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Willard, Joseph Clapp

MILITARY SERVICE

Age: 0, credited to Hardwick, VT
Unit(s): USA
Service: comn 4/3/62; MAJ and ADC, USA, 7/15/62; resgd, 3/1/64

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

VITALS

Birth: 11/11/1820, Vermont
Death: 01/17/1897

Burial: Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Janet Greentree
Findagrave Memorial #: 6825204

MORE INFORMATION

Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Co-owner of Willard Hotel, Washington, with brother Henry A. Willard. Brother Edwin D. Willard also served.
Joseph's tombstone photo offsite

DESCENDANTS

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BURIAL:

Copyright notice

Tombstone

Tombstone

Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.




Major Joseph C. Willard

(Library of Congress)





The Late Joseph C. Willard

(The Morning Times (Washington, DC), Jan. 24, 1897)



Biography

Antonia Ford lived at the home owned by her father, Edward R. Ford, located across the road from the Fairfax Courthouse. General J.E.B. Stuart was an occasional visitor at the home, as was his scout, John Singleton Mosby.

Federal troops occupied Fairfax in 1861, and Antonia Ford passed along to Stuart information on troop activity. Gen. Stuart gave her a written honorary commission as an aide-de-camp for her help. On the basis of this paper, she was arrested as a Confederate spy. She was imprisoned in Old Capital Prison in Washington, D.C.

Major Joseph C. Willard, a co-owner of the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., who had been a provost marshal at the Fairfax Courthouse, negotiated for Ford's release from prison. He then married her.

She was credited with helping plan the Confederate raid on the Fairfax County Courthouse, although Mosby and Stuart denied her help. She has also been credited with driving her carriage 20 miles past federal troops and through rain to report to General Stuart, just before the Second Battle of Manassas/Bull Run (1862) a Union plan to deceive Confederate troops.

Their son, Joseph E. Willard, served as lieutenant governor of Virginia and U.S. minister to Spain. A daughter of Joseph Willard married Kermit Roosevelt.

Portrait

Antonia Ford Willard, Confederate Spy

(Library of Congress)


Hotel

Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington,

(AgnosticPreachersKid, Wikipedia)

Webmaster's Note: the following is an extract from a lengthy obituary; read the entire article in Evening Star. Another obituary appeared on the same date in The Morning Times.

Obituary

WAR RECORD OF JOSEPH C. WILLARD;
MARRIAGE TO ANTONIA FORD, CONFEDERATE SPY;

During the war he entered the army. Mr. Willard's chief field of service was on the staff of that distinguished soldier, General Irwin McDowell, as aid, with the rank of Major. The records clearly show that Maj. Willard enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his chief. Part of the time he served in the capacity of quartermaster.

In the official report of the Battle of Bull Run Gen. McDowell says:

"My staff were always faithful, zealous, active, and fearless in the discharge of their duties, which were incessant and exhausting, and which many of them broke down in health, some being still unable to leave their beds. I desire to record their names, with my best thanks for the support they gave." In the list that follows appears the name of Maj. Joseph C. Willard.

While assistant adjutant general he resigned his commission, and upon it being accepted he was honorably discharged from the United States service in special orders dated March 1, 1864. Ten days later he married Miss. Antonia Ford at Fairfax, Va., Miss. Ford was a beautiful woman, and an intense sympathizer with the cause of the South. So great was her loyalty in this direction that she refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, and was on this account imprisoned in the old capital prison. In recognition of this Miss Ford was commissioned a lieutenant in the confederate army.

She bore him two children - one died in infancy, and the other, Mr. Joseph E. Willard, of Fairfax County, Va., is a member of the Virginia legislature. Mrs. Willard died about a quarter of a century ago, and is buried in Oak Hill cemetery. After her death Mr. Willard began to live a more retired life, and his tendency toward seclusion from society of others became more marked as the years went by. He was up to the last two years of his life, busily engrossed in the management of his property, but since the severe illness which he suffered about the period mentioned, he has been almost constantly an invalid, and with apparently no thought, save those of devotion for his only son.

Evening Star, Washington (DC), Jan. 18, 1897
Courtesy of Deanna French

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