Clement Anselm Evans.

Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history online

. (page 135 of 153)
Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 135 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


about the first of January, 1863, he was ordered by Gen. R. E.
Lee to return to the Virginia military institute and assume the
duties of the professorship which he still holds. There during the
remainder of the struggle for the defense of the Confederacy he
rendered valuable and important services in the education and
preparation of cadets for military service. With them, also, he
rendered active military service on occasions, notably at the battle
of New Market in the valley, where the cadets formed an important
part of the Confederate forces and were particularly distinguished
for the part they took in winning a victory. Other engagements in
which he took part during his service with the army_ were those at
Greenbrier river, October 3, 1861, in the West Virginia campaign,
Allegheny mountain and McDowell. Since the close of ho.stilities
Professor Semmes has held continuously the chair at the institute
to which he was assigned by the board of visitors in 1863, and dur-
ing this long educational service has done a noble work, and taken
no small part in that heroic and magnificent effort which has raised
Virginia to her present high station out of the ashes and desolation
of war.

Major Joseph C. Sexton, of Wytheville, at the close of the war a
member of the staflf of Gen. John B. Gordon, was born at Wythe-
ville, November 26, 1833. Here he was reared and educated, and
given a training in the saddlery business which was established by
his grandfather who came to Virginia in 1790, and which he has
conducted throughout his business life, except when engaged in the



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1161

military service of his State. He enlisted April 17, 1861, in a vol-
unteer company which was assigned as Company A to the Fourth
Virginia infantry. He joined his regiment, under the brigade com-
mand of Col. Thomas J. Jackson, in the lower Shenandoah valley,
and thence moved to the field of Manassas, where he shared the gal-
lant service of the Fourth. Subsequently he was assigned to the
commissary service and promoted on September 11, 1861, to the
rank of captain in that department. His performance of duty in
this capacity was marked with such efficiency that on April" i, 1862,
he was promoted major. He was with the Stonewall brigade
through its entire four years' service, constantly rendering valu-
able and faithful co-operation in its gallant career. During the
final days of the struggle he was a member of the staff of Gen. John
B. Gordon, commanding the Second corps of the army. After the
war closed Mr. Sexton engaged in the saddle and harness business
and has met with much success. He is a member of the Presby-
terian church and of the Masonic and I. O. O. F. fraternities.

Carlton Shafer, a native of Virginia, was one of the four captains
who commanded the young cadets of the Virginia military institute
who participated with such gallantry at the battle of New Market,
in the valley of Virginia, May 15, 1864. He was born in Loudoun
county, Va., in 1844. His father, Frederfck W. Shafer, was born
in Germany but came to Virginia very early in life. In i860 he left
home to enter the military institute at Lexington, and was a stu-
dent there when the organization of troops was begun by the
State. In 1861 he went into service with the cadets, at Richmond,
Va., where they were drill-masters to troops preparing for active
service, but was not actively engaged in the field until the battle of
New Market. In this battle, rendered particularly famous by the
heroic action of the cadets and their severe loss in battle, he com-
manded Company B of the cadet corps and did his whole duty in
the glorious charge of the boys which routed the Federal forces.
Subsequently he was commissioned lieutenant in the provisional
army and was stationed in southwest Virginia, where he was as-
signed to duty in organizing and drilling recruits for the fast-thin-
ning ranks of the Confederates. While in that region he participated
in the defense of Lynchburg during the raid of Federal Gen-
eral Hunt-er upon that important point, and in the successful re-
sistance to the Federal raid of General Burbridge's army against
the salt works in Washington county, Va. At the time of the sur-
render he was in Fauquier county, Va., and soon afterward re-
ceived his parole in Loudoun county. He returned to civil life
and was engaged in school teaching about two years at Leesburg.
He was then chosen professor of mathematics in Frederick college,
at Frederick City, Md., and held that chair about two years, in the
meantime taking up the study of law, to which he determined to
turn his attention. In 1870 he was admitted to the bar at Frederick
City, where he subsequently engaged in the practice with marked
success until 1893. During that period he became prominent in
political affairs, and was elected in 1886 to represent Frederick
county in the house of delegates of Maryland. During the three
succeeding terms of the legislature he served, by successive elec-
tions, as chief clerk of the house. In 1887 he was a candidate for
the State senate, on the Democratic ticket, and though the county
usually gives a Republican majority of six to eight hundred votes



1162 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

he was defeated by Hon. M. G. Urmer by a majority of only fifty,
indicating in some degree the confidence reposed in him by his com-
munity. In 1893 he was appointed chief department clerk of the
internal revenue, district of Maryland, under the Cleveland admin-
istration, and stationed at Baltimore, and is now engaged in the
general practice of law at that city. In 1884 Mr. Shafer married
Miss Sara Andrew of La Porte, Ind., a daughter of Dr. George L.
Andrew, inspector of the armies of the Potomac and the Cumber-
land for the United States sanitary commission from 1861 to 1865.

Jacob Shaner, of Lynchburg, a veteran of the Fifteenth Virginia
infantry regiment, is a native of Germany, born in 1839. Coming
to America in 1844. and first locating at Baltimore, he removed
thence to Lynchburg in 1850, and to Richmond in 1857. At the lat-
ter city he became a member of a militia company with which he
participated in the occupation of Harper's Ferry during the dis-
turbance of 1859. Subsequently he continued his militia service with
this command, which in April, 1861, became Company H of the
Fifteenth Virginia infantry. With this command he took part in
the action at Big Bethel early in 1861, where the Confederate troops
were distinguished for steadiness and fighting qualities, and con-
tinued on duty in that region until about eighteen months after
his enlistment, when he was detailed for duty at Richmond. He
remained in the latter service about a year, and then rejoined his
command just before the battle of Sharpsburg, where he served
with his regiment in Semmes' brigade of McLaws' division, and
joined in a successful charge upon Burnside's troops, driving a
greatly superior force of the enemy from a strong position. In this
fight the regiment lost fifty-eight per cent in killed and wounded,
probably the most severe regimental loss in the army. Private
Shaner continued with this gallant command through the subse-
quent campaigns, fighting at Second Cold Harbor and Drewry's
Bluflf, and until January, 1865, when he was disabled by illness from
further participation in the war. After the close of hostilities he
engaged in business at Lynchburg, and was thus occupied, with
much success, until 1895, when he retired. He is an influential and
much respected citizen, but has modestly declined all office, even
that of a seat in the city council to which he was unanimously elect-
ed on the tickets of both parties. He was married in November,
1866, to Mary E. Moebus, and they have nine children living.

John Howard Sharp, treasurer of the Seaboard Air Lme railroad
company, residing at Norfolk, was born at that city, December_ 3,
1837. His father, William Willoughby Sharp, an able and distin-
guished lawyer, was for many years prior to the war president of
the Exchange bank of Virginia, located at Norfolk. The latter was
the son of Col. William Sharp, a soldier of the war of 1812. The
mother of Mr. Sharp was Mary Ann Schoolfield, daughter of Dr.
Joseph Schoolfield, a former surgeon of the United States navy.
Mr. Sharp was reared at Norfolk and educated at the Virginia mil-
itary institute. For two years prior to the war he was a private m
Company F, of Norfolk, which was organized in 1859 from the
best citizenship of the city, and when it entered the active service of
the State on April 19, 1861, was the largest infantry company of
Norfolk. It was attached to the Sixth Virginia regiment as Com-
pany G and its first duty was the seizure of the immense stores of
powder at Fort Norfolk. The company was then ordered to Cra-



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1163

ney island on garrison duty and given charge of a battery of lieavy
guns. In September, 1861, Private Sharp was promoted second
lieutenant in the provisional army, and assigned to duty as quarter-
master and commissary of the brigade at Craney island. A few days
later he was further promoted to the rank of captain and assistant
quartermaster and commissary in the Confederate States army. But
this position was not to his taste, and he tendered his resignation
in favor of a friend who was married, and sought an opportunity
for service in some other line of duty. Going to Richmond he there
united with some ex-cadets of the Virginia military institute and
others in the organization of the celebrated Otey battery, with
whose gallant career he was thereafter associated until the close of
the war. While on the lines before Petersburg, after the battle of
the Crater, he was detailed by Gen. E. P. Alexander, chief of artil-
lery of the First army corps, as personal courier at his headquarters,
where he remained without the loss of a day in the performance of
his duties until the surrender at Appomattox. For many years
after the close of the war Captain Sharp was occupied as a planter
in North Carolina, where he still holds extensive agricultural inter-
ests, and while there he was married December 19, 1866, to Sophia
Hunter, of Lincoln county. Their home has been blessed with
eight children. Mrs- Sharp is the daughter of Dr. Cyrus L. Hunter,
author of Revolutionary Sketches of Western North Carolina, and
granddaughter of Gen. Peter Forney, of North Carolina, and Rev.
Humphrey Hunter, who served under Light Horse Harry Lee in
the Continental army. Her two brothers were both killed in the
war of the Confederacy. In 1882 Captain Sharp first became asso-
ciated with the railroad company with which he has since been con-
nected, and beginning as a bookkeeper in the treasury department
at Wilmington, N. C, he has, through several promotions, reached
the position of secretary and treasurer of the Air Line system. Since
his election to this office in 1893 he has resided at Portsmouth,
where the general offices are located. He maintains membership in
the Pickett-Buchanan camp of Norfolk, and the Otey battery asso-
ciation of Richmond.

Captain J. P. Sheffey, of Marion, judge of the circuit court of
Smyth county, participated in the notable Confederate record of the
Smyth Dragoons, a cavalry company from that county, which be-
came Company A, Eighth Virginia cavalry. He enlisted in this com-
pany in May, 1861, was commissioned second lieutenant, and while
the command was in camp at Fort Jackson, Wytheville, was pro-
moted first lieutenant. At the reorganization in 1862 he was elect-
ed captain, the rank in which he served during the remainder of the
war. He served under General Floyd in West Virginia, and sub-
sequently in the brigades of A. G. Jenkins, William E. Jones and
Bradley T. Johnson. He participated in the battle of Cloyd's
Mountain as well as many minor engagements, and took part in
the Maryland campaign against Washington. In August, 1864, he
was taken prisoner at Moorefield, W. Va., and was imprisoned at
Camp Chase, Ohio, until February, 1865. Then returning to his
command, he was at Appomattox with General Munford, but with
his comrades escaped the surrender. Since the war he has been
active in his profession as a lawyer, sat in the Virginia house of
delegates in the session of 1893-94, and was elected to the bench in
1895-



1164 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

Lieutenant Samuel G. Sheffield, for many years a prosperous mer-
chant of Henry county, did faithful service during the Confederate
war as an officer of the Twenty-fourth regiment, Virginia infantry,
and later was in the cavalry service. He was born in Henry
county, April i6, 1836, and was there reared and educated. In May,
1861, he entered the Confederate service as orderly-sergeant of Com-
pany H, Twenty-fourth Virginia regiment, under Colonel Early,
and participated in the first year's service of the regiment, fighting
at Blackburn's Ford and First Manassas, and in February, 1862,
moving with his regiment and Early's brigade to the peninsula, to
encounter the army of McClellan. During this movement he was
taken sick, and was left at Richmond, where he was given a fur-
lough to go to his home and regain health. His gallant service
meanwhile had gained for him promotion to the rank of second
lieutenant. When he returned to the army before Richmond he
was transferred to Robinson's battalion of cavalry, with which he
took part in many skirmishes and the battle of Cold Harbor in
1864. In the latter battle he was captured, and being taken to Point
Lookout, was held at that military prison for eight or nine months-
His health failed during this long confinement and he was at last
released on account of his sickness. But recovering after he
reached his home he returned to duty, and with his cavalry com-
mand took part in several skirmishes on the Petersburg lines -and
an important fight near Amelia Court House, during the retreat.
Proceeding to Appomattox he made his way through the Federal
lines with his comrades, and after the surrender returned home by
way of Lynchburg. He soon found employment as a clerk and later
embarked in mercantile piirsuits as proprietor of a store at Mar-
tinsville, which he conducted until, a few years since, he retired
from business after an active and successful career. He served as
supervisor at Martinsville for ten years. In 1880 he was married to
Miss L. H. H. Martin, who died a few years later; and Mr. Sheffield
died at Martinsville, Va., June 9, i8g8.

John M. Shepherd, of Suffolk, Va., a gallant veteran of the Six-
teenth Virginia infantry regiment, was born at Suffolk in 1843, the
son of James M. Shepherd, a contractor of that city. He left a
clerkship in a Suffolk store in April, 1861, to enlist as a private in
the Marion Rangers, afterward Company A of the Sixteenth regi-
ment. With this command he led a rather quiet life in an entrenched
camp near Norfolk, until the evacuation in May, 1862, when after
going as far as Gordonsville under orders to reinforce Jackson in
the valley, the regiment was called back to Richmond, and joining
Mahone's brigade, took an active part in the Seven Days' cam-
paign and Malvern Hill. Subsequently in Longstreet's corps he
fought at Second Manassas, and marched into Maryland. At
Crampton's Gap, where Mahone's brigade and Munford's cavalry
held back a Federal army corps, all of Company A were captured
save Private Shepherd and a few others, who made their escape by
way of Harper's Ferry and took part in the battle of Sharpsburg.
Returning to Virginia on the night of December 12, 1862, he lay
down to sleep with a warm pair of green moccasins at his side,
and when awakened in the morning by the sound of the drum,
found the moccasins frozen hard, and orders to immediately fall
in for a march to Fredericksburg. He will never forget that march
of three miles through the snow, at double-quick, barefooted, and



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1165

the three days of fighting and waiting in line of battle which fol-
lowed. He fought at Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg was on the
main picket line during the three days' battle, on the retreat fought
at Williamsport, took part in the Bristoe campaign, and in the
spring of 1864 shared the service of his command at the Wilderness,
Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and the frequent fighting on the
Petersburg lines, including the battle of the Crater, where most of
his company were killed or wounded, and Reams' Station. His ac-
tive service in the field was not ended until he surrendered at Ap-
pomattox. Though a private until the close of the war, he had
served as sergeant-major and adjutant of his regiment. Returning
to Suffolk he served for sixteen years as agent for the Norfolk &
Western railroad under his old commander. General Mahone, and
since then has been agent for the central office of the Southern
express company. He is sergeant-major of Tom Smith camp. Con-
federate veterans, and greatly values the comradeship of that order.
In January, 1867, he was married to Carrie M. Hall, daughter of
Thomas Hall, sheriff of Isle of Wight county, and they have four
children: Annie, wife of John B. Booth, Oxford, N. C. ; Carrie J.,
wife of F. G. Whaley, Greenville, N. C. ; James T., of Suffolk, and
Frederick M., of Norfolk.

John Emerson Shields, a native of Norfolk, Va., was connected
with the war department at Richmond throughout the war of the
Confederacy. While in this service he made a trip to Norfolk, ar-
riving at that place on the day of the evacuation, and, not being
able to return to Richmond, was forced to go to Washington,
which ended his service for the cause of the Confederacy. Subse-
quently he followed the career of a merchant at Norfolk until his
death in 1889. His brother, Capt. Hamilton Shields, was grad-
uated at the National military academy at West Point in the class
of Gen. George B. McClellan, and served with distinction in the
war with Mexico. At the breaking out of the war he had a posi-
tion on the staff of General Wool, in the United States regular
army, but resigning his commission on the opening of hostilities,
he became an object of suspicion, was arrested and imprisoned,
but was afterward released. Their father, William C. Shields, a
native of Philadelphia, served in the United States navy during
the war of 1812, and afterward founded the Norfolk Beacon, an in-
fluential Whig journal, of ante-bellum days, and continued its pub-
lication until his death in 1855. This ancestor was the son of John
Shields, who emigrated from Scotland to Philadelphia. John
Emerson Shields married Mary Frances Ridley, a lady of English
descent, and daughter of the late John Ridley, a native of South-
ampton county, who followed his profession of civil engineering
for the greater part of his life at Norfolk, serving both as city
engineer and city treasurer. Leroy H. Shields, a son of this union,
was born at Norfolk, May 18, 1854, and after receiving his
education in private schools of the city, entered upon a business
career, first as a clerk and later as a traveling salesman. From
1881 to 1884 he was connected with the wholesale shoe business,
and at the latter date retired from trade to become interested in
various real estate enterprises throughout the State, some of which
were of a very extensive scope. In the fall of 1885 he was elected
to the legislature of the State, a position he resigned in the fol-



1166 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

lowing year to accept the office of collector of city taxes. To this
position he was re-elected in 1888, and served through two terms,
declining a third election. He was appointed to the office of col-
lector of customs by President "Cleveland in 1894, for a term of
four years. He has rendered admirable service in this capacity,
and many substantial and notable improvements have been made
in the custom house during his incumbency and through his influ-
ence, which will commemorate his administration of the office. Mr.
Shields was married December 29, 1885, to Mary Orra Love,
daughter of the late Col. Robert Love, an eminent lawyer of Ten-
nessee, and a first cousin of Col. Robert L. Taylor, governor of
that State. Her ancestor, Alexander Love, was a signer of the
Declaration of Independence. They have three daughters, Fran-
ces Elizabeth Taylor, Virginia Taylor, and Dorothy Love Carter.

Colonel Scott Shipp, superintendent of the Virginia military
institute, was born in Fauquier county, August 2, 1839. At the
age of thirteen years he entered Westminster college, Missouri,
and after three years' study served for a year on the engineer
corps of the North Missouri railroad. In 1859 he was . graduated
with distinction at the Virginia military institute, and was at once
appointed assistant professor of mathematics. In this department
and that of Latin he continued until the outbreak of the war,
when he resigned his position and was commissioned lieutenant
and later captain in the provisional army of Virginia. _ He held the
rank of assistant adjutant-general in the camp of^ instruction at
Richmond, and as major of the Twenty-first Virginia, regiment, in
the Confederate provisional army, served with distinction under
Lee in West Virginia, and Jackson in the valley. In 1862, by
order of the secretary of war, he was detached from his regiment
and returned to the institute as commandant of cadets, with the
rank of lieutenant-colonel, the position he occupied during the
remainder of the war. At the battle of New Market, particularly,
where he was wounded, he demonstrated the intrepidity and power
of leadership of a successful officer. Upon_ the re-establishment
of the institute after the war, he continued in the office of com-
mandant, also studying law at Washington college and gaining
admission to the bar, and from 1876 until 1890 filling the chair of
Latin in addition to his other duties. In 1880 he was elected pres-
ident of the Virginia agricultural and mechanical college, but de-
clined this honor, preferring to remain with the school to which his
life has been zealously devoted. He served as a member of the
board of visitors of the United States military academy in 1890, was
president of the board of visitors of the United States naval acad-
emy in 1894, and in 1891 received the honorary degree of LL. D.
from Washington and Lee university. He was married in 1869 to
a daughter of Arthur A. Morson, of Richmond, and they have three
children. , . , ,

The Virginia military institute, a school for soldiers, which has
been pronounced second only to the national academy at West
Point, gave to the Confederate cause twenty-one general^ officers—
Major-Generals Mahone, Humes and Rodes, and Brigadier-Gener-
als Echols, Lindsay Walker, Colston, Wharton, J. R. Jones, Gar-
land Payne, Terry, A. C. Jones, Bass, Vaughn, Elliott, Munford,
Jas A Walker, Lane, Penn, McCausland and Terrill— more than



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 1167

ioo_ colonels, nearly as many lieutenant-colonels, more than 475
majors and captains, over 100 general and regimental staff officers,
and more than 200 subalterns, a total of quite 1,200 officers.
It will be readily observed that the institute exerted through its
graduates a great influence upon the Confederate armies, rivaling
except in the highest commands, that of West Point itself. The
school was founded for scientific and military instruction by act of
the assembly in March, 1839, and was first under the superinten-
dency of Gen. Francis H. Smith, who was succeeded on January i,
1890, by Gen. Scott Shipp, who had been connected with the faculty
since 1859. Col. J. L. T. Preston, of Lexington, to whom is ac-
corded the honor of conceiving the idea of the school, was in its
corps of instructors thirty-six years. Other well-known men have
been included in its faculty, the most famous of them its former
professor of natural philosophy, Lieut.-Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson.
The services of the Institute battalion throughout the war of the
Confederacy is deserving of mention in this connection. Previous-
ly, at the time of the execution of John Brown, the cadets were
ordered on duty at Charlestown, where Maj. T. J. Jackson com-
manded a platoon of two howitzers, and Maj. William Gilham
commanded the infantry battalion. On April 17, 1861, by order of
Governor Letcher the cadets were moved to the camp of instruc-
tion near Richmond, to aid in drilling and disciplining the Confed-
erate troops, and rendered valuable service until July ist, when the
battalion was disbanded, nearly every member having received a
commission in some arm of the service. In January, 1862, upon the



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 135 of 153)