Pair of Finely Crafted Side Knives Carried by Lt. Nathaniel B. Cooke, 6th Va. Cavalry and Courier for Gen. JEB Stuart



Pair of Finely Crafted Side Knives Carried by Lt. Nathaniel B. Cooke, 6th Va. Cavalry and Courier for Gen. JEB Stuart – These two finely crafted side knives both retain their original, leather scabbards or sheaths. Both knives have horn grips; one of the knives’ blade is impressed with the name of George Wolstenholme of England; this knife has this well crafted, inscribed identity of the period owner, scratched into the grip:


“N B Cooke”


Nathaniel Burwell Cooke, born in Clarke County, Virginia, in 1845, was the son of the Virginia poet, John Pendleton Cooke and the nephew of renowned and prolific novelist, John Esten Cooke, who served as an officer on Gen. JEB Stuart’s staff, during the war. Nathaniel, a student at the onset of the war, enlisted a week prior to his 16th birthday, at Millwood, Virginia, April 18, 1861, into Company C of the 2nd Virginia Infantry; on October 20, 1862, Cooke resigned, after accompanying the 2nd Va. in several combat episodes, to join Company D of the Clarke Cavalry of the 6th Virginia Cavalry; in that unit, Cooke was assigned as a courier for General JEB Stuart. Until February of 1863, Cooke would be listed on the Muster Rolls as “Absent, courier for Gen. Stuart”; he was commissioned in December of 1862. Nathaniel would again resign and re-enlist in Captain R.L. Cooper’s company of Virginia Light Artillery, a component of Braxton’s Battery of Artillery (the Fredericksburg Artillery or Marye’s Battery); this unit was commanded by Captain John Rogers Cooke, brother of JEB Stuart’s wife and son of Union General Philip St. George Cooke.

Nathaniel Cooke would remain in Cooper’s artillery unit until being wounded on September 24, 1864; he was subsequently hospitalized, in Charlottesville. Cooke was mentioned in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion in O.R. Vol. XLII, PT 1, P. 864: “Lieut. N.B. Cooke, a promising young officer of (Carter M.) Braxton’s battalion (of Fredericksburg Artillery) was also wounded.”

In his novel, “Wearing of the Gray” John Esten Cooke, wrote a sketch of a Confederate soldier based upon the war time experiences of his nephew, Nathaniel; the soldier’s name in John Esten Cooke’s novel was “Lt. N. Bumpo”. “Bumpo’s” war time exploits are enumerated in Cooke’s novel; we will include a transcription of this chapter with the two knives.

Both of these knives are finely crafted side knives; the Wolstenholme knife, with Cooke’s name scratched on the horn hilt, is a somewhat heavier gauge knife than the second knife, which is more of a stiletto bladed dirk. The sheaths of both knives are well crafted, bridle leather; the Wolstenholme knife has a brown, tooled scabbard. Both knives have horn handles; the stiletto type knife’s grip or handle is vertically ribbed and does have some minor rodent nips. Overall, both knives are in excellent condition, as are their sheaths. We have quite a bit of research material compiled on Lt. Cooke, which will accompany the knives upon purchase.

Measurements – Wolstenholme knife: OL – 12”; Blade – 7”; Stiletto blade knife: OL – 11”; Blade – 7.25”

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Nathaniel Burwell Cooke

Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 4/18/1861 at Millwood, VA as a Private. On 4/18/1861 he mustered into “C” Co. VA 2nd Infantry He was transferred out on 10/20/1862 On 10/20/1862 he transferred into “D” Co. VA 6th Cavalry (date and method of discharge not given)   He was listed as: * Detailed 10/31/1862 (place not stated) (As courier for Gen Jeb Stuart) * Detailed 2/28/1863 (place not stated) (No further record)   Promotions: * Corpl Other Information: born 4/24/1845 died 4/30/1918 in Hanover County, VA (Nephew of novelist John Esten Cooke.)


2nd VA Infantry

Organized: Charles Town, VA on 4/18/61
Mustered Out: 4/9/65


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Jun ’61 Jul ’61 1st Army of Shenandoah
Jul ’61 Oct ’61 1st 2nd Army of Potomac
Oct ’61 Nov ’61 Stonewall 2nd Dept of Northern Virginia
Nov ’61 May ’62 Stonewall Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
May ’62 Jun ’62 Stonewall Jackson’s Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
Jun ’62 May ’64 Stonewall Jackson’s/Johnson’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia
May ’64 Jun ’64 Terry’s Consolidated Gordon’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia
Jun ’64 Dec ’64 Terry’s Consolidated Gordon’s Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
Dec ’64 Apr ’65 Terry’s Consolidated Gordon’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia


2nd Regiment, Virginia Infantry
Active May 1861 – Spring 1865
Disbanded 1865
Country  Confederate States of America
Allegiance  Virginia
Branch  Confederate States Army
Type Regiment
Role Infantry
Engagements American Civil WarFirst Battle of Bull RunBattle of Kernstown IBattle of Cross KeysBattle of Port RepublicBattle of Gaines MillSecond Battle of Bull RunBattle of FredericksburgBattle of Gettysburg
Colonel J.Q.A. Nadenbousch

The 2nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in today’s western Virginia and what became West Virginia during the American Civil War for service in the Confederate States Army. It would combine with the 4th5th27th, and 33rd Virginia infantry regiments and the Rockbridge Artillery Battery and fight as part of what became known as the Stonewall Brigade, mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.


The 2nd Virginia was assembled at Charles Town on April 18, 1861, then moved (gathering further units en route) to Harper’s Ferry to seize the armory. Its ten companies were from the counties of ClarkeFrederickJefferson, and Berkeley.

Company Nickname Recruited at First Commanding Officer
A Jefferson Guards Jefferson County John W. Rowan
B Hamtramck Guards ShepherdstownJefferson County Vincent Moore Butler
C Nelson Rifles MillwoodClarke County William N. Nelson
D Berkeley Border Guards MartinsburgBerkeley County John Q.A. Nadenbousch
E Hedgesville Blues HedgesvilleBerkeley County Raleigh T. Colston
F Winchester Riflemen WinchesterFrederick County William L. Clark, Jr
G Botts Greys Charles TownJefferson County Lawson Botts
H Letcher Riflemen DuffieldsJefferson County James H.L. Hunter
I Clarke Rifles BerryvilleClarke County Strother H. Bowen
K Floyd Guards Harpers FerryJefferson County George W. Chambers


As the volunteer units approached the armory, they heard a roar and saw a flash as Lt. Roger Jones and his U.S. army regulars blew up the arsenal at 10p.m.[2] Capt. John Rowan and the Jefferson Guards led the volunteers into Harpers Ferry three hours later, meeting no opposition and noticing that while 15,000 weapons had been destroyed, townspeople had saved the buildings and weapon-producing machinery inside. That machinery was soon shipped to the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia for Confederate use.

VMI professor Thomas Jonathan Jackson arrived on Monday, April 29 and organized the volunteer craftsmen, laborers and farmers of the ten drilled companies into regiments, revolutionizing their notions of war in a short time. Col. Allen and Lt. Col. Francis Lackland had both graduated in the VMI class of 1849. Captains John W. Rowan (of the Jefferson Guards of Charles Town), Vincent Moore Butler (of the Hamtramck Guards of Shepherdstown), William N. Nelson (of the Nelson Rifles of Millwood) and George W. Chambers (of the Floyd Guards raised in Harpers Ferry) had military experience in Mexico. Throughout May (as the units were mustered officially into Virginia state service mid-month), Jackson assiduously drilled the men, 12 hours each day; they learned complex maneuvers and began jelling into a single unit.[3][4]

The unit became part of the Army of the Shenandoah and evacuated Harpers Ferry on June 14, 1861, upon orders of General Joseph E. Johnston, who considered the location untenable. Troops burned the Shepherdstown bridge (private Henry Kyd Douglas realizing that his father was a stockholder in the property being destroyed) and joined Johnston’s army four miles south of Charles Town. They would then change camp seven times in 17 days. Their first skirmish was on July 2, 1861, and involved no casualties, but lost the company’s tents at what became known as the Battle of Hoke’s Run or Falling Water.[5] The 2nd Virginia was accepted into Confederate service in mid-July, then ordered on July 18 to Manassas Junction (traveling by railroad) to reinforce General P. G. T. Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac. It gained its nickname at what became the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. In the previous months, the unit was sometimes known as “Virginia’s First Brigade”, which caused confusion as the 1st Virginia Infantry was established at Richmond in May 1861 and composed of regular Virginia troops. As part of the Stonewall Brigade, the 2nd Virginia fought under Generals T.J. JacksonR.B. GarnettWinderPaxtonJ.A. Walker, and W. Terry.

The 2nd Virginia fought at many famous battles throughout the conflict. In addition to First Manassas, it fought at Second Manassas (after First Kernstown and Jackson’s Valley Campaign and with the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days’ Battles to Cold Harbor). It reported 90 casualties at First Kernstown, 25 at Cross Keys and Port Republic, 27 at Gaines’ Mill, and 77 at Second Manassas. However, during part of the Maryland Campaign of 1863, it was detached to Martinsburg as provost guards. The regiment lost 2 killed and 19 wounded at Fredericksburg, had 8 killed and 58 wounded at Chancellorsville, and had about eight percent of the 333 men engaged at Gettysburg disabled. Later, the unit was involved in Jubal Early’s operations in the Shenandoah Valley and finally surrendered at the end at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, with 9 officers and 62 men. A notable death from the Regiment was that of Private John Wesley Culp, who was killed on his uncle’s farm in Gettysburg (hence “Culp’s Hill”).

Significant members

Its field officers were Colonels James W. Allen (who died at the Battle of Cold Harbor),[6] Lawson Botts (of the Botts Greys, initially raised at Charles Town as Company G, killed in skirmishes shortly before Second Manassas), and John Q.A. Nadenbousch (initially of Company D, the Berkeley Border Guards, raised at Martinsburg); Lieutenant Colonels Francis Lackland (a VMI graduate of the same 1849 VMI class as Col. Allen, who would be hospitalized with pneumonia and die in September 1861); Raleigh T. Colston (initially of Company E, the Hedgesville Blues, and who became the unit’s colonel after Nadenbousch was forced to retire following complications after the Battle of Gettysburg and who died at the Battle of Mine Run in November 1864), and William W. Randolph; and Majors Francis B. Jones, Edwin L. Moore, and Charles H. Stewart.

Dr. Hunter McGuire, who eventually would become the Second Corps’ Chief Surgeon (and amputated Stonewall Jackson‘s arm after Chancellorsville and the leg of Isaac Trimble after Gettysburg), initially enlisted as a private in Company F. He became active with the Medical Society of Virginia and a president of the American Medical Association, and later contributed to the First Geneva Convention.

6th VA Cavalry

Organized: on 9/12/61
Mustered Out: 4/9/65


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Sep ’61 Nov ’61 Cavalry Army of Potomac
Nov ’61 Mar ’62 Cavalry Potomac District Dept of Northern Virginia
Mar ’62 May ’62 Cavalry Ewell’s Dept of Northern Virginia
May ’62 Jun ’62 Cavalry Ewell’s Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
Jun ’62 Jul ’62 Cavalry Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
Aug ’62 Dec ’62 Robertson’s/Jones’ Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Dec ’62 May ’63 Jones’ Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
May ’63 Sep ’63 Jones’ Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Sep ’63 Sep ’63 Jones’ Hampton’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Sep ’63 Jul ’64 Lomax’s Fitz. Lee’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia
Aug ’64 Feb ’65 Lomax’s/Payne’s Fitz. Lee’s/Rosser’s Valley District Dept of Northern Virginia
Feb ’65 Apr ’65 Payne’s Fitz. Lee’s Cavalry Army of Northern Virginia


6th Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment
Active November 1861 – April 1865
Disbanded April 1865
Country  Confederate States of America
Allegiance  Virginia
Branch  Confederate States Army
Role Cavalry
Engagements Jackson’s Valley Campaign
Seven Days’ Battles
Second Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Antietam
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
Battle of Five Forks


The 6th Virginia Volunteer 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 6th Cavalry completed its organization in November, 1861, at Manassas,