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The Life of John Carlyle Herbert Bryant

The Civil War was a very personal part of history in Alexandria. Until the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, the Virginia state legislators had voted numerous times to try to mediate a settlement rather than secede from the Union. But once the war began, much of the conflict was fought on Virginia soil. Alexandria was occupied from the start of the war and the earliest deaths occurred in Old Town. In much local family lore, the fight in Alexandria was less about the issues history books report (abolishing slavery and upholding a central government to keep the states together) and more about reacting to a perceived threat to hearth and home. (A published example of this is the diary of Anne Frobel, another Ivy Hill resident.) Many people in Alexandria can still tell the stories of family members whose lives were caught up in the events of 1861. One such interrupted life was that of John Carlyle Herbert Bryant. When he was eight years old, Bryant moved to Georgetown with his family in 1850 from his birthplace of Lexington, Virginia. After attending St. Timothy School in Maryland, he was appointed to the US Military Academy as a cadet. At the outbreak of the war, he decided that it would be impossible to train to fight potentially against fellow Virginians and instead of attending West Point, he enlisted in the Army of the Confederate States in Alexandria. He was sent to VMI as a cadet for a brief six weeks before being sent to fight with the infantry. During the war he served in the 17th Virginia Infantry and rose in rank from Private to Captain. By war’s end he had served as an Adjutant on the staffs of Brigadier General M. D. Corse, as well as Generals James Longstreet and W.R. Terry. Captain Bryant was wounded and captured twice during the war, in 1862 and in 1865. After being treated on the USA Hospital Steamer State of Maine in 1865, he was paroled in April, when he picked up his life again. Bryant settled in Alexandria and, like other returning soldiers, set about the business of building a life and community as a good neighbor. In addition to his professional life as a merchant and fertilizer business owner, he worked for the office of the Alexandria Police Commissioner and also served his community as a member of the City School Board and a Vestry member at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He died at home on North Washington Street on April 11, 1914 at age 71. On a tour of Ivy Hill, the Bryant family plot (Section F, Lot 54) is notable for the generational history on its markers and for the railing surrounding the family, a style popular in the late 19th and early 20th century for demarcating a family’s area. Source: http//www.fairfaxrifles.org/fld_staff.html and Ivy Hi( Cemetery records

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Military Service

War:
War Between the States, CSA Veteran

1914.04.11
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