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The Gray routed the Blue invaders just upriver from us 150 years ago, Jim Bovard reminds me, also sending along some very fine maps and a valuable history lesson.

The Battle of Front Royal was just one of many that occurred in this Shenandoah Valley river town. One of them produced a true hero, William Thomas Overby. Kevin Barry and Nathan Hale get more ink, but Overby’s bravery and loyalty are unsurpassed. The Union commander hanged him in Front Royal because he refused to reveal where his fellow Mosby’s Raiders were hiding (I’m told that some of them were on our place).

Ireland remembers Kevin Barry with a beautiful ballad — to paraphrase Tom Lehrer, the Brits won all the battles, but we had all the good songs.

9:30 am on May 23, 2012