A Southern Unionist claim from Fauquier… with a tie to Gettysburg

Posted on June 11, 2013 by


I never know what I’m going to come back with after I cast my net into the Unionist claims. Today was no different.

Take the case of Jane Bradford. She, along with her siblings, laid claim for losses incurred by brother Robert Morrow (who died in 1869/70), when Union soldiers cleared a fair number of trees from the family estate known as Effingham Forest (512 3/4 acres), in Fauquier County.

The claims revealed a fascinating story. One of Jane’s sisters, Susan, had married Strother H. Shaw, and had several children, but died around 1850. Of those children, one, James W. Shaw, was sent to Ohio to live with a grandfather. When the war came, Virginia-born James enlisted in the Union army (ordinance sergeant with the 34th Ohio). Meanwhile, two or three of his brothers ended up in the Confederate army.

Furthermore, another sister, who had married a man with the surname of Bird, had a son as well. He too (yes, also Virginia-born) enlisted in the Union army as well.

Now, maybe I should mention something… the Morrow family wasn’t confined to Fauquier and neighboring Culpeper County. Rather, Jane and many of her siblings actually lived in Washington, D.C. It seems most (not all) of those who remained behind in Fauquier and Culpeper were the ones who were Confederate-leaning.

Ultimately, the Morrow children/grandchildren who were named in the claim received approval for their claim.

Wait… there’s more… one of the children (not grandchild… but child) listed in the claim was also a Union soldier. In fact, though born in Warrenton, he was an officer. In the middle of June, 1863, his regiment was among those on the march. What follows comes from the history of the unit in which this Virginia-born Union officer served…

At daylight on Saturday morning, June 13, the regiment marched on through Grove Church, halting an hour at “Cool Spring;” thence four miles to Morrisville, places with scarce half a dozen houses each.

Few houses are required in Virginia for towns of high sounding names. They frequently have but one street, the road that passes through them. Moving on through Bealton Station, they halted for
the night two miles beyond, at Liberty Church.

Six o’clock Sunday morning, June 14, found the column again advancing, halting for a brief rest at Germantown, the birthplace of Chief Justice Marshall. This section bears the name of ” Effingham
Forest ” after Lord Effingham of colonial times. Another march brought the regiment to Warrenton Junction at 2 P. M. where a halt was made for ” coffee,” which favorite beverage being swallowed, a
quick pace was taken through Catlett’s to Kettle Run, within a mile of Bristow Station. It was after dark, but only a brief halt was allowed for supper.

Did you catch that mention of “Effingham Forest”? So, this man in Union blue was back home, marching near family lands (not to mention, his father still lived in Fauquier County). Still, I wonder if he really thought long on it, events being what they were…

Henry A. Morrow

Henry A. Morrow

Colonel Morrow informed the men that it was necessary to go forward still further that night, as it was a question of speed whether they or the enemy would first reach the Centerville Heights. All
day the weather was hot and roads dusty, many falling out of the ranks exhausted and sinking to the ground. For three miles before the halt for supper at Kettle Run, the men became frantic for water,
as there was none save now and then in some mudhole or slimy frog marsh.

That’s right… the Morrow brother wasn’t only an officer, he was a colonel… of the 24th Michigan Infantry. Col. Henry A. Morrow had much more ahead of him, with his regiment… which was part of the Iron Brigade… just outside a crossroads town in Pennsylvania.

Of course, I can’t help but also find it fascinating that the Iron Brigade’s commander, Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith was… also a Southerner by birth. 

*Henry Robert Bird served in Uncle Henry A. Morrow’s 24th Michigan.