CONFEDERATE FOOTSTEPS

 

PAGE FIFTEEN: MAY 16, 2011...CHARLES TOWN, VIRGINIA'S GRAVE

 

 

We met Jim in the parking lot of the Walmart on 340 just east of Charles Town and for the rest of the day's excursions, went in his car.

He took us into Charles Town to Zion Episcopal Church and we parked right across the street from it. More members of George

Washington's family are buried in this churchyard than anywhere else.

 

 

 

Once through the gate, I turned right and went directly to Virginia's monument, absolutely pulled directly to it without

anybody saying a word. The dates above hers are for her other brother, William Jr., who died 10 days after the battle of

Sharpsburg, but I haven't been able to find anything on him.

 

 

 

I set the pitcher leaning against the base of it and while Carl and Jim walked off to look at other graves of famous folk, I stayed

here alone, taking pictures and reading aloud a poem by Virginia herself when she knew she was dying:

 

And thus I turn, in pensive silence now,

To yonder mountain's blue and tranquil brow,

As erst, still changeless, lovely and serene-

Musing on all that is--on all that might have been!

The golden dawn of health has passed away,

And gone the young delights of April's day,

When joy was rapture, tears a sudden shower

That only brightened the succeeding hour;

But higher thoughts, and holier hopes are mine,

And like the smile of twilight's soft decline,

As from the mountainside slow sinks the sun.

My days, in peaceful calm, glide smoothly on;

And when, ere long, my form in dust is laid,

Let me but sleep beneath the Blue Ridge shade

While o'er my head its murmuring winds shall sweep,

And dewdrop-bending blossoms gently weep.

 

 

 

Just past Virginia's monument is the much larger one for her more famous brother, Daniel.

 

 

Daniel's obelisk with Virginia's to its front and right in dappled shade. The markers at the base of Daniel's are

for individual family members and my Virginia has one there, too, which I hadn't realized.

 

 

William, Virginia's father...He lived 12 years past when she died.

 

 

My Virginia's smaller marker. The words at the bottom read Blessed are the pure in heart

 

 

Virginia's older sister Sally. It was here for the first time I found out Sally's middle name was Eleanor. She obviously

married a relative of her mother's, E. W. Bedinger, and had children as it reads devoted daughter, sister, wife and mother.

She died in 1867, only two years past Virginia.

 

 

This is Daniel's daughter Virginia, the third Virginia and the one who was killed in 1929 in the truck accident. From here I

learned that Daniel married a lady named Evalina.

 

 

Looking back at the Lucas section past a big old stump and, as with all big old stumps on this trip, I wondered if it had been there as a young tree

when Virginia was buried.

 

 

The Lucas section from the front porch of the church.

 

 

Looking down the right-hand side of the church. Carl and Jim were back there somewhere.

 

 

The top of Virginia's monument with Zion behind it.

 

This is the poem Daniel wrote about his sister:

 

THE WREATH OF EGLANTINE

 

Sleeps the shadow on the water,

Stays the wind upon the hill,

Waveless are the weeping willows-

All is silent, all is still.

Silence lingereth in the valley,

Broodeth o'er the deep ravine,

And forever, and forever

Thou art silent, Eglantine.

Lingering by the Shenandoah,

When the sunset died away,

Dreamed I of a maiden fairer

Than the lilies of the May.

Now the lily, blooming lowly,

Scents the field and churchyard green,

And the stars are shining purely

On the grave of Eglantine.

Faintly smile, o, Alcyone!

In the dim, uncertain blue,

Never more shall twilight, trembling,

Love's sweet trance for me renew.

Wake, ye slumbering hearts of violets,

Soft your purple bosoms lean-

Balmy as your blowing petals,

Was the breath of Eglantine.

Sing, O saddest bird of evening!

Ever-mournful whip-poor-will,

Gone from me are dreams elysian,

Grief alone my breast can fill;

Sweeter than all joy, and dearer,

Tender tears to me have been,

Tears of wildest melancholy

Rained o'er thee, my Eglantine.

Spirits bright as thine are rarely

Left to light this lower sphere,

And the links were loosened early

In the chain that bound thee here,

Where thy voice's quivering cadence,

Clear as fountains crystaline,

Seemed an echo from the star-strand

O'er the river, Eglantine.

Rose-bud lips, alas! how chilly,

Angel footsteps passed from earth,

And a fairy form that faded

Like a dream of heavenly birth,

Haunt my heart with lovely image,

And a youthful maiden mien,

In the sadness of my spirit,

Stealeth o'er me, Eglantine.

Damp the sod where dust is crumbling,

Cold the form the clod hath pressed,

But with thee is peace eternal,

Strife nor sorrow stirs thy breast.

Though the mound lies mute and coldly,

Yonder in the churchyard green,

Thou hast passed the heavenly portal,

Pure and gentle Eglantine.

 

 

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