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Parish History Notes 26: Fork Church During the War Between the States

A popular tradition notes that Fork Church was used as a hospital at some point during the Civil War.  However, there is no mention of any such use in the comprehensive “Official Records” published after the conflict.  Because of its remoteness from Confederate medical centers, it is unlikely that the church provided any convalescent facilities for wounded soldiers.  On one occasion, however, Fork Church was near the front lines of the battle.

For a few days in May 1864, General Grant and the Army of the Potomac faced General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia in a stalemate along the North Anna River.  As a result of several engagements there were significant casualties on both sides, but Union troops withdrew to the north of the river and southern units moved to Hanover Junction (now Doswell) along the Verdon Road.  A Union cavalry officer reported that all bridges over the Little River had been destroyed, so it is not likely that casualties would have been brought to Fork Church.

Certainly the congregation provided support and assistance throughout the conflict.  At Trinity Church on Sunday, August 11, 1861, Rev. Horace Stringfellow responded to a plea from the medical purveyor of the Confederate States, proposing that ladies of every church in the Confederacy collect blankets and ship them to Richmond.  In May 1863 at the Sixty-Eighth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia, Rev. Stringfellow reported that St. Martin’s families had provided contributions of $1,750 to soldiers and $1,200 to “Fredericksburg sufferers,” after the bloody engagement five months earlier.  Mr. Stringfellow had four sons in the Confederate Army.  They all survived the conflict.

Section 5 of the Fork Church Cemetery was designated for Confederate soldiers, but there are no markers in that area, nor is there record of any burials there.