Most of the members of this company were from Ohio, having been recruited by Simpson Hollister, Henry G. Jackson, H. B. James and others, in the counties of Monroe and Belmont. A portion of it was recruited by B. F. Bowers, in the counties of Wetzel and Taylor, on the Virginia side of the river, which with a squad of seven from Ritchie county, Virginia, made up the requisite number for organization, which was effected by the election of Simpson Hollister captain, Henry G. Jackson first lieutenant, and B. F. Bowers second lieutenant, on the 16th day of June, 1861, at Camp Carlisle. Like the other companies with which its fortunes were linked, it was made up of a great diversity of character, including men of the professions and trades, farmers and business men, all animated by the same spirit of love for their country.
Western Virginia was racked and torn by the conflicts of the contending forces of the Union and its enemies, but there was a large force of loyal men who refused to bend the knee to treason. The little squad referred to, may be taken as a fair average of the loyalty of that section. Thomas and Charles Day, Riley, Wigner, Moats, Adams and French, composed the little band that was the first to represent Ritchie county in the army for the Union. Some of them were Virginians by birth, some were not, but all were in the vigor of early manhood, and being loyal to the heart, each had quietly and soberly decided for himself that duty required from him a prompt response to his country's call, notwithstanding many of their friends and associates held, very different views, and decided to cast their lot with the side of rebellion.
The sentiment for and against the union cause being pretty equally divided in that region at that time, it was not considered the most healthy thing for either party, to be very demonstrative; so in pursuance of a quiet arrangement, the squad met at Ellenboro station on the evening of June 14, 1861, each with his little package in hand, ready when the shadows grew long, to start on their first night's march to the Ohio river. The march of 16 miles to St. Marys was made without incident worthy of note. The packet Woodside landed the squad at Wheeling, on the morning of the 16th, and they were met by their future captain and 1st lieutenant, and before noon were mustered into the service of their country.
In a short time afterward, this company and four others, were ordered to Clarksburg, where their actual duties as soldiers began. In a short time the movement on Rich Mountain was made, in which engagement a part of this little force took part, and then they proceeded to Beverly, where the company was assigned as company E of the regiment.
The following is the muster out roll, showing list of members and their record. The company was mustered into the United States service June 16, 1861, and mustered out June 16, 1864. All the members not otherwise marked, were mustered out with the company. The recruits and veterans were transferred to the Sixth West Virginia Cavalry, when the company was mustered out.
CAPTAIN SIMPSON HOLLISTER.
Simpson Hollister, the first captain of the company, was a native of Monroe county, Ohio, and was mainly instrumental in recruiting the company. At the breaking out of the war, he was a member of the Woodsfield bar, and was a delegate to the Chicago convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. Capt. Hollister was a large hearted man, and had his physical condition been good, he could have distinguished himself in the service; but he soon discovered that he was unfit for active campaigning, and after spending some time in the recruiting service, he, from a sense of duty, resigned his commission and returned to civil life. His present home is in Leavenworth, Kas.
In 1861 when the call was made for three years volunteers, Thos. E. Day was a member of the bar at Ritchie C. H., Va. He was a widower at the time with two very interesting little boys, to whom he was very strongly attached; but notwithstanding his surroundings were not of the most favorable character, he was a union man from principle, and leaving one of his little treasures with his deceased wife's parents and the other with his father and mother, who then resided at Ritchie C. H., he became one, and rather the acknowledged leader, of the squad of seven who were the first to represent Ritchie Co. in the Union service.
When the squad was enlisted and formed apart of the organization, known afterward in the regiment as Co. E, Thos. E. Day was the only one who received any recognition beyond that of a private soldier, and he was appointed 3rd sergeant. When H. G. Jackson was made adjutant, Orderly Sergeant James was commissioned first lieutenant in his place and Sergeant Day was made orderly sergeant, and on the resignation of Lieut. Bower who left the Co. to take a position in Johnton's Battery, Sergeant Day was commissioned second lieutenant in Jan. 1862. Early in the morning of the first day's fight at the Second Bull Run battle, Lieut. James was killed while in command of the Co., Capt. Hollister being absent on recruiting service, and Lieut. Day assumed command, but in less than ten minutes received a severe wound in the left arm which disabled him for some time. Having been commissioned first lieutenant, he joined the regiment at Wheeling, when Gen. Milroy's brigade was transferred from the army of the Potomac, to the Great Kanawha valley, in Sept. 1862. Capt. Hollister, resigned the captaincy late in the fall of 1862, and Lieut. Day was commissioned to fill the vacancy which he did to the end of our three years' term, with great acceptance to those under his command and with credit to himself.
Capt. Day was a true soldier, and while at times his methods of discipline appeared harsh, and to one who was not well acquainted with him seemed cold and austere, yet he had a kind heart and was true to his friends and his country's cause. His present home is Mexico, Audrain county, Mo.
Henry G. Jackson was a native of the city of Philadelphia, Pa., and having been a soldier in the Mexican war, possessed more knowledge of military affairs than most of his fellow officers of the line, so upon the organization of the regiment, he was made its first adjutant. He was one of the first officers to resign from his position in the regiment, and accepted a captaincy in the 62d Ohio. In this capacity he served for some time, but on account of his failing health, resigned and returned to his native city.
Hamilton B. James was a native of Belmont county, was a carpenter by trade, but at the outbreak of the war, was a clerk in the business house of Hutchinson & Bro., Beallsville, Ohio, and Justice of the Peace. He was chosen as first sergeant of the company, and served as such until the promotion of Jackson, when he was commissioned first lieutenant, and for a considerable time had command of the company. Lieut. James was a quiet, unassuming gentleman, ever faithful in the discharge of duty, and specially interested in the welfare of the men under his command. He was the first man killed in the company at the second battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862.
Charles H. Day was born in New Market, Frederick county, Md., December 25, 1838; attended public school until he was 14 years of age, after which he learned the printing business, and worked at it until shortly before entering the war as a private in Company E. After acting as adjutant for a time during the spring and summer of 1862, he was commissioned second lieutenant and assigned to Company H; was promoted to first lieutenant, September 1, 1862; served as A. A. General of the brigade during the fall and next spring, and as Judge Advocate of General C. M. during the following summer; he was transferred from Company H to E; thence to Company F; thence to Company I, where he was serving at the battle of Droop Mountain, being wounded in the battle; was mustered out March 9, 1864, by orders from the War Department, having been off duty more than three months from wounds received in battle. Re-entered the service as first lieutenant and adjutant to organize the 17th Regiment West Virginia, Infantry, August 13, 1864; was promoted to major, September 10, 1864, and to colonel, March 13, 1865, being mustered out June 30, 1865. Since then he has lived in West Virginia and Missouri, and is now on a farm at Occoquan, Prince William county, Va., where he has lived since 1872.
J. Calvin French is the youngest son of George M. and Mary Porter French, and was born in Washington county, Pa., October 10, 1836. His mother died when he was less than three years old, and much of his early childhood was spent with relatives in Fayette county, Pa. At the age of 12 he returned to his father's home, remained four years, and then became an inmate of the family of Wm. Lindly. He was a boy of all work in the summer and attended school in the winter, but was denied the privilege of a thorough education, which he so much desired. At the age of 19 he accepted a position in the house of R. Porter, at Ritchie C. H., Va. After one year's sevvice here, he associated with three other persons in the hoop and stave trade, on the B. & O. R. R., at points east of Parkersburg. This company erected the first establishment for the manufacture of oil barrels in that region, after the development of the Kanawha field. The war destroyed the business of the company and caused heavy financial losses. In closing up the affairs of the company, Lieut French found himself possessed of little else save good health and a determination to contribute himself to the cause of the union. Seeking an interview with persons like-minded, an arrangement was made by which he became one of the seven who first represented Ritchie county in the army of the union, mentioned in full in the history of Company E. After serving as private, sergeant and orderly sergeant, and having been left in command of the company at Second Bull Run, one of the commissioned officers present being killed and the other wounded, he was commissioned second lieutenant September 9, 1862, and assigned to Company H; then commissioned first lieutenant and assigned to Company E, December 3, 1862. He was assigned to the command of Company B for a short time, while that company was on duty at Bealington. While in command of a portion of the skirmish line in advance of the artillery, at the battle of Rocky Gap, he received a severe wound near the left knee, which distorted the joint and has measurably disabled him ever since. Having been rescued by comrades from falling into the hands of the enemy, and conveyed by ambulance to Beverly, he was there kindly sheltered and cared for by Mrs. Jonathan Arnold. When recovered, he returned to his regiment and was commissioned adjutant, and served as such until the regiment was disbanded, but chose to be mustered out with what remained of his company. In August, 1864 he returned to Washington county, Pa., and on September 7th, that year, was married to Miss Sevilla Vaile, in fulfillment of an engagement made in early life. He engaged in merchandizing, was elected Treasurer of the county in 1873, and on the expiration of his term returned to his home in Prosperity, where he has since been engaged in farming. He and family are members of the Presbyterian Church of Upper Ten Mile, and is commander of Luther Day Post, No. 395, G. A. R. Four children have been added to his happy home, Dr. Edward E., of Bentleysville, Pa., Leah Mary, wife of Dr. Booth, Bentleysville, Charles Clinton, who died in infancy, and J. Calvin, Jr., who is acquiring an education. There was no braver officer in the regiment, and Lieut. French deserves special mention for his gallant conduct at the second battle of Bull Run, and for his splendid leadership in the extreme advance, in the dash where he was wounded at Rocky Gap.
B. F. Bower was a young man about ready to be admitted to the bar in New Martinsville, Wetzel county, Va., in the spring of 1861. When the effort was made to organize a three years' regiment from the loyal element in Virginia, he set to work to recruit a company in Wetzel and Tyler counties, but he found the work somewhat difficult, and finally with about twenty men from the Virginia side of the river, he united with Hollister and Jackson from the Ohio side, and with a few from other quarters, had the required number to form it full company, which according to date of organization was lettered E, and he was commissioned its first second lieutenant. Lieut. Bower only remained with the regiment a short time, but it is but due to him to say that having been overstepped in the way of promotions he did what any spirited officer would have done, viz resign, and take a position elsewhere, which he did in Johnston's battery of light artillery where his worth was more appreciated. Lieut. Bower is now enjoying a fair practice in his profession at the New Martinsville bar.
James B. Smith, a student of Nineteen Summers, left his home in Tyler county, Va., and found his way to Wheeling, in time to enlist in Company E. On account of his youth, size, and bright and cheerful expression of countenance, he was one to attract attention, so that when the Ritchie squad was instructed to select one to increase their number from seven to a mess of eight, Smith was looked after, when the situation was explained to him, and he at once consented to join the mess and ever afterward was identified with the Ritchie squad. His service as a private soldier, was marked for coolness, vigilance and courage. At the Second Bull Run battle in 1862, when Colonel Latham called for volunteers, one from each company, to reconnoiter in front of our lines his lithe form was the first to the front from the company, and among the first of the regiment to return and make an intelligent report of the situation. In November, 1862, he was made a non-commissioned officer, and on March 27, 1863, he was commissioned a second lieutenant, Company E at this time being about the only one in the depleted regiment that had three commissioned officers. Lieut. Smith was frequently detailed on special duty. On one occasion he was ordered by General Averell to take an escort of three men from the camp at Martinsburg, and reconnoiter the enemy's position at Winchester. Taking with him Anderson of Company H, Castillow and Cutlip of Company E, he proceeded to Bunker Hill, a distance of twelve miles, where he remained until after midnight, when he advanced to a high point overlooking Winchester; here the enemy had a picket of five infantry soldiers, whom Lieut. Smith surprised and captured after a little skirmish, gaining valuable information from the prisoners, and also finding himself almost in the presence of a large force of the enemy. He left the main road, not only to bring the prisoners into camp, but to apprise our cavalry out post of the advance of a superior force of the enemy. The prisoners were given in charge of two of the men while the lieutenant with Cutlip alone undertook to reach the picket post by a country road; this arrangement had hardly been made when the lieutenant was halted, and a dialogue ensued; it was a very dark morning and when the order came from the enemy to advance, the opportunity was made use of to turn and regain the pike, which was done and the two men and prisoners were overtaken and were joined by a small patrol of Pennsylvania Cavalry. The enemy came on with a dash, and all were in a confused mass amid timber and darkness, the prisoners were lost and the three men who had done their part so nobly were carried away by the rush. Lieut. Smith concealed his identity by joining with the enemy in the darkness, until an opportunity was offered to elude them by the roadside, and the force of the enemy turned back and he was left alone. On returning to the outpost alone, and telling his strange experience to the captain commanding, he was regarded with suspicion by that officer, and the question of his being a spy was strongly hinted at; but fortunately at this juncture Maj. Tom. Gibson of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry came upon the scene with a detachment from his regiment, and settled all questions of identity.
In March, 1864, Lieut. Smith was appointed an acting assistant signal officer in Department of West Virginia, in which capacity he served until May 13th, 1864, when he and his whole signal corps were taken prisoners by Mosby's Rangers. He was treated with some indignity on account of his being a native Virginian, was taken first to Orange C. H., from thence to Gordonsville, Lynchburg and Danville, Va., and in June, 1864, was sent to Macon, Ga., where he was associated with about one thousand federal officers. While thus incarcerated in this prison pen, his experience was not different in many respects from that of his fellows. Most of the time was spent in devising plans how they might escape. To relieve the monotony a little hilarity was indulged in, when new recruits were ushered into their dismal prison abode. It was usually known when new prisoners were about to be brought in, and two irregular lines would be formed and the new prisoners were expected to pass between these lines, while a perfect din of shouts would go up in chorus: "Fresh fish! Fresh fish! Don't take his shirt! Leave his haversack," etc. When Lieut. Smith had passed about half way between the two lines, a well-known voice and hearty grasp of the hand caused him to forget all else, as he recognized the tall form and pleasant countenance of that prince of scouts, Charley Smitley, of Company B. About August 1st Lieut. Smith, and about 600 others, were loaded into box cars and started for Charleston, S. C. About 70 of the number escaped from the train while in transit. Lieut. Smith and two others jumped from the cars at Pocotalgo bridge, and secreted themselves in a swamp. After hiding by day and travelling by night for three days, they ventured to the road to consult a finger board, when they were suddenly surprised and recaptured, and forced, half starved, to complete the journey to Charleston, at which place they were placed under fire of the federal guns while the city was being bombarded, but while thus placed in the jail yard, the "swamp angels" used against the city did them but little harm. In October, 1864, Lieut. Smith, together with a large number of officers, was taken to Columbia, S. C., from which place, November 29th, about 50, through bribery and strategem, effected an escape. Once out of prison they divided into small squads of from three to five and took different directions, some for east Tennessee, others for Sherman's army, while Lieut. Smith and three others undertook to make their way to the coast. After untold privations and narrow escapes from recapture, on the 12th of December, the squad arrived at the coast near McClellansville, where an artillery company had been stationed, but had just left to join Hood's army. All boats had been scuttled to prevent the colored people from escaping. With some difficulty the squad repaired an old life boat, in which they managed to reach a deserted light house, five miles from the main land, called Cape Roman, two of the squad rowing, one steering and the fourth one kept busy bailing out the water with a broken jug. Here they hoped to be able to attract the attention of some passing vessel, but while many were in sight at different times, they failed, and at the end of three days, having no provisions, and failing to catch a cat, which would have been eagerly devoured, nothing was left them to do but return to the main land, which was done after drifting five miles to the northward. Here a new trouble met them. They had been seen by some of the servants, who took them for rebel deserters, and had so reported them. Fortunately, however, the old planter, who met them on their landing and accused them of deserting, was rather easily beguiled by plausible stories and they were let go without being further reported. A faithful colored man was finally secured, who ferried them across both Santee rivers, and through rice swamps to Alligator channel, but the bridge that had connected the main land with the island had been destroyed, so that a rude raft was constructed on which they placed their clothes, and pushing it before them they swam to the island. Not taking time to dress, each one took his clothes under his arms and ran about two miles across the island in time to signal a gunboat before it had got beyond reach. No language can describe the feelings of joy of the half naked and almost famished boys as they noticed the gunboat pull for them, and when taken on board to receive kind greetings from the jolly sailor boys.
After Lieut. Smith's escape he returned to Washington, D. C. His regiment having been mustered out, except that portion that had re-enlisted as veterans, Lieut. Smith was offered and accepted a captaincy in the Sixth W. Va. Cavalry, and received the following complimentary letter from his old commander:
BATH, NEW YORK, 12th Feb. 1865.
To MAJ. GEN. GEO. CROOK, Commanding Dep't of West Va:
GENERAL:-I have the honor to recommend Capt. James B. Smith, Sixth W. Va. Cavalry, as a brave, skillful, and enterprising officer. He formerly belonged to the Fifth W. Va. Cavalry, distinguished himself at Droop Mountain, and afterward at Martinsburg. He has been a prisoner of war since the opening of the summer campaign until the 15th. of December, 1864, when he escaped from the enemy at Columbia, S. C. The men of his company are principally veterans, and, I believe, I will do good service as cavalry. I am General.
Very Respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. AVERILL, By't. Maj. General.
Capt. Smith went with General Crook's command to the Northwest, and took an active part in the operations of that general's forces in his campaigns against the Indians. The service becoming monotonous and the captain having served his country nearly five years, and having seen service in all its phases, he returned to civil life in his native county, and has since for the most part been engaged in merchandising.
Capt. Smith was married Aug. 19, 1868, to Miss Martha J. Langfitt, of Eagle Mills, W. Va. Three childreen adorn his home, viz:. Sidney A., Ida L. and Silas M. Smith. The captain and all his family are members of the Christian church.
M. E. Moore, private of Company E, and one of the veterans of the company, was captured at Greenbrier river, on the return from Cloyd Mt; was in Staunton hospital three months, and had charge of thirteen wounded Union soldiers, during which he saw both the union and confederate armies pass through the city. He was started for Andersonville, but having a sore hand and arm, he applied bandages, and when the surgeon examined him he was sent to Richmond, and was exchanged from there. He claimed to have been wounded at Piedmont, which with his sores, saved him a stay at Andersonville. He was discharged at Wheeling, W. Va., May 30, 1866, and lacked only a few days of having served five years. It was the service of a veteran.
| "A" | "B" | "C" | "D" | "E" | "F" | "G" | "H" | "I" | "K" |