Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Andy Griffith's Claudville (Red Bank) Virginia Connection

Above, Andrew Jackson Nunn sits in the foreground with his crutch visible in front of his store in Claudville, Virginia, after the Civil War. Below, Carl, Andy and Geneva Nunn Griffith in a 1957 parade in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Geneva was the niece of Andrew J. Nunn.

Following “Stonewall” Jackson was tough on many men. The only way to avoid service was death, sickness, or a wound. Andrew J. Nunn of Westfield, Stokes County, North Carolina found himself as part of the latter as his compatriots in the 21st North Carolina Infantry Regiment moved down to the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers to fight with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Nunn found himself left behind at Mount Jackson, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley at the beginning of June 1862. Although Mount Jackson not named for Thomas J. Jackson, who received his famous sobriquet “Stonewall” at the Battle of First Manassas as the Southerners called it, the valley became famous for the exploits of the former VMI Professor. The Yankees called it First Bull Run when South Carolinian General Bee told his to “look at Jackson standing like a stonewall.”
                Nunn probably received a wound at the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1861. The regiment lost 21 killed and 60 wounded. Serving under Richard Ewell’s Division in the brigade of Isaac Trimble, Nunn saw some hot action. One blogger described it this way. “Dawn of May 25th found Banks’ forces defensively positioned on a range of protective hills just south of the town. Jackson launched assaults on both Federal flanks and immediately encountered fierce resistance. On the Confederate right, near the Front Royal road, Trimble ordered his “two Twenty Firsts” to charge a strongly positioned Union regiment. A member of the 21st North Carolina described the ensuing charge: “With a wild cheer the regiment moved swiftly towards the enemy’s line behind stone walls, and was met by a most terrific fire of infantry and grape shot. The regiment moved right on to the stone wall, from which the enemy were pouring forth a perfect storm of canister and minie balls from right and left–cross-firing upon us.” Despite initially wavering in the intense fire, the Carolinians regrouped and joined their brothers in the 21st Georgia in driving the Federals from the field.”

Later, Nunn possibly was one of 13 wounded at Cross Keys and Port Republic culminating Jackson’s Valley Campaign, one of the most famous military maneuvers in history. Andy Nunn recovered from his wound to fight on.  
             He was one of the “Mountain Boys” that enlisted on May 29, 1861, in Danbury, Stokes County, North Carolina. The men traveled to nearby Danville, Virginia, where they became Company F of the 21st North Carolina Infantry Regiment (11th North Carolina Volunteers). The regiment included men from Davidson, Surry, Forsyth, Stokes, Rockingham, and Guilford counties.

Nunn enlisted as a Private at age 26. Other than reported sick in October 1861, his early time in the war was not memorable. Eleven months later, his compatriots elected him 3rd Lieutenant on April 26, 1862. By June 1, he was in the hospital at Mount Jackson. He returned to duty and received promotion to 2nd Lieutenant on August 28.
             The area around Winchester was not lucky for Nunn. Two years later as part of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia under General Jubal Early in Lewis’s Brigade on July 20, 1864, he received wound in the left thigh that broke his femur. His luck ran out at Stephenson’s Depot, when Union forces captured him. He spent the rest of the war in either Federal Hospitals or Prisoner of War Camps.

On May 9, 1865, Nunn was at Fort McHenry, Maryland, where Frances Scott Key received his inspiration to write the Star Spangled Banner five decades earlier. Union General Lewis Wallace, who later wrote Ben Hur, signed the order transferring Nunn from the General Hospital in Baltimore. On June 24, Nunn took the Oath of Allegiance and was released ending Andy Nunn’s Civil War.
Nunn moved to Patrick County, Virginia, after the war marrying Louisa Anderson and settling in the Red Bank (Claudville) area. He ran the first store in the area, built by William C. Bateman. The Patrick County Heritage Book Volume II on page 128 describes Andrew J. Nunn as “an astute business man, who shipped dried apples, chestnuts, turkeys, chickens, and hams by wagons and oxen as far as Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Danville, and Norfolk, Virginia.” The store may have served as a voting precinct and post office.
                Years later, the daughter of Andrew’s younger brother Samuel Nunn would name her only son after the two Nunn brothers. Geneva Nunn called him Andy Samuel Griffith. He went on to be the most famous person to come from Mount Airy, Surry County, North Carolina.
Few references to the Civil War mentioned on The Andy Griffith Show except one memorable one in Episode “The Loaded Goat” from 1963 when Sheriff Andy Taylor tells a lady, who called the Sherriff’s office that the blasting she is hearing out on the highway is not the Yankees attacking Mayberry and he assures her that the South is still holding on to Richmond, Virginia, the Capital of the Confederates States of America.
This is partially an excerpt from Beyond Mayberry: A Memoir of Andy Griffith and Mount Airy North Carolina by Thomas D. Perry available online at www.freestateofpatrick.com and new material provided by Jim Collins.
What may be Andrew Nunn's store today in Claudville today shown below from 02/01/2016

Andrew J. Nunn's grave behind the store



  1. Great blog, Tom! Fantastic photos and great information!

  2. This is fascinating!! Thanks for a great story!