|Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm
of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 5/5/1927.
The following recollections of the late Rev. Barnes Newton Smith, who
was well known in Grantsville and vicinity, were dictated to his son, Joshua
D. Smith, of Index, a short time before the elder Mr. Smith's death, and
were furnished to the Chronicle through Louis E. Ayers, who for the past
several weeks has been contributing interesting articles to the Chronicle
concerning the activities of Calhoun county people in the civil war.
Mr. Smith's memories make very interesting reading and the Chronicle
is grateful for the opportunity to publish them.
I was born June 8, 1847, on Sleith Fork of Hughes River, Ritchie county,
then Lewis county. I was the son of Joshua Smith, who was the son
of Barnes Smith, who owned and lived upon a farm where Smithville is now
located. He moved there from either Lewis or Harrison county.
Many of the Smiths of those two counties were relatives of his. My
grandfather had four sons, Isaac, Joshua, Barnes, and Levi. Isaac
remained on the home farm; Barnes near the same place; Levi went to Iowa;
and my father to the Little Kanawha when I was about (illegible) months
old. They were all farmers. My father reared his family in
a large hewed log house, at the foot of the hill, near a fine spring of
water, on the opposite side of the river from the upper end of the bottom
upon which the Cabot Compressing Station is situated. Here I whiled
away the years in the same manner that most pioneer boys did. We
cleared out the forest, killed deer and fish, but had little to do with
books and schools.
On the 20th of August 1863, I enlisted in the Union Army, Company C,
11th Regiment, W. Va. Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. Jas. L. Simpson,
on the back porch of Henry Barr's house, the same house, a large two story,
hewed log house yet standing at the foot of the hill a short distance above,
and in sight of the Calhoun County High School building, now occupied by
Miss (illegible) Harris and Mrs. Dora Plant, her sister who are nieces
of mine, their mother having been my sister, who upon the death of her
first husband, Henry Barr, had married Wm. Harris. I was but a little
past 16 years of age when I enlisted, which was considered below the minimum
of eligibility (illegible) which was 18. But the Captain judged my
fitness more by my physique and moral than by the number of winters I had
skated on the Little Kanawha. I didn't fib to the captain about my
age, but if we both made an inaccurate report I hope it has been forgiven
us long since. I was enlisted as(illegible) so was put to immediate
service without any training whatever.
A few companies from Parkersburg, including ours, marched from Jirkland,
now Grantsville, to Glenville then (illegible) Cedar Creek, where we had
a little skirmish and took a few prisoners, to _utton. After camping
there for a short time, we moved on to Bull Town. Here, on the 13th
of October '63, Bill Jackson's squad of about 400 men surrounded us, under
a flag of truce, Jackson told Simpson that he had 950 men and demanded
unconditional surrender. Simpson replied, "I shall fight you till
hell freezes over and retreat on the ice before I shall surrender on any
terms." I heard this parley, myself, I was kiddish enough to tag
out at all such opportunities. Fighting was resumed and Capt. Matingly
was seriously wounded. Jackson hoisted a flag of truce and borrowed
Dr. Bland who dressed his wound, and was returned to his comrades.
After another spell of fighting, Jackson stuck up a flag of truce and requested
that their dead, who had fallen near us, be carried over to them, and,
also, tools to bury them with. After the so called burial, the picks
and shovels were returned and fighting resumed. About 5 p.m., Jackson's
From Bull Town we went to Glenville, where we remained till mid winter.
From there we went to Weston, Beverly, Buckhannon, Rich Mountain, and came
back to Weston. Several of us contracted measles while on this trip.
They moved me from Weston to Parkersburg. I took cold. The
measles went in. I lay in hospital, unconscious three weeks under
the care of Dr. De Voe. The physicians said I would die in less than
three house after I should have regained consciousness. I am living
but have had a defective lung, a bad cough, ever since.
From Parkersburg we went by train to Cherry Run. From there we
went afoot to Martinsburg as the track had been torn up. From there
I and three others were sent to Harpers Ferry on a hand car with a field
dispatch. A very dangerous trip. We were detained there three
or four days. We went with the Harpers Ferry army until we interceted
our own army near Winchester, where we were returned to our own command
which was there under General Harris who had been our family physician.
He honored me with private dispatches and little jobs of that sort, which
I appreciated very much.
We did quite a lot of moving about, one way and another, and fighting
a little in the vicinity of Winchester. Finally we went into battle
at Kernstown where we were badly defeated and driven out of the valley.
Al Barr and I were on lookout the night before. We stood under a
leafy oak tree and watched them form lines. We were so close to them
that Barr whispered to me that he could shoot the buttons off their blouses.
But we were commanded not to shoot. We reported early next morning
to Capt. Jas. McDonald. He reported to Gen Crooks, who refused to
recognize the magnitude of it. We were driven back by Winchester
to Martinsburg. Barr and I were in the heat of this battle from first
I don't remember definitely the exact course we took from Martinsburg.
But I do remember vividly that we waded all day through water ankle deep
on a macadamized road, and drank the water that the men, horses and cattle
had waded in all day. There had been a hard rain. We crossed
the Potomac at Williamsport into Maryland. The Confederates followed
us to the river but did not cross.
(to be concluded next week)