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The Carnage was Fearful: New book about the battle

Just published, a new look at the Battle of Cedar Mountain by historian Michael Block, former vice president of Friends of Cedar Mountain.

Now available from publisher Savas Beatie and other outlets, The Carnage was Fearful, a look at the Battle of Cedar Mountain by author Michael Block. Mike is the former vice president of Friends of Cedar Mountain and has spent countless hours developing interpretation of the battlefield and escorting visitors to the battlefield on in-depth tours. The publisher comments that the book “presents the battle with the full boots-on-the-ground insight Block has earned while walking the ground and bringing its story to life.” Read more about the book on publisher Savas Beatie’s website.

Full reviews are available online. Excerpts from two reviews:

“…The author of “The Carnage was Fearful” Michael Block added to the histography in an extensive article with some excellent maps published in Blue & Gray Magazine. Thus, it was nice to see his work continued and enhanced in this book.

An excellent foreword by NPS Ranger Gregory Mertz provides the reader with some context of the battle and some major shifts going on as President Lincoln seeks to gain a victory in order to bring the Union back together – a goal of his throughout the war.

The prologue and subsequent 13 chapters describe the overall battle action and participant stories nicely. Additionally, many photos and maps by Hal Jespersen assist in the understanding and appreciation of the fighting undertaken by the participants. Lastly, there are four nice appendices, including one regarding Preservation at Cedar Mountain by Friends President Diane Logan.

If you’re going to head to Cedar Mountain to tour the field, this book will help you gain a grasp of the battle action and prepare for a tour of a field well worth preserving!”

“…Block has been deeply involved in the work to recover, restore, and interpret this battlefield, and his love for every square inch of the property shines through. He gives us good solid introductions to important characters in this battle — Jackson, AP Hill, “Commissary” Banks, Crawford, and others. And he gives a thorough accounting of the campaign — how the armies maneuvered into position, what orders Pope had given, and, in great detail, how the battle unfolded.

I walked the ground at Cedar Mountain once, 13 years ago, for perhaps an hour. They were beginning to interpret it and there were some trails. After reading this book, I want to go back. More than that, I feel like, with this book as a walking companion, I could come away with a thorough understanding of this important battle.”


Guided battlefield tours

Join Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield (FCMB) historians for guided walking tours of the battlefield on the second Saturday of the month at 10:00 am. Our next tour will be held on February 12. 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. Continue reading “Guided battlefield tours”

Volunteers invited to 4/9 Park Day

Join us on April 9 and be part of an annual event, sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust (ABT), that supports historic preservation through community involvement in restoration and maintenance projects.

Join us for Park Day on Saturday, April 9, from 9:00 am – noon! Check in begins at 8:30 am. 

This spring cleaning of the battlefield will take place RAIN OR SHINE!

You’ll be a part of an annual event, sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust (ABT), that supports historic preservation through community involvement in restoration and maintenance projects.

Park Day projects at Cedar Mountain Battlefield include trail maintenance, cleaning up the cannons and battlefield signage, clearing the trails and cemeteries of winter debris, litter removal along the battlefield frontage on General Winder Road, weeding and raking around the meeting house, and more.

All projects will be outdoors.

For everyone’s safety, we ask that participants please have masks available and that participants not in the same household unit please maintain 6 feet of social distance.

We recommend that volunteers bring their own gloves and garden tools. Hedge and weed trimmers are greatly appreciated. Electricity is available for landscaping/trimming efforts near the Meeting House but not on the battlefield.

In appreciation of volunteers’ efforts, there will be a hotdog bbq at noon and ABT water bottles for participants to take home.

Please let us know you’re coming by sending an rsvp to – this will help us develop a “plan of attack” for the day! 

Arriving at 8:30 am for check in will allow projects to get started promptly.

Looking forward to seeing you on April 9th! We greatly appreciate the help volunteers offer on Park Day!


Capt. Erwin A. Bowen, Part 2; Libby Prison

Captain Bowen’s great-great-granddaughter shared this manuscript of her ancestor’s service so that it could be posted here.  These soldiers’ personal stories, from both sides of the battle, are what makes our battlefield history so compelling.

In 1858 Erwin Bowen married Anna Beach. He was then a lieutenant in the New York State Militia. On September 25, 1860, a daughter Effie, was born. She would be the first of 4 children. In the following letter, Captain Bowen, writes to his wife about his experiences at the Battle of Cedar Mountain and as a captured prisoner of war following the engagement. Towards the end of the letter, he records the passing of his young daughter’s 2nd birthday, while he was still held captive as a prisoner of war in Richmond. Here is the captain’s story in his own words.

Continue reading “Capt. Erwin A. Bowen, Part 2; Libby Prison”

Capt. Erwin Ambrose Bowen, 28th NY; Part 1: Introduction

I want to thank Captain Bowen’s  great-great-granddaughter, Mary Robinson for helping me share her ancestor’s story, presented here in several parts, of which this is the first. 

The 28th New York Volunteers lost heavily at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.#1 It was the defining episode of the regiment’s two year history, and they memorialized it in writings, battlefield monuments and veteran re-unions. The story of Captain Erwin A. Bowen figures prominently amidst these engaging human interest stories.

Continue reading “Capt. Erwin Ambrose Bowen, 28th NY; Part 1: Introduction”

Seasonal wreaths at the battlefield

Volunteer Jennifer Michael came to the battlefield on Tuesday, December 6, bearing beautiful seasonal wreaths to be placed at the monument near the Crittenden Gate, the cemeteries, and the meeting house. To construct the wreaths, Jennifer uses a base of grapevine enhanced with cedar, holly, boxwood, and pinecones from her trees. In preparation for putting the final touches on the wreaths she spent a solid two months drying citrus slices. We’re very  grateful to Jennifer for including Cedar Mountain in her wreathmaking efforts and for sharing the photos below.

This is a memorial for Private Simmons of the 45th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. The memorial stone is located in the Throckmorton family cemetery on the battlefield. John Aris Throckmorton of the 6th Virginia Cavalry and Mary (Molly) Crittenden married in 1867 and established their home known as Stonewall Farm on the battlefield.
The gravestone for Mariah Willis is located in a small cemetery behind the meeting house. We believe the cemetery is connected to property formerly owned by the Slaughter family, but research efforts have not turned up information about Mariah Willis that corresponds with the date on the headstone.

President Teddy Roosevelt Visits Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Three months after the dedication of the 28th New York Monument at the Culpeper National Cemetery, and the successful brotherly reunion of soldiers who wore the Blue and the Gray, Judge Daniel A. Grimsley escorted another notable veteran around the battlefield of Cedar Mountain.  The following two newspaper accounts chronicle the event.

Continue reading “President Teddy Roosevelt Visits Cedar Mountain Battlefield”

More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument

To continue with Judge Daniel A. Grimsley’s efforts to memorialize the Cedar Mountain Battlefield, two more news clippings are presented here.  These document his successful efforts to coordinate brotherly reunions between the veteran soldiers of the Blue and the Gray.   In this instance the occasion was the dedication of the 28th New York Monument in the Culpeper National Cemetery, August 9,  1902.

Continue reading “More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument”