Oatlands History of Military Service- A special Veteran’s Day Exhibit

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Oatlands is displaying a small collection of items related to the military service of those who lived here.  The items and educational interpretation span a century of service.

Men who lived and worked at Oatlands served in the military during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.  We know something about several of them and their service, and wish to share these stories as we approach Veteran’s Day.  All but one of the men we know about returned home safely.

Civil War (Confederacy)
George Carter II and Benjamin Carter, sons of the builder of Oatlands, served during the Civil War.  Both took the Oath of Allegiance to the Southern Confederacy on 29 June 1861.  Ben went on to join the 8th Virginia Infantry, Company I, under Captain J.R. Simpson.  George was a Clerk for a Quartermaster and mostly ran dispatches between Winchester and Manassas.

On October 21, 1861, Benjamin fought and was injured at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, north of Leesburg.  His injury was minor – a wound to his little finger.  After the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, General Nathan Evans and his staff made Oatlands their headquarters for approximately 10 days.  Troops camped in the nearby fields.  Concerned for her safety, Elizabeth Carter, mother of George and Ben, left Oatlands for Bellefield, one of her family’s plantations near Upperville.  She never returned to live full-time at Oatlands.

George and Ben moved throughout Virginia from battlefield to encampment, frequently returning to first Oatlands and then Bellefield for rest and supplies.  In December 1862, George was one of six Confederates involved in a prisoner exchange at the Federal Fort Monroe, Virginia.  George inherited Oatlands and lived there with his wife and children until it was sold out of the Carter family in 1897.

Civil War (Union)
A man linked to the Carters through his enslaved father enlisted on the Union side in 1863 soon after African Americans were allowed to serve. Martin VanBuren Buchanan was born in 1844 to Mahala Jackson, a free black woman, and Robert Buchanan, an enslaved man owned by Elizabeth Carter.  Martin enlisted in Company G, 2nd Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry. He came back to Loudoun County after the war ended in 1865 and married, built a home, and raised a family.

World War I
Prominent Washingtonians Edith and William Corcoran Eustis bought Oatlands as a summer retreat in 1903.  William had been born in France and spoke French fluently.  In October 1917, William was commissioned Captain of Infantry in the National Army of the United States.  He served under General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing with the American Expeditionary Force headquartered at Chaumont, France.  Captain Eustis’ duties included French and German interpretation. He completed his military service in January 1919 and returned home.

World War II
Morton Eustis, son of William and Edith, served during World War II.  A member of Company C, 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, Lieutenant Eustis was leading his reconnaissance patrol when he was killed in action on 13 August 1944, near Domfront, France, following the invasion of Normandy.  He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Oatlands honors all those who have served in our military, and we give our gratitude to those who serve today.

Veteran's Day exhibit at Oatlands 2013

Veteran’s Day exhibit at Oatlands 2013

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About oatlandsva

Director of Development at Oatlands, a National Trust Historic Site.
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