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Front Royal in Warren County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Bel Air

Home of Lucy Buck, Diarist

 

—Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —

 
Bel Air Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
1. Bel Air Marker
Inscription. A remarkable number of Front Royal residents recorded the battle in their diaries. At least five of these diaries survive to reveal the civilian side of the Civil War, usually absent from official military records or soldiers' letters.

One of the most colorful diaries was kept by Lucy Buck, the 19-year-old daughter of William M. and Elizabeth A. Buck. Lucy witnessed the action from her parents' home, Bel Air, which was built in 1795. Her father was a leading merchant and citizen of Front Royal. At the time of the war, the distance from Bel Air to the town was less than a quarter mile.

Lucy's account of the battle is typical of the entire diary, which is full of the fire and brimstone of an ardent young Confederate patriot:

Of one thing I am particularly glad - our First Maryland Regiment was the first to charge the Yankee First Maryland - drove them out of town, captured and then marched back singing "Maryland, (My Maryland)." They have always wanted to meet and have been justified with a vengeance, on one side at least.

(Lower Center Sidebar): Lee at Bel Air
On July 22, 1863, as the Army of Northern Virginia marched through Front Royal on its retreat from Gettysburg, William M. Buck met the commanding general and his staff at the pontoon bridges over the Shenandoah River and invited
Close Up of the Tour Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
2. Close Up of the Tour Map
Time marks for each stop relate to the chronology of the Battle of Front Royal. As the day progressed, the battle flowed from the south of town to the north away from town.
them to Bel Air for refreshment. Gen. Robert E. Lee accepted the invitation, and Lucy Buck wrote in her diary how the officers arrived to "stretch their cramped limbs and drink fresh buttermilk. I shall never forget the grand old chief as he stood on the porch surrounded by his officers; a tall commanding figure clad in dusty, travel-stained gray but with a courtly, dignified bearing." Lucy and her sister, at Lee's request, played and sang Southern songs while he stood by the piano.

After the war, when Lee was president of Washington College in Lexington, Lucy wrote to request a personal momento. He responded with a kind note enclosing a uniform button that, he said, had "accompanied him in all his Virginia campaigns." The note and the button are on display at the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum on Chester Street.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 55.202′ N, 78° 11.317′ W. Marker is in Front Royal, Virginia, in Warren County. Marker is on Water Street, on the right. Touch for map. Located behind the LeHaw Well Drilling Company at the end of Water Street. Marker is in this post office area: Front Royal VA 22630, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least
Bel Air Stands to the North of the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
3. Bel Air Stands to the North of the Marker
8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Front Royal (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Front Royal (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); Capture of Front Royal (approx. 0.3 miles away); Warren County Korea & Vietnam Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Warren County World War I & II Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Warren County 9/11 Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Warren County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Front Royal.
 
More about this marker. On the right side, the marker displays a map of the Battle of Front Royal with emphasis on the Civil War Trails tour stops. A portrait of Nellie and Lucy Buck is in the upper portion of the map. On the lower left is a photo of "Bel Air as it looked during the war."
 
Regarding Bel Air. This marker is one of several from a driving tour of the Front Royal Battlefield. The markers are listed in sequence on the Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Front Royal - Bel Air. Bel Air is the fifth stop on the Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Copy of the Marker.
Bel Air Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
4. Bel Air Today
(Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Battle of Front Royal. National Parks Service summary. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

4. Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers. (Submitted on November 18, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Bel Air as it Appeared During the War image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
5. Bel Air as it Appeared During the War
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,302 times since then and 82 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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