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Feamster McClung

Obituary of S. W. N. Feamster, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

A wave of sorrow surged through the hearts of his friends when it was known that Col. S. W. N. Feamster had fallen from the ranks and gone to join the silent host. He was descended from some of the oldest and most honored familes of Greenbrier County, Va. (now West Virginia). He was the youngest son of William and Pattie Alderson Feamster, born February 21, 1836. His illness was short, and on a beautiful Sabbath, April 18, 1915, he died at his town home in Alderson, surrounded by his family.

The brave old soldier passed fearlessly through the gloaming of "life's little day," and thus passed away one of the most honored and prominent citizens of the county, a man held in high esteem by rich and poor. As a citizen he was exemplary: as a neighbor he followed the example of the Good Samaritan, ever ready to assist all in need; in all his dealings he was honest with his fellow man; as a friend and father he was almost without a peer; as a Confederate, Camp Creigh, U. C. V., had no more ardent member. His wife was Miss Anne Elizabeth McClung, daughter of Joseph and Mary Mathews McClung, who, with seven sons and three daughters, survives him.

Greenbrier sent into the great War between the States, no braver nor more efficient soldier than Colonel Feamster. He enlisted in the Greenbrier Cavalry, the first company to leave the county, than which no finer company nor better mounted one enlisted in the Confederate army. On account of the ill health of Captain Moorman, Lieutenant Feamster virtually commanded the company in all active work. His first service of importance was in the northern part of the State under General Garnett, who was opposing General McClellan. In the trying and dangerous work of scouting and guarding the outposts Lieutenant Feamter's reputation as an efficient and daring officer became firmly established, In the battle Carrick's Ford, where General Garnett was defeated and slain, Lieutenant Feamster commanded the rear guard, the post of honor, and gave a warning to the General which, if heeded, would have saved his life. It was in this campaign that General McClellan is credited with saying the "Newman Feamster can fight like the devil and run like the wind."

After General Garrett's death, General Lee took charge of his forces and selected the Greenbrier Cavalry for his bodyguard. In the spring of 1862 the company became part of the 14th Virginia Cavalry, S. W. N. Feamster was for the second time made a lieutenant, and with this regiment he served until the close of the war. In the spring of 1863 the regiment joined General Lee and accompanied him to Gettysburg, taking part in that famous battle. In August Lieutenant Feamster engaged in the battle of Dry Creek, near White Sulphur Springs, and in November in the battle of Droup Mountain. From this time on he was in active service, taking part in the battles of Lynchburg, Winchester, Monocacy, Timberville, Five Forks, Petersburg, and even on the morning of the surrender, under the direction of General Lee, and desperate effort was made to break through the Federal line that had cut off retreat.

During Early's campaign in the valley in 1864, in the battle of Timberville, Lieutenant Feamster was shot through both lungs and left on the field as dying. Supported by two of his men, he rode in his saddle eighteen miles to Harrisonburg, where he was tenderly nursed back to health by Mrs. EEffinger, of Staunton, Va., and in six months he was back with his command. Few soldiers had more extended service or acquitted themselves with more credit. He received the title of colonel whie serving on the staff of Colonel Peyton, commanding West Virginia Division, U. C. V.

After the war Colonel Feamster made as good and loyal a citizen as he had been a soldier. He refused offices of public trust and gave his attention to agriculture, stock-raising, and real estate, making a great success in all.

Peace to his ashes and all honor to the brave soldier and exemplary citizen!

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, August, 1915.

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