Culpeper Quarterly: Visit Cedar Mountain Battlefield

News from Cedar Mountain Battlefield is in the Fall 2019 issue of the Culpeper Quarterly, a publication for county residents.

If the reprint below is difficult to read, please visit the county’s pdf version  at   web.culpepercounty.gov

At the link, you’ll find the article on page 6.

 

Diary excerpt: William Ellis Jones, Army of Northern Virginia

The following is an August 9, 1862 diary entry from William Ellis Jones, an artillerist with Crenshaw’s Battery, Pegram’s Battalion, Army of Northern Virginia, contributed by a descendant, Connie Jones, and copied below as submitted through our Facebook page. William Ellis Jones’ entire Civil War diary and comprehensive biography, The Spirits of Bad Men Made Perfect: The Life and Diary of Confederate Artillerist William Ellis Jones, is forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press later this year.

Saturday, August 9, 1862
Started this morning before sunrise and all felt that we would have a
fight before sunset. We traveled as fast as we could under a sun that must have been one hundred degrees in the shade. We crossed the Rapidan at Barnett’s Ford where there was a pretty good skirmish last night at twelve o’clock between 400 Yankee cavalry and some of our troops. A pretty daring dash for the Yanks. It is quite a novel sight to see a regiment crossing a stream. Such a pulling off of shoes and stockings, rolling up pants and the majority of them taking off their pants. We had nothing of this to do for we rode on the caisson. We traveled on and saw a good many evidences of the outrages committed by the Hessians. There was one place which must have been a lovely spot before the war, but now a perfect waste. We crossed Robinson’s River in the middle of the day, a small stream which empties itself into the Rapidan and is the boundry line between Madison and Culpeper counties. We reached Mrs. Pettit’s farm about four or five o’clock, when the battle had commenced. We halted and were ordered to remain here until further orders. We could plainly hear the din at first but it gradually ceased till nothing but the sullen roar of artillery could be heard, and that died out by nightfall. We whipped the Yanks very badly after a sharp and bloody struggle and drove them back two miles. General Wender, a gallant officer and commander of the Stonewall Brigade, was killed by a piece of a shell. His death was quite a misfortune to the country. The 21st and 23rd Virginia regiments done deeds of valor. At one time the 23rd was surrounded by the foe and had to cut their way out, which they did in gallant style. The Yanks fought with more bravery on this occasion than they have ever done, charging and receiving and giving bayonet thrusts, and in some incidences clubbing their muskets and tapping our brave boys on the cranium, but all this was met by Virginia lads with an ardor and coolness that they could not stand and therefore retired leaving the field and woods strewed with their killed and wounded. We took a great many prisoners. I saw a batch of two hundred and fifty amongst them were a great many officers. We also took Brid. Gen. Prince. These prisoners seemed to be lively and very chatty. Some of them told awful big lies about their forces, saying that Pope had four hundred thousand troops and that he would bring up two hundred and seventy one pieces of artillery during the night, all of which was believed. I got tired of listening to them and went over to where we were parked to get a little sleep, when a pretty severe thunderstorm commenced. I had not more than got there when orders came for us to report to Col. Walker about four miles down the road. Our boys were aroused and they soon put themselves in marching order. Soon after starting the cannonade ceased. We learned that Purcell battery was shelling the roads and that they were soon silenced, the enemy bringing three batteries up all bearing on them. Lieut. Featherstone and a private were killed and eight wounded, also losing eight horses.

Our march was anything but agreeable as we met ambulances filled with wounded all along the road, and as we approached the battlefield the groans of the wounded were pitiful to hear. A great many dead bodies were laying just on the edge of the road and their ghastly and bloody features were not pleasant to look upon in the moon’s pale light. I don’t think I ever shall forget that march. After getting to our stopping place we parked our pieces and immediately went to sleep. Although we were in good shelling range of their guns. There is one outrage I must not omit. Opposite to a mill at Burnett’s Ford lived two estimable ladies. Whilst the Yankee cavalry was leaving this ford this morning two infernal scoundrels took deliberate aim at them, whilst sitting in their door, and shot one of them just above the knee and the other in the foot. General Jackson took down as near as he could from some prisoners what company and regiment they belonged to. Hanging is too good for such miscreants. They ought to be covered with tar and set on fire.

66th Ohio soldier Aaron Riker’s account of the battle at Cedar Mountain

It’s always our pleasure to meet visitors whose ancestors were at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. The July 20 tour group led by board member Brad Forbush included descendants of soldiers serving with the 42nd Virginia and 66th Ohio regiments. Tour participant Ivars Peterson is connected by marriage to Aaron Riker, a soldier who served with the 66th Ohio in the commissary department supporting troop supplies. Mr. Peterson shared his post-tour blog entry that includes an excerpt specific to Cedar Mountain from Aaron Riker’s wartime diary and photos from the July tour.

Read the blog entry

Aaron Riker of the 66th Ohio

Please note: Descendants who submit an ancestor form may have their ancestors honored during a recognition ceremony at our annual commemoration of the battle in August.

Annual battle commemoration & living history event

Valley Guards, 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Cedar Mountain
Photo by Buddy Secor, Ninja Pix

Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield will present the Cedar Mountain 157th Anniversary Living History Weekend on August 10 and 11, 2019. The event is free and open to all ages. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of immersive activities designed to share the stories of Civil War soldiers and civilians before, during, and after the battle, the bloodiest day in Culpeper’s history.

The event commemorating the August 9, 1862 battle will be held at the battlefield along James Madison Highway/Route 15 south of Culpeper at 9465 General Winder Road. Parking will be available at the George Washington Carver Center, located at 9433 James Madison Highway/Route 15 near the battlefield. Shuttle buses will transport visitors every 15 minutes.

SCHEDULE

Saturday, August 10

11:00 am Opening shot, followed by combined arms demonstration (infantry and artillery).

1:00 pm School of the soldier. Open to the public, this session offers the opportunity to experience the life of a Civil War soldier by participating in basic drill and instruction; working with the infantry and learning how to handle a musket; learning how to march, drill and fight; and even serving on a gun crew.

3:00 pm Combined arms demonstration (infantry and artillery).

5:00 pm Camp life. Camps open to the public.

7:00 pm Ancestors’ Ceremony presented by Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield. A recognition of the fallen at Cedar Mountain whose names have been submitted to the Friends of Cedar Mountain Ancestors Roll by their descendants.

8:00 pm Torchlight tours of the camps and battlefield. ($5/adult, students free; fee supports battlefield preservation efforts)

Sunday, August 11

10:00 am Combined arms demonstration (infantry and artillery).

12:00 pm School of the soldier. Open to the public, this session offers the opportunity to experience the life of a Civil War soldier by participating in basic drill and instruction; working with the infantry and learning how to handle a musket; learning how to march, drill and fight; and even serving on a gun crew.

Questions about the event? Contact Friends of Cedar Mountain at info@friendsofcedarmountain.org

Civil War exhibit at new Carver 4-County Museum

While at Cedar Mountain, please consider a visit to the new Carver 4-County Museum, located in the Carver Center that is hosting parking for the battlefield living history event. More than 200 African American men from the counties of Culpeper, Rappahannock, Madison and Orange left their homes to join on the side of the Union during the Civil War.  Their Sacrifice: Our Freedom, an exhibit curated for the Carver 4-County Museum, highlights some of those men.   Visitors to the museum will view original Civil War artifacts and read of soldiers’ devastating experiences documented from actual pension files.    Exhibit time:  10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday, August 10-11, 2019.

For more information about the museum and the exhibit, please contact carver4cm@gmail.com.

Monuments at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Contributed by Friends of Cedar Mountain board member Brad Forbush

Many visitors are surprised to learn there are five monuments on the Cedar Mountain battlefield. All but one of the battlefield monuments are on private property, which must be respected. The monuments honor the 3rd Wisconsin, the 27th Indiana, the 46th Pennsylvania, the 28th New York and the 10th Maine Infantry regiments.

These monuments are not to be confused with the Grimsley markers that dot the preserved portion of the battlefield. The Grimsley markers are small blocks of stone stamped with a brigade name, or the name of an artillery battery, that marked certain positions of units that participated in the fight. These became a nuisance to the local farmers whose land they occupied, causing them to be moved to less inconvenient sites. Many of the surviving stones have been collected for viewing and placed on the preserved part of the battlefield called “the point.” Others are still positioned near their original placement on the part of the battlefield that is protected.

Grimsley markers visible in front of the interpretative sign, with Cedar Mountain in the distance

In the far corner of the battlefield stands an impressive monument to the 3rd Wisconsin. It is accessible to all visitors willing to make the trek. The monument is engraved with the following names:

LIEUT. COL. L. H. D. CRANE.
CAPT. MOSES O’BRIEN.
CO. A DAVID BUCHTERKERCHEN.
C. FREDERICK EDDY.
J.C. LARIMORE.
GEO. MAXWELL.
C. DAVID ROUKE.
ANSON W. LOVELACE.
FRED G. REAGER.
ISAAC W. WINANS.
D. CURTIS JACOBS.
WESLEY J. BUTTS.
E. ETHAN W. BUTLER.
ANDREW CRAIGO.
FRANK DARLIN.
H. WM. H. MASON
NICOLAS WALLACE.
I. W.M. H. HUBBELL.
PETER JENSON.
EDWIN E. POLLEY.
JOHN. O. LYMAN.
CHAS. S. CURTIS.

On the base:
THIRD WIS. INFTY.
ERECTED BY THE SURVIVORS
1906.

Monument to the 3rd Wisconsin

Up in the woods on private land stand 3 other monuments fairly close together: the 27th Indiana, The 46th Pennsylvania, and the 28th New York.

The 27th Indiana reported 50 casualties: 15 killed, 29 wounded, 6 prisoners or missing. The monument to the 27th Indiana reads:

27TH INDIANA
INFANTRY.

Monument to the 27th Indiana

Of their 244 casualties, the 46th Pennsylvania reported 31 killed, 102 wounded, and 111 taken prisoner or mission. The inscription on the 46th Pennsylvania monument reads:

46 PENN. INF.
AUG. 19, 1862
CHARGED ACROSS
WHEAT FIELD AGAINST
STONEWALL JACKSON’S
COMMAND.
ENGAGED, 524
LOSS, 244

Monument to the 46th Pennsylvania

Reported casualties for the 28th New York included 21 killed, 79 wounded and 113 taken prisoner or missing, for a total of 213 casualties. The monument inscription reads:

28TH REG’T
NEW YORK STATE
VOLUNTEER
INFANTRY
AUG. 9, 1862
ERECTED 1902

Monument to the 28th New York

Some sightseers have spotted the monument to the 10th Maine while driving along route 15. It skirts the edge of a woods north of Dove Hill Road and the battlefield proper. Its often visible in the Winter if you know where to look. It is sometimes mistaken for a headstone, and some visitors have asked, who is buried there in the woods? But it is not a grave marker. It is the monument to the 10th Maine situated on the ground that represents the center of their line during the regiment’s ordeal in the famous wheatfield. The front of the marker reads:

TENTH MAINE
AUGUST 9, 1862.
26 OFFICERS
435 ENLISTED MEN

On the reverse side it reads:

LOSS 179
OFFICERS MEN
KILLED 3 36
WOUNDED 4 130
PRISONERS 1 5

Monument to the 10th Maine

The Civil War in Culpeper and Fauquier Counties

The Upper Rappahannock River Mapping Project: The Civil War in Culpeper and Fauquier Counties, 1862-1864 documents the broad and complex historical landscape that extends across much of Virginia’s Culpeper and Fauquier Counties, anchored along the Rappahannock River. During 1862-1864, nine battle engagements – including Cedar Mountain – took place in this area, and its strategic importance during the Civil War is supported by this report’s in-depth analysis that includes a wealth of current resources as well as historic photos and maps. An excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the historical landscape of Culpeper and Fauquier Counties.

Click on the image below to read the full report on issuu.com

Benefit to support the local fire department

Beautiful Cedar Mountain Farm, one of our local partners, is hosting a fundraiser on behalf of Rapidan Volunteer Fire Department on July 27th, 2019 from 5:30 – 9:30 pm.

Music at this family-friendly event will be provided by local country music artist Toni Clare. Food trucks such as John’s BBQ, Barbara’s Soul Food, Blue Ridge Canteen, Donut Kitchen, The Pie Guy, and Moo Thru will be serving throughout the event. Wine and cider tastings will be provided by Mountain Run Vineyard. Kids can enjoy face painting and games in the Kid’s Zone. There will also be a  raffle of items donated by local businesses.

Parking is $5/car, and admission is free.

Please rsvp at Eventbrite so that the fundraiser organizer knows how many guests to expect.

Cedar Mountain in Summer 2019 Hallowed Ground magazine

One of the benefits of membership in the American Battlefield Trust (ABT) is a subscription to Hallowed Ground, the Trust’s award-winning quarterly magazine filled with beautiful photography and interesting articles. Each issue takes readers into an exploration of American battlefield history, preservation successes and challenges, special events, planning a battlefield visit, and much more.

The Summer 2019 issue of Hallowed Ground features an article about Cedar Mountain penned by our own Mike Block, vice president of Friends of Cedar Mountain. The ABT has generously shared Mike’s article on their website: please read Under a Deadly Sun at Cedar Mountain

Rich history is just one of the contributors to the vibrancy of our area. To learn about all that Culpeper offers, take a look at  Make Some History This Weekend: Explore Culpeper

We hope that after reading both articles you’ll be inspired to come visit!

Summer and fall history tours at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Join Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield (FCMB) for a guided walking tour of the battlefield on the third Saturday of each month in June, July, September and October at 10:00 am (please note that August 10-11, 2019 is the annual commemoration of the battle, a free living history event open to the public). Summer and fall tours are open to all ages to learn about the August 9, 1862 encounter in which Confederate troops led by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson prevailed over Federal troops led by General Nathaniel Banks at a cost of 3800 men killed or wounded.
Tour dates: June 15, July 20, September 21 and October 19.
Donation: A $10 donation to FCMB is requested.
Parking: Friends of Cedar Mountain Meeting House, 9465 General Winder Road, Rapidan, VA 22733.
Please direct any inquiries to info@friendsofcedarmountain.org or 540-727-8849.

Editorial: Preserving Culpeper’s heritage must be our priority

The following is an editorial published by the Culpeper Star Exponent on June 9, 1863, available at www.starexponent.com

Ancestors of some who read this newspaper lived in Culpeper 156 years ago, and experienced firsthand the carnage of June 9, 1863.

Roughly 20,000 cavalrymen, both blue and gray, fought for their lives that day, slashing on horseback their brothers who served a different flag. More than a thousand died. All these decades later, many remain where they fell, buried in the rich green meadows of Culpeper County.

Coming as the anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station does on the heels of Thursday’s 75th anniversary D-Day observance, sober thoughts bow our heads in gratitude for the grit of those who fought and in sorrow for the futility of war.

Explaining how he shuttled shells to the guns of the USS Texas as it bombarded Omaha Beach, longtime Culpeper resident Howard Mills shared his story in the June 6 Star-Exponent article, “Hometown hero recalls role in D-Day on 75th anniversary.”

This past week, the world watched—with ceremony, tears and fascination—as that era’s aircraft soared again over Normandy’s beaches and countryside, which the French and Americans have preserved to honor the history made and the lives lost as the Allies liberated France from the grip of Nazi Germany. (That’s All Brother, a Douglas C-47 that visited Culpeper in the weeks before the 75th anniversary, led the air fleet that flew past world leaders and D-Day veterans at Omaha Beach on #DDay75. Seventy-five years before, she led the 800-plus other Dakotas carrying paratroopers into Normandy for their night drop over enemy territory.)

June 6, 1944, was Howard Mills’ 19th birthday; when the Allies’ fleet appeared off Normandy’s coast that morning, his whole life lay ahead of him. That day became a defining moment for him and the world, one he says he still thinks about every day. This year, Mills marked his 94th birthday on D-Day’s anniversary.

So, too, was the Battle of Brandy Station a defining moment—not just for its horsemen, but for the American Civil War itself.

In today’s Star-Exponent, columnist Clark B. Hall highlights this fact in his piece, “Hamlet of Brandy Station saw start of fabled 1863 campaign.” (Link to article)

Hall notes that Col. Frederick Newhall, helping dedicate the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg in 1888, said, “While Gettysburg is generally thought of as a struggle which began on the 1st and ended on the 3rd day of July, 1863, the fact will someday be fully recognized that it had its beginning many miles from here … It was at Beverly Ford then that Gettysburg was inaugurated.”

Had Gen. Robert E. Lee’s plan for the Gettysburg Campaign succeeded, Washington, D.C., might have been captured, with Southern victory a clear possibility.

The Confederates’ retreat after defeat in Gettysburg—the war’s costliest battle—ended Lee’s final strategic offensives. After that point, all combat operations of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia were in reaction to Union initiatives, until Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.

Hall, with the help of others, has worked for more than 30 years to preserve hundreds of acres of Culpeper’s Brandy Station battlefield, where the largest cavalry battle in the Western Hemisphere was waged.

Much of this land now belongs to the American Battlefield Trust, a national land-preservation nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The trust, as well as an alliance of supporters—including the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors, Culpeper Town Council and state legislators such as Sens. Bryce Reeves and Emmett Hanger and Dels. Nick Freitas and Michael Webert—hope that Virginia will create a state park from the ground saved at Brandy Station and the nearby Cedar Mountain battlefield.

Mark Coombs, deputy director of government relations for the American Battlefield Trust, said the park initiative has come close to becoming a reality during the past two years, with a budget amendment approved by the Virginia Senate both years, but failing to win House approval before last winter’s legislative session ended.

More public support from people all across Virginia, and particularly from folks living in Culpeper County, is needed to make a state park a reality.

“We need people to become more active and engaged with the Brandy Station Foundation and Friends of the Cedar Mountain Battlefield,” Coombs told us. “Events are conducted year-round at both sites that aid in bringing attention to the battlefields and their resources and help from both an advocacy and stewardship perspective. These are the ideal vehicles through which people can assist, in multiple ways.”

Such a state park would be a blessing to the Culpeper region economically. But more importantly, the park will honor, commemorate and interpret our country’s biggest cavalry battlefield, and preserve for future generations the memory of those who lost their lives in the bloody struggle there.