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Devil-Anse-and-Louvicey-LevWilliam Anderson Hatfield (September 9, 1839 – January 6, 1921) — known as Devil Anse Hatfield — was the patriarch of the Hatfield clan during the infamous Hatfield–McCoy feud which has since formed a part of American folklore. Devil Anse himself survived the feud and agreed to end it in 1891.

Hatfield was born in Logan, Virginia (now Logan, West Virginia), the son of Ephraim Hatfield, of English descent, and Nancy Vance.

His nickname “Devil Anse” has a variety of supposed origins: it was given to him by his mother; by Randolph McCoy; earned from his bravery during battle in the American Civil War; or as contrast to his good-tempered cousin, Anderson “Preacher Anse” Hatfield.

A Southern sympathizer, Hatfield formed a Confederate guerrilla fighting unit during the Civil War that he named “The Logan Wildcats.”
In 1865, he was suspected of having been involved in the murder of his rival Asa Harmon McCoy, who had fought for the Union Army and was waylaid by The Wildcats on his return home.

Hatfield had been home ill at the time of the killing, which was probably committed at the instigation of his uncle, Jim Vance. This may have sparked the beginning of the notorious feud between the two families that claimed many lives on both sides.

Hatfield was baptized on September 23, 1911 in Island Creek by William Dyke Uncle Dyke Garrett and converted to Christianity (he had maintained a largely agnostic or anti-institutional view of religion prior to this conversion).

He went on to found a Church of Christ congregation in West Virginia. He was an uncle of the eventual Governor of West Virginia, and United States Senator, Henry D. Hatfield.

Perry Conley, Moccasin Ranger Leader

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The Moccasin Rangers

The Moccasin Rangers were a Confederate guerrilla company that operated around the headwaters of the Little Kanawha River during the first two years of the Civil War. The Moccasins, led by Perry Conley, drew most of their members from Calhoun County, but at various times included men from Webster and Braxton counties. Other leaders were George Downs, Daniel Duskey, and Peter Saurburn. Conley’s name has been linked to Confederate spy Nancy Hart, from whom he received intelligence on Union forces.

The Moccasins were regarded as bushwhackers by many. According to West Virginia Civil War historian Boyd Stutler, they were responsible for atrocities on the civilian population in the region and only rarely participated in actual combat with federal troops. A group of Moccasin Rangers captured Ripley in 1861 and looted the town. The group, led by Duskey, was later captured and the men were treated as common criminals rather than prisoners of war. Indicted, tried, and sentenced to prison for robbery, they appealed to the Confederate government to intervene. The Confederates finally secured their release by trading two Union officers for them. The Confederate government tried to legitimize the Rangers by enlisting them as Company A of the 19th Regiment of Virginia Cavalry. The Rangers were neutralized only after the Union Army occupied the area in force. Some members of the Moccasin Rangers continued their service in regular Confederate units, including the 19th Regiment, until the end of the war.


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“A liberal reward is offered for information leading to the whereabouts and eventual capture of a Miss Nancy Hart, about 16 years of age, black hair, dark eyes, fair complexion. Considered to be comely in appearance, and known to be a Rebel guide and spy.” – Civil War warrant circulated throughout Western Virginia early in 1862

Nancy Hart

Nancy Hart grew up on a small farm in the mountain districts of Roane County, Virginia. She was always known as the ‘rebel of the family,’ a moniker that proved apt when Nancy, unlike her Union soldier brothers, joined a band of pro-southern guerrillas known as the Moccasin Rangers in 1861. She could ride and shoot as well as the men, and she used her gender to lure unsuspecting Yankees into revealing information that she could take to Confederate Generals.
Once, Nancy was recognized and captured in Summersville, but she seduced her guard and tricked him into giving her his rifle. She killed the guard and escaped, and came back a week later with 200 mounted infantry.
Nancy managed to avoid the rope throughout the war, and ended her days in Greenbrier County with her husband Joshua. The south may have lost the war, but it seems the “Rebel Hart” came out a winner.

A Slave steals the “CSS PLANTER”

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In the fall of 1861, Robert Smalls was assigned to steer the CSS Planter, a lightly armed Confederate military transport. On May 12, 1862, the Planter′s three white officers decided to spend the night ashore. About 3:00 a.m. the following morning, Smalls and seven of the eight enslaved crewmen decided to make a run for the Union blockading ships, as they had previously planned. Smalls dressed in the captain’s uniform and had a straw hat similar to that worn by the captain. He sailed the Planter out of what was then known as Southern Wharf, then stopped at a nearby wharf to pick up his own family and the families of other crewmen, who were hiding there.

Smalls’s daring escape succeeded. Besides her own two small cannon, the Planter had four valuable artillery pieces aboard as cargo as well as their ammunition, intended for a Confederate fort. Even more valuable, however, were the code book containing the Confederate’s secret signals, and a map of the mines and torpedoes laid around Charleston harbor.

Smalls piloted the ship past the five Confederate forts that guarded the harbor. They suspected nothing, since he had given the correct Confederate signals. The Planter passed Fort Sumter approximately 4:30am, and he headed straight for the Federal fleet, flying a white bed sheet as a sign of surrender. He was spotted by the USS Onward, which was about to fire until a sailor noticed the white flag. When the Onward′s captain boarded the Planter, Smalls requested to raise the United States flag. He then surrendered the Planter and her cargo to the United States Navy.