Eliza Brown and the Custers
"Standing Up for Liberty"
Eliza Brown was a slave on the Pierce farm several miles west of here. When Union Gen. George Armstrong Custer camped here in August 1863 after the Battle of Gettysburg, he hired her to be his servant and cook. Custer's wife, Libbie, mentioned Brown often in her descriptions of events during after the Civil War. Brown traveled in her own kitchen wagon and was known for her bravery, sometimes preparing meals while under fire. Custer's cavalrymen, who referred to her as the Queen of Sheba, left valuables with her for safekeeping when they were on patrol. In return they brought her fine clothing confiscated from nearby plantations allowing her to often dress as a "belle." She was captured several times, including during the 1864 Battle of Trevelian Station, but always quickly escaped. She subsequently traveled west with the Custers after the Civil War.
Brown made several memorable post-war visits to New York City with Libbie Custer, where she met such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody. She also briefly returned to Rappahannock County to visit her former owner.
Brown married Andrew Jackson Davidson in Athens County, Ohio, and lived
Union forces camped in and around Amissville after the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. Federal cavalry harassed the Confederate retreat through the gaps in the Blue Ridge, 15 miles west, en route to Culpeper County. In November 1862, Gen. Alfred E. Pleasanton's cavalry camped here before an engagement at Corbin's Crossroads, one mile to the south. On July 24, 1863, Custer narrowly escaped annihilation at Newby's Crossroads, 10 miles southwest, but otherwise his troopers relaxed around this intersection. Pvt. Edwin Bigelow, Co. B, 5th Michigan Cavalry, wrote, "We have comfortable quarters and easy times. We are having a good rest."
"In August 1863 everybody was excited over freedom, and I wanted to see how it was. Everybody was asking me why I left. I can't see why they can't recollect what the war was for. After the 'Mancipation,' everybody was a-standin' up for liberty and I wasn't going to stay home when everybody else was a-goin.'" —Eliza Brown
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil • Women. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 24, 1863.
Location. 38° 40.282′ N, 77° 59.732′ W. Marker is in Amissville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is at the intersection of Lee Highway (U.S. 211) and View Town Road (County Road 642), on the right when traveling east on Lee Highway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14820 Lee Hwy, Amissville VA 20106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Corbin's Crossroads (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hinson's Ford (approx. 0.9 miles away); Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 1.1 miles away); Culpeper County / Rappahannock County (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 4.2 miles away); Encounter with Lee (approx. 4½ miles away); Battle Mountain (approx. 4½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amissville.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 185 times since then and 109 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.