“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)

Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment

July - August 1862

Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 17, 2021
1. Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment Marker
For nearly a month in the summer of 1862, the 2nd Corps of the newly created Union Army of Virginia had its encampment on this ground with outposts extending several miles to the east, south and west. Organization and leadership were in constant flux. Many officers sought other assignments; others resigned or deserted. Daily activities included drills, picket duty, and scouting missions into the Blue Ridge and to Madison and Culpeper; mail to and from home helped break the monotony. Disease was a major concern with numerous deaths. Two days after leaving here on August 7, the 2nd Corps would bear the brunt of fighting and suffer heavy casualties at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

Gen. Nathaniel Banks, Corps Commander
A political general who had a distinctly unsuccessful military career, Banks nonetheless had important roles in national and Massachusetts affairs for 50 years beginning in 1848.

Gen. Christopher Columbus Augur
Leading a division under Banks, Augur was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. He later became commander of the Washington, D.C. Military District. He accompanied Lincoln's body

Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 17, 2021
2. Union Army of Virginia 2nd (Banks's) Corps Encampment Marker
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from Ford's Theater to the White House and led the commission that tried the assassination conspirators.

Gen. John Geary
Geary commanded a brigade in Augur's division here. Before the war he had been the first mayor of San Francisco and was, for a short while, the pro-abolitionist governor of the Kansas Territory, until fired after only nine months by incoming President James Buchanan. Geary was wounded at Cedar Mountain and was knocked unconscious by a cannonball at Chancellorsville. His division later fought with Sherman at Chattanooga, Atlanta, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas. Geary served as the Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1867-1873.

Gen. George "Pap" Greene
Originally from Rhode Island, Greene became Col. of the 60th NY Infantry prior to its encampment here. Though considered 'to old' (61 in 1862) by many, he impressed Nathaniel Banks who promoted him to Brigade Command. Greene would achieve fame for his stalwart defense of Culp's Hill at Gettysburg.

Capt. George W. Corliss
Corliss, Co.C, 5th Conn. Infantry, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery at Cedar Mountain.

"Lt. Robert Gould Shaw Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune"
Shaw was a member of a prominent Massachusetts family and had an elite education including several years at Harvard. He joined the 2nd MA Infantry

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and while here in the summer of 1862 was the Lt. on the staff of Gen George Gordon. In 1863, as Colonel of the famed 54th Massachusetts (Black) Infantry, he was killed leading these men in the first-ever assault by African-American troops at Ft. Wagner near Charleston, S.C.

"We have had a good deal of fun at some of the farmer's houses where the General has had his headquarter. Whenever he gets hold of a Virginian, he pitches into him. First he makes them say whether they voted for Secession; then he gets them to give their reasons, and usually winds up calling them fools…

Common Valor
These members of the 2nd MA Infantry were, like must of the unit, from prominent Boston families. Although Goodwin, Cary, and Perkins were bedridden with typhoid fever, they mustered the strength to fight at Cedar Mountain where they, Abbott, Williams, and some forty other members of the regiment were killed.

Capt. Richard Chapman Goodwin, Co. K
An 1854 graduate of Harvard, Chapman rode in an ambulance from this location to Cedar Mountain.

Lt. Stephen Perkins, Co. K
Charles Francis Adams described Perkins as "the choicest mind I ever knew". Robert Gould Shaw found his body at Cedar Mountain.

Capt. Richard Cary, Co. G
Cary was a friend and correspondent of actor Edwin Booth, brother of

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John Wilkes. Cary's letter were an important factor in Edwin avoiding implication in the Lincoln assassination.

Capt. Edward G. Abbott, Co. A
A member of the Harvard crew; his company, funded by his father, was originally called the Abbott Grays.

Capt. William Blackstone Williams, Co. E
Williams worked as an engineer on a number of railroad projects before the war.

Gen. Alpheus S. Williams
Not inclined to self-promotion, Williams would become one of the most competent, yet overlooked division commanders of the war. His troops discovered Lee's famous 'Lost Orders' prior to the Battle of Antietam. Much to his dismay, all of his regimental officers became casualties at Cedar Mountain.

"Our cook got up a good lunch… I invited many field officers of my old brigade… Not one, five hours later was unhurt"

Gen. George H. Gordon
Gordon helped raise and was the first commander of the 2nd MA Infantry, originally known as "Gordon's Regular". They were part of his brigade at Cedar Mountain. Gordon wrote a series of well-known books about his war experiences, highlighting especially his time under Banks and Pope.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 7, 1862.
Location. 38° 42.859′ N, 78° 8.833′ W. Marker is in Washington, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is at the intersection of Library Road (County Road 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 (here, next to this marker); Charles C. Nordendorf (here, next to this marker); Banks's Camp (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); Washington, Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); A Tale of Two Mills (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Town of Washington, Virginia (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Washington.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 6, 2021