Id’d Confederate Saddlebags from Rockingham County, Va.

Id’d Confederate Saddlebags from Rockingham County, Va.


Id’d Confederate Saddlebags from Rockingham County, Va. This fine pair of russet brown leather saddlebags, exhibiting a classic Confederate design, were recently obtained by Perry Adams when the entire contents of “Cherry Grove Farm”, still standing in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, were auctioned off – main house and outbuilding contents. Cherry Grove Farm, built in1852, by Stephen Harnsberger (1787-1870), is an historic and important, antebellum, Valley farm, containing a total of 318.5 acres, on the south fork of the Shenandoah River, near Port Republic. The home is a gracious antebellum landmark, that once hosted Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War. This gracious home still exhibits stunning views of both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Massanutten Peak. (SOLD)

Henry Baker Harnsberger, son of Stephen Harnsberger of Cherry Grove, was born 11/26/1816 in Dry Fork, Rockingham Co, VA. He enlisted in the Confederate Army, at Rockingham County, Va., as a Captain at the onset of the war; military records indicate that he was listed as: “Commander of a Company of Reserves”, on 6/5/1864, in Piedmont, Va. Harnsberger is also listed as having had service in: Co. I, 1rst Virginia Cavalry and was commissioned in 1861. Harnsberger served as Rockingham County Surveyor and as a member of the Virginia General Assembly, from 1866 to 1877 and 1880-83. He died on 9/4/1904, in Port Rebublic, Va. and is buried in the Port Republic Cemetery.

These saddlebags, along with many other historically significant items, all came from Cherry Grove Farm, which had been in the Harnsberger family for over five generations. These bags were, in all likelihood, owned by Captain Henry Baker Harnsberger and accompanied him during his service in the 1rst Va. Cavalry. The bags are in excellent condition, with all straps present, although one has come unstitched, but could be readily re-attached. The bags are still pliable; each pouch is lined with a woven, cotton material. The bottom of each bag or pouch exhibits decorative stitching. Accompanying the saddlebags is an oval, sixth plate size daguerreotype, housed in its original, oval velvet covered case. The image is that of a gentleman of the 1850s; this image was also part of the contents of Cherry Grove Farm and appears to be of a man of the same age as Henry Baker Harnsbarger, in the years just prior to the onset of the Civil War.

The Bridgewater (Va.) Herald, Fri. Sep. 16, 1904, Obituary for Henry Baker Harnsberger: Capt. Henry B. Harnsberger, one of the most prominent men of this county died on Saturday, night the 3rd instant, at his residence between Port Republic and Shendun, in his 89th year. He had been attending to business as actively as a man of 50. Before the war he was a member of the Justice Court and was later sheriff of the county, which then embraced the duties of treasurer as well. During the war Captain Harnsberger was a gallant Confederate soldier and was made captain. He was a member of the first legislature in Virginia after the adoption of the Reconstruction Acts and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and allied himself with the Liberal party. He was several times re-elected to succeeding legislature until he was unseated in the famous legislature of 1883. Since that time he retained his interest in the Republican party but steadfastly refused to stand for office. He was a successful farmer and originally owned the land upon which the town of Shendun was built in “boom” days’ He leaves one son and three daughters.

The 1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalryregiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.The 1st Virginia Cavalry completed its organization at Winchester, Virginia, in July 1861, under the command of Colonel James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart at the command of General Thomas Jackson. Unlike most regiments, the First contained twelve companies. The men were from the counties of Amelia, Augusta, Berkeley, Clarke, Frederick, Gloucester, Jefferson, Loudoun, Rockbridge, Rockingham, and Washington.

After taking part in the First Battle of Bull Run, the unit was brigaded under Generals J.E.B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, Williams Carter Wickham, and Thomas T. Munford. It participated in more than 200 engagements of various types including the Seven Days Battles and Stuart’s ride around McClellan. The regiment was active in the conflicts at Gainesville, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Kelly’s Ford, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, the Wilderness, Todd’s Tavern, Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor. Later it was involved in Jubal Early‘s operations in the Shenandoah Valley, the defense of Petersburg, and the Appomattox Campaign.

In April 1862, it totaled 437 men, lost eight percent of the 310 engaged at Gettysburg, and had 318 fit for duty in September 1864. The cavalry cut through the Federal lines at Appomattox and later disbanded. Only one man from this unit was present at the surrender. The field officers were Colonels R. Welby Carter, James H. Drake, William E. Jones, Fitzhugh Lee, William A. Morgan, and J.E.B. Stuart; Lieutenant Colonels L. Tiernan Brien and Charles R. Irving; and Major Robert Swan.



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