Confederate Captain and the leader of McNeill’s Rangers, John Hanson McNeill died from wounds received earlier on November 10th 1864.
John Hanson McNeill was born June 12th 1815 in Moorefield, Hardy County, Virginia [now a part of West Virginia], the son of Strother and Amy (Pugh) McNeill. He was known in the family as Hanse. He moved first in 1838 to Bourbon County, Kentucky, and then in 1848 to Boone County, Missouri, where he went into the cattle business, and would become a Methodist minister.
When the Civil War started McNeill commanded Company B in the 4th Missouri State Guard. He was with them at Boonville, Carthage, Lexington and the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. While on recruiting duty he was captured and held as a prisoner of war in St Louis, Missouri, before escaping June 15th 1862, and traveling back to Virginia. McNeill went to Richmond, Virginia where he requested permission to form an independent command to operate in West Virginia. Richmond gave him command of Company E in the 18th Virginia Cavalry on September 5th 1862, commonly called McNeill’s Rangers. They led attacks and made raids on Union camps, wagon trains, and railroads.
On October 3rd 1864 while leading an early morning raid in which the McNeill Rangers attacked the Union 8th Ohio Cavalry that was guarding the bridge at Meems Bottom near the town of Jackson, Virginia, McNeill was wounded. He was taken first to the home of Reverend Addison Weller, and then moved to Hill’s Hotel in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was there over a month later that McNeill died on November 10th 1864. He was first buried in Harrisonburg, but a few months later his body was moved to the Olivet Cemetery in Moorefield, West Virginia.
If you’re interested in reading more, check out The McNeill Rangers: A Study in Confederate Guerrilla Warfare