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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
” B. FREDERICK EDDY.
” C. DAVID FOUKE.
ANSON W. LOVELACE.
FRED C. REAGER.
ISAAC W. WINANS.
” D. CURTIS JACOBS.
WESLEY J. BUTTS.
” F. ETHAN W. BUTLER.
” H. WM. H. MASON
” I. NICHOLAS WALLACE.
” K. WM. H. HUBBELL.
JOHN Q. LYMAN.
CHAS. S. CURTIS.
On the base:
THIRD WIS. INFTY.
ERECTED BY THE SURVIVORS
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. Evidence from the minutes of the 27th Indiana Regiment Association suggest that a veteran of that unit, a Mr. John Bresnahan purchased and placed a monument to this regiment, on his own, at Chancellorsville in 1899, and then solicited funds from the association in 1900 to pay for it. John Bresnahan toured the Cedar Mountain Battlefield with his friend Edmund Brown in August 1889. It is probably that Mr. Bresnahan also placed the monument to the 27th Indiana Regiment at Cedar Mountain around the time the Chancellorsville monument was placed, or shortly thereafter.
The monument to the 27th Indiana reads:
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
WHEAT FIELD AGAINST
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:
NEW YORK STATE
AUG. 9, 1862
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:
AUGUST 9, 1862.
435 ENLISTED MEN
On the reverse side it reads:
KILLED 3 36
WOUNDED 4 130
PRISONERS 1 5
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-727-8849.