Monday, June 29, 2009

Ebenezer Churches, near Bloomfield, Va.

It was at this site that the money from the Greenback Raid was divided among Mosby’s men on the afternoon of October 15, 1864. The amount captured, $173,000 was parceled-out in equal shares of $2,000 among the rangers. Mosby refused a share, but the men later voted to buy him a thoroughbred horse with the money that would have been his had he taken a share. There are two churches, built side-by-side, the first having been constructed in 1804 (one source says 1765) and the second in 1855, as the result of a division in the congregation. The magnificent map of the John Singleton Mosby Heritage Area, surveyed and drawn by map-maker Eugene M. Scheel and edited by historian John K. Gott, has a description of the churches and notes: “The Hebrew Eben-ezer means stone of help, erected by Samuel to memorialize the Israeli[te] victory over the Philistines.”

According to a recent article in The Washington Post the money from the raid was divvied up at the Rock Hill Farm, about five miles south of Round Hill, Va.: “Rock Hill had a brief role in the Civil War. It is believed to be the site where Mosby’s Rangers, a guerrilla-style band of Confederate soldiers, divided up money from the Green Back [sic] Raid.” (Kafia A. Hosh, “Landmark Not Showing Its Age,” The Washington Post [June 28, 2009], C1). It will be interesting to examine the evidence for this claim, which I expect can be found in the documentation prepared for the property’s nomination for the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Old Duffields Station

This structure, overgrown with weeds and virtually collapsing, still stands down the tracks from the modern commuter station. The depot was raided by Mosby on June 29, 1864. Constructed in 1839, it is said to be the second oldest surviving train station in the U.S.

Site of the Greenback Raid (Oct. 14, 1864)

The railroad cut in the photo is the location of Confederate partisan ranger Col. John S. Mosby’s famous attack on the train carrying a payroll for Phil Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah. It is located between Duffields Station to the east and Kearnysville in the west in Jefferson County, W. Va. I visited the spot a few years ago with Don Hakenson of the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society, who knows Mosby’s Confederacy as well as anyone. The county gives the site as where Wiltshire Road intersects the railway, but Don guided us to a location near Warm Springs Road, and the photo is taken looking west from there.

It was here, in the deep cut, on the night of October 14, 1864, that Mosby and 84 of his partisan rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) ambushed, derailed, and destroyed the express train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. After taking the payroll and several prisoners, the raiders burned the train and returned to Loudoun County, Va.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Officers of the Gardes françaises in 1697

Military fashion. This plate by Knötel shows how the officers of the French Guards at this period exercised their prerogative to design their uniforms according to personal taste, as long as they observed the general rule of having the coat and lining colors in the same colors as those prescribed for the regiment.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fort Matanzas (3)

The top photo, taken from the fort’s gun deck, shows the view south from the rear of the sentry box. From the fort’s website:

“The sentry box or garita had fallen off sometime during the 1800s while Fort Matanzas sat abandoned. It was rebuilt of brick in 1927 and again of coquina in 1929 using steel reinforcing rods to attach it to the existing parapet walls.”

The lower photo was also taken from the gun deck of the fort, looking south toward Matanzas Inlet. It shows how the fort’s battery commanded the river and inlet, which was about one-half mile closer in the 18th century.