Sunday, May 6, 2012

A busy Saturday

Yesterday at Brandy Station: May 5, 2012

A fairly busy Saturday for me.  It began with members of the Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania.  The group meets in Allentown and journeyed to Culpeper for a one day visit to the Brandy Station Battlefield.  As we got together, I spoke to them the significance of the day, and what had happened 150 years ago.

On the night of May 4, 1862, elements of the 1st Maine Cavalry crossed the Rappahannock River, spent the night at Richard Hoope Cunningham's home, Elkwood, and raided into Culpeper Courthouse the next morning, May 5.  There stay was in town was short, taking a number of civilians prisoner and departed for points north.  The CWRT of Eastern PA entered Culpeper at night, stayed in town (but thankfully took no prisoners) and departed for points north.

The better part of the day was spent at various parts of the June 9, 1863 battlefield where the group walked a good portion of the ground, including a journey to the stonewall which was defended by troopers of Rooney Lee's command.  All were struck with the pristine land, and readily agreed that this portion of the battlefield had not changed in nearly 150 years.

The group also visited the St. James Plateau and two locations on Fleetwood, where they saw our most recent preservation fight, and observed for themselves the damage to the battlefield.

The tour concluded at Auburn, the beautiful home of the Barron's, but was of course, the residence of John Minor Botts during the battle.  Again all marvelled at the serenity of the location and it's beauty.

I want to thank the Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania for their generous gift to the Civil War Trust in my name.

My new friends departed for points north and I headed home for a quick change of clothes and it was off to the annual Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield Dinner, where my wife and I joined fellow board members of the Friends of the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. 

There was a big crowd, by the way, at this fine dinner, and in addition to the FoWB and FoCMB, several other entities were represented, as well, including Museum of Culpeper History, CWT, CVBT, DHR, and the Fredericksburg NMP.

It was a fine event with monies raised earmarked for two Special Projects:
"1. The Ellwood to Wilderness Tavern Trail: Friends of Wilderness Battlefield has joined forces with the NPS to create a new trail for visitors connecting NPS property on both sides of Wilderness Run. Traveling along the old Ellwood Carriage Road, the Parker ‘s Store Road and portions of the original Orange Turnpike, visitors will be able to hike between Ellwood Manor and the Wilderness Tavern ruins. The greatest obstacle is Wilderness Run requiring the building of a bridge. The cost for the project is estimated at $25,000.

2. Archaeological Survey of Ellwood Manor Slave Quarters: Again the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is joining forces with the NPS to learn more about slave life at Ellwood. The archaeological study is a multi-phased project. Phase I will ID the location of the slave quarters known to be on the grounds of Ellwood Manor. Phase I is estimated to cost $25,000."

They are well on their way to achieving these goals and I wish them continued success.

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