CABINET CARD PHOTO OF 14TH VIRGINIA CAVALRY OFFICER AND HIS FORMER BODY SERVANT

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Item Code: 2020-414

Image shows Samuel William Newman Feamster meeting with his former body servant Samuel Woods for the first time in 35 years. Feamster is shown standing by a rocking chair in his front yard with the porch of his home in the background. His white flowing hair and beard form a nice contrast to his medium colored civilian suit. He is shown in mid conversation with his hand up and his finger pointing. Mr. Woods stands facing his former comrade and listens intently. He wears a dark civilian suit with matching vest and exposed watch chain.

Overall, the card meas. approx. 5.00 x 7.25 inches. The mounted image meas. approx. 3.50 x 5.50 inches. Mount edges have moderate surface wear with surface finish loss. The image itself has great clarity and contrast.

A period ink inscription on the reverse reads: “LIEUT. S. W. N. FEAMSTER OF CO. A 14TH VA. REGT. AND HIS OLD BODY SERVANT SAML. WOODS WHO MADE HIM A MUCH APPRECIATED VISIT IN SPRING OF 1909 AFTER AN ABSENCE OF 35 YEARS.”

Under this inscription is another one in more recent ink that reads: “LT. WM.- FELIX’S GRANDFATHER AND HIS OLD “BODY SERVANT” FROM THE ARMY, SAM WOODS PAYING A VISIT AFTER 30 YEARS.”

With the image are two Feamster family documents.

The first document is a 6-page sketch of Lieutenant Colonel Claude Newman Feamster who was the son of Thomas Lewis Feamster who also served in Company A, 14th Virginia Cavalry. The document is titled “FROM POVERTY TO LEISURE” and was written by Felix C. Feamster, the son of Claude and the grandson of Thomas. He is, no doubt, the “Felix” mentioned on the back of the image, however, the inscription is in error and Samuel was not his grandfather. In fact, Samuel and Thomas Feamster were brothers.

The second document is from the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, D. C. It is an envelope and letter dated March 6, 1935 and it states that William Femister served during the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain Thomas Thweatt’s Company of the 14th Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Lewis from January 16, 1777 until his death on June 12, 1777.

Samuel W. N. Feamster was born on February 21, 1836 in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. He was 25 years old when he was commissioned a 1st lieutenant in Company A, 14th Virginia Cavalry on May 23, 1861.

The 14th Virginia Cavalry served in both the Department of Western Virginia and later the Department of Northern Virginia serving first in Jenkins and then is McCausland’s brigade. They were in, by their count, 384 battles and skirmishes to include Bull Run, Kernstown, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, 2nd Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Winchester, Upperville, Gettysburg, Grant’s Overland Campaign, Monocacy, Fisher’s Hill, Tom’s Brook, Petersburg and finally Appomattox.

Samuel Feamster was on the rolls until wounded on July 12, 1864 at Charleston, West Virginia but he returned in August only to be wounded again on September 24, 1864 near Timberville, Virginia when he was shot through both lungs.

Of his war service the book “GREENBRIER PIONEERS & THEIR HOMES” says;

“… LIEUTENANT SAMUEL WILLIAM NEWMAN FEAMSTER WAS ALSO A BRAVE AND EFFICIENT CIVIL WAR SOLDIER. HIS FIRST SERVICE WAS AT PHILIPPI AND IN RANDOLPH COUNTY, WHERE HE WAS VERY ACTICE. HIS CAPTAIN BEING IN BAD HEALTH, LIEUTENANT FEAMSTER WAS GENERALLY IN COMMAND OF THE COMPANY. IT WAS IN THIS CAMPAIGN THAT GENERAL MCCAUSLAND IS CREDITED WITH SAYING ‘NEWMAN FEAMSTER CAN FIGHT LIKE THE DEVIL AND RUN LIKE THE WIND!’

“….DURING EARLY’S CAMPAIGN IN THE VALLEY, IN 1864, LIEUTENANT FEAMSTER WAS SHOT THROUGH THE BODY AND BADLY WOUNDED. MANAGING TO STAY ON HIS HORSE, WITH THE SUPPORT OF ONE OF HIS MEN, HE RODE TEN MILES BEFORE RECEIVING MEDICAL ATTENTION. HE RECOVERED FROM THIS WOUND AND CONTINUED HIS DUTIES TO THE END OF THE WAR. HIS REGIMENT HAVING BEEN TRANSFERRED TO BEAGLE’S BRIGADE AT PETERSBURG IN MARCH, 1865, HE WAS IN THE FINAL RETREAT TO APPOMATTOX AND AT THE SURRENDER ON APRIL 9, 1865.”

Feamster died on April 15, 1915 and is buried in Old Greenbrier Baptist Church Cemetery in Anderson, West Virginia.

Efforts to locate information on Samuel Woods failed to yield any results.  [ad]

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