We hear much about how the Batttle of Port Republic and the Civil War affected the village of Port Republic. It is less easy to know how it affected the individuals of Port Republic, both those serving in the military and their families at home.
Among the hundreds of historical documents that are housed in the Port Republic Museum is the following touching note written by Charles Marcellus Kemper, Captain, Co. C, 6th Va. Cavalry, son of Benjamin Franklin Kemper, Sr. (a family living in Port Republic since 1807).
The letter was addressed to John Jacob Nicholas (whose family has resided in Port Republic since the late 1700's). The note refers to two of his three sons in Confederate service, George M. and Silas C.K. Nicholas.
Sir, I am sorry to inform you of the death of George and Silas. Geo. died at Beverly and Silas was killed on the 15th at Ashland. I will stay at Grandpa Kemper's tonight. I would come up but I am very much fatigued. I send you a note book, the only thing that was saved. The Yankees got his watch and portmanteau.
Fortunately, the note was only half true. Silas was indeed dead and buried. George had been shot in the leg and the blood filling his cavalry boot froze; the leg was amputated.
Another local lad and member of the company was Abraham Scott Hooke (whose family has lived in Port Republic since 1756). Hooke carried a pine box three miles on his horse in which to bury Silas. Later the body was exhumed, brought home and buried in Port Republic Cemetery.