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Company D, Clarke Cavalry.

[from the Richmond Dispatch, April 19, 1896.] history and roster of this command, which fought gallantly.

On the 19th day of April, 1861, just thirty-five years ago to-day, this company marched to Harper's Ferry. In the fall of 1859, many of the members of this organization belonged to the Clarke Guards which went to Harper's Ferry to take old John Brown, the forerunner of a large crusade, whose subsequent fate is known to all. Virginia had, on the 17th of April, 1861—two days before—passed the ordinance of secession, cast the die, crossed the Rubicon, and called upon her sons to keep her escutcheon untarnished. It was in response to this action that this company of as gallant and true spirits as ever went forth to battle, found itself at Harper's Ferry. Colonel J. E. B. Stuart took charge of it and all the cavalry, and Brigadier-General Thomas J. Jackson, was in command of all the forces there collected.

In a glorious cause.

The people of the original thirteen States believed in State sovereignty—that the government they formed had no power to coerce one of their number for any purpose. The Southern people were educated in the belief that the allegiance of the citizen was first due to his State, and that in any conduct between his Commonwealth and the United States, or any other country, his place was at her side—‘at her feet he should kneel, and at her foe his gun should be pointed.’ Thus believing, we resented the insolence of a people who denounced the constitution as a league with the devil and a covenant with hell, by resuming our original independence. The splendid achievements of the gallant sons of the South in the long and [146] bitter struggle that ensued in consequence thereof constitute a theme that will continue to evoke the admiration of mankind to the remotest ages. From the time when Joshua led the mighty hosts of Israel down to the present time the pages of history tell of no military performances more brilliant, no fortitude more enduring, no cause more devotedly followed to the last extremity of possible success. Wherever the banner of the Confederacy floated, there followed a lion-hearted host of as gallant and intrepid souls as ever joined the ranks of war, and went forth to battle for what they knew to be right. Neither privation, disaster, sickness, nor death appalled them, and where their standard pointed they followed with a heroism unsurpassed, and so long as nations endure will the story of their exploits be told with admiration.

History of the Company.

With this prelude it is proper to say that the object of the writer is to give a brief history of one company, concerning which he knows somewhat of its officers and its members, their names, and the battles in which they participated. As I look back now through the vista of years, from Harper's Ferry to Appomattox, and from Appomattox to 1896, I see more clearly the glories in the lustre of their deeds, feel more satisfied than ever of the righteousness of our cause, and wonder how it was possible that we should have failed. It was a beautiful day that Company D set out to go to Harper's Ferry and save the arsenal there. The trees had put on their loveliest robes, the fields were clothed in the choicest verdure and the Blue Ridge smiled majestically, while the sparkling Shenandoah reflected this fairyland back to its maker. Oh, sir, I doubtless exclaimed:

Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
     Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land?

The roster.

This company was officered by Captain Joseph R. Hardesty; William Taylor, First Lieutenant; David Hume Allen, Second Lieutenant, and George Mason, Third Lieutenant. The private soldiers were:

Lewis Ashby, Buckner Ashby, George Ashby, Shirley C. Ashby, John H. Anderson, Milton B. Anderson, Jacqueline R. Ambler, [147] Jonah Bell, James D. Bell, John W. Bell, William H. Brown, John S. Blackburn, Charles H. Brabham, John Barbee, Carter Berkeley, Thaddeus Baney, William Bonham, Isaac Bonham, M. R. P. Castleman, Robert H. Castleman, James R. Castleman, John T. Crowe, H. Clay Crowe, John Carper, Henry Catlett, F. H. Calmes, Marquise Calmes, Nathaniel B. Cooke, John Dearmont, Thomas Dearmont, Peter Dearmont, Thomas Dement, Horace P. Deahl, Eugene Davis, Albert S. Davis, Strother Davis, James B. Everhart, J. Newton Everhart, O. R. Funsten, Kinloch Fauntleroy, C. Powell Grady, Temple Grady, Edward K. Grady, William Gibson, James Lee Griggs, George Harris, John Harris, Charles W. Hardesty, William T. Hammond, Taliaferro Hunter, William H. H. Harley, Madison Hite, Irvine Hite, Fontaine Hite, Cornelius Hite, William Hite, Solomon Hibbs, A. J. Harford, Robert Jones, Walter Janney, John M. Johnson, James Kiger, J. M. Keller, Charles Kendall, John Kerfoot, Henry D. Kerfoot, John N. Kitchen, Thomas Kneller, Louis C. Kneller, Jacob S. Kneller, Charles E. Kimball, C. C. Larue, James J. Larue, William A. Larue, Gilbert C. Larue, H. L. D. Lewis, Robert H. Lewis, James Lindsey, William Laughlin, Joseph S. Mason, Douglas Mason, Frank Moore, William Moore, A. Moore, Jr., Nicholas Moore, William C. Morgan, John Morgan, Jr., Robert P. Morgan, Daniel Morgan, F. Key Meade, David Meade, Jr., Harry Meade, Matthew Fontaine Magner, Newton Mannel, William Taylor Milton, Carey Mitchell, Robert Mitchell, Ship Mitchell, John Milburn, H. Bounce Michie, E. C. Marshall, Jr., D. Holmes McGuire, Burwell McGuire, John P. McMurry, Edward McCormick, Hugh H. McCormick, Cyrus McCormick, Province McCormick, Jr., Nicholas McClure, Hierome L. Opie, John N. Opie, Edward Osborn, Philip H. Powers, George Page, William B. Page, Archie C. Page, Robert N. Pendleton, Dudley D. Pendleton, Frank S. Pennvbacker, George Ritter, Thomas J. Russell, William A. Russell, Bennett Russell, George Ruggles, Joseph H. Shepherd, George C. Shepherd, Champe Shepherd, Jr., George H. Sowers, Charles H. Smith, Treadnell Smith, Jr., J. Rice Smith, Warren C. Smith, George H. Shumate, Thomas Shumate, Edward Shumate, Henry Stephenson, R. C. Steptoe, Leonard Swartzwelder, Philip Swann, William Simpson, Benjamin Trenary, Thomas Timberlake, Pius Francis Topper, James Thompson, George Turner, James Watson, John Watson, Thomas Watson, John R. White, Thomas Williams, Eustace Williams, Charles A. Ware, Jacquiline S. Ware, Nathaniel Willis, George Waesche, Carlisle Whiting, [148] James D. Wiggington, Joseph N. Wheat, Frank W. Wheat, Charles H. Wager, and Count F. Zoulasky.

The first Cavalry Regiment.

This company, with eleven other companies, constituted then the 1st Regiment of cavalry, and was commanded by Colonel J. E. B. Stuart until after First Manassas, in which battle he charged Heintgelman's Zouaves with Company D and the Loudoun company. The gallant Lieutenant David H. Allen was killed, F. H. Calmes and Magner were wounded in this charge, and nine men of the Loudoun company killed. Shortly after that battle Stuart was made brigadier-general, and Captain William E. Jones was made colonel, and assumed command of the regiment. The 6th was then forming, and lacked two companies of having a quota, while the 1st had too many. In August, 1861, General Stuart permitted the Clarke and Rockingham companies to decide by vote whether to go to the 6th or remain in the 1st. They elected to go into the 6th, which was officered by Colonel Charles W. Field, Lieutenant-Colonel Julian Harrison, Major J. Grattan Cabell, and John Allen, Adjutant. Shortly afterwards Colonel Field was made brigadier, and assigned to the command of an infantry brigade. Major Thomas Stanhope Flournoy was then made colonel, and, after the Valley Campaign, resigned. Cabell E. Flournoy, who had been made major, became lieutenant-colonel, and John Shack Green, major. In 1863 Julian Harrison was made colonel, but being badly wounded the day he took command, at Brandy Station, never came back again to the regiment.

Cabell E. Flournoy then became colonel, Green, lieutenant-colonel, and Daniel T. Richards, major. After a while Green resigned, Richards became lieutenant-colonel, and D. A. Grimsley, major. After Colonel Cabell Flournoy was killed (two days before second Cold Harbor), Richards became colonel, Grimsley, lieutenant-colonel, and J. A. Throckmorton, major. These gallant officers were leading their men to battle when the banner of the Confederacy was forever furled.

Companys several Captains.

On the morning of the 21st of July, 1861, Captain Hardesty resigned the command of Company D, and Hugh M. Nelson was elected captain, but, not being present, Lieutenant William Taylor, than whom no braver man ever lived, led the company through that [149] terrible day. At the reorganization, in April, 1862, Daniel T. Richards was elected captain, Joseph McK. Kennerly first lieutenant, R. Owen Allen second lieutenant, and Cumberland-George Shumate third lieutenant. After Richard's promotion Kennerley became captain, and in 1864 Nathaniel Willis was elected first lieutenant and William Moore second lieutenant, but they never received their commissions. Of all the officers that commanded Company D, from April, 1861, to April, 1865, but three are living, and Colonel Grimsley is the only survivor of the commanding officers of the 6th Virginia Cavalry Regiment. Our brigade commanders were Generals James E. B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, Beverley H. Robertson, William E. Jones, Lunsford L. Lomax and William H. Payne. General Stuart was afterwards made major-general, commanding all the cavalry, which he did up to the time of his death, at Yellow Tavern, May 12, 1864, when glorious, dashing Wade Hampton was made lieutenant-general, commanding the Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. These thunderbolts of war, having carved their epitaphs with gleaming sabres, need no encomiums nor recitals of their chivalrous deeds. High up in the dazzling niche of fame and glory, they stand as peers of Ney, Murat, and Henry of Navarre.

Fought in many battles.

In all of the following named battles Company D figured conspicuously, and left some of its members upon nearly every field: Capture of Brigadier-General William S. Harney at Harper's Ferry in April, 1861; Falling Waters, Bunker Hill, First Manassas, Second Manassas, Mine Run, Catlett's Station, Auburn, Warrenton Springs, Seven Days battles around Richmond, First Cold Harbor, Second Cold Harbor, Hanover Junction, around McClellan, First Brandy Station, Second Brandy, Third Brandy, Stevensburg, Beverley Ford, Raccoon Ford, Slaughter Mountain, Culpeper, Trevillian, Weyer's Cave, Port Republic, Cross Keys, Front Royal, White Post, Winchester, Berryville, Charlestown, Halltown, Leetown, Shepherdstown, Williamsport, South Mountain, Hanover (in Pennsylvania), Gettysburg, Rollsburg, Moorefield, Fairmount, Grafton, Petersburg (in West Virginia), VVilderness, Yellow Tavern, Reams' Station, advance down the Shenandoah Valley in 1864, Winchester the second, Cedar Creek, Millford, Luray, Newtown, Back Road, New Creek, Lacey Spring, Beverley (in West Virginia), Five Forks, and from Petersburg to Appomattox. In the march around McClellan, [150] Company D went with the 1st Regiment, and was the only one from the 6th Regiment that participated, and that happened by permission of General Stuart, with whom it and the Rockingham companies were great favorites. In the battles around Richmond, Company D and the Rockingham company were the only two companies from the 6th that took part. After General Jackson had whipped Banks, Fremont and Shields in the Valley, he left to pay his respects to McClellan. He took with him the Clarke and Rockingham companies, and left the rest of the cavalry in the Valley. In all but one of these sixty-one engagements there was hard fighting, resulting in the killing, wounding or capture of some of the company. When General Harney was captured there was no fighting. The train was stopped and surrounded, and Lieutenant (afterwards Major) Samuel J. C. Moon, of Clarke, went into the car, brought him out, and sent him to Richmond. There were numerous skirmishes and raids incident to war, of which, for want of space, no mention has been made. At Gettysburg, the 6th Regiment, being on the right of our army, got in the rear of Meade, and had a hard hand-to-hand fight at a place called Fairfield with the 6th United States Regulars, in which the Regulars were badly whipped and fled ingloriously from the field. We thought that Meade was falling back, for everything was in the greatest confusion, and were grievously surprised when we were ordered back ourselves.

The Cavalry was there.

Many writers have been trying to find out where the cavalry was at Gettysburg, and if they had been with this writer, who was trying his level best to obliterate Meade's army, they would have known at least where the 6th Regiment of Virginia Cavalry was. Thank God I have no inclination to criticise any officer, corps, division, brigade, regiment, or company in the whole service, for they deserve and will wear crowns of immortelles. My object, as stated, has been to show to the world in a straightforward and truthful manner the part performed by the 170 men who comprised the Clarke Cavalry, Company D, Sixth Regiment. These were all young men, the flower of Clarke, who kept themselves mounted, clothed, and armed throughout the war. Fifty-two of them only are left, one of whom is sixty-seven years old, and of the remaining fifty-one very few have yet reached or passed sixty. Every one of these survivors were at different times prisoners, and nearly every one of them wears a scar. [151] One hundred and eighteen ‘sleep their last sleep; they have fought their last battle, and no sound can awake them to glory again.’

A company that had 170 men, fought fifty-seven pitched battles, had eighty-three men killed, thirty-five to die after the war, and fifty-two, by no fault of theirs, left wondering how it was possible that they escaped, surely deserve the credit of having tried to do their duty.

On the fourth Thursday in May, 1861, the ordinance of secession was ratified by the people of Virginia by 130,000 majority. It did not wait for that, but had been in the field for more than a month previous to said action. For four long years 500,000 of us, all told, on land and sea, fought more than three millions of soldiers, and absolutely wore ourselves out whipping them. We fought the good fight; we kept the faith—are still keeping it—and when the problems, anxieties, and disappointments that absorbed our energies shall concern us no more, and when we, too, shall have passed away, and those for whom we fought, bled, and died shall have succeeded us in the paths of life and duty, may it, oh may it, be said of us:

Their deeds shine brighter than the stars,
     For daylight hides them never;
Brave men are stars that never set,
     They shine in Heaven forever.

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