April 5, 2013

Honoring Thomas Wildes

This plaque honors a Union officer who helped save the town of Dayton, Virginia. The town faced destruction in retaliation for the shooting death of a popular lieutenant, John Rodgers Meigs during the Civil War.

This marker is rather incongruously placed next to a World War I memorial. Here's what it tells us:

In memory of Lt. Col. Thomas F. Wildes, 116th Ohio Regiment, who, when ordered by Gen. Sheridan to burn the town of Dayton, Va. in retaliation for the death of a Union officer, refused to obey that order, risking court-martial and disgrace. His refusal and plea to Gen. Sheridan resulted in a countermand to the order, and saved this town from total destruction.


  1. It is hard to believe that someone would order a town burned to the ground.... but I guess you didn't have to be sane to fight in that war.

  2. It must have taken a lot of courage to stand up for reason, I'm glad this has been recognized :)

  3. Yes, pretty pictures! in his day was a deadly weapon ...

  4. Burning a town would be extreme. The initial reports were that bushwhackers had murdered the officer, and thinking that citizen snipers were to blame, Federal officers wanted to punish the citizens so that it would not happen again. Turned out that Confederate soldiers had shot Lt. Meigs, not citizens.


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