Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today from Rappahannock Bridge: October 16, 1863

A dispatch posted October 14 has made the Richmond Daily Dispatch. The story provides and update on the advances of Lee's army into Fauquier County.  The O&A bridge was burned by the retreating Federals on October 13 (as was the depot in Bealeton). The firing that was heard was probably the early morning fight at Auburn, Va (known as the Battle of Coffee Hill). The dead horses are from the fighting on the 13th and John Minor Botts was being John Minor Botts, again.

From Northern Virginia.
Rappahannock Bridge, Oct.14.

--The bridge at this point was badly burned by the enemy in his retreat, and the ruins are still smoking.
Alfred Waud's drawing of the buring of the Rappahannock Station Bridge on October 13, 1863

Rapid firing was heard during to-day in the direction of Warrenton. There was a cavalry skirmish at Catlett's station on Tuesday. The enemy are still fleeing.

Our cavalry surrounded a body of Yankee dismounted cavalry, acting as sharpshooters, at Jeffersontown, on Tuesday, and, after wounding several of them, took over three hundred prisoners.--More prisoners are coming in.

The country from Culpeper C. H. to this point is completely desolated. Negroes, stock, and everything, have been carried off. Most of the houses left untenanted were pulled to pieces, and Yankee huts built of their material.

The battle-field about Brandy Station is literally covered with dead horses.

John Minor Botts has again been paroled, to appear in Richmond.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Everybody is Crossing a River

Today along the Hazel and Rappahannock Rivers: October 12, 1863

The Bristoe Campaign is now underway. After attempts by Federal cavalry to stop their Confederate counterparts along the Rapidan Fords, Stevensburg and Fleetwood Hill the day before, the Army of the Potomac is in retreat, crossing the Rappahannock River into Fauquier County.

The Army of Northern Virginia is attempting to turn the right flank of the Union forces and are trying to slip around them in Western Fauquier.  But first, before they can get into Fauquier, they must pass over the Hazel.

A sampling of units crossing the rivers, one side trying to get away, the other trying to get around.

4th Michigan: went down to the River and formed line in the Rifle Pits. Stayed about 3 hours and Started and Crossed the River on Bridge went up to the front and formed line on the Hill.

91st Pennsylvania:  Then marched to Rappahannock Station, crossed the river, and moved up to Beverly Ford.

2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: Early in the morning we crossed the river at Beverly’s Ford, and formed in line of battle and lay there until near sundown.

40th Virginia: sloshed’ through several abandoned Yankee camps near Culpeper. The camp that night was near the Hazel River.

50th Virginia: we crossed the Hazel River which was a little pill but we had to swallow. It was so deep that we had to strip off our cloths to wade it and [it was] almost freezing cold as I though

Chew's Battery: By dusk the affair had ended when the Federals withdrew toward the Rappahannock. Leaving that position, the battery retired toward the Hazel River and went into camp late at Rixeyville.

From: the diary of Henry Seage, 4th Michigan; (91st PA); Our Campaigns: The Second Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers, by Evan M. Woodard; 50th Virginia Infantry, John D. Chapla; Chew’s Ashby, Shoemaker’s Lynchburg and the Newtown Artillery, Robert H. Moore, II.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A disservice at Brandy Station

Today at Brandy Station: October 9, 2011

Thankfully, yesterday's Culpeper Airfest caused minimal damage to the St. James Plateau property. 

I became aware of the potential for parking on the hallowed land some months ago and was in correspondence with a number of individuals representing the parties involved.  I had felt that the Civil War Trust & and Virginia Department of Historical Resources would deny the request to park on this land.

They did not.

From the CWT web site:
Our Mission: The Civil War Trust is America's largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields.
From the VDHR website:
Our mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of

Virginia's significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

I ask the VDHR if they conducted an archaeological study of the ground to be parked on to a similar detailed level as they did on the Brandy Station battlefield in 2008 prior to a cavalry reenactment? The answer is of course no.

How can you preserve a battlefield by allowing vehicles to park on it?
If these organizations, whose charter is to protect our history, protect Brandy Station at this level, what are they doing elsewhere?  I have to hope it is with a greater diligence.  Brandy Station, in my opinion, has been disserviced by the CWT and VDHR.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Culpeper Airfest 2011

Today at Brandy Station: October 8, 2011

More accurately, the St. James Plateau.

The Civil War Trust, stewards of the majority of the preserved and saved Brandy Station Battlefield, allowed Culpeper County to use portions of the St. James Church plateau -- scene of some the most intense and brutal cavalry fighting during the Civil War. This is where the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the 6th United States Cavalry charged into the mouths of nearly the entire Stuart Horse Artillery -- to use this portion of the battlefield to park cars. The Brandy Station Foundation did the same on their property, continuing a practice of allowing parking to support community events.

Just in case you cannot read the sign, it says:

No Relic Hunting - No Fires
No Camping - No Trapping
Vehicles Prohibited
Game Hunting By Written Permission Only