the sons of planters.
The rank and file were composed of young men of the same social material with the officers.
Among then were to be found James Keith
, now well known as one of the ablest and most distinguished judges in Virginia
, and William H. Payne
, a leading member of the Virginia
bar, who, during the war, rose to be a brigadier general in Stuart
's cavalry division.
Another, a young lawyer of brilliant promise, was Thomas Gordon Pollock
, the son of the author of “The Exode
,” a sublime production, and on his mother's side was sprung from the heroic blood of the Lees.
During the war he was transferred, with the rank of captain, to the staff of Brigadier General James L. Kemper
, and fell in storming Cemetery Heights.
When it was discovered, in the spring of 1860, that the law allowed a third lieutenant to the command, an election was held in the town of Warrenton
to fill the vacant post.
There were several candidates, but the captain requested the men to elect A. D. Payne
, which was done; for at that early period he discerned in him those high military qualities which, in the field, he afterward displayed.
He has survived the war, and is now a distinguished member of the Warrenton
The first service which the command was ordered to perform was to report to Governor Henry A. Wise
, at Charlestown, Virginia
, at which point were being collected the volunteer companies of the State
to insure the execution of John Brown
and his associates.
When the command reached Piedmont station
, now Delaplane
, on the Manassas Railroad, it fell in with the “Mountain Rangers,” a cavalry company, which Captain Turner Ashby
, afterward so brilliant a figure in the Confederate army, had recruited in Upper Fanquier.
Together these companies marched by night, fording the deep and rapid Shenandoah
, and reported at daylight the next mooring to the Governor
A detachment of the Black Horse
escorted the prisoners to the place of execution, while the rest of the command was employed in keeping clear the streets, for it was feared even at the last moment that an attempt would be made to rescue Brown
Upon the return of the command to Warrenton
, the ladies of that patriotic town received them graciously, and gave in their honor a handsome ball.
So early was the strong and lasting covenant made between the women and the soldiers of the South
The John Brown
war, as the people called it, gave an immense impulse to the secession sentiment of Virginia
, and when South Carolina
seceded and coercion was talked of, the captain of the Black Horse
immediately tendered his command to Governor