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.”


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”

More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument

To continue with Judge Daniel A. Grimsley’s efforts to memorialize the Cedar Mountain Battlefield, two more news clippings are presented here.  These document his successful efforts to coordinate brotherly reunions between the veteran soldiers of the Blue and the Gray.   In this instance the occasion was the dedication of the 28th New York Monument in the Culpeper National Cemetery, August 9,  1902.

Continue reading “More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument”

Judge Daniel A. Grimsley, Early Preservationist

The following newspaper articles detail the efforts of an early pioneer of Culpeper Battlefield Preservation.  Visitors to Cedar Mountain Battlefield today can view the results of Judge Grimsley’s efforts, manifested in the small stone markers placed around the grounds.

Continue reading “Judge Daniel A. Grimsley, Early Preservationist”

A soldier’s diary entries, December 1863

William Henry Forbush

Friends of Cedar Mountain board member Brad Forbush has a prized possession: the leather bound Civil War diary of his great great grandfather, William Henry Forbush. William spent several months in Culpeper County as part of the Winter Encampment of 1863-1864. We are grateful to Brad for sharing William’s Christmas week entries, allowing a look at a few days in the life of a soldier as the Union and Confederate armies faced each other on either side of the Rapidan River during the winter encampment. Continue reading “A soldier’s diary entries, December 1863”

Dedication of the 28th New York Monument at Culpeper National Cemetery

In the relics room at the Friends of Cedar Mountain meeting house, there hangs a laminated newspaper.  It is an original edition of the Culpeper Enterprise, dated August 15, 1902.  The dedication of the 28th New York Monument in the Culpeper National Cemetery is the subject of the entire issue.  Thinking it might be  of interest to our visitors, I transcribed the paper and post it here. Continue reading “Dedication of the 28th New York Monument at Culpeper National Cemetery”

Diary excerpt: William Ellis Jones, Army of Northern Virginia

An August 9, 1862 diary entry from William Ellis Jones, an artillerist with Crenshaw’s Battery, Pegram’s Battalion, Army of Northern Virginia, was contributed by a descendant, Connie Jones, and copied below as submitted through our Facebook page. Continue reading “Diary excerpt: William Ellis Jones, Army of Northern Virginia”

66th Ohio soldier Aaron Riker’s account of the battle at Cedar Mountain

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. Continue reading “66th Ohio soldier Aaron Riker’s account of the battle at Cedar Mountain”