Commodore Decatur Deem

b. 1843, d. 1 February 1884

Father*Isaac G Deem b. 1805, d. 1854
Mother*Nancy Lee Enoch b. c 1810, d. a 1860
Commodore Decatur Deem|b. 1843\nd. 1 Feb 1884|p603.htm|Isaac G Deem|b. 1805\nd. 1854|p295.htm|Nancy Lee Enoch|b. c 1810\nd. a 1860|p296.htm|Adam Deem Sr|b. 10 Jan 1757\nd. 7 Sep 1856|p121.htm|Catherine Fought|b. 1761\nd. b 1850|p248.htm|Isaac Enoch||p1003.htm||||

ChartsDeem Chart
Johannes Diehm USA

Occupation*Commodore Decatur Deem occupation at Farmer. 
Note*He Commodore's name appears on a list of Misc. Confederate Soldiers Who Enlisted From Wood County, West Virginia. Other than Company F, Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry and Company G, Twentieth Virginia Cavalry. Either 113th or 10th Regiment.

Commodore was a confederate soldier during the Civil War. Family stories indicate that he came home during the war to visit his sick mother, whereupon his brother Calvin notified Union soldiers that Commodore was at home. Commodore hid under his mother's bed to no avail. The Union soldiers drug him out from under the bed and sent him to a Union prison camp. It was there that Commodore contracted tuberculosis which caused his death some years later. 
Birth*He was born in 1843. 
Military*Served in the military in 1863; COMMODORE DEEM’S CONFEDERATE SERVICE


When the Civil War broke out, Commodore chose to serve the Confederacy of his native Virginia while his brother Calvin chose to serve the Union. As of now, we are uncertain if Commodore served prior to 1863, but what we do know is that when the 19th Virginia Cavalry was organized on 11 April 1863, Commodore enlisted as a Private in Company C. In its two years of existence, the 19th Virginia Cavalry fought in the following battles:

Jones' and Imboden's West Virginia Raid (April 20-May 21, 1863)

Along with Brig. Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones, Imboden led the famous Jones-Imboden raid of 3,400 troopers into northwestern Virginia against the B & O Railroad, destroying railroad tracks and bridges and capturing thousands of horses and heads of cattle. The raid covered 400 miles in 37 days.

Expedition to Beverly, West Virginia (June 29-July 4, 1863)

Fought on 13 Oct 1863: Auburn, Catlett's Station / St. Stephen's Church:
After the retreat from Gettysburg, the Confederate army concentrated behind Rapidan River in Orange County. The Federals advanced to Rappahannock River in August, and in mid- September they pushed strong columns forward to confront Lee along the Rapidan. Early September, Lee dispatched two divisions of Longstreet's Corps to reinforce the Confederate army in Georgia; the Federals followed suite, sending the XI and XII Corps to Tennessee by railroad in late September after the Battle of Chickamauga (September 18-20). Early October, Lee began an offensive sweep around Meade's right flank with his remaining two corps, forcing the Federals to withdraw along the line of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. On October 13, Stuart, with Fitzhugh Lee and Lomax's brigades, skirmished with the rearguard of the Union III Corps near Auburn. Finding himself cut off by retreating Federal columns, Stuart secreted his troopers in a wooded ravine until the unsuspecting Federals moved on.

Fought on 20 Oct 1863 at Jackson County, WV.

Droop Mountain November 6, 1863 Confederate forces engaged, but failed to prevent Union forces under Brigadier General W.W. Averell from a rendezvous with other Federal troops in a joint raid on Confederate railways. Droop Mountain was one of the largest engagements in West Virginia during the war. As a result of the Union victory, Confederate resistance in the state essentially collapsed.

Marling's Bottom, West Virginia April 19, 1864

Lynchburg Campaign June 1864

Monocacy July 9, 1864

Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early defeated Union forces under Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace. The battle was part of Early's raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland, attempting to divert Union forces away from Gen. Robert E. Lee's army under siege at Petersburg, Virginia.

Fought on 15 July 1864 at Harper's Ferry, WV.

3rd Winchester September 19, 1864
As Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early raided the B&O Railroad at Martinsburg, Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan advanced toward Winchester along the Berryville Pike with the VI Corps and XIX Corps, crossing Opequon Creek. The Union advance was delayed long enough for Early to concentrate his forces to meet the main assault, which continued for several hours. Casualties were very heavy. The Confederate line was gradually driven back toward the town. Mid-afternoon, the VIII Corps and the cavalry turned the Confederate left flank. Early ordered a general retreat. Because of its size, intensity, serious casualties among the general officers on both sides, and its result, many historians consider this the most important conflict of the Shenandoah Valley.] *Fisher's Hill (September 22, 1864) In the Battle of Fisher's Hill, Phil Sheridan had almost 30,000 men while Jubal Anderson Early had just under 10,000. Early, following the Third Battle of Winchester took a strong position. His right rested on the North Branch of the Shenandoah River. The left flank of his infantry was on Fisher's Hill. Confederate cavalry was expected to hold the ground from there to Little North Mountain. George Crook advised Sheridan to flank this position. His command was assigned to move along the wooded slopes of the mountain to attack the cavalry. Crook's attack began ca. 4:00 PM on September 22, 1864. The infantry attack pushed the Confederate troopers out of their way. Stephen Dodson Ramseur tried refusing the left flank of his division. Crook and James B. Ricketts of Horatio Wright's division, VI Corps struck Ramseur's line, pushing it in. Wright's remaining divisions and XIX Corps broke the southern line. The Confederates fell back to Waynesboro, Virginia. Alfred Torbert was absent with most of Sheridan's cavalry. This made the federal pursuit less than effective.

Fought on 8 Oct 1864 at Fisher's Hill, VA.

Fought on 9 Oct 1864 at Woodstock, VA.
The Battle of Tom's Brook was fought on October 9, 1864, in Shenandoah County, Virginia, during Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign of the American Civil War. It resulted in a significant Union victory, one that was mockingly dubbed The Woodstock Races for the speed of the Confederate withdrawal.After his victory at Fisher's Hill, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan pursued Jubal A. Early's Confederate army up the Shenandoah Valley to near Staunton. On October 6, Sheridan began withdrawing, as his cavalry burned everything that could be deemed of military significance, including barns and mills. Reinforced by Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw's division, Early followed. Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser arrived from Petersburg to take command of Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's Confederate cavalry division and harassed the retreating Federals. On October 9, Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert's Union troopers turned on their pursuers, routing the divisions of Rosser and Lunsford L. Lomax at Tom's Brook. With this victory, the Union cavalry attained overwhelming superiority in the Valley.

Cedar Creek October 19, 1864
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or The Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War.The battle resulted in a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. They were never again able to threaten Washington, D.C., through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect the economic base in the Valley. The reelection of Abraham Lincoln was materially aided by this victory and Phil Sheridan received lasting fame. Jubal Early's command was effectively ended and his surviving units returned to assist Robert E. Lee in Petersburg that December.

Fought on 25 Oct 1864.

Fought on 10 Nov 1864 at Marion County, WV.

The assignments of the 19th Virginia Cavalry:
April-May 1863: Jenkins' Cavalry Brigade, Department of Western Virginia

May-July 1863: Jenkins' Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of Northern Virginia

December 1863-June 1864: Jackson's Cavalry Brigade, Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee

June 1864-April 1865: Jackson's-Davidson's-Jackson's Brigade, Ransom's-Lomax's Cavalry Division, Valley District, Department of Northern Virginia

The commanding officer of the 19th Virginia Cavalry was Colonel William L. Jackson which was a relation of sorts to Commodore. Commodore’s cousin Mary Polly Deem married Andrew Jackson who was uncle to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and close relative to Colonel William L. “Mudwall” Jackson. It is probable that they knew each other.


A good bet on Commodore’s early service would be in the 3rd Regiment of the Virginia State Line:

“The Third State Line of nine companies was organized in 1862 and was composed of cavalry and infantry. This regiment led in the State Line fight at Prestonsburg, Kentucky on December 4, 1862. Cavalry companies of this regiment were reported to total 230 men in January 1863 and its infantry companies included 290 men. At this time the regiment was stationed at Bath Alum Springs, Virginia. Most of the men of the 3rd Virginia State Line enlisted in Colonel William L. Jackson's 19th Virginia Cavalry on April 11, 1863.

Company D - A cavalry company - Captain Joseph R. Kessler's Company. This company enlisted on August 17, 1862, in Roane County, and its officers were commissioned on the same date. Most men enlisted in Confederate service on March 15, 1863, and were assigned as Company C, 19th Virginia Cavalry. These men were from Calhoun, Jackson, Pocahontas, Preston and Wirt counties. Leaders for this unit were: Captain Joseph R. Kessler, 1st Lieutenant J. C. Keister, and 2nd Lieutenant J. W. Reeder.

Another possibility of Commodore serving earlier or in another regiment comes from this note: “Commodore's name appears on a list of Misc. Confederate Soldiers Who Enlisted From Wood County, West Virginia. Other than Company F, Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry and Company G, Twentieth Virginia Cavalry. Either 113th or 10th Regiment.”


On 11 February 1865, having reached the rank of Sergeant, Commodore was in Wirt County, West Virginia, when he was captured by Union soldiers and sent to a Prisoner of War camp. Family stories indicate that he came home to visit his sick mother, whereupon his brother Calvin notified Union soldiers that Commodore was at home. Commodore hid under his mother's bed; but to no avail. The Union soldiers drug him out from under the bed and sent him to a Union prison camp. It was there that Commodore contracted tuberculosis which caused his death some years later.

On Union Prisoner of War documents it notes that Commodore was captured for “Being a rebel soldier; sent to Camp Chase Feb 21, 1865.” Camp Chase was a notorious prisoner of war camp near Columbus, Ohio. Commodore is listed on further prisoner of war documents on 22 February 1865, 24 March 1865, and 11 June 1865. While in prison, Commodore contracted tuberculosis which caused his death years later.

Commodore is buried at the Rusk Cemetery on Cairo Cisco Rd in Ritchie County, West Virginia.


The following is from "The Webster Independent" Vol. X, No. 1, 1995-1996 published by the Webster County Historical Society:

A Chronology of the 19th & 20th VA Cavalry Regiments August 1863:

July-August 1863: Most of the 19th Cavalry was involved in scouting movements of Federal troops in Randolph and Pocahontas counties. Sever[al groups of [William L.] Jackson's men conducted unauthorized raids on suspected Union sympathizers in the area. Desertions were numerous. An official complaint against Jackson was filed by an assistant Adjutant General to Gen. Jones claiming that many of Jackson's officers and troops were absent without leave and were committing depredations against private citizens. Jones answered the complaint by arguing that Jackson's regiments were still being organized and that the
men were foraging for supplies and equipment.

21 August: Several companies of the 19th and 20th cavalries became involved in a running fight with elements of Gen. William Averell's 3rd WV Calvary. Averell, who had established a position at Hightown, Highland County, harried Jackson's men back to Huntersville where the Confederates took positions about three miles west of the town.

22-31 August: A confusing series of skirmishes with Averell's regiment exhausted Jackson's men and horses. Averell moved out of Hightown to Huntersville, and then began a series of baffling marches which Confederate strategists interpreted as a move against Staunton. Averell occupied in rapid succession Warm Springs, Hot Springs, Gatewood's, Callaghan's, and Rocky Gap in Greenbrier County, only to reverse his progress and move back through the same to places he had raided only days before. On 29 August he raided Camp Northwest and Huntersville, then moved north through Marlin's Bottom and camped at Big Spring near
Edray, Pocahontas County. The following day he continued north over the Valley Mountain (Huntersville) Pike and returned to the Union camp at Beverly. Averell never made clear his intentions, but at no time did he advance in the direction of Staunton. 
Marriage*He married Emma Clay Leep, daughter of Samuel Leep and Delia Mary Woods, on 13 January 1870 at Wirt Coonty, WV. 
Death*Commodore Decatur Deem died on 1 February 1884 at Ritchie Co. WV. 
Burial*He was buried on 3 February 1884 at Rusk Cemt. Cairo Cisco Rd, Ritchie Co, WV. 


Emma Clay Leep b. 19 April 1852, d. 6 May 1917

Last Edited4 May 2009