Complimented On Two Occasions By Commanding Officer-Served In War In West Through Most Of Period
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
That company known as the Roanoke Guards was organized in Salem in July, 1861 and soon thereafter was mustered into the service of the confederacy as Company K, 54th Regiment of Virginia Volunteer Infantry. They served in the western army during the greater part of the war.
Officers of the company were: Captain, John S. Deyerle; 1st Lieut., Ballard Deyerle; 2nd Lieut., William Woods; Captain, W. W. Brand; 1st Lieut., R. W. Plunkett; 2nd Lieut., Fred N. Bryant; 3rd Lieut., M. W. Stover; 1st Sgt., Anderson Crawford; 2nd Sgt., John T. Stover; 3rd Sgt., John N. Smith; 4th Sgt., F. A. Wright.
Captain John S. Deyerle was promoted to the rank of major in 1862. Second Lieutenant William Woods was retired on account of old age in 1862 but afterward rejoined his company and was wounded at the battle of Stone Mountain in 1864.
This company engaged in the following battles: Harrodsburg, Ky., Richmond, Ky., Chickamauga, Tenn., Knoxville, Tenn., Missionary Ridge, Tenn., Atlanta, Ga., and Stone Mountain, Ga. They took part in the campaign from Dalton, Ga. to Atlanta and in the campaign about Franklin, Tenn. Besides these battles they took part in numerous skirmishes.
This company was twice complimented by the officer in command. At the battle of Chickamauga, it won honors in a bloody battle during which the waters of Chickamauga Creek actually turned red with blood. In this battle the Salem company captured the colors of a Michigan regiment as well as the commanding officer of the northern organization who turned his sword over to officers of the Roanoke Guards.
At Franklin, Tenn., when the company was on picket duty it held off four or five times its numbers and killed about as many men as they had in their own ranks. Such action probably prevented the main force from being surprised and captured and for their gallantry they were complimented on the field by Col. R. C. Trigg, the commanding officer in charge.
After the battle at Franklin, Tenn., a portion of the army joined the army under Joe E. Johnston in North Carolina and surrendered with him there while the other portion of the company who were soldiers on furlough or in hospitals were gathered together by Col. R. C. Trigg and by a special order of the secretary of war of the confederacy they were sent to guard the salt works in Southwest Virginia. After hostilities ceased this portion of the company was disbanded at Christiansburg by General John Echols.
-Prepared by Lisa King