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).
Austinville, Virginia

The Birthplace Of Stephen Fuller Austin – Founder Of The Texas Rangers And The First Commander Of The Texas Military Forces During The Texas Revolution

In 1836, this was the engraving that was created of Stephen Fuller Austin.

On November 3, 1793, Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Wythe County, Virginia, in an area that would be later named Austinville. As Stephen grew up, father and uncle operated the lead mines within Wythe County. On September 16th 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, launched the Mexican War of Independence after publishing the “Grito de Dolores”, also known as the “Cry of Dolores”. On August 1821, after eleven years of war, Spaniard Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which approved a plan to make Mexico an independent constitutional monarchy.

Painting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

In 1821, at a period after the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, Stephen Fuller Austin brought 300 families to the Spanish province within Texas. In 1823, due to the lack of military forces to protect the American colonists, Austin decided to create the policing force called, “Texas Rangers”. During the course of the Texas Revolution Stephen Fuller Austin became the first commander of the Texan military forces. After Texas won its independence, Sam Houston was elected to be the first President of the Republic of Texas and he nominated Stephen Fuller Austin to be the first Secretary of State for the new nation. However, two months after obtaining that appointment, Secretary Austin caught a severe cold and passed away.

Two decades ago, private donors from Texas and Wythe County, Virginia financed the creation of a monument dedicated to Stephen Fuller Austin, at the site of the former cabin that he was born in. Three miles from the Stephen Fuller Austin Memorial Park, the Fincastle Resolutions was signed by American Revolutionaries, which influenced the tenants of Thomas Jefferson’s drafts of the Declaration of Independence.

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Walter Crockett – A Former Member Of The Virginia House Of Delegates Who Was In The Point Pleasant Expedition During Lord Dunmore’s War And Who Was In Virginia’s Convention To Ratify The U.S. Constitution

Walter Crockett began his military career as a member of the militia for Augusta County, Virginia. After attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Walker Crockett served in the militias within Botetourt and Fincastle county. Later, after Fincastle county was dissolved, he served in Montgomery county. Walter Crockett served in the Point Pleasant expedition of 1774, during Lord Dunmore’s War and during the Revolutionary War he served in the military in Southwest Virginia. During the American Revolution, he also served in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Montgomery County, and he was at Virginia’s convention to ratify the United States Consitution. In 2001, a historical marker was dedicated to former Virginia House of Delegates member Walter Crockett.

Albemarle County, Virginia, David Wiley Anderson

The Miller School – An Institution Designed By Albert Lybrock and David Wiley Anderson On Land Once Owned By Samuel Miller

In the 1874, the Miller School was designed by architects Albert Lybrock and David Wiley Anderson, five years after Samuel Miller’s death. In 1878, there was a grand opening for the school that Samuel Miller ordered to have created in Albemarle County, Virginia in his last will and testament.

Albemarle County, Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Locust Hill – The Birthplace Of Meriwether Lewis In Albemarle County, Virginia

Locust Hill was the birthplace of explorer Meriwether Lewis, whom lived there until the age of six, at the time his family moved to Georgia. Before joining the United States Army, Meriwether Lewis did manage the Locust Hill estate, and resided on the land for a second time during his adulthood.

In 1925, the Albemarle Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution erected a place dedicated to Locust Hill.

Hollywood Cemetery, Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Emory Cutshaw

Wilfred Emory Cutshaw – A Former Hampton Military Academy And Virginia Military Institute Professor Who Became Richmond’s City Engineer In 1873

Wilfred Emory Cutshaw is a former professor of both the Hampton Military Academy and of the Virginia Military Insititute who served, under General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, in multiple military artillery divisions. In 1873, Cutshaw became Richmond’s City Engineer, a position that he served in until his death. Presently, Cutshaw is buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery, alongside with thousands of other Confederate veterans.

In 2015, a historical marker was dedicated to Wilfred Emory Cutshaw inside of the William Byrd Park that he had designed while he was Richmond’s Engineer.

Bill Thomas, Hollywood Cemetery, The James Monroe Memorial Foundation

The 264th Birthday Celebration Ceremony For The Fifth United States President James Monroe

On April 28th, 2022, the James Monroe Memorial Foundation hosted the 264th Birthday Celebration Ceremony for the fifth United States President James Monroe. Several leaders of chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars, Society of the Cincinnati, and other historical organizations were present. In addition, Bill Thomas, the director of the James Monroe birthplace and Sara Bon-Harper, the director of the Ashland-Highland estate were present, in addition to various decendants of James Monroe.

On July 4th, 1831, James Monroe became the third and the final United States President to pass away on American Independence Day. In 1858, James Monroe’s body was taken out of the Gouverneur family’s vault, in the New York City Marble Cemetery, and was transported to Richmond, Virginia via the Jamestown steamer. James Monroe was reinterred at the Hollywood Cemetery, a cemetery that had opened a mere two years earlier, and became the first famous individual to be buried on the hilly grounds, along the James River.