Battle of the Monocacy

Thomas Cock Testament

Confederate States Bible Society







Update, Sept. 22, 2013:  H.S. Shepherd has been identified as H. Smith Shepherd, Company B, 2nd Virginia Infantry:  He was born around 1838; his occupation, clerk.  He enlisted 6-18-1861 at Winchester as a Private.  Detailed to attend to sick in hospital at Gettysburg, July 4, 1863.  POW at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.  He was sent to U.S. General Hospital, West Buildings, Baltimore, suffering from "debility." He took the Oath of Allegiance to U.S. on March 16, 1865.


"Those war letters and diaries of the eighteen-sixties, so informative when available, so deplored when lost, marked a difference from present-day thought on religion as perhaps ever has been wrought in seven decades.  Many of the men who appear in these pages kept religion in the same sanctuary of the heart with patriotism and love of home.  Acceptance of traditional Christianity was almost universal.  Mild and reverent deism was viewed with horror.  Doubt was damnation.  Agnosticism was service to the antichrist.  What was believed was professed..."

                                     Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants,                                      introduction to Volume 1.

Campbell County resident Thomas Cock joined his hometown unit, the Red House Volunteers, at the beginning of the war.  His Confederate service was as a member of Co. A, 21st Virginia Infantry.  Service was hard under Jackson, Lee and Early, and he barely survived the destruction of the Stonewall Brigade at Spotsylvania in 1864.  At some point he was given, perhaps through the efforts of army chaplains or General Jackson himself, this pocket testament which was printed in Atlanta in 1862. 

His luck ran out in July, 1864, at Monocacy Junction, Maryland. 

Unable to write well due to the nature of his wound, Ward Master H.S. Shepherd of West's Hospital, Baltmore, gently assisted Private Cock when he inscribed the following passages in the Testament:

Cover:  "Thomas Cox / Morris Church / Carroll County, Va. / Co. A / 21 Va."  (Morris Church was actually in eastern Campbell County, near its border with Charlotte County).

"The ball that struck this book entered my left brest (sic) and came out of right -- it saved instant death & will be the means of saving my soul.   Thomas Cox.  Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."

"I was with Thos. Cox when he died...he was willing...& appear ready to leave this world for a better one to come.  H.S. Shepherd, w.m. West's Hospital Baltimore."

Private Cock never left Maryland.  He was buried in Loudoun Cemetery in Baltimore.  His testament and a ring from his finger was carefully sent by Shepherd to Cock's widow in Southside Virginia.

This item was featured in the Time-Life publication Voices of the Civil War - Shenandoah, 1864 (1998), page 60.