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April 22, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: The Battle of Rich Mountain

Rich Mountain_3

In 1937, when William Shepard shared the following with his audience, ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, many of them were likely “real daughters” of Confederate veterans.  During his talk, Shepard quoted at length an undelivered speech written by Capt. Carter Harrison Irving, who had “prepared it for delivery at Buckingham Court House in 1884.”  Robert L. Brock of Farmvillle provided Shepard with the manuscript which was originally to be given at a reunion of the Lee Guard.

“This is the only complete history of the several companies organized in Buckingham that I have been able to find,” Shepard announced. “I am repeating the language used by Captain Irving.”


After a separation of twenty three years we meet again. It was in May 1861 that we first assembled in this village. A war [of] gigantic proportions was then impending over the South, and we voluntarily tendered out services to the Governor of Virginia, to assist in repelling the threatened invation (sic) of our state.   Our offer was accepted; we went into the field; we encountered the enemy at Rich Mountain the 11th of July, 1861 and were overwhelmed by superior numbers.   A force of thirty-five hundred strong, led by General William Rosencrans, one of the ablest generals of the Federal service, and guided by a union mountaineer, moved steathily upon our flank and fell upon our Confederate force of three hundred men, which had been placed two miles in the rear of the main body of our army.   We lost the day on that occasion, but we lost not our honor. . .

We went into the fight with about sixty-five men, the rest of the company having been detailed for other purposes. Our loss in killed was thirteen men.  I dare say it will afford you a melancholy pleasure to recall on this occasion the death roll of your fallen comrade. Their names are as follows: Third Lieutenant, (J.G.S.) Boyd; First Sergeant, William H. Allen; Second Corporal, Charles H. Hickhock (sic); Privates, T.F. Guthrie. W.A. Guthrie, L.E. Murphy, T.H. McFadden, Adam Hocker, T.H. Pendleton, William F. Smith, T.L. Stinson, Jordan Taylor and Jim Wood.

To be continued….

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