Facebook LIVE for the 155th Anniversary of Stonewall Jackson’s Death

shrine-original-photoDon’t forget, we wrap up our 155th anniversary commemoration of the battle of Chancellorsville with the American Battlefield Trust today. Join us throughout the day for a series of Facebook LIVE events as we trace the last days of Stonewall Jackson, from the burial of his arm at Ellwood to his death at Guiney Station. Join ECW, the Trust, the National Park Service, and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield for a full day.

And we have several other surprises to sprinkle throughout the day, too, so you won’t want to miss it. Follow along at the Trust’s Facebook page or on ECW’s Facebook page. Even if you’re not a member of Facebook, you can still watch.

(And, yes, if you haven’t heard the news yet, the Civil War Trust is now the American Battlefield Trust.)

BREAKING NEWS: The Civil War Trust Introduces the American Battlefield Trust

Trust logos-cobranded

Our good friends at The Civil War Trust announced this morning a new identity to better reflect its expanding mission: The American Battlefield Trust. The new umbrella organization will encompass the organization’s efforts to save battlefields from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

“The Civil War Trust isn’t going away,” the Trust said in making its announcement. “[I]t remains the principal division of the American Battlefield Trust.  You’ll continue to see its name and logo whenever we announce a new acquisition opportunity at a Civil War battlefield.” 

The former “Campaign 1776” has been renamed “The Revolutionary War Trust” as part of the effort and, like the Civil War Trust, continue on as a distinct division within the umbrella organization.

Watch President Jim Lighthizer’s video message here. The Trust also posted a FAQ page for folks who have questions about how they’ve come to this point and what lies ahead. They also have a general introductory video on their news page.

The Trust’s former website, www.civilwar.org, will now be www.battlefields.org.

Facebook LIVE for the Chancellorsville 155th

What a great day we had at Chancellorsville today for our Facebook LIVE event with the Civil War Trust. Hosted by the Trust’s Garry Adelman and Kris White (ECW’s co-founder!), a number of ECW historians participated: Dan Davis, Ryan Quint, and Steward Henderson (and I popped on there once or twice, too!) 😉

Beth Parnicza from the National Park Service joined us, with behind-the-scenes help from Frank O’Reilly. We also had the pleasure of Tom Van Winkle’s company—the president of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, which has done much as the local eyes on the ground to help preserve parts of the battlefield.

We covered the first day of the battle, action along McLaws Drive, the Lee-Jackson Bivouac, Jackson’s flank march past Catharine Furnace, Jackson’s flank attack, and of course, Jackson’s wounding.

Tomorrow, we’ll hit up Hazel Grove, Fairview, the Chancellorsville ruins, Second Fredericksburg, and Salem Church. Expect more guests to join us, too. We’d love to have YOU join us, too, on the ECW Facebook page or through the Civil War Trust’s Facebook page.

Here are a few scenes from today’s action: 

Cville 155-quint

Ryan Quint talks about Oliver Otis Howard at the battlefield’s Jackson Flank Attack tour stop.

Cville 155-group

Garry Adelman (left) takes pictures as Kris White speaks to the camera, held by the Trust’s social media guru Connor Townsend. Looking on at Ryan Quint, Tom Van Winkle, Steward Henderson, and Dan Davis.

Cville 155-David Kyle

Park Service historian Richard Chapman does first-person interpretation as David Kyle, the man who took Jackson down the

Hello from Chancellorsville

I’m at the first day’s battlefield at Chancellorsville this morning. I’m getting prepped for our two-day line up of Facebook LIVE events with the Civil War Trust, which start tomorrow. You can follow along on ECW’s Facebook page or the Civil War Trust’s Facebook page, so don’t forget to join us. ECW co-founder Kris White, education manager for the Civil War Trust, and I will co-host a great line-up of guests including the NPS’s Beth Parnicza and ECW’s Dan Davis, Steward Henderson, and more.

Later on, I’ll share a few of my favorite features from the day one battlefield. In the meantime, I thought I’d offer a quick hello!

Day One poppy 2018

Victory for Virginia Preservation Organizations and Civil War Trust

VIRGINIA PRESERVATION ORGANIZATIONS AND CIVIL WAR TRUST
SAVE UNIQUE CIVIL WAR SITE IN CULPEPER COUNTY

Foundation, state agency and national nonprofit work together to protect Hansbrough’s Ridge, an unparalleled historic and natural treasure in Virginia’s picturesque Piedmont region

(Brandy Station, Va.) – The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources join the Civil War Trust today in announcing the preservation of a lofty, scenic ridge where 800 Confederate soldiers barred a Union cavalry division from the main fight at Brandy Station, the opening battle of the Civil War’s Gettysburg Campaign.

The 400-foot-high, mile-long ridge in Culpeper County, Virginia, whose profile one soldier said resembles “a giant sleeping,” sheltered more than 10,000 Union troops for five months during the winter of 1863-1864, before they began the war’s shocking, fiery Wilderness Campaign. It was part of the Union Army of the Potomac’s 120,000-soldier winter encampment, which dominated Culpeper County; Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia camped across the Rapidan River in Orange County.

The two organizations’ announcement culminates nearly two years of fundraising and decades of preservation activism for the 174-acre site, which historians say is unique in its landscape, significance and quality.

VOF, a public foundation, and the Virginia Board of Historic Resources accepted two conservation easements to forever protect the ridge east of the historic village of Stevensburg.  The property stretches from State Route 3 north to near Cole’s Hill, which is privately owned. The Foundation will hold one easement. The Board will hold the other, administered by staff at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

“We are proud to have helped save this rare place, which was both a pivotal battleground and a secure refuge where thousands of soldiers recuperated from the trials of the war’s Mine Run, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg campaigns,” Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer said. “There is nothing comparable to it anywhere in the nation. The site remains nearly as it was when the Yankees broke camp and marched east to cross the Rapidan River and battle Lee’s Confederates.”

VOF contributed $250,000 to help preserve the property, a $900,000 acquisition also funded by a $450,000 grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, a $150,000 noncash donation by the seller, and $50,000 in contributions by Trust members and private donors.

“Our easement not only protects this landmark from development, but also creates permanent public access for future generations to be able to visit and learn from the property,” VOF Executive Director Brett Glymph said.

“The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is pleased to partner with VOF in ensuring the perpetual preservation of this site so that it can be protected and interpreted for current and future Virginians and visitors to the state,” said Julie V. Langan, the department’s director.

Members of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment pose in their camp, with horse saddles and newly built winter huts, in February 1864 on Hansbrough’s Ridge east of Stevensburg in Culpeper County, Virginia. That month, Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick led the 3rd Cavalry Division—which included the 18th Regiment—on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid of Richmond, a controversial and ill-fated attempt to rescue Union prisoners of war. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The ridge was home not only to infantry and cavalry troops but also to soldiers’ visiting family members and large hospitals where doctors, nurses and volunteers treated sick and wounded men. Their many letters paint vivid pictures of daily life in camp. But one example, written by Pvt. George Storrs Youngs of Waterloo, N.Y., describes what they saw.

“The view from our camp is magnificent,” Youngs, with the 126th New York Infantry Regiment, wrote his sister Louisa on Jan. 1, 1864. “We are on the top of an exceeding high hill from whence we can look down upon the canvas cities of the Army of the Potomac on almost every side. Off to the west, nestling among the hills, the city of Culpepper can be seen—its bright spires looking still brighter against the dark background of the Blue Ridge whose towering peaks and cliffs are now covered with snow.”

The site’s importance was recognized in 1991 when the Department of Historic Resources listed the Hansborough Ridge Winter Encampment District on the Virginia Landmarks Register, making it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It was later incorporated into the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a federally-designated 175-mile corridor that interprets and conserves nationally significant historic sites in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“As a Civil War site, Hansbrough’s Ridge is unique,” Lighthizer said. “It offers commanding views of the landscape in all directions, which made it the Confederate defensive line and the scene of hard fighting in the Battle of Brandy Station’s Stevensburg phase.”

Developers saw a chance to market the ridge’s views in 2015, when they bought the property, intent on subdividing it into residential lots. Reacting quickly, the Trust negotiated the land’s purchase before development occurred. A noncash donation from the landowner put the purchase price within reach.

The ridge’s conservation easements complement the preservation of other Civil War battlefield sites in Culpeper County.

Ultimately, an alliance of officials, conservationists and local residents aim to incorporate already-saved acres on the Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain battlefields into a new state park that enhances their tourism, recreational and educational potential. The Virginia General Assembly is considering legislation that would direct the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to study the suitability of preserved properties at these two battlefields for inclusion in the state park system.

The sweeping views and soldiers’ stories from Hansbrough’s Ridge will add different perspectives unequaled at other Mid-Atlantic historic sites. “From the top of the ridge, people will be able to read about the events of that period and survey the terrain as the soldiers did,” Lighthizer said. “It will be an amazing way to understand the history of this place.”

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation protects more than 800,000 acres in 107 counties and cities. A public foundation created by the General Assembly in 1966, VOF leads the commonwealth in land conservation.

The Department of Historic Resources encourages and supports the stewardship and use of Virginia’s significant architectural, archaeological and historic resources as valuable assets for the economic, educational, social and cultural benefit of citizens and communities. It administers interwoven and interdependent state and federal programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, recognizing and preserving Virginia’s rich historic heritage.

The Civil War Trust is a national nonprofit land preservation organization devoted to the protection of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. It preserves the battlefields of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and educates the public about their importance in forging the nation we are today. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 48,000 acres of battlefield land in 24 states.  Learn more at Civilwar.org.

Great Weekender Ideas for May!

Our friends at the Civil War Trust sent along some great Weekender ideas for the month of May. If you happen to attend any of them, let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

May 5-6: Battle Reenactment at Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, New York
Examine the real story behind America’s First Victory by joining Fort Ticonderoga for a real-time battle reenactment of the capture of Ticonderoga in 1775. The British-controlled Fort Ticonderoga was attacked in May 1775 by state militia and held by the Americans until June 1777, when threatened Continental Army troops were withdrawn from the fort and its surrounding defenses.

May 19-20: “Thunder on the Bay” at Fort Gaines Historic Site, Dauphin Island, Alabama
Established in 1821, Fort Gaines is a pre-Civil War masonry fort best known for its role in the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. This May, visit the fort for an early celebration of the upcoming 154 th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. Sponsored by the 6th Alabama Cavalry and the Alabama Division of Reenactors, the event will include
reenactments and a surrender ceremony.

May 26-27: “First Siege 1813” at Fort Meigs, Perrysburg, Ohio
During the War of 1812, two victories at Fort Meigs ushered in a period of American successes that would secure the Ohio frontier. This May, reenactors portraying War of 1812 soldiers and civilians will reproduce authentic military camps and tactical demonstrations in commemoration of the First Siege. Visitors can enjoy musket and cannon demonstrations, battle reenactments, hands-on activities, and more.