Sunday, March 11, 2007

Two Confederate Soldiers

Confederate Veteran Christian Kuhl of Gilmer County mentioned two Orlando boys in his Civil War Memoirs, in the March '07 entry A Bountiful Repast At Old Col. Yancey's, Jacob Plyman and Col. Yancey's future son-in-law James McPherson.

Jacob Plyman and James McPherson were two young Confederate soldiers who grew up in the in the pioneer days of Oil Creek/Clover Fork. James was from Oil Creek near its confluence with the Little Kanawha while Joel grew up far upstream, probably on the Little Kanawha rather than the Clover Fork side of the hill. Although they were not part of the same community There's no reason to think they were particular friends although they probably knew each other.

From we find that both young men enlisted at the very beginning of the war, both were ill, but there's no indication of their having been wounded. Both were captured and sent first to the Wheeling jail. James McPherson was sent to Ohio from there and Jacob Plyman was sent to a prision in Maryland. Both spent their last days of service as POWs and both came home.

The sketches here are by an artist of the era, Alsatian immigrant Joseph H. Diss Debar. Upper left is titled "Confederate Prisoners," center right is "Wheeling Jail" and lower left is "West Virginia Home Guard." (While there is no indication of Home Guard activity, or lack of activity, in the Oil Creek basin, The home guard sketch captures the image of informal and local quality of the war in central West Virginia.)

Below is the material we found at regarding the two boys.

Name: James N. McPherson
Residence: Braxton County, West Virginia
Occupation: Laborer
Enlistment Date: 24 June 1861
Side Served: Confederacy
State Served: Virginia
Service Record:
. . Enlisted in Company B, 9th Battn Infantry Regiment Virginia as a private 24 June 1861 at the age of 24.
. . On rolls on 24 June 1861
. . On rolls on 01 Jul 1861
. . Promoted to Full Corporal 3rd Class on 15 Nov 1861
. . Sick leave 30 April 1862
. . Transferred into Company G, 25th Infantry Regiment Virginia on 1 May 1862
. . Transferred on 1 May 1862
. . Returned in on 31 August 1862 (estimated day)
. . Promtoted to Full Private on 1 Sept 1862 (Reduced to ranks, estimated day)
. . On rolls on 28 Feb 1863
. . Hospitalized on 10 April 1863 at Lynchburg, VA (sick)
. . POW on 29 September 1863 at Braxton County, WV
. . Confined on 06 October 1863 at Atheneum Prison, Wheeling, WV.
. . Confined on 23 October 1863 at Camp Chase, OH
. . Confined on 24 January 1864 at Rock Island, IL
. . Transferred on 15 February 1865 (to be exchanged)
height 5'7"
eye color grey
hair color black
complexion dark

Tall, dark haired Jacob Plyman was a double nephew of "Big" John William Riffle, who was a sniper who was killed by the Union.2 Jacob's father George was the brother of John Riffle's wife, Polly Plyman while his mother Esther was John William's sister.

Jacob's parents, George and Esther, were married by Abner Mitchell, the father of John Elam Mitchell who was an organizer of the Gilmer Rifles Christian Kuhl's memoirs tells us that Jacob was recruited into the Gilmer Rifles, which would become Co. G of the 25th Virginia Infantry, shortly after they were formed.2

Residence: Braxton County, West Virginia
Occupation: Farmer
Side Served: Confederacy
State Served: Virginia
Service Record:
. . Enlisted as Private at age of 23
. . Enlisted in Company G, 25th Infantry Regiment Virginia
. . Absent, sick on 15 Aug 1861
. . Issued pay on 1 Sept 1862
. . Detailed on 20 Sept 1862 at Winchester, VA hospital (detailed as cook)
. . Issued clothing on 15 Jan 1863
. . Issued clothing on 15 Feb 1863
. . POW on 13 March 1864 at Braxton County, WV (captured while recuperating)
. . Confined 19 March 1864 at Clarksburg, WV Jail (jailed with 25 US soldiers, 2 civilians)
. . Supposed spy on 21 May 1864
. . Transferred on 21 May 1864 at Cumberland, MD
. . Absent on 31 August 1864 (no further record.)
eyes: gray
hair: black
complexion: dark
height: 6' 1"

It was the 1890s before people thought the community at the confluence of Oil Creek and Clover Fork should have a name. It was named Confluence.
2. March '07 entry A Bountiful Repast At Old Col. Yancey's

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