IN MEMORIAM Bob Luddy
From The Culpeper Star Exponent, Brandy Station Foundation's past chief, Bob Luddy, dies, CLICK HERE
Bob Luddy (center) gets filmed with Darley Newman (left) host and producer of "Travels with Darley" on PBS, in 2018 at the Graffiti House. Photo courtesy of Darley Newman
The Fleetwood Heights battlefield was preserved by the Brandy Station Foundation during Bob Luddy's presidency.
A crusader for historic preservation in Culpeper County, Robert “Bob” Luddy died Jan. 8 at his home in Greenbelt, Maryland, following a long illness.
Luddy was president of the Brandy Station Foundation from 1998-2008. During his tenure, he successfully helped prevent the loss of key portions of the Battle of Brandy Station Civil War fighting grounds from development, according to a release from Peggy Misch, Foundation spokesperson.
Luddy spent many hours with his wife, Paula, traveling to and from their home in Maryland to Brandy Station for volunteer work with the foundation he joined in 1992. He was a tour guide at the Foundation’s headquarters, Graffiti House, a circa 1858 structure named for the writings left behind on the walls by Civil War soldiers.
Luddy would recount the famed cavalry battle, the house’s history and the stories behind the charcoal signatures and drawings left on the walls by Union and Confederate soldiers. He even constructed of a model of the Graffiti House at the time of the Civil War, according to Misch.
While Luddy was president, the Foundation protected over 43.5 acres of land including near Fleetwood Hill and three Golden Oaks parcels, all between U.S. Routes 15 and 29 and State Route 685.
In 2006, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources recognized the significance of the Golden Oaks property as “the scene of heavy fighting during the Battle of Brandy Station” on June 9, 1863. The Foundation purchased it from Golden Oaks Construction Company and proposed to preserve and interpret the property as a Civil War site, Misch stated in the release.
In 2006, the Foundation purchased 8.77 acres at Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock River. DHR also recognized its importance for Native American, pre-Colonial, Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War history. Conservation easements were approved at Golden Oaks and Kelly’s Ford. Luddy worked with many other individuals and organizations on the preservation and conservation efforts.
In 2002, the Brandy Station Foundation purchased the Graffiti House and in 2003, the two vacant lots across from it.
“To a larger extent, we are not buying the building,” Luddy said at the time of the purchase. “We are acting as custodian of a time in history.”
The Graffiti House served as a field hospital for the Confederacy and was later repurposed as a headquarters facility for Federal forces during the winter encampment of the Army of the Potomac in 1863-64. The Graffiti House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bob Luddy (right) with Architectural Conservator Christopher Mills and Conservator and Paint Analyst Kirsten Travers Moffitt, worked at the Graffiti House, in 2019 at symposium in Fairfax.
Luddy was critical to the recovery of a piece of unique graffiti, known as the “Maryland Scroll,” that was removed prior to the Foundation’s purchase of the house. Purchased from a collector, the scroll, dated March 16, 1863, lists 16 Marylanders, part of Major James Breathed’s Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery.
One or more of the men took the time to list their unit’s names on an elaborate scroll the day prior to the Battle of Kelly’s Ford. Luddy developed a lecture on the scroll, researching each of the names listed.
Passionate about history, Luddy spoke to numerous roundtables, heritage groups, and civic groups on the Battle of Brandy Station and other topics. He worked with several Virginia and West Virginia groups to create the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail.
Luddy attended Northeastern University in Boston. His wife indicated that he took the Foreign Service Officer Test and did so well that he was accepted into a new management intern program with NASA established by the Kennedy administration.
Luddy retired from NASA in 2003 after 37 years, Misch said in the release.
He is survived by his wife, sons Scott and Shawn, and four grandchildren. Donations in Luddy’s memory may be made to the Brandy Station Foundation, PO Box 165, Brandy Station, VA, 22714 or to a local hospice.
ROBERT LUDDY OBITUARY
Robert "Bob" Luddy, President of the Brandy Station Foundation from 1998-2008, passed away at his home in Greenbelt, Maryland, on January 8, 2023, following a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Paula; sons, Scott and Shawn, and four grandchildren. Bob retired from NASA after 37 years in 2003. During his terms as President, the Brandy Station Foundation protected, through purchase, five tracts of Civil War battlefield land including the Graffiti House in Brandy Station. Bob also worked with several Virginia and West Virginia groups to create the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail. As Bob wished, his body was donated to science and there will be no service. Donations in Bob's memory may be made to the Brandy Station Foundation, P.O. Box 165, Brandy Station, VA 22714 or to your local hospice.
Published by The Culpeper Star Exponent on Jan. 18, 2023.