The largest cavalry battle of the 1861-1864 War Between the States took place in Culpeper County 153 years ago. It occurred in early summer at Brandy Station during June of 1863. General Robert E. Lee began moving his Army of Northern Virginia from Fredericksburg, Virginia on a campaign that would end at the Battle of Gettysburg. Therefore, he commanded General J. E. B. Stuart to screen his movements and Stuart encamped his cavalry division near Brandy Station. It did not go unnoticed by the Federal Army. Very early on the morning of June 9, Major General Alfred Pleasanton commanded his 11,000 men in the Army of the Potomac to attack the Confederate Army which numbered 9,500 soldiers.
The day long battle was a melee of smoke, dust, flashing sabers, the rattle of carbines and pistols, cannon roar, and soldiers of the blue and gray intermingled regiments ferociously charging and slashing in chaotic fashion. When the battle ended, General Stuart claimed victory on the field as the Union forces retreated. The ambulances were assembled and the wounded were taken to homes to be treated. One of the houses was the Stone house located near Fleetwood Hill; previously the home of Postmaster John Stone where originally the injured Confederates were taken to be treated.
Later, while recovering in 1863 and 1864, soldiers of both sides used the embers from the fireplace to write their names, thoughts, messages and artwork on the walls. The Stone house is now known as the Graffiti House and the graffiti is being remembered, protected and preserved by the Brandy Station Foundation. The walls speak today about those days 153 years ago.
To that end, the Brandy Station Foundation will have a grand opening of the newly created 1860s hospital room during the Graffiti House Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Graffiti House is located at 19484 Brandy Road. in Brandy Station, Virginia. Children 12 and under will be admitted free and $5 per person donation is suggested.
Events will include the grand opening of the hospital room, a field war hospital, a speaker’s program, a memorial service for the gallant John Pelham led by the Culpeper UDC, Confederate and Federal bivouac areas, sutlers, a photo booth, a lecture on Civil War medicine, the Country Troubadours, Graffiti House tours, and a children’s corner with vintage clothes and toys. An “Army Enlistment” program for children will be presented with a reward upon completion. Food will be available for purchase.
For further information, go to www.brandystationfoundation.com or call 540.341.7019.