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Behind a church in the small town of Flint Hill, Virginia, you will find the grave of a young seminary student named Albert Gallatin Willis,

who died on October 14, 1864. Albert Willis’ story is unusual. Albert Willis served with the famed command of Mosby’s Raiders during the Civil War. Because of Mosby’s harassment of Federal supply trains, wagons, and stores, General Phil Sheridan ordered that Mosby and any of his men be hanged on capture.

In October 1864, Willis and an unnamed comrade were captured by the 2nd U. S. Cavalry and sentenced to die by hanging. However, Willis was offered a Chaplain’s exemption as a ministerial student. But because his companion was married, young Willis offered himself as a substitute for the comrade and died in his place so that the other might go free.

Willis professed his "Christian Readiness To Die," prayed for his executioners, and was hanged.

That is an amazing story of sacrifice. More amazing yet is that God’s own Son gave up His place in heaven to take on flesh, live among, us, then go to a cross to die in our place.

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