J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Astounding Graffiti

Many Civil War sites are constantly battling encroachment. Progress dictates the destruction of numerous acres to make way for strip malls, parking lots, and God forbid, casinos (as is the never-ending debate taking place in Gettysburg). The Brandy Station Foundation is no exception.

The Battle of Brandy Station happened on June 9, 1863. It was the largest cavalry battle to take place on North American soil. The Brandy Station Foundation is constantly trying to procure additional land where this astounding battle took place. On Fleetwood Hill, houses have been built, and the land has been parceled off to private owners. However, with sufficient funding (and it’s a lot, let me assure you), the foundation is slowly obtaining more land to be designated for preservation.

On the tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, which are still very much in use, stands an old structure now known as the Graffiti House. This two-story white clapboard building is believed to have originally been used for storage. Because Culpeper County changed hands 78 times over the course of the Civil War, the house was occupied by both Union and Confederate soldiers alike.

Much work has been done to the structure, which was literally falling over on its side. In the process, “graffiti” has been discovered underneath the old wallpaper and paint. Because the plaster is separating from the lathing which holds it in place, special preservationists have been called in to do restoration work. In the process, they have discovered signatures, drawings, and various testimonials, the most recent being a weather report stating “First Snow Nov. 9th, 1863.” It is nothing less than fascinating to see what these specialists will find next. One of the signatures belongs to none other than J. E. B. Stuart himself!

For more information, please visit:

http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/

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