Dodridge Bailey - Co E
1839 - 1898
War History Paper
Bailey was born May 4, 1835 in Tazewell
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.
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
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
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
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
Knotts, Robert J., and Robert E. Stevens. “
Perkins, Marlitta H. “Camp Chase Chronicles.”
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