The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Lieutenant Isaac Webb, CSA

By Archie L. Goad © 1992

Issue: July-August-September, 1992

Lieutenant Isaac Webb, CSA.Lieutenant Isaac Webb, CSA.Editor's Note: See the article "A Birthday Dinner," and the accompanying photograph of Isaac Webb's 79th birthday celebration.

Isaac Webb was the grandson of Henry and Susanna Cox Webb and the son of John and Hannah Cocke Webb.

Isaac Webb was born in what was then Grayson County [Virginia] on 26 November 1833. He married Malesia Jane Martin, the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Smith Martin.

Prior to entering into the Civil War, Isaac was a farmer. At the time of his enlistment he had five children to leave for his wife to care for. According to information gleaned from tradition and the publication "63rd Virginia Infantry" by Jeffrey C. Weaver and published by H.E. Howard, Inc. of Lynchburg, Virginia, Isaac was a 1st Lieut. in Company g/1(2). He enlisted at Wytheville, Virginia on 15 May 1862 at the age of 28. He was elected a 2nd Lieutenant in Company G on 15 May 1862 and promoted to 1st Lieut. in Company I (2) at reorganization on 1 January 1863. He surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina. He was company Commander after the capture of Captain Giles Martin (his brother-in-law). He was surrendered by General Joseph E. Johnson at Greensboro, NC on 26 April 1865 and paroled at Greensboro on May 1-2 1865. He arrived home on 5 May, 1865.

Lieutenant Webb joined the Primitive Baptist Church at Fellowship (Snake Creek) in December 1857 prior to becoming a soldier. According to the publication "63rd Virginia Infantry; During the first months the 63rd was in service, there was a noted religious revival among some of the men of the regiment. Colonel McMahon preached to the men using John 19:5 'Behold the Lamb . . .' as a text then offered communion to over 100 members of the 63rd. It is certain that some of the more religious members of the command occasionally held a Primitive Baptist service, probably without benefit of the chaplain. The men held some singings either alone or in small groups throughout these days. The regiment had several men detailed as musicians who might have provided accompaniment. It is more likely that the singing was in the Primitive Baptist style, a cappella. Camp Narrows noted that one hymn was a Primitive Baptist favorite:

O land of rest, for thee I sigh
when will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell with thee at home.

Some of the men probably carried copies of the Lloyd Hymnal, in common use in the Primitive Baptist Church, into battle as well as their testaments."

In this regard, a great-granddaughter of Lieutenant Webb has a Methodist Protestant Church Hymn Book owned by Lieutenant Webb and carried by him during the war. According to notes written by Lieutenant Webb he purchased the hymn book at a book store in Abingdon, Virginia on 30 May 1862. The original cost of the book was 75 cents. He was under Captain L. Hampton at the time. The book has 648 pages, is about 3" x 4 3/4" and 1 1/2" thick. Written in the book by Lieutenant Webb is:

"I bought this book two weeks after I went into the Confederate Army, 1862, and carried it many miles. I shut my eyes to its doctrine and kept the tune. It extols self rightness. I never trusted its doctrines, it took moral righteousness for spiritual righteousness."

In September 1865 Isaac Webb was liberated to preach in the Primitive Baptist Church. After becoming a minister he also served two sessions as delegate in Richmond; he was appointed Circuit Judge for 2 sessions of Carroll County; was Treasurer of the county for several years; taught 25 schools and was a minister for 50 years serving 11 churches.

The following letter was written by Lieutenant Webb to his parents during the Civil War. It gives us an insight into camp life and the thoughts that ran through the minds of soldiers of that day.

Camp Vance
Southampton, Va

January 28, 1863

John Webb & Hannah

Dear father & mother. I once more embrace the opportunity of dropping you a few lines to inform you that I am in good health at present. Much hoping that these few lines may find you both well and enjoying yourselves as well as circumstances can permit. I have but little of interest to write to you at present but I thought that I would write a few lines to pass off time and to inform you of our fair and of things generally as they occur to my memory while writing.

We are near Black (water) River 60 miles east of Petersburg, Va. Petersburg is 22 miles South of Richmond Va. We have Pine Huts to live in. This is the best country to get timber for such buildings that I ever saw. The pines are about large enough in common to make cabins and are so tall that one tree makes 2 to 4 logs and are so thickly grown that by the time a place is cleared out large enough for a house and street the timber on the place will be about sufficient for the buildings and we hunt large trees for boards but of all sorry firewood green pine is the most. If it was not for red pine and lightwood we could not make green pine burn.

This is a low level county and the water stands in ponds over a great portion of the land in the winter and makes very marshy travelings. It is hard to tell which way black river runs it is so near level. The water is nearly the colour of rye coffee and tastes like pine roots. We have a damp cloudy & rainy spell of weather now.

Our company is divided Giles S. Martin is Captain, myself 1st Lieut, W.C. Carter 2nd Lieut and A.C. Anderson 3rd Lieut. Anderson Largen was elected 3rd but the manner in which the examination was likely to come off he declined and A.C. Anderson took the place. Some of the men are dissatisfied with the way the matter was arranged but it is not worthwhile to grumble.

We feel ourselves able to attend to any business in an official matter as any body in the Regiment except the Colonel and I reckon he is the best officer we have or as good as any. Some of the men do not like to be stinted in provisions. The rations are 1 pound of bread and 3/4 pounds of pork or salt meat per day. It is small rations but think that our regiment has faired very well so far. They have a good deal of marching to do but they murmur more than what is necessary but I believe that someone would grumble if they had to be hung. Some say that they will not stay in this sickly place. I think we are incident to fever & ague.

Anderson Largen and John Parker have both had the chills already but the health of the regiment is tolerable good. Inoculation is the cause of most of the complaints in camp and not much in all. The pox is not very frightful yet the patients are on the mend and have been able all the time to walk about. We received marching orders a few days ago but too much water prevented it. The Orders are here that any person found deserting his Co. and 2 miles from his command shall be shot immediately. The average deaths by pox is 1 to every 30 cases.

I cannot tell where we are to go when we leave here or whether we will station here. Things change so often that I can hardly keep up with the times. I am in Pryor's Brigade at present. You must write soon and give most of the interesting events. The north are in favor of a convention of all the States to be held in Louisville, Kentucky and have an armistice for six months but I don't know as it will be adhered to. If it don't excessive fighting is inevitable.

[There was a note at the bottom of this page stating that one page of the letter is missing.]