Illustration of the “Black Knight of the Valley”, Richmond, VA, 1862

Twenty-six years after the close of the war, in the twilight of their years, a handful of veterans from the Valley met in Winchester, to create a veteran’s association. The date was September 28, 1891. This small group met with Mr. Charles McVicar.

On October 5, 1891, this Camp was formally organized. Then on October 16, 1891, the Camp was chartered as Turner Ashby Camp #22 of the United Confederate Veterans. The following are the original Officers present:

Commander- Charles W. McVicar, Chew’s Battery
1st Lt. Commander- Peter L. Kurtz, Co. K, 5th Virginia Infantry
2nd Lt. Commander- Oscar Barr, Co. K, 23rd Virginia Cavalry
3rd Lt. Commander- William L. Evans, Co. A, 5th Virginia Infantry
Adjutant- Edward G. Hollis, 1st Lt. Crenshaw’s Battery
Quartermaster- Hugh B. Striker, Co. A, 5th Virginia Infantry
Officer of the Day- Saint George Tucker Grim, Co. F, 2nd Virginia Infantry
Chaplain- Rev. John Poisal Hyde, Chaplain, 10th Virginia Infantry
Treasurer- James W. Barr, Co. C, 1st Maryland Cavalry
Sergeant Major- Upton L. Dorsey, Co, D, 1st Maryland Cavalry
Surgeon- Dr. Clayton Williams, Chew’s Battery
Assistant Surgeon- Dr. William P. McGuire, Chew’s Battery
Color Sergeant- Henry Deahl, Chew’s Battery
1st Color Guard- Robert I. Striker, Co. C, 12th Virginia Cavalry
2nd Color Guard- James McCarty, Co. F, 12th Virginia Cavalry
Vidette- Daniel Kline, Carpenter’s Battery
Janitor- Charles D. Shiner, Co. A, 5th Virginia Infantry

Sergeant William L. Evans was taken prisoner at Spotsylvania. Hollis was a 1st Lieutenant of Artillery and commanded the Richmond Howitzers at the Battle of Gettysburg where he was wounded. He was taken prisoner at Five Forks in1865. The Rev. Hyde was wounded at Rappahannock Bridge in March of 1862 and was left for dead. Early in the conflict, James Barr was a member of Company G, 25th Battalion, Local Defense, Virginia Infantry, then joined Co. C, 1st Maryland Cavalry. On August 13, 1862, he was taken prisoner at Winchester and confined to the prison at Washington. Henry Deahl was captured on March 7, 1865 at Mt. Jackson.

On October 19, 1891, the By-Laws of the R.E. Lee Camp of Richmond were adopted by the Turner Ashby Camp.

On March 28, 1892, Henry Kyd Douglas of Jackson’s Staff was elected as the first Honorary Member of the Camp.

June 6, 1892, Confederate Memorial Day, Captain Randolph J. Barton (Co.D, the Mountain Rangers, 33rd Virginia Infantry) offered the oration at the Stonewall Cemetery. (Captain Barton was wounded at 1st Manassas and on March 23rd 1862 became a prisoner of war at 1st Kernstown. He was exchanged from Ft. Delaware after 5 months and later served on the staffs of General Paxton and Terry.) When the formal exercises were concluded, the Camp moved to the grave of the Ashby Brothers where a prayer was offered by the Chaplain and the band played a solemn dirge as a tribute. For the first time, hundreds of people saw the beautiful iron fence which surrounds Mt. Hebron Cemetery. Words cannot express the immense gratitude that the people felt towards Winchester’s greatest benefactor, Charley Rouss.

Three ladies were elected to Honorary Membership. First was Mary Kurtz, a nurse, who tended to the Confederate wounded in the West room of her home on the corner of Cork and Braddock Streets. (Today, this is George Washington’s Headquarters.) Reputedly, blood stains are still visible on the floor of this room. Mary hid one hundred Confederate soldiers in the attic of this building, to avoid their capture by the Yankees. Next was Tillie Russell, the “Angel of the Battlefield.” In Henry Kyd Douglas’ book, “I Rode With Stonewall,” he relates how he rode down Loudoun Street and stopped at the Russell house where he met Miss Russell. He describes to her how his young Aide, Randolph Ridgely has been most grievously wounded and asks if she would tend to him. Without hesitation, Miss Russell wrapped herself in a shawl and started out on the 3 mile walk North to Stephenson. With darkness setting in, she searched among the dead and wounded soldiers lying on the battlefield, until she found young Ridgely. She stayed with him throughout the night, giving him comfort and aid. Young Ridgely did survive, but Miss Russell contracted the fever, and nearly died herself. When General Early heard of this heroic gesture, he stated, “God Bless the women of Winchester.” Third was Miss Lucy D. Williams, Secretary of the Ladies Memorial Association. This coterie was the forerunner of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (U.D.C.). Miss Lucy was the bellwether in perpetuating the June 6th celebration and in raising money to furnish the headstones for the Virginia soldiers buried in the Stonewall section. These three Ladies of Winchester or all buried in adjoining Mt. Hebron Cemetery, and no one passes these graves without tipping their hat.

On August 29, 1943, on this date George Washington Dellinger, Company I, 23rd Virginia Cavalry, answered the Final Call. He was the last local member of the Confederate Army to respond to the Long Roll. He was also the last living member of the General Turner Ashby Camp of Confederate Veterans. It had been 50 years since their first member joined the Supreme Commander. Traversing these years, over 300 Brothers of the Cause are recorded as having been associated with this Camp. They united in this Brotherhood to renew the old friendships, to parade together again, to care for each other, to remember those who never returned and to bury those that did.

Over one half (53%) of the Camp members were either captured or wounded.

The above information is from the book “Ashby Camp Revisited”, by Robert Mallin and Richard Radi. The book is very well written and contains a wealth of information on the Turner Ashby Camp. This book would make a great addition to anyone’s personal library. The Turner Ashby Camp #1567 deeply appreciates Mr. Radi for allowing us to place this content on our web site. If you would like a copy of the book you can contact Mr. Radi at stonewal@shentel.net.

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