Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Virginia Units Serving in the Valley

History of Virginia Volunteer Forces

On April 17, 1861, the day on which the ordinance of secession was passed, the Convention of Virginia passed an ordinance authorizing the Governor to call into the service of the State as many volunteers that might be necessary to "repel invasion and protect the citizens of the state in the present emergency." The ordinance provided that the volunteers were to be received in companies, to be organized into regiments, brigades and divisions. It also contained authorization for the appointment of the general, field, and staff officers for the volunteers. The ordinance authorizing the call for volunteers was kept secret until April 20. This was done in order to allow time for the volunteer companies which had been alerted beforehand, to seize the Federal installations at Harper's Ferry and the Gosport Navy Yard at Portsmouth.

In addition to the volunteer companies that had been called upon to seize Harper's Ferry and the installations at Norfolk many companies had since assembled at these points, apparently without proper orders. On the very day of the Governor's call of April 21, Maj. Gen. Kenton Harper, in command at Harper's Ferry, informed the Adjutant General that the force there numbered about 2,000 and that 500 more were expected the next day.

Meanwhile, on April 19, the Convention passed an ordinance providing for the appointment of a "commander of the military and naval forces of Virginia" with the rank of major general. On April 23, 1861, the office was formally accepted by Robert E. Lee, whose choice by Governor Letcher had been unanimously approved by the Convention. Lee was commissioned as a major general in the volunteers and in the Provisional Army of Virginia. Both commissions were dated April 24, 1861.

Under an ordinance adopted by the Convention on April 21, the adjutant general's, quartermaster's, subsistence, medical, and pay departments, and an engineer's corps, were set up.

On April 25 the following staff officers to head the departments were appointed and commissioned: Col. Robert S. Garnett, Adjutant General; Maj. George C. Hutter, Paymaster;. Col. Charles B. Gibson, Surgeon General; and Maj. Eugene E. McLean, Quartermaster. Other staff members appointed at various dates were: Maj. James R. Crenshaw, Subsistence Department, and Col. Andrew Talcott, State Engineer.

In late April steps were taken to strengthen Norfolk and Harper's Ferry and instructions for mustering troops were sent to the officers commanding at Wheeling, Weston, and in the Kanawha valley.On May 1 Lee directed Col. Thomas J. Jackson, commanding at Harper's Ferry, to call out volunteer companies from the counties of Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire, Hardy, Frederick and Clarke. Jackson was instructed to select, as far as possible, uniformed and armed companies and to organize them into regiments.

A general mobilization of volunteers had boon postponed because of the limited supply of arms and equipment and the time needed to sake the necessary preparations for the maintenance of a large army. By the first of May, however, it was felt that further delay in mobilizing the volunteers would be dangerous as the prospect of an invasion of the State appeared imminent.

On May 3, 1861, Governor Letcher authorized General Lee "to call out and be mustered into the service of Virginia, from time to time as the public exigencies may require, such additional number of volunteers as he may deem necessary.

The State Convention in April, 1861, formed an agreement with the Confederate States to place troops of the State under the control of the President of the Confederate States. On June 6, 1861, Governor Letcher, by proclamation, transferred to the Confederate States, by regiments, all the volunteer forces which had been mustered into the service of Virginia. The proclamation further provided for a like transfer of all "regiments, battalions, squadrons and companies, of all volunteers or militia, ' as the same shall be formed, and their services may be required." General Order No. 25, Headquarters Virginia Forces, dated June 8, 1861, announced that in compliance with the Governor's proclamation the command of the military and naval forces of Virginia were transferred to the Confederate States. The departments of the staff were directed to continue their functions under the control of the President of the Confederate States. The Virginia organizations, however; were not actually accepted into Confederate States service until July 1, 1861, the first day of a new quarterly administrative and pay period.

The term of service' for the Virginia volunteers called into service under the ordinance of April 17 was 12 months from the date on which they were mustered into State service. In fact, the Provisional Army of the Confederate States consisted largely of men enlisted for one year and as their terms were about to expire in the spring of 1862 it was feared that many would not re-enlist. Such a calamity was foreseen before the end of 1861. The Confederate Congress, in hopes of saving the army from disintegration, passed a furlough and bounty act on December 11, 1861. This act allowed one-year men a bounty of $50 and a 60-day furlough if they would re-enlist for two more years. Furthermore, it permitted the re-enlisted companies, battalions, and regiments to reorganize themselves and elect new officers. By this provision, efficient but unpopular officers might well be replaced by popular but worthless, officers. There were many, including Lee who viewed this as a destructive law for it permitted the army to disintegrate for two months. An act passed on January 23, 1862, authorized the President, at his discretion, to call on the states for any number of troops-for three years' service, and an act of January 27, 1862, authorized recruiting three years' volunteers for one-year companies then in service. On January 29, 1862, an act was passed which mentioned drafts by the states to fill the President's requisition for three-year men. Under these acts troops enlisted for less than three years were refused by the Confederate States except those raised for local defense service.

On April 16, 1862, Congress passed a law providing for the conscription of troops. It placed all between 18 and 35 years of age, not legally exempted, in service and also provided that all soldiers within that age group who were already in service should continue to serve for three years more. Congress amended the act on September 27, 1862, increasing the age limit from 35 to 45. The age limits for conscription were again changed on February 17, 1864, when they were established to extend from 17 to 50 years of age. However, those under 18 and over 45 were placed in a reserve for State defense. The law also extended the time of all soldiers in service to the end of the war.

Infantry Regiments

2d Virginia Infantry
5th Virginina Infantry
10th Virginia Infantry
Stories from the 13th Virginia Infantry
23rd Virginia Infantry
25th Virginia Infantry
25th Virginia Infantry
27th Virginia Infantry
27th VA Volunteer Infantry
31st Virginia Infantry
33d Virginia Infantry
36th Virginia Infantry
42d Virginina Infantry
48th Virginia Infantry
50th Virginia Infantry
51st Virginia Infantry
55th Virginia Infantry
58th Virginia Infantry
62d Virginia Mounted Infantry
62d Virginia Mounted Infantry Reg
32 Virginia Infantry
Buy the Book About Your Favorite Unit

Cavlary Units

First Virginia Cavalry Regiment
6th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
7th Virginia Cavalry Battalion, Virginia State Line
7th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
8th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
Co. C, 9th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
10th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
11th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
16th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
17th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
18th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
21st Virginia Cavalry Regiment
22nd Virginia Cavalry Regiment
25th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
35th Virginia Cavalry Battalion,White's Command
Buy the Book About Your Favorite Unit

Partisans and Rangers

Virginia Partisan Rangers and the State Line

Artillery Units

Albemarle Evertt Artillery
Alleghany Artillery
Amherst Artillery
Ashby's Battery, Chew's Battery
Botetourt Artillery
Charlottesville Artillery
Dixie Artillery
Jackson's Kanawha Artillery
McClanahan's Horse Artillery Battery
Shoemaker's Beauregard Rifles from Lynchburg
Lurty's Roanoke Horse Artillery Battery
Johnson's Bedford Artillery
Purcell Artillery
Newtown Artillery
1st and 2d Stuart Horse Artillery Batteries
Buy the Book About Your Favorite Unit