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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Faces at Middletown

National Park Service display at Middletown, Virginia

     Not long ago the National Park Service's Cedar Creek and Belle Grove site put out the word that their new museum was looking for photographs of soldiers and civilians who lived or fought in the Shenandoah Valley, particularly those associated with the battles fought in the lower valley.
     It just so happened that I have several ancestors from the Valley who fought for the Confederacy, and I submitted to the Park Service a number of photographs and short biographies which in themselves could have constituted their own display at the new museum. Two of them were chosen for this wall of faces, and I was very proud to be there this week so I could photograph them. [Please note that all images in my blog can be clicked on for larger viewing.]
     My great grandmother Lizzie Houston Row had six uncles who fought for the South, five of whom served in the 14th Virginia Cavalry. The two shown on this wall were captured in two different fights just six weeks apart in the fall of 1864.

William Norval Willson

     William N. Willson (called "Uncle Will" by the family) of Rockbridge County enlisted in Company H of the 14th Cavalry on September 10, 1862. He was captured during the fight at Fisher's Hill in September 1864 and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner at Fort Delaware.

Matthew Doak Willson

     Matthew Willson was one of the five Willson brothers who fought for the Confederacy, all but one of whom rode with the 14th Cavalry. During the war Uncle Matt suffered much, being captured for the first time in 1862 and imprisoned in Alton, Illinois. After being exchanged he rejoined his regiment to have another go at the Yankees. In November 1864 Matthew Willson was captured a second time during a sharp little fight near Cedarville. On that day he was also shot in the arm and received a saber gash to his head. He was imprisoned at Point Lookout until his release in June 1865. For a more in depth look at Matthew Willson's life as a soldier, you can click here.

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