JAMES KIDWELL, Sergeant, Companies "A" & "G"

Submitted by John F. Catlett, Sr.
Great-great-grandson of James and Alcinda Kidwell
(through their son, John William)
(18 Feb 2002)

James H. Kidwell was born in 1812 in Shenandoah County, Virginia, to Sarah Ann ____. Nothing more is known of his parentage.

On 16 Jan 1835 he married Alcinda Darr, (1812-1858), in Page County, VA. She is thought to have been the daughter of Phillip Darr. He married second, Sarah Ann Sheets on 21 May 1863, in Monongalia County, (W)VA. All that is known of her parentage is that her mother’s name was Sarah___.

Seven sons were born to the union of James and Alcinda: James E., 1836; Phillip H., 1837; Thomas Elliott, 1839; John William, 31 May 1842; Henry V., 1844; Franklin Curtis, 18 May 1845; James S., Sep 1851.

His son, Phillip H., enlisted in Company "C," 3rd (W) Va. Volunteer Infantry, which later became the 6th Regiment W.Va. Cavalry. He was transferred to Company A and died at the Andersonville (GA) Confederate Prison, where he rests in an unmarked grave.

James H. had no issue with Sarah.

Of his sons it is known that John William enlisted as a Private in Co B, 3rd Reg’t, Virginia Vols. (which later became the Co B, 3rd Reg’t, W.Va. Cavalry) and Franklin Curtis enlisted as a Private in Co C, 14th Reg’t., Virginia Vols.

According to research done by Robert L. Steenrod (deceased), in 1835 James was living in that part of Shenandoah County, VA that became Warren County; in Warren County 1836-1849, where he was acquitted of a duel on 31 Aug 1840, (Minute Book A;108); in Frederick County, VA, 1850-1851; in Monongalia County,VA, 1851-1858; in Preston County, VA, 1858; and in Clinton District, Monongalia County. VA/WV, until his death on 2 June 1890.

James (age 49) enlisted for 3 years as a Private, Co A, 1st Reg’t, Virginia Vols, at Morgantown, VA, July 18, 1861, and was mustered in that day. From then until Oct 31, 1861, he appears on the Company Muster Roll (CMR) as “Teamster” and “Present.” On the Nov/Dec, 1861 CMR he is listed as “2’ Wagoner” and “Present” On the CMR’s for Jan-Oct 1862, he is listed as “Wagoner” and “Present.” On the May-June 1863 CMR he was listed as “Present,” but he is shown on a “Descriptive List of Deserters” dated July 31, 1863, at Wheeling, WV. It reports his arrest on July 1st at Morgantown, WV. Under Remarks is the notation, “Voucher given for reward & expenses.” On the Jul-Aug 1863 CMR he is listed as “Present” but under Remarks is the notation: “Due for expenses of arrest as deserter $7.65.” On the CMR’s for Sept-Dec 1863 he is shown as “Present.”

On Feb 23, 1864, at Martinsburg, WV, he was “Discharged by virtue of re-enlistment as Vet Vol. under G.O.#191, Series of 1863, War Department” He re-enlisted the next day. He gave his age as 49, (the same as when he enlisted in 1861), his occupation as “Teamster,’ and was shown to have hazel eyes, dark hair, fair complexion and to be 5 feet 8 inches “high.”

On the Jan-Apr 1864 CMR’s he is marked as “Present.” On May 5, 1864, he was admitted to the U.S.A. General Hospital, Grafton, WV, diagnosis, Ulcer Right Leg. He is shown on the hospital’s May and June report as “Patient.” He is shown on his Company’s Jul-Aug 1864, CMR’s as “Absent on picket” and on the Sep-Dec ones as “Present.”

On the May-Jun 1865 CMR he is shown as “Present.” On July 8, 1865 he is shown as a Private on the “Co. Muster-out Roll” for Co G, 1 Reg’t, West VA Cavalry. (There is an (*) which states that “This company formerly known as First Co. A., 1 West Va Cav.). James H. Kidwell was given an Honorable Discharge on that date.

NOTE: - As shown on this page, the Adjutant General's Report lists the final rank of “Sergeant.” However, his military rank, as taken from the CMR’s and other documents from the National Archives, is as follows:
1861 May – Oct Pvt.
Nov – Dec 2’ Wagoner
1862 Jan – Dec Wagoner
1863 Jan – Dec Farrier
1864 Jan – Apr Pvt.
May – Jun Pri.
Jul – Dec Pvt.
1865 Jan – Jul Pvt.

It is known that he returned to Monongalia County, WV, where he May have taken up residence on a farm located in Clinton District east of Uffington Post Office and just west of the then “Kingwood- Morgantown & West Union” Turnpike.

Pension Claim #666403:
On 28 July 1888 James H. appeared before the Clerk of the County Court of Monongalia County, WV, and made the following declaration:

That since his discharge he had lived in Clinton District, Monon- galia County and that his occupation had been that of a Farmer. He stated that his claim for a pension arose from rheumatism which was first contracted at Beverly, WV, in winter of 1862, and on Salem raid in Dec 1863 was much worse, and injury to right hand while on dress parade Strausburgh, VA, by running a snag through same and have lost use of right arm in consequence. Snag was taken out at Woodstock, VA.

He said that since his discharge he had mainly treated himself for these ailments but that his memory was so impaired that he could not tell if he had visited a doctor for them.

He said that he was treated for them while in the service at Beverly Camp, (WV), Cumberland (MD) and at Grafton (WV) U.S. Hospital. As to how these things had affected his ability to do manual labor since his discharge he stated:

“For perhaps 4 or 5 years after discharge I may of made ½ man as to hard or manual labor and every year since less and less till 9 years ago and from that time till the present not able to do any manual labor at all. I am very feeble and respectfully ask that I be examined at home on account of my infirmities and old age and for same also ask for special action allowance in such cases.”

A sworn affidavit by T. H. B. Lemley, 1st Lt., Co A & G, 1st WV Cavalry, collaborated James’ statements about the locations and the lack of protection from the cold weather. He described how James had injured his hand. He said that in the latter part of 1862 the field where they were to drill and parade had been washed out in ruts and they had cut the pine brush out and filled in the washed places. In passing over these places James had been thrown out (of his wagon) and in catching himself on the ground he ran one of the pine snags through his right hand. On June 7, 1890, The U. S. Pension Agency dropped James from its rolls due to his death on June 2, 1890. His Certificate was # 462952.

On June 28, 1890 Sarah A. (Sheets) Kidwell filed a Widow’s Application For Accrued Pension, Claim #427554. On 8/18/1902, United States Pension Agency reported that Certificate #303516; Class – Widow; Pensioner – Sara A. Kidwell; Soldier – James H. Kidwell; last paid at $8.00, to 4 Dec 1901, had been dropped because of death.

Family tradition is that James and Sarah are buried in Monongalia County, West Virginia.