"...We enter the barren wast of Bolivar Heights...a windswept deserted moorland...except its populous graveyard."
James E. Taylor, war correspondent
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
August 10, 1864
Military discipline for desertion seldom resulted in execution during the Civil War. But in the last months of the war, two Union deserters suffered this fate on Bolivar Heights.
William Loge, convicted of "being a deserter ... bushwhacker, murderer and assassin," was hanged from a gallows near this spot, on December 2, 1864 - exactly five years after abolitionist John Brown's hanging in nearby Charles Town. Three months later, on March 3, 1865, deserter Thomas Murphy of the 6th U.S. Cavalry died here at the hand of a firing squad.
A temporary burial ground with primitive wooden markers expanded as sickness spread throughout the camps. Most of the soldiers who died on Bolivar Heights succumbed to dysentery typhoid, or yellow fever.
In April 1865 the war ended and the nation began its long healing process. Bolivar Heights also healed as soldiers and returned home Union remains were moved to the National Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia. Today only shallow remnants of the once-formidable fortifications remind us of the Civil War events on Bolivar Heights.