Our Chesterfield County Heritage and History
From 1861 to 1865, young Americans fought and died in droves in Chesterfield County. This history has been overshadowed by larger battles and events of the Civil War. It is important that we remember and learn from this time period and that we recall, respect, commemorate and honor the service of the common soldier.
In WWI, Nathan Pride from Chester, VA was the first soldier from
Chesterfield County, VA to killed in battle in the Argonne Forest, France.
Major John McCrae c. 1918
During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae. As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem "In Flanders Fields"
In Flanders fields the
the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short
felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with
To you from
failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia Headquarters and research library has moved into the old historic Trinity Church . See the news media information. Please contact us: (804)796-7121. Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
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