John Walter Fairfax, Sr.
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About Lt. Colonel John W. Fairfax, Sr. (CSA)
Confederate Officer, horse breeder and farmer. Born at "Prospect Hill." He was the 13th and last child of Captain Henry Fairfax and his 3rd wife Elizabeth Lindsey Fairfax. In 1840-44 he attended the "Alexandria Boarding School" the well-known preparatory school of Benjamin Hallowell. He takes an interest in medicine, under the advice of his brother-in-law, Dr. James Hunter; he attends University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia for a brief time. On September 27th of 1848 he marries Mary Jane Rogers in the Episcopal Church, Leesburg, Virginia, with this union there are 5 children. He purchases "Oak Hill" former residence of President James Monroe July 31, 1852. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Hill_(James_Monroe_House)
Although Fairfax had opposed secession he enlisted in the confederate Army in the spring of 1861 joining Major Nathan G. Evans as a volunteer aide-de-camp. After his first engagement in battle, which was 1st Manassas, he was invited by General Longstreet to a position on his staff. He accepted and received the commission of assistant adjutant and inspector general. He became one of the most popular members of the staff, having a zest for the "good things" in life. Wherever Fairfax went, despite the vigor's of campaigns, he carried his bible, bathtub and an ample supply of liquor. When duty permitted, Fairfax would take a morning bath in his tub reading his bible and nipping at a bottle of whiskey before breakfast. Moxley Sorrel wrote that Fairfax "lacked nothing in courage; was brave and would go anywhere. But Fairfax had two distinctions – he was the most pious of churchmen and was a born bon vivant." On May 5, 1862 he was promoted Major by the individual initiative of General Lee for gallantry, which occurred at the battle of Williamsburg. On January 13th of 1865 Fairfax is confirmed as Lt. Colonel with a date of rank retroactive to December 19th of 1864.
After the surrender he traveled home to Loudoun County in company with Major Henry Kidd Douglas of the Second Corp, his staff comrade Lt. Col. Osman Latrobe and others. On the journey they encounter a member of Col. John Mosby's Rangers, who informs them of Lincoln's assassination. Fairfax writes years later that he was saddened by the report and was disappointed that his feelings were not shared among his traveling companions.
He arrived home only to find that both of his farms, Oak Hill and Leesylvania, were confiscated by the Federal Government, the former in use by the new Freedman's Bureau. Both properties are restored to him by the fall of 1865. He is host for a turn-of-the-century reunion, at Oak Hill, for surviving members of John Mosby's Rangers and some of their former adversaries. He was also a member of the Confederate Veterans Camp in Leesburg. He died at his home, Leesylvania. http://delta.cs.vt.edu/civil/fairfax.html