Exerpts from the diary of Samuel Clarke Farrar, Historical
Society of Western Pennsylvania Archives, MFF# 4844. This diary
transcript was created by Debbie Day, intern at HSWP Archives in
November 2006. We thank Mr. J. Bracken Burns for having brought this poignant description
of life in our county at the end of the Civil War to our
After an earlier experience in the army, Samuel Clarke Farrar enlisted
on September 21, 1864 at New Brighton, Pennsylvania. He served much
of his time around New Creek with excursions to Moorefield and
Cumberland and Martinsburg. He also made a brief trip to Romney after
the war had officially ended and President Lincoln had been
Beginning at page 52 -
[May] 5th Friday The band took a
holiday. Scott went to Greenland Gap: Wise, McCune, Foster and Myself
in company with six others from the Reg't went to Romney: Romney
probably has been a smart aristocratic town of 5 or 600 inhabitants.
At the present it is in a deplorable condition, nearly one half the
houses vacant, the glass having been taken out of these to repair
others: The public buildings are badly used up. The jail is burned
down: The Court House badly defaced.
The town was entirely dead to
business, excepting a single cabinet maker, whose pounding alone
disturbed the silence of the town. Not a store of any kind in the
place, which they say has been the case for over two years.
The citizens are very shabbily dressed
in old worn out old fashioned garb. The blacksmith, told me, he
couldn't work on acc't of having no coal which prior to the war came
from the B and O. R.R. The citizens have no currency but trade the
necessaries of life for what they buy; Not a vehicle in town. The
streets are almost deserted. A few paroled prisoners were lounging
around: These were rather sulky & quiet: There is no law of any
kind and robbery and horse stealing are common: The farmers were busy
As we were coming home we met Maj
Troxel some four miles from camp with 2 or 300 men going to Romney,
having been sent on a fools errand under the impression that a Rebel
force was there; McNeil and fourteen of his men came in and
surrendered and were paroled at New Creek.
[May] 6 Sat McNeil left this
morning. Shortly afterward a dispatch came to detain him, but he was
The diary contains several entries
dealing with the surrender of McNeil's Rangers and other local men.
They include the following:
5th april 1865 Wedy A
scout of 100 men under Capt Chissom went towards Romney and came
almost up with McNeil who was laying in camp some 15 miles out ~
Chissom sent in for reinforcements and all the mounted men were sent
Apr 20 Thursday A
commissioner came under flag Of truce, from the Reb. McNeils command
and was negotiating at "Hed Qrs" for the surrender of that body.
[April] 21 Friday Just seven
months since I enlisted. A flag of truce went out to Petersburg with
it Gen Hays and several other officials: The object was to secure the
surrender and parole of rebel troops in that Valley: A Reb officer
arrested on the night train, he being suspicioned as a conspirator.
Great excitement almost a mob:
[April] 24 Monday
Several Rebel officers Lieut McNeil et.al. and their orderlies in all
about a dozen come down to the lines to confer with the authorities
regarding a surrender: The Gen wouldn't let them in, but went out to
the picket post to see them. They are going to stay all night.
[April] 25 Tuesday The
Rebs went away this morning
[April] 28 Beautiful weather
fruit trees out in full bloom. Scout ret'd bringing in of the rebs,
two Capts. Scott and Harness also two Lieuts, a Qr Master and several
privates with some horses.
[April] 29 Saturday A Lieut
of Scotts guerillas, came in under flag of truce to come to terms of
surrender for his company.
[April] 30th Sabbath Reg't
mustered for pay: a party of 29 Rebs came in under flag of truce.
Surrendered and were paroled: They had no arms. They turned nothing
over to the Govt. Their horses were private and they kept them. Their
saddles were Govt. (Reb and U.S) Strange but they were allowed to keep
them. They were Harness' Scott's and some of McNeils men. Among them
were several Lieuts. They were rather good looking men. Rather saucy
looking. They purchased a pretty good load of clothing shoes &c
and scattered to their homes. May 1 Monday Five more Rebs came in and
See entry for May 5th
[May] 9 Five Rebs came in and
[May] 27 The scout
which went to Moorefield last week ret'd today, bringing with them the
notorious horse thief and bushwack Carlisle: They brought him up
through camp to the Smith shop to have the ball and chain riveted on
him. A great many men followed after the guards shouting. "Shoot him"
"Hang him" &c.