of Civil War
Survive in Marshall County
By C. B. Allman
Moundsville Journal - Thursday, May 30, 1935
Submitted by Naomi Lowe Hupp.
Bursting shot and shell of America's Civil conflict ceased 70 years ago, and 13 Civil war veterans still survive in Marshall county. The oldest of this fateful number is Hon. S. R. Hanen, 95, who as a lieutenant was commander of the military court before whom Mrs. Surratt and other principals in the assassination of President Lincoln were tried.
Samuel R. Hanen
Mr. Hanen was a lieutenant in the Third West Virginia Infantry, later the famous Sixth West Virginia Cavalry, which was sent into the national capital as mounted police to patrol the city during rioting at the close of the war.
Lieutenant Hanen was also in charge of the detail sent to meet the boat that brought the body of Booth back to the scene of the tragedy from Virginia.
Mr. Hanen later distinguished himself in Marshall county, where he spent his entire life. He served as county superintendent of schools and as delegate to the West Virginia legislature. He is a retired farmer.
His one and only opportunity to see President Lincoln is still impressed in his memory. The troops to which he was attached were passing into Virginia after the second battle of Bull Run and were being reviewed by the President. Lincoln stood, tall and gaunt, sad and lonely, under the portico of the White House.
Use Mounted Police
At the close of the war the armies of Grant and Sherman were in Washington. Unrest and rioting between troops of both units resulted, and the West Virginia cavalry was called for police duty.
While Lieutenant Hanen and his men were in Virginia, having been sent there on a mission, Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.
General Grant had arrived in Washington and had attended a cabinet meeting at which the President discussed reconstruction of the war-torn nation. That meeting was held in the afternoon and that evening Lincoln was killed. Grant was very close to Lincoln just before his death and he discussed the problems often with the general, according to Mr. Hanen.
Lieutenant Hanen and other war veterans believe the terms of Lee's surrender were dictated to Grant by Lincoln. Unknown to both these men, they were under almost constant guard by tried and true soldiers stationed in the capital at the time.
A story that was a favorite in the Sixth West Virginia about Lincoln, was recalled by Mr. Hanen. During the raid by General Early on Fort Stevens, the President was there and came forward to a position that exposed him to the fire of the enemy. The general in command called attention to his danger and asked him to seek a safer vantage point. Lincoln is said to have replied: "But I am in no more danger than you are" and the general answered, "Perhaps not, but if I were to be killed you could easily make another general, but if you were killed I could not make another president." Lincoln is said to have retired smiling from the danger zone.
Searched For Booth
The Sixth West Virginia was rushed back into the stricken city on the night of the assassination and patroled the city and led in the search for Booth.
But one member of the company now survives. He is S. R. Hanen of Moundsville. Lieutenant Hanen was officer in charge of the guard of 65 men, who were appointed to act as guard for the military court before whom Mrs. Surratt and the other prisoners tried. Letters threatening death to the members of the court were received and each member of the court was heavily guarded each moment of the two weeks occupied by the trials.
The trials were held at the Arsenal, two miles from the Capital and all civilians except attorneys were barred. General David Hunter was president of the court, John A. Brigham, assistant attorney general. Mrs. Surratt was represented by W. M. Ebberts of New York and Reverdy Johnson of Baltimore, Md.
Some of the officers of the famous military court were General T. M. Harris, whose son, John T. Harris, was one of the eminent historians of West Virginia and author of the West Virginia Hand Book; General Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur, and General Cotts of the cavalry.
The vote in a military court is open, but the youngest ranking officer votes first, followed step by step until the first ranking officer votes last. This was evolved to prevent a younger officer from casting a vote that would obtain favor with the ranking officer.
Gets Booth Body
Lt. Hanen was the officer in charge of the detail sent to meet the boat that brought the body of Booth from Virginia back to the scene of the tragedy.
Although a number of claims have been made that Booth committed suicide years later in the West, his body was brought back from Virginia where he was killed and authoritatively identified by a physician of the Sixth West Virginia who had known him well. The body was taken from its resting place years later by relatives and taken to his home and interred in the family burial ground.
One of the men from marshall county who was also a member of the guard at the trial, was Berry Stewart, whose son, W. H. Stewart of Glendale, was well-known in Marshall county. So far as is known, Mr. Hanen is the only surviving member of the guard of 65 men at the famous trial.
Uriah T. (Duck) Alley of Cameron, W. Va., is one of the most active Civil War veterans in Marshall county. He was a member of Company L, Sixth W. Va. Infantry, and took part in several battles of the war. Mr. Alley's hobby has always been trading horses. He is 88 years old but he drives his horse and wagon daily, hauling coal and other things. He still likes horses and enjoys trading. He is very popular as he is always jovial and has a word of greeting for his many friends about the streets of Cameron. His friends know him by the name of "Duck" Alley. He enlisted in August, 1864, and was captured by the Confederates November 28, 1864, at New Creek, Va. He was in Libby Prison four months.
U. T. Alley
A. B. Barnett, age 94 years, of Cameron, W. Va., near the Greene county, Pennsylvania line, was a member of Company A, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
A. B. Barnett
Mr. Barnett still resides on his farm. His health has been poor for several weeks and he does not talk much of his experiences during the Civil War, although he took part in several battles and skirmishes of the war.
Mr. Barnett is a very kind man and holds the respect of all of the children of his community as well as the adults.
B. F. Kriss
Benjamin Franklin Kriss was born May 21, 1844, in Nicholas county, W.Va. He was 90 years old last May. He enlisted in the Union army in 1862, and served until the end of the war.
He was in a reinforcement army at Gettysburg, Pa., when the south surrendered. Mr. Kriss has lived in Moundsville for the past 20 years with his daughter and son, Levi Kriss. Mr. Kriss is a member of the G. A. R. He is in poor health at the present time and is not inclined to talk about his career.
George Miller Howard was born in Cameron district, Marshall county, W. Va. He was born on September 23, 1847. He spent his early life on a farm near Cameron and in 1832 at the age of 15 he enlisted in the First West Virginia infantry in Company D.
Later he was transferred to Company G, Second W. Va. infantry and served in this company throughout the war. He was in several important battles of the war, which he is rather reluctant to talk about, At the close of the war he returned to his farm near Cameron wehre he resided until a few years ago. Retiring, he moved into the town of Cameron. Although "Uncle George," as his friends know him, is past 88 years old, he is usually seen about the streets.
Alexander McCracken was born April 3, 1845, in Greene county, Pa. Entered Union army at 17, on March 29, 1863, in Troop M, Fifth U. S. Cavalry. He was a dispatch bearer in 1864. He was taken prisoner near South Ann river in 1864 and three months later was paroled from Libby prison. In 1865 he was furloughed for 30 days and he returned at the expiration of time. He took part in the battles of Cedar Creek, first and second battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Snicker's Gap and several skirmishes. He was honorably discharged July 22, 1865, at Cumberland, Md. His great-grandfather McCracken served in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war. He has been a member of the G. A. R. post No. 428 for years. He was 90 years old on April 3, this year.
Mr. McCracken's hobbies are playing the violin, hunting and fishing. He won the tri-state "fiddling" contest in a Wheeling theatre several years ago. He resides with his son, G. W.. McCracken, in Moundsville. At the present time he is visiting his daughter in Canonsburg, Pa. He still plays his violin daily and enjoys the companionship of his dog.
J. T. McCombs of Moundsville, ages 88 years last June 15, enlisted in Co. D, first West Virginia Artillery, in 1862, at the age of 16 years. The first battle he was in was at New market, Virginia, and the second battle was at Cedar Creek, Virginia. Under general Grant he participated in several other important battles and raids. He was mustered out of service in 1865 and returned to Wolf Run, Webster district, Marshall county, where he married and conducted a store for many years. He was coroner of Marshall county for 30 years.
J. T. McCombs
Mr. McCombs has served as state and national commander of the G. A. R. and is still very active in G. A. R. and other activities. In his younger life he was one of the most active, and prominent politicians of the county. He has always been active in promoting progressive activities for the county and state. He is proud of the fact that he has come from a family of soldiers and relatives of the famous Wetzel Indian fighters......
Eli Huggins, aged 87, last August, entered the Union army as a member of Co. H. 17th W. Va. Infantry, at the age of 17. Mr. Huggins is a direct relative of the Wetzel Indian fighters. He has been a resident of Marshall county his entire life. He was born near Pleasant Valley and spent most of his entire life there. He now makes his home with his son in Moundsville. He was a farmer all his life until he retired 15 years ago. He is still an active member of the G. A. R. Mr. Huggins tells of walking to school when he was a boy. Stopping on the way to feed a flock of sheep. The length of the school term was three months.
In this way he secured his early education. He has always been a great reader and one of the best informed men of his age on governmental affairs. Mr. Huggins and Mr. McCombs, two lifelong friends, are often seen together and always make their rounds on Memorial day, visiting ten rural cemeteries and decorating their comrades graves.
U. Samuel Harris of Fork Ridge, Marshall county enlisted in the Twelfth W. Va. Regiment Infantry in 1862 at the age of 16 years. He was in a hand to hand fight at Fort Gregg and in several other important battles of the Civil war. Mr. Harris has always lived on a farm in Marshall county and at present is retired. He celebrated his 89th birthday on February 16. He is still active and walks about his farm daily. Mr. Harris is a regular church attender and enjoys the best of health. He is an active member of the G. A. R. and attends the annual encampments.
U. S. Harris
Abraham Dennis of Thorn avenue, Moundsville, aged 90 years, is a member of the G. A. R. and his hobby is attending every show that comes to town. Mr. Dennis always attends the show on Thursday night. He entered the Union army in 1863 at the age of 18 years in the Cavalry. He was in several skirmishes the last year of the war and was in prison at Richmond, Virginia, for three months but was paroled by the Confederates. His skirmishes was mostly fought in West Virginia. Mr. Dennis' father was a Union soldier also and was killed in the battle of Rich Mountain, W. Va. He had two other brothers who also fought in the Union armies. Mr. Dennis is a great lover of horses. He is still in good health and goes about his with his wife greeting his friends.
Mr. Dennis was a member of the Regiment K. 110 W. Va. Cavalry, when he was discharged in 1865.
Note: Error. Abraham Dennis served in Company A, 4th W. Va. Cavalry. His father was John Dennis of Wheeling. A soldier of that name served in Company A of the 1st W. Va. Infantry and died June 9, 1862 at the Battle of Port Republic.
Sigifried Fritz, age 91, of Cameron, is one of the Civil War veterans who has the distinction of being born in Baden, Germany, and in 1843 (August), came to the United States in 1852, and enlisted in the Union army in 1862, at Wheeling. He was in the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg and other important engagements, with the famous Carlin's Battery, which was Battery D, First Reg. W. Va. Artillery.
Mr. Fritz worked in a distillery in Martins Ferry, O., for a number of years. He was also employed by an oil and gas company for over a quarter of a century.
Mr. Fritz was wounded slightly in the battle of Vicksburg but his wound has never hindered his life activities. He goes about the streets daily.
Timothy Stiwell (Stilwell)
Timothy Stiwell (sic) of Moundsville has the distinction of being the youngest Union soldier living in Marshall county. He enlisted at the age of 15, in the Seventeeth West Virginia Infantry (Co G). He is 86 years of age and a lifelong resident of Marshall county. He was an employee for the city of Moundsville for a number of years as a teamster. He was hale and hearty and was seen about the streets daily greeting his friends until Feb. 18 when he fell and broke his hip. He is now confined to his bed.
Samuel Morris was born on June 2, 1844, in Marshall county, W. Va. The old homestead is still standing on what was then called "Bears' Ridge." He was the son of Elizabeth and Samuel Morris, who sent him to school to the ruler with the old hickory rod. The subjects were as follows: reading, writing and arithmetic. When the boys and girls reached the sixth grade they had to study the Bible instead of the readers. Mr. Morris was 17 when he enlisted in the army at Wheeling, but had gone to Marion county to become a soldier.
When he was in camp his father came after him and wanted to take him home, but the officer in charge said he would take good care of him. He did.
He rode a horse in the war named Sugar. He gave him this name because he liked sugar. This horse knew an enemy and could sense danger at any time. Once the captain of the army wanted to use his horse. He told the captain he was afraid that the horse might throw him. The captain said he would try him out anyway. Mr. Morris told him to hang on to the saddle horn all the time. The captain said all right and was gone... When the captain topped two hills and got on the top of the next one the horse spied the enemy in the valley. he reared and ran back to camp.
Once when Mr. Morris was riding him some bullets came so close to him, that some went between his legs. Mr. Morris often spoke about the horse as 'here he comes and there he goes.'
He saw active service, in one of the most important battles of the war - the Battle of Bull Run. He was in the battles of Chattanooga and Vicksburg. He carried two guns on his hip and four on his horse.
When his brother died he got a furlough to go home to his funeral. He reached Parkersburg that morning and just missed the boat. He waited another day and caught the boat up the river the next morning. When across from Moundsville one of the paddle wheels broke, and he had to go to Wheeling to get off the boat. He reached home next morning. He awakened his mother and received the sad news that they buried his brother the day before.
He received his honorable discharge on the tenth day of June, 1865.
He still is living at his home on McMechen Heights in his 91st year. His daughter Mrs. Bella Baltz, a widow, is staying with him. He is still healthy and goes to McMechen every week and also cares for his horse and cow.
He had two captains. Capt. Linden, and a Scotchman, Capt. Over. One of these men started for Washington. Mr. Morris warned him that there would be a raid, and told him not to go because he would be sent back. He started and when he got to Fairmont his train was sent back to Clarksburg. That night the enemy tried a raid but were beaten off. When Mr. Morris was asked how he knew there was to be a raid, he said he had watched the signals given out by the enemy from one point to another.
Note: Samuel Morris served in Company "P" 6th W. Va. Infantry.