The Grand Review
- March 2008*
*Updated to include the February Special
... see also "Things to Do" on the Home Page
Graffiti House - Where the Handwriting is on the Wall'
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newsletter scroll down for a complete look or click below on the
article of interest.
House Volunteer Training
Series – Music of the Civil War
Park Day - Sponsored by the CWPT and the Discovery Channel
Birthday/Re-union for the Graffiti House
Meeting of the Brandy Station Foundation
of Brandy Station Anniversary Ball at the Inn at Kelly's
|June 6, 7 and
Anniversary Weekend of the Battle of Brandy Station
Best Christmas Party Ever!!!
Friends of the Brandy Station Foundation enjoyed an
Old Time Christmas Celebration at the Graffiti House
Saturday, December 8, 2007. Well over 100 people – including
Robert E. Lee (George Wells) and St. Nick (Dale Brown) – attended.
Several re-enactors also attended adding the picture of their period
attire to the decoration of the party. The work of organizing
the party and decorating the Graffiti House was led by Peggy Misch
with a strong team effort of Mary Tholand, Tony Seidita and Helen
Geisler. Music was provided by the Wilderness Run Players (Bob
Pfile, Jan Moore, Sandy Wemmerus and Eric Stohr) and headlining the
food dishes were meals by Ed Gentry’s Catering and bakery goods by
this writer’s eye, the hit of the party was St. Nick. Many
children – young and old(er) shared their secrets and wish lists
with him. Many pictures of the party, and of the kids visiting
with St. Nick, are shown below.
||even the old
||and the front
porch looked great.
tree shown brightly
R E Lee
arrived and made friends - Mary Tholand (L) and Paula Luddy
Carla's bakery goodies were
Tunes by the drum-stick man
- Bob Pfile
Can you play Dixie?
Peggy Misch -right- and friends
big smile from Tony Sedita
More friends come by
|The federals arrived
|| A secret for St Nick
|| A Christmas wish
|One more wish
generations of Pfiles and General R. E. Lee
|Susan Williams and the
||A good time was had by
||A very tired elf, Mike
The Journey Begins!!
On October 17th, a contract was
signed with the firm of
and Paxton for the preparation of a Graffiti House Architectural
Evaluation report. This report will identify all outstanding
facility problems within the Graffiti House, prioritize their
importance, and identify proposed best solutions – complete with
estimated cost and schedule implications.
Upon completion, the
report will be submitted to the Board of Directors of the Brandy
Station Foundation for its review. The Board will extract
appropriate pieces of the report and formulate a plan for the
restoration/preservation of the Graffiti House. This plan will be
the baseline document by which the Graffiti House story will be
described and be the standard upon which success will be measured.
Many thanks to the Procurement
Selection Committee (Della Edrington,
Chair; Bob Jones, Bob Pfile, Dan Painter and Gary Wilson) without
whose hard work and dedication this important step would never have
All Things Considered
On November 7th,
the Graffiti House was visited by a team of reporters from National
Public Radio. They came to the house to learn the story of the
House and to see first hand how history is uncovered. Kirsten
Travers, a paint history specialist, who had previously uncovered
several drawings on the Graffiti House walls, drove down from New
York City to also be part of the broadcast. In all, the NPR team
recorded about three hours of activities which eventually were
consolidated into a manageable segment for a radio broadcast. On
November 24th, the broadcast occurred as part of the
nationally broadcast show, "All Things Considered."
Click here to see that broadcast..
Rose Hill Festival a Success!!
Over 160 friends of the Brandy Station
Foundation gathered on the spacious lawns of Rose Hill on October 6th
for an afternoon of fall festivities. Our hosts for the afternoon –
the Covington/Wells families and the Rose Hill Farm Director Walter
Bell – were extremely gracious and had provided the magnificent
venue of the estate for our use. As you can see from the below
pictures everyone had a great time!
Recognizing our Hosts
Special thanks to Belmont
Farm Distillery, Copy Right, Inc., Elkwood Crossing
Nursery & Garden Center, Old House Vineyards, Prince
Michel Winery, Tom Calhoun’s Meat Market, Yates
Properties and Gentry Catering for your support.
Individual thanks are also due Bud Hall, Margaret Misch,
Dan Beattie, the Deardoff family, Deanna Scott, Butch
Davies, Sami Colvin, Brooke Colvin Kelsey Propps, Bob
McDougal, the Little Fork Rangers, quilters and dulcimer
The Pews of St. James
By Michael Block
survived the Battle of Brandy Station. It survived the movements of
Jackson and Pope in 1862. It survived the movements and fighting of
Lee and Meade in October and November of 1863. But it could not
survive men who wanted to live in a little more comfort. And for the
men of the Army of the Potomac, it wasn’t a decision to make.
James Church came down, literally brick-by-brick. When the orders
came to build winter quarters, the church was an easy target – it
was Convenient and empty.
most likely candidates for the removal of the bricks and structure
was the 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. They were camping in
the field immediately adjacent to and northeast of St. James. This
field five months previously saw the 6th Pennsylvania
Cavalry, known as Rushes Lancers make their charge on the morning of
June 9th, into the mouth of the might of the Stuart Horse
Artillery, with predictable results.
Henry Carpenter of the 6th U.S. Cavalry described setting
up his winter camp “upon the battle field of Beverly Ford or Brandy
Station as the rebels call it... An old Church stands close by...The
ground near the Church is covered with the graves of rebel
soldiers... (Carpenter, L.. H., 1863 Letter in Louis Henry Carpenter
Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania).
in the churchyard and cemetery disappeared to provide wood for huts
and fuel. As chimneys were also required for warmth during the
winter, the little brick church was at risk.
“They...have pulled down the Church near Pleasonton’s Head Quarters,
for the bricks alone,” wrote Provost Marshal General Marsena Patrick
in his diary on December 8, 1863. He deplored this “terrible
conduct” by Union cavalrymen that resulted in the destruction of St.
James Church. (Marsena Patrick Diary, Library of Congress,
what happened to the pews?
answer comes from the diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes the adjutant of
the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment.
described the dedication of the regiment’s chapel in mid-January
1863: “Tonight we dedicated our new chapel and in remembrance of
R.I. and in recognition of God’s goodness to us we have named it
“Hope” Chapel. The building is made of logs hewn smooth on one side
and built up cob fashion. Most of the hewing was done by Chaplain
Beugless and Lieut. John M. Turner. The roof is covered by a large
canvas, presented by the Christian Commission. Inside we have a
fireplace and tin reflectors for candles on the walls. A chandelier
made from old tin cans, or the tin taken from cans is in the
centre. The pulpit or desk is covered with red flannel, and the
ground or floor is carpeted with pine boughs. We sent a
detail of men in command of Capt. John G. Beveridge to a deserted
church near by and took out the seat and placed them in our Chapel.
Our boys had a fight with the guerillas but brought back the
seats.” (All For the Union: The Civil War Diary and Letters of
Elisha Hunt Rhodes, edited by Robert Hunt Rhodes) Rhodes was also
the superintendent of the Church’s Sunday School.
seats remained with the sixth Corps Unit until April, when the
packing of the camp and preparations for war began anew. The canvas
roof was returned to the Christian Commission. As for the pews, no
one knows. They were most likely taken from the roofless church and
used for firewood. By April, most of the hardstand trees had been
used, and the benches were convenient and close.
we will never know for sure of the fate of the pews of St. James
Church, we can be glad that at least they were used for their
designed purpose for a few more months.
The Brandy Station
Foundation (BSF) hosted a “Spirited Evening at Brandy Station” on
October 26, 2007. Over 50 brave souls walked the hall of the
Graffiti House to hear tale of the ghosts and other unexplained
events relating to
involvement with the Civil War- as well as modern ghost stories with
a Civil War theme.
The event, the
first of its kind for the Graffiti House or the BSF, had visitors
enter the house to hear five (or more) ghost stories from Civil War
re-enactors and other ‘witnesses’ to the tales they spoke of.
Special thanks go out to our storytellers: Mr. Ken Adams, Mr.
Richard Girven, Mr. John Hammer, Ms. Pat Heinemann and Mr. and Mrs.
William Lacy. They spun stories of the horse soldiers charging down
roads –after the war was over, nocturnal stage coach rides and
hitch-hikers whose address seems to be the
The guests were
greeted on the front porch by Ms. Peggy Misch who spoke of the
current occupants of the Graffiti House and experiences of former
owners, visitors and the Graffiti House staff. Those who were able
to complete the internal journey (and all did- including a very
brave four-footed friend), were treated to a warm bon fire, roasted
marshmallows, hot apple cider, popcorn balls and other goodies.
Thanks to Chris Block, and from Fauquier High School: Jesse
Jorgenson and Chris Spoden for overseeing the bon fire and keeping
Edrington served as hostess for the event and Caryn Block was the
event coordinator (who also seemed to arrange for a spectacular full
moon to rise during the evening).
If you missed the
stories, don’t worry, plans are underway for next year!
permission of Donnie Johnston and the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star
THE OLD Graffiti
House in Brandy Station is pitch-black dark. As I sit in a chair,
my back to the wall, a man named Ron walks down a central hall
quietly asking questions. Is there anyone here?" "Are you a
soldier?" "Are you waiting for a train to take you to Richmond or to
Washington?" "Has Gen. Lee been here?" "Were you wounded in the
Battle of Brandy Station?" Ron's voice fades as he goes into a far
room here on the first floor. His questions turn into statements of
reassurance. "We are not here to harm you," he promises the
surrounding darkness. For several minutes there is an eerie quiet,
broken only by the occasional creaking of floorboards from the
second story above. Then, still two rooms away, Ron coaxes whatever
spirits that might be floating about in the darkness to manifest
themselves in some way. "If you are here, make your presence known
to us," the weekend ghost-hunter says. "If you are here, touch one
of us in some way." For a few seconds there is absolute stillness
and quiet and I sit smiling, thinking that this is all a lot of
Then, suddenly, I feel something touch my back, between my shoulder
blades, just below my neck. It begins almost as a muscular twitching
and I instinctively reach around to try and scratch the spot.
Before I can get my hand up, however, the twitching sensation
becomes more pronounced and now it is without question a tapping
from without. Now I am smiling no more. Now the hair is
standing up on the back of my neck. Now I have a strange feeling
that someone or some thing is there in that 4-inch space between my
back and the 150-year-old interior wall of this old Civil War field
hospital. Then I hear a gentle thump on that wall, and I
slowly turn to find that the large picture frame behind me is
moving. It is the frame that is tapping me on the back. But how can
it be moving? There is no breeze, no heater stirring air on this
cold moonless night. And there is no freight train rumbling down the
adjoining railroad tracks that might make the wall vibrate. But
even a freight train wouldn't push a large picture frame 4 inches
out from a stationary wall. What is doing it? You tell me,
I spent more than four hours in the dark Saturday night as members
of a ghost-hunting group that calls itself the Virginia Paranormal
Institute inspected the Graffiti House for spirits. The small
sliver group, headed by Mark Taylor of Gaithersburg, Md., had been
invited by Graffiti House caretaker Della Edrington and the Brandy
Station Foundation, which owns the pre-Civil War structure. Wounded
soldiers--both Union and Confederate--convalesced here and many of
their names remain scribbled in charcoal on plaster walls all over
the house. Although there is no official record, some of the
wounded undoubtedly died here. And since Appomattox, there have been
reports of spirits residing in this place--and the unmarked
graveyard behind an abandoned and now dilapidated church just a few
yards away. If there are spirits here--as Edrington has often
suspected--she wanted to confirm their presence. So she set up the
investigation. So, Saturday night Taylor (a real-estate
broker), Ron Pipilo (a truck driver), Rick Allen (a mechanic) and
Jackson "Jackie" Hicks (a business owner) showed up with all kinds
of sophisticated ghost-detecting equipment to search for spirits.
Edrington was there and I was invited to attend and videotape the
investigation for a TV documentary I am producing. Little did I
know that I would become part of the story!
About 7 p.m., all the lights were turned out and the hunt began. My
"incident" occurred about an hour into the event after, I suppose,
whatever spirits in attendance had a chance to become accustomed to
us. After tapping me, however, whatever was there backed off, and
it was at least another hour before the action picked up again.
Then, in a small upstairs bedroom, Allen reported that one of his
instruments was getting an abnormal reading beside the name "Bowman"
scribbled on the wall. Hicks, who the group claims has a high
sensitivity to the presence of spirits, volunteered to sit in a
chair next to the name in an attempt to coax anything paranormal
into action. We stumbled quietly up the old stairs (there were no
lights on all night), went into the little room and shut the door
behind us. Then Hicks began asking any spirits present to manifest
themselves. "You can use my body," she says. "Just don't take too
much of my energy." Her pleas go unanswered for several minutes and
then, in the middle of a sentence, they abruptly stop.
"I feel something putting pressure on my wrist!" she says quietly,
trying hard to restrain her excitement. "Yes, something is there! I
feel it!" Through the viewfinder of a video camera capable of
recording in absolute darkness, I see Hicks eyes widen and the
tension in her body build. "It is moving up to my hand!" she says
after a few moments. "It is like something is squeezing my hand!"
Allen, who has been getting abnormally high readings on one of his
instruments near the name on the wall, turns his attention to the
woman in the chair. He brings the instrument down to her hand and it
goes wild, with lights blinking on and off at a furious pace.
"There is definitely activity here!" he says. For perhaps 15
minutes Hicks feels the pressure and Allen's instruments note some
kind of abnormal energy near her hand. The living beings present in
the room --including me--are all filled with excitement. Finally,
Hicks feels she must free herself of whatever is touching her and
she gets up. Edrington then sits down in the chair, to see if she
can experience anything paranormal. After several minutes, she says
that although she sensed there was something present, she really
didn't feel the hand and wrist squeezing that Hicks felt. Allen gets
no abnormal readings near her. "I suppose the spirits here are just
used to me," Edrington, who works in the Graffiti House on a daily
basis, says from her seat in the darkness. Minutes later we are
Light Exposed Floor Stain
Taylor shows us a
picture of what he feels is a blood stain he found on an old floor.
The photo was taken under ultraviolet light and will be analyzed
later. Hicks is anxious and says she must go outside, that whatever
touched her in the upstairs bedroom has drained much of her energy.
"They sometimes do that," she says of spirits. I immediately think
of Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in that scene from
the movie "Ghost." Again, the hair stands up on the back of my neck.
Are there ghosts in the Graffiti House? According to Taylor, the
evidence is still inconclusive. He will continue to analyze
photographs, sound recordings and videotape before he and other
members of the Virginia Paranormal Institute (the four
aforementioned people) offer an educated guess. As for me, well, I
don't know what to believe. But when that picture frame started
tapping me on the back there in the dark, well as the inimitable
Barney Fife once said, "There are things out there that we just
don't understand!" That night when I went home, I slept with the
An Antique Roadshow Visit!
The Graffiti House was the location for a day of antique appraisals
which resulted in a donation of nearly $1000. Sponsored by the Lake
of the Woods Wilderness ‘Tiques, four appraisers evaluated antiques
of all shapes and sizes. The local group, part of the national
Questors Antiques organization, provided volunteers to collect fees
and manage traffic flow. The appraisers, Sarah Hays of Quail of the
Wood Antique Shop in Culpeper; Steve Hoffman, a professional
furniture maker and appraiser; Clay Dodson, a private antique
dealer; and Elizabeth Hammon of Cottage Antiques of Warrenton all
donated their time and talents in support of Graffiti House
restoration. The Brandy Station Foundation owes both the Wilderness
‘Tiques and the four appraisers a great debt of gratitude for their
A Sunday Preview
Gary Wilson has organized an outstanding 2008
Sunday lecture series, the topics of which are shown below. While
the 2007 series marked the yearly highest attendance in the series
since it was inaugurated four years ago; we have every expectation
that the 2008 series will even be more popular. Gary starts the
series with an encore presentation of “The Music of the Civil War”
performed by Evergreen Shade (John Tole and Ann Howard). It should
be noted that when John and Ann last performed in 2006, they set the
attendance record at the Graffiti House!!
Series 2008 – all events begin at 2:00PM
The Music of the Civil War
Evergreen Shade (John Tole and Ann
Desperate Engagement – Jubal
Early’s Threat on Washington
The Atlanta Campaign
The Union Executions at
West Point at the Outset of the
War – the Class of 1862
Cavalry Fights in Fauquier
County - Coffee Hill/Buckland Races
Colonel J. Egbert and Mrs. Amanda Farnum
Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Kelley
The Disinterment of Will Farley
Graffiti House - 150th Birthday Dinner, April 18th,
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW
hundred and fifty years ago, in 1858, the Graffiti House was built
in Brandy Station. A few years later soldiers passed through the
village and scribbled on the walls of this brand new house!
After the War, the walls were painted and the Graffiti was
forgotten. During the 150th Graffiti House birthday
celebration, the Brandy Station Foundation will present a chronology
of the house, beginning with how it was built beside the Orange and
Alexandria Rail Road.
To assist with the telling of this tale,
we have invited descendants of some soldiers who left their mark on
the wall to tell their fascinating stories. Join us for dinner and
meet Broadus Bowman whose ancestor, Sgt. Allen Bowman, turned his
bayonet into a hoe after the war (sword into plowshare). David
Bridges will explain how a man from Maryland came to fight for the
Confederacy. His name became part of an intricate drawing in the
house that is dated March 16, 1863, the day before the Battle of
Kelly’s Ford. Ed Kelley finds in his family tree an
adventurer, J. Egbert Farnum, who sailed on board the last slave
ship in American history. He goes on to become a Union
Regimental Commander who wintered at Brandy Station and added
graffiti to the house walls.
dinner will also serve as the Annual Meeting for the Brandy Station
Foundation at which time the membership of the Foundation will be
presented with the slate of candidates for the 2008 Board of
the evening, Della Edrington will give a progress report on the
Graffiti House Restoration Project. Over the past year, she has
administered a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia that has
funded a study by paint conservator Kirsten Travers on the graffiti
preservation and an architectural report prepared by the firm of
Dalgliesh, Gilpin and Paxton. Learn about what more must be done to
preserve the graffiti for the future.
Also, please enjoy all of the local events during
this Culpeper Remembrance Weekend. For more information about these
www.visitculpeperva.com. For your convenience, a block
of hotel rooms have been reserved for the weekend. Contact Della
Edrington at 540-825-4543.
$25.00 for roast beef
dinner, vegetarian selection available. Cash Bar & Wine.
Please RSVP by April 9th
When & Where: 6:30 PM
Brandy Station Fire Volunteer Fire
Department Hall, 19601, Church Rd.
Please reserve _______ seats @ $25 per seat.
I am enclosing a check for the full amount or
my credit card # _______________________________ VISA (Circle
would like to make an additional contribution to the Graffiti House
Restoration Fund for $______
Mail reservation request to; P.O. Box 165, Brandy Station, Virginia
or, if using credit card, you man
email the information to us.
145th Battle of
Brandy Station Anniversary Ball at the Inn at Kelly’s Ford
Celebrate the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Brandy
Station at a Historic Ball on June 7, 2008 from 6:30 pm to midnight
at the Inn at Kelly’s Ford. The well-known 2nd South
Carolina String Band will play music from the Civil War Era with a
Dance Master guiding guests through waltzes, polkas, the Virginia
Reel and other dances of the period. Dinner will be provided by the
Inn. There will be a silent auction of many interesting articles as
well as a live auction featuring the original oil painting of the
Battle of Brandy Station by Andrew Knez from which our popular
t-shirt is modeled.
your opportunity to enjoy a lovely evening in support of the
Foundation and its continued goals of preservation of the
battlefield and restoration of the Historic Graffiti House.
Includes reserved table for 6
Includes reserved table for 8
Includes reserved table for 10
Sponsors, and Patrons receive recognition in the program. From those
unable to attend, donations will be gratefully accepted.
dress or Black tie—Both are optional
your reservation now or for more information, you may contact:
Geisler at (540) 399-1637 or the BSF (540) 727-7718
Volunteers Needed For Civil War Graffiti House
TRAINING SESSION: SATURDAY MARCH 15TH AT 2 P.M.
Are you interested
in Civil War History?
Like to talk to
people and share experiences?
The Brandy Station
Foundation is looking for you!
through October, the Graffiti House is open four days each week
(Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 11AM to 4PM. This
requires 160 hours of
volunteer service each month. One person is needed
downstairs to greet visitors, run the video and attend to the gift
shop while another volunteer is upstairs telling the stories of the
You are invited
to join our team of dedicated volunteers who keep this National
Historic site open free to the public. If you have a few hours
to spare, please contact Della Edrington at
(540) 825-4543 or by
volunteers and new volunteers are encouraged to attend this training
session at the Graffiti House.
interpreters (tour guides) and
Greeters to welcome house
visitors, operate the gift shop and run the media center.
19484 Brandy Road,
Brandy Station, Virginia
On September 22nd, nearly one hundred local home school
students enjoyed an educational program that was presented by
volunteers from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in
Frederick, Maryland. Although several limbs were amputated that day,
it appears certain that all the brave young soldiers will survive.
More Families Sign
Two more family members came back
to visit the Graffiti House this past quarter. Paul Hawke, Head of
the American Battlefield Preservation Program signed the wall for
his ancestor Col. Alexander Boetler and Marcia Hovenden signed for
her ancestor “Rooney” Lee.
We also other visitors who did not
sign the wall but certainly deserve their own pictures to be shown!
Patricia and Robert Keitz
Speaker Series Ends
on a High Note
Two great Sunday
lectures concluded the 2007 speaking season. On September 29th,
Richard Deardoff spoke on Civil war medicine and on October 28th,
Willie Thompson spoke about Roger Pryor. Thanks to both gentlemen!!
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!
Mr. C. Dominick
Mr. R. Goodman
Station Quartermaster papers
entitled Soldiers, Stories, Sites & Fights, Orange Co.,
candlestick, wick trimmer, snuff box, notepad and pencil
Mr. and Mrs.
War newspaper (on loan)
Ms. Nellie Santinga
||NY Civil War button,
medical bottles, glass inkwell, pieces of miniature tea set,
stirrup, clay pipe bowl, a school slate, and cooking
Become a Member
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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!!