Thursday, April 26, 2012

David Thatcher's final resting place

Confederate soldier David Thatcher, mortally wounded on Oct. 19, 1863,  is buried in
Tuscarora Presbyterian Church in Martinsburg, W.Va.
This ambrotype of David Thatcher is in the
 Library of Congress collection.

In early March, I blogged about a Martinsburg, W.Va., woman who provided the name of a long-unidentified image of a young Confederate soldier that's now in the collection of the Library of Congress.

Last week, I visited the grave of that soldier, 19-year-old David Thatcher, who was mortally wounded Oct. 19, 1863, at the Battle of Buckland Mills, near Warrenton, Va. Thatcher, who served in the 1st Virginia Cavalry, is buried in a small cemetery behind Martinsburg's Tuscarora Presbyterian Church, several miles down the road from where I started my journalism career as sports editor of the Martinsburg Evening Journal many years ago.

The bottom of Thatcher's tombstone reads:

When thou goest out to battle
against thine enemies, be not
afraid of them, for the Lord
thy God is with thee.

When I lived in Martinsburg, the road past the little church wasn't nearly as busy as it was last Thursday. Greater Martinsburg -- that sounds a little odd -- is encroaching on an area that undoubtedly was very rural decades ago.

The ambrotype of Hatcher is one of hundreds of Civil War images donated to the Library of Congress in the past two years by Tom Liljenquist of McLean, Va. He and his sons collected high-quality images of Union and Confederate soldiers.

Thatcher is buried behind Tuscarora Presbyterian Church, which dates to the mid-18th century.
Close-up of top of Thatcher's tombstone.

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