Charles Fletcher Douthat (60) was born in Pulaski County, Virginia, and was married to my namesake, Mary Fletcher Foote (61). He was son of Jacob Yost Douthat and grandson of Robert Douthat and Mary Yost, who had many offspring, most living in Montgomery and Pulaski counties. Many of these uncles and cousins practiced related crafts - wagon maker, blacksmith, saddler, and shoemaker. C.F. lived in Pearisburg in Giles County in the household of John R. Douthat, his older brother, in 1860. Both were listed in the Census as saddlers.
The Confederate Military Rosters compiled by the Commonwealth of Virginia in the early part of the 1900's report that C.F. Douthat was a private in McComas's battery, Va. Light Artillery. This battery was enlisted in Giles Co., just west of Pulaski, and just east Mercer Co. He later served as a private in Company H, 37th Battalion, Virginia Calvary (Dunn's Battalion, Partisan Rangers) (NPS "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System"). During this time he was attached to the quartermaster's corp as a teamster. William H. Douthat, his younger brother, also served in Co. H. (General Index Card- M382 roll 16) The unit disbanded in mid-April, 1865.
On May 26, 1861, the month after Virginia seceded from the Union, the Pearisburg Reserves, organized by William Wirt McComas enlisted in state service for one year. With the exception of an overnight stay in Pearisburg enroute to Dublin Depot in November 1861, the unit did not return to Giles County until 1865.
The South, expecting a quick victory or a European intervention, mustered in most of its volunteers for only one year, as was the case with the Pearisburg Reserves. In 1862 there was a period of disruption as the Confederacy came to terms with the fact that conscription was necessary. Initial attempts led to demoralized forces "and it involved nothing less than a reconstruction of the entire land forces of the Confederacy in the face of the enemy." (Robert E. Lee, by Douglas S. Freeman) There is no evidence C.F. Douthat changed commands at this time, however, and the other company he is recorded serving in was not formed for another year.
His troops were mostly from Pearisburg, but members of the ranks represented communities from Peterstown to Newport to Rocky Gap to White Gate. They were a cross section of the population, the greatest number being farmers, while others noted their occupations as student, carpenter, shoemaker, blacksmith, merchant, tailor, lawyer, wagon maker. Twenty-four of the original volunteers were illiterate, signing their name with an "X". Their differences in background were minor compared to the unity of their resolve to protect their Appalachian homes and their state. Pearisburg.org© 2009, rev. 2013 Footie Lund