The Brandt Farm Dismantled

       Dr. Logan Brandt’s Farm stood at the base of Cedar Mountain below Reverend Philip Slaughter’s home which was situated up the slope of the mountain, and between the Crittenden Farm.   During the course of the war the farm suffered the loss of crops, animals, fences, and eventually,  buildings, to the soldiers of the Union army.

       Mr. Morgan Pierce, the previous director of the Culpeper Museum of History received the following depositions of Dr. Brandt’s neighbors documenting the slow dismantling of the farm.  Karen Quaintance of the museum staff transcribed the documents.  I have made slight changes in the transcriptions by spelling out abbreviated words and other minor changes, for easier reading. Continue reading “The Brandt Farm Dismantled”

The Controversy Over General Bank’s Orders


General N.P. Banks initiated the fight at Cedar Mountain, against Stonewall Jackson, and though his troops fought with incredible courage and achieved at first, remarkable success, the end result was devastating.  His corps was essentially out of service for the next 3 weeks of the war until they were heavily re-enforced with new regiments.   General Banks never wrote an official report on the battle he instigated.  Banks was primarily a politician, and most concerned with his public reputation, which suffered after the battle.  In December of 1864, while giving testimony in Washington, D.C. to the Committee on the Conduct of the War, regarding the Red River Expedition, he brought up of his own volition, the subject of his marching orders from General Pope, on the morning of August 9, 1862, the day of the battle of Cedar Mountain.  His statement meant to justify his decision to attack Jackson.  When General John Pope, who was serving in the West, accidentally learned of this testimony, he replied to the committee in the form of a long letter. 

This post presents the testimony published in the following volume:   “Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War:  at the second session Thirty-eighth Congress;” by, United States Congress, Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War;  Wade, B. F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1800-1878; Gooch, Daniel Wheelwright, 1820-1891; United States, Congress (38th, 2nd session:  1864-1865).  Publication date 1865.

That said, these reports are difficult to locate.  They are in the Miscellaneous Section (p. 44-54) at the end of the volume that contains the following reports:  Sherman-Johnston. Light-Draught Monitors. Massacre of Cheyenne Indians. Ice Contracts. Miscellaneous.

Continue reading “The Controversy Over General Bank’s Orders”

Warwick School Visits Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Cedar Mountain Battlefield welcomed students from the Warwick School, Warwick, United Kingdom. Warwick School is no stranger to Cedar Mountain, for they had a memorable visit in 2016.

The school came on two different days in two groups.

The oldest boys’ school in England, Warwick School has been in continuous existence at least from the days of King Edward the Confessor (reigned 1042-1066) when the fledgling town possessed a school under the tutelage of All Saints’ Church. Warwick School was named England’s Independent Boys School of year in October, 2022.

The groups visited Cedar Mountain as part of an east coast history tour. Other stops included New York City, Washington, D. C., Gettysburg and Charlottesville. The trip coincided with the school’s fall break.

The tour was originally planned for the Spring of 2020, but the worldwide pandemic forced the postponement. When the four-day window for sign-ups were opened this past spring, 90 boys committed to the trip by the deadline.

The visitors arrived in two groups on separate days, October 20 & 23. Volunteer Michael Block treated the boys to a short battlefield walk and discussed among other topics, highlights of the 1862 battle, battlefield preservation, and the KOCOA system of military terrain analysis. The acronym stands for Key terrain, Obstacles, Cover and concealment, Observation points, and Avenues of approach and retreat.

Michael Block points out key geography on the battlefield.

FCMB board members Brad Forbush & Vic Middlekauff brought muskets for the guests to handle, so they could get a tactile experience of period weapons. Vic was also able to demonstrate equipment typical the soldiers from both sides carried.

Vic Middlekauff demonstrates CW period equipments.

A highlight of the tour for each group was being formed into two gun crews, and put through the motions of a Civil War battery utilizing ‘unique’ homemade props.

Michael takes the boys through an artillery drill with home-made props.

The Head Boy, Josh Turner, passed through the tour leaders, to the FOCMB, saying what a fantastic time they spent with us at Cedar Mountain.

Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield provided water-bottle souvenirs and snacks to all the guests.

The group is already looking forward to their next visit to America and Cedar Mountain. The next time the young men visit Cedar Mountain, it will be part of the newly minted Culpeper Battlefield State Park.

The group leaders, Mr. John Jefferies (Senior Tutor and Head of Politics), and Mr. Olly O’Brian (Head of History) host a history and politics podcast (UK focused, but they do occasionally cross the pond). You can listen to the Heaton podcast here   or wherever you find your podcasts.  

Note:  If link does not work paste this into your browser:

Signage project updates markers at battlefield

On June 27, 2022 the American Battlefield Trust and Civil War Trails, working with the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, installed 11 new wayside markers on Cedar Mountain Battlefield. Continue reading “Signage project updates markers at battlefield”

Capt. E. A. Bowen, Part 3; With the 151st NY at Payne’s Farm

I want to thank Mary Robinson, descendant of Captain Erwin Ambrose Bowen, for the biographical materials on her Great-Great Grandfather which is presented in this series of posts.

Captain Erwin A. Bowen was paroled from Libby Prison at Aiken’s Landing in Richmond, on September 13, 1862. At Washington, D.C. on the 17th, he secured fifteen days leave of absence and started for home on the 5 p.m. train. That leave would extend to October 2nd. On October 1st Captain Bowen mustered out of the 28th New York Volunteers. On October 31st, Lieutenant-Colonel Bowen mustered into the newly minted 151st New York Volunteers, a 3 year regiment.

Continue reading “Capt. E. A. Bowen, Part 3; With the 151st NY at Payne’s Farm”

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”