Friday, April 29, 2011

Obituary for Col. Mosby's Civil War servant

I thought others might find this interesting. It is the obituary for Col. John Mosby's servant, Aaron Burton, who served with him throughout the Civil War. Anyone who has read of the exploits of Mosby, knows that Burton was quite a character.

Dec. 23, 1902 The Richmond Dispatch

AARON BURTON DEAD

New York, December 22—(Special)-From the residence of his daughter, Rosa Hamilton, there was held to-day the funeral of Aaron Burton, who during the “civil” war was the body servant of Colonel John S. Mosby, the great Confederate cavalry raider. “Father Burton,” as he was known, was with the great guerrilla chieftain in many raids, and although nearly a hundred years of age, his mind was fresh with memories of those stirring events. Richard T. Smith, of Brooklyn, will publish Burton’s memoirs, they having been dictated to him.

The funeral services were conducted by Re. William T. Dixon, pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ, of which the deceased was a member.

Burton was born in Charlottesville, Va., and was the slave of Colonel Mosby’s father. When the Colonel determined to organize his cavalry command, he selected Aaron as his body servant.

The colonel had the greatest confidence in his body servant, and he was frequently left in charge of all booty that was captured from the Union soldiers, while the cavalry raiders went out on other expeditions.
The high estimate in which he was held by Mosby was the same as those of recent times who knew Burton. He was a familiar character in the vicinity of Princeton and Willoughby streets, and was to be found on all sunshiny days seated upon the stoop of the house in which he lived. He was the perfection of politeness, and if even a child said “Good morning, Father Burton,” this old fellow would lift his hat.

Mosby did not forget Aaron in his old days, and frequently sent him checks for substantial sums of money to keep him housed.

Burton came to Brooklyn about seven years ago to live with his daughters. He had three of them living in Brooklyn, and he lived at the home of each of them, dividing the time about equally among them.

He is survived by four daughters and two sons. The interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery.

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And I quote...

"[L]et us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died."
--Ronald Reagan at Pointe du Hoc, 1984