This post passes on some military-service information regarding my great grandfather, Erasmus A. SAMUELS, son of Shadrach SAMUELS and wife Margaret PHILLIPS, and grandson of Rev. Joseph SAMUELS of Page Co., VA.
While residing near Sangersville, Augusta Co., VA., Erasmus A. SAMUELS and his only brothers, Joseph M. SAMUELS and Hiram Greenberry SAMUELS, joined Company D of the 52nd Virginia Infantry at Staunton. VA., on 16 July, 1861.Erasmus A. SAMUELS was inducted as a 2nd Sgt., probably due to his above-average height.It was not uncommon at the time for enlisted men to receive higher ranks if they were taller.Although his exact height is unknown, my grandmother, his daughter, remembered him as being 6' or taller.One brother, Hiram Greenberry SAMUELS, died of disease in December, 1861.The elder brother, Joseph M. SAMUELS, was wounded at the battle of McDowell, Virginia, in early May, 1862, and spent months recovering at his home in Augusta County.
Erasmus A. SAMUELS was promoted to 1st Sgt. with Co. D, 52nd Virginia Infantry, following the battle of McDowell, Virginia.Erasmus provided a substitute for himself in May, 1862, but not for the purpose of returning home to care for his wounded brother and elderly parents as I once believed.Immediately upon providing a substitute for himself with the 52nd, he re-enlisted as a Pvt. with Co. I (Rockingham County) and later Company E (Augusta County) of the 1st Virginia Cavalry.
Erasmus A. SAMUELS was captured by Union forces near Staunton, Virginia, 25 September, 1864, and was incarcerated at the POW camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, until at least December, 1864.
ALL of the above data is supported by (1.) Erasmus A. SAMUELS service record, (2.) "1st Virginia Cavalry", The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, 2nd Edition, Richard J. Driver, Jr., 1991, H. E. Howard, Inc., page 223., (3) A prisoner letter from Jesse Rolston, Jr. to wife Mary Rolston, dated 20 November, 1864, posted at Point Lookout POW Camp to Augusta COunty, VA., in which Erasmus is mentioned as being in the camp with Jesse, and as being "well"., and (4) The Republican Vindicator (Newspaper) of Augusta County, VA., edition of 10 February, 1865, mentions that E. A. SAMUELS of Sangersville had been in Point Lookout POW Camp during the recent months, as reported by recently paroled Confederate prisoner, Joseph Beard.
Erasmus A. SAMUELS was "exchanged" for Union prisoners on 10 February, 1865, supported by references #1 and #2 above.It's uncertain if he was exchanged from Point Lookout or from Elmira POW Camp in NY.I have one mention that Erasmus A. SAMUELS was at Elmira POW Camp in NY by 1 January, 1865.In either case, the actual date of his exchange is supported.
It's extremely difficult to obtain Confederate muster rolls, so one can't be sure if Erasmus was present for all of the engagements fought by the 1st Virginia Cavalry after 1 June, 1862.It's highly probable that he was with the unit for most of the battles, however, since he not only fought with Company I, but Company E as well during the course of about 2 1/2 years.Among many other battles, the 1st Virginia Cavalry fought at Antietam, The Wilderness, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, and the large cavalry engagement at Brandy Station, Virginia.
Erasmus was a laborer before the war, while his brother, Joseph M. SAMUELS, and his sister Elizabeth M. SAMUELS, are listed in pre-war census as a "Schoolteacher" and "Schoolmistress, respectively.Erasmus A. SAMUELS became a school teacher himself after the war.He taught for a time (circa 1870-1875) at the Liberty Hall School in Rockingham County, Virginia, and after marrying his wife, Phoebe Virginia LOUGH, in Pendleton County, WV., he taught in that county for some years.Erasmus and his wife had a large family, most of whom moved with Erasmus to Mineral County, WV sometime after 1900.Erasmus A. SAMUELS is buried in Philos Cemetery, Westernport, Allegany County, Maryland, as are several of his children and granchildren.His tombstone reads, "Erasmus A. Samuels, April 13, 1834, January 6, 1914, His Memory Is Blessed".I visited his grave again recently, on 21 May, 2004. His wife, Phoebe, who died about 1907, is buried with her ancestors in Pendleton County, WV.
I hope the above information helps fill-in a few blanks for interested family genealogists.