Yesterday I attended the Waterford Civil War Day, where two new historical markers were dedicated. I’ve posted the Virginia State DHR marker and the Civil War Trails marker (along with the older plaque at the Baptist Church) on the Historical Marker Database. I’ve also posted a brief “report” of the ceremonies over on the Loudoun County CW Roundtable website. (And you can look over more photos from the event in my Flickr collection.)
Towards mid-day, the event moved to the Waterford Union Cemetery for a wreath-laying in honor of all Civil War veterans. We often hear that at ceremonies, but I would submit you will find no better location that represents the inclusive “all” than Waterford Union Cemetery. As you enter the gate, a headstone for J.W. Virts of the Loudoun Rangers.
Nearby lay several of his comrades from the Loudoun Rangers.
The grave of Lieutenant Robert Graham is along the west fence of the cemetery. Graham enlisted as a corporal and rose to the rank of lieutenant.
Indeed, the number of Loudoun Ranger internments in the cemetery outnumber that of Confederate veterans (one of only two public cemeteries in Virginia that can boast such, I am told). But there are graves of the Ranger’s chief rivals in the war – the 35th Virginia Cavalry Battalion.
The 35th Virginia and the Loudoun Rangers represented more than just opposing sides in the war. These were men who lived together in Loudoun County before the war. Indeed, in a number of cases, brothers served in opposite ranks in these two units. It is hard to find a more direct example of the “brother vs. brother” (which often sounds so cliche) aspect of the Civil War. But when Colonel Elisha White’s 35th Virginia attacked the Loudoun Rangers at the Waterford Baptist Church on August 27, 1862, brothers stood on opposite sides.
Other Confederate Veterans include those who served in locally raised infantry units.
The 8th Virginia Infantry served in most of the major battles of the Eastern Theater, participated in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, and surrendered at Appomoattox.
But moving into the African-American section of the cemetery, several more veterans lay at rest.
Henson Young served in the 1st US Colored Troops. The regiment was raised in Washington, D.C. in mid-1863. It served in the fighting at Petersburg, to include the Battle of the Crater, and participated in the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, North Carolina.
James (?) Lewis served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry (Colored). Like their sister regiment, the famous 54th Massachusetts, the 55th served most of the war in South Carolina in operations against Charleston.
The total number of Civil War veterans interned at the cemetery number over 40, if my math is right. I submit you will not find a broader sampling of Civil War experiences than that represented among the men who lay at rest in the Waterford Union Cemetery.