BOTETOURT – The history of one of Botetourt’s most celebrated Civil War units has been updated and is now available in a second edition.
Jerry (Jerald H.) Markham, who lives in Salem and is a Botetourt native, wrote the original “The Botetourt Artillery” in 1985. It was a 95-page volume that was a small part of the Regimental Histories of all the Confederate units that served Virginia from 1861-1865.
In those 25 years since the book was first introduced, Markham’s interest in the Civil War has not waned, and the updated second edition reflects that. The second edition, also a paperback, totals 201 pages.
Markham explains that The Botetourt Artillery, or what was to become The Botetourt Artillery, was formed in December 1859 as The Mountain Rifles.
It was a militia unit of local citizens that formed following John Brown’s Raid on the Harper’s Ferry arsenal in October 1859. “John Brown has been called the grandfather of what was to become the Confederate army,” Markham notes.
The Mountain Rifles militia unit was accepted by the state of Virginia in early 1860.
Markham’s book covers the unit’s history from the initial formation as a militia unit to the close of hostilities of “the great American Civil War in April 1865.”
The written history of the unit is covered in four chapters. Chapter one covers the organization through the end of 1861. The Mountain Rifles entered the war as light infantry company and became Company “H” of the famed 28th Virginia.
In December 1861, the company re-enlisted and reorganized as an artillery battery under the command of Joseph Anderson.
The second chapter covers the unit’s travels from Richmond to the western theater and Mississippi.
The third chapter covers the men’s service in Mississippi and at the Battle of Vicksburg. These military brothers were the only Virginians to see service in the Vicksburg campaign.
The fourth chapter covers 1864 with their return to Virginia, their service in Southwest Virginia, The Battle of Lynchburg, service in the Valley of Virginia under Gen. Jubal Early and their return to Southwest Virginia.
This chapter also covers the final four months of the war and the unit’s final service to the Confederacy.
The remainder of the work is devoted to the men who served in The Botetourt Artillery. There is a photo section of a large number of the men who served. Following the photo section is a complete roster of the men who served.
“A lot of effort has been made to provide as much military, personal and family information of each individual,” Markham explained.
“Twenty-five years have passed and there was a need to make corrections in the text and add additional information that had been provided over that period of time,” Markham explained. “The roster has been completely revisited and additions and/or corrections have been made to the individuals.”
Markham was reared in Botetourt County and graduated from James River High School in 1963. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967, and while in the service attended the University of North Dakota. He had one tour in Vietnam in 1966-67.
He and his wife Mary Jo live in Salem where he works for Accellent Cardiology in the Research and Development Department. Accellent Cardiology manufactures materials and items for the medical industry. Prior to Accellent, he worked for Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg for 30 years.
He said his interest in history and the War Between the States dates to his early youth, and he has been actively engaged in Civil War historical research for over 30 years.
“Several of my ancestors served in the Confederate Army, including my great-grandfather, John Owen Markham, who served in The Botetourt Artillery,” Markham said.
He’s also been an active member of the Civil War re-enacting unit, 11th Virginia Infantry, Company G, since 1986. “I have served as a private and the unit’s captain. I currently serve as a Brevet Colonel for Longstreet’s Corps.”
Markham has two other works that have been published: “Confederate Veterans Buried in Hollywood Cemetery from Camp Lee Soldiers Home 1894-1946,” and “The Diuguid Records 1861-1865 and Biographical Sketches” released October 2007.
Right now, the new edition of “The Botetourt Artillery” is available from New Papyrus Publishing in Athens, Ga. John Vogt, the publisher, has it listed on his webpage at http://www.genealogyresources.org/military.html#cwr. The cost is $24.95 plus shipping.
The first edition, according to the publisher, now sells on the used book market from $60 to $150.
Markham also is available for book signings. He can be reached at 387-2416 or by email at [email protected]