The Grand Review
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Annual Great Winter Encampment Symposium
Generous Donation Indeed!
Will You Help?
Teachers Visit Culpeper/Graffiti House
Annual Meeting 2007
Sunday Seminars are Hot Topics!
Volunteers Still Needed!
Research Continues on Stuart Signature
A Maryland Flask Visits
E. Lee the 4th Visits Brandy Station
Visit to Blenheim
Christmas Party 2006
Fire Those Guns!
Help Preserve History by Owning it!
Mark your calendars - All of the following events will
be occurring at/near the Graffiti House soon!
October 29 Sunday at 2:00 PM Civil War Music by Anne Howard
and John Tole
November 4 Saturday at 10:00 AM Last Saturday Battlefield tour for
November 4 Saturday at 1:00 PM Cannon Firing with the First
Stuart Horse Artillery
December 9 Saturday
at 1:00 PM Christmas Party
at the Graffiti House
March 2, 2007 at 6:30PM Annual Meeting -
Brandy Station Fire Hall
March 24, 2007 "Winter
Encampment" Symposium at Germanna Technology
June 6, 7 and 8, 2008 145th Anniversary Weekend of the
Battle of Brandy Station
Annual Great Winter Encampment Symposium
The Brandy Station Foundation with the Germanna
Community College are hosting a Symposium on the Great Winter Encampment on
March 24, 2007. We invite proposals
for papers or other presentations on any other aspect of the Winter
Encampment or events that took place in and around Culpeper County during
the winter of 1863-64. Papers and
presentations will be 45 minutes long, followed by a brief question
and answer session. If you would
like to be a presenter at the Symposium, please submit a proposal, no longer
than 750 words, postmarked no later than November 27th, 2006 to: the Brandy
Station Foundation, P. O. Box 165, Brandy Station, Virginia 22714. For more information click
A Generous Donation
Recently, the Brandy Station Foundation was the
recipient of a wonderful historical gift! Through the auspices of
Stevensburg District County Supervisor Bill Chase, Mr. Wayne Mills donated
his collection of the Official Records (OR) of the War of the Rebellion.
The collection, encompassing 127 of the 128 original volumes and some
18-24 cubic feet of knowledge, will now provide a firm basis for historical
civil war research at the Graffiti House. As a bonus, this set of OR volumes
was originally printed in 1891 and originally given to then Congressman F.
L. Coombs of California, whose name is embellished in gold leaf on the
spine of the books. With this marking, the OR is quite a historical
artifact by itself. Thank you Wayne and Bill!
During the winter of 2005-6, your Brandy station
Foundation (BSF) was able to do two things it had never done before. First it was able to save, virtually
single handed, a prime piece of Brandy Station battlefield land - the
former Golden Oaks property at the foot of Fleetwood Hill. Second, within just a couple of months,
the BSF was able to purchase another prime piece of battlefield property -
but this time at Kelly's Ford. These
purchases were made in your name and were generously supported by you.
However, I am disappointed to say, we are still about $25,000 short of having enough money to pay the
mortgage on the properties. The
money, although significant, is not great - but in concert with other
outstanding mortgages/operational costs from the Graffiti House, the debt
creates a situation where the BSF has a very limited flexibility for the
When we look around Culpeper today, we see a county in
the midst of a great transition.
What the future will bring we do not know - but what we can
anticipate is that the future will be significantly different than what we
have experienced previously. The
best way to combat the uncertainties of this future is to provide ourselves
with the maximum amount of flexibility for our affairs. This flexibility
can be provided by successfully ending our most outstanding debts - such as
As you can see by this and our past newsletters, this
organization is doing significant work to preserve America's heritage in
Culpeper County. We can best
continue these works by taking action to put ourselves in the driver's seat
for our future. Minimizing our debt
is one such effort we can do to help ourselves - but we need your support.
Will you help?
Click here for information on donations and
Teachers Visit Culpeper/Graffiti House
On July 21st twenty teachers from Fauquier Public
Schools visited the Graffiti House as part of the county's in-service
program. After a morning with Virginia Morton at Cedar Mountain
battlefield, the teachers assembled after lunch at Brandy Station. Veteran
guide Jim Flanagan provided a historic tour de force demonstrating the
geographic importance of the Rappahannock River on the shape of the Civil
War. Many of the teachers had no knowledge of the battles fought at Kelly's
Ford, Beverly Ford and Brandy Station. Linking these events to the messages
left on the walls of the Graffiti House gave a thrill to the teachers and
an appreciation for the history that is on our doorstep. Fauquier High
teacher Dawn Brown said, “I had no idea how important this area is!”
With popular emphasis on SOL test results, time
constraints forced by block scheduling and the increased price of fuel,
field trips have been discouraged by many schools. With the knowledge that
they do not have to drive to Washington DC or Williamsburg for a valuable
out-of-class experience, many of the teachers are already planning to
incorporate the Graffiti House in the curriculum. Additionally many high
school social studies teachers require community service hours as part of
the grade for graduating seniors. The Graffiti House provides a wealth of
opportunities for contributing to the public in our area.
Annual Meeting 2007
The annual Meeting for the Brandy Station
Foundation will be held March 2nd, 2007 at the Brandy Station Fire
Hall. The event will last from 6:30
to 9:00; our speaker will be Joe McKinney and the food will be great and
there will be lots of it!! Don't
Sunday Seminars are
Interests have been as keen as the weather has been hot
for the BSF Sunday Seminar series!
presents to by Bob Luddy
The series began on June 25th with a thought
provoking presentation by Dr. Dan Beattie on the Dahlgren-Kilpatrick Raid
on Richmond in 1864. Dan brought to
life the personalities of the main participants as well as the operational
difficulties that both armies faced in trying to achieve and/or defend the
raid! As to the main question - who knew what and
when -- you would have had
to be at the Graffiti House to get the answer.
On July 30th, Brigadier General John DePue (Retired) shared
the trials and tribulations of the men who fought as the 1st New Jersey
Cavalry. Beginning at their enlistment, General DePue discussed the men,
their leaders and the leaders shortcomings as they advanced through the war
to the June 9th,1863, Battle of Brandy Station. The old saying – “we have
met the enemy and they are us” - takes on special meaning when placed in
the context of this very interesting - but flawed, regiment.
On August 27th, Ms. Faren Wolter of the Piedmont
Environmental Council, ably seconded by Culpeper legal eagle
"Butch" Davies led a fascinating discussion concerning strategies
available to protect Culpeper's History through Virginia Land Preservation
Tax credits. Speaking to a group of
25 interested parties, the discussion was spirited and interesting as well
as hopefully useful to the participants.
On September 24th, Joe McKinney led a fascinating
discussion of the Battle of Yellow Tavern and the Death of JEB Stuart. Ably borrowing from his own independent
research, Joe led the audience from the details of the fateful encounter to
its placement within the larger scheme of late war Federal strategy.
Do you like to meet new people? Do you know how to operate a TV & DVD player? Can you say “hello” in at least one
English? If so, you have all the skills necessary
to volunteer at the Graffiti House.
If not, we can train you! As
we transition to opening the house to visitors on four days each week, we need
to double the number of volunteers.
The Graffiti House had close to 1700 visitors through August and
volunteers are really needed! Please
contact Della Edrington at (540) 825-4543 or email Della at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be willing to help keep our
house open this Fall.
on Stuart Signature
As reported in the last newsletter, the name of JEB Stuart
has been found on a wall of the Graffiti House. What remains to be done is
to determine whether the name is just that - JEB Stuarts's name - or whether it is
actually JEB Stuart's signature.
Some 10 examples of JEB Stuarts signature from the 1850’s through
his death in 1864 have been gathered for the purpose of comparing them
against the wall signature.
Additionally, the wall name has been shown to several experts in the
Confederate autograph field. Thus far,
the jury is still out and no firm conclusion has been
reached. If you have an interest in
signatures, or an interest in JEB Stuart, or would just like to try your
hand at CSI work, we would be interested in talking to you. Volunteers are
needed!! For information contact us at (540) 727-7718 or email us at email@example.com.
A Maryland Flask
Recently Father William Aitcheson of Warrenton, Virginia,
graciously allowed the Brandy Station Foundation to display for the summer
a rare relic from his collection. The relic was a pewter drinking flask
which at one time was owned by Henry (Hal) Hopkins of Breathed's Battery of
the Stuart Horse Artillery. It is the same Henry Hopkins whose name
is the 4th listed name on the Maryland Scroll located in the rear upstairs
room at the Graffiti House. While impossible to prove, it is possible that
this very flask was in Henry's possession when the Maryland Scroll was
drawn at the Graffiti House over 143 years ago. Thank you Father Aitcheson.
Robert E. Lee the 4th Visits
On July 9th the Brandy Station Foundation was honored to
have as our guest at the Graffiti House in Brandy Station, Mr. Robert
Edward Lee IV.
Bob Lee is the grandson of William Henry Fitzhugh
(Rooney) Lee, and the great-grandson of General Robert E. Lee. Mr. Lee came to Brandy Station to sign
the Wall of Honor at the Graffiti House in the names of his illustrious
ancestors. Mr. Lee seemed as though
the honor was his to add his name to the wall with the names of so many
others who were on the field of battle.
Mr. Lee was most gracious in speaking to the crowd of
about 75 who gathered on this hot afternoon to meet him, many asking for
autographs and pictures and asking him to sign books about his
ancestors. One such request was from
a young boy who came with his friends and his mother and presented his
history book for Mr. Lee sign beside a picture of General R. E. Lee.
A Visit to Blenheim
On July 20, 2006, seven members of the Brandy Station
Board of Directors and volunteer staff had the unique opportunity to visit
the Blenheim House in the City of Fairfax, on Old Lee Highway. Blenheim is home to a wealth of Civil War
Graffiti. Blenheim, open just one
weekend a year to the public, was opened to us thanks to Susan Gray,
curator of the Fairfax County Museum system.
This 12-acre site, purchased by the City of Fairfax in
1999, includes a circa 1858 brick house and family cemetery. Once part of a
large farm owned by several generations of the locally prominent Willcoxon
family, Blenheim is on the National Register of Historic Places and
contains the most voluminous and best-preserved examples of Civil War
soldier graffiti in the nation.
Another historic property, the c.1840 Grandma's Cottage, was moved
to the Blenheim complex in early 2001.
Both buildings are associated with the Willcoxon family,
instrumental in the early-19th-century history of Fairfax.
In addition to touring the house and its unique history,
those in attendance had the opportunity to meet and have a detailed
discussion with Kerstin Travers, a Conservation Technician contracted by
the City to remove the layers of paint that have hidden the houses
The tour of the house lasted approximately three hours
and included access to the attic, where the majority of the identified
graffiti lies. Due to safety concerns, guests are not normally permitted
their. The graffiti that has been discovered to date is all Union and dates
around three specific time frames: March and April 1862, when the Federal
forces occupied Fairfax for the first time;
September 1862 to January 1863, when the house was used as a 11th
Corps hospital; and during the march
to Gettysburg. Over 100 names have
been identified from more than 20 regiments.
In addition to names, there are well over thirty
drawings. Many are symbols, but there are also numerous drawings of ships,
individual soldiers and a couple of 'suggestive' drawings. Recently discovered was a series of
drawings and phrases written by a soldier depicting his life and feelings
about service to his country and how, over time, his enthusiasm for the
life of a soldier had waned. This set of drawings runs down a door frame on
the second floor. There are interestingly, a number of drawings with pigs
The conversation with the conservator was also very informative.
She worked on a variety of projects over her the years, her previous work
before Blenheim was to help refurbish a Saturn V rocket in Houston, Texas.
Kerstin showed us some the techniques used to safely remove the years of
paint and how she identified specific target area where it was felt
graffiti might be hidden. It entails, in part, applying a chemical stripper
to small sections of the wall where it seemed that writing was hidden. She
then uses water on a large (hand made) cotton swab to carefully remove the
paint. It is tedious work, and Kerstin's pace is about a square foot an
hour; obviously longer if there is writing underneath.
The day ended with a discussion of the refurbishment
status of Blenheim in relation to the status of the Graffiti House. Blenheim, with greater resources, is much
farther along then we are. Their plans include a visitors and education
center on the grounds, where full scale photos of the attic drawings will
be displayed. There was also a discussion on the possibility of linking
Blenheim, the Graffiti House and other known structures that have civil war
graffiti, (in areas such as Harpers Ferry, Fredericksburg, Manassas and
Front Royal) into a Civil War Graffiti Trail.
Christmas Party 2006
HO HO HO!!! You are all invited to the 4th Annual
Christmas Party to be held at the Graffiti House from 1:00-4:00PM on
Saturday, December 9th. As was the case last year, good food, drinks and
company will abound so all that you need to bring is yourself - and a few
friends. This year, it is rumored that we will be visited by a special
guest (straight from his assignment at Fredericksburg)! So mark your
calendars, a good time will be had by all!
A real treat awaits you on November 4th!! The First
Stuart Horse Artillery will be present at the Graffiti House to demonstrate
camp life as well as their prowess in firing and servicing their cannons.
For the demonstration, which will begin at 1:00 PM, the members of the
horse artillery will fire a 6 lb. bronze cannon and also a 3 inch ordnance
rifle. Come on out and enjoy the show.
The year 2008 will mark the 145th anniversary of the June
9th Battle of Brandy Station, the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.
To mark the occasion, the Board of Directors has endorsed the concept of an
anniversary weekend, June 6th, 7th and 8th, of 2008. Although plans are not firm at this time,
it is contemplated that every effort will be made to include all of the
Culpeper community in the activities.
If you would be interested in participating in any aspect of the
weekend, please call the Graffiti House at (540) 727-7718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your
Preserve History by Owning it!
Come Home to Historical "Afton" Headquarters
for JEB Stuart and his cavalrymen prior to the Battle of Brandy Station.
This gorgeous historic home on 44 acres is a lovingly
maintained and renovated 4BR 3BA home with a beautiful Parlor, Dining Room
& Library, gourmet kitchen and spacious sunroom w/slate floor. Other
features include an in-ground pool, paddock, some board fencing, vintage
barns, tenant house, octagonal ice house & so much more!
Call Janet Holden at 800-66-JANET X236 or
540-825-1613 or go online www.janetholden.com.