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Barlow, Alva K.


Age: 19, credited to Cornwall, VT
Unit(s): 5th VT INF
Service: enl 8/20/61, m/i 9/16/61, Pvt, Co. B, 5th VT INF, reen 12/15/63, captured while on picket, d/hanging by guerrillas, 10/7/64

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 1844, Cornwall, VT
Death: 10/07/1864

Burial: Final resting place unknown, , Unknown
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer:

Findagrave Memorial #: 0
(There may be a Findagrave Memorial, but we have not recorded it)


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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"Come, let no darkness daunt us. Let us go
Where Cornwall Village dreams not far below
And on their obelisk read how Truman Lane
Died in the Wilderness; Stillman Smith was slain
At Donelson; and at Cold Harbor
Captain Samson (sic). Then, strangely, Alva Barlow
'Hung by Guerrillas!' -- the stone does not say where.
Perhaps it's not a monument's affair.
But I'll weep -- even for Alva -- if you can weep
For him, for all, for Southern boys asleep
Like these your fathers may somewhere have known.

Donald Davidson, "Poems, 1922-1961," University of Minnesota Press, 1966, p. 54.

Alva K. Barlow, Co B. 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry, enlisted from Cornwall, VT, on 20 August 1861 and re-enlisted on 15 December 1863. He was born in Ticonderoga, NY in 1844 and lived between Vermont and New York all his life.

Alva was one of three men that fought for our country and died during their service to our country and yet they are lying somewhere, in an unmarked grave. Alva and two of his comrades met their fate in the Shenandoah Valley on 7 October 1864. The only official records... say that they were POW and hung by Guerrillas. On the other hand, I have a few other sources whether they be actual or factual, we get a feeling of the sadness of how they met their fate.

Alva was my ancestor but, it is only fair to the other two men, to mention them along with "their" comrade, since they died together. I have Pension records of Emory Bidwell that tells of how he and Alva and Frank Conley were hung supposedly by Mosby's Rangers. I am not sure how or if they actually knew if it was Mosby's men or just pinned it on them. The Bidwell family History scrapbook states that it was Mosby, and so does the family gravestone.

The pension records have depositions from three of the men in charge at the aforesaid day. All three men have the same story that do not vary. Burton S. Clark of Middlebury, Co A 6th VT Regt VT Vols., Henry H. Gilman of Middlebury, Co. B 5th VT Infantry and William V. Meeker, of Rutland Co. B. 5th VT Infantry, all made depositions of their account of what happened for the purpose of Emory's father Rev. Sedgwick Woodford Bidwell, to obtain his son's pension.

The pension records state that on 7 October 1864,while the regiment was falling back in the vicinity of New Market, Strasburg and Mount Jackson, VA, under the command of Gen. L.A. Grant, they had received marching orders. Alva, Emory and Frank were coming off that night's picket duty and needed water. Frank was sent to a nearby spring to fill the canteens of the three soldiers. He had not returned upon commencement of the marching. Alva and Emory were granted permission to "tarry" while waiting for Frank to return, with the orders that they will catch up as soon as he returned from the nearby spring. Unfortunately,they never caught back up with the regiment.

Henry Gilman later recalled the event in his deposition stating,"A few days after, the Cavalry brought up the rear (New York Cavalry, I believe) and found the three missing soldiers hanging on a tree and identified them as Emory S. Bidwell, Alva K. Barlow and Frank Conley of Co. B.5th Regt.VT Vols- They reported this to a Corporal in Co. "D" 5th VT Vols.(whose name I do not now recollect)".

William V. Meeker states, "found not far from aforesaid spring and among the cavalry was a man who had formerly belonged to Co. B. 5th Vt Vols. (whose name I do not recollect or the cav.reg.but believe the regiment to have been the 5th New York Cavalry) who was well acquainted with the above soldiers and at once identified them". (Alva's brother Nathaniel Barlow was enlisted in the 5th NY Cavalry).

Burton S. Clark's statement tells of the same fate and that they were, "identified by their badges and papers upon their persons".

On a monument in Cornwall VT, are carved the five mysterious and haunting words... "Alva Barlow Hung by Guerrilla's". An epitaph on Emory's family gravestone clearly states,"Not Here!". I have not found anything on Frank Conley.

Contributed by Gail A. Bergeron