By Michael Block, Vice President, Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield
FCMB Board Member Lon Lacey passed away, Friday, December 13, 2019. He was 84.
I first met Lon Lacey in February 2012, when we both joined the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield (FCMB) Board of Directors. We were two of three new members who joined at that time, with the general thought of infusing ‘fresh blood’ into the organization. It was also just prior to Cedar Mountain’s Sesquicentennial commemoration. We were both thrown into the deep end from the start. Lon didn’t miss a beat. His first project was to plan and execute a one-day symposium on the Battle of Cedar Mountain. The program went off flawlessly.
Lon brought a passion for the history of the fight with him, having an ancestor who fought with the 27th Indiana Infantry. The historical detail of the battle was something Lon realized was missing from the FCMB. The current board makeup had an understanding of the fight, but lacked the details. We decided that needed to change.
Over the intervening seven years we served together the variety and depth of tours increased significantly. No longer were visitors conducted along the wartime road and out to the “Point.” They were taken onto Cedar Mountain where Joseph Latimer positioned his guns. They strode down into the “brushy field” where George H. Gordon’s men were set upon from three sides. Our guests were also taken off the battlefield, to the streets of Orange Court House, the Widow Brown house site, the front yard of the Gilbert House, where McGilvery’s battery anchored the Federal left. And most importantly for Lon, the positions of Capt. James Thompson’s Battery C, Pennsylvania Light Artillery in their late night engagement with Captain Willie Pegram’s Purcell Artillery. That evening, the Federal guns stopped the Confederates.
Lon researched that portion of the fight in significant detail. Not only diving into archives and online resources for the bits of information, but also reaching out to re-enactment groups who had the passion for the units involved. The information Lon assembled was amazing. He pin-pointed the battery’s location. Having served in the U. S. Marine Corps and a full career in the FBI, it is no small leap where he acquired his skills. His efforts rewrote our understanding of the artillery duel, and how Thompson was able to use his guns to their maximum effect, quickly rendering the Confederates combat ineffective andforcing their withdrawal. The impact of Thompson’s skill was documented for posterity by Timothy O’Sullivan’s stunning photo of the dead horses of Pegram’s battery, the first Civil War image of dead on the battlefield.
His quest for accuracy did not end there. In 2013, the American Battlefield Trust (ABT), then Civil War Trust, proposed to replace our aging wayside markers with updated ones, with new text, images and maps. Lon and I dove into that project, reviewing the proposed markers line-by-line, discussing what was being said, its relevance to the location and the proposed supporting material. In nearly every case, based on our research, the markers were revised based on the on-the-ground battlefield knowledge and the significance of the position where the marker was placed. In Lon’s mind, this was fast becoming his battlefield, and the accuracy was not to be encroached upon.
The locations and types of the fences throughout the battlefield was another project Lon pursued. Fences on the Cedar Mountain battlefield have never been mapped, though there is a wealth of information available in the period photographs, after-action report, diaries and letters and the art. Lon convinced the ABT to revise and relook at their understanding of the battle and how the fences impacted the fight. It was through Lon’s efforts that a fence now runs along the “Point.” Each year, on Park Day, it grows a little more. And this coming April, that legacy Lon began will continue. In my mind that fence is and will always be Lon’s.
Lon was also a teacher. He loved nothing more than meeting guests on the battlefield and detailing the brief campaign and Battle of Cedar Mountain. The groups were varied and diverse, and Lon had the skill to speak to each group at their level of understanding and their particular interest. He coordinated and brought corporate leaders led by Maj. Gen. (Ret) Eric Vollmecke, members of the North-South Skirmish Association, and the Warwick School. These are just three of the hundreds of tours, groups or individuals Lon led across the battlefield.
The corporate leaders participated in a staff ride of the battlefield and had an additional experience during their afternoon. They were taken to a nearby farm that had a firing range. Once there, Lon broke out a number of rifles from his extensive collection. After describing the weapons, the staff riders were allowed to try their hand at firing these historic weapons.
When the North-South Skirmish Association toured the field, Lon gained permission and access to the Cedar Mountain Shelf, a private location few have had the privilege of visiting. The view is spectacular and you gain an immediate understanding of the impact on the battle Confederate artillery had from that position.
In April 2016, we were visited by the Sixth Form (or Seniors) from the Warwick School, Warwick, England. This boys’ school is believed to be the oldest boys’ public school in the world. The group was traveling up and down the east coast and made Cedar Mountain a stop on their journey to Charlottesville. For three hours, Lon and I described the battle and the relevance to the Virginia campaign of 1862. While I am sure the young gentlemen enjoyed the tour and talk (and lunch) what got them all excited was the opportunity to handle Lon’s weapons. It was a rare treat and the boys thoroughly enjoyed the moment.
Lon was instrumental in acquiring the two replica cannon that crown a hill on the battlefield. Plans were underway and funds collected to purchase a replica when the opportunity to have two from a former museum at Gettysburg were made available to the FCMB. Lon took point on all aspects of the cannon movement and refurbishment. He worked to transport them from Gettysburg, found a location and individual who would strip, break down, repair, rebuild and repaint the 126-year-old cannon. The result of the six-month process revealed two nearly pristine 3 inch ordinance rifled cannon you see at Cedar Mountain.
As many of our board members d0, Lon re-enacted with a passion. He was key in finding units that would journey to Culpeper to take part in living history events or demonstrations. He brought Thompson’s Battery C down from Pennsylvania (a unit after his own heart) and the 2nd Maryland Fife and Drum Band, of which his son is a member. Artillery and music on the battlefield provides impact, and Lon delivered.
Lon was intensely focused on battlefield preservation. He constantly looked for opportunities for some positive action whenever a piece of property on the battlefield became vulnerable. One of our first actions was supporting the ABT in purchasing the home on the edge of the battlefield that is now used for multiple purposes and functions as well as the ten acres directly across the street. When property fell onto our radar, Lon would research the history of that ground so the significance was understood. The documentation created was passed to those who needed it to fight whatever the fight was, be it an outright purchase, a viewshed challenge or just to better understand its relevance.
I will miss the battlefield walks Lon and I took, going over the movements, actions and reactions, as well as the healthy discussions on what each of us believed happened, and where it happened. We always parted friends. His conversations at board meetings were always on task as to how the actions taken by the FCMB would move the group forward. The impact of his loss has not yet been realized. But Lon Lacey, you are already sorely missed.
This is the 2nd installment of our look at four memorable tours given at Cedar Mountain in 2019.
The 27th Indiana at Cedar Mountain, September 19, 2019
In July, Mr. Bob Shaffer contacted FCMB Vice President Michael Block to share information about his grandmother’s uncle, Edmund R. Brown, and to schedule a private tour with the Friends of Cedar Mountain. The date September 19 was set to escort Mr. Shaffer around the battlefield. Edmund R. Brown wrote the beautifully descriptive regimental history of the 27th Indiana Volunteers published in 1899. His eloquent words are often quoted on tours of the battlefield. Here’s a brief example describing the regiment’seight mile march to Cedar Run which began just beyond Culpeper.
“The air was as hot as a bake oven.Going directly south, near the noon hour, the sun beat mercilessly into our faces.Our small, cloth caps, with narrow visers, were poor protection for our heads and eyes, while, with our heavy, regulation dress coats tightly buttoned, our bodies seemed to be a furnace of fire.Not more than one or two of the Twenty-seventh were sunstroke and fell down in convulsions, but scores of other regiments were affected in that way. As we passed along in the intense heat we saw many o them lying on the ground, frothing at the mouth, rolling their eyeballs and writhing in painful contortions.This march was the first of several almost incredible things accomplished that day.”
The day of the battle, August 9, 1862, happened to be Edmund Brown’s 17th birthday.What were you doing when you were 17?
Bob brought a copy of his ancestor’s book with him to Cedar Mountain while the 3 of us, Mike, Bob and I, explored the battle from the perspective of the 27th Indiana.We drove behind the preserved land to see the high hill where the Brown House once stood, the jump-off point of the 27th when they advanced into battle.From here,two companies, C & F, were detached to the right a half mile as flank guards and were not engaged this day.They were forgotten about when the Union lines fell back, so the two companies had an adventure finding their comrades after the retreat.From the Brown House the regiment stepped off on the double-quick, across Cedar Run, towards the battle already in progress.It was a long difficult approach.
Our tour stopped in the woods, again on private property, where the old road trace of the Civil War era Wayland’s Mill road can be found.Before us was the rugged, rock-strewn embankment the 27th charged over during their advance.Brown wrote:
“Where the left wing of the Twenty-seventh struck the slope it rises at an angle of almost forty-five degrees.All the way up the surface is not only steep, but mostly very broken.Ravines, gulches, ledges of rock and innumerable loose stones, large and small, impede the progress at every step.Trees and low bushes stand thick, with fallen tops and limbs and a tangle of vines and briars in many places, next to impenetrable.”
Looking down the slope today, the ground remains the same and Edmund Brown’s words came alive for us. Nearby, on top of the wooded hill, stands a monument to the 27th, near the spot where the regiment stepped off the hill into combat. It was placed in 1901 by John Bresnahan, of Washington, D.C., a Company A veteran who also placed the regiment’s monument at Chancellorsville.
Our tour group left the woods and proceeded to the battlefield proper, where we walked the ground near the 3rd Wisconsin Monument.It was here the 27th met the enemy in earnest.When the regiment hit the fence bordering the wheat field they had to climb over it, or get around it somehow as best they could.The enemy brigades of James J. Archer and Charles A. Ronald were in front and firing.The regiment, being unprepared to respond,had to fall back.They reformed on a ridge a short distance from the fence and went in again, this time firing as they entered the fray.Now in addition to Archer & Ronald’s brigade, William D. Pender’s brigade was on their flank.And here we have a mystery, still to this day.
In the first advance the3rd Wisconsin, was on the left of the 27th Indiana.Six companies of the 3rd Wisconsin followedCrawford’s brigade into the wheat field after a short delay and were forced back.The 27th Indiana passed some of these troops in the woods on their advance.The 3rd WI troops reformed and returned to the battle.Because their battlefield monument is so far to the right of the Union line, it is presumed they came in on the right of the 27th Indiana.It is a puzzle that remains to be solved.
Historian guide Michael Block was able to point to certain characteristics of the ground here, and offered his theories on the location of the hill where the 27th fell back and re-formed before their second charge.
One last point on behalf of the 27th Indiana Infantry.Their Brigade Commander General George H. Gordon constantly slighted them.Another member of our board, historian Alonzo Lacey, whose great great uncle, Henry A. Ferris (Farris) served in the 27th and survived all its campaigns, said to me, “at Buckland Station, between Strasburg and Front Royal, the [27th IN] regiment, with some others of the 3d WI skirmished with Turner Ashby’s Cavalry and beat them back, but Gordon said they were routed.”
General Gordon slighted the regiment again in his official report of Cedar Mountain.But as Edmund Brown points out, in Gordon’s own book, “From Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain,” which was written years later, the brigade commander gives a more accurate account of events.
And so ended our exploration of the 27th Indiana at Cedar Mountain.Its a part of the battle we don’t often get to tell due to time considerations.In Mike’s words, “getting down to details and really understanding what was happening” make these kinds of tours especially rewarding for visitors and guides alike.As Bob Shaffer summed up, “Walking the ground is the only way to understand it.”
Pictured above is the author at left with Mr. Bob Shaffer at the 27th Indiana Monument.
Reflecting on the past year’s activities, the board members of Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield take great pride in their successful efforts to increase the number of public and private guided tours of the battlefield offered in 2019. In addition to the regularly scheduled and advertised monthly tours, generally given on the 3rd Saturday of each month, May through October, there were a few tours given by happenstance. The most important of these for the author was when he guided Mr. George Griffin, a descendant of a 10th Virginian soldier, and fulfilled this out of state visitor’s long-time desire to walk in his ancestor’s footsteps.
The last time George and his wife Jo Ann visited many years ago, the land was not preserved, nor were there any markers to delineate where the fighting happened. It was a marvel for George to have access to the land and walk in his ancestor’s footsteps. It was especially meaningful for me to provide that service. And then there were the pre-arranged tours presented by special request. All of these were significant but four tours stand out as being especially enjoyable for the visitors as well as the guides.
We will feature a summary of these special guided tours, each as an individual post, in the coming weeks. Here is the first installment.
Adjutant Charles Sprout’s Sword Returns to Cedar Mountain, May 13
On May 13, Mr. Joseph Maghe and his wife Deb brought several artifacts from their private collection to the Cedar Mountain Battlefield Visitor’s Center. Most prominent among them was the sword of Adjutant Charles P. Sprout, 28th New York Volunteers, who was killed in action at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862. I’ve had a long association with Joseph through our common interest in the 13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He is one of the most magnanimous collectors it is my pleasure to know, who has no qualms about sharing his collection with interested parties. In his words, “The historical articles are meant to be seen and shared.”
Many years ago, it was Joseph who tipped me off that eBay was auctioning one of my great-great grandfather’s Civil War letters. Joseph’s consideration, allowed me to purchase this singularly treasured artifact, a September 1861 letter written from Harper’s Ferry. When I learned Joseph was traveling to Manassas to share some of his collection with a private tour, I invited him to Cedar Mountain. He accepted. We had not yet met face to face, but that introduction was made at the Manassas tour. A couple of days later we met again at Cedar Mountain.
FCMB Vice President Michael Block and battlefield historian Lon Lacey were also in attendance. The most exciting relic was the sword of Adjutant Charles Sprout, the popular officer of the 28th NY Infantry whose death in the battle was widely lamented. He was killed during the famous charge of General Samuel W. Crawford’s first brigade, against the weak left flank of Stonewall Jackson’s line. In this action the regiment went in with 320 men, and lost 209.
General Crawford himself mentioned Sprout in his report of the battle:
“Lieutenant Sprout, adjutant of the Twenty-eighth New York, was killed at the side of the enemy’s battery, and the gallant conduct of the men was sufficiently attested by one of the generals of the enemy himself, as we stood together upon the battlefield twenty-four hours after the action amid the mingled bodies of the dead of both sides.” A touching denouement to this story is that Adjutant Sprout’s daughter attended the 28th New York monument dedication ceremony at the Culpeper National Cemetery in 1902.
Harry E. Bowen, the son of Captain Erwin Bowen, described the scene in a letter to his family:
“Mrs. Stilson [of Detroit] was introduced to the audience as the daughter of Adjutant Sprout being three months old at the time of his death at Cedar Mountain. Her father had wished her named Annie Lourie Sprout, which lent an added charm to the song of Annie Lourie which she sang. The enthusiasm brought her back the second time, and all joined in the Star Spangled Banner.”
After enthusiastically swapping stories and sharing personal artifacts from the war, we walked the battlefield together. A drizzly day gave the tour added interest.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here are several from that special day.
Board members Michael Block and Lon Lacey talk while Joseph reads the transcript of my great-great grandfather’s September 1861 letter written from Harper’s Ferry, on the Maryland side of the river.
Board member Lon Lacey shows Joseph his ancestor’s carbine with name inscribed on the stock.
FCMB Vice President Michael Block sets the stage for the battlefield tour.
At “The Point.” This is the spot on the battlefield where the 28th New York charged through the wheat field to attack the weak Confederate left flank.
Near the spot on the battlefield where Adjutant Charles Sprout, 28th NY, was killed.
Walking the field, Cedar Mountain in the background.
FOCMB Vice-President Michael Block, with Adjutant Sprout’s Ceremonial Sword. Mike gave a talk the following week in Sprout’s home-town of Lockport, N.Y.
A photo of Mike speaking at the New Holland Land Office Museum, in Batavia, N.Y., May, 2019. He spoke on the 28th New York’s action during the Battle of Cedar Mountain, and the postwar reconciliation between the 28th NY and the 5th Virginia Infantry. This included the “returning of the 28th’s battle flag by the Virginians in 1882, and the New Yorker’s visit to Staunton, VA the following year.
So that’s it for this week. Next up will be a recap of a July tour that focused on the 27th Indiana Infantry with the descendant of Edmund Brown, the author of the 27th’s regimental history.
In the relics room at the Friends of Cedar Mountain meeting house, there hangs a laminated newspaper. It is an original edition of the Culpeper Enterprise, dated August 15, 1902. The dedication of the 28th New York Monument in the Culpeper National Cemetery is the subject of the entire issue. Thinking it might be of interest to our visitors, I transcribed the paper and post it here.
A few notes on the transcription: Some obvious typos have been corrected. In one or two places the newspaper was torn, but if I was able to discern a name in the torn section, specifically N.E.G. Wadhams, I added it to this transcription.Also, regarding Horatio King’s poem, read at the ceremony,I found a printed version of the poem on line at the webarchive, and added the lines that were illegible in the newspaper due to folds in the newsprint.And, I included a few extraneous things from the banner, and the advertisement at the very bottom of the newspaper page, just for kicks. –Bradley M. Forbush.
THE CULPEPER ENTERPRISE CULPEPER, VA,
FRIDAY AUGUST 15, 1902
Published by The Enterprise Publishing House The Enterprise has the Largest Circulation of any paper in this location ––with possibly one exception–– (The Warrenton Virginian.) Devoted to the Interest of Culpeper and Adjacent Counties. Price 75 Cents Cash;TRADE —-$1.00 per year.
Survivors of the 28th Reg’t. New York Volunteers Held Their Annual Reunion in Culpeper, Virginia.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8th.
At which Meeting they Dedicated a Handsome Monument to the Memory of those of their Comrades who fell in the Battle of Cedar Mountain.The monument constructed of great blocks of Granite, weights 40 tons, stands 25 feet high, and cost $2,500.A perpetual testimonial to the valor of those in whose honor it was erected.
Business Meeting of the Association. 28th New York, at Culpeper, Va.
At the annualbusiness meeting of the Association, held at the National Cemetery on Friday the 8th, the following reports were made.
Col. E. F. Brown, New York city; S.S. Marvin, Phila., Pa;F. B. Seeley, Lockport, NY; C. W. Boyce, Buffalo,, J.W. Little, Lockport, N.Y.;B. B. Brown, Cooperstown; N. Dakota; E.H. Ewell, St. Louis, Mich; Jas. Taylor, Vassar, Mich.; Jas. Phillips, Buffalo, NY;N H. White, Chesaning, Mich;G. B. Swick, Ramsonville, NY; Thos. Granville, Lockport;L. A. Brace, Eau Claire, Wis; Ziba Roberts, East Shelby, NY;E.B. Whitmore, Rochester; D. L. Raynolds, Rushville, NY; S. H. Beach, Jersey City;C. H. Liscom, NY city; G. H. Boker,[?] Brooklyn;E. A. Newbury, Westen, Wash;F. W. Morse, Garwood, NJ;N.E.G. Wadhams, Niagara Falls; T. Fitz?? (torn)Washington, DC;Capt. J. Waller, Monticello, NY:W. McIntyre, Mangalup Valley, NYM. Warfield; Hampton, Va.
Number of comrades supposed to be surviving at last reunion, 280.Six names added this year, of comrades whose addresses were not previously known, vise: Edwin A. Newberry, Sgt-Major, Weston, Mass.; Edward S. Newman, Co. B.N.S. Home, Milwaukee, Wis; Patrick Lavelle, Co. E, Columbus, Mont; Leonard B. Taylor, Co F, Athens, Maine; Ed. St. John, Co. G, Noroton Heights Conn; Edward J. Watts, Co. F, Wellington, Ohio. 286.
We have lost by death 8 members –– see obituary report.
We have been compelled to drop the names of the following comrades, whose correct address couldn’t obtained;Frank F. Church,Lawrence Metzger, Homer H. Fields, and Henry Dykeman. Leaving names now on Roster, 224.
The Secretary has received personal responses from 204 of these, leaving 20 whose address, as recorded to his book must be incorrect, as no response has been received from them.But letters addressed to these comrades have not been returned, showing that either they, or their friends, had received them; or that their mail had been forwarded to some other address and had not been received.If received, no attention had been given it.The names and lost addresses of these 20 comrades, are as follows:
Henry Reparsz, Lockport, NY.
Wm. Winthrop, Lockport, NY.
Alvin A. Eaton, Portis, Kansas.
Lucius Stickney, Alabama NY.
Wright Rodger, Lockport NY.
E.S. Newman, NS home Milwaukee
Samuel Davis, Edgerton, Mich.
John Kempter, E Saginaw, Mich.
John Kugler, Lockport, NY.
Eugene Shepard, N Ridgeway, NY
ML Parkhurst, Canandaigua, NY
Wm H. Brown, Hillsdale, Mich.
Geo. W. Thayer, Pembroke, NY.
Owen McAlister, Clarendon, NY.
Wm A. Lovett, Newark, Ohio.
James Coddington, Wurtsboro, NY.
George Young, Elleville, NY.
John J. Sullivan, Niagara Falls, NY.
William H. Frank, St Paul, Minn,
Byron C Anderson, Wissington, So. Dakota.
The Secretary has also received the following names of comrades who are reported to be surviving, but letters to them at the addresses given have met with no response:
W A Thomas, leader of band, Athens, Maine.
Henry Burk, Co B, N S Home, Dayton, Ohio.
James Gay, Co E, N S Home, Milwaukee, Wis.
James Fox, Co F, 510 Fowler street, Milwaukee, Wis.
The new Roster, thus revised, has been sent to each comrade with the invitation to the reunion.It has been prepared with great care and may be relied upon as being very nearly correct.If the comrades would co-operate with the secretary in correcting changes in the addresses where necessary, the Roster would be more reliable.All of which is respectfully submitted.C.W. BOYCE, Secretary.
The report of the Treasurer shows the association to be in good financial condition.The voluntary subscriptions of the comrades being sufficient, with the State appropriation, to dedicate the monument free of debt, and leave a balance in the treasury to pay all obligations fo the Reunion for the present year.
Reports of the death of the following comrades have been received at the Secretary’s office since our last reunion :
John Quinton, Band, died in 1898.
John H Smith, Co K, died in Aurora, Ill. April 26, 1898.
Leander Hamilton, Co F, died Fairport, NY, 1900.
Erastus R Peek, Co F, died Brockport, NY, June 10, 1901.
Joseph H Camp, Co I, died in Nyack, NY, November 13, 1901.
W H Withey, Band, died in Sioux Falls, SD, December 19, 1901.
Alexander Simpson, Co I, died in Lewistown, NY, October 14, 1901.
John D Woods, Co I, died in Lockport, NY, May 4, 1902.
It is with sorrow we are compelled to drop these names from our list of surveying comrades; and no longer call their names at our yearly roll call.
They were our associates on the weary march, in the camp and on the battle-field; and were endeared to us by the strong ties of comradeship.We cherish their memories and pay this last tribute of respect to them our heartfelt sympathies to their relatives and friends.Singed
C.W. Boyce,F. B. Seeley. E.B. Whitmore. Obituary Committee.
The following Officers were elected :George Irish, President;N E G Wadhams, Vice-President, and C W Boyce, Secretary and Treasurer.
The place selected for the next reunion is “Olcott Beach, New York.”The date : May 22d 1903.
The Dedicatory services were presided over by the colonel of the 28th, Col. E. F. Brown, who lost an arm on Cedar Mountain.
The Colonel made an address of welcome and informed his comrades and the visiting hosts that they had assembled for the purpose of dedicating that imposing block of stone, erected to the memory of their fallen comrades.A silent sentinel, yet its presence will forever perpetuate the memory of those to whom and over whose ashes it stands; a fitting tribute to the bravery of man.
Rev. W. T. Williams made a very touching prayer.An oration by Judge Oren Britt Brown, of Dayton, Ohio, son of Col. E. F. Brown, who proved himself a worthy son of his much-loved sire.His remarks were interesting and appropriate.“We are here,” he said, “to dedicate this beautiful monument, expressive of the gratitude, affection and appreciation of the citizens of the great Empire State, by unanimous vote of its representatives in the General Assembly, to the memory of the volunteers of the 28th New York, as an enduring mark to the bravery and loyalty of its officers and men, both living and dead.”He spoke of the terrors of war and declared that of all battles of the war, Cedar Mountain stands forth as one of the bloodiest, and that the 28th New York, his father’s regiment, suffered most severely on that bloody field.This regiment marched upon the slope of Cedar Mountain on the morning of the ninth of August, 1862, 357 strong, and ere the setting of the sun57 were killed, 61 wounded and 92 were prisoners; total loss, 210.Every officer was either killed, wounded or taken prisoner, and “your colors captured.”Yours it was to do and to die.We are in the midst of the scenes where that dreadful conflict between brothers occurred.The conscientiousness of the men who participated in that war is not now questioned.The men who took part in the civil war, ever since the surrender at Appomattox have accepted the decree of that day as an expression of the final settlement of the principles and issues involved.
“Since the late war with Spain many have proclaimed that the conflict served to reunite the nation; that the bitter feeling engendered by the civil war had given place to the fraternal love engendered by the companionship of a Nation’s Common Cause.This may have strengthened the ties of friendship between the two sections and may have made still firmer the foundations of our nation as they existed at the termination of the civil war in 1865; but in-so-far as the soldiers of either side were concerned, this had been accomplished at Appomattox.”
Then followed this beautiful poem read by the author, Gen. Horatio C. King of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Come here my boy, and sit down upon my knee,
How old are you?you say you’r twelve and three?
Why bless my heart, how fast the time does fly !
It seems less years than that since crippled I
A gawky stripling lad, no taller than you be
Shouldered my trusty gun and fought for liberty.
Just see me now with my old wrinkled head,
Near bald as that round ragged ball of lead
The surgeon dug from this poor limping leg,
( Though stiffened, better than a wooden peg ),
In old Virginia, on that August day,
When Stonewall Jackson brought our boys to bay
At Cedar Run –– Ah me, who could forget
That bloody fight, its memories haunt me yet.
I guess you’ve heard –– No?Well I declare
And you’re fifteen”Say tell me when and where
You’ve been to school, and who my boy’s your teacher
I can’t believe there lives a single creature
Who hasn’t heard of Slaughter’s famous Mountain;
Perhaps he doesn’t drink straight from the fountain
Of real history –– not the pre-diluvian kind
Of Rome and Greece; why boy he must be blind
To skip what’s done and doing here at home
And waste his time on ancient Greece and Rome.
I’ve seen of more than forty years that fight
Since first though Shenandoah’s valley bright
We marched in old Virginia, noble State
But then embittered with unreasoning hate.
And just because we loved our brethren so
We wouldn’t let them from the Union go.
And so we boys put on our uniforms of blue,
And tramped that sacred soil just through and through
“Twas mighty rough, but then you ought to know
That war is hell: Pap Sherman told us so.
And yet I hear some foolish people say
That war’s not war; and that the proper way
To fight those devils in the Philippines
Is just to feed them bibles, junk and greens,
To send them flags of truce and tracts galore,
And while they fight to send them more and more––
And if those friends go in for nameless slaughter
To shoot them down with squirts and violet water
What bally rot!If I could only see
Those valiant jays in Congress and without,
I’d give them facts to jog their thoughts about,
And you can bet I’m not afraid to speak and tell
The President to give those fellows hell.
Excuse my swearing, but you see when I
Just hear our boys abused, I’d rather die
Than shut my mouth.Why bless your heart
My boy is there a fighting for the flag,
He’ll do his duty while his tongue can wag,
And when I hear men call him what he is not,
I don’t deny it makes me piping hot!
When I was just a little older than you be,
I joined the 28th New York in Lockport:see?
As fine a lot of boys as ever fired a gun,
And quite as fond of fighting as they were of fun.
The ladies, bless their hearts!of Lockport town
Lent willing hands and did us royal brown,
Presenting us with colors just as fine
As ever fanned the air.No golden mine
Could buy that flag when we left home and all,
And marched away to heed our county’s call.
We had our ups and downs like other boys,
And many troubles, though a share of joys;
Thro’ dust and mud, in rain and sleet snow,
We went, no kicking, where we had to go,
Until in August eighteen sixty-two
We pitched our camp, a likely sight to view
Among Culpeper’s green and shady hills.
and filled our canteens from its sparkling rills,
the tents they shone like silver in the sun,
the stacks of muskets and each frowning gun
Stood ready, for a mile or two away
Was Stonewall Jackson, waiting for the fray.
Our flag, ah me!it never looked so bright
As on that summer morning in the growing light|
When we fell in, and felt it in our bones
That bloody work was coming and the stones
On Cedar Mountain would be red with gore
And hundreds sleep the sleep of never more,
We asked not questions; all we soldiers knew,
Was, Banks was there to tell us what to do:
And wherefore wasn’t ours to think or ask
But just to buckle to the awful task
Of fighting twice our number (that’s no lie)
’Twas ours, in face of all to do and die.
’Twas a’most noon. We heard our Colonel shout
“Charge old 28th; drive the Johnnies out!”
A ringing cheer swelled all along the line,
And with a rush that stiffened every fellow’s spine
We sent the Johnnies flying like the wind
And left their dead and wounded far behind.
Our Gallant Colonel, Dudley Donnelly fell,
And bleeding died there in that mouth of hell;
And Lewis too, who bore our flag that day
Fell on the field and while he wounded lay,
Brave hands to rescue, held the banner high
Till each and all were stricken down to die;
Our Lieutenant Colonel Brown, God bless him!he
There lost his arm –– a fighting for the free.
He’s here, but Sproutour Adjutant was shot,
And breathed his last upon that fearful spot.
The rank and file went in three hundred strong,
And more –– I guess you’ve heard that famous song
Of Balaklava, and old England’s braves
Whom blundering orders sent to heroes graves.
Well ! Balaklava was like children’s play
And wasn’t in it with the desperate way
The 28th went down like soldier toys,
And lost two hundred of its noble boys
The fight was worse than useless.Who’s to blame?
Don’t ask; no good !We won a glorious name,
But not the field;we lost and worst of all
Our cherished flag; the Johnnies had the call.
Like sheep they packed us in the cattle cars,
’Til Libby found us penned behind its bars,
With one small piece of our shot-riddled flag,
A precious, frayed out little bit of rag,
But full of cheer day after weary day,
While pain and hunger wore our lives away.
But wars like all things else must have an end,
Though still for three years more twas fight and spend.
But blood and money flowed in storms away,
Until upon that fateful April day,
At Appomattox, Southern flags were furled
And peace our peace was hailed throughout the world.
We boys had had enough of fights and [and repeated] gore
And glad were we to see our happy homes once more
We’d saved the Union; not a silvery star
Was blotted from the flag, no single scar
Defaced the stripes of lovely red and white;
But stars and stripes reflected freedom’s light.
Our angry foe became our loyal friend,
Til in another war we both contend
To see who’ll fight the hardest for the land
Whose life was threatened once by brother’s hand.
Well twenty years went by and not a sign
Of our old flag except that six by nine,
That little strip held fast by Colonel Brown
When we were captives in old Richmond town,
Till eighty-two, perhaps ’twas eighty-one
He spent a happy day in Washington,
When searching in the pile with eager air
Of captured flags, he found it lying there.
He dragged it from its dusty hiding place’
Our flag once lost, but lost not in disgrace,
He matched the missing fragment to a T,
And you may well believe when told to me
I cried for joy, I threw my cap on high
And cheered until I thought I’d surely die!
But that’s not all; we’ll not forget the day
When these brave men who took that flag away ––
The 5th Virginia, traveled North to give
it back; I‘ll not forget it while I live.
We’ve got [have] it yet; and when my time shall come
To shuffle off this coil and go up home,
I hope my comrade who may linger there
Will lay that tattered flag upon my bier,
And when the preacher’s had his final say
I want some comrade who was there that day
At Cedar Mountain just to read this song
I’ve writ below:And let him read it strong!
Then bugle sound “lights out”;perhaps I may
Just hear;for heaven can’t be far away.
TO THE AMERICAN FLAG.
All hail our starry banner
The emblem of the free,
Whose stars and stripes forever
Shall stand for liberty.
The world beholds thy glory,
‘Bright banner of the stars,
And nations held in bondage
Shall break their prison bars.
In thee the blue of heaven
Proclaims thy purity,
And peoples plunged in sorrow
Shall fondly turn to thee:
To lead the world in honor,
The weak to cheer and save,
These are thy tasks forever,
Dear banner of the brave,
To thee our holy pledges
We solemnly renew,
Until our hearts are silent,
To thee will we be true.
The centuries shall claim
Till time here? shall end,
And all the world proclaims thee
Protector, savior, friend.
THE MONUMENT PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNMENT
Private S. S. Marvin in a few well chosen remarks presented to the governmentfor its “care and keeping, the beautiful granite shaft that adorns the sacred spot we now occupy.
Gen. T. E. True of the Quartermaster General’s Department of the Army, received the monument for and in the name of the United States.
At this juncture the vast throng was thrilled by the voice of Mrs. Arthur Stilson as she sang “Annie Laurie” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
And last, but not least, was the address of Gen. M. N. Curtis, ex-Congressman, from New York, who said in part:“In many ways I claim fellowship with you, my brave Virginians.In all the glory given the 28th today you are silent participants of honor.
“Happy, indeed, are the American people that on both sides they met as they did this conflict which was necessary.It had to come; the question whether the Union or State was sovereign was not one for courts or legislatures.And we are glad it was fought to the end, leaving nothing to our children but to love and honor the Union which remains.”
The benediction by Rev. W. T. Williams, closed the annual reunion of the 28th N.Y. A memorable meeting it was –– one that will be long and pleasantly remembered by every one present.
A vast throng had gathered from our little city and surrounding country to join in hearty sympathy and co-operation with those from the North, who had journeyed here to do honor to the memory of their dead.
The sun shone beautifully bright.The little birds chanted solemn requiems o’er the sleeping heroes.No cloud in the sky.No word, or act, to mar the unsullied pleasure of the solemn occasion.
THE CAMP FIRE.
At night–– Friday, Aug. 8th,––there was a “Camp-fire” in Rixey’s Opera House, around which were assembled veterans of both the Blue and the Gray.
Major Grimsley presided, and many stories and incidents of camp-life were related.General King’s jokes carried the audience by storm.
Judge Grimsley has done all in his power to make this a memorable occasion and we feel confident that the cordial reception we have extended to our visitorsis duly appreciated by them.
REUNION OF THE BLUE AND THE GRAY
On a hot Saturday, August 8, 1862, [August 9th is correct – B.F.] Cedar Mountain was the scene of one of the many bloody combats that drenched the soil of old Virginia with the blood of contending armies.
Last Saturday, the 8th, just 40 years thereafter, there met upon that fatal spot, survivors of those who participated in that fearful drama.
Last Saturday they met not as enemies, but as friends and brothers.Together they tramped over the ground and talked the stirring scenes that they witnessed on Cedar Mountain 40 years ago.
The positions the several commands occupied to various times during the engagement, have been marked with huge blocks of granite which bears the same of each command.The credit of this work is due to our honored townsman, Judge D. A. Grimsley.
Having erected a monument to the memory of their dead, the survivors of the 28th New York determined to hold their annual reunion in Culpeper for the double purpose of dedicating the monument and to again visit the Cedar Mountain battlefield to satisfy themselves that the granite markers had been properly placed, and invited the Confederate veterans, especially the members of the 5th Virginia, to join them;but Colonel (Judge) Grimsley determined to capture his old adversaries, and to this end called upon the good people of the town and county of Culpeper (holding the old vets in reserve) to constitute themselves a committee to entertain the members of the 28th New York and their comrades and friends.Nobly did they respond to Judge Grimsely’s request.It reminded the writer of an old-time Virginia picnic.
Our people came for many miles around and most of them brought bountiful supplies of eatables.A veritable feast, such as one only gets at an old Dominion picnicFully six thousand people were on the grounds.
The beautiful grove in which is situated Cedar Run Church, was thronged with those who came in honor of the occasion whose presence demonstrates the good fellowship that warms the hearts of true Virginians.
It was an ideal day.A day that will remain green in our memory; a day where our beautiful girls (of which Culpeper is justly proud) vied with each other in their efforts to entertain their new made friends.
The presiding officer, Judge Grimsley, selected some of Culpeper’s fairest daughters and assigned to them the pleasant task of pinning a badge on the lapel of each veteran’s coat.It was a beautiful sight to see those gray haired warriors, standing in two long columns, while these pretty young maidens bestowed upon them a badge of honor.
Forward, march! was the next order of the day.And the veterans marched either side of the long tables that fairly groaned ‘neath the weight of viands.This sumptuous feast was served by the dainty hands of our sweet girls, which added no little to the enjoyment of the repast.After the old soldiers had been served, a general invitation was extended to all.Everyone present was bountifully provided for, and so generous was the supply that there was enough left to have fed as many more.Surely the hospitality of Culpeper (of which we are proud) was fully sustained last Saturday.
Our business men, many of whom could not spend the day with the visitors, yet wished to contribute to their pleasure, so they procured Staley’s Band from Washington, which proved a very pleasing feature of the day.
Dinner over, Judge Grimsley introduced Capt. C. M. Blackford of Lynchburg, of the 2d Va. Cavalry, who was temporarily attached to Gen. Jackson’s staff at the time of the battle.Capt. B told of one incident of the battle:The Confederate troups faultered;old Jack seeing his columns wavering rushed into the breach, drew his sword and waved it for the first and last time during the war. Capt. Blackford’s able and instructive address was greatly enjoyed;at the close of which he introduced Gen. M. N. Curtis, saying Virginia owed much to the General; that he had proven her friend.General Curtis is a pleasant speaker and his friendly remarks were highly appreciated.
The others who spoke were:Col. E. F. Brown, 28th N.Y.;Capt. W. P. Pendleton, Col. J. W. Williams of the 5th Va. Infantry;Brig.-Gen. J. T. Taylor of Penn., who was a Captain in the battle of Cedar Mountain and led a cavalry charge, and Col. Wm. Penn Loyd, Adjt-Gen’l of Gen’l Taylor’s brigade.The writer was very pleased with Col. Loud’s remarks,And also Mr. John Bresnahan.
The crowning feature of the day was a song by Mrs. Arthur Stilson of Detroit, Mich., daughter of Adjutant Sprout of the 28th New York, who was killed in the battle of Cedar Mountain.Standing within view of the spot where her father sacrificed his life for the flag, his daughter in her unusually sweet voice sang the song of the South, “Dixie.”It was indeed a most touching incident; one that should convince the most skeptical of the changes 40 years have wrought.
A number of patriotic songs was rendered by a chorus composed of the different choirs of the town, with band accompanyment, which added to the enjoyment of the occasion.
With one accord all agree that the Veterans Reunion Picnic was a success.Too much credit cannot be given Judge Grimsley, for to his untiring energy and unceasing efforts, all are indebted for such an enjoyable time.
Before leaving the field the members of the 28th unanimously passed the following resolution:
RESOLVED, That the hearty thanks of every comrade of the 28th New York Regiment, and of every Northern citizen visiting the city of Culpeper at this time, be, and the same hereby is, extended to Judge D. A. Grimsley and his citizen and Confederate associates, who have so ably arranged all the details for our pleasure and comfort at this reunion ; and to the ladies of Culpeper, who have so kindly opened their houses for our entertainment;also to the ladies and citizens who have provided the very generous lunch on the battlefield; and to all, who have in so many ways, aided in making our stay among you so very delightful.
We are deeply moved by the fraternal spirit that prompted you to decorate the stores and many of your homes, an unexpected evidence of our welcome to your beautiful city, and the hospitality of your lovely homes, will ever remain with us, a most pleasant memory.The hearty welcome we have received have made a deep impression upon us, a most pleasant memory.The hearty welcome we have received has made a deep impression upon us.We shall take our departure from your city with regret, feeling assured that our visit has been more than simply a day’s pleasure.To us, at least, has come “The new dispensation of Peace,” which is blinding the North and the South together, in one common brotherhood.
Our dead comrades, lying so peacefully in your beautiful cemetery, are ties that will ever bind our hearts to Virginia. Your kind hospitality for which Virginians have always been so justly famed –– assures us that thesame feelings of kindness and brotherhood which you have shown us, will prompt you to remember the graves of our comrades, when, on each decoration day, you cover with flowers those of your own heroic dead.
And when you give your
“Love and tears for the Gray,”
You will also have
Kind thoughts and flowers for the Blue.
I Know One Sure Remedy for an obstinate cold. Its name is Pyny-Balsam.
*NOTE: The flag of the 28th NY was captured at the battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862.
A wounded member of the color guard, knowing he would be captured, tore the flag from its staff and tried to hide it in his jacket. But it was discovered by a soldier of the 5th VA Inf., of the Stonewall Brigade. In the evening, while waiting to be marched away, a member of the 28th NY secretly cut out a small piece of the flag as a keepsake. Months later, when he returned from captivity, he gave it to Colonel Brown, who kept it for 20 years.
In 1882, Col. Brown found the regiment’s lost flag in Washington, D.C., among a collection of recaptured Union Colors retrieved from Richmond after the war. The scrap piece of flag he carried on his person, fit perfectly into the missing piece of the discovered flag. He immediately contacted the Secretary of War to reclaim the flag on behalf of the 28th NY Vols. The request was granted, and the flag was returned to Col. Brown. The veterans of the 28th NY, then invited veterans of the 5th VA to their annual re-union in upstate New York. The Virginians accepted, and in a ceremony conducted May 21, 1883, at Niagara Falls, an officer of the 5th VA returned the flag to Col. Brown. The crowd cheered. It was the first re-union attended by veterans of both sides.
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)
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.
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.
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.