In Memoriam: Jeremiah McBride, West Virginian in the Confederate Army.

There is a man I am distantly related to by the name of Jeremiah McBride and a few months ago I was told his story which I now pass on to you. We are told that the “Civil War” was about retaining the right to slaves and nothing else, told that it was a war the rich slaveholders tricked the poor whites into fighting for them. Soldiers like Jeremiah show how much more there is to the story, and how they were rewarded for it.

Charles and Sarah McBride and their children. The little boy in a light shirt standing between his parents is Jeremiah.

Charles and Sarah McBride and their children. The little boy in a light shirt standing between his parents is Jeremiah.

Jeremiah McBride had been born in Bedford County, Virginia, but years before the war they had moved to what is now West Virginia. When war broke out, there were men on both sides who chose instead to enlist in the other army. In the case of Jeremiah and his brother Thomas, they traveled to a place called Narrows, Virginia to enlist and help the Confederacy. Jeremiah enlisted in March 1864, a time when the tide had turned and the Union was winning the war, but he went anyway believing it the right thing to do even though his immediate family no longer lived in what had become the Confederate states.

By September, only six months later, Jeremiah was listed as a prisoner of war and sent to Point Lookout in Maryland. The Union used freed black men as guards, encouraging them to violence by the officers offering them $10-15 for each Confederate prisoner they found an excuse to kill in the course of their duties each day. A letter from Jeremiah’s brother, Thomas, to their family tells that the prisoners were made to dig graves every day, but it was not just those who had already died who was placed in them if there were ditches left to fill. Additional prisoners would be carried out to the graves and buried. Sometimes they were shot first, sometimes buried alive.

Thomas wrote “… they carried Jeremiah out alive and he was buried. Didn’t hear any shots that day.”

Jeremiah is listed in the official record as dying November 22, 1864 at Point Lookout of “pneumonia.” He was about 19 years old.

To think he could have just stayed home in West Virginia safe and sound.

39 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Jeremiah McBride, West Virginian in the Confederate Army.

  1. I have three Confederate ancestors that I know of.

    Privates, Benjamin F. West 26th Virginia Infantry Regiment Company E his brother James W. West (KIA Petersburg)

    If it wasn’t for Benjamin living through the war I wouldn’t be here.

    And Private Samuel Williams 12th North Carolina Company I.

    • I have… Well… A ton. Lol. For privacy I haven’t listed all of them here but it’s definitely crazy seeing just how many went to war and how few made it back safely. My great-great-(can’t recall how many greats) grandfather was imprisoned at Point Lookout but survived the war having only lost part of his ear and he lived in the confederate soldier’s home in Richmond in his old age. Seems like several of my ancestors were incredibly lucky. And they weren’t those stereotypical rich plantation owners either. 😉

      • Lol

        Were’d you get that photo?

        I’ve been looking for a photo of my ancestor Benjamin for a while now.

        • I found this one floating around on Not quite sure who the initial person to upload it was. Websites like FindAGrave also often have interesting pictures and info and that’s free. My mom has an old portrait of the ancestor I mentioned who was in the soldiers’ home but for the more distant relatives my sources tend to be online.

  2. So was that though the community boards?

    If so I might be able to locate one.

    I know that finding photographs of an ancestor is slim but considering the fact that Benjamin knew the regimental chaplain William E. Wyyat very well and that the chaplain was photographed many times then perhaps one may be around somewhere?

    Benjamin was listed here as being “..Converted, baptized…” on July 16th 1863.

    Here’s a whole article on the good chaplain.

    • It was attached to someone’s tree so if you browse the member trees who share that ancestor it’s a good way to find pictures.

      • I haven’t tried that before so maybe I’ll get lucky and see Benjamin!

        I’m very emotionally attached to him you know what I mean?

        And I would feel complete if I could have a “picture on the wall”.

        I might go to the library this weekend and give some people that have him on their boards my email.

        So I guess I can say that I’m very hopeful.

        • I know what you mean. I think anyone who does genealogy finds a couple family members like that which they devote a large amount of time trying to find information on. For pictures other family members will be your best bet. For paper records like wills, etc. then either the courthouse and local library where they lived or the Library of Virginia in Richmond has some fantastic stuff (been years since I was there though). I know I’ve seen groups for a few other Virginia counties but I’m not in one for Gloucester…. There is one for Virginia as a whole though which you could try asking in. They may be able to point you towards a more specific group or have some ideas.

    • There are also some genealogy groups on Facebook (for example, for individual counties) and I see a lot of people share pictures there.

    • I’d like to have contact information from the organiser but I don’t have Facebook.

      I want to see if they can spread word around and have a few more rallies.

      Maybe you could post a link to your website so we can work as a group on this?

      I have a lot of ideas for this.

      Please let me know if you’ll think about making a activism section of your website.

      You could do so much more with this website!

      Just think about how great it would be if you could give heritage defenders a place to meet and discuss how they could make a change for the better! :)

      • I definitely am interested in making the most of this site, it’s just a matter of time. I manage to check in to respond to comments but beyond that I feel like I have more ideas than opportunities to work on the projects. I’ll see what I can do tonight to get a couple things added/updated though. I also have some articles in the process of being written (not all the same era of history).

        • Thanks Nikki I look forward to what you have to offer!

          And just as a suggestion; you should create a activism segment of your website for activists to use while working on different heritage defense matters.

          (Whenever you have the time of course)

          Hell I’d even volunteer as a moderator if you let me.

          I plan on making a YouTube channel sometime this summer so I’ll even promote your website as well.

          • I’ve been thinking on this and would like to do some things but I’m wary because… Well, same things that led to my post a couple weeks ago about why other movements should matter too. I want to be careful what attitudes are promoted while still promoting our history and truth about the flag.

            I may very well take you up on your offer of help though!

          • Is this the email address you typically use? I’ll email you so we can talk about you getting more involved in the site. :) (Or you can just email me at nikki @

    • I didn’t… Actually I had to look up where Alamance is. lol. I’m noticing everyone has been all about their flags ever since earlier this year when that idiot shooter in SC gave everyone an excuse to complain about it. It’s backfiring on them and that’s a great thing.

  3. I thought you should know about this guy Nikki.

    His name is Kevin Levin and he puts out lies and misinfomation like for example the claim that William T. Thomson designed the second national.

    You should try to disprove what he says.

    Just don’t do it on his blog because he’ll delete your comments or make fun of them.

    • His site is displaying weirdly for me at the moment but I believe I’ve seen it before and you’re absolutely right in your assessment. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here but I originally meant to get a degree in history and go into teaching. I didn’t make it through two college American history classes though before I said to myself, “I can’t do this. The only way to pass with a good grade is if I write things I disagree with and at best I have to sit here and listen to so much nonsense that it’s going to make me despise history.” One of my professors was… well, let’s just say from north of the Mason-Dixon line and went to school up there and he taught a class on “Civil War and Reconstruction” among other more general American history classes. You could not say a single thing against the mainstream views on the war without him jumping down your throat and it didn’t matter how much evidence you backed it up with. One time I was discussing something completely separate from earlier on in the US’s history but apparently since the subject matter pertained to slavery he assumed I must be discussing the war and he jumped down my throat and told me I was “in a knot about the subject” and proceeded to tell me how inappropriate it was for me to share the link to my source (a .gov website with copies of primary documents) because it could give someone a virus. No, more like he didn’t want anyone seeing it and realizing I was right.

      • It’s sad really,

        I’m 18 and i’m still in high school (junior year) and I was planning on going to college to get my degrees in American History.

        If it’s like that at my college I don’t know what i’m going to do after that.

        • I’m not sure what to tell you on that… There are a few scattered good professors out there but by and large it is what you are going to encounter. I was having a discussion with one of my younger brothers recently about his plans to take some college courses to see what interests him (he didn’t go to college straight out of high school). I was like, “Look, that’s not what college does. It can expose you to new ideas and hobbies, sure. More than likely though it’s going to turn the things you like now into a chore.” I mean, I’m doing it anyway so don’t take that as me knocking going to college. Just be realistic. Try it, see what happens, go from there. Yeah, I took a grade hit in that professor’s class BUT there were a number of people who listened to me that semester and at the end when he asked people to list off something they learned in his class, more than one said they learned the war wasnt just about slavery. 😉

          • Alright i’ll see what happens with that.

            I’m going to have to do a lot of correcting if any of the professors do a talk or anything like that.

          • Yes I have chosen my college already.

            I’d like to go to RCC but I don’t really know yet.

            I suppose it’s just a “wait and see” sort of thing.

  4. Your goal should be to have your website bigger and better than his because he’s done a lot to spread lies.

    • My goal is to eventually develop a site that has a considerable amount of good information and enough traffic to rank highly on searches so people can find the information. This isn’t tit for tat though. We do it because it’s interesting and because we want the information to be readily available… Not because of the people out there who claim otherwise. They aren’t worth stressing over.

      • That’s why I keep coming back to your site, I see what your doing and I love it.

        This place could be the place where people could find the truth about the War of 1861-1865.

        People could even organise protests or rallies here.

        I see your site and i’m filled with hope in the cause.

        So I’ll come by and post a few links from time to time.

        “….And more recently the Confederate legislature of Tennessee have passed an act forcing into their military service (I quote literally) all male free persons of color between the ages of fifteen and fifty, or such number as may be necessary, who may be sound in body and capable of actual service; and they further enacted that in the event a sufficient number of free persons of color to meet the wants of the State shall not tender their services, then the Governor is empowered through the sheriff’s of different counties to impress such persons until the required number is obtained…..”

        Lieutenant-Colonel William H Ludlow (Agent for Exchange of Prisoners / 73rd New York Volunteer Infantry.

        June 1863 Series II, Volume VI “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies.”

        “…Attack on Our Soldiers by Armed Negroes

        A member of the Indiana Twentieth Regiment, now encamped near Fortress Monroe, writes to the Indianapolis Journal on the 23rd.

        Yesterday morning General Mansfield with Drake de Kay, Aide-de-Camp in command of seven companies of the 20th New York, German Riffles, left Newport News on a reconnaissance. Just after passing Newmarket Bridge, seven miles from camp, they detached one company as an advance, and soon after their advance was attacked by 600 of the enemy’s cavalry.

        The company formed to receive cavalry, but the CAVALRY ADVANCING deployed to the right and left when within musket range and unmasked a body of SEVEN HUNDRED negro infantry, all armed with muskets, who opened fire on our men, wounding two lieutenants and two privates, and rushing forward surrounded the company of Germans who cut their way through killing six of the negroes and wounding several more. The main body, hearing the firing, advanced at a double-quick in time to recover their wounded, and drive the enemy back, but did not succeed in taking any prisoners. The wounded men TESTIFY POSITIVELY that they were shot by Negroes, and that not less than seven hundred were present, armed with muskets.

        This is, indeed, a new feature in the war. We have heard of a regiment of Negroes at Manassas, and another at Memphis, and still another at New Orleans but did not believe it till it came so near home, and attacked our men. THERE IS NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. The 20th German were actually attacked and fired on and wounded by Negroes.

        It is time that this thing was understood, and if they fight us with Negroes, why should not we fight them with Negroes too? We have disbelieved these reports too long, and now let us fight the devil with fire. The feeling is intense among the men. They want to know if they came here to fight Negroes, and if they did, they would like to know it. The wounded men swear they will kill any Negro they see, so excited are they at the dastardly act. It remains to be seen how long the Government will now hesitate, when they learn these facts. One of the Lieutenants was shot in the back part of the neck, and is not expected to live…..”

        Sandusky Ohio Register December 31, 1861

        Above From:
        Indianapolis Journal December 23, 1861

        Forrest’s speech during a meeting of the “Jubilee of Pole Bearers” is a story that needs to be told. Gen. Forrest was the first white man to be invited by this group which was a forerunner of today’s NAACP.

        A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event that included a Southern barbeque supper.

        Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan Bedford Forrest delivered this speech:

        “…Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none.

        I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand……” (Prolonged applause.)

        J.H. Sears, Charles Kelly Barrow “Black Southerners In Confederate Armies” (Pelican, 2007)

        Memphis Avalanche, July 4th 1875 [Front page]

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