden in the mill and started home but was arrested as he crossed the bridge. Damaging evidence against Cassady was the musket. Engraved upon it was the name "Princess Anne." Such muskets, it was charged, must have come from the Confederate cache abandoned by General Wise during his retreat from the county. Cassady claimed that it had been brought back from the Confederate army by one of the Fellows boys. Unimpressed with Cassady's explanations, the commissioner issued an intriguing judgment: "This man is obviously part negro . . . a man of fine natural intellect, self-possessed, artful and insensible to the obligations of an oath. I recommend that he be held as a prisoner."31
Kennedy Cassady held anti-secessionist views and he likely preached sermons favoring the Union, but he appears to have been convicted for his association with his brother James as much as any act he may have committed against the Confederacy. His experience exemplifies the taking of political prisoners by Confederate raids aimed at extinguishing Fayette civilian support for the movement toward statehood.
Samuel B. Koontz represents yet another variation in loyal behavior. Prior to the war, Koontz, a farmer in the Mt. Cove District, served as an officer in the 142nd Virginia Militia. Upon Virginia's secession, Koontz remained loyal to the Union but was inactive during 1861-62. In February 1863, Koontz accepted a commission as first lieutenant from Francis Pierpont, governor of the Restored Government of Virginia. The legal and political structure in the county had fallen into such disorder, however, that Koontz could not locate a justice of the peace who would administer the necessary oath for him legally to assume his new military post. Two different justices refused to administer the oath for fear of Koontz being captured by Southern partisans. If captured, Koontz's legal documents would reveal the justices allegiance to the Union and expose them to partisan atack.32 That the threat was real is confirmed by the capture of Koontz. He was taken by raiders sent into Fayette County by General John Echols with the specific purpose of arresting those civilians who had been denounced by refugees.33
Koontz, without the legal documents, had begun to recruit fellow German Americans into his unit, and he unsuccessfully tried to recruit James B. Hamilton. On June 5, 1863, Echols s raiding party captured Koontz near his home. Koontz maintained that he was a Union soldier. He had remained inactive until 1863, and his renewed pro-Union activity apparently was related to the Confederate arrest and imprisonment of one of his relatives.34 Arrested as a "traitorous Virginian," Koontz first was imprisoned in Castle Thunder in Richmond. A year later, Koontz was transferred from Castle Thunder to Libby Prison for Union soldiers, a recognition of his claim that he was a military prisoner of war.35
Castle Thunder prison, a group of three commercial buildings impressed into use by Confederates in 1862, housed deserters, civilians, and political prisoners. Two wings were set aside, one for African Americans and one for women prisoners. Designed for fourteen hundred people, it held almost three thousand when Koontz and James B. Hamilton arrived. Koontz worked in the hospital while at Castle Thunder, and his transfer to Libby Prison indicated his recategorization as a Union soldier. Hamilton, a political prisoner, continued to believe that he would be released from Castle Thunder. James Hamilton's story yields details of life in Fayette County in the Civil War era and shows the complexity of the loyalty question.36
James B. Hamilton (1830-64), son of Thomas B. and Elizabeth Hamilton, was born in Nicholas County, Virginia, in 1830. His family moved from Summersville to Hawk's Nest shortly after the formation of Fayette County, where his father established a successful law practice. Thomas Hamilton built an estate between 1841 and 1854 which, at its largest, consisted of 526 acres stretching from just east of the Hawk's Nest overlook to New River. Thomas earned part of his livelihood by clearing land titles for public and private interests.37 In 1837, he received an appointment from the county court to survey, locate, and mark the route for a road from Fayetteville to the James River and Kanawha Turnpike by the most convenient and desirable way. Quickly built, Miller's Ferry across New River at the mouth of Mill Creek had access roads traversing the Hamilton lands.38
When James was six years old, his parents opened an inn, legally described as "a house of private entertainment," at their home on the turnpike. The inn later became the first Hawk s Nest post office. James learned of the wider world by conversing with travelers staying at the inn. Tutored largely by his father, James studied the Bible, read published sermons, and learned some of Benjamin Franklin's teachings. From these studies, he developed a penchant for reflection and self-criticism as well as a streak of independence. His later writings reveal a man who had doubts about the righteousness of his own actions but one who sought to act in accordance with ethical principles.39
Entering the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1847, James ranked in the middle of his class during his one year and eight months there. His grades in French and mathematics were stronger than those in geography, but only three members of his class had more demerits than he did for lapses in military conduct. In his mind and behavior James was better prepared for academics than he was for the rigors of military disciplin. In May 1849, he was court-martialed and publicly dismissed from VMI for being absent without permission and then denying it.40 He returned to his home, surely with feelings of failure and disgrace, but he used his study of surveying at VMI to become a skilled land surveyor in Fayette and Greenbrier counties while working the family farm. He also clerked at Eli Wood's store located some two miles away in Woodville, later Ansted. His interest in education led him to tutor local children in the three "R s," and teaching provided his family with income during the winter months when surveying was often impractical
. James eventually built his own schoolhouse and named it the Independence School, perhaps reflecting his approach to education. He participated in church services, lyceums, and public meetings held in his schoolhouse which became an educational and cultural center at Hawk's Nest. In the winter months Hamilton taught, on average, twenty-five students in a three-month term. Occasionally, he mused in his diary about his own failings as "serving the Devil," but January resolves promised renewed efforts to seek grace.41
Hamilton's diary reveals a man primarily concerned with the teachings of Christianity and a self-critical reflection on his behavior. He commented upon the sermons that he read, and he often cited the exact text of the Bible from which a sermon was drawn. Then he re-read the text to better understand the sermon. He read the Bible repeatedly, and at one moment he admitted to his diary that he liked to read the New Testament, although that had not always been true. His Saturdays were usually spent attending Division, a community meeting, where he participated in discussions of public issues. As a member of the Sons of Temperance, he attended their meetings and represented their viewpoint in debates held at various schools and churches in Woodville and Gauley Bridge. His pride shines through his diary when he recorded winning the debate on the question "War vs. Intemperance." He advocated a war against intemperance.42
Hamilton dutifully logged his daily activities, his work, and his earnings. Adopting the practical advice of Poor Richard's Almanac, he arose at 5 a.m. each morning to pursue his health, wealth, and wisdom. He noted his daily earnings whether they were $1.50 for surveying, $.60 for ginseng, $1.00 for clerking, $4.50 for a week of teaching young scholars, or $5.50 for a week surveying a county road. This account of his daily earnings appears to be an act in his service to a higher calling rather than simply a reflection of his acquisitive interests, although the two were not mutually exclusive in Hamilton's thought.43 Yet Hamilton was not impervious to the county or its people. His travels while surveying required that he stay overnight in many of the homes of county residents, and his marriage into the Woods family linked him to a large family and gave him experience with the problems of operating a general store. Steeped in local culture, he knew the county's topography and people well.
Hamilton had become a member of the Fayette County elite. In 1860, he owned real estate valued at six thousand dollars and personal estate valued at one thousand dollars. This wealth placed him in the upper 6 percent of the landowners in the county.44 Well educated, he had been appointed deputy surveyor for the county, and he had become an educator and an activist in public affairs, particularly the temperance movement. His family background and his associations with county leaders made it quite likely that he would support secession, but his independence of thought, his prior humiliating experience with military discipline, and his penchant for analyzing Biblical texts made it less likely that he would accept the course of secession without question.
Hamilton's diary, however, is striking in its absence of any reference to the issues hurtling the nation toward war. He does not mention slavery although he notes the election loss of a powerful, local slaveowning family, the Tyrees. No reasons are given for their defeat. In 1858, the proverbial "firebell in the night" began to ring in Fayete County. Hamilton attended muster for the "first time in years," and his father was commissioned by the court to help reorganize the county militia. James began attending "training sessions" for the Mt. Cove militia and began preparing for a leadership role, but the death of his father in May 1859 devastated him. >From that moment, Hamilton's diary entries become sporadic, and there are no further references to muster or the militia. From May 1859 until 1861, he appears to be embroiled in grief and inner reflection.45
In 1861, James Hamilton embraced the "stirring times" caused by the onslaught of war. Shortly after the firing on Fort Sumter, he collected arms for the local militia and helped organize the Mt. Cove Guards. He refreshed his knowledge of military drill and tactics by studying "Gilham s Tactics," as he prepared himself for training the militia unit.46 Ironically, Major William Gilham, author of "Tactics," had been an officer on the court-martial that dismissed Hamilton from VMI. But Hamilton did not join the Confederate army. He considered himself a leader and defender of his local community, one who thought it necessary to have a "little fight to keep us from spoiling." Believing as so many did that the war would be over quickly after a battle or two, Hamilton volunteered to help train the Mt. Cove Guards for the forthcoming "little fight" with the Lincolnites.47
His letters from camp during June 1861 exude a confidence that the conflict would be brief, and he enjoyed his day-to-day training of militia units. >From camp near Charleston he proudly described his day to his wife:
I stay at Wright's Tavern, get up at 4 o clock and walk two miles to the lower camp and drill a company an hour before breakfast. Eat corn bread, hot meat & coffee bald-headed at 10 o clock. Drill again & have bread & meat & meat & bread for dinner at 4 o clock, take another drill then I walk back to Charleston for Supper. But I have a pretty good appetite for camp diet. I would not stay in the tents down at Camp . . . I have a good bed to sleep on . . . Tyree's company went down to [Camp] Two Mile last Saturday, a big rain came up and the tents leaked so badly that both officers and men said they would not stay there so they came back to town and when I got there they were as happy as you please.48
During June and July 1861, Hamilton drilled recruits from Fayette County who were part of the First Kanawha led by Colonel Christopher Q. Tompkins of Gauley Mount. Later, the unit became part of the Twenty-second Virginia Infantry under overall command of General Henry Wise. In July, the battle of Scary Creek convinced General Wise that he held a strategically untenable position. Wise then ordered a "retrograde movement" which surrendered Kanawha and Fayette counties to the Union. This retreat devastated the morale of the local militia and decimated its numbers. Almost five hundred men and officers were furloughed, deserted, or simply went home as General Wise withdrew his Confederate forces from Kanawha and Fayette counties.49 Wise blamed the "natives" of the region for his failure. In his official report, he fumed, "the Kanawha Valley is wholly disaffected and traitorous. It was gone from Charleston to Pt. Pleasant before I got there. . . . The militia are nothing for warlike uses here. They are worthless who are true, and there is no telling who is true. 50 Contrary to Wise's self-serving explanation, the men went home to Fayette and Kanawha counties not from disloyalty or a fear of fighting Union soldiers. Instead, they were angry over inept military leadership which did not provide them with the means to fight to protect their homes. Some did not want to leave their home county. Many men who left the army during this retreat later rejoined the military, some the Union and some the Confederacy. James B. Hamilton joined neither, but he did go home and immediately faced a dilemma over his loyalty.
James Hamilton had been caught up in the enthusiasm for war in Fayette County in 1861. Inspired by that same sentiment, county officials resolved to spend the county's last cent of credit to resist any invasion by "a hostile army of northern fanatics." They promised to "eat roots, and drink water and still fight for our liberty until death."51 Furthermore, the resolution declared that any county official friendly to the Union had to resign. This last proviso threatened Hamilton's position as court-appointed county surveyor and pressured him to commit himself fully to one side or the other, a decision that he did not want to make after his experience with Wise's Legion. Hamilton's immediate problem was the military threat to his family and property.
Hamilton's property straddled the James River and Kanawha Turnpike and included a road leading to Miller's Ferry across New River, thus the Hamilton lands became tactically important to the military. The location of his home and inn made it unlikely that he and his family would be simply left alone as he wanted. General Wise once headquartered at the Hamilton inn, and in August 1861, Colonel St. George Croghan led his Confederates in battle against Union forces across the Hamilton lane. Shells from this engagement hit Hamilton's home as his wife and children huddled inside. Later, Union soldiers encamped on his land and subjected him to martial law. For months, Hamilton contended with military forces from both armies moving across or trying to control his property.52 Both sides expected his allegiance.
By late 1861, the Union army had firm control of Gauley Bridge. Since his home was very close to the Union lines, Hamilton's inn became a natural staging area where supplies brought from Gauley Bridge and points west could be distributed to residents in the Mt. Cove District. Partisan warfare in the Fayetteville and Sewell Mountain districts of the county had blocked routes to the east or the south and had depleted necessary supplies. Hamilton thus became an intermediary for citizens in the Mt. Cove District. He helped them obtain supplies from beyond the Union lines at Gauley Mount, and he thought his efforts aided his neighbors as well as his family. To the Mt. Cove community, Hamilton served a necessary function; to Union officers, he was a man yet to declare his loyalty; to Confederates, he was a disloyalist who dealt with the enemy.
James Hamilton committed himself on the question of loyalty after passage of the Confederate law on "alien enemies." In August 1861, the Confederate Congress enacted a law defining aliens, and President Jefferson Davis issued regulations to enforce the act. Under this new law, all male citizens of the United States over age fourteen living in the Confederate states had forty days to leave the Confederacy. If a resident stated his intent to become a citizen of a Confederate state or if he swore an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, he was exempted. All persons loyal to the United States who did not leave within forty days were to be treated as alien enemies.53 Confederate marshals and officers could arrest and hold all alien enemies against whom a complaint was lodged, and any resident who was found to be a threat to the Confederate nation could be imprisoned.54
Designed as a law to force citizens to choose sides, the act accelerated the struggle for control of Fayette citizens loyalties. Union and Confederate officials arrested residents whom they considered disloyal. By March 1862, Confederates had arrested or just released twenty-five Fayette civilians while the Union had arrested fiteen.55 These arrests were made to intimidate residents into an obedient loyalty. Faced with severe pressure from each side, James Hamilton swore an oath of loyalty to the United States in October 1861. Hamilton likely calculated possible threats to his family's physical and economic well-being prior to his decision, but once he made the decision, he never wavered in adhering to it.
For the next one-and-one-half years, Hamilton lived in fear of arrest by Confederates or of being raided by partisans in the county. He survived the Confederate recapture of the county in 1862 during the campaign of General William W. Loring. The war, however, became increasingly ferocious as it approached "total war." Demands for unconditional loyalty increased in the North and South; hostages were held by each side; and the will of the civilian population to fight became an even more important resource for war. In July 1863, one week after disastrous Confederate losses at Gettysburg in the east and Vicksburg in the west, scouts from General Echols's brigade raided Hawk's Nest and arrested James Hamilton.
Brigadier General John Echols, who had a penchant for exaggerating the quantity and quality of dangerous subversives, summarily accused, convicted, and sentenced James Hamilton for disloyalty prior to any hearing.56 Echols wrote a letter that accompanied prisoner Hamilton as he was moved under guard to Lewisburg, Dublin, Lynchburg, then Richmond. Echols declared that Hamilton was "a most dangerous man to our cause" and should be confined "during the continuance of the war." Once a student at the Virginia Military Institute himself, Echols became infuriated at the notion that a former cadet could be disloyal to the Confederacy. He also charged Hamilton with providing information and maps to the enemy, a charge that Echols believed "might" be proved if he had access to Union-controlled Fayette County.57
As Hamilton was moved from command to command, judgments against him became even more sensational. He was denounced, without evidence, as "the most dangerous villain in western Va.," a "dangerous man" and an "unprincipled rascal" who should "never be allowed to return to this Dept."58 On August 5, 1863, James Hamilton had a hearing that determined his fate.
Under Confederate military procedures in 1863, civilian prisoners arrested by field officers had a hearing before an appointed military commissioner. This commissioner's report and his recommendations were then submitted through the adjutant general to the secretary of war for approval. Major Isaac H. Carrington served as commissioner examining James Hamilton under oath. After Hamilton provided particulars about his name, birthplace, age, home, and education, he was asked why he thought he was arrested. He was told nothing of specific charges lodged against him, although Carrington had the Echols letters in his possession. Hamilton surmised that he had been arrested for "disloyalty" although he complained that he had not been informed of specific charges. Hamilton was not questioned about map-making or aiding the enemy. He was asked about his knowledge of two other prisoners who had been arrested during the same raid.59
Hamilton vigorously reaffirmed his oath of allegiance to the United States, and he refused Carrington's offer that he become a conscript in the Confederate army. On the basis of this hearing, Major Carrington recommended that James Hamilton be "confined as a conscript refusing to serve and as a traitorous citizen." Secretary of War James Seddon later approved the recommendation without comment. Such decsions on military practices had become routine to the civilian head of the Confederate Department of War. That Hamilton had not been informed of charges lodged against him apparently did not matter. Since he had sworn an oath of loyalty to the Union, he was an "alien enemy" and a "disloyal Virginian" to be held in Castle Thunder. In prison, Hamilton became close friends with William Richmond from Raleigh County.60
William Richmond, a Virginian born into a "respectable family," farmed near New River in Raleigh County with his brothers and his father. Two of his brothers joined Company G of the Twentieth Virginia Infantry, while William and his brother Allen had been members of the Virginia militia. As the war became more vicious by 1863, Confederate guerillas accused William and Allen of being pro-Union. Subsequently, William's property was destroyed. When he fought back, he and his brother Allen were arrested as "disloyal persons" and then incarcerated in Castle Thunder.61
Mason Matthews, delegate to the Virginia legislature from Greenbrier County, intervened to aid the Richmond family, perhaps hoping to arrange a type of "gentleman s agreement." He offered testimony as to the impeccable character of the Richmonds, and he carried a message from the Richmonds father to Major Carrington who was re-examining the case. After their stint in prison and at the behest of their father, William and Allen Richmond had expressed a willingness to serve in the Confederate army. They demanded, however, one unconditional proviso from their military examiner. They would take a loyalty oath only if they were both permitted to join their brothers in the Twentieth Virginia. Inclined initially to accept the Richmond demand, Carrington then learned of an event that changed his mind. The Richmonds father had been shot and killed by "Confederate citizens." On further examination of the Richmonds, Carrington concluded that they probably intended to desert once released, so he recommended they continue to be held as political prisoners. William Richmond survived incarceration in Castle Thunder and the Salisbury, North Carolina, prison to return to Raleigh County and resume his life as a farmer.62
William Richmond's entanglement with the loyalty issue and his arrest were a function of the changing character of war in western Virginia. As bushwhacking became a common practice, raiders too often selected the property or the family to attack on what might be gained from the target. When that happened, loyalty no longer mattered. Richmond was driven into a pro-Union stance, one that resulted in his spending two years in Confederate prisons.
Hamilton's arrest, conviction, and imprisonment also raise delicate issues about civil liberty in the Confederacy. As a citizen of the United States who had sworn an oath of loyalty to the Union, Hamilton believed that he was entitled to information about specific charges against him and a fair trial. He received neither. Commissioner Carrington's judgment had been effectively shaped by General Echols's angry indictment. Major Carrington phrased his reports in language of fact rather than rhetoric, but in 1863, in some two hundred cases reviewed by Carrington, he seldom reversed a field officer's recommendation for conviction of a civilian prisoner. In one case, he recommended release of a fifty-six-year-old eastern Tennessee man with one blind eye who had been arrested for farming land owned by a Union man then serving the Federal army.63 That was an exception.
In most cases, like that of James Hamilton, Carrington simply modified the charges against the prisoner from disloyalty and aiding the enemy into charges of being a "traitorous alien enemy" or of refusing to be a "conscript." These charges against civilians living in areas claimed by the Confederacy caused prisoners, when interrogated, to convict themselves of unspecified charges with their own testimony. James Hamilton s admission of his birthplace, residency, education, and occupation made him a Virginian to Carrington. Hamilton ath of loyalty to the United States made him an alien enemy. When Hamilton refused to break his oath and be conscripted into the Confederate military, he violated Confederate conscription laws and was then jailed as a "civilian prisoner." From the Confederate viewpoint, Hamilton owed his "natural allegiance" to Virginia because he lived there all his life.
The civil liberty problem, of course, should not be blamed on Carrington, a single individual. Initially, the appointment of military commissioners to review cases was part of a process to protect civil liberties, but the appointment of military men of a lesser rank to review "disloyalists" arrested by generals such as Henry Wise, John Floyd, or John Echols was certain to subvert the process. Undoubtedly, there are cases where the military commissioner defied a senior officer ordering the arrest of civilians, but the course of the war itself pushed the Confederacy toward more extreme measures in order to survive.64
That military interests would take precedence over civil liberty is attested to by the final act in the Hamilton case. James Hamilton remained in prison, first in Castle Thunder then in the Salisbury military prison. He continually protested is imprisonment and demanded specific charges, a hearing, and a trial. Once he offered to put up one-half his estate if a Charleston attorney would appeal his case, but he adamantly refused to dishonor his oath of loyalty to the Union and become a "Galvanized Rebel." His letters from prison reveal a man with faith in his ability to withstand prison hardships and a belief in his eventual exoneration.65
In April 1864, twenty-one citizens of the Mt. Cove district petitioned Governor William Smith of Virginia requesting Hamilton's release on grounds of his being needed in the community, that he had committed no crime, that he had not been charged, and that he was needed by his wife and three children.66 The petitioners could have requested the new government of West Virginia or the government of the United States to intervene, but they did not. They appealed directly to the governor of Virginia and asked him bluntly whether or not he had "control of the Citizen or State prisoners who had been taken from this county [Fayette] to Richmond."67 This question of who controlled civilian prisoners raised the sensitive political question about who held authority in the Confederacy, the state or the national government. In response, Governor Smith ordered a review of Hamilton's case, particularly the charges lodged against him.68
From April to September 1864, the case review moved slowly through the Virginia and Confederate bureaucracies. Eventually, it reached the desk of Major Isaac Carrington. Carrington noted on the petition that General Echols in 1863 had "earnestly requested" that Hamilton not be released, and he attached a copy of his examination of Hamilton to the petition. On September 3, 1864, Governor Smith decided that he "was satisfied from the papers in this case that Hamilton should not be released."69 Military preferences prevailed over civil liberty. Twenty days later, James Hamilton died of illness in Salisbury military prison.
Hamilton's death marked the loss of a serious, thoughtful, and responsible man. The disregard of his demands to be heard and fairly tried stand as an indictment of Confederate claims to scrupulous constitutional liberty. The Confederacy's failure to hear and try fairly James Hamilton is directly linked to its rising demand for loyal commitments from its citizens at a time when its military had suffered severe reversals. The individual cases from Fayette County reflect the changes in Confederate treatment of civilians.
How to proceed against "suspicious" or "disloyal" persons arrested by the military or by local officials became a proble by July 1861. Officials drew a sharp distinction between soldiers and civilians, but initially, civilians, except when spies, were to be tried in civil courts. If a resident was not a citizen of a Confederate state, that resident would be considered an "alien resident" who "owes allegiance to the State which gives him protection." The theoretical proposition was that the state was the indivisible sovereign unit of political authority for treating civilian dissent. A person born in the state would have a "natural allegiance" to it.70 How civilian dissent actually was handled provoked sharp disagreements between state and Confederate governments, and actual practices were shaped and reshaped by local military commanders.
During 1861-62, Confederate generals used three methods of treating civil dissent in Fayette County: the "gentleman's agreement," the "arrest to intimidate" practice, and the "arrest to eradicate political behavior" practice. A prime example of the "gentleman's agreement" in Fayette County was the case of the Tompkins family.
When Confederate Colonel Christopher Q. Tompkins assumed field command of the Twenty-second Virginia Infantry, his wife Ellen Wilkins Tompkins and their younger children remained on their estate at Gauley Mount about three miles east of Gauley Bridge. A lavish estate with a large dwelling, a huge barn, numerous outbuildings, some serving as slave quarters, and a vineyard tended by a German-born vine dresser provided comfort for the Tompkins after they had moved to the county from Richmond. Once the Union army forced General Wise to retreat, the Tompkins estate fell into Union hands. Colonel Tompkins then wrote directly to Union generals Jacob Cox and William Rosecrans requesting protection for his wife, family, and estate.71 Both Union generals made generous efforts to protect and provide for the Tompkins family and estate.
Gauley Mount became a major campsite for Union forces operating in the county. A few Union soldiers complained about the favorable treatment of the Tompkins, perhaps irritated by constant requests for services from Ellen Tompkins, but they may have benefited from Confederate reluctance to fire upon the estate owned by one of their officers. In October 1861, it became apparent that Gauley Mount would not be soon returned to Confederate control, so the Tompkins family moved to Richmond protected by safe passage orders issued by General Rosecrans. Union pickets manning the outposts on the turnpike to Lewisburg must have been startled to see a caravan passing eastward comprised of a male wagonmaster supervising a carriage, two four-horse-drawn wagons, a cart of furniture, and Ellen Tompkins with two sons, three female slaves and their five children, two puppies, and a two chickens.72
This "gentleman's agreement" approach to civil liberty was not unusual. Its origins rest in the friendships existing in the regular United States army prior to civil conflict, and it links to military traditions of "honor" among "officers and gentlemen." The practical side of the idea is that the situation might shortly be reversed and the honor returned. It does, however, reflect a strong class bias. Tompkins requested Cox to treat his family and servants with "treatment befitting their stations."73 For people without the Tompkins's status, treatment by the military was less benign.
Generals Wise and Floyd, irreconcilable on most issues, used an "arrest to intimidate" practice against Fayette citizens suspected of disloyalty in 1861. It differed sharply from the "gentleman's agreement." George Hunt was among the first county residents to experience arrest under this practice. He was among the thirty-nine prisoners sent eastward by General Wise from Fayette and Kanawha counties in mid-1861. Shortly after the prisoners reached Salem, the commonwealth attorney complained to Governor John Letcher that the men had bee jailed without warrant or "legal proceedings against them." Warning that a writ of habeas corpus brought before a local judge would lead to the release of the men, the attorney asked for prompt instructions.74 Since the Secretary of War's office had been deciding such issues on a case-by-case basis, it became apparent that a new procedure had to be devised. Adopted was the practice of appointing a military commissioner in various regions to review the cases. In the meantime, the secretary of war permitted political prisoners, if they had not committed an overt act of treason, to be released upon their taking an oath of loyalty.75
Designed in part to offset dissent, this policy of releasing prisoners who agreed to take a loyalty oath legitimized the military practice of arresting "suspicious persons" and holding them without charges as Wise and Floyd had done. Floyd, however, became furious when he learned that many of the men whom he had arrested were to be released. He declared that one Fayette County man named Odell was "very dangerous" to the Confederacy, although there was confusion as to which Odell was dangerous, and Floyd needed "more time" to collect evidence against the man.76 Floyd continued to arrest all "suspicious persons" residing within his lines, and he railed against the new policy, once angrily recommending that "under no circumstances should a traitor be let loose upon the country . . . except he proves himself innocent." That prisoners had been arrested without warrant, without charges, and without evidence did not deter Floyd who was convinced that his army had not arrested a man unless his "liberty is dangerous to public safety."77
In western Virginia where loyalties were sharply divided, one intent of the Wise-Floyd practice was intimidation of dissenters. Once arrested, the men were removed from the county. Eventually they faced a choice--swear an oath of loyalty or remain imprisoned. The effect of this practice was to create two new wartime classes of civilians, those swearing loyalty to Virginia while imprisoned and those who refused. In 1861, the situation was eloquently described by a Virginia commissioner after examining arrested men from Fayette, Greenbrier, and Raleigh counties:
The foregoing nine men ought in my opinion to be discharged, and I respectfully suggest that a general order be issued forbidding suspected persons to be brought to Richmond until they have been examined by a colonel at least, who, if he sends them on, shall certify the charge and the evidence. At present the practice is for any scouting party or other party of soldiers to take a man from his home, very often without telling him [why], and without examination he is sent to Richmond, in some cases a distance of 350 miles, without even a change of clothing, and when the poor creatures are discharged here they are utterly penniless.78
Such a practice, the commissioner continued, creates "unnecessary expense" for the government and "dissatisfaction among the people" who need to be "protected from oppression."79
Increasing arrests of "suspicious people" accelerated the passage by the Confederate Congress of the Alien Enemies Act.80 Targeting Union loyalists and the uncommitted, it was hoped this policy might reduce the numbers of civilian dissenters. Its immediate effect was to provoke an exodus from some districts. One military district had so many applications to depart Virginia under this law that its worried commander requested clarification as to what he should do. He was told to let them all go unless he thought it would be "dangerous to the country." If the refugee movement posed a military danger, refugees should be required to depart the Confederacy via Tennessee.81
In Fayette County, raiders sometimes had the specific political objective of eradicating the political movement toward the "counterfeit State of Kanawha." This was a variation on the "arrest to intimidte" practice. Otey Fellows and Kennedy Cassady were among civilians ensnared by raiders who wanted to destroy the movement toward West Virginia statehood. Another typical political-military raid against civilians was that led by Colonel Clarkson under orders from General Floyd in October 1861. Clarkson led 160 cavalry through Fayette and Kanawha counties. In addition to disrupting Union supply lines and collecting intelligence, the raid had a political intent. Floyd timed the raid to disrupt "the first election of the counterfeit state of Kanawha."82 Clarkson's men disrupted the election on Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, captured the poll books, and arrested men suspected of taking part in the election. Forty men were taken from their homes, brought to General Floyd s camp, then later sent east.83 These arrests provoked Union General Rosecrans to send an emissary under a flag of truce to Floyd requesting a "stop to the abhorrent practice of kidnapping unarmed citizens." Rosecrans further offered to return "certain hostages now in our possession."84 "Gentlemen's agreements" declined as hostage holding and intimidating arrests became the norm.
By the time Samuel Koontz, William Richmond, and James Hamilton were arrested, there had been another modification in Confederate military practices relating to civil liberty. No longer was it feasible, given the rising demand for manpower, to justify the release of a man simply because he was willing to swear an oath of loyalty. To be released from Castle Thunder in Richmond, Koontz or Hamilton would have been required not only to swear loyalty but to agree to enter the Confederate military and serve faithfully. By 1863, not only "disloyal" citizens were offered an option to serve in the military; captured Union soldiers were offered enticements to serve and foreign-born nationals were recruited into needed occupations to sustain the war effort.85 The notion of a "natural allegiance" to a state receded as the Confederacy had to resort to additional resources for war in order to survive.86 In Fayette County, organized warfare gave way to "bushwhacker" warfare where loyalties often were defined only by family relationships.87
2. Charles A. and Mary R. Beard, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 1927). The Beards dropped the "Second American Revolution" as an interpretative framework in their later work, but it remains a powerful idea. See Emory M. Thomas, The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865 (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), 221-23.
3. For a comprehensive historiographical article on these issues, see John E. Stealey, III, "In the Shadow of Ambler and Beyond: A Historiography of West Virginia Politics" in West Virginia History: Critical Essays on the Literature, ed. by Ronald L. Lewis and John C. Hennen, Jr. (Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 1993), 1-42.
4. Richard O. Curry, A House Divided: A Study of Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pitsburgh Press, 1964), 6-12, 136-40. For reservations about Curry's conclusions, see Otis K. Rice, West Virginia: A History (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1985), 149. A thoughtful, highly interpretative work is John A. Williams's West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (New York: Norton, 1976).
5. Kenneth Noe, Southwest Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1994), 110. See also Noe, "Appalachia's Civil War Genesis: Southwest Virginia as Depicted by Northern and European Writers, 1825-1865," West Virginia History 50(1991): 91-108. Modernization theory also can be applied to understand the culture and values of northwestern county residents transformed by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. An unresolved issue remains about the social role of technology as represented by the railroad. Was it simply a cultural transmitter bringing change to traditional locales, or was it an active agent in political-cultural realignments between the two regions it connects? In the southwestern counties an accommodation with slavery occurred and in the northwestern counties free labor became the norm, yet the economies of each region were being transformed by the railroads.
6. John W. Shaffer, "Loyalties in Conflict: Union and Confederate Sentiment in Barbour County," West Virginia History 50(1991): 109-28.
7. William F. Duker, A Constitutional History of Habeas Corpus (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980); Samuel Klaus, ed. The Milligan Case (1929; reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1970); Georgia Lee Tatum, Disloyalty in the Confederacy (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1934). For a textbook discussion of the three cases, see James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (New York: Knopf, 1982).
8. George Frederickson, The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), chapter 9.
9. Daniel Crofts, Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1989), chapter 13.
10. Mark E. Neely, Jr., Confederate Bastille: Jefferson Davis and Civil Liberties (Milwaukee: Marquette Univ. Press, 1992); Neely, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991); and Neely, The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993).
11. Neely, Confederate Bastille, 22-23.
12. Ibid., 6, n. 8 and 11, n. 13. Neely notes the "four obscure soldiers arrested" who Frank L. Owsley named in his State Rights in the Confederacy (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1925). Earlier historians often argued questions relating to the legal, theoretical, and constitutional origins and justifications for habeas corpus and its suspension with little concern for the individuals enmeshed in the day-to-day application of the process.
13. Neely, Confederate Bastille, 5-6, 14.
14. Union practice on civil liberty will be occasionally mentioned herein, but the focus of this study is upon Confederate practices. A study of Union loyalism and Union policies and practices in the county remains to be done.
15. Census of the Population, Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M653), Fayette County, hereafter referred to as 1860 Census.
16. Charles A. Goddard, ed. "War Times in Mountain Cove: Letters of Nancy Hunt to Refugee Friends in [New] York State, 1862-1865," in Roy Bird Cook Collection, West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University, Morgantown, hereafter referred to as Cook Coll., WVRHC; and Ruth Hunt Creger, Victor, WV, to the author, 15 August 1991.
17. Census of the Population, Eighth Census of the United States, Social Statistics, 1860 (National Archives Microfilm Publication T1132), Fayette County, hereafter referred to as 1860 Social Statistics. According to the social statistics in the census, the Methodist Church South could accommodae a total of twenty-five hundred members, the Methodist Church North only one thousand. Studies correlating membership in the various denominations with allegiances North and South after 1861 would be helpful, but exact numbers of pro-Union and pro-Confederate residents are likely to be as elusive as the numbers who served in the opposing military units. For the latter, see Jack L. Dickinson, Tattered Uniforms and Bright Bayonets: West Virginia s Confederate Soldiers (Huntington: Marshall Univ. Library, 1995), 403-10.
18. 1860 Census.
19. For the names of masters, their occupations, and number of slaves owned by each, see Census of the Population, Eighth Census of the United States, Slave Schedule, 1860 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M653), Fayette County. The government did not record names of slaves in the census, only their age, sex, and color in addition to the owners names. There were 133 male and 138 female slaves in the county in 1860.
20. The following chart from census data demonstrates the wealth range of Fayette County heads of households. There are wide differences of wealth in this Appalachian county.
Number of Households by District
|Range of Value||Kanawha||Fayetteville||Mt. Cove||Sewell Mt.|
21. Twenty-two years of age at the outbreak of war, Gus lived on his father's estate. Judge Bailey owned an estate valued at $7,000, including two slaves. Whether the holding of slaves influenced Bailey's loyalty is not known. For memoirs of Fayette County residents loyal to Virginia who volunteered for military service in 1861, see the stories of J. H. Abbot, W. F. Bahlmann, and B. H. Jones in J. T. Peters and H. B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia (Charleston: Jarrett Printing, 1926), 215-42.
22. This group has received study. See William B. Hesseltine, Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology (1930; reprint, New York: Ungar, 1964)and Civil War Prisons (Kent, OH: Kent State Univ. Press, 1992).
23. The church building was valued at $1,000. These figures are probably inflated. 1860 Social Statistics.
24. It is not known precisely where the minister lived, but he was charged with disloyalty for being a member of the Heroes of America, a pro-Union group, and was accused of saying it was a "fine thing" that soldiers of the 22nd Virginia in 1864 were deserting in large numbers. This infantry unit had been drawn in part from Fayette County. Tatum, Disloyalty, 152.
25. William E. Cox, "The Civil War Letters of Laban Gwinn," West Virginia History 43(Spring 1982): 227-45.
26. For the Hunt and Hopping families, see 1860 Census and Goddard, "War Times in Mountain Cove," in Cook Coll., WVRHC.
27. Avidly pro-Union but terrified of Confederate partisans, Nancy Hunt complained of the insatiable demand for goods by units from each army. Goddard, "War Times in Mountain Cove," in Cook Coll., WVRHC.
28. 1860 Census. James S. Cassady represented Fayette County in the first Wheeling convention, and after 1866, he served as clerk of the circuit court and county superintendent of schools. Peters and Carden, History, 742-43, 748.
29. The "Yankee" was named Ticknor, but no other information about him is available in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1880-91), hereafter referred to as O. R. For details on Fellows and Cassady and the quotations, see O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1477-78. Cassady is spelled three ways in the records, and Fellows is often interchanged with Fellers.
30. Peters and Carden, History, 194, 476 and 1860 Census. For the military commissioner's examination of Kennedy Cassady, see O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1477-78.
31. O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1478.
32. "Claim of Samuel B. Koontz, 1866" in Adjutant General s Records, Militia, Fayette County, West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, hereafter referred to as AGR, WVSA. In this petition for back pay and allowances, Koontz tells his story. It is corroborated by eight witnesses.
33. General Echols to Major General Winder, 30 July 1863, File C-581, Record Group 109, Department of War, Collection of Confederate Records, 1863, National Archives, hereafter referred to as RG 109, NA.
34. Peters and Carden, History, 675. See the story of Jacob Koontz.
35. Koontz, "Claim," AGR, WVSA. Koontz owned a farm valued at $2,000 in the northeast section of Fayette County near the Gauley River where he lived with his wife and four children.
36. Daniel Crofts's perceptive studies of Southampton County, Virginia, with comparisons and contrasts of two diarists are outstanding examples of what may be done with diaries and county history. Crofts, "Southampton County Diarists in the Civil War Era: Elliott L. Story and Daniel W. Cobb," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 98(1990): 537-612 and Old Southampton: Politics and Society in a Virginia County (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1992).
37. The original Hamilton homeplace was located approximately three thousand feet east of the current Hawk's Nest overlook. The property included the promontory known as Lover's Leap, and it later encompassed 165 acres along Mill Creek. Miller s Ferry was built at the mouth of Mill Creek on New River. Extensive information on the Hamilton family is located in the Hamilton Family Papers, 1784-1877, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA, hereafter referred to as Hamilton Papers, VHS. See also Peters and Carden, History, 93-96 and A. W. Hamilton, "Hawks Nest and Lover's Leap Cliffs: Their History," Fayetteville Tribune, 12 September 1935. James B. Hamilton's sons sold the remaining 200 acres of the estate in April 1925.
38. Peters and Carden, History, 171-72.
39. J. B. Hamilton, "Diary," in Peters and Carden, History, chapter 13.
40. Virginia Military Institute, Cadet Records, 1849, courtesy of Clay Hamilton.
41. Peters and Carden, History, chapter 13.
44. Data are drawn from entry for Hamilton household, district 3, household 44, 1860 Census.
45. Peters and Carden, History, 204, 210-12.
46. William Gilham, Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States (Philadelphia: Desilver, 1861). This manual was also printed and distributed in the Confederacy.
47. J. B. Hamilton to Dear Wife, 18 June 1861, Hamilton Papers, VHS.
49. Tim McKinney, The Civil War in Fayette County, West Virginia (Charleston: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1988), 29-30; Terry D. Lowry, 22nd Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, 1988), 16-17. Within a few months, Colonel Christopher Q. Tompkins, commander of the 22nd, resigned in disgust at the constant squabbling between generals Wise and Floyd. He was furious at General Floyd for ordering artillery fire on the Union encampment at Gauley Mount, the Tompkins estate on the west side of Gauley Mountain where Tompkins's wife and children were still living. Hamilton and Tompkins remained friends and Tompkins occasionally supplied Hamilton with money while Hamilton was imprisoned. See Hamilton to Tompkins, 3 June 1864 and Tompkins to Mrs. Hamilton, 27 November 1864, Hamilton Papers, VHS.
50. General Wise to General Robert E. Lee in O. R., series 1, vol. 2, 1012.
51. Peters and Carden, History, 213-14 and McKinney, Civil War, 21.
52. Diary entries labeled 1863 in Peters and Carden, History, 211-12, are incorrectly dated. These events took place in 1861. By August 1863, Hamilton was in prison and Colonel St. George Croghan had been killed in action. Alexander W. Hamilton, "Recollections of Wartime Homes along the Midland Trail," Fayette Tribune, 23 March 1932.
53. The law did not apply to residents of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, the District of Columbia, the territories of Arizona and New Mexico, or the Indian Territory south of Kansas.
54. O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1369-70.
55. McKinney, Civil War, 136-39. These numbers show only one moment in time and do not count men held for a short period then released or those arrested later such as Koontz, Richmond, and Hamilton.
56. In 1864, Echols believed that large numbers of dangerous subversives lurked in a growing membership in Heroes of America, a pro-Union group. See Noe, Southwest Virginia's Railroad, 135-36.
57. Brigadier General John Echols to Major Charles Stringfellow, 15 July 1863 and to Major General Winder, 30 July 1863, RG 109, NA.
58. Major Charles S. Stringfellow to Major Davidson, 18 July 1863, in ibid.
59. Major I. H. Carrington, Report, in ibid. Samuel B. Koontz and Lantz K. Harrow from the Mt. Cove District of Fayette County were also arrested in the raid. Harrow and Koontz survived the war in Confederate prisons. See Koontz, "Claim," AGR, WVSA.
60. Major I. H. Carrington, Commissioner, to Captain W. S. Winder, A. A. G., 5 and 20 August 1863, RG 109, NA.
61. "Report #246, William and Allen Richmond," 11 September 1863, in ibid.
62. Mason Matthews, deposition, in ibid.
64. For discussion of the Peebles case, in which the military subverted the civil courts in 1864, see Robert L. Kerby, Kirby Smith s Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863-1865 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1972), 270-81.
65. Hamilton, letters from prison, 1863-64, Hamilton Papers, VHS. See especially, J. B. Hamilton to Dear Wife, 11 August 1864 and to Christopher Q. Tompkins, 3 June 1864.
66. G. S. McCutcheon, et al, "Petition to Governor Smith," 8 April 1864, RG 109, NA. The names of two women who signed te petition were crossed out.
68. Gov. Smith, notation on ibid. 69. Ibid.
70. J. R. Tucker to General Robert E. Lee, 4 July 1861, O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1361.
71. Ellen W. Tompkins, ed. "The Colonel's Lady: Some Letters of Ellen W. Tompkins, July-December, 1861," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 69(October 1961): 390-91, 410 and McKinney, Civil War, 88-89, 123-24.
72. Tompkins, "Colonel's Lady," 416. Even Ellen Tompkins puzzled about the attention and protection given to her and her family by men who would likely in a few hours or days try to kill her husband in battle.
73. Ibid., 390-91.
74. O. R., series 2, vol. 2, 1373.
75. Ibid., 1373-74, 1384-85.
76. Ibid., 1391, 1433.
77. General Floyd to Secretary of War J. P. Benjamin, 19 November 1861, in ibid., series 1, vol. 5, 287.
78. Ibid., series 2, vol. 2, 1431.
80. Ibid., 1369-70.
81. Ibid., 1376.
82. Ibid., series 1, vol. 5, 924.
83. Ibid., 377-78, 924.
84. General Rosecrans to General McClellan, 19 November 1861, in ibid., 656-57. The holding of hostages for possible exchange or leveraged advantage became routine for both sides in the conflict. Rosecrans's comment also indicates that Union forces had been arresting civilians.
85. On 17 October 1863, Major Carrington recommended that seventy-six prisoners, "foreign nationals," take the loyalty oath and be put to work under any "responsible person." On the same day he recommended that eight Union deserters take the oath of loyalty and be enlisted in General John Imboden's command. File 831, RG 109, NA.
86. The most radical redefinition of resources was the 1865 Confederate law permitting slaves to become soldiers. James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988) 831-37.
87. There is a debate among historians as to the origins and characteristics of the "bushwhacker" war in western Virginia. The dispute is related to interpretations of "total war" and "hard war." A forthcoming article by Kenneth Noe examines the Union army and guerilla warfare in western Virginia in 1861-62. See also Mark Grimsley, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995); Michael Fellman, Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri During the Civil War (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989); and Mark Neely, "Was the Civil War a Total War?," Civil War History 37(March 1991): 5-28.
West Virginia History Journal
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