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Christmas at Moss Neck with Stonewall Jackson

Moss Neck

Moss Neck Manor in Winter
Confederate Veteran

Following the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, General Stonewall Jackson established his winter headquarters at Moss Neck Manor, a stately plantation home located twelve miles east of the city. The home of Richard Corbin and his family, the Moss Neck mansion, stretching 225 feet from wing to wing, sat on elevated ground two miles from the Rappahannock River. Refusing to reside in the main house, Jackson instead used a small wooden outbuilding for his office and quarters.  

With Christmas fast approaching, local citizens brought so much food and gifts to Jackson that he decided to host a dinner for Generals Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, William Pendleton, and select members of their staffs. Lieutenant James Power Smith, Jackson’s aide-de-camp, was charged with organizing the celebration, which he later described as “a famous dinner.”

The Phantom Limbs of George Dedlow

Atlantic MonthlyIn July 1866, The Atlantic Monthly magazine published a lead article titled “The Case of George Dedlow.” Although the author was anonymous, it appeared to be an autobiographical narrative of a physician who had served in the Union Army as an assistant surgeon with 79th Indiana Regiment near Nashville, Tennessee.  

Dedlow began the story by recounting how he was wounded by Rebel guerrillas while on a mission to obtain much needed medical supplies from a nearby unit. Captured after receiving a gunshot wound through both upper arms, Dedlow was taken to a Confederate hospital where he underwent amputation of his right arm below the shoulder. Although the left arm was spared amputation at the time, he was left with a chronic suppurative, or pus-producing, wound in the extremity.

Edmund Ruffin Fires His Final Shot of the War

Edmund Ruffin

Edmund Ruffin
Library of Congress

The renowned Southern nationalist, Edmund Ruffin, was 67-years-old when he travelled to South Carolina and fired a cannon during the opening attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861. He was also present at the battles of First Manassas and Seven Pines before poor health confined him to home for the remainder of the Civil War. Unrepentant to the end, Ruffin had such “unmitigated hated to Yankee rule” that he committed suicide at the war’s end to keep from living in the “now ruined, subjugated, & enslaved Southern States!”

Born on January 5, 1794 in Prince George County, Virginia, Edmund Ruffin attended the College of William and Mary and served as a private in the Virginia militia during the War of 1812. After inheriting his family’s plantation after the death of his father in 1810, Ruffin became a self-taught agriculturist who developed successful methods to correct soil depletion from tobacco farming. He published his techniques in an 1832 book titled An Essay on Calcareous Manures and launched his own agricultural journal, The Farmer’s Register, in 1833.