In sending a sketch of Capt. L. H. Waters for the Veteran's "Last Roll" Col. James Bumgardner, of Staunton, Va., includes a group picture of the West Augusta Guard, of whom he is the only survivor, and writes: "Of the officers of the West Augusta Guard, which was organized just before the organization of the 3d Regiment of Virginia Volunteers (afterwards the 5th Regiment Virginia Infantry of the Stonewall Brigade), Capt. W. S. H. Baylor (afterwards Colonel Baylor, of the 5th Infantry) was killed in the second battle of Manassas, Lieut. Henry King Cochran was killed just after the burning of Chambersburg, Lieut. (afterwards Capt.) Thomas A. Burke died three years ago, and Captain Waters recently."
Colonel Bumgardner is mentioned in "War Records," Series I., Volume XII., Part I., page 393, by Colonel Harmon, who states: "It is due to my personal staff to mention Adjt. James Bumgardner in the very highest terms for his gallantry and intrepidity."
Bibliographic Information: Source copy consulted: "Officers of the West Augusta Guard," Confederate Veteran, Volume 21, 1913, p. 343.
Summary: An obituary of Captain James H. Waters, a soldier in the Virginia 5th Infantry Division.
Capt. James H. Waters departed this life on May 13, 1913, at the Odd Fellows' Home in Lynchburg, Va., in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He came from New Jersey to Staunton, Va., in 1850. He engaged in business, married Miss Elizabeth Carroll, a native of Staunton, and promptly identified himself with the people of that place. He was one of the original enlisted members of that renowned volunteer company, the West Augusta Guard, which was organized in 1858, was in service during the John Brown raid in 1859, and on during the entire period of the War of the States. It was in service during the late war with Spain, and is now one of the best companies in the volunteer military service of Virginia.
At the organization of the company Captain Waters was elected first lieutenant; and when the company was ordered to Charlestown during the John Brown raid, Capt. (afterwards Col.) William S. H. Baylor (who was later killed at Manassas on August 29, 1862, while leading the Stonewall Brigade in a desperate charge) was prostrated with typhoid fever, and Captain Waters commanded the company.
The West Augusta Guard was of the 5th Regiment of Virginia Infantry, in the Stonewall Brigade. This regiment was organized about the 12th of April, 1861, as "a volunteer regiment of Virginia militia," and William S. H. Baylor, captain of the West Augusta Guard, was made colonel.
On April 17, 1861, the West Augusta Guard, under command of Lieutenant Waters, by command of the Governor of Virginia, left Staunton for Harper's Ferry. The order of the Governor reached Staunton about 8 A.M. of that day, and the company embarked about 6 P.M. of the same day. There were of the company on that April day (1861) one hundred and twenty-five men, rank and file. When the roll was called, one hundred and twenty-three answered to their names and boarded the train. Captain Waters was commissioned as captain in May, 1861, and commanded the company at Falling Waters, First Manassas, during the Romney expedition of General Jackson, and at Kernstown. In July, 1862, he was made commissary of the 5th Regiment with the rank of captain, and was soon afterwards made commissary of the Stone-wall Brigade, and served in that capacity until the close of the war.
In 1880 he was made chief of the police department of Staunton, in which capacity he rendered devoted and efficient service until 1900, when he was retired by reason of advanced age and infirmity. After his retirement as chief of police of Staunton, Captain Waters went to the Odd Fellows' Home in Lynchburg, where he remained until his death. His funeral service was held in the Odd Fellows' Home, after which his body was transported to Staunton and on the 15th of May, 1913, was buried in Thornrose Cemetery. His body was followed to its final resting place by the three sole survivors of the men who originally enlisted in the West Augusta Guard-viz., Henry Hyer, William Wholly, and James Bumgardner, Jr.
Captain Waters was a member of the Episcopal Church, and his entire life was an illustration of the best and noblest qualities of the Christian, the soldier, and the gentleman.
Bibliographic Information: Source copy consulted: Confederate Veteran, Vol. 21, 1913, p. 346
The Grave of William Ephraim Woodward. He died at 1st Manassas, his last words were " I'll never retreat. Victory or death."
He is buried in Thornrose Cemetery.
The West Augusta Guards of Staunton, who have been on duty at Charlestown for the last ten days or two weeks, returned home on last Tuesday. They were met at the cars by a large number of admiring friends, desirous of welcoming the "returned soldiers." After parading Main street they proceeded to their armory room, where was prepared for them by the citizens, a substantial banquet, to which they paid their compliments as only men who have been fed on crackers and middling for some time can. No one could have helped noticing the immense improvement in the drill of the Guards since they have been on duty. If no other good should result from the ordering of troops to Charlestown than the improvement of our volunteer corps, this of itself would be sufficient to justify the movement. All the members seemed to be in the finest spirits, and although glad to get home, they, to a man, express their entire readiness to perform any duty in defence of their State which its Executiv! e may think necessary.
--The ladies, who never weary in doing, are busily engaged in the very laudable purpose of getting up a fair, to be held in the Town Hall, on the 22d of Feb., for the benefit of the new and elegant volunteer company, lately organized in our town. The mere fact that the ladies are engaged in this undertaking is the surest omen of its complete success.-- We understand that the proceeds of the fair are to be appropriated to the fitting up of an armory and drill-room for the company. The ladies of the town and county, it is hoped, will contribute liberally towards the success of the enterprise, for the object is a good one, and with the ladies it cannot fail.
The morning of the 22d was ushered in by the beating of drums and the firing of rifles,--and here we would remark that no one can form an idea of the pleasing sensations one experiences when awakened by the noise of drum and fife, about three o' clock in the morning; first the delightful impression that you are in a city about to be stormed, with floating visions of hideous grenadiers and armed caveliers, then an undefined but exquisite feeling of doubt and uncertainty as to "what's the row," and then comes the crowning pleasure of knowing you are wide- awake, past redemption; oh! it is glorious. But to return to the 22d. The day was enlivened by the parading of the gallant West Augusta Guards, accompanied by the Mountain Sax-horn Band, which the while, electrified with martial music the warlike souls of the gallant soldiery.
The celebration of the day was concluded by a fair given at the Town Hall, by the ladies of the town, for the benefit of the "Guard." A beautiful banner was presented to the company in an eloquent and appropriate address by Mr. James H. Skinner, and received by Capt. Wm. H. Baylor, in a speech marked by elegance and grace. We regret very much that we cannot adorn this issue of our paper with the graceful addresses of the two gentlemen above named. We were happy to hear that the fair succeeded beyond the expectations of all, and the proceeds will be amply sufficient to meet all the purposes for which it was given.
Last Monday was a stirring day in Staunton. What with the beating of drums, the waving of plumes, the flashing of bayonets, and the flying of colors, the good old town became so bewildered and unsettled that we verily believe it will take at least a month for it to regain its original natural and dignified appearance. The companies present were the Monticello Guard, a fine looking, well-uniformed and well-drilled company, commanded by Capt. Mallory, of Charlottesville; the Continental Morgan Guard, of Winchester, who, uniformed as the heroes of '76, and commanded by Major Washington--a near relative of the immortal Father of his country-- irresistibly carried the mind back to those days so dear to every American heart-- those times which tried men's souls; the Mountain Guard, commanded by Col. Bushong, from Spring Hill, in this county, as fine looking a body of men as we ever saw, but lately organized and consequently but imperfectly drilled; the uniformed officers of the militia of the county, and last, but not least, the West Augusta Guard, who well sustained the military reputation of Staunton. There were also several fine bands present on the occasion, whose excellent music added greatly to the attractions of the day.
The military and citizens, after parading the principal streets of the town, adjourned over to the Institution grounds, adjoining the premises of Mr. H. J. Gray, who had kindly offered the use of his yard for the purposes of the pic-nic. A speech was here delivered by Mr. Sheffey, the orator of the day, which we did not hear, but which is spoken of in terms of eulogy. The Declaration of Independence was then read for the benefit of all patriots with an insane desire to be bored, and the crowd passed to Mr. Gray's yard, where an immense amount of eating and drinking was done, and speeches delivered by Maj. Washington, Col. Terrill, Gen. Harman, Mayor Trout, Capt. Harper, John D. Imboden, Esq., James Cochran, Esq., Capt. Mallory, Lieut. Wertembaker, and others, in response to sentiments.
We were present at but small part of the celebration, and could not, if we had space, give a detailed account of the proceedings. From all we could see and hear, what with the eating, drinking, fighting, shouting, speechifying, and playing the devil generally, the day passed off to the excessive delight and satisfaction of all concerned, except some few poor devils with bunged eyes and skinned faces, who, we must confess, seemed prepared to "pitch into" the first fellow, who, in the excessive kindness of his heart, might wish him "many returns of the same happy day."
For the Vindicator
Mr. Editor: The Ladies of Staunton propose holding a Fair for the purpose of providing Tents for the "West Augusta Guard," on the 22nd of February--in which they invite the ladies in the neighborhood to join them.
In view of the probable call soon to be made, on this, as well as all the volunteer Companies of our State, to defend us against Northern aggression; it seems needless to appeal to the patriotism of any of Virginia's daughters to lend their aid, with willing hands and hearts in this work of necessity, for the comfort of those, who have shown by their prompt and efficient service at Harper's Ferry, that the spirit of "76" still burns in the hearts of Virginia's Sons. Let then the daughters of Old Augusta show that the same spirit actuates them, to cheer the brave Soldier on, and by providing the necessary covering from the night dews and the pitiless blast, the thought that the fair hands of mothers, wives, sisters and those dearer than all have wrought this for them, will lighten the vigors of the Soldier's life and inspire them with fresh valor.
For the Vindicator.
Messrs. Editors: ---- In your last issue. I perceive, you state, upon my authority, that $300 was all that was raised by the people of this county, for the benefit of the volunteers who went to
Knowing that you unintentionally misrepresented me, I ask you to publish this card.
Respectfully yours & c
WM. S. H. BAYLOR
The West Augusta Guard, we learn recovered their pay from the State on Wednesday last, for their services at
Lieut. J. H. Waters, $67.12; Lieut. H. K. Cochran, 58.65; Orderly Sergeant J. C. Marquis, $51.42; Sergeants Keefe, Eagleman, and Blackburn, $52.42 each; Corporals Frasier, Wilson, Bare, and Maphis, $40.42; two musicians, each $37.42
We have not learned as yet whether the Mountain Guards have received their pay, but promise the amount will be about the same.
The Vindicator Staunton, VA Friday, March 16, 1860
The Vindicator Staunton, VA Friday, March 16, 1860
Staunton Artillery. This company turned out in full uniform on Saturday evening last and paraded the streets for some three hours, notwithstanding the day was very unfavorable. Under the training of their Captains and aids, the Artillery and West Augusta Guards bid fair, at no distant day, to reflect credit on Staunton.
This company turned out in full uniform on Saturday evening last and paraded the streets for some three hours, notwithstanding the day was very unfavorable. Under the training of their Captains and aids, the Artillery and West Augusta Guards bid fair, at no distant day, to reflect credit on Staunton.
This company turned out in full uniform on Saturday evening last and paraded the streets for some three hours, notwithstanding the day was very unfavorable. Under the training of their Captains and aids, the Artillery and West Augusta Guards bid fair, at no distant day, to reflect credit on Staunton.
Republican Vindicator May 18, 1860
Our city has been enlivened during the week by the presence and military training of the officers of the different volunteer and militia companies in the county, under the direction of Col. J. W. Massie, of Rockbridge. A finer looking corps of officers we have never seen. The General Muster of the 160th Regiment took place at Spring Hill on yesterday. The 32d will parade at Fisherville to-day; and the 93rd at Middlebrook to-morrow.
On Wednesday evening the ceremony of presenting a sword to Capt. Wm. S. H. Baylor, by his company, the West Augusta Guard, and a banner to the Staunton Artillery, by the ladies of Staunton, took place in front of the American Hotel. Both companies made their appearance in full uniform and numbers, and truly the exhibition was handsome. Not in Virginia is there a military organization that surpasses in soldierly appearance, perfect discipline, and intrinsic and substantial worth, the military organizations of Augusta County. Col. Massie addressed the officers present in a patriotic strain for a few moments, after which the presentation of a beautiful Damascus steel sword to Capt. W. S. H. Baylor, was made on the part of the West Augusta Guard, by Lieut. James Bumgardner, in a [word missing] and beautiful address, and received by Capt. Baylor in a few eloquent and appropriate remarks. The scabbard bears the inscription--"A token of affection and confidence from the West Augusta Guard to their Commander, Capt. Wm. S. H. Baylor, May, 1860." The blade is inscribed with the sentences--"The Citizen Soldier." "Vel [word missing], vel bello, clarum fieri licet." There are various devices on the scabbard, beautifully arranged, which contribute in making it a most becoming and complimentary testimonial of a brave soldiery to a brilliant, chivalrous, intelligent, and competent commander. Capt. Baylor's company is sincerely attached to him both in the capacity of citizen and soldier, and justly so, for he merits the confidence and esteem of his sterling company.
After the sword presentation, Gen. Wm. H. Harman, on behalf of the ladies of Staunton, presented an elegant Banner, wrought by their hands, to the Staunton Artillery, in a strain of unaffected eloquence and feeling, which was received by Capt. John D. Imboden, in the name of his company, in a speech inspiring in historical incident, that excited a genuine glow of patriotism in every heart. The banner is marked on one side with--"From the ladies of Staunton, May 16, 1860." "Nemo me impune lacessit." On the other--"Staunton Artillery, Organized Nov. 28, 1859." On the top of the stuff is a handsome bronzed eagle, with wings out- spread, indicating the onward tendency and destiny of the stars and stripes. Indeed, it was a most significant evidence of the patriotic impulses of the beautiful and accomplished ladies of our city, and a pleasing assurance that their "hearts must be easy, for they're in the right place." Could the patriotic daughter of the war of 1812, who bid even her fair-haired boy go, and never return until the polluting feet of Tarleton and his men had been driven from the soil of Augusta, have witnessed the smiling, beaming, bright, beautiful countenances of her sex as they glowed under the impulse of patriotic love on this occasion, she might have felt that the spirit that animated her still survived in the hearts of the fair daughters of West Augusta.
The concourse assembled to witness the ceremony was very large, consisted of men, women and children, and everything passed off most delightfully and harmoniously--the companies closing the exercises with three cheers and a tiger, a salute from the Artillery, and a parade through the principal streets of the city.
Although dating its organization much later than the Guard, the Artillery promises to equal it in the elegance of its uniform, the discipline of its officers, and the worth and high character of its men. Both companies are a credit and honor to the county, and distant be the day when the shall slacken in their spirit and enterprise, or diminish in their numbers.
The West Augusta Guard, Capt. Baylor of Staunton, paid a visit to the Monticello Guard, of Charlottesville. They were handsomely entertained by their Military friends across the Ridge, and came back delighted with the trip.
Republican Vindicator March 1, 1861
22nd of February.
This national holiday was appropriately celebrated by the military of Staunton. Early in the morning the two volunteer companies--West Augusta Guard, Capt. Baylor, the Staunton Artillery, Capt. Imboden, and the Cadets of Henderson's High School, under their tutor, Mr. Henderson--formed into line near the American Hotel, and proceeding through our principal streets, accompanied by Turner's Cornet Band, marched to the parade ground, in the northern limit of the town, whence, after going through various evolutions, they returned to the place of starting. An encampment was then formed in Stuart's meadow--tents pitched, guards appointed, and all the other minutia of camp life strictly observed. The scene reminded us of other days, when afar off, we experienced the romantic excitement and deprivation of actual campaigning-- when all eyes were on the qui vive for the stealthy approach of the red skins, or the evidence of their whereabouts as given in the lazily curling smoke raising from the camp fires in the distance. Forgetting that, although a peaceful sky arched above us and smiling friends greeted us at every step, we were nevertheless under the control of military discipline and regulations, we attempted to leave the encampment and pass the guard line. No sooner were hailed, "who comes" [from the] post than we [line missing] . . . knowing the countersign, we of course, said nothing; whereupon the aforesaid sentinel bellowed out, "Corporal of the Guard, post number seven." Four soldiers and the Corporal came marching up as if to storm a fort. We instantly arrested them, and proceeding with them to the officer of the day, Lt. Waters, we arrested the commander of the company, Capt. Baylor, all of whom we released on the conditions that they would treat to the refreshments necessary on the occasion, and permit us thereafter to go whithersoever we listeth. These conditions being complied with, and having partaken of the contents of the mess chests of Capts. Imboden and Baylor, we vamosed the encampment, and sought a retreat less exposed to the rigors of military discipline. We were surprised at the promptness with which the tents were pitched and the familiarity displayed with all the regulations of camp life. Considering that but very few of the members of these companies have ever seen actual service in arms, they exhibited a remarkable facility in the arrangement and execution of all their plans. It evidences application of no ordinary degree on the part both of officers and men.
At night a grand fair and entertainment was given at the new depot for the benefit of the "West Augusta Guard." We have never seen so large an attendance on any similar occasion, for the reason, we suppose, that heretofore fairs have been gotten up for the benefit of some particular religious denomination. But here Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian made common cause, and contributed to swell the crowd as well as the income of the entertainment. The nett [sic] amount realized was over $600.
Altogether, the celebration of the 22d passed off very agreeably, and to the gratification of our citizens. No unpleasant incident marred the proceedings of the day, save an occasional boisterous demonstration from a disciple of John Barleycorn.
Staunton Spectator April 16, 1861
At a meeting of the Commissioned Officers of the several Volunteer Companies of Augusta County, held at the Clerk's Office of the Hustings Court of the Town of Staunton, on the 18th of April, 1861, Col. Wm. D. Anderson, Colonel of 160th Regiment, being in the Chair, the following resolution was offered and adopted by a vote by companies:
RESOLVED, That we, Commissioned Officers in the following Volunteer Companies in the county of Augusta; to wit:
The West Augusta Guard,
The Union Greys,
The Augusta Greys,
The Southern Guard,
The Augusta Rifles,
The Valley Rangers,
The Staunton Artillery,
comprising an aggregate of 422 men, rank and file, uniformed and armed, do hereby agree to the formation of a Regiment of Volunteers to be numbered the 5th, pursuant to the provisions of the 26th Chapter of the Code of 1860, and that we proceed to organize the same by the election of a Colonel, Lieut. Colonel and two Majors under an order from General Head Quarters, dated the 27th of March, 1861, and addressed to Col. Wm. D. Anderson, Col. of the 160th Regiment.
On motion, James Bumbgardner, jr., was appointed Secretary.
The meeting then proceeded to the election of Field Officers, which resulted as follows: For Colonel, Capt. Wm. S. H. Baylor; for Lieut. Colonel, Capt. Absolom Coiner; for 1st. Major, Capt. F. f. Sterrett; for 2d Major, Col. Rudloph Turk.
The following resolutions were then offered and adopted:
RESOLVED, That the County Court of this county, at its next (April) term, be earnestly requested to make such appriation to this Regiment, and the Companies that may hereafter unite with it as may seem to it proper and liberal.
RESOLVED, That Thos. J. Michie, Col. John B. Baldwin, Hugh W. Sheffey and Gen. Wm. H. Harman be requested to present the claims of the Regiment to the said Court and urge upon it the necessity of such an appropriation.
RESOLVED, That the Volunteer Companies of this county not here represented be respectfully solicited to unite with this Regiment.
RESOLVED, That a Committee, be appointed, consisting of the Field Officers and the Commandants of the companies comprising this Regiment and the companies intending to join it, whose duty it shall be to prepare By-Laws for the government of this Regiment; said Committee to be called together by the Colonel.
RESOLVED, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Staunton papers.
On motion the meeting adjourned.
J. BUMGARDNER, Jr., Sec'y.
The Republican Vindicator April 26, 1861
For the Vindicator.
Head Quarters, 5th Reg't Va. Vol's.
Camp Hill, Harper's Ferry,
April 22d, 1861
Mr. Editor:--My duty to the relatives of the men composing my command makes me impose upon your columns a few lines. I am glad to say that all of my men, with but one or two exceptions, are and have been well, and in the finest spirits. A portion of my regiment, the West Augusta Guard, and a battery of two pieces of the Staunton Artillery is now encamped on the most romantic and commanding spots about Harper's Ferry. It is the most important post here, and I have been assigned the command, with old Augusta's boys, to hold it against any force. It is the post of danger, and therefore the post of honour, and we will maintain it against every enemy. You and your readers must pardon seeming vanity, Mr. Editor, for the pride which I have for the gallant fellows under me, may make me exceed propriety. Their conduct reminds me of the glorious deeds of our forefathers, and their name and memory shall never be disgraced by their sons. All of my men are contented, and have adapted themselves to the strict rule of military life, and the arduous duties of the camp. Thanks to the ladies, and our liberal citizens, we are the best equipt command, and if they could only see us on duty, I know they would be satisfied that their generous liberality was not improperly bestowed.
We have all been working hard, and Gen. Harman's command has been by far the most active here, and I would not believe that any one could do the work and lose the rest that all of us have done. I have not had off my clothes since I left Staunton; I am sure I have not slept ten hours all put together. The men work willingly, eat heartily, and sleep as soundly on the ground, as a prince in a palace.--They are ready for a fight, and I believe are eager to show their courage in driving back any invading foe. Great enthusiasm animates all, and should the vicegerent of the arch-fiend dare send his minions to Old Virginia, we will repel them, or leave the memory of brave men for our friends to revere.
I wish Mr. Editor, you would draw a comparison between the soldiers here. I am sure old Augusta would not suffer by it. The Staunton companies exceed any here in number by at least twenty, whilst the county companies (Captain Koiner's and Captain Crawford's) are larger than the majority of others here. The 5th Regiment will be the flower.
I promised the friends of my soldiers that I would be a brother to them. I intend to redeem the promise. I will spare no pains to make them comfortable. None of them shall suffer. I trust their friends will give themselves no trouble or concern about them. God is on our side. He will defend the right.
We ask the prayers of our friends for our success. We will do our duties as men--as men of Augusta. I write in greta haste, with a thousand things pressing upon me. When more leisure comes, I will write fully to you.
Wm. S.H. Baylor
P.S.--If a fight occurs, we will be the first in it, and the last out of it. We have Minnie muskets, which by our vigilance we captured, so we will be paid for our trouble, even if we don't have a fight.
Clol. Kenton Harper
I am sorry you construe the resolutions as mutinous & tending to insubordination. I did not so construe them, and I am satisfied that such was not the intention of those, who passed them, with the exception of a copy, which I sent to Clol. George Bales, Staunton, I have not nor will not be responsible for their circulation.
I have brought the matter to the attention of the officer, who signed them & will leave to them what shall be done. I deem it due to myself to say that the fact of my sending you the resolutions should have argued, that I did not consider them as containing anything derogatory to you.
Wm S. H. Baylor
3rd June 1861
I send you the shirts as per Your Order. Your letter was received in due time and it was read with much pleasure. I glad to see that you are well satisfied and enjoying the luxuries of the land or at least a part. Henry arrived safe home on last Thursday from Richmond he [unclear: start] back this morning for the same place he says he has an appointment in the provisional army of Virginia or he says he will in all probability take an office in the Wise Legion. The West Augusta G. I suppose treated Henry badly - how is the company getting along now. With the absence of Henry & Baylor - Baylor will accept the [unclear: mayorship] - we have had quite an exciting time in town for a week past. We have two or three suspicious characters [unclear: lodged] in Jail. They are thought to be spys. I don't know what will be done with them. We had a fire here onlast Monday Evening about 4 oclock Old [unclear: Ma Shumates] stable caught & Burnt to the ground the wind was blowing a perfect torrent and several other houses caught from the Stable, but
they we all put out. but considerable damage done to the property & furniture.
My Dear Boy. I am almost worn out - the old Militia have been ordered out in some of the Western Counties the next pass old [unclear: Letcher] makes it will take all, & then we'll all go to Dixie land together. Several of the Boys is going down and they will tell you all the news. I have several other letters to write to night and it is now late, so I must close with the hope seeing you ere long Write soon
G. J. Dalius
My regards to all the Boys.
P.S. I wish you would see John Bucker and ask him what he did with the Bundle he carried down for Sandy Cochran tell him to hand it over to Geo. M Cochran
It is with very great pleasure that we announce a glorious victory achieved chiefly by the heroic bravery of the Augusta boys. On Tuesday morning last, a portion of the 5th Virginia Regiment, under the command of Col. Harper, with the Artillery Company of Capt. Pendleton of Rockbridge and a company (Continental Morgan Guard) from Winchester, numbering in all only 880 men, met the enemy, supposed to be about 9000, six miles from Martinsberg in Berkely county,--repulsed them three times, held them in check for two hours, killed between 150 and 200 of the enemy, wounded many more, and captured 54 prisoners. The loss on our side was only three killed, and 8 or 9 wounded. As our brave and gallant little force was so small as to be in danger of being flanked by the enemy, as they had such a very large force, our men retreated slowly, firing with deadly effect all the time. We have always felt satisfied that the Augusta boys would show, if an opportunity presented, that they were as brave as the bravest. We have not been disappointed--they have covered themselves with glory. Though encountering an overwhelming force, they were unawed, and fought with the calmness of veterans and the bravery of heroes. Our field officers, Col. Kenton Harper, Lieut. Col. Wm. H. Harman and Maj. Wm. S. H. Baylor were all in this action, and all behaved with remarkable coolness and bravery. If there be any fault at all with our officers or men it consists in want of a sufficient degree of that "rascally virtue--prudence," for we understood that Col. Jackson, who witnessed the heroic conduct of our men, remarked that it was with the greatest difficulty that they could be made to obey the most peremptory order to retreat. We lost but three men in this action--Geo. Rupe, of this county, a member of Capt. Doyle's company, and two--Farrish and Snapp--of the Winchester "Continental Morgan Guard."
Among the wounded, there were three from this town--Jack Doyle, a son of Capt. Doyle, D.A. Kennedy and Philip Maphis. Jack Doyle was wounded in the neck by a fragment of an exploded shell. D.A. Kennedy was shot in the breast, and Philip Maphis in the arm and side.
None of these are seriously wounded and will soon recover.
Geo. Rupe was shot in the thigh and bled to death.
Jas. Brooke, of this place, made a very narrow escape. He was at a fence firing away at the enemy, when a cannon ball took off two top rails. He stooped a little lower and continued to return the compliment with his minnie.
Little Charley Turner, a boy about 15 years of age, insisted so strongly on going with the Augusta Guards that his father finally yielded to his importunities and allowed him to go. The result shows that little Charley went to perform service, for he made one of the enemy bite the dust.
Our forces fell back and took position two miles from Martinsburg on the road to Winchester where they have been joined by all of Gen. Johnson's force.
Camp at Buckleysville
6 miles South of Martinsburg
July 4th, 1861.
Having a leisure moment this morning, I thought I would give you a short sketch of our engagement with the enemy on Tuesday last, six miles below Martinsburg. Our Regiment, the 5th, marched from our old encampment (Camp Stephens) at 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning, and had advanced about 2 1/2 miles when the advance guard, consisting of the West Augusta Guard, Capt. Waters and the Rockbridge Rifles, Capt. Letcher, came in sight of the enemy only a few hundred yards from, and advancing towards us. Our advance companies were under charge of Col. Baylor, who immediately deployed the West Augusta Guard on the right of the main road, who were the first to open fire on the enemy. Capt. Letcher's Company was deployed in the rear of the West Augusta Guard. Our fire was a very hot one, and the enemy's deploying column was forced to fall back to the main body. We then advanced upon them from some distance--Col. Baylor in the meantime had thrown Capt. Letcher's Company on the right of us, who immediately took a position behind a fence parallel to and one field distant from the main road, when the enemy made another advance, but fell fast from the well-aimed guns of our Companies. The other Companies were now thrown into fine attacking positions, but I was so busy that I am unable to give you a description of their position or their effect. Our men were fighting under a heavy fire all the time, and it is wonderfully remarkable that our loss was not much greater, only two killed and three or four missing. The balls were whistling all around us, and shells bursting over our heads all the time. We had three of the West Augusta Guard slightly wounded--Jack Doyle, Kennedy and Maphis--who were sent to Winchester. The boys fought like Trojans, and never fell back till commanded two or three times to do so. Much of our efficiency id due to Col. Baylor, under whose immediate command we (the W. A. Guard) were. He was all the time in the thickest of the fight, encouraging and commanding the deploying companies. We were engaged nearly two hours, but really we had no idea it was more than 80 minutes. Cols. Harper and Harman, who were directing the other Companies, are reported to have conducted themselves very coolly and bravely. The loss of the enemy is reported to be at least 100, besides upwards of 50 prisoners we took from them. We expect a big fight to-day at Martinsburg. I have not time to write more. All is excitement and confusion in Camp, and all are eager for another fight, which we will be into in a few hours I suppose.
Report of Captain James Harley Waters, Fifth Virginia Volunteers
SUPPLEMENT TO O.R. - VOL. 1: REPORTS
ADDENDUM TO SERIES I, VOL 2, p. 191
Dear Sir: I have to report to you that neither my company nor myself was at Stone Bridge on the evening of July 21 as, unser your order, I had taken my whole company near the house on the hill above the battery with instructions to search for the dead and wounded and carry them off the field.
I had with me at the battery more than two-thirds of my company, which went into the battle eighty strong and but for those sent back with the wounded and killed during the fight, I think I might have counted at the battery all but three or four. I do not know of any that left the filed without my leave.
J. H. Waters
Captain, [West Augusta Guards] Company L
Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteers
Captain Waters had my consent to look after his killed and wounded as stated. The order to march in pursuit was recieved after my consent was given and I could delay to collect his company.
[John w. Daniel Papers(#158), Manuscripts Division, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library]
For the Spectator.
Four miles N. of Winchester,
July 8th, 1861.
Friend Mauzy:--I avail myself of the first moment of leisure to give you some account of what I saw of the combat of the 2nd of July, between our Regiment, (the 5th,) aided by one gun of Capt. Pendleton's battery, and the Federal forces under General Patterson. We received orders to march and took up our line of march toward the enemy at quarter past 7, a.m. After proceeding along the road leading from Winchester to Williamsport, about three miles, the column was halted, and the West Augusta Guard, Capt. Waters, consulting our advance guard, were deployed, to the right of our line of march, as skirmishers. They were soon supported by the Rockbridge Rifles, Capt. Letcher. On our left Capt. Grinnan's Company were thrown out; Capt. Avis' Company pushed forward along the road, closely followed Capt. Newton's, Capt. Williams', Capt. Roberts', Capt. Antrim's and Capt. Doyle's Companies. The skirmishers on the right were led and placed in order by Maj. Baylor, whose coolness and skill called forth the praise of the whole command; his bearing was most admirable, and would have done credit to a veteran. After the deployment of our skirmishers the firing soon began. The balls from the enemy flew thick and fast over our heads, and their whizzing was by no means pleasant music. I saw, and also did, some considerable dodging of the head, but soon became accustomed to the sound. The whole Regiment pressed on rapidly, and all were soon under fire. The first thing that attracted my attention was the fact that the enemy's line of skirmishers outflanked us to the right and left by many hundred yards; but they seemed to have but little stomach for the fight, many of them breaking to the rear and throwing off their knapsacks and blankets as they ran away. When I came in view of the centre of our line, about 100 yards in advance, Capt. Avis was hotly engaged with the enemy who had stationed themselves behind Porterfield's house and the adjacent farm buildings on the left of the main road. Here the fire was very heavy. Capt. Avis massed his company and ordered a charge with the bayonet, which order was promptly and gallantly executed, and the enemy, in great numbers, fled in wild confusion from their places of shelter. They ran through an orchard in the rear of the house where they were exposed to a heavy fire from Avis', Roberts', Williams', Antrim's and Doyle's Companies. Great numbers of them fell, and the ground was littered with their blankets thrown away in their rapid flight. Avis continued the pursuit to the left, as did Grinnan still farther to the left. Newton's, Roberts', Williams', Antrim's and Doyle's companies continued to advance along the main road to a log barn or stable on the right of the road which building was surrounded by a high post and rail and a stake and ridered fence enclosing the stable yard. These last named companies were ordered to take shelter behind the stable or barn. The fire from the enemy at this point was very heavy and the balls were incessantly pattering upon the fence and upon the roof of the stable. The men essayed to climb on the fence; Capt. Doyle ordered them to desist, and stepped out of the line and opened a gate leading into the yard, through which the men passed rapidly into the yard without loss. At this point the battery of the enemy opened upon us with shell; the projectile passed at least 100 feet over our heads. The sun shone upon it in passing over, and the sound of the burning fuse resembled the escape of steam from a small engine, and the smoke from the fuse in the sunlight looked like steam. One of the men enquired with great earnestness, that's a "steam firing," ain't it? A second soon followed, coming still nearer to the roof of the stable. It seemed the enemy were aiming at us. Col. Harper ordered the companies behind the barn to file out to the right to an open wheat field partly cut and shocked. Capt. Doyle led out at the head of his company, and led the way, followed by the rest down a ravine so as to shelter the men from the enemy's fire. At this point, one of Capt. Doyle's men was mortally wounded. He was taken up by his comrades and carried about 250 yards to a branch, where he was left, being quite dead. We then retired to a wood on the right of the line from whence we originally advanced. We had driven in the enemy's whole line of skirmishers under the protection of their guns. When the enemy's battery opened upon us, our whole command were within 250 yards of it. The whole force of the enemy was drawn up in the order of battle. On the top of the hill at about the same distance from us, (it was not until the battery opened fire that I saw the enemy drawn up in position,) their number, I think, was not less than 5,000. From our position in the hollow I could not see the battery, and did not get a sight of it until we had ascended the hill on our side of the hollow, as we fell back to our original position. The enemy's skirmishers, whom we had driven in, outnumbered us in the proportion of at least three to one. After our retreat to the right ground on one side of the hollow, I distinctly saw the skirmishers whom we had driven from the field rallying in the rear of the enemy's line of battle. They rallied in two bodies and were not less than 1200 strong. There were two regiments of them, as we ascertained from a prisoner taken on the field-- the 1st Wisconsin and the 11th Pennsylvania. Capt. Pendleton, with one gun (a light six-pounder) covered our retreat. So soon as he opened fire upon the enemy the whole fire of their battery was directed at him. This doubtless saved us from heavy loss. The fire of Capt. P. was most effective. I saw two shots, one ploughed through a column of infantry drawn up in the rear of the enemy's line and a short distance to the right of the enemy's battery. That column scattered like chaff before the wind. The other shot which I saw fired struck one of the guns of the enemy. The artilleries ran away from it, and that gun fired no more during that action.
After the rout of his first line of skirmishers, the enemy threw out a new line upon the left and threatened to outflank us in that direction, and to cut off our retreat--the companies of Captains Doyle, Antrim, Williams, Roberts, and Waters, (I mentioned them in the order they occupied in our new line, Capt. Doyle's company being on the left of the line.) The second line sent out by the enemy fared no better his first--soon retiring and leaving us masters of the field. We did not pursue them as we did the first. The third sent out by the enemy against us were Regulars. They came out in gallant style and in splendid order, (their lines as straight as ours on dress parade,) firing as they advanced. We retired gradually before them (they greatly outnumbered us) until we gained a skirt of very thick wood bordering a wheat field. Here we halted and opened a heavy fire upon them. They nevertheless continued to advance until they reached a fence separating the wheat field from the pasture field through which they had driven us. Here they halted for a few minutes. The fence row was thick with bushes and trees. From this point they fired heavily, but without effect. About this time we were ordered to retreat to the turnpike, and accordingly the companies of Captains Waters, Roberts, Williams and Antrim retired through the woods in the in the direction of the turnpike, leaving Capt. Doyle's company still engaged with the enemy on the extreme left. Capt. D had not heard the order to retire. The enemy about the time the order to retreat was given, crossed the fence into the wheat field, which stood tall and rank, and advanced upon the wood which Doyle's company still occupied. That gallant company pulled in upon them three or four heavy fires, the last at about 100 yards, when they were ordered by their Captain to retreat, which they did in double-quick. The enemy came on to fence separating the wheat field from the woods from whence Doyle had just retired, and there they halted and fired two or three tremendous volleys into the woods. From their fire it seemed as if at least 500 hundred men constituted their force at that point. When this firing was heard by the rest of the Regiment, at that time half a mile distant, great fears were entertained for the safety of Capt. Doyle's command, but in a few minutes Capt. Doyle brought his company up, not having lost a man in the last contest.
Our Regiment mustered but 380 men on the morning of the fight. Capt. Harman's fine company was not with us, being out on picket. We lost two men killed and nine wounded. Providence surely watched over us and protected us. We were for more than two hours engaged in an open country fighting an enemy not less than 6,000 strong with six pieces of artillery. We were under fire all the while from the time the firing first commenced until we left the field. The sound of whizzing balls and bullets was never out of our ears. The conduct of our officers, from the highest to the lowest grade, was above all praise. The men battled more like veterans inured to the dangers of war by long years of service 'mid scenes of blood and carnage, than of men fresh from the peaceful avocations of a country home, as not one of them had ever been under fire, or ever saw the waving of a hostile banner.
To our God be the glory, to him the hymns of thanksgiving and praises be sung for surely he has nerved our hearts and made us to be valiant and strong in the fight, and had brought discomfiture upon the enemy.
The loss of the enemy was very heavy. From reliable sources of information we may safely set down his loss at 350 killed and wounded. Gen. Patterson, in his note to Gen. Scott, sets down his loss as very trifling, but in the same note he sets down our forces engaged with him at 6,000 or 7,000. So you see the General won't stick to the truth. We halted within one and a half miles of the field of battle, being there joined by the 4th and the 2nd Regiments of our brigade. The enemy did not come within gunshot of us. Again, after passing our camp, where we were joined by the 27th Reg't, we drew up in battle array and waited for more than an hour for Major Gen. Patterson, but he did not come on. We then retired very leisurely to Martinsburg, three miles distant, took time there to refresh ourselves and then retreated two miles, where we encamped an hour and a half before sunset and slept soundly until next morning. But I must bring this rambling epistle to a close. I have named things as I saw them, and being a young soldier unaccustomed to scenes so exciting as present themselves on a battlefield, I doubtless have failed to notice many things which would have attracted the notice of a veteran soldier.
I shall, as opportunity offers, give you a few items.
The Fifth Virginia Regiment in the Battle of Manassas
Early Sunday we were aroused by the drum beating the long roll, and we immediately formed in the line of battle. Soon the enemy commenced a heavy cannonading on our right, which our accomplished Generals soon discovered to be a feint made by the enemy to attract our attention in that quarter, while their real attack would be made on the extreme left. We were immediately ordered to take position several miles to the left. We had not been in position long, before it became evident we were in a warm neighborhood. The enemy's artillery, just in our front, but hid from our sight by a skirt of woods and an eminence between us, thundered forth its deadly missiles, and presently, too, the sharp ringing crack of the rifle was heard, showing that the advance guard of skirmishers had met. Cavalry scouts could be seen, galloping within the lines, when a terrible volley of muskets, immediately in our front, assured us that the call had opened, and the fight had commenced in right good earnest.
Between 9 and 10 o'clock A.M., the enemy in tremendous force, advanced his right against our left, with the view of turning our left wing and getting position in the rear of the "Junction." They were met by several South Carolina regiments (including Hampton's Legion) and the Alabama 4th, our regiment (the 5th Virginia) being held in reserve; but soon we were ordered forward to support the 4th Alabama. On our way to take position on a hill we were met by a portion of a South Carolina regiment who had been compelled to fall back by an overwhelming force, and who informed us that the 4th Alabama was literally being cut to pieces. Here, also, we met two pieces of the Washington (La.) Artillery retiring, having expended their stock of ammunition. This was by no means encouraging, but we felt the necessity for greater exertion on our part, and forward we rushed to the assistance of our friends. Amid a perfect shower of musketry and cannon balls the command to halt and lie down was given, as it was impossible for us to return the enemy's fire, or even see them our men cried out to be led forward or taken back to the foot of the hill; but our gallant Col. Harper assured us that he had no orders to advance, but was directed to occupy this position until the enemy should make their appearance, when we were told to fire and charge bayonets.
Finally, the order to advance was given, and under a perfect shower of shell and shot, we arose and started up the hill. A portion of our regiment misunderstanding the order, we were thrown into temporary confusion; but soon rallied and gained the position on the hill behind some old houses. Before we gained position, however, the Fourth Alabama Regiment had been compelled to retreat, and we found ourselves face to face with a powerful force of the enemy, and conspicuous among them was the famous Ellsworth Zouaves. Just in our front was the Second New York Regiment. On the left of them the Zouaves were stationed, while on our right, and completely flanking us, was the First or Second Maine Regiment. We fired a telling volley of musketry into the regiment in our front, which drove them rapidly to the rear. This drew the fire of those on our left upon us, and sheltering themselves by lying down behind a fence, they poured a most destructive fire into our ranks, and here some of our best and bravest men fell. Here the noble and brave Billy Woodward exclaimed, "I will never retreat. 'Give me liberty or give me death.'" His lips had scarcely given utterance to these heroic words, when a ball pierced his brave heart. It soon became evident that with our single regiment it was impossible to maintain the position, exposed as we were to a centre and two raking flank fires from at least four times our number.
We therefore fell back to a skirt of woods some hundred yards in the rear, where we were joined by a portion of the Alabama 4th, who had fought so gallantly and suffered so terribly at the house on the hill before we came up. A portion of a South Carolina regiment also joined in with us here, and during the rest of the evening we fought side by side.
In every part of the field the contest now raged, and desperate efforts were made by each party to gain some decided advantage, without apparent success, though they greatly outnumbered us, and I looked on at the terrible and desperate strife without being able in my own mind to determine which would be victors.
Greatly to the encouragement of our brave troops, who were so heroically struggling against superior numbers, several fresh batteries made their appearance and took position on the eminence just to our left.
These opened upon the enemy, whose main column was sheltered behind a gradually sloping hill, thickly covered by small timber, and protected by a part of the celebrated Sherman Battery. A tremendous cannonading now took place that far surpasses anything I ever imagined. It appeared to me as if Heaven and earth were being rent asunder, so terrible was the crash and roar of the monster instruments of death. Several times the enemy attempted to rally for a charge on our batteries; but whenever their lines came within the terrible discharges of round shot and canister from our batteries swept them like chaff before the wind, their long and splendidly formed lines fairly melting away. Yet the tremendous force before us seemed not to diminish, and every inch of ground was contested with sullen and determined force, our brave troops fighting with renewed energy and vigor. Being parched with thirst and almost exhausted, I ran down to what appeared to be a branch or mud hole, and drank copiously of the muddy waster, and was just returning to my regiment when I met Gen. Johnston, who inquired of me to what regiment I belonged. I told him. He then inquired how Gen. Jackson's Brigade was getting along. I told him we were fighting bravely and well, but against large odds, and needed help. He at once said, go join your regiment and tell them to hold their position, and in a few moments I will send reinforcements to their aid. I hurried back to my regiment with a lighter heart than I left it.
On reaching the top of the hill, I could see in the direction of Manassas Junction a large column of men approaching, and filing past them with the swiftness of the wind, was a splendid body of cavalry, numbering probably a thousand. These came rushing on like a mighty torrent, with drawn sabres glittering in the evening's bright sunbeams, mounted on steeds which seemed to be maddened by the contest that was being waged by man against his fellow man. I soon recognized this to be the splendid body of Cavalry commanded by the gallant Col. Stuart of which the excellent company from Augusta (Capt. Patrick's) forms a part. In the meantime, Gen. Beauregard appeared on the field in person, and approaching our regiment inquired who we were, and on being informed, he addressed us in the following cheerful language: "Fight on, brave Virginia boys; the day is ours everywhere else, and it must be here also." He then commanded us to follow him, and, with a loud cheer, we rushed forward, determined to do as commanded or die.
By this time Sherman's battery had evidently become somewhat disabled, and had slackened its fire a little. Our course was turned directly in that direction. We reached the top of an eminence, fired a volley and at a charge bayonets rushed down upon it. We found that every horse attached to the battery was either killed or disabled and not a man, except the dead and wounded were left with the guns.
Almost every company in the regiment claim the credit of first reaching the battery. I would not do injustice to any. But a proper regard to truth, and honor to whom honor is due in this particular act, compels me to say that the left of the regiment, under the command of Maj. Baylor, was the first to reach the immediate vicinity of the battery, and corporals R. T. Bucher, of the West Augusta Guards, Capt. Waters, and John Sutz, of the Augusta Rifles, Capt. Antrim, were the first men to reach the captured guns. Col. Pucher sprang astride one of the pieces and fired his musket at the retreating enemy.
By this time the reinforcements I referred to coming from the direction of Manassas, had arrived on the ground, and, unperceived either by us or the enemy, marched rapidly to our left and to the right of the Federal forces under cover of a skirt of woods. These troops consisted of three Tennessee and one Virginia regiments; from this position they poured into the ranks of the enemy (who were partly concealed by thick undergrowth,) the most terrible volley of musketry I ever witnessed; and then with a shout that rent the air, they rushed in one grand sweeping charge upon them. The enemy, terror stricken, broke ranks and fled in the wildest confusion over the hill; the cavalry charged upon them, sending terror and dismay among their already confused and broken ranks; the guns of the captured batteries were turned against them; batteries were run upon eminences which commanded roads along which they retreated, and which raked and crushed their disordered columns dreadfully, and shout after shout rent the air from victorious Southern troops.
To show the spirit of our "brave soldier boys," we publish an extract from the letter of a boy only sixteen years of age in reply to a letter from his father requesting him not to re-enlist--This boy is from Staunton, and belonged to the "West Augusta Guards," which has been recently converted into an artillery company, and he is now a member of the "West Augusta Battery." His letter breathes the right spirit, and we have no doubt that he expresses the feelings of a large majority of the soldiers from Augusta county.--He is an only son, and as his Father thought it probable that he (the father) would be drafted in which event there would be no one to support the mother of this young solder, his Father appealed to him not to re-enlist. This certainly was a strong appeal, and the boy no doubt felt the full force of it, but it was not strong enough to induce him to lay down his arms when his country needed his services. In reply to his Father's letter, he said:
"You and Ma are opposed to my re-enlisting in the army. If every parent gave such counsel, what would become of our country? I cannot consent to leave the army and quit the service when my country is bleeding and my countrymen are struggling for independence, and to leave my comrades to battle with the foe in their efforts to drive them from our land. It may be that you think that there are many who have staid at home who should take my place. If they act the coward and will not come out as freemen and declare they will have their rights, and will not shoulder their muskets and march in defence of their native State, but would rather stay at home, enjoying the luxuries of life and speculating off the poor soldiers who are in the service, guarding their homes,--if they act in this way, is that any reason why I should do the same. No, NEVER. I want to be one of those who, to the last, will rally around our standard to defend our noble and glorious cause, and, with out bright colors waving over us and with our brave General Jackson at the head of us, and with the motto--"Victory or death"--with stout hearts and determined minds, strike an effective blow for the preservation of liberty and the defence of our country. If the soldiers should not re-enlist, we would soon have no country--no home. They would be dishonored and disgraced, and the finger of scorn would be pointed at them. I for one would rather suffer banishment and exile--I would rather fill a soldier's honorable grave and sleep peacefully beneath the green sod of the Valley. These are my true feelings and sentiments. I cannot see how you or any one else can advise his son not to re-enlist--especially at this time, when the tide of success is setting against us."
The telegraph reported yesterday that the fight near Manassas Junction had been renewed, and this morning there is intelligence of a great battle, lasting from 8 A. M. till 6 P. M. The victory is attributed to our side. The enemy were said to be retreating, pursued by our cavalry. Total loss (on both sides, it is presumed), ten thousand to twelve thousand. Most of the volunteers from this county were on the field, and we know that at least a part of General Johnston's command was in the engagement. The utmost desire, not without apprehension, is felt to obtain full particulars.
At night the telegraph announced that one member of the Staunton Artillery and two of the Guards, (William H. Woodward and Joab Seely), had been killed, and that seven men in both companies were wounded.
Everything quiet to-day. No news from the enemy, except that Capt. Lilly was not hurt, one member of the West Augusta Guard (Doom) killed, + one (Byan) wounded. A rumor this afternoon that the Yankees were coming this way, crossing North River at Mt. Crawford; and another that Fremont was retreating. From 9000 to 11000 reinforcements are on the way to Jackson. Two Federal soldiers caught near Dayton, were brought in this evening A marriage to-night in our church -- Jewel to a Miss Risk -- a large crowd present.
The lists of killed are coming in -- Wm. Baylor, Col of the 5
Bad news from Mississippi! Gen. Johnston telegraphs to Richmond that Gen. Pemberton, after a fight of nine hours, had to retreat across the Big Black, towards Vicksburg. -- That town is therefore in a state of siege by land and water, and unless Johnston has a force this side to prevent it, the fall of the place is inevitable. Alas! alas! The enemy under Grant have been to Jackson and done as they pleased. Edward Waddell came up to supper this evening. He returns to the army next week. Poor fellow, he is sadly disappointed. He has been in the army since the very beginning of the war, was at last first Sergeant of his company -- West Augusta Guard (Co. L. 5
Bunker Hill, Virginia
August 30th 1864
My Dear Uncle, Aunt & Grandma
I am again in camp, and feel pretty well. I started from Staunton on Sunday morning. I got Dispatches for Genl Early and by that means got transportation - I hope this may find you all well. No news of any importance - had a little fight yesterday - [unclear: Hunton] Rubush was killed (son of Peter Rubush) and about 25 wounded - we have a fight every day [illeg.] - Enclosed you will find ($100) One Hundred Dollars which you will pay to [unclear: Wm J McKee] and lift my [unclear: Due] bill. I borrowed it from him the evening I was there for fear I wouldn't have enough - attend to it at once and thank him for his kindness - give love to all - I am
your Affectionate Nephew
J. B. McGuffin
Valley Virginian: September 5, 1866
The West Augusta Guards
Below we give the list of the killed during the war of this gallant company, as furnished us by one of its members. It is suggested that the surviving members have them removed to the Soldiers' Cemetery, and that a monument be erected to their memory, giving the name of each, where and how wounded, &c. This is an admirable suggestion, and we hope action will be taken in the matter at once:
Pat. O'Donnell, W. E. Woodward, Joeb Seiley, Manassas, July 21, 1861; Samuel Roberts, Winchester, May 25, 1862; Jno. Donce, Port Republic, June 9, 1862; Jas. Peters, Cold Harbor, 1862; Chas. Swoope, Manassas, Aug. 30 '62; Jas. Reynolds, Sharpsburg, Sept. 17, '62; W. T. Martin, Chancellorsville, May 3, '63; Albert Ramsey; Payne's Farm, Nov. 27, '63; Jas. M. Dorm, H. A. Hague, and James W. Barnes, Wilderness, May 5, '64; T. P. Baskins and R. F. Bucher, Spotsylvania May 5, '64; J. F. J. Tinsley, Lynchburg, J. H. Bryan, Monocacy, July 4, '64; J. W. Bare, Winchester, Sept. 19, '64.
Valley Virginian April 3, 1867
The resolutions of the Augusta Fire Company, tell the sad news and convey to his friends and comrades the mournful tidings that George Paul Scherer, of Company L, 5th Va. Reg't., Stonewall Brigade, is no more. He died at the residence of his father in Staunton, last Thursday morning, March 28th, aged 26 years. Paul Scherer, as familiarly known, entered the service April, 1861, with the West Augusta Guards, of which company he had been a member from its organization. He was every inch a soldier, and his appearance was remarked upon, even in that fine looking, well drilled and disciplined Company. He was wounded at the 2d Battle of Manassas and at Mine Run, but lost but few days from the field. He was taken prisoner at the Wilderness, May 5th, because his noble spirit would not allow him to stay back, though very ill. He was exchanged Nov. '64, and soon afterwards joined his Command and was in every battle up to Appomattox Court House. He was acknowledged by all, officer and men, to be one of the best, if not the best soldier, in the Regiment, and was selected to receive one of the two medals, given by a lady to the "two bravest and best soldiers in the Regiment." He was a member, in good standing, of the Odd Fellow's and Masonic Lodges.
No young man in Staunton was more universally popular, and no death has caused a greater sensation in our community. His funeral was the largest ever seen in Staunton: the Fire Company in full uniform, with their engine draped with evergreens and crape, headed by his old comrades, of the Stonewall Band, followed his body to the grave. All classes of our people turned out to pay respect to one, who though he had his faults, had "fought a good fight" for his country, and shown himself a soldier and a man. But he is gone; the gallant soldier; the kind messmate; the generous friend, the cheerful companion has departed from among us. In tendering our heartfelt condolence, to the bereaved family of our friend, we can only add: "Peace be with the dead! Regret cannot wake them. With a sigh for the departed, let us resume the dull business of life, in the certainty that we shall also have our repose."
Feb 17th 1865
My dearest Friend
Yours of Oct 18th and Dec 10th only a few days ago were received - how they were smuggled through the lines I am not aware, but sincerely hope I may be able to get this through to you - yours were truly, truly welcome. [illeg.] think not I should not have been so negligent as not to send you some message had I had but one moment of freedom that I could have written & sent the letter through, but you know we are in the [illeg.] of tyrants that the penalty for receiving or sending letter through the lines if known to them is so severe, that no one is willing to risk carrying a letter & I have never had one safe opportunity that I could send you a long letter. I have written - wrote months ago - hoping some day to send it to you. This must be brief from necessity, but rest assured as soon as in my power I shall send you full particulars as far as I can of your dear sons death. In this I will only answer your inquiries - Our Angel - our beloved dead -
he died - I am told - in sight of my home, alone in an ambulance - insensible - he must have spoken after wounded, as the driver said he requested to be brought here. Oh! What comfort what consolation to us all had we only heard him speak - seen him breathe - He was I know prepared for the change - four nights before he fell - he was here - left the next day [unclear: his tenth day] (just 26 years of age) went to camp - was ordered to Martinsburg - reached there & right back into this battle - I received three notes from him during his trip - he seemed in good spirits, cheerful, warning me to trust in God - to be cheerful & happy -
I will tell you all that passed between him & myself - the last night we spent together - in my next letter. I intend making an effort [unclear: to get through the lines - to Staunton] if I succeed, I shall write you immediately - also answer Sue's letter. It is well you did not make the [deleted: ] attempt to get through the lines as you in all probability would have been detained months, in their power, having as [unclear: tho] to be slaves, do their will, it is so hard for me to behold his murderers - countenance them I cannot. Would that we were only free -
I receive a few articles - taken from your son's body - his own testament - I reserved for you, also have some of his hair, his tobacco bags - pipe - a handkerchief - his money - the amount handed me was very little, it may have been all he had with him at the time, although the night he was here he had more but may have loaned it - I only received some 12 dollars his expenses - of burial - nothing - our great regret is that we were unable to purchase him a good coffin - but it was impossible, hundreds of our dear soldiers - Colonels - Captains - officers of all rank - were wrapped in their blankets & placed low - Ma begged our undertaker to make as nice a one as possible, he says [illeg.] were [illeg.] to pay me one thousand dollars, I could not make you one I have no material. Ma offered boards he made him a plain pine coffin not such as he deserved, but that was better than none at all, and many others had to
sleep calmly in our private lot in the once beautiful home of our dead but oh it pains me so deeply to tell you - even it has been desecrated almost ruined by our merciless foes - that sacred spot - was so beautiful - perhaps someday we can again replace it - & it rest undisturbed.
Your son was the first loved one ever carried from our threshold to be placed in the cold, dark grave (and this has been our home for twenty seven years) Oh! would to Heaven - I could have been placed there instead of him, how willingly, gladly I would have died to have saved him from so early a grave, but it was the will of Him who who doeth all things for the best, for a great & wise purpose, to whom we should all bow in holy submisssion but oh I can never become reconciled - it seems impossible, too hard, terrible a fate for me to become resigned to any other sorrow on earth, I could have born but this - I pray - God only knows how fervently, how consistently for strength to bear up - to bow submissively. Have faith in His wisdom & [unclear: good news] - sometimes I think I would not call him from Heaven - from his God - from Bliss - no, that I yield, then come this long
ing, this agony of soul. I am selfish and - Oh would, would I could say, from the bottom of my soul - truthfully - "Thy will be done" but I fear I never - never can. Time may soothe. God may heal, but memory lives, the grave only can bury this my first deepest the one great sorrow of my life - I never can be perfectly happy again. I may smile, be seemingly happy - as far as the happiness of this world is concerned - for all is dark to be now there is no happiness here - in a little while I hope to be there, but enough of this - forgive it.
On the 19th I received a letter from Mac - written two hours before he fell - telling me he was near & hoped soon to be with me, at one o'clock his dead body was brought to my home - had an only brother, an only son - been brought in a corpse, the [unclear: screams, the sorrow of my mother sisters] & all could not have been more terrible that day & night can never be forgotten. you can imagine not the horrors of that battle - but I forbear telling you now - he was shot through the head, just back of the temple, his face not at all disfigured - but such a peaceful countenance, perfectly natural, only too pale
[unclear: see friends] - put down in their cold grave - Our enemies of course took the best for their dead - we had a white shirt collar necktie & so on put on your son - he was buried as decently as was in our power to have him, you cannot regret more than me, that it could not have been otherwise -
You ask to retain my [unclear: miniature] - certainly if you desire it - I thank you kindly for your offer of one of his - I have one taken the first fall of the war - he was here sick - Charlie was in town at that time - also have two taken before the war -
Has your son entirely recovered from his wounds? I hope you will look over all errors - if I get to Staunton I will write. I will not ask you to attempt to write me now as it is too dangerous to receive letters - but if ever free - I will gladly welcome as many letters as you will favor me by writing - Mac's friends are all very dear to me, he has often spoken of you to me, he loved you so devotedly - Little Allie he loved too - May God bless, protect, heal your sorrows - Guide you all safely through Life - is the sincere prayer of
"The Guard at John Brown's Hanging"
Edltor or The Tlmes-Dlspatch:
Sir, In your paper of Sunday last, under the captlon of "Story of John Brown
Hanging by the Only Guard Now Living,"
it is statcd that John Wilson Orr is believed to be the sole survivor of the
guard that did duty during the capture
and hanging of John Brown, and it is
furthor said that some time ago "after
a thorough search of the country and a
wide-spread correspondence, only about
three of the survivors could be located."
I write to say that this "search" must
have been made with very imperfect
knowledge of the companies which were
on duty at Charlestown at and prior to
the execution of John Brown. I -was an
officer of one of the companies on duty
on the day of the execution of John
Brown. and I am glad to be able to say
that I am still alive. Two large companies marched together from Augusta
county to Harper's Ferry and Charlestown. One was the West Augusta Guard,
then commanded by Flrst Lieutenant
James H. Waters, late Chief of Police of
the city of Staunton, who is still living.
and the other, known as the Spring Hill
Company, then commanded by CaptainA. Bushong.
Both ot these companies marched together to Harper's Ferry at the beginning of the Civil War, and served together during the war in the
Fifth Regiment of Virginia Infantry, of the "Stonewall Brigade."
The West Augusta Guard was from the city of Staunton and its Immediate vicinity and since reading the article abovementioned. I have made a list of eleven
names of men known to have been with
the West Augusta Guard at the execution of John Brown, and known to me
to be now living. A careful examenation
would result in adding more names to
the list. The Spring Hill Company went
from a section of the county some ten
or twelve miles from Staunton. I know
several men now living who were with
that company at the execution of John
It is reasonably certain that there are
now living in Augusta county as many
as twenty-five men who were on duty
with the guards that "did duty during
the capture and hanging of John Brown
The "Old Rlchmond Grays" was on
duty there, and I think also the old
"Rlchmond Blues," and some of them
doubtless still survive,
Verv truly yours, etc.
JAMES BUMGARDNER. JR.
(Of course. There are a score of men,
or more, right here in Richmond, who as
members of the Virginia military companies were present at the hanging of
John Brown. Mr. Orr's reminiscences
may have been intended to refer to the
civll guard; to the sheriff and his deputies and extra deputies-whereas it expressly included the milltary who were
present. The letter in questlon was from,
Philadelphia and the Mr. Orr quoted was
at the time, 1859, a member of the Wheeling Fencibles,
-Edltor of The Times\Dispatch,
*Library of Congress