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

Albert Gallatin Willis

A Life Laid Down for a Friend

 
 
Albert Gallatin Willis Marker image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2011
1. Albert Gallatin Willis Marker
Inscription. This is the burial site of a Mosby Ranger who sacrificed himself for a friend. By the autumn of 1864, Confederate John S. Mosby’s Rangers had so harassed Union troops, supply lines, and railroads in northern Virginia that Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered, “Where any of Mosby’s men are caught, hang them without a trial.” Six Rangers were summarily executed in Front Royal on September 23; one dragged through the streets as his mother begged for his life.

On October 10, Rangers on the Chancellor farm near here captured a Federal soldier posing as a Confederate and hanged him on the spot. In retaliation, Union Gen. William H. Powell burned the farm buildings. On the afternoon of October 12, Ranger Albert Gallatin Willis, a ministerial student, shared a meal with Miss Lucy Twisdale, here at Rose Cliff. Shortly thereafter he and another Ranger were captured at the blacksmith shop on Ben Venue plantation and taken to the Marlow farm near the Chester Gap Turnpike at the foot of the Blue Ridge. Powell ordered that one of them be executed. Willis’s companion was initially chosen. He begged for his life, as he was married, had a family, and was not prepared to die. Willis, who was single, offered to take his place, then prayed for the executioners. He was hanged the next day from a poplar tree on the Marlow farm. Lucy Twisdale
Albert Gallatin Willis Marker image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2011
2. Albert Gallatin Willis Marker
and three male friends retrieved Willis’s body and buried him in the corner of this churchyard.

(Sidebar): On November 6, 1864, in retaliation for Willis and the six Rangers killed in Front Royal, Mosby had twenty-odd Union prisoners from Custer and Powell’s commands draw lots. Near Berryville, seven men were selected for execution: three were hanged, two were shot, and two escaped. Mosby wrote to Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan that future “prisoners falling into my hands will be treated with … kindness, unless some new act of barbarity shall compel me to adopt a policy repugnant to humanity.” No more summary executions to either side occurred in Mosby’s Confederacy.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 45.851′ N, 78° 5.971′ W. Marker is in Flint Hill, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker can be reached from Zachary Taylor Highway (U.S. 522). Touch for map. Marker located at Flint Hill Baptist Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 630 Zachary Taylor Highway, Flint Hill VA 22627, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Twilight of Slavery
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2011
3. Close-up of Map on Marker
(approx. 3.6 miles away); Gaines’s Crossroads (approx. 3.6 miles away); Washington, Virginia (approx. 4.3 miles away); A Tale of Two Mills (approx. 4.5 miles away); The Town of Washington, Virginia (approx. 4.8 miles away); Kitty Payne (approx. 4.9 miles away); Piedmont (approx. 4.9 miles away); Ellerslie (approx. 5 miles away).
 
More about this marker. On the lower left of the marker are two photos captioned Albert Gallatin Willis Courtesy William S. Burrell and Tom Evans and Gen. William H. Powell Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration. On the upper center of the marker are two additional photos captioned Col. John Mosby and Gen. George A. Custer Courtesy Library of Congress. On the lower right of the marker is a map of the area depicting the locations mentioned in the marker text.
 
Also see . . .
1. Albert Gallatin Willis. Findagrave.com (Submitted on November 14, 2011.) 

2. Flint Hill Baptist Church. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (.pdf). (Submitted on November 14, 2011.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Albert Gallatin Willis and Gen. Powell image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, March 20, 2016
4. Albert Gallatin Willis and Gen. Powell
Monument at Flint Hill Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2011
5. Monument at Flint Hill Baptist Church
Albert
Gallatin
Willis

43rd VA.
Cavalry Co. C.
Mosby's Command

Born Circa 1841
Killed Oct. 14, 1864

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Albert Gallatin Willis Monument and Headstone image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2011
6. Albert Gallatin Willis Monument and Headstone
Flint Hill Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, March 20, 2016
7. Flint Hill Baptist Church
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 14, 2011. This page has been viewed 1,001 times since then and 174 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 14, 2011.   4. submitted on March 21, 2016, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on November 14, 2011.   7. submitted on March 21, 2016, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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