Scott County Historical
Scott County, Virginia
Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia
Publication No. 22 - 1988
The Nickelsville Spartan Band
By Omer C. Addington
withdrew from the Union April 17, 1861. The people of Virginia
approved this act by a vote of 125,000 to 20,000. Virginia became the
eighth state of the Confederate States of America.
the time the Federal Government was established, many believed that a
state had the right to withdraw from the Union if the government did
not respect its rights under the constitution. For many years the
people of the south had felt that the Federal government was working
against their beliefs, their prosperity, their happiness and their way
of life. They said they had joined the union of their own free will.
They said they would not have done so if they had not believed that
the constitution gave them the right to leave the union.
this belief in mind a group of young men, in and around Nickelsville,
agreed to volunteer for the Confederate Army for a period of one year.
By then they believed the war would be over and the south would be
victorious. However, this was not to be. Their term of enlistment
would have expired in the summer of 1862.
order to save its veteran armies, as well as to get new recruits, the
Confederate government passed a conscription act, under which men
between the ages of 18 and 35 years were liable for military duty. A
few months afterwards by a supplemeniary act, the
was extended to age 45. Later, the military age was extended to
include all men 17 to 50 years of age.
men named their group the Nickelsville Spartan Band, after Sparta in
ancient Greece. Sparta was the most powerful city-state of ancient
Greece. It was famous for its military power and its loyal soldiers.
The greatest honor that could come to a Spartan was to die in defense
of his city-state.
men of the Nickelsville Spartan Band elected their own officers, which
are as follows:
McConnell, captain; 1st Lt. Thomas M. Smith; 2nd Lt.
officers: 1st Sergeant Joshua S. Fanning; 2nd Sgt. William M. Hillman,
3rd Sgt. William H. Wampler; 4th Sgt. Nathan H. McConnell; 5th Sgt.
William S. McConnell.
1st Cpl. William P. Harris; 2nd Cpl. Harvet P. Smith; 3rd Cpl. (to be
appointed); 4th Cpl. Abraham Fuller.
Oliver P. Bond, Stephen Broadwater, James M.
member of the Spartan Band had a knapsack, made of leather or heavy
oil cloth, to carry his personal belongings in such as razor, soap,
mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts supplied the members of the
band with food for two days travel and with a woolen blanket, or heavy
cotton one, which was rolled up and carried around their shoulders.
guns and pistols the members of the Band carried were taken from their
homes, and were of different caliber and make. Most of the rifles were
made by some local gunsmith and were of the cap and ball type.
Spartan Band left Nickelsville before sunrise July 13, 1861, and
marched to Abingdon, and were mustered into the Army of Virginia
Volunteers the same day, and became Company H of the 48th Regiment
H became part of General Stonewall Jackson's army and fought in the
Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862. They fought in the Batt1e of
Romney, Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Cross Keys, and Port
Republic, and won every battle. General Jackson moved his army so fast
that his soldiers were called foot cavalry.
the six battles mentioned above some members of the Spartan Band were
killed or wounded. This so weakened Company H that its remaining
members were placed in Company E of the 48th Virginia Regiment. The
remaining members of the Spartan Band were present at the second
battle of Manassas, or
the battle of Manassas, the armies of Generals Jackson and Lee moved
southward to Fredericksburg, Virginia to stop the advance of an Union
army trying to take Richmond. A great battle was fought at
Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.
the Battle of Fredericksburg the armies of the North and South went
into winter quarters, and some of the men of the Spartan Band were
granted a short furlough home.
the coming of spring in 1863, the two armies began to move. One of the
greatest battles of the war took place at Chancellorsville, Virginia,
May 2 and 3, 1863.
this battle, the south lost their beloved General Stonewall Jackson.
He was shot by his own men on May 2, and died eight days later. Could
some of those men have been a part of the Spartan Band? Of course, we
will never know.
Ewell Brown Stuart, better known as "Jeb Stuart", took over
Jackson's command and continued the fight through the next day.
General Stuart and his corps fought in the Wilderness Campaign. He and
some members of the Spartan Band were killed at Yellow Tavern on May
after the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Lee again invaded the
north. A great battle was fought at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania July 1,
2, and 3, 1863. More members of the Spartan Band were wounded and
killed. Among those killed was 1st Cpl William P. Harris. He had
written to his girlfriend, Drusilla McConnell, expressing his love and
affection often, and their plans after the war for their future.
Months went by and she hadn't heard from him. Finally, word came that
he had been killed on the battlefield at Gettysburg. Drusilla did not
live long after hearing of Cpl. Harris' death. She died at age 18,
perhaps of a broken heart.
the Battle of Gettysburg and the return of General Lee's Army to
Virginia, the remaining members of the Spartan Band fought in the
Battle of the Wilderness May 5 and 6, 1864, Spotsylvania Courthouse
May 6, 1864, Cold Harbor June 3, 1864, and the Battle of Petersburg
June 15-18, 1864. This battle is known as the Battle of the Crator.
the seventy-six young men who had volunteered and gallantly marched
off to war with pomp and ceremony, and a self-sacrificing devotion to
the southern cause, only one answered muster call at Appomattox when
General Lee surrendered April 19, 1865. Some had paid the supreme
sacrifice, others had died of disease, and others were wounded
one who answered muster call on April 19, 1865 was Joshua Daniel
Frazier. His marriage record is recorded at the Clerk's Office at Gate
City. He married Adaline Barnett in 1867.