News and Notes 2010

2010 Antebellum Christmas Open House at Mulberry Hill

2010 Annual Foundation Meeting

Descendants of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge Donate Original Document to Foundation

On Monday, August 2, 2010 delegates of the Historic Staunton River Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, development, and preservation of the Staunton River Battlefield, met with Ms. Leslie Carter of Shepherdstown, West Virginia to accept a donation of an original document, the minutes of the Employees of the Danville Arsenal, dated 1864. These rare “minutes” from Captain W. H. Otey’s Company taken on July 1, 1864 accentuated her great-great-great-grandfather, William Henry Dillon’s participation in the defense of the Staunton River Bridge.

Of the ten known fatalities during the engagement, this document honors two by name: William Henry Dillon and Thomas H. Dickerson. Dillon and Dickerson were from Danville, Virginia and employees of the Danville Arsenal, which, at the start of the war, became part of Captain Walter Hays Otey’s Company Virginia Light Artillery. Subsequently, men of the Danville Arsenal journeyed 55 miles via rail to answer the urgent plea sent out by Captain Benjamin Farinholt, commander of the forces stationed at the Staunton River Bridge, to defend the Bridge against an approaching Union cavalry force of 5,000 men under the command of Generals Kautz and Wilson. Following the Battle on that hot 25th day of June in 1864, the Confederates suffered approximately 10 fatalities and 24 wounded, and it was reported that the Union left 30 dead. The information obtained from this hand-written document, a “called meeting of the employees of the Danville Arsenal (Cap. W. H. Otey’s Company held on the 1st day of July 1864,” states that “Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to remove William H. Dillon and Thomas H. Wilkerson members of our company (who were killed on the 25th ultimately in the late engagement at Staunton River Bridge) from among out numbers.” The document will be a key element in telling the story of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge and its impact on the lives of families in Southside Virginia.

Ms. Leslie Carter and her father, Terrence contacted the Historic Staunton River Foundation in December 2009 and inquired about the Battle and their ancestor’s role. Research by and between the Carter family and the Foundation ensued. By June of this year during the annual Commemoration of the Battle, Leslie and Terrence where honored by the Foundation and the Staunton River Battlefield State Park as descendants and presented with medallions. Not long after, the father and daughter agreed that the Foundation and Battleground would be the “perfect fit” to ensure the document’s longevity, preservation, and educational premise. A Photostat of the original has been made and it can be viewed at the Clover Visitors Center at the Staunton River Battlefield State Park. For more information about the Foundation, the Battle, and Descendants of the Battle, please visit our website www.historicstauntonriverfoundation.org; follow the Foundation on Facebook, or phone 434.454.4312.

Janet Johnson, President of the Historic Staunton River Foundation (far left) and J. Shane Newcombe, Trustee (far right) honorably accept a donation of an original 1864 document of a “meeting of the employees of the Danville Arsenal (Capt. W. H. Otey’s Company)” from Leslie Carter (center) of Shepherdstown, West Virginia and her father, Mr. Terence Carter of Irvington, Virginia (not pictured). The Carters are lineal descendants of William Henry Dillon, an employee of the Danville Arsenal and private in Captain W. Hayes Otey’s Company, Virginia Light Artillery. The document, donated to the Foundation, mentions the engagement of Staunton River Bridge and provides the names of two of the ten known Confederate fatalities during the Battle: William H. Dillon and Thomas H. Wilkerson.

Descendants of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge Presented Medallions

Friday, June 25, 2010, marked the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge. To remember and honor the valiant efforts of the Confederate soldiers and “old men and young boys,” who answered the urgent plea from Captain Benjamin Fairnholt to defend the Bridge from an approaching Union cavalry force under the command of Generals Wilson & Kautz, the Historic Staunton River Foundation, Inc. hosts a Commemoration of the Battle each year at the Staunton River Battlefield State Park. On Friday night, following a wagon-ride tour of the Battlefield, members of Cumming’s Battery Cape Fear Light Artillery demonstrated several “night” cannon firings in honor of the soldiers who fought at the Battle. Several events were held throughout of the day on Saturday: the Halifax Chapter 1321 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy presented several Military Service Award Medals; the Historic Staunton River Foundation presented two medallions to descendants of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge and Miss Savannah Ketchum, a 2010 graduate of Randolph-Henry High School and recipient of the Charlotte Grays 1964 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Robert C. Moates Scholarship, presented her winning essay, and representatives from the Foundation, UDC, and SCV laid memorial wreaths at the Bridge; Mr. Robert Dunkerly presented a lecture on “Weapons of the Civil War;” and re-enactors from 14th Virginia Infantry, Co. K. and Oliver’s Battery, 21st Virginia Co. provided a living history encampment. For more information on other upcoming events at Staunton River Battlefield State Park or to learn more the Foundation, please visit www.stauntonriverbattlefield.org; follow the Foundation on Facebook; or phone 434.454.4312.

Janet Johnson, President of the Historic Staunton River Foundation (far right), presents Ms. Leslie Carter (far left) of Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Mr. Terence Carter of Irvington, Virginia (center) with Descendants of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge Medallions. The father and daughter are lineal descendants of William Henry Dillon, a private in Captain W. Hayes Oteys’ Company, Virginia Light Artillery, the Danvile Arsenal. Several months ago, the Foundation was notified by the Carters in their quest to find more information about their ancestor and verify several family legends for a biography Leslie is crafting. Leslie and her father, Terence enjoyed the Commemoration events and a tour of Mulberry Hill Plantation. If you or someone you know is a descendant of a soldier or “an old man or young boy,” who fought at the Battle, please contact the Foundation at 434.454.7157.

LOCAL FOUNDATION RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL TO CLOSE STAUNTON RIVER BATTLEFIELD

On Wednesday in order to balance the state budget, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced a package of budget cutting proposals that include the closing of five (5) state parks. Specifically, the five state parks are Twin Lakes (Prince Edward); False Cape (Virginia Beach); Caledon (King George); Mason Neck (Fairfax); and Staunton River Battlefield (Charlotte and Halifax).

If included in the final budget, these closures would take effect on Thursday, July 1, 2010. Governor McDonnell’s package of budget cutting proposals included the following explanations, "Decrease funding in the Department of Conservation and Recreation by closing five state parks and eliminating the associated wage staff ($1.0 million). Furloughs ($180.8 million) for state employees for up to five days in FY 2011 and an additional five days in FY 2012."

For more information, or if you are interested in supporting this Cause, please feel free to contact
info@historicstauntonriverfoundation.org or visit
www.historicstauntonriverfoundation.org.

2010 Sappony Indian River Festival Event

2010 Easter Egg Hunt

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