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 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 respect

           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.]

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