In Their Own Words
December 10, 1863
Civil War Soldier Found Comfortable Place to Stay for Winter
A Georgia soldier stationed in Virginia wrote home to his wife that he had found a comfortable place to hopefully spend the winter - it included the final resting place of a former U.S. President.
“…The old fellow here says he wants us to stay as long as the Army stays here and we may spend the winter here. I said in Lou’s letter that this was the birthplace of Madison but I was mistaken. His parents were living here at the time of his birth, but I see from his history that he was born while on a visit to some of their friends in another country. This has once been a grand and noble place and many traits of its grandeur can be seen yet, but since the war it has been taken but little care of and the beauty of the place, such as the fancy garden, yards &c is almost entirely neglected. The dwelling is situated on a beautiful eminence and commands a grand view of the mountains and the country scenery around. It has been erected more than a hundred years and is built of pure granite. It is a very large house and has about 20 rooms in all. The grave yard is quite interesting to look at. Madison, with many of the family, is buried there. It is enclosed and belongs to the State of Va. The monument over the grave of Madison is about 20 feet high and is of plain granite, nothing showy about it. …”
Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 102.