William Epps Overby

Father of David Overby and Grandfather of James W. Overby

My Great-Great Grandfather – by David Arthur

Birth:  Dec. 28, 1818

Chesterfield County

Virginia, USA

Death:  Apr. 21, 1863

Hanover County

Virginia, USA

Son of Robert and Mary Overby. Died at age 44.

Ref - Blandford Cemetery records, his date of death 21 Apr 1863, and burial 28 Apr 1863.

Civil War Service

Enlisted March 9, 1862 in Sussex C.H. VA:

PVT, Co. "D" 13th Regt, VA Cavalry (formally the 5th VA CAV)

He appears on the roster of Winfields Co., 5th VA Cav.

Note: Resided in Sussex Co.; Co. K, 5th VA Cav; died of consumption at Hanover Academy Hospital, VA


Blandford Cemetery

Petersburg, Virginia, USA

Plot: Ward: Civil War Soldiers, Sec: Virginia, Sq. Soldier, Loc: Memorial Hill, Grave # 155

(above Plot info. is from Blandford web site which has been edited. This info. is different from the transcription below which is from the book at the cemetery office.)

(Blandford Book transcription) See Appendix

(Left Page)

28 (date burried 4-28-1863) Overby, Wm E  Pri. Co D 13th Sussex Va Cav.) Robert & Mary Overby (parents)


(Right Page)

21 (date died 4-21-1863) No Report (cause of death) 44-4 (age 44 years - 4 Months) Chesterfield Co. VA  Put on SW cor of his sq S by S.V. Staileman (Info from Blandford website - Last Name:   STAILEMAN, First Name:   SALLY, Middle Name:    V, Date of Death:   3/26/1863, Interment Date: 3/27/1863)

The information from the Blandford Cemetery Book indicates his actual burial site. The US Park service in the early 1900s compiled a record of the soldiers buried in the ward: Civil War Soldier, Section: Virginia, mass grave on Memorial Hill. W E Overby is included in that list, but there is no documentation at Blandford to support his inclusion. Research reveals that the Park Service Record was taken from the “burial roster” at Blandofd, and obviously W E Overby’s inclusion was an error. W E Overby’s son-in-law, James Thayer owned a square which was purchased at the death of his daughter in 1861 and it is the same square where Elizabeth Overby, W E Overby’s  wife and some decendants were later buried. The first burial in this square (prior to his death) was Nancy Elizabeth Thayer in 1861, who was a granddaughter of W E Overby. The square is Old Ground Ward H, Section 6, Square 3.

 For more information on his actual burial site, see     http://www.edavidarthur.net/WEOverbyBurialSite.htm


The 5th Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Virginia 5th Cavalry was re-organized in June, 1862, using six companies of scouts under Lieutenant Colonel H. Clay Pate known as the 2nd Battalion Virginia Cavalry as its nucleus. These men who had been serving since May and the additional four companies added in June were from Petersburg and Fairfax, Gloucester (Co. F, the Mathews Light Dragoons), King and Queen, Mathews, Randolph, and James City counties.

It was assigned to W.H.F. Lee's, F. Lee's, Lomax's, and Payne's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. The unit participated in the Seven Days' Battles, the Second Bull Run, Maryland campaigns, and Battle of Fredericksburg,

W.E. Overby was shown “present” on the rolls of the 5th VA Calvary for the dates of the above engagements. See Appendix

(After the death of W. E. Overby in 1863 the 5th VA Calvary continued service at)

Brandy Station, Upperville, Gettysburg, Bristoe, and Mine Run. Later it was involved at The Wilderness and Cold Harbor, and in Early's Shenandoah Valley operations.


"The 5th Virginia Cavalry was reorganized on May 25, 1862. Newly commissioned Colonel Tom Rosser was given the new unit. The Regiment was poorly armed, other than some Jenk’s carbines (See Appendix) and a few privately owned shotguns and pistols. Secretary of War George Randolph had promised Rosser new arms from the next shipment to land in Wilmington, NC. Those new arms never arrived, instead they were issued green ash poles with a 24 inch farmers’ scythe lashed to one end. Some of the poles were unbalanced, “Butterfly poles” they called them, for a bright pennon was attached to the end."

The Seven Days Battles were a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. The 5th VA Calvary participated.

Location: Hanover and Henrico Counties

Result: Confederate victory


"On the night of August 22, The 5th led the attack on John Pope’s (Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia) supply depot and captured a wagon train. “To my delight,” wrote Rosser, ”I found it to be an Ordnance Train, and soon my men were all armed with carbines, pistols, saddles, bridles – halters and everything we needed and the “ butterflies’ were thrown away.”

The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862 in Prince William County, Virginia.

It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia against Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia, and a battle of much larger scale and numbers than the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) fought in 1861 on the same ground.

"Stuart's cavalry (including 5th VA) encountered Porter, Hatch, and McDowell moving up the Manassas-Gainesville Road and a brief firefight halted the Union column.

Then a courier arrived with a message for Porter and McDowell, a controversial document from Pope that has become known as the "Joint Order". Historian John J. Hennessy described the order as a "masterpiece of contradiction and obfuscation that would become the focal point of decades of wrangling." It described the attacks on Jackson's left, which were already underway, but was unclear about what Porter and McDowell were supposed to do. Rather than moving "to" Gainesville and striking Jackson's supposedly unprotected right flank, it described a move "toward" Gainesville and "as soon as communication is established [with the other divisions] the whole command shall halt. It may be necessary to fall back behind Bull Run to Centreville tonight." Nowhere in the order did Pope explicitly direct Porter and McDowell to attack and he concluded the order with "If any considerable advantages are to be gained from departing from this order it will not be strictly carried out," rendering the document virtually useless as a military order.

Meanwhile, Stuart's cavalry (including 5th VA) under Col. Thomas Rosser deceived the Union generals by dragging tree branches behind a regiment of horses to simulate great clouds of dust from large columns of marching soldiers."

Following a wide-ranging flanking march, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson captured the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction, (5th VA Calvary participated).

"The 5th was also involved in the capture and ransacking of Manassas Junction on August 27 according to Major Henry B. McClellan in his book, I Rode with JEB Stuart.

He also states: “During this movement his rear [Jackson’s] was covered by the 2nd and 5th Virginia Cavalry, under Colonels Munford and Rosser. After supplying his troops with all that they needed from the captured stores at the Junction, and having destroyed what he could not remove.”

Result: Confederate victory


During the Maryland Campaign, (or Antietam Campaign—September 4–20) the 5th Virginia Cavalry was on the far right of Lee’s Army in Westminster, MD.

"Here is what two newspapers wrote about their stay:

American Sentinel Sept. 26 1862

“about eleven o’clock on Friday they left, not however, before our citizens were heartily disgusted with their dirty and uncouth appearance. No two of them had uniforms alike, and what few they had, together with the best of their horses had been captured from the federal army.”

New York Herald Sept. 15, 1862

“They had good horses and were well-equipped. Some of the saddles and trappings had been captured from our forces. The Colonel rode a horse which they said was one of the two belonging to General Pope that the regiment had captured at Cattett’s Station. The men were pretty well clothed, but in all colors, shades, and textures. Scarcely two of the men or even the officers were dressed alike. While there appeared a general attempt at uniform, there was a totally disregard of uniformity.”


On October 10, 1862, Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, with 1800 cavalrymen (including the 5th VA), raided Chambersburg, destroying $250,000 of railroad property and taking 500 guns, hundreds of horses, and at least "eight young colored men and boys." They failed, however, to accomplish one of the main targets of the raid: to burn the railroad bridge across the Conococheague Creek at Scotland, five miles north of town.

"On October 10, the troopers of the 5th that were fit also rode with Stuart to Chambersburg, PA where ”the railroad warehouses were looted and large quantities of hats, boots, overcoats, and weapons were carried off by rebels. Some wore as many as three hats, and they draped extra overcoats across their saddles.”

A Union newspaper correspondent fumed that in the town the Confederates “entered the stores and private residences, feeding and clothing themselves in the presence of ladies. Throwing off their filthy, lousy garments, and standing in a state of semi-nudity before them while putting better things on and finally, to add insult to injury, offered these women of ours their greasy, worthless Confederate script for what they have taken.”

The Confederates swarmed through the Federal warehouses in the town, loading themselves with more boots, shoes, trousers, and overcoats. Many swapped their gray or butternut uniforms for new ones of Union blue. “They came in rags,” wrote one Yankee. “But went away like gentlemen-that is, if new clothing will entitle a man to be called a gentleman.”


The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside. The Union Army's futile frontal attacks on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War, with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates.

Burnside's plan was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in mid-November and race to the Confederate capital of Richmond before Lee's army could stop him. Bureaucratic delays prevented Burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time and Lee moved his army to block the crossings. When the Union army was finally able to build its bridges and cross under fire, urban combat in the city resulted on December 11–12. Union troops prepared to assault Confederate defensive positions south of the city and on a strongly fortified ridge just west of the city known as Marye's Heights.

On December 13, the "grand division" of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin was able to pierce the first defensive line of Confederate Lieutenant General Stonewall Jackson to the south, but was finally repulsed. Burnside ordered the grand divisions of Maj. Gens. Edwin V. Sumner and Joseph Hooker to make multiple frontal assaults against Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's position on Marye's Heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses. On December 15, Burnside withdrew his army, ending another failed Union campaign in the Eastern Theater.

(This was the last engagement of record for the 5th VA Calvary before the death of W. E. Overby.)






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Around 4,250 Jenks carbines were manufactured by N.P. Ames in Springfield, Mass. It is a 54 caliber, single shot, percussion, side hammer breechloader. It is a 24 ¼ round browned barrel held on by two barrel bands. The trigger guard, butt and barrel bands are made from brass. Breech lever and lockplate are casehardened.  Lockplate is marked N.P.AMES/SPRINGFIELD/MASS, and W, JENKS.  The markings on the breech are W JENKS/USN/ (inspectors initials) 1842. Bore has rifling.



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