Battlefield Guide Services

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Grant's War Council

Here's a digital picture I took yesterday (September 20) at the Massaponax Church where Terry Thomann of the Civil War Life Museum re-created the famous gathering of Generals Grant and Meade and their respective staff. The original meeting took place as the Union army was leaving Spotsylvania on May 21, 1864 and was photographed by Timothy O'Sullivan who worked for Alexander Gardner. From here the Federals made their way south toward Richmond and would soon engage Lee and his army along the North Anna River. The pews seen in this image are some of the actual ones brought out for the meeting and are here placed in near approximation to the original setting.
Here is the dispatch Grant sent to General Burnside from this temporary headquarters:
GENERAL: You may move as soon as practicable upon the receipt of this order, taking the direct ridge road to where it intersects the Telegraph road, thence by the latter road to Thornburg Cross-Roads. If the enemy occupy the crossing of the Po in such force as to prevent your using it, then you will hold the north side at Stanard's Mill until your column is passed, and move to Guiney's Bridge. General Wright will follow you and will cover the crossing of the Po for his own corps. At Guiney's Bridge you will receive further directions if you are forced to take that road. If successful in crossing at Stanard's your march will end at Thornburg.
U. S. Grant,

Terry took both glass negatives and tintypes with his period process camera. They will be posted at a later date.
Terry and I would like to thank all the fine re-enactors and members of the church for participating in this event which helped celebrate the 220th anniversary of the church congregation.
Please visit the Civil War Life Museum at this website: and when you are visiting the Fredericksburg area.

1 comment:

Special Soldier said...

Fantastic recreation. Surprised church is still standing, after 150 years, and the original church pews as well! I'll bet the local historian was on pins and needles worrying that you guys might get spur marks on 'em or something.
Would be neat to get wet plate image recreation.
Keep up the good work.