The following letter was
sent to Calhoun Historical Society by the State Archives for
transcription. Original spelling and punctuation was retained--some
words were unintelligible.
Spencer Roan County, West Va
Sept 7 1864
Agetent, Generel, Sir
I have to apologise for not reporting in July Times
have been and are still quite squally here at one time they threatened
so strong that I dispatched to Charleston for help and got one hundred
of the 7 West Va Cavelry they swept through the country took some
prisoners and wounded some and got 3 of there own men wounded two of
there wounded are here with us
Rebel Capt Knotts came in here to recruit a
battalion of cavalry for the Rebel service he had gotten several
recruits and stealing a good many horses, his men was secreted by there
sesesh friends untill they could get a -------- of sufficient size and
there they take back through the mountains.
His force was to much for me to go in his midst so
I scattered my men in small squads and watched there paths one squad had
the luck to catch the Capt Knotts himself and I sent him through to the
forces at Charleston.
They are now in Camp at Camp Garvis about 25 miles,
where 2 Com of the 9th West, Va, was camped last winter
---------- at this time some 60 or 70 besides there scouts which
they have out stealing horses I think they have in all about one hundred
and 35 or 30 as some go out others come in.
As a geneal thing they travel through the woods in
squads gather up the horses of a neighborhood and ------- back to
camp when a sufficient number is collected they send them back
through the mountains.
Last Sunday the 4 of Sept a squad of my men came up
with four garillas mounted on four stolen horses my men fired on them
nocked one off and wounded 2 more they got one of there horses which
they had stolen from a poor widow woman which I gave up to the woman.
No Union property is safe here they shoot without
halting they have robed a good many houses and plundered in abundance
take anything they want to subsist on it is reported here to day that
they are gathering up cattle to drive back I am doing all that I can to
hold them in check but times look quite squally we may come out better
than we expect at present there has been a good many came in here and
took the oath I am filling up my company as fast as I can yours with
Hiram Chapman, Capt
[Notes: Hiram Chapman (1813-1885) was from
Roane County and is buried in the Spencer Memorial Cemetery.
He enlisted in the 9th W.Va. Infantry on Sept.
31, 1861, and was assigned to Co. B, then Co. K. He was commander in the
Home Guard unit “Chapman’s Scouts,” organized by Dr. Hiram Chapman.
Absolom Knotts (1830-1900) was Captain of Co.
E, 14th Virginia Cavalry, CSA, which he organized Sept. 26, 1862, at his
home at the mouth of Sears Run, Minnora. Following his capture, he was
held prisoner for the remainder of the war.
“Squally” means stormy, threatening trouble.]