THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT.
A REGIMENT to be efficient, and to do its best service, must have a well equipped quartermaster department, administered by an intelligent, strong officer. Without this its strength will be sapped and its usefulness impaired. Such a department the regiment had, and it was a rare occasion when the men suffered from lack of supplies, and then never through the fault of our own quartermaster. Lieut. Webster A. Stevens was the first quartermaster of the regiment, who had the duty of organizing the department, and putting it in shape for good work. The command had been in active service less than one year, when he resigned the office, and on July 7, 1862, Lieut. Alex. J. Pentecost was commissioned and appointed to the office. He had been in the department for a few months, and was acquainted with its duties, and when he took charge new life and vigor were infused into it. It was not a work that was entirely congenial to the lieutenant's taste, but he took hold of it with his usual energy, and became one of the best officers that served in our command. Prompt, vigilant, reliable and intelligent, he met every demand made upon him, and was a model quartermaster. His choice was an active command, and at the head of a troop he would have been a dashing, brave officer, and would have won great renown. But at the request of his superiors he accepted this office, and there did a work that was, perhaps, of more benefit to the men he directly served, than if he had commanded a company or a battalion. For his faithful work, the men honor him. Associated with him were George H. Kirkpatrick commissary sergeant, and E. F. Seaman quartermaster sergeant, who were valuable aids in the onerous and responsible duties of the position, and Thos. S. Eichbaum, of Company A, was the lieutenant's clerk.
Alexander J. Pentecost was born November 18, 1835, at Pittsburgh, Pa. When five years old, his father died, and in 1845 his mother moved to Allegheny. Since that time he has been a resident of the latter city. At the age of twenty years, having served an apprenticeship at the machinist's trade, he became a member of the firm of Pentecost, Graham and Bole, engine builders, Allegheny. He disposed of his interest in this business, and three years later, when the discovery of gold at Pike's Peak created so much excitement, started west in search of fortune. Going by way of Leavenworth, Kansas, and across the plains, he arrived at a point about fifteen miles from the base of the "Rockies" in the month of June, 1859. Here he found an Indian lodge, and met General William Larimer, a Pittsburgh banker, who had taken up his abode in an old log hut near-by. Upon this spot the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado, has since arisen. Continuing their journey to the mountains, young Pentecost spent several months exploring the "wild west" and prospecting for gold, and returned home in the spring of 1860.
When Sumpter was fired upon, and President Lincoln's call for troops was issued, Mr. Pentecost was among the first who responded to that call. It was his intention to recruit a company at Neville hall, but the city guards, under the command of Colonel Alexander Hays, had taken possession of the hall, and his plans were frustrated. Pentecost then enlisted with the Washington Rifles, afterward Company A, being recruited at old Lafayette hall. This company, in response to a call from Governor Frank H. Pierpoint, of Virginia, went to Wheeling and entered the service of Virginia. They were ordered into service soon after muster, taking charge of the B. & O. railroad. At this juncture Corporal Pentecost was detached from the regiment to assist in organizing a quartermaster's department at Grafton, Virginia. In September, 1861, he was ordered to the Kanawha valley, and returning to Wheeling in December, reported to Governor Pierpont. The latter desired him to assist Colonel Harris recruit the Tenth Regiment of Virginia Infantry at Clarksburg; but preferring to remain with his regiment, which was then in winter quarters on Cheat Mountain, he immediately reported at regimental headquarters, was assigned to the quartermaster's department, and July 7, 1862, was commissioned first lieutenant and regimental quartermaster, vice Lieutenant W. A. Stephens, resigned.
Lieut. Pentecost rendered active and efficient service in the following, and several other notable battles: Rich Mountain, Gauley Bridge, McDowell, Cross Keys, Cedar Mountain, Kelly's Ford, White Sulphur Springs, Waterloo Bridge, Gainesville, Second Bull Run, Beverly, Rocky Gap, Droop Mountain, Cotton Mountain, Cloyd Mountain and Jackson River. He is the possessor of numerous commendatory letters, complimenting him upon his valor on the battlefield, from which the writer has selected the following on account of its brevity:
A. J. PENTECOST, ESQ.
SIR:-- It affords me great pleasure to say, that while you were under my command in West Virginia, acting as Regimental Quartermaster of the Second Virginia Infantry, you discharged your duties with energy and marked ability, and that at the battle of Droop Mountain you participated in the action with great gallantry, contributing much to the success of your regiment, although your legitimate duties might have been a reasonable excuse for not taking part therein. The reports of your regimental commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, were always most complimentary to you. Wishing you every success in civil life, I remain,
Your Obedient Servant,
WM. W. AVERELL, Late Brig. Gen'l, U. S. V.
He comes of a military family, being the great grandson of Colonel Dorsey Pentecost, who took active part in the revolution, commanded the military forces of Washington county in 1781, was one of the first justices of the peace at old Fort Pitt, a member of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania 1781 to 1783, and president-judge of court of common pleas of Washington county. Colonel Dorsey was also the great grandfather of Colonel Jos. H. Pentecost, commander of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was killed in battle at Fort Steadman, March 25, 1865.
In civil life, Mr. Pentecost has occupied numerous positions of public trust, and has been most successful in business. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity on the retired list, having been made a mason at Allegheny City in 1867. March 13, 1865, he was brevetted captain, U. S. V., by the President of the United States for gallantry and meritorious conduct during the war, and in 1867 was commander of Post 91, G. A. R., department of Pennsylvania. October 31, 1873, he was commissioned major and aid-de-camp of the National Guards of Pennsylvania, by General John F. Hartranft, and assigned to the Eighteenth division. In 1888, at the annual meeting of the Society of the Army of West Virginia, held in Columbus, Ohio, he was elected one of the vice presidents, and in 1887-89 was appointed treasurer of his regimental association. He was a member of Allegheny city councils in 1874, has at different times held the offices of president and treasurer of the third ward, school board, and in 1887-'89, was a member of the high school committee, and member of the board of school controllers of Allegheny City for twelve years.
Mr. Pentecost has been married twice and has four sons and four daughters now living. April 2, 1863, he wedded Miss Virginia H. Andrews at Pittsburgh. Three children - Grant Meigs, Alexander J., and Daisy V., - were the result of this marriage, but the mother and daughter both died.
His second, and present wife was Miss Emma P. Marcy, a relative of the late General R. D. Marcy, and of Mrs. General George B. McClellan. They were married in Allegheny City in January, 1874. The children of this marriage are three sons - Howard M., Dorsey D., Frank Pierpont; and five daughters - Nellie S., Adelia R., Bessie B., May B., and Emma D.
He has a beautiful and happy home in Allegheny City, ranks among the most successful real estate dealers in Pittsburgh, commands the honor and respect or all who know him, either in business, public or social life; and his many old comrades who peruse this volume will be glad to know that in health and physique he is perfect. A most entertaining and witty conversationalist, he can relate innumerable interesting anecdotes of both the sorrowful and amusing phases of a soldier's life, as well as of the bravery and endurance of the "boys in blue."
E. F. Seaman was born in Zelionople, Butler county, Pa., December 26, 1842. His parents were both natives of the state, and his grandparents were Germans. Mr. Seaman received a common school education, and at the age of 15 years left his home, and went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he worked at gardening a few miles below the city. Shortly before the war broke out, he began to learn the trade of roll turning, which he followed until the call to arms, when he enlisted as a private in Company D. Not being able to enlist in any of the many companies forming in his city, on account of his youth and slender build, he boarded the steamer McCombs for Wheeling, Va., where the rules were not so strict, and joined the company then being formed on Wheeling Island. This company was composed almost wholly of men from Pittsburgh and vicinity. He remained with his company, participating in all the battles in which the regiment took part, until July, 1863; and when it was mounted, he was promoted to quartermaster sergeant of the regiment, in which capacity he served until his term of enlistment expired. Returning to Pittsburgh, he again took up the trade of roll turning, and served his apprenticeship. He has had charge of the roll turning department at the Black Diamond Steel Works, of Park Bro. & Co., Pittsburgh, for the last twenty years, and it is the largest works of the kind in the country. On December 24, 1865, he married Miss Carrie Sold, of Allegheny City. Their union has been blessed with five children, three boys and two girls, the oldest and youngest being the latter, aged respectively 23 and 9 years. Comrade Seaman is a well preserved man of 47 years, in the prime and vigor of health. He is a prominent member of the Union Veteran Legion, as well as other societies, and is the life of whatever company he may join. During his service he was brave and true, always at his post, and a comrade that had the love and respect of all his associates. He was very thoroughly tried on the great Salem Raid, when he was one of the party commanded by Lieut. Pentecost in the retreat, and he was of invaluable service on that occasion. It required courage of the utmost staying quality, and Sergt. Seaman displayed his full share of it. In all other positions in which he was placed he was just as brave and true. In his official capacity, he was very efficient, and rendered full service to his country. In the regimental association and Society of the Army of West Virginia, he is a whole host in his good nature and entertaining qualities, and is the life and spirit of the gatherings. In the work of preparing the regimental history, and placing his command in its proper place before the people, he has been of invaluable aid to the Historian, and much is due to him for the completeness of the work. Comrade Seaman is one of the best types of American manhood, and very properly enjoys the respect and confidence of all that know him.
For the following history of the Quartermaster's department, the Historian is indebted to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, its able head. The reports, official orders, etc., are exact copies of the originals, and the anecdotes, and incidents of battle, are told in Lieut. Pentecost's own language, as follows:
"During the winter of 1861-2, while in winter quarters on Cheat Mountain, and for some time afterwards, provisions were plentiful enough; requisitions approved by regimental commander and signed by commander of the company, would procure all the rations and clothing required, and officers had the privilege of purchasing provisions from the department at cost of same. In April, 1862, we were ordered to the front, and on May 13th our headquarters were at Franklin, Va., where we joined General Fremont. Then followed Fremont's campaign, his resignation and the advance of the army under General Pope.
The following order was issued soon after this:
HEADQUARTERS, 1ST CORPS, ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Aug. 4, 1862.
Special Order, No. I:
Quartermasters of regiments and batteries will make requisition for ambulances, horses and harness, and send them to chief quartermaster's office without delay. Each regiment is entitled to three two-horse ambulances and one transport cart.
The ambulances now in use by regiments and batteries, will be deducted from the number allowed, as above, by the respective quartermasters.
By Command of MAJ. GEN'L SIGEL,
Per F. A. MYSENBERG, A. A. G.
To A. J. PENTECOST, 1ST L'T and R. Q. M.
At the time this order was issued, we were camped near Woodville, transportation was excellent, and there was an abundance of clothing, camp equipage, etc., but this prosperous state of affairs did not last long. During the next few days the following official orders were issued:
HEADQUARTERS INDEPENDENT BRIGADE, CAMP NEAR WOODVILLE, Aug. 7, 1862.
Special Order, No.3:
Private Charles Stratton, Company D Second Regiment Virginia Infantry, is hereby relieved from duty as clerk in Provost Marshal's office of this brigade, and will report for duty to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, Quartermaster Second Regiment Virginia Infantry, as clerk in his department.
By Order of BRIG. GEN. R. H. MILROY.
HENRY C. FLESHER, Captain and A. A. A. G.
HEADQUARTERS MILROY'S BRIGADE, CAMP NEAR WOODVILLE, Aug. 8, 1862.
Special Order, No.4:
The Quartermaster Sergeant will remain with the train during the march.
By Order BRIG. GEN. R. H. MILROY.
FIELDING LOWERY, Captain and A. Q. M.
We had now received orders to move to the front and on the evening of August 9, arrived at Cedar Mountain. That night and the following day there was some skirmishing. We were holding a flag of truce. The offices on both sides were riding around conversing with one another. A confederate officer approached me and inquired what state I was from. I replied: 'From Pennsylvania.' 'Indeed!' said he, 'So am I. I am from Monongahela city. I am Captain Dushane, General Ewell's chief of staff.' 'I was very sorry to witness the death of Colonel S. W. Black, an old Pittsburgher. He was killed in a battle near Richmond a few days ago.' After a little further conversation Dushane rode away. I hardly believed it possible, in the excitement of battle, for him to have seen Colonel Black killed, but when we got to camp, and received our mail, letters from Pittsburgh corroborated his statement. On this same day Generals Stonewall Jackson and Stuart, confederates, Generals Sigel and Milroy, union, were riding over the field, when some officer would ask, pointing to one of the latter: 'Can you tell me who that officer is?' The question would, of course, be answered by one of our men; and it was all wrong, for General Milroy being a very large man, and General Sigel rather small, it gave confederate sharpshooters an advantage they should not have had. It was stopped as soon as discovered by the officers. I recollect going over the battlefield and examining some wagons, Stonewall Jackson had left behind, in his retreat. They were built like scows, and fashioned after the old Conestoga wagons used in Pennsylvania fifty years ago.
Our trains were from one-half to three-fourths of a mile in length, and I had a desperate time that night trying to keep the teamsters awake. In riding along the line to see that all was right, I would suddenly discover a break in the column, which was invariably caused by some one of the teamsters falling fast asleep on his horse. While on our march that led to the battle of Bull Run, I received the following orders:
HEADQUARTERS INDEPENDENT BRIGADE, WARRENTON, VA, Aug. 26, 1862.
Special Order, No.5:
During the temporary absence of Capt. Fielding Lowry, Lieut. A. J. Pentecost is detailed as A. A. Q. M. Qf this brigade.
By order of GEN. R. H. MILROY,
HENRY C. FLESHER, A. A. A. G.
CAMP CEDAR RUN, VA., Aug. 27, 1862.
Special Order, No.7:
LIEUT. A.J. PENTECOST, Quartermaster Second Regiment Virginia Infantry:
You will at once hold, subject to my order, three four-horse, or mule, teams, even if you have to empty the aforesaid wagons, and destroy the property when necessary.
By order of COL. R. E. CLARY, Chief Quartermaster Army of Virginia.
FIELDING LOWRY., Captain and A. Q. M.
On this march I was with Gen. Milroy almost constantly, and well remember, when we reached Manassas Junction on the evening of the 29th, he said: 'We must take Jackson before night.' We lay on our arms that night, and were in such a position that we could see all along Gen. McDowell's line of battle. He was trying to prevent Longstreet's forces from joining Jackson's, and the continuous flash from the muskets of both lines, presented the appearance of a canal, or river, of fire. Gen. Schenck was with us for a short time during this memorable scene, and became so impatient that he finally exclaimed 'Can't we go and help them?' Although reminded that we dare not move from the position we were then in, he persisted in his desire to move up and pitch in to the rebels. We were so close to the confederates that night, we could hear their voices. Gen. Milroy was in the saddle next morning at daybreak, and saluted us with the remark, 'We must take them before breakfast.' The boys did not seem to appreciate this mode of warfare, but preferred to replenish the inner man first. After riding to the top of a small hill and being fired at by the confederates, the general returned in haste, and gave the order to the boys to make coffee. He had hardly finished speaking, when down went the fences, rail by rail, until there wasn't one left. The general rode around among the men, and seeing one of them had his coffee almost made, requested him to let him try it. He evidently did not like the quality, however, as he made a very wry face over it. During the engagement which followed, a company was sent out on our left. Colonel Latham and I were sitting on our horses together when he inquired: 'Where has that company gone?' I replied I did not know, but would find out, and rode off in the direction indicated. I had not gone far when an orderly rode up to me and said: 'General Milroy wishes to see you, on our extreme right.' I at once rode over to the general, who said: 'You are making an unnecessary sacrifice of your life this morning. I want you to go, as quickly as possible, to Alexandria, where I understand all the lame and lazy are, and bring them all here.' This I considered a scheme to keep me off the battlefield for that day, at least; however I, of course, obeyed his orders, promptly. Upon arriving at Alexandria I procured all the surgeons I could find, had them examine a lot of men who were feigning sickness, and finally succeeded in getting quite a good command back to the scene of action, which we reached some time that afternoon. I rode up in the direction of the railroad cut, and there witnessed a scene beyond the powers of description. The enemy had taken a position behind this cut. Many of our men were lying in the cut, either killed or wounded, and every time one of the latter would attempt to rise from the ground, the rebels would fire. Both sides having ceased firing, our handful of men were again placed in line ready for an emergency, but remained inactive until about five o'clock. At this time, as Lieutenant-Colonel Scott and I were riding over the field, we noticed General Fitz John Porter, and his division, at the edge of a piece of timber. An orderly rode up to the general with a message, and, just as he was reading it, the confederates opened a deadly-fire from a cornfield on our left. They were fairly mowing swathes in Porter's ranks, when the latter began to return their fire; and it was at this juncture General Milroy showed his foresight and bravery. Although our regiment had been so greatly reduced in numbers, we gained a point known as Bald Knob, and the general seeing the Pennsylvania Bucktails lying in reserve, shouted to them to follow him, which they did with a will. By going in with a rush we held the enemy's right. By this move the entire rebel advance was held, and an immense number of our men saved from absolute slaughter. During this sharp skirmish I was on my horse, when some one reminded me I was making a target of myself, and had better dismount. I was saved the trouble, however; for just at that moment a shell plowed a furrow under my noble steed, and down he went without the slightest warning.
Immediately after, we went into camp at fort Ethan Allen, to recruit our shattered command, many of the men being greatly in need of clothing and medical attention; and while at this fort I received the following order:
CAMP NEAR CHAIN BRIDGE, VA., Sept. 6, 1862.
Special Order, No.8:
LIEUT. A. J. PENTECOST, QM. Second Virginia Infantry:
You will retain six (6) of your best teams, or as many as you may need for the transportation of five (5) days provision for the regiment. All other teams must be immediately sent to Col. D. H. Rucker, Q. M., Washington, D. C., who requires the service of 300 teams. If the first army corps cannot furnish 300 teams, under the above directions, the provision teams must be reduced. The regimental baggage must be unloaded and stored, and an agent with guard of infantry will proceed to Georgetown, store and guard the baggage at that place, or Washington, D. C., which- ever may be most desirable. It is desirable that you at once proceed to get your trains ready. When so, please report.
By order of D. W. LOOMIS, Chief Q. M., First Army Corps.
FIELDING LOWRY, A. A. Q. M.
We were now ordered to West Virginia, and on the way passed through Washington, where our regiment was reviewed by President Lincoln, in front of the White House. This was by his own request, made on one of Gen. Milroy's visits to him after the battle of Bull Run. From Washington we went to Point Pleasant, West Va. This trip furnished many amusing incidents, such as a number of the boys taking French leave by jumping off the train, while crossing the Allegheny mountains. Among these leave takers was an old man named Fitzsimmons, a private in Company D, and it was reported that he had been killed by his jump from the cars. One evening in the following October, Col. Latham and I were sitting out in front of our quarters, when Fitzsimmons approached the colonel with the usual military salute. 'Is that you, Fitz?' said the colonel. 'It is, colonel,' replied Fitzsimmons. 'Why,' said the colonel, 'I heard you were killed when you jumped off the train, coming over the mountains.' 'I heard that myself, colonel, when I got to Pittsburgh: but I knew it was a lie as soon as I heard it,' was Fitz's droll reply. We were now camped at Buckhannon and like Fitz, the boys had all reported for duty. The following orders were issued:
HDQRS. SECOND VIRGINIA VOL. INF., BEVERLY, VA., Oct. 30, 1862.
Special Order, No. 12:
The following soldiers are hereby detached as teamsters, and will be enrolled as extra duty men, from the dates opposite their names, by Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, regimental quartermaster: J. McCrea, Co. A, Antony Cristy, Co. C, Jefferson Reed, Co. D, Oct. 12, '62; Marion Moore, Co. E, Oct. 21, '62; John Sheets, Co. F, Oct. 25, '62; H. Schott, Co. C, Oct. 21, '62; H. McGarvy, Co. H., John Rimmel, Co. I, Oct. 12, '62; Calon Reed, Co. K, Jas. Wilson, Co. H, Robt. A. McCoy, Co. I, David A. Castillow, Co. E, Nov. 1, '62. Private Jos. Black, Co. F, is hereby detailed regimental blacksmith from Oct. 12, 1862.
The following are hereby detailed as extra duty men, and will report for duty to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, provided with one ax each: Wm. Dever, Benj. F. Kurtz, Co. A; Thos. B. Richardson, Matthew Fanzell, Co. F; I. G. Martin, John N. Leese, Co. B; Jackson Yonking, Wm. I. Cox, Co. E; S. G. Jones, Isaac Wilt, Co. K; R. Bowman, H. Emerig, Co. C; D. F. Johnson, Cornelius Collier, Co. H; Bonaparte Brooks, John Woods, Co. D; Henry Devers, Wm. McCoy, Co. I.
By Order of A. SCOTT, Lieut.-Colonel.
(Signed) J. COMBS, Adjutant.
HEADQUARTERS CHEAT MOUNTAIN DIVISION, BEVERLY, VA., Nov. 15, 1862.
Special Order, No. 96:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M. 2d Va. Infantry, is hereby appointed A. A. Q. M. for the Post at Beverly, until further orders, and as such will be obeyed and respected. He will also have charge of all the duties properly belonging to the Q. M. Dep't. at this Post.
By Order of BRIG. GEN. R. H. MILROY.
HENRY C: FLESHER, A. A. A. Gen.
HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN BRIGADE, BUCKHANNON, VA., Feb. 16, 1863.
Special Order, No. 27:
Captain Comley, C. S., U. S. A., Clarkburg, Va., is hereby ordered to turn over all commissary stores and property at Beverly, Va., to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, A. A. Q. M. and A. C. S. at that Post.
By Command of BRIG. GEN. MOOR.
N. GOFF, A. D. C., A. A. A. Gen.
POST HEADQUARTERS, BEVERLY, W.VA., March 10, 1863.
LIEUT. A. J. PENTECOST, A. A. Q: M.:
You will furnish Capt. Thomas E. Day transportation for the corpse of A. Sponholtz, late of Company E, Second Regiment Virginia Infantry to Fetterman, on the B. & O. R. R.
By Comand of A. SCOTT, Lieut. Colonel Commanding Post.
J. COMBS, Post Adjutant.
POST HEADQUARTERS BEVERLY, VA., April 9, 1863.
Capt. D. D. Barclay, 2d Reg't Va. Vol. Inf., Capt. H. H. Hagans, Co. A, 1st Va. Cavalry, and James B. Montgomery, 2d Va. Vol. Inf., are hereby appointed a Board of Survey, and will report to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, at 2:30 o'Clock P. M. this day.
By Order Of LIEUT. COL, A. SCOTT, Commanding Post.
J. COMBS, Adjutant.
Nothing of interest occurred here until the 24th of April, 1863. It was a dismal day, raining at intervals, and a heavy fog, or mist, overhung the valley near Beverly. I was seated in my office, when I was told Col. Latham, who was commander of the post, wished to speak to me. Upon going to the door I found the Col. seated on his horse. He said there was something wrong at the picket lines, and requested me to go with him to investigate the trouble. I at once ordered my horse, and we started in the direction of a bridge which crossed the river near Huttonville, taking with us an Ohio company of cavalry. A short distance from the bridge, we found Frank Ferris, of Beverly, lying on the ground. As I looked down at him he said, 'Here is my pistol, lieutenant, I am shot.' He appeared to be very weak. I took the pistol, and leaving him in charge of the guards at the bridge, we continued on our way. A little further on, Col. Latham called my attention to a long line of cavalry on the other side of the river. On account of the fog, it was impossible to tell to which army they belonged, and I remarked that they were probably a company of cavalry sent out as an escort, with one of my trains during the morning. Riding on in the direction of Huttonville, we posted guards, and returning to the bridge, had barely reached the end of it, when we heard the sound of horses' hoofs. Upon looking around we discovered our guards coming back on a double quick, evidently pursued by a large force of confederate cavalry. I succeeded in checking our men when they reached us, and got them into a little flat near by. The guards at the bridge now began to get alarmed and wanted to know how they were to defend themselves against a whole regiment. Col. Latham ordered them to climb to a point of rocks near the bridge, and hold the latter at all hazards. Seeing another large body of confederates moving toward Beverly, the colonel said we had better notify our men who were in camp there. Putting spurs to my horse, I complied with the colonel's suggestion as quickly as possible, and had, barely arrived at camp when the confederates began throwing shells from the mountain peaks as fast as they could load. It soon became apparent that we were at the mercy of a force, very much our superior in numbers, under Gens. Imboden and Jones. Our men fought bravely but were driven back, inch by inch, into the town of Beverly. As quartermaster and commissary at Beverly, I had a large amount of stores in my charge, and feeling certain we would finally have to leave the town, I began preparing the warehouses for destruction. Our commissary stores were in charge of Com. Sergt. Geo. H. Kirkpatrick, who built flues of candle boxes, and strewed lines of powder across the floors, so that when the signal was given the whole thing would go like a flash. About the time these preparations were completed, I received the following telegram:
BUCKHANNON, VA., April 24, 1863.
To COL. GEO. R. LATHAM, Beverly, Va.:
Destroy all the stores you cannot take with you.
B. S. ROBERTS, Brig. Gen.
I certify that I promulgated the above order to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, during the engagement at Beverly, Va., April 24, 1863.
GEO. R. LATHAM, Commander.
When the bullets began whizzing close to our heads, and I saw retreat was inevitable, I rode out on the main street and threw up my hand as a signal to set the match to the stores. In a few moments the store houses were no more, and they were the last the government ever built at that place. I shall never forget the expression depicted on the faces of our boys as they looked back at the camp, and saw the rebels ransacking the tents. Just as we were at the edge of the town a confederate regiment came sailing through the woods, and charged on us, and we returned their charge in such a vigorous manner, it nearly took their breath away, and they left us in hot haste. We camped that night just outside the town, at Leading creek, and although all was perfectly quiet, Maj. McNally dreamed we were again attacked and waked me up by shouting at the top of his voice, 'Fall in boys, fall in!' The next morning we proceeded to Clarksburg, from there to West Union, and finally went into camp at Buckhannon. From Buckhannon we returned to Beverly, were made mounted infantry and placed under command of the celebrated Gen. Averell, an officer from the Army of the Potomac. The following orders were issued:
DIVISION QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, WESTON, VA., May 24, 1863.
LIEUT. A. J: PENTECOST, Q. M., Second Virginia Volunteer Infantry:
SIR: - By order of Brig. Gen. W. W. Averell, commanding Independent Division, you are requested to furnish me with following information immediately. Make a report in writing. Number of days rations and forage on hand; number of shelter tents in regiment and any required; any clothing needed and what quantity.
J. N. RUTHERFORD, Capt. and Q. M., U. S. A., and Div. Q. M.
ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, WESTON, Va., May 26, 1863.
LIEUT. A. J. PENTECOST, Q. M. Second Virginia Volunteer Infantry:
SIR: - By order of Brig. Gen. W. W. Averell, you are requested to furnish me the following information immediately:
What number of public horses, public mules, private horses, two horse wagons, four horse wagons, and ambulances, belonging to the regiment, and the condition of transportation,
Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
J. N. RUTHERFORD, Capt., and A. Q. M., U. S. A.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH SEPARATE BRIGADE, BEVERLY, VA., June 14, 1863.
Special Order, No. 13:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 2d Reg't Va. Vol. Inf'ty, is hereby relieved from duty as acting assistant quartermaster of the Post at Beverly. He will turn over the public property pertaining to the so-called Post at Beverly, for which he is accountable, to the R. Q. M., of the 10th Va. Vol. Inf'ty.
By Command of BRIG. GEN. AVERELL.
C. F. TROWBRIDGE, Captain and A. A. A. Gen.
HDQRS. SECOND VIRGINIA VOL. INF., GRAFTON, VA., June 24, 1863.
Special Order, No. 26:
Privates Robert McCoy and Jos. Chester, of Co. I., C. M. Roberts and C. Kirchoffer, of Co. F, Second Regiment Virginia Volunteer Infantry, are hereby detailed as extra duty men, and will report to Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, forthwith, for duty.
By Command COL. G. R. LATHAM.
J. COMBS, Lieut. and Adj't.
June 23d, we were in camp at Grafton, and drew horses for the entire command. Shortly after this we were sent to Buckhannon. Provisions and clothing were plentiful and nothing of importance transpired until the month of August. In that month we were on the march with Gen. W. W. Averell commanding, and Col. Geo. R. Latham commanding regiment. On August 26th we fought a battle at Rocky Gap. When on the march, after I had the trains fully under way, it was my custom to ride with some officer. On the morning of August 26th, I was riding beside Capt. C. T. Ewing, and while we were chatting on various subjects, we noticed a man, mounted on a gray horse, descending a hill. As soon as he saw our advancing column, he turned and tried to avoid us, but Ewing and I, putting spurs to our horses, soon overtook and captured him. In reply to Capt. Ewing's questions, he stated he was a quartermaster in the confederate army, and was out purchasing supplies. Seeing something bulky in his pocket, the captain asked him what it was. He replied, 'It is confederate money,' and pulled out a large package of 10, 20 and 50 dollar bills, and of which Capt. Ewing promptly relieved him. The quartermaster then said he must account to his government for the money, and would like to have a receipt. Ewing referred him to me, saying, 'This is our quartermaster and he will give you a receipt,' and handing me part of the money, he rode off without further ceremony. By this time the column had arrived on the scene and our prisoner was handed over to the guard.
A few minutes after this little episode, General Averell and I were riding at the head of a column, when we heard the sound of artillery ahead of us. Knowing that Captain Ewing was in advance with the guns, we at once concluded he had met the enemy, and opened fire. We started for the scene of action on a double quick, and arriving there found Ewing badly wounded. We were on a pike road and the general immediately deployed the Second Virginia and Fourteenth Pennsylvania cavalry to the right, Third and Eighth Virginia to the left, Ewing's battery in the center. We made a number of charges during the day, but neither side seemed to gain any advantage. Toward evening General Averell came and told me we would make the final charge, and requested me to pass the word along the line. I, in turn, requested Lieut. Colmer to do so. The signal for this charge was the raising of dust by the horses of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania cavalry, commanded by Captain R. Pollock. The moment the dust appeared, we charged; but it was a vain attempt, for our ammunition gave out and we had to fall back. During the charge I was swinging a sabre with all my might, and Major McNally and Sergeant Carney, who were almost by my side, were both killed. It was now getting dark, and although Lieut. John R. Meigs and myself had promised to meet the general after this charge, we concluded to try to get a little rest, if possible.
Lieut: Meigs, General Averell's Chief Engineer, was a graduate of West Point, and son of Maj. Gen. M. C. Meigs, Q. M. Gen. U. S. Army. He was a gallant officer, and displayed great courage in this battle, and at Droop Mountain and on the Salem raid. He was murdered by bushwhackers in the Shenandoah valley, and Gen. Sheridan threatened general destruction in the valley in retaliation. In the first charge in the morning, I recollect being on the left of our regiment, when I came shoulder to shoulder with Col. J. M. Schoonmaker, who was on the right of his regiment, the 11th Pa. Cavalry. We were not successful, and as we fell back to the foot of the hill at a maple grove, I stood behind the men when they fell back, and found myself near a tree. I heard some of our men calling to me, but could not make out what they meant, but on looking across a rail fence, I discovered a confederate taking aim at me, who had been there for some time, whose firing had caused pieces of bark to fall over me, but I had not noticed it particularly until I saw the marksman. I immediately moved nearer our own forces. The following day we began a retreat, lapping the trees across the road to prevent the enemy from following us.
Upon reaching Beverly, we went into camp, and while there the following orders were issued:
HDQRS. QUARTERMASTER DEP'T, FOURTH SEPARATE BRIGADE, Sept. 22, 1863.
LIEUT. A. J. PENTECOST, R. Q. M. Second Virginia Infantry:
You will report to these headquarters by 11 o'clock this morning, the exact number of horses required by your command, to make it completely effective.
By Order of BRIG. GEN. AVERELL.
G. H. NORTH, Lieut. and A. A: Q. M. 4th Sep. Brig.
HDQRS. Q. M. DEPT., FOURTH SEPARATE BRIG., BEVERLY, W. VA., Oct. 6, 1863.
The general commanding directs that hereafter all regimental quartermasters in his command, in foraging in the surrounding country, will in no case take all the hay from union men, but leave enough to winter their stock. Regimental quartermasters will be held responsible for violation of this order by the trains in their charge. When fodder can be obtained, it is directed that it be used to make up the deficiency in hay, giving receipts for same, to be accounted for by the brigade quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH SEPARATE BRIGADE, BEVERLY, W. Va., Oct. 15, 1863.
All officers will turn over to-morrow morning, to regimental quartermasters, for transportation and storage, all baggage in excess of the following allowance:
To each officer a small valise, or carpet bag, and small mess kettle. These articles will be carried on the two wagons allowed to each regiment. All officers' tents will remain standing until further orders.
By Command BRIG. GEN. W. W. AVERELL
L. MARKBREIT, A. A. A. Gen.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, BEVERLY, W. VA., Oct. 18, 1863.
Special Order, No. 4:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 2nd Regt. Va. Mounted Inf., is hereby ordered to proceed to Clarksburg on business connected with the quartermaster department of this brigade.
By command of BRIG. GEN W. W. AVERELL.
L. MARKBREIT, A. A. A. Gen.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, BEVERLY, W. VA., Oct. 20,1863.
Special Order, No. --:
Leave of absence is hereby granted to the following named officer: Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 2nd Regt. Va. Mounted Inf., for five days.
By command of BRIG. GEN. AVERELL.
WILL RUMSEY, Capt. and A. D. C.
During the illness of Capt. W. H. Brown, Gen. Averell's chief quartermaster, I was chosen to act as quartermaster for the division on the Droop Mountain expedition.
The following is a copy of receipts given on the Droop Mountain expedition, by order of Gen. W. W. Averell, commanding division:
ON THE MARCH NEAR LEWISBURG, VA., Nov. 7, 1863.
THE UNITED STATES,
TO JOHN SMITH, Dr.
Rails burnt by troops - $25
Five tons of hay, $6.00 - $30
Total -- $55.00
I certify that this account is correct, and that the above items were taken for the good of the service, and recommend the payment of said claim, should the said John Smith prove loyal to the close of the war.
By order BRIG GEN. W. W. AVERELL, Commanding Div.
A. J. PENTECOST, 1st Lieut. and A. A Q. M., Cav. Div.
December 1, 1863, we left New Creek and started on the Salem raid, which was, perhaps, one of the most hazaroous and exciting expeditions of the war. Everything went well until we reached Jackson river on our return. On account of bad weather, and worse roads, our transportation was not of the best and progress was rather slow. The trains were guarded by the Fourteenth Pa. cavalry, under command of Lieut. Col. Blakely, and were a considerable distance behind the rest of the command. We were finally cut off from them entirely by the burning of a bridge. Capt. W. H. Brown, Commissary Serg't George H. Kirkpatrick, and I started down the road to investigate the trouble, and on our way met a detachment of confederates who had captured some of our ambulances, and fired on us. We returned to camp, and there found several confederate officers standing around the fire, holding a conversation with our own officers. They informed us that we were their prisoners, and taking charge of us would be merely a matter of form. I expressed my opinions pretty freely, and after some sharp words they departed. The air was very cold that night, but we had to sleep at a distance from our fire to avoid being shot at. Morning came at last, and Captain Powell and myself were ordered to command the advance. The fire of the enemy's artillery from the mountain tops began to have a telling effect and we finally concluded to burn the trains, which was successfully accomplished under the direction of my Quartermaster Sergeant Elias F. Seaman, who deserves much credit for the manner in which he conducted it. We were now forced to fight or cross the river, and discovering a fording a short distance up the stream, we started for it, hotly pursued by the enemy. Just as we reached the ford Lieut. Colonel Blake came up and shouted: 'Volunteers, step out and defend this fording under command of Lieut. A. J. Pentecost.' He was promptly obeyed, and assured me he would remain near at hand with reinforcements. We held the fording for some time and finally succeeded in joining our command on the mountains near Calahans. When we arrived there the boys shouted themselves, hoarse, they were so rejoiced at our escape. The march was continued, we defeated the confederates at several points, and the tearing up of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad ended the great Salem raid.
The following order speaks for itself:
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJ'T GEN'L'S OFFICE, WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 1863.
Special Order, No. 578:
* * * * * * * * * *
The quartermaster's department will issue gratis, to each man of Gen. Averell's command, one pair of shoes, and a suit of clothing, to replace those lost and worn out in his recent expedition.
* * * * * * * * * *
By order of the Secretary of War,
(Signed), E. D. TOWNSEND; Ass't Adj't Gen.
Official copy: WILL RUMSEY, A. A. G.
The following orders were issued at Martinsburg:
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION DEPT. W. VA., MARTINSBURG,W. VA. Feb. 6, 1864.
Special Order No. 31:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 5th Regt. W. Va. Vol. Cav., will proceed to Webster and Clarksburg, W.Va., to attend to business connected with the Ordinance Department of his regiment. He will return as soon as practicable.
By command of COL. J. M. SCHOONMAKER
HENRY N. HARRISON, A. A. A. G.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION DEPT. W. VA., MARTINSBURG, W. VA. Feb. 22, 1864.
Special Order, No. 46:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 5th W. Va. Cav., will proceed to Clarksburg and Wheeling, W. Va., to transact business connected with the Ordinance Department of this Division.
By command of BRIG. GEN. W. W. AVERELL.
WILL RUMSEY. A. A. G.
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., FOURTH DIV., DEPT. OF W. VA.,
MARTINSBURG, VA., March 10, 1864.
General Order, No. 6:
Lieutenant A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., Fifth W. Va. Cav., is hereby announced as acting assistant quartermaster of this brigade, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
By order of LT. COL. F. W. THOMPSON, Commanding.
J. W. CARE, A. A. A. G.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIV., DEPT. OF W. VA., MARTINSBURG, W. VA., March 15, 1864.
LT. A. J. PENTECOST, R. Q. M, Fifth W. Va. Cav:
This command will at once be put in condition to take the field. The officers' baggage and the men's kits will be kept packed when not in use. Arms, ammunition and equipments to be kept in good order. Three days' rations and one day's forage will be kept in possession of the troops. Surplus equipage, arms and stores of all kinds, excepting tents, will be immediately packed and held in readiness for transportation, and proper reports will be made to the A. Q. M., to inform him fully upon all matters in his department. Condemned harness will be turned over to the A. Q. M, Regimental drills will be faithfully carried on, and all officers and men must be constantly in fighting condition.
By command BRIG. GEN. W. W. AVERELL.
WILL RUMSEY, A. A. G.
HDQRS. FIFTH W. VA. CAVALRY, PATTERSON'S CREEK, W. VA., March 22, 1864.
Special 0rder, No. 10:
Lieut. A. J. Pentecost, R. Q. M., 5th W. Va. Cav., is hereby authorized to issue orders on the B. & O. R. R. company, for transportation from Patterson's creek station, W. Va.
By command of Col. Geo. R. Latham.
J. COMBS, 1st Lieut. and Adjutant.
Our trip by railroad and steamboat from Patterson Creek to Charleston was without accident or anything of interest to the reader. From here we went to Dublin Depot and fought the battle of Cloyd Mountain, under command of Maj. Gen. George Crook, in which we were victorious. We then returned to the Kanawha valley and from there continued our march to Wheeling.
June 14, 1864, our term having expired, we were mustered out at Wheeling. There was much excitement and some funny things occurred. I remember, as I was standing in front of a hotel, on Water street, gazing at the pedestrians, a number of them gave me the regular military salute. I was much puzzled over it for some time, but finally discovered the cause. The boys were being paid off, and as soon as they received their money they cast aside their uniform and dressed in citizen's clothes. This made such a change that I failed to recognize them.
In closing this paper, I wish to express my appreciation of the service of my commissary and quartermaster sergeants, who were capable and true in their work and animated by the highest sense of duty for their country. They did their whole duty, as soldiers, and when they retired to private life became citizens of which any country might well be proud. The country owes a debt of gratitude to them for their faithful service, and I recall their devotion to duty as one of the most pleasant recollections of my service. My clerk, Thomas S. Eichbaum, was efficient and attended to his duties with marked ability."