Sotterley Plantation: A Generation Divided, A Battle Joined
History: The Sotterley tobacco plantation relied on slave labor, like others in Southern Maryland did. George Briscoe, a Sotterley slave, and Henry Briscoe, the son of Sotterley’s owner, fought against each other in their respective armies during the Civil War in Petersburg, VA.
Henry Briscoe had joined the Confederate army and served as acting assistant surgeon at General Hospital No. 2 in Richmond. In January 1863, he was in the “trenches near Petersburg, Virginia.” He later surrendered with the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
George Briscoe, a Sotterley slave, enlisted in Company J, 7th United States Colored Troops. On August 25, 1864, the regiment joined the reserve in the Union trenches besieging Petersburg.
While Henry Briscoe came home to Sotterley, George Briscoe left with his regiment in May 1865 for Texas, where he died of cholera.
More to Explore: Sotterley Plantation, circa 1703, is a National Historic Landmark and museum. Tour the plantation house and slave cabin to discover how the legacy of slavery is intertwined with our collective heritage. A colonial revival garden delights the senses. Guided tours and programs, exhibits as well as self-guided audio tours reveal the tidewater legacy of the Briscoe family.
1. Dr. Walter Hanson Stone Briscoe - Photo courtesy of the Sotterley Foundation.
2. Sotterley Slave Cabin – Photo courtesy of the Sotterley Foundation.