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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 21 History

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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 21

(By Delegates Hamilton and Lynch)




Requesting the Division of Highways to name a stretch of road in Upshur County, West Virginia, the "Upshur Civil War Company "C" Militia Memorial Highway"; specifically, to provide this identification to that stretch of road on State Route 20 from milepost 11.53 at the intersection of State Route 20 and State Route 4, to milepost 0.00 at the Webster/Upshur County line.
     Whereas, On September 16, 1862, at Buckhannon, Upshur County, West Virginia, Company "C" of the Upshur County 133rd Militia State Troops was mustered with a known roster of seventy men; and
     Whereas, Company "C" was stationed at Centerville (now Rock Cave) which was one of the leading centers in the southern part of the county, boasting three well-stocked general stores, two blacksmith shops, a gunsmith, a school, two churches, a post office and a tan yard; and
     Whereas, Stationing at Centerville was decided in large part because a fortification already existed on a high hill to the southwest, known as Fortification Hill, which is now part of a farm, the house of which now stands where the fort once overlooked the town, surrounding roads and countryside; and
     Whereas, While stationed at Centerville, the soldiers' initial six weeks time was primarily devoted to learning basic drill, rifle handling, attending lectures on military tactics, becoming disciplined soldiers and learning duties and responsibilities; and
     Whereas, After becoming familiar with their soldier role, Company "C" was ordered to break camp and return to muster only once per week at the open, drill field; and
     Whereas, Unbeknownst to Company "C", the Confederates had learned all the minute details and habits of the Upshur County militia from a former member of the militia who had deserted, fled south and joined the Confederate cause wherein he served as a scout; and
     Whereas, Early on the morning of September 12, 1863, the Confederates arrived unobserved at Centerville under cover of the dense woods, occupying a position on a high hill overlooking the area where they intended to capture the Company "C" militia and, awaiting the early preparations of the militia to muster in the open field, they formed their plan of attack; and
     Whereas, All but two members of the militia presented to muster on the clear, crisp morning of September 12, 1863, the two absent members being the father and brother of the deserter, now Confederate scout, who had advised the confederacy of the whereabouts and doings of the Company "C" militia; and
     Whereas, As the families of the Company "C" militiamen, who had accompanied their husbands, fathers, brothers and sweethearts, were anticipating an enjoyable, sociable day, the drill sergeant of Company "C" prepared to put his men through their formation, unaware of the danger surrounding them; and
     Whereas, Just as the militiamen were arriving at their posts in the wide, open and vulnerable field, the Confederates began firing, advancing from the hills and demanding surrender; and
     Whereas, The surprise attack caused instant confusion amongst the militiamen who were without cover and with only empty rifles for defense; and
     Whereas, The Company "C" militia were captured and on the evening of September 12, 1863, the rebel commander issued the order to march and the long line of militiamen moved out of Centerville toward the prisons of the South, gazing back at the town of Centerville shrouded in smoke from the fortification set afire by the Confederates; and
     Whereas, The march was long and the captured soldiers suffered loneliness, homesickness and numerous deprivations with many of the men hospitalized along the way due to an outbreak of the measles and other poor health conditions; and
     Whereas, The Company "C' militia were ultimately imprisoned at Old Castle Thunder, a warehouse used as a prison, in Richmond, Virginia; and
     Whereas, The militiamen were initially all denied paroles and exchanges; and
     Whereas, Upwards of twenty militiamen were offered an escape from the deplorable prison conditions if they agreed to be conscripted into the rebel military service but all refused; and
     Whereas, By the end of the war, forty-three members of the Company "C" militia died in southern prisons, leaving behind twenty-seven widows and eighty-three children; and
     Whereas, The raid on Centerville and capture of Company "C" threw what is now the entire State of West Virginia into a panic, causing newspaper editorials to question whether West Virginia, who had given more volunteers to the government, per capita, than any other state in the nation, had the protection of Washington; and
     Whereas, The lives of the militiamen of Company "C" deserve to be honored so that their sacrifice is not forgotten and remains salient in the minds of all who live and travel through Upshur County; therefore, be it
     Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
     That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to name that stretch of road in Upshur County, West Virginia, on State Route 20 from milepost 11.53 at the intersection of State Route 20 and State Route 4, to milepost 0.00 at the Webster/Upshur County line the "Upshur Civil War Company "C" Militia Memorial Highway"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to have made six signs that state, in bold and prominent lettering, the "Upshur Civil War Company "C" Militia Memorial Highway" and erect these signs on both sides of West Virginia State Route 20 at milepost 0.00, milepost 8.33 (the historical landmark of Fiddler's Mill) and milepost 11.53; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and to the County Commission of Upshur County.
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