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”

Historic photo donated to Friends of Cedar Mountain

We are grateful to local historian Clark B. Hall for his donation of a photo documenting President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1902 visit to Cedar Mountain Battlefield.

Journalist Clint Schemmer contributed an article about the gift in the February 12, 2020 edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent. Continue reading “Historic photo donated to Friends of Cedar Mountain”

Culpeper Star Exponent: Visitors mark Cedar Mountain battle anniversary

This post shares an excerpt and link to an article about the anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Mountain. The article was written by Clint Schemmer and published on August 12, 2019 in the Culpeper Star Exponent. Continue reading “Culpeper Star Exponent: Visitors mark Cedar Mountain battle anniversary”