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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

Captain Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Stringfellow

1st Cousin 2X Removed of Frank Stringfellow Walker, Jr


Frank Stringfellow was born18 June 1840 at the Retreat near Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan River in Culpeper County, VA, one of three sons born to Robert Rittenhouse and Ann Picket Stringfellow III.  He was also the grandson of Robert Rittenhouse and Nancy Herndon Stringfellow II.  He graduated from episcopal High School in 1860 and went to Mississippi to teach Latin and Greek.


When the war broke out, he returned to Virginia to enlist.  He tried 4 different groups, but was turned down because, at 5’ 8” and 100 lb, he was deemed too small.  Determined to enlist, he targeted part of the 4th VA Cavalry, captured 3 men, and marched them to the commander’s tent.  Seeing that he had skills that could be used, the commander swore Frank in 28 May 1861. 


He soon began spying on Union troops in and around Alexandria, VA, where his fiancée Emma Frances Green lived.  JEB Stuart liked what he saw in Frank at Manassas, and soon assigned him as his personal scout.  In 1862, he was assigned back to Alexandria to pose as a dental assistant while gathering information f or the Confederacy.  He was almost caught and had to flee for his life.  He spent most of the rest of the war either spying or fleeing the Union soldiers.  One time he even disguised himself as a woman.  By the war’s end, he was detested that there was a $10,000 bounty on his head.  He fled to Canada until things cooled off.


He returned to Virginia in 1867, married Emma, and entered the Episcopal Seminary in Virginia to become a minister.  He was ordained in 876.  He served many pulpits, and 894, he returned to his home area and became Chaplain at Woodberry Forrest School in Madison, founded by his cousin and another grandson of Robert Stringfellow II, Robert Stringfellow Walker.

In 1889, he wanted to become a Chaplain in the US Army during the Spanish American War, but he was deemed too old and actually wasn’t a US citizen because he had never taken the Oath of Allegiance to the USA.  With a letter from Gen Grant thanking him for not killing him when he had a chance, Frank was given citizenship and was allowed to become an Army Chaplain.  After the war, he returned to the pulpit.


He returned to Alexandria, and passed away 8 June 1913 of a heart attack and is buried beside his wife, Emma.  He and Emma had 4 children.


Robert Stringfellow Walker himself served with Mosby during the war, but was not the Wilderness.  He was the grandfather of Frank Stringfellow Walker, JR.

Captain Benjamin Franklin
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