Thursday, January 6, 2011

49 Acres Saved in the Wilderness

Today in Orange County: January 5, 2011.

OK, it happened yesterday. From the CWPT website.

Civil War Preservation Trust Completes $1 Million Campaign to Save Battlefield Land at the Wilderness

National fundraising campaign results in protection of 49-acres of hallowed ground at historic Saunders Field on Wilderness Battlefield
(Orange County, Va.) – The Civil War Preservation Trust is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed a $1 million fundraising effort to permanently protect 49 acres at the very heart of the Wilderness Battlefield. First announced in October 2010, the effort will set aside a portion of historic Saunders Field immediately north of State Route 20 for eventual incorporation into Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
“Saving critically important landscapes like this is precisely why this organization exists,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “Generations of Americans will now have the opportunity to walk this hallowed landscape and gain a fuller understanding of the horrors of war experienced by the soldiers fighting in the Wilderness.”
Acquisition of the Middlebrook Tract has long been a priority for the preservation community, both for the intensity of the fighting that occurred there on May 5 and 6, 1864, and for its unique location, entirely surrounded by land owned and protected by the National Park Service. Since the land sits within national park boundaries, the project was ineligible for federal matching grant funds, leaving preservationists to raise the entire purchase price from private sources.
“I would personally like to thank everyone who stepped forward this holiday season to give a gift to the nation by donating in any amount, large or small,” said Lighthizer. “Several contributors indicated to me they considered this property so historically significant that they made multiple donations to the effort.” Lighthizer also noted that the campaign was also our most successful online fundraising effort to date.
The terms of the acquisition contract placed the purchase price at $1,085,000, if closing occurred before the end of 2010. While the transaction will be finalized in 2011, a year end fundraising surge means that CWPT has collected enough in donations and firm pledges to cover the base price and an extension fee.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The First Sabbath of 1864

Today at Brandy Station: January 3, 1864

A fairly quiet day for the army.

A soldier in the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry caught the 3 o'clock train heading towards Brandy Station to visit friends. He began his journey at Warrenton Junction, a distance of 18 miles.

There was no service nor inspections in the 4th Michigan Infantry. But they did have an evening parade, their first since before Christmas.

Those soldiers whom decided to re-enlist in the 91st Pennsylvania Infantry were having a pretty good day. These men were preparing to take the cars in a northbound direction, heading home tomorrow to the Philadelphia area, on reenlistment furlough. They will return as Veteran Volunteers.

Lucius Bidwell, in the 14th Connecticut Infantry, wrote to his brother, lamenting that the recent snow had all cleared off the ground (more coming tonight), so no sledding, as there likely was home. Lucius also told his brother of a letter he has received from his 'sweet Philadelphian.'

William Owens, in the 86th New York Infantry, probably had the best day. Owens was called out of church to receive his pay.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"...without any important events."

Today at Brandy Station: January 1, 1864

Elisha Rhodes, of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, captures the essence of this first day of the new year:

"The new year opens without any important events. The troops are in comfortable quarters, built of logs and covered with canvas. Drill takes place daily and an occasional review breaks up the monotony of our camp life. "

It is a Friday in the army. So, those not drilling are in their quarters and huts. The ground is muddy and the air wet and windy.

There is however, some men celebrating the coming new year, a soldier in the 20th Indiana writes of his sister regiment, the 99th Pennsylvania, "The 99th Penn. are nearly all drunk, and make noise enough for both regiments."