The Battle of Greenland Gap

[Source: Loyal West Virginia 1861-1865, by Theodore Lang]

The Fourteenth W. Va. Infantry was organized August, 1862, with the following field officers: Andrews S. Core, colonel; Chapman J. Stuart, lieutenant-colonel, and Daniel D. Johnson, major. The regiment served mainly in West Virginia, in Gen'ls. I. H. Duval's and George Crook's divisions, Eighth Army Corps. The regiment was one of West Virginia's busy, fighting regiments, its loss in killed and wounded during the war testifying to the truth of this statement. A few of the principal battles in which it was engaged, were: Burlington, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, Carter's Farm, Cloyd's Mountain and others, the officers generally showing good judgment and gallant conduct on the battlefield.

Colonel Core, having by request received his discharge, April 14, 1863, Maj. Daniel D. Johnson was promoted to colonel and served gallantly to the close of the war. Lieut.-Col. George W. Taggart, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, was an active officer of the regiment, and in the absence of the colonel, Colonel Taggart was to be found at the head of the regiment, displaying at all times military skill. He was on several occasions complimented in orders by his superior officers.

Many of the company officers performed deeds of heroism that are worthy of record. Capt. Jacob Smith, of Co. A, is deserving a medal for gallantry in the following episode. In the spring of 1863, the captain with his company was ordered to Greenland Gap, W. Va., to reenforce a company of the 23rd Illinois Infantry. The two companies were stationed in two log houses at the cut. The Confederate General Jones, with his command, appeared on the scene. He charged the two companies, and was driven back. He charged again and again, but was as often driven away by the well-directed fire of the two companies, with considerable loss. Jones demanded the surrender. The Illinois captain who ran short of ammunition, did surrender, he, being the senior officer, ordered Captain Smith to do likewise. But Captain Smith replied, "I have some ammunition left," and continued to fight. Jones threatened to blow the house to fragments, but Smith was resolute and continued to fight. Under cover of the large chimney, the Confederates approached the house and set it on fire. Still Smith declined to surrender, nor did he until his last cartridge was gone, when the gallant captain and his men left the burning building, now half consumed, stacked arms and gave themselves up as prisoners.

Reproduced with permission from West Virginia in the Civil War