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The Grand Review

October - December 2007

'The Graffiti House - where the handwriting is on the wall'

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To navigate this newsletter scroll down for a complete look or click below on the article of interest.


Coming Events (2007 except where noted)

September 22 (10 AM & 1:30 PM) Civil War Medicine at the Graffiti House
September 30 Sunday Seminar - “Jed Hotchkiss - Mapmaker for Stonewall”
October 6 Fall festival at Rose Hill
October 13 First Annual Graffiti House Antique Appraisal Show
October 27 (7 PM start) Ghost Stories and Campfires at the Graffiti House
October 28 Sunday Seminar - "Cedar Mountain - Stonewall's Cheerleader"
December 8 Christmas at the Graffiti House
April 18, 2008 150th Birthday/Re-union for the Graffiti House
April 18, 2008 Annual Meeting of the Brandy Station Foundation
June 6, 7 and 8, 2008 145th Anniversary Weekend  of the Battle of Brandy Station


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Civil War Medicine at the Graffiti House


On September 22, 2007 volunteers with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine (from Frederick, Maryland) in conjunction with the Brandy Station Foundation will present a Civil War Medicine program at the Graffiti House.   In anticipation of significant interest in the event, three separate shows are scheduled.  The first two shows will be directed towards a Home Schooler audience; these shows will begin at 10:00 A.M. and will not be open to the general public.  However, a third show is scheduled to begin at 3:00 P.M. and the general public is invited to attend and participate in that show. 


In battle, soldiers faced horrendous wounds and life crippling injuries from shot and shell. Show attendees will learn how Civil War field hospitals (such as the Graffiti House) provided triage care to wounded soldiers including life-saving amputations. When not in battle, soldiers spent their time in camps and faced many problems with sanitation, disease, diet and insects. These challenges, and how civilians also contributed to the war effort in a variety of ways will be discussed and demonstrated.


Come out to the Graffiti House and learn why we should be grateful for every aspirin we take today!!

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History Lives at Rose Hill Farm Fundraiser


On Oct. 6, join your friends for a trip back through time to 1863-4, when Union Civil War soldiers occupied one of Culpeper’s oldest plantation homes - Rose Hill - during the Winter Encampment . Stand on the porch where Union soldiers posed for a picture. Read graffiti in the attic and gaze at a hole in the ceiling allegedly caused by a Confederate soldier’s bullet.


           Rose Hill today – note the front porch                          Same front porch in 1864

Thanks to the generosity of the Ashby/Covington family and Rose Hill Farm Curator, Walter Bell, the estate will be the site of a gala picnic and fund raiser for the Brandy Station Foundation.  Rose Hill, a circa 1810 Stevensburg mansion will be open for tours, affording the public a rare chance to walk the halls and view one of Culpeper County’s most historic homes.  Our guest speaker that day will be the noted historian, Mr. Clark “Bud” Hall, who will speak on the history of Stevensburg.  Civil War re-enactors of the Little Fork Rangers will provide a glimpse into a soldier’s life during the War Between the States. Also, there will be a silent auction, period music, storytelling and much more. It will be a day to escape the present and relive the past, all of which will begin by riding in horse-drawn carriages from the automobile parking lot to the historic mansion.


During the Winter Encampment of 1863-64 by Union forces, the plantation, owned at the time by Alfred Ashby, served as the headquarters for Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick.    To display his horsemanship, the Union general rode his horse back and forth through the home’s central hallway.  According to the story, the family that lived in the house was forced to live in the basement until the occupying Union forces departed.  When Confederate forces held the home, the rebel soldiers built a canvas stockade on the grounds capable of holding 700 prisoners. Union soldiers used the stockade for concerts, lectures and plays.  In 1864, the home served as a site for a major ball that saw Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, senators, dignitaries and officers attend the gala. 


Reservations for the event are required. The cost is $25 per person, which includes admission, food and soft drinks. A cash bar is available. Sponsorships costing $150 remain available guaranteeing two reserved seats. Patron donations of $500 receive reserve seating for 6 and benefactors donating $1000 or more receive a reserved table for 10.  Sponsors, patrons and benefactors will also be recognized in the event program.  Children under 12 will be admitted for free.


Reservations must be received by Sept. 30th.


For more information visit or call Helen Geisler @ 540-399-1637 or Mary Tholand @ 540-825-5534.


Directions to "Rose Hill"

From Route 29 at Culpeper take Rt. 3 East 4.7 miles to Stevensburg; turn right onto Batna Rd., Rt. 663


From Fredericksburg take Rt. 3 West 26 miles to Stevensburg, turn left onto Batna Rd., Rt 663

Rose Hill entrance is app. 150 yds., second set of brick pillars on right


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A Spirited Evening in Brandy Station

Have you heard about the ghost that haunts the Graffiti House?  Over the past four years, we have had about a dozen strange events that have occurred and other visitors have told us of stories that go back 50-60 years.   On the evening of October 27th at 7PM, the ghost will be joined by other souls who will tell ghost stories from the time when our States were at War. If you enjoy roasting marshmallows and/or sipping hot cider around the campfire or just enjoy the company of a few expected lost souls, come and join in!!   In the event of rain, the campfire will be cancelled; the ghost stories will be told. Donations appreciated.

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What's It Worth??


1st Annual Graffiti House Antique Appraisal Show

Sponsored by the Wilderness ‘Tiques Club


Saturday, October 13, 2007, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at the Graffiti House


Go into that basement!!  Dig deep into that closet!!  Shine that flashlight into the attic and barn!  Here is your chance to find out what that “unusual” gift from Aunt Minnie is really worth!  Bring all your treasures and heirlooms to be evaluated by four antique appraisers. Only verbal appraisals will be given. The cost is $10 for one item or $25 for three. All money collected will go towards the Graffiti House Restoration Project.


The following appraisers are donating their time:

Sarah Hays is the owner of the Quail at the Wood Antique Shop on Main Street in Culpeper and is helping to organize this event. She specializes in appraisals of silver, china, crystal, antique jewelry and boxes of all types. Steve Hoffman from Madison, specializes in antique furniture, tools and weapons, especially Civil War and CSA items including Confederate currency. Clay Dotson, an antique dealer and farmer, specializes in all types of American and Continental antiques of the 19th and early 20th century, including crocks. Elizabeth Hammon, proprietor of “Cottage Antiques” on Waterloo Street in Warrenton, specializes in porcelain, figurines, Victoriana, and Native American works.  (The appraisers will not appraise coins or stamps.)


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Huge Development Proposed Near Battlefield


A Northern Virginia developer has requested a land rezoning in Culpeper County on 513 acres of agricultural land that would result in a 3.4 million square foot development with a 20-year build out.   The development is entitled Willow Run and is located roughly half-way (3 miles) between the Graffiti House and the Rappahannock River.


The development (see map below) located at Willow Run near the Culpeper regional Airport would sit on a portion of the Battle of Brandy Station battlefield (June 9, 1863) The development itself doesn’t threaten the core battlefield (it would sit on the far right extension of Wade Hampton’s battle line), but its creation would create added pressure for other development closer to the core battlefield both commercial and residential.


The developer, USA Development, proposes to build office buildings, retail shops, and residential loft units above the shops, commercial structures, restaurants and a theater as well as a private 500 plus-student “international” school. Some of the structures would stand eight to nine stories near the airport and its commercial park. The plan also calls for an equestrian complex and a “fun” water park!


For anyone familiar with Central Park shopping center in Fredericksburg along state Route 3 and I-95, this project would be 50 percent larger and, if successful, create even more traffic on an existing four-lane highway.


The developer has met once with members of the Brandy Station Foundation Board of Directors one time seeking our support. They later provided copies of their plans and proposal to BSF.  USA Development is offering, with no way to hold them to it, to set up a battlefield “visitors” center within the development with donations going to BSF. They also offered to run “daily” bus tours to the Graffiti House. Unfortunately, this level of staffing is currently beyond our ability and desire to support.


As an organization, we have serious concerns about the size and scope of this ambitious venture.


The BSF board is studying traffic concerns on US Route 29 and the resulting degradation of the battlefield surrounding this proposal. It is feared that if the rezoning is approved, the developer will sell it off and other uses may occur. The proffers provided don’t limit many uses.


The matter is still before the county’s planning commission, which is conducting public hearings on the plan. We will keep members advised on our plans regarding this development.




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Jingle Bells!  Jingle Bells!  Ho!  Ho!  Ho!


It doesn’t seem possible – but Christmas is right around the corner.  The Annual Christmas Party for the Brandy Station Foundation – and the Culpeper community - will be held Saturday, December 8, 2007 at the Graffiti House.   It will begin at 1:00 P.M. and will last till the last elf goes home!  Please come and help celebrate the holiday with friends and family.


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Matching Funds Raised – THANK YOU!!


Dear Graffiti House supporters,


I would like to thank everyone who designated a donation be directed to the Graffiti House Restoration Project. In just a few months, you made it possible for the Foundation to match the funds that were appropriated this year by the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is a true testament to the value that both our government and private citizens place on saving this little historic house.


The State funds will be used to conduct numerous studies on what must be done to preserve our National Treasure. The Graffiti Exposure & Preservation Assessment by Kirsten Travers has been completed. We are in the process of selecting an architectural firm to develop a comprehensive plan with estimated rehabilitation cost for the Graffiti House. This study will include a room-by-room survey to identify areas of concern that must be addressed as well as determine what features of the house are original to the structure and should be preserved. 


Please feel free to contact me at



Della Edrington

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More Secrets Revealed!!  KIRSTEN TRAVERS Uncovers History


Hushed crowds of people gathered around Kirsten Travers, a professional paint preservation expert, watching patiently to see what she would uncover next. As part of a graffiti preservation and paint removal study conducted in July, Kirsten scraped away many layers of paint to reveal Civil War graffiti that had not been seen in 145 years! During her explorations, she uncovered several new sketches, including four horses and the largest human figure to date on the walls, a date, six names, two regimental identifications, and personal comments such as “He Smells A Rebel” and a reference to President J. Davis.


During the five-day analysis, Kirsten investigated a variety of paint removal methods to determine the most appropriate technique for removal that would safely and effectively reveal the remaining underlying Civil War Graffiti. Most viewers were amazed at the stability of the graffiti, and Kirsten patiently explained that the material used to write on the walls was a simple element, carbon, in the form of charcoal and pencil. This basic element is one of the most stable found in our universe! So, is the graffiti rapidly fading? No. However, the plaster walls on which the graffiti is written has turned darker since being exposed. Our walls will need to be lightly cleaned before coated with a protective layer that will minimize damage from abrasion and protect them from dust and dirt buildup.


But the best news is that there is a lot more graffiti to be uncovered. Ms. Travers has submitted a 24 page report to the Foundation in which she has carefully documented present conditions including photographs, reported her findings and made conservation recommendations. At the very least, it will require two months of work to complete this graffiti preservation process. However, this process cannot begin until the house and the old horse-hair plaster walls are stabilized.   But the journey has begun!!


Click here for more information on Kirsten’s findings!!  You won’t be disappointed!



Culpeper Star Exponent August 29, 2007


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Save the Date: Graffiti House Reunion,  April 18, 2008


Did your ancestor leave his mark on the Graffiti House? If so, you won’t want to miss the 150th birthday celebration next April 18, 2008.  Culpeper will be celebrating Remembrance Days beginning with a Graffiti House birthday party on Friday evening, and all descendants of wall signers as well as past Graffiti House owners are invited to attend the party. The party will be held at the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department banquet hall and will also serve as the BSF Annual Meeting. Please email if you are a descendant of a Graffiti House soldier or a previous owner of the house. It’s time to start planning for the reunion now!


Following is a list of the names and units of those soldiers who have been identified in the Graffiti House.


Confederate Forces:

Sergeant Allen Bowman, Co. E, 12th Virginia Cavalry

Private Michael Bowman, Co. H 7th Virginia Cavalry

Private Hamilton Boyd, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Captain James Breathed, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private George Washington Butt, Norfolk Light Artillery (Huger’s Battery)

Private James A. J. Cooper, Co. A, 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry

Private C. Benton Evans, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private William Evans, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Corporal Fayette Gibson, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Thomas ‘Herb’ Greenwell, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Uriah Haller, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Captain William Haney, Company F, 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry

Private Henry ‘Hal’ Hopkins, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private William Hopkins, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Bob Lewis, Norfolk Light Artillery (Huger’s Battery)

Private George McCabe Jr., Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Lieutenant J. Marshall, Co. E, 12th Virginia Cavalry

Private Lewis Miller, 1st Virginia Volunteers

Lieutenant Joseph Moore, Norfolk Light Artillery (Huger’s Battery)

Private Edward Moreland, Norfolk Light Artillery (Huger’s Battery)

Private A Muth, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private George W. Orrison, Co. C, 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry

Private James S. Owens, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Robert Peed, Norfolk Light Artillery (Huger’s Battery)

Private Elijah Russell, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Maj. Gen. J.E.B Stuart, Commander, Army of Northern Virginia Cavalry

Sergeant Henry Thomas, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Harry Wagner, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Colonel Elijah White, Commander, 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry

Private Harry Wickes, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery

Private Thomas ‘Frank’ Yates, Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery


Federal Forces:

Captain Edwin Dillingham, 10th Vermont Infantry

Colonel John Egbert Farnum, Commander, 70th New York Infantry

Lieutenant Lyman C. Gale, Co. K, 10th Vermont Infantry

Private Dan Quinlan, Massachusetts Light Artillery, Battery ‘C’

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Boy Scouts Grow Through BSF Tasks


Boys Scout of America Troop #196 has been hard at work this summer assisting its senior members obtain the level of Eagle, the highest of levels in the BSA. Although these boys choose laborious tasks, the project is not about hard labor but how the candidate show leadership in designing or finding the project, finding the resources/materials and then getting others, adults as well as scouts, to carry out the project. Along the way the scout must earn 21 merit badges including many specified to help him become a well rounded person - all before he is 18 years old.  The Brandy Station Foundation has been the benefactor of this excellent training.


Starting in June, Gannon Blanton approached BSF about what he could do for us as his project. As a non-profit, totally volunteer organization, we had no problem coming up with a wish list. From that, he choose to create a good walking path on the Foundation's property along the river at Kelly's Ford. That may sound simple but he choose to civilize a thickly wooded and briary track of land that runs for about 400 yards along the river bank.  But with the help of numerous troopers and parents they cleared and opened up the foot track and put down a heavy layer of mulch. One can now enjoy with ease a stroll along the riverbank all the way to the property belonging to the Inn at Kelly's Ford where they have erected historical markers telling of the Civil War events at that location.


On one of the few reasonably cooler days in August, scouts from Troop #196 gathered at the  St. James Church site near Brandy Station. Their object was to work with scout Jerry Rij for the completion of his Eagle Scout project.  Jerry chose for his leadership challenge the reestablishment of the path leading to the site of the historically significant church and its adjourning grave sites.


 Jerry with ten other scouts and six or so parents first used weed whackers on the path and then shoveled, pushed and unloaded wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of mulch.  Their product was a thickly covered mulch path running from the state road all the way to the church.   Now a lovely wide path exists for visitors to use to walk in the quite woods and view the historic site. It is located off the St. James Church Road just down from Beverly's Ford Road near the Culpeper Airport..


We are grateful to the Scouts for their wonderful work for the Foundation. It is rewarding to be part of the lives of these young men as they learn skills of organization and other leadership qualities in their achievement of the level of Eagle in the BSA. The Scouts and the BSF both wish to express our thanks to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for their donation of the truck loads of mulch they donated to these projects.

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Farley’s Last Ride


The August 26th  2007 weather was perfect for retracing Captain William Farley’s last hours on this earth on June 9, 1863.  With a dozen horse riders and a wagon full of passengers we moved along under the watchful eye of Culpeper Sheriff's Office.  We were glad to have them.  There was a lot of traffic on that little country road.  Wayne Lenn gave a Southerner's view of our Civil War history along Mountain Run, it was great. Then we all moved back to the picnic area and had a wonderful time sharing horse stories and barn lies.  I can only say that all my stories were true!!

Thanks to all those who came. We will continue to demonstrate the need for public horse trails with activities such as these.

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Standing Room Only!  Sunday Seminar Crowds Grow


We spy on history!  Virginia Morton, author of the popular book, Marching through Culpeper, presented our July Sunday Seminar.  A record audience of more than 50 crowded the Graffiti House to hear Virginia describe the lives and exploits of Frank Stringfellow and Will Farley.  Both men were “scouts” in the service of J.E.B. Stuart and their stories were very exciting.



Virginia Morton Presents



Wade Hampton Rides Again.  Gary Wilson, our Seminar Coordinator, introduces our August Speaker, Joe McKinney, author of Brandy Station, Virginia, June 9, 1863:  The Largest Cavalry Battle of the Civil War.  Joe spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the life of Wade Hampton, one of the leading Confederate cavalry commanders.



Gary Wilson introducing Joe McKinney

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Roll of Honor


These individuals have made significant contributions, whether by donation and/or service to the Foundation during the previous calendar quarter.  We are very grateful for our friends and wish to honor them here!


  Dr. Daniel Beattie  Copy of Bostick Brothers’ picture of Brandy  Station and a drawing by Alfred Waud
  Mr. William Chase    Civil War Times Illustrated magazines
  Mr. and Mrs. Angus Green      300 copies of the book Battles of Culpeper County
  Mrs. Claudia Vento  Flowers and Azaleas
  Civil War Preservation Trust  Brandy station Driving Tour pamphlet
  Old House Vineyard Wine
  Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Mulch
  Mr. Joe Bailey Fire Safety consultation
  Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Edrington  Six nights of lodging for Conservation Technician
  Harmon Hayrides Wagon rides
  Mr. Cliff Robertson  Video production - Graffiti Conservation and Remembrance Days
  The Ashby/Covington families and Mr. Walter Bell Use of Rose Hill Mansion


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Become a Member


If you have not already done so, we'd love to have you as a member.  Click here, then print the application form.   Fill out the form and send it today with your tax deductible donation.  We depend on your support!!


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Graffiti House Polo Shirt

$20.00 plus Shipping

Battle of Brandy Station T-Shirt

$15.00 plus shipping

Brandy Station Book

Signed by the author

$55.00 plus shipping

Tri-Fold Battlefield Map

$7.00 plus shipping 

Mortal Encounter at Beverly’s Ford


$15.00 plus shipping


-----------------------------------------------------GIFT SHOP ORDER FORM-------------------------------------------------------

Print form (see below) fill out and mail with payment to:
(Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery)

Brandy Station Foundation, Graffiti House Gift Shop
P.O. Box 165
Brandy Station, VA 22714

Name:    ____________________________________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________________________


City State Zip

Phone: (         ) _______________________

E-mail: _____________________________________
POLO Shirt   XXL    XL    L    M    S $20.00   


  XXL    XL    L    M    S $15.00   

Autographed Book


Mortal Encounter Print

Tri-Fold Battlefield Map     $ 7.00   


For Sub-Total  Add
    Up to $50.00 $ 5.00
    $50.01 or more $10.00

Note: Shipping charges do not apply if items are picked up at the Graffiti House.

Payment may be made by Check, Money Order or Credit Card (Please do not send cash)
 Card:    VISA      Master Card
  Acct. No:_______________________________


                                     (Circle One)  

Three digit number on
 reverse of card

Note:  To print the order form in Microsoft Explorer, highlight the area to be printed then click on "File" on the command line at the top left of the screen then click on "Print".  In the print box click on "Selection" under "Print Range" and then click on "OK".  Other browsers may have different but equivalent commands.

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