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McNeill's Last Charge

provided by Old Valley Pike Country Store

On October 3rd, 1864 Hanse McNeill and a group of his Rangers launched another of their famous surprise attacks on a Union encampment, this time at Meem's Bottom just south of Mt. Jackson. In a matter of fifteen minutes the raiders had created such havoc that the Union force surrendered. When the fighting ended it suddenly occurred to the partisans that their leader was missing. He was found lying on the ground having suffered serious wounds.

Meem's Bottom, the area where McNeill was mortally wounded

They gathered him up and tried to hold him on a horse as they moved out but it became evident that McNeill would not survive the trip.

They were able to move about a mile to the home of a Methodist minister, Addison Weller and his wife, Elizabeth. The Wellers provided as much care as they could. In order to conceal his identity they shaved off his beard. At the same time wounded from the Union encampment were also brought to the Weller home. The Weller home is the same building often referred to as the Rude residence after a former owner.

Roadside sign near where Hanse McNeill was mortally wounded

Rumors of McNeill's wounding had reached the Federals and they questioned the wounded man to determine his identity. Jesse McNeill had returned to Moorefield and informed his mother of Hanse wounding. Mrs. McNeill traveled to Mount Jackson to care for her husband.

Again the Federals came to the Weller home with a captured ranger to identify McNeill, but he claimed not to recognize him.

Rude House where Captain McNeill was taken after the wounding

Later General Sheridan heard that the Wellers were caring for a wounded Confederate officer. He rode to the house and talked to McNeill and asked him, "Are you not McNeill himself?" and Hanse answered, "I am."

A Union surgeon stepped forward and told McNeill that he had once been his prisoner and that he would do what he could to ease his pain. He returned the next morning with some provisions and medicine and a bottle of fine liquor. It was agreed that McNeill would not survive any attempt to move him so he was left at the Weller home. While he was there General Early was able to pay him a call. The next day a Confederate ambulance arrived at the door to transport him to Rockingham County and he was taken to Hills Hotel in Harrisonburg. He remained there with his wife and daughter until he died on November 10th. Two of his sons including Jesse were present when he died. He was buried in the Harrisonburg Cemetery with full military and Masonic honors but was later removed to a cemetery at Moorefield.

Who killed Hanse Mc Neill?

Who fired the shots that killed Captain Hanse McNeill? No one knows. Some writers claim that he was wounded by his own men but no one seems to know for sure. No one stepped forward to either claim the honor or accept the blame.

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