Peter Wilt
1819 - 1900
By Richard Wilt

      Peter Wilt was born in Allenghney County, MD in February of 1819. He was from the area known as Savage River which lies in Garrett County, MD not far from the city of Oakland.

      He grew to manhood in the western part of Maryland and as many in his family first moved to Preston County, VA and then on to Barbour County near the small village of St. George where he had a farm on Clover Run running up Texas Mountain into Barbour County. In Barbour County he met and married Catherine Wilson the daughter of John H. and Hannah Townsend Wilson. He and Catherine lived on his farm on Clover Run having 9 children before the Civil War.
These children were:
1. Mary b. Feb 12, 1840 d. Oct 24, 1896 m. Andrew J. Miller
2. John H. b.Jul 11, 1841 d. Nov 2, 1908 m. Nancy Phillips
3. Abagail b. Nov 22, 1843 d. Nov 9, 1905 m. Daniel Samuel Miller
4. George K. b. Feb 1, 1846 d. Dec 6, 1932 m. Lucinda jane Phillips
5. Wilson b.1848 m. Elizabeth C. Kiser
6. Sarah Jane b.1851 d. Nov 34, 1932 m. Daniel J. Nestor
7. Violena b. (Vilena) b. May 20, 1853 d. Dec 31, 1872
8. Thomas b. May 2, 1856 m. Osee A. Nestor
9. Enzina (Anzina) b. Oct 24, 1858

      He was a properous farmer and he left his chrildren with his wife when the Civil War began, not far from his home in Philippi, VA. Units of the Confederate Army were being formed in his area.

      Peter entered the Confederate Army in the spring of 1861 in the 31st Infrantry. The 31st Infantry Regiment was organized under W.L. Jackson and mustered into Confederate service in July, 1861. Many of its members were raised in Marion, Pendleton, and Gilmer counties. The unit was active in Lee’s Cheat Mountain Campaign and Jackson’s Valley operations. Later it was assigned to General Early’s, W. Smith’s, Pegram’s, and J.A. Walker’s Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. The 31st participated in the difficult campaigns of the army from the Seven Days’ Battles to Cold Harbor, then moved with Early to the Shenandoah Valley and was active around Appomattox. This regiment reported 13 casualties at Greenbrier River, 37 at Camp Alleghany, 19 at McDowell, and 97 at Cross Keys and Port Republic. It lost 3 killed and 17 wounded at Cedar Mountain, had 5 killed and 20 wounded at Second Manassas, and suffered 1 killed and 7 wounded at Sharpsburg. Of the 267 in action at Gettysburg, ten percent were disabled. On April 9, 1865, it surrendered with 7 officers and 49 men of which 22 were armed. The field officers were Colonels John S. Hoffman, William L. Jackson, and Samuel H. Reynolds; Lieutenant Colonels Francis M. Boykin, Alfred H. Jackson, and J.S. Kerr McCutchen; and Majors James C. Arbogast, Joseph H. Chenoweth, and William P. Cooper.

      Peter was shot through the knee in the Battle of Port Republic, VA and was placed in the hospital. The report of his wound was signed by William Potter of Co. K 31st VA Inf and he was absent from duty with the wound and in the Hospital in October 1864. Peter remained in the Army but did suffer from a very visible limp due to being shot through the knee.

Battle of Fort Repubic

"Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign achieved improbable success in the early summer of 1862. In early June, he led his small army to the town of Port Republic, only a few days ahead of two pursuing Union armies. From Port Republic, he could escape the valley and return to Richmond a hero. Jackson, however, could not pass on a chance to defeat the Union columns in detail as they approached, one on either side of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. On June 8, Jackson’s men dealt a severe blow to Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont's Yankees at Cross Keys, on the west side of the fork.

That same day, Union cavalry crossed over from the east side of the fork and raided Jackson’s headquarters at Port Republic. In a brief skirmish the Yankees nearly captured Jackson and, for a time, controlled the vital North Bridge over the South Fork. The arrival of the 37th Virginia drove the Yankees from the village, leaving Jackson in possession of Port Republic and its river crossing.

The Federals—the lead element of Brig. Gen. James Shields' division, temporarily commanded by Brig. Gen. Erastus B. Tyler—established a strong defensive position along the Lewiston Lane. Their right rested on the river and extended along the Lewiston Lane toward the River Road, where their left was anchored on a high knoll called the Coaling. Tyler judiciously placed his artillery here, giving the Yankee gunners command of nearly their entire front which consisted primarily of an open field between the River Road and the South Fork. With Fremont cowed, Jackson made plans to attack and destroy this second column.

Just after 5:00am on June 9, Brig. Gen. Charles Winder led the famed "Stonewall" Brigade in an attack against Tyler’s position. Artillery rounds from the Coaling tore into Winder's men advancing across the open plain, driving them back, with Yankee infantry in hot pursuit. Though Jackson outnumbered Tyler on paper, Confederate reinforcements were slowed considerably by a bottleneck at the North Bridge.

The situation east of the River Road was entirely different. Thick woods shielded the Southerners' approach, allowing the 2nd and 4th Virginia to advance directly upon the Union gunners at the Coaling. The Virginians seized control of Tyler’s artillery platform only to be confronted by an onslaught of Federal infantry. After a vicious hand-to-hand struggle, the Confederates were forced to relinquish control of the guns while they waited for their own reinforcements. When help finally arrived in the form of Brig. Gen. Richard Taylor's Louisiana brigade, the Southerners again charged the Coaling, this time taking it in flank. This was too much for Tyler's men, who hastily fled down the reverse slope. With the Yankee artillery position firmly in Confederate hands, the whole of Tyler's line collapsed and withdrew in confusion.

With the two Federal wings now cut off from one another, the Yankees withdrew north through the Valley. After three weeks of marching and fighting, Jackson had neutralized the Union threat in the Shenandoah for the foreseeable future

      On December 5, 1864 a report was filed in Clarksburg, VA. The following discription was noted at this time as follows: Peter Wilt, age 45 height 5 feet 8 inches with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and red hair. It stated that he was born in Allighany County, VA being a famer and residence listed as Barbour County, WV. He had been enrolled May 1862 at Philippi, VA. Peter was ordered to report on November 18, 1864 to Fort Pendleton to Capt Godwin. On November 29, 1864 he ws administer the oath required of all Conferate Soldiers prior to being relieast into by the civilian population. The report was signed by F. McCaw.

      Fort Pendleton was located very far from home in eastern Virginia and Peter was just set free and told to find his own way home. Suffering with a severe painful limp he slowing found his way across the entire state of Virgina and on to his farm on Clover Run.

      Being a resourceful young man, after arriving home he realize that there was a better way to make a living other than farming. Peter built a small traven on corner of 1st Street and Water Street in Parsons which turned into a lucative business, being the very first tavern in Parson, WV.

      Sometime after 1881 David Wilt, Peter's brother came to live with him and assist him in running the tavern. David's wife had passed away and David decided to move in with his brother. David had been a lumber jack and later a sawyer for many years. David, my great grand father died May 22, 1888 and is buried in a small cemetery at the mouth of Clover Run in a grave marked with just a field stone.

      Peter operated his tavern for the next 12 years after his brother died. Peter was well known throughout Parsons and Tucker County and died on December 21, 1900 and was buried next to his brother in the small cemetery and his grave is also only marked with a field stone. The cemtery is located on land that had been part of Peter's farm very near to the Cheat River at the mouth of Clover Run at St. George, WV.

Small cemetery located at the mouth of Clover Run near St. George, WV.
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