Clement Anselm Evans.

Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history online

. (page 87 of 153)
Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 87 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


officer at Richmond, he was assigned to duty in a species of secret
service, crossing the James river to Day's Point for military infor-
mation, which occupied him during the winter of 1863-64. Then
reporting to Capt. John H. Parker, C. S. N., at Richmond, he was
assigned to duty under Lieut.-Com. Hunter Davidson, in charge of
the torpedo service on the James river. He was second in com-
mand of a daring expedition against the shipping at Newport
News, sailing in a steam launch sixteen feet long and carrying a
torpedo containing sixty-three pounds of powder, which he suc-
cessfully exploded under the U. S. frigate Minnesota, damaging
her so much as to compel her to go into dry dock at Washington.
Master Curtis and the crew escaped unhurt though surrounded by
warships and fired on with small arms. In July, 1864, he was called
to Wilmington, N. C, to take part in a daring enterprise, which
was no less than the liberation of the Confederate i)risoners at
Point Lookout. Two blockade runners were fitted up for this pur-
pose, under the command of Com. John Taylor Wood, with Cap-
tain Curtis as acting master of one of the vessels. The expedition
proceeded as far as the bar at the mouth of Cape Fear river, when
they were ordered to return to Wilmington and the project was
abandoned. Captain Curtis was then stationed at Smithville (now
Southport), N. C.J but was immediately ordered to Wilmington
again for another important enterprise, and was assigned by John
Pembroke Jones as acting master of the new cruiser Tallahassee,
destined to work havoc among the Federal shipping. This was a
double-screw steamer, formerly a blockade runner and called the
Atlanta, 230 feet long, with iron hull, and was armed with onel
lOO-pound Parrott rifle amidships, a 30-pound Parrott gun aft, and
a boat howitzer on the forecastle deck, and sailed with 120 men.
The Tallahassee left Wilmington August 6, 1864, receiving the
fire of two blockaders, and made northward. On the nth she was
off Sandy Hook and began her work of destruction. She reached
Halifax on the i8th, having burned sixteen vessels, scuttled ten,
bonded five and released two. Leaving Halifax on the night of the
igth, the Tallahassee returned to Wilmington, again running the
blockade, fighting her way in on the night of August 26th. Captain
Curtis was then ordered to Richmond, and about September ist was
Ta 52



822 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

detailed for secret service near Fortress Monroe, where he was en-
gaged in necessary work, obtaining military information, until the
evacuation, when he returned to Richmond. Subsequently he re-
sumed his business in the river freight traffic, and in the fall of 1865
was appointed captain of a steam transport on the James. This
position he resigned in 1866 to enter the business of ship brokerage
at Richmond, in which he has since continued. As a citizen he is
influential and highly respected. He has served ten years success-
ively in the city council, was elected to the legislature in 1883 and
twice subsequently. He is a member of the R. E. Lee camp. Con-
federate Veterans, and of the St. Johns Episcopal church. In 1856
he was married to Margaret Virginia, daughter of the late Robert
Drummond, and they have two children living, Wade Hampton
and John Taylor Wood. Another son, Robert Boyd T., died in
July, 1892, leaving a widow and one daughter. Mrs. Curtis died
January 11, 1894.

Robert K. Curtis, a veteran of Stuart's cavalry, who has twice
been honored by election to the office of sheriff of Elizabeth City
county, is a native of Gloucester county, Va., born July 27, 1844.
His father. Col. Robert C. Curtis, a member of one of the oldest
and most honored families of Gloucester county, was commander
of a regiment of Virginia militia, and for many years was sherifiF
of his county. Robert K. is the only son of the second marriage
of Colonel Curtis, to Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Keith Wray, a
well-known, prosperous and generous citizen of Elizabeth City
county, a direct descendant of Capt. George Wray, of the Revolu-
tionary army. While an infant Robert K. was orphaned by the
death of his father, after which his mother made her home in her
native county. He was educated in Gary's military academy at
Hampton until his fifteenth year, when he enlisted in the military
service. He was first a member of the Washington artillery, but
on reaching Yorktown, soon afterward, he was assigned to the Old
Dominion Dragoons, an organization which became Company B
of the Third Virginia cavalry. He was subsequently identified with
the career of his regiment and of the cavalry commands of Fitzhugh
Lee and Stuart until the close of the war. He served through the
Peninsular, the Second Manassas, Maryland, Fredericksburg, Chan-
cellorsville and Gettysburg campaigns, and in all the battles of his
regiment. In the fierce cavalry fight on the third day of the battle
of Gettysburg, he received four wounds in the right arm almost
simultaneously, and fainting, fell from his horse, and would have
been captured had not a comrade rescued him. Notwithstanding
his hurt, he remounted his horse and rode with the cavalry to Gor-
donsville, before he receivedthe attention of a surgeon. Until his
recovery he remained with his family in North Carolina, and then,
returning to the field, was detailed as scout attached to the head-
quarters of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. In this capacity he continued until
his surrender at Appomattox, having many dangerous experiences
and four times suffering_ capture, but each time_ managing to es-
cape. He was several times slightly wounded, in addition to his
wounds at Gettysburg. He has since the close of hostilities been a
prominent citizen of Elizabeth City county, and was occupied in
farming until 1891, when he was elected sheriff, the first Democrat
since the war to receive that honor. He was re-elected in 1895.



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 82»

Mr. Curtis is lieutenant-commander of R. E. Lee camp, Confederate
Veterans. He was married January 27, 1872, to Margaret M.,
daughter of Fayette Sinclair, a surviving veteran of the Confed-
eracy. Mrs. Curtis died in March, 1895, leaving eight children.

Lieutenant Thomas G. H. Curtis, a gallant Confederate soldier
from Warwick county, Va., who lost his life near the close of the
war, entered the service of Virginia and the Confederacy early in
the year 1861, as a sergeant of the Warwick Beauregards, subse-
quently assigned to the Thirty-second regiment, Virginia infantry,
as Company H. With this command he served throughout the
war, winning promotion to the rank of lieutenant, and honorably
participating in many engagements, including the famous battles of
Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancel-
lorsville and Gettysburg. He was with Lee's army at Richmond
and Petersburg and on the retreat in April, 1865, was killed by the
explosion of a shell from the enemy's guns, two or three days be-
fore the surrender at Appomattox. Only a few weeks before this
sad event he had been married. A brother of the foregoing,
Humphrey H. Curtis, served as captain of the same company of
the Thirty-second regiment, for a year and a half, after which, being
a physician by profession, he was detailed for professional work in
Caswell county, N. C. He died in 1881. Another brother, William
H. Curtis, though afflicted with feeble health, which prevented act-
ive duty on the field, served in the hospital department and as a
member of the reserves at Richmond during the latter part of the
war, and now resides in James City county. Two first cousins of
these brothers, William C. and Samuel Minor, were members o£
the same company and regiment until they were captured and im-
prisoned at Point Lookout. Samuel died soon after the close of
the war from the effects of his confinement and his brother is now a
resident of Warwick county, Va. The three Curtis brothers, whose
military services have been briefly mentioned, were the sons of
Daniel Prentiss Curtis, a farmer of Warwick county, who was born
in 1803, and died in 1857. By his marriage to Elizabeth Reed Har-
wood, daughter of Humphreys Harwood, a planter, he had seven-
teen children, of whom but two survive, William H. Curtis, the
oldest, and James M. Curtis, the youngest, a prominent business
man of Newport News, and for twenty-four years treasurer of his
county. The latter was born in Warwick county, December 20,
1850. During the war he was a refugee with his mother and the
other children in North Carolina, in consequence of which he was
deprived ici his youth of those educational advantages in schools
and colleges, so abundant in times of peace. But largely by his
person'al efforts he abundantly fitted himsdf to worthily fill a lead-
ing place in social, financial and business life. With his mother
until he was of age, and subsequently for twenty years on his own
account, he was industriously occupied as a farmer on the banks of
the Warwick and James rivers. _Mean^yhile, from the age of twenty-
one years, he had occupied official positions, first as a justice of the
peace ana later as county supervisor, and in 1875 he was elected to
the office of county treasurer. He was at that time the youngest
county treasurer in the State, but his duties were performed with
such ability and courtesy that he has since then been continuously
re-elected, and in May, 1896, he was also elected treasurer of the



824 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

city of Newport News, of which he became a citizen in 1891. He
Also has extensive business and manufacturing interests, as presi-
dent of the Newport News building and loan association, director
•of the Citizens' and Marine bank, and the Newport News gas com-
pany, and president of the Newport News knitting mill. He is
also president of the business men's association, treasurer of the
Young Men's Christian association and a trustee of the Female
seminary. His activity in these various channels of influence has
made him one of the most popular and leading men of his county.
In his youth he was married to Miss Mary McKennie, who died
■eighteen months later, leaving one child, Roberta Power, now a
teacher in the Newport News schools. In October, 1877, he mar-
ried Miss Blanch Power, and they have five children living: Henry,
Abbie, Bessie, Frank and Lucy.

Captain John Cussons. of Glen Allen,, Va., who has been honored
by his comrades of the United Confederate Veterans with the rank
of grand commander of the Virginia division, was born at Hom-
castle, England, in 1837. Manifesting in youth the adventurous
spirit which characterized his subsequent military career, he came
to America in 1855, and, going to the wild Northwest, spent four
years enlivened by hunting adventures and experiences among the
Sioux Indians. In 1859 he made his home at Selma, Ala., and pur-
chased a half interest in the Selma Reporter. In the conduct of
this journal he was a prominent supporter of the Bell and Everett
ticket in i860. As soon as the secession of the State was decided
upon he entered heartily into the movement for independence and,
2S a member of the Governor's Guard, took part in the occupation
of Fort Morgan. The Guard became a part of the Fourth Alabama
infantry, and, with the rank of lieutenant, he accompanied the com-
mand to Virginia in April, 1861. The regiment was brigaded under
command of Gen. Barnard E. Bee, with whom Cussons served as a
«cout until that lamented officer fell at Manassas, July 21, 1861.
Cussons was in physique an ideal soldier, and his dashing manner
was fully sustained by his daring and cool intrepidity. Such a man
was invaluable for leading desperate enterprises or for obtaining
reliable information concerning the movements of the enemy, and
lie was in constant demand for such service during his connection
■with the army. General Whiting, who succeeded Bee, retained him
as a scout until, at the battle of Seven Pines he was promoted cap-
tain and appointed to the staflE of Gen. E. M. Law, who succeeded
to the command of the brigade. Thenceforward he was frequently
assigned to outpost, flank rear guard and detached service. During
Longstreet's Suflfolk campaign he surprised and captured Fort
Stribling by a night attack, with a handful of picked men, suflfering
little loss. In the campaign against Pope, at the crisis when Long-
street must join Jackson through Thoroughfare Gap to effect a
defeat of the enemy, the gap being held by the Federals under Gen-
eral Ricketts, Captain Cussons, with a hundred riflemen, climbed
over the mountain and attacked Rickett's outposts so suddenly
as to cause a stampede of the enemy, which resulted in the Federals
abandoning their important position and beating a precipitate re-
treat. At 9 o'clock the next morning, August 29, 1862, Captain
•Cussons found Stonewall Jackson and delivered the welcome in-
telligence that Longstreet was through the gap and the head of



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 825

his column fast approaching on the Warrenton pike. At dawn on
the third day of the struggle at Gettysburg he was captured on
the slope of Round Top, and from the crest of the hill, as a pris-
oner, witnessed the splendid attack of Pickett's corps that after-
noon. His experience as a prisoner of war was obtained at Fort
McHenry, Fort Delaware, Johnson's island and Point Lookout.
After eight months of this deprivation and confinement he was
exchanged and returned to the army. He found his old division
in the West, where he served during the remainder of the war, at
the end being with Forrest's cavalry. Since the war he has de-
voted himself to the improvement and beautifying of his splendid
estate of about a thousand acres at Glen Allen, to which he has
given the name of "Forest Lodge." Here he has led an ideal rural
life, amusing himself by opening roadways through the forest,
making artificial lakes and stocking a spacious deer park with
the animals which he used to slay. His days of adventure are
over, and if he sometimes emerges from retirement it is only in
defense of some principle or sentiment which dominated his earlier
years. His articles and addresses on Indian life and character are
full of information at first hand, and are somewhat startling to
those who have regarded the red man only as a savage and a public
enemy. His papers as a member of the historical committee of the
Grand Camp of Virginia have always been such as to awaken
interest and command respect, and his "Glance at Current His-
tory" is an indignant, yet potent, protest against the false coloring
which has been so persistently cast over every phase of the Con-
federate struggle.

Colonel Wilfred E. Cutshaw, of Richmond, Va., a distinguished
artillery commander of the army of Northern Virginia, was born
at Harper's Ferry, January 25, 1838. His father was a native of
Loudoun county; his grandfather, who served in the war of 1812,
of Maryland, and his great grandfather, of Scotland. He was
graduated at the Virginia military; institute with a thorough
knowledge of civil and military engineering, in 1858, and in 1859
became an instructor in the Hampton military institute. That
position he abandoned in the spring of 1861 to enter the service
of the Confederate States. In May he received the rank of first
lieutenant, and in August following was promoted second lieu-
tenant in the regular army and assigned to the command of Gen.
T. J. Jackson, in the valley district. Further promotion followed
in March, 1862, when he was made captain of artillery; and in Feb-
ruary, 1864, he was raised to the rank of major, as which he com-
manded Cutshaw's battalion, famous in the last year of the war.
In February, 1865, he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of artillery.
He participated in the operations of General Magruder on the

?eninsula in the summer of 1861, the aflfair at Hanging Rock in
anuary, 1862, the campaign of Jackson in the valley, in which
he commanded a battery in the artillery division of Colonel Crutch-
field, and he took part in the battles of McDowell, Front Royal,
Middletown, Edenburg and Winchester. Severely wounded in
the left knee at the latter engagement and captured by the enemy,
he was held a month at Fort McHenry, and, after being exchanged,
was pronounced unfit for military duty and was assigned as acting
commander of cadets at the Virginia military institute. In Sep-



826 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

tember, 1863, he applied for re-admission to active service, though
his wound was unhealed, and he was assigned to duty as assistant
inspector-general of artillery. Second corps, army of. Northern
Virginia. He participated in the battles of Bristoe Station, Au-
burn, Rappahannock Station and Mine Run, in 1863; and in 1864,
in command of his ' battalion, was in conspicuous service in the
Wilderness, at Spottsylvania, where he was again wounded. Cold
Harbor, Bethesda church, the affairs with gunboats and transports
on the James river between Chaffee's Blufif and Wilcox's Landing
in July, in command of battalion with Kershaw's division in the
iValley campaign of General Early, at the battles of Front Royal,
Charleston, Berryville, Strasburg and Cedar Creek. During the
retreat of the army from Richmond he fought at Deatonsville and
Sailor's Creek, April 6th, and in the latter engagement was terribly
wounded, losing his right leg. A few days later, while lying in
this condition, he gave his final parole. His record is one of the
most gallant and self-sacrificing service. His name is identified
with Cutshaw's battalion, one of the most serviceable and famous
in the artillery arm of the Confederate forces. Its unexcelled
record in nearly every battle in which the army of Virginia was
engaged will be recalled with admiration as long as Confederate
history shall be written and read. After he was able to resume
civil occupations he was engaged, with the exception of two years
as mining engineer, as assistant professor in the Virginia military
institute in the departments of mathematics, physics and military
and civil engineering. In 1873 he became city engineer of Rich-
mond.

Andrew J. Dalton, ex-senator for the Norfolk (31st) district, and
distinguished in the municipal service of that city, is a native of
Ireland, born at Dublin in 1843. His father, Thomas A. Dalton,
brought him with the family to Norfolk when he was three months
old, and there engaged in business as a merchant tailor until his
death in 1853. Left an orphan at the age of ten years, he wasi
apprenticed, a year later, to the printer's craft, with T. G. Brough-
ton, editor of the old Norfolk Herald. After the termination of
his five years' apprenticeship, he continued in the trade until the
outbreak of the wai. Early in 1861, before Virginia seceded, he
enlisted in Company C, Captains George James and Ormsby
Blanding, respectively. First South Carolina. artillery, and was sta-
tioned at Fort Johnson, on James island, from which the signal
shell for the bombardment was fired, and was one of the crew that
placed that shell in the mortar. After the surrender of Fort
Sumter to the Confederates, he was on duty at that fortress until
the expiration of his year's enlistment, when he returned to Nor-
folk, and enlisted in the United artillery, under command of Capt.
Thomas Kevill, then stationed at Fort Norfolk. He was one of
the volunteer artillerymen selected to man the Virginia in her
famous naval encounters in Hampton Roads, during which he
was twice wounded, and again volunteered and served on the
Virginia's third trip, under Captain Tattnall. After the evacuation
of "Norfolk, he was with his command at Dunn's Hill, Petersburg,
and then during the Peninsular campaign on duty in batteries No.
8 and No. 10, before Richmond, and at the two redoubts on the
Central railroad. Subsequently he was stationed at Drewry's Bluff



CONFEDERA TE MI LIT A R Y HIS TOR Y. 827

for several months, and served in the defense of Richmond during
the Stoneman and Dahlgren raids. He was transferred to the
engineer corps and subsequently to Gen. John H. Morgan's com-
mand of cavalry, with which he participated in the campaign of
1864 in Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and Kentucky. As a
member of Company F of the First Kentucky cavalry, he partici-
pated in the severe engagements against Crook, Averell and
Duffield, at Cloyd Mountain, and Wytheville, where Averell was
wounded and the Federals lost 700 horses and men, taken pris-
oners. At Dublin he was wounded and captured, and after an
exhausting and terrible march over the country to Ohio, was con-
fined at Camp Chase for thirteen months. After long endurance
of the privations and sufferings of the prison pen, the war ending,
he was released and returned to Norfolk. Here he found em-
ployment as a printer at first, and was subsequently appointed to
the office of street inspector. He served in this place four years,
also four years as deputy sheriff. He was then elected to the office
of sheriff; four years later he was elected to the general assembly
of Virginia as senator from the Norfolk district. After serving in
this body four years and declining re-election, he accepted an ap-
pointment as justice of the peace, still holding that office. He
was chairman of the first electoral board of the city, is at present
chairman of that body, served upon the police force soon after
the war, and has been a member of the city council. In 1879 he
was married to Rosa, daughter of Jacob Karcher, lately a business
man of Norfolk. His family consists of Rosine, Gracie, Juanita,
and Andrew J. Dalton, Jr., three girls and a boy.

Abram Venable Daniel, a prominent citizen of Roanoke, was
born in Charlotte county, Va., in 1836, of parents who were of
Scotch-Irish descent. His family contributed nobly to the Con-
federate cause, four of his brothers serving honorably in the ranks.
They were Joseph M. Daniel, deceased; Henry S. Daniel, now of
Charlotte county; John Daniel, of Littleton, N. C; and Thomas
W. Daniel, deceased. He entered the service of the Confederate
States immediately after the battle of Manassas, of July, 1861, be-
coming a private in Bagby's company of heavy artillery. After
serving with his command about a year, he was transferred to
Wise's brigade of infantry and was attached to the color guard
as a non-commissioned officer. He participated in all the fighting
around Petersburg, at Seven Pines, in the campaign against Grant,
where his company captured a battery and turned it on the enemy,
the battle of the Crater, Chapin's Farm and Drewry's Bluff. Dur-
ing the retreat from Petersburg he was wounded in the leg, but
he took part in the battle of Sailor's Creek and received another
wound in the head. He escaped capture at this disaster, and in
his wounded and suffering condition made his way to his home
in Charlotte county. After farming one season he made his home
at South Boston, Halifax county, and mingled the occupations of
farming, conducting a grocery and dealing in leaf tobacco, with
much success for a period of fifteen years. He then removed to
Roanoke and there engaged in the coal and feed trade. In 1867
Mr. Daniel was married in Halifax county to Miss Owen, and
they have four children; Fanny E., wife of J. J. Owen, of Green
Bay, Va.; W. B. Daniel, Mabel M. and Myrtle W.



828 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

John W. Daniel, a well-known resident of the city of Wash-
ington, was reared and educated in that city, though a native of
Virginia. He was born in Stafford county, that State, in 1838,
and in his infancy was taken by his parents, upon their removal,
to Washington, which has since been his home. Upon the pass-
age of the ordinance of secession by Virginia, there were many
citizens of Washington, especially among the young and adven-
turous, who decided to give their services to her support. Among
these Mr. Daniel was numbered. He enlisted in April, 1861, in
the Richmond Grays, one of the earlier organizations of Confed-
erate military, whence he was transferred in the following Sep-
tember, to the Forty-seventh Virginia infantry. With this com-
mand he served, with the rank of orderly sergeant of his company,
until the spring of 1862, when a severe attack of illness confined
him for the following five or six months and incapacitated him
for duty in the field. In the winter of 1863-64 he entered the naval
service as secretary to Commodore Forrest and subsequently held
the same position with Commodore J. K. Mitchell and Admiral
Semmes. While serving in this capacity he took part in several
actions and in the attack of the James river squadron. After the



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 87 of 153)