Chapter LII - The Frontier Riflemen

History of Hampshire County West Virginia From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present
By Hu Maxwell and H. L. Swisher
Morgantown, West Virginia; A. Brown Boughner Printer; 1897

PART 2 County History
HAMPSHIRE'S PART IN THE CIVIL WAR
CHAPTER LII - THE FRONTIER RIFLEMEN
BY HU MAXWELL
Pages 603-620

Following is a roll of the Frontier Riflemen, known also as Company I, Thirteenth Virginia Infantry: Captain, Robert White; first lieutenant, E. L. Irvin; second lieutenant, Job N. Cookus; third lieutenant, Daniel T. Keller; first sergeant, Richard Roberson; second sergeant, H. B. Willis; third sergeant, B. W. Armstrong; fourth sergeant, Robert J. Pugh. Privates — James H. Atkins, A. F. Barnes, J. W. Bobo, M. V. Bobo, James Bonney, James E. Brown, Benjamin Brooks, Frederick Carder, Joseph F. Carder, Joseph Carder, Sanford Carder, Uriah Cheshire, George W. Cheshire, Newton Cheriw, John S. M. Combs, Jesse Chilcot, J. W. Davis, Alfred Doman, Tobias Doman, Thomas B. Emmart, Thomas Kelly, Granville Friddle, John Greitzner, Thomas Gulick, W. H. Gerrard, William H. High, Andrew Hines, John W. Hannas, William Hickel, C. Hott, Benjamin Haines, A. J. Kreemer, Thomas Keely, J. N. Lewis, M. Lewis, William Loy, W. Loy, Samuel Loy, John Loy, J. W. Loy, Solomon Lopp, W. H. Ludwick, E. Liller, Samuel Mobler, Samuel McCauley, Arthur McCauley, Walter McAfee, Joseph Nixon, J. Nealis, H. H. Orndorff, W. T. Parker, V. M. Poling, T. S. Poling, Joseph S. Poland, William Pownell, Absalom Pownell, W. S. Purgett, Jacob Powelson, Michael Randall, Joel Roberson, G. W. Ruckman, Alonzo Shawen, Christopher Shanholtzer, W. F. Sheetz, James Starnes, Frank Shingleton, Thomas Scanlin, Stephen Swisher, Perry Saville, Gibson Timbrook, Hiram Terry, J. B. Trenton, John Thompson, Edward Whiteman, J. L. Wilson, H. A. Wilson. Musicians — Levi Carder, G. McNemar, L. Johnson.

This company was organized in 1860, after the John Brown raid, with Robert White captain, Elias L. Irvin first lieutenant, Job N. Cookus second lieutenant and Daniel T. Keller third lieutenant. On May 18, 1861, by order of Governor Letcher, the company reported to Colonel T. J. Jackson (Stonewall), then commanding at Harper's Ferry. While there the company voted on the ordinance of secession, there being seven votes against it. The company was placed in the Fourth Regiment, under Colonel A. P. Hill, and was designated as Company I. It being found that there were two Fourth Regiments, this one was changed to Thirteenth. While at Harper's Ferry the first death occurred in the company, Henry Wilson, but it was by no means the last death, for this company was almost totally destroyed before the close of the war.

The First Fight. — Active service soon commenced. Colonel Hill, with the Thirteenth and Tenth Virginia and Third Tennessee Regiments, marched to Romney in June, 1861, and a detachment, consisting of Companies I and K and the Third Tennessee, was sent to New creek to destroy railroad bridges. The bridges were burned, and a skirmish occurred with the Cumberland home guards, in which the guards were defeated, with the loss of two, small cannon, which fell into the hands of the confederates. These were the first trophies of war. Colonel Hill marched to Winchester, and Company I was soon in the command of General Joseph Johnston, who was falling back from Harper's Ferry. After a few days General Johnston eluded and deceived General Patterson, of the union army, and slipped away to Manassas in time to turn the tide of battle (July 21) from apparent defeat to certain victory Company I did not take part in the battle, having been posted on the right to guard a ford. After the battle the Thirteenth Regiment did picket .duty in the vicinity of Alexandria. John Bobo died of fever at this camp, and Thomas Scanlon was accidentally shot in the foot. In the autumn of 1861 the army moved to Manassas, and here Thomas Kelly and Samuel McCauley died in the hospital. Captain White and Lieutenant Irvin resigned January, 1862, and left the army. Johnston's army moved from Manassas in the spring of 1862, and General Ewell's division, to which the Thirteenth Regiment belonged, was stationed on the Rappahannock river, and afterward fell back to Gordonsville.

The confederate army was here reorganized. The time of enlistment of many of the men had expired; but the confederate congress having passed the conscript act, it compelled the men to remain in the commands where they then were. Many of the men felt themselves much aggrieved at this, as they had volunteered, and they thought they should be allowed to choose the arm of the service in which they would fight. Company I reorganized by electing Job N. Cookus captain, Abraham Smith first lieutenant, James Moorehead second lieutenant and Abraham Barnes third lieutenant. The division to which this company belonged moved from Gordonsville to Swift run gap, Jackson's old camp, facing Banks' army at Harrisonburg, in the valley of Virginia. In all the fighting which followed, Company I did its full share. General Banks was forced out of the valley, with great loss of stores, artillery and prisoners. But General Fremont and General Shields coming upon the scene, there was continued and heavy fighting. The confederates gained a victory at Cross Keys. This was the first real battle taken part in by Company I, although it had seen much service. After the battle at Cross Keys, the division to which Company I belonged crossed the south fork of the Shenandoah and helped Jackson, who was fighting Shields. The federals had a strong position. A brigade of Ewell's division and a regiment of Jackson's took a battery of six pieces on Shields' left, which proved to be the key to the field and decided the battle in favor of the confederates. The victory did not come too soon for them, for their army was completely exhausted, and it was with great difficulty that a pursuit of five miles was made, many of the men falling by the roadside. They had fought two days without a mouthful to eat.

Adventures of Boney Loy. — Among the well-known members of Company I was William B. Loy, nicknamed "Boney," who passed through many dangers and lived to see peace restored. He returned to Hampshire and proved by his life that the bravest in war are the best citizens in peace. He was of small statue, but of iron constitution, capable of enduring excessive fatigue; taking part in the hardest marches, the severest battles, and always at his post. In the battle above mentioned he had a long, hard time of it. When the fight was over he wrapped himself in a new rubber blanket and lay down among the dead and dying, and was soon asleep. During the night some stragglers who were robbing the dead, found him, and supposing him dead also, rolled him over, pulled his blanket out and began to fold it up. But Loy awoke and soon convinced the thief that he had tackled a very lively corpse. The straggler turned away, remarking, "take your old blanket; I thought you were dead." Loy wrapped the blanket about him and again lay down to sleep. When he awoke in the morning he found that his gun and boots had been stolen. Unarmed and barefooted he started out to forage, and soon found a rusty gun, which he took; but he was not so fortunate in procuring coverings for his feet, which were so small that he was hard to fit. But, finally he found a yankee with boots about the right size, and he proceeded to pull them off. He received a kick in the stomach from the yankee whom he had supposed dead, and the rebuke: "What are you about! Can't you let a man die in peace! Can't you wait till he is dead before you rob him!" As Mr. Loy had no intention of robbing a wounded soldier, he let go the boot with many apologies and moved off. He found no other boots of the proper size, and returned to camp barefooted. It was not long after that Banks' commissary stores were captured by the rebels, and Boney Loy had the pick of several hundred cases of yankee boots, and succeeded in finding a pair to fit him exactly.

Death of George Cheshire. — After the battle of Port Republic, many of the members of Company I joined the cavalry and did good service; others left and went home to remain. After a rest of a few days, Company I, now reduced in numbers, was sent to Richmond to defend the capital of the Southern Confederacy against McClellan. On June 27, 1862, when the company found itself on McClellan's right at Coal Harbor it had only eighteen men, including two conscripts. Although General Lee had forced General McClellan from his fortifications, his new position was a very strong one. In the battle which followed, Company I passed through many dangerous places. It had to cross a swamp hip-deep to attack the enemy's infantry posted on an eminence. The confederates were unmercifully raked by the artillery fire. The survivors of the terrible battle tell of the gallant manner in which Sergeant George W. Cheshire met his death. He is looked upon as one of the bravest of the one hundred and twenty- two Hampshire men who gave their lives in the cause of the South. He was killed near Richmond. The battle had raged with almost unprecedented fury, and seven ensigns had fallen. Cheshire seized the colors of his regiment and led the charge, calling to his comrades to follow. He held the flag until the staff was shot off in three places. It looked like a rush into the jaws of death, but they pressed forward. Cheshire fell, but the men who had followed him met the enemy and forced them back. The governor of Virginia made a special report on the gallantry of the young Hampshire officer, and his name stands recorded in history. The flag, cut into ribbons by bullets was sent to Governor Letcher, who returned a new flag, remarking that the old one "was battle worn and bullet torn, and bathed in the blood of the gallant Cheshire." George Ruckman, another brave man of the company, fell in this battle, as did also one of the conscripts. Frank Singleton of Delaware, who had joined the company, Boney Loy and the other conscript were badly wounded.

Boney carried a Mississippi rifle which soon became foul. He was in the thick of the fight and had fired until he could not ram another bullet down. His gun was choked, and at that critical moment a retreat was ordered. Just then a bullet struck him in the thigh. It roused his ire and he turned upon the advancing yankees and putting his ramrod against a tree, tried to push the bullet down, and in the endeavor his ramrod became fast in the barrel. He raised his gun, fired ramrod and all at the enemy, and turned to run. A bullet struck his knapsack, passed through it and lodged in his clothing without hurting him. But another ball struck him a moment later and passed through his lung's. He dropped his gun, but continued running until he overtook his comrades. V. M. Poling asked him if he had been wounded, to which Loy replied with more vehemence than piety: "No, __ __ I'm killed." His wounds, however, were not fatal, and after several months in the hospital he was back in his regiment, and ready for more fighting.

In this battle Joel Roberson was so severely wounded that he was unable to perform service in the infantry, but as soon as he had sufficiently recovered he joined the cavalry. He was a good soldier, and was liked by all who knew him. B. W. Armstrong, a man of superior education, died of a fever in August, 1861. He was in every way a gentleman.

The company took part in the battles of Malvern Hill, Charles City and Cedar Mountain; at the latter place Samuel Mohler and V. M. Poling were wounded, Mohler badly in the foot, Poling slightly in the side. His capbox saved him. This company took an active part in the second battle of Bull Run, and followed Lee and Jackson through the Maryland campaign, culminating at Antietam. At the second battle of Bull Run the company. went with Jackson in his flank movement around Pope. All the confederate wagons were left behind to make better speed, and the only rations issued to the men were four roasting ears each per day. But when they camped near cornfields they helped themselves. However, they succeeded in capturing Pope's supply train and were then told to help themselves, which they did with an unspairing hand. Each man took all he could carry. On the retreat from Antietam the soldiers waded the Potomac. The water came to their cartridge boxes. Stonewall Jackson sat on his horse in the middle of the river encouraging his men. The soldiers cheered him as they struggled by, through the swift water, and he sat with his hat off, in a beating rain. The field of action for Company I changed to Fredericksburg. At this place the yankee and rebel pickets on the Rappahannock traded tobacco and coffee. The rebels on one side of the river put a sail on a plank, tied their tobacco to the staff, and the wind would carry the frail bark to the other side. The yankees took the tobacco and sent coffee back in exchange for it. The sail was changed each time so as to carry the boat straight across. This trading was kept up till the yankees moved their pickets back.

Death of Lieutenant Morehead. — In the spring of 1863 General Hooker left Sedgwick's corps at Fredericksburg and he crossed to Chancellorsville. Company I was left, in Early's division, to watch Sedgwick. In a battle at that place the thirteenth regiment was sent forward alone to attack a hill as a feint. The soldiers charged and took it three times; but on the top of the hill the regiment encountered two lines of battle, and was forced to fall back,. At this place Lieutenant James Morehead met his death. His last words were, "They are running! Come on, boys!" He was a gallant officer, and was very popular with the men. The soldiers procured boards from a barn, made him a coffin, and buried him. Captain Smith offered a prayer, while shells were falling and exploding on all sides. The company lost other valuable men in this charge. Samuel Loy was mortally wounded and died in a few days. Richard Roberson, Sanford Carder and Joseph Carder were badly wounded. During the retreat from the hill, hotly pursued by federals, Boney Loy and V. M. Poling, afterwards clerk of the Hampshire circuit court, were fighting the best they could to cover the retreat, when they were so hard pressed that they were compelled to conceal themselves in a deep gulley, while the yankees took possession of other gullies near by, and made a stand, not knowing that rebels were in an adjoining gully. The confederate troops rallied, and for some time there was the prospect of a sharp fight over the heads of Poling and Loy, but they were not uneasy on that score, as they could lie low and escape the bullets, but they did not feel comfortable when they considered the result if the yankees should see them and use the bayonet. They could hear the yankees talking near them, but did not dare raise their heads for fear of discovery. They thus hugged the bottom of the gully for hours. About five o'clock in the afternoon they heard a noise like the Sight of a drove of pigeons, and a moment later saw that the rebel infantry were charging. The peculiar noise was made by soldiers running through the grass. General Gordon was making the charge. He drove the federals back and the men emerged from the gully and rejoined their comrades.

Company I, now reduced to a few men, was transferred to Winchester and took part in the battle with Milroy, which resulted in forcing him to retreat down the valley with heavy loss. The thirteenth regiment was left at Winchester to. guard military stores, and thus missed Gettysburg. The company moved east of the Blue Ridge after the Gettysburg campaign, and spent the winter on the Rappahannock, 1863-4. At that time the confederate states were hard pressed for food and clothing, and the soldiers were on short rations, one day three-quarters of a pound of beef and no bread; next day they would get Hour and no meat; then rice for one day, and no salt at any time. In February a detachment was sent to the Rappahannock to catch fish. They lived without salt or flour. They cooked their fish in various ways to see if some sort of flavor could not be given them; but a fish without salt is not good, no matter how it is cooked. In the spring of 1864 the confederate army commenced fighting Grant in the Wilderness. A member of Company I expressed in these words a truth which no doubt was clearly seen by many at the time: "After we had fought Grant a few days in the Wilderness, there was not an officer, nor an intelligent soldier, in our army who did not realize that the Southern Confederacy was doomed. But we fought on, hoping against hope that something would happen that would save us; some foreign power might help us; or some other assistance come from some quarter," On May 5 Company I was reduced to nine men, in ranks, and the captain, as follows: Captain Abraham Smith, R. J. Pugh, Richard Roberson, William Loy, W. Loy, William Sheetz, Samuel Mohler, Joseph Carder, Uriah Cheshire and V. M. Poling. The company was in the battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May, 1864. B. M. Haines had been detached with the signal corps.

The Broken Line. — At that battle there was desperate fighting. Grant was pressing Lee hard at every point. One foggy morning General Hancock led a charge which broke Lee's line. The confederates at that place had built fortifications in the shape of V with the point to the enemy. Company I was in the works on the left. Hancock came through on the right, and his victorious soldiers were sweeping everything before them and threatening to gain possession of the road to Richmond. It was a moment of extreme danger for Lee's army, and that great general saw it. Unless the federals could be checked and driven back, Richmond must fall. The confederates from the left were countermarched on the double-quick across the open space to get in front of the federals. Bullets and grape fell like rain. Boney Loy fell, shot through the leg, and was left on the field, while the rebels hurried on, and after running half a mile found themselves in front of the Yankees. It was at this critical moment that General Lee appeared on the scene. He saw that everything depended upon checking the federal advance. It is believed to be the only instance during the war in which General Lee offered to lead a charge, and it is worthy of note, to the honor of Hampshire, that this old county furnished its share of the soldiers which Lee was to lead on that momentuous occasion, the most critical, perhaps, in the whole war. No one had noticed the general as he came up. He suddenly appeared at the head of the thirteenth regiment, with his hat off and smiling, but did not say a word. He looked at the men and they understood that he was ready to lead the charge. General Gordon came up at the moment and exclaimed: "I will lead these Virginians; General Lee, go to the rear!" At once every man saw General Lee's danger, and called as with one voice: "General Lee, to the rear." Richard Roberson of Company I, caught Lee's horse by the bridle and turned him around. By that time several of Lee's staff officers came up. General Gordon then turned to the men and said: "Virginians, you have never failed before, and I know you will not fail today. Forward. Follow me."

The battle that day, to recover the lost ground, can be fittingly compared to the charge of Ney at Waterloo. It was a stubborn, hand-to-hand fight, in which the finest troops of the South were pitted against the veterans of the North. The soldiers on both sides knew what war was. They had learned the trade on many a field, and they were now to fight inch by inch for the mastery of the captured works. For a long* time it was a doubtful contest; but inch by inch the confederates pushed the union troops back, and finally recaptured the lost works which General Edward Johnson, with Stonewall Jackson's old division, had lost that morning. But the battle for the mastery did not end there. Three times the federals tried to retake the works, but were three times repulsed. Other brigades claim the honor of being the troops which General Lee offered to lead; and it is not impossible that he did offer to lead other brigades at other times; but it was surely the brigade in which Hampshire's Company I, thirteenth Virginia infantry fought, which Lee offered to lead at Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864. Jones, in his memoirs of Lee, says he asked General Lee what brigade it was which he offered to lead, and that Lee answered: "General Gordon was the officer." General Gordon could settle the controversy as to the brigade, if he would, and it is due the brave men who followed him, and to the cause of history, that he speak on the subject.

Rain fell all night following the battle. The confederate soldiers slept sitting, with their backs against the breastworks and gum blankets over their heads and guns. There was thunder and bright lightning, which served to keep up the battle. The federals had taken up a position in a pine thicket about fifty yards in front of the confederate works, and they kept up such a constant firing that no one could show his head without danger of having it shot off. A dead union soldier lay a few yards below the breastworks, between the federal and confederate lines. He had a ring on his finger, and several attempts to get it failed. As soon as a confederate attempted to crawl down, the yankees in the pines fired at him. At length Samuel Mohler, of Company I, watched his chances, between flashes of lightning, and crawled down and got the ring. He did not care for the value of the ring, but wished to exhibit his recklessness. Boney Loy, who was wounded in the charge, was taken prisoner and carried to a federal hospital near by. A few days later the confederates captured the hospital, and Loy climbed on a horse, behind one of the cavalrymen, and rode back to the camp. His wound in the leg rendered it necessary for him to spend some time in a hospital. He was then granted a furlough, and he set out for home. On the way he fell in with some troops under General Early, just as the fight at Fisher's Hill commenced. He took part in the battle; then proceeded to his home in Hampshire.

Death of Captain Smith. — The next day after retaking the works at Spotsylvania Court House, General Lee moved his line back half a mile. Company I was sent with Ewell's corps to make an attack on Grant's forces, seven miles distant. In the attack Captain Smith was shot through the lungs. He fell near V. M. Poling, and said: "Tell my wife my first thought, when I fell, was of her, my God and my country. I believe our cause is just, and I have given my life for it." That night the soldiers of his country carried him seven miles back to Lee's lines, there being no ambulance in which to send him. He died in the hospital seven days later. There were only seven of Company I left. On May 21 this company moved to Hanover Court House, where a charge by the brigade to which Company I belonged was ordered, to take a battery of six pieces. The charge was across an open field, without support. It was a disastrous undertaking, and unsuccessful. The federal position could not be taken, and the confederates were forced to retreat, with heavy loss of officers as well as men. The retreat was more fatal than the advance. Of the four hundred who went into the charge, eight-one were left on the field. Company I suffered as usual. Joseph Carder lost his foot and R. J. Pugh was shot in the leg. It was an uncalled-for sacrifice of life. Pugh was a good fellow, liked by all. He died in Romney a few years ago. This left only five men in Company I, and the company lost its identity. It had not enough men left to elect officers. It had entered the army at the beginning of the war with eighty-six officers and men. On May 21, 1854, it had not an officer and only live men. It might be supposed that further history of the company would be unnecessary; but there were five brave men left, and it is proper to follow them through their vicissitudes of fortune till the close of the war. These five, not having an organization any longer as a company, joined the sharpshooters under Lieutenant Stringfellow. Each regiment, at that time, had twenty picked men as sharpshooters, under a lieutenant, and the whole division was organized and was commanded by a major. It was the duty of the sharpshooters to be in front in an advance and in the rear in retreat, creeping or running from shelter to shelter, always on the lookout for a good shot. Of course, the sharpshooters of the enemy were doing the same.

The Coffee Spoiled. — William Loy was one of the sharpshooters who had belonged to Company I. During a skirmish one day he thought he would snatch a few minutes and make a cup of coffee. He built a fire behind a rail pile and set his cup on. The truth is, it was cane seed, but he was playing that it was coffee. The cup was beginning to simmer, and Loy was blowing the coals to expedite matters when a yankee sharpshooter, with plenty of nerve, shot at him and sent a bullet through the cup of coffee. Loy exclaimed: "Drat that yankee! He spoiled my cup." The sharpshooters would climb trees, or old chimneys, or houseroofs to get a good shot. On one occasion V. M. Poling was at the gable window of a deserted house when Major Daniel, of General Early's staff, went up to use his field glass. A yankee sharpshooter sent a. bullet into the loft near their heads, through a feather bed, scattering feathers over the room. The major remarked that he had seen all there was to see, and departed. It has often been remarked that wounds received while fighting sharpshooters are nearly always severe, because sharpshooters aim at vital parts and are excellent marksmen. On the day before the second battle of Cold Harbor Samuel Mohler was shot through the brain and killed. This left only four men of Company I. In the fight General Hunter was forced back toward Salem. The confederate army moved down the valley to Maryland, fighting much of the way; advanced within a few miles of Washington; then up the valley; again down the valley to Charlestown. In all this marching there was scarcely a day on which the sharpshooters were not fighting. One night they captured thirty-one cavalrymen behind a stone fence in the edge of Winchester. The yankee lieutenant asked where "Winchester was, he being badly bewildered. Although the sharpshooters made the capture, Gilmor's Marylanders got the cavalrymen's horses.

General Mulligan Killed. — General Mulligan, a brave federal officer, was killed near Kernstown. He had the respect of friend and foe. When he was in command at Keyser, Moorefield and Petersburg he had many opportunities to show kindness to captured confederates, and he always did so. Those who killed him did not know who he was until too late, and they regretted what they had done, although they did it while discharging their duty as sharpshooters in line of battle. Seven of them, William Loy, W. F. Sheetz and Joel Roberson being of the number, crawled two hundred yards down a ditch and reached a point from which they could see General Mulligan and his staff. All seven fired at one time, and the general was killed and one of his staff was wounded.

Charlestown Captured. — While General Early was in the vicinity of Charlestown that place was taken by seven sharpshooters, four of them being the remnant of old Company I, William Loy, Joel Roberson, V. M. Poling and W. F. Sheetz. The exploit was somewhat remarkable. The sharpshooters had forced back the federal skirmishers toward the town, and supposing they had passed through the village, followed after them. When the squad of seven confederate sharpshooters reached a small bridge in the suburbs of the town they were surprised to find that they had run into a squad of cavalry not thirty yards distant. Luckily for the sharpshooters, the yankees were still more surprised, and ran without firing a shot. The sharpshooters fired and killed the federal captain and two of his men. The cavalry took refuge in town, and the sharpshooters followed. For an hour the fight continued, the seven confederate taking the place house by house and street by street, fighting in back yards, running over porches, and all the while the women were waving their handkerchiefs from windows and cheering. Finally the yankees were driven out.

In the fight at Winchester, September 19, 1864, General Early was forced to retreat before General Sheridan. The battle was a hard one and the sharpshooters had little rest. William Loy was wounded and taken prisoner. He was one of the toughest soldiers in the service, never giving out on the hardest march. This left three of old Company I. Sheetz was wounded in the arm by a spent ball. He had the remarkable record of never missing a battle during the war, up to that time, in which his regiment was engaged. After living through the war, he was killed on the railroad a few years ago. When Sheetz was wounded it left only two men of the eighty-six who went into the company at the beginning of the war. They were V. M. Poling and Joel Roberson. These two entered the battle of Fisher's Hill, where General Early's veterans became stampeded from some unknown and unaccountable reason, and there was a disgraceful route. The two sharpshooters, Poling and Roberson, were doing what they could, in company with other sharpshooters, to save the day, when Poling was wounded. He became very sick and wanted to be left on the field. But his comrade, Roberson, would not desert him. They had fought many a day and many a night side by side; they had shared victory and defeat; and now, when only one of that company of eighty-six was left, he was not the man to abandon a comrade to the enemy. So he carried Poling off the field, put him in an ammunition wagon and landed him safely in Harrisonburg, where he was placed in the hospital. The union troops captured the hospital and Poling was a prisoner. However he was not sent to prison. After a few days he was exchanged and was sent to Hampshire on furlough, and he was there taken care of by James C. Poland and his wife and daughter. As soon as Poling could walk he went to his home in Romney, and on March, 1865, was taken prisoner by a scouting party from Martinsburg. They took him to Garrett I. Blue's, where they stopped for the night, the river being too deep to be crossed. About three o'clock next morning Poling ran out at the door and escaped, taking one of the yankee's guns with him, but left his own revolver and hat. He did not consider it a good trade, but it was the best he could do at the time. He and others surrendered in Cumberland soon after the surrender of Lee. During the last year of the war he had no clothing except what was made for him and sent to him by his sisters. The confederacy was unable to supply clothes for its soldiers. Mr. Poling's portrait in this book shows him in a suit of uniform sent him from home.

The Last Man. — It is in order that the history of the old company be followed to the end, and until the last man disappears from the scene. When Poling went home wounded, Roberson was the only one left in active service. But Sheetz recovered from his wound and went back and took his place in the line of sharpshooters. At the battle of Bell Grove, near Strasburg, Sheetz and Roberson were trying to hold a bridge and prevent the federal cavalry from crossing. They said that one hundred men could have held the bridge and could have saved Early's artillery and wagons. But the necessary one hundred men were not there. The cavalry charged across the bridge and took Sheetz prisoner. Roberson tried to escape by climbing a steep bank of solid limestone, where the pike cuts through at the south end of the bridge. Before he could climb the rocks a yankee cavalryman was upon him striking at him with his sabre. Roberson was compelled to turn and fight. Neither had his gun loaded. Roberson would strike the horse, causing him to wheel; then he would attempt to climb the rocks; but before he could do so the cavalryman would be striking at him again. This was kept up until Roberson was about worn out. The yankee seemed determined to kill him, and did not offer him a chance to surrender. At length an officer came up and took Roberson prisoner. He and Sheetz remained in prison till the close of the war. But old Company I was not yet to pass out of active service. When Sheetz and Roberson surrendered, not one man was left; but in a day or two Uriah Cheshire had recovered from his wound and came back. He was the only man in ranks when Lee surrendered at Appomattox, and he there laid down his gun. James Starnes, Hiram Terry and Joseph Poland were teamsters during the entire war, and were faithful to their duty. Benjamin Brooks was an ambulance driver. All were included in Lee's surrender.

"When these heads are white with glory,
     When the shadows from the west
Lengthen as you tell the story
     In the veteran's ward of rest,

May no ingrate's word of sneering
     Reach one heart of all the brave,
But may honor, praise and cheering"
     Guard old valor to the grave."

Unmaterialized Bonds. — In 1864 the confederate government concluded to be generous with the veterans who had volunteered in the service, and congress at Richmond passed an act giving each veteran a bond for one hundred dollars. The few men still serving in the ranks of the Frontier Riflemen were called out in line and each was promised the bond as a present. They never received them. It was afterwards ascertained, or was so reported in the army, that the employes in the government printing office at Richmond were given all the bonds they could print after five o'clock each evening, as their pay for working the rest of the day for the government.

It was customary in winter to give ten days' furlough to two men at a time from each company. The young soldiers usually gave way to the married men who could thus visit their families. Those on furlough, if they remained in Richmond, had expenses to pay. Board at the hotels was fifty dollars a day in January, 1864; flour, one hundred and fifty dollars a barrel; oysters one dollar a dish; whiskey two dollars a thimbleful. As the soldiers received only twelve dollars a month they could not afford to go on furlough very often. The soldiers in camp were very often starved nearly to death, and when they obtained a supply of food their appetite was so ravenous that they ate to excess. After the battle at Port Republic, two days' rations were issued to the men. Some of the soldiers cooked and ate the whole at one sitting. Two brothers, in addition to the two days' rations, bought from a butcher a beef's liver weighing twelve pounds. They boiled this and ate the whole of it. They lay down and slept, never expecting to wake; but no harm came of their enormous meal.


1. DR. J. W. SHULL; 2. T. G. POWNALL;
3. HOWARD L. SWISHER; 4. V. M. POLING.

Photograph - Shull, Pownall, Swisher, and Poling

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