Posts tagged ‘Fredericksburg’

National organization recognizes battlefield preservation champions from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee

(Chattanooga, Tenn.)
 – During a ceremony this evening Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain, the Civil War Trust, a national battlefield preservation organization, will recognize three outstanding historic preservation advocates with its Chairman’s Awards for Achievement.  The awards, presented by the Trust’s chairman, Henry E. Simpson, will honor Alabama historian Daniel Fulenwider, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park historian James Ogden and Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association executive director Mary Ann Peckham.

“The long term commitment to historic preservation and education demonstrated by each member of this trio is inspirational,” said Simpson.  “Their enthusiasm for American history knows no bounds and their work will continue to benefit the public for generations to come.”

For more than two decades, Daniel Fulenwider of Cullman County, Ala., has worked to promote appreciation and understanding of “Streight’s Raid” — Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest’s pursuit of Col. Abel D. Streight across north Alabama in the spring of 1863.  He has led tours of the campaign for military personnel from 27 countries and has traversed the entire route, from Mississippi to Georgia, on foot.  He was instrumental in orchestrating the Trust’s efforts to purchase of land at Hog Mountain, scene of fighting during the Battle of Day’s Gap, and continues to be involved in efforts to promote and interpret the site.

Mary Ann Peckham is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association a statewide organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Tennessee Civil War Battlefields.   She retired from the National Park Service in December 2000, after serving in six National Park areas.  Her final assignment was as Superintendent of Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tenn.  In addition to her work with TCWPA, she is active with a number of area conservation organizations, including serving on the advisory board of the Southeast Region of the Land Trust for Tennessee.

Since 1988, James Ogden has been the historian for Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.  Earlier in his career, he done interpretive and research work for the Maryland Park Service at Point Lookout State Park, site of the largest Civil War prison, and for the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Russell Cave National Monument and Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Ogden speaks regularly on aspects of the Civil War to historical organizations and leads tours of battlefields throughout Georgia and Tennessee.  He has taught Civil War history courses for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, published a variety of articles and appeared on both A&E’s “Civil War Journal” and the History Channel’s “Civil War Combat.”

Beyond his involvement with the Civil War Trust, Simpson is a member of the law firm Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson, LLP in Birmingham, Ala.  He has previously served as a lecturer at the University of Alabama, the state chairman of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and the state chairman of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.  To date, the Trust has preserved nearly 30,000 acres of battlefield in 20 states.  Learn more at, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

Museum on wheels brings Civil War to Eastern Shore

by the Eastern Shore News

ONANCOCK –Civil War history is on the move in Virginia as its custom 18-wheel Civil War HistoryMobile rolls into the Eastern Shore for a three-day visit Sept. 6-11.

An initiative of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission, this walk-through museum on wheels will be at the Barrier Islands Center in Machipongo Sept. 6-8 and at Ker Place Historic House Museum in Onancock Sept. 9-11.

The HistoryMobile’s appearance is part of the “Observations and Disco-veries of the Civil War” events sponsored by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society.

The HistoryMobile contains a high-tech imm-ersive experience detailing Virginia’s incomparable place in Civil War history. The exhibits were designed through a partnership between the Fredericks-burg/Spotsylvania National Battlefields Park and the Virginia Historical Society and examine Virginia’s Civil War history from the viewpoints of soldiers, civilians and slaves. The HistoryMobile is also supported by the Virginia Tourism Corporation through which visitors can obtain information on visiting Virginia Civil War sites at the exhibit, as well as by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Visitors will encounter history in ways they may have never experienced as they are confronted in the Battlefield exhibit by the bewildering sense of chaos experienced by soldiers. The Homefront exhibit calls on visitors to place themselves in the shoes of wartime civilians and make the choices that faced Virginians of those times. The Slavery exhibit looks through the eyes of those who escaped to freedom and those who waited for freedom to come to them. The enduring legacy of the war is presented as a loss/gain scenario that challenges visitors to examine their own perspectives.

More information on the HistoryMobile and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission can be found at http://www.virginiacivil For information on visiting Civil War sites throughout Virginia go to

Civil War park joy ride brings arrest

Off-road driver arrested on numerous charges at Stafford County’s under-construction Civil War park.


An off-road joy ride yesterday morning led to a Stafford County man’s trip to jail in the back of a Sheriff’s Office squad car.

Deputies went to the county’s under-construction Civil War park off Brooke Road near the Rappahannock Regional Landfill after receiving a call from a nearby resident.

There, county authorities found a mud-covered Jeep overturned next to a large dirt mound.

A man deputies found there at first told authorities he was not the driver of the Jeep and insisted that the driver had fled the scene, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy.

But Kennedy said the man, who was not injured, later acknowledged that he had been the driver.

Police charged Ryan Eilenfield, 24, of Stafford with trespassing, driving under the influence and obstruction of justice.

Friends of Stafford County Civil War Sites Director Glenn Trimmer is overseeing the construction of the park.

He is happy with the progress so far, but said that the activity–and the large dirt piles–have attracted off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles.

He said that it is important for people to obey the posted signs at the park and refrain from trespassing on the construction site.

Trimmer also said that relic hunters are not allowed on the property.

He said the situation will improve once the park is opened and visitors come to see what is a very rare and well-preserved example of Union fortifications.

“The people who care about the history of the site” will act as the best deterrent to unwanted behavior, Trimmer said.

Phase one of the construction project was recently completed, with the National Guard having rough-graded three roads and installed a creek crossing last month. The National Guard is scheduled to complete its portion of the project in June 2012, with the park opening the following fall.

When it is complete, the park will be opened to the public. Until then, it is off limits.

“That’s park property,” Kennedy said. “There’s no trespassing allowed. There’s no four-wheeling allowed, either.”

Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036


Remembering the 1,040-man West Michigan regiment who fought in Civil War 150 years ago

By Garret Ellison | The Grand Rapids Press  

GRAND RAPIDS — In the shadow of the old South High School on Hall Street SE, current home of the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, sits a boulder steeped in history.

A Civil War memorial boulder is re-dedicated during a ceremony commemorating Cantonment Anderson Saturday outside the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center. The ceremony included several readings, and a speech from Mayor George Heartwell. (Emily Zoladz | The Grand Rapids Press)

The large rock, inscribed with the words “Cantonment Anderson,” is a tribute to the Third Michigan volunteer infantry regiment soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, and it rests on the site of the regiment’s original muster in May 1861.

The boulder, first dedicated in a reunion of surviving regiment members 100 years ago, was rededicated in a memorial ceremony on Saturday, two days shy of the regiment’s 150-year departure anniversary.

A new informational tablet also was unveiled that details the history of the spot and the men who left there to fight and die in the war.

“These were real people in a very real time,” said historian David Britten, superintendent of Godfrey-Lee schools and author of the book “Courage without Fear: The Story of the Grand Rapids Guard.”

By horseback, stagecoach and train, scores of men from the surrounding counties arrived in Grand Rapids following the call by President Abraham Lincoln for troops to preserve the union following the April 12, 1861 attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate rebels.

They organized into companies on 40 acres at the Kent County Agricultural Fairgrounds along Kalamazoo Plank Road, or what’s now South Division Avenue. It was not a beautiful spot, said Britten, but rather a swampy area in need of proper barracks.

The name “Cantonment Anderson” is an apparent homage to Major Robert Anderson, former commander of South Carolina’s Fort Sumter, said Bruce Butgereit, executive director of History Remembered Inc.

Excerpts from soldier’s letters describe a race track that was used for camp drill and a semi-circular, two-story hall that lodged 700 men in shared ship-style bunks with a straw beds and blankets. The smell was apparently quite awful.

Meals were mostly beef, bread, butter and potatoes, with an “indescribable” soup for dinner and coffee in the morning. Camp was a rowdy place full of men who “soon found out what it was like to be in the south wearing wool in July,” said Britten.

The 1,040-man regiment left for the front via the rail depot at Leonard and Plainfield, marching through downtown to the waved handkerchiefs and tearful good byes of the city’s residents, said Butgereit.

The Third Michigan saw action in a dozen campaigns before being disbanded mid-war, when the remaining men were rolled into the Fifth Michigan regiment, Britten said.

Men from the “Old Third” fought and died in storied battles like First and Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Appomattox and Gettysburg.

The regiment was originally commanded by Colonel Daniel McConnell, who resigned after six months. Stephen Champlin took over as colonel. He died in 1864 and is buried in Fulton Street Cemetery.

Saturday’s ceremony was presented by the Michigan Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and the Gen. John A. Logan Camp No. 1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

The Schubert Male Chorus sang the national anthem and “America,” as color guard volunteers in period dress performed rededication rituals preceding the tablet unveiling.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell read an account from a book by acclaimed Civil War author Bruce Catton, describing the actions of the Third Michigan in a battle near Sharpsville, Pa., where the greenhorn regiment had a “baptism by fire.”

It’s easy to forget that 150 years ago, battles were fought hand-to-hand, said Heartwell.

More than half of the Third Michigan suffered some kind of casualty, said Britten, whether it be a battle injury, disease or the result of primitive field medical treatments that often did more harm than good.

More than 286 Third Michigan men died in service. Some were captured by the Confederacy. Two men received Congressional Medals of Honor; Benjamin K. Morse, buried in Lowell, and Walter L. Mundell, buried in St. Johns.

“This boulder and tablet ensures that they haven’t been forgotten,” said Butgereit. The original boulder was placed on site by the Sophie deMarsac Campau chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on June 13, 1911.

Press stories about the dedication in 1911 said about 130 members of the regiment survived at the time and 65 of them attended a banquet to mark the 50th anniversary of their deployment at the Morton House in downtown Grand Rapids.

“As the soldiers gathered the air of patriotism and the ardor for the flag and its meaning was so prevalent it seemed old Cantonment Anderson never would be forgotten,” the Press wrote of the original dedication of the boulder. “It will be remembered long after the passing of the men who immortalized the neighborhood. School children will see the boulder and oft be reminded of the men in whose honor it was placed.”

Britten said the 126th Army National Guard Cavalry Regiment stationed at the Grand Valley Armory in Wyoming traces its roots to the Third Michigan.

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Apps put Civil War historians on your iPhone

Hank Silverberg,

The first screen of the Fredericksburg Battle App. (Photo Courtesy of iTunes)

WASHINGTON – Have you toured one of the many civil war battlefield’s in the capitol region and wished that you had an historian at your side? There’s now a 21st century way to do that.

If you tour the battlefield at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg or soon, Bull Run, you can download your own historian in the form of an “Battle App” for $1.99.

“It takes you to familiar sites, as well as obscure sites,” says Jim Campi from the Civil War Preservation trust.

The app for Fredericksburg, where Union and Confederate troops fought a fierce battle in December of 1862, takes you through the downtown area where there was considerable fighting, but most people never check out when they view the current battlefield.

“What we are really trying to do is put an historian in your pocket, give you the flavor of going out there with a guided tour,” says Campi.

The applications are all part of an effort to spark more interest in Civil War sites as the 150th anniversary of the conflict moves ahead.

Apps for Fredericksburg and Gettysburg areavailable now. One for Bull Run is coming in July, as the actual anniversary Battle of First Manassas arrives.

There are plans to add Chancellorsville, Ceder Creek, the Wilderness, Petersburg and Malvern Hill in Virginia and Antietam in Maryland.

The money collected from the apps will be used to create more apps and to upgrade them from time to time.

Follow Hank and WTOP on Twitter.

War diaries give new view of ‘Burg’s past

Park Service tours highlight civilian experience in Fredericksburg during the Civil War.

BY CLINT SCHEMMER ; The Freelance-Star

Park Service historian John Hennessy shares diary entries written by Fredericksburg residents during the Civil War. CLINT SCHEMMER/THE FREE LANCE-STAR

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Most diaries are mundane. Not so those that historian John Hennessy shared with area residents and visitors this weekend on two walking tours of downtown Fredericksburg, as seen through the eyes of local people who experienced and chronicled the Civil War. Read the words of Mamie Wells, of a Unionist family here, describing how people scurried to take shelter from the Union army’s 13-hour bombardment of the town on Dec. 11, 1862:

“In the streets the confusion was dreadful. Here, a child was left, its frantic mother having fled; and there a husband, who, in the excitement of the moment, had become separated from his wife, ran madly about Here, families were crouching in their dark cellars for protection from the ruthless shells; while there, the more reckless ascended to the house-top to view the impossible grandeur of the scene.”

Or listen to Fredericksburg’s Betty Herndon Maury write of Confederate troops flowing through the town in June 1861:

“GREAT suffering and neglect at the hospital. Some of the soldiers are being removed to private houses. Some of the ladies here devote almost their whole time to the sick. Uncle Brodie Herndon is attending some of those who are at private houses. I never saw anything like the spirit here! The women give up the greater part of their time to nursing the sick or sewing for the soldiers. And it is the same case throughout the South.”

Hennessy, chief historian of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, enthralled some 150 people Saturday with a taste of the riveting accounts penned by six diarists and memoirists.

Beginning in Market Square behind Old Town Hall, he led them on fast-paced, 90-minute jaunts up Caroline Street, then up to the corner of Princess Anne and Lewis streets, stopping at each chronicler’s home.

His tours, in the morning and the afternoon, ended at the home of diarist Jane Howison Beale–which was opened to the public in mid-afternoon for Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc.’s launch of a new edition of Beale’s 1850-62 journal.

Most Civil War tours in the city focus on the military side of the Battle of Fredericksburg. These were the first National Park Service tours focused on civilian families’ experiences.

Participants admired the exteriors of the homes of Mamie Wells, Dr. Brodie S. Herndon, Betty Herndon Maury, John Washington, Lizzie Alsop and Jane Beale.

Dr. Herndon owned what we know today as The Chimneys, a massive brick house at Caroline and Charlotte streets. He is credited with being the first doctor in the U.S. to perform a Caesarean section. His niece, Ellen Herndon, married future President Chester A. Arthur.

Just up Charlotte Street, at Princess Anne Street, is Haydon Hall, the wartime home of Betty Herndon Maury.

Hennessy called her diary “a great combination of newsy and personal” that is Fredericksburg’s most complete account for 1861-62. Betty’s diary is full of high-level insight into the machinations of Jefferson Davis’ government because her uncle, famed oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury, was the Confederacy’s chief of naval defenses. But as a woman in the mid-19th century, she wasn’t credited for her intelligence.

On July 4, 1861, she wrote: “My husband returned from Richmond yesterday. Whether he got the appointment I have not the most remote idea. I asked him to tell me where he went and what he did. He answered, ‘Oh, I went everywhere,’ then told me he had had tomatoes for dinner. The rest he thought above my comprehension, and reserved for some more fortunate male friend. Everybody gives me credit for more brains than my husband does.”

The next stop was PNC Bank, originally the Farmers Bank. Sharing an intersection with two churches and the courthouse designed by architect James Renwick, the bank was where John Washington lived.

Washington, an urban slave whose mother gave him the gift of literacy (at a time when that was illegal), left what Hennessy called a “priceless” account of his journey from bondage to freedom. When his mother was hired out for work elsewhere by their owners, he wrote:

“The night before Mother left me (as I was to be kept in hand by the Old Mistress for especial use) She, came up to my little room I slept in the ‘white peoples house’ and laid down on my bed by me and begged me for her own sake try and be a good boy, say my prayers every night, remember all she had tried to teach me and always think of her. Her tears mingled with mine amid kisses and heart felt sorrow. She tucked the Bed Cloth around me and bade me good night.

“Bitter pangs filled my heart and thought I would rather die Then and there My hatred was kindled secretly against my oppressors and I promised myself if ever I got an opportunity I would run away from the devilish Slave holders.”

From the bank, the tour groups headed up Princess Anne to the stately home of a world-class flirt, 16-year-old Lizzie Alsop, daughter of Joseph Alsop, the largest slaveowner in Fredericksburg.

Alsop delights readers by recalling how she was courted by nearly a dozen men, but spurned every one. She also charts the emotional ups and downs of the Confederacy and records her disdain for the town’s Union occupiers. Hennessy called her “the most eloquent hater of Yankees.”

On May 23, 1862, she wrote: “We Confederates are, generally speaking, the most cheerful people imaginable, and treat the Yankees with silent contempt Ah! They little know the hatred in our hearts towards them–the GREAT scorn we entertain for Yankees. I never hear or see a Federal riding down the street that I don’t wish his neck may be broken before he crosses the bridge.”

The tours ended at the Lewis Street home where Jane Beale and her family took refuge from the Union shelling that began the battle.

“Hers is the best source we have for the practical impact of and the emotional reaction to the end of slavery,” Hennessy said. “Nobody reads her diary for that purpose, though.”

As the bombardment started, Beale wrote, “before we were half dressed, the heavy guns of the enemy began to pour their shot and shell upon our ill-fated town, and we hastily gathered our remaining garments, and rushed into our Basement.”

When a shell struck the house, a brick struck her youngest son, bruising him. Many hours later they escaped through the cellar door and fled town in an ambulance.

“We were shoved into the vehicle without much ceremony, and the horses dashed off at a speed that at another time would have alarmed me, but now seemed all too slow for our feverish impatience to be beyond the reach of those terrible shots,” Beale wrote. “One struck a building just as we passed it, another tore up the ground a short distance from us.”

Beale, who mothered 10 children, survived the war and lived at 307 Lewis St. until her death in 1882.,

Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029

Va. Civil War battlefields get their own ‘app’

The Associated Press

Visitors to Civil War battlefields in the Fredericksburg area will have a new guide to help them see the historic sites.

A “Battle App” will be introduced Wednesday by the Civil War Trust, state officials and the Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development.

According to the trust, the application uses GPS technology and Apple’s iPhone platform to help visitors locate and learn about historic sites. The smartphone content includes audio, video and animation.

The Battle App offers four individual tours of sites protected by the National Park Service. It also includes lesser-known battlefield locations in downtown Fredericksburg and the area.

The Battle App will be introduced and demonstrated at a news conference in the historic city.

Day camp brings Civil War to life for area youngsters

From weaponry to quilt squares, area youths learn about life in the Civil War at Spotsylvania day camp.

The new recruits lined up, and one by one each private marched up for a rifle.

Decked in Confederate gray caps, hooded sweatshirts and sneakers, the soldiers seemed unsure of how to hold their weapons fashioned out of wood.

The last private eagerly took hold of the rifle, although it towered over his head.

Josh Fissel, a first-grader at Smith Station Elementary, was one of 24 children who learned about the War Between the States yesterday at Spotsylvania County‘s first Civil War Kids Camp.

The one-day event happened on the final day of Spotsylvania schools’ spring break, and took place on the edge of the Chancellorsville battlefield at the county’s Lick Run Community Center.

Costumed re-enactors led the students through stations focusing on various aspects of life during the war: marching, loading a weapon, setting up camp, sewing, taking care of the sick, spying, helping to free slaves and playing marbles.

“One of our goals is to try to get a broader understanding and renewed interest in the history of our area,” said Eric Powell, a re-enactor with the 47th Virginia, Company I and the coordinator of social studies for Stafford County public schools.

Most area schools spend a few weeks each year teaching the Civil War, he said. But yesterday, Powell helped students do more than memorize some key dates and read history books.

“They’re learning without even knowing it,” said Debbie Aylor, visitor center supervisor for Spotsylvania.

She planned the camp as a kickoff to the county’s sesquicentennial commemorations.

Spotsylvania was the site of four major Civil War battles, and the county plans to mark the 150th anniversary of the war with numerous events.

Aylor has been passionate about Spotsylvania’s history since growing up “in the middle of a battlefield.”

As a child, Aylor rode her bike over the historic ground and would relive Stonewall Jackson’s famed flank attack in the very woods where it occurred in May 1863.

Her grandmother, a schoolteacher, would say, “You need to know your history, know where you came from.”

And that motto framed the camp.

The youths came to the camp with varying knowledge about the Civil War. Some were eager to attend; others had to be prodded.

James Adams, a second-grader at Smith Station, said, “My mom forced me to come.”

But 9-year-old Will Hight asked to go. “Me and my brother are kind of Civil War fanatics.”

The Hight brothers weren’t the only young Civil War buffs. Michael Gilchrist, a seventh-grader at Thornburg Middle School, came in his own period garb. He and his family participate in re-enactments, and Michael came to camp with a lot of Civil War knowledge.

“But some things I was surprised to hear,” he said.

He was especially intrigued to learn that abolitionists used quilt patterns as signals for the Underground Railroad.

While some campers shrugged and said they didn’t know much about the cause of the war, 7-year-old Bryce Daltan said, “The Civil War is about slavery and freeing the slaves, but they still fought after slavery was abolished.”

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973

The Civil War Camp for Kids kicked off upcoming sesquicentennial commemorations. A major re-enactment will be held May 21-22 at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Most events will take place in Courthouse Village. For details, call 540/507-7094 or visit spotsylvania .org/2011.htm. Advance tickets are needed for events that Saturday night, and space is limited.

Even if you missed the camp, you can still help your kids learn more about the Civil War. Here are some tips for sharing that history with your children:

Ask them their feelings, but also share yours. Slavery is a difficult issue for kids to understand, and war can be disturbing. But talking about the issues is important.

Don’t just visit a battlefield–before you go, read books and study the battle. While there, look for historical markers and exhibits, and ask questions of any volunteers or park rangers.

Complete the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program.

Try to visit a battlefield during the same time of year that the battle was fought.

Attend re-enactments or living-history events.


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