Frederick Amos Alger’s Story

Born in Page County, Va. on 25 January 1842, a son of Lemuel D. (1815-1887) & Mary Ann Getts Alger (1818-?). Lemuel and Mary Ann were married on 13 September 1838 in Page County. Frederick is shown in the 1860 Page County census as residing with his parents in Alma, District #1.

It appears that Frederick A. Alger and his friend, Andrew Jackson Foltz, left Page quite possibly in early 1864 to evade the Confederate draft. Alger enlisted in Co. M, 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 9 February 1864. Foltz enlisted in another company a few days later. The regiment, at that time was stationed in the vicinity of Williamsburg, Va. and returned to Portsmouth, Va. early in April. In May a raid was made on the Weldon railroad, near the Nottoway river, followed by a raid on the Danville railroad at Coalfield and the South Side railroad. The regiment was engaged in the fighting that occurred at Jarratt’s Station on 7 & 8 May and later at Flat Creek Bridge on 14 May, and then at City Point on 17 May. From May 28, to June 9, the regiment encamped at Bermuda Hundred, after which an unsuccessful attempt was made to destroy the railroad bridge over the Appomattox. It appears the regiment served at Cold Harbor on 6 June 1864 and at Petersburg on 9 June. Late in June the cavalry division undertook the destruction of the Danville railroad, along which and the South Side railroad, miles of track and much other property were destroyed and sharp engagements fought at Stony creek and Reams’ station. July was spent in camp at Jones’ neck on the James and while here Co. L relieved Co. G in eastern Virginia, the latter returning to the regiment. Late in the month the division was made a part of Gen. Sheridan’s force and joined in his famous operations, engaging the enemy at Reams’ station and at other points along the Weldon railroad. Stationed during September at Mount Sinai Church, the regiment returned to Jones’ neck on Sept. 28, and was joined by Co. H. In October the cavalry participated in a number of engagements in the vicinity of Petersburg and in November went into winter quarters north of the James. In December it was engaged at New Market heights and in Feb., 1865, made a raid into Surrey and Isle of Wight counties. Late in March it moved to join Gen. Sheridan at Reams’ station and with him shared in the success at Five Forks on April 1, and the pursuit which followed, with frequent encounters culminating in Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Returning to Richmond it moved to Staunton and returned to Charlottesville, remaining there and in the vicinity until ordered to Richmond to be mustered out, which took place on Aug. 13, 1865.

Alger returned to Page County where he married Sarah Elizabeth Seekford on 15 March 1866. While he initially returned to farming, he later worked as a boatman on the Shenandoah River, and then, by the last two decades of his life, apparently occupied himself as a shoemaker. Frederick Alger applied for and received a pension in February 1884 (application #507160). He died less than two years later, on 7 June 1886. His wife, Sarah, applied for and received a widow’s pension in 1891. She died on 20 April 1911. One can only imagine how difficult it might have been to leave a community where so many volunteered for Confederate service and then having returned as a veteran of the army which they fought against. However, one thing says a lot when considering Frederick Alger. Of the two executors that he named in his will, one was Jacob Daniel Koontz, a veteran of Company D, 7th Virginia Cavalry, and, one of the four men involved in the horrible Summers-Koontz incident.

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One Response to “Frederick Amos Alger’s Story”

  1. [...] act also impacted Foltz’s family. His youngest son, Andrew Jackson Foltz (also, see here), became eligible for military service in 1864. To evade service in the Confederate army, and [...]

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