First Bull Run Judith Henry

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 27, 2017

Ruins of Judith Henry's house (LOC)
Judith Carter was probably born in 1776, the year the United States declared independence from Great Britain (her actual date of birth is not known).

Judith was the son of Landon Carter II and great-granddaughter of "King" Carter, who originally owned most of the land where the battle was fought. Landon Carter built "Pittsylvania." His younger brother John built "Sudley." Judith grew up at Pittsylvania.

Judith married Dr. Isaac Henry (c. 1802). Isaac was originally from Philadelphia and had been a surgeon aboard the U.S.S. Constellation. He resigned in 1800, and after marrying Judith practiced medicine in northern Virginia before turning to politics. In 1810, he was elected to the House of Delegates. In 1822 he purchased "Spring Hill Farm" (332 acres). He died of pneumonia a few years later and was buried at Pittsylvania.


Isaac Henry (Find a Grave)
Judith Henry continued to live at Spring Hill Farm, and she was there when the armies gathered to fight the first major battle of the war on July 21, 1861. Her daughter Ellen lived with her. Confederate sharpshooters were posted in the home, and during the fighting Captain James B. Ricketts turned his guns on the house. One of the shells struck the 85 year-old widow, killing her and making Judith Henry the first civilian casualty of the war.


Rick Richter

Dec 6, 2012
Such a sad "first" of the war. Was there no time to take her out of her home or was she bedridden? Imagine laying in bed and not being able to "run" to safety. Thank you for this sad reminder that the price of war does not stop at a soldiers gun.

See John Hennessy's book, The First Battle of Manassas, Revised Edition, p. 160. Judith Henry was bedridden and could not be moved. Also wounded by the artillery shell was Lucy, a hired slave owned by Rev. Alexander Compton, minister of Sudley Church. His son, also named Alexander, was serving in the 8th Virginia Infantry fighting just yards from the Henry House late that afternoon!