Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Loudoun County Virginia during the Civil War  CSPAN  November 22, 2021 4:29pm-6:01pm EST

4:29 pm
podcasts that have something for every listener. washington today give you the latest from the nation's capital and we have in-depth interviews with writers about their latest works. and we look at how issues of the day developed over years and our occasional series talking with features extensive conversations with historians about their lives and work. many of our television programs are also available as podcasts. you can find them all on the c-span mobile app, or wherever you get your podcasts. good evening and welcome to tonight's history on tap program. for those of you who are not similar with the history on tap series, what we have been doing for the last two years now, congratulations on our anniversary, guys -- [ applause ] >> thank you, thank you. what is the two-year anniversary gift? what should we get each other?
4:30 pm
beer. beer, that sounds good. beer works. joe, ann marie and i have been traveling around to different breweries, wineries and other establishments throughout the area telling stories of local history. the weird, the wild, the unusual, stories that have slipped through the cracks when it comes to talking about our local history. tonight is a special program because we are here at a historic site, not a brewery. we're here at harrison hall. this house has a lot of historic significance to the american civil war which we will definitely get into as we move forward this evening. but before we do, i want to turn the mic over to joe here. >> good evening, everyone. thanks for joining us here for history on tap live at harrison hall. i'm the executive director of the loudoun museum located in downtown leesburg and as always, i'm joined by travis, travis
4:31 pm
shaw, who is the director of education of the virginia heritage area. >> also the best dresser of the group. >> his ego is inflated. the c-span crew complimented him on his hair and suit when he arrived. >> it wasn't the crew. it was one person. >> that is accurate. >> 150 people by the time the story is done. and i'm joined by ann marie. >> no one has said i look cool yet, but it's fine. >> i think you look cool. >> her husband is in the front row. since this is our second annual fund raiser, we had to bring in the big guns to celebrate and
4:32 pm
our presenter is anna show. >> i haven't been out of the house much, like many of you for -- >> you look like it. you look it. >> how they say, you should never follow dogs or babies on stage. well, you should never compete with travis' hair as we've already heard. i thought, you know, i should groom myself a little bit before i come down here. and i grab this little razor for my beard and i made it once around and my battery ran out. if i had only gotten halfway across, it would have been even worse. i'm going to try to hang in there against the silver fox. nice to meet you all. i'm the editor of "civil war times" and i work for "civil war
4:33 pm
trails" in my free time. it's a 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' hair, we have a youtube channel that has a lot of -- >> i got it cut. >> you can see it grow throughout the pandemic. one way to spend the time when we're all stuck at home. we each will tell a short story about some very local history, particularly civil war history since we are at historic harrison hall. before we go any further, we do want to say a big thank you to alex and ann who are letting us use this beautiful property for the program tonight. and we also would like to thank dynasty brewing for the beer that we're having tonight and i will give a special shout-out to the loudoun museum available through the month of october. participate partnership with
4:34 pm
them. we have it available tonight. it's available all month at dynasty brewing. i'm going to tell a short story that looks at political prisoners from loudoun county. what are you going to talk about tonight, travis? >> i'm also drinking the haunting's ale. i'm going to tell a story of a local soldier during the civil war and his run of luck, both good and bad through the civil war that puts him in a lot of very interesting circumstances. >> i'm going to tell the story of a union soldier who sort of became an accidental tourist and was admiring a view when he ran afoul of a well-known confederate guerrilla. >> what you drinking? >> the dynasty logger, which is
4:35 pm
amazing. this is my third one. [ laughter ] >> i'm having the dynasty and i'll talk about harrison hall and some of the stories for which it is well known. however, i hope that the focus of my story will be new to those of you who are familiar with harrison hall and have some new little bits thrown in. 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 about 1 1/2, two stories tall, and that dates to about 1780 when leesburg was really just being built up and as one visiting englishman said, it was a very badly organized kind of ramshackle town. for more on that, you can ask travis about nicholas and his
4:36 pm
drinking binges. >> my favorite guy. >> harris hall had a relatively humble beginning. he moved into the property with his second wife and it's he who added on the addition that we see here tonight making up the core of this building. the second of the two outbuildings behind it and the land that we are sitting on on our chairs and back to the block behind you. he built the house so that 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 children and two adults into the far right portion that you see in the building here. they must have been a little more comfortable having the larger estate available to them. they, of course, did have enslaved workers living at the household with them as well as working on their properties.
4:37 pm
now, henry harrison was a member of the predominant harrison family 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. henry did well for himself marrying into the jones and the lee families. and with their eight children, they have a very merry household. unfortunately for them, there's a civil war that happens. i think you've probably heard of it. and henry finds that his family is also divided along these war lines. his wife's family, the joneses live in washington, d.c. while certain members of her family are pro-virginia, there are others, including her own father, who are pro-union and who count secession as a double treason, not just against the united states, but also against the home state of virginia.
4:38 pm
some of their family members are going to 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, they can live a little more freely in loudoun. they may be thinking they can get away from the capital and be away from the war. unfortunately to them, the war is going to come to leesburg in the fall of 1961. of course, by fall of 1861, the country has already seen one terrible, large battle in the first battle of manassas. diddle do they know, it's going to come creeping back in october. during that time, the union encampments on the north side of the potomac river and in virginia on the leesburg side, they're kind of poking at each other. the war has just now begun. they're not very good at surveilling each other, they're not good at knowing who is in
4:39 pm
charge and who to communicate with at any given time. you see a lot of crossed lines and colonels doing things they shouldn't without telling their officers. and sneaking around badly. everyone is fumbling around in the dark a little bit at this point. and it's only a matter of time before someone stumbles into the wrong place. enter colonel devon from the union side of things. he's sent across the river to surveil, to recon what he thinks is an encampment of confederate soldiers here. it turns out they're trees and not an encampment. kind of a surprise. >> early in the war. >> it's early in the war. and i don't know, the trees look like tents. i don't know. >> you can laugh. but how many of you have been on a nighttime surveil? >> at least sober surveil. >> that's a good point.
4:40 pm
that's a good point. what was meant to be a simple reconnaissance mission bubbles up into this battle, or as i wrote down earlier today, a recon gone wrong. okay, yeah, it's bad. anyways, so these union infantry troops are going across the potomac river. they only have a couple of small skips to their name. they're going 20 men at a time across the river. it's slow going, but it's a great idea. by the time they get to 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 fields, you know, just up on the bluffs, we also have a number of troops from the deep south who have been in loudoun county, who have been stationed around leesburg and who have started to make
4:41 pm
leesburg their home. these individuals have become part of the society here in leesburg and, in fact, some of them are frequent guests of the harrisons here at harrison hall. one of the more popular gentlemen who comes visiting is a colonel burt who is a colonel of the 18th mississippi. he's a doctor back home in jackson. he has a wife and eight kids of his own back there. and so i think that coming to leesburg and meeting the harrisons who also have eight kids are a pretty well to do southern family, i'm sure they have a lot in common. in fact, he makes a special friendship with young virginia miller. a piece of the harrisons who is from washington, d.c. she's about 19, 20 years old and she is staying there at harrison hall and meets colonel burt. they had a very close friendship and they were, you know, close to what you would think of as siblings. they had a familial kind of
4:42 pm
affection for each other. he not only feels patriotism for the confederacy, but he's thinking about the harrisons and the other white people in leesburg when he is there on the heights outside of -- outside of the potomac river, really. and i'm not going to replay the battle, full disclosure, i'm no a civil war or military historian. what i can tell you is that the end result of the battle is pretty clear, and as colonel burt and the 18th are going across this field, they're being guided by a marylander, a marylander who has later given credit as a virginian and that is a mr. elijah white. and right now he's acting as a scout for the confederate army. and he is actually riding directly on colonel burt's right hand directing him in this battle.
4:43 pm
so the 18th mississippi is moving forward. colonel burt is on his horse at the back of the regiment and elijah white remarks that colonel burt is moving forward and he did not know that ahead, the field was clear, but there was a patch of wood and the ground dropped off. and where that wooded patch was and ground dropped, was just enough cover for the 15th massachusetts to be laying in wait. and he came within 100 yards when they sprang up and fired. throughout the rest of elijah white's civil war career, he said that was the deadliest volley he had ever seen. immediately, we're not talking about decimating the 18th mississippi. 1 out of 10. decimate. it was 1 out of 3 or 1 out of every 2 soldiers who was taken out by this volley from the 15th
4:44 pm
mass. they were just shredded. and one of those bullets hit him and shattered the bone and staying lodged inside his body. this is horrific. this is very bad news. and what does burt do, elijah white said he turned to me and said as quote in a regular, everyday conversation and said, you need to go tell colonel jennifer that i have to leave the field now. >> something has come up. i've got to go. >> there's been a thing that just happened. and so -- and i think that is really credit to colonel burt being a doctor and being an officer too. he tries to remain calm and make things happen. he leaves the field and from that point, the battle and the
4:45 pm
war are over for colonel burt. for the rest of them, to sum things up, the confederate soldiers push all of the union soldiers down the bluff, down into the river, a large number of union soldiers were drowned. on each side, there were about 1,700 soldiers to begin with, but 1,000 casualties were suffered by the union army. again, i'm not a military historian. but that's not good. >> that's pretty bad. >> that's not great. that's not really what you want. so as i said, colonel burt is taken away from the battlefield and brought back here to this house, to harrison hall in an ambulance. and they lay him down in the front hall on a stretcher. this man has just been shot. the bullet is still lodged somewhere in his hip. he's bleeding profusely and blood is pooling onto the wooden
4:46 pm
floor beneath him. but he's not alone in that house. remember, there are at least a dozen kids of some kind in harrison hall at any given time, as well as family members and people who are there. and who does colonel burt make eye contact with from across the young, the young virginia miller. and she writes that the soldiers that were with him were trying to find a doctor, were trying to prepare a bed upstairs. there was no one right there with colonel burt. virginia miller rushes to his side and just takes his hand. there is nothing else that she can do for him, but she can take his hand. eventually after some time there is space made upstairs for him. colonel burt is taken upstairs and is made as comfortable as can be made for him and surprising a lot of people, colonel burt hangs in there. a day passes.
4:47 pm
then another day passes. virginia helps him write a letter to his wife back in mississippi. they have small, charming, insignificant conversations. for five days, colonel burt lingers in this house behind me. as you're looking at it, it's the second story and i believe it is the second window from the right as you're looking at it. that bedroom is where colonel burt lays for his final hours. but eventually he does pass away from his wounds, and he is at least at that time accompanied by friends he has made here in virginia. this death affects virginia miller greatly. and, in fact, it affects many people across the south greatly. falls bluff, if it happened later in the war, it would
4:48 pm
barely be a skirmish. we're talking handfuls of men when you compare it to bigger battles. but for right now in 1861, it's literally the biggest thing that has happened since first manassas. so it does make a big difference and it makes an impact in the lives of the people here in loudoun. there is a funeral procession taking his body down to the train station and once his body arrives in jackson, there's another parade taking his body home to his wife and his children. his death leaves his family in a tight spot. he was the youngest of the sons of the family. didn't have a lot of resources. is there isn't even a headstone on his grave for 50 years after he dies. but that doesn't mean he was forgotten. because, in fact, virginia miller kept carrying him in her memory. and she wasn't the only one, either. there were some interesting little pieces, you know, as we
4:49 pm
go forward in the war that make one think that his memory stayed alive. for example, in 1864, there was a william henry louis who was imprisoned on johnson island. and he wrote to a friend of his, someone he knew, talking about his old friend. so william henry loose at that time was the lieutenant colonel of the 18th mississippi. and he was serving in that role at the battle of gettysburg when he was captured. and so here when he's imprisoned, he's writing to friends and at that time virginia miller is back in washington, d.c., and she might be able to send him some aid. and apparently they've been writing back and forth a couple of times. but here in september of 1864 he writes to virginia saying
4:50 pm
something a little interesting and a little specific. it's september 21st that he sends this letter and it's october 21st when colonel burt had received his wound. and so first he writes, and a victorian era, they're basically trying to say, why don't you write me more, you should write me more. so lieutenant colonel luce says you should write me more and then he also goes on to say, i had never thought to tell you that i have a charming boy at home now more than 2 years old and bearing the same name as our lamented friend colonel burt. i shall be proud if he makes such a man as he. i have not seen him in two years. so someone else has thought enough about colonel burt to name their son after him. it's convenient that burt is a workable name. some names aren't as good. >> easy to remember. >> yeah, it's pretty good.
4:51 pm
pretty good. i know it wasn't just virginia miller who kept remembering him although virginia miller, what we know about her interactions with colonel burt are because she did keep a civil war diary. and the diary entries she wrote about the battle of falls bluff weren't written when the battle happened but instead were written at kind of a retrospective a year later. the diary entries that we do have from her, they cover late 1861 into 1862. she is sure to make a point of saying, this is what i remember about the battle of falls bluff and what i remember about colonel burt. but they were hidden. her diary entries were only found in 1980. and where were they found? in the attic of harrison home. >> da-dah. >> but wait, there's more. residents of leesburg will tell you that harrison hall has a number of ghosts.
4:52 pm
and some suggests that there are daytime ghosts and there are nighttime ghosts. and i'm not sure exactly what the difference is. but i have heard through the grapevine that there is a certain presence that is believed to be colonel burt, and that he is a daytime ghost and is not -- he's a nice guy. and one of the encounters that certain individuals believe is a nod to or hint at colonel burt is the bed that is in the room where he died, sometimes you'll walk in the room and there will be a distinct shape of a body lying in 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's a bigger battle
4:53 pm
that had tens of thousands of casualties instead of the falls bluff paltry 1100, or it's that in september 1862, robert e. lee and the other generals came and visited this house, kind of pushing off other memories of less officers that had been here. but nevertheless, those individuals, 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's october and we need to get spooky? >> it's october, we need to get spooky. you can hear more about those spook-ums-scare-ums at the loudoun museum haunting store. >> i love that plug. >> yeah. >> on sale now, next weekend. >> and i'm getting a cut, right, joe? now we're going to pass things over to dana here to continue our civil war stories. do you want me to hold it or --
4:54 pm
>> well, i'm going to need your help at some point. i think elijah white may be a theme tonight. >> remember that name because he's going to come up. >> he also was involved, he went down along the bluff, below the bluff at falls bluff and captured a number of federal soldiers. and so he really used that, those exploits, he made a name for himself, and he's going to raise a partisan unit operating out of loudoun county. i'm going to talk about, i'll kind of give it away a little bit, an encounter a union soldier has with him and that he recorded in his diary, and that union soldier is a man named john nevin. mike, if you can start passing that around, you get a look at our union man of the hour. the map on the back is not relevant but it's fun to look at. >> pennsylvania is never fun to look at, dana. >> come on.
4:55 pm
come on! i'm from western pennsylvania, and actually that segues nicely, travis, because years ago, and i'm talking a long time because i used the card catalog, i was waiting for a friend of mine to get off work at the john heinz regional history center in pittsburgh. and so i had some time on my hands. and i want up and was poking through the card catalogue and i saw an entry for john nevin and diaries, gettysburg campaign account. i've done a lot with john nevin, sort of a no-name in a way, not a major general or anything. but interesting stories come out of his story. and to give you a bit of brief background on nevin, when the civil war began he was a 28-year-old teacher in sewickley, pennsylvania. if you're familiar with
4:56 pm
pittsburgh at all, you know you've got the river coming up from the south, the allegheny river comes down from the north to form the point where the ohio river is formed. sewickley is just down the ohio river from pittsburgh on the right hand side, if you're heading south. >> is this where we need the map? >> actually the map is the state of pennsylvania. i figured pittsburgh is so -- >> where is it? in relation to three river stadium? it's south of three river stadium, which is no longer there, travis. you're way behind on your pittsburgh. >> you're dating yourself. >> you're dating yourself. he would enlist in the 28th pennsylvania as a second lieutenant. like i said, he was 28 years old. and the second -- excuse me, the 28th is commanded by colonel john white geary. and geary is a big 6'6" guy, his
4:57 pm
picture is on a wayside civil war trail wayside here in leesburg at the courthouse. and he is going to command the 28th early in the war. the 28th was raised from both sides of the state of pennsylvania, the east and the west. so it has soldiers from both the philadelphia area and the pittsburgh area, obviously with nevin. it's going to muster in philadelphia. and it's a huge regiment. for some reason it ended up with 13 to 15 companies instead of the usual ten. and there's a little bit of a local tie-in because the regiment is ordered to point of rocks after the first battle of manassas. as anne marie was saying, they're going to get involved in one of these pokey-proddy things, because in late february they're going to put together, commanded by geary, a sort of task force that's going to move into loudoun county. before that happens, though, they get rid of some of these surplus guys by some of them join naps pennsylvania batteries.
4:58 pm
if you've ever seen photographs of antietam, there's a very famous image of this union battery across the smoketown road and that's naps battery. also men from the 28th are going to be drafted out or taken out into the 147th pennsylvania. and this is a little rabbit trail to the main story, but what i find interesting, i just found out, these three units had reunions together after the war. >> wow. >> because they were all sort of born out of one regiment. and if you go to many battlefields like gettysburg, there's a announcement the 28th p.a., the 147th p.a., and naps battery has a monument very close as well. just across the river they're dividing this regiment up really on the front lines. the 28th is going to be ordered, as i said, to make this movement. and just before they do that, they march down to harper's ferry. i'm going to give you the microphone, if i may.
4:59 pm
pull out this. i'll see if i can drop all these papers. >> enterprising library card? library catalogue. >> right. so what i want to do, and if you don't mind holding -- okay. is i want to read you, nevin is a well-educated young man, he was a teacher, as i said. and he keeps a diary of his experiences throughout the war. portions of them are missing. and i would really like to do more with it, but there's a big chunk of his service, one of the diaries is not available, at least it's not in the history center. and he -- the 28th gets this assignment to go into loudoun county and they're going to march down and they're going to be all over the place, leesburg, waterford, everywhere, showing the flag, trying to figure out what's going on down here as far as the confederate forces and their defenses, again, very early in 1862. so when this movement is ordered, nevin is sick.
5:00 pm
he's laying in bed in a house in harper's ferry and he watches his regiment march out of harper's ferry, across a pontoon bridge, and then climb what i thought was loudoun heights but actually i think it's short hill, up and over. and he's very vexed by this. he writes in his diary, i watched as that thin blue line disappeared until it reached the summit of the mountain and disappeared into the dull, wintry forest beyond. so the next day, he decides that it might be a bright idea, he doesn't want to miss the war, right, his comrades are gone. he hauls himself out of bed, and he's 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's climbing up short hill, and he says, i continue to ascend the mountain. after frequently making --
5:01 pm
resting at length, i reached the summit, whence i could look back down into the valley beyond. and i did not take long to realize, with a tinge of anxiety, as i sought in vain for our little army which was out of sight. so he can't see his comrades. of course the tree cover is much left, he's looking down what he calls the leesburg valley, he can't see his friends. but no, not a sign was there, that ought were like had passed. he gets a little florid at times. the leesburg valley lay peaceful and still in the bright warm sunshine that i now felt certain that i had for some time suspected that i had lost my way. yet i felt but little concern. we had not met any of the enemy since we had crossed two days before, and he's talking about crossing fort harper's ferry. upon the pontoon bridge that
5:02 pm
stretched like a thread across the bright potomac our pickets extended far beyond the spot where i had stood, over the valley i had just quitted and our detachment was going into, i could look back and see other detachments in harper's ferry like thin black threads marching into the town. i sat down on a large rock to rest for a few moments and consider what to do. now, i think this is the famous buzzard's rock that was on short hill that he sits on to view. many of you have probably done this, a similar view, climbed up perhaps maryland heights and seen photographs looking into harper's ferry. you can just imagine this scene. it's crawling with union soldiers. he can see all this activity and he becomes sort of this tourist at this point, admiring all this. how glorious it did seem to me, what a more sublimity was added to the natural beauty of the
5:03 pm
scene. the yankee army was still marching into the town, carrying with it what destiny, what terrible errands, what consequences, to reach the enemy. who can tell, even at this moment the bright sunlight glances fitfully back from the burnished bayonets of some regiments as it crosses that black thread of a bridge while the mellow strain of its band faintly fills the air. so he's pretty descriptive and, you know, there's a lot of romance here. some of this early war romance. and he continues on describing this, talks about the pretty girls of maryland and looking back on the hills and dales of maryland and all the pretty girls he met on the way. he continues, what adventures may i not go through now, what chance of promotion and glory may not be mine in this campaign? yes, then odd to richmond.
5:04 pm
things change abruptly for our tourist here, when he writes, i heard a rustling of leaves on one side and then another. all around me i saw men in some coarse gray overcoats with short carvings in their hands approach me. i looked in vain for an outlet but there was no escape. they close in on me with all sides and ask, pointing 40 guns at my breast, called on me to surrender. sounds like someone should have spent less time writing poetry and more time paying attention. he wasn't paying attention. i looked around, i looked around for their captain and as he stepped forward, i told him, i am your prisoner. well, that's obvious. >> oh, okay. >> you got that right. instead of immediately answering me he deliberately drew his
5:05 pm
pistol and slowly and impressively aiming it at my head. he said, i'm in the habit of treating my prisoners kindly and i wish to do the same by you but as sure as there is a god in heaven, if you don't tell me the truth about your army, i'll blow your damned yankee brains out this moment. >> okay. >> okay? >> there's some sublimity in there. >> hopefully not giving the punch line away too much, this is his introduction to elijah white. >> oh. >> white is partisan. white had formed his men after falls bluff in october. and he was authorized because of his exploits, his name got around, and he's sort of been mirroring geary's men as they move into loudoun county. and so they're kind of shadowing geary. and they were up on the bluff watching what was going on when they saw nevin ascend and sit down on this rock.
5:06 pm
so nevin has been captured, and he continues to write, it isn't a pleasant sensation that one feels with the muzzle of a cocked revolver, six inches from your eyes. i experienced the curious feeling in my forehead. i had a consciousness of a little circle about a half inch in diameter just between the eyes, as if that particular spot was suddenly endowed with extra nerves for the purpose. >> he's a bit much, isn't he? >> well, you know, you're kind of judge-y today. >> i want to hear about the maryland girls. >> judge-y of nevin and his poor plight. so he's looking back at the threatening faces around me and as he says, the ludicrous of this sudden falling off and the end of my magnificent scheme struck me. yeah, his whole plan. >> you don't say. >> he says, i now have a new
5:07 pm
reading of my own and richmond both. he says, i was frightened, but thank god i didn't let the rebels know it, okay? see? >> he just said i am your prisoner. how did he not let them know? >> he didn't let them know he was afraid. >> oh. >> i may have turned pale, he says. 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 tell you anything in regard to the numbers and movements. and if you are carrying on war according to civilized customs, you won't expect it. i don't believe you will shoot me. i think there's too much discipline among you to allow any of you to shoot a prisoner. and then he kind of continues, he finishes the paragraph, i realized i was in the hands of a guerilla chief and they were seldom known to make prisoners. he's hoping they don't shoot him.
5:08 pm
so as this interchange is going on, a shot rings out. and white and another man going running off into this little copse of trees where they had hidden their horses to find one of their fellow men had accidentally discharged a pistol. so they decide that -- white decides we better get out of here. and he -- they try to get nevin to walk along, but he's sick. and nevin is giving court a little bit, quote, he treated me with the utmost kindness, observing that i looked weak and sick and was considerably jaded by our long ride and at tough times behind a cavalryman's horse -- a cavalry man's saddle. he must have been riding behind a cavalry man's saddle. he says white ordered a man to dismount and give me his horse. white comes next to him and he's
5:09 pm
riding with nevin and they're taking him to leesburg to interrogate him and he says, white then entered into a long, rambling discourse about himself, his exploits, the southern cause, the last ditch of the everglades of virginia where they were all going to go die if the war went poorly. so white is saying, you know -- >> okay. >> we're just going to go into the everglades and continue the war if it goes against us. >> i feel like this guy knows a long, rambling discourse when he sees one. [ laughter ] >> oh, travis. >> i'm just giving you a hard time, dana. >> wait until it's your turn. >> i also like how's like, i didn't look scared but i looked so sick and weak, they felt bad and gave me a horse. >> right. nevin continues, the captain, although somewhat vain -- that might apply to more than one person here. >> oh, oh.
5:10 pm
>> don't talk about anne marie like that. >> i didn't point anyone out. i didn't point anyone out. >> travis is feeling suddenly guilty. was a pleasant enough fellow, his hatred to the north and his mistaken zeal for southern rights. so he then goes on and he ramps rants about colonel geary and how geary's 28th pennsylvania is taking and stealing everything. and then nevin -- excuse me, white says, do you remember seeing in your papers last fall an account of the officer on a white charger that used to be appear in front of edward's ferry and look over at your work, the union works? well, they used to fire him with at him with their big guns all in vain. this is white speaking. this mare is the charger, tapping his horse with his whip, and i'm the man. your papers didn't know whether
5:11 pm
it was beauregard or johnson. so white is sort of boasting there. nevin continues, notwithstanding his vanity, ignorance, and want of polish, this captain was a very good officer, being peculiarly adapted to the partisan service. how many guys did the confederates have -- yoov got mosby, harry gilmore, white, and a whole host of other guys, so they had plenty of those. his men -- this is an interesting description of white's guys. his men were stout, hearty fellows but plainly attired, well but plainly attired in homespun. the only thing military in their attire were heavy gray overcoats with which they were provided. they were armed with everything guns of every description from the heavy old family rifle to the double-barreled shotgun. two or three of them only had sabers. the captain, with good humor,
5:12 pm
braggadocio, told me that they ed that they were going to get better arms from the yankees. and to better illustrate the matter, he cooly buckled onto himself my sword and taking out my revolver and admiring it and telling me how glad he was to get it. >> oh. >> so he took his gun. and nevin, you know, goes on for a while but he concludes, we'll conclude at least this section, such was captain white and his partisan rangers. so -- thank you. so again, i love these little vignettes because there's a big war going on and here this guy is having his own private experience with elijah white. and what i think happens is, to continue the story, they take nevin to leesburg where he's interrogated by i believe it's a.p. hill, and then was taken to
5:13 pm
centerville, where joe johnson, this is what he says in further in his diary, here and then he was sent to libby prison in richmond. and eventually he's transferred to salisbury, north carolina, when mcclelland's forces get too close during the peninsula campaign and then he will be paroled. now what i think happened is nevin went home and wrote this. i've been calling it a diary but i think this is a fresh reminiscence in his mind. he's building drama and not mentioning white's name until the very end, obviously. but i think there's truth in this matter about what happened to him and his recollections and it certainly fits with white's personality, when you read about him. and nevin will go on, and i won't go into all the details, but he will be paroled, go back home, form an artillery battery, and he will raise this battery, independent battery "h." it will be sent to washington for training. nevin gets in trouble with his commanding officer, william
5:14 pm
farquhar barry. never get in trouble with a guy named farquhar, it will go poorly. in the national archives says, there's a document in nevin's service record in which barry writes this guy is incompetent to command an artillery battery and if he doesn't resign, i'm going to court-martial him. i don't know what nevin did, because he resigned. but he makes -- you know, if at first you don't succeed, try again. he will come back, nevin. in this picture going around, you will see him as the major of the 93rd pennsylvania, okay? and he will command that regiment in the battle of gettysburg and he will lead that regiment even though he's the major because the colonel of the major has an alcohol problem and is not at the front. what's interesting, and again, i
5:15 pm
could talk about this at more length, in the 93rd pennsylvania regimental history, nevin is pretty much omitted from it because i think he's an outsider from western pennsylvania in an eastern p.a. regiment at this time and they just don't want to acknowledge that they had a problem with their colonel so they sort of ignore nevin even though he actually does really good service in the 9030, he kind of gets his act together. so that's a little account of some interesting activity here in loudoun county related to elijah white in this one union soldier. i have another little thing, should i wait on that or talk about the other documents i have now? >> i don't know why everyone looked at me. >> hang on to this. >> let's do it. >> let's also have a quick toast to nevin, and honestly to farquhar for having that name. >> court-martial them all. >> so let's see if i can -- it's like the bad guy is shrek. >> it's farquhar. >> i didn't have the guts to ask
5:16 pm
that. >> i have the hard-hitting questions here. i've got my papers all mixed up, of course, because, you know -- here we go. i'm going to pass these documents around too, i think they're really cool. and what you're going to see here -- come on up and grab the mic, thank you. >> let's hear for from mike. >> mike is great. >> thank you, mike. so these documents are related to loudoun county as well. and there are three small documents and one larger one in this classic thing i'm passing around. but they were found -- i purchased these online from a dealer. and they were found in an envelope that's bearing the name cosmilia janning. you've already named your pets. cosmilia would be a name. >> could be nice. >> a hamster. >> on the envelope it says
5:17 pm
father's pass, also mine. these documents concern a trip that asa morjini and his daughter cosmilia made to baltimore in early b. webb 1863. asa owned a sawmill between goose creek and purcellville. basically, between purcellville and middlement. there are two letters, short letters of introduction dated february 5th, 1863, from thomas hogue, a loudoun county neighbor and quaker, does that name sound familiar? hogue? these letters are written to francis cochran. both refer to janey as an uncompromising union man. asa apparently traveled by horse and carriage to the potomac river and somehow made his way across to sandy hook, maryland. >> where we just were not too long ago. >> travis and i did a first monday facebook thing for civil
5:18 pm
war times at sandy hook. and got a pass from the provost marshall to sandy hook, where that allowed janey to go to harper's ferry, allowed them both to go to harper's ferry where they took a train to baltimore. the last large document is a letter of introduction dated february 7th, 1863, to introduce janey and his daughter to major general robert schenck, commander of the middle department. which was headquartered in baltimore. the middle department is like a big administrative department for baltimore and environs in the p.a. so schenk was sort of a -- not going to sound great for schenk, sort of a pencil-pushing administrative general. but the letter was signed by two baltimore businessman, gerald hopkins and g.h. reese. and hopkins -- reese married a janey. that's why -- they probably went to his house, got these letters
5:19 pm
of introduction. unfortunately you don't know the nature of the visit but the yaneyes were unionists and probably were having some issues with confederates trying to get some help out of baltimore. and we were talking about beforehand about -- the border is, you know, abstract, right? and how many guys from loudoun county go over and fight with the loudoun rangers or the potomac home brigade and around point of rocks there's quite a few marylanders that cross over and fight with elijah white. >> right. >> elijah white's a marylander. >> poolesville, right? yeah. >> white ends up going on. he survives the war. he fights at brandy station. after the war, he will start the ferry named white's ferry which is now closed. >> you also found the bank in town which is now lightfoot restaurant. so there you go. >> big name in leesburg, buried just north of here in union cemetery. >> but he is a marylander. never forget.
5:20 pm
>> some of these marylanders that come over are ardent confederates. that's my vignette about loudoun county. i mean, i made it through travis' heckling to tell you the story. >> as a marylander -- no. before i begin, i do want to apologize to dana. dana, you're my favorite western pennsylvanian. >> i'm the only western pennsylvanian he knows. >> yins is okay. >> so actually that was a really great segue to the story that i'm going to tell, because dana did mention that there are -- although the majority of people here in loudoun county in 1861 are going to support secession, are going to support the confederate cause, there is still a sizable minority of people who are going to cross the river, who are going to support the united states army during the civil war. and what i'm going to do is take
5:21 pm
kind of a brief look at what i think is one of the more compelling people to serve in the united states army from loudoun county and that is a man named luther slater. i like to call him lucky luther slater. now, his luck is not always good, but, but, i think what i find so interesting about him is that luck, whether good or bad, seems to put him into interesting circumstances during the civil war. he is going to find himself kind of at the center of a lot of really incredible experiences over the course of the civil war. so luther slater is born in 1841. he's born just outside of lubbocksville. to just a few miles northwest of us here. in case you couldn't tell from his name, he is a lutheran. he's part of this german migration that comes to northern loudoun county, mostly from
5:22 pm
pennsylvania and western maryland. in fact, toe this day, some people still refer to lovitzville as the german settlement for this reason. and what this migration is going to do is it's going to give this part of loudoun county a very different culture than the rest of the county. in the northwestern part of the county, neersville down to goosecreek, to waterford, you're going to have a lot of german immigrants, a lot of quakers, a lot of people coming from pennsylvania and maryland. their cultural roots are to the north. 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 from the eastern part of virginia. they're going to bring with them plantation agricultural. they're going to bring with them
5:23 pm
a reliance on enslaved labor. and these differences are going play out in a very deadly way in the american civil war. but luther slater as a young man is kind of the stereotypical, hard working, very pious, industrious german family. as a young man he's going to decide that he wants to go into a career in the clergy. are you going to hold my beer for me? thank you. >> she's thirsty. >> so he's going to look towards a career in the clergy. he's going to attend a seminary school down in salem, virginia. and then he's going to transfer up to pennsylvania again to study to become a lutheran minister. but of course in 1861, everybody's plans kind of get derailed. luther's 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
5:24 pm
in northwestern loudoun county, he is not going to return to enlist in the confederate army but in the federal army instead. he's going to join a unit that is raised in the summer of 1862, known as the loudoun independent rangers. this is a unit raised under the command of samuel means, a miller from waterford, virginia. and the idea behind the loudoun rangers is they're going to serve as scouts for the union army, they're going to serve as kind of antipartisan troops against people like elijah white and john mosby. they're going to help defend local unionists here, particularly here in northwestern loudoun county. and at the tender age of 21, luther slater, despite any sort of, you know, lack of any sort of military experience is going to be elected first lieutenant. so he is second in command in the loudoun rangers to the commander, samuel mean.
5:25 pm
now, word quickly spreads throughout loudoun county that there is a unionist cavalry being raised within the borders of confederate virginia. and as you guys can probably imagine, this is not very popular. it's particularly unpopular with a particular confederate officer that we've mentioned a few times tonight. dana, who do you think that guy is? >> elijah white. >> elijah white. who at the same time is raising his own battalion of what will become the 35th battalion cavalry. he's going to get word that samuel means is recruiting a unionist cavalry unit in virginia. he's going to declare in the summer of 1862 his intention to, quote, whip sam means. and in august of 1862, he is going to get that opportunity. he gets word that samuel means is back in waterford. he is recruiting for his new unit amongst the unionists in waterford. he's there with, you know, a few recruits.
5:26 pm
he's got about 20 or so men in town with him. and so elijah white is going to make a sneak attack upon the loudoun rangers while they're still recruiting in waterford. early in the predawn hours of august 27th, they're going to start creeping across the fields and farms surrounding waterford. they're trying to avoid the roads, avoid any pickets that might be on watch. just as they're about to spring their trap, they're challenged by a union officer outside of the waterford baptist church. and that officer just happens to be young luther slater, first lieutenant of the loudoun rangers. he's going to challenge these men who are approaching out of the darkness. shots are going to ring out. and this is the beginning of an incredibly intense firefight that occurs in the village of waterford. now, samuel means, the commander
5:27 pm
of the loudoun rangers, he manages to slip out of his house and disappear into the early morning darkness, leaving luther slater and about 20 of his men behind in the village of waterford to fend for themselves. now, i'm not one to comment on his leadership, but this is the start of kind of a trend with samuel means, if you ask me. you're like laughing at this. >> he's not the best record. >> not the best record, you're right. but luther slater is going to gather the 20 or so men he has and they're going to fortify themselves within the waterford baptist church today. you can go see this church today, it's a fairly stout brick building. it is a very defensible position. they're under a hail of bullets. for the next several hours slater and his men are going to defend this place like it's the alamo. they're under a hail of bullets. the confederates effectively surround the building.
5:28 pm
there's numerous times throughout the morning when the confederates will demand their surrender. at some point during this fight slater himself is wound, one of many men who are hit during this firefight. he's actually shot in the head, the chest, the arm, and the hand. >> as a reminder, travis said this was a lucky guy. lucky luther slater got shot in the head. >> i mean, his story -- >> it would be easier to say where he wasn't shot. >> right, right. well, i mean, he's lucky because our story isn't going to end here. spoiler alert. >> oh, okay. >> so slater is lying on the floor of the church. he's trying to command as long as he can but he's literally bleeding out on the floor of this church as the confederates are surrounding him. >> so lucky. >> eventually -- >> the story gets better. >> it gets better and better. i'm known for telling a downer. eventually his men start to run low on ammunition. as i said, there's casualties on both sides. finally, after the third demand
5:29 pm
for their surrender, the loudoun rangers inside the church will lay down their arms under the condition that they are allowed to be paroled rather than go to southern prisoner of war camp. and when elijah white enters the church he sees luther slater lying on the floor bleeding out and he says, i am sorry to see you so dangerously wounded, lieutenant. >> are you, though? >> you did it. >> he's sorry he did it, but he did it. >> i mean, brother against brother, right? isn't that what they say? actually that's a whole nother story for a whole different time. so this looks like the end for our guy luther slater but as i said, he's a fairly lucky fellow. and despite everyone's predictions, he will survive the wounds that he receives at the waterford baptist church. in fact after a few weeks, he is going to be moved north to pennsylvania.
5:30 pm
they figure 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 had gone to school with before the war. and so he is going to settle in in pennsylvania. now, we're going to introduce a little bit of romance into the story because while he's recuperating he is under the care of his friend's sister molly yount. and molly is going to be kind of the guardian angel in this story, she will take care of him, literally nurse him back from the edge of death and help him to recover his strength to the point where in november of 1862, he is able to rejoin his unit. he comes back to the loudoun rangers. but despite all of molly's care, his old wounds are still giving him a lot of trouble. he's basically mostly lost the use of one of his arms, his arm was effectively shattered by a confederate bullet. so he's going to be under a lot of duress.
5:31 pm
so in february of 1863, he is going to resign his commission in the loudoun rangers and he is going to return back north to pennsylvania and presumably to the waiting arms of molly, who has, you know -- seems to be the thing that keeps him going throughout all of this experience. >> because he's so lucky. >> he's so lucky. >> this is where he gets lucky. >> this is on c-span. >> sorry. i'm sorry. >> i mean, he is lucky. he gets to go retire essentially to a quiet corner of pennsylvania where he is going to sit out the rest of the war in relative peace and harmony. or is he? >> or is he? >> because one of the things i've kind of omitted from the story is molly and her family live in a little town in southern pennsylvania called gettysburg. which in 1863 isn't exactly the best place to go if you're
5:32 pm
trying to avoid the civil war. >> lucky. >> so lucky. >> lucky luther. >> lucky, really. so he's a guy that really can't avoid the sense of duty, the sense of patriotism. and so as the confederate army, the army in northern virginia, is crossing the mason-dixon line, entering pennsylvania, he's going to offer his services to the governor of pennsylvania and he is going to receive a commission in the 26th pennsylvania emergency militia, specifically in company "a" of the 26th. and one of the reasons why this is so cool is company "a" is made up of students from gettysburg college, what was the pennsylvania college, now gettysburg college, and the lutheran theological seminary in gettysburg. here you have a 22-year-old officer who has seen some experience, he's been horribly wounded in battle.
5:33 pm
>> he has one functional arm. >> he has one functional arm. he's literally going into battle with his arm into a sling almost a year after his wounding, leading a bunch of students who have never heard a shot fired in anger. >> what could go wrong? >> what could go wrong? what could go wrong? >> despite this, despite this, he and the 26th pennsylvania are going to march out on the morning of june 26th, 1863, and they are going to take up a position on marsh creek along the cash town pike west of gettysburg, pennsylvania, to face lee's battle-hardened veterans of the army of northern virginia. so i can't even imagine what's going through this guy's mind that morning, looking out, looking to the west, you're seeing a long column of guys clad in gray and butternut, marching towards you. what slater did not know was these were men of yules corps,
5:34 pm
these are hardened veterans, and they're being escorted by a battalion of confederate cavalry as they advance through the pennsylvania countryside. now, in one of those weird twists of fate, as i said, weird luck has a weird way of popping up in luther slater's life. those confederate cavalry men are members of the 35th battalion of virginia cavalry, led by who, dana shoaf? >> elijah white. >> none other than elijah white. here in some of the opening shots of the gettysburg campaign, we have two men representing loudoun county, one loudoun-born, one maryland but adopted to loudoun county, on opposite sides of the battlefield. now, unfortunately for luther slater, unluckily for luther slater, luck can be good and luck can be bad.
5:35 pm
unlikely -- >> oh. >> wait a minute. wait a minute. now you turn it around. >> you've been giving me a hard time all day. unluckily for luther, his men are not going to put up the kind of fight that they did back at the waterford baptist church. the 26th pennsylvania militia is effectively scattered like leaves in the wind. these confederate veterans roll over them, about 175 of them are captured. their baggage is burned. luther escapes, but this is effectively the end of his front line service during the american civil war. now, one of the reasons i love this story is because just a few days later, the confederate army is going to approach gettysburg for a second time. and when they see guys in blue uniforms outside the town along the cash town pike, they're going to figure, oh, this is probably just the same militia guys we rolled over less than a week earlier. what they're going to find out is that is absolutely not the
5:36 pm
case, and that these are veteran cavalrymen with the army of the potomac backing them. i like to think that some of that confederate overconfidence in walking back into gettysburg is due to the performance of the pennsylvania militia. but i'm really just trashing pennsylvania at this point. >> thanks a lot. >> so as i said, this is the end of luther slater's kind of front line duty. but he is going to remain in the united states army, serving in the medical corps. he's going to serve in the signal corps. and in the fall of 1864, he is going to finally marry molly yount, make an honest woman out of her. it's really a beautiful love story, the two get married, they have a daughter soon afterwards and at the end of this war this young family is going to uproot themselves and return here to loudoun county, they're going to return to lovettsville. as they settle in, luther is
5:37 pm
going to take up a number of positions with the local government. he's going to be a postmaster, he's going to serve in a few different capacities. but this is where -- you've already made fun of me once, but this is where his luck really turns, and not for the best. because in 1871, poor molly, the love of his life, is going to die shortly after the birth of their second child. she will die six years, seven years after they were married. their young son david, who is born at the time of her death, will die just a few weeks later. sadly, although if you ever go to gettysburg and you visit evergreen cemetery there on cemetery hill, the famous one that was kind of the center of the fighting at the battle there, you will see molly and her son buried there in her hometown. at this point luther really kind of throws himself into his work. and he's going to move to washington, dc.
5:38 pm
and he is going to take a position with the pensions bureau. now, raise your hand if you've ever been to the national building museum in washington. one of my absolute favorite museums in the entire country. i love this place. this massive, massive brick building in washington, dc was built to house the pension department, because for the first time in american history, we literally had hundreds of thousands of veterans who needed pensions. their families, their next of kin needed some sort of payment for their service during the american civil war. luther slater is going to take a very important role as a clerk in the pensions office. how important? anyone who has ever done any sort of research into a civil war soldier has benefitted from his work. luther slater was on the team that helped develop the system of cards for compiled service
5:39 pm
records for civil war soldiers. so if you've ever been trying to chase down your ancestor's military service, if you've ever tried to research a civil war soldier's military service, the compiled service records are usually the first place you're going to look. and i will raise a glass to luther slater for helping to develop that system because it's a very useful system. not just for our researchers, but certainly for the families and the veterans themselves who were trying to get money for their military service after the civil war. he's also going to take on a very important leadership role in another organization, and that is the military order of the loyal legion of the united states or moll, because that's a mouthful. luther slater is one of the founding officers of the
5:40 pm
washington, d.c. chapter of mollus. he's also one of the founding members of the lutheran church community in washington, dc, played a very important social role within the nation's capital up until his very unexpected death in 1909. as kind of a eulogy for luther slater here, i do want to share just a few words that others wrote about him. now, fred ainsworth, who was the adjutant general of the u.s. army, one of his bosses there at the pension bureau, describes slater, he said his loss to the department will be the most difficult to replace, which, you know, your boss says that about you, that's pretty nice. i like that. but a much more heartfelt memorialization comes from one of the men who served along luther in the loudoun rangers, that was another loudoun county man, a guy named briscoe goodheart. in his memoirs of his service in the loudoun rangers he wrote that luther slater was, quote, not only obeyed and respected
5:41 pm
but loved by all. a large, physically well-built man, a true type of american soldier, and brave as a lion. so i think a very fitting tribute to a locally born soldier, a soldier who served in the united states army unlike a lot of his neighbors. he is the only commissioned united states officer from the civil war to be buried in lovettsville. next time you're in the lovettsville union cemetery, please stop by and pay a little visit to our man luther slater. >> hear, hear. [ applause ] [ inaudible question ] >> lutheran church more or less to taylorstown. >> slater lane. he was born in a farm alongside slater lane and he's buried right alongside slater lane. a very fitting tribute. >> i do want to say i hope none of us are ever as lucky as
5:42 pm
luther slater. >> i don't know, i mean, the guy was shot like in four different places and survived the civil war. got to marry a lovely pennsylvania girl. >> there's always a "but." >> it's curious that he's not buried with his wife, a little bit. so yeah, i'm glad you brought that up. so his first wife is buried in gettysburg, pennsylvania, along with her family. three years after she died, he did remarry. >> whoa. >> he remarried a cousin. >> whoa. >> different times. >> i'm not trying to besmirch this guy. >> that's only okay if you're landed gentry. >> it's only okay if we're in the 19th century. he remarried three years after her death. and he is buried with his second wife as well as his daughter from the first marriage. they're all buried together in lovettsville.
5:43 pm
>> okay. all right. >> just a little aside. >> you're trying to tear this guy down. >> i'm not. don't ever call me lucky. but it's a little curious aside, white was at gettysburg, of course, the famous story is the army of northern virginia didn't have enough cavalry because jeff jeb stuart was off sort of doing his own thing. but white and stewart did not get along. and so they were together at brandy station in june of '63. by the time the campaign really begins in earnest, it's just not working out, so they send white off, sort of detached, and that's how he ends up with the yule corp. >> and ends up with a loudoun county guy in the hills of southern pennsylvania. i'll hand that over to you now. >> take it home. >> bring us on home. >> as far as stories go, if you've come to previous history on tap, travis can be pretty depressing in some of the stories. i would say this isn't that bad. >> no, we're good.
5:44 pm
we're good. >> all things considered, loss of an arm and a wife. there were no murders, there were no plane crashes, nothing like that. >> a happy story. >> yeah. >> that's why we think he's lucky. the story i want to tell, you're going to hear some familiar names. as you can probably already tell, you already know, loudoun county has some unionists, it has some secessionists, and you have both armies back and forth throughout the county. and i want to talk a bit about some of prisoners. when you think prisoners of war, you probably often think of the john nevins who get caught enjoying good scenery, maybe. you also think of libby prison in andersonville and elmira. i want to talk about, some people get swept up in war and end up in prison as political prisoners. and for my story, i want to start in early 1863 with the loudoun rangers, again, a loudoun union regiment or at least unit.
5:45 pm
and captain means from waterford in control of them. and when he is in this northern loudoun area in the spring of 1863, he wants to show that they're in the area. and he has had some individuals that he wanted some retaliation on. and he uses this moment to take some prisoners that he thinks are worthy of being imprisoned for some previous acts. and there's a couple of secessionists, not surprisingly, within those who get arrested by means and the loudoun rangers. most notably of them was a man named henry ball. henry ball lived a little bit north of here. if you're familiar with temple hall, he owned temple hall on route 15, a bit north of here. samuel means is pretty sure it's ball who led the soldiers to that baptist church in waterford that travis had mentioned. so he had it out for ball, a
5:46 pm
very notable secessionist in the area. they arrive, they arrest ball amongst other individuals, another one of note, a knowsable notable secessionist named albert campbell belt, also from that lucketts area. immediately there's outrage, it's not the most common thing for civilians to get arrested. now, as travis mentioned, you may have heard of the battle of gettysburg. that a bit interrupted some confederate plans to get these two individuals released by the united states. but after gettysburg, there is once again a resumption by the confederates to release these two individuals. now, the families have been going from day one to try to get some sort of way to get these two individuals out of prison. and where are the two -- i'm going to call them secessionists for the sake of the story. they're sent across the potomac and ultimately go to fort delaware, a notorious prison, especially for some prisoners of
5:47 pm
war and other criminals. after gettysburg, in the latter part of the summer of 1863, it's jeb stewart who is now looking for ways in which to get these men back, potentially. and he writes to a man i guess he doesn't get along with very well, elijah white, i don't even want to talk of him, i'm sick of him. he writes to elijah white saying -- >> sorry. >> -- i want you to take captive a man named asa bond. who is bond? just so happens to be the father-in-law of captain means, the man who arrested henry ball. >> it's personal now. >> these people all know each other. it's a small county. he says essentially as a hostage for these two secessionists who were taken prison earlier. elijah white is okay with that but suggests maybe take a second person and it can be a two for two swap, essentially. two unionists for two secessionists.
5:48 pm
that's the plan and elijah white sends a few soldiers to waterford to, you know, basically do this undertaking, and at first they go to the other person that they plan to take, a man named william williams. he was the head of an insurance company in waterford. they arrive at his house on a sunday evening. knock on the door, and serve polite that way. when it's opened by williams, a revolver is in his face. the not nice part. unlucky part. and they tell him they're taking him prisoner. his wife pleads for them not to do so, but they take him, and now it's on to asa bonds. they might not have twitter, but rumors float around pretty easily in waterford. and it's known this is happening. there is confederates in the area. >> they're on whatsapp, right. >> the waterford social media page was buzzing. >> the waterford news. >> the waterford uncensored was lighting up. >> they made a mistake. and that realized this going to
5:49 pm
asa bonds' house second. by the time the two confederates arrived at bond's home, it's not bond who answers the door, it's two ladies, and there's a secessionist lady that writes about the account and what supposedly happened and i'll let netty dawson maybe give her account better than i can. she wrote mrs. means and mrs. bonds stood in their door and dared the southerners to enter. they did enter, slapped mrs. means jaw and mrs. bonds fired a revolver on them. 'tis a wonder they took it from her. >> this waterford lady. >> they mean business. you're going to be a unionist in virginia, you better be. >> they slapped her in the face. >> that's what netty dawson says. she also says if we had dared to do that with a yank worry, have been shot instantly. >> yeah, probably. >> maybe. mess around and find out. isn't that what people say. >> that is the edited version of
5:50 pm
what they say. whatever happens happens, during this time, asa bond slips out. they don't get the prime suspect they were supposed to go. the confederates were like, uh-oh, we missed the main target. goofed. but we have to return back with two. so they went through robert holing's home and they take him. >> he is lucky too? by travis standards. >> if he survived the war, i'm going to count it. >> i'll allow it. >> now these two individuals didn't do anything. now for the union army, they would say they did do some acts and i will say that the suck suggestionists were charged with. they thought harry ball led union troops or confederates to union soldiers at that baptist church and they were charged with horse stealing and burning
5:51 pm
some products to keep them out of union hands. now once the to unionists are taken captive, they are taken to elijah white. and the counties is abuzz the next day. you have unionist and successionist pledding to let these men go. they are fearful this could lead to continued escalation and retaliation by both sides. now elijah white doesn't let the two pen go but he convinced to give them a three week parole. he said i've going to give you throw weeks and you're gg back to up waterford and you convince the united states to let the two successionist goes. if you can't do that, you have to come up within three weeks time. both families of all four individuals are working together are pleading with u.s. representative and confederate ones as well.
5:52 pm
three weeks goes pretty quickly. their unsuccessful for getting the release of the two successionists from fort delaware. so they plan on going back to elijah white. now at this point, samuel means and the loudoun rangers think why are you going back. you're here and keep them from going back. so the loudoun rangers take you before you could go back but they say we gave our word that we would go back in those three weeks time and they leave a little early and are ahead of the loudoun rangers who want to take them and they elijah white is near the upperville area at this time and white wasn't in a good mood and said you are going to be treated just like other prisoners of war and the would successionists men that were taken to fort delaware. you're going on foot down to richmond and these are castle
5:53 pm
thunder, a notorious prison for the head of that prison in richmond. but several other political prisoners and the like at castle thunder. >> could tell it's bad because it sounds like a place in a comic book. >> but they're lucky, they're there. >> they're lucky. so lucky. >> it could be worse. you could be shot six tile times in the face. >> now at this time, the successionist families are working together, again they have a common goal to get these four individuals out. and william williams wife gets plenty of signatures from unionists in virginia and she's making the case to the united states to let these men go. that fall of 1863 she even goes up to the white house thinking if there is one person that could get these two guys out, it is president abraham lincoln and she mets with him on october 12th and he talked with mrs. williams and understands the
5:54 pm
situation and writes a note to the head of prisons saying, help this request out if possible. now this is a ticket. this is from president lincoln saying let these two individuals go. now, when i was reading about this, it made me think of an office episode where creed said you can't get-out-of-jail-free cards. those cost thousands. and it seems too good to be true and it is. even though president lincoln writes this letter to the head of prisoners, secretary of war stanton counter mands that. >> of course he does. >> no, if we do this, this is just going to get more and more hostages taken, it is going to get copycats like this. so no, these two are staying in prison. so disappointing even with a letter from the president, mrs. williams returns back to waterford, failed on the the mission to get the two individuals out. at this point, attention then
5:55 pm
goes to let get the successionist out and make appealed to the confederate government. so they make a appeal for the secretary of the war for the confederacy and you get henry ball writing from prison saying i don't want people taking prisoner on my account. he didn't like virginians being captured by other virginians and his letter has a good effect and an effective one. and the two individuals in castle thunder are eventually released from confederate prison. all they have to do is take np oath and they could get a travel permit and head back home. well the two unions say we're not taking an oath. so now we have another challenge here. they don't want to take the oath to the confederacy, but luckily for them, they do know a individual in the war department who gepts them travel permits so they are able to take the train up to the standon area and then could walk on home. even while their walking back,
5:56 pm
they get captured again. >> so lucky. >> lucky guys. thankfully for them it is a short capture. they're released pretty quickly and then able to walk back home and in dramatic fashion william williams and hollings worth arrive back looking beleaguered and one had small pom while he was in prison and but they make it back on christmas day 1863. >> hallmark. >> a succession christmas is laid out for you right here. >> a succession christmas. >> now when word was getting out in early december that the two unionists were out of prison, then stanton relented and the two successionists were released from fort delaware and they turn home just before the new year to loudoun county.
5:57 pm
so their still lucky. all four of them do make it home by the end of 1863. but think it is a greattory for showing that people get caught up in war, even if you're not directly involved in it. and when you're in a location like loudoun county where you're near the potomac river, you have varying degrees of beliefs in the war for or against, and you have armies going back and forth that sometimes war is unavoidable. sometimes you might bring it upon yourself who may have led tropes or a school master caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. but war doesn't take breaks for anybody, particularly in areas where there is so much activity like here in loudoun county. >> what do we toast to? >> to be home for christmas. >> to be home for christmas. cheers. [ applause ] >> now we do have some time for questions if you have any of the four stories feel free to ask. we'll bring a microphone to your
5:58 pm
way. >> will we? >> yeah. c-span will bring you a microphone. i see a question. the halo around rich. >> it is not so much a question. >> wait for the mic. >> i think it is amazingly cool that here in loudoun county you just told a story about four prisoners and all of their houses are still standing. >> cheers to that. [ applause ] >> it is almost like we have a very robust community of preservation organizations here in loudoun county. >> what? >> to promote this. >> bananas. >> any other questions or comments? >> before we sign off? well before we go, before we go i would just like too thank all of you for coming. and one more thank you to alex
5:59 pm
and ann for letting us use the hall to hold this event. >> cheers. >> could you be a part of the national conversation by participating in c-span student cam video competition. so if you're a middle or high school student, we're asking you to create a documentary that answered the question how does the federal government impact your life, your documentary must show supporting and opposing points of view on a federal policy or program that effects you or your community using c-span video clips which are easy to find and accessed at c-span.org. we ward $100,000 in total cash prizes and a grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20th, 2022. for competition rules, or just how to get started, visit our website at studentcam.org. c-span shop.org is the
6:00 pm
online store. browse through the latest collection of c-span products, apparel, books, home decor and accessories. there are something for every c-span span and every purchase helps support our nonprofit operation. shop now or any time at c-spanshop.org. >> i'm sponsors this speaker talk today and our first presenter is dr. bradley gotfried. he earned his hpd in zoology in 1976 and went on to have a very successful 40 year career as a higher education professor and administrator. he retired in 2017 as the president of the college of southern maryland. he now spends much of his time writing about the civil war as the gettysburg licensed town guide as an antietam certified

31 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on