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[186] major; John W. H. Wrenn, adjutant; C. W. Murdaugh, commissary; John Hobday, quartermaster; Dr. H. F. Butt, surgeon, and Dr. V. B. Bilisoly, assistant surgeon. At the time of the organization of the regiment it was composed of the following companies: Portsmouth Rifle Company, Capt. John C. Owens; Old Dominion Guard, Capt. Edward Kearn; the National Grays, Capt. John E. Deans; the Marion Rifles, Capt. Johannis Watson; the Union Guard, Capt. Nathaniel Edwards, and the Dismal Swamp Rangers, Capt. James C. Choat. On Saturday, the 20th day of April, 1861, when the regiment was ordered by Gov. Letcher into the service of the State, it consisted of the same companies except the Union Guard, which had been disbanded the year before.

The twentieth of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-one— memorable day!. On this day commenced in Virginia an unproclaimed war. The ordinance of secession had been passed on the 17th, day of April, 1861. The proclamation of President Lincoln calling on Virginia for her quota of military forces to wage war against her sister States of the South brought all Virginians of true loyalty together. War was the inevitable result of national and State action. Gov. Letcher had sent down Gen. William B. Taliaferro to take charge of the organized forces of this section when called into the service of the State. At noon the United States authorities closed the doors of the navy yard and began the destruction of its buildings, its ships and stores. It was an act of war and was so regarded by all. At 2 P. M. the volunteer companies of the city were called into the service of the State. At that hour the long roll sounded summoning our local military to arms. All who survive remember the profound interest and emotion of that hour. It stifled all light feelings and gave to each brow a thoughtful aspect, and to each eye a depth of light which arises only when the heart is weighted with great moving concern. Men pressed in silence each others hands and spoke in tones subdued by the solemnity and intensity of their inexpressable feelings. All knew that when the long roll once sounded, it would thrill the land, and that it would not cease to be heard, day or night, until silenced in victory or defeat. Our military responded to the roll call with a unanimity and with a patriotic devotion unsurpassed.

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