In 1856, just six years prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War, a transplanted Richmond lawyer by the name of George S. Patton organized a militia in the Kanawha Valley of western Virginia. Originally known as the Kanawha Minutemen, they later became the Kanawha Riflemen.
The company was comprised of the Kanawha Valley’s social elite. They performed at public functions throughout the state, earning a reputation that they could perhaps dance better than they could fight. Such thoughts were quickly put to rest in 1861, and the Riflemen became the foundation of the 1st Kanawha Regiment, which soon after evolved into the 22nd Virginia Infantry, Confederate States Army.
The regiment’s first clash came at Scary Creek, and the men continued to perform gallantly at Cross Lanes, Carnifex Ferry, Sewell Mountain, Cotton Hill, Giles Court House, Lewisburg, Fayetteville, Charleston, Beverly, and White Sulphur Springs.
The regiment lost 21% of the 550 engaged at Droop Mountain. The 22nd also participated in nearly all of the major battles in the 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign, including Winchester, where Patton lost his life.
This volume contains an annotated roster of over 2,300 names, battle maps, and photos of members. The roster also contains detailed data on service, including birth and death dates, and burial locations when known.
The 22nd Virginia Infantry entered the Civil War as a makeshift group of Virginia volunteers known as the 1st Kanawha. Although continually plagued by a shortage of weapons, uniforms, equipment, and training, these fiercely independent farm and mountain boys from the western Virginia counties of Kanawha, Putnam, Fayette, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Wyoming, Boone, Clay, and Alleghany, fought with a determination and tenacity equal to any regiment in Confederate service.
The regiment often campaigned in the worst possible geographical and environmental conditions, led by some of the most incompetent and incompatible generals the south could produce.
From the regiment’s baptism of fire on the banks of Scary Creek in the Kanawha Valley, to the high mountain ranges of Gauley, Sewell, and Cotton Hill, the 22nd Virginia Infantry spent the first three years of the war fighting in all the major battles in West Virginia, and suffered the highest rate of casualties of any Confederate regiment engaged in the clashes at Lewisburg, White Sulphur Springs, and Droop Mountain.
During 1864 the 22nd Virginia marched to the Shenandoah Valley, fighting alongside the V.M.I. cadets at New Market, in the trenches at Cold Harbor, and defending Lynchburg. With Jubal Early, the regiment marched on Washington, D.C. and engaged in all the major battles in the Shenandoah Valley.
In the battle at Winchester in September the regiment’s brigade organization was nearly destroyed and the valiant Colonel George S. Patton of the 22nd Virginia was mortally wounded.
The remains of the 22nd Virginia spent the remaining months of the war chasing raider General Stoneman throughout southwest Virginia, until disbanding at Christiansburg in April of 1865 after learning of General Lee’s surrender, ending forever the “Fighting 22nd.”