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Albemarle Memories Individual Highlight: Civil War Veteran Peter C. Creekmore

Featured in the upcoming pictorial history, Albemarle Memories: A Pictorial History of the mid-1800s through 1939, is a photo of Peter C. Creekmore, the last surviving Confederate veteran of Perquimans County, circa 1932. 

Courtesy NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY, SARGEANT MEMORIAL COLLECTION

Courtesy NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY, SARGEANT MEMORIAL COLLECTION

This photo, and hundreds more beautiful historical photographs, can be found in the Adams Publishing Group’s new pictorial history book, click the link below to purchase!

Albemarle.PictorialBook.com

 

The photo was published with an article about Creekmore, both found in a scrapbook at the Norfolk Public Library. From the article which accompanied the photo:

Courtesy NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY, SARGEANT MEMORIAL COLLECTION

Courtesy NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY, SARGEANT MEMORIAL COLLECTION

Most Vivid Picture In Old Soldier's Memory Is of J. E. B. Stuart – He Recalls Time When His Own Announcement Halted Dance and General Stuart With His Men Drove Federal Cavalry Across Ford – 

Peter C. Creekmore, eighty-six-year-old resident of the Hog Neck section believed to be the sole surviving Confederate veteran of Perquimans County. He is wearing the uniform coat which he wore during the War Between the States when as a courier with the Fourth North Carolina Cavalry he was often sent with dispatched to General J. E. B. Stuart, General Lee’s cavalry commander.

Time cannot dim some memories in the mind of Peter C. Creekmore of the Hog Neck section there is one in particular which stands out as vividly as on the day 67 years ago when he stood at the door of a Virginia farmhouse and looked upon the scene. A woman is seated at a piano, in the center of the room another is waltzing in the arms of a man in the uniform of a major general of the Confederate States of America, a young man of medium build, with a flowing beard. From the doorway Private Creekmore calls the warning, “The Yankees have crossed Raccoon ford and are almost here.” The dance halts abruptly and, rushing out General J. E. B. Stuart vaults to the saddle without touching a stirrup and hastily gathering some 100 of his men, Creekmore among them, meets the Federal cavalry detachment and drives it back across the ford. 

It is incidents such as these when in his capacity of courier of the Fourth North Carolina Cavalry he carried messages to the cavalry commander of the Army of Northern Virginia from Colonel Dennis D. Ferebee of South Mills, commander of his regiment, that stand out most vividly in Mr. Creekmoore’s mind, although despite his 86 years he appears to have forgotten hardly a detail of his service from the summer of 1862 to Appomattox. 

Although credited with being he last surviving Confederate veteran in Perquimans County where he has made his home for some 40 years, Mr. Creekmore is a native of Camden County. While in his teens he commanded a boat owned by his father in which he took corn into Norfolk but the war began to become the sole topic of conversation and when Company G of the Fourth North Carolina Cavalry was organized in Currituck County in the summer of 1862 he enlisted as a private. Demosthenes Bell was captain, Stephen P. Wilson, first lieutenant; Issac N. Tillett and J. B. Lee, second Lieutenants; while Colonel Ferebee of South Mills, Lieutenant Colonel Cantwell of Wilmington, Dr. John W. Hutchins of Hertford County and J. W. Sessoms of Bertie County were regimental officers.

After skirmishing with Federal troops occupying Suffolk and making an expedition in the direction of Goldsboro the Fourth Cavalry joined Stuart’s command and was engaged in the northern field until Lee’s surrender. 

Still a mere boy, Private Creekmore was given the duties of courier and he says that on many occasions when sent with messages to General Stuart’s headquarters he was kept there for days and carried messages for the general. At the battle of Culpepper Courthouse where Colonel Ferebee received the wound which led to his retirement he says that he was kept busy carrying orders hurrying up reinforcements to stem the enemy’s attack. 

Mr. Creekmore did not go with Stuart’s cavalry on the Gettysburg campaign but instead made a tour of enemy territory under different auspices. The first day of the battle of Middlesburg was a successful one for the Confederates but on the second day a detachment under Lieut. Colonel Cantwell was cut off and with ammunition exhausted were forced to surrender. His men were hidden behind a stone wall and Mr. Creekmore says that the commanding officer refused to surrender until he received suitable terms, threatening to use the stones as ammunition if they were not accorded. When the order to surrender was given the men broke their carbines across the wall. 

Afterwards the captured men were led one by one to the Federal commander’s tent and given a chance to swear allegiance to the Union. “I’ve sworn allegiance to one country and I’m not doing any more swearing,” was Mr. Creekmore’s reply to the offer. “Take that damn rebel away,” said the officer and Mr. Creekmore is rather proud of his title.

Afterwards he was taken to Washington, then to Fortress Montroe and finally to City Point where he was exchanged and was back with his regiment in time to help cover the retreat from Gettysburg.

Stuart had every attribute of a soldier, was the idol of his men and always looked out for them, according to Mr. Creekmore, who tells of one instance which shows his own supreme confidence in his commander. 

He had gone to a farm house and had asked two women there to prepare some food for him to take to Colonel Ferebee and his adjutant. There was a fight going on not far away and rifle fire sounded like a fire in a canebrake. The women were terrified and expected the enemy to arrive momentarily.

“Don’t worry about that,” he reassured them, “go on with your cooking. General Stuart is between here and there.”

A man of slight stature today the fact that Mr. Creekmore’s old army uniform coat, which he proudly dons on occasion now, will not button around him gives an idea of how frail he must have appeared when he was doing a man’s work in the ‘60s and he says that once, after hard riding day and night, he fell from his saddle in a faint. After that, by the order of the regimental surgeon, he discarded carbine and sabre and went across with a single pistol.

Mr. Creekmore served around Petersburg and was in the retreat to Appomattox and after the surrender made his way, mostly afoot, back to Camden County, his command having dismounted at the last. As a souvenir of his stirring experiences in Northern Virginia he bears a scar on his elbow received when he warded off a blow from a saber aimed at his head by a Federal trooper.

About 40 years ago he bought a farm in the Hog Neck section on Little River and has farmed there ever since. A son is employed in the Hertford post office, another is in business in New York and a daughter now makes her home not far away. Since the death of his wide several years ago he lived much alone. But though alone he shows no sign of lonesomeness, but gives the impression that he lives amid memories of other days which are near and clear. Perhaps as the wind moans around the farmhouse and rustles the beeches at night he hears in the sounds the creak of saddles and jingle of spurs, the sounds of familiar voices raised in, 

“If you want to have a good time,

“Jine the Cavalry

“Jine the Cavalry

“Jine the Cavalry

“If you want to have a good time,

“Jine the Cavalry

“Yo boys Oh!”

Albemarle Memories: A Pictorial History of the mid-1800s through 1939 Cover
Adams Publishing Group presents Albemarle Memories: A Pictorial History of the mid-1800s through 1939

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