Clement Anselm Evans.

Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history online

. (page 122 of 153)
Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 122 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the Virginia coast, and Mr. Nash was in charge of the posts from
Lynnhaven to Cape Henry, though not a commissioned officer. A
few days previous to the evacuation, he was called to headquarters
at Sewell's Point, and on the day of evacuation, acting as courier to
General Mahone, he was probably the last man to leave Norfolk,
overtaking his company at Suffolk. The battalion served through-
out the Seven Days' campaign attached to the North Carolina bri-
gade of General Daniel, and at a later date, after serving in the vi-
cinity of Richmond, was merged in the Fifteenth regiment Virginia
cavalry, Col. William B. Ball. On the evening previous to the battle
of Fredericksburg, Colonel Ball delayed the enemy's, advance for
some time by driving the caissons of a battery to and fro at full
speed upon a plank road, creating the impression of heavy rein-
forcements arriving. After Chancellorsville Mr. Nash served with
his regiment on guard along the Rappahannock, and participated in
a number of minor engagements. He took part in the campaigns
from the Rapidan to the James, in 1864, was near General Stuart
when he fell at Yellow Tavern, and fought with Rosser in the Shen-
andoah valley. Three brothers of Mr. Nash, C. A., Cincinnatus and
Henry E., were members of the Sixty-first Virginia infantry,~Ma-
hone's brigade. Since the war Mr. Nash has been a prominent cit-
izen of Norfolk, serving as magistrate about sixteen years, and as a
member of the general assembly two terms. He has two sons and
two daughters living. One son, Frank Fitzhugh, is associated m
business with his uncle, C. A. The other, LeRoy T. Nash, M. D.,
born in Kempville, Princess Anne county, June 15, 1868, is a promi-
nent physician at Norfolk. He was professionally educated in the
college of physicians and surgeons at Baltimore, and was graduated
with honorable mention, by that institution, in 1889, after two years'
attendance. During the following month he passed the examination
of the Virginia State board and immediately embarked in the prac-
tice at Norfolk, where he has already attained a high standing in
the profession, and in the estimation of the community. He holds
membership in the State medical society, the Seaboard medical as-
sociation of eastern Virginia and North Carolina, and the Norfolk
medical society, which he has served as secretary and treasurer; also
is a member of the Norfolk military association. In the State
militia service he has received the honor of appointment as assist-
ant surgeon, with rank of captain, in Battery B (Norfolk Light Ar-
tillery Blues), First battalion of artillery.



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1069

William C. Nash, a well-known merchant of Portsmouth, Va.,
was born at that city, January 24, 1846, the son of John and Ann
L. Nash. He was reared and educated at Portsmouth. At the
outbreak of the war of the Confederacy his youth and the disin-
clination of his parents to permit him to attempt the fatigues and
dangers of a soldier's life at that age, prevented his enlistment in
the Virginia forces, although he was very anxious to go to the
front. He finally was able, in the spring of 1864, to make his way
through the Federal lines about Portsmouth, and, in company with
R. L. Herbert and William Morris, he went to Chuckatuck, across
the Nansemond river, and thence to the Blackwater, where he sep-
arated from his companions, and proceeded to Rock Wharf on
the James river. At this point his half-brother, Lieut. Joseph R.
Woodley, was stationed, in command of the signal corps, in which
Mr. Nash enlisted and served there during the remainder of
the war, engaged in the collection of information regarding the
movement of the Federal forces in that vicinity, which was regu-
larly transmitted to General Lee. In this important and valuable
service he frequently encountered dangers, and had many interest-
ing experiences, as may well be imagined. The faithfulness and
activity of these scouts on the Potomac were of great service to
the Confederate cause at that period. After the surrender of the
army of Northern Virginia, he accompanied Lieutenant Woodley
and the rest of their party to Suflfolk, where they surrendered and
were paroled at Norfolk, not considering it of any avail to attempt
to join the army under Johnston. Since the war Mr. Nash has
resided at Portsmouth, where after many years' experience in the
mercantile establishment conducted by his father and elder brother,
both now deceased, he embarked in business under the firm name
of Phillips & Nash. This partnership lasted for a period of eight
years, after which Mr. Nash bought out his partner's interest.
During the past fifteen years he has successfully conducted one
of the leading dry goods establishments at Portsmouth, and as a
business man and enterprising citizen enjoys the highest esteem.
For five years after the war he served in the Norfolk Light Ar-
tillery Blues, and was a member of the detachment that won a
flag in competitive drill at Old Point Comfort. He is a member
of the city iire department, and is prominent in politics as a
member of the local executive committee of the Democratic party,
twice being elected treasurer of the committee. Fraternally he is
connected with the Knights of Honor, the Royal Arcanum and
the Home Circle. On January 24, 1876, he was married at BuflFalo,
N. Y., to Blanche C. Place, a native of Virginia, and daughter of
Lieut. Charles Place, of the United States navy, who lost his life
by accidental injury in a foreign land prior to the Confederate
war. They have two children living: Adelia and Mary. A
daughter Jennie is deceased.

James M. Neal, of Danville, in his youth a gallant soldier and
courier to Gen. George E. Pickett, was born at Danville, January
3, 1845. He is the son of Thomas D. Neal, born in 1812, a prom-
inent citizen of Danville and the pioneer of the tobacco trade at
that city, who married Louisiana Franklin, daughter of Col. Samuel
Carter, a soldier of the war of 1812 and high-sheriff of Halifax
county. Ten of the fourteen children of these parents are yet



1070 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

living. Mr. Neal was reared at Danville and educated at Cedar
Grove academy until the beginning of 1861. On April 23d, of that
year, at the age of sixteen years, he enlisted as a private in Com-
pany B, Eighteenth Virginia infantry, with which he served in the
battles of First Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines and the Seven
Days' campaign before Richmond. He was then detailed as a
courier, attached to the headquarters of General Pickett, and he
was with that gallant officer throughout the remainder of the war,
except a few months, in 1863, when, on account of injuries received
by the fall of his horse, he was ordered in attendance at the Vir-
ginia military institute. At the battle of Sailor's Creek, April 6,

1865, he was captured by General Custer's men, and was then im-
prisoned at Point Lookout until June 12, 1865. On November i,

1866, he was married to Rose P. Allen, of Danville, and making his
home at that city, he engaged in the tobacco business, building
the well-known planters' warehouse in 1869. He has been very
active in the upbuilding of the city, has held a seat in the council
many years, four years as vice-president, was for several years
president of the chamber of commerce, and is a director of the
Piedmont railroad. In 1894 he was appointed postmaster for the
city by President Cleveland. Mr. Neal has one son, Orin Allen.

J. Stanley Neale, of Alexandria, is a native Virginian, born in
King William county, November 16, 1845. He was reared and
educated in his native county, and before he had attained his six-
teenth birthday, enlisted, with youthful devotion to the cause of
his State, as a private in the King William artillery under com-
mand of Capt. Thomas H. Carter. His service began on July i,
1861. In the Peninsular campaign of 1862, he fought with his
battery at the battle of Williamsburg, and subsequently in the
severe struggle at Seven Pines, where he was seriously wounded
by a shell. This injury incapacitated him for further service and
he was honorably discharged. Then returning to King William
county, he engaged in school teaching and farming, and continued
in those occupations until 1888. In 1892 he removed to Alexandria
and assumed the position of manager of the "Alexandria Times,"
where he has displayed notable ability as a business man and
journalist. Though his service in the army of Northern Virginia
was not long, it was as complete and devoted as any could be, and
he cherishes with much pride his memories of the war, and as a
member of Robert E. Lee camp, of Confederate Veterans, at
Alexandria, maintains his comradeship with the survivors of the
mighty struggle. He possesses two valuable and interesting relics
of the Confederacy, in a copy of the "Rise and Fall of the Con-
federate Government," presented to him by President Davis, and a
picture of Mr. Davis, also presented by him. Mr. Neale was
married, in 1873, to Bettie C. Taliaferro, a relative of Gen. William
B. Taliaferro, of Gloucester, and they have one child, Clayton
Ashford Neale, now occupying a position in a bank at Washing-
ton City.

George W. Nelms, of Newport News, a gallant private in the
Confederate army and first commander of Magruder camp, United
Confederate Veterans, was born at Petersburg, Va., February 25,
1843, the son of James and Ann Eliza (Lane) Nelms, both natives
of Virginia. He was reared at Petersburg and in Prince George



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1071

county, with a common school education, and prepared himself in
the art of telegraphy. At the outbreak of the war he was a private
in the Petersburg Riflemen, and he entered the Confederate service
with this organization, which became Company E of the Twelfth
Virginia regiment, Mahone's brigade. He was stationed at Norfolk
during the first year of the war, and with his company was among
the last to leave that place when it was evacuated in May, 1862.
Subsequently he was at Petersburg and Drewry's blufl, reaching
Richmond in time to participate in the battle of Seven Pines. In
this famous battle he was severely wounded and compelled to return
to his home, where he spent five months in bed, and after that
found it necessary to use crutches for a year. Disabled as he was,
he rejoined the army after the battle of Chancellorsville and sought
to be enrolled for duty, but this was not permitted, and he was
again sent to his home. After the army had returned to Virginia
from the desperate struggle upon the hills of Pennsylvania, he
was permitted to re-enter the ranks at Orange Court House, and
he was again in battle at Bristoe Station. After this he was de-
tailed by the secretary of war for the telegraph service, and in the
latter part of 1864 was transferred by the same authority to the
service of the Southern express company. In this duty he had
an office at Petersburg, which he surrendered at the time of Federal
occupation. For some time after this he continued in the express
service, with the Adams company at City Point, as agent of the
Harnden company at the same place, and with the National com-
pany at Wilmington and Greensboro, N. C. Subsequently, he
farmed three years near Petersburg, and then was engaged in
mercantile pursuits in that city until 1872. After this he held
responsible positions with the Old Dominion steamship company
at Richmond, the Piedmont Air Line at West Point, and the Ches-
apeake & Ohio railroad at Richmond, until 1884, when he made
his home at Newport News, and continued there in the latter em-
ployment for eight years. From 1892 till 1896 he was the agent
at Newport News of the Adams express company. Since then he
has held an important position with the United States shipping
company. He is a valued citizen, is a member of the Masonic
order and St. Paul Episcopal church, and is particularly promi-
nent among Confederate veterans, as the chief organizer and first
commander of Magruder camp, over which he presided for three
years. His wife, Maria Louise Mayer, of Norfolk, Va., to whom
he was married, September 13, 1864, is also deserving of note as a
devoted friend of the Confederate soldiers during the war and a
warm supporter of their organizations at the present time. As a
refugee at Petersburg, after the evacuation of Norfolk, she did
noble work in ministering to the sick and wounded. In May,
1895, she organized Bethel chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy,
at Newport News, that being the second chapter formed in the
State, and since then has served as its president, also as assistant
inspector of the State division of the order. Mr. and Mrs. Nelms
have one child, a daughter, Ann Louise, wife of Thomas M. Ben-
son, of Richmond.

J. C. Nelms, Sr., of Suffolk, Va., a veteran of Company A, Six-
teenth Virginia regiment of infantry, is a native of Nansemond
county, born March 11, 1837. His father, James Nelms, a farmer



1072 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

of that county, was a son of David Nelms, a soldier of the war of
1812. His mother was Martha, daughter of John Butler, of the
same county. Previous to the outbreak of the war, having received
an education in the schools of his native county, he was employed
as a clerk in the mercantile business. On April 17, 1861, he en-
listed in Company A of the Sixteenth Virginia infantry, and during
the subsequent year he was with his company on duty near Nor-
folk, until he was transferred to Company A of Cahoon's battalion,
with which he served in fortifying the Appomattox river, from
the rifie-pits to Petersburg. Of this battalion he had attained the
rank of sergeant-major, when it was ordered to Camp LeĀ« at
Richmond and disbanded. He then returned to his former com-
pany, in the Sixteenth regiment, and served with them in the
second battle of Manassas and the famous fight which they made
in defense of Crampton's Gap, on South Mountain, Md. Es-
caping the capture which befell most of the regiment at that
point, he took part in the battle of Sharpsburg, and subsequently
returned to Virginia with his command and went into camp at
Winchester. He was then detailed in the commissary department,
and in this capacity accompanied his brigade through the Gettys-
burg campaign, the campaign from the Wilderness to Cold Har-
bor, the defense of Richmond and Petersburg, and the retreat to
Appomattox, where he surrendered and was paroled. Subsequently
he was engaged in mercantile pursuits at various places, either as
clerk or partner, or traveling salesman, until he became employed
as lumber inspector in the Suffolk & Carolina railroad shops.
From this position he rose to the superintendency of the Southern
lumber company, a position he held until the company retired from
business in 1895. Since then he has been bookkeeper for the R. G.
Dennis lumber company at Sufifolk. He is a member of Tom
Smith camp. United Confederate Veterans. In 1867 he was mar-
ried to Anna Mary, daughter of Soloman Hodges, of Sufifolk, and
they have four children: J. C. Nelms, Jr., and S. C. Nelms, both
holding responsible positions with the Norfolk & Western rail-
road company; R. E. Nelms, and Martha Eliza Nelms.

Lieutenant Edwin Nelson, of Manassas, Va., was born in Prince
William county, July 5, 1831. He was reared and educated in his
native county, and at an early age gaining attention by his ability
in public business, was appointed deputy sheriff. At the time of
the beginning of the war of the Confederacy he was acting deputy
sheriflf of the county. He was enrolled among the members of
the Prince William cavalry in the early days of the war, but, as
his duties demanded his presence at home, he furnished a sub-
stitute during the first year of the conflict. In August, 1862, re-
lieved of the responsibilities that had kept him from the front, he
rendered important service by organizing a company of cavalry,
which was mustered in as Company H of the Fifteenth Virginia
cavalry. With this company he held the rank of second lieutenant
and did faithful duty in that capacity during the succeeding cam-
paigns and engagements, participating in the December battles
at Fredericksburg, and many skirmishes, until June, 1863, when
he was captured while on a scouting expedition. A long imprison-
ment followed, at Johnson's island, Ohio, where he sufifered the
hardships and deprivations of the prison camp until he was released,



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1073

February 24, 1865. On March sd, he was exchanged and ordered
to report west of the Mississippi in thirty days, but before the
expiration of that time, Richmond had fallen, and he never re-
joined his command, as it was soon afterward disbanded. He
then resumed work as a farmer in his native county, and presently
took up again the duties of deputy sheriff, which he discharged
until 1868. In 1870 he was appointed deputy clerk of the county,
and after serving as such until 1887, he was chosen clerk, an office
he still holds by successive re-elections. He has also represented
the county in the State assembly by election, in 1877, and is a
communicant of the Primitive Baptist church. On March 26,
1861, he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Judge John C.
Weedan, of Prince William county, and they have five children:
Lizzie, born January 15, 1862; Joseph H., born 1866; James E.,
born 1868; Effie, borri 1870; Paul, born 1873.

Hugh Thomas Nelson, M. D., now a distinguished physician of
Virginia, was privileged as a youth to be prominently associated
with the great war for Southern independence. He was born at
Cloverfield, Albemarle county, Va., in 1845, the son of Dr. Robert
W. and Virginia L. Nelson, and entered the military service in
July, 1862, just after the successful campaign before Richmond. He
was at first a private in the Morris artillery of Hanover county,
but subsequently was on detached duty at the headquarters of the
chief of artillery through the campaigns in Virginia, Maryland and
Pennsylvania, until the capture of his battery at the "bloody angle,"
near Spottsylvania Court House. He was then transferred to
Troop E, Fourth regiment of caValry, Fitzhugh Lee's brigade.
During his cavalry service he had two horses shot under him, one
at Cold Harbor and one at Rude's hill, in the valley. After an
illness in hospital he was detailed as a courier for General .Breck-
inridge, and went with him to South Carolina. While serving as
a courier it became his duty to carry to President Davis at Dan-
ville, the first tidings of the surrender of the army of Northern
Virginia. He was present without the building where the last
cabinet meeting of the Confederate States government was held.
Returning to Virginia in June, 1865, he was paroled at Richmond,
and after teaching school for several years, he was graduated in
medicine at the university of Virginia, in 1875. He practiced his
profession in Halifax county, and then removed to Charlottes-
ville, where he has resided since 1881, enjoying a large , practice.
For four yeajs he was secretary of the medical examining board of
the State, and then president of that body, an honor which he
resigned to become instructor in clinical surgery at the university
of Virginia.

Colonel William Nelson was a noted artillery officer in the army
of Northern Virginia, and among the many splendid organizations
none were more noted than Nelson's battalion. The officer from
whom it received its name entered the war as captain of a Virginia
battery and had so proved his worth that, in his report of the
battle of Seven Pines, D. H. Hill mentions him as worthy to stand
among the best of his artillery officers. During the Seven Days
he commanded an artillery battalion with the rank of major.
Throughout that trying ordeal and the campaigns that followed in
Virginia and Maryland, he continued to serve with distinction.



1074 CONFEDERA TE MILITARY HISTORY.

In February, 1863, Brig.-Gen. W. N. Pendleton, chief of artillery
of the army of Northern Virginia, spoke of him in the following
complimentary terms: "Maj. William Nelson, long in command
of this battalion, is as gallant and efficient an officer as we have
in his grade. He has served from the beginning of the war as
captain and major, has exhibited courage of the highest order and
a fidelity undeviating, and well deserves the rank of lieutenant-
colonel." After Chancellorsville he received this promotion. At
the Wilderne.ss and Spottsylvania, and the other battles that closed
with Grant's disastrous repulse at Cold Harbor, Nelson's battalion
was still conspicuous in the fore-front of the fight. When Early
moved against Lynchburg, Nelson was with him and, through the
subsequent advance down the valley and into Maryland, main-
tained his high reputation for courage and efficiency. In Early's
reports of Monocacy, Winchester and Cedar Creek, Nelson's bat-
talion has frequent and honorable mention, and down to the
closing scenes of the illustrious army of Virginia, Nelson's artillery
did its full duty on every field on which it had an opportunity to
serve the cause of the South.

Virginius Newton,- of a prominent Virginia family, and since
the close of the Confederate war a distinguished citizen of Rich-
mond, in his youth served in the great conflict as an officer of the
Confederate States navy. He was appointed from North Carolina
as acting midshipman September 30, 1861, and was promoted to
midshipman, provisional navy, June 2, 1864. He was on duty
at the Norfolk navy yard in 1861, after it came into the possession
of the Confederate States, and being assigned to the steamer Beau-
fort, participated in the naval battle off Roanoke island in Feb-
ruary, 1862, under Commodore Lynch. In the same gunboat,
under command of Lieutenant Parker, he participated in the battle
of Hampton Roads, March 8th and pth, in which the principal
Confederate participant was the ironclad ram Virginia, and the
young midshipman was mentioned for gallantry by Lieutenant
Parker and Admiral Buchanan. He was next on duty on the Con-
federate States gunboat Gaines, in Mobile bay, in 1862-63. He
then went abroad for service in the Confederate cruisers purchased
in Europe by Maury and Bulloch. He was one of the officers of
the Rappahannock, which it was necessary to send to sea before
completion, and entering the port of Calais was detained there,
and then upon the ironclad cruiser Stonewall, purchased of Den-
mark. He was with the Stonewall when she offered battle to two
Federal battleships off the coast of Spain, and in the voyage to
Havana. Arriving at the latter port in May, 1865, the crew was
disbanded, and Midshipman Newton subsequently returned to
Virginia.

Joseph L. Norris, a prominent citizen of Leesburg, is a native
of that city, born May 11, 1834. In the period before the war he
completed his education and became engaged in business as a con-
tractor and builder. From this occupation he was called, in 1861,
by the invasion of the State, its secession, and the consequent war
which was waged upon the soil of Virginia. With patriotic devo-
tion he entered the service of the Confederacy in the fall of 1861
as a private in the Loudoun artillery, and served during the greater
part of the war in the artillery arm of the Confederate forces, being



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1075

transferred later to Strifling's battery, in which he was promoted
to sergeant. He participated in all the engagements of these artil-
lery commands while connected with them. In the spring of 1864
he was transferred to the cavalry, becoming a member of the
Forty-sixth battalion, and shared in the operations of this com-
mand during the remainder of the war. Once during his service
he was captured by the enemy, being at the time stationed with his
battery on the Nansemond river, but was soon afterward ex-
changed. After Appomattox he returned to Leesburg and quietly
resumed his business relations, and by industry and skillful man-
agement has made a success of his career. He is popular and in-
fluential as a citizen, and has served the city twice in the office of
mayor. He is a member of Clinton Hatcher camp, of Confederate
Veterans, and is still a comrade with the survivors of the gallant
army of Northern Virginia. Mr. Norris is happily married and
is the father of twelve children, nine of whom are living.

Captain John S. Northington, of Petersburg, at the close of the
war an officer upon the staff of Brig.-Gen. R. D. Johnson, of
Rodes' division, Second corps, army of Northern Virginia, is a
native of the Old Dominion and a descendant of an old and honor-



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 122 of 153)