Va Flaggers Update: Sesquicentennial of the Confederate Munitions Explosion in RVA
March, 1863… Confederate Munitions Explosion: Remembering the Young Girls of Richmond.
"Though their hands were small and not hardened in battle, their service to the Confederacy looms large."
In memory of those who lost their lives in the explosion of C.S. Laboratories on Brown’s Island – Richmond, Virginia, March 13, 1863. Some were as young as 11, assembling or disassembling percussion caps, friction primers, signal lights, rockets, all things explosive for the southern cause. Dozens of girls – many of them young Irish immigrants – were injured during the chain-reaction explosion at the Confederate State Laboratory munitions factory on Brown’s Island. As many as 50 died.
On March 13, 2013, a new marker was dedicated at the site of the tragedy. Va Flagger Grayson Jennings forwarded the colors and provided a Confederate presence there, and provided Confederate and Irish flags for the marker’s dedication.
That evening, we placed a flag at the monument in Oakwood Cemetery.
On Sunday, March 17th, the Va Flaggers attended a service in Shockoe Cemetery, where 14 of the girls are buried. A new marker was unveiled. Tripp and Jack Lewis were recognized as an honor guard and I carried the Hardee flag of General Patrick Cleburne in honor of his birthday. The ceremony was sponsored and attended by Richmond’s Irish community, and many were interested to learn of the flag, General Cleburne, and its connection to their Irish Heritage. Of course, we were happy to share information and educate attendees about our flags and our brave Irish Confederates.  🙂
150 years later, the memory of these girls lives on, in the hearts of those who honor and recognize their sacrifice. God bless the girls of the Confederate States Munitions Laboratories.
More photos here:
After attending the ceremony, Tracy Wright and Willie Earl Wells were led to take up the task of getting individual tombstones for each of these girls, who now rest in unmarked graves. The Mechanized Cavalry/VA, 2nd Battlion, Co. A, 4th Platoon and the Sally Tompkins Chapter 2, OCR are raising funds to complete this undertaking and are asking for your support to make it happen.
Please send contributions to:
OCR Sally Tompkins Chapter 2 "Tombstone Fund"
c/o Teresa Piner Wells
19844 Templeton Road
Carson VA 23830
Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers