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Extract from: Hardesty's Biographical Atlas 1882, Volume 3

button Pocahontas County In The Civil War
button Engagements in Pocahontas
button The Battle Of Droop Mountain
button The County Records During The War


Pocahontas County In The Civil War

In 1861 the clouds of war hung over America, and their deepest density rested over Virginia. Civil commotion shook the grand old Commonwealth, and the countenances of her sons but told the impending struggle, fierce and wild. Everywhere they enlisted in defense of their native State, and from the tide-washed shores, from the midland counties, and from the rock-ribbed Alleghanies, long lines of brave soldiers marched forth to battle and die upon a hundred crimsoned fields. Among them were many of the descendants of the first pioneers of Pocahontas - they who, a century before, had struggled with the fierce and relentless barbarian, and had at last driven him from the country in which they had founded their homes where the soldiers of a later day were born and reared.

No sooner had the tocsin of war sounded throughout their native mountains than volunteering began. Captain Andrew G. McNeel repaired to the Little Levels and organized the first company. This was early in the spring of 1861. A requisition was made for arms, and they were shipped from Richmond, were never received, and the company disbanded in the fall of the same year. Captain D. A. Stofer mustered a company at Huntersville, went south, and with it was attached to the 31st Virginia Infantry. John M. Lightner was first lieutenant in this company. The third company formed was that of Captain Arbogast, at Greenbank. It, too, was attached to the 31st Infantry. The captain was afterward promoted to major of the regiment. Lieutenant H. M. Poague, of this county, but serving in a Bath county company, was killed in action at Warrenton, Virginia, October 12, 1863. Lieutenant James McGlothlin, of Captain Stofer's company, from Huntersville, was wounded at Shepherdstown, and died at Winchester Virginia.

Engagements In Pocahontas

The first engagement which occurred in Pocahontas county, was at Camp Barteau, on what is known as the Peter Yeager farm, or the Traveler's Repose. Late in the summer of 1861, a Confederate force was collected at this point. It consisted of the 1st Georgia Infantry, Colonel Ramsey, commanding; the 12th Georgia, Colonel Edward Johnson in command; the 31st Virginia Infantry, Colonel William L. Jackson; Colonel Hansbro's Battalion; the Churchville Cavalry, from Churchville, Augusta county, Captain James Sterrett in command, and the Rockbridge Cavalry, commanded by the Captain, J. C. McNutt; the entire force under command of General Henry L. Jackson.

On the 14th of September, 1861, this force was attacked by the Federals under command of Generals Reynolds and Rosecrans. The firing began early in the morning and continued until nightfall, when the Federals withdrew and fell back to Cheat Mountain summit, in Randolph county. The Confederate loss was thirty-six killed; that of the Federals was unknown.

A few days later the confederates fell back to Camp Alleghany, and after being re-enforced by two regiments, one of which was the 52nd Virginia Infantry, under Colonel John Baldwin, they fortified a strong natural position. Here, in December, they were again attacked by the Federals, and the engagement continued throughout the day, but terminated as had the first, in the repulse of the Federals. The loss was considerable on Both sides. Among that of the Confederates was that of Captain Anderson, of the Lynchburg Artillery, and Captain J. C. Whitmer, of the Pocahontas Rifles.

The Battle of Droop Mountain

Was fought on the 6th day of November, 1863. The Confederate force consisted of the 22nd Virginia Infantry, Colonel George Patton (of Kanawha county, afterward killed at Winchester), commanding; the 19th Virginia, Colonel W. P. Thompson; the 20th Virginia, Colonel W. W. Arnott; the 14th Virginia Cavalry, Colonel James Cochran; Jackson's and Chapman's Batteries, and Edgar's and Derrick's Battalions; the entire force under command of General John Echols. This force, on the first of the month, was lying at Meadow Bluffs, in Greenbrier county.

The Federal force was composed of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 23d and 28th Ohio Infantry, the 5th, 6th and 10th West Virginia Infantry, and one battery of Artillery. This force had been stationed at Beverly in Randolph county.

Both forces advanced and met on the northern extremity of Droop mountain, and the battle began at 10 A.M., and waged until 4 P.M., when the Confederates, finding their positions flanked, right and left, were forced to retreat; they fell back beyond Lewisburg, and were pursued several miles. The loss on both sides was heavy.

The County Records During The War

At the time of the breaking out of the war, the Hon. William Curry was serving as both circuit and county clerk, and when it became evident that the Federals would invade the county, the court ordered Mr. Curry to remove the records to a place of safety. In compliance with this order he caused them to be taken to the private residence of Joel Hill, Esq., on the Little Levels. Here they remained until January, 1862, when Mr. Curry became alarmed as to the safety of so valuable a charge thus placed in his custody, and he therefore caused them to be removed to Covington, Virginia, where for a short time they lay in the clerk's office of Alleghany county. From here they were taken to the storehouse of Captain William Scott. In September, 1863, General Averill's command reached Covington, and Mr. Curry again removed the records, first to the residence of William Clark, and then to a stack of buckwheat straw, in which they lay concealed for three weeks, and were then conveyed into the mountains and stored away at the house of a Baptist minister, and here they remained until after the surrender at Appomattox. The storm of war had now passed away, and Mr. Curry, in June, 1865, when the first court after the close of the war convened (November, 1865), in the Methodist Church at Hillsboro. From that time they were kept in the old academy building until June, 1866, when they were taken back to the county seat and deposited at the house of John B. Garey. More than five years have passed away since their first removal, and strange to say, that notwithstanding all the vicissitudes of war through which they passed, but one thing was lost, and that was an old process book of no value. Was not Mr. Curry true to his trust? Let those interested in the records of Pocahontas answer.

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