2nd Great Grandfather
Barnett looked down the dust-filled road and waited. The September air was crisp. The colors of the changing leaves were a beautiful rainbow surrounding them. But Barnett knew that the quiet would not last. Colonel Platt’s Zouaves of the 34th Ohio were on the March and headed their way with the goal of cutting off the rebel wildcats down in Logan. The Boone County courthouse had already been burned earlier in the month. They really needed to try to keep the Union out of Chapmanville. Barnett’s men had been setting up bulwarks for the past few hours. The plan was to distract the enemy from up on the hill on one side then open fire from both sides and catch the enemy in the cross fire. Colonel J.W. Davis had gone out with a group of men hours before to harass the enemy into turning in another direction.
Barnett knew his Company were not soldiers, not really. They were friends, neighbors and even family. Just a bunch of farmers that answered the call to protect their families. Most only volunteered because they were promised that their jobs would be to stay in the area close to home. Their children played together in the valleys and creeks of his beloved Hoover Fork. These western Virginia hills that he thought would shelter them from the outside world. Children! The thought of his own made his heart soften. What were Hulda and the children doing at home right now. Six children at home and him down here fighting a battle against his fellow Americans. At 10 years old, Sarah Jane was old enough to help with the ‘lil ‘uns while Hulda canned up the last of the summer produce and made apple butter for the winter. He smiled to himself as he he thought of little 8 year old Thomas, as he was leaving, grabbing up a stick from the yard declaring he could shoot some Yankees too! Barnett was able to convince him that he was needed to stay home and watch over Mom and the lil ‘uns while Dad was away. Turning the garden would have to wait until he got back. He had volunteered, like the rest of his neighbors, to protect these outskirts of civilization from the Northern Aggressors. Heck, why couldn’t them Yankees stay home and leave them be. He looked around; like him, most of these men or their fathers moved out here to be free of civilization and the politics and hassles that comes from living in too close a proximity to your neighbors. On top of it all, when he volunteered they had made him a Captain. He probably should not have mentioned that he could read and write some. He made a mental note that maybe next time he would keep that bit of info to himself. No sense in divulging too much personal information to strangers. The extra pay would come in handy, but now looking out at his friends and neighbors, the responsibility weighed heavily on him. “Hey Barney! They’re a-comin’.” With these words, Barnett is jolted back to the present and the battle at Kanawha Gap is on.