Battlefield Guide Services

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brandy Station 150th Anniversary, June 9, 2013

     One hundred and fifty years ago yesterday, over 17 thousand horsemen clashed near Culpeper, Virginia at Brandy Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. This would result in a day long struggle, becoming the largest cavalry engagement on the western hemisphere, leaving 1,430 killed, wounded, missing, and captured. Above, the view looks northwest, toward the site of the 12th Virginia Cavalry's advance against the right flank of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Click on this, and any image for a larger examination.
The 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry charges across the open field towards Confederate artillery massed near Saint James Church. From a newspaper sketch by Alfred Waud, in the July 4, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly. The entire issue can be examined visiting a link by clicking here.
      That field is today preserved thanks to Herculean efforts by preservation groups, thwarting such insensitive encroachments as the construction of a proposed Formula One race track.
The site of the Saint James Church, dismantled by Union soldiers
 for building materials during the winter encampment after Gettysburg. 
Site of the left flank of Confederate artillery positioned on the Saint James Church ridge, looking east.
The only historical marker on the battlefield prior to advances by battlefield preservationists.
 Twenty-three years earlier, in June 1990, Brian Pohanka spoke at a Brandy Station Foundation rally on Fleetwood Hill. Seen in the left background, in the red stripe blouse, is preservationist Annie Snyder of Manassas battlefield fame. Both are now departed, but the battle for hallowed ground continues.
The Henry Miller House, on Fleetwood Hill. Here seen as Union 3rd Corps headquarters in 
the spring of 1863. Notice the large patches of  snow still visible on the ground.
     Fleetwood Hill today. The focus of a current fund raising campaign by the Civil War Trust. The Miller house stood just to the left of the modern structure, based on Civil War era maps. Confederate General Jeb Stuart maintained his headquarters on the lawn, just to the right of the modern house. 
     "Farley", the home of Dr. William Welford, situated on the northwest extreme of the battlefield. Virginia cavalrymen swept across the property late in the day, pressing  a weary Union force back toward the Rappahanock River crossing at Beverly's Ford. During the winter of 1863/1864, Union Sixth Corps commander, John Sedgwick made his headquarters here. It was photographed in March 1864.
 Image from the collection of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Today, Farley has been beautifully restored and is maintained as a private residence.
General John Sedgwick stands at front center with members of his staff. Photographed March 1864.
Image from the collection of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
     Now, 222 years old, Farley maintains all of its grand character. Here your blog host strikes a pose in memory of General Sedgwick who lost his life on May 9, 1864 during the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, just two months after the previous photograph was taken..
 On the east lawn of Farley, Sixth Corps staff officers gathered in front of a temporary winter hut.
                 Image from the collection of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
     The same view as it appears today. The armies have gone, and peace is on the land.

1 comment:

Michael Wilson said...

Excellent John. Brian Pohanka was my former Company Cmdr in the 5th New York. A vigilant Preservationist. A fine gentleman and friend. He is deeply missed. Great blog. Thank you!