Calhoun County in the Civil War from 1927
Part VI
By Louis E. Ayers

(06/10/2001)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 4/28/1927.

Following up our recent articles relative to the service of Company C, 11th W. Va., Inf. we find this company and regiment played an active part in the following engagements:

Cloyd Mountain, Virginia, May 9, 1864, where the 11th regiment acted as supports to the 10th West Virginia and 30th Ohio, who in a fierce hand to hand engagement captured the Confederate works in less than ten minutes.  Later assisting in the destruction of the Virginia & Tennessee R.R. tearing up tracks, heating the rails and bending them around trees.

At New River Bridge on May 10, 1864, the 11th supported the Artillery, throughout this engagement, which was in artillery action at long range.

They were again engaged at Lexington, Virginia, on June 17, 1864.  At Lynchburg, Virginia, on June 17th and 18th.  Here General T.M. Harris's 3rd Brigade, which embraced the 11th Infantry, on the evening of the 18th covered General Hunter's retreat, by assaulting the Confederate works which defeated the City.  In this assault, Francis Proudfoot, Francis M. Smith and Morgan Rexroad of Company C were killed.  During the retreat over the mountains, General Hunter's army was short on rations and the men endured all the hardships attending the retreat of a defeated army with a victorious foe in pursuit.

They were again in action at Snickers Ferry on July 18, 1864, and here Colonel Daniel Frost of the 11th was killed while gallantly leading his regiment.

They participated in the battle of Winchester, Virginia, July 23th and __th, Martinsburg on July 25th, Berryville on September 3rd, ______ Creek on September 19th.  The hotly contested at Fisher's Hill on September 2nd; and again at Strasburg, Virginia on October 19th 1864, where General Jubal A. Earley's forces surprised General Philip H. Sheridan's army  The 11th Infantry and Third Brigade a part of General George Crook's Eighth Corps, which were the first Federal troops struck by General John B. _ordan's Georgians who just a dawn pushed the camp of the Eighth Corps sending them reeling back in panic stricken retreat on the nineteenth Corps.  Here the combined Federal ______ held their ground for a few moments fierce fighting when they were forced to give way and fall back on the Sixth Corps commanded by General H.G. Wright.  A number of New York German regiments held a line of stone fences running across the valley, and for a time maintained a hand to hand fight with Earley's forces, clubbing muskets over the fences.  Finally the Sixth Corps, too, gave way and the retreat continued for a mile or two down the valley, where again an effort was made to reform the shattered Federal forces.  A line of Cavalry was strung out across the valley and the infantry had commenced to reform when General Sheridan and his staff who had spent the night at Winchester, twenty miles away, and who on hearing the thunder of cannon, ever drawing nearer, had mounted and rode in hot haste to join his retreating army, arriving on the scene.  Mounted on the famous black horse immortalized by Buchanan Read, in his poem "Sheridan's Ride," General Sheridan, dashed along his lines waving his cap and shouting "Go for them boys.  Give them h--l.  We'll be back in our old camp ground before sundown."  Three rousing cheers were given by the Federals, in a moment they advanced and after fierce fighting the Confederates gave way.  In their retreat they were hampered by their wagon trains and artillery which had kept pace with their advance.  The bridge across Cedar Creek became jammed, batteries of Federal guns occupied a ridge commanding the bridge, and here the 11th supported the artillery, who shelled Earley's demoralized forces, while Custer, Torbert and Merritt, those dashing Cavalry leaders, swooped like hawks on the Confederate retreat, capturing hundreds of prisoners and practically all of General Earley's artillery and supplies.  This victory of Sheridan's placed the Shenadoah Valley, the grainary of the South, under Federal control.

During the fierce battles around Richmond in the spring of 1865, many members of the 11th infantry bore a part up until the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's army.

Finis

Editor's Note:  The above article concludes the series which Mr. Ayers has been running in the Chronicle for the past few weeks and which have proven very interesting to Chronicle readers as evidence by the comments we have received.  Mr. Ayers' articles have brought forth a number of letters along similar lines which will be published in the Chronicle as space allows and which we are sure will prove very interesting reading matter.  Among them is the personal recollections of Barnes Newton Smith which was directed to his son, Joshua D. Smith, shortly before his death; an extract from the minutes of the constitutional convention of 1861-63, containing the debating over the seating of Job Robinson, delegate from this county, and a roster of Capt. Hiram Chapman's Company of Calhoun County Scouts, the latter named articles being furnished Mr. Ayers by Boyd B. Stutler for the Chronicle.  Also other articles and letters which will make good reading.


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