Loudoun County’s Recognition of African American Civil War Veterans

“A century and a half after fighting in a war that transformed their country, four African-American veterans of the Civil War whose remains are buried at Mount Zion Community Cemetery in Leesburg have been formally recognized for their role in Loudoun County’s history” (TimesDispatch.com).

There is a lot of Civil War history in Virginia, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley, but how often do we specifically commemorate the African-Americans who served in the War Between the States? Loudoun County, Virginia has just recently released its first historical marker to recognize the “the service of African-American Civil War veterans.” These four men on Loudoun County’s new Civil War sign are the following:

John W. Langford– Langford was a member of the U.S. Navy, having enlisted in Baltimore in 1864 at the age of 22. He held the rank of Ordinary Seaman.

Joseph Waters– Waters was a member of the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry. He is now laid to rest in Leesburg, Virginia’s Mount Zion Cemetary.

William Taylor– Taylor was a member of the 1st U.S. Colored Infantry.

James Gaskins– Gaskins was a Private in the 39th U.S. Colored Infantry.

If you would like to read more about the role of African-Americans in Loudon, VA during the Civil War, check out From Loudon to Glory by local author and historian Kevin D. Grigsby. Grigsby stated that the Loudon sign dedication “gives these men the proper acknowledgment that they never got 150 years ago” (TimesDispatch.com).

Photo by Lee Phillips

Photo by Lee Phillips

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