Though the war between the states of 1861-65 grows distant in our past. The memory of that turbulent struggle remains evident in the shadows of misty hollows, fields and forests of Prince Edward County's landscape. It is in our charge that the memory of those who fought in that struggle should yet be preserved. Their stories remind us of the value of our liberty, so that we may learn from the experiences of their lives and honor their noble deeds of selfless courage and sacrifices.
The Prince Edward community came together in the Spring of 1861, in agreement for the Secession of Virginia from the Union. It was a measure of self defense for their liberty which they deemed to be threatened by Lincoln's call to arms.
Prince Edward’s gentlemen, young and old alike, rallied as volunteers in defense of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Confederacy.
For four years between 1861 and 1865, Prince Edward embraced her Patriot sons with farewell as they marched off to war and endured the sufferings of their loss, many never to return.
On the home front, Prince Edwards citizens struggled to tend to their daily tasks and chores, while supporting their soldiers far away. They gave all of their support by many means such as through postal correspondence in letters and care packages from home. As the Union blockade cut off free trade, gave up all they had putting aside personal wants and comforts in order to support their heroes. They also gathered supplies of food, made uniforms or equipments, supplied wagons, horses and mules, etc...
Farmville was a vital commercial center between Richmond, Petersburg, and Lynchburg, as an important depot on the South Side Rail Road. The town warehouses stored supplies. Being far removed from most of the fighting, a hospital was established caring for the many wounded and sick soldiers from the front.
Confederate Cemetery Farmville
Prince Edward Virginia
Confederate Gen. Sterling Price
Sept 20, 1809 -Sept 29, 1867
Graduate of Hampden-Sydney College Alumni, and elected Governor of Missouri,
General Sterling Price served in the Western Theater. His presentation sword with an agrarian relief and corn cob hilt hangs on display in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond Virginia.
Confederate Veterans Monument
High Street, Farmville
Company K, 3rd VA Cavalry Regiment
Companies F & D, 18th VA Infantry Regiment,
Samuel W. Paulett
Citizen, Soldier and Mayor Old Reb is buried in West View Cemetery along with many other local Confederate heroes.
image courtesy Town of Farmville
1909 Post Card image of the last three Confederate Veterans from Prince Edward County.
E. L. Erambert, Bob Miller, Samuel W. Paulett, in front of the Confederate Monument Farmville on High Street.
Company K 21st VA Infantry Regiment
Company I, 23rd VA Infantry Regiment
Christopher Bass served through the war, he returned to Prince Edward and continued to teaching as one of the communities foremost educators. He is buried in the Presbyterian Church cemetery at Hampden-Sydney College
Company G 44th VA Infantry Regiment
"The Old Dominion Rifles"
Company G 53rd VA Infantry Regiment
Post war image of
PVT William Walthall
3rd VA Reserves
PVT. William(Willie) Walthall, was one of the many local young men who served, He is buried at Pisgah Baptist Church Cemetery, Rice VA.
Civil War Actions and Battles
Though relatively free from the trials of battles during most of the war. Several actions would pass through the counties borders. In July of 1864, Union Raiders commanded by Gen. James H. Wilson would make a raid along the South Side & Richmond-Danville Rail Roads. Their objectives to disrupt the Confederate supplies trains, to destroy the bridges at High Bridge and the Staunton River.
The Richmond & Danville passes through the south east portion of the county at Green Bay and Meherrin the Yankee raiders tore up the rails and tracks, burned the Depots and Rail Cars, terrorizing, vandalizing and stealing along their way.
Wilson's Raiders were pursued by Confederate Cavalry commanded by Gen. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee son of Gen Robert E. Lee. They first fought with Wilson at the battle of the Grove near Nottoway Courthouse. Wilson was forced to fall back but pushed on through Prince Edward and Charlotte counties. Confederate Cavalry caught up with the Raiders June 26, skirmishing near Mossingford and Saxe Depots. Known as the battle of Randolph or Staunton River, Wilson's headquarters were at Mulberry Hill Plantation, at Randolph Depot near the Staunton River.
Confederate reinforcements of local reserve militia made up of Old Men & Boys stood to defend the Richmond & Danville Rail Road bridge over the Staunton River. It was a heated battle and though union forces were actually greater in number the Confederate artillery and infantry maintained a fierce stand along the rivers banks. Gen. Wilson was caught in a hard place, he had a bridge he could not cross or destroy. A train bringing reinforcements of an unknown amount of Confederate reserves with artillery support defending the bridge.
Confederate Cavalry in pursuit were pushing Wilson's men from behind him. He would have no choice but make a forced march retreating back to the Union lines at Petersburg. All the while losing casualties and most of the loot and contraband slaves along the way. They were nearly cut off at Reams Station, losing many men as prisoners. Wilson's troops were so pressed they abandoned some of their Artillery, contraband property. It was bad enough that ambulances of wounded were abandoned, deserted so the drivers could escape with their horses. Wilson's raid had briefly disrupted the supply trains from reaching Petersburg and Richmond and the track was quickly repaired.
The most significant of actions of the war in Prince Edward, occurred during the Appomattox Campaign, in April 1865.
The climactic battles between April 6-7 would decide the fate of a nation. As the Union and Confederate armies converged in the north east corner of Prince Edward, bordering the Amelia and Nottoway Counties.
On April 6th,
Fighting occurred along Sailors Creek to Farmville. Actions occurred at "Chatham" James Watson's Farm near High Bridge, Farmville, Hott's Corner, Hillsman's Farm - Sailors Creek, Marshall's Crossroads, Lockett's Mill, Lockett's Farm, Sailors Creek-Double Bridges, Rice's Depot.
Overton - Hillsman Farm,
Sailor's Creek Battlefield
This view is from the Union position facing south-west, the farm is actually in Amelia County the just across the Prince Edward county line, that ensued here would cross into Prince Edward that late afternoon of April 6, 1865.
On April 7th,
The next morning fighting began again at the High Bridge, following to Farmville, Cumberland Church, Prince Edward Courthouse(Worsham).
Bradshaw, Herbert C. “History of Prince Edward County, Virginia”; Richmond: The Dietz Press, Inc., 1955.
Calkins, Chris “Thirty-Six Hours Before Appomattox”; Chapter III, Pages 33 – 41, Farmville Herald 1980.
Calkins, Chris “The Appomattox Campaign”; Chapter V, Pages: 97-105
Eanes, Greg " The Wilson-Kautz Raid"
Eanes, Greg “The Battles of Sailor’s Creek”; Chapter Four, Pages: 26-39
Gaskins, Dr. Ray; Professor Emeritus Hampden-Sydney College
Grant, Ulysses S., Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant;, Charles L. Webster & Company, 1885–86. Page 59
Lucas, Michael C. "The Battle of High Bridge", High Bridge Battlefield Museum Archives
Weaver, Patti O. & Jeffrey C. "Reserves" Virginia Regimental Series 2002, pages 252- 288