Mosby and Sneden
N 38° 36.329 W 078° 10.531
17S E 745951 N 4276782
Quick Description: Artist and mapmaker Union Pvt. Sneden was captured by Mosby's Rangers at Brandy Station and marched through Woodville, VA as a POW.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 2/25/2012 5:46:43 PM
Waymark Code: WMDV65
Robert Knox Sneden started his career with the 40th NY in 1861. Because of his artistic ability, he was sought after as a mapmaker. He spent most of the Civil War in campaigns throughout Virginia with a short stint at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac in Washington, D.C. in 1863.
Bored with his job at HQ, he rejoined the 40th NY in October near Brandy Station, VA. In November, the Union army marched south to Mine Run. Pvt. Sneden and a handful of men were to follow with wagons and supplies, but they were captured in a sneak attack by Mosby's Rangers. Confederate Maj. John Singleton Mosby was known as the 'Grey Ghost' because of his ability to conduct raids and disrupt Union supply lines and quickly disappear. Sneden was forced to march south towards Richmond which took them through the small town of Woodville. Sneden believed that Woodville was where Mosby and his men had been holed up the week before the attack and capture. A CWDT marker is erected at the St. Paul's Episcopal Cemetery where the Grey Ghost and the artist passed through.
Sneden remained a prisoner and traveled from POW camps through Richmond VA, NC, and Andersonville GA until he was exchanged in December 1864 and returned to his home in New York.
During his war and prisoner years, Sneden painted hundreds of watercolors and kept a diary chronicling his experiences which he regularly sent home. His collection was discovered in 1994 and has become an invaluable acquisition of the Virginia Historical Society. See The Sneden Civil War Collection.