This is an additional follow-up to the material shared yesterday about the account of Frederick Hitchcock of the 132nd PA – who wrote of spending the night (11/5/1862) inside a walled graveyard, and of sleeping himself in the depression of a buried member of a Virginia family. I went researching to find a possible location of which he might be speaking, and was drawn to a probable location of an Armistead Cemetery near Upperville, VA. My posting yesterday finished with a picture of the gate of this cemetery – located in a remote location.
The picture contained an email address of the woman who visited this location, so I wrote her a note, sharing with her also the blog entry. Her information sent back would, I believe, tend to lend support for this spot as the very place of which Hitchcock wrote.
The email returned from Jennifer Whiteree was really very fascinating. She visited this cemetery over a year ago after struggling quite a bit to even find its exact location. It is literally in a remote location in a cattle pasture. Her only access was “to scramble over part of the wall on the back side and drop down into the inside. The blackberry bushes are thick and there are many trees that are growing up out of it.”
Regarding the location in terms of a place where a Civil War headquarters camp might be established … “the cemetery is up on a hill overlooking a small stream valley with a single tree as a sentinel. On one hand, it would have made for an excellent outpost to see down the valley. On the other hand, the knob certainly would leave one exposed to the winds.” That sure squares with Hitchcock’s account!
Jennifer also wrote “Considering the historical nature of those buried there, it is tragic how badly overgrown the cemetery is.” Among those she referenced and of whom she took a picture of a fallen gravestone was a Col. Walker Keith Armistead. This is the father of the Confederate Brigadier-General Lewis Addison Armistead – mortally wounded of course in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Walker Armistead – who served in the War of 1812 along with four of his brothers – was appointed in 1801 by Thomas Jefferson to the new military academy, and he was the 3rd graduate of the institution. His brother George Armistead commanded Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Walker served a long Army career in engineering, and was the commander of the United States troops that opposed the Seminole Indians in Florida in 1840-41. He died in Upperville, Virginia, October 13, 1845.