By Trish Ridgeway
The graffiti he left behind on the walls of the Frederick County Courthouse is bold and clear, but his military career is a puzzle. Henry A. Jones enlisted at the age of 15 on Oct. 10, 1865, months after the Civil War ended. He joined Company F, 5th U.S. Cavalry, a unit that was assigned to the District of Columbia after the war, probably providing provost guard duty.
Jones may have been on guard duty in Winchester , but it is not clear. He was arrested for desertion three months after enlisting and was confined for
Jones left the Army in April 1869 and died in Maryland in 1888 of alcoholism. When his widow filed for a war pension after his death, she revealed
that Henry A. Jones was really Henry A. Powell. Thre was no explanation why Jones enlisted under an alias. The pension was denied. Jones/Powell’s history reminds us that each side had soldiers who were anything but heroic and were quickly forgotten.
However the simple act of writing his name on the courthouse wall has assured Private Jones’ mysteries have a place in history. a month. His record also shows that he had many illnesses and was in the hospital various times in 1865 and 1866. He could have been the courthouse serving as part of the Provost Guard, serving time for desertion, or recovering from one of his illnesses. There was no
Graffiti that Civil War soldiers wrote on the courthouse walls is on exhibit at the Old Court House Civil War Museum along with 3,000 relics from all theaters of the war. The museum is located at 20 N. Loudoun St. inWinchester , Virginia and is open Wednesday to Sunday. Consult the website www.civilwarmuseum.org for directions and hours.
Article published: “Crossroads to History”