History of the 35th Battalion Virginia Calvary 1861-62
History of the 35th Battalion Virginia Calvary
You are visitor
Captain White opened a recruiting office in Leesburg, Va. His efforts met with success when he offered the remaining militia, called out to dig forts, a horse instead. He established a line of couriers between Generals D. H. Hill (Leesburg) and Stonewall Jackson at Winchester, Va.
Back to Top
- January 11th--White's Rebels officially come into existence as an active company in the Provisional Army of the Confederacy, stationed at Waterford,Va.
Back to Top
- One of their first tasks was to impress wagons and teams of horses for use by the Confederacy.
- Capt. White focusses his attention to Harper's Ferry since it was the most active Federal garrison along the Potomac River.
Back to Top
- In early February White's Rebels capture their first prisoner, a Lt. of the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was escorted to Leesburg.
- March 4th--General Hill evacuates Leesburg, Va. and White's company falls back from Waterford, Va. to act as the rear guard for the Confederate retreat by the 6th.
- White's Rebels never anticipated leaving the border area in which they lived, no arangements were made for supplies. Also the quartermaster, medical officer, and ordinance departments were never formed.
- As they entered Fauquier County they met up with Lt. Col. Thomas Munford of the 2nd Va. Calvary, who gave them rations and supplies.
- March 19th-- White's Rebels have enough manpower in which to become a company and is regularly organized.
- The elected officer's are as follows: Captain: Elijah White; 1st Lt.: Frank M. Myers; 2nd Lt.: William F. Barrett; 3rd Lt.: R. C. Marlow.
Note: 3rd Lt. Marlow becomes quartermaster and 2nd Lt. Barrett becomes the recruiting officer.
Back to Top
- The remainder of March they preyed on the flanks of Col. Geary's 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. Attacking them at Salem, Rector's Cross Roads, and Piedmont at the Manasas Gap Railroad.
- Attacks continue on Col. Geary's forces.
- At the end of April with the borderland occupied by the enemy, White's Rebels go along with Col. Munford.
Back to Top
- The now homeless company was ordered to report to Gen. Ewell's division, where they were assigned as scouts and couriers.
- Gen. Ewell send White's Rebels on reconnaissance to gather information on the movement's of Union Gen. Nataniel Bank's forces.
- Capt. White suffers his first of many wounds while on a mission to gather information on Gen. Bank's forces in the Shenandoah Valley. On coming down from the mountain they received information, from a Confederate sympathizer, that two Yankees were at a neighbors house. They captured 2 horses and their owners and enroute back to camp when they ran into local bushwhackers. The exchange of fire wounded one bushwhacker and scattered the rest. Capt. White was wounded in the face on the next exchange of fire. His wounds were serious but not fatal and was taken later to Charlottesville to recuperate.
- Command of the company falls upon 1 Lt. Frank Myers until the return of Capt. White.
- White's Rebel are kept busy as couriers between Generals Ewell and Jackson.
- Gen. Ewell moves out in mid may to join up with Gen. Jackson to drive Gen. Banks from the valley. Lt. Myers was ordered to stay at near headquarters and when the Union forces took flight from Front Royal, Myers and his company were allowed to go and plunder their camps.
- Gen. Ewell sends Lt. Myers's men in pursuit of Gen. Banks as far as Charlestown, WV. A large quantity of supplies were captured and each man of the command found themselves extremely well equipped with revolvers, saddles, sabres, bridles, halters, and blankets. The Federal advanced onto their position before they could load the remainder onto wagon and make off with it.
Back to Top
- Lt. Myers and his command are the rear guard for Gen. Ewell's division retreat up the Valley to Strasburg, then to Mt. Jackson. A few days of rest a New Market and then into camp at Cross Keys.
- At the battle of Cross Keys on June 8th, White's Rebels are divided into three groups, one as provost guards, one as scouts, and the last as couriers with Gen. Ewell. Lt. Myers commanding the scouting party, discovered a Federal flanking movement on Gen. Ewell's right. They report it to Gen. Isaac Trimble commanding the brigade ton the right and he takes immediate action to turn back the enemy movement. The attack succeeds in turning back the threat.
- June 9th--During the battle for Port Republic, Lt. Myers with White's Rebels, observed the fight from a distance.
- Following Cross Keys and Port Republic, the company enjoyed a deserved rest in camps at Mount Meridan. Fishing and bathing in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River along with visits to Weyer's Cave made army life enjoyable during this period.
- June 18th--The army of the Valley with White's Rebels moved toward Brown's Gap and Mechum River Station.
- June 20th--White's Rebels with the Valley army cross the Blue Ridge to join the Confederate army then defending Richmond against attacks from McClellan's army.
- June 20th--Four men from Maryland appear with news that citizens of upper Montgomery and Frederick Counties would soon come to join Capt. White's company.
- At Charllottesville, Capt. White, now healed, rejoins and takes command of his company.
- White's Rebels continue to move toward Richmond.
- June 22--The entire movement is halted while Gen. Jackson attends church services.
- June 27th--Capt. White and company does not find Gen. Ewell until near midnight after Cold Harbor.
- June 28th--Gen. Ewell move his command to Dispatch Station along the York River Railroad to ascertain which direction Gen. McClellan had disappeared. White's Rebels see campfires still burning. Supplies are in abundance including those of the medical department.
Back to Top
- June 30th--Capt. White's company marches along with Gen. Jackson's corps as they cross the Chickahominy in pursuit of the enemy. Capt. White charges a detachment of the Pennsylvania Bucktails and disperses them, capturing a suit f armor, band instruments and several prisoners.
- July 1st-- White's Rebels are busy as couriers since Gen. Ewell has many message to be delivered to his subordinates. In addition to acting as couriers, White's Rebels act as provost guards t stop stragglers. During this time they were spectators at bloody Malvern Hill.
- Capt. White moves his company back to Meadow Bridge where they complete the company organization by electing C. M. C. Whaley as Orderly Sergeant.
Back to Top
- July 13th--Gen. Pope advances across central Virginia and Gen. Ewell is ordered to Liberty Mills on the Rapidan River to watch. Capt. White sends daily patrols into Madison and Greene Counties to drive out the Union calvary operating along the flanks of Pope's army.
- August 7th--White's men remain close to Gen. Ewell's headquarters until camp is set up at Barnett's Ford as Gen. Jackson moves his corps out to intercept Gen. Pope's Advance now at Culpepper Courthouse.
- August 9th--Gen. Jackson orders all forces to Culpepper Courthouse. Gen. Ewell personally leads Capt. White's men to Slaughter Mountain where they drag Latimer's Battery up the mountainside and serve the guns until Latimer's gunners come up.
- Capt. White's company stays behind as Gen. Ewell's division withdrawls from Slaughter Mountain under the cover of darkness to keep the campfires burning and create the illusion that the division was still there. The company is recalled back to Liberty Mills to protect the bridge from a threatened attack that never materialized. Capt. White's company at Somerset on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in Orange County, Va.
- August 13th-- Forty men from Maryland whose coming had been foretold met in Poolesville, Md., cut the telegraph wires, crossed the river onto the farm of Geoffrey Kephart who served them breakfast and were guided to Hog Back Mountain that night.
- August 14th-16th-- The band of Marylanders are guided by William Ball to the Confederate lines.
- This was the beginning of Company B. George Chiswell is elected Captain and they would carry the name of "Chiswell's Exile Band."
- August 17th-19th--Gen. Pope takes up position behind the Rappahannock River and Gen. Lee marches his army to flank the Federal's position. Capt. White is given permission from Gen. Ewell to go to Loudoun County and antagonize some Yankees there.
- August 25th--Capt. White leads his company of 100 men toward Loudoun County reaching the Bull Run Mountains by the following morning.
- August 26th--Information came to Capt. White that Capt. Means Loudoun Rangers ( the only unit from the same area of Virginia as White's Rebels to fight for the Union) were camped at Waterford. After dark Capt. White moves his company out guided by two locals to within a mile of Waterford, Va. where they heard a scouting party of Rangers pass, which they followed to the Waterford Baptist Church where the main body was camped. At day break, the company hid behind a house. The Rangers were assembled in the church yard listening to the reports from the scouting party. Capt. White's Company opened fire wounding almost half the assembled group. Two flags of truce were delivered with no surrender given at this time. A third flag of truce was soon delivered by Mrs. Virts which brought results as the Ranger's were out of ammunition. Sgt. Webster who was in command of the Ranger's due to the wounding of Lt. Luther Slater, the senior officer, accepted Capt. White's terms of surrender in which officers and men would be paroled, with officers keeping their side arms.
Note: Of the 28 Rangers, four escaped, one killed, one overlooked, and twenty-two paroled. Of the eleven wounded, one would die a few days later. Of Capt. White's casualties counted as one dead, Brook Hays a Marylander, one mortally wounded, and several with minor wounds.
- August 28th--Capt. White arrives back at Gen. Ewell's headquarters near Groveton by 9 am. That evening they carry Gen. Ewell to the plantation of Aris Buckner, after he is shot down, and there his leg is amputated that night. Capt. White's men stay at the plantation protecting Gen. Ewell from capture. Gen. Ewell is taken to the estate of his cousin near the Bull Run Mountains. Capt. White's company is allowed to go into Maryland with the army.
- Gen. A. R. Lawton takes command of the wounded Ewell's Division, and Capt. White's company becomes the headquarters guard.
Back to Top
- Capt. White crosses the Potomac at a ford located on his farm, this spot would eventually become well known as White's Ford before the end of the war. As Capt. White's company enters Poolesville, Maryland, he is greeted by the local citizens with a sudden outburst.
- Capt. White moves onto Frederick, Maryland where the army stopped to rest and close up. Here Capt. White issued a proclamation hoping to entice Marylanders to join the Confederacy. Although Lower Frederick County and upper Montgomery County would continue to send men to "Chiswell's Exiles", but other than that the proclamation had little effect.
- While at Frederick, Capt. White and Gen. Stuart had a serious dispute and as a result was ordered back to Virginia. Gen. Lee finally intervened and supported Gen. Stuart, but made it clear that Capt. White would report to him and not Gen. Stuart during the campaign.
- Gen. Lee sends Gen. John G. Walker's division to occupy Loudoun Heights above the Harper's Ferry garrison. Capt. White returns to Loudoun County, Va. to scout ahead. As he moved toward Leesburg crossing the Potomac at White's Ford he found a Union infantry battalion with calvary support. White's Rebels charged this group and captured the infantry, but the calvary escaped across the river. The prisoners were taken on to Leesburg, Va. Lt. Myers was sent to Winchester with a detail as Capt. White moved on to Waterford.
- September 17th--Information reaches Capt. White of a Union scouting party approaching Leesburg, Va. Leesburg at this time was filled with sick, weary, and wounded from Gen. Lee's army that had dropped out on their march to Maryland. Capt. Young, who was in charge of the town could only muster about 80 men and Capt. White was a sight for the eyes with his 30 men. Lt. Col. Kilptrick of the 2nd New York Calvary with 10 companies and artillery advanced on the town from Dranesville and was met by Confederate fire. The enemy spills over into the street as the artillery shells the town. Capt. White led a wild charge at the Federals when he is shot in his shoulder blade and the bullet lodges in his throat. The Federals withdraw leaving Capt. White lying in the street. Capt. White receive medical attention and is moved to the farm of Col. Gabriel Vandevanter 2 miles east of Hamilton, Va. along the Winchester Road. Federal search parties are sent to look for him but missed him as he had been moved across the street. After a few days he is moved again to Snickersville where his men guard Snicker's Gap.
- Lt. Frank Myers takes over command of the company.
- Capt. White is moved to the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the home of Park Shepard as the Federal army became active in Loudoun County, Va.
Back to Top
- One week after the absence of Capt. White, company wagons drove up to Union sympathizer Samuel A. Gover's store in Waterford and proceeded to empty the store of merchandise without paying for it.
- Since the organization of the company it's numbers have increased with Capt. Chiswell's men, Capt. Grabill's men, two more potential companies from Capt. Ferneyhough and Lt. Anderson. R. B. Grubb a formerly a member of the 8th Virginia Infantry has been recruiting toward a new company. With all this, the company was now reaching Battalion status. Although without organization Lt. Frank Myers, now junoir in rank to several others, found himself in command of this large company. Capt. Grabill is offered command but declined to Lt. Myers' experience.
- October 16--Lt. Myers is ordered to help Confederate quartermaster Foster to bring out cattle from the Lovettsville area. The attempt is blocked by Gen. J. R. Kenly's Maryland infantry and calvary. Lt. Myers sends out a scout that night under John DeButts, a trooper in the 1st Va. Calvary and later with Mosby's Rangers, captured Kenly's picketts near Hillsboro. Together with Tom Spates of White's company they harrassed Gen. Kenly until he retired to Harper's Ferry.
- October 19--Capt. Trayhern, commander of Lt. Anderson's company arrives in camp and takes command of the unorganized battalion. Capt. Trayhern leads them toward Berlin, Maryland, but advanced to far into enemy territory for safety of the unit.
- October 20--The Federals capture Capt. Trayhern's pickets near Lovettsville and the next morning Capt. Trayhern starts to fall back to the south, but finds the Federals across their line of retreat.
- October 21--Hearing of the Confederate operation in Lovettsville- Wheatland area, Gen. John W. Geary leaves Harpers Ferry in pursuit with a part of two infantry brigades and 300 troopers of the 6th New York Calvary under Col. Thomas C. Devin. At Hillsboro, Gen. Geary's men captured a few Confederate scouts and pushed the others back toward Wheatland. The Federals split their force, one going to the north on a parallel road to the on which the Confederates traveled, the calvary going to the east to Wheatland. Halfway between Wheatland and Lovettsville, the columns caught the retreating Confederates in the middle. Col. Devin charged his calvary into the head of Trayhern's column while the Union infantry attacked their flank. After a brief resistance the Confederates broke ranks and fled. Sharpshooters placed on top of haystacks slowed the rout but not for long. Capt. Trayhern's men scattered across the field closely pursued by the Union Calvary, but the pursuit was called off after several miles due to exhausted horses.
- The Confederates regrouped and counted their casualties: 1 dead, 2 seriously wounded, and 22 captured. Capt. R. B. Grubb and Lt. James Anderson were among the captured. Capt. Trayhern and Grabill lost their horses in the stampede and hid in an abandoned building till dark to escape capture.
- This defeated operation caused a serious morale problem of humiliation that the men placed on Capt. Trayhern's leadership abilities. With the increasing resentment of his men, Capt. Trayhern resigned and left the company. Lt. Myers collected his scattered forces and led them back to Snicker's Gap.
- Capt. White, still recuperating at the home of Mr. Shepard, ordered Lt. Myers to prepare the company for battalion organization.
- October 28th--Col. Bradley T. Johnson of Gen. Stuart's staff formally muster's in White's Battalion into Confederate service with the designation as the 35th Battalion Virginia Calvary.
- Five companies are initially incorporated into the battalion with another under Capt. Ferneyhough to be assigned later.
- Capt. White was elected Major to command the new battalion. All companies then fill their officer quotas.
- The companies were then organized as follows:
- Company A (the original company):
- Frank M. Myers, Captain
- William F. Barrett, 1st Lt.
- Richard Marlow, 2nd Lt.
- Ben Conrad, 2nd Lt.
- Company B (Chiswell's Maryland Exile)
- George W. Chiswell, Captain
- Joshua R. Crown, 1st Lt.
- Edward Chiswell, 2nd Lt.
- Nicholas Dorsey, 2nd Lt.
- Company C (still in process of organization)
- R. B. Grubb, Captain (when returned from prison)
- William Dowdell, 1st Lt.
- Oscar Beans, 2nd Lt.
- Sam E. Grubb, 2nd Lt.
- Company D (organized in Maryland and Virginia before coming to Capt. White's company)
- James Trayhern, Captain
- James Anderson, 1st Lt.
- Samuel Baker, 2nd Lt.
- Joseph Spangler, 2nd Lt.
- Company E (recruited in Page and Shenandoah Counties)
- John H. Grabill, Captain
- Alexander Grubbs, 1st Lt.
- Joseph Marston, 2nd Lt.
- C. W. Reed, 2nd Lt.
Back to Top
- Major White appoints 1st Lt. J. R. Crown of adjutant and Capt. J. Mortimer Kilgour as Quartermaster. Capt. Frank Myers will command the battalion until Maj. White's return.
- Early November--The entire Union army moves south into western Loudoun county. The 35th Battalion being out manned attacks isolated units and lightly guarded wagon trains.
- Major White returns to command of the 35th Battalion and captures a cache of tent and other supplies at Neersville. Four privates of the battalion join together and capture the hamlet of Philomont. As the 91st Pennsylvania Infantry passes Philomont, Privates Simpson, Palmer, Lee and Riticor attacked their wagon train and captured several wagons, including the headquarters wagon of Col. W. P. Wainwright. A sword of the Colonel's was presented to Gen. Jackson.
- November 24th--Capt. Chiswell leads his company toward their native Maryland and cross the Potomac at Conrad's Ferry after dark and into Poolesville. They capture four prisoners and medical supplies.
- November 25th--At 6 A. M. they charge the town, capturing sixteen prisoner that were there guarding supplies and two telegraph operators in which they confiscated their instruments. Tents, guns, medicines and clothing were taken. The prisoner's were paroled and all supplies belonging to Gen. George Stoneman's command and six hundred muskets stored by the Philadelphia Zouaves D'Afrique were destroyed except those that the company could carry on their horses. They stayed in town for 3 hrs before leaving and recrossing the Potomac at White's Ford and were back in camp by 8 P. M. Also during this operation an attack on Urbana was made where Lt. Nicholas Dorsey of Capt. Chiswell's company with three men robbed the store and postoffice. They tried the take Thomas Smith the store owner and his clerk as prisoners, but Mr. Smith escaped and the clerk was shot in a scuffle. Lt. Dorsey was arrested after the war in June 1865 and sent to the Albany, New York Penitentiary.
- Late November--Major White retakes the field with his headquarters three miles from the Shenandoah River on the Berryville road.
- The 35th Battalion is attached to Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones' headquarters near Winchester. Gen. Jones orders Maj. White to have his companies posted at the fords along the Shenandoah River from Front Royal to Key's Ferry. Company A at Castleman's Ferry, behind Snicker's Gap. Company B at Berry's Ferry, behind Ashby's Gap. A report from Captain Chiswell late on the 28th of the calvary crossing there caused the main camp to start packing before another report that the alarm was false allowed the camp to calm down.
- Union Gen. Julias Stahel, headquartered at the outer defenses of Washington sends repeated scouting through Ashby's and Snicker's Gap to watch the Confederates west of the Shenandoah River. The practice continues for several days without any attack on the battalion's pickets, giving the 35th a false sense of security.
- November 28th--Gen. Stahel sends out the usual scouting operation with a brigade of four calvary units this time under Col. Louis DiCesnola.
- November 29th--The federal calvary ride down to Castleman's Ferry as usual but this time not stopping. Quickly crossing the river they overran Lt. Barrett's Company A, causing them to retreat. The attack moves on to Berryville gaining speed and neared Maj. White's headquarter's at the Shepard house. Maj. White is wounded in the thigh but able to rally his men who begin firing from every hilltop into the Federal calvary. Col. DiCesnola halts his cavalry in order to close up allowing the Confederates to start their wagons moving. The Federals continue their assault pursuing the 35th through Berryville until the 12th Virginia Cavalry charges the Union Cavalry checking them momentarily. The attack continues until five miles from Winchester when it was halted. The 35th continued onto Winchester with Capt. Myers bringing as rear guard. Capt. Myers meets Gen. Jones at Opequon Creek where he is sent back to Berryville to watch the retiring enemy.
- Edward Wooton, a Maryland doctor on his way to join up with the 35th Battalion is captured by the Federal force and taken back to Leesburg, Va. before being let go.
Back to Top
- Maj. White's report on the operation is based on Dr. Wootton's information of enemy strength as over 800 men from 4 regiments. He also reports his losses as 2 officers, 12 privates, 2 wagons and 4 horses.
- December 13th--Maj. White raids toward Hillsboro, Va. and captures twelve enemy infantry and sent them back to the Snickersville camp. They then proceeded toward Leesburg, where they ran into the rear of an enemy infantry force. Not wanting to bring on an engagement with a superior force they moved onto Waterford. At Waterford they ran into Capt. Samuel Means Loudoun Rangers. The Loudoun Rangers retreated toward Point of Rocks after an exchange of fire. Information from friendly sources was brought to the battalion of sixty enemy calvary were in Poolesville, Md.
- December 14th--During the night Maj. White leads one hundred men across the Potomac at Conrad's Ferry. They are given information that a company of the 11th New York Calvary occupies the town with a group scouting and they others quartered at the town hall. Maj. White's men open fire interrupting Sunday service being conducted by Rev. John Austin. Several cavalrymen attempted to leave the service resulting in the death of an orderly sergeant and the capture of the rest. Maj. white then divides his men to attack the town hall in which all surrenders after a brief confrontation. The battalion captures 43 horses and killing or capturing 50 men, they also destroy all of their supplies consisting of clothing, enfield rifles and muskets, commissary supplies and wagons. Only one casualty is suffered by the battalion, that of Samuel Jenkins who is not a regular member of Company A but stepped in for his ill brother James Jenkins.
- After the Poolesville incident, the 35th Battalion crosses back into Virginia to camp on the other side of the Blue ridge Mountains at White Post in Clarke County.
Back to Top
- The 35th Battalion's activities of an independent operation are now over and are placed into regular service. They are now under the command of Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones.
ELIJAH WHITEOFFICERSHISTORY 1863HISTORY 1864HISTORY 1865ROSTERPHOTOSGENERALS