Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 15, 1861 (Monday): Dear Mr. President

Captain John McNeil, McNeil's Rangers

September 15, 1861.


HONORABLE SIR: I will say to you that I am held as a prisoner in this place. I was taken near Petersburg, Hardy County, Va. I live in Preston County, Va., and was on my way to Moorefield, Hardy County, on business and I had to go some thirty-five miles out of my way to get there in order to get around the Yankee camps, and then was taken by the Rockbridge Cavalry and brought here. I am charged with being a Union man, and I am not, and can prove that I have taken strong grounds in favor of the Confederacy, and was taken prisoner by the Yankee. This I can prove by the best of men in Tucker and Preston Counties if I could get any word to them. But I am cut off from any communication with them and I ask of you my release, for I am kept on the streets at work and digging graves Sundays as well as any other day. They have also taken a fine horse and saddle from me. I was taken on the 22nd August, and I am at this time 130 or 140 miles from home, with the Yankees between me and my home. Therefore I can't get any assistance from there-not as much as a change of clothes. I ask your honor for my release, and also for my horse or his value. I understand that I am to be moved up to Staunton to-morrow; but as to this I cannot say whether they will or not. Sir, I am a Virginia, and am proud to say that I have always been loyal to my native State, and am still willing to remain so.

Your humble servant,

P. S. -I am well treated by your men generally. There are some few that curse me, and say they will shoot me before I leave the guard house.

J. W. O.

Official Records, Series II, Vol. 2, Part 1, Page 1382

It appears Mr. Overman was on the level as to his sympathies.  According to the National Park Service Civil War Soldier Database, John W. Overman joined McNeil's Partisan Rangers later in the war.  It is likely this is the same Overman, as the headquarters of the Rangers was at Moorefield.

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