John Mitchell, Junior

John Mitchell, Junior – Virginia’s First Black Candidate For Governor

John Mitchell, Junior, a former slave who was born in Henrico County, gained his claim to fame as the “Fighting Editor” while working for the “Richmond Planet” newspaper. In 1892, John Mitchel, Junior ran for Richmond’s Board of Alderman, from the city’s predominantly Black neighborhood Jackson Ward, and was re-elected in 1894. and serving in the Richmond City Council.

During the Republican convention in 1921, John Mitchell, Junior was nominated to be the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first Black Republican candidate for Governor. Since no political party in Virginia, the Whigs, the Federalists, the Republican-Democrats, the Democrats, the Republicans, had ever nominated a Black man to be a candidate for governor before, it made John Mitchell, Junior the the commonwealth’s first ever Black governor candidate for any political party.

Arlington National Cemetery, General Bennett Henderson Young, General Joseph Wheeler

June 4th, 1914 – President Thomas Woodrow Wilson Speaks At The Dedication Of The Arlington National Cemetery‘s Confederate Monument

Photograph of President Thomas Woodrow Wilson at the Confederate monument unveiling at the Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1900, the United States Congress passed a law permitting the reinterment of 250 Confederates, who were already buried in an Arlington cemetery and other Confederate veterans from the National Soldiers Home National Cemetery, which is currently called the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, to be buried in a section of the Arlington National Cemetery.

Photograph of Confederate and Spanish-American War veteran General Joseph Wheeler.

This act was passed as an act of reconciliation, decades after the end of the Civil War, after many former Confederates, such as General Joseph Wheeler offered their service to the nation during the course of the Spanish-American War.

Photograph of sculptor and Confederate veteran Moses Jacob Ezekiel.

In the 1900s, the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel, the first Jewish cadet at the Virginia Military Institute whom faught at the Battle of New Market, to create a memorial to Confederate soldiers and sailors to be erected at the Arlington National Cemetery.

General Bennett Henderson Young at the Confederate monument unveiling at the Arlington National Cemetery.

On June 14th, 1914, President Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who was a child during the course of the Civil War, spoke at a dedication to Confederate Soldiers at the Arlington National Cemetery. President Wilson accepted the Confederate monument, on behalf of the United States, and stated, “I am not so much happy as proud to participate in this capacity on such an occasion; proud that I should represent such a people”. Confederate veteran Bennett Henderson Young, who entered Vermont from Canada on October 19th, 1864 to conduct a raid on the town of Saint Albans with 17 other Confederates, and other Confederate veterans also spoke at the dedication with President Wilson.

Brigadier General John Echols, Colonel John Doak Lilley, Jedediah Hotchkiss

The Thornrose Cemetery Of Staunton – Chartered By An Act Of The Virginia General Assembly On February 24, 1849

In 1848, the Virginia General Assembly formed a committee to pursue the creation of a new burial ground in Staunton, Virginia. On February 24, 1849, the Thornrose Cemetery Company was chartered by an act of the Virginia Legislature. Twelve acres west of Staunton were bought and designated as either lots, roads and walkways. On March 29th, 1853, the first recorded interment, within the Thornrose Cemetery, was that of a slave worker. Two months later, the new cemetery being formally dedicated on May 28, 1853.

During the United States Civil War, also known as the “War Between The States”, Staunton had a military hospital, just as Charlottesville and other nearby cities in the valley had. On July 9th, 1861, Private D.C. McLeaeray, of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry, was killed in an accident involving the detachment of one of the cars from Staunton’s trian depot. Private D.C. McLeaeray became the first Confederate soldier, several hundred, to be buried in the Thornrose Cemetery. Appreciably 1,800 Confederate soldiers were buried at Thornrose Cemetery in unmarked graves.

On June 9th, 1883, a Thornrose Confederate Monument Committee was formed, per a suggestion made by Colonel John Doak Lilley, for the, “erection of a monument for the memory of the dead”. Captain J. N. MacFarland became the head of the committee that was raising funds for a monument. After the funds were raised, the contract for the proposed monument and the Confederate soldier statue was given to C. E. Ehmann of Baltimore, Maryland.

On September 25th, 1888, the Confederate Dead Monument was officially dedicated at a site within Fort Stonewall Jackson, at the top of a bill within the Thornrose Cemetery, within a stone terrace with two cannons. Virginia Governor Fitzhugh Lee, General Jubal Early, and Jedediah Hotchkiss all rode in wagons, traveling through Staunton, during the course of the dedication.

Photograph of Fitzhugh Lee, General Robert Edward Lee’s nephew, in his Confederate uniform.

On August 15th, 1840, John Echols entered the Virginia Military Insititute as a cadet. A year later he resigned from his post and was made an honorary graduate of the institution on July 2nd, 1870. Before the start of the Civil War, John Echols was serving as a Virginia State Legislator and as an attorney. During the first vote on secession convention John Echols voted no to Virginia joining the Confederacy. However, after shots were fired on Fort Sumter he joined the second session convention to vote yes to Virginia seceding from the United States.

Photograph of John Echols in his Confederate uniform.

After Virginia joined the Confederacy, John Echols was appointed as Lieutenant Colonel of the 27th Virginia. Lieutenant Colonel John Echols led his regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run and served in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. On April 18th, 1862, he was commissioned a Brigadier General commander of the Army of Southwest Virginia. In June 1863, he served on the court of inquiry to examine the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi and led his brigade in the battle at Cold Harbor, November 1863. He took command of the Confederate Department of Western Virginia in 1864.

Sketch of Confederate President Jefferson Davis after the war.

After General Robert Edward Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, General John Echols helped escort Confederate President Jefferson Davis to Augusta, Georgia. Soon after, General John Echols surrendered command of his corps, to Union forces, in Augusta, Georgia shortly before Jefferson Davis was captured in Irwin County, Georgia. After the war, John Echols served again in the Virginia General Assembly, opened another legal practice, became the President of the National Valley Bank, worked as a general manager for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and became one of the founding members of the Stonewall Jackson Camp of Confederate Veterans. In 1886, John Echols moved to Louisville, Kentucky.

Photograph of Virginia State Senator Edward Echols.

On May 24th, 1896, John Echols passed away while visiting his son Virginia State Senator Edward Echols, who later became the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, while in Staunton. was buried at the Thornrose Cemetery on a hill next to the one where the Confederate War Dead monument was erected eight years prior.

In 1888, “The Oaks”, the last home of Jedediah Hotchkiss, General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s mapmaker, was completed on a plot of land in Staunton, Virginia. In the last years of his life, Jedediah Hotchkiss spoke out against General A.P. Hill, Henry Kyd Douglas, and General James Longstreet, specifically regarding passages in his post war book, about their critical statements about General “Stonewall” Jackson.

In 1896, Jedediah Hotchkiss became the commander of the Stonewall Jackson Camp of Confederate veterans, which was designated as Camp No. 25 of the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans of Virginia. The Stonewall Jackson Camp of Confederate veterans was the fourth such camp to be established in the Shenandoah Valley and regularly met at the first YMCA building established in Staunton. On January 17th, 1899, Jedediah Hotchkiss passed away, due to poor health, and was interred at the grounds of the Thornrose Cemetery.

Jedediah Hotchkiss’s map of the Battle of Cross Keys, during the course of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, which was created in June of 1862.

Author’s Note:

In the 1866 the Staunton National Cemetery was established in as a burial ground for over 700 Union soldiers.

Beaverdam, Virginia

Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown – The Residence Where His First Wife Passed Away And The Girlhood Home Of Former First Lady Dolly Madison

In 1719, Scotchtown was built and soon became the girlhood home of future First Lady Dolly Madison. American patriot Patrick Henry moved his wife Sara and his children into Scotchtown in 1771, four years before the start of the American Revolution. In 1775, Sara Henry would pass away inside of that home and Patrick Henry gave his famous, “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech, at the Saint John’s Church, during his time living at that residence.

To the left is a desk that Patrick Henry used while he was serving as the first non-colonial governor of Virginia.
Berryville, Virginia, General Robert Edward Lee

General Robert Edward Lee’s Visit To Berryville, Virginia – During His March To Gettysburg, Pennslyvania

On June 21st, 1863, during the Army of Northern Virginia’s march northward to Maryland, General Robert Edward Lee made a stop to attend church services at the Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville, Virginia.

In 1986, the Sycamore Society placed a plaque about the location was General Robert Edward Lee’s horse Traveler was tethered to during his church service at the grounds of the Grace Episcopal Church. Six years later, in 1992, the E.V. White Chapter, Mosb and Sons of Confederate Veterans Camps #21 and #1567 erected a replacement plaque at the grounds of the Grace Episcopal Church.

Berryville, Virginia, Clarke County, Virginia, John Adams Elder

The Clarke County, Virginia Courthouse That Was Built In The 1850s And The Ongoing Legal Battle Over Berryville’s “Appomattox” Confederate Monument

On August 30th, 1884, during the one year anniversity of the Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Calvary, a Confederate group that was formed in 1883, the group passed a resolution to create a monument to honor the Confederate dead of Clarke County. Less than two years later, on March 1st, 1886, an act of the Virginia General Assembly, to incorporate the Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Cavalry, passed in both the House of Delegates and in the Senate. This incorporation of this private veteran group allowed the organization to both hold real estate and to be exempt from taxation.

Photograph of the “Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Calvary” that was taken between 1916 to 1918.

Members of the Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Calvary commissioned Burns & Campbell to create a monument based off of John Adams Elder’s 1888 painting named “Appomattox”.

John Adams Elder’s painting of a solemn Confederate soldier in “Appomattox”.

Due to the Confederate soldier’s resemblance to the historical painting the monument was hence named “Appomatox”.

The Monumental Bronze Company’s advertisement for a variety of monuments.

On July 21st, 1900, Berryville’s “Appomatox” monument was dedicated in front of the Clarke County Courthouse at a ceremony that began at 11:45AM.

In May 1903, the only other “Appomattox” monument, that was erected in Virginia, was named “To All Confederates” and was placed in the cemetery on Rude’s Hill in Mount Jackson, Virginia. The Mount Jackson Chapter of the U.D.C. raised the funds for Virginia’s second “Appomattox” monument.

Author’s Note:

In the fall of 2021, the Turner Ashby Confederate Camp No. 1567, filed a lawsuit against the Clarke County Government over the ownership of the Berryville Appomatox monument. The original Confederate group that erected the monument dissolved in the 1900s, and the Turner Ashby Confederate camp has argued that, since their group consists of Confederate decendants, they are the private organization with the greatest interest in the monument, besides the Daughters of the Confederacy. However, during a jury trail ruled in favor of the Clarke County Government, by giving the county ownership of the monument, and the case is currently being reviewed under an appellate court.

Maral S. Kalbian, was hired by the Clarke County Board of Supervisiors, to research the history of the “Appomattox” monument and created a public presentation with her findings. The Clarke County government issued a report called a “Summary Timeline For The Confederate Monument In Berryville, VA”.

Shenandoah, Virginia

The Exhibit Of The U.S.S. Shenandoah IV (AD-26) Within The Military Room Of The “Town of Shenandoah Welcome Center and Museum”

Within the Town of Shenandoah Welcome Center and Museum, that is located within a former mill on First Street, is an exhibit about the U.S.S. Shenandoah IV (AD 26) within the military room.

A painting of the four United States Navy U.S.S. Shenandoah vessels that once hung inside of the U.S.S. Shenandoah IV (AD-26).

Author’s Note:

While the United States Navy had four vessels named U.S.S. Shenandoah, during the course of the “War Between the States” the Confederacy commissioned the shipbuilders “Alexander Stephen and Sons” to construct the C.S.S. Shenandoah. On August 17th, 1863, the C.S.S. Shenandoah was launched from a shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland to Confederate service.

Major Richard Snowden Andrews

Major Richard Snowden Andrews Survives An Injury From The Battle Of Cedar Mountain That Is Deemed As A “Medical Miracle”

During the United States Civil War, Doctor William Henry Amiss’s medical practice was located in Sperryville, Virginia and his brother Doctor Thomas Amiss worked in Page County. Both doctors served as surgeons for the Army of Northern Virginia, and were involved with the treatment of Major Richard Snowden Andrews, who was disemboweled during the Battle of Cedar Mountian near Culpeper. After what was considered a mortal wound, both doctors stitched Major Andrews bowels back together it was deemed a medical miracle when Major Andrews survived the surgery. Major Andrews was wounded again during the Second Battle of Winchester and would live until 1903.

Doctor William Henry Amiss, also passed away in 1903, four months after the death of Major Andrews.

The site of Doctor William Amiss’s medical office is currently being used for the Haley Fine Art Gallery. A historical marker about this medicial miracle has been placed in front of the gallery.


The Rappahannock Historical Society

In 1966, the Rappahannock Historical Society was established within a historic building, that was built in 1820, in the town of Washington, Virginia.

Within the second floor, of the exhibits, is a set of newspaper articles about the election of the first ever all female town council in the state of Virginia. Starting in 1950, a female mayor and five other female councilwomen have managed the affairs of Rappohannock County, for over two decades.

Bath County, Virginia

The Historic Courthouse Of Warm Springs, Virginia

On December 14th, 1790, the Virginia General Assembly created Bath County from parts of Augusta, Botetourt and Greenbrier Counties. A stone Courthouse and a log jail was built in then town of Warm Springs. In 1842, a second courthouse was built out of brick in Warm Springs. In 1908, a third courthouse was built out of brick but it was destroyed by fire in 1912. After the fire, the T.J. Collins and Sons designed what would become the fourth courthouse. In 1914, the Classical-Revival style courthouse was completed on the same site where the third courthouse once stood.

In 1922, one hundred years ago, the Bath County Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, erected a memorial to the Confederate war dead.

Allan Pinkerton, General George Smith Patton, Pryce Lewis

Pryce Lewis – A British Union Spy That Crossed Paths With General George Smith Patton’s Grandfather Captain George Patton, Senior

Photograph of detective Pryce Lewis.

“There are many spy stories that can out of the Civil War. One of the earlier occurred in the Kanawha Valley.

Because the Union Army had no intelligence service at that time, General George McClellan hired a civilian to gather information regarding enemy’s troop movements and disposition. The man he hired was Allan Pinkerton, a famous private detective.

Pinkerton sent a 29-year old British subject, Pryce Lewis, one of his employees, who was to pose as the son of Lord Tray of England.

Lewis left Cincinnati with a servant on June 27, 1861 on the streamer Cricket. They landed at Guyandotte the next day, and Lewis decided to drop his disguise and get by as an ordinary English citizen.

The next morning, Lewis and his servant started towards the east, asking the way to White Sulphuric Springs. Near the mouth of the Coal River they were picked up by Confederate pickets, taken to Camp Tompkins and brought before Captain George S. Patton, second-in-command.

Lewis acted indignant about his detention, stating that he wanted to travel though the area to view the natural beautify before returning to England.

The next morning, Lewis and his servant started towards the east, asking the way to White Sulphur Springs. Near the mouth of the Coal River that were picked up by the Confederate pickets, taken to Camp Tompkins and brought before Captain George Smith Patton second-in command.

Patton was impressed by his guest and wrote him a pass to Charleston. The. The captain and the spy say down to support in the antebellum mansion at the camp. Patton boasted about his fortifications in the area and invited Lewis to inspect them, but Lewis declined in order not to appear to eager to se them. 

At Charleston, the Union spy was introduced to General Wise, who proved to be a very inhospitable host. He refused to issue a pass for a trip to Richmond, and Lewis and his servant were stranded in town for many days. Lewis tried pretending to write to the British Consul in Richmond, but that didn’t work.

So the two agents put the delay to good use and picked up whatever information. They could on Confederate forces in the area. When General Wise left for a raid on Ripley on July 4th, Lewis went to his friend Colonel C.Q. Tompkins, who informed him that a pass was not even needed to get to Richmond! Tompkins said that the road east was open for travel.

The two doors left Charleston immediately, but they did not head back to Richmond. They wanted to report back to McClellan’s headquarters as soon as possible and traveled south through Boone and Logan Counties in Kentucky and then south to Cincinnati.

They had been away 19 days and traveled many miles through hundreds of enemy troops. When they returned. Lewis was sent back to Red House, Putnam County, to give his report on Confederate activity.”

Author’s Note:

This passage about Union spy activity, shortly after the U.S. Civil War began, is an excerpt from page 34 of Stan Cohen’s book, “The Civil War in West Virginia”.

Painting of Confederate Captain George Patton, Senior.

Altavista, Virginia

The Avoca Estate – The Initial Burial Place Of The Last Confederate General To Die During The U.S. Civil War

In April 1865, Brigadier General James Dearing was the last Confederate general to die, of battle wounds that he sustained, before the end of the U.S. Civil War. Before his passing, a Union soldier, whom James Dearing had trained with before the war, paroled him. James Dearing was buried at a family cemetery in Altavista, Virginia, which with connected to the Lynch part of his family. In 1902, James Dearing was reinterred to the Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia, a plot of land that General Jubal Early had stationed his reserve troops to, from June 17th to 18th, 1864.

The Avoca estate was designed by J.M.B. Lewis, as an American Queen Anne-style house and built in 1901.

Presently, the home serves as the site for the Avoca Musuem and Historical Society.

Author’s Note:

In 1841, after graduating from West Point, Robert Selden Garnett earned a 2nd Lieutenant commission in artillery and served in Buffalo and Fort Ontario, New York. Lieutenant Garnett would later serve in Fort Monroe and was sent to fight in the Battle of Buena Vista and the Battle of Monterey during the Mexican-American War. Lieutenant Garnett was sent to fight, under the command of General Zackary Taylor, during the Second Seminole War and served during the briefer Third Seminole War. After the Indian wars in Flordia ended, Lieutenant Garnett was sent back to Monterey, California to guard a post where he ending up drawing a design that became the first seal of California.

After Garnett’s superiors promised to promote him to major, he was sent to the Washington Territory to assist in the building of Fort Simcoe. Garnett sent to join the 1856 Yakima Expedition and served in the Yakima War against the Puget Sound Native Americans until 1858.

When the first states seceded to the Confederacy, Garnett was traveling through Europe. In April of 1861, Garnett resigned his commission with the U.S. Army and decided to join the Confederate army. On July 13th, 1861, shortly after ordering a retreat to Laurel Hill, after a defeat at the Battle of Rich Mountain, Confederate Brigadier General Robert Selden Garnett was killed by a cannonball, that struck him while he was on his horse, during the Battle of Corrick’s Ford in western Virginia. Brigadier General Robert Selden Garnett became the first general to die during the U.S. Civil War, after taking command of the West Virginia Confederate army after their defeat at the Battle of Philippi. After the Battle of Corrick’s Ford, Union soldiers found Brigadier General Garnett’s body, placed it in a wooden coffin, and gave him back to the Confederate army for burial. Brigadier General Garnett’s body was sent to his family in Baltimore, Maryland where he was initially buried. In 1865, Bridgader General Garnett was reinterred to the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Sketch of the “Battle of Corrick’s Ford and the Body of General Garnett” from “Frank Leslie’s Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War”.
Brookneal, Virginia

Red Hill – The Last Residence Of American Patriot Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry’s father gave him property, in Louisa County, Virginia, in which he built his Roundabout home. While living in Louisa, Form 1765 to 1768, Patrick Henry was elected to the colonial Virginia House of Burgess.

Painting of the Roundabout home (Courtesy of the Louisa County Historical Society).

At the time of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry moved to his “Scotchtown” residence in Beaverdam, Virginia. While living in Beaverdam, Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in at the Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia.

From 1779 to 1784, Patrick Henry lived in the Leatherwood estate in Axton, Virginia, an area formerly called Old Center. From 1780 to 1784, Patrick Henry served in the Virginia House of Delegates. During his last term as delegate, Patrick Henry was elected as Virginia governor, for the fourth time, and moved to the Salisbury hunting lodge in Chesterfield County.

In 1922, the Patrick Henry Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a boulder which indicated the site of the former Leatherwood estate. During the summer of 2022, the marker on that boulder was restored by the Patrick Henry Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Red Hill, was the final home of American patriot Patrick Henry. During his time there he spoke out against President John Adam’s “Alien and Sedition Acts” and ran for the Virginia House of Delegates again. Patrick Henry was offered another term as Virginia Governor, as an ambassador in Spain, and other positions, but due to his many debts he declined those offers.

In the beginning of June 1799, Patrick Henry had a doctor treat him for his intestinal complications. However, on June 6th, 1799, Patrick Henry passed away from his ailments and was buried in his last property.

On August 1st, 1985, Virginia Senator John Warner introduced S.J. Resolution 187, which would designate Red Hill as the Patrick Henry National Monument. In 1986, Senator John Warner’s resolution was passed into law.

At the entrance of Red Hill, rests a replica of a bust that sculptor Frederick William Sievers made of Patrick Henry. Frederick William Sievers made other prominent works of art, including the Virginia monument for the Gettysburg National Battlefield. In 1932, the Virginia General General Assembly commissioned multiple replicas of Patrick Henry busts for the state capital. This replica bust was casted from the original one located inside Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown residence in Beaverdam, Virginia.

In 1851, Peter Frederick Rothermel created a painting of Patrick Henry at the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1766. The original painting is displayed within the E. Stuart James Grant Museum room within the visitor center for Red Hill.

Albemarle County, Virginia

The Monticola Estate – Where Part Of The Movie “Virginia” Was Filmed In 1940

In 1853, the Monticola estate was designed as a Greek revival style mansion and built in Howardsville, Virginia, within southern Albemarle County’s border with Nelson County. Howardsville is an unincorporated area which was named after James Howard, a man who settled the northern bank of the James River, at the tributary where the Rockfish River begins.

The Exchange Hotel and Ballard House of Richmond, which is where former President of the United States John Tyler died in January 18th, 1862, had their double balcony removed, before the hotel’s demolition in 1900, and relocated to the back side of the Monticola estate.

In 1940, various scenes of the drama movie “Virginia” was filmed at Monticola, before debuting in theaters in 1941.

Author’s Note:

If you would like to book a tour of the Historic Monticola Estate call or text the current property owners Ashley Spence at (540) 280-3385 and Jeremy Vogan at (540) 487-0480.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society

The Map Of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s Valley Campaign At The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society

Since the 1980s, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, which used to be located in downtown Harrisonburg, has had a large electronic field map showing geographic details of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s Valley Campaign along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and in West Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln, Dayton, Virginia, General Philip Henry Sheridan

October 4th, 1864 – Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. Wildes Refuses To Burn Down Dayton, Virginia The Same Day The Cousin Of Abraham Lincoln Saves Her Home From Destruction

“The Burning” was the period in 1864, where the Union was committed to burning the farms, mills and other buildings associated with the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy” in order to weaken General Robert Edward Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. On October 4th, 1864, the ninth day of the burning, Union troops attempted to burn down Abigail Lincoln’s home. Abigail told the troops that she was the cousin of the President, and the troops refrained from their order to destroy her home.

That day many women and children, living within Dayton, pleaded with Union Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. Wildes to not burn down their down. Lieutenant Colonel Wildes defied General Philip Henry Sheridan’s burn order, with the risk of a court m-martial. General Sheridan, after hearing his subordinate’s concerns, rescinded the burn order.

Next to a World War I cannon, in downtown Dayton, is a plague dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. Wildes.

Fluvanna County, Virginia, Fork Union Military Academy

The Fork Union Military Academy In Fluvanna County, Virginia

In 1898, fifty nine years after the establishment of the Virginia Military Insititute, the Fork Union Military Academy was established by Baptist minister Dr. William E. Hatcher in Fluvanna County, Virginia. The Fork Union Military Academy was not affiliated with the Army, the Coast Guard, the Navy, nor the Marines. Rather it was established as a boarding school for boys aged 14 to 17. Military curriculum was not added until 4 years after the school was founded.

In 1937, the American Legion Post 140, which was commanded by Hunter Bransford, dedicated a World War I era artillery gun to the Fork Union Military Academy. Next to the field gun are various plaques dedicated to the Fork Union Military Academy members who served during the “First Great War”.

Photograph of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Earle Davis Gregory.

One of the plaques is in honor of Earle Davis Gregory, who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor through his actions during the during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France.

In 1865, Confederate Veteran Charles Summerville Roller established the Augusta Male Academy, near the Old Stone Church, located within the Fort Defiance military installation in Virginia. In 1880, the male academy transitioned to a military academy. However, in 1984, the Augusta Military Academy closed due to financial issues rooted from a lack of enrollment during and after the Vietnam War. The former Augusta Military Academy exists as a museum honoring the alumni who attended there, whereas the Fork Union Military Academy still has its doors open, training teenage boys to become outstanding Virginian men.

Blue Ridge Mountains, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

July 18th, 1931 – The Ground Breaking Ceremony For The Creation Of “Skyline Drive”

On July 18th, 1931, a ground breaking ceremony was held for the creation of “Skyline Drive”, near the site of the former Panorama Resort that was demolished in 2008.

By 1936, construction of the 105 mile long Skyline Drive was completed by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Eastwood, Kentucky

The Lincoln Homestead Farm – The Residence Of Abraham Lincoln’s Grandfather Who Was Friends With Daniel Boone

In 1768, John Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s great-grandfather, moved from the Pennslyvania Colony to establish the Lincoln Homestead Farm in Linville, Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather, Abraham “Linkhorn” Lincoln, lived at the farm until his friend Daniel Boone convinced him to move to Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln served as a captain during the American Revolution. In May of 1786, Abraham “Linkhorn” Lincoln was working by his cabin, near Eastwood, Kentucky, and was shot dead by a Native American. Abraham “Linkhorn” Lincoln was buried near the grounds of his cabin, which is located within the present day Long Run Baptist Church and Cemetery.

While Captain Abraham “Linkhorn” Lincoln, and some of his decendants were buried in Kentucky, some relatives of President Abraham Lincoln are buried in a gravesite, surrounded by an iron dense, near the home that the former President’s great-uncle, Captain Jacob Lincoln, built.

The Lincoln Family Cemetery was restored by the Massanutten Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, and the Blue Ridge and the Illinois chapters of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America.

Barboursville, Virginia, James Barbour

The Ruins Of Virginia Governor James Barbour’s Mansion

James Barbour was born in Barboursville, Virginia, a town that was named after his liking.

James Barbour was elected to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Orange County, from 1809 to 1812. Two weeks after the death of Governor George William Smith, he was elected to become Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. After the War of 1812 began, Governor James Barbour would go on the field, along Hampton Roads and the Northern Neck, to take charge of the militia as the British military made advancements.

Author Philip Andrew Hamilton at the Barbour Ruins on July 15th, 2022.

In 1814, former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson helped design the mansion that James Barbour and his family would live in. On June 7th, 1842, James Barbour passed away and was buried in the family cemetery near the mansion.

In 1930, a plague honoring James Barbour and his wife, was placed on the brick wall surrounding the family cemetery by sixth generation decendants of the former governor.

On December 25th, 1884, the Barbour Mansion was destroyed by a fire and the residence was never restored to its original condition. In 1976, the grounds within the Barbour Ruins were converted into a vineyard.

Battle of Trevilian Station, General George Armstrong Custer

The Charles Goodall Trevilian House – Headquarters Of General George Armstrong Custer During Battle Of Battle of Trevilian Station

On June 11th, 1864, during the first day of the Battle of Trevilian Station, Brigadier Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer utilized the Charles Goodall House as his headquarters. Brigadier General Custer’s forces successfully seized Confederate Major General Wade Hampton’s supply train. However, Brigadier General Custer, and his forces, became surrounded in an engagement historically known as “Custer’s First Last Stand”. Union reinforcements came and Brigaded General Custer was able to evade the prospect of being captured. The Battle of Trevilian Station continued for another day and ended with a Confederate victory.

Eight years ago, the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation purchased the Charles Goodall house, from private owners, and conducted a series of renovations of the home. Presently, the house serves as a research library and as a Civil War eta musuem.

Battle of the Monocacy, Battle of Trevilian Station, Fort Stevens, General David Hunter, General George Armstrong Custer, General Jubal Anderson Early, General Philip Henry Sheridan, General Robert Edward Lee, General Wade Hampton III

The Battle of Trevilian Station – A Decisive Confederate Victory That Kept Supply Lines Open For The Army Of Northern Virginia

During the Battle of Trevilian Station, General George Armstrong Custer used the Charles Goodall house as his temporary headquarters. During the battle General Custer got cornered, near the home that he used as his headquarters, and was almost captured by the Confederate Army. Confederate General Wade Hampton III utilized the nearby Netherland Tavern as his temporary headquarters during the battle.

Due to the Confederate General Wade Hampton III’s success at Trevilian Station, the Union forces, under the command of General David Hunter, who would later become the president of the military commission that was tasked with trying the individuals who plotted to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and members of his cabinet, and General Philip Henry Sheridan, were unable to join forces to destroy the train station in nearby Charlottesville. Because of that, General Jubal Early had his army take a train, from Charlottesville, to combat David Hunter’s forces in Lynchburg from July 17th to 18th.

The Battle of Trevilian Station also prevented the Union from cutting off essential supplies that were heading from the Shenandoah Valley to General Robert Edward Lee’s army in Petersburg. It can be said that, the Siege of Petersburg lasted as long as it did because of General Jubal Anderson Early’s success in holding off the Union throughout 1864, and for his effort to go back on the offensive through the Battle of the Monocacy in Maryland and with the skirmish at Fort Stevens in Washington, D.C.

Edward Virginius Valentine, Jefferson Finis Davis

Edward Virginius Valentine’s Sculpture Of Former Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis

In 1906, Edward Virginius Valentine created clay molds, for a metal cast, that was needed for a statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis. At the time only the General Robert Edward Lee monument was standing on Monument Avenue.

After completion, on June 7th, 1907, Edward Virginius Valentine’s statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis was unveiled on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, the same day as the J.E.B. Stuart statue was dedicated, in the presence of about 18,000 Confederate veterans. This statue stood, in its original location, until rioters took down the statue on June 11th, 2020.

Two years later, on June 2022, the Jefferson Finis Davis statue was relocated to the Valentine Museum, in proximity to the studio were the original clay models for the statue were created.

Henry “Box” Brown, The Valentine First Freedom Center

Henry “Box” Brown – An Abolitionist Who Mailed Himself From Richmond, Virginia To Philadelphia, Pennslyvania To Secure His Freedom

In 1815, Henry Brown was born into slavery at the Hermitage Plantation in Louisa County, Virginia. Up until his teenage years, Henry Brown did work on the fields within the plantation.

Photograph of the Hermitage Plantation in 2011.

In 1830, Henry Brown was sent to work in Richmond, a year before the events of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. In 1849, Henry Brown mailed himself, in a 3 foot long and 2 and a half foot tall box, onwards to freedom into the city of Philadelphia. Once out of the box, earned the nickname of Henry “Box” Brown and sung a bible verse to celebrate his freedom. As a free man, Henry Brown spoke out, as an abolitionist, and became part of the “Underground Railroad”. However, due to the United States Congress’s passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Henry Brown relocated to Great Britain so that he could not be re-enslaved in Virginia.

The replica of the wooden box, that Henry Brown had once stayed in, is located at “The Valentine First Freedom Center” in Richmond, Virginia.

Charlottesville, Virginia, Jack Jouett

Captain Jack Jouett, Junior Rode From The Cuckoo Tavern In Louisa County To Warn Governor Thomas Jefferson Of The British Advancement Into Charlottesville, Virginia

In Louisa County, at the site where the Cuckoo Tavern once stood, is two historical markers depicting Jack Jouett’s ride from Cuckoo to Charlottesville, which was made to warn Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia General Assembly members of the British advance towards Charlottesville. May historians consider Captain Jack Jouett, Junior to be the “Paul Revere” of Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln, Amherst County, Virginia

Peter Cartwright – A Former Resident Of Virginia, Who Later Became An Illinois General Assembly Member, That Ran Against Abraham Lincoln For U.S. Congress

Peter Cartwright was born in Amherst County, Virginia, three miles southeast of the town of Shipman. Later in life Peter Cartwright relocated to Illinois and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. In 1846, Peter Cartwright ran against Abraham Lincoln for a U.S. Congress seat and lost.

Battle of McDowell

The Historic Courthouse Of Monterey, Virginia

In 1850, a Highland County Courthouse was built in the county seat of Monterey, Virginia. In 1918, the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed a statue in honor of the Confederate veterans of the county who faught in the Battle of McDowell, and in other battles throughout the war.

In 1947, a fire at a local restraunt spread all the Highland County Courthouse, which burnt down the structure. In 1948, a new courthouse was built, which still stands to this day.

Next to the United Daughters of the Confederacy Monument is a historical marker dedicated to the town of Monterey, during the United States Civil War, which contains a photograph of a 1908 Confederate reunion at the steps of the Highland Inn.

In the town of McDowell, ten minutes from Monterey, stands a 1928 historical marker dedicated to the Battle of McDowell.

Battle of McDowell

The Battle Of McDowell – One Of General Stonewall Jackson’s Confederate Victories In The Shenandoah Valley Campaign Of 1862

The Battle of McDowell was one which was faught with deception. Stonewall Jackson keep some of his troops in Highland County, while marching the rest of the troops south of the Shenandoah Valley so that Union spies would report southward troop movement to their commanders. However, after the march, Stonewall Jackson had his troops take a train to Staunton and marked them to Highland County.

Photograph of former Virginia Governor James McDowell.

At Sitlington’s Hill, within the town of McDowell, a locality named after former Virginia Governor James McDowell whom served on the first board for the Virginia Military Insititute, Union and Confederate forces clashed.

During the battle, the Felix Hull House was used as the headquarters for Union Brigadier General Robert Huston Milroy and his superior Brigadier General Robert Cumming Schenck. When the Confederates won the battle, Major General Stonewall Jackson occupied the Felix Hull House.

Currently, the Felix Hull House is a privately owned residence. The staff at the Highland County Museum, a museum at a house identical to the Felix Hull House, mentioned that while the home is in need of renovation, the owners have decided to not renovate in the near future.

General Marquis de Lafayette

General Marquis de Lafayette’s Visits To President James Madison’s Montpelier Residence

In 1824, from November 15th to the 19th, General Marquis de Lafayette visited James Madison’s Montpelier. The general returned for a second visit on August 21st, 1825.

In 2021, the William C. Pomeroy Foundation placed a historical marker, regarding General Marquis de Lafayette’s two separate visits to President James Madison’s Montpelier, at the grounds of the Montpelier Train Depot.

Charlottesville, Virginia, General George Armstrong Custer, General Robert Edward Lee

Major General Thomas Lafayette Rosser – A Roommate Of General George Armstrong Custer, At The United States Military Academy, Who Fought Under General Robert Edward Lee Until Appomatox

On October 15th, 1836, Major General Thomas Lafayette Rosser was born in Campbell County, Virginia. The Rosser family would later move to the the Texas, the state from where Thomas Lafayette Rosser would apply to join the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. While attending West Point, Rosser was roommates with future General George Armstrong Custer. Custer, who was from Ohio, nicknamed Rosser “Tex” since his family was from Texas.

After West Point, Major General Rosser served in the Confederacy and later for the United States Army during the Spanish-American War. Between those two wars, Major General Rosser was the Chief Engineer of the Northern Pacific Railroad and for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. On March 29th, 1910, Major General Rosser died in Charlottesville, Virginia and was buried in the Riverview Cemetery, that had been established eighteen years prior.

Albemarle County, Virginia

May 20th, 1777 – The Virginia General Assembly Passed A Bill To Form Fluvanna County From Albemarle County

On May 20th, 1777, a bill for “for dividing the County of Albemarle” was passed after its third reading. After the passage, Speaker of the House George Wytheville ordered then Delegate Thomas Jefferson to carry a bill to the Virginia Senate.

The Midland Virginian reported that:

The new county was cut from the mother county by a line running from the most western point in the line of Louisa County directly to the lower edge of Scott’s Ferry, on the Fluvanna, now the James River …. embracing all of Albemarle Countt lying eastward of that line, including the islands in the river … to the Goochland County line, a few hundred yards beyond the town of Columbia …

Edward Virginius Valentine, Lee Chapel, Lee Chapel and Musuem, Lexington, Virginia

The Chapel That Washington College Had Built During General Robert Edward Lee’s Tenure As President

In 1867, construction on the Lee Chapel, began on the grounds of Washington College. The new chapel was completed in time for the spring semester in 1868. General Robert Edward Lee, who ordered construction of the chapel, began attending Christian services at the building with other students and administrators.

After General Lee’s passing, Washington College was renamed to Washington and Lee College in his honor. General Lee, his wife, his sons, and several of his other family members were buried in a crypt within the basement of the church. In 1875, five years after General Lee’s death, a statue of the “Sleeping General”, that was sculpted by Edward Virginius Valentine, was sent to Washington College.

Author’s Note:

Robert Edward Lee only lived to the age of 63, but he had a multitude of accomplishments during his lifetime, many that occurred both before and after the end of the United States Civil War. Robert Edward Lee was the son of the Revolutionary War hero Harry “Lighthorse” Lee, who was the ninth governor of Virginia, and began his military career at West Point. In 1829, after Robert Edward Lee graduated 2nd in his class at West Point, Brigadier General Charles Gratiot, Chief of Engineers, gave Lieutenant Lee orders to go to Georgia’s Cockspur Island and to report to Major Samuel Babcock of the corps of Engineers. Lieutenant Lee’s work, as assistant engineer, helped establish the foundation of Fort Pulaski.

Portrait of Virginia Governor Henry Lee III.

Robert Edward Lee spent time working as an engineer, up until the outbreak of the Mexican-American War where he was serving as a captain. Before the Battle of Buena Vista, Captain Lee conducted multiple reconnaissance missions on Santa Anna’s army, which helped the United States Army win that battle. After the occupation of Atalaya, Lee’s forces fought the Mexican army, at a mountain nearby, where he rescued a Mexican drummer boy who was trapped under the body of a dead soldier. After the battles of Contreras (Padierna) and Churubusco, Lee was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. On September 14th, 1846, Lieutenant Colonel Lee was in Mexico City as General Winfield Scott lead the occupation of Mexico’s capital.

Sketch of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Edward Lee.

After the Mexican-American War, General Winfield Scott led charges against General Gideon Johnson Pillow for taking other military commanders’ credit for victories at Churubusco and Contreras. Lieutenant Colonel Lee served as a witness, supporting General Scott, during the court martial case of General Pillow that was eventually dismissed. From 1852 to 1855, Lieutenant Colonel Lee served as the Superintendent of the West Point Military Academy in New York. Robert Edward Lee then moved from New York to Texas to serve on the frontier.

Robert Edward Lee’s marines seizing the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

In 1859, John Brown’s abolitionist supporters occupied the U.S. Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and prevented hundreds of individuals from leaving town. However, after John Brown let a train leave for Maryland, word of the insurrection, quickly spread to Washington, D.C. and to members of the Buchanan Administration. President James Buchanan ordered Lee to led a force of marines, whom traveled by train, to suppress the attempted slave rebellion, that John Brown began. After a brief showdown, Lee and his marines seized the U.S. Arsenal, and John Brown, who had committed several acts of violence during the events of “Bleeding Kanas”, was arrested on the charge of treason.

From October 24th to October 26th, 1859, the case Virginia v. John Brown commenced. Witnesses testified to John Browns various actions against the commonwealth of Virginia. On October 26th, 1859 John Brown was sentenced on three counts of insurrection, treason and murder. Virginia Governor Henry Wise ordered 1,500 troops to guard the execution to prevent any attempts of break John Brown from jail. On December 2nd, 1859, John Brown was executed in the presence of actor John Wilkes Booth, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who had Virginia Military Institute cadets with him, and many others, in Charlestown, West Virginia. Robert Edward Lee was not present at the execution and his hopes of starting a Civil War vanished with his death. However, over a year after John Brown’s execution Robert Edward Lee would have to choose between defending his state or his country after the attack on Fort Sumter.

John Brown’s execution in Charlestown, West Virginia.

After General Robert Edward Lee’s official surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, the former Confederate General stayed with his family in Richmond, Virginia, in a house that “The Family Foundation of Virginia” currently uses as their office. Many job offers were given, from New York and other states, but Lee rejected them. Washington College offered Lee the presidency of their college, but Lee rejected that offer too, because he did not feel that he should be given a position of leadership after being on the losing side of a war. However, the board members of Washington College were persistent and convinced Lee to change his mind after securing a place for him and his family to live in Lexington. On October 1865, Robert Edward Lee took an oath at the Lexington Courthouse and officially became the President of Washington College.

In conclusion, the “Lee Chapel”, which has recently been renamed to “University Chapel”, was originally named after Robert Edward Lee to honor the entirety of his life which included 22 years of service to the United States Army, 4 years with the Confederacy and 5 years working to reconcile the wounds between northerns and southerners after the end of the “War Between The States”. Despite the efforts to tarnish the legacy of Robert Edward Lee, as a racist that defended the institution of slavery, historians will remember his many contributions to his country, which included the construction of many forts, helping the United States Army defeat Santa Anna’s forces, training cadets at West Point, defending the Texan frontier, his willingness to defend the people of his state from federal invasion, after being offered command of the Union Army, and his willingness to discipline students who spoke ill of “Grant’s friends” after the United States Civil War ended.

Painting of President Robert Edward Lee at Washington College (Washington and Lee University Archives).