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Confederate Civil War Camp Found Near Union, WV

Recently, Bill Burns of Union, WV found the site of a Civil War camp occupied by Confederate soldiers. Many of the finds tell the story of Civil War camp life, including the .58 caliber Gardner bullet, carved into a chess piece, along with a flattened and marked lead gaming piece. Also found were pewter harmonica reeds, coins, buttons and buckles, including the fantastic brass Confederate “heavy frame” buckle. These would date prior to Federal occupation of the southern Greenbrier Valley, most likely circa 1861-63.

An 1851 Chickering Piano and the Virginia War Musicians

We acquired the antique Chickering piano at the auction of the contents of the Dickson property late last year, which was full of local Greenbrier Valley history. It was sort of a sight-unseen type of thing, and we knew nothing about antique pianos, or even moving them. Recently, I was able to learn more about the piano after discovering that one of my clients was an expert on antique pianos. We still need to get it moved, so a couple of days ago I took her out to look at the piece, as well as the logistics of moving it. She was able to find the serial number, indicating an initial manufacture date of 1851. She was also able to find some other markings written in pencil on some wood inside the piano.

Old Songs in an Old Log Fort

“The Girl I left Behind”, also known as “The Girl I Left Behind Me”, is an English folk song dating back to Elizabethan era. It is said to have been played when soldiers left for war or a naval vessel set sail. According to other sources the song originated in 1758 when English Admirals Hawke and Rodney were observing the French fleet. The first printed text of the song appeared in Dublin in 1791. A popular tune with several variations, “The Girl I Left Behind Me”, may have been imported into America around 1650 as ‘Brighton Camp’, of which a copy dating from around 1796 resides in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

#FixedBladeFriday – Who doesn’t love pics of antique knives?

There are plenty of books out there on swords, powder horns, and other objects. But surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot out there on antique American knives. In his 1984 book, Madison Grant wrote one of the definitive books on antique knives, with pictures of many examples, albeit in black and white, and with a …

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A Year From Home: a young boy’s Civil War story from the Greenbrier Valley – Part 2 of 2

. . . [There] he was arrested, as stated, telling the Captain in command who he was and what he was there for, he got the messenger to Aunt . . . . [f you missed Part 1 of this story, read it here first, before reading this one… He went from Illinois back to …

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A Year From Home: a young boy’s Civil War story from the Greenbrier Valley – Part 1 of 2

I was born May 11, 1845, in Monroe Co., Va. . . . . NOTE: this is a super-interesting short memoir written by Edden Morris Johnson, born in 1845 in Johnson’s Crossroads, Monroe County, (West) Virginia. He was a member of the same family of Johnsons who later moved from Johnson’s Crossroads to Willowbrook Plantation …

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Willowbrook Plantation and Christopher J. Beirne during the Civil War

Confederate officer, farmer, wealthy bachelor, and member of the Skull and Crossbones Secret Society . . . . Check out the documentation we found of “C.J. Beirne’s” agricultural contributions to the Confederate Army, utilizing Willowbrook Plantation, as well as other aspects of his life. So far the receipts from the Confederate Army we’ve found, add …

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The hanging of David Creigh

In November of 1863, a struggle took place in this Greenbrier County, WV house, and two men would die in the end. This is the home of David Creigh, who in November of 1863 was a successful merchant. Within 6 months, he would be dead. The home is known as “Montascena,” and is circa 1834. This is one of my favorite local history stories. As the somewhat-nearby historical marker suggests (actually it’s nowhere close to the house, really), this was the site of a Cold Mountain style Civil War drama….