- Virginia Johnson
Stafford County was the southernmost part of the Union occupation of Virginia for much of the Civil War and as such it drew all sorts of characters to its farmlands and creeksides. General Daniel Sickles--described by his contemporaries and historians as a scoundrel, murderer, rapscallion, rogue, and adulterer--took charge of the 2nd Brigade of Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac. He enjoyed scouting the enemy by hot air balloon and held extravagant parties for his officers while in Stafford.
Someone who attended those wartime parties was Princess Agnes Salm-Salm, the American-born actress who had wed European royalty. Her prince joined the Union cause and soon enough Princess Agnes found herself by the banks of Aquia Creek, esconced in a hospital tent remade into a "canvas palace" with a red and white damask canopy for their bed. A wine cellar was dug nearby.
Others detailed in Jane Hollenbeck Conner's book are Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, Dr. Mary Walker, and General O.O. Howard, the founder of Howard University.
Readers who are interested in Stafford's Civil War occupation should find Sinners, Saints, and Soldiers in Civil War Stafford to be a lively read.