“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bolivar in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Casualties of War

Casualties of War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 21, 2021
1. Casualties of War Marker
"…We enter the barren waste of Bolivar Heights…a windswept deserted moorland…except its populous graveyard."
James E. Taylor, war correspondent
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
August 10, 1864

Military discipline for desertion seldom resulted in execution during the Civil War. But in the last months of the war, two Union deserters suffered this fate on Bolivar Heights.

William Loge, convicted of "being a deserter … bushwhacker, murderer and assassin," was hanged from a gallows near this spot, on December 2, 1864 - exactly five years after abolitionist John Brown's hanging in nearby Charles Town. Three months later, on March 3, 1865, deserter Thomas Murphy of the 6th U.S. Cavalry died here at the hand of a firing squad.

A temporary burial ground with primitive wooden markers expanded as sickness spread throughout the camps. Most of the soldiers who died on Bolivar Heights succumbed to dysentery, typhoid, or yellow fever.

In April 1865 the war ended and the nation began its long healing process. Bolivar Heights also healed as soldiers returned home
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and Union remains were moved to the National Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia. Today only shallow remnants of the once-formidable fortifications remind us of the Civil War events on Bolivar Heights.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1749.
Location. 39° 19.373′ N, 77° 45.707′ W. Marker is in Bolivar, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Whitman Avenue and West Washington Street (Alternate U.S. 340), on the left when traveling north. Located along the hiking trail of Bolivar Heights, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Union Predicament (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Victory (within shouting distance of this marker); Rats in a Cage (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Year of War (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Facing the Enemy (about 300 feet away); Closing the Doors (about 300 feet away); Historic Heights (about 300 feet away); Bolivar Heights Trail (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bolivar.
More about this marker. On the left is a copy of the "Military order for the execution of deserter
Trail Stop with Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
2. Trail Stop with Marker
William Loge, 60th New York Infantry." In the center is a drawing of a military firing squad execution. On the upper right is a photo of wartime Bolivar Heights, captioned, "Many of the buildings shown in this 1862 photograph of Bolivar served as temporary hospitals during the Civil War."
Also see . . .  1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. National Park Service summary of the battle. (Submitted on February 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Infantry Trenches on Bolivar Heights image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
3. Infantry Trenches on Bolivar Heights
The shallow ditch to the side of the trail is the remains of an infantry trench line that extended the length of the ridge line. Originally only a couple of block houses reinforced the infantry trench. By 1864, five such block houses were erected to defend this approach to Harpers Ferry. By that time, the town was a supply base for a major campaign to drive the Confederates out of the Shenandoah Valley.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,786 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on September 6, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1. submitted on May 21, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2, 3. submitted on February 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2023