nurses in world war 2:
Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden; Georges Livchitz 1
Image by historic.brussels
The ‘Park of Honour of Those Who Were Shot’
Memorial and graves of resistance heroes and martyrs – brave Jews, brave Christians, dissidents, anti-fascists, socialists, rebels, samizdat journalists and organisers – those who dared to question and fight oppression, and the evil Powers That Be.
Here you see the faces of my brothers, my own dear family, my partners in fighting sheer political evil – resting in their graves here, in perhaps the most poignant place in all of Brussels, Belgium. Here lie those in Belgium who were shot fighting the Nazis of the 1940s – as I myself have nearly been killed fighting the more recent fascists, some of the ‘new Nazis’ of the 21st century.
Shortly after I arrived in Brussels as a political refugee from the US, under threat of murder by far-right political figures, this is one of the first places I visited. I came here to weep some tears amid the companionship of my anti-fascist comrades, who also looked death in the eye as they tried to speak and act for what is right.
The camera used here, and the chance to make these photos, are gifts of the brave dissident US Jewish physician, Dr Moshe ‘Moss’ David Posner, who risked and gambled his own life, to support me and help keep me alive in the face of threats by neo-Nazi assassins.
These are photos from the daily life of writer and political refugee from the US, Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs – photos documenting my new beloved home city of Brussels, Belgium, my life among the people and Kingdom who have given me safety in the face of the threats to destroy me. Brussels has a noble history of providing a safe haven to other dissident refugee writers, such as Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, and Alexandre Dumas, and I shall forever be grateful that Brussels and Belgium have helped to protect my own life as well.
(To read about the efforts to silence me and my journalism, the attacks on me, the smears and the threats, see the website by European journalists "About Les Sachs" linked in my Flickr profile, and press articles such as "Two EU Writers Under Threat of Murder: Roberto Saviano and Dr Les Sachs".)
This extremely moving memorial and gravesite, is known locally as the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusillerden (Brussels is bi-lingual French- and Dutch-speaking, so place names are given in both languages here.) – In English, the name is perhaps best rendered as the "Park of Honour of Those Who Were Shot".
The Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden includes many martyrs of the Belgian resistance of World War II, being both their gravesite and also the place where many of them were shot to death by a Nazi firing squad. – And it is also a memorial and the place of death, of other heroic figures who were shot to death in the previous German occupation of Belgium during World War I. One heroine from the First World War who was shot by the Germans and is now commemorated here, is the famous British nurse Edith Cavell.
The reason that this was a convenient place of execution by firing squad, is that it was originally part of a Belgian military training area and rifle range that existed here once upon a time, and you still see here the tall hillside that served as an earthen ‘backstop’ to safely absorb high-powered rifle bullets. The hillside was thus ready-made for the German commandants who occupied Brussels in both wars, to carry out their firing-squad executions.
Nowadays, the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden appears quite ‘central’ in urban Brussels, as it lies in the Schaerbeek – Schaarbeek commune, directly in the path from the EU institution area toward the roads that lead to the airport, and very near to the 90-metre high VRT-RTBF communications tower that has long been a major Brussels landmark.
The Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden is walking distance from the eastern Brussels ‘prémétro’, which is a grouping of tram lines that run underground for several stops on both the eastern and western sides of the Brussels city centre, supplementing the regular métro underground system with a similarly high frequency of service and also underground. If you continue along the prémétro lines south from the Diamant stop which is near the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, you shortly arrive at the elaborate 19th-century military barracks buildings which once housed the soldiers who used the rifle range and parade grounds, which later become the place of martyrdom for members of the anti-Nazi resistance.
This is a place of great emotion for me personally, because the resistance martyrs who lie in these graves – a number of them socialists, journalists and with Jewish-heritage, critics of corruption just like myself – are my comrades in my own ordeal. I barely escaped alive out of the USA, nearly murdered by neo-Nazi-linked thugs, who themselves spoke favourably of Hitler as they moved toward killing me, as well as trying to ban my ability to write and speak.
It is sad that this place, Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, is very little visited nowadays. Most of the time when I come here to contemplate and shed a few tears amid my comrades, and also to gain strength from their brave spirits, I am alone. Many of the family members and children of those who died or are buried here, have now themselves often passed away.
But on occasion there are people visiting, and on one day I was privileged to meet the daughter of one of the resistance martyrs who is buried here. She spoke to me of being a little girl, and seeing the Nazis arrest her father inside their home. She spoke about how they tied his hands behind his back, and yet how bravely he looked at her one last time. – She never saw her father alive again, and she is now in her seventies. – But when she spoke of her father, her voice grew energised and strong. She said she remembered the day of her father’s arrest like if it was yesterday. And as she spoke, I could feel it and almost see it, as if I had been there myself.
The heroes in these graves are quite alive for me still. I am a religious man, a person of faith, and I believe in the life hereafter. – Many people have been afraid to help me, abandoning me to be murdered by the powerful forces of the American government – people too frightened to dare oppose the deadly US power of global assassination, the vicious US global media slandering of a dissident’s reputation – Yet when I walk here at the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, I feel myself amid a powerful throng of comrades, among brave people who understand me, people who know what it is like to be menaced with murder and to look death straight in the eye. – I feel the spirits in these graves support me and sustain me, that they welcome me as one among themselves.
It is my privilege now to honour these brave companions of mine, giving their memory some further renown and support. And I have wanted very much to do so, as the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden still is in need of expanded documentation on the Web, before some of what can be seen here fades away much further.
One of the most powerful aspects of visiting this tree-lined and grassy cemetery and memorial, is that you see on a number of the grave markers, not only names and comments from loved ones, but in some cases actual pictures of these brave people, pictures rendered into sepia-type photos on porcelain. Though efforts were made to make these photographs permanent, the elements and the years and decades have taken their toll. Many of the pictures are now faded, or cracked, or broken, or fallen on the ground from their mountings. In one case I held a cracked porcelain image together with one hand, while taking the photo with the other hand. The years are passing, and I have wanted to document the faces of these brave heroes before they disappear, before time takes a greater toll on this place of sacred honour.
You look into the eyes of these brave people, and you see and feel the spirit of true bravery, of genuine resistance of oppression, resistance to the point of death, their hope that sacrificing one’s own life in the fight, will yet do some good for others in the world. Look into their eyes, and you see their faces, faces of real people, quite like anyone in some ways, but in other ways very special, with a light in them that carries far beyond their own death – people who yet had the fire of faith in that Greater than mere earthly existence.
In this hillside that you see in the photos – the hillside in front of which many of these heroes stood in the moment as they were shot to death – in that hillside is a large memorial marker to the heroes of World War I who died here. On that marker it says:
sous les balles allemandes
35 héros victimes de leur
attachement à la patrie
onder de duitse kogels
35 helden ten offer
aan hun liefde voor het vaderland
Here fell 35 heroes
who offered their lives
for their country
shot by the Germans
You’ll notice that the 4th name down on the marker is that of Edith Louisa Cavell (1865-1915), with just her initial and last name and the date of her death here, on 12 October 1915:
Cavell E. 12-10-1915
The banners that you see here, in the colours of red, yellow, and black, are in the three colours of the national flag of Belgium
There are 17 rows of graves here at the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, 12 on the upper level closer to the hillside, and then five on the lower level below. Between the upper and lower levels is an obelisk serving as a kind of centre for the memorial as a whole. On the obelisk it says, on one side in Dutch, on the other side in French:
Opgericht door de Verbroedering van de Vriendenkringen der Nazikampenen Gevangenissen
Erigé par le Fraternelle des Amicales de Camps et Prisons Nazis
In English this would be:
Constructed by the Association of Friends of Those in the Nazi Camps and Prisons
Around this obelisk lay some faded but still visibly grand wreaths, placed here by the highest figures of Belgian public life. One great wreath at the centre, placed here by the King of the Belgians, Albert II, and his wife Paola, whose royal household has very quietly but effectively supplied some of the protection for me in Belgium, that has so far prevented me from being murdered here by foreign powers. – You see the ribbon say simply ‘Albert – Paola’.
And another large wreath has a ribbon saying ‘la Gouvernement – de Regering’, from the government of Belgium.
Though many of the resistance martyrs buried here, were shot by firing squad right on this spot, a number of these martyrs died in other places, most especially in the Belgian concentration camp at Breendonk (Breendonck), which due to its stone structure is one of the best-preserved Nazi concentration camps. Breendonk can be visited today, about 40 kilometres north of Brussels in the direction of Antwerp, very near the Willebroek train station.
Among the graves here, a number are of heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance whose names are unknown: ‘Inconnu – Onbekend’ say the grave markers in French and in Dutch. In one row, there are six unknowns side-by-side; and then the entire final last row of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, is all the resting place of unknown heroes, 21 altogether.
In any struggle against oppressive government, there are often unknown heroes. – And as I myself am a victim of brutal deceptive media smear campaigns, as well as the US regime ordering search engines to suppress my own websites, I can testify as to how hard the evil powers work, to try to see that those who fight the system, remain unknown, or else smeared and slandered with propaganda and lies.
There are perhaps yet other heroes of the World War II resistance, whose anonymous graves somewhere, may yet one day be found. One of the photos here is of a maintenance area by the side, where fresh grave markers are ready, some with crosses, some with a star of David, awaiting use for some other hero whose remains are yet to be discovered.
In addition to the photographs on the grave markers, which speak for themselves, a number of the graves are also marked with heartfelt statements by those who loved and honoured them. Most are in French, and with photos where there are such engraved statements, there are transcriptions of what you find, along with a translation.
Many of these resistance martyrs to the Nazis who lie here, are of course Jewish. The majority are Christians of Belgium, but a significant proportion of the heroes who lie here, are Jewish resistance martyrs of the Holocaust. And even more than one from the same family – the Livchitz brothers who lie here. Moreover, some of the Christians who are buried here, are of Jewish heritage as well – as I am myself, a unitarian Christian.
My own heritage on my mother’s side is Jewish, and it was my commitment to honour the memory of relatives and other Jews who died in the Holocaust, that led to my being forced to become a political refugee from the United States. – Back when living in the US, I received a letter threatening the book-burning of the books of this Jewish-heritage writer, and I responded strongly. A few weeks later my freedom to speak and write was banned, and threats to extort and murder me were put in motion. This story has been told in other places (see link to press articles in my profile), but suffice it to say here, that it was my honouring the memory of murdered Jews, which led me to be a Jewish-heritage political refugee today in Brussels.
Though I am unitarian Christian by faith, the old Jewish sites of Brussels and Belgium strike deep chords within me, as I very much feel the spirit of the Jews who suffered and died under the kind of racist threats I have also suffered.
One of the things I am often-asked, as a Jewish-heritage political refugee, is why the Jewish groups and Jewish leaders, do not say or do more to defend me, against the threats to have me murdered, against the lies and hoaxes spread about me, against the blocking of my own journalism sites from the internet search engines. – For example, in my efforts to stay alive these last few years, I have received much more comfort and assistance and support from brave Muslims, than from the Jewish people who share my own heritage.
There are two main reasons for this kind of neglect of someone like myself by Jewish leaders. One is that I am not a political Zionist – I favour peace and justice for all the residents of the ancient holy lands of Palestine. – A second reason, is that there is a sad heritage among Jewish people, to stand by and do nothing while other Jews are attacked by the dominant power of the day. – It was that way in the old pogroms of Eastern Europe, it was that way under the Nazi-era exterminations, and it is that way today regarding the case of the United States. – Since it is the US regime which has been attacking me and forcing me to be a refugee here, Jewish ‘leadership’ simply does not want to confront the USA. Given that I am a non-Zionist, and a unitarian Christian in faith, well, that settles it as far as Jewish leaders are concerned, and they turn away and say nothing.
There are still some brave Jews, however, like one brave Orthodox Jewish physician in America, a friend who has helped me to be able to be here now, supplying these photographs of the Jewish and other martyrs of anti-Nazi resistance.
And the Jewish heritage is there in me, and I am glad I honoured the memory of the Holocaust dead, even though it led me into terrible sufferings at the hands of US political figures and the US regime.
There is a sense of profound spiritual achievement that I have, as I place on-line this historical record of the martyrs of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden. It is perhaps only by the grace of God that I was able to escape the US alive, from the clutches of the people menacing to illegally jail me and murder me in a US jail cell. – My now being able to honour the memory of my fellow anti-fascist figures in Belgium, who were shot dead by the Nazis of an earlier era, feels to me to be one of the important purposes, for which I was kept alive by divine hands.
To visit the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, you can walk about 600 metres from the Diamant ‘prémétro’ or underground tram stop which includes tram lines 23, 24, and 25. If you wish to get even closer by bus, you can take buses number 12, 21, or 79 the two stops from Diamant to the Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourg bus shelter sign. Alternatively, if you are in the EU area, you can take these same buses 12, 21 or 79 directly from the Schuman métro station by the EU’s main Berlaymont building. Another route is that bus 80 from the Mérode metro station will also take you directly to the Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourg stop. A few tens of metres west of where the bus halts, along the rue Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourgstraat, you see the sign directing to the entrance of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden.
Made possible with the generous, community-minded support of American Public University, offering a quality, online education. The interpretations of posts in civilwarscholars.com do not in any way reflect the modern-day policies of the University. More at apus.edu
Patriarch R. D. Shepherd’s Homecoming 1859
1_About how a young boy from Shepherdstown
About how a young boy from Shepherdstown built a massive fortune through work, smarts and an act of his own heroism for another; then, turns around and gives much of it back as McMurran Hall, an Almshouse in New Orleans and other gifts.
2_R. D. Shepherd had a strict, flinty way
R. D. Shepherd had a strict, flinty way, but on paper and in the world at large did his huge generosities stand tall, pervade the landscape and enrich the hearts of humanity.
Seventy-five-year-old Rezin Davis Shepherd, described by the New Orleans Picayune as having “the largest and most productive estate which has ever been held by one person in this city and State” – began the construction Thursday, October 6th, 1859 of a gift to his home town, this time right on lot no. 1 in Shepherdstown, the very lot where he was born in August 1, 1784.
4_Who knew that in ten fleeting day
Who knew that in ten fleeting days – October 16th – history would be blown off its hinges by the John Brown raiders’ attack fifteen miles away at Harpers Ferry, the match that lit the simmering fever of division between
5_North and South over slavery
North and South over slavery and claimed rights to secede from the Union. The tempest raged back and forth over the county and the town for 1300 hundred days of pitiless strife and war before settling back into being a barren, alien landscape.
RD’s (“RD” henceforth for “Rezin Davis Shepherd”) building – beautiful as were all his buildings remains a Greek Revival style, with a two-story-portico and Corinthian flourishes. But in the 1860s, it would bear witness to all that was rent asunder and itself narrowly avoid destruction, unlike a less lucky altruistic juggernaut project of Shepherd’s in New Orleans – the palatial Almshouse. But this, RD’s Town Hall, first named, would eventually live a “long, happy life” first as the County Court, then into its present-day majesty as the signature building of Shepherd University.
Growing Up – RD Learns the Trade:
7_When he was just nine years old
8_placed him in the store and counting house
When he was just nine years old, RD’s father, Abraham, placed him in the store and counting house in Baltimore of William Taylor,
9_an ambitious importer and ship-owner
an ambitious importer and ship-owner. RD’s incredible gifts surfaced when he – just eighteen – was sent to New Orleans to assure a good return on a huge shipment of British goods his firm had purchased for New Orleans’ customers. Then his first big “killing” was with another fresh-faced, hard-driving Taylor colleague, James McDonough. Wrote the Picayune: In October, 1803, it was well known throughout the country that Louisiana had been purchased by the United States. Mr. Taylor was the only merchant who seemed to comprehend the profit from one consequence of the this great political event.
10_in becoming a state
11_all sugar imports thereafter
12_cornered 1800 of those hogsheads
The firm realized that in becoming a state, a duty of 2.5 cents would be added to the price of all sugar imports thereafter. So Shepherd and McDonough – when all the sugar produced in the state was between 2100-2200 hogsheads – cornered 1800 of those hogsheads, giving young RD “a handsome capital for a young man to start in mercantile life.” He soon created a new firm shared with Taylor, then in time through age and retirement became RD’s alone.
13_Coming into his own
Coming into his own, he married Lucy Taylor Gorham of Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1808, who was “a niece and adopted daughter” of Taylor. On August 22nd, 1809, their only child, Ellen Shepherd, was born in Louisiana. (Lucy would die in 1814).
14_the penchant of RD
It was at this juncture the penchant of RD for regular, publicity-averse benefactions took root, in the moment of his willed defiance against a direct military order to work, instead, to save one particular wounded man, left for dead in war, a man who himself would live on to become the epitome of the proverbial Good Man, albeit
15_His name was Judah Touro
extraordinarily wealthy. His name was Judah Touro, a top-hatted, but humble Jewish businessman who believed in respect for all religions and daily applications of the code of good works. He was beloved throughout his circles and region as “the Israelite without guile.”
Wrote Author Colyar:
16_Wrote Author Colyar
17_carrying ammunition on the battle field
While carrying ammunition on the battle field Jan. 1, 1815 Mr. Touro was struck by a 12-pound shot which tore
19_a large mass of flesh from the thigh
a large mass of flesh from the thigh and prostrated him among the dead and dying. Mr. Rezin Shepherd, was carrying a special order from Commodore Patterson across the river to the main army. On reaching the bank he met a friend, who told him his friend Touro was dead. Inquiring where he was, Shepherd was informed that he had been taken to
an old building in the rear of Jackson’s headquarters. Forgetting his orders, Mr. Shepherd went immediately to the place and found he was not dead, but, as the surgeon said, in a dying condition. Disregarding what the surgeon said, Shepherd got a cart, put him in it, administered stimulants, and took Touro to his own house. He then procured nurses, and by the closest attention, Mr. Touro’s life was saved. Mr. Shepherd returned late in the day,
21_Commodore Patterson in a bad humor
having performed his mission, to find Commodore Patterson in a bad humor, and, speaking severely to him, the latter said: “Commodore, you can hang or shoot me, and it will be all right, but my best friend needed my assistance, and nothing on earth could have induced me to neglect him.”
RD’s businesses continued to grow exponentially and his brother, James Hervey Shepherd, was summoned from Shepherdstown to assist.
22_Shepherd, was summoned from Shepherdstown to assist.
1817-1837 – RD travels to Europe, settles in Boston doting on his daughter’s education.
23_1822 – RD maintained his businesses
24_at 5 Pearl Street and nearby 28 Indian Wharf house.
1822 – RD maintained his businesses and shipping concerns at 5 Pearl Street and nearby 28 Indian Wharf house.
25_her portrait painted by Thomas Sully
26_Gilbert Stuart is commissioned to paint his own portrait
He has her portrait painted by Thomas Sully in 1831, a few years after Gilbert Stuart is commissioned to paint his own portrait. (Stuart died in 1828).
1829, April 20 – Ellen Shepherd marries Gorham Brooks of Medford, Massachusetts.
1834 – RD commissions Samuel Fuller to build the 480-ton merchant ship in Medford, named after his daughter, the “Ellen Brooks.”
27_James Hervey Shepherd dies
1837 – James Hervey Shepherd dies. RD returns to run businesses in New Orleans.
1837, July 23 – Ellen (Shepherd) Brooks and her husband, usually in Boston or Medford, temporarily reside in Baltimore.
28_nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr.
1837-1865 – RD’s nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr., who was brought up in his uncle’s counting room, gradually assumes the role as RD’s agent in New Orleans.
29_painting of the ship the “Ellen Brooks” is completed
1839 – RD’s commissioned painting of the ship the “Ellen Brooks” is completed, attributed to Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882), called “Ellen Brooks, Off Holyhead, Homeward Bound.”
1841 – RD buys 468 acres of land and begins building Wild Goose Farm, but not yet living there full-time; he also pays for most of the remodeling of the original Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown.
1842, June – RD signs a petition to Congress along with numerous other planters and sugar manufacturers in the state of Louisiana that asks for an increase in the duties on imported sugar.
1849 – RD places responsibilities on his eighteen-year-old nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr., who would become his agent in New Orleans through the Civil War, allowing RD to return more permanently to his Wild Goose Farm.
30_Wild Goose Farm
31_the 1850 Census shows
32_1850 and 1860 Census slave schedules
1850 – In Shepherdstown & Wild Goose Farm; the 1850 Census shows 66-year-old RD with a period worth of 0,000, living only with workmen: 26-year-old German-born master stonemason Conrad Smith and an overseer. Although one account states Touro stipulated that RD free his enslaved persons, RD is shown to having owned numerous persons, enumerated in both the 1850 and 1860 Census slave schedules.
1854, January 6th – Touro’s Will makes Rezin Davis Shepherd residuary legatee of the estate and executor; 5,000 is willed to specific recipients. A sum iof ,000 is set aside for a palatial almshouse, with the added stipulation to RD that more sums, if needed, should be used to complete this priority project.
Judah Touro made out his will January 6, 1854 a few days before his death that said:
33_my dear, old, and devoted friend, Rezin Davis Shepherd
34_I hereby appoint and institute him
As regards my other designated executor, say my dear, old, and devoted friend, Rezin Davis Shepherd, to whom, under Divine Providence, I am greatly indebted for the preservation of my life when I was wounded on the 1st of January, 1815, I hereby appoint and institute him, the said Rezin Davis Shepherd, after payment of my particular legacies, and the debts of my succession, the universal legatee of the rest and residue of my estates, movable and immovable.
35_funded remodeling of the Trinity
RD continued his projects both in New Orleans and Shepherdstown. He had already funded remodeling of the Trinity
36_planned a clock and bell to its original church
Episcopal Church. He planned a clock and bell to its original church then after some legal squabbling – the clock – to everyone’s assent – was reassigned to be inserted in to the new government building.
The Shepherd Family is Scattered By War:
37_The war hit the family hard
The war hit the family hard. Most of the young men enlisted in Virginia units. RD had to recalibrate his business strategies. Wrote the Richmond Daily Dispatch: June 8, 1861:
The New Orleans Delta states that R. D. Shepherd, Esq., who is now at an advanced time of life, living on his beautiful farm near Shepherdstown, Virginia, has directed his agent in New Orleans to pay over to the treasurer of the Confederate States a large sum of money, including, it is said, his whole annual income from rents in that city — the largest income enjoyed by any property holder — to be applied to the defence of the rights and the support of the independence of the South.
38_spring of 1862 when Federal General Banks
In the spring of 1862 when Federal General Banks with his army entered into Jefferson County, RD took refuge in Boston with his daughter.
39_As the war progressed
As the war progressed, its maw of destruction came closer to Shepherdstown’s nearly complete building. 130,000 troops moved in the area in September, 1862 for the bloody Maryland Campaign, just across the Potomac river. Wounded from the nearby battles poured into Shepherdstown, putting the unfinished Town Hall into service as an outdoor hospital.
Wrote Mary Bedinger Mitchell:
40_The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness
The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness for many a long day. Somebody threw a few rough boards across the beams, placed piles of straw over them, laid down single planks to walk upon, and lo, it was a hospital at once.
There were six churches and they were all full, the barn-like place known as the Drill Room, all the private houses after their capacity, the shops and empty buildings, the school-houses – every inch of space and yet the cry was for more room.
We went about our work with pale faces and trembling hands, yet trying to appear composed for the sake of our patients, who were much excited. We could hear the incessant explosions of artillery, the shrieking whistles of the shells, and the sharper, deadlier more thrilling roll of musketry; while every now and then the echo of some charging cheer would come, borne by the wind, and as the human voice would pierce that demoniacal clangor we would catch out breath and listen, and try not to sob, and turn back to the forlorn hospitals, to the suffering at our feet and before our eyes while imagination fainted at the thought of those other scenes hidden from us beyond the Potomac.
Had Federal General George McClellan crossed the Potomac and pursued General Lee’s scattered and mauled army, as historians have much criticized him since for not doing, Shepherdstown would have likely suffered greater damage, but, as it was, shells landed in the yards of the Lees and Morgans and one or two even hit Shepherd’s new Town Hall, but were of little consequence.
Property Losses in New Orleans:
41_RD’s fine residence at 18 Bourbon Street
42_18 Bourbon Street in New Orleans
More invasive, improvised use was being made of RD’s fine residence at 18 Bourbon Street in New Orleans, causing his nephew to formally appeal to the Federal powers-that-be in early 1864. He wrote:
43_From Brig. General James Bowen
January 29, 1864
From Brig. General James Bowen
Provost Marshal General
Department of the Gulf.
The undersigned acting as the duly authorized agent and attorney in fact of Rezin Davis Shepherd, formerly the State of Virginia, but for more than eight months past residing with his daughter Mrs. Gorham Brooks in the city of Boston and State of Massachusetts, respectfully represents: That the said Shepherd is a loyal citizen of the United States and the true and lawful owner of the Brick Dwelling No. 18 Bourbon Street between Canal and Custom House Streets in the City of New Orleans and also of all the furniture and contents thereof: that in the month of June, 1862 Col. Stafford without show of authority, placed in possession of said house and contents, a man by the name of Horton or Houghton, who has ever since occupied and now occupied and uses the same as a Boarding House, and who never has paid any rent or compensation there and continually refused to do so.
Under the circumstances, the undersigned respectfully appeals to you, General, for relief, and asks that the matter be referred to Capt. Edward Page and Thomas Tileston, or other of them for investigation and that the aforesaid premises and contents be restored to the possession of the owner without delay; Henry Shepherd Jr.
Like The Town Hall, the huge, magnificent Almshouse in New Orleans remained unfinished, to be hit by a worse fate. Shepherd was charged by Touro’s will to first put ,00 toward its construction, then be prepared to put more money into its construction- including even some of Shepherd’s own funds – as recipient of Touro’s residue.
44_occupied by detachments of the 2nd Maine Cavalry
45_The fire started
46_Baked beans fired the building
On September 1, 1865, at a time the Almshouse in New Orleans – still with an unfinished, floorless top floor – was occupied by detachments of the 2nd Maine Cavalry and Company K, First Louisiana Cavalry. A baking oven was in heavy use at one end of the building so that heat would be carried through a fissure in a ventilation system close by. The fire started in the rafters above the third floor. It was night-time with a high wind and no flooring yet laid for the third floor in that wing. Coals dripping from the fire then ignited tar on the lower walls. “Baked beans fired the building” said one from the 2nd Maine Cavalry. The building was uninsured. Just a few months later R. D. Shepherd died of typhoid fever, November 10, 1865, no longer the executor of the estate, leaving no philanthropist to help make up the loss.
Wrote the editors of the Times-Picayune in a long obituary:
In his native village he erected a splendid building, designed for a town hall, also a large academy, with beautiful grounds and a walk. He also deposited with the Mayor annually a large sum to buy fuel and provisions for the poor. He also erected the largest and most costly church in Jefferson County. Many other acts of public and private benevolence were performed by him in his quiet, furtive manner.
With war ended and when he was still healthy, RD had urged that his Town Hall become the County Court since the Charlestown courthouse was a battle-scarred ruin, especially from a shelling it took in the fall of 1863.
A Visitor Contemplates Charlestown’s Ruined Courthouse in mid-1865:
47_the court-house, where that mockery of justice was performed, was a ruin
48_Four massive white brick pillars, still standing, supported a riddled roof
A short walk up into the centre of the town took us to the scene of John Brown’s trial. It was a consolation to see that the jail had been laid in ashes, and that the court-house, where that mockery of justice was performed, was a ruin abandoned to rats and toads. Four massive white brick pillars, still standing, supported a riddled roof, through which God’s blue sky and gracious sunshine smiled. The main portion of the building had been literally torn to pieces. In the floor-less hall of justice rank weeds were growing.
49_Names of Union soldiers were scrawled along the walls
Names of Union soldiers were scrawled along the walls. No torch had been applied to the wood-work, but the work of destruction had been performed by the hands of hilarious soldier-boys ripping up floors and pulling down laths and joists to the tune of “John Brown,” the swelling melody of the song, and the accompaniment of crashing partitions, reminding the citizens, who thought to have destroyed the old hero, that his soul was marching on. It was also a consolation to know that the court-house and jail would probably never be rebuilt, the county-seat having been removed from Charlestown to Shepherdstown — “forever,” say the resolute loyal citizens of Jefferson County, who rose to vote it back again.
50_either buried in Elmwood Cemetery or the Shepherd Burial Ground
The Shepherd boys who enlisted in Virginia companies each – over time – came home and were either buried in Elmwood Cemetery or the Shepherd Burial Ground – or lived.
51_Clarence Edward Shepherd
Clarence Edward Shepherd became a teacher in Maryland.
While RD’s nephew and agent, Henry Shepherd Jr. was in New Orleans during the war, minding the family interests, three of his brothers were at war. The eldest Rezin Davis, his older brother who had a young family
52_eldest Rezin Davis, his older brother who had a young family
since 1858, died of disease November 2, 1862 at his “river cottage” after imprisonment in the Old Capitol Prison for being an associate of Confederate spy, Redmond Burke. He left his widow, Elizabeth Boteler Stockton Shepherd, two children (Fannie and Alexandria) and a third (David) on the way. Probably first buried on his farm, Rezin Shepherd (a nephew of the patriarch) was reburied after peace came in the new Elmwood Cemetery. His site was joined by all his family as time unspooled.
53_twenty-five year-old Abraham
Henry Jr.’s next brother, twenty-five year-old Abraham, enlisted May 22nd, 1861, would move over to Co. F. of the 17th Virginia Cavalry, get wounded at the third battle of Winchester in September 19, 1864, and become a prisoner of war. But he survived the war and died many years later in 1907.
54_Henry Jr.’s younger brother, James Touro (Truro) Shepherd
Henry Jr.’s younger brother, James Touro (Truro) Shepherd, enlisted as a Private May 1st, 1861 in the 2nd Virginia Infantry. Like many, the rigors of marching under Gen. Stonewall Jackson proved an impetus to transfer out into a Cavalry regiment, and he joined Co. B of Gen. Stuart’s Horse Artillery under John Pelham, with a promotion to first lieutenant. His service record ends abruptly in the spring of 1862. The Shepherdstown Register in September, 1865 reported him having died in “Richmond City” in March, 1862. His marker dates his death as August 13, 1862, which may be the date of his re-internment into the family burial ground.
Two sons of James H. and his wife, Florence Hamtramck Shepherd were buried a few feet apart in the family burial ground on Shepherdstown’s New Street adjacent to the Episcopal rectory. Robert F. Shepherd, who joined Co. H, 2nd Va. Infantry, died May 4, 1862 of pneumonia.
55_Robert F. Shepherd, who joined Co. H, 2nd Va. Infantry
56_Alexander H. Shepherd
Alexander H. Shepherd, who enlisted when he was about twenty-eight April 4, 1861 in Co. H of the 2nd Virginia Infantry; he died of typhoid fever at Camp Harman near Fairfax Courthouse September 25-26, 1861.
57_Rezin Davis Shepherd was buried there too
Rezin Davis Shepherd was buried there too, in his own time.
He left all his fortune to his daughter, who, since 1855, had been a widow.
Wrote the Shepherdstown Register: A Large Estate – the late Rezin D. Shepherd left an estate valued at about ,500,000 all of which goes to his daughter, Mrs. Brooks of Boston. He was born in 1784 (on the lot where the court house would be built). In 1809 he went to New Orleans and engaged in the commission business until 1849 and was the executor of the estate of the late Judah Touro. Mr. Shepherd was formerly a merchant in this city, residing on High Street. He accumulated a very large property in New Orleans and was reputed to be one of the wealthiest men of that city. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion, he returned to Boston and resided for a short time with his daughter and sole heir, Mrs. Gorham Brooks, widow of a son of the late Peter C. Brooks. His estate on High Street was formerly, we believe the property of Samuel Dexter.
The Massachusetts Historical Society today displays a cannon donated by the family and acquired by RD – a smaller version of the one that so severely wounded RD’s friend, Judah Touro.
The visiting journalist Trowbridge was proven wrong – the county seat DID go back to the Charlestown Courthouse. Wrote the editors of the Charlestown-based newspaper, The Spirit of Jefferson, in 1894:
58_The Normal College building, formerly the town hall
The Normal College building, formerly the town hall, on Main Street, is a handsome structure, the gift of one of the Shepherd family, Rezin D. from which the town takes its name. You will remember that it was used as a court house since the war and the courts of Jefferson county were held there, one Judge Hall sitting on the bench. A political rape was perpetuated on Charlestown, the party in power, fitly termed radicals, thought they had a sure thing of it, built a jail and added a wing to either side of the town hall, but “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang af’t aglee.” The fellows that did all this mischief were turned down by the people and things took their normal shape and Charlestown was again the county seat.
Shepherd University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. On February 27, 1872, the Legislature of West Virginia passed the following act: “That a branch of the State Normal School be and the same is hereby established at the building known as Shepherd College, in Shepherdstown, in the county of Jefferson.”
59_RD’s descendant, Shepherd Brooks
RD’s descendant, Shepherd Brooks, made it final when he deeded the property and building over to the School and a three-person board of trustees to maintain it.
As they say, settings reverse, the tide of life had gone out – and – came back in again.
Group of Polish nurses who were recruited through the efforts of the president of the Polish White Cross, Madame Helena Paderewski.
Image by The U.S. National Archives
Original Caption: Group of Polish nurses who were recruited through the efforts of the president of the Polish White Cross, Madame Helena Paderewski. These 37 nurses will be the first unit of Polish nurses to go overseas. Underwood and Underwood., 06/1918
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier:165-WW-578B(2)
From: American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, compiled 1917 – 1918 (Record Group 165)
Created By: War Department. (1789 – 09/18/1947)
Persistent URL: arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=533753
Repository: NARA’s Still Picture Records Section, National Archives at College Park (College Park, MD)
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted
Use Restrictions: Unrestricted