I read Joseph Judge’s “Season of Fire: The Confederate Strike on Washington” about the Confederate attack on Washington DC and was touched by the story of a lone Confederate cavalryman buried in a church cemetery in suburban Maryland not to far from the border of Washington, DC. Here is his story which was in the Germantown Patch, a weekly email and online newsletter .
After getting a $200,000 ransom from the City of Frederick, sending the main body of cavalry off toward Baltimore to destroy railroad bridges and telegraph lines, and fighting a battle at the Monocacy River on July 9, 1864, Gen.Jubal Early led his army down Rt. 355 toward Washington. They would camp at Rockville on July 10, menace the capital at Fort Stevens on July 11 and 12, and retreat across White’s Ford on July 14.
A lone gravestone sits in front of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg, Maryland like a sentinel, a reminder of this final invasion. Pvt. William Scott of Company D, 14th Virginia Cavalry, was riding with his unit in front of the advancing Confederate army when they skirmished with a retreating federal cavalry unit. Scott was wounded and he made his way to the nearest farmhouse, which was owned by Francis C. Clopper (where the visitor center for Seneca Creek State Park is now).
The Clopper daughters, being kind of heart, nursed the injured soldier, sending for a doctor from the Confederate army passing by, but nothing could be done to save him. As he lay dying they sent for a priest and the young man converted to the Catholic faith. They did not want it to be known that they had helped an enemy. Many of their friends and neighbors had been arrested for such acts. So they buried him under the hedge in front of the church in the middle of the night, making sure that he rested in hallowed ground, undisturbed. Many years later a stone was erected to mark the grave.