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Civil War in Prospect at Diamond Grove

After the Battles of High Bridge  and Cumberland Church,  General Lee marched his  Confederate troops along the  longer but smoother Richmond-  Lynchburg Road north of the  Appomattox River through  Curdsville and New Store hoping  to reach Appomattox Station and  the waiting ration and supply  trains that had been sent  westward out of Farmville in  advance of the Union troops and  other trains coming eastward  from Lynchburg. In their pursuit of Lee and his supplies, Federal troops took the shorter southern route along the  South Side Railroad.  Union troops, following the railroad, arrived at Prospect Station on April 8 and  bivouacked in the Prospect Methodist Church yard and the surrounding fields.  Other federal forces  marched into Prospect from Prince Edward Court House (Worsham) somewhat along what are today  Five Forks Road, Twenty-Two Road, Campbell Hill Road, and Pin Oak Road. While the Unions soldiers were camped at the church, troops bore holes in the church’s walls and  inserted pegs on which to hang their clothing.  The holes are still there although mostly hidden by  renovations.  Diagonally across the road from the church grounds was Diamond Grove, the home of the Rev.  James D. and Amanda Crawley.  Rev. Crawley had started and built the Prospect Methodist Church,  where he served as lay pastor for many years. According to Fay Moorman, a Crawley descendant who retold the story of occupation in her book My  Heart Turns Back, the first Union troops to arrive in Prospect had been drinking heavily and  proceeded to ransack the Crawley home and grounds in search of Thomas Crawley, Confederate  solider, who had returned home to recuperate with a wounded knee.  Thomas successfully hid  himself in the lumbar room over the ice house.  Mrs. Crawley, fearing for the safety of the rest of her family, herded her children upstairs to wait for  whatever would happen next.  The first night all of the Crawleys went to bed hungry while the federal  troops feasted on the stores that they had found. Chris Calkins relates in his The Appomattox Campaign March 29-April 9, 1865 that a Union soldier is  suppose to have said upon his arrival at Prospect Station, “We found neither station nor prospect.” From Prospect, Union troops marched westward, some taking the northwestern route by way of  Walkers Church, while others marched along the South Side Railroad to Pamplin’s Depot.  There  they found the Confederate supply train that had been sent out of Farmville the day before.   The  federals quickly captured the rations and supplies, along with three engines, the accompanying  rolling stock, and boxes of Springfield rifles.  News of Lee’s formal surrender arrived in Prospect by way of horse rider on the evening of the April  9. On April 10, General Grant left Appomattox Court House in route back to Burkeville and eventually  to Petersburg and City Point.  When Grant and his staff arrived in Prospect, they spent the night and  took command of the Crawley house.  He reprimanded the soldiers for the depredation committed  and sent them away.  He saw to it that the Crawley family was properly fed and no more destruction  of property was done.  As ill-clothed, ill-fed, ill-tempered , disheartened, and hopeless soldiers roamed the country roads in  search of the way home, many stopped at Diamond Grove, where they were always welcomed by the  Rev. and Mrs. Crawley. One day years later, a stranger arrived by train in Prospect looking for the home of the Rev. James D. Crawley.  Only Charlie Crawley was left living in the community, but he graciously showed the  stranger the home place and inquired why he was visiting.  The man had a clipping of a Philadelphia  newspaper article written by one of Grant’s men who had stayed at a white house in the village of  Prospect, somewhere in Virginia, not far from Appomattox.  He had written, “I cannot forget the kindly  white-haired gentleman, a clergyman, who treated us not as enemies, but as friends.  I should like to  go back some day and thank him.”  The young stranger was not the soldier, but someone who had  been deeply moved by the story. Successive owners of Diamond Grove have been J. D. Crawley, R. J. Carter, Stafford, W. C. Chick,  and Cammilla Patterson.  The Crawley home, except for the kitchen, was dismantled in 1990 by  Cornell and Cammilla Patterson.  I wish to express my gratitude to the late Robert Taylor, a true local historian who so willingly shared  his wealth of artifacts, photos, and personal stories of Prospect and Prince Edward County , for  giving me this history of Diamond Grove. written by Edwina Covington 
The kitchen on the rear of the home is all that stands today of Diamond Grove.
Prospect Methodist Church, circa 1880, is located across the road from the site of Diamond Grove.  Union troops camped on the grounds and bore holes in the sides for pegs to hang clothing and harness.