Jennie Wade and Her Network
Hero. Citizen martyr. Saint. Star-crossed lover. Pauper’s daughter. Late-night host of men. She-Rebel. These are just some of the labels that family, town citizens, and researchers applied to Jennie Wade. Meet the people Jennie lived with and among, and decide for yourself the disputed points of her story.
The Virginia-born militia captain’s crimes defamed his family and left them destitute. During the battle, Captain James Wade might have been in one of the worst places of the battlefield, and his story is mostly unknown.
Jennie died in her house, and no one did more to memorialize throughout the remainder of her life. In fact, the legend of Jennie’s possible engagement goes back to her sister, Georgia.
They grew up together, maybe even in the same house at times. They were lovers. Or they weren’t. They were betrothed. Or maybe Wesley Culp carried a letter of engagement. Published letters show that their relationship was . . . complicated. But Jack Skelly was more than just Jennie Wade’s male foil. He was patriotic, sensitive about his relationship with Jennie, and by mid-July 1863, like Jennie, dead on behalf of the Union cause.
John Wesley Culp was close with the Skelly boys and the Wade girls, but when the War broke out, the Skelly boys and Wes’s brother signed up to fight for the Union. Wes made the decision to stay and join the Stonewall Brigade. Why?
When William Culp parted ways with Wes, it created a permanent rift in the family that would go beyond death.
See the aerial tour in today’s landscape of Jennie Wade’s home, her death site, Wes Culp’s final 24 hours.