Hardesty's History of Wirt County

THE ELEVENTH WEST VIRGINIA INFANTRY (FEDERAL)

In the fall of 1861 steps were taken to organize the 11th regi-
ment Virginia Infantry Volunteers, and the greater portion of
this regiment was organized in the valley of the Little Kanawha.
Col. J.C. Rathbone, now of Parkersburg, West Virginia, was its
first colonel, and through his efforts it was finally organized as a
regiment. Company A was formed from Capt. John C. Boggs,
company of "snake hunters," a name given them by their cap-
tain. Their company which had been organized in Marshall
county, Virginia, as an independent scouting company, had been
sent into the Little Kanawha valley in the early fall of 1861, and
by process of consolidation it was annexed to the 11th regiment, 
and became Company A, as above stated. Capt. Boggs was a
fearless soldier and served his chosen country in an able manner
and rendered it efficient aid, especially in the way of making peace 
for the then distracted and divided people. He resigned his office
near the close of the war and returned to Ohio county, West Vir-
ginia, and engaged in other pursuits, and for several years there-
after was an active and earnest worker in the cause of temper-
ance. It is now said that be has gone to his reward; peace to
his ashes. At the time of the organization of this regiment peo-
ple were excited and divided, almost paralyzed, and family angered 
against family. And there appeared to be no safety or security
except in the army of one side or the other; men hesitated con-
cerning enlistment in either army, and it is indeed wonderful
looking back on the struggle at this late day how so many brave
sons of toil could be induced to leave home and friends and
everything near and dear to them and rush into the carnage of
blood; but enlistments into both armies were certainly and grad-
ually being made, for in the months of October and November, 
1861, Company B of this regiment was organized at Burning 
Springs, Wirt county by Capt. James W. Myres, a former citizen
of the county. About the same time Company C was organized
in Calhoun and Gilmer counties by Capt. James T. Simpson.
Early in 1862 Capt. David Deem organized Company E in Wirt
county, Capt. Van H. Burkey;. it contained many of Wirt's brave
men also. In the spring of 1862 Capt. William T. Pell organized
Company F in Wirt county; Company G was organized in the
Great Kanawha valley; Company H in Marshall county, and 
Company I and K in Jackson county, all of this State. The head-
quarters of regiment during the winter of 1861-2, and spring,
summer and fall, was Spencer, Roane county, (then) Virginia. In
the month of September, 1862, part of Companies B, E, F and D,
while in camp, were surprised and compelled to surrender their
arms to Gen. Jenkins of the Confederate army. The men and
officers were allowed to go upon parole, and were shortly after-
wards exchanged, and very soon after being exchanged the regi-
ment was reorganized and sent to the front and at once put into
active duty. Col. Rathbone was removed from his office (thought
since to have been restored and allowed to resign honorably), and
Daniel Frost was appointed colonel of regiment, who was killed 
in action while leading his regiment at the Battle of Snickers
Gap, in Virginia. He was succeeded by Van H. Burkey, captain 
of Company D, who remained colonel of regiment until it was
mustered out at the close of the war; Col. Burkey is now a very
large oil dealer and resides at Parkersburg, West Virginia.
James L. Simpson, captain of Company C, became major of the 
regiment and served in that capacity until his time expired; he
now resides at Parkersburg; also engaged as a merchant tailor.
Capt. William T. Pell, of Company F, early resigned his office, 
and First Lieutenant T. B. Stoddard succeeded him; Capt. Stod-
dard remained with the company until the close of the war,
though receiving many wounds in battle. At the close of the 
war he returned to Wirt county, and in the year 1866, the people
elected him sheriff thereof for the term of four years. At the
close of his term he moved with his family to near Alda Hall
county, Nebraska, where, in the year 1874, he paid the last great
debt and passed from the shores of time to immortality. His two
sons, George and Clarence, are now living in Nebraska, his widow 
having recently died. As before stated this regiment was organ-
ized in the Little Kanawha valley, and Companies B, E and F were
mostly from Wirt county, which also furnished a great many men
to Companies D and H. This regiment did good service in 
the field and was an honor to the State never flinching or
swerving from duty, but ever ready and willing to do the work
assigned it, whether light or heavy, and, when necessary, was
foremost in the fray.

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