34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, Battle of Curry Farm, Benjamin F. Curry, Big Buffalo Creek, Blountsville, Brandon Kirk, Brandy Station, Cabell County, Carroll District, civil war, Confederate Army, Curry Chapel, Curry Chapel Cemetery, Curry Farm, Duval District, George A. Holton, Granville Curry, Hamlin, Hamlin Chapel, Henry H. Hardesty, history, Hurricane Bridge, Isaac Jackson, James A. Holly, Jeremiah Witcher, John L. Chapman, John S. Witcher, John Scites, John W. Harshbarger, Lincoln County, Logan County, Mathias Kayler, Milton, photos, Phyllis Kirk, Pound Gap, Raleigh County, Russell County, Sheridan, Straight Fork, Tennessee, Union Army, Virginia, West Virginia, White Hall, William A. Holstein, William C. Mahone, Winchester
This entry compiles information relating to the Battle or Skirmish at Curry Farm, which occurred as part of the War Between the States in May of 1864 just north of Hamlin in present-day Lincoln County, WV. It is a working entry and will be updated based on the discovery of new information.
On May 29, 1864, Confederates commanded by Captain John L. Chapman of Company B, 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, attacked a detachment of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, Company G, commanded by 1st Lt. John W. Harshbarger at Curry Farm on Big Buffalo Creek in present-day Lincoln County just north of Hamlin and twelve miles south of Milton. H.H. Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia, compiled in c.1883, provides the only known account of the battle: “The Federals had marched from Hurricane Bridge and were proceeding up Mud river when they were fired upon by the Confederates, who were concealed on the opposite side of the river. The Federal commander at once ordered a charge and the Confederates retreated without loss. The Federals had one killed, a man named Mathias Kayler from Raleigh county, and two wounded — one being Isaac Jackson, who was shot through the left arm; and another, a member of Company K” (98-99).
Prior to the battle, on May 10, 1864, Capt. John Chapman had been sent with a detachment of dismounted men from the area of Russell County, Virginia, into Cabell and Logan counties “to gather up absentees and deserters from the 34th Battalion” (Cole, 80). Capt. Chapman had been wounded in action at Brandy Station, Virginia, on August 14, 1863 and at Blountsville, Tennessee, on March 10, 1864 (Cole, 147).
Isaac Jackson, one of the two Union soldiers wounded at Curry Farm, was a private in Company G, 3rd WV Cavalry, formerly commanded by Captain John S. Witcher (who had been promoted to major in April 1864). Hardesty cites Mr. Jackson as “wounded in action at Currys Farm, May 29, 1864” (98). Following the battle, on July 6, 1864, 1st Lt. Harshbarger was promoted to captain of Company G. On December 7, 1864, an Adjutant General’s Report shows Company G, 3rd WV Cavalry, stationed near Winchester, VA. The muster roll shows 108 names, citing Private Isaac Jackson as “Wounded in skirmish, May 5, 1864. In hospital since this date.” (Note how this record provides a different date of his wounding from the date provided by Hardesty, who compiled his history about 1881.) http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wvwayne/roster3G.htm
Curry Farm, according to Hardesty, was located 1/4 mile above Hamlin (90, 98). Hamlin Chapel (later Curry Chapel), located on Curry Farm, is important for the role it played in the creation of Lincoln County in 1867. “The first meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held on the 11th day of March, 1867, in what was known as Hamlin chapel, an old church which stood on the Curry farm, about one-fourth of a mile above the present county seat. There were present: William C. Mahone, of Carroll District; John Scites, of Sheridan, and William A. Holstein, of Duval. W. C. Mahone was made president, and Benjamin F. Curry, clerk, the latter giving bond in the penalty of $2000, with James A. Holly and Jeremiah Witcher as his securities. It was then ordered that the Board of Supervisors have the White Hall, a Southern Methodist church one-fourth of a mile below where the county seat now stands arranged for holding the courts until the proper buildings could be erected, George A. Holton and a majority of the trustees consenting thereto” (Hardesty, 90-91)
Curry Chapel no longer stands but its former location can be found near the intersection of Route 1 and Route 3/11 above the mouth of Straight Fork of Big Buffalo Creek on Mud River. Curry Chapel Cemetery is located on site. While Hardesty cited the battle site as 1/4 of a mile above Hamlin, the church–located on the Curry farm–was located over four miles north of Hamlin “as the crow flies.”
Capt. John Chapman left Cabell and Logan counties and rejoined the 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry in the vicinity of Pound Gap, Virginia, by the end of June 1864 (Cole, 82).
Capt. John W. Harshbarger (1836-1909) is buried here: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35761174
Scott C. Cole, 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, Inc., 1993) 80, 82, 121, 147.
Michael Graham, The Coal River Valley in the Civil War (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014) 150-151.