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 or 540-727-8849.

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

Annual battle commemoration & living history event

Valley Guards, 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Cedar Mountain
Photo by Buddy Secor, Ninja Pix

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

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.

For more information about the museum and the exhibit, please contact

Summer and fall history tours at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

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 or 540-727-8849.

April 6, 2019 Park Day at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

We are grateful to the hard working folks who came out with rakes, clippers, chain saws, trowels, shovels, donuts (from crowd-pleasing Knakals Bakery in Culpeper) and SMILES to help during our annual clean up for Park Day. Park Day is sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust to support historic preservation through community involvement in restoration and maintenance projects.

The group accomplished a lot over the course of a few hours. Fresh mulch was laid on a portion of the path that connects the parking area to the battlefield. Mulch also refreshed the footing of the picnic area. Some fence work was taken care of. Five big bags of litter and one tire were picked up by a team working on both sides of General Winder Road from the Friends of Cedar Mountain Meeting House to Route 15.

At the Meeting House, where tours begin and special events take place, the overgrown bushes in front of the house were trimmed, and a garden bed was weeded. Overgrowth that was creeping from the side property line toward the driveway and parking area was trimmed and tidied.

We are very grateful to everyone who chose to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning helping to ready Cedar Mountain Battlefield for a busy spring and summer with tours and our August anniversary event. Thank you!

A few photos from Park Day:


More photos can be seen on our Facebook page

March 31, 2019 Generations event at Cedar Mountain

Our thanks to the American Battlefield Trust for bringing their Generations event to Cedar Mountain!

A good time was had by all, and it was wonderful to see multiple generations — kids of all ages, parents, and grandparents — learning about the Civil War in this fun and interactive experience led by ABT’s Gary Adelman. We very much appreciate the efforts of the ABT staff members who helped make this event a success, and our thanks to everyone who participated!

Living history interpreters from the 10th Virginia Infantry Valley Guards led participants in a “school of the soldier” experience

Historic photos shared with participants by the ABT’s Gary Adelman were enhanced by wearing 3D glasses

After a mock battle, some members of the Federal and Confederate lines graciously came together for a group photo.

Read the Culpeper Star Exponent article about Cedar Mountain Battlefield’s Generations event.

Generations event resurrects history at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Read about our March 31, 2019 Generations event below or online at

Written by Allison Brophy Champion

RAPIDAN—Children dressed in little Union soldier uniforms—and regular modern street clothes—confronted a whooping Confederate line on a windy Sunday morning at the Cedar Mountain Battlefield along U.S. 15 in southern Culpeper County.

“For your homes, for Virginia!” rang out the Rebel call as both sides hurled plastic balls at the other and gusts carried the light spheres into the air, a few striking their intended targets.

“Let’s get so close to them to kill them all!” shouted one youngster in blue, the tactical lines shifting all around the grassy field overlooking the mountain for which the Aug. 9, 1862, Civil War battle at the site was named.

Like the actual battle here 157 years ago, the Union line that also included parents and grandparents eventually retreated. The Confederate line, with its similar makeup, overtook them as part of the weekend’s interactive “Generations” event hosted by Washington, D.C.-based American Battlefield Trust.

The Trust provided the period outfits for the smallest participants, including a straw hat and flowered apron for one little girl.

The Trust owns more than 150 acres at the battleground where nearly 3,700 men were injured or killed. It was a “quick, brutal fight” in temperatures that soared to 98 degrees, Kris White of the Trust told an assembled crowd of more than 100 prior to the battle simulation.

Outnumbered two to one, Union forces were pushed back to Culpeper following a Confederate counterattack led by native son, Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill. It was at Cedar Mountain where the famed Stonewall Jackson drew his sword, nearly rusted to the scabbard for lack of use, for the only time during the war to rally his troops.

It is also where Clara Barton performed her first official duty, tending to wounded on the battlefield in the days after the fight, though the Red Cross founder did not earn a mention during Sunday’s program.

“People actually fought, bled and died out here,” said Garry Adelman with the Trust. “When we simulate the battle, nobody actually dies.”

Intended to activate interest in history among young people, the Generations event attracted all ages and drew people from near and far. Joanne Price, of Bel Air, Md., visited Cedar Mountain with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and grandson, 12-year-old Tyler.

“We are history buffs,” said Mrs. Price. “Who goes to Gettysburg on July 3? I do.

“I’ve been a member of the Civil War Trust for many, many years,” she said of the renamed American Battlefield Trust. “We love this stuff.”

The wool blend blue coat may have been a bit much for her grandson.

“Grandma, I’m sweating,” he told her.

But the uncomfortable attire didn’t stop him from enjoying the event.

“It’s pretty cool; you get to throw stuff at people,” Tyler said after.

Asked what he learned, the sixth-grader at Magnolia Middle School in Joppa, Md., responded that the tactical formations were something new.

“I didn’t know they had to stand in lines on the battlefield,” he said.

He added he enjoyed visiting Culpeper for the weekend.

“It’s like real old and historic,” he added.

His father, Rich Price, said his interest in battlefield history was born from his own father’s interest.

“This is his deal,” Rich Price said. “He wanted us to come out as a family and experience it with him.”

A half-dozen re-enactors in gray, representing the Valley Guards, participated in the day’s activities and demonstrated what life would have been like at camp and on the battlefield. The actual Valley Guard was part of the 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a militia that organized in the late 1850s in Rockingham County. The unit suffered 43 casualties in the 1862 battle at Cedar Mountain.

On Sunday, the smell of campfire drifted with the wind and so did smoke from Confederate guns booming from the farm field. Dark clouds eventually rolled away, revealing blue sky and sunshine.

“One of the main things we get out of this lifestyle is interacting with people, with you,” said Patrick Heelen of Culpeper, one of the Valley Guards. “We love history, but you can only get so much history out of a book.

“We want to know, what was it like to walk 20 miles a day? What did it smell like? We try to bring this experience alive.”

The wool jacket worn by Civil War soldiers would have weighed around nine pounds, he said. It was part of battle gear that totaled up to 50 pounds and included three days rations, gun, blanket, canteen and cartridge box. Loading a musket was a 10-step process, Heelen added, demonstrating the process, further noting that a well-trained infantry man could get off three rounds per minute.

Re-enactor Bobby Sapp wore his ancestor’s quilt wrapped around his body. He said it was the same quilt his ancestor was wearing when he was shot and killed at Gettysburg.

“This quilt is 156 years old and has been in my family for that long,” Sapp said. “It has blood stains inside the quilt from where he was shot twice.”

With its squares of faded plaids, purple flowered material and bits of white stuffing exposed, the quilt rarely sees the light of day, he said.

“It is falling apart. I shouldn’t wear it, but I like to bring it out,” Sapp said. “We do take this stuff seriously. We wear original stuff.”

He said he re-enacts for the dozens of ancestors who fought for the Confederacy.

“There is nothing better than going out on weekends and shooting at Yankees,” Sapp said, noting his fiancée, from Illinois, advised him not to say that. “It is a stress reliever. I can go through 200 hand-rolled rounds in a weekend.”

Heavy on Confederate history, Sunday’s Generations event included brief mention that the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World” is town of Gordonsville, from where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army marched to fight at Cedar Mountain. Not mentioned was the fact that the town earned that name due to the African-American women who fixed and sold the delectable fare to feed train passengers passing through the war-torn area.

Attendees at Cedar Mountain were instead offered a taste of “hardtack,” provisions for Civil War soldiers that, as its name implies, is nearly inedible. There were also little packets of Goldfish crackers and oranges for the kids.

Participants at the local event donned 3D glasses to view bulging Civil War photos of dead horses and Union soldiers barely in their battlefield graves. The first photos of dead horses on an American battlefield were, in fact, taken at Cedar Mountain, Adelman said.

“The horror of war,” he described as children reacted with exclamations of, “Yuck!”

At Gettysburg, he continued, so many horses were killed, they were put into piles and burned, causing “a fog of foulness that wafted over the scarred countryside.”

“So keep this in mind when we’re out there,” Adelman said. “These places are hallowed ground.”

Michael Snyder, a grandfather from Pottstown, Pa., agreed. He brought two grandsons with him to the Generations program, one from Long Island, N.Y. and the other from Lancaster, Pa.

“I wanted to bring them down because of this idea of how important it is to get the younger generation interested in Civil War history and preservation,” he said.

Diane Logan, president of the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, said the organization was thrilled to host the event, telling the crowd, “All of you are the future for keeping the history of these battlefields alive.”


Park Day 2019 at Cedar Mountain Battlefield

We certainly appreciate our community’s support
on Park Day, April 6, 2019!
You will be part of a national effort to keep America’s battlefields and historic sites pristine  to honor our nation’s history and provide memorable learning experiences and recreational enjoyment.

Details for Park Day:

Meeting place
HQ House at 9465 General Winder Rd, Rapidan, VA 22733, about 6 miles south of Culpeper on Rte 15. 8:30 am.
Planned activities
Building or repairing fences, clearing brush, trail maintenance, trash removal
Planned low-impact activities
Tidying indoor or outdoor areas
Should I bring any tools or supplies?
Work gloves, hat, sturdy shoes
Will refreshments be provided?
Yes, water and snacks
Is there a rain date?
No, the event will be cancelled.
Please note:
Advance registration will enhance duty assignments that match volunteer’s interest and skill. Please register to add your name to the list of volunteers