It seems that Col. J.C. Rathbone of the 11th Va.
Infantry was struggling in his position. It is apparent that Rathbone
was a millionaire. Some of my research suggested that Rathbone’s home at
Burning Springs was probably more of a concern for him than anything
else. He most likely purchased the weapons, paid the salaries, and
mustered the entire group to be his own personal militia, but the
patience of his commanders had to be running thin.
Despite the lucrative standings of Rathbone, he had two
strikes against him. First, there was the incorrect report of the Union
defeat at Camp McDonald. This report had to be corrected with superiors
in Washington by Gen. B.F. Kelley. Secondly, Rathbone had agreed to an
illegal truce with the enemy.
History says that when Kelley received the news of the
truce on May 19, 1862, he exploded with anger. Luckily for Rathbone,
Kelley was too far away to do anything but spew words of disgust. Kelley
immediately dispatched a message that said to dissolve the truce at once
and to proceed under the orders to disperse, kill, or capture the Ranger
The truce was revoked and hostilities resumed. This led
to a few skirmishes throughout the area. Peregrine Hays and George
Silcott were captured and sent to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio. Captain
George Downs was also captured on July 2 in a fight at Big Bend. He was
sent to join his comrades at Camp Chase.
Downs would later return to Calhoun and reorganize the
old Moccasin Rangers into the regular Confederate Army as Co. A, 19th
Virginia Cavalry. He would also be promoted to major and serve until the
end of the war with his regiment.
As for Rathbone, fate would not be so kind. How he
retained his command after the truce with the Moccasin Rangers was a
question not answered. If I had to guess, I would say it had to do with
money. Yet, Rathbone would have his third strike on Sept. 2. After
surrendering Spencer without offering a defense, Rathbone was permitted
to resign his commission. Thus, he returned to the life of a civilian