WILLIAM D. WILSON.
Lt. Colonel, 1st W.Va. Infantry, 3 Years' Service.
Ironton Register, March 1, 1888
Some Exciting War Experiences
While thus engaged, we queried him about his regiment and learned that he had belonged to the 1st Va. Infantry and had been in about all the fights of that fighting regiment, and was wounded at Port Republic, which he described as a very continuous narrow escape as long as it lasted.
"Another fierce conflict was one at Kernstown in 1862," said Mr. Wilson. "And, by the way, I saw in the Educational column of the Register the question asked, who fought 27 battles and gained 27 victories? and some one answered it was Stonewall Jackson. But I know we whipped Jackson at Kernstown and sent him flying up the Shenandoah valley. It was a very interesting fight too, I assure you, and for a while the bullets made it decidedly unhealthy. But there was nothing peculiar or personal about it."
"Those days are quite vague to me now, so that I can hardly single out a circumstance of special interest, that is not surrounded by a sort of mist, that makes the outlines very indistinct. Now there was that affair at Moorfield, which had a little touch of romance in it, but I can hardly tell it to you as it really was, thought I know the main features, and particularly, all that related to myself, for everyone was attending to himself, and nobody else, just about them.
Six companies of our regiment had been sent to Moorfield to guard a signal station or something of the kind. That was on the 11th of September, 1863. We got to the town in the evening, and camped in the suburbs, on a knoll, and next to a country cemetery. We threw out our pickets, enjoyed the royal supper of a soldier, which you know all about, took a little smoke--those of us who had the weed--did the usual amount of talking and lolling about and then turned in for a night's rest, never once supposing that we would be in the least disturbed.
I occupied a sort of half dog tent and half shanty, with my brother George, Dave Lady and another soldier whose name I have forgotten. Well, we slept and snored and dreamed in good old soldier style, when we were aroused in the early morning, before daylight, with a rattle-te-bang-boom-rippety-roar. Such waking makes a fellow's hair stand on end and thoroughly unnerves him. Oh, but it was a tumult - shots, yells, groans, horses' hoofs, and all the clatter of a camp completely surprised. In a jiffy my companions were out of their tent, and it was my purpose to go, too, but as I raised on one arm to reach for my musket, a ball pierced through the tent and struck me on the hand, right here, (showinfg it) and went clear through. That wound changed my notion and I concluded to stay in the tent, but very soon there was the slash of a sabre at the tent opening and a command:
"Come out of there."
"I'm wounded, sir, please let me stay here," I replied.
"Come out, I tell you," he said again.
I crawled out and he ordered me into a rank of prisoners; but just then Lieut. Ches Hall, of our regiment, stepped up, said to the big reb who had us in charge: "This boy is wounded; let him go to the hospital." Then after a little parley I was taken to a place where there were other wounded and where I was left. It wasn't very long after this that the rebs stayed, but off they went with their prisoners and the booty of the camp.
It was really a very successful raid on their part. Gen. McNeil was the reb. Commander. He had gobbled the picket post, without making the slightest noise, and was right in our camp banging away before we were aware. There were about 300 of our force; some were killed and wounded; a good many skipped off in the darkness and the rest were taken away as prisoners, and with them by brother George. Among those who took advantage of the darkness was Billy Mulvey, but the rebs got his shoes. Col. Weddle was our Lieut-Colonel, but he didn't happen to be there at that time.
"One of the funny things about this affair was the fact that at the very time McNeal captured us, a strong force of our boys was out with well-arranged plans to capture him."
"This is about all I can recollect of the matter except I got a furlough on account of my wound which I very much enjoyed--that is the furlough."