Dodridge Bailey - Co E

1839 - 1898

Sarah Dornon

Civil War History Paper



Dodridge Bailey was born May 4, 1835 in Tazewell Virginia .  He was the son of John Bailey and brother to William A Bailey.  The Bailey family had a proud history of loyalty and government.  John Bailey was a Justice at one point, but had to step down during the secession years.  Dodridge married Rebecca Lambert and they settled near Arnolds burg.  He made his living by farming. Something many residents did and still do in the small county of Calhoun .

            Little is known about his activity before the war.  All I can say for certain is that Calhoun during 1861 was a dangerous place for Union and Confederates alike.  The locals had begun to make their own armies.  Bringing together who and whatever they could.  The Confederate loyalist or partisans began to be known as the Moccasin Rangers.

These men and women were sneaky, clever, and brave.  They disregarded the rules of engagement and would attack houses if they new that anyone from the Union was there.  At one point the Union army made the rangers extremely upset.  They had a skirmish at the McDonald residence.  He had invited Capt. James Simpson (U) to dine with him that day.  When the rangers heard this they tried to make a surprise attack, however they were caught off guard by a couple of soldiers who ran and told Simpson of what they found.  The fighting did not last long.  The only factual record of who died was of one ranger.  He was injured and could not leave with the rest.  So he propped himself up on a fence.  When the Union soldiers found him they took his gun and all shot him.  When word of this hit the rangers it was all out war.   The union fled knowing that the rangers were fighting for revenge.    I don’t know if Dodridge was a part of these skirmishes.  I could not find any factual information on it.  However, from what I did find I know that he enlisted in September without hesitance.  He was ready to serve his state and his country.

            Dodridge enlisted as a private to the 14th Virginia Cavalry.  He was in Company E under a Captain Absalom Knotts.  Little is known of specifics at this point.  I do know that he worked his way up to Sergeant.  He was also placed in charge of horses.  Which I find a noble and important job for an officer in the cavalry.  His enlistment didn’t last very long.  He was captured January 13, 1864 in Calhoun County by Union officers.  He was then sent to Wheeling for trial, and then moved to Camp Chase.

            Life as a soldier was hard for any of them.  The rationed food was not a luxury.  They would eat what they had, usually hard tack or old bread, broth, beans, and some meat.  Dodridge was lucky to be in an area where he knew people.  Partisans could go to other partisans houses and be fed and housed.  Same with Union soldiers in the area.  They would house and feed them.  Sometimes you could find aide in someone who believed the other side was right.  A lot of rural Virginia believed in being humane above all.  While Dodridge watched the horse he could pass away the time by music, or games.  However, most likely it was passed by sharing stories and just talking with his relatives that served with him.

            Once Dodridge was sent to camp Chase, life got a little harder for him.  Once again it was hard to find hard factual information on just him.  However, I did find someone I believed that was there with him. Major J. Coleman Anderson who was from Charleston .  He described them being taken from Wheeling and being marched to Columbus.  He said when they went thru Wheeling people lined the streets to watch them go by.    When they got to camp Chase he described it like they were cattle.  He said that they searched the soldiers for everything of value.  Some were smart and hid valuables in shoes, on body, or any where else they could think of.  Anderson went through and listed a bunch of men who were with him.  A bunch were from the Virginia Calvary, and two he did not know.  I would like to think that one of the two may have been Dodridge, but I am not certain.

            Prison life was hard.  Even the Union soldiers felt bad for the Confederates.  They came in rags, that is all they had.  Many were sick or injured.  Most were already malnourished.  The death toll climbed in the latter years of the prison.  The food was scarce, but they managed.  In one letter it talks about how well the prisoners behaved.  At one point President Lincoln visited and the prisoners shook his hand and showed him the up most respect.  Another story from the prison happened in January of 1865 the same month Dodridge was released.  A women’s society held a banquet.  The letter went on and on, on how well the soldiers behaved.  It even said that the women were more than welcomed back because they enjoyed their company so much.

            When Dodridge was released he had to sign a document stating his loyalty to the Union.  I am sure missing his family, and his life back home had a huge influence of him signing anything for the Union.  However, he did, and it would have just stated almost the same thing that Capt. Absalom Knotts had signed “September the 20th 1865 this day Absalom Knotts appeared before me at my office and took the oath to support the constitution of the United States and of the State West Virginia and the Laws made in pursuance thereof as the Supreme Law of this land. Given under my hand this Day and Year above written.

Test Wm. McCulty, R.C.C.”  With this Dodridge was then assigned to the 27th Regiment Virginia.

            Dodridge returned home to raise ten children.  One of which is my great, great grandfather.  Dodridge died at 58 in 1893.  He is buried at Bailey Cemetery in Calhoun County.  Many of Baileys still live in the area, and have went on to fight for our country.  Dodridge missed the reunion of the 14th Virginia Calvary by two years.  The gentlemen attending went over stories and grieved losses.  The Bailey family fought bravely and suffered losses like many of the families during this time of war. I am proud to have an ancestor who fought for what they thought was right and took a stand.


Davisson, Bob, and Ryan Roberts, comps. “14th Virginia Regimental Cavalry.” 14th

            Virginia Regimental Cavalry. 14 Mar. 2007. Spring 2007


Knotts, Robert J., and Robert E. Stevens. “ Calhoun County in the Civil War.” 1998.

            Calhoun County Historical & Genealogical Society. Spring 2007


Perkins, Marlitta H. “Camp Chase Chronicles.” Camp Chase.9 Oct.2005. Spring 2007



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