THE SECOND WEST VIRGINIA INFANTRY By John Bowman
The Second West Virginia Infantry was the first regiment in the state of Virginia / West Virginia that enlisted recruits for three years of service, and the first one mustered in under Governor Pierpont, Governor of the ‘Restored’ State of Virginia. Companies “A, D, F and G” were recruited from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Company “I” from Greenfield and California in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Company “B” was recruited from Grafton, Virginia, Company “C” was organized with recruits from Wheeling, Company “E” was recruited from Monroe and Belmont Counties in Ohio, and Wetzel, Taylor and Ritchie Counties in Virginia. Company “H” was recruited from Ironton, Ohio and Company “K” was organized at Parkersburg, Va.
The Second West Virginia Infantry in April of 1863 became the Second West Virginia Mounted Infantry. January 26, 1864, the Second West Virginia Mounted Infantry’s designation was changed to the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry. December 14, 1864, the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry was transferred and consolidated with the Sixth West Virginia Cavalry. An Army is made up of (3) Mounted Infantry 3,600 men. A Calvary is made up of (12) Companies 1,200 men.
All the Companies of the Second West Virginia Infantry were mustered in at “Camp Carlile” later known as “Camp Willey”, Wheeling Island, Wheeling, Virginia. In June of 1861, the Second West Virginia Infantry was the first to use Camp Carlile. “See Photo”
Company “A” was organized at Pittsburgh, Pa. in April 1861. The Company, not accepted by Pennsylvania, (not enough recruits) moved to Wheeling, Va., May 9, 1861, and was mustered in May 21, 1861. Company “A” moved with the First West Virginia Infantry May 25 along the line of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and saw guard duty at Glover’s Gap until May 28. Company “A” saw action with Capt. Roberts’ Command May 27, and moved to Grafton May 28. The company was detached and became the bodyguard to Gen. Geo. B. McClellan on his assuming command of the Army of West Virginia. Co. “A” participated in the West Virginia Campaign July 6-17 and was then assigned to the Second Virginia Infantry as Company “A.” Company “A” claims credit for killing the first armed Confederate soldier.
Company “B,” recruited from Grafton, Virginia and known as the Grafton Guards was organized May 20, 1861. It moved to Wheeling, Va., and mustered in May 25. The company moved to Mannington, Va. June 28, thence to Grafton July 1, and to Philippi July 4. Company “B” was in the Western Virginia Campaign July 6-17. At Laurel Hill July 7. At Carrick’s Ford July 13th. Company “B” moved to Beverly and assigned to the Second Virginia Infantry as a detachment Company at Belington until January 25, 1862 guarding supply trains between Webster and Beverly and scouting.
Company “C” was organized with recruits from Wheeling and mustered in June 1, 1861.
Company “D” was organized at Pittsburgh, Pa., and mustered in at Wheeling, Va., June 14, 1861. It moved to Clarksburg, Va. to guard a supply train to Rich Mountain with Cos. “C,” “D,” and “E” July 5-6, and thence a march on to Beverly.
Company “E” was recruited from Monroe and Belmont Counties, Ohio, and Wetzel, Taylor and Ritchie Counties, Virginia. Most of the members of this company were from Ohio, having been recruited by Simpson Hollister, Henry G. Jackson, H. B. James and others, in the counties of Monroe and Belmont. A portion of it was recruited by B. F. Bowers, in the counties of Wetzel and Taylor, on the Virginia side of the river, which with a squad of seven from Ritchie county, Virginia, made up the requisite number for organization, which was effected by the election of Simpson Hollister, Captain, Henry G. Jackson, First Lieutenant, and B. F. Bowers, Second Lieutenant. Enlisting in Co “E” along with Morgan Rush and Dewitt Danford, was Morgan’s boyhood friend and distant cousin Cornelius Pittman and another close cousin Samuel Pugh.
Co. “E” was mustered in at the newly opened Camp Carlile Wheeling, Virginia, the 16th day of June 1861. Company “E” moved to Clarksburg, Va. to guard the supply train to Rich Mountain July 5-6, thence a march to Beverly, Va. in the latter part of July, where all the companies met together and were organized as the Second Regiment of Virginia Infantry.
Company “F” was organized at Pittsburgh, Pa., and mustered in at Wheeling, Va., June 24, 1861.
Company “G” was organized at Pittsburgh, Pa., and mustered in at Wheeling, Va., June 13, 1861. Companies “F” and “G” left Wheeling July 5, and immediately joined the Regiment at Beverly. Company “G” was detached from the infantry for artillery service in April 1862.
Company “H” was recruited from Ironton, Ohio, and mustered in at Wheeling, Va., June 28, 1861.
Company “I” was organized in Washington County, Pa. It moved to Wheeling, Va., July 9-10, and was mustered in July 10. Company “I” moved to Grafton, then Webster and to Beverly, Va. July 22-27.
Company “K” was organized at Parkersburg, Va., and mustered in July 21, 1861.
In July 1864, the regiment was reorganized at Cumberland, Md. Those re-enlisting were formed into five companies and two new companies were added. The regiment was remounted at North Bridge, August 22, and ordered to report at New Creek where it was consolidated with the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry and was thereafter known as the Sixth West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Calvary, commanded by Colonel George R. Latham. April 20, 1865, the unit was ordered to duty at Washington, D.C., and May 28th, it marched in the Grand Review.
THE SECOND WEST VIRGINIA INFANTRY By John Bowman