My 2nd great-grandfather: Son of a wealthy plantation owner, young Virginia cavalryman under Jeb Stuart, bitter old rebel

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Jul 2, 2019
California, USA
I thought I'd just post a short biography of my 2nd great-grandfather who I've done the most research about. One reason I find him especially interesting is because he died in 1925 and my own grandfather who was born in 1919 knew him as a small child and passed on some vivid anecdotes about certain things he said and did in old age. I even have a 1795 silver dollar with his initial and the date 1867 carved on it that was passed down to me. I've also found it interesting to compare the information in my research to the "oral history" passed down from my grandfather who in old age wrote his recollections of his grandfathers (my 2nd-great grandfathers who were both in the Confederate cavalry). One thing I found out is that although my grandfather always thought he was a captain, he was in fact only a private until late February 1865 when he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, less than two months before he was captured and the war ended.

My grandfather wrote that he “loved to tell about the War and until his death had strong feelings about the battles, politics, and the future of the country,” but my grandfather’s mother never wanted him around listening when his grandfather would sit on the porch with his old army buddies. At one point my grandfather infamously heard him say that he would have died a happier man if he had "killed more Yankees" before being shooed away by his mother. I’ve always been disappointed he didn’t get to hear more and I think my grandfather was too. However, thanks to my research and the fact that the 3rd Virginia Cavalry is a pretty well documented unit with many published accounts from members I think I've developed a very complete picture of what he did and where he was during the war.

I'm not interested in this because I like romanticizing my ancestors or anything and in fact one of the most interesting things to me is learning how my ancestor wasn't just a gallant soldier who had an "exciting time on several battlefields" as my grandfather put it. The physical deprivation and fighting with the enemy was brutal, and there was also a lot of nasty infighting and politicking within the regiment itself that reared its head in April 1862 when the first elections for new officers were held and over 90% of the original officers were voted out, in response to which several of them angrily accused their opponents of fraud and resigned from the army, about which former Lt. Robert T. Hubard wrote:

"[the election] was a disgraceful piece of demagogism that did more than all other things combined to bring about our final defeat. Not only did the men as a general rule select in preference the most amiable men who would indulge them most or the most unprincipled who resorted to all kinds of intrigue to secure success, but ever after during the war officers feared another "re-organization" and never dared to enforce discipline."

One of the ways this lax discipline was abused by men of the 3rd Virginia was by deliberately mistreating their horses so they could be sent on back home on furlough to acquire new ones, which Hubard bitterly writes was frequently done:

"This method of keeping up the cavalry was subject to *very great* [original emphasis] abuse. Men would purposely neglect their horses to break them down and get these details so that the indifferent soldiers and worthless men, (for they were synonymous), were nearly always home or on the road and the good men had all the fighting to do and all the hard drudgery of military life. Yet this would be the case anyway where the *discipline* could not be enforced as was the case with the Confederate soldiers."

Although the moral of the 3rd Virginia was initially pretty high during the first part of the war, it increasingly deteriorated after the Gettysburg Campaign (during which the 3rd Virginia was with Jeb Stuart's column when he rode up through Maryland and Pennsylvania for which he has been blamed for the Confederate defeat) and reached an all-time low after the death of Jeb Stuart at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in May 1864. In late 1864 during the Valley Campaigns, there were bitter recriminations in the 3rd Virginia against Confederate generals Jubal Early and Thomas L. Rosser who they blamed for a series of defeats, and by January 1865 the 3rd Virginia was reportedly on the verge of mutiny. Colonel Thomas T. Munford then in command of the 3rd Virginia was even arrested and court-martialed in January 1865 by General Rosser after allegedly refusing to obey orders to join a raid into West Virginia rather than return home because their horses were all starving (even then the 3rd Virginia never went along). In addition to a lot of looting, there are also allegations by multiple Union sources of some pretty horrible atrocities committed by the 3rd Virginia at the end of June 1864 while pursuing retreating Union forces near Staunton (First Battle of Ream's Station) when they caught several hundred fleeing slaves who had been traveling with the Union army and allegedly made it a point to shoot or saber the unarmed slaves and beat the ones they captured. Most of the men from the 3rd Virginia obviously came from the slave owning class and it is apparent from reading memoirs that many were pretty openly racist. The alleged massacre of fleeing slaves in late June 1864 may have been partly motivated by revenge for the 3rd Virginia having been badly repulsed the previous month from an attack on Fort Pocahontas garrisoned by two black regiments (Battle of Wilson's Wharf).

The most comprehensive history of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry which was his unit is from the Virginia Regimental Histories series by Thomas P. Nanzig:

Some key published first-hand accounts are:

The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman by Lt. Robert T. Hubard of the 3rd Virginia, company H (

Recollections of an Old Dominion Dragoon: The Civil War experiences of Sgt. Robert S. Hudgins II, Company B, 3rd Virginia Cavalry by Sgt. Robert S. Hodgins of the 3rd Virginia, company B (

Sabres, Saddles, and Spurs by Col. William R. Carter of the 3rd Virginia (

Recollection of private Joseph E. Ragland, company C (page 24:

Early life: 1842-1860

My 2nd great-grandfather was born T.R. Fourqurean ( in Halifax County, Virginia, in 1842. T.R.'s father was a moderately wealthy plantation and business owner who according to the federal censuses owned 25 slaves in 1840 and 33 in 1850. In 1851, T.R.'s father died aged 38. His grave was inscribed in part (

He was born in the county
of Halifax, which contained
his home and in which he
breathed his last. In all
the revelations of life he
sustained his part. He was
a devoted husband, an affectionate
father and an indulgent master,
a good neighbor and a useful

T.R.'s mother soon remarried to a business associate of her late husband and by the 1860 census the family still owned 26 slaves. Source:

In 1855, Robert Elijah Jordan (1829-1894), the son of another business associate of T.R.'s father married T.R.'s elder sister Eliza and also moved in with them becoming T.R.'s older brother-in-law. He would later be in and briefly command T.R.'s unit during the war.

Civil War: 1861-1865


South Carolina fired on Fort Sumpter on April 12 and Virginia voted to secede and became part of the Confederacy on April 17. Young men from various counties in Virginia immediately began organizing cavalry companies on their own and training. By late May 1861, what would become company C of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry had assembled near Richmond and began officially enlisting. This is the summary of T.R. Fourqurean's record from Nanzig's book:

"Fourqueran, Thomas R.: Age 19, 6', blue eyes, dk. hair, fair complex. Company C, enlist 5/23/61, Bl. Wal. Private; det. 7-8/63, courier to Col. Owen; w. 5/9/64, Mitchell's Shop, promoted Lt. 2/27/65; c. 4/1/65, Five Forks; POW Johnson's Is. Paroled 6/18/65, Johnson's Is."

Company C was known as the Black Walnut Dragoons and was mainly organized by two former VMI cadets, William H. Easley (1832-1861) and Thomas H. Owen (1833-1894), the latter of whom seems to have been a relative of T.R.'s step-father. Owen and Easley couldn't agree who would be captain of the company and so fought a bloodless duel which Easley unexpectedly won, he then becoming the captain and Owen the first lieutenant.

At the end of May the regiment moved to Yorktown and began training under John Bell Hood. In mid-June they had their first minor skirmishes with Union cavalry, during which the 3rd Virginia lost its first few casualties to enemy fire and some unfortunate friendly fire incidents. In July, there were countless minor skirmishes with Union raiding parties on the peninsula toward the end of the month the 3rd Virginia was sent to hunt down runaway slaves being recruited by Union general Benjamin Butler. From August to December 1861, the 3rd Virginia remained encamped at Yorktown fighting many small-scale skirmishes with Union cavalry and being on constant picket duty but not seeing any serious action. The marshes around Yorktown were also unhealthy and led to an outbreak of disease, with the newly elected captain William H. Easley of company C being one of it's victims in December, leaving the captaincy to Thomas H. Owen.


I'll post the record of the years 1862-1865 in the comments because I'm past the character limit for this post, but suffice to say T.R. was captured on April 1 at the Battle of Five Forks, sent to Old Capitol officers' prison in DC in early April, by late May was transferred to Johnson's Island on Lake Erie and he was paroled from there on June 18 after taking the Oath of Allegiance. He then walked back home, according to my grandfather "sometimes by hitching rides on wagons and sometimes by walking. This was hard on a man used to a fine horse."

Later life, marriages and children: 1866-1910

After returning home probably in late 1865, T.R. soon saw that his future prospects there were dim and decided to go out west to Texas. In 1867, he was living in Texas and married another Southern refugee. I have a 1795 silver dollar that T.R. carved his initial and date on in this year. The next year T.R.'s mother died at home in Virginia.


T.R. did well for himself in the following years as a "land man" who bought Texas land at cheap prices and then sold it for more but it was a risky business. From 1870-1878, he had three kids with his first wife until she died in 1883. In 1886, he remarried to my 2nd great-grandmother and had two more kids in 1888 and 1889. In 1898, his second wife died.

Old age: 1911-1925

In old age after all his children had grown up, T.R. would spend his time staying with his various children and this is how my grandfather born in 1919 remembered him (from a letter to my mother):

I remember him when he was very elderly, lonesome, and short of funds. He visited his children frequently and my mother and dad were popular ones. I recall he had a parrot who accompanied him and it was able to sing “Yes, We Have No Bananas”. Mother was not fond of the parrot and objected to his not observing food restrictions during WWI. But she would never mention these things to her father-in-law. Your grandfather loved to have animals at the house and once had a goose walking around. The elderly Reuben said to Ina (your Grannie): “Ina, I will kill that goose if you will cook him. Ina replied that the goose belonged to Tom and you will not kill him”. … I’m told that during WWI he would pin a map of France on the wall and stick pins in whenever an army changed position. Unfortunately our walls were covered with wallpaper. Last but not least, he was playing chess on our porch with another Civil War veteran when he was heard to say "I would die happier if I had killed more Yankees." My presence was quickly curtailed.



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Jul 2, 2019
California, USA
Years 1862 and 1863


By January the small-scale skirmishing with Union cavalry had died down to almost nothing, although early in the month a Union raid burned down Bethel Church which the 3rd Virginia was unable to prevent finding themselves outnumbered. February and March passed with more of the same picket duty and very small-scale skirmishing. The boredom became so great that one member wrote home that he planned to transfer to a different unit once his term of enlistment had expired.

Despite not having seen any serious action, the constant picket duty and skirmishing did have some effect and by April the members of the 3rd Virginia were reportedly haggard and tired out. In this same month, McClellan's Army of the Potomac made its big push into the peninsula. In response the 3rd Virginia retreated and didn't see any action for the rest of the month while the Union army stopped at the defenses outside Yorktown. At the end of the month, the 3rd Virginia then held an ill-timed election for new officers during which the unpopular colonel Robert Johnston was voted out and replaced with Thomas F. Goode, along with 90% of the other officers, several of whom resigned in a rage and returned home.

In May, the 3rd Virginia continued its picket duty but began to merge under the command of Jeb Stuart at Yorktown, covering the Confederate retreat from there to Richmond at the beginning of May. During the rest of the month, the 3rd Virginia was assigned more picket duty as they now watched Union cavalry occupy the roads around Richmond.

At the beginning of June, the Confederates engage the Union army at the Battle of Seven Pines but the 3rd Virginia takes no direct part, although their former commander Robert Johnston is wounded by a stray shell. The 3rd Virginia helps to remove wounded soldiers and loot supplies afterward, some writing home that they cut off rings from dead Union soldiers' fingers. The 3rd Virginia continued to skirmish around Richmond during the middle of the month but were now seriously depleted of men despite having seen little serious action, mostly from disease and transfers (one whole company was transferred to the 5th Virginia Cavalry). Only 250 men remain of the original 874 who enlisted in 1861. On June 26, the Seven Days' Battle begins. From July 26-28, the 3rd Virginia moved back and forth to different locations acting as reserves and scouts and could only listen to the sounds of guns from the battle. On June 28, they moved back to the Charles Town Road to assist the North Carolina Cavalry on patrol. On June 29, the 3rd Virginia along with the 1st North Carolina were given permission to feel the enemy in their front. Pressing forward mid-morning, they give chase to a small picket of the Union 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry and the pickets drew them toward their lines at Willis’ Church. The North Carolinians charged first down the road and were decimated by artillery and close-range fire from the Union infantry (losing 63 killed or wounded), but the 3rd Virginia right behind them only lost one man. They all then retreated back in confusion. This ambush was their first taste of real action but taught them the lesson of reconnaissance. The next few days resumed the same endless marching from place to place, being used as scouts on June 30 and then a frustrating day on July 1 when they spent several hours trying to find the left flank of the Confederate army before giving up.

In July, the 3rd Virginia was sent across the Chickahominy River by Jeb Stuart to collect Union stragglers and abandoned supplies from the retreat. Then for the rest of the month the 3rd Virginia camped at White House Supply Depot and Hanover Court House for prisoner exchanges and training. At the end of the month their commander Thomas F. Goode grew ill and became absent.

On August 4, Stuart took Fitz Lee’s Brigade to which the 3rd Virginia was now assigned on an expedition to harass Union troops near Fredericksburg. On August 6, the 3rd Virginia under Stuart learned of and captured a Union wagon train south of Fredericksburg and also the rearguard of another Union infantry column, taking 70 prisoners and 11 wagons and teams. John T. Thornton was now leading the regiment in place of ailing Goode and was recognized by Stuart. For the rest of August, the 3rd Virginia picketed Longstreet’s right flank and forwarded stragglers and such. On August 29, they heard firing from the Second Battle of Bull Run. They were called on to the sight of the Union defeat two days later where they saw heaps of dead Union Zouaves and prisoners burying the dead. They then helped to round up Union stragglers swarming the area.

At the beginning of September, the 3rd Virginia advanced into Maryland with Lee's army as part of the Maryland Campaign. In mid-September there was skirmishing with Union cavalry and a furious clash takes place on September 15 with the 3rd Virginia against Union cavalry at Turner's Gap (the day after the Battle of South Mountain). Col. Thornton's horse was killed under him but he fought his way back to his lines and the 3rd Virginia retreated with 1 killed, 8 wounded and twice that many captured, also abandoning hundreds of straggling Confederate infantry to be taken prisoner. They then retreated to Sharpsburg after one more brief skirmish and took up positions at Antietam Creek. The Battle of Antietam on September 17 is mainly an infantry battle and the 3rd Virginia takes little part, although Col. Thornton is wounded by a stray artillery shell and has his arm amputated from which he dies the next day. The battle ended in a stalemate and the planned cavalry charge didn't develop. The next day, the 3rd Virginia rounded up Confederate stragglers for a retreat and on September 19 they crossed back to Virginia, to the relief of the regiment. The 3rd Virginia then recuperated (and did some recruiting) and Thomas H. Owen, the original loser of the fencing match from company C, was promoted to the new Lt. Colonel of the regiment.

In the beginning of October, the 3rd Virginia drove a force of 700 Union cavalry out of Martinsburg and in mid-October they joined a very successful raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania during which they capture 1,000 horses and loot many local Dutch farms for supplies, although in reality it doesn't achieve much as many horses are broken down from hard use and many men are now without horses. At the end of October, the 3rd Virginia was sent against Union troops at Mountville and charged a Union regiment from Rhode Island, capturing 69 men. One man from company K is wounded by a saber stroke to the head but commended for heroism.

In November, the 3rd Virginia with Fitz Lee's brigade engage in several days of fighting with Union cavalry after a standoff and eventually retreat on November 6 with one dead and five captured. By this time the men of the 3rd Virginia were in bad shape from the harsh weather and constant marching and fighting. On November 7, the brigade received news that McClellan has been removed from command and this gave them their sole sense of accomplishment. On November 10-11 there was more inconclusive skirmishing with Union cavalry but during the rest of the month skirmishes died down as the Union army advances on Fredericksburg under Burnside and the 3rd Virginia resumes picket duties. Thomas F. Goode also finally resigned command after a year of illness and Thomas H. Owen was promoted to full colonel of the regiment along with another as Lt. colonel. From November 15 until mid-December, the regiment scouted between Culpeper and Warrenton near Fredericksburg. On December 12, the 3rd Virginia took positions at Hamilton's Crossing but took no part in the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11-15) as it primarily involved infantry. After the Confederate victory at Fredericksburg, while the rest of the army went into winter quarters, Stuart took 200 men of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry along with 1,800 picked men on a raid across the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford on Christmas Day, December 25. On December 27, they captured two dozen suttlers wagons and then bypassed a Union outpost in a town judged too large. Without guides and with many of the men drunk on captured alcohol, the raid faltered. The 3rd Virginia then captured the encampment of Union cavalry and looted it before finally returning exhausted to Culpeper Courthouse on December 31.


The winter was severe and it was all the 3rd Virginia could do to stay warm that January. Burnside’s “Mud March” in mid-January was a source of amusement, and shortly after the 3rd Virginia moved into winter quarters south of Fredericksburg. In mid February, the 3rd Virginia was moved back to Culpeper to relieve the unit there. On February 24, Fitz Lee was told to take a force behind enemy lines to ascertain what the enemy was doing and takes 400 men with him including from the 3rd Virginia. The crossing at Kelly’s Ford was terrible because of high water and the snow was 15 inches deep but they met no opposition. They stopped for the night at Morrisville and got good feed for the horses. The next day they met Union pickets but captured 22 of them by surprise and then a small outpost of 3 men by wearing blue overcoats. Fitz Lee then had his brigade split into two columns. They pushed the Union troops back who fled for miles, capturing prisoners, but were eventually counterattacked by the dismounted 3rd Pennsylvania cavalry and made a fighting retreat. The brigade crossed back across the Rappahannock on February 27, carrying 150 prisoners along with horses and supplies. Fitz Lee sent a sarcastic letter to his West Point friend William W. Averell now commanding the Union forces.

In mid-March, Fitz Lee received news of a Union cavalry column moving up the Rappahannock. Early the next morning on March 17, the Union cavalry attacked Kelly’s Ford and forced its way across against Confederate pickets within a few hours. As the Unions recuperated after crossing the ford from about 7-10 AM, Fitz Lee moved out with his brigade including the 3rd Virginia and about 1,100 men in total. About a mile from the ford, the skirmishers from both sides met and Fitz Lee ordered a charge, with the 3rd Virginia charging valiantly. After several charges and an attempt to take a nearby farm occupied by Union troops, the 3rd Virginia fell back. Major Pelham in the Confederate artillery couldn't get his guns in position so led an attack on the Unions himself and was mortally wounded but the Virginians kept making repeated charges, firing their pistols at close range before retreating, shouting “Draw your pistols you Yanks, and fight like gentlemen.” In the late afternoon the Confederates withdrew but then Fitz Lee ordered another attack that again faltered because of a stone wall and the two sides don’t come to close range again. Averell commanding the Union forces then withdrew himself leaving only a sarcastic note in reply to Fitz Lee. The 3rd Virginia lost the most of any battle yet with 4 killed and 29 wounded, as well as losing 50 horses. Nonetheless, morale was very high and the men celebrated. For the next five weeks during April the regiment returned to “winter” picket duty as bad weather closed in again.

On April 25, the 3rd Virginia underwent a military inspection and drill which was done somewhat awkwardly as they didn't have much experience with formal maneuvers. On April 29, the regiment broke winter quarters for good after receiving word of Union movements. They moved to Brandy Station to await further developments but got disordered in the rainy night and Colonel Owen rode far ahead of the rest of the regiment, the next day becoming engaged with Union forces and then retreating in another direction. Eventually, on April 30, the rest of Fitz Lee’s brigade cought up with the Union forces and engaged with them in a chaotic action during the night. Carter’s men fired into Union forces, killing and wounding dozens of them, but then started to panic, thinking they had fired on their own men, and retreated with men of the 5th Virginia mixed in among them. Eventually they advanced again to find a dozen Union causalities and capture 36 men.

On May 2, the 3rd Virginia guarded the line of Stonewall Jackson’s march and skirmished with Union infantry. They were almost driven back at one point but reinforced by the 14th Tennessee Infantry. Meanwhile two of Owen’s detachments picketed the Confederate right and saw little action. On May 6, after the Battle of Chancellorsville, the 3rd Virginia took up picket duty at Spotsylvania Court House. In mid-May, Fitz Lee took his brigade to Culpepper where they reviewed their drills, but a small detachment of 20 men was sent north with General Mosby to collect supplies and horses, where they fought with local Dutch people.

On June 3, Owen led a detachment of men who fought with some Union pickets who put up a fight, though they kill and wound a half dozen but some of their men were wounded as well. In June 5, Stuart had several brigades lead a big parade for General Hood who had supervised the training of the 3rd Virginia two years earlier. On June 8, Stuart has the men perform another big parade for General Robert E. Lee. Fitz Lee was disabled again by illness and is replaced by Colonel Munford from the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. In the early morning of June 9, the men were awakened by gunfire down the river and at 10 AM received a message (supposed to be delivered at 7 AM but mistakenly taken to the sick Fitz Lee) telling them to move a little further south and prepare for a Union advance. The orders were confusing, and Munford sent some regiments in the direction he thought they were intended at a leisurely pace. They found Union troops at Welford’s Ford and engaged them throughout the day, sustaining relatively light causalities and driving the Unions back by 3 PM. This was during the Battle of Brandy Station. On June 17, Munford received news that Unions had attacked his advance regiments and ordered the rest of the brigade to move up quickly. The brigade arrived as the Union cavalry was beating the advance units back, but 3rd Virginia sharpshooters broke up the charge and the 3rd Virginia led a direct charge that drove the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry back. Then the 3rd Virginia ran into the 1st Maine Cavalry and 24-year-old George A. Custer was almost captured but was mistaken for a Confederate because of his large hat. Eventually the 3rd Virginia was driven back along with the 4th, but the Union pursuit was halted by accurate Confederate sharpshooters. The 3rd Virginia then patrolled the flanks with other cavalry regiments and was involved in a few other cavalry battles in the following days. On June 25, Stuart led his men on another ride around the Union army during the Gettysburg Campaign, during which the 3rd Virginia Cavalry accompanied him. They rode through Maryland and toward Pennsylvania. Riding day and night, the men went through much hardship from exhaustion, fatigue and risk of combat. On June 29, the 3rd Virginia was sent to cut off the Union retreat from the town of Westminster but the 4th Virginia charged and routed them before the 3rd was in position, allowing half of the 100 Unions to escape. On June 30, a skirmish left one of the 3rd Virginia men wounded.

On July 2, the 3rd Virginia finally met Confederate pickets and was overjoyed. On July 3, they tried to get around the Union army at Gettysburg but found Union cavalry blocking their way. Although Fitz Lee’s brigade with Stuart was engaged, almost none of the 3rd Virginia were directly engaged in this fight and only took a few casualties. At one point they were ordered to charge but it was countermanded. On July 4th, the 3rd Virginia was assigned to guard wagons of Confederate wounded during the retreat from Gettysburg through the pouring rain and mud. They made slow progress and pursuing Union cavalry cought whole trains of them in the dark – 18 men of the 3rd Virginia were lost this way on the night of July 5. They spent five days skirmishing with Union cavalry following the retreat and they were finally forced back on July 10. On July 13-14, the cavalry screened the army as it finally crossed the Potomac. Although glad to be back and feeling safe, the 3rd Virginia then fought a lively skirmish with Union cavalry at Shepherdstown on July 16 with 2 killed and 4 wounded. Things were quiet over the next week and then the 3rd Virginia moves across the Blue Ridge Mountains and then south to Culpeper where they made camp. During the later part of the month, over 60 men of the regiment were granted furloughs to go back to their homes and get a replacement horse. [T.R. Fourqurean was a courier to Colonel Owen during this month].

In early August, the weather turned hot and the 3rd Virginia's camp moved into the shade of pines while waiting on the men away on horse furlough. On August 16, Carter went with 100 men to keep order in Fredericksburg when a man of the 2nd Virginia was killed in some type of altercation. On August 22, Colonel Owen crossed the Rappahannock with 200 men and captured some Union pickets. During the rest of the month, the cavalry sought out new recruits. [T.R. Fourqurean was a courier to Colonel Owen during this month].

On September 12, Fitz Lee was promoted to division commander and Wickham of the 4th Virginia took command of the brigade. On September 13, Wickham led a detachment of the 3rd Virginia out on a ten day mission while the rest stayed in Fredericksburg to guard supplies. Wickham was occupied with some skirmishing but sent a large shipment of new carbines to the regiment in Fredericksburg.

By October things had quieted down but Wickham had the men do daily drills and inspections despite himself having been injured from falling off his horse. The men experience a religious revival and also realize they are preparing for another campaign as they keep training. On October 11, they crossed the Rappahannock and the 1st Virginia cavalry led the charge against Union cavalry at Stringfellow Farm followed by the 3rd Virginia. Just as they were within 150 yards of the enemy sharpshooters, they were ordered to retreat and do so in confusion, but just then a small brigade of Confederate infantry arrived and drove the Unions back. The 3rd Virginia then reorganized and mounted another charge against the Unions and drove them back to Stevensburg and then to Brandy Station. The Union cavalry made their stand at the station but the Confederates seemed to be gaining the upper hand until retreating Union cavalry pursued by Stuart came up on Fitz Lee’s rear and the Confederates thought they were being flanked so drew off the attack. Then the Union forces all retreated in disorder across the Rappahannock. The Confederates had also become badly scattered and tried to find their units in the dark as pickets were posted at the river. On October 12, the 3rd Virginia led the brigade across the Rappahannock in pursuit of the Unions and several days of skirmishing followed as the Union army retreated toward Manassas. On October 15, snipers from the 3rd Virginia engaged Union infantry and then the regiment rested for the next three days. On October 19, Fitz Lee left Manassas and went west toward Auburn with the 3rd Virginia. There he heard Stuart engaging with Union cavalry under Kilpatrick at Warrenton Turnpike and proposed to him that he fake a retreat while his brigade cuts in from behind, which Stuart agreed to; the 3rd Virginia engaged Kilpatrick’s cavalry as they pursued Stuart and Stuart then turned to face them, driving them back, but the Confederates were halted by Union infantry and artillery then moving up in support. Nonetheless, most of the Union cavalry retreated in disorder and the engagement was known as the “Battle of Buckland Races.” The Confederates then withdraw to Culpeper feeling that they have won a victory. For the rest of the month, there followed a period of quiet camp life while more men were given more furloughs to find horses and Company B was sent to the peninsula to recruit more men.

On November 5, Robert E. Lee inspected Stuart’s cavalry at Brandy Station and there was a large parade with an aggressive mock charge at the end in which several men were seriously injured after falling from their horses. The Union cavalry harassed the Confederates around the Rapidan river for the rest of the month but by the end of the month both sides withdrew to winter quarters. But the 3rd Virginia was not able to rest and recover their starving horses and exhausted men for long as Union cavalry under Averell was reported to be tearing up railroads near Roanoke and they were sent to pursue them with two brigades of Confederate cavalry. On December 21, the 3rd Virginia learned that the Union raiders had retreated to West Virginia and they moved back to New Market. On December 31, Fitz Lee took his brigades over the Great North Mountain and into West Virginia.
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Jul 2, 2019
California, USA
Years 1864 and 1865


At the beginning of January, the expedition reached the town of Moorsfield before stopping for a day of rest and then moving on. On January 3, they captured 36 wagons at a nearby turnpike and then the 3rd Virginia led an attack on a small fort that offered no resistance. On January 4, a day of fruitless raiding. On January 5, Fitz Lee decided to head back to Virginia through the cold and winter which put a hard toll on the men and most of the cattle they captured are lost, finally arriving back at Charlottesville on January 11. The 3rd Virginia camped at Charlottesville for 10 days and then on January 22 received news that Fitz Lee had decided to disband the regiment over the winter because of the starving horses. Every company except for Company B was allowed to go home provided they meet up at a central location every 10 days in their respective counties. T.R. Fourqurean of company C would have gone back to Halifax with the men from his company.

The regiment spent all of February on furlough but on March 1 word was sent out for all the companies to regroup and assemble as quickly as possible at Richmond because Kilpatrick's cavalry was back and heading for Richmond. However, by March 5 Kilpatrick had retreated and the threat was gone. On March 13, Carter as the only commanding officer was told to take his partially returned brigade to Hanover Junction to cut off Kilpatrick but they didn't make any contact and returned to Richmond. For the rest of March and the first half of April, the newly reassembled regiment drilled despite the bad weather. Finally on April 16, the 3rd Virginia is ordered to break camp and report to Richmond. Two free blacks are assigned to the regiment as blacksmiths. They make camp at Hamilton’s Crossing near Fredericksburg where drills and parades occupy them for the rest of April.

On May 4, the Union army crossed the Rapidan and began moving toward the “Wilderness.” The 3rd Virginia was sent out toward Chancellorsville under command of Munford to intercept Sheridan’s Union cavalry but didn't find them and received word that Sheridan was instead protecting a southern line of march by the Union infantry. The 3rd Virginia was then drawn back and posted at Massaponax Church for the night. On May 5, the 3rd Virginia rides with the brigade to Spotsylvania Court House and makes camp. May 6, 3rd Virginia rode on with the brigade toward Todd’s Tavern. However, two miles from Todd’s Tavern they were ambushed by dismounted Union infantry waiting in shallow trenches and the Confederates dismounted and advanced forward in a broken battle line. Fighting was fierce, and by the afternoon the Union cavalry had retreated, abandoning Todd’s Tavern to Fitz Lee’s brigade, but with 4 killed and 6 wounded from the 3rd Virginia. On May 7 (during the Battle of the Wilderness), the Union cavalry launched a strong dismounted counterattack and drove the Confederates back from their positions at Todd’s Tavern, wounding a dozen men including Colonel Owen who had his fingers shot off and lost the use of his hand. On May 8, the Union cavalry continued its counterattack against Fitz Lee’s division and Wickham’s division, and slowly drove the dismounted Confederates back toward Spotsylvania Court House. The Unions almost took the court house but were beaten back, and then toward evening the battered 3rd Virginia was replaced by a regiment of Confederate infantry and they retired to a field with the wounded. May 9, early next morning the 3rd Virginia and Fitz Lee’s brigade was called out again to intercept Sheridan’s cavalry moving into the town of Mitchell’s Shop. Wickham ordered a reckless charge of a company of the 3rd Virginia toward the Union cavalry with heavy causalities and little effect. [This is where T.R. Fourqurean was wounded so he was probably involved in this charge, but he would recover by July]. On May 11, Stuart managed to head off Sheridan’s cavalry advance at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. The 3rd Virginia was posted on the right flank near the Ashland Road to await the approaching Union column but the heaviest fighting occurred on the left flank. Soon the Unions attacked and broke through the middle and Stuart was mortally wounded (observed by members of the 3rd Virginia), whereon the Confederate defense began to break apart. The entire Confederate line soon retreated across the Chickahominy River although the 3rd Virginia sustained the lightest casualties. Sheridan’s cavalry then followed them across the river and scouted around north of Richmond. On May 12, Fitz Lee’s force attacked Sheridan’s cavalry from the front and rear after digging rifle pits on the east side of the river to oppose a crossing, but after several hours of fighting the Unions pushed across the river with seven regiments and then headed south. With Sheridan’s cavalry now temporarily out of the way, Fitz Lee decided to organize his own expedition against two Union black regiments stationed in Charles City County at Fort Pocahontas. He asked for specially picked men to join him and on 23 May he left Atlee’s Station north of Richmond with 1,000 men. On May 24 in the early morning, Fitz Lee reached Fort Pocahontas and sent a flag of truce over asking for its surrender and saying he had enough men to take it, which the Unions under General Wild refused. At 2:30 PM, Fitz Lee ordered a disastrous and bloody series of assaults on the fort which were all repulsed with 100 causalities, including several from the 3rd Virginia. They returned to Atlee Station demoralized and received new orders. On May 28, they advanced east from Atlee Station and stumbled upon Union infantry, which the Confederate cavalry at first charged but then was beaten back with hand to hand fighting and both sides withdrew to form fierce skirmish lines. After six hours of furious fighting and heavy casualties, the Confederates began to withdraw. As the 3rd Virginia took its mounts, they were charged on by Union cavalry and driven hard. They lost 7 dead and 20 wounded that day, including several officers. On May 29, Wickham’s brigade with the 3rd Virginia rejoined Fitz Lee at Atlee Station and then advanced to Old Cold Harbor on May 30 where they engaged with Sheridan’s cavalry at the crossroads and then had a standoff through May 31 after the 3rd Virginia erected barricades. The Union cavalry opened fire on the Confederate positions in the afternoon and they heard rumors to hold for reinforcements from Confederate infantry. However, the Union forces wrapped around their outnumbered left flank they abandoned the crossroads after some time, just as Confederate infantry arrived, though the 3rd Virginia sustained no causalities.

On June 1, Fitz Lee’s brigade fell back to guard the Confederate left flank and Robert E. Lee gave the division an inspection. It was then quiet until June 8 when the men were suddenly told to saddle up to intercept Sheridan’s cavalry who were going to cut the Virginia Central Railroad and possibly help the Union advance on Lynchburg. They stopped in Ashland that night (where elements of the regiment originally trained) for three hours before continuing on at 4 AM on June 9. After a long hot two days of riding, the brigade reached Louisa Court House on the night of June 10. They knew that Sheridan’s cavalry and more Union troops were stationed just to the north. On June 11, Fitz Lee’s brigade attacked and made contact with Custer’s Michigan brigade before falling back. Meanwhile, Custer cut through the disordered Confederate lines and took the Confederate wagon trains. The 3rd Virginia took little part in this fighting and only took a few causalities, but Carter was wounded and taken away. On June 12, the Unions attacked the Confederates again and the Confederates defended against the assault dismounted and taking cover behind a railroad embankment. The Unions made 7 assaults against the Confederate positions this afternoon but were all driven back. The 3rd Virginia then pursued them until being driven back by reinforcing infantry. Sheridan then retreated from the area. The 3rd Virginia took a number of causalities including Lt. Colonel Carter mortally wounded. 28-year-old Major Henry Carrington Jr. now took command of the 3rd Virginia. Fitz Lee then shadowed Sheridan’s column as it made its way back toward Union lines. On June 21, Sheridan’s column reached a supply depot on the Pemunkey river and the 3rd Virginia attempted to skirmish, losing two men wounded and doing no damage to the Unions. Sheridan’s column then began organizing to escort a huge 900 wagon supply train down the James River. On June 24, Wickham’s division ambushed part of the wagon train near Charles City Court House and after a day of very fierce fighting they charged at 4 PM and set the Unions to flight over 60 miles. Nonetheless, the wagon train was not threatened and the 3rd Virginia sustained 5 killed and 7 wounded, not accomplishing their primary objective. After this they received calls for assistance from another Confederate cavalry division on the other side of the James River. On June 29, the 3rd Virginia reached Ream's Station with the rest of Fitz Lee’s division. The 3rd Virginia captured some artillery and fleeing Unions being chased by Confederate commander Hampton's cavalry (First Battle of Ream's Station). The Confederates proudly celebrated their trophies on this day gained during the pursuit with negligible causalities, although the Unions had suffered over a thousand. There are allegations of atrocities committed by Fitz Lee’s men during this action, who chased down and killed or beat runaway slaves who had been with the Union forces. After this, the 3rd Virginia got a chance to recuperate and especially for the sake of their horses who had been pushed beyond the limits of endurance.

The 3rd Virginia spent most of July recuperating from the last two months of creaseless action in Dinwiddie County which is very hot and dry, but they at least get to relax in the shade and were provided with good provisions for themselves and their horses by the locals. On July 28, an alarm sent the brigade to the north side of the James River. Sheridan’s entire cavalry core and at least a core of Union infantry had moved toward Richmond and the Confederate cavalry shadowed them. At the Siege of Petersburg, the Union mine explodes on July 30 and it became evident that Sheridan had deliberately led the Confederate cavalry away as a distraction.

In early August, Fitz Lee’s brigade was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley. After a stop in Culpeper to ascertain Union positions, Wickham’s division including the 3rd Virginia arrived in the Shenandoah on August 14. On August 16, Wickham’s division followed Sheridan’s cavalry down the valley as the Unions burned farms and they stumbled on Union pickets at Front Royal. There, they were suddenly aggressively charged by the 4th New York Cavalry who routed them and drove them from the town, capturing their regimental battle flag and a number of prisoners. Two of the New Yorkers in this engagement were awarded the Medal of Honor for capturing the 3rd Virginia’s flag. 17 Confederates were captured and 4 wounded. A few days later, on August 19 and 20 near Winchester, the 3rd Virginia engaged the Unions on foot and drove them over a mile back across the Potomac River. The 3rd Virginia now tried to shadow Sheridan’s cavalry and there was constant intermittent skirmishing.

This skirmishing continued throughout early September but the Unions has the advantage in numbers and fresh mounts as opposed to the 3rd Virginia’s broken down horses, although most of the actual fighting occurred on foot. On September 15, Kershaw’s Confederate infantry division left early, leaving General Early's defense of the Valley weakened. On September 19, reports reached General Early that the Union army had crossed the Opequon Creek in the direction of Berryville. The Third Battle of Winchester soon developed into an infantry fight east of Winchester while the 3rd Virginia piled up barricades over one part of the line. At 5 PM, two divisions of Union cavalry stormed the Confederate flank and sent them all in retreat, but the 3rd Virginia fought a rearguard action that evening and night against the pursuing Unions, only losing one man. The one casualty was John A. Chappell, captain of company C, who was mortally wounded (dying September 24). Fitz Lee was also wounded during this battle and left. Early withdrew his defeated army to Fisher’s Hill. On September 21, the 3rd Virginia escorted Confederate artillery along the river but was intimidated back by Union cavalry in the fog. On September 23, Wickham returned and withdrew the division to New Market Gap where another holding action was fought on September 24. Moral was very low for the 3rd Virginia cavalry now and they had no faith in Jubal Early’s leadership. On September 26, Kershaw’s division returned from Petersburg and Early wanted to strike back at Sheridan’s men laying waste to the valley. On September 27, four Confederate cavalry regiments under Munford including the 3rd Virginia attacked Union cavalry at Waynseboro and drove them back three miles. On September 28, Munford surrounded and led a surprise attack on Union cavalry destroying a railroad station and drove them back in retreat again. The men’s spirits improved at these minor successes and they relax and rest for a few days.

Thomas L. Rosser comes to replace General Wickham who takes a seat in the Confederate congress and then joins Early’s cavalry with another division retake the pursuit of the Unions. In the wake of the retreating Unions, the Confederates saw the systematic destruction of every farm and haystack in their wake. On October 4-5, the Confederate cavalry caught up and skirmished with Union cavalry but only to distract them from their destruction of barns. On October 7, Rosser finally caught a Union rearguard, capturing wagons and supplies and taking 50 prisoners. Skirmishing resumed again the next day and the 3rd Virginia camped along a back road on October 8. On the morning of October 9, firing broke out and they received word that Custer’s division was advancing in force. The 3rd Virginia was put on the right flank but after two hours of fighting the Confederate line collapsed and there was a rapid and panicked retreat for many miles called the “Woodstock Races.” Eventually Munford rallied his men around Columbine Furnace, but lost 11 artillery and much of their wagons and supplies. The men were livid at Rosser who had just taken command and blamed him for his reckless action as commander of the army. The commanders of the 1st and 2nd Virginia Cavalry who started the retreat were also blamed. On October 10-12, the cavalry regrouped and Munford took leave because of an infection. On October 13, the small Confederate army encamped at Strasburg to attack Sheridan’s force at Middletown. On October 18, Early snuck men over the Shenandoah Peak to surround Sheridan’s force, and on October 19 in the morning the Confederates launched their surprise attack and caught Sheridan’s army completely unaware. They surprised and overrun some Union camps throughout the morning but in the afternoon things went badly for the Confederate on the other flank who became preoccupied with looting the Union camps, allowing the Unions to regroup and counterattack. All the Confederates were then forced to retreat, ending the Battle of Cedar Creek. Early’s army was now shattered and Rosser took his cavalry brigades (including the 3rd Virginia) to Luray where they arrived on October 26.

From late October to early November, Rosser’s cavalry camped at Luray and indecisively skirmished with Custer’s division on November 12. Early’s force as well as Munford’s division including the 3rd Virginia were very beaten down and in poor condition by this point and many men who didn't have mounts were organized into “Company Q” of infantry. On November 14, Munford returned from his sick leave and took command again. On November 22, two divisions of Union cavalry appeared near Edinburg which brushed Munford’s pickets back and then the entire outnumbered cavalry with little trouble, but Early’s infantry turned and made a stand in support, driving the Unions back through Edinburg where the fighting was fierce, though the 3rd Virginia only lost 1 man wounded and 1 captured. Winter then halted most fighting and the Confederates now headed to winter quarters in the early part of the month, which they badly need because of their starving horses and meager rations. On December 12, Munford led his cavalry into West Virginia for ten days where they foraged by stealing lots of livestock and feed from farms. On December 23, Munford’s cavalry returned from foraging in West Virginia and decided to make camp near Staunton.


In early January, a rumor went around that Rosser was organizing another raid into West Virginia but this was met very unenthusiastically from Munford’s cavalry and the 3rd Virginia who are in very poor condition and demoralized. Munford himself protested the order to Rosser along with others, saying that the 3rd Virginia needed supplies. However, Rosser denied the request to Munford’s indignation and insisted they accompany him. The next morning, Rosser has a heated verbal exchange with Munford which escalated so much that Rosser had Munford put under arrest for charges of sedition and conspiracy before riding into West Virginia for the Beverley Raid, but the 3rd Virginia did not join him after this. On Rosser’s return, Munford was court martialized but acquitted of all charges, but the moral of the 3rd Virginia remained very low as they marched from place to place in Augusta County with starving horses and starving themselves in search of provisions, on the eve of mutiny according to one account. On January 11, the 3rd Virginia left Augusta County for Waynseboro where they spent a fitful night in the rain and sleet. On January 13, they moved over the Blue Ridge to Charlottesville where they were then ordered to make camp in Orange County. The condition of the 3rd Virginia was so bad at this point that one company only had 12 men available. Men who left for details often came back without horses and then said they refused to bring horses back to be starved. They camped here for the rest of the month.

During early February, the 3rd Virginia with Munford’s brigade picketed the area between Orange County and Culpeper. On February 16, the cavalry rode to Richmond to receive orders from their former commander Fitz Lee. After receiving news and letters in Richmond, the 3rd Virginia’s moral plummeted even further as most civilians had lost hope for any Confederate victory. They camped six miles north of Richmond for the rest of this month. T.R. Fourqurean had his 23rd birthday and was then promoted to lieutenant of company C on February 27.

They continued camping north of Richmond for most of March until March 28 when they received orders to prepare to move to the Petersburg front. On March 29, Munford’s division moved to the Southside Railroad. On March 30, they arrived at Dinwiddie Court House and skirmished with Union cavalry before darkness set in. On March 31, in the morning, they saw Sheridan’s cavalry in position near the court house and fighting followed that day which Munford’s cavalry bears the brunt of until relieved by supporting Confederate infantry and cavalry. That evening, the Confederates withdrew to prepare positions at Five Forks and wait for the Unions first move. On April 1 (Battle of Five Forks), Munford’s troopers held the Confederate left flank at a point called “The Angle” but at 4 PM they were heavily attacked by the entire Union Fifth Army Corps, only barely holding them off because of a misdirected Union line of march, and they inflicted heavy causalities on the Unions. After this, General George Pickett rides post on his way to his command from an ill-timed “shad bake” and asked the 2nd and 3rd Virginia to hold until he could get to Five Forks. Moments later, the officer he told this to was shot dead and the Virginia cavalry was driven from the field in a route, with 13 more causalities including 5 captured. T.R. Fourqurean must have been one of the Confederates captured here and he ended up being the only officer among 30 men according to his own account left on the back page of a book while he was a POW:

Lieut. Thos. R. Fourqurean, was captured at Petersburg on April 1, 1865. Only Com. Officer left on duty in Co. C & H, both of Halifax on this date. About 30 men left of the two companies. Was taken to Washington City about the 5th or 6th. Dodridge Cole was the only other man captured of my Co.. On this date. I was kept in old Capitol in Washington which was used as an officers’ prison until the 8th of May 1865.

A week later on April 9, Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox although most of the remaining members of the 3rd Virginia fight their way out of Union lines and disband. Meanwhile, on April 5 or 6 (according to his account), T.R. Fourqurean with 30 Confederate prisoners was taken to DC and housed in the officers prison there at Old Capitol, as it happens at the same time that the Lincoln conspirators including Mary Surratt were being held there. On May 8, T.R. was transferred to Johnson's Island on Lake Erie and on June 18 he was paroled from there after having been held for a little over a month. According to my grandfather he then had to walk back to Halifax County, Virginia, "sometimes by hitching rides on wagons but mostly by walking. This was hard on a man used to a fine horse."
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Jul 2, 2019
California, USA
I believe I've found a photo of T.R. Fourqurean at a reunion in Winchester, Virginia, that I had never seen before. I know from my grandfather that he often traveled back from Texas to Virginia to visit family and attend veterans reunions. He's pretty unmistakable with his white beard in the bottom right and the few others that are identified were former Virginia cavalry. Pretty neat.

unidentified confederate veterans at winchester.jpg
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