Soldier Had Famous Kin

CONFEDERATE DEAD: The Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery has 3,553 Confederate soldiers buried there, including six generals: Seth Barton, Dabney Maury, Abner Perrin, Daniel Ruggles, Henry Sibley and Carter Stevenson. The identities of 2,184 are unknown.

J.E.B. Stuart’s second cousin, Oscar Stuart, who was killed at Fredericksburg in 1863, gets a new marker in Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery thanks to a descendant.

By Scott Boyd
The Free Lance-Star

OSCAR EWING STUART died in action in a Civil War battle, just like his famous second cousin Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. While his renowned cousin has a large monument marking his grave in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, the name on Oscar’s grave is barely legible.

That all changed after one of Oscar Stuart’s descendants visited Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery, where his ancestor was buried. Seeing the headstone inscription worn away by more than a century of wear, Wayne Craig of Decatur, Ala., decided to get a new marker for Stuart’s grave.

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Vandalized Stones Repaired

Repairs have been completed on 14 tombstones damaged by unknown vandals in September 207006. In addition to breaking and turning over stones, the vandals managed to overturn the tall pinnacles of several major stones.

Carroll Memorials, W. O. Grubb Crane Rental, Public Works Department of the City of Fredericksburg, the Matthew Fontaine Maury Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans joined forces to the complicated job…

W. O. Grubb’s crane was used from outside the wall to lift the heavy stones. Carroll Memorials repaired and reset the stones, some of which were badly broken. Both firms generously did this work at cost, a great saving to the Association. Members of the Matthew Fontaine Maury Camp, SCV, volunteered their services to help clean the stones before the repairs were made.

We are very grateful to all of the above for their help, and to the friends of the Cemetery who have made contributions for the repair of these stones. Thanks to the Virginia Division, United daughters of the Confederacy fro funds for this project from the Historic Resources Fund.

We also wish to express our thanks to Mike Witt who removed a large tree limb which fell during a summer storm. (No stones were damaged.)

Mike Witt Helps Again

Without being asked, Landscaper Mike Witt has come to the Cemetery’s aid again, just as he did in 2006.

Last year Mr. Witt, owner of A Cut Above Landscape and Tree Service, removed a huge rotting oak tree which endangered the Confederate soldiers’ stones.

This year he and his workmen cleared out dead and broken branches, cut hanging limbs from trees and removed piles of trash. Plans call for his work in the Cemetery to be featured in a national landscape magazine.

All of his work in the Cemetery has been done without charge.

We thank you, Mr. Witt!

 

The Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery Wall has been rebuilt!

Thanks to the generosity of over one-hundred individuals and organizations and the City of Fredericksburg, the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery wall has been rebuilt.

The Confederate Cemetery wall was built in 1870 and made of bricks from houses destroyed during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

As a result of Hurricane Isabel in the autumn of 2003, eighty-five feet of the Cemetery’s wall fell, with an adjoining portion unstable.

 

Two Local Firms Aid Cemetery with Free Major Repairs

Two local firms — Carroll Memorials and Mike Witt’s A Cut Above Landscape and Tree Service — have come to the aid of the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.

Both donated their services for two major projects which help ensure the preservation of the hundreds of Confederate soldiers’ gravestones which surround the Confederate Soldier
Monument.

Huge ancient trees were the culprits in both cases.

Carroll Memorials

In January 2006 during a windstorm, a huge oak tree — roots and all — toppled into the gravestones to the left of the Monument. The City of Fredericksburg cleaned up the debris.

The tree’s fall cracked and felled nineteen of the soldier’s stones.

Carroll Memorials, a 58-year-old local company, came to the rescue, as they have in the past. In early May they pieced together the marble headstones using an adhesive. Some of the headstones are about half their original size since not all the parts were salvageable.

Mrs. Nancy Cole, Carroll’s office manager, said, “Carroll Memorials frequently donates services to the community as a way to say `thank you’ for local support and business over the years.”

A Cut Above Landscape and Tree Service

Meanwhile,, to the right of the Monument, another oak tree had been casting menacing shadows for several years. Huge and rotting it had lost its last leaf a season ago. More soldiers’ stones were sure to be damaged if the tree fell and it was truly standing on borrowed time.

Mike Witt, owner of A Cut Above Landscape and Tree Service, offered his time and company resources to remove the tree. It was a tremendous and painstaking job, especially in the mid-July heat and the presence of a hive of bees.

Mr. Witt’s team also groomed branches of other trees in the Cemetery at no charge.

“It’s just my way of contributing when I can,” Mike Witt said.

The Ladies’ Memorial Association is profoundly grateful to these two local businesses who are continuing a proud Fredericksburg tradition.

Mrs. Nancy Cole, Carroll Memorials, 1529 Olde William St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401; 540-373-8651.

Mike Witt, A Cut Above Landscape and Tree Service, 5804 Red Fox Drive, Spotsylvania, VA 22553.

 

The Gentleman Patriot

By LEE WOOLF
The Free Lance-Star

“DAB” MAURY GREW to love Fredericksburg while playing in the city’s streets as a young boy in the 1820s and listening to stories about men like Washington, Madison and Monroe.

So when Maury died in 1900 at age 77, it was fitting that he was buried with honors in the Confederate Cemetery on Washington Avenue just a few blocks from the St. James’ House on Charles Street where he lived in his youth.

Home was very important to Dabney Herndon Maury. And the concept of “homeland security”–so much in the news these days in light of the events of last September–was very dear to his heart.

In a letter from Santa Fe during the spring of 1861 when war between North and South seemed imminent, Maury, then a captain in the Army, wrote that he was prepared to resign his commission and “return to Virginia and spend my last cent and my last drop of blood if necessary in defense of her soil and of her rights.”

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Healing the Wounds of War

WHEN I WAS a boy growing up in Fredericksburg in the late 1920s to mid-1930s, we would all gather around an old upright piano and, as Mrs. Smith peered through her glasses and picked out the accompaniment, we would sing “The Bonnie Blue Flag,” with its stirring lines recalling “a band of brothers fighting for our liberty with treasure, blood and toil” and declaring, “Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.”

In January of every year, a joint celebration of the birthdays of Gens. Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson was held in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. Southern anthems were sung and perfervid poems were declaimed (“Forth from its scabbard pure and bright/Flashed the sword of Lee!” was a town favorite). Then a feisty little lady and unreconstructed Rebel named Miss Sallie Lacy would hold forth on the saintly virtues of Gens. Lee and Jackson.

There were half a dozen Confederate veterans living in the town. My great-uncle, whom we called “Uncle Johnny” (Judge John Tackett Goolrick Sr.), was one of them, a spry old fellow who had been wounded at Fort Harrison, near Richmond, and had been with Gen. Lee’s army at Appomattox. He took great delight in saying that he was one of the few surviving veterans who had been a private in the Confederate Army. All the rest, he said, seemed to have been generals, colonels, majors or captains.

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