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The Keysville Guards.

The Keysville Brigade, of which I was a member, took part in about twenty-five engagements, the least of which would be reckoned as a battle. I will proceed to give a few facts connected with our career as a company, and to make a few remarks on our experience during that time which ‘tried men's souls.’

We began our service in West Virginia, June 15, 1861, under General Robert Selden Garnett, who was killed at Carricks Ford, Cheat River, on our retreat from Laurel Hill. Later we served under General H. R. Jackson at Greenbriar River, in Pocahontas county, thence to the Valley of Virginia with the great ‘Stonewall’ as our leader. Beginning with Hancock, Bath and Romney, we took part in all his strategic moves, and followed him through this entire campaign. General Banks was our objective point at all times. He was famous for carrying a good stock of provisions—a fact which we appreciated and enjoyed almost as much as his own men—for it was a joke commented on by the newspapers of the country at the time, both North and South, ‘that Banks was Jackson's commissary.’

As well as I can recollect, the last work we did while in the Valley was when we defeated him and Milroy at Cross Keys and took possession of some of their provision wagons, sending them back towards Winchester wiser for their severe lesson in the art of war, and sadder for the loss of many men and a good part of their commissary train. For our part, we continued our course to Port Republic, where Jackson fell upon Shields with such force that his army was completely demoralized, and he forced to flee in confusion down the Valley over the same ground he marched his men so confidently a few days before. Jackson was now master of the situation in this part of the State.

After giving us a few days rest at Weyer's Cave, he brought us by forced marches face to face with McClellan, who had just begun seriously to threaten Richmond. Then followed the fighting around Richmond, that resulted in our turning McClellan's right flank and forcing him back upon his gunboats. [147]

By this move the siege of Richmond was raised, McClellan was disposed of, and we were ordered to Culpeper county to meet General Pope, who had just found a new way to Richmond.

At Cedar Mountain, Pope lost his way, his enthusiasm for Richmond, and ultimately his command in consequence of an unfavorable meeting with Jackson's army at this point. Much might be said of this vain Federal officer and his behavior on the occasion of this battle, but as he is not here to defend himself, and has passed to the other side of the river where all of us good soldiers must assemble ere long, I pass by in silence what would not be complimentary to relate.

Second Battle of Manassas, Gaines's Mill, Harper Ferry and Sharpsburg came along in a few days of each other, all resulting favorably to our side, except Sharpsburg, which is conceded by both sides to have been a drawn battle.

Next comes Fredericksburg, with Jackson on the right driving his adversary General Franklin, back over the river to Stafford Heights. This was about December 13, 1862, and the winter practically put an end to further operations in Virginia for this year. We went into winter quarters at Skinker's Neck, and remained here inactive till late in April, 1863.

The next battle in which we were engaged was the one which in my mind, was the greatest of all the battles fought in the Civil War — the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863.

Here Jackson, by one of his rapid, unobserved movements like the tiger's in springing upon his prey, fell suddenly upon General Howard's German troops, throwing them into such confusion that the battle was lost to ‘Fighting Joe,’ and he, too, had to come out of the wilderness and fall back across the Rappahannock River. This move has been discussed a great deal, and just where the credit for the success of it belongs I do not know, but it is generally conceded to Jackson. To say the least of it, it was a grand idea marvelously carried out, and many of the old ‘foot cavalry’ who are alive to-day are proud to say they took part in a movement which was such a grand success against much great odds. But alas, it was a dear victory, for it was here that Jackson lost his life and the Confederacy one of its most substantial pillars. Our leader was taken from us to the [148] other side of the river, leaving us to mourn his loss as a man and a soldier, and to emulate the virtues that raised him to the first rank among the generals of the world. But for his genius as a soldier he could not have won the recognition and praise of the world as he did, and but for his private virtue as a man he could not have left us in his death so priceless a treasure of regret.

We were also at Gettysburg, where heavy strokes were delivered and prodigies of valor performed by Lee's repulsed army during the three days fight there; but when the order came to charge the heights and the strong rock lines on Culp's Hill, I felt in my soul that if only Jackson were here all would be well, for it was always his policy never to assault strongholds or storm positions as impregnable as these. He always found a way to move the enemy, and at the same time save his own men.

The last battle we took part in was the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, one of the bloodiest of the war, and the only one in which I remember seeing General Lee lose his head on being repulsed; but he did on this occasion, and to the extent of attempting to personally lead a charge to recover his broken line. This fight ended our war career, for the whole of Johnson's Division, to which we belonged, was captured at the Bloody Angle on the 12th of May, 1864. We were taken to the northern prison at Fort Delaware, where we spent the next thirteen months till the close of the war.

I have written these few thoughts from memory, which is very vivid as to some of the events of this stormy period, and have done so for the purpose of showing the honorable career of the company to which I belonged, and that I am proud of being a member of it.

Roll of Keysville Guards.

Organized at Keysville, Va., Charlotte county, May 2, 1861, and mustered into the service of the Confederate States of America at Richmond, Va., May 20, 1861. Assigned to the Twenty-third Virginia Regiment, of Virginia Volunteers, William B. Taliaferro, colonel commanding, and designated as Company K.

A. W. Bailey, captain. Died since the war. [149]

G. N. Rails, first lieutenant. Died since the war.

S. T. Walton, second lieutenant. Killed at battle of Mine Run; lieutenant-colonel of regiment.

N. A. Bass, third lieutenant. Whereabouts not known.

W. H. Gregory, first sergeant. Killed at battle of McDowell.

J. H. Pettus, second sergeant. Wounded at Kernstown; living in Charlotte county.

A. B. Crawford, third sergeant. Lost left arm at Sharpsburg; living in Charlotte county.

H. G. Fore, fourth sergeant. Died in hospital in Highland county, Va.

Mike Shellings, first corporal. Died at Pikesville, Md., Soldiers' Home.

Joseph Robinson, second corporal. Died since the war.

R. S. Ward, third corporal. Lost left arm at McDowell; living near Keysville, Va.

P. A. Booth, fourth corporal. Killed at Brandy Station.

John A. Tucker, company commissary. Living at Rocksboro, N. C.


Anderson, C. B. Wounded and died.

Ashworth, W. A. Dead.

Ashworth, A. W. Wounded at Second Battle of Manassas: living in Lunenburg county.

Atwell, Wm. Missing at battle of Laurel Hill.

Burke, J. A. At Soldiers' Home, Richmond, Va.

Brooks, I. P. Dead.

Berry, Jerry. Missing.

Barry, John. Wounded; died in hospital.

Bentley, David. Died in hospital.

Cox, Richard. Killed at battle of Chancellorsville.

Cox, C. H. Living in Prince Edward county.

Cole, J. D. Dead.

Cole, Henry. Killed at battle of the Wilderness.

Cook, Josiah. Lost left arm at battle of McDowell; dead.

Cassada, W. H. Dead.

Couch, Wm. B. Dead. [150]

Crawford, J. M. Dead.

Crenshaw, J. D. Died in hospital during the war.

Crenshaw, G. O. Wounded at Carrick's Ford; died.

Crenshaw, J. N. Dead.

Creed, Daniel. Missing.

Davenport, W. J. Killed at Drakes' Branch, Va.

Dixon, Wm. Missing on Laurel Hill retreat.

Evans, W. S. Killed, 1864.

Eubank, W. L. Transferred; dead.

Eubank, James F. Living in Lunenburg county.

Eubank, Philip. Killed at Kernstown.

Estes, James. Died in hospital.

Fleming, Ned. Discharged as British subject; dead.

Fleming, Wm. Wounded at Greenbrier River; dead.

Fore, James. Transferred to artillery; dead.

Foster, W. D. Wounded at Sharpsburg; living in Charlotte county.

Foster, J. T. Living in Charlotte county.

Goode, W. O. Dead.

Hankins, Ed. Died at Fort Delaware.

Hankins, T. C. Wounded at Kernstown; dead.

Hankins, L. A. Wounded; dead.

Hankins, J. H. Living in Charlotte county.

Howard, John. Died at Fort Delaware.

Haley, J. E. Wounded at Second Battle Manassas; living in Charlotte county.

Harris, J. H. Dead.

Keeling, A. W. Dead.

Lee, J. H. Transferred to cavalry; dead.

Lock, Thomas. Killed at Mine Run.

McLean, George. Missing.

Morris, M. C. Living at Strasburg, Va.

Morton, James. Killed at Strasburg.

Mayes, Moseley. Soldiers' Home.

McCargo, John. Living near Reedsville, N. C.

Mahoney, Cain. Killed at Carrick's Ford.

Palmore, N. C. Soldiers' Home.

Pettus, J. O. Killed at Kernstown. [151]

Purcell, W. E. Died in hospital.

Roberts, B. A. Living at Chase City, Va.

Robinson, John. Dead.

Robinson, M. Wounded at Second Battle of Manassas; dead.

Robinson, C. T. Dead.

Robinson, Wm. Died in hospital.

Rosser, E. L. Dead.

Rawlins, M. Died in hospital at Winchester, Va.

Sharp, Moses. Died in hospital.

Shannon, James. Missing.

Smith, W. P. Living at Amelia Courthouse, Va.

Tatum, S. C. Died at Fort Delaware.

Ward, Taylor. Wounded; living near Keysville, Va.

Ward, Wm. Dead.

Webb, Wyart. Living at Boydton, Va.

Weatherford, John. Died in field hospital.

Willis, S. M. Living near Keysville, Va.

Williams, A. H. Wounded at Bloody Angle, Spotsylvania county, living near Charlotte Courthouse.

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