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Amick's Rangers
Nitre District #4
Thorn Creek, Pendleton County, is the site of the Amick black powder mill that exploded and there are numerous family stories passed down about it.   John the miller Amick built the the black powder mill.  One morning the mill exploded, and having survived the blast, soon after, John the miller and Catherine moved to Nicholas County.  His son Arnold was detailed as a miner and mechanic to the Government Works at Narrows during the war.  The Propst family was also known for black powder making.
The Confederacy was divided into 14 niter and mining districts with several located in the Valley and Ridge of western Virginia.  At least 25 Virginia saltpeter caves were active over the course of the war.

May 2, 1861 William F Gordon, clerk Virginia House of delegates, and business partner S.M. Keller propose powder manufacturing in Monroe and Greenbrier Counties.

May 28, 1861 Gov Letcher wrote General Alfred Ward Grayson Davis that Virginia would buy powder made

August 1, 1861, General Alfred Ward Grayson Davis (Miss. Militia) in production at Oregon Cave

Nitre District No. 4, Confederate Nitre and Mining Bureau, was headquartered at Union, the county seat of Monroe County, by Captain James Bradford Noyes, Charleston salt maker.  He was engaged in extracting niter, or saltpeter, from the limestone caves of Monroe, Greenbrier, and Pendleton counties.
Alfred Ward Grayson Davis (1806-1865)   A native of Vanceburg, Ky., Alfred Davis enrolled in 1824 as a cadet at West Point, where he roomed with his cousin Jefferson Davis. Leaving the Military Academy before graduating, Davis studied law and in 1827 was appointed attorney general of the Arkansas Territory by President Andrew Jackson. In 1831 he moved to the Mississippi Delta to plant cotton and was soon elected major general in the Mississippi militia. Davis married a Virginian in 1834 and established a homestead on the Greenbrier River, southwest of Lewisburg, W.Va. In the years following his marriage, Davis moved from western Virginia, first to Texas and later to Mississippi. By the time of the secession crisis, however, he was back in Virginia, a member of the state legislature and delegate to that state's secession convention. Although Alfred Davis had initially opposed secession, in the opening years of the war he became active in organizing resistance to Northern invasion and began niter production.. In September 1862 he was commissioned a major in the Confederate Quarter Master Department and received orders to assume the duties of Post Quarter Master at Greenville.  Rachel Stuart (Lewis Stuart & Sarah Lewis) was born May 30, 1816 in Greenbrier and married Alfred Davis and they lived near Fort Spring Station.

Amick, Arnold              22nd Va Inf    (son of John the miller Amick)
Baumgardner, Henry W.  8th Va Cav
Baumgardner, James A.   48th Va Inf.
Baumgardner, James  M   F&S

Davis, William S: Captain  (son)
Jackson, William A    (22nd Va Inf)

Noyes, James Bradford Born: March 4,1837 in Charleston, Kanawha, Virginia  Died: d. 19 Feb.19, 1904 in Charleston, WV. 
                                     James B. Noyes; Pvt. Co. H, 22 Virginia Infantry,  Enl. 5/6/61, Charleston.
                                     Clerk & A.C.S.   Sgt. Lewisburg 1/62,    Sup't. Nitre #4  1/15/62- 9/30/64.    Capt 12/31/62

Hounshell, D.S   Major  51st Va Inf, F&S to General A W G. Davis to organize guards & miners for Nitre District #4
Tompkins, Christopher Quarles, Colonel, CSA
James I. Robertson, ed, Proceedings of the Advisory Council of the State of Virginia, April 21-June 19, 1861. Virginia State Library
Family Places
Nitre #4   Con't Pg 2 sitemap
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