Center background detail, showing the fences in the distance. Is this the road?Background detail of the fields on the right of the image.Close up views of the fields & fences in the background of the image.
I’ve often wondered where the above Library of Congress image, “View West” was taken. The ground contours in the image are not to be found on the “preserved” part of the battlefield. I always suspected they were taken from across highway 15, on the hill in front of the Inskeep farm offices. There is a patch of trees upon the hill similar to the trees in the 1862 photo.
In 2023 we, Cedar Mountain historian Michael Block and myself, had a few opportunities to visit the Inskeep property, with permission. On one of these preliminary visits, a glance from the hill top encouraged the idea that we were close to the site where the photographer stood. A second visit, later in the year, allowed us to do a little reconnaissance. We didn’t have a lot of time to look around. The situation turned into a sort of parody of the old “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” television show [1963-1985] that Johnny Carson liked to poke fun of on his “Tonight Show.” The joke was that the host of ‘Wild Kingdom’, Marlin Perkins, was never doing much, while his naturalist assistant, Jim Fowler, “Jim” was always wrestling with a lion or some such dangerous thing.
In this instance, a small farm dog was aggressively chasing Michael around the front yard of the farm house, while I scoped out the cluster of trees. Perhaps it was a 2nd generation outcropping from the same site where Timothy O’Sullivan captured his image? The trees were a wash. No match. But not far from them I found a matching horizon line, looking across route 15 to the site of the 1862 historic wheatfield. Meanwhile the dog started to snap at Michael’s heels. “We have to go,” he told me. We took a quick picture and yielded the yard back to the little farm dog.
The dip in the green fields visible in the distance of the modern image, matches the dip in the field by the heads of the two soldiers standing by the tree on the right of the 1862 image. If you cannot see it too clearly here, trust us!
The foreground contours are not an exact match, but this may be due to subtle ground changes that occurred when modern route 15 was built through the battlefield. It is not apparent in our image but the highway does run through the middle of the snapshot.
The original Culpeper-Orange road also ran through the yard where we took the snapshot, making it a natural place for Timothy O’Sullivan to stop and grab an image of the wheatfield. This means the soldiers in the trees are standing on ground that was charged over by Brigadier-General John White Geary’s Ohio brigade.
Cedar Mt. Va. Family group before the house in which Gen. Charles S. Winder (C.S.A.) died. Tim O’Sullivan. We are not sure where this image was taken. The building has a distinctive roof which may lead to the discovery of this location, but the original caption states this is the house in which General Charles S. Winder died. When wounded, Winder was carried from the battlefield and taken down the Culpepper-Orange road somewhere not to far off, and the speculation I was used to hearing, is that he was taken to Major’s School House. It would seem more likely to me that this image was taken closer to where most of Sullivan’s other photos were taken. Captions were not always accurate. I used to entertain the idea that this image was taken at the Hudson House, but the roof line does not match any of the buildings as far was we can see, in the other images of the Hudson House.Cedar Mt. Va. Family group before the house in which Gen. Charles S. Winder (C.S.A.) died. Tim O’Sullivan. Here I have merged the two halves of the stereograph and cleaned it up in photoshop. There were subtle angle differences in the two sides, so I had to play a few tricks to get this image right. Cedar Mt. Va. Family group before the house in which Gen. Charles S. Winder (C.S.A.) died. Tim O’Sullivan. In this tight close up you can get a better look at the people. There is a bed showing inside the open door. Hopefully if you click the image it will link to a large file. If not, I will try to correct it at a later date. WP is not user-friendly.The title listed for this image is Cedar Mountaun, Va. Where General Winder was killed. Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.
The location of the cabin in the picture is unknown & the caption of the photo is mis-leading. However, it is the same building as the one above, with the women sitting around a table in the yard. Note the unique roof line of the white-washed cabin in both images. This view is from the opposite angle of the one above. After General Winder was wounded his aide, McHenry Howard accompanied him while he was carried on a stretcher off of the battlefield. About a mile down the road from the Crittenden Gate area where General Winder was wounded. the party stopped in the fields at the Major School House intersection. QUOTE: At about sundown, Howard wrote, General Winder died “so quietly that I could scarcely mark the exact time of death.” [Quote from page 377 of Robert K Krick’s book, “Stonewall Jackson At Cedar Mountain.]
The building in this photo appears to have some battle damage. The Major’s School house is too far off to have been scarred from the battle on August 9th. It is possible this is the Newman cabin that stood along Crittenden Lane, but in that case it would be the same building as the one present in the picture of the well, above. I can’t see if that is the case or no. So for now, the location of these buildings remains a mystery.
Here are some detail views.
Detail: Battlefield of Cedar Mountain riddled with cannon balls in which General Winder was killed. Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862Detail: Battlefield of Cedar Mountain riddled with cannon balls in which General Winder was killed. Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862
It is interesting to note, that Robert Knox Sneden, the army engineer who documented the Civil War with hundreds of watercolor sketches depicted these same un-identified buildings, attributing them to Rev. Philip Slaughter’s Farm. Snedens watercolors add more background details to the scene. He caption states the buildings were used as a hospital and that General Winder died here. Sneden likely did these pieces from a photograph. They add to the mystery. [Note: A friend sent me these low-res copies of the artwork. I cannot find them on-line so I do not know the proper attribution to make, other than stating, the Virginia Museum of History has many of Sneden’s works in their collections.-B.F.]
Original Image Library of Congress 01070u
Here is an image I’m going to take a little time with. There are two versions of this view, and I chose this particular one to clean up in photoshop. The buildings were less scratched in this image.
Here is the cleaned up image.Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.
As with all of these images, there is incredible detail here. A soldier can be seen sitting in the wagon and another soldier sitting on the porch, on the right side of the image.
Although they are blurry it looks like some young boys are standing around in the street.
Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.
I was well into cleaning up this image when I realized a large section of the middle was blurred. Consequently I stopped working on this image for a long while. I would have to clean up the other version to accomplish my purposes and it would take hours to start over from the beginning. However…
Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.
The other version of this image, (Library of Congress image o1071u) had a little more clarity to it in the section where the first one was blurred. So I decided to invest the time and clean up just this part of the detail of the 2nd image.
The detail is a little sharper in parts of this image as seen above.
Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862.
You can seen the gear lined up against the fence more clearly in version 2. It looks like knapsacks and rifles.
Culpeper Court House, Va. Street Scene, Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862
Here are two soldiers over by the horses.
Lastly, here is a close up of the weathervane atop the historic courthouse. And, I would like to re-iterate as a technical note, just how clunky and difficult the wordpress editor is to use.