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son, and placed in charge of the commissary train during the
Pennsylvania campaign. In December, 1863, he resigned that posi-
tion to become aide-de-camp upon the staff of General Johnson.
On May 12, 1864, during the fighting at Spottsylvania Court
House, he was engaged in carrying a message to Gen. C. A. Evans,
when General Johnson and many of his troops were captured. He
was subsequently assigned to the staff of Lieut.-Gen. Richard S.
Ewell, and on June 12, 1864, to the staff of Gen. Jubal A. Early,
with whom he served through the Maryland campaign and the
movement on Washington in that year. In August, his old com-
mander, General Johnson, having been exchanged and ordered to
the western army then under General Hood, and assigned to com-
mand the division of Patton Anderson, Captain Old rejoined his
staff, and served in the west until October 31st, when he was se-
verely wounded at Florence, Ala., incapacitating him during the
remainder of the war. On being paroled after the capitulation of
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, he returned home and went to teaching
school and farming until civil affairs were well settled. In Feb-
ruary, 1868, he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of
law at Norfolk, where he has since resided and has been successful
in his profession as a member of the firm of Walke & Old. He is
a member of the Protestant Episcopal church, is vestryman of
Christ church, Norfolk, has for several years been delegate to the
council of his diocese and chancellor of the diocese of southern
Virginia, and was a delegate to the general convention at New
York in 1889, Baltimore in 1892, and Minneapolis in 1895. In 1870
he was married to Alice, daughter of Edward H. Herbert, one of
the most influential men of Princess Anne county.

A. W. Oliver, now a prosperous farmer of Nansemond coimty,
shared throughout the war the noted service of Mahone's brigade.
He was born in Nansemond county in 1843, the son of Sylvester
Oliver, a farmer of that county, descendant of an old Virginian


family, and former deputy sherifif, who was born in 1807 and was
yet in good health in 1897. The wife of the latter was Mary E.,
daughter of William Flenhart, a seaman. In 1861 Mr. OHver en-
listed as a private in the Marion Rangers, or Company A of the
Sixteenth regiment, Virginia infantry. He was with his command
below Norfolk until the evacuation of that post, when they moved
to Rapidan Station and thence to Richmond and joined Lee's
army, participating in the Seven Days' campaign and the battle
of Malvern Hill. Subsequently he took part in the battle of Second
Manassas and the Maryland campaign, his regiment being par-
ticularly distinguished in the gallant action at Crampton's Gap.
At Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bris-
toe Station, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Har-
bor, the Crater, Reams' Station, Hatcher's Run, and many other
engagements he took part in making the brilliant record of his
regiment and brigade, and finally surrendered with the army at
Appomattox. He took part in the determined charge that cleared
the lines of the enemy after the explosion of the mine under the
Petersburg fortifications, took part in several fights on the Weldon
railroad, and in the action at Davis Farm, August 19, 1864, he
was wounded. On June 22, 1864, he participated in the fight at
Wilcox's Farm, in which his brigade attacked the Federals out-
side the Petersburg lines and captured a number of prisoners.
After the close of the war Private Oliver returned to Suffolk and
took up the duties of a civil career without a particle of capital,
but richly endowed with energy and a capacity for hard work
which had been developed during his service as a soldier. He
found employment on his father's farm until 1867, and then em-
barked in farming on his own account. His success has been re-
markable and he now owns a splendidly equipped farm on the
banks of the Nansemond, in direct communication with the mar-
kets by water, where he lives in comfort. He maintains his
comradeship with his old companions by membership in Tom
Smith camp, United Confederate Veterans. In 1866 he was mar-
ried to Lucy, daughter of James Oliver, of Nansemond county,
and they have ten children.

William J. Oliver, of Nansemond county, a private of Company
G, Ninth Virginia regiment, and during a large part of his service
connected with the headquarters of Lieut.-Gen. James Longstreet,
was born April 13, 1838, in the county where he now resides. His
father was Armistead Oliver, a son of Capt. Jack Oliver, and de-
scended from a worthy line of Virginia planters, for many years
associated with the development of the State. His mother was
Priscilla, daughter of Jesse Saunders, of Nansemond county. At
the time when the crisis was reached between the North and South.
Mr. Oliver, a young man of twenty-three years, was preparing
himself at Portsmouth for a career as a manufacturer of carriages
and harness. He promptly entered the service as a member of
the Portsmouth Rifles, on April 18, 1861, _ a company which was
subsequently assigned to the Ninth Virginia infantry as Company
G. He served with the company at Pig's point in the repulse of
the Harriet Lane, and afterward near Elizabeth City until the
abandonment of Norfolk. He was with his regiment through the
campaign against McClellan before Richmond, including the battle


of Malvern Hill, where his company sufifered severe loss, and in
the engagements at Warrenton Springs and Manassas in 1862.
During the Maryland campaign, including the capture of Harper's
Ferry and the battle of Sharpsburg, Private Oliver was detailed
as courier on the staff of his brigade commander. General Armis-
tead, and he continued in this duty until after the battle of Fred-
ericksburg, when he was transferred as courier to the headquarters
of the corps commander. General Longstreet. In this line of duty
he participated in the Gettysburg campaign, the battle of Chick-
araauga, and the siege of Knoxville, Tenn., and after camping
through the winter on the Sweetwater river, returned to Virginia-
and took part in the fighting at the Wilderness until General Long-
street was wounded. He was then granted a furlough for ninety
days, but had passed but a third of this at Petersburg, when hei
reported to General Pickett's headquarters, and began a service
with that general which continued until the surrender. For a
time he was stationed at the headquarters of Colonel Carter, chief
of transportation for the army. After he was paroled at Appo-
mattox he returned to his occupation as a manufacturer at Ports-
mouth, and remained there until 1867, when he returned to Nanse-
mond county and er gaged in farming. He now has a valuable!
farm near Suffolk, is a valued citizen, maintains a membership in
Tom Smith camp, Confederate Veterans, and is the present in-
cumbent of the office of commissioner of revenue. In 1871 he was
married to Martha, daughter of Jonathan Rodgers, and they have
six children: Cora Lee, wife of John F. Lawrence, of Peters-
burg; Bertha May, instructor in an academy of North Carolina;
Kemper J., Emory J., Floyd J., and Willie J.

Major John M. Orr, a prominent attorney of Leesburg, Va.,
was born in Loudoun county, February 8, 1820. He was educated
at the university of Pennsylvania, and was graduated in 1838, with
the degree of A. M., after which he devoted himself for several
years to the profession of civil engineering. In this work he was
engaged until 1842 with the New York & Erie railroad company.
He then decided to turn his attention to the profession of law,
and returning to Virginia, entered upon the study and prepared
himself for admission to practice in 1846. He embarked in this
profession at Leesburg and continued in the practice there until
the beginning of his military service. In 1850 he was elected mayor
of Leesburg, and was retained in that position by successive re-
elections until he was removed by military authority after the war.
During this ante-war period, also, he was happily married to Orra,
daughter of George Lee, of Leesburg. Two of the children of
this union are now living. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted in
the Loudoun Guards as a private, but had served but a short time
in that capacity when he was commissioned a captain in the Eighth
regiment and assigned to duty in the commissary department.
After the first battle of Manassas he was promoted brigade com-
missary upon the staff of Gen. N. G. Evans. Subsequently he
was assigned to duty as post commissary at Mijlboro, and after
some time spent at that place, was ordered to report to General
Heth in Kentucky, as division commissary. He failed to reach
General Heth, but joined General Leadbetter in that State, and
was afterward made post commander at Greeneville, Tenn., and at


a later date district commissary in that territory. After the fall
of Richmond he was paroled and then returned to Leesburg, where
he resumed his former occupation. His wife having died, he was
again married to Orra V., daughter of George W. Preston, o£
Loudoun. In the years that have elapsed since the turbulent war
period he has succeeded notably in the practice of his profession,
and holds worthy rank as a jurist. He maintains a membership in
Clinton Hatcher camp of Confederate Veterans at Leesburg, and
holds in warm comradeship the veterans of the Confederate army.
Colonel Kirkwood Otey, of Lynchburg, a distinguished officer
of the army of Northern Virginia, was born at Lynchburg, Oc-
tober 19, 1829, the son of Capt. John M. Otey, cashier of the bank
of Virginia, who died in 1859, and grandson of Maj. Isaac Otey, of
Bedford county, who served thirty years in the Virginia senate. He
was graduated in 1849 at the Virginia military institute, where his
soldierly qualities had won for him the positions of sergeant-major
and adjutant, continued in the military service of the State from
that date, and at the organization of the Lynchburg Home Guard
in November, 1859, was elected first lieutenant. The company was
mustered in April 24, 1861, at Richmond, as Company G of the
Eleventh Virginia infantry regiment, of which Capt. Samuel Gar-
land, of the Home Guard, was elected colonel. Lieutenant Otey
thereupon became captain, May loth, and serving with gallantry
and efficiency throughout the succeeding battles and campaigns
was promoted major in the summer of 1862, lieutenant-colonel soon
afterward, and colonel in July, 1863. He commanded his regiment
at Gettysburg, participating in the assault by Pickett's division and-
was severely wounded in the shoulder by the explosion of a shell,
and again at Drewry's Blufif, in May, 1864, he was so seriously
wounded as to incapacitate him for duty in the field. Among the
other important battles in which he took part were Blackburn's
Ford, Williamsburg, the Seven Days' battles. Seven Pines, Fred-
ericksburg, New Bern, N. C, and Plymouth, N. C. In the fall of
1864 he was ordered on disabled court-martial duty, to which he
gave his attention until March, 1865, when he took command of
the local forces at Lynchburg. This honorable career being ended
by the surrender he returned to the duties of civil life, and attained
creditable success in business. In 1881 he was elected city auditor,
a position in which he was retained by successive re-elections until
his death. He participated in the reorganization of the Home
Guard in April, 1871, accepting the office of secretary and treasurer.
Subsequently he served as captain from June, 1876, until his resig-
nation in 1888. He was the moving spirit in the organization of
Garland-Rodes camp. United Confederate Veterans, of which he
was commander at the time of his decease, June i, 1897. He was
also a valued member of the Masonic order, and these three or-
ganizations, the Home Guard bearing the tattered flag of his old.
regiment, and the Daughters of the Confederacy, followed his
body to the grave and participated in the final honors paid the-
memory of a noble man and gallant soldier. On this sad occasion
his widow, Mrs. Lucy (Norvell) Otey, received a telegram of con-
dolence from Lieutenant-General Longstreet, her husband's warm
personal friend. In the resolutions adopted by Garland-Rodes
camp occur these sentences, a fitting tribute to the memory of the


departed soldier: "No more devoted spirit than his enlisted in
the defense of our beloved South, and none has given more incon-
testable proof that he lovingly and loyally bore in his heart of
hearts the memories of the cause that went down in defeat but not
dishonor. An intrepid soldier, a courteous gentleman, a faithful
friend, an upright and honored citizen, has met the enemy before
whose relentless shaft all must sooner or later succumb." Colonel
Otey's six brothers all served in the Confederate army: Lieut.
Dexter Otey, who died in 1863; Lieut. Van R. Otey, Second Vir-
ginia cavalry, died in 1864; Capt. Gaston Otey, of the Otey battery,
wounded and died in 1863; Capt. W. H. Otey, adjutant Fifty-sixtii
regiment, subsequently captain of ordnance; Col. John M. Otey,
who served on the staffs of Generals Beauregard, Bragg and Johns-
ton throughout the entire war; and Maj. Peter J. Otey, of whom
mention is elsewhere made. A brother-in-law, Maj. John Stewart
Walker, organized and equipped the Richmond Life Guards, and
in command of the Fifteenth infantry was killed at Malvern Hill.
The mother of these seven heroic sons, Mrs. Lucy (Norvell) Otey,
organized and managed the Ladies' Confederate hospital at Lynch-
burg, which reported directly to the surgeon-general and was
famous throughout the Confederacy.

Major Peter J. Otey, of Lynchburg, representative in the United
States Congress of the Sixth Virginia district, and formerly a dis-
tinguished soldier of the army of the Confederate States, was born
at Lynchburg, December 22, 1840. He was educated at the Virginia
military institute, and during the operations of John Brown at Har-
per's Ferry in 1859, served with a company of cadets in defense of
the State from the attempted insurrection. He was graduated
July I, i860, and entered upon a career as a civil engineer, finding
employment at first under the distinguished Claudius Crozet, upon
the Virginia & Kentucky railroad. He was thus engaged when, in
April, 1861, the State of Virginia decided to cast her lot with the
Confederate States, and promptly enlisted in the military service
as a member of the Fifty-first Virginia regiment of infantry. With
this gallant command he served, until promoted to major of the
Thirtieth Virginia battalion, with which he remained throughout
the war. He was under the command of Gen. John B. Floyd, and
operated in the Kanawha valley, southwest Virginia, in the sum-
mer and fall of 1861, participating in the successful engagement at
Carnifix Ferry. Major Otey participated in the campaign in Ken-
tucky and Tennessee as assistant adjutant-general to Gen. John B.
Floyd, which culminated at Shiloh. He was with the garrison at
Fort Donelson, but with the major part of Floyd's division, escaped
before the surrender, after being actively engaged with the enemy.
Subsequently returning to the army of Northern Virginia and re-
ceiving his commission as major, he participated in the Loring
campaign in the Kanawha valley, subsequently in east Tennessee
under Longstreet and then with Breckinridge's division in the
campaign against Sigel in the valley of Virginia, participating in
the battle of New Market, May isth, when he was wounded in ihe
right arm, and in the defense of Lynchburg against the attack Ijy
Hunter. At the famous battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, he
commanded Wharton's brigade, and shared in the honors that dur-
ing the onset of the fight were achieved by the Confederate forces.


Other engagements in which he participated during his military
career were those of Monticello, with the warship at Sewell's Point,
Fayette Court House, Princeton, W. Va., Early's Valley cam-
paign and Knoxville, Tenn. On March 2, 1865 during the disaster
which befell the remnant of Early's army at Waynesboro, he was
captured by the Federals, and after this until June, 1865, was con-
fined as a prisoner of war at Fort Hamilton. On returning to Vir-
ginia he resumed the duties of his profession as civil engineer, and
became distinguished not only for his technical skill, but for re-
markable ability as a business man and an organizer and executive
of important enterprises. Among other notable undertakings he
has carried to success, the most prominent is the organizing and
building of the Lynchburg & Durham railroad. In 1894 he was
elected to Congress from the Sixth Virginia district by a hand-
some plurality, and in 1896 and 1898 was honored by re-elections.
William Thomas Owen, of Powhatan county, is deserving of
mention as illustrating that important element of the army of
Northern Virginia that represented families of recognized worth
and patriotic records, and added heroic deeds to the treasured mem-
ories of their ancestral lines. He was the son of Richard Johnson
Owen, a native of Appomattox county, whose father was Elisha
Owen, a soldier of the Revolutionary war who was with the army
at Yorktown. William Owen, the father of the latter, was also a
native of Virginia. Richard Johnson Owen married Narcissa
Langsdon, of French-Huguenot descent, daughter of Benjamin
Langsdon, a wealthy planter and slave-holder, who freed all his
slaves prior to the war of the Revolution. Wil'iam Thomas Owen
enlisted for Virginia in the spring of 1861, and became a sergeant
in the company of Captain Mosby in the famous legion of Gen.
Henry Wise. He shared the services of this command until, in
the spring of 1864, he fell near Drewry's bluff in the gallant re-
pulse of Butler's advance on Richmond. A brother of this martyr
to the cause of Southern independence, Austin Everett Owen, D.
D., is now a prominent member of the Baptist ministry, and has
done a noble work in the advancement of the South since the war.
Dr. Owen was pursuing theological studies at Richmond college
when the institution was closed in May, 1861. He then went to
Brunswick county where he served in the Baptist pastorate for ten
years. In 1871 he was called to Court street church, Portsmouth,
where his ministry of a quarter of a century, and more, has resulted
in great good. His church has become one of the leading Baptist
churches of the South, with a membership of five hundred and
sixty. It has one of the finest auditoriums of the country, as well
as a handsome chapel. Dr. Owen has held the positions of trustee
of the southwest Virginia institute, vice-president of the general
association of Virginia, moderator of the Portsmouth association,
and president of the pastors' organizations in Norfolk and Ports-
mouth, and is now president of the general association of Virginia.
He is 'trustee of Ryland institute, Berkley, and of Richmond col-
lege; corresponding secretary of the foreign board of the general
association of Virginia, and for ten years vice-president for Vir-
ginia of the foreign board of the southern Baptist convention. He
was one of the founders and editor for two years of the Atlantic
Baptist, and has contributed important articles to other religious


journals, notable among which are a series of letters to young,
ministers. He is widely known as an eloquent speaker, through-
his many commencement addresses, his presentations of the for-
eign mission cause, and his lectures upon general subjects. The
degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him by the Baylor
university of Texas. Dr. Owen was born in Powhatan county,
September 27, 1837. He was married December 6, 1866, to Hen-
rietta, sister of Robert W. Hall, of Brunswick county, who served
in Pickett's division and was captured at Sailor's Creek. They
have seven children living: Minnie Etta, wife of M. P. Claud, of
Portsmouth; Nettie Blanche, wife of John Freeman, of North
Carolina; Sallie Hall, wife of J. E. Britton, of Norfolk; Austin
Everett, Jr., of the Norfolk bank; William Russell, Jennie and
Richard Clement.

Colonel John C. Owens, a patriotic officer conspicuous among
the gallant soldiers contributed by southeastern Virginia to the
Confederate cause, was born in Matthews county, March 19, 1830.
His father, John Owens, a prosperous farmer of that county, was-
a worthy descendant of ancestors who had been liberty-loving col-
onists and Revolutionary soldiers. While a child Colonel Owens-
was brought by his parents to Portsmouth, Va., which was his
home during the remainder of his life. At the outbreak of the war-
he was captain of the Portsmouth Rifle company, a military or-
ganization which had been in existence nearly seventy years, and
had a fine reputation for discipline and efficiency. Responding
promptly to the call of Governor Letcher, he was mustered irr
with his company April 20, 1861, and immediately went on duty.
Stationed at Pig Point for several months he commanded his com-
pany in the artillery fight with the Federal steamer Harriet Lane,,
attracting favorable attention by his coolness and skill. Upon the
organization of the Ninth regiment at Petersburg, the Rifles were
assigned as Companj' G, and Captain Owens remained in com-
mand until the reorganization in May, 1862, when he was pro-
moted major of the regiment. In this rank he participated in th&
battle of Seven Pines, and the Seven Days' campaign under Lee.
Major Owens was attached to Huger's division, and while that
command was moving down the Charles City road to cut oflf Mc-
Clellan's retreat, he became impatient with the slowness of the
movement, and asked General Huger for permission to take the
advance with the Ninth regiment, or any other force that might
be assigned him, and push forward rapidly until he encountered a
considerable body of the enemy. But this request it was not
thought advisable to grant. McClellan gained a strong position at
Malvern Hill, against which Major Owens' regiment was thrown
with heavy loss in the fruitless assault of July ist. At the battle
of Warrenton Springs, August, 1862, Major Owens was wounded,
but he remained with his command through the Second Manassas
and Maryland campaigns, including the capture of Harper's Ferry
and battle of Sharpsburg. He participated in the battle of Fred-
ericksburg and the Suffolk campaign of Longstreet's corps, and
in June, 1863, was promoted colonel. In this rank he commanded
the Ninth regiment in the charge of Armistead's brigade, Pickett's
division, on the third day of the battle of Gettysburg, and was'
gallantly leading his men in the desperate assault when he fell


mortally wounded. About 2 o'clock of the following night he died
in the field hospital, and his body was buried at a spot near by,
until after the war, when it was removed to Oakwood cemetery,
Portsmouth. Capt. E. W. Owens, oldest son of the foregoing, was
born in Portsmouth in February, 1855. He and two younger chil-
<iren were orphaned by the death of their mother in 1861, and of
their father in 1863. At the age of fifteen he found employment
as a drug clerk, and seven years later he established an independent
business in the same line of trade, which he has since conducted
with gratifying success. He is an influential citizen, has served
several years as chairman of the county Democratic committee, and
for six years as school trustee; is an official member of the Owens
memorial church, of Portsmouth, and is connected with several
fraternal orders. When the Portsmouth Rifles were reorganized he
became second lieutenant, and being promoted captain, held that
rank about two years previous to the war with Spain, when he
went to the front as captain of the Rifles, Company L, Second
regiment Virginia volunteers.

Colonel William H. Palmer, of Richmond, distinguished in the
army of Northern Virginia as adjutant-general and chief of stafif
of the Third army corps, was born at that city in 1835. Offering
his services to the State early in the struggle he became on April
21, l86i, the first lieutenant of Company D of the First Virginia
infantry regiment. Soon afterward he was assigned the duties of
adjutant, and at the reorganization in May, 1862, was promoted
major, in which rank he commanded his regiment at the battle of
Williamsburg. Previous to this he had already served as adjutant-

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 124 of 153)