Chapter LIII - Others Taking the Field

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
Pages 621-632

Following is a list of the members of the Hampshire Guards, afterwards Company K: Captain, J. B. Sherrard; first lieutenant, D. W. Entler; second lieutenant, Felix D. Heiskell; first sergeant, William V. Herriott; second sergeant, James W. Poling; third sergeant, C. S. White. Privates — John A. Borley, Henry Burd, C. E. Blue, Isaac T. Brady, Edward Brelsford, Thomas Brooke, D. Carmichael, John Carroll, Felix R. Davis, John H. Davis, John Davis, William Davis, Samuel Fleming, John Florey, David Fox, William French, Isaac V. Gibson, Joseph Gill, Robert Gill, Joseph A. Hammen, Isaac Hartman, John W. Hass, Henry G. Houser, Joshua Johnson, Joseph Kern, W. Largent, James Linthicum, C. S. Lovett, Benjamin McDonald, E. H. McDonald, George Malick, B. F. Maloney, P. McCarty, Owen Millison, Robert E. Morehead, G. Mytinger, George Nealis, John Nolan, William Nolan, Pierce Nolan, James D. Parsons, John D. Parsons, John P. Parker, Isaac V. Parker, William C. Parker, William M. Parsons, John. Peters, Peter E. Peters, James T. Peer, H. A. Powell, Jonathan Pugh, Joseph Pugh, Mahlon Pugh, Owen V. Pugh, Isaac Pancake, James W. Ream, Charles H. Ream, Frederick Sheetz, F. D. Sherrard, James E. Spaid, John F. Taylor, Isaac Taylor, D. K. Taylor, M. Taylor, E. Ullery, Edward Washington, John Washington, Alexander White, William Wills. Musicians — William F. Davis and Peter Miller.

The Hampshire Guards were organized before the commencement of the civil war, and saw service during the excitement following John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry. When the war began this company was one of the first in the field, and was one of the last to leave the field at the close of the war. It was called into service in May, 1861, to go to the front, and on the eighteenth of that month left Romney for Harper's Ferry. The trip down the south, branch to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad at Greenspring was made in buggies, carriages, on horseback and in wagons, many citizens accompanying the soldiers that far on their journey. The baggage train was enormous, the prevailing opinion seeming to be that the trip was a combined excursion and picnic, and that enough provisions and sufficient changes of clothing should be taken along to render life enjoyable. The company carried a flag which, was destined to pass through the war and survive till the present day. It was of heavy silk, elaborately worked and embroidered, and was presented to the company in 1858 by the ladies of Hampshire county. The presentation had been made by Captain Robert White with a speech appropriate to the occasion. He recited the duties of the soldier, his obligations to his country and his flag, and admonished the men to carry the banner with honor in war and in peace; and the survivors of the company now speak with pride of the manner in which they performed their duty. Within a year after the flag was* presented it was taken to Harper's Ferry. Within the next two years — that is, in May, 1861 — it was carried to Harper's Ferry again. It was brought back by Frank Sherrard. The flag, or what remains of it, is now in possession of Miss Mary Gibson, of Romney, daughter of James A. Gibson and granddaughter of David Gibson. The stripes have been cut off. They were divided among the members of the company as souvenirs.

In June, 1861, the company returned to Romney, after having marched from Harper's Ferry to Winchester After occupying Romney for a few days an expedition was made toward Piedmont, where a company of federal home guards was camped. The confederate force was made up of parts of the Third Tennessee and Tenth Virginia regiments. The expedition resulted in the capture of two small cannon from the Cumberland home guards and the destruction of a bridge on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. A few days later the confederates left Romney and returned toward Winchester, camping the first night at Hanging Rock, on the Northwestern pike, and the next at Capon Bridge. The company did not take part in the battle of Bull Run, although in the vicinity. In August, 1861, the company was doing picket duty within sight of the dome on the capitol at Washington.

In 1862 an election of officers for Company K, formerly the Hampshire Guards, resulted in the selection of Felix Heiskell, captain; Frank D. Sherrard, first lieutenant; John H. Davis, second lieutenant. The company took part in the battle of Front Royal, May 23, 1862; the battle of Middletown, May 24; the battle of Winchester, May 26. On June 2, on the Capon Springs road, the company was in the fight against General Fremont; and on the sixth of the same month, in a fight near Port Republic, in which Colonel Ashby was killed while leading a counter-charge. On June 8 the company took part in a battle with General Shields near Port Republic, and also on the same day, in another battle with General Fremont. The next day there was a battle with General Shields. The company was in the fight at Cold Harbor, going in with twenty-six men, of whom seventeen were killed or wounded in the fight. Lieutenant Sherrard was killed; also John Washington, Thomas O'Farrell and Owen Milleson. Isaac Gibson, Isaac Armstrong and Thomas Brooks died of their wounds.

Captain McDonald's Company. — Company D, Eleventh Virginia cavalry, was raised by E. H. McDonald of Hampshire county. At first it was a part of the seventh battalion of the Ashby cavalry, and afterwards incorporated in the Eleventh Virginia regiment. It contained a few men from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The roll of the company and a sketch of its history is as follows: Captain, E. II. McDonald; first lieutenant, William Taylor; second lieutenant, John Blue; third lieutenant, Isaac Parsons; first sergeant, Joseph Sherrard; second sergeant, Amos Roberson; third sergeant, R. B. Kidd; quartermaster sergeant, Samuel Bane; commissary sergeant, Conrad Umstett; corporals, Uriah Lease, James Ream, L. Nixon, George Hott; privates, John Adams, Philip Abbee, Isaac T. Brady, Mathias Brill, Frank Brown, Richard Brown, Frank Barnett, John Brown, John W. Bowers, J. W. Bobo, B. Carder, Frederick Carder, John Carroll, J. Carroll, Robert Cresap, W. R. Chapman, Charles Clayton, Charles Conrad, Holmes Conrad, John Casler, James Davie, Benjamin Dailey, George Duvall, John Davie, Maurice Davis, John Dailey, Randolph Davis, Samuel Freddie, Samuel Feshel, J. Groves, Henry Huddleson, Isaac Hartman, Healy Huddleson; S. Hannas, E. Herriott, G, Holt, I. V. Inskeep, J. Kelly, W. Lease, C. S. Lovett, Edward Light, W. N. McDonald, W. Morehead, Robert Morehead, F. Murphy, F. H. Myers, Bause McNary, Joseph A. Pancake, S. Pancake, John S. Pancake, A. Peer, John D. Parsons, James D. Parsons, John W. Poland, Amos Poland, Jasper Pownell, Joel Robinson, Simon Rudolph, John Rudolph, John M. Reese, Charles Riley, Herman Senoff, John Saville, Luke Spurling, Edward Swartz, John N. Seymour, Daniel Seymour, Ab Shingleton, Elisha Shingleton, J. Shelley, James Smith, Charles Seibert, John Stewart, JohnStarns, S. Dudley Taylor, John Taylor, Enos Taylor, D. K. Taylor, John Urton, Isaac Wolfe, Thomas White, H. M. Watkins, Charles Watkins.

A list of those of the company who were killed or died in the service, so far as ascertainable, is as follows: Robert Cresap, a native of Preston county, killed at Moorefield. in November, 1862. He always carried a double-barreled shotgun. James Davis was killed in Hampshire county. Frederick Abbee was captured at Moorefield, and died of smallpox in prison at Cairo. He was an excellent swordsman. Mathias Brill was killed at Darkeville, Berkeley county, in his first fight. James Ream, known as "the boy preacher," was killed. John Groves fell in the battle of the Wilderness, May 2, 1863. H. M. Watkins was killed at Hagerstown, Maryland. George Hott was killed at the Forks of Capos. Edward Light, although in a Hampshire company, was from Berkeley county. He was killed near Richmond. James Carroll was killed at Moorefield Junction. Daniel Seymour, from Maryland, was killed at Petersburg, in Grant county. Ab Shingleton, James Shelley and Isaac Wolfe were killed at Brandy Station. Frank Myers was captured at Darkeville and died at Vicksburg, after being exchanged. John Rudolph died in the hospital at Charlottesville, Virginia. James Stewart died at Camp Chase. Enos Taylor, a prisoner, died on his way to be exchanged.

Amos Roberson, of this company, kept a diary during the service. The entries in it, during the last few days before Lee's surrender, may be of interest to show how the men then viewed occurrences which are now history. After detailing the many marches of the past month, he enters in his diary the following notes:

"March 29, 1865. — Left camp about twelve o'clock and marched all afternoon and most of the night in the direction of Petersburg. A battle is expected.

"March 30. — Still on the march; hard rain; camped at White Oak.

"March 31. — Continued the march till three o'clock, and then attacked the enemy and drove them four or five miles. Our loss is said to be heavy. The firing was terrific. We camped on the battle ground.

"April 1. — The battle continues. Our division was not engaged. Our troops fell back over the ground they drove the enemy on yesterday. There was heavy firing all along the line on our left.

"April 2. — We continue to fall back, the enemy pressing our rear; roads almost impassable; in camp but a short time tonight.

"April 3. — Still fighting and falling back.

"April 4. — Still retreating.

"April 5. — Still on the retreat; had a hard fight, captur- ing a few prisoners and driving the enemy.

"April 6.— Had another hard fight near the long bridge. General Bearing was seriously wounded."

This was the last entry. The end was then near, and General Lee soon surrendered.

The Apron Flag. — A battle flag carried by Company D has become famous in song and story. It was a child's apron, and it is still preserved as one of the most cherished mementoes of the war. Its history is briefly told. Lee's splendid and all but invincible army, with which he had crossed the Potomac and invaded Pennsylvania, had met the northern hosts on the hills of Gettysburg, and after one of the most desperate battles in the history of the world had been defeated and was slowly retreating south- ward to the Potomac. The army was yet powerful, but it had met disaster, and the soldiers realized that they were no longer led by the star of victory. Among the regiments that had passed through the storm of battle was the Eleventh Virginia Cavalry. It was making its way through a hostile country and among unfriendly people. The news of the battle had gone over the land, and the people along the line of retreat looked with scorn and hatred upon the weary soldiers as they made their way south. There was no friendly word or sympathetic look among all the citizens of the country through which they passed. Thus, with feelings of dejection and discouragement, the confederates marched' through the streets of Hagerstown, Maryland, and out by a stone mill. Here their eyes caught sight of the first token of friendship they had seen among the inhabitants in days. A little girl stood on a porch near the mill watching the soldiers pass. She wore a small confederate flag for an apron. The discovery was greeted by rousing cheers by the weary soldiers, who little expected to find a friend in that place, and several of them went up to the child and asked for pieces of the apron for souvenirs. She cheerfully took the apron off and gave it to them. Charles Watkins, of Hampshire county, took it, fastened it to a stick, and said he would use it for a battle flag and defend it with his life.

He little knew how soon he would be called upon to redeem his pledge. Scarcely had they passed beyond the town when union troops opened fire on them from the front. The battle began at once, and was fiercely fought for a few minutes, when the federals fell back and the confederates continued their retreat. But Charles Watkins, who was a youth of nineteen, marched no further. He had been cut down in the midst of a furious charge. The apron flag lay beneath his body and was stained with his life blood. The flag was preserved, and was often exhibited at confederate reunions throughout the south. The following poem, written by Virginia Frazer Boyle, has for its subject the flag and the death of young Watkins:

It is just a little apron
     That a tiny maid might wear
When childhood dimpled on her cheeks
    And sunlight kissed her hair.

Just a qaint, old-fashioned trifle,
     Blent with stripes of white and red;
Wrought tenderly with careful hands
     And earnest, bended head.

But the dust of years sleep on it.
     It is faded, rent and old;
There are battle marks upon its field
     And blood stains in its fold.

Yet a dainty maiden wore it
     As she watched way up the hill,
Standing in the ancient doorway
     Of the busy old stone mill.

And she saw the soldiers coming,
     Dispirited and slow;
A sad, retreating army
     In the country of the foe.

Then a shout that waked the woodlands
     Stirred her heart and filled her ear.
Down the line it rolled and echoed
     And re-echoed, cheer on cheer.

And the strong men dashed the teardrops
     That would come, and cheered once more
For the girl who dared to wear it
     And the apron that she wore.

It had thrilled the weary legion,
     And from heart to heart it swept,
Striking deep the languid pulses,
     Where their truth and valor slept.

And they paused, these men of battles;
     Paused with grave, uncovered head,
Just to beg a piece, a token,
     Of the apron, white and red.

Then the blue eyes dropped their fringes
     On the modest, blushing face;
Then the proud breast swelled with ardor
    As she tore it from its place.

Then they fixed it on the flagstaff
     And unfurled it for tie strife,
And the noble youth who bore it
     Pledged his valor with his life.

Onward moved the weary army
Through the vale and down the hill;
     Lost to sight tie modest maiden;
Past the village and the mill;

On and on, where raged the battle;
    And where hearts must needs be true,
Where the scythe of death was heaping
    High the mounds of Gray and Blue;

On and on, with stately marching;
     On and on, they could not lag;
For in front the youthful hero
     Bravely bore the apron flag.

And above the black smoke, trailing
     Like a star, it beckoned on;
Then the little apron fluttered,
     And the beacon light was gone.

Then they lifted him, so softly,
     Smoothed the clustered curls apart;
Found the tiny battle apron
     Closely pillowed on his heart.

Then they bent to catch the whisper
     Through the storm and din of strife:
"Take my pledge; 'tis not dishonored.
     I have kept it with my life."

It is just a little apron,
     And its simple tale is told.
There are battle marks upon it;
     Blood stains are upon its fold.

Captain White's Company. — Company C, Twenty- third Virginia cavalry, was raised for special service by Captain C. S. White. It was composed of men from several counties and from different states. In June, 1861, Captain White was a member of the Hampshire Guards, under Captain Sherrard, and left Romney with that company, and served with it four or five months, and was made sergeant-major of the Thirteenth Virginia infantry. He was then reported for promotion, to adjutant, and was appointed, but never received his commission. He was taken sick with typhoid fever and was ordered to the hospital at Staunton, and was discharged from the service. When able for work he went to Richmond and was given charge of a bureau in the treasury department. He remained there during the winter of 1862-63. While there he was sent for by President Davis, who wanted him to organize a company of scouts or spies. Captain White undertook the work. This company was wanted for special service, and among its duties was to range over the rough and mountainous region stretching from Monroe county, through Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Highland, Pendleton, Randolph, Hardy to Hampshire. With about twenty men from Richmond, mostly from the treasury department, as a nucleus, he commenced recruiting, and in a short time had three hundred men. He was not permitted to retain more than one hundred and twenty; consequently the others sought service elsewhere. A considerable number were taken by D. E. Beall of Hampshire county, who, with them, joined General Imboden's cavalry. Beall was made lieutenant colonel of the eighteenth regiment.

Captain White's company saw active service from the time it took the field till the close of the war, but particularly during the year 1864 and the early part of 1865. During the summer of 1864 it had fifty-six battles and skirmishes, including picket fights. In that time it had two men killed, twenty-six wounded, four died of wounds, ten were taken prisoner, and on the first of October the company had fifteen serviceable horses and seventy that were not serviceable. Below will be found a list of the company, as it existed October 1, 1864, together with the county to which each man belonged:

Captain, C. S. White, Hampshire, wounded June 21, 1864; first lieutenant, Alexander White, Hampshire county; second lieutenant, J. R. Baker, Hardy county; first sergeant, J. M. Binford, Norfolk, wounded; second sergeant, J. Heishman, Hardy county, wounded; third sergeant, C. E. Taylor, Richmond, wounded; fourth sergeant, J. C. Wood, Morgan county, wounded August 6, 1864; fifth sergeant, James Gochenour, Hardy county; first corporal, Stephen Runnells, wounded August 3, 1864; second corporal, Hulver Hayden, Pendleton county; third corporal, James Wetzel, died of wounds, July 6, 1864, from Hardy county. Privates, Benjamin Funk, Hardy county; Noah Albright, Nicholas county, supposed to have been killed at Fisher's Hill; Lewis Albright, Nicholas county, wounded June 5, 1864; John Allen, Hampshire county, wounded August 16, 1864; W. H. Bush, Hampshire county, wounded at Fisher's Hill and taken prisoner; Z. Curry, Hampshire county, wounded August 14, 1864; James Delaughter, Greenbrier county; James Devine, Greenbrier county, wounded June 5, 1864; J. W. Dyer, Pendleton county; Frank Lewis, Hardy county, killed at Forestville; Jacob Gochenour, Hardy county, supposed to have been killed; James Healy, Pocahontas county, taken prisoner June 7, 1864; E. F. Heishman, Hardy county, taken prisoner June 7, 1864; E. Hern, Randolph county, wounded June 5, 1864; Adam Hulver, Hardy county, wounded June 5, 1864; D. Holtzinger, Pendleton county, supposed killed; Johsa Hansburger, Highland county, taken prisoner July 16, 1864; John Koogler, Randolph county, wounded; Richard Landers, wounded; Moses Longacre, Hardy county, wounded; L. Q. Murphy, Hampshire county, wounded May 15 and July 26, 1864; Joseph Rumburg, Hampshire; L. C. Rucker, Hampshire, taken prisoner at Winchester; Marcus Slate, Hampshire, wounded June 5, 1864; Michael Sayer, Pendleton county, wounded; W. A. Vaden, Hampshire, wounded; L. M. Vass; Abram Whitmore, Hampshire, wounded May 15, 1864; Peter Wetzel, Hardy, wounded; J. Wilson, Hardy; J. Wilkins, Randolph county, wounded at Winchester and taken prisoner. The following members were taken prisoner in the latter part of 1863 and early in 1864: William Henderson, Julius Hoskins, J. Copenham, John Jones, C. Graham, James McCarty, Robert Magee, Joseph McDonald, Robert Wheeler and John Wilbur.

Captain White's company was in the Alleghany mountains in the spring of 1865, when the order came to move eastward. The company marched toward Lynchburg, and when near that town received the news of Lee's surrender. It was believed that the end of the war was at hand, and the men were given permission to disband or go to North Carolina and join Johnston, who was still holding out. Captain White, with about twenty men, started to go to Johnston, but before proceeding far, the intelligence was received that Johnston had surrendered. They made their way to Highland county, Virginia, where it was understood General Rosser was collecting a force for the purpose of making a last stand. But they failed to find any army in Highland, so they disbanded and went home. Captain White reached Romney June 22, 1865. He never surrendered and was never parolled. He brought home with him his horse, sword and pistol. The horse lived twenty years after the war and finally met his death in jumping a fence.

Return to the History of Hampshire County WV Index