Another installment from the “Tales from the Tombstone series.”
On one of my last driving trips in Virginia before relocating, I passed through the town of Warrenton, Virginia. Rich in Civil War history, the Warrenton City Cemetery has a Confederate section, complete with a Virginia Civil War trails marker at the entrance. One of the more famous Civil War personas is buried there, Colonel John S. Mosby, who turned Northern Virginia into his own Confederacy.
But, also buried there is another cavalry general, and he was actually the reason I took the detour.
Lunsford Lomax, a 1856 graduate of West Point, served with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry before resigning his commission and casting his lot with the Confederacy. Initially serving out west he came east after a promotion to lieutenant colonel. He then received his full colonelcy when he was appointed commander of the 11th Virginia Cavalry prior to the Gettysburg campaign. His service during the campaign earned him a promotion to brigadier general.
As a brigade commander he served under fellow 1856 West Point classmate Fitzhugh Lee during the Overland Campaign until August 1864 when he was assigned to the Shenandoah Valley under Lieutenant General Jubal Early. He was present for the ensuing autumn campaign and escaped the Confederate cavalry debacle at the Battle of Tom’s Brook.
After the evacuation of Richmond, Lomax led the remaining cavalry in an attempt to reach Lynchburg to join Confederate forces there. This was unsuccessful and Lomax and what was left of his command turned south. He finally surrendered with Lieutenant General Joseph Johnston’s army at Bennett Place, North Carolina.
Lomax returned to farming in Virginia before being named president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1889 and later helped assemble and edit portions of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. One of his last professions saw him in service as a commissioner for Gettysburg National Military Park.
He lived well into the 20th century and passed away on May 28, 1913.
Very interesting and storied career in military service; yet, the poor guy’s tombstone reads “Lindsay Lunsford Lomax.” Although a few historians have noted the first and middle name switch, the reason it occurred seems to have been lost. Even the aforementioned Civil War trails sign does not make note of it.
One of those interesting oddities of Civil War memory and remembrance.
*Due to the move, some of my pictures were lost on a hard drive and so the above photo is courtesy of Find Your Grave.com*