Monday, February 09, 2009

Warren County



Today, I thought we would turn our attention to Warren County, located in the Northeastern piedmont part of the state. The county sits on the Virginia-North Carolina line. Warren County was created in 1779 from the now-defunct Bute County. The county, and the county seat, Warrenton, were named for Joseph Warren, a patriot and physician killed at the battle of Bunker Hill. Prior to the war, Warren County was one of the wealthiest counties in the Tar Heel State.

In 1860, Warren County had a population of 15,726 people, 10,401 of which were slaves. There 402 free blacks who lived in Warren County. In the 1860 presidential election, Warren County cast 890 votes for Breckinridge, 138 for Bell, and six for Douglas. Weldon N. Edwards, a former state senator and US Congressman, was also Warren County’s representative in the Secession Convention and served as president of the convention.

Warren County sent numerous companies into Confederate service. They included Company F, 8th NCST; 2nd Company C, 12th NCST; Company F, 12th NCST; Company K, 12th NCST; Company A, 14th NCST; Company B, 30th NCT; Company G, 43rd NCT; and, Company C, 46th NCT. One early history of the county estimated that 1,200 men served in the Confederate army.

While Warren County was the site of a skirmish in December 1864, the county is best known for who was born in the area. The Ransom brothers, Matt and Robert, were both Confederate generals. Also, Thomas and Braxton Bragg grew up in Warrenton. Braxton Bragg was a general in the Confederate army and very unpopular with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Thomas Bragg was a United States Senator prior to the war and served as Confederate Attorney General in 1861 and 1862.

During the war, Warren County was home to John White, a Confederate commissioner who purchased blockade runners in England. His house still stands.

Also still standing is the Emanuel Episcopal Church, in which, in 1836, the not-yet=famous Horace Greenly married Mary Youngs Cheney. Greeley would go on to found the New York Tribune.

Probably the singular item that Warren County is best known for in Civil War circles is the final resting place of a daughter of Robert E. Lee: Anne Carter Lee. Anne had been a student at the Virginia Female Institute in Staunton in early 1862, when she took ill. Her family sent her to the sulphur springs in Warren County, in an effort to restore her health. She came down with a fever, and on October 20, 1862, she died while at the White Sulphur Springs. She was interred in the resort owner’s family cemetery. Lee visited the grave in March 1870, just a few months before his own death. In 1994, the grave was exhumed, and what little could be recovered was re-interred in the Lee family crypt in Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia.


Today, in Warrenton, there is a Confederate monument, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1913.

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