“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Washington in Rappahannock County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Charles C. Nordendorf

Changing Sides

Charles C. Nordendorf Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 17, 2021
1. Charles C. Nordendorf Marker
When Union Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, camped here in the summer of 1862, Capt. Karl Sauer Csaky von Nordendorf (1840-1884), served as Banks's aide-de-camp and cartographer. Known as Charles C. Nordendorf, the Austrian composer and military engineer immigrated to America in March 1862 and obtained a commission in the U.S. Army. Despite his European training and experience, the maps he submitted to Banks varied in quality and accuracy. Nordendorf resigned in October 1862. Shortly thereafter, Confederate forces captured him in Warrenton and took him to Libby Prison in Richmond. He was released in December after becoming a Southern sympathizer. He soon moved to Danville, where he taught music at the Danville Female Academy and became a prolific composer of Southern patriotic songs.

When Confederate authorities in Danville learned of Nordendorf's military background, they recruited him as a civilian engineer to help plan defensive works to protect the city and the nearby Richmond and Danville Railroad line. Both Confederate and Union officials admired his work on these projects. After the war and for the rest

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of his life, Nordendorf continued to publish music in Virginia, but with little financial success. His military service to both sides in the Civil War was largely forgotten.

"Nordendorf, formerly on the staff of Gen. Banks, … had behaved very kindly to the residents of Warrenton in preventing the pillage of their houses by the Yankees. It was probably the opportunity he thus acquired of seeing the superiority of our race over the other that induced him to throw up his commission in the U.S. army, and express the desire to make his home in the Confederacy."
Richmond Daily Dispatch, December 15, 1862

Nordendorf's sketch of Banks's outposts just east of here; Long Mountain Rd. (north-south) still exists, as does Mt. Salem Baptist Church (at top).
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEducationWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1862.
Location. 38° 42.858′ N, 78° 8.833′ W. Marker is in Washington, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is at the intersection of Library Road (County Road

Charles C. Nordendorf Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 17, 2021
2. Charles C. Nordendorf Marker
683) and Old Mill Road (County Road 683), on the right when traveling west on Library Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3 Library Rd, Washington VA 22747, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment (here, next to this marker); Union Army of Virginia (here, next to this marker); Rappahannock County in the Civil War (here, next to this marker); Rappahannock People Before and During the Civil War (here, next to this marker); The Rappahannock Old Guard (here, next to this marker); Banks's Camp (here, next to this marker); Washington, Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); A Tale of Two Mills (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Washington.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 156 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. There are two additional Virginia Civil War Trails markers that are not yet in the database. • Can you help?

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Dec. 11, 2023