Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Loudoun County Virginia during the Civil War  CSPAN  November 22, 2021 3:25am-5:01am EST

3:25 am
state in history. >> good evening and welcome tonight history and for those of you are not familiar with the history on path, the series what we have been doing for the last two years now, congratulations on her anniversary guys climactic and thank you. which we get each other. yes bear, that sounds good and works pretty so joe and marie and i have been traveling around into different breweries wineries and other establishments throughout the area telling stories of local history kind of the wild and unusual the interesting and
3:26 am
stories that slipped through the cracks when it comes to talking about our local history and tons a special program because we are here in a historic site in february we are here at the harrison hall. it has a lot of historic significance to the american civil war which we will get into as we move forward this evening but before we go into the microphone over to joe. >> thank you so much for joining us here and live at harrison hall know my name is joe rizzo the executive director of this museum located in downtown, loudoun county and i am joined by a director of education terry shaw rated and also the best dresser of the group rated ego is inflated c-span group, problem is to determine he arrived. [taps]. >> while the crew was one person
3:27 am
let's not get too carried away. [inaudible]. and also joined by the executive director of the loudoun county museum braided. [applause] and sorry marie go ahead and .[laughter] and now since this is our second annual fundraiser we needed to bring in the gun and the big guns to celebrate our bet of the special guest is dana, editor. [applause] >> i am feeling the pressure, have not been out of the house much like many of you. >> you look like it. >> do you know how they say you should never follow a dog or cat on stage but we never should
3:28 am
follow anybody with travis' hair, i grabbed this little razor for my beard and i put it once around the battery ran out. [laughter] and i was thankful that it was a circuit because i'd only got halfway across, some going to try to hang in there, the silver fox braided and do what i can in size to meet you all. and on the editor and i also work as a historian and editor for the trials and when i - in my free time. so is a real pleasure to be here i've never been here before and this is a beautiful beautiful place. >> if you want to see the evolution of travis here, the youtube channel that has a lot of our history and can see the pandemic. >> it was a way to spend the time when i was at home printed.
3:29 am
>> reach will tell a short story about the local history particular civil war history since we are at historic historical and we do want to say big thank you to the owner of the property for letting us use this beautiful property for the program. [applause] and we would also like to think dynasty brewing located downtown for the beer we are having tonight in the shout out to the museum hauntings available for the october partnership with them and proceed his benefit the museum and benefit you so we have it available tonight and available at the dynasty brewing. i am drinking and i'm going to tell short story that looks at political prisoners. travis what are you going to talk about tonight pretty.
3:30 am
>> i'm also drinking the haunting and also the story of a local soldier during the civil floor and cut it is run a block both good and bad during the civil war the pittman a lot of very interesting circumstances.
3:31 am
to begin, harrison hall has its origins in the last part of the 18th century. as you are looking at the house now there's a portion on the far right that is one and a half -- two stories tall. that dates to about 1780 when leesburg was really just being built up and one visiting englishman famously said it was a badly organized a ramshackle town. [laughter] for more on that you can ask travis criswell and his drinking envisions it. however, harrison hall had relatively humble beginning. by the 1830s, a gentleman by the name of henry taz well harrison moved into this improper date with his second wife mary jones harrison it is he who added on the addition we see here tonight making up
3:32 am
the core of the building. the structure we see here and the second of the two outbuildings behind it and of course the land we are sitting currently on our chairs and back to the block behind you. he built the house ostensibly so he and his growing family could fit into less cramped quarters because they did have eight children. it's not that easy to fit eight to adults in this building here they be more comfortable having the larger estate available to them. they did have enslaved workers living at the household with them as well as working on their properties. now, henry was a prominent harrison of virginia and his wife mary was not only a jones, her father was a prominent attorney. she also is the granddaughter of charles lee.
3:33 am
henry did pretty well for himself marrying into the jones and lee family. they had a very merry household. unfortunately for them there is a civil war that happens. i think you've probably heard of it. henry finds that his families also divided certain members are pro- secession and pro- virginia others including her own father are prounion and count secession as a double treason not just against the united states but also gives the home state of virginia. some family members will leave d.c. to stay here at harrison hall with the family during the war. i think they're taking a gamble with their house being watched in d.c., they can live a little bit more freely here in loudoun. they could be thinking they can get away from the capitol and hopefully be away from the
3:34 am
war. importantly for them the war is going to come to leesburg in the fall of 1861. of course, by fall of 1861 they seen one large battle coming right back in november. during that time, the union encampment on the north side of the river and the encampments here the war has just now begun they're not very good at surveilling each other cm cross lines sneaking around badly. everyone is fumbling around the dark a little bit at this point. it is only a matter of time before someone stumbles into the wrong place. enter colonel from the union
3:35 am
side of things. he is sent across the river to recount what he thanks is an encampment of confederate soldiers here. it turns out they are trees and not an encampment. [laughter] clicks early in the war break works early in the war and i don't know. the trees look like tense, i don't know. >> how many of you have been on a nighttime surveilled? >> i do not know -- do not want to know what you get up too. [laughter] at least silbert surveilled her. >> that is a good point that is a good point. [laughter] so, what was meant to be a simple reconnaissance mission bubbles up into this battle. course i wrote down earlier today a recon gone wrong. [laughter] anyway, lee's union infantry
3:36 am
troops are going across the potomac river where they only have a couple small skiffs to their names are trying to move hundreds of men across the river going by like 20 men at a time. it is slow going but it is a great idea. [laughter] by the time they get to the top of the bluffs on the other side of the potomac, they end up being met by confederate troops, surprise surprise. and among these virginians that we see on the field suggests up on the bluff there's also a number of troops from the deep south to been in loudoun county who have been stationed around leesburg and it started to make leesburg their home. these individuals have become part of the society here in leesburg. some are frequent guests of the harrison's here at harrison hall. one of the more popular gentleman who comes visiting is eight colonel bert who is a colonel of the 18th
3:37 am
mississippi erie he is a doctor back home in jackson. he has a wife and eight kids of his own back there. i think coming to leesburg and meeting the harrison's paris pretty well-to-do southern family i'm sure they have a lot in common. in fact, he makes a special friendship and niece of the harrison's who is from washington d.c. she sang at harrison hall and meets colonel burke. close to what you think of as siblings they had a affection for each other. not only feeling of patriotism for the confederacy and the other white people in leesburg outside the potomac river actually.
3:38 am
things in the morning of october 21, full disclosure i'm not a full disclosure or historian. what i can tell you is the end result are pretty clear. as colonel bert in the 18th are going across the field they are being guided by a maryland her. a mail in hers later given credit as a virginian that is mr. elijah white. right now he's acting as a scout for the confederate army. he is writing directly on colonel bert right hand, directing him and this battle. the 18th mississippi is moving forward. colonel bert colonel bert is moving forward and he did not know that ahead the field was clear there is a patch of wood in the ground dropped off. where the wooded patch was there was just enough cover he
3:39 am
came within 100 yards of that unit when they sprang up and fired a volley. no other volley he said fired as directly or hat as deadly of an impact throughout the rest of the career. that was the deadliest of volley he had ever seen. immediately, we are not talking about decimating the 18h mississippi one out of ten, and decimate. it was one out of three or one out of every two soldiers that was taken out by this volley from the 15th. they were just shredded. one of those bullets came right into colonel bert entering his right hip, shattering the bone and staying lodged inside of his body. this is a horrific, this is very bad news.
3:40 am
what does bert do? he turned to me as if in a regular everyday conversation we need to tell colonel jennifer i have to leave the field now. quick something is, but i've got to go. i think that is a credit to colonel bert being a doctor. and being an officer and from that point to the rest of them to some things up that push all that union soldiers down the bluff, down into the river. a large number of union soldiers were drowned on each side there about 1700 soldiers to begin with.
3:41 am
but 1000 casualties were suffered by the union army. so again, i am not a military historian but that is not good. >> that is not what you really want. [laughter] so as i said colonel bert is taken within the battlefield and is brought back here to this house to harrison hall and an ambulance. they lay him down and the front hall on a stretcher. this man has just been shot. not even shot through the bull is a drum bullet is still lodged in his hip. he isn't bleeding profusely and blood is pulling onto the wooden floor beneath him. but he is not alone in that house. remember there are at least a dozen kids of sometime in harrison hall in any given time as well as family members of people who are there. and who does colonel bert make eye contact with across the hall but the young virginia
3:42 am
miller. the young woman who has befriended in this home. she writes the shoulders with him are trying to prepare bed upstairs there was no went right there with colonel birx of virginia miller rushes to his side and just takes his hand, there is nothing else she can do for him but she can take his hand. eventually, after some time there is space made for him upstairs he is made upstairs and made as comfortable as can be made for him. and surprising a lot of people, colonel bert hangs in there, a day passes, then another day passes. virginia helped him write a letter to his wife back in mississippi. they have small, charming, and significant conversations. for five days colonel bert lingers in this house behind
3:43 am
me. as you are looking at it, it is the second story. i believe it is the second window from the right as you are looking at it. that bedroom is where colonel bert blazed for his final hours. but eventually he doesn't pass away from his wounds. he is at least at that time accompanied by friends he has made here in virginia. this death affects virginia miller greatly. in fact it affects many people across the south greatly. it would barely be a skirmish. we are talking handfuls of men when you compared to bigger battles. it's literally the biggest thing that has happened. it does make a big difference it makes an impact in the lives in loudoun.
3:44 am
once the body arrives in jackson there is another parade taking his body home for his wife and children. his death also leads his family in a tight spot. is the youngest of the sons of the family did not have a lot of resources. there's not even a headstone on his grave for about 50 years after he died. that does not mean he was then forgotten. keep carrying him in her memory. it is interesting little pieces as we go forward and the war that makes one think his memory stayed alive. for example, in 1864 there was a william henry luce was imprisoned on johnson island. he wrote to a friend of his,
3:45 am
someone he knew talking about an old friend. the lieutenant colonel of the 1h mississippi. serving at the gettysburg when he was captured. virginia miller is back and she will send him some eight or commiserate. but here in september of 1864 he writes to virginia saying something interesting and specific, september 21 he send this letter it is october 21 went colonel bert had received his wound. at first he writes a lot of people say this in the victorian era they're basically saying you should write me more.
3:46 am
basically it says he write more but then goes on to say i never thought to tell you i have a charming boy at home now more than two years old and bearing the same name is art lamented friend burke. i should be proud if he would make such a man is he. i've not seen him in two years. someone else's thought enough about him to name their son after him. there are some names that are not as good. >> that is pretty good. i know it's not just virginia miller who kept remembering her but virginia miller what we know about her actions as she did keep a civil war diary. the diary entries she wrote about the battle were not written when the battle happened. instead were written as a
3:47 am
retrospective a year later. but we do have from her cover late 1861 -- 1862. this is false bluff about colonel bert. hurt diary entries were only found in 1980 and where were they found? in the attic. their phone in the attic of harrison hall. but wait there is more. residents are leesburg will tell us harrison hall has a number of ghost. there are daytime ghosts and their nighttime ghosts. i'm not sure what the difference is. i have heard through the grapevine there is a certain presence that is believed to be colonel bert and he is
3:48 am
eight daytime ghosts he is a nice guy. one of the encounter in certain individuals believe is a nod or hint at colonel bert is that the bed there will be a distinct shape of the body lying on the bed that was not there before. it is very spooky. harrison hall and the greater civil war history is often overshadowed by the bigger events. whether it is a bigger battle set of the poultry 1100, or in september of 1862 robert e lee and the other generals came and visited kind of pushing off other memories unless they are officers who had been here. but nevertheless, those
3:49 am
individuals are both great and small made an impact here at harrison hall. and perhaps they can still be felt today. >> did you add that last bit because it is october and we need to get spooky? >> it is october we need to get spooky. you can hear more about those spook him, scare them at the museum haunting store. >> i like that segway. on sale next weekend bring. >> i'm getting a cut. and now were going to pass things over too dana here to continue our civil war stories. to me too hold it? works i'm going to need help at some point. i think it might be a theme tonight. remember that name he's going to come up. he also was involved, went below the bluff and captured a number of federal soldiers.
3:50 am
he really use that, those exploits he'd made a name for himself and he's going to raise a partisan unit. i'm going to talk about, kind of giving it away a little bit and encounter a union soldier has with him. and he recorded in his diary. the union soldier is a man named john nevin. my confusion could start passing that around we get a look at the union man of an hour. the man on the back is not relevant but it's fun to look at. [laughter] >> pennsylvania is never fun to look at. come on. [laughter] >> that segues nicely, travis. because years ago and i am talking a long time because i used to card catalogs,. [laughter] i was waiting for a friend of mine to get off work at the
3:51 am
john heinz regional history center in spitsbergen. i had some time on my hands and was flipping to the card catalog and assign entry for john nevin and diaries, gettysburg campaign account. so i got those accounts i got the diary photocopied and i have actually done a lot with john evan. sort of a known name in a way he's not a major general or anything. but interesting stories come out of his story. to give you a brief background, when the civil war began he was a 28-year-old teacher in pennsylvania. if you are promote pittsburgh as down the ohio river it is
3:52 am
south of three rivers stadium which is no longer there. you're dating yourself. he will enlist in the pennsylvania as the second lieutenant. he was 28 years old and the 28th is commanded by colonel john white. he is going to command the 28th from both sides of pennsylvania the east and the west to huge regiment but end
3:53 am
up with 15 or 16 companies instead of the usual ten. there's a little bit of a local tie-in because that regiment is ordered to rocks after the first battle of manassas. they're going to get involved in one of these pokey prodding things because and late february they are going to put together a sort of task for this going to move into loudoun county. before that happens though they get rid of some of these surplus guys by some of them joined pennsylvania battery. taken out into the hundred 74th pennsylvania. this is a rabbit trail to the
3:54 am
main story. but i just found out and was interesting these three unions had reunions together after the work. because they were sort of born out of one regiment. the hundred 27th pa very close together. just across the river the 28th is going to be ordered to make this movement. just before they do that they marched on the harper's ferry. going to give you the microphone if i may. you surprise them using a library card? i am a category guy.
3:55 am
so well educated young man he was a teacher as i said. he keeps a diary of his experiences throughout the war. portions of them are missing we would really like to do more with it. the 28th gets an assignment to go into accounts either going to march down and they're going to be all over the place, leesburg, waterford showing the flag showing up what's going on in their defenses again very early in 1862. when this movement is ordered he is sick. he's laying in bed and harper's ferry he watches his regiment march at up harper's ferry across onto a bridge and then climb what i thought was loud in height. i think it is short hill that they went up and over. he is very vaxed by this.
3:56 am
he writes in his diary, i watch that thin blue line disappear until it reached the summit of the mountain and disappeared into the deal when street forest beyond. so the next day he decides it might be a bright idea, he does not want to miss the war. his comrades are gone. he hauled himself out of bed and he is going to follow his regiment and catch up with them. so, let's pick up with some entries from his diary after he says this. he is climbing up a short hill and says i continue to ascend the mountain after frequently making -- resting at length i reach the summit where i can look back down into the valley beyond. i did not take long to realize with a tinge of anxiety as i fought in vain for our little army which was out of sight. he cannot see his comrades and
3:57 am
the tree cover is much less looking down when he called that leesburg valley he cannot see his friends. but no, not a sign was there that were had passed. the leesburg valley late peaceful and silly bright warm sunshine that i now felt certain i had for some time suspected i had lost my way. yet i felt little concern we had not met any of the enemies since we had crossed the two days before his talk about crossing towards harpers ferry. upon the pontoon bridge that now stretched like a threat across the bright potomac. our pickets extended far beyond the spot where i stood. the valley i had just quitted and our detachment was going into i could look back and see
3:58 am
other detachments that harpers ferry likes thin black through the parking into the town. i sat down on the large rock to rest for a few moments and consider what to do. i think this is the famous buzzards rock that was on short hill, that he sits on to view. many of you have probably done this with a similar view. he climbed up to maryland heights are seen photographs looking at harpers ferry. you can imagine this scene it's crawling with union soldiers. you can see all this activity and he becomes a tourist at this point admiring them. how glorious it did seem to me, what sublimity was added to the natural beauty of the scene. the yankee army was still marching into the town carrying with it what destiny what consequences to reach the enemy, who can tell even at this moment the bright
3:59 am
sunlight glances fitfully back from the bayonets of some regiment as it crosses that black of its band faintly fills the air. so it is pretty descriptive. there is a lot of romance here. some early for romance. he continues on describing us talks about the pretty girls of maryland look on the hills and veils of maryland and all the pretty girls he met along the way. he continues, what adventures may i not go through now? what chance of promotion and glory it may not be mine in this campaign? then on to richmond. things and abruptly for our tourist when he writes i heard a rustling of the leaves on one side, and then another. all around me i sell men and some horse great overcoats with carvings in their hands
4:00 am
approach me. i looked in vain for an outlet but there was no escape. they closed in on meet with all sides pointing 48 guns at my breasts, called on me too surrender. sounds like someone should've spent less time writing a poetry more time paying attention. [laughter] i looked around for their captain. and as he stepped forward i told him i am your prisoner. that is obvious. instead of immediately answer he deliberately drew his pistol slowly and impressively aiming it at my head. i am in the habit of treating my prisoners kindly. i wish to do the same by you. but it sure is there is a god in heaven if you do not tell
4:01 am
me the truth about your army i will blow your brains out this moment. >> hopefully not given the punchline away too much this is introduction to elisha way. they have been mirroring gary's men as they move into loudoun county they're up on the bluff watching this in a pleasant sensation 6 inches of your eyes and that particular
4:02 am
spot was suddenly endowed with extra nerves for the purpose. kind of a bit much isn't he? >> i want her more about the maryland girls were. >> that ludicrous of the sudden falling off of the end of my magnificat steam struck me. i was frightened but thank god i did not let the rebels know it he just said i am your prisoner how did he not with them know? he was afraid.
4:03 am
i may have turned pale. [laughter] but i know i had a smile on my face as i replied, i am an officer of the federal army and of course i am not at liberty to try anything in regards to the number and movement. if you are caring on similar to customs i do not believe you will shoot me to allow any of you to shoot a prisoner. and then he continues and finishes this paragraph, i realized i was in the hands of a guerrilla chief and they were seldom known to take prisoners. he is hoping they don't shoot him. is this interchange is going on a shot rings out whites and another man go running off into this cooks of trees to find one of their fellow men had accidentally discharged a
4:04 am
pistol. so they decide, white decides he better get out of here they try to get nevin to walk along but he is sick. skipping forward a little bit, he treated me with the utmost kindness observing i looked weak and sick and was considerably jaded by the long right and a tough time to find a cavalry man's force. he said it must've been writing behind calvary. said white ordered a man to dismount and give me his horse. so white then comes next to him and he is writing with devon. and he said white entered into a long rambling discourse about himself, his exploits, the last ditch of the everglades of virginia where
4:05 am
they were all going to go to die if the war went poorly. so white is saying, we are just going to go into the everglades and continue the war if it goes against us. i feel disguised as a long rambling discourse when he sees it. wait until it is your turn. >> i also like how he sent i didn't look scared i looked sick and weak they felt bad and gave me a horse. so he continues the captain although somewhat vain that might apply to more than one person here. [laughter] i did not point any one. travis's suddenly feeling guilty was a pleasant enough fellow honest in his hatred of the north and his mistaken zeal for southern right. he then goes on and rants
4:06 am
about colonel gary ennis 28 pennsylvania is failing everything. and then nevin, excuse me white says do you remember seeing in your papers last fall and account of the officer on a white charger that used to appear in front of edward sperry and look over at your work, the union work. well, they used to fire at him with their big guns all in vain. this is white speaking. this mayor is the charger tapping his horse with the whip and i am the man. your papers did not know if it was beauregard or johnson. so white is sort of boasting there. and it continues notwithstanding his vanity ignorance and polished this captain was a very good officer being adapted to the
4:07 am
partisan service. how many guys did the confederate have there? you've got mosby, harriet gilmore, white a whole host of other guys. they had plenty of those. this is an interesting description his men or stouthearted fellows but plainly attired well but plainly attired. the only military thing and their attire were there heavy great overcoats with which they were provided. they were armed with guns of every description from the heavy old family rifle to the double barrel shotgun. two or three of them only had favors the captain with good humor told me they're going to a better arms that yankees and to illustrate the matter he coolly buckled onto himself my sword and taking out my revolver admiring it and telling me how glad he was to get it. so he took his gun.
4:08 am
nevin goes on here for a while but will conclude at least this section, such was captain white and his rangers, thank you. again i love these little vignettes because there is a big war going on. hear this guy is having his own private experience with elisha white. what i think happened is, to continue the story they taken nevin to leesburg where he is interrogated by i believe ap hill. then he was taken to centerville for joe johnson talked and he says further in his diary, then he was sent to libby prison in richmond. and eventually he's transferred to salisbury north carolina when the forces get too close during the peninsula campaign and he will be paroled.
4:09 am
now, i think happened is nevin went home and wrote this. i've been calling it a diary i think this is a fresh reminiscence in his mind beat his building drama and not mentioning white's name until the very end. i think there is truth in this matter of what happened to him and this recollection. it certainly fits with whites personality when you read about him. devon will go on and i will not go into all of the detail but he will be paroled, go back home, form and artillery battery. he will raise this independent battery will be sent to washington for training, nevin gets in trouble with his commanding officer. never get in a trouble with the guy by that name it's going to go up early. and any national archive there is a document in the service record in which barry writes this guy is incompetent to
4:10 am
command and artillery battery if he does not resign i'm going to court-martial him. i do not know what he did because he resigned. if you first do not succeed try again. and the picture going around you will see him as the measure of the 93rd pennsylvania. and he will command that regiment in the battle of gettysburg. he will lead that because he is the major because the kernel of the regiment has an alcohol problem. what is interesting and again i can talk about this and more at length, and the 93rd regimental history nevin has pretty much omitted from it. he is an outsider from western pennsylvania and eastern pa regiment at this time. they just do not want to acknowledge they had a problem with her colonel. sort of ignore nevin even though he does really good service in the 9030 gets his
4:11 am
act together. that's a little account of some interesting in this one union soldier. should i wait on that talk about this that i have now? >> i don't know why everyone looked at me. >> hang onto this. >> let's also have a quick toast to nevin and honestly for having that name. set the bad guy in shrek? i was wondering that didn't have the guts to ask it but i was wondering if it. >> i asked the hard-hitting questions here. i got my papers mixed up of course i'm going to pass these documents around to i think they are really cool. what you are going to see here come up and grab a mike, thank
4:12 am
you. a tear for mike, thank you mike. so, these documents are related to loudoun county as well. they were found i purchase these online from a dealer there found in an envelope who lived from 1836 to 1916. we've already named your parents haven't you? this to be a good name for. >> could be a kid name. >> on the envelope as it fathers pass and also mine. these documents concern a trip on a psalm averaging goose creek and circleville east of philemon. there are two letters short
4:13 am
letters of introduction dated february 5, 1863 allowing valley neighbor both refer as an uncompromising union man. a set of apparently traveled by horse to the potomac river somehow it made its way across to sandy hook, maryland. >> burgess were not too long ago. >> travis and i did a facebook thing for civil war time at civil hook. we got a pass from the marshall at sandy hook that allowed janie to go to harpers ferry. allow them both to go to harpers ferry where they then took a train to baltimore. the last large document is a
4:14 am
letter of introduction dated february 17, 1863 to introduce to major general which was headquartered in baltimore. the middle department is like a big administrative department for baltimore in the pa. so shake is not going to sound humble posting administrative general. the letter was signed by two baltimore businessmen and hopkins reese made a janie. that they went to his house got the letters of introduction. unfortunately do not know the nature of the visit. probably were having issues with confederates trying to get help out of baltimore. were talking before hand about the border is abstract, right? how many guys from loudoun county go over and fight with
4:15 am
the potomac home brigade. white is a maryland dirt. >> and of course a white ends up going on, he survives the war. he fights with randy station and after the war he will buy the ferry which is named whites vary in is now closed. >> also found the bank in town which is now lightfoot restaurant. big name in leesburg is very just north of here at union cemetery. >> he is eight maryland dirt don't forget. >> some that come over our ardent confederates though. that is my little thin yet about loudoun county. [applause] may had to make it to travis's heckling. before i begin i do want to
4:16 am
apologize you are my favorite western pennsylvanian. [laughter] where the only ones in pennsylvania he knows. actually that was a really great segue to the story i am going to tell because dana did mention although the majority of people here in loudoun county in 1861 are going to support secession, are going to support the confederate because there is still a sizable minority of people who are going to cross the river her going to support the united states army during the civil war. what i am going to do is take a brief look at what i think is one of the more compelling people to serve in the united states army from loudoun county. that is a man name luther slater. i like to call him lucky luther's luck is not always good, but when you find
4:17 am
so interesting about him is whether good or bad seems to put him into interesting circumstances during the civil war. he is going to find himself at the center of a lot of really incredible experiences over the course of the civil war. his born in 1841 is born just outside of levitz ville. a few miles northwest of us here. and encase you cannot tell from his name, he is a lutheran. he is part of the german migration that comes to northern loudoun county. mostly from pennsylvania and western maryland. in fact, to this day some people still refer to levitt seville as the german settlement for this reason. what this migration is going to do is give this part of loudoun county a very different culture than the rest of the county.
4:18 am
in the northwestern part of the county on down to goose creek, till waterford, you are going to have a lot of german immigrants. a lot of quakers, a lot of people coming from pennsylvania, maryland, their cultural roots are to the north for their economic ties are to the north their family ties are to the north. and that is going to set them apart from their neighbors in the eastern and southern parts of loudoun county. these are parts of loudoun county that are largely settled by english, tidewater planters and eastern parts of virginia. they're going to bring with them plantation agriculture per the going to bring with them in a reliance on enslaved labor. and these differences are going to play out in the very deadly way in the american civil war. but luther slater as a young man is eight stereo typical hard working highest industrious german family.
4:19 am
as a young man he's going to decide he wants to go into a career in the clergy. are you going to hold my beer for me? thank you. >> she is thirsty. [laughter] so he's going to look towards a career in the clergy's going to attend a seminary school in salem, virginia. he's going to transfer up to pennsylvania again to study to become a lutheran minister. but of course in 1861 everybody's plans get derailed. decision to go into the church is put on hold temporarily and in 1862 he's going to return to loudoun county. but like many of his neighbors and northwestern loudoun county he's not going to return to enlist in the confederate army but in the federal army instead. it's going to join a unit that's raised in the summer of 1862 known as the loudoun independent rangers. this is raised under the command of a miller from
4:20 am
waterford, virginia. the idea behind the loudoun arrangers are going to service scouts for the union army. they're going to service anti- partisan troops against people like elisha white and john mosby. they're going to help to defend local unionists here particularly in northwest loudoun county. at the tender age of 21, luther slater despite any sort of lack of any sort of military experience is going to be elected first lieutenant. he is second in command to the commander samuel mead. now, word quickly spread throughout loudoun county there is a unionists calvary battalion being raised within the borders of confederate virginia. as you guys can probably imagine this is not very popular. it is particularly unpopular with the particular confederate officer was mentioned a few times, you
4:21 am
think that guy is? at the same time is raising his own calvary battalion which will become the 35th a battalion of the virginia calvary priest going to get word he is recruiting at unionists c-uppercase-letter unit here in virginia produce going to declare in the summer of 1862 his intention to whip sam means. and august of 1862 he is going to get that opportunity. he gets word that samuel is back in waterford. he is recruiting for his new unit amongst the unionists in waterford. he's there with a few recruits he's got 20 or so men in town with them. and so his battalion are going to make a sneak attack upon the loudoun arrangers while they are still recruiting and waterford. early in the predawn hours of
4:22 am
august 27 they're going to start creeping across the fields and farms surrounding waterford. they're trying to avoid the roads avoid any pickets that may be on watch. and just as they're about to spring their trap they are challenged by a union officer outside of the waterford baptist church. the officer just happens to be young luther slater first lieutenant of the loudoun arrangers. it's going to challenge these men approaching out of their darkness chapter going to ring out this is the beginning of an incredibly intense fire fights that occurs in the village of waterford current. now samuel the leader manages to slip out of his house and disappear into the early morning darkness. leaving luther slater and people behind to fend for themselves. now i am not one to comment on his leadership. this is the start of kind of a
4:23 am
trim on trent if you ask me. [laughter] you are like laughing at this. >> he does not have the best record. what you are right. luther slater's going to go the 20 or so men he has and fortify themselves within the waterford baptist church. you can still this church the dates of really stout brick building. it is a very defensible position and for the next several hours later and his men are going to defend this place like it is the alamo. they are under a hail of bullets the confederates surround the building. there numerous times when the confederates will demand their surrender. and at some point during this fight, slater himself is a wounded. he is one of them many men who are hit during this firefight. he is actually shot in the head, the chest, the arm, and the hand. >> and as a reminder travis said this was a lucky guy.
4:24 am
lucky slater got shot in the head. it be easier to say where he wasn't shot. >> he's lucky because a story does not end here spoiler alert. he's literally bleeding out as the confederate is surrounding them. the story gets better. i am known for telling a downer. so eventually his men start to run low on ammunition. there is casualties on both sides. finally, after the third demand for their surrender, the loudoun arrangers inside the church will lay down their arms under the condition they are allowed to be paroled rather than go to the southern prisoner of war camps. and when he enters the church
4:25 am
he sees luther slater lying on the floor bleeding out. he actually says i am sorry to see you so dangerously wounded lieutenant. >> are you though? >> he did it. [laughter] quick sorry he did it but he did it. [laughter] , brother against brother isn't that what they say? actually that's a whole another story for a whole other time. so this looks like the end for our guy luther slater. but as we say is a pretty lucky fellow. despite everyone's predictions he will survive the wounds he receives at the waterford baptist church. in fact, after a few weeks he's going to be moved north to pennsylvania. they figured the safest place for him to recover is going to be at the home of one of his college buddies, one of the guys he got to school before the war. and so he is going to settle in, and pennsylvania. never going to interest a little bit of romance to the store because while he is
4:26 am
recuperating is under the care of his friend's sister molly. molly is going to be the guardian angel in this story. she is going to take care of him, literally nurse him back from the edge of death and help him to recover his strength to the point in november of 1862 he is able to rejoin his unit. he comes back to the loudoun arrangers. but, despite all of molly's care, his old wounds are still giving him a lot of trouble. he hasn't basically lost most of the use of one of his arms. it was effectively shattered by a confederate bullet. so he is going to be under a lot of duress. in february of 1863 he is going to resign his commission and the loudoun arrangers he's going to return back north of pennsylvania and presumably to the waiting arms of molly who seems to be the thing that
4:27 am
keeps him going throughout all of this experience. he is so lucky. >> this is where he gets lucky. he gets lucky he gets to retire trach quiet corner of pennsylvania and set up for the rest of the war in relative peace and harmony or is he? one of the things i have omitted from the story in southern pennsylvania called gettysburg. in 1863 is not the best place to go if you're trying to avoid the civil war. >> he is so lucky, so lucky. >> he really cannot avoid the sense of duty, the sense of
4:28 am
patriotism so as the confederate army is crossing the mason dixon line is gotten to receive a commission and the 26th pennsylvania emergency militia. specifically & company a of the 26th. one of the reasons why this is so cool his company a is made up of students from gettysburg college what was the pennsylvania college not gettysburg college and the lutheran theological seminary in gettysburg. i have a 22-year-old officer. >> is one of functional arm frequencies literally leading a bunch of students who have never heard a shot fired in anger. what could go wrong?
4:29 am
>> despite this, despite this he and the 26th pennsylvania 1863 and they're going to take up a position on marsh creek along cashtown north of gettysburg pennsylvania to face lee's keep looking out, looking to the west seeing a long column of guys clad in gray and butternut marching to you. they will be escorted by a battalion of the confederate calvary as they advanced to the pennsylvania countryside. in one of those weird twist of fate weird luck has a weird way of popping up in life and
4:30 am
who's in the calvary show? none other than a large white. with two men representing loudoun county. one allowed and borne one but adopted to loudoun county. opposite sides of the battlefield. on luckily for luther slater i say what can be good and what can be bad. now you're turning it around your giving me a hard time for an. >> on luckily for luther his men are not going to put up the kind of fight they did back at the waterford baptist church.
4:31 am
the 26th militia is effectively scattered like leaves in the wind. these confederate veterans rolled over them about 175 of them are captured. there are is burned. burned. >> that was from a week earlier and whether want to find out is that is absolutely not the case that these are veteran calibrate magnet with the army backing them and so i like to think that some of my competitors were overconfident and walking back to gettysburg is due to the performance of the pennsylvania militia but i'm really -
4:32 am
[laughter] >> so they said this is the end of the front line duty but going to remain in the united states army serving in the medical corps and he's going to serve in the signal corps and it in the fall of 1864, is going to finally marry molly megan to make a woman out of her and really a beautiful love story and you get married and they have a daughter and soon afterwards and at the end of the work of these young families going to uproot themselves and return here to lovers bill at loudoun county another will take up a number of physicians with a local government and he will be postmaster and serve in a few different capacities but this is where, you've already made fun of me was but this is for his life really turns and not for the best. because in 1871, molly's the love of his life is going to die
4:33 am
shortly after the birth of her second child braided she will die, just six or seven years after they were married, and ths a young son david was born at the time of her death, and he will die a few weeks later and sadly, although if you ever go to gettysburg and you visit the evergreen cemetery, the famous salon, kind of the center of the fighting the battle there, you will see the molly and her son. there in her hometown. so this point luther throws himself into his work. and he's going to move to washington dc, and is going to take a position with the pensions euro raise your hand if you've ever been to the national building museum in washington in one of my absolute favorite museums in the entire country, love this place predict this massive massive brick building in washington dc was built to house the penson intervention
4:34 am
department because for the first time in american history will naturally have hundreds of thousands of veterans who needed a pensions their families and next of kin needed some sort of payment for their service during the marketable work so luther slater is going to take us very important role as a clerk in the pensions office. how important while anyone is ever done any sort of research into a civil war soldier, has benefited from his work. luther slater was on the team and helped develop the systems of hardness compiled service records for civil war soldiers so if you've ever been trying to chase down your ancestors military service riverside research a civil war soldiers military service, they compiled service record that the first lady look and i will raise a glass to luther slater for helping to develop that is to
4:35 am
because it is a very useful system. and not just for our researchers but certainly for the families of that the veterans who are trying to give money for the military service after the civil war. he is also going to take on important leadership role in another organization and that is the military order of the loyal legion of the united states because that's a mouthful of neck so is one of the founding officers of the washington dc chapter and is also the founding members of the lutheran church community in washington dc and he played a very important social role with the nation's capitol up until very unexpected death in 19 oh nine. and now is kind of a eulogy here, what i do want to share a few words and others wrote about
4:36 am
him and alfred ainsworth who was the general was his bosses there at the described him and said that his boss to the department will be the most call to replace what you know, your boss is that about you, that is pretty nice and i like that but in a much more heartfelt memorialization comes from one of the men who served along luther in 11 candyman, goodheart, in his memoirs of the service as he wrote that he was not only obeyed and respected, he was loved by all, a large physically well-built man, a true type of an american soldier and brave as a lion. so think very fitting tribute to a locally born soldier's or the
4:37 am
united states army unlike a lot of is a mercy is the only commission united states officer from the civil war to be buried in lovett's felt a next time you're there in the union cemetery please stop by and pay a little visit to our man luther slater, him here. >> the lutheran church trinity. >> slater light and he was more in the farm right alongside elaine and he is buried right alongside us later so be very fitting tribute. >> on say that i have none of us are ever as lucky as him pretty. >> i dunno, the kind of guy is like shot like four different places and survived the civil war so this a very lovely pennsylvania girl like you know,. >> there is always a but
4:38 am
predict. >> on curiosities not buried with his wife a little bit. so yes, i'm glad you brought that up so his first wife, is buried in pennsylvania with her family and three years after she died, he did remarry. he remarried cousin pretty. [laughter] >> it is only okay if were in the 19th century buried in mexico he remarried three years after her death and he is buried with his second wife as well as his daughter from the first marriage and they're all buried together. >> okay. >> just a little inside, i just pulled don't ever call me. [laughter] but it is little curious aside, gettysburg where they mysteries the armor engine army of northern virginia because
4:39 am
there's not enough calvary because he was off doing his of thing but i can store did not belong so they were together in june of 63 and by the time the campaign really begins in earnest, it is not working out so they sent white off sort of the detach and that's howie ends up running into another, the hills of southern pennsylvania. >> bring us on home. >> honestly is pretty depressing some of the stories but this was not as bad in all things considered, losing arm and a wife and there is no plane crashes, there's nothing like that. >> these were happy stories. >> you will hear some familiar names but as you can probably
4:40 am
already tell no already know, loudoun county, you have both armies back and forth throughout the county and i want to talk a bit about some of the prisoners but we think prisoners of war, you also probably think of the people get caught. and you also think of libby prison in andersonville and others and i want to talk a bit about some people get swept up in war and end up in prison as political prisoners who did not want to start my story early in 1863 with the loudoun county rangers and the unit and from waterford, and control of them and when he was in this northern area in loudoun county in the spring of 1863, he wanted to show that there area and he and individuals who he wanted retaliation on any uses this
4:41 am
moment to take some prisoners that he thinks are worthy of being in president and put in prison for previous things as a couple of things not surprisingly with and those who get arrested and allowing the rangers and most notably of them was a man named henry ball and he lived it a little bit north of here around this area and if you're familiar with simple hall, he owns it just on route 15. now samuel means is pretty sure that his boss who led the soldiers to that baptist church in waterford as travis had mentioned, so here is a very notable person in the area so they arrived, amongst other individuals, another one of notable secession, albert campbell from that area as well. and now immediately outraged over these two civilians to get arrested, not the most common thing is also fears of what this
4:42 am
might lead to now as travis mentioned you may have heard of the battle of gettysburg in that bit interrupted the confederate plans to get these two individuals released by the united states. but after gettysburg, the response again presumption by the confederates to release these two individuals and other families have been going from day one to try to get some sort of way to get these individuals out of prison. and they send across the potomac and ultimately go to fort delaware especially for prisoners of war and other criminals. after gettysburg the latter part of the summer of 1863, jeb stuart who now a reason to itch to get men back potentially and he writes to a magazine does not get along with well, roger white. [laughter] but he writes to him and saying
4:43 am
that i want you to take captives. and who is despond, also happens to be the father-in-law of samuel means that many were arrested henry ball. >> it is personnel. >> so he said that i want to take him as a hostage for these two who were taken prison earlier and i just was okay with that but suggest may be taken a second person and they can be too far to essentially, to unionists or to successfulness. and elijah takes in a few of his soldiers to do this undertaking an effort to go to the other person that the plan to take. amending william williams he was the head of an insurance coming in waterford they are arrived at his house was in the evening and often sort and it was opened by
4:44 am
williams with a revolver in his face, the unlucky part and they taken prisoner and his wife leaves and told not to seduce over the pediment now rumors floated around easily and waterford and is known this is happening. the waterford social media page was buzzing. so they made a mistake in the realized they entered by the time they arrived at bond's home, is not gonna who answers the door, it is to ladies and there's a secessionist lady writes about the accounts that was supposedly happened. she wrote, missus means in response to the door and dared
4:45 am
the southerners to enter they did enter ms bond fired a revolver on them. and they took it from her, and they mean business. you better be of your unionist if and she also said if we dared to do that, he would've been shot instantly. >> mess around and find out right. >> that is the edited version of what they say. >> during the time, they saw about an they don't get that prime suspect. they missed the main target. so we better take someone else, we have to return back with wife so they went to another home, a
4:46 am
little till master. >> is he lucky as well. >> if he survived the war cabinet pretty. >> they didn't really do anything and for the union army that would say at least they didn't do something and i will say the ones who were charged with and again, samuel means and in revolver the troops and confederates to the union soldiers at the baptist church in both men were also charged with stealing and hurting products to keep them out of the union and the sprayed and what they are then taken to elijah white and the county the next day, the union clearly a case of letting these two men go besides are very fearful that this could lead to continued escalation in
4:47 am
retaliation by both sides. now elijah just let the german companies to lease commenced to give them a three week parole predict he tells the unionist i'm going to give you three weeks and going to go back up to waterford and you going to convince the united states to let those to go read and if you can't do that, you gotta come back in three weeks time. and so they go up there, and both families of all four individuals are working together they are playing with the u.s. citizens and to the confederate ones as well pretty three weeks goes quickly and run successful to get the release of those two from the port in delaware. so they plan on going back to elijah white. and with this point, daniel means are sing why are you going back. let's keep them from going back so the rangers actually plan
4:48 am
basically mom arrested in two unions were going to treat you before you can go back. they said no, we give our word and we will go back those three weeks time so they leave early actually just ahead of the rangers, now they want to take them under arrest and elijah white, is near the upper bill area at this time and white was not in a good mood at the time and he said will you going to be treated just like other prisoners of war. just like those two men were taken to fort delaware. he said you going to go down to richmond. and they were sent to cancel under, known for ahead of that prison and several other political prisoners another and the like at castle thunder. >> you can tell is bad because it sounds like a place in a comic book. >> they are so lucky.
4:49 am
>> it could've been shot in the face or something pretty. >> but this time the families are working together and again they had a common goal to get these four out and williams williams wife gets plenty of signatures from unionist in virginia and she is making the case to the united states to let these men go and that fall she even goes up to the white house is one person to get people out is abraham lincoln and she pleads with them on october 12 in lincoln talks to missus williamson understands the situation and writes a note to their ahead of the prison saying the help her out if possible, this is from president lincoln saying what these two individuals go. and they said you can't get a get out of free gel card those
4:50 am
cost thousands. i always think of the moment because it is too good to be true and it the president lincoln rices letter, the secretary caravans it pretty. >> of course he does. >> if we do this, this is going to get more and more hostages taken and is going to have copycats like this in these two are seen are there you are staying in prison so even with a letter from, missus williams returns back to waterford to get these individuals out and at this point attention then goes to the let's get them out and start making appeal to the federal government so making an appeal to the secretary of war for the confederacy and even to henry ball writing from the prison, they say i don't want them taking people of prisoner by my account and his
4:51 am
essentially had a good effect. in the two individuals and castle thunder are eventually released from confederate prison. is have to take an oath and get travel permit and head back home braided so now they have another both now luckily for them as you know an individual within the work department who gives them travel permit so they were able to take the train up to the stand in area and walk home. now even though they are walking back they get captured again. >> there's so lucky. >> thankfully for them is short and they release quickly and were able to walk on and in dramatic fashion, they arrive back to waterford they have
4:52 am
longer beards and williams at smallpox while in prison with a make it back in 1863 and presidents' day. [laughter] this is a story handmade for the hundreds we make every year braided and now when word was getting out that the unionist were at a prison, and stanton and the two were released from fort delaware and they return home just before the new year two oh loudoun county still lucky they did make it home by the end of 1863 visitor story to show the people get caught up in more even if you're not directly involved in it when you're in a location like loudoun county near the potomac river you various degrees of police in the war for oregon and you have armies going back and forth and
4:53 am
sometimes wars unavoidable. sometimes you might be a schoolmaster caught in the wrong place at the wrong time the war doesn't give a break or anybody pretty clean areas where there is like activity like here in loudoun county braided. [inaudible]. we will toast to good christmas. [applause] >> will be due some questions, feel free to ask we will bring a microphone to you. >> cspan will bring you a microphone. [inaudible]. >> i think it's amazingly cool
4:54 am
that here in loudoun county, you just told the story of the four prisoners and all of their houses are still standing braided. >> cheers that pretty. [applause] >> we have a robust organization here in county. [applause] are there any other questions or comments. >> will before we go i would just like to thank all of you for coming and thank you to alex
4:55 am
4:56 am
4:57 am
4:58 am
4:59 am
5:00 am
.org. well hello, welcome to on rose o'neill, socialite, secessionist and spy. i am kelly hancock the public programs manager at the american civil war museum in richmond, virginia. and as i start out this talk, i want to begin with just a few questions. what motivates someone to risk everything for a cause? is it strong passions a reckless nature, a longing for advee

27 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on