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Confederate Military History

of Civil War Units in Hampshire County

Notes on the Contributions of Various Counties to the Confederate Service Records of the Twenty-Fifth and Thirty-First Regiments

In Hampshire County, before the commencement of the War, there were two organized and uniformed companies of infantry; one known as the Frontier Riflemen, of which Robert White, afterward Colonel of the Twenty-third Virginia Cavalry, was Captain, Elias L. Irvin First Lieutenant, Job N. Cookus Second Lieutenant, and Daniel T. Kellar Third Lieutenant; and the other the Hampshire Guards, John B. Sherrard Captain, D. W. Entler First Lieutenant, and Felix D. Heiskell Second Lieutenant. The first named company had about 96 men, and the last about 80. In May, 1861, both of these companies were ordered by the Governor of Virginia to report to Col. T. J. Jackson, then commanding at Harper's Ferry. Soon afterward the Thirteenth Virginia Regiment of Infantry was organized, with A. P. Hill as colonel, and these companies were mustered into that regiment as Companies I and K. The world knows much of the heroism of the men of that regiment and of its hard service during the war.

In the spring of 1862 the army was re-organized. Captain White was assigned to ordnance duty. He was afterward authorized, at his own request, to raise a battalion of cavalry, which he did and became Major of the Forty-first Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, which was afterward merged in the Twenty-third Regiment, of which he was Colonel. Captain Sherrard, of the Guards, served during the war and was promoted to the rank of Major. Another company, known as the Potomac Guards, was raised in that county, and, under the command of Capt. Philip L. Grace, became Company A of the Thirty-first Virginia, one of the regiments of the old Stonewall Brigade. Captain Grace was promoted to the rank of major, and afterward resigned.

A company of riflemen was organized in the western end of the county, within what is now the territory of Mineral County. It went into the cavalry service under the command of the gallant Capt. George Sheetz, who lost his life on May 23, 1862, in the valley of Virginia. It became Company F of the Seventh Cavalry. Capt. Isaac Kuykendall afterward commanded this company.

Capt. C. S. White commanded Company C of the Twenty-third Cavalry, of which company Alexander White became First Lieutenant and J. R. Baker, of Hardy county, Second Lieutenant. The men composing this company came, for the most part, from the County of Hampshire and the adjoining County of Hardy.

Capt. R. Bruce Muse commanded Company F of the Eighteenth Cavalry. His command was recruited partly from Hampshire County and partly from the adjoining County of Frederick, in Virginia. Capt. Matthew Ginevan commanded Company C of the Eighteenth Cavalry. Company I of this Regiment went into the service with D. Ed. Bell, who became Lieutenant-Colonel, as its captain. In fact, a large number of the rank and file of the Eighteenth were men from Hampshire, such as Maj. Alexander Monroe.

Capt. E. H. McDonald, who commanded Company D of the Eleventh Cavalry, and a large number of his men, were natives of Hampshire county. Capt. J. Mortimer Lovett, a Hampshire man, commanded Company E of the Twenty-third Cavalry.

Another company, organized first as militia, under Capt. John H. Piles, afterward became Company K of the Eighteenth Cavalry. Many of the men from this company of militia enlisted in various other commands.

During the war a great many of the very best people of this county were driven, or fled for refuge from their homes, among them John B. White, the Clerk of the Courts; Charles Blue, who frequently represented the county in the Legislature; and John Kern, Jr., all three of whom died for the cause they loved, while at Richmond, during the war. The county was taken, by force of the bayonet, into the newly-formed State of West Virginia. After the war its people were disfranchised, except a few who called themselves loyal, most of whom were the newly-made colored citizens. The old and respected men were not permitted to enjoy the rights of citizenship. They could not vote, could not hold office, could not sit on juries, could not teach school, could not practice law, and were forbidden even to bring a suit to recover an honest debt. In this and the adjoining counties a great many old Confederate soldiers were harassed by suits for damages and sometimes arrested and imprisoned upon various criminal charges instituted against them in the newly-organized and so-called courts of justice under the new regime. Some were indicted for murder, some for arson, some for larceny, and some for other offenses with which they were charged for acts done as soldiers in civilized warfare. A great many suits were instituted to recover damages, in money, because of acts done by the defendants as soldiers in the army. Judgment after judgment was obtained in the courts below and sustained by the appellate court of the State; but these defendants were generally old Confederates, who had faced trials and oft-times death itself in battle, and bravely did they seek to maintain their rights as belligerents until the Supreme court of the United States at its October term, in the year 1888, decided the case of Freeland vs. Williams, involving the question of the belligerent rights of the Confederate soldiers, in their favor. The case is reported in the First[?] United States Reports, at page 405.

from: Confederate Military History, ed. by Clement A. Evans; Vol II; Confederate Publishing Company, Atlanta, 1899. Chapter VIII pp. 105-107 (section on W. Va. by Col. Robert White)

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