|The old Taylor Hotel on Loudoun Street in Winchester, Va., was a hospital for|
both armies during the Civil War.
|Today, the old hotel is home for a Cajun restaurant. There are no visible signs|
of its use during the Civil War.
I think I lost the waitress when I said, "I'm researching a soldier who died in this restaurant." She smiled weakly, rolled her eyes and asked if I'd like something to drink. I was in Winchester, Va,, on Wednesday afternoon, trying, and ultimately failing, to understand what happened to the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery at the Third Battle of Winchester. Much of the battlefield is lost in urban sprawl, a chunk behind a local high school and slivers by a mall and alongside the busy Berryville Pike. After a frustrating two-hour adventure. I headed to the Old Town section of Winchester for lunch at the old Taylor Hotel on Loudoun Street. During the Civil War, the hotel was used as a hospital for both armies. Today, after narrowly escaping the wrecking ball and undergoing a massive restoration, the building houses a restaurant that serves pretty decent Cajun food. (I highly recommend the excellent steak bites.)
|William Cogswell, a lieutenant in the|
2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, was
mortally wounded at the
Third Battle of Winchester.
(Photo: Cornwall Historical Society)
Severely wounded when a Rebel artillery shell burst among Yankee soldiers, Cogswell was transported to a field hospital on the west side of Opequon Creek before he was taken to the Taylor Hotel hospital with other injured from the regiment, After his left leg was amputated above the knee, he died at the hotel hospital on Oct. 7, 1864, 19 days after he was wounded.
“No one who knew him would object to serve with him as a soldier,” a correspondent to the Winsted (Conn.) Herald wrote after Cogswell's death. “…Many an idle hour in camp was beguiled of its tediousness by his ready wit, while his long yarns would do credit to any sailor. A little Indian blood is not considered bad for fun or fighting.”
Cogswell’s body was returned to Connecticut, and on November 21, 1864, his remains were laid to rest in North Cornwall Cemetery before “a large concourse of citizens who paid the dead soldier every respect.”
The Winsted Herald, Sept. 30, 1864
Hartford Daily Courant, Dec. 3, 1864
|Union troops marched down the Berryville Pike to attack Jubal Early's Rebels |
during the Third Battle of Winchester.