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Descendants honored for ancestors’ bravery

Thousands of Civil War descendants and enthusiasts gathered at the Staunton River Battlefield Saturday for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the confederate victory at the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.

That morning at least 100 descendants were honored with medals for the role their ancestors played in the battle of the Staunton River Bridge. 

Cary Perkins and her nephew, Jonathan Carrington, were two of those honored. They are the descendants of Capt. George Cabell Carrington, MD who served as a regimental surgeon for the 6th Virginia Calvary. 

He performed four hip joint surgeries on soldiers, two of which were Yankees. Three of those men survived, Perkins said.

Carrington was 45-years-old when he enlisted into the Confederacy, and while at war, he caught dysentery and came home to Mulberry Hill Plantation in Randolph, only a few miles away from the Staunton River Bridge.

Carrington and his son, Mattauer, who was 16 at the time, answered the call to the bridge. He attended to the wounded, while his son fought in the trenches. 

She said having her ancestors honored at the celebration gives her a sense of connection to them.

Marshall Normand Weatherford and his daughter, Amy Weatherford Brown, also accepted honors for their ancestors Saturday. 

Weatherford is the great-grandson of Lt. Charles Anderson Weatherford who served in Company E, Old Men and Young Boys Regiment of the Virginia Reserves. Lt. Weatherford was only 16 or 17 when he enlisted. He was born in the Elmo community of Halifax County where his father owned a tannery. 

Lt. Weatherford later lived in the home formerly occupied by the late Charlotte Rice on North Main Street in South Boston.

According to the lieutenant’s pension papers, Weatherford was in command by the end of the war and went to fight in several other battles. He died in 1924 of throat cancer.

 Weatherford said he visits the battlefield often to pay tribute to his great-grandfather. 

“It’s important to me because he was enthralled about being an officer at the bridge, and he actually had it put on his tombstone. So it was very, very important to him, so the least that I can do is honor him for what he thought was so important,” Weatherford said. “It was the only battle that touched the county, Halifax or Charlotte.”

Charlene Skelton Breedlove, the only granddaughter left from the battle, received a descendant’s medal Saturday. She is the granddaughter of Private Robert Leonard Skelton who answered the call too protect the bridge 150 years ago.

Skelton was a resident of Saxe located not to far from the bridge.

“I’m totally elated. I’m on cloud nine,” Breedlove said when asked about how she felt about Saturday’s celebration.

Breedlove said very few granddaughters of the Confederacy are left with fewer than 20 in Virginia. Breedlove is in the process of writing a book with other granddaughters about their Confederate ancestors.

Saturday morning Sue Blackstock Snead and her son, Corey Snead, also received honors for their ancestors.

Sue is the great-great granddaughter of Charles Henry Blackstock who was 17 years old when he fought at the bridge. Blackstock lived in the cove and wasn’t too far from the action.

Blackstock went on to fight at the Battle of Petersburg and was captured and taken to Point Lookout in Maryland where he was held until the end of the war.

 Sue is also the great-granddaughter of Park H. Rutledge, who was on special duty as a shoemaker for those fighting at the bridge.

Wayne Howerton who served as an E5 in the United States Army Vietnam War and his family also were honored Saturday. They are descendants of Private Winfield Scott Howerton who served in the   first Virginia Reserves and fought at the bridge. He was 16 years old at the time and was wounded when a bullet clipped him in the ear.

Also Saturday the Halifax Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy presented seven people with military service awards.

Those receiving military service awards served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States and were lineal descendants of Confederate soldiers or sailors  who  rendered military service.

Gerald Brent Gravitt who served during the Vietnam War as a sergeant of the 212th Military Police, United States Army, received a Cross of Military Service.

Gravitt is the descendant of Private Henry Gravitt who served in Captain Wright’s Company, Virginian Heavy Artillery in the Civil War. 

Charles Edward Morgan served during the Vietnam War as a lance corporal in the Communications Company, 8th Communication Battalion of the U. S. Marine Corps also received a Cross of Military Service.

Morgan is the descendant of Private Reuben Morgan, who served honorably in Company D, 3rd Regiment Kentucky Calvary in the  Civil War.

Brittany Rivera, the granddaughter of William I. Gravitt who served  in World War II as a Private First Class Company B, 290th Infantry Regiment, 75th Division of the United States Army accepted a posthumous Cross of Military Service on his behalf.

He was also a descendant of Private Henry Gravitt.

Judy Lorello, the niece of Cecil Gray Granger, who served during the Korean War as corporal in the 336th Engineer Utilities Detachment of the United States Army, accepted a posthumous Cross of Military Service on his behalf.

Granger is the descendant of 3rd Sergeant Golfsberry Benjamin Granger who served in Company F, 1st McCleary’s Regiment South Carolina Infantry in the Civil War.

National Defense Medals were awarded to those who by faithful devotion and patriotic military service to the country in time of conflict have exemplified courage and loyalty which reflect honor upon themselves as well as upon their Confederate ancestry.

 Robert Lee Oakes, who served faithfully during the Vietnam  Conflict  as  sergeant, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 1st Artillery, 3rd U. S.  Army was awarded the National Defense Medal, United States Army. 

Oakes is  a  descendant of Private John W. Oakes who served honorably in Capt. B. H. Motley’s Company, 1st Regiment, Virginia Artillery in the Civil War.

Christopher Lane Gravitt who served during the Vietnam Conflict as a  Specialist  E-4, Support Co. Strategic Command Facility, United States Amy also was awarded a National Defense Medal.

 He is also another descendant of Private Henry Gravitt.

Nelson Warren Pulliam who served  during the Vietnam War as a Specialist E-4, HHB, 10TH Artillery Group, United States Army, received a medal for his ancestor, Private William Pulliam, who served in Company E., 2nd Battalion, Virginia Infantry in the Civil War. 

Other activities Saturday included a wreath laying ceremony, a tour of Mulberry Hill and a reenactment.