Archive for May, 2009

Confederate Soldiers Of Halifax Co., VA Pruett/Hoge

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

My grandmother and her father came to Danville in 1888 from Halifax County.  Her father Nathaniel Pruett, his brothers and neighbors served during the Civil War.   

My grandmother Annie Brooks Pruett Jones (1880-1969) was always next door for me when I was young. My parents worked long and hard hours at the C & G Cafe on Craghead Street. During the 1940s, the warehouse district was booming with tobacco factories and many businesses. Annie and Dan Jones bought four lots at the corner of Washington and Valley (later Aspen) Streets in 1908. In 1927, they gave my parents a lot where they built our house.

This is Annie Pruett Jones.  She was, in my oipinion, the most kind and consistent person who ever lived.  We never saw her angry or unkind in any situation.  Before I left for the Air Force in January 1961, she told me:  “Danny, no matter how bad things are, never tell you mother about your problems.  It will cause her a lot of worry and won’t help you at all.”  So everyone at home thought I had nothing but wonderful times.  Hey, it worked for me too!  I convinced myself that those times in Texas and Turkey were an opportunity for learning and enjoying where I happen to be at the time.

This is Laura Lavelette Driscoll Pruett.  The death notice was inside her trunk at her daughter Ethel’s house on Richmond Ave. (earlier John St.).  Emma was the oldest; born in 1866, the year after the Civil War was over.  Another child William David Pruett was bron in 1879 and died 15 June 1901.  Laura and Nathaniel Pruett had nine children.

Laura’s grandfather was William C. Pruett (1815-1880).  His father Asa Prewitt (Pruett) died in 1815, the year he was born, and his mother Tabitha (Ferguson) (born circa 1788) died in 1817.  William C. Pruett’s grandfather Robert Ferguson, father of Tabitha, became guardian of Willam C. and his brother Thomas Stuart Pruett.  Robert Ferguson has a lengthy record of service during the Revolutionary War.  After Tabitha died, he married Bersheba Newbell of Milton, North Carolina.  It appears that the lines are misplaced on William C. Pruett’s gravestone in the family cemetery:

These are the six living children at the time of the photograph.  Left to right: (1) Ida K. “Beauty” Pruett (b 1877) who married a Slagle and secondly John A. Cain (2) William Taylor Pruett (b 1868) who married Mary Olivia Hudson (3) Mary Watkins Pruett (b 1874) who married James Petty (4) Annie Brook Pruett (1880-1969) who married Mark Daniel Jones (5) John Pruett (b 1883) who married Sally Darnell and (6) Ethel Kate Pruett (b 1888) who married John M. “Coy” Hardister. 

William Taylor Pruett’s descendants have Nathaniel Pruett’s pistol which he carried through his service in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. 


Annie was born in the Birch Creek District of Halifax County on September 30, 1880.  This is the census taker’s record on July 2, 1860, twenty years before she was born.  Her grandfather was William C. Pruett was born in 1815 and died the year she was born.  William C. Pruett’s wife was the former Frances Epperson.  Annie’s father Nathaniel Pruett (1837-1900) is a 23-year old bachelor when this form was completed.

This is from a tin-type of Nathaniel Pruett (1837-1900) and his wife Laura Lavelette Driskill Pruett (1848-1933) of Charlotte County, Virginia.  Nathaniel enlisted in Richmond on February 20, 1862 in Co. B of the 60th Virginia Infantry, Confederate States of America.  He served until April 1865 and was with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army at the surrender at Appomattox Court House.  A record dated December 31, 1864 states that he was “absent without leave since December 29, 1864.  It is no coincidence that on December 30, 1864, Nathaniel and Laura were married in Caswell County, North Carolina.  Is is likely that Nathaniel met Laura through a soldier buddy of Charlotte County.  It is not clear how they chose Caswell County for the wedding.  I know that my child-bride of 41 years was too young for Virginia, so we traveled to Carolina for our wedding.

 The road from the Pruett farm down to Barksdale Depot, near Dan River, was a busy one.  In 1855, the same year that the railroad construction reached that area, the Brooklyn Tobacco Factory was built a couple of miles to the north.  Fertilizer was also brought north to the farmers from the depot.  Near neighbors of the Pruetts, about two miles south, were the Hoge family.

Nathaniel and his four brothers were about the same age as the Hoge brothers.  Our great grandfather Nathaniel Pruett was born in 1837 and his brothers Thomas, John, Robert and Zachariah Taylor were born from 1841 to 1849.  Moses Hoge was born in 1834 and Achilles Whitlock Hoge.  They lived about two miles apart and surely were acquainted with one another by meeting at the Dan River for fishing and around the depot and nearby store.

//PLEASE NOTE: The Barksdale Depot porperty is posted.  Be sure to obtain permission from the land owner Jack Butler before you visit the site.//

During my research, a tradgic story unfolded about these neighborhood boys.  Dr. Thomas Hoge (1799-1876) owned a large tract south just past the Mercy Seat Presbyterian Church (established 1847).  Dr. Hoge lived in the old home of his father-in-law Achilles Whitlock.  He died in 1811 and is buried with his wife Agnes in the family graveyard near the house.  Notice in the census record above that Dr. Hoge had only two sons.  Both sons died on the same day during the Civil War.  They were manning a 12-pound cannon during the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain near Dublin Depot in Pulaski when they fell.  They were both a part of the Ringgold Battery.

Not much is known about Moses J. Hoge, the older son, except that he was born in 1834 and died with his brother on May 9, 1864.

Achilles Whitlock Hoge, named for his grandfather Achilles Whitlock who died in 1811, entered the service early in the War.  He enrolled as a student at Hampton-Sydney College in the fall of 1860.  His grandfather Dr. Moses Hoge, who died in 1820, was president of the college beginning in about 1807. 

In 1861, the President of Hampton-Sydney Dr. J. M. P. Atkinson formed a company and he served as captain.  The company trained at Camp Lee, two miles outside Richmond, Virginia.  The chaplain of the camp was his uncle Rev. Moses Hoge.  Dr. Hoge wrote about having lunch with “Whitlocke Hoge.”  He also noted: “I have fitted up a large tent at the camp and provided it with a fine library of books and magazines as a free reading room for the men.  It will afford much pleasure particularly for the Hampton-Sydney boys.” 

The Hampton-Sydney boys were a part of the “Battle of Rich Mountain,” which is sometimes described at the “first real battler of the War.”  It appears that all the students were captured.  Federal reports state that a thousand prisoners were taken and only 600 escaped. 

The first “college-boy” military company came under fire on Sunday July 7, 1861.  They were camped at a river crossing half-way between Buckannon and Beverly (West), Virginia at the Middle Fork Covered Bridge.  Soldiers from Ohio and Indiana fired on the 101 young men from Hampton-Sydney and Union Theological Seminary.  Capt. Atkinson was Pastor of a church in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., just a few years before.  One student had a finger shot off, but the entire company was captured.  

Three days later,on July 10th, the “boys” were pardoned by Gen. George McClellan with the condition that they return to their studies.

The Barksdale Depot of the Richmond and Danville Railroad was only several hundred yards south of Dr. Hoge’s home.  The line was completed from Richmond to Barksdale (another of Achilles Whitlock’s daughters Sally married Claiborne W. Barksdale in 1831) Station in 1855.  The line was completed to the south sdie of Danville in 1856.  Regular passenger service to Danville was quick and convenient. 

On Marcy 16, 1862, the Ringgold Battery (Co. B) 13th Battalion Virginia Light Artillery was organized and mustered in Danville.  Archilles Whitlock Hoge became 2nd line lieutenant.  His brother Moses probably enlisted as a private at the same time. 

Medical Doctor, Capt. Crispin Dickinson, who lived at Toshes in Pittsylvania County, was commander of the company of 130 men during a fierce battle at Dublin Depot in Pulaski County on May 9, 1864.  The fighting is known as the Battle of Cloyd’s Farm.  The Ringgold Battery had three Napoleons and one three-inch rifle.  Lt. Achilles Whitlock Hoge was in command of a 12-pound Napoleon.  There were twenty-nine men, including his brother, acting as support for the gun.  The federal troops had twelve artillery pieces.  One of thier shells apparently struck Hoge’s position.  Both he and his brother fell mortally wounded at their position.  Both of Dr. Hoge’s sons were dead.

Update:  One May 21, 2009, my sister Elaine and I went to Halifax County.  We stopped by the old house where cousin Morton Pruett lvied.  He is said to have lived part time in the old cabin. 

This house was a step up from the old cabin for the Pruetts.  It is located on Mercy Seat Church Road betwee the intersection with Melon Road and the old cabin. 

We found the graves of Dr. Thomas Hoge and family.  There is a four-sided oblisk in memory of “two noble brothers.”  Next to the Hoge cemetery is the Stamps cemetery.  I believe that Dr. Hoge lived where the graveyard is when he first married Mary C. Whitlock.  The cemetery is on Carter Trail off Hackberry Road, a short distance south of the Sutherlin Mill.  They married on 22 August 1825.  Mary’s mother Agness died in 1830 and Dr. Thomas Hoge bought the home place between the future location of Mercy Seat Church and Barksdale Station.  In Thomas Hoge’s will he states that he bought 486 acres from Thomas Hoge and wife.  Dr. Hoge may have had a child to died and established a cemetery there and is not buried in the Achilles Whitlock cemetery to the east.   

The iron fence around the Hoges is made by the Cincinnati Iron Fence Co. in Ohio. 

The Hoge brothers bodies were brought home from the area of Dublin in Pulaski County, Virginia.  This memorial is engraved on four sides (one unreadable).  This side reads “In commemoration of two noble brothers – Private Moses J. Hoge and Lieut. A. Whitlocke Hoge who fell at the Battle of Cloyd’s Farm.”  Cloyd’s farm and mountain are a few miles north of Dublin, Va.

This side of the marker reads:  In Memoriam Achilles Whitlocke son of Mary C & Thos. Hoge Born August 22, 1840 died May 9, 1864.

Moses J. Hoge, born May 2, 1833, was seven years older than his brother Achilles.  They were killed the same day on May 9, 1864, probably by the same artillery shell from Federal cannon fire during the Civil War. 

“Thomas Poage Hoge – An eminent and faithful physician for over fifty years – fourth son of Elizabeth Poage and Rev Moses Hoge D.D. Pres. Hampton-Sydney College Virginia born March 14, 1799 died April 23, 1876.  Dr. Moses Hoge (1752-1820) was president of the college beginning in 1807.  Achilles Whitlocke Hoge was a first-year student at the college when the War Between the States began. 

This old drag pan belonged to the father of the 89-year-old landowner.  It was near the double Richmond and Danville Railroad bridge.  One man and a mule could move a lot of dirt in a day with this.  The wooden handles have rotted away.  The 1850s railroad builders probably used a similar scoop to level the right-of-way.

This view is looking north towards Dr. Hoge’s house.  His father and mother-in-law are buried in the heavily overgrown graveyard near the center.  Our great great grandfather William C. Pruett was appointed surveyor of roads by the Halifax County Court beginnin in 1854.  In 1866, he was appointed “Overseerer of the road from Dr. Hoge’s to Barksdale Depot.”  That would be this very path.  The Depot, store and Dan River are not far in the other direction.

This is a closer view of the house above.  The part with the steep roof was the office of Dr. Thomas P. Hoge.  He moved here in 1830 after his mother-in-law Agesss Whitlock died.  The doctor’s office was moved from a couple hundred feet east to enlarge the old house.  There was another section in front, which was separate.  It was destroyed by fire long ago. 

((A note on spam.  Antispam has deleted 21,747 comments from my WordPress blogs alone.  2,565 comments have been approved.   There are hundreds of spams each day and I cannot check them all to see if they are valid.  Danny Dec. 10, 2010)).

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