Series 2, Volume 2, pp. 1381-82
Fork of Waters, Highland County,
September 21, 1861.
This letter has been handed to me as the officer commanding the line between Monterey and Petersburg. I forward it according to its address, and with it the following extracts from the report of Capt. George Jackson, former commandant of the post at Monterey:
John W. Overman; lives in Preston County, five miles west of West Union. Was arrested without arms and confined in the guard house August 23, 1861, on the charge of being a Union man. Says that he was a Union man until his arrest, but has since changed and is now willing to stand by the South.
It is proper to state here that all of those persons mentioned in the above list as arrested on the charge of disloyalty, other than those caught in arms against the South, were arrested upon representations of numbers of the most substantial, reliable and loyal citizens of Hardy County, to the effect that they were actively engaged in giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
These extracts give all the information I have about Overman, except that I was [informed] by two gentlemen from Hardy that he was taken up as a spy. He is sent to the Staunton jail by order of General H. R. Jackson.
John B. Baldwin,
Colonel Fifty-second Virginia Regiment.
Monterey, Highland County, Va.,
September 15, 1861.
Mr. Jefferson Davis.
Honorable Sir: I will say to you that I am held as a prisoner in this place. I was taken near Petersburg, Hardy County, Va. I live in Preston County, Va., and was on my way to Moorefield, Hardy County, on business and I had to go some thirty-five miles out of my way to get there in order to get around the Yankee camps, and then was taken by the Rockbridge Cavalry and brought here. I am charged with being a Union man, and I am not, and can prove that I have taken strong grounds in favor of the Confederacy, and was taken prisoner by the Yankees. This I can prove by the best of men in Tucker and Preston Counties if I could get any word to them. But I am cut off from any communication with them and I ask of you my release, for I am kept on the streets at work and digging graves Sundays as well as any other day. They have also taken a fine horse and saddle from me. I was taken on the 22d August, and I am at this time 130 or 140 miles from home, with the Yankees between me and my home. Therefore I can't get any assistance from there--not as much as a change of clothes. I ask your honor for my release, and also for my horse or his value. I understand that I am to be moved up to Staunton to-morrow; but as to this I cannot say whether they will or not. Sir, I am a Virginian, and am proud to say that I have always been loyal to my native State, and am still willing to remain so.
Your hunble servant,
John W. Overman.
P.S.--I am well treated by your men generally. There are some few that curse me, and say they will shoot me before I leave the guard house.
J. W. O.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1861