Guided battlefield tour

Join Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield (FCMB) for a guided walking tour of the battlefield on Saturday, June 13 at 10:00 am. This tour is 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.

Please note that physical distancing of 6 feet will be encouraged in accordance with current CDC and state guidelines for safety. The group will be limited to 10 participants. If there are more than 10 participants, a second guide will be available.

The tour typically takes about 2 hours. Sturdy shoes, a water bottle, a hat and insect repellent are recommended.
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.

Tour report: June 2020

It was a beautiful Spring day on Saturday, June 13, 2020, and Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield had 7 visitors attend our first regularly scheduled guided tour of the season. After an introduction to the battle the guests divided into two groups. One went with guide Sam Pruett and followed the interpretive markers. Four more seasoned battlefield enthusiasts took to the woods to follow the Stonewall Brigade Trail to tell the story of the brigade’s clash with the six companies of the 3rd Wisconsin and the 46th Pennsylvania. Guide Brad Forbush also covered the approach of the 10th Virginia. The course path through the woods showed the difficult approach to the battle experienced by the Confederates on the left of Stonewall Jackson’s line. Included in the tour group was Mr. Bill Irby whose ancestor William Branch Coleman of the 21st Virginia, Company C, was mortally wounded in the battle. Emphasis on the ordeal of that regiment was given during the rest of the battlefield walk. At the end of the tour the group posed for pictures near where the regiment fought. Everyone enjoyed their visit and promised to return with friends. It was a great day on the battlefield for the guides and the guests.

Visitors are welcome to join us on our next scheduled guided tour on July 11 or explore on the trails on their own year-round. Our site has  information for self guided tours  including a walking route and trail map.

Guided battlefield tour

Join Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield (FCMB) for a guided walking tour of the battlefield on Saturday, June 13 at 10:00 am. This tour is 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.

Please note that physical distancing of 6 feet will be encouraged in accordance with current CDC and state guidelines for safety. The group will be limited to 10 participants. If there are more than 10 participants, a second guide will be available.

The tour typically takes about 2 hours. Sturdy shoes, a water bottle, a hat and insect repellent are recommended.
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.

Culpeper Star Exponent: Interior Department funds Rapidan Front study in Culpeper

The article excerpted below was written by Clint Schemmer and published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on May 17, 2020. The article describes the awarding of a preservation grant to Friends of Cedar Mountain to support a cultural landscape assessment to study the nationally significant Civil War landscape along the Rapidan River front, extending north to the Union Winter Encampment area of 1863-1864 and the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. Visit starexponent.com to read the full article.

Excerpt:
The U.S. Department of the Interior is funding a study of Culpeper County’s “Rapidan Front” area of Civil War battlefields and historic sites.

The Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, a local nonprofit group, will receive $86,740 to research Culpeper’s Racoon Ford, Morton’s Ford and Sommerville Ford battlefields, sites that were fought over in 1863 and 1864 during the American Civil War.

The three battlefields and related historic sites, lie along the Rapidan River, which separated the Confederate and Union armies during that period.
Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt announced the grant Friday during a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park, part of a $3 million package of grants from the nation’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

“Battlefields such as Gettysburg are sacred sites where Americans gave the last full measure of devotion,” Bernhardt said. “These grants enable us to partner with communities and organizations to preserve these places and connect visitors with their historical importance.”

Culpeper County resident Diane Logan, president of the Cedar Mountain friends group, expressed its appreciation for the Interior Department’s support.

“The Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield are thankful for the opportunity this grant award has given us,” Logan said Saturday. “We realize and appreciate the many layers of Culpeper’s rich Civil War history, and are excited at the prospect to explore, research and document events and historical sites that contribute to the full story of battle-torn Culpeper.”

Culpeper Star Exponent: Cedar Mountain group asks Culpeper to delay Greenwood solar project

The following article written by Clint Schemmer was published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on May 6, 2020. Please visit the article link or read below.

A long-established Culpeper-area citizens group has stepped into the fray over a 1,000-acre solar-energy facility planned near Stevensburg.

The Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, steward of part of that 1862 Civil War site, is asking Culpeper leaders to delay the county’s consideration of the project until it can finish an ongoing historical study of the area proposed for solar development.

On Monday, the all-volunteer friends group wrote the Culpeper County Planning Commission and the county Board of Supervisors asking them to halt the Greenwood Solar project so it can continue its study and learn if it will receive a federal grant this fall.

Development of the Greenwood Solar plant, which the Board of Supervisors approved in late 2018, “would create an integrity hole in the center” of the friends’ study area that could jeopardize other sites from being recognized as historic, the group said.

In January, the friends applied to the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program for a grant to fund research on what it’s calling the Rapidan Front, largely undeveloped land where the battles of Raccoon Ford, Morton’s Ford and Somerville Ford were fought and where elements of the Union army camped in the winter of 1863-64. The program is expected to announce its grant awards in August or September.

This study continues research begun in 2016 to identify threats to the Culpeper area’s nationally significant Civil War battlefields and cultural and agricultural landscapes, the friends said.

“If the (Greenwood) project proceeds as presented at this time without consideration to the historical and cultural value of the land it encompasses, it will render the area ineligible for National Register of HIstoric Places consideration not only for important Civil War sites but Colonial, African-American and Native American as well,” Diane Logan, president of the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, told the Culpeper Star-Exponent.

The friends group was raising private funds for its research in advance of the ABPP grant, but the COVID- 19 pandemic has temporarily halted that effort, Logan wrote Culpeper officials. “But we are committed to proceeding with this project as soon as possible,” she told them.

“We urge Culpeper County officials to put a halt to all industrial-scale projects on agricultural land, specifically the sites impacted by our grant application,” Logan wrote the governing board and Planning Commission. “We cannot lose our historic landscape, including the Union Winter Encampment boundary. Once the land is gone, it is gone forever.”

The ABBP grant would finance research to develop and enhance Culpeper historical tours, including landscapes and venues, and support agriculture, Logan told the Star-Exponent.

The study would highlight the importance of farming in Culpeper then and now, she said.

“It is the oldest business in our county and the most sustainable, not only for the health and welfare of our citizens but for growth and development,” Logan said. “Not to mention, agriculture has preserved the beautiful vistas that we enjoy today.”

The Rapidan Front research is documenting the historic resources of the encampment and the Rapidan, Raccoon Ford, Morton’s Ford and Somerville Ford battlefields, she said.

The project would open more resources for heritage tourism, a valuable industry that lures many visitors to Culpeper, and create economic development opportunities for small businesses such as campsites, water recreation and guided tours, the friends group wrote the boards’ members.

“FoCMB is aware of development threats to Culpeper’s historic landscape, particularly from potential industrial-scale solar facilities and housing development that would directly affect the outcome of the 2020 grant application,” it cautioned. “Such development would result in loss of landscape integrity that would render much of the Rapidan Front as no longer National Register-eligible.”

A newer Culpeper-area group that has been fighting industrial-scale solar development in Culpeper County praised the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield’s effort.

“Citizens for Responsible Solar applauds the efforts of Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield to preserve the land. We stand with them in opposing the development of this historic site beyond what it is zoned for, which is agriculture,” Citizens for Responsible Solar President Susan Ralston told the newspaper. “Industrial-scale solar has its place on land zoned for industrial use, marginal or contaminated land or land which is sparsely populated.

“The Greenwood Solar site is part of the land identified in the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield’s grant application and is already a well-documented historic treasure,” Ralston said.

In 2016, Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield met with its regional partners to discuss threats to Culpeper’s historic lands and identify priorities for preservation. Threats to its battlefield landscapes range from housing subdivisions to industrial-solar development to other utility projects, they determined. Looking forward, they set goals for heritage tourism, education, preservation and stewardship.

The Greenwood solar project was approved just before midnight on Oct. 2, 2018, after a three-hour public hearing. The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to grant a conditional-use permit for Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources to build and operate its utility-scale solar project on up to 1,000 acres near Stevensburg. NextEra acquired the project from Texas-based Greenwood Energy.

Historic photo donated to Friends of Cedar Mountain

We are grateful to local historian Clark B. Hall for his donation of a photo documenting President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1902 visit to Cedar Mountain Battlefield.

Journalist Clint Schemmer contributed an article about the gift in the February 12, 2020 edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent:

“A rare treasure has come home to Culpeper County, finding the perfect repository with an appreciative steward.

An original, silver gelatin photographic print of President Theodore Roosevelt at Cedar Mountain now rests in the care of the local nonprofit group that cares for the preserved portion of the Civil War battlefield.

Local historian Clark B. Hall, the collector who purchased the scarce photo, gave it to the Friends of Cedar Mountain during a recent visit to the hallowed ground, now maintained and interpreted by the group of area residents.” Read the full article and view the photo on starexponent.com

Virginians: Please contact your legislators to support battlefield preservation legislation

In its current session, the Virginia General Assembly is currently considering several amendments to the proposed 2020-2022 state budget that are of vital importance to battlefield preservation in the Old Dominion.

If you live in Virginia, please visit the link below to call your state legislators and express support for:

  1. Increasing funding dedicated to supporting the Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund
  2. Amendments that would direct the state to fund creation of a Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain State Park. Creation of this park would help highlight the rich Civil War history in Culpeper County and bring increased numbers of visitors to enjoy not only heritage tourism, but all that Culpeper County has to offer in lodging, dining, shopping, recreation, special events and more.

Please visit battlefields.org/call

Symposium: Solving the mysteries of Civil War graffiti

On November 2, The Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail will host “Beneath the Paint: Civil War Graffiti Symposium” at Historic Blenheim and the Civil War Interpretive Center to examine the history of Civil War graffiti. This day of talks will examine the history of Civil War graffiti and the stories that unfold from the soldiers enduring writings. The conservators who have worked endless hours at the member sites will discuss the technical skills utilized to reveal and preserve these historic gems. New technological methods that have been employed will be highlighted.

This event is perfect for history buffs, scholars, conservators, and preservationists who want to learn more about the history of Civil War graffiti and the technical applications used to reveal and preserve these invaluable artifacts. The in-depth examination of this fascinating subject is also appropriate for high-school and college students.

Schedule and additional information below.
Please register at this link (under Activities, search Civil War)

Culpeper Star Exponent: Visitors mark Cedar Mountain battle anniversary

Excerpt and link to an article written by Clint Schemmer published on August 12, 2019 in the Culpeper Star Exponent.

Cannon boomed, rifles and muskets flashed, smoke billowed, rows of infantrymen in butternut and blue wheeled, turned and clashed, and surgical gear was unpacked.

But no blood was shed this weekend on Culpeper County’s Cedar Mountain battlefield, unlike the real thing on that ground 157 years ago, when 3,600 Union and Confederate soldiers lost their lives in the fighting between Cedar Run and its nearby mountain.

This year’s action at Cedar Mountain brought only an appreciative crowd of visitors eager to learn what happened there during the American Civil War, and to get some feeling for what it was like.

Read the full article on starexponent.com