Private William Wirt Wilburn
2nd Virginia Cavalry
An essay was written by Robert Lee Wilburn of Roxboro, North Carolina about his family on his 70th birthday, September 14, 1931. It contained a brief description of the military service of his father, William Wirt Wilburn, but it dedicated much more space to descriptions of more important issues concerning the life of the family.
William Wirt Wilburn joined Company I of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry in June of 1861. He participated in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas Junction). He rode an unshod horse to death pursuing Union troops for thirty miles on cobblestone roads at the Battle of Winchester. On another occasion, he had his horse shot while charging the enemy. He was with Johnston's Army in the mountains of Virginia at the time of surrender.
Life after the war was hard. William Wirt Wilburn was reunited with his wife, Frances Ann Green, and their three children. They had stayed during the war at the home of Jesse Green, her father, near Hurt, Virginia. The family moved to the farm of his recently widowed mother which was 8 miles west of Brookneal, Virginia. They planted a crop with the use of only one old white horse called "Rock." All of the other horses had been carried off by the enemy. They only had cornbread and molasses to eat and wheat coffee sweetened with molasses to drink. Robert Lee Wilburn described his mother as brave, hard working, and cheerful The children caught her spirit, and they were not depressed by the extreme poverty. What a legacy!
Roxboro, North Carolina
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