David R. Barton was the son of David Walker Barton (ca. 1803-1863), a lawyer of Winchester, Virginia, and his wife, Frances S. Jones (b. ca. 1809). The younger Barton’s early education was at the Winchester Academy and the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia in session 33-34 & 36-37 (1856-1858 & 1859-1861).
In the build-up to the Civil War, Barton became a member of the “Southern Guard,” a University military unit. This unit marched to Harper’s Ferry after the secession of Virginia from the Union, and took part in the action against Federal troops there. In summer 1861, David Barton joined the Rockbridge Artillery, attached to Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade. In August 1862, David Barton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in Cutshaw’s Battery, to fill a position that was vacant due to the death of his eldest brother, Charles Marshall Barton. David Barton was killed during the Battle of Fredericksburg that took place from 11-15 Dec. 1862. His brother W. Strother Barton was there with him, and buried David’s body on the battlefield. The markers on the grave had disappeared by the time the family could look for him, and his body was never recovered.
- “David R. Barton,” in Johnson, John Lipscomb, The University Memorial. Richmond, 1871, p. 289-293.
- Garnett, James M. “Harper’s Ferry and First Manassas; excerpts from the Diary of Captain James M. Garnett.” in Southern Historical Society Papers, v. 27 (1899), p. 58-71.
- “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRZX-V2Z : accessed 13 July 2012), David W Barton, 1828.