Monthly Archives: October 2008

Stafford County Winter Encampment Site

Tip of the hat to Eric Wittenberg for a mention of an article from the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.  A fellow marker hunter at HMDB, who lives in that area also passed along an earlier article discussing this “Valley Forge” of the Civil War.  The site includes about six hundred feet of earthworks, winter encampment sites, and (are you sitting down?) sections of corduroy road.  Non-Civil War structures include bridge abutments and quarry sites. The locations of the structures are detailed in a County Board of Supervisors memo (PDF).

Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites (FSCWS), a local preservation organization, is very active in this effort.  The bite I like from the March article:  “Having waited two years for officials to act, FSCWS is now “impatient” to see the sites made into a park, said Glenn Trimmer, the group’s director.” Unfortunately, their web site is off the net currently, otherwise I’d pass a link.  Stafford County, much like Culpeper County, contains many sites related to winter quarters of the Army of the Potomac.  If I’m not mistaken, the grass roots efforts there were galvanized when a section of the XII Corps campsite was destroyed by developers.  FSCWS efforts included adding interpretation for that site.

Another site in Stafford County, outside of those directly related to the Fredericksburg Battlefield, is White Oak Church.  There, a memorial indicates the Federal VI Corps winter camp.  As seen from a map of the Civil War markers in the county, sort of a “triangle” exists with Aquia Landing, Chatham Heights, and Hartwood forming points, and the winter encampments in the middle.  Wouldn’t be a bad investment of $10,000 to start development of a park, with interpretive resources, in the middle of that triangle.

“New” Gettsyburg Tablets?

I love finding odd-ball exceptions to the rules.

Remember some time back I compared the Antietam and Gettysburg tablets?  Of note, I found the Gettysburg examples to be lacking a bit in punctuation.  Earlier in the summer I photographed a set around the Peach Orchard.  Only recently, when examining all prior to posting, did I notice some differences and variations.  These tablets with variations seem to be “new” replacements of the older ones placed in the early 1900s.

The Wofford Brigade tablet along Emmitsburg Road stands out like a sore thumb:

Wofford's Brigade

Wofford's Brigade

Sweeping curved edges.  The top tab is an integral part of the tablet, not a separate piece attached by screws.  The typeset is different (and the paint smeared a bit).  The possessive for McLaws is in the accepted format.  Oh, forgot to mention all those periods in the text.  Perhaps someone figured, the metal saved omitting the extra “S” behind McLaws, the government could apply around the marker as punctuation.

Compare to the nearby Barksdale’s Brigade tablet:

Barksdales Brigade

Barksdale's Brigade

Note the lack of punctuation.  On the Barksdale’s Tablet, metal saved on periods was consolidated into the “s” behind McLaws’.

And other, less noticeable, oddities exist nearby on the Federal side.  Take a look at the tablet for Humphreys’ Division:

2nd Division, III Corps

2nd Division, III Corps

Looks like the others, except on close examination, there are periods AND commas!

I know what you are thinking.   This now throws the entire Gettysburg campaign into a different light.  Instead of the battle fought under the context of one long, run-on sentence, we now have evidence the Battlefield Board knew about punctuation!  A complete revision of Coddington is in order!

“….General, I told him, give me one semi-colon, and I will take that hill!”

All kidding aside, clearly the Wofford Brigade tablet (and possibly Humphreys Division) was replaced some time in the recent past.  I doubt it was for revision of the text.  More likely the tablets were damaged or somehow lost, then replaced by the Park Service.  The folks over at Gettysburg Daily might make a good article out of the story.  Otherwise it is just another piece of interesting trivia about the Gettysburg battlefield.

HMDB Civil War Update – Week of 27 October

After a down week, this week we have seventy Civil War related markers.  The week’s issue includes entries from California, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York City.  Here are some highlights:

- Copperopolis, California, obviously named for its copper mining, was a leading supplier of the metal during the Civil War.  Copper sold for 55 cents a pound at the height of the war.

- From the land of the sand gnats, the markers for Fort McAllister are filling out.  However, I have yet to trace down the official report mentioning “Tom Cat.”

- Camp Delaware was a muster and training site for several regiments of Ohio volunteers.  Listed on the marker are the 98th, 121st, and 127th OVI.  The later became the 5th USCT.  Additionally the 27th USCT also mustered at the camp.

- Continuing with the “Tour of Birthplaces of Confederate Generals,” this week head to North Augusta, South Carolina for the site of General Longstreet’s.

- As mentioned yesterday, the Chancellorsville History Trail, with markers on a 3.6 mile loop starting at the visitor center, is posted.

- Nick kept me busy with some Shiloh entries.

- And my Gettysburg project turned to the Peach Orchard this week.

Outside of the Civil War markers this week, we had several markers for the Cowpens Battlefield.  Although a Revolutionary War site, the markers may be of interest to some.  When I was stationed in Augusta, GA in the 1990s, Cowpens was a frequent day trip destination.  So the “new” markers at the battlefield are welcome additions.