Monday, April 26, 2010

Same place - different days

Today I am going to cheat -- a little.

Today in Orange County, April 26, 1864, Confederate mapmaker extraordinaire, Jedediah Hotchkiss wrote to his wife Sara, in part: "...Grant still employs himself in reviews & changing his camps -- he has also been digging some entrenchments this side of Culpeper C. H. on Mrs. Green's land -- "

The next day (April 27) Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman, aide-De-camp to Army of The Potomac Commander George Meade wrote in his diary: "General [Gouverneur K.] Warren [Fifth Corps Commander], took us to Green's House on the ridge beyond town and showed the redoubts and rifle-pits he has constructed. That active engineer never can let dirt alone..."

How interesting is it that two people, on different sides of the Rapidan, could discuss field fortifications on a farm just outside Culpeper. Both Hotchkiss and Lyman probably knew that the fortifications would never be used (but a soldier can never be too sure).

But Lyman was correct in saying that an 'engineer never can let dirt alone."

You should also ask yourself how Hotchkiss knew of the fortifications. My thought would be from the top of Clark's Mountain. Clark's is the only vantage point south of the Rapidan to view deep into Culpeper County. This is the also the location Robert E. Lee would use next week as he and his primary generals surveyed the forces arrayed against the Army of Northern Virginia.

This piece of hallowed ground also was the location of the final stages of the Battle of Culpeper on September 13, 1863, when Federal cavalry swept a portion of the Stuart Horse Artillery from Greenwood Hill, site of the Green House.

Green's House still stands today (and still owned by the Green family). It is located on the left side of the road as you depart Culpeper atop Greenwood Hill on Business 15. Unfortunately, most of the farmland is now developed property. But from what I am told, portions of the field works still exist.

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