In May 2020 Friends of Cedar Mountain received an American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grant to study the Civil War Rapidan Front and 1863-64 Winter Encampment in Culpeper County. Research has been underway since fall 2020. Historian John Salmon, a member of the team supporting the grant research, recently provided the following update:
To date, I have compiled a roughly 80-page single spaced history of the county the 1863-1864 Federal Winter Encampment, and the Rapidan Front. Most recently I have explored extensive primary source material relevant to local history and the camp. There is no question that the camp and the front are of national significance for their association with the Army of the Potomac and the reorganization of that force during the Winter Encampment to create the army that won the war for the United States.
The research and analysis of the Winter Encampment landscape, and its many contributing features (encampment sites, signal stations, viewsheds, pickets and patrols, ford defenses and remnant structures) continue to be surveyed. Fieldwork has identified the extensive network of ford crossings and confirmed advanced picket locations. Work continues this summer to identify related supporting structures and historic roads.
The goal is to complete this project by the end of this calendar year. The process requires reviews by federal agencies including the American Battlefield Protection Program.
Below is a map of one portion of the study area along the front, depicting the viewshed relationship of advanced pickets and their proximity to defensive positions monitoring the historic ford crossings.
The key at the top right of the map includes:
-The Rapidan River marked as a red line; green circles on the river mark the historic fords.
-Red circles at the top of the map represent brigade positions (4000 men)
-Other colored circles represent pickets. Purple; company position, 100 men. Blue; 25-50 men. Yellow; 11-25 men. Green; 10 or fewer men.
We look forward to sharing more information related to the grant research effort as the study progresses.