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Two Flints
12-15-2011, 09:28 PM
Hello N-SSA,

This photo is of a Spencer Carbine stock that was found or captured by Pvt George W. Pifer of Company A of the 11th Virginia Cavalry. The (entire) Spencer Carbine is in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society and was donated to the Society by Mr. Richard D. Steuart.

Richard D. Steuart (1880-1951) was a Baltimore newspaper journalist and a collector. He donated his extensive collection of Confederate firearms, weapons, and military accouterment to the Virginia Historical Society in 1948 and requested that the collection be referred to as the “Maryland-Steuart Collection” in memory of his “Kindred Who Wore the Gray.” Mr. Steuart’s grandfathers were surgeons in the Confederate Army. Nine uncles and numerous cousins also fought for the Confederacy. The brother of his paternal grandfather was Gen. George H. “Maryland” Steuart.

The Virginia Historical Society informed me that they do not have provenance for the Spencer Carbine beyond Richard Steuart. They also do not have any documentation on file regarding where George W. Pifer may have obtained the weapon or the identity of “W.H.K.” as engraved on the stock. The Spencer Carbine has a serial # of 14990, which indicates that it may have been issued to a member Company E of the 7th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, or another possibility is that it was issued to Company D of the 6th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e29/SSSMod/pfier1-1.jpg

Other photos of the Spencer Carbine that were sent to me were so dark that no detail could be seen.

Two Flints, Moderator
Spencer Shooting Society

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-15-2011, 09:46 PM
2 possible suspects from the Co. E, 7th PVC

William Kester


Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 10/14/1861 as a Private. On 10/14/1861 he mustered into "E" Co. PA 7th Cavalry (http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?RegimentAssignment?2035&U) He was Mustered Out on 8/23/1865 Promotions: * Corpl 5/1/1865

Or


William Kieff

Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 2/28/1864 as a Private. On 2/28/1864 he mustered into "E" Co. PA 7th Cavalry (http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?RegimentAssignment?2035&U) He was Mustered Out on 8/23/1865

Unfortunately there are no middle initials listed for either trooper in the American Civil War database.

Another problem is that the 7th PVC spent their entire service in the Western theater of operations, while the 11th Virginia Cavalry served in the east, with the ANV. In short the two regiments never where engaged with each other.

Here is the info on GW Piper:

George Washington Pifer


Residence Frederick County (http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?TownDesc?VA&Frederick County&) VA; 29 years old. Enlisted on 1/1/1863 at Orange County, VA as a Private. On 1/1/1863 he mustered into "A" Co. VA 39th Battn Cavalry (http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?RegimentAssignment?684&C) He was transferred out on 7/21/1863 On 7/21/1863 he transferred into "A" Co. VA 11th Cavalry (http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?RegimentAssignment?655&C) (date and method of discharge not given) He was listed as: * Absent leave 1/4/1863 Frederick County, VA * On rolls 8/31/1863 (place not stated) (Present) * On rolls 4/30/1864 (place not stated) (Present, horse appraised at $700.00) * Hospitalized 8/17/1864 Chimborazo Hospl, Richmond, VA (With typhoid fever) * Furloughed 9/12/1864 (place not stated) (For 30 days) * Absent, sick 12/31/1864 (place not stated) * Paroled 4/21/1865 Winchester, VA He also had service in: VA 51st Militia (Prewar service) He was described at enlistment as: 5' 8", dark complexion, gray eyes, black hair Other Information: born 6/11/1846 in Frederick County, VA died 4/26/1913 in Gravel Springs, Frederick County, VA Buried: Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Winchester, VA (Awarded Cross of Honor Jan 19, 1903 as a member of Co K, 11th Cav.)

Two Flints
12-15-2011, 10:24 PM
Hi Phil,

As you know, the SRS books don't indicate every Spencer serial # and the units the carbines or rifles were assigned to so there is much "speculation" involved in determining what unit a specific serial # was assigned to. In checking my SRS books I came up with another possibility where Pifer's Spencer Carbine came from: Company D of the 6th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. Do you have info on this possibility connected with Pifer's Spencer Carbine?

Thanks for your previous post.

Two Flints

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-15-2011, 10:35 PM
No good matches in either Co D or the entire 6th IVC. And again they fought in the west, never came in contact with the 11 Virginia.

ILLINOIS
6TH CAVALRY
(Three Years)

Sixth Cavalry.-Cols., Thomas H. Cavanaugh, Benjamin H. Grierson, Mathew H. Starr, John Lynch; Lieut.-Cols., John Olney, Reuben Loomis, Mathew H. Starr John Lynch, William D. Glass; Majs., Benjamin H. Grierson, William L. Caldwell, Arno Voss, John Wood, Isaac Gibson, Reuben Loomis, James D. Stacy, Mathew H. Starr, Thomas G. S. Herod. This regiment was organized at Camp Butler Nov. 19, 1861, and was mustered in for three years. It moved to Shawneetown on Nov. 25, and encamped there until Feb., 1862, when it moved to Paducah, Ky., and thence to Columbus, where the regiment was Divided-five companies going to Trenton, Tenn., five to Memphis, and two remaining at Paducah and Bird's Point. During the spring and summer of 1862, the several detachments operated against guerrillas, and were in several engagements, the most important of which were Dyersburg, Tenn., and Olive Branch and Coldwater, Miss., in all of which the detachment participating was successful, with a loss of 2 killed, 6 wounded and 1 taken prisoner. In the latter part of December the regiment was united and was engaged with others in the pursuit of Gen. Van Dorn after his raid upon Holly Springs, engaging him for 7 consecutive days. In Jan., 1863, the regiment surprised and routed Richardson's command, near Covington, Tenn., capturing its entire camp equipage, ammunition, books, papers, etc. In March a detachment of the regiment was attacked by a superior force, and although in a manner surprised the command repulsed the enemy with effect, losing 9 killed and 31 wounded. In the Grierson expedition in April, the regiment traveled about 800 miles, was engaged a number of times with the enemy destroyed a vast amount of property, and arrived safely at Baton Rouge, La., on May 2, after a continuous march of 17 days. On June 3, it had a heavy engagement with the enemy and returned to or near Port Hudson, La., with a loss of 2 killed, 4 wounded and 3 taken prisoners. It had a sharp engagement at LaGrange, Tenn. in November, and was heavily engaged at Moscow in December, sustaining a loss of 5 killed, 6 wounded, 20 captured and 2 missing. In Feb., 1864, it had a 3 days' engagement with Gen. Forrest's command at West Point, Miss., after which it removed to Germantown, where it remained in camp until March 30, when the regiment reenlisted as veterans and was ordered to Illinois on furlough. Having returned to the field, the regiment had an engagement in August with Gen. Forrest's command at Hurricane creek, Miss., losing 3 men killed and 6 wounded. It took an active part in the battle of Franklin, and in the battle of Nashville it was a part of the cavalry that charged and captured the first two redoubts, losing in the first day's fight 2 men killed and 3 wounded. This was the last battle in which the regiment was engaged. It remained on guard duty at various points in the South until ordered home. It was mustered out Nov. 5, 1865, and ordered to Springfield, Ill., for final payment and discharge.

John Holland
12-15-2011, 10:37 PM
Thanks to Two Flints for the great photo!

If I may, I will respectfully disagree a bit with Phil on the 7th PA Cavalry. Company E was raised in and around the area of PA that I hail from, hence some interest. The original enlistees served their time in the Western Theater, and when their time was up they turned in their Burnside and Smith Carbines and went home. Many re-enlisted and were given a 60 day furlough. Upon returning to the 7th PVC, in the Nashville area after their furlough they were issued new Spencer Carbines....and sent East to accompany Sherman on his legendary "March to the Sea". After their participation in the Atlanta Campaign the 7th returned to the Nashville area and was assigned to eliminating the Guerilla warfare that was running rampant in that theater of operations. They continued with "mop-up" operations until they were fully mustered out sometime later on in 1865. I have several books on the 7th PVC, which at this time aren't exactly quickly accessed at the moment, so I would hesitate to say much more than what I have. If you want more information I will "dig the books out".

An interesting note to the post war history of the Spencer Carbines the 7th PVC had is that many of the members of Co. E bought them at the end of the war and took them back home to Centre & Clinton Counties in PA. Quite a few of them had their Spencer Carbines converted to octagon barreled hunting rifles by a very famous gunsmith named Jacob Harder, of Lock Haven, PA....my home town! There is an example of one of the J. Harder conversions pictured on page 150 of Marcot's book on Spencers.

JDH

Two Flints
12-15-2011, 10:51 PM
Thanks John and Phil for your comments!

Two Flints

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-15-2011, 10:58 PM
Thanks to Two Flints for the great photo!

If I may, I will respectfully disagree a bit with Phil on the 7th PA Cavalry. Company E was raised in and around the area of PA that I hail from, hence some interest. The original enlistees served their time in the Western Theater, and when their time was up they turned in their Burnside and Smith Carbines and went home. Many re-enlisted and were given a 60 day furlough. Upon returning to the 7th PVC, in the Nashville area after their furlough they were issued new Spencer Carbines....and sent East to accompany Sherman on his legendary "March to the Sea". After their participation in the Atlanta Campaign the 7th returned to the Nashville area and was assigned to eliminating the Guerilla warfare that was running rampant in that theater of operations. They continued with "mop-up" operations until they were fully mustered out sometime later on in 1865. I have several books on the 7th PVC, which at this time aren't exactly quickly accessed at the moment, so I would hesitate to say much more than what I have. If you want more information I will "dig the books out".

An interesting note to the post war history of the Spencer Carbines the 7th PVC had is that many of the members of Co. E bought them at the end of the war and took them back home to Centre & Clinton Counties in PA. Quite a few of them had their Spencer Carbines converted to octagon barreled hunting rifles by a very famous gunsmith named Jacob Harder, of Lock Haven, PA....my home town! There is an example of one of the J. Harder conversions pictured on page 150 of Marcot's book on Spencers.

JDH


All true, but they never served in the same theater of operations as the 11 Virginia Cavalry. We were trying to figure out where and what unit Pifer might have gotten his Spencer from. In any case, I will plan on visiting Pifers grave the next time I stop by the Stonewall Cemetery.

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-15-2011, 11:01 PM
PENNSYLVANIA
7TH CAVALRY
(80TH Infantry)

Seventh Cavalry.-Cols., George C. Wynkoop, William B. Sipes, C. C. McCormick; Lieut.-Cols., William B. Sipes, James J. Seibert, James. Andress; Majs., John E. Wynkoop, James J. Seibert, Tames Given Charles C. Davis, William H. Jennings, James F. Andress, Cyrus Newlin Benjamin S. Dartt, Charles L. Greeno, Uriah C. Hartranft. The 7th cavalry, the 80th regiment of the line, was composed of men from the counties of Schuylkill, Lycoming, Tioga, Bradford, Northumberland Montour, Clinton, Center, Chester, Luzerne, Dauphin, Cumberland, Berks and Allegheny. It rendezvoused by companies at Camp Cameron, Harrisburg, and was mustered into the U. S. service in Sept., Oct., and Nov., 1861, for three years. Col. Wynkoop was an experienced cavalry officer in the militia and had served as brigadier-general in the three months' service, in which many of the officers and men had also served. The regiment received its colors from Gov. Curtin on Dec. 18, and the following day left the state for Louisville, Ky., where it reported to Gen. Buell, commanding the Department of the Ohio. It remained in camp of instruction at Jeffersonville, Ind., until the end of Jan., 1862, when it moved to Nashville, Tenn., where the 1st battalion under Maj. Wynkoop was assigned to Gen. Negley's brigade; the 2nd under Col. Wynkoop, to Gen. Dumont at Nashville; the 3rd, under Mail Given, to Col. Duffield's command, two companies being posted at Murfreesboro and two at Lebanon. The detachments were now employed in scouting in western and middle Tenn., the 2nd and 3rd battalions, with the 1st, 4th and 5th Ky. cavalry being hotly engaged with Morgan's cavalry at Lebanon in May, when the enemy was defeated and 170 prisoners taken. The loss of the 7th, was 3 killed, 13 wounded and 3 captured, Maj. Given being among the prisoners. In the early part of June the 1st battalion accompanied Gen. Negley to Chattanooga, skirmishing at Sweden's cove and in front of Chattanooga. The 3rd battalion, now under Maj. Seibert, was engaged in June with Forrest's cavalry at McMinnville and Readyville, and on July 13, it was surprised and captured by Forrest at Murfreesboro, together with the rest of the garrison. The 7th lost 5 killed and 20 wounded in the engagement and the men captured were paroled. Early in July the 1st battalion, as a part of Gen. Smith's brigade, occupied Manchester. The 2nd and 3rd battalions shared in Gen. Dumont's expedition across the Cumberland mountains, beating and routing the enemy at Pikeville. They were again engaged a little later with Forrest's cavalry at Calf Killer creek, where they lost some prisoners. In an engagement at Gallatin in August with Morgan's cavalry, a detachment of the 7th, under Col. Wynkoop, forming part of Gen. Richard Johnson's provisional brigade, suffered a loss of 11 killed and wounded and 43 taken prisoners. The 1st battalion was active with some loss at the battle of Perryville, Ky., but the other two battalions, attached to Negley's brigade, remained in garrison at Nashville. When Gen. Rosecrans assumed command of the Army of the Cumberland in Nov., 1862, it was completely reorganized, the 7th Pa. being assigned to the 1st brigade (Col. Minty), 2nd division, of the cavalry commanded by Gen. D. S. Stanley. The regiment was constantly skirmishing in the advance of the army on Murfreesboro and was active in the battle there, losing 2 killed, 9 wounded and 50 missing. It was again engaged at Rover, in Jan., 1863, executing a gallant charge and driving the enemy. It was once more active at Rover and Unionville in March, with a loss of 2 killed and 7 wounded. The 1st brigade now joined Sheridan's division, which marched to Franklin; skirmished with Van Dorn and Forrest at Spring Hill and Rutherford creek, and returned to Murfreesboro. From that time until the following June, the command was variously engaged, being active at Snow hill, McMinnville, and Murfreesboro. On June 24, it moved on Gen. Rosecrans' campaign to Tullahoma, being active at Guy's gap, Shelbyville, Elk river and Sparta. In September it took part in the Chickamauga campaign and after the battle pursued Wheeler's cavalry for 18 days into Alabama. In the early part of the year 1864, most of the members reenlisted at Huntsville, Ala., and were given the usual veteran furlough. On their return the command was recruited to about 1,800 men and engaged in drill and preparation at Columbia for the spring campaign. On April 30, under command of Col Sipes, it joined Gen. Sherman for the Atlanta campaign, being attached to Garrard's division, and saw much active service from this time on. It was in actions at Rome, Dallas and Villa Rica road, Big Shanty, McAfee cross-roads, Noonday creek and Kennesaw mountain, raided the Augusta & Atlanta railroad in July, shared in the raid on Covington, was engaged at Flatrock bridge, and on Aug. 1, entered the trenches in front of Atlanta. It joined in Gen. Kilpatrick's raid in August; skirmished at Fairburn, Jonesboro and Lovejoy's Station, losing 43 men during the expedition. In October it was active at Rome, and the following day made a gallant charge on infantry and captured 2 pieces of artillery. It had suffered much in men, horses and equipment during the strenuous campaign and was now ordered to Louisville to refit. Here many of the officers whose original term of service had expired were mustered out. After the battle of Nashville and the defeat of Hood, the command was stationed at Gravelly Springs, Ala., on the Tennessee river, drilling and making preparation for the spring campaign. In the latter part of March, 1865, it joined Gen. Wilson in his raid through Alabama and Georgia, skirmished at Plantersville on April 1, led the assault upon the enemy's works the following day at Selma, losing heavily in killed and wounded, and was again active at Columbus. The war was now practically ended. The regiment remained at Macon until Aug. 23, 1865, when it was mustered out. Source: The Union Army, vol. 1

John Holland
12-16-2011, 08:15 AM
The only point I was making is that the 7th PVC did in fact go East, and with newly issued Spencer Carbines. As for the 11th VA Cavalry I don't know anything of their whereabouts at any time.

Another interesting thing about the 7th PVC is that they were notorious for actually sharpening their sabers, as mentioned in their regimental history.

And, if you look up the serial number (in SRS) of the Harder converted Spencer Carbine shown in Marcot's book you will see that it is identified to a trooper from Co. E of the 7th PVC.

All just a bunch of Civil War Trivia, that still won't get you a cup of coffee anywhere....except at Phil's camp at the Fort!

John

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-16-2011, 11:48 AM
Coffee??? :cool:

Perhaps in the AM, but in the afternoon, why that's quite a different story !!

Merry Christmas to both you and Jackie.

And thanks for your service to our great association !!

Phil

Two Flints
12-16-2011, 11:51 AM
John and Phil,

Thanks again for your posts.

I know, I know, it was a real long shot, but the reason I contacted the Virginia Historical Society in the first place was because I was hoping, that JUST MAYBE, the Spencer in their collection, found by Pvt Pifer, was the Spencer Rifle that belonged to Sgt Francis O. Lombard of the 1st Regiment MA Volunteer Cavalry. Lombard's unit was at the Battle of New Hope Church/Mine Run Campaign, and the 11th Virginia Cavalry was also there at the same time (11th Virginia Cavalry by Richard L. Armstrong). But, my enthusiasm was quickly bashed when I found out that Pifer's Spencer was a carbine, and it appears from all that I have read that Lombard was carrying a Spencer rifle when he was killed.

Two Flints

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-16-2011, 12:13 PM
Two Flints,

Not a problem at all. Both John and I love chasing these sort of mysteries down, and perhaps even solving a few of them.

The great thing about this thread, is that we were able to introduce the history of several different units and even more important the stories of several soldiers. And to discover that Pifer is buried within 10 miles of the N-SSA home range is a real benefit.

I will keep working on this and if I come up with anything of note, I will post it.

Wishing your and yours a wonderful Holiday Season.

Phil Spaugy, 3475V
12-16-2011, 11:36 PM
http://www.fortdonelsonrelics.com/cgi-bin/Display_Item.asp?1058

Southron Sr.
12-18-2011, 11:09 AM
The Spencer might have been captured in the Western Theater by Forrest's command or another Confederate unit and then turned it to the Ordnance Department to later on be issued out to Private Pifer. Keep in mind that for any Confederate a Spencer was not necessarily a great thing because the C.S. Ordnance Department did not have the technical expertise to manufacture Spencer ammo and consequently, only stocks of captured ammo were available. That could not be considered a steady source of supply for a Confederate trooper.

Another possibility-perhaps Pifer acquired the Spencer thru trade as a "souvenir" from another Confederate soldier that had served in the Western Theater. Because of the ammo supply problem, Pifer sent the Spencer home where it remained for the rest of the war and into the post war era. Unfortunately only Private Pifer knew how he acquired the carbine and that has now been "Lost to History."

John Holland
12-18-2011, 12:15 PM
Southron -

Remember what I wrote earlier...the entire 7th PVC took a "tour" through your beloved state of Georgia with Gen. Sherman, and they all had their newly issued Spencer Carbines with them. Maybe one of your relatives found that Spencer first! And, well, you know, with the economy being so bad after the "Wah" they probably traded it off for a sack of seed to get started farming again. That would be seeing as the General left Georgia with pretty much a fresh start everywhere.....

JDH

Southron Sr.
12-18-2011, 03:40 PM
Dear John:

Funny you should mention that. One of G-G-Grandpa Jim Denham's neighbors lived approximately three miles away as "the crow flies" from here. His name was Joseph Addison Turner. He was something of a "local Thomas Jefferson" type character. He owned and operated Turnwold Plantation, he was also an advocate of "Scientific Farming" and conducted many successful experiments with his crops. He also wrote up his experiments in an agricultural magazine he wrote, edited and published. Turner was also a lawyer. His most famous case was that when he represented a lady that was charged with "Fornification." Both she and her lover had been caught "in the act" in the local tavern and both arrested and charged.

She was found "Not Guilty" by the jury after a stirring defense by Turner. Her boyfriend, (customer?) who was represented by a less able lawyer was found "Guilty." Turner also wrote, edited and published the only newspaper ever produced on a plantation, "The Countryman." One of the unique things about "The Countryman" was that his newspaper apprentice was a local boy from a very poor background, Joel Chandler Harris. Harris grew up to become a nationally known writer for his "Uncle Remus" Short stories about the adventures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Brer Fox, "The Tar Baby,"etc., that became the subject of a cartoon series by Walt Disney in the 1950's.

The Harris girl got pregnant while she was a teen and still in school. She never named the father of the child although a rumor went thru the county that the father of the child was a Yankee Schoolteacher by the name of William Seward. I did check out that rumor myself and found that Seward taught school here in Putnam County in the 1820's and since Joel Chandler Harris was born in 1848, unless you believe in 20+ year pregnancies, then Seward couldn't have been the father. I also noted that Seward served in the Lincoln Administration rather than the Clinton Administration.

Anyway, according to a lengthy article that appeared in the December 1864 issue of "The Countryman," Turner heard what sounded like a battle coming from the direction of Denhamville. He thought that maybe some of Wheeler's cavalry troopers had hit the Yankees while they were still at Denhamville. Later that day, after the last of the Yankees straggled past Turnwold Plantation, Turner hitched up the only horse they had left him and came over here to Denhamville.

He left us with an "eyewitness account" of what he saw in that article. No battle had been fought, the sounds of shooting he had heard was the Yankees killing the livestock.The town of Denhamville [including the factory] had been burned down plus most of the slave cabins. G-G-Grandpa Denham employed mostly German immigrants in the tannery and shoe & saddle factory. The 149th New York had tried to blow down the tannery chimney with kegs of black powder. [The chimney is still standing in my hay field to this day!] The slaves worked the agricultural side of G-G-Grandpa's enterprises. Turner said what is now the yard around my house looked like a snowstorm had taken place because the Yankees had ripped open bales of freshly picked cotton and used them for bedding.

A lot of destruction of the furniture in the Main House [that I now live in] had taken place. Among the things he found laying on the ground in an abandoned Yankee campsite was an Enfield Rifle. He put it in the buggy and carried it home with him. He made no mention of seeing any abandoned Spencers!

Things were really bad in the Winter of 64/65 because many of the slaves that had followed Sherman's troops showed back up here weeks or even months later literally starving. It was all G-G-Grandpa Denham could do to shelter and feed them; but he did.