The Carnage was Fearful: New book about the battle

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

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

Full reviews are available online. Excerpts from two reviews:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Searching for witness trees at Cedar Mountain

In mid September, the Friends of Cedar Mountain (FCMB) board was honored to host an interesting visitor: Dr. Gary Strobel, a renowned microbiologist and naturalist who makes beautiful pens and other items such as small magnifying glasses from the wood of witness trees. Dr. Strobel and his wife Soozie spent a few days in Virginia exploring a number of area battlefields in hopes of identifying trees that may have witnessed the clash of armies during the Civil War. Continue reading “Searching for witness trees at Cedar Mountain”

Park Day efforts keep historic Cedar Mountain pristine

About two-dozen volunteers donated time and muscle Saturday to tidy up Cedar Mountain battlefield just south of Culpeper, where nearly 3,700 Civil War soldiers lost their lives on August 9, 1862.

The nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield participates in the annual event, started in 1996 by the American Battlefield Trust, which owns the historic land.

Each year thousands of history enthusiasts, families, Boy and Girl Scouts and many others join together to lend a hand in an effort to help maintain parkland across the nation preserved by ABT.

“Park Day is a time for anyone to visit America’s incredible parks for a hands-on opportunity to help preserve the unique beauty and history that each has to offer,” said Friends of Cedar Mountain President Diane Logan on Wednesday.

 

In Culpeper, Logan said, Park Day brings together returning Friends and first-time volunteers, an occasion she and other leaders enjoy as they connect names with faces.

 
 

“It’s exciting to witness the enthusiasm each visitor brings to the day with their varied interests,” Logan said. “Many come to preserve the history of the site while others have embraced the beauty as a place to bring family and friends for hikes, walk with their dogs, go on picnics and take photographs.”

At Saturday’s event, a group of seven employees of Culpeper’s Ardent Mills participated in the clean-up event, something Logan said the milling company encourages.

“They did a variety of things—trimming shrubbery, clearing sites for upcoming living history events, raking and cleaning around monuments,” Logan said.

Ardent Mills employee Brandi Warfield and her husband, Justin Warfield said they try to help out during Park Day every year.

 

“I think the last time we helped out at Brandy Station battlefield,” Brandi Warfield said. “It’s a nice way to spend a Saturday.”

Mike Williams and his grandson, DJ, worked on Saturday weed-whacking and raking around signage and the Cedar Mountain’s iconic replica cannons. The Fredericksburg resident said he discovered the battlefield years ago on a drive from Culpeper to Orange, even before any land had been saved. He said he values history and the lessons it can teach.

 
 

“Mike said DJ first visited Cedar Mountain as an infant,” Logan said. “Now he’s 10 years old and Mike told him, ‘This battlefield looks exactly the same as it did when you came here as a baby, and it will look the same when you are grown. That is the beauty of preserving historic land.’”

Coming all the way from Silver Spring, Md., James Owens said he enjoys participating in living history events at Cedar Mountain regularly and is a member of the Friends group.

“It’s very satisfying to come out and do my part toward returning the park to its wartime appearance,” Owens said. He used a chainsaw to cut back undergrowth that was starting to intrude on one of the park’s walking paths.

 

Jennifer Michaels, a nurse at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, worked with her husband and daughter Saturday to clear away leaves and foliage from a small family cemetery on the battlefield.

 

A new member of the Friends of Cedar Mountain, Michaels “is especially interested in cemeteries and in becoming a civilian living historian,” Logan said.

At Cedar Mountain Culpeper’s native son, Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill, sealed the Confederate victory when his division re-formed Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s crumbled line, leading the charge that turned the tide of the battle.

 

“For Hill and other Culpeper men engaged, this was a personal battle to liberate their homes, friends and family from Union occupation,” The Friends of Cedar Mountain website states.

To learn more about Park Day and the Cedar Mountain battlefield, located at 9465 General Winder Rd., Rapidan, visit friendsofcedarmountain.org or email info@friendsofcedarmountain.org.

 

American Battlefield Trust and partners develop preservation-focused resources to siting utility scale solar

Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield applauds the efforts of the American Battlefield Trust, Preservation Virginia and Cultural Heritage Partners to develop resources to help guide utility scale solar to siting that preserves Virginia’s historic sites and landscapes. The integrity of our ongoing Rapidan Front Landscape Study, funded by an American Battlefield Protection Program grant, has twice been threatened by proposed utility scale solar projects encompassing thousands of acres in the area of study.

As Virginia’s clean energy efforts move forward, we support a collaborative approach to ensure protection of our state’s historic resources, highly valued by residents and visitors alike. Please take a moment to read the ABT and partners’ report and policy language developed as resources for siting utility scale solar plants. The policy language is intended for governments and planning officials involved in evaluating utility scale solar applications. Both resources provide insight into the complexity of balancing responsible renewable energy efforts with protection of historic resources. 

Culpeper Star Exponent: Interior Department funds Rapidan Front study in Culpeper

The following excerpt is from an article written by Clint Schemmer and published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on May 17, 2020. The article describes the awarding of a preservation grant to Friends of Cedar Mountain to support a cultural landscape assessment to study the nationally significant Civil War landscape along the Rapidan River front, extending north to the Union Winter Encampment area of 1863-1864 and the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. Continue reading “Culpeper Star Exponent: Interior Department funds Rapidan Front study in Culpeper”

Culpeper Star Exponent: Cedar Mountain group asks Culpeper to delay Greenwood solar project

The proposed Greenwood solar project compromises the integrity of FCMB’s federally funded Rapidan Front Landscape Study. This article written by Clint Schemmer was published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on May 6, 2020. Continue reading “Culpeper Star Exponent: Cedar Mountain group asks Culpeper to delay Greenwood solar project”