The Dulanys of Welbourne: A Family in Mosby’s Confederacy
Margaret Ann “Peggy” Vogtsberger
324 Pages. Photos. Index. Bibliography. Hardcover. $32. RP12
ISBN 1-883522-03-X

Richard Henry Dulany personally equipped a company of mounted riflemen, the Dulany Troop, in July 1861. Thus he began a commendable military career. The thrice-wounded Dulany rose to temporary command of the Laurel Brigade, yet the young widower was also a father and brother and son whose concern for the well-being of his extended family at Welbourne, his historic country estate near Middleburg in Loudoun County, Virginia, was foremost in his heart and permeated his thoughts and letters.

The writings of the colonel, his father, his children (who ranged in age from five to twelve years old when the war began) and other family members who flowed in and out of Welbourne’s spacious rooms reveal the touching activity of daily life maintained despite the chaotic times. Their words reveal the gravity of the their situation, yet they also note lighter moments and give thanks for small triumphs.

Meet John Peyton Dulany, the colonel’s father, the patriarch who anchored the family; Mittie Herbert, the plucky cousin who boldly recovered some livestock taken by the Federals; C.E. Weidmayer, the Swiss tutor who crossed the lines to conduct Dulany business clandestinely and brought back vital food and other supplies; Ida Powell Dulany, the colonel’s sister-in-law, who lived at nearby Oakley; the colonel’s children, whose adventures are chronicled in their own letters and journals; and many more, including John Singleton Mosby and his men, who often took shelter at Welbourne.

Welbourne remains in Colonel Dulany’s family today, open to the public as a bed-and-breakfast inn. Its walls cannot talk, but the letters and journals left behind by its residents tell an amazing story.

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“Peggy” Vogtsberger, born at West Point, New York, has lived in Hampton, Virginia, for 27 years. She attended the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Va.).

Founder of the John Pelham Historical Association; former editor of JPHA newsletter, “The Cannoneer.” Founder of the Peninsula Civil War Round Table. Past president, Williamsburg Civil War Round Table.

Recognized in 1996 by the Civil War Education Association for “fostering the study and appreciation of American Civil War history.”

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Peggy Vogtsberger Talks About The Dulanys of Welbourne

I first came to Welbourne because of my long interest in Major John Pelham, the young Civil War artillerist. In one of those serendipitous moments that color our lives, I once read that Pelham at been at Welbourne during the war, not in a book about the war, strangely enough, but in a biography of the novelist Thomas Wolfe. In 1980, I was looking through the Historic Garden Week book (each April the Garden Club of Virginia sponsors tours of historic homes and their gardens). Much to my surprise, Welbourne was open to the public. I drove up that very day.

No one can enter Welbourne without being aware of its history and Colonel Richard H. Dulany. His almost life-size portrait is in the library. However, that day I had very little interest in him. I introduced myself to the owner and explained my interest. She graciously invited me in, and I saw the window where “the gallant Pelham” had etched his initial with a diamond ring, the window I had read about years before in Wolfe’s biography. That initial meeting led to friendship with the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Morison. Mr. Morison is Colonel Dulany’s great grandson.

In 1988, a cousin of the Morisons passed away. His house, “Pelham,” was named for John Pelham by Colonel Dulany’s daughter, Mary. As the house and property went out of the family, Mr. Morison was given anything and everything relating to Colonel Dulany. Much to his own surprise, the shoeboxes and file cabinets contained more than 100 Civil War letters.

The letters were detailed and exciting. They were not the story of a colonel’s military career, or a biography of a Confederate colonel, but an entire family’s experiences during the most harrowing times in their lives. The uncertainty of the future was never more dim, yet they knew they lived in exciting and historic times.

It was Mr. Morison’s confidence in a friend that led to the letters being published. The chance of any historian or researcher uncovering such a cache of letters, still in private hands and not yet in any institutional archives, is almost nil. It was a great honor to get the chance to edit and publish these letters. I got to meet the Dulanys, their relatives, their friends and neighbors in Loudoun County, and I hope that by reading the book, you will get to know them too.

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Reviews and Comments

“What the family endured ... comes forth here in ... an extraordinary collection of material. Editor Margaret Vogtsberger has demonstrated ably how family writings ought to be organized.” —James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr. in the Richmond Time-Dispatch


“Readers will gain ... a deeper understanding of what the war was like in rural northern Virginia. The editor has done a graceful job of identifying people and places, and the publisher deserves commendation for a page layout that places the explanatory notes next to the relevant passages in the text.” — Virginia Libraries


“The author has done an excellent job using diary entires to amplify events in the letters. ... There is ... real insight into how the war affected a wealthy southern family. ... A very readable and worthwhile book.” —Duane Benell, The Civil War Courier


“The writings ... reveal the touching activity of daily life maintained despite the chaotic times.” —Middleburg (Va.) Life


“The Dulanys of Welbourne is a wonderful book, rich in the human details of life in a section of Mosby’s Confederacy. The letters and diaries are fascinating, filled with military actions, family concerns, and love. This is a most welcome book.” —Jeffry D. Wert, author of Mosby’s Rangers and General James Longstreet


“The reader experiences the adventures and emotions of a family caught in the middle of the conflict swirling about them.” Lake Charles (La.) American Press

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Excerpt from
The Dulanys of Welbourne: A Family in Mosby’s Confederacy

(pages 1-8)

The Dulanys were strong Unionists, as were many Virginians. William H. Dulany of Fairfax County was elected as one of two delegates to the state convention on a platform that was moderately Unionist, defeating the secessionis candidate, Alfred Moss.

Along with Loudoun County delegate John Armistead Carter of Crednal, Dulany voted against secession but did, however, declare that he would never consent to purchase peace “at the price of the honor and the interest of Virginia.” 1

Virginia passed an Ordinance of Secession on April 17, 1861, five days after the fall of Fort Sumter. Six weeks later Richard Henry Dulany of Welbourne, ready to protect his home from Northern agression, wrote to his sister Mary Whiting, who was at Richland, her home in Stafford County, of his military ambition:

May 31, 1861, Welbourne
My Dear Sister,

William was the son of Daniel French Dulany and a cousin to Richard Dulany of Welbourne.
Mr. Thompson leaves in the morning, so I have an opportunity of sending you a few lines.

John F. Thompson, an overseer. (1860 US Census)

I received your letter yesterday and was truly glad to hear that you were all well. I hope that as the weather gets warmer Carlyle will improve in health. Mr. Anderson will make no [wheat] cradles and for fear Carlyle may be disappointed I send two of mine and Mr. Thompson thinks he can get one from his brother.

Mary’s husband, George William Carlyle Whiting.

Possibly Alfred B. Anderson (1860 US Census). An A. Anderson residence is noted near Welbourne on a Civil War era map.2

We are all well and are in good spirits as the state of our country admits. All the young men in the neighborhood have joined the army. All the young Carters and John deButts are in Welby Carter’s Co. I spent a day and night with them and Ashby’s Co. at the Point of Rocks [Maryland] a few days since. The boys had rather hard fare, straw and a blanket being their only bed, but they all seemed to be willing to put up with anything if they could only get a fair fight with Lincoln’s men.

His nephew, John Peyton deButts. Richard Welby Carter, called Welby, a cousin of Dulany’s late wife, lived across the road from Welbourne. He was captain of a militia company organized prior to November 1859 that became Co. H, 1st Virginia Cavalry, on detached service with the legendary Turner Ashby.3

Point of Rocks is on the Potomac River north of Leesburg.

John deButts has the hardest time of any of them as one Sergeant is sick and he does the work of two; he is up all night every other night in the week as he has to post all the sentinels which is done every two hours. He has but little fear if he can get within pistol shot as he is the best shot at the Point.

All our friends are well. Mittie took Mr. Weidmayer to drive her to Vaucluse this morning. A willful woman can be turned when water is taught to run uphill. I am very sorry now that I did not send her down by Jeffries [sic] but really was so surprised at her going that I did not think of it until she had gone.

Elizabeth D. “Mittie” Herbert, Dulany's cousin, lived at Welbourne. Mr. Weidmayer was the Swiss tutor. Vaucluse was the Fairfax County home of Constance Cary, Mittie’s cousin.4 Jeffrey Moriarty, age 70, was the coachman at Welbourne.

Clarence is well but very serious to join the army. I do not know what his intentions are as he seems to confide only in himself. I have volunteered to prove to him that the State did not need his services in the ranks and that he stood the same chance of a commission that I did of General Lee’s place. I think his idea [was] that by offering himself at [Manassas] Junction he could get a commission.

Tell Carlyle that the military ambition that he saw in me so long ago has at last broken out. I have written [for] permission to raise a company of mounted riflemen which shall equip itself and after being thoroughly trained fight when they can’t help it. I want the comp’y to act as a mounted police until the state requires more volunteers. I think we being well mounted stand but little chance of being shot as we shall follow the precedent set by Stafford [County]. I am truly glad to hear that eighteen of her armed men had too much magnanimity to fight six of the Yankees who had come ashore and ran away rather than hurt them.

Mary’s 16-year-old son, Clarence Carlyle Whiting.

Give my love to Carlyle, cousin Ellen, Julia, Nina, et. al.

Ever your attached brother
R H Dulany

A few days later Mary Whiting received a second letter from Welbourne, this one from her father, John Peyton Dulany:

3 June ’61
My Dear Mary

I would have written by Thompson, but as your Bro. wrote to you I thought it would be better for me to write at some other time.

Ellen Marr Whiting (1817-1903), sister of G. W. Carlyle Whiting. Julia and Nina are two of Carlyle and Mary’s six daughters.

I sincerely regret to inform you that Clarence has joined Richard Carter’s Company. I did every thing that I could to prevent [him] but without success. He certainly is the most willful Boy I ever met with. Perhaps after all it is best, so [he] will at least learn one lesson, to learn to obey. Richard Carter I am sure will take every care of him.

Richard Henry has applied for a commission and expects to raise a Company of Cavalry. He intends to go today to the Point of Rocks to commence learning to drill. There will be hardly a young man left in this neighborhood.

I think from the present appearances Genl. Lee intends to move on Washington. If he does not, I fear that the Yankees will take Richmond. If they should, it would be most disastrous to the Southern States, both as to our foreign relations and on the yet undetermined [states] with respect to the course they intend to pursue.

Richard Welby Carter of Glen Welby.

There has been a brush near Fairfax above Hearn[don, Virginia] between one Troop of Yankees and one Troop belonging to Prince William County, and by a Company commanded by Capt Marr who was killed. Our men as usual ran away from a much inferior force. I find they are much better at boasting than fighting.
John Quincy Marr, captain of the Warrenton Rifles, was killed in a skirmish at Fairfax Court House June 1, 1861. 5

Captain Pinkney and Rebecca lest us nearly two weeks ago. I do not think Rebecca can possibly live much longer. She is so much reduced that you would hardly know her.

Mitty Herbert & Mr. Weidmayer started for the District (Alexandria) on Tuesday last. I tried to prevail upon her not to subject herself and Weidmayer to the probability of perhaps insult and indignity, but is was useless, go she would, and I am now anxiously waiting to hear from them.

Rebecca Rogers deButts, Pinkney, wife of Capt. Robert F. Pinkney of the U.S. Navy was a distant relative.

I heard from your Sister a few days since. She made affectionate inquiries after you. She says she has written frequently to you without receiving an answer. John deButts is very highly spoken of, I have no doubt if he has an opportunity he will distinguish himself. Love to all. When I can visit you without danger of losing my horses, I shall see you, love to all, you are too numerous to mention by name.
Mary’s sister, Julia Dulany deButts Roszell lived at Wheatland, a farm near Hillsboro, about fifteen miles north of Welbourne.

The Northern Army have taken possesion of Shuter’s Hill and have nearly ruined it.


Richard Dulany received permission to raise a troop on July 1, 1861. Men from Loudoun and Fauquier counties enlisted at the small hamlet of Union (now Unison), Virginia, on July 24th. Like many Southern units, this one took the name of its commander, although the Dulany Troop was also known as the Loudoun Rangers.

These young men were the sons of Dulany’s neighbors; if he did not know them personally, he was well known to them. Amanda Virginia Edmonds of Belle Grove in Fauquier County, when she learned that her brother Sid had joined the Dulany Troop, wrote:

He has a good Captain and an able one. His men will not suffer for want of anything that he can procure. He is a kind hearted and a very moral man. As long as Sid is going I am glad he is a member of his company.7

Dulany kept a meticulous record of his company, listing the names alphabetically in a register and recording the exact cost of everything: horses, blankets, pots and pans—even a quid of tobacco for each man.

On Thursday, July 25, 1861, the Dulany Troop began its march to Ashland, Virginia, about fifteen miles north of Richmond, where a camp of instruction had been established. It took four and a half days for the new recruits to march the 125 miles, and near Fredericksburg Dulany became temporarily separated from his command. His men joked about “Dulany’s lost company.”8

In a letter to his daughter Fanny, postmarked August 5, 1861, Dulany give some details of the company’s first march, but there is no mention of the mishap:

Cavalry Camp, Ashland, Va.
My dear Fanny,

I received your most welcome and well written letter on Friday evening, I had been so constantly occupied since that time, that I have been unable to write to you until this morning—this being the only day (Sunday) in the week in which we have no drill.

After I left on Thursday we marched within two miles of Warrenton and encamped for the night. I had then to see that all the men cleaned and fastened and fed their horses properly, after which we took our supper, some of the men sitting on a log others on the grass and officers at a table.

huter’s Hill was occupied by John Peyton Dulany’s nephew, Henry Rozier Dulany. Once the site of Fort Ellsworth, it is now the Masonic Memorial to George Washington. 6

At nine o’clock Mr. Gibson, our first Sergeant, placed a guard of two men over the horses to see that none of them got loose or were taken away. The guard was composed of two men, each having a loaded gun, and after they had walked for two hours up and down the long line of horses they were relieved by two other men who performed the same duty until they were relieved after having been on guard for two hours. In this way our horses and wagons were kept safely every night during our march.

We got here in four and a half days. On the way we were treated very kindly by the people. Some of them would give us food night and morning for all our horses (79) and supper and breakfast for all the men and then refuse to take any pay.

Bruce Gibson, from Upperville, would be promoted to captain in the 6th Virginia Cavalry and captured at the battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864. He was one of the "Immortal Six Hundred," Confederate prisoners used by the Union as a human shield in their defense of Morris Island, in Charleston Harbor, S.C.9

The first day we halted for dinner near Salem. The farmers brought us corn and large buckets of milk and tubs of ice water. These acts of kindness warm our hearts very much toward our people and make us the more anxious to prepare ourselves as soldiers to drive back to their own country the Yankees who wish to oppress us.
Salem is now called Marshall, Virginia.

Take your map and ask Mr. Weidmayer to show you which are the Northern and which [are] the Southern States and to point out to you the place where the battle was fought two weeks ago and where our Merciful and Kind Father in Heaven gave us the victory over our enemies. It is now said by the Northern papers that their loss was ten thousand. Ask Cousin Mittie to show you the short accounts of the battles in the newspapers and try and recollect the names of the principal officers and the battle fields.
First Manassas (Bull Run), July 21, 1861.

When we arrived here the officers gave me a large shed for our quarters; the men have a blanket each and some straw to lay upon. Your Uncle Hal sleeps in his hammock and your Cousin Robert and I have a place about as large as two stalls in Grand Pa’s stable boarded off from the other quarters, with a dirt floor with a few planks for our bedstead and straw for our bed and one blanket to cover us. I gave my blanket to one of the boys who had none.
Uncle Hal is Henry Grafton Dulany of Oakley, near Upperville, Dulany’s late wife’s brother. Cousin Robert Carter, a lieutenant of Co. A, 6th Virginia Cavalry, would later be promoted to captain and serve as quartermaster.10

I must now close my letter as I wish to go to church. Give much love to Grand Pa to Mary, Jonny, Hal, Dick and Mr. Weidmayer, Cousin Mittie and Cousin Mary. Also to the servants. Try my darling child to be obedient to Cousin Mittie and your Grand Papa, as well as to Mr. Weidmayer. Be careful about your dress, your teeth and nails and never forget to read your Bible and to pray earnestly for your father as well as yourself, for unless we are
sincere Christians and strive to do duty, evey blessing that we receive in this life will be render us all the more miserable in the next. That a good God may bless and keep you is the sincere prayer of your devoted father.

R.H. Dulany

Mary, Jonny, Hal and Dick were Dulany’s other children. His elderly, widowed cousin, Mary Ann Evans lived at Welbourne.

Excerpt Copyright 1995 Margaret Ann Vogstberger

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1997 by Rockbridge Publishing Company, Berryville, Virginia.
Last revised: December 14, 1997.