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Sat, May 06

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Brandy Station Graffiti House

Living History Event featuring members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops

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Living History Event featuring members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops
Living History Event featuring members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops

Time & Location

May 06, 2023, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Brandy Station Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Rd, Brandy Station, VA 22714, USA

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About the event

Saturday, May 6, 2023, Noon-4 PM at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station, VA : Living history event at the Graffiti House featuring re-enactors with the 23rd United States Colored Troops. Approximately one-third of the men who served in the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops (or 23rd Regiment United States Colored Infantry) were from Virginia. More Culpeper born USCTs joined the 23rd than any other regiment (12). The 23rd was organized at Camp Casey, in Arlington, VA (near the location of the Pentagon today).

During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate soldiers occupied the Graffiti House in Brandy Station.  USCTs were in the Brandy Station and Kelly’s Ford area in May 1864 as part of the Union Army’s Overland Campaign. There were twelve members of the 23rd from Culpeper and they crossed the Rappahannock River back into Culpeper on May 8, 1864.  

The 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops became the first colored troops to fight in “directed combat” against Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.  The skirmish took place at the intersection of Catharpin and Old Plank Roads (originally Orange Plank Road) on May 15, 1864, near the Chancellorsville Battlefield in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. The 23rd and the rest of the 4th Division of the IX Corps were guarding the wagon trains of the Army of the Potomac.  The 23rd was at the Chancellorsville ruins, when the Union 2nd Ohio Cavalry was chased by General Thomas Rosser’s Confederate Cavalry Brigade.  The 2nd Ohio sent an urgent request for help and the only soldiers nearby were General Edward Ferrero’s 23rd USCT.  The 23rd USCT moved at the double quick two miles to the intersection and drove back Rosser’s cavalry.  The Black soldiers were cheered by the 2nd Ohio, who then gave chase to Rosser’s cavalry. This battle action proved to the white troops that Black soldiers would fight against the Confederate army.  

In December 1864, the 23rd along with the USCT units in Meade’s army were combined with General Benjamin Butler’s USCT unit in the Army of the James and formed the XXV Army Corps (an all-Black Corps of more than 20,000 soldiers) in the Army of the James. Immediately following the surrender at Appomattox, they were assigned to the XXV Corps where they served with the Department of Texas. 

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