Brownsburg at Appomattox
The war continued for most of another year, but it was a time of rapidly declining fortunes for the Confederacy. Finally the end came. Literally moments before Robert E. Lee surrendered his tattered and starving veterans at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, Brownsburg boys made what may have been the last cavalry charge of the Civil War, and certainly the last of the Army of Northern Virginia. Ordered to take a two-gun section of enemy artillery, the 14th Virginia came under fire from the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry while galloping across an open field. Two troopers were struck, both from Company H, the Second Rockbridge Dragoons. They would be the last from Rockbridge County to give their last full measure. Sergeant James A. Willson was from Mulberry Grove, a farm near Brownsburg on the Fairfield road. Remembered by a comrade forty years later for his “noble, Christian soldierly bearing,” he had carried the regimental colors in the charge. “It is hard to die now just as the war is over,” he said. He died the next day. Corporal Samuel A. Walker lingered nearly a week, passing on April 14. Both soldiers were laid to rest in the cemetery of New Providence Church. The guns were taken.