Civil War Period Pocket Sundial Handcrafted by Joseph G. Councill, Co. K 13th Virginia Cavalry



Civil War Period Pocket Sundial Handcrafted by Joseph G. Councill, Co. K 13th Virginia Cavalry – This rather unusual Civil War period personal item, according to the inked inscription in the top of the wood case housing the sundial, was crafted by J G. Councill, a soldier in the 13th Virginia Cavalry; the inscription reads as follows:

Hand Carved by My Grandfather

Capt. Joseph Godwin Councill

Franklin, Va.

(Jeb Stuart


M. Weaver

V.M.I. ‘25

The sundial exhibits a paper face, with inked Roman Numerals, corresponding to hourly times, as well as compass directions, so the dial can be directionally oriented – the face rests on a pin, beneath the dial proper, so it can be rotated to align with specific compass directions. The dial is housed in a turned, wooden (perhaps, some kind of fruitwood) case. Councill did indeed serve through the war in the 13th Virginia Cavalry, although he was never a commissioned officer. We did find, in the process of researching Joseph G. Councill, that he may have served, albeit briefly, in the 41st Va. Infantry, before deserting in May of 1862. As of this posting, we have not been able to specifically identify his grandson, J. M. Weaver, who wrote the inscription. The sundial and case remain in very good condition; it appears that the top was cracked and repaired, at some point. This is a most unique, wartime, personal item.

Measurements: Diameter – 2.2”; Height – .75”

 J G. Councill

Residence was not listed;

Enlisted as a Private (date unknown).

He also had service in:

“K” Co. VA 13th Cavalry



13th VA Cavalry

Organized: on 7/29/62
Mustered Out: 4/9/65


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Jul ’62 Sep ’62 Unattached Dept of North Carolina
Sep ’62 Nov ’62 Chambliss’ Dept of North Carolina and South Virginia
Dec ’62 Sep ’63 W.H.F. Lee’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Sep ’63 Apr ’64 W.H.F. Lee’s Fitz. Lee’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Apr ’64 Apr ’65 Chambliss’/Beale’s W.H.F. Lee’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia

Joseph Councill

Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 3/15/1862 as a Private. On 4/11/1862 he was drafted into “I” Co. VA 41st Infantry He deserted on 5/8/1862  He was listed as:* Drilled 3/15/1862 Norfolk, VA Fairground

13th Virginia Cavalry Regiment

13th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
Flag of Virginia, 1861
Active July 1862–April 9, 1865
Disbanded April 9, 1865
Country Confederacy
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Branch Cavalry
Size Regiment
Engagements American Civil War

·       Battle of Fredericksburg

·       Battle of Chancellorsville

·       Battle of Brandy Station

·       Battle of Gettysburg

·       Bristoe Campaign

·       Overland Campaign

·       Siege of Petersburg

·       Valley Campaigns of 1864

·       Appomattox Campaign

The 13th Virginia 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.

Virginia’s 13th Cavalry Regiment was formed in July 1862, using the 16th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry as its nucleus (itself formed from seven companies from the 12-month unit 5th Cavalry, Provisional Confederate Army). The men were from Petersburg and the counties of Southampton, Sussex, Prince George, Surry, and Nansemond. It was the second cavalry unit to bear the designation 13th Regiment, the first having ended its 12-month term of service in the spring of 1862.

It was assigned to W.H.F. Lee’s, Chambliss’, and Beale’ Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia. The unit was active in the conflicts at Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, Upperville, Hanover, Gettysburg, Bristoe, Kelly’s Ford, and Mine Run. Later it participated in The Wilderness Campaign, the defense of Petersburg and Richmond, and the Appomattox operations.

This regiment had 298 men in action in Gettysburg and surrendered on April 9, 1865, with 10 officers and 78 men. The field officers were Colonels John R. Chambliss Jr. and Jefferson C. Phillips; Lieutenant Colonels Alexander Savage and Thomas H. Upshaw; and Majors Benjamin W. Belsches, Joseph E. Gillette, and Benjamin F. Winfield.

13th Virginia Cavalry Regiment

July 29 The 13th Virginia Cavalry Regiment was created by enlarging the 16th Virginia Cavalry Battalion to a regiment under the command of Colonel John R Chambliss (West Point Class of 1853). The regiment was assigned to the Department of North Carolina.

Company A – “Southampton Cavalry” – Southampton County
Company B – “Petersburg Light Dragoons” – Petersburg
Company C – “Randolph’s Dragoons” – Nansemond County
Company D – “Jackson’s Avengers” – Sussex County
Company E – “Cockade Cavalry” – Petersburg
Company F – “Prince  George Cavalry” – Prince George County
Company G – “Surry Cavalry” – Surry County
Company H – “Sussex Light Dragoons” – Sussex County
Company  I – “Nansemond Cavalry” – Suffolk and Nansemond County
Company  K  – Surry County

(from 13th Virginia Cavalry, by Daniel T. Balfour)

September-October Assigned to Chambliss’s Command, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia.
October Moved to the Rappahannock and assigned to W.H.F. Lee’s Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of Northern Virginia.
December 13
Battle of Fredericksburg
December 27-29
Raid on Dumfries and Fairfax Station
April 14-15
Rappahannock Bridge, Kell’s Ford, Welford Ford and Beverly Ford
Stoneman’s Raid
June 9
Battle of Aldie
June 17
Battle of Middleburg
June 19
Battle of Brandy Station
June 30
Battle of Hanover, Pennsylvania
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson C. Phillips while Colonel Chambliss commanded the brigade as senior colonel. It brought 298 men to the field.

From the monument to W.H.F. Lee’s Brigade on the East Cavalry Battlefield at Gettysburg:

July 3. The Brigade reached here about noon and took an active part in the fight until it ended. Some of the men serving as sharpshooters in the vicinity of the Rummel Barn but most of the Command participating in the charges made by the Cavalry during the afternoon. It left the field after nightfall.

July 9
Battle of Williamsport

Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson C. Phillips was wounded. Captain Benjamin F. Winfield took command of the regiment.

September Assigned to W.H.F. Lee’s Brigade, W.H.F. Lee’s Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
Bristoe Campaign
October 11 Brandy Station
Mine Run Campaign
December 19 Colonel Chambliss was promoted to brigadier general and given permanent command of the brigade he had commanded as senior colonel since the Battle of Brandy Station in June of 1864. Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson Phillips, who had temporarily commanded the regiment during this time, was promoted to colonel and took permanent command of the regiment.
April Assigned to Chambliss’s-Beale’s Brigade, W.H.F. Lee’s Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
May 5-6
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 22-26
Battle of North Anna
May 28 Haw’s Shop
June 1-3
Battle of Cold Harbor
Siege of Petersburg
October 1 Jones’s Farm
October 2 Vaughan Road
April 9
Appomattox Court House

The 13th Virginia Cavalry Regiment surrendered 10 officers and 78 enlisted men.

Pvt Joseph G. Council

BIRTH 1845
DEATH 1909 (aged 63–64)
BURIAL Poplar Spring Cemetery

Franklin, Franklin City, Virginia, USA

PLOT Section 1 – Lot 66

Co.K – 13th Virginia Cavalry – CSA
Paroled 4/27/1865

NAME: Joseph G. Councill
SIDE: Confederate
REGIMENT: 13th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (12th Months, 1861-62)
RANK IN: Private
RANK OUT: Private