He, along with other men and boys, helped to defend the vital railroad bridge on 25 June, 1864, in the only battle to ever take place on the county soil.
Two of Alexander's brothers did fight in the war, and both gave their lives for the Confederacy. Charles, a captain, was killed in the Battle of Malvern Hill, and Thomas, a lieutenant, died in September of 1861 at his home, Tarover, near Berry Hill, of a disease contracted early in camp.
The great silver collection was buried deep in the woods on the plantation, and when James Coles tried to tell Aleck Bank, the faithful old butler, its location, he asked not to be told, saying that he did not want to be unfaithful to his master, nor did he want to have to lie about it. "Uncle" Aleck was, however, ordered to burn the mansion if Union troops should come and try to occupy it. A small band, under the command of a General Merrit, did not come, but it was said they made no attempt to gain entry. Following the surrender, Gen, Merrit was for a time stationed at Berry Hill.
That the troops made no attempt to enter Berry Hill is not to say that they did not enter other buildings. One of them, caught raiding a Negro's hen house, was struck on the head with an axe and killed. As he was under orders not to disturb the buildings, no action was taken in regards to it.
When the troops left they took several horses, among them James Coles' favorite mount. When he returned and learned of it, he immediately dispatched an indignant letter to Gen. Merrit expressing his great surprise at the theft.