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

The Chapman-Ruffner House

Boyhood Home of the “Fighting Chapmans”

— Mosby's Confederacy —

The Chapman-Ruffner House Marker image. Click for full size.
October 29, 2008
1. The Chapman-Ruffner House Marker
Immigrant Peter Ruffner built this house about 1739. Before the Civil War, William A. Chapman bought it, and three sons reared here later fought for the Confederacy. For their exploits as members of Col. John S. Mosby’s Rangers, two of them, Lt. Col. William Henry Chapman and Capt. Samuel Chapman, became known as the “Fighting Chapmans.”

After the war began, they and their brother Edmond Gaines Chapman served in the local Dixie Artillery. When it disbanded in October 1862, they dispersed to different units. Edmond served out the war in the Purcell Artillery, while his brothers eventually joined Mosby’s Rangers. Shortly after the fight at Miskel’s Farm in Loudoun County in the spring of 1863, Sam returned here to recuperate from wounds.

Of William Chapman’s leadership abilities, another Ranger’s mother later said, “It seemed to me he knew everything.” After Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Chapman offered the Rangers’ surrender to Union Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, but Mosby soon opted to disband them instead. Complimenting Mosby’s right-hand man, Hancock described Chapman as “important as Mosby.”

An ordained
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minister, Sam Chapman was known as Mosby’s “Fighting Parson” and was said to have “embraced combat as if it were an article of faith.” Mosby himself said that Sam was “the only man he ever saw who really enjoyed fighting, and who generally went into the fray with his hat in one hand and banging away with his revolver with the other.”
Erected 2003 by Summers-Koontz Camp #490, with a grant from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and participating funding from the Ruffner House B&B.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1862.
Location. 38° 40.163′ N, 78° 27.291′ W. Marker is in Luray, Virginia, in Page County. Marker can be reached from Ruffner House Lane. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 440 Ruffner House Lane, Luray VA 22835, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cavalry Engagement (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fisher’s Hill and Yager’s Mill (approx. 0.2 miles away); Confederate Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Heroes Monument (approx. half a mile away); Luray, Virginia Established 1812 (approx. half a mile away); Massanutten School
Marker with Ruffner House in Background image. Click for full size.
October 29, 2008
2. Marker with Ruffner House in Background
(approx. half a mile away); A Slave Auction Block (approx. half a mile away); White House Ferry (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Luray.
More about this marker. On the upper middle of the marker are two portraits captioned, Samuel Forrer Chapman and his newlywed, the former Eliza Rebecca Elgin, “Miss Beck”. The photo is believed to have been taken shortly after their wedding in Marshall, Fauquier County, Virginia. and William Henry Chapman, shown here in what may have been his uniform while captain of the Dixie Artillery. On the right side of the marker is a map captioned, Civil War Sites of Luray.
Regarding The Chapman-Ruffner House. This marker is one of several detailing Civil War activities in Page County, Virginia. Please see the Page County Civil War Markers link below.
Also see . . .
1. The Lt. Col. William Henry Chapman Society. Website homepage (Submitted on October 29, 2008.) 

2. The Ruffner House B & B. Website homepage (Submitted on October 29, 2008.) 

3. The Ruffner House. Virginia Department of Historic
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
October 29, 2008
3. Close-up of Map on Marker
Civil War Sites of Luray
Resources website entry (Submitted on October 29, 2008.) 

4. Page County Civil War HMDb Markers. (Submitted on February 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
5. Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia. Repaired broken link; 08/23/2022 LPG. (Submitted on March 20, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.) 
Additional commentary.
1. William H. Chapman
A student at the University of Virginia at the opening of the war, William H. Chapman first enlisted with a group of students from the University in a company named the "Southern Guards." Chapman returned to Page County after Governor John Letcher urged men of the unit to return to their homes and "help organize and drill companies for the defense of the state." On arriving in the county, William began drilling the "Page Grays," which later became Co. H of the 33rd Virginia Infantry (part of the Stonewall Brigade). Chapman declined an opportunity to serve as an officer of the Grays with the hope of forming an artillery battery. An opportunity arose when John Kaylor Booton organized the Dixie Artillery at Honeyville, just to the south of Luray. By October 1861, Chapman was elected captain of the battery. Following the disbandment of this
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unit in October 1862, Chapman joined Mosby's Rangers.

Following the war, Chapman served in various positions with the aid and influence of President U.S. Grant. The positions included a stint in the railway mail service and the Federal Revenue Service. Chapman was actually wounded in one raid upon an illegal still operation near Atlanta. Residencies included Alexandria, Fauquier, Gordonsville, and Richmond, Virginia; and Milton and Greensboro, North Carolina. He died on September 13, 1929 at his home at 840 West Market Street, Greensboro and was buried in Green Hill Cemetery in that same city. Ironically, Chapman's father, also named William Chapman, is buried in Luray's Green Hill Cemetery.
    — Submitted February 6, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 29, 2008. This page has been viewed 5,059 times since then and 141 times this year. Last updated on March 20, 2009. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 29, 2008. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 21, 2024