10th West Virginia Infantry

HISTORY

This regiment was recruited by T. M. Harris, who was a practicing physician at Glenville, Gilmer County, W. Va., at the breaking out of the war. At the solicitation of General Rosecrans, Dr. Harris visited governor Peirpoint at Wheeling in the latter part of July, 1861, and obtained his consent to recruit a regiment for the Union service with the understanding that in the event of his success in recruiting a regiment he should receive a commission as its colonel. He entered upon his work on the third day of August, 1861, and completed the organization of the 10th Regiment and received a colonel’s commission to command the same, about the 3d of May, 1862.

The doctor had an extensive acquaintance with the country and the people and traveled over about 12 counties of the State, some of them several times, during the fall of 1861 and the winter of 1861-62, gathering recruits from the loyal purpose of hunting out suitable men for his line officers. In this work he used great discrimination and made very few mistakes. The result was that his regiment, when organized, was under command of brave, intelligent and intensely loyal men. In this way its future good record was assured.

The doctor found his task a tedious and difficult one. He found plenty of loyal people, but at that early period of the war they were laboring under the delusion that the war would be a short one and there would be enough of troops raised in the States North and West to put down the rebellion without their aid. He succeeded in getting four or five companies organized during the fall months of 1861, and these were put into service by the generals in command, at the request of the Governor, at points along the border line between the loyal and disloyal portions of the State, for the protection of the loyal people against guerilla raids. In this service they distinguished themselves as constituting a vigilant, intelligent and brave line of outposts. The service of this regiment after its organization in May, 1862, until June, 1864 was mostly in West Virginia. Having been recruited from the hardy mountaineers of the State, it was so particularly well adapted to the purpose of protecting the loyal interests against the enemy that the Governor was loth to give it up to any other service. It had the confidence of the loyal people who felt safe under its protection. In June, 1864, it was ordered to Martinsburg, and became incorporated into the organizations that were then being formed for operations against the enemy’s threatened advance down the Shenandoah Valley and was finally incorporated in the command known in army orders as the “Army of West Virginia,” under General Crook.

At the close of the Valley campaign in December, 1864, it was sent, under the command of its former colonel, now commanding a division, to City Point, where it became incorporated with the 24th Army Corps and it served in this corps during the remainder of its term of service. This regiment was noted for its prowess, courage, intrepidity and general reliability. It participated in many hard fought engagements and always came out with a splendid record. Most of its officers distinguished themselves for soldierly qualities and many of its private men won honorable mention. It was perhaps not excelled by any regiment in the service from this or any other State.

Lieut.-Col. M. S. Hall, 10th West Virginia Infantry

From the time that Colonel Harris was assigned to the command of a brigade, the command of the 10th Regiment devolved on its lieutenant-colonel, M. S. Hall. This officer was a native of Massachusetts who came to Virginia in 1845, being then 21 years old, and studied medicine with Dr. Harris, who had married his sister. He had been engaged in the practice of medicine for several years and was living at Harrisville, in the County of Ritchie, when the war broke out. He was among the pioneer Republicans of the State and being of an ardent temperament and very patriotic, he engaged in recruiting a company for the loyal service in may, 1861, and had it ready for muster in on the 4th of July, 1861. His first commission was that of captain and he was assigned to the command of Company K of the Third Regiment. This company had been recruited by him from the loyal men of his acquaintance, mostly from the county of Ritchie and for three years of service. He continued in command of this company until the organization of the 10th Regiment in May, 1862, when, at the solicitation of Colonel Harris, he was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 10th. In this capacity he served until the expiration of the term of its enlistment. In every capacity in which he served, whether as line or field officer he distinguished himself for a loyal, intelligent, courageous and faithful discharge of duty. In every action in which his command was engaged, he won honorable mention. He was twice wounded near Duffield’s Station; whilst engaged in resisting Early’s advance to enable General Sigel’s wagon train to cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, he was struck by a minnie ball which broke the small bone of the forearm; and at Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, he was again struck by a minnie ball which wold have passed through the liver had its course not been deflected by the yielding of a rib causing it to follow the rib in its course and emerge from the opposite side, thus being guided in its course and prevented from entering the cavity of the body. Colonel Hall will be remembered by his comrades in the service as long as they shall live for his personal as well his soldierly qualities. He was a brave, open-hearted, considerate and good officer.

[Source: Loyal West Virginia 1861-1865, by Theodore Lang]

SERVICE

Organized at Camp Pickens, Canaan, Glenville, Clarksville, Sutton, Philippi and Piedmont March 12 to May 18, 1862. Attached to Cheat Mountain District, Mountain Department, to May, 1862. Railroad District, Mountain Department, to July, 1862. Railroad District, 8th Corps, Middle Department, to September, 1862. Railroad Division, West Virginia, to January, 1863. Milroy’s Command, Winchester, Va., 8th Army Corps, to February, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 8th Army Corps, to March, 1863. Averell’s 4th Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to June, 1863. Averell’s 4th Separate Brigade, Dept. West Virginia, to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, West Virginia, to April, 1864. Kelly’s Command, Reserve Division, West Virginia, to July, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division; West Virginia, July, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, West Virginia, to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Independent Division, 24th Army Corps, Army of the James, to June, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Independent Division, 24th Army Corps, to August, 1865.

SERVICE.—At Monterey April, 1862. Assigned to railroad guard duty in Railroad District, District of West Virginia, till January, 1863; at Beverly, Bulltown, Martinsburg, etc. Expedition from Summersville to Addison April 17-21, 1862. Skirmish at Holly River, W. Va., April 17. Mung’s Flats June 25. Buckhannon August 30. Sutton September 23. Big Birch October 6. Wardensville December 22. At Winchester, Va., January, 1863. At Beverly May, 1863. Scout to Beverly June 16. Action at Beverly July 2-3. At Martinsburg August, 1863. Averell’s Raid through Hardy, Pendleton, Bath, Highland, Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties August 5-31. Rocky Gap near White Sulphur Springs August 26-27. Sutton August 26 (Cos. “G,” “I”). Bell’s Mills and on Elk River August 27 (Detachment). Bulltown, Braxton County, October 13. Averell’s Raid against Lewisburg and the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad November 1-17. Mill Point November 5. Droop Mountain November 6. Hillsboro November 10. At Beverly till May, 1864; scouting Counties of Randolph, Tucker, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Braxton, Highland, Pendleton and Webster. Cheat River December 6, 1863. Moorefield Junction January 3, 1864. Scout from Beverly through Pocahontas, Webster and Braxton Counties May 15-30. Leetown July 3. Maryland Heights, Md., July 6-7. Operations about Harper’s Ferry July 10. Snicker’s Ferry July 17-18. Kernstown, Winchester, July 23-24. Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 6 to November 28. Strasburg and Massanutton Mountain August 16. Winchester August 17. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher’s Hill September 22. Cedar Creek October 13. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Duty in Shenandoah Valley till December. Moved to Washington, D.C., December 19-20, thence to Bermuda Hundred December 20-23. Duty in the trenches north of James River till March, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Moved to front of Petersburg March 28-29. Hatcher’s Run March 30-31, and April 1. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Rice’s Station April 6. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Lynchburg April 12-15. March to Farmville and Burkesville April 15-19, thence to Richmond April 22-25. Duty near Richmond till August. Mustered out August 9, 1865.

[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]

LOSSES

Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 93 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 144 Enlisted men by disease. Total 241.

[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hornbeck, Betty; Upshur Brothers of the Blue and Gray. Parsons, WV: McClain, 1967. 259 p. E582.95U6H6.

Matheny, Herman E.; Major General Thomas Maley Harris…Roster of the 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, l86l-l865. Parsons, WV: McClain Prtg Co, 1963. 296 p.

10th West Virginia Infantry web site [David H. Jones]