Collins Genealogy, By Ethel (Buxton) McLean
Uncle Lud Fought in '65
He Was in Sight of Lee at The Surrender
By Lucy W. Williams
We often hear of the rapidly diminishing number of men who wore the blue and gray, and with the passing of each one, we face the fact anew that only a few more years and the line will have passed out entirely. All of the white men of Brookneal who fought in the War Between the States have gone on. The only Confederate veteran who lives there is a well-respected Negro, and each day it would seem that his steps become a little slower and his gray beard and hair little more grayer. But, with all the infirmities of his 90 or more years, "Uncle Lud Brown" is daily seen meeting the Norfolk and Western train; getting his share of the mail, then going to the post office for more mail, and on to the Virginian Railway station to deliver the mail in time for the train. He has never "taken to" an automobile, but drives a horse and buggy which, like their owner, have seen better days. The old man and his horse, however, continue to plod along in an effort to do the job in a creditable manner. The mail is gotten from the Virginian train and taken to the post office, a distance of about three-fourths of a mile. This work has continued for a period of about 20 years.
Uncle Lud was born at Red Hill, the last home of Patrick Henry and where he was buried. Sallie Henry was his mother and Anthony Leigh his father. Sallie Henry was a slave owned by John Henry, son of Patrick Henry, and was housemaid for Mrs. Elvira Henry, wife of John Henry. Uncle Lud was later given to Robert Taylor, son of Mrs. Elvira Taylor, daughter of John Henry.
It was the Taylor home on the Red Hill estate that Uncle Lud left to enter the War Between the States. He was first in the Aspenwall Company, and when, for reasons not now remembered by Uncle Lud, the Aspenwall Company was broken up, he went in "A Company with Captain Wilcox of Georgia, in charge." His time was mainly devoted to driving a wagon, which carried a forge and other blacksmith's implements. Such duties led him into various places and often in great danger, around Richmond, Petersburg, in Henrico, King William, King and Queen Counties and into North Carolina near Henderson. He was often the only Negro in his company, and remained in Captain Wilcox's company until the close of the war. He was in sight of General Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox.
Uncle Lud Feels No Bitterness Over Slavery
After the surrender, Uncle Lud was allowed to come to Red Hill on a visit to his people. One day following his arrival home, he was called into the presence of his mistress, Mrs. Henry, who told him, "Now that you are free, you may take the name of Henry for your mother; you may take the name of Leigh for your father, but I should like to ask you to take the name of Ludwell Brown, the name of my sister, Margaret's husband, who lives in Bedford County. If you promise me you will do this, I know you will be true to your word." Mrs. Henry requested that he register under the name of Ludwell Brown, which he gladly did.
Because he served during the war under the name of Lud Henry, some difficulty arose when some years ago Uncle Lud applied for his pension, but after about one year the change of his name was straightened out and he received his pension.
Having been a slave holds no disagreeable memories for Uncle Lud. He says he was always treated with the kindest consideration, and had his master lived, he would like to have remained in his service the rest of his life. From his good English and polite manners, it would appear that more than the usual training was given Uncle Lud. He is always courteous and rather reserved.
Uncle Lud Parades Waving Confederate Flag
After leaving the Red Hill home, Uncle Lud was employed for about two years as a wagon driver for Mr. Joel Asher, who then lived near Brookneal. He was next employed by Dr. J. M. Wickliffe of Brookneal, and continued in his service for 10 years. Following the death of Dr. Wickliffe, he went to work for Mrs. Nannie E. Cook, and has lived on the estate of the late Mrs. Cook for 45 years, and she provided in her will "that Uncle Lud should have his home his lifetime."
The latter part of January of this year, fire of unknown origin destroyed Uncle Lud's home, and some very valuable papers, including his service record and discharge papers, were burned.
Uncle Lud says one of his happiest experiences occurred recently, when he was asked to attend the sesquicentennial in Lynchburg. He was taken by some of his white friends to Lynchburg, and there joined two other Confederate soldiers, Silas Green of Lynchburg and Gabe Hunt of Rustburg. The three were asked to ride in the parade and were placed in a Victoria belonging to the Guggenheimer family and drawn by two handsome bay horses. The three were given Confederate flags and they proudly waved these flags as the line of march proceeded.
After receiving much attention during the day from both white and colored people, the day was declared to have been one of the happiest, and Uncle Lud returned to Brookneal and to his work where he is seen daily, rain or shine, with his horse and buggy still in the service of Uncle Sam.
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