How The War Effected People

We all know that any time there is a war all who are in the country that is fighting that war will in some way be affected.  Even those who don’t necessarily want to take part in the war are effected.  The story of David Creigh is an excellent example of the way that even those citizens who didn’t want to be effected or have any part in the war were changed by it.

  David Creigh and his family lived in Lewisburg West Virginia.  David had three sons out of his eleven children in the Confederate Army.  Creigh was a successful merchant and slaveholder before the war.  He lived in a previously uninvaded part of  West Virginia.  Besides his sons he wanted to just be left alone by the war. 

 In 1863 that all changed.  The Union Army entered into Lewisburg earlierin the year and along with them they brought those soldiers who are lawless and generally of no account. 

On November 9, 1863 David Creigh was visiting his friend John Dunn when a straggler from the Union Cavalry entered Dunn’s home  and asked where he kept his horses.   When Creigh saw this he left to go to his home fearing for the safety of his family.  When he got home he heard shouting in the upper level of his home and ran quickly to the home of a friend and procured a pistol.  This would cause a problem for David later.

When David returned to his home he went upstairs and saw that the soldier was going through the family trunks.  The soldier was attempting to open a trunk and couldn’t get it open.  So he turned to Creigh and asked him if he had the key. Creigh said that it was his children’s teacher’s trunk and that he didn’t have the key.  Then, Creigh’s daughter who was sick got out of bed and said that there was more trunks in the back of the house.  The soldier went and began digging through the trunks, but then he found a set of cards, and asked Elizabeth (the child who was sick) what they were and she said merit cards from their school the soldier yelled back that they were not. 

David got nervous and pulled out the pistol he had hidden in his coat.  When he pulled it out it accidentally misfired and the bullet fired into the wall harmlessly behind the soldier.  The soldiers reaction was obviously to reach for Creigh and they began to wrestle.  Since Creigh’s pistol was now out of ammunition he used it as a club and hit the soldier on the head.  The soldier fell but got back up.  Once he was up the soldier got up he put David in a head lock and pulled out his own pistol and raised to hit Creigh on the head but Elizabethjumpedto her father’s aid and pulled the soldier’s arm down so that the gun was aimed at both men, and the gun went off.

Next, the soldier shoved David and his wife to the head of the stairs, then all three of them fell down the stairs.  When they reached the bottom of the stairs the pistol fell from the soldier’s hand.  David and the soldier continued to wrestle, while they were wrestling David saw that the soldier was bleeding he assumed that he had been shot when the soldier’s pistol went off.  Then, David’s wife and another women who was there helping to care for the Creigh’s sick child quickly went and picked up the pistol that the soldier had dropped, but when they picked it up it fired and hit the soldier.

David them carried the soldier whom he assumed to be dead and dropped him ten feet from the portico, but when he saw the fingers of the soldier twitch he took an axe and smashed the skull of the soldier.

Creigh didn’t know what to do next, he feared that a Union patrol would show up at any minute, he knew that he would not get a fair trial for his actions.  So with the help of an Irish farm hand and his two of his sons Creigh loaded the body into a wagon and covered it with hay.  They drove to a well on the edge of Creigh’s property and dropped the body in.  After this they hurried home hoping not to be caught.

It was now the spring of 1864 and know one had found out about what had happened that horrible night and know one missed that soldier either.  But on May 15ththat all changed. A slave entered the camp of the 1st West Virginia and said that he had found a body in a nearby well.  The commander sent Captain Howe to go with the slave and check it out.  What he found in the well was the body of an unknown Union Cavalry soldier that was to decomposed to be pulled out.  The body was never removed and Captain Howe returned to his camp to report on his findings.  Since the body was found on Creigh’s property he was taken into custody and tried before a military tribune four miles from Lewisburg on Bunger Hill.

The trial actually began on June 2, he was tried in front of 5 generals chosen to be the judges.  Creigh was charged with murder and the specification was that  he murdered an unknown Union soldier with an axe or other weapon. He pleaded not guilty to the charge but pleaded guilty to the specification.

The prosecution called two witnesses to the stand Captain Ricker who had spoken to about what happened Creigh after he was taken into custody, and Captain Howe the man who had gone and looked at the body in the well. The Defense also called a witness, John Dunn the man to whom Creigh had told everything that happened on November 9.  Creigh was finally allowed to give his own side of the story, he told the honest truth and hoped that the court would see that he was defending his home and family, after he gave his testimony the court didn’t ask him a single question or cross examine him .  They the court adjourned so that they could deliberate and come up wi  verdict.  They quickly reached their verdict.  David Creigh was found guilty of both the charge and specification.  He was sentenced to be hung with a sign around his neck that said he was a murderer of a Union soldier and that his home would be burned to the ground.  Before his sentence could go through it had to be approved by General Hunter.  General Hunter was an extremely strong abolitionist and he hated the South of those who were in opposition to the Federal authority.


General David Hunter


The Union Army had left Lewisburg and Creigh’s execution was scheduled for June 9th.  The Union column was marching to take Creigh to his execution they halted in front of the home of Reverend James Morrison near Brownsville Virginia. General Averall whowas in charge of the execution ,despite the recommendation of General Hunt, ordered that Creigh’s home not be burned.  Creigh was given the night to write to his wife and to come to peace with himself.

David Creigh was hanged the next morning.  No one on Averall’s staff wanted to carry out the task of actually hanging Creigh.  The men on Averall’s staff had not only come to respect him but they said that they had not signed up to be executioners. So they made a 19 year old private carry out Creigh’s hanging.  There was a Union Chaplin present at the execution  along with 300 soldiers and he said that “among the 300 men there was not one dry eye”.

Despite General Hunter’s order that the body be left alone as an example the soldiers quickly took the body down and wrapped it in a blanket.  Six days later Creigh’s son Cyrus came and retrievedhis fathers body.  He reburied his father in a nearby church yard until a month later when Cyrus moved it to where it now rests in Greenbriar county next to the remains of David’s wife Emily.

This story illustrates my point better then any I have ever read.  It shows how we are changed by war even though we don’t know it.  How would David Creigh have reacted if someone had broken into his house in peace time?  War strips away all humanity from everyone involved.  God save the soul of David Creigh.


David Creigh’s grave stone

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm  Comments Off on How The War Effected People  

The A B C’s of The Civil War


A is for Abatis.     


Abatis is a fortifacation used to block the advance of enemy troops.

B is for Bombshelter4923-004-DB50021A

These bombshelters were used by the women in Vicksburg.

C is for Caisson


This is a Caisson and Limber in it the ammunition for a cannon would be carried.

the next few letters will come soon

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm  Comments Off on The A B C’s of The Civil War  

Jeb Stuart

JEB_StuartJames Ewell Brown was born on February 6 1833, to Laura and Archibald Stuart at Laurel Hill Farm the family plantation.  James was the fifth of eleven children he was the youngest son and the oldest son to survive childhood.

James received an appointment to West Point in 1850.  He was a very popular student at the United States Military Academy at West point.  He was nicknamed “beauty” by his classmates who sarcastically called him this because he was very homely looking during his time at West Point.  After graduation he grew a beard and it was said about him that was “The only man made better by a beard.”  In 1852 Robert E Lee became the superintendent of West Point, he soon became close friends of the Lee family. Stuart graduated 13th in his class.

After graduation he was given the rank of Brevet Second Lieutenant in the US Cavalry where he served during the Indian Wars and during the bleeding Kansas debacle.

Stuart was the man assigned to carry the orders to Colonel Lee telling him that he was to capture John Brown.  JEB Stuart as he had come to be known by his friends volunteered to be an  aid-de- camp and distinguished himself by offering Brown his ultimatum.

After his home state of Virginia seceded JEB resigned his commision in the US Army to serve his new country the Confederacy in the Cavalry.  He served in the cavalry as a Lieutenent Colonel. He was promoted to Brigadier General on September 24 1861.  JEB was in almost all the major campaigns and battles that the Army of Northern Virginia was in from the Peninsula to the Wilderness.

He was appointed commander of the Cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia on August 17, 1862.   He held this position until he was wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.  He was moved to Richmond after he was wounded and he stayed there till his wife and children arrived. Soon after their arrival he died on May 12 1864 at 7:38 P.M, one day after his wounding which was a pistol shot in the stomach.   Charles Veneble an aide to General Lee said that Stuart told him ” He never expected to live through the war and if they were conqured he didn’t want to live”

The 31 year old General JEB Stuart was buried in Hollywood Cemetary in Richmond Virginia.  He left  a great legacy he has two high schools named after him and a statue built for him in Richmond along with the other statues other famous Confederate Generals.  There is also a tank named after him the M3 Stuart tank.  He also has a memorial placed over the graves of himself and his wife Flora.  JEB Stuart was one of the most famous Cavalrymen in the Civil War and one of the most beloved Confederate Generals.

the Monument over JEB’s grave

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Comments Off on Jeb Stuart  

On This Day In History

Did You Know…?

On August 19, 1864, General Grant wrote to Secratary of  War William Seward asking him to stop the exchange of Prisoners of War.  A request which Secratary Seward granted thus ending the prisoner exchange.images

William H. Seward

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm  Comments Off on On This Day In History  

On This Day In History

Did You Know…?

On August 17 1863, James Ewell Brown Stuart (a.k.a JEB Stuart) takes command of the Army of Northern Virginia’s Cavalry a position he would hold until his death at Yellow Tavern VA in 1864.

Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Comments Off on On This Day In History  

On This Day In History

Did You Know…?

On August 15 1864, the Union Navy captured the Confederate ironclad cruiser Georgia ,built in England, off of the coast of Portugal at the city of Lisbon, after the capture it was sold to a British shipowner who disarmed it.

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm  Comments Off on On This Day In History  

On This Day In History

Did You Know…?

On August 14 1861,  Major General John Charles Fremont (USA) “the Great Pathfinder”  declares martial law in St. Louis the city and county.

John Charles Fremont

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 9:03 pm  Comments (1)  

On This Day In History

Did You Know…?

On August 13, 1831, Nat Turner had the last vision in the series of visions he had before he started the insurrection eight days later that killed 55 whites and approximately 100 blacks.

Nat Turner

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 11:19 pm  Comments Off on On This Day In History  

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin known as the “Hero of Gettysburg” was born in Brewer Maine on September 8, 1828 to Joshua and Sarah Dupee Chamberlin.  Joshua was the oldest of 5 children.

  Joshua entered Bowdoin College in 1848.  He taught himself to read Greek in order to pass the entrance exam.  While a student at Bowdoin he met people who would influence him greatly such as the wife of a professor   Harriet Beecher Stowe. 

Joshua married Fanny Adams the daughter ( adopted) of a local Clergymen in1855 . His new father-in-law  along with his mother urged Joshua to enter the into training to become a pastor.  Which he did in 1855 and 3 years following.  Joshua was not suited to be a man of the cloth. He didn’t enjoy it so he left Bangor Theological Seminary were he was attending.

When the Civil War began he felt that he ought to fight but the administration at Bowdoin College were he was a professor of Rhetoric thought otherwise.  They offered him a sabbatical to study languages in Europe but Joshua turned them down and offered his services to the Governor of Maine who then offered him the colonelcy of the 20th Maine but he turned it down to “start a little lower and learn the business first.”  So he took the rank of Lieutenant Colonel under Adelbert Ames in the 20th Maine.

The  Joahu and the 20th Maine were at many important battles such as Antietam.  Chamberlin’s regiment did not enter into the battle of Antietam though they were placed in reserve. 

They were also in the Battle of Fredricksburg in which they took part in the famed attack on the wall at Marye’s Heights. The 20th Maine was forced to spend two nights on the battlefield after the battle. On the first night while they were burying their dead a very rare thing occurred,  the Aurora Borealis happened.

One of the most famous battles in which Colonel Chamberlin was in is Gettysburg.  This is the battle in which Chamberlin and the 20th Maine made a name for themselves on a little known hill in a previously little known town of Gettysburg. 

Chamberlin and his men were positioned on the very end of the Union line they were the extreme end on Little Round Top in Gettysburg.  If they had retreated then the whole Union line would have been swept by the Confederates.  He stayed and made a very unlikely maneuver when he ordered his men to charge down the hill because they were running low on ammunition.  This move saved the Union Army because the Confederate troops who were charging and had been charging almost broke through the line. 

Chamberlin was also in many other battles including Petersburg where Chamberlin was wounded he was shot through the pelvis.  Chamberlin also was at Appomatox when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.  Joshua received the swords of the Confederate officers and he received the guns of the Confederate soldiers (not all at one time of course).

After the war Chamberlin became the Governor of Maine from 1866 until 1869 after his time as Governor he became a professor again at Bowdoin College were he taught until 1883.  In 1893 30 years after the battle of Little Round Top Joshua was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at that battle.  At the age of 70 in 1889 he volunteered to be an officer in the army during the Spanish-American war but was turned down this was one of the worst disappointments of his life.  Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin died in 1914 due to the wounds he received at the Battle of Petersburg.  Thus ends the life of the hero of Gettysburg.

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 7:43 pm  Comments Off on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain  

God In History

Who really established America?  Who gave us the freedom that we treasure today?  Who is the one really in charge of our nation’s history,present, and future? God did all of these things and is in charge of all of these things.  God has made his presence known throughout history in many different and miraculous ways including in the Civil War.

Did you know that your freedom and mine both came from the God who divinely established America way back  when the Pilgrims landed at Plymoth Rock in the 1600’s.  It is the same God that General George Washington prayed to at Valley Forge in that ever famous Painting of Washington on his knees in the snow. 

God made his presence known widely throughout the Civil War.  He did this at Fredricksburg through the Northern lights.  The Northern lights almost never happen in that part of Virginia because it is to far North.  After the battle the Aurora Borealis showed up and the wounded on the field and those trapped on the field were treated to a magnificent show. Also those in the town recieved a good show.  The men who saw it knew that it was God trying to tell them something.  God was trying to tell them that no matter what happened God would choose who the victor of the war would ultimately be.  God used the Aurora Borealis to show that he was and is the God of battles and wars.

During the Civil War God used another thing called an accoustic shadow to show his greatness.  An Accoustic shadow is created when there is a very loud noise such a cannon firing, and when it fires and someone is only a mile froom it they won’t be able to hear a thing but a spectator 5 miles away will hear the boom like he was very close that is an accoustic shadow.  I think God used that to show his power and presence during the Civil War.

To those of you who don’t belive God had any part or place in our history as Americans just go back and read some of the accounts of what happend and you will see God in our History.

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm  Comments Off on God In History