Louisburg resident nursed an ill Union soldier until his death
Union General William T. Sherman met with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston on April 26, 1865 at Bennett Place near what is now Durham, N.C., and Johnston surrendered his Army of Tennessee. At this time, Gen. Sherman headed back to Washington, D.C. His troops, commanded by Generals Howard and Logan, followed over a period of time. The soldiers marched from Raleigh through Louisburg and Warrenton and on to Washington. At some point south of Louisburg, the army split into three groups. Part of the Union Army marched through Louisburg and to the Louisburg College campus, where they camped for several days. From accounts written at that time, some of the troops were in Louisburg from May 1, 1865 until at least June 18, 1865. There were an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 troops camped in the oak grove surrounding the college and throughout the town. During this time, Main Building was used as a hospital. As the troops were marching through town, a Union soldier became deathly ill. It could have been a battle wound or disease. He was carried into the home of Algernon Strother, my great-great-grandfather’s brother. As the story goes, “Algie” had not returned home from the war. His wife, Ann, took the Union soldier into her home and cared for him as best she could. Ann shared what food and medicine she had with the critically ill soldier until his death. The soldier was W. J. Wagoner, Company A of the 5th Ohio Calvary, USA. Wagoner is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg. J.J. Wagoner, Wagoner’s brother, came to Louisburg to find his brother’s grave in April of 1911. He found that the grave had been well cared for by the citizens of the community, and decided to leave his brother there rather than return the body to his home in Ohio. While in Louisburg, Wagoner visited with Ann in the Strother home. For many years, on Confederate Memorial Day, an American flag was placed at Wagner’s grave. No one knew who placed the flag there for all those years. Eventually I found out that it was my now-deceased mother. She was far from a Yankee sympathizer, but she felt sorry for him being buried so far from home.