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I had to dig deep to find this week’s letter. Really deep. It was tucked in the “Doddridge County” section of the WV Culture online archives. In that section I found a group of letters marked “Adjutant General’s papers of the Union Militia”. Within that file there were three letters, written in 1863, ‘64, and ‘65. They were not transcribed. After fumbling through the splotched swoops and inky swirls of Floyd Neely’s quill pen I emerged with a militia man’s request for more ammunition in order to combat a gang of Doddridge county horse thieves. Neely writes to his Adjutant General of the Butter Nut Tribe, a group of people living on the North Fork of the Hughes River who, Neely believes, aided and abetted the horse thieves. This week’s letter is one of intrigue and local defense. It’s also a letter never before published or even typed out.


(The letter was transcribed by Kelly Froeder and Kevin Zorn.)

“West Union, W.Va.

May 30th 1864

F.P. Pierpoint Esq.

Adjutant Gen.


Dear Sir,

I have caused a very considerable amount of gard duty performed by the militia of this County during the last three weeks since the last gang of Horse Thieves were discovered. We have garded up to this time all the important papers leading South from this County. We are using every effort in our power to capture the banditties if they make their appearance again. We have run short of Ammunitions especially Caps. We have some cartridges yet. I would like to have 500 or 1000 caps and one box of Cartridges for Austin Muskets 69 in cal. The safety of our property in this County requires consent of action on the part of its Citizens in the absence of regular soldiers. A portion of the militia South of the Railroad have been very prompt in the discharge of any duty required of them. While there are an other portion allmost uncontrollable. That portion are of the Butter Nut Tribe. These are a few persons residing on the waters of the North fork of Hughes River in Ritchie County and One in this County County near the Ritchie line all in the same section of County. Who from from recent developments I satisfied are aiders and abetters in the horse stealing business so far as harbouring and giving them information and think the County would be well rid of them. Hoping to hear from ___


I am your able soul -


Floyd Neely ___ 180 ___


W.Va. Militia”