The Winter Encampment - 1863/1864

After the Confederate defeat at Bristoe Station in October 1863, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade pressed Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia south across the Rapidan River into Orange County. The Union army then settled in for the winter around Culpeper Courthouse in Culpeper County, while the Confederates encamped along the south bank of the Rapidan.
The rail station at Brandy became the major transportation hub for the winter encampment.
Supplies, visiting dignitaries and people of notoriety came to Culpeper during this time. Officer’s wives came and toured the area with pomp and pageantry. Grand balls were held in the homes of prominent citizens.
For five months, the two combatants studied each other, resupplied and reinforced their armies, and tested each other's lines with occasional thrusts. In March 1864, Grant arrived in Culpeper County, having been appointed commander of all Union armies by President Abraham Lincoln and having decided to accompany Meade rather than remain in Washington. With his presence, the war in Virginia would enter a new and even bloodier phase when the Federals crossed the Rapidan on May 4th to begin a campaign that would inflict some 45 percent casualties on each army within two-and-a-half months.