Born in Ireland in 1816, Redmond Burke was a stonecutter living at Harpers Ferry. At the onset of The War, the 44-year-old Burke first volunteered to serve in the 1st Virginia Infantry. On July 2nd, 1861, he transferred to Co. “B,” 1st Virginia Cavalry. On December 23rd, 1861, Redmond Burke was assigned to Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart’s escort and quickly became one of Stuart’s most trusted scouts. Burke was promoted to Lieutenant of Cavalry, C. S. A. on April 3rd, 1862 and became Stuart’s aide de camp on May 5th, 1862.
During his brief career Burke was wounded in action twice. He received a leg wound at Brandy Station in August 1862 and was wounded in the wrist near Fredericksburg. He proudly served with three of his sons – Francis W. “Frank” (b. 1845; Co. “F” 1st Virginia Cavalry), John Redmond (b. 1837-1863 [KIA], Co. “F” 1st Virginia Cavalry), and Mathew Polk (b. 1841; Co. “F” 1st Virginia Cavalry).
On November 24, 1862, Burke was ambushed by Union troops and killed. He was visiting with his mother who lived in Shepherdstown. Her house was located on the west side of SSR 480 at the entrance to “Leeland” 350 yards north of this spot. When learning of Burke’s death, Maj. Gen. Stuart said, “He possessed a heart intrepid, a spirit invincible, a patriotism too lofty to admit a selfish thought and a conscience that scorned to do a mean act. A devoted champion of the South, his gray hairs have descended in honor to the grave, leaving a shining example of heroism and patriotism to those who survive…”