Lecture presented before the Ohio County Pulic Library &
a meeting of the Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable

Written and Researched By Paul Burig.

     I have been studying the history of the Civil War for a long time and have become particularly interested in regiments and the men and women from Wheeling who served for both the Union and the Confederacy.

     Not much has been written about the supporters of the Confederacy in Wheeling. Much that has been written is contradictory depending on what source you read or is plainly in error. In order to clear up some of this fog, I have spent a lot of time, travel and energy scouring original sources, namely the Official Records of the War Between the States, the National Archives, the West Virginia Archives and the Virginia Archives and any other source I can find.

     For the most part these were people who were intensely loyal to their state, the State of Virginia. They had been respected citizens who believed in state's rights. A number of them were professionals: doctors, clergymen, lawyers, and businessmen.

     Some who survived the war, found that their lives had been ruined by their service to a lost cause. Others were able to put their lives back together and became prominent and fully accepted in their home communities.


     In the heart of Greenwood Cemetery is the burial plot of the Shriver family. Before the Civil War this was one of the foremost families in Wheeling. The war was to change all of that.

     Jacob was postmaster of Wheeling from 1850 to 1853. He lived on what is now Eoff St., opposite the Catholic Cathedral. At the outbreak of the war, his occupation was as head of Shriver & Co., wholesale liquor dealers with their business on Monroe Street between Main and Market Streets. Jacob was appointed to the committee to organize the celebration of the completion of the B&O Railroad to Wheeling in 1852. They were also in the center of the social scene as evidenced by a party staged by his son, Daniel, in honor of Octavia Chapline in 1857 who was leaving for Louisana. Featured in the celebration was Company C of the local Militia of which Daniel was a member.

     In early 1861, the Civil War erupted. Jacob Shriver and his family sided with the Confederacy.

     Even as the Virginia General Assembly was debating the issue of secession, secret actions were being taken in Wheeling for the recruitment of young men to serve in the Confederate Army. Drills were held in secrecy and material for uniforms was secured and through the services of a tailor were dressed in the proper uniforms. They were enrolled on May 17th, 1861 and boarded a river packet and descended the Ohio River to the Kanawha and traveled up the Kanawha to Charleston and across the mountain to Lexington in the Shenandoah valley. Then they traveled down the Shenandoah to Harpers Ferry and were mustered in under Col. Thomas Jonathon Jackson, later to be known as Stonewall Jackson. Daniel was elected Captain of Company G, 27th Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and served in the Stonewell Brigade.

     Jacob, his wife, and his son, David, who as far as I can determine never served in the army of either side, left Wheeling for parts unknown. I have been unable to find out what Jacob did between 1861 and 1864. The only records in the National Archives for Jacob list him as Colonel, Chief of Ordinance. The papers in the Archives are headed, The Commonwealth of Virginia, but they do no designate a particular unit.

     My personal belief is that he, his wife, and David were located in Richmond and that he was assigned to the Virginia Militia.

     Following the end of the war, Jacob and his wife and maybe David came back to the Ohio Valley to live and located in Bellaire, Ohio. The assets of the Jacob Shriver family had been seized and sold at auction during the war years. However, Jacob had been able to retain a large portion of his wealth because in 1868 he purchased a large plantation of about 1000 acres in Nansemond County, Virginia near Suffolk. I visited the Public Library at Suffolk and the Suffolk County Courthouse and found a number of records of the family.

     A Suffolk historian listed the farm as one of the finest in the area and referred to Col. Shriver at a wealthy man from West Virginia. The family there consisted of the Colonel, his wife, and his two sons, Samuel and David. Jacob lived there until his wife died in 1875.

     Jacob died in September 1876, and, according to his obituary in The Intelligencer, his body was shipped by railroad to Wheeling from Richmond, which suggests that he was living with a sister in Richmond at the time of his death.

     The funeral for Jacob was held in the home of his daughter, Amelia S. Woods, wife of Robert B. Woods, who lived at No 26 20th Street, Wheeling. Jacob was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

     Daniel MeElheran Shriver was the eldest son of Jacob. He was listed as 25 years old at the beginning of the Civil War and had been associated in business with his father at Shriver & Co., and with Sheehan & Co., a distillery with a plant in what is now South Wheeling. He had been a member of the local militia prior to the war and was unmarried. He was elected Captain of Co. G of the 27th Virginia Infantry, which became known as Shriver's Grays.

     One of the earliest records of his service is from the Offical Records where a letter written by Daniel to Col. T. J. Jackson urged that a force be sent to Wheeling to prevent the takeover by the Union sympathizers led by A. W. Campbell, editor of The Intelligencer.

     Daniel and his unit spent their first service at Harpers Ferry getting organized and drilling. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston decided Harpers Ferry could not be held so Colonel Jackson moved the Confederates to Winchester, Va. It was from there that they boarded trains to travel to Manassas Junction to engage in the First Battle of Bull Run. The 27th was engaged in the battle at a key point on Henry Hill where their neighboring regiment, the 33rd, was credited with turning the tide of the battle and was probably about a hundred yards to the right of the 33rd.

     Whether Daniel fought in that battle is uncertain. The company records listed Daniel as absent due to sickness during July and August. The battle took place July 21st. He later stated that he was present for all skirmishes and battles except when wounded.

     Daniel was present during Jackson's famous campaign in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. The records show that he was severely wounded in the shoulder and back on June 13th, 1862 at the Battle of Port Republic. This was near the end of the Valley Campaign so it is uncertain whether he was with the unit when it was moved to near Richmond during the battles to repulse the Union Army which advanced to within a few miles of Richmond. In the course of events, Daniel had been promoted to Major and later to Lieutenant Colonel and was in command of the regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863.

     Following the Battle of Gettysburg and the retreat into Virginia, Daniel was elected to represent the men serving in the Confederacy from the Northern Panhandle in the Virginia Assembly. Despite the objections of General Robert E. Lee, he was released from duty.

     When the session ended, Daniel petitioned the authorities, including President Jefferson Davis, to be commissioned Colonel in the Cavalry for the purpose of raising a regiment of mounted riflemen in northwestern Virginia. After carrying his plea through several channels, he was finally granted his wish.

     The State of West Virginia had been formed by June of 1863. There is no indication that he was ever able to recruit the unit and there are no records that I am aware of as to what he did during 1864 and 1865.

     The next record about Daniel was concerning his death in Ohio County in July of 1866 as a result of convulsions. The cause of the convulsions is not given. His funeral was held from the home of his sister, Effie, who was the wife of William H. Russell and lived in Elm Grove. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

     Samuel Spriggs Shriver was born in 1842 and was 18 when he entered the Confederate Army. His headstone lists him as Captain, Co. G., 27th Regiment, although his name does not appear in the records of either the National Archives or the Virginia Archives for that unit.

     He enrolled as a cadet at Virginia Military Institute, January 1, 1862. In May of 1864, the cadets were called out to fight in the Battle of New Market. According to information compiled by VMI, Samuel was a Cadet Captain and "was struck in his left elbow by a piece of shell which knocked him down. Recovering his feet he continued to lead his company until a musket ball struck the same elbow and forced his retirement from the battle. His arm was stiff for the rest of his life.

     "After recovering from the wound he was detailed as inspector of arms in the Ordinance Department, at Richmond. (Perhaps under the command of his father, who was a Chief of Ordinance.) He was later put in command of the "Galvanized Corps," as it was called, in North Carolina."

     "After the war he studied law in the office of (the) Hon. Charles Russell, in Baltimore, and was admitted to the bar but did not practice. He moved to his plantation in Mintonsville, Nansemond Co., near Suffolk about 1868. There he engaged in farming the remainder of his life -- highly respected among his people whom he represented in the Virginia Legislature in 1877-78.

     "He died, unmarried, on August 17, 1881, at Suffolk, Va."

     He is buried in the family plot in Greenwood Cemetery.

     The farm was the farm his father had purchased near Suffolk. He and his brother, David, continued to live on the farm until he died. His will provided that his estate should be divided between his sisters, Amelia S. Woods of Wheeling, Effie M. Russell of Elm Grove, and his brother, David, who was living on the farm. Each received $1,000 from his estate. Provisions were made in the will that he would receive a Masonic funeral. All of the records of his will and the disposition of his estate are on file in Suffolk County which suceeded Nansemond County.

     The farm was sold following the death of Samuel in 1882. David is also buried in the family plot in Greenwood. Also, there are graves for a Pauline Hay Shriver and a David Shriver, Jr., in the family plot and judging from the dates must have been the children of David. There is no grave for his wife.

     Now we turn to William W. Shriver, Jacob's brother.

     William was Mayor of Wheeling from 1847-1848 and was the fourth to hold the position after it was chartered a city in 1836. He was married to Caroline Zane. The City Directory during the early years listed William as a pork packer and later listed him as an insurance broker.

     Two of their daughters, Marion and Cornelia, are buried with them. Marion and Cornelia were Southern sympathizers.

     "Whenever there was a southern victory, their mother gathered the family together and closed the shutters and looked the doors for the northern sympathizers were so infuriated they gathered and threw eggs, vegetables, etc., over the front of the house and they never knew what else they might do in their anger and they often feared for their safety."

     William Shriver had a son, William. According to the May 23, 1861 edition of The Intelligencer, the son had enlisted in the 4th Kentucky Cavalry as a Lieutenant in Louisville, Ky. I have not researched him but it is my opinion that this was in the Union Army because The Intelligencer was so strong in its support of the Union that it is unlikely they would have carried the item if it had been Confederate. The Official Records list two Cavalry units that could have been the unit William enlisted in. One was with the Union Army and the other the Confederates.

     I have no other definite information about the son. However, there is a second William Shriver buried in the Zane-Shriver Plot and it is my opinion that this is the man who enlisted in the Kentucky Cavalry.

     There was another soldier, James C. Shriver, Jr., who is a little bit of a mystery. He enlisted in May 1861 in Wheeling as a member of Company G, 27th Regiment. He was later listed on the company records as a deserter. I have been unable to determine if there is a connection between him and the other Shrivers I have listed.

     One of my many unanswered questions is, is who is the J. W. Shriver listed as having been moved from Mt. Wood Cemetery to Greenwood in 1893. William's son, James Wagoner Shriver, is buried in Missouri according to a descendent I have been in contact with.


     The Sweeney family was among the most important in the City of Wheeling during much of the 19th Century. Thomas Sweeney and his brothers, Campbell, Robert H., and Michael moved from Pittsburgh to Wheeling in 1830.

     Thomas, in partnership with his brothers, bought the North Wheeling Manufacturing Company.

     The Sweeney firms collectively were engaged in the operation of a rolling mill, a foundry, a machine shop, glass making, brick making, construction of steamboats, machinery, mowers, reapers, formation of the street railway system, construction of bridges, and inaugurating the first electric dynamo in the City of Wheeling.

     The Sweeneys were also involved in politics. Thomas served in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly from 1852 to 1860. His son, Andrew J., served as mayor of Wheeling for nine terms and his grandson, Andrew T., one term.

     Thomas's son, Andrew J. Sweeney, became part of his father's firm in 1848 and was elected mayor of Wheeling in 1855. He was mayor in 1861 when Virginia seceded from the Union. Andrew was credited with laying claim to the Customhouse, now known as Independence Hall, when it was reported that Governor Letcher was going to seize U.S. Government property in Wheeling. He served as mayor for four years during the Civil War but had relinquished the post by 1865.

     Andrew was appointed Colonel of the West Virginia Militia which was called out twice during 1863 in the wake of raids by Confederate Generals Jones and Imboden through the State of West Virginia and by General John Hunt Morgan across Indiana and Ohio.

     Major James W. Sweeney was a veteran of the Civil War. While his cousin, Andrew J., was supporting the Union as Mayor of Wheeling, James was serving as an officer in the Confederate Army.

     James left Wheeling at about the same time the Shrivers were leaving for Harpers Ferry. Sweeney had had previous military experience as a member of the Virginia Militia.

     James enrolled a company of infantry and traveled south to Camp Tompkins 14 miles west of Charleston to join a unit under a Colonel Tompkins. The company was assigned to the 36th Infantry Regiment. These units were combined with troops brought from eastern Virginia under General Henry A. Wise, a former governor of Virginia. The units were involved in numerous raids and engagements for the control of the Kanawha Valley.

     By 1862, James had moved on to the 60th Infantry Regiment and was listed as a Lieutenant Colonel. However, he must not have been very popular because during a reorganization he was not re-elected to his position. His records show that during several periods he was on detached service to round up recruits who were listed as absent without leave. This could account for some of his unpopularity.

     By February 1863, he had been granted the title Major and organized the 36th Cavalry Battalion. Many of the men who enlisted in this unit had previously been members of the Shriver Grays. Sweeney had great difficulty securing either arms or horses.

     By May of 1863, under the command of Brig. Gen. Albert G. Jenkins, a brigade, including the 36th, was ordered to join Ewell's Corps as part of the preparation for Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania and the Battle of Gettysburg.

     A battle occurred near Winchester and the 36th made two charges against the Union lines. Four members were killed, three captured and several wounded, including Major Sweeney. Sweeney was taken to a hospital in Lexington, where doctors told him he would lose his right arm and scheduled the operation for 9 a.m., the following morning. When four men appeared to take Sweeney to surgery he produced a pistol his servant had brought him during the night and ordered the men to stand back.

     The chief surgeon arrived and told Sweeney he would die if the arm was not amputated. Sweeney again refused and the doctor left him to die. However, Sweeney recovered from his wounds but was hampered by the effects for the rest of his life. It is claimed that he had sustained 13 wounds.

     Dr. George A. Cracraft, also from Wheeling, was a surgeon with the battalion. The account doesn't state whether he was the surgeon who urged that the arm be amputated. Cracraft is buried in Stone Church Cemetery.

     The battalion moved on north and crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, Md. Company D commanded by Captain Edwin G. Zane, of Wheeling, was detached and remained at Williamsport to guard the crossing.

     The battalion moved North leading the way into Pennsylvania where they were engaged in rounding up horses and cattle that Lee needed to supply his army.

     At Gettysburg, they were attached to J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry and were involved in a cavalry battle on the third day east of Gettysburg. After the battle they were assigned to guard the retreat of Lee's army.

     During the fighting near Williamsport while covering the retreat, Zane was wounded and three weeks later died.

     After several uneventful months including a mass desertion by a number of the recruits, the battalion accompanied its brigade to Tennessee where they were caught up in the aftermath of the Battles of Chicamaugua and Chattanooga. They were involved in several lesser battles before they arrived back in familiar territory and were involved in the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain, where General Jenkins was killed. Col. John McCausland was promoted to brigadier general and put in charge.

     The next two months were a succession of running battles between the Confederates under Gen. Jubal Early and the Union Army. One of the commanders described the brigade as "eight hundred half-starved and badly disciplined mountaineers from Southwest Virginia, who would fight like veterans when they pleased, but had no idea of permitting their own sweet wills to be controlled by any orders, no matter from whom emanating."

     In July 1864, Early began his march north that would take him to the outskirts of Washington, D.C. It was at this time that Major Sweeney rejoined the 36th. The invasion took them to near Baltimore and within sight of the outer defenses of Washington, D.C. When the invasion failed, the forces again withdrew to Virginia.

     On July 28th, McCausland was ordered to take his and another brigade to Chambersburg, Pa. Sweeney was in charge of his battalion and drove off a small Union force and was among the forces that entered the town. McCausland gathered the town fathers together and read them an order from General Early that demanded $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in greenbacks. They were told to collect the money or the town would be burned.

     When the citizens refused, McCausland told them to remove their personal belongings and papers from their courthouse. He then issued the order to burn the town. In all, 278 houses, factories and businesses along with 98 barns were burned to the ground.

     Hearing that Union forces were on their way, McCausland beat a retreat South and went into camp near Moorefield, W.Va., and went into camp.

     Union General Averell and his forces overran the encampment capturing 400 men and 420 horses. Eighteen members of the 36th were taken prisoner. The prisoners were loaded onto boxcars and shipped to Wheeling on the B&O Railroad and later transferred to Camp Chase in Columbus.

     The rest of 1864 involved hard fighting during Union General Phil Sheridan's Shenandoah Campaign. The 36th was involved in fighting at Bunker Hill, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Port Republic, New Market, Cedar Creek, Milford, Newtown, and New Creek. In December of 1864, General Lee ordered the Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond. Many of the men felt that they had enlisted to protect their own area, and rebelled at the idea of going east to Richmond. The 36th remained in Southwest Virginia, near Lewisburg. In January, when it went into camp it numbered only 70 men.

     By February 1865, the roster of the battalion had been lost and nearly all officers were prisoners in the enemy's hands. Major Sweeney still suffered from his wounds. Of the seven men who attained the rank of captain, one had been transferred, two had been killed in action, and the remainder were in Union prison camps.

     When the end came, the 36th was surrendered in West Virginia under the same terms as Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Most of the men of the 36th were already on their way home. Sweeney was paroled in Charleston near where he entered the Confederate service.

     James Sweeney and his brother, Robert, also of the 36th Battalion, returned to Wheeling where they were again listed in the City Directories as brickmakers.

     But this was not the end of James Sweeney. A brief political note in The Intelligencer listed Sweeney as the organizer of a Democratic rally in Center Wheeling in 1876. From 1879 through 1883, the City Directory lists Sweeney as City Sergeant, which is the equivalent of the present day chief of police. He died in 1901.

     His brother, Captain Robert E. Sweeney is a little more of a mystery. The National Archives have very little on record for Robert. He was paroled in Charleston the same day as his brother, James. But all the records and references to him list him as a private. The information about Robert is skimpy at best. He died in 1892 and his tombstone identified him as "captain."

     Captain Edwin Greathouse Zane enlisted in the Shriver Grays in Wheeling at the beginning of the war. He served as a Sergeant and as a Lieutenant. When the 36th Virginia Cavalry was formed in February 1863, Zane enlisted in the unit and was elected Captain of, Company D.

     As I stated before, Zane was wounded during the retreat from Gettysburg and was left at Williamsport. His mother, Eliza Greathouse Zane heard that Edwin had been wounded and traveled from Wheeling to Williamsport to care for her son. Shortly after she arrived in Williamsport, Edwin died and Eliza brought his body back to Wheeling. He was 24 years old when he died and had served over two years during the war.

     His brother, Noah Zane, also served in the Confederate Army but is another a mystery. His headstone indicates that he served in Company I, 20th Regiment of the Stonewall Brigade. According to my study, the 20th Regiment was never assigned to the Stonewall Brigade.

     Perhaps this would be a good place to talk about their mother, Eliza Jane Greathouse Zane.

     Eliza was the daughter of Isaac and Hatty Sprigg Greathouse, one of the frontier families. At age 17, Hatty married Platoff Zane, son of Noah, and grandson of Ebenezer. She was a very wealthly woman because her husband died after only 10 years of marriage and she also inherited money from her uncle, Samuel Sprigg, and she received a bequest that otherwise would have gone to her mother, who was already dead.

     She had six children; four boys and two girls. Two of her sons served in the Confederate Army, but one of her sons and a son-in-law served in the Union Army. It was one of many families that was divided during the Civil War.

     Colonel William W. Arnett was a prominent Wheeling attorney who had been a Confederate officer.

     He was born in Marion County, near Fairmont, on October 26, 1843. He attended Fairmont Academy and graduated from Allegheny College at Meadville, Pa., with a Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in 1860. He had studied law, beginning at age 13, and was admitted to the bar on December 12, 1860.

     Arnett joined the Confederate Army as a private in April of 1861 and entered the 31st Infantry Regiment. Later he was assigned to the command of Col. Talliren's regiment, the 23rd Virginia Infantry, consisting of 1,300 men as a Lieutenant Colonel. (One of my sources says it was the 23rd Regiment and another says it was the 25th.) If my arithmetic is correct he was 17 or 18 years old, depending on the date.

     One source says that he resigned that commission and returned to his old regiment, the 31st, and was elected captain and served in that regiment until 1863 when he was elected Colonel of the 20th Virginia Cavalry. The 20th Cavalry was involved in the Jones-Imboden raids across West Virginia in the spring of 1863. He is also listed as Colonel of the 20th Cavalry at the Battle of Droop Mountain on November 6, 1863. He was said to have been in action in battles at Second Manassas, Winchester, Cross Keys, Malvern Hill and many others.

     After the war he returned to Fairmont and attempted to set up a practice of law but was out off by the Lawyer's Test Oath, which he declined to take. In 1866, he located at Berryville, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley, the county seat of Clarke County. He gained a reputation as a defense lawyer. One case involved the defense of a man accused of murdering a Union soldier. The man was acquitted. In 1868 he was elected to the Virginia Legislature. He had been elected to the legislature on two different occasions during the war but refused to serve, preferring instead to remain with his unit.

     In 1872, he moved to St. Louis, Mo., and continued his career as a defense attorney including an abortion case. In 1875, he returned to West Virginia and located in Wheeling. He immediately gained prominence as an attorney, and in a case concerning the removal of the archives from Wheeling to Charleston, he was successful in having the state capitol returned to Wheeling. He was also employed to defend State Auditor J.M. Bennett, and Treasurer John S. Burdett in an impreachment case.

     So here we have a rebel, a former Confederate officer, who in later life took a prominent part in the affairs of West Virginia, and, in doing so, gained the respect of the leadership.

     Arnett died in February 1902 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

     Dr. George A. Cracraft enlisted in the Confederate Army after he was released from prison for disloyalty to the Union. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1815 so he was not a Southerner by origin. He served in the 19th Virginia Cavalry before he became surgeon of the 36th Cavalry Battalion. He died in 1888 and is buried in Stone Church Cemetery with a large monument as well as the standard CSA headstone listing him as a Major.

     Lieutenant Pryor Boyd was one of the original members of Shriver's Grays and enlisted on May 17, 1861. He enlisted in the 36th Cavalry Battalion in 1863 and was present with the unit until he was captured at Amherst Courthouse on June 12, 1864 and was a prisoner at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio until he was exchanged on March 2, 1865.

     There is no record that he returned to the Confederate service. It is claimed that he enlisted in the Shriver Grays in 1861 without telling his parents in advance. What a shock that must have been for his parents. He is buried a short distance from the Sweeney plot in Greenwood Cemetery.

(Revised April 9, 2001)