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  • Writer's pictureBrandy Station Foundation

The Grand Review Brandy Station Foundation, September 2023

Updated: Aug 24


Grand Review September 2023
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President: Howard Lambert; Vice President: Gregory A. Mertz; Treasurers: Peter Mocarski and Peggy Mocarski; Secretary: Peggy Misch (newsletter editor)

Board of Directors: Jane Brookins, Don Carlson, Helen Geisler, Myra Lane, Larry Pullen, and Paul Warmack


24th New York State Volunteers, Co. B on the Brandy Station battlefield and setting up camp across from the Graffiti House



The 160th anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station saw many memorable events during the weekend of June 9th-11th. The Brandy Station Foundation welcomed the 124th New York State Volunteers for a living history event at the Graffiti House. Captain Andrew Camporeale and other members of the 124th New York State Volunteers, Co., based out of Richmond, camped on the lot across from the Graffiti House.


Andrew posted on their Facebook page that “the boys of the 124th NY had the honor of joining our brothers in the 3rd Wisconsin at the 160th Anniversary of the battle of Brandy Station. Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle in the western world and both Regiments (124th NY, 3rd WI) were two of only five Infantry Regiments hand picked to serve as infantry support for the cavalry. It was an amazing honor to march on the original field where the men of Orange County [New York] fought so valiantly.”


L to R: BSF President Howard Lambert, Dr. Gary Gallagher, and BSF Vice President Greg Mertz


The Brandy Station Foundation sponsored a history talk by Dr. Gary Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor of History Emeritus, University of Virginia, on “What Caused the Civil War" at the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department Hall on Saturday, June 10th.


The Foundation had a special visitor from Georgia who traveled up to Culpeper County for the weekend events. John Carter is the great great grandson of sharpshooter PVT Bennett H. Carter, who was killed in action during the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. Bennett Carter was with Cobbs Legion Cavalry out of Athens, Georgia. Bennett and Lucy Carter had been married on Oct 23, 1860. Their son Bennett was nicknamed Hutch, but his full name was like his father, Bennett Hutchinson Carter. Hutch married and had 11 children, one being John Carter’s grandfather.



John K. Carter signing the Hall of Honor on June 10, 2023


John signed the Hall of Honor near another wall signer from Georgia, James Edward Rowe. Mr. Rowe is the great great grandson of PVT Thomas Jordan Dunnahoo, who also served with Cobbs Legion Calvary Battalion. Mr. Rowe is a researcher for Cobb's Legion Cavalry Battalion. He shared much of the information about the Legion cavalry he had been collecting over the years with Harriet Mesic prior to the publication of her book, Cobb's Legion Cavalry: A History and Roster of the Ninth Georgia Volunteers. "The best regiment of either army, North or South"--this was the description of Cobb's Legion offered by Confederate General Wade Hampton during the Civil War. Mesic wrote that this large and experienced unit played a crucial role for the South throughout the war. Their actions in more than 130 battles and other engagements over the course of the war are the subject of her book.


In former BSF President Joseph McKinney's book "Brandy Station, Virginia, June 9, 1863: the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War are the sobering numbers for Cobb's Legion in Hampton's Brigade. Of the 14 killed men in action who were

part of Hampton's Brigade during the Battle of Brandy's Station, 6 were from Cobb's Legion.


President’s Corner

Greetings,

It is my honor to share with you the many events which have taken place at the Brandy Station Foundation during the last few months and planned activities ahead. First, I hope that you had a wonderful summer and enjoyed time participating in some of your favorite activities whether it was time spent at the beach, a trip to one of your favorite destinations, cookout with friends and family, or simply relaxing by the pool reading one of your favorite books.


It has been a very active summer at the Brandy Station Foundation with a number of events and steady influx of visitors to the Graffiti House. One of the more notable events of the summer was the commemoration of the 160th Anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station. The Brandy Station Foundation co-sponsored the event, in part, with Culpeper Battlefield Tours, the America Battlefield Trust and other local organizations. The activities included tours, a living history encampment, two battlefield re-enactments and screening of the movie “Gettysburg.” In addition, the Brandy Station Foundation hosted re-enactors from the 124th New York on the grounds of the Graffiti House and sponsored acclaimed author and historian Gary W. Gallagher, Ph. D. at the Brandy Station Fire Hall. The weekend of events was very successful with many touring the Graffiti House for the first time.



BSF Vice President Greg Mertz at Civil War Artillery demonstration event


We also continued with our Sunday Guest Speaker series hosting Dr. Michael Hill on “Civil War Medicine,” Dr. Anita Hill on “Maria Lewis, Black Female Trooper of the 8th N.Y. Cavalry,” and Gene Schmiel, Ph. D. on “Women During the Civil War.” In addition, the Brandy Station Foundation expanded the number of programs on the grounds of the Graffiti House, in part, to capture the attention of thousands of motorist on U.S. 29. We hosted members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops (USCTs). During the Civil War at least 12 of their members listed Culpeper, Virginia as their place of their birth. Additionally, we were able to secure a cannon which generated a great deal of attention. Our own Greg Mertz gave several informative presentations on Civil War Artillery. Upcoming programs include, “Civil War Balloons,” by James Green, Ph. D. and Bob Gilbert, “The Signal Corps During the Civil War.” Please see our website for dates and times.


The number of Brandy Station Foundation members has steadily increased over the last few months. A total of 22 new members joined the Foundation.

Additionally, we are proud of the fact that there has been increased interest in folks considering being a volunteer. A total of 24 people participated in at least one of our training days which included 12 new volunteers. It is our goal to fully engage all who are interested and to fully train them in the weeks ahead. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of weekends that the Graffiti House is open as well as to accommodate more groups requesting special appointments, to include schools, the military, and visitors who are in town on a limited basis.


Included in our group of new Guides and Greeters was our very first Summer Intern. We welcomed Tyler Houston into our ranks. Tyler came to us from Virginia Tech. He wasted no time getting up to speed by shadowing our senior Guides and becoming proficient at leading tours. We are looking forward to expanding the program in the future by working with local colleges and universities to identify more interns during the spring and summer semesters. To build upon the program, we have also reached out to both Eastern View and Culpeper High Schools to establish a for credit internship program. It is our hope to launch the program during the 2024 Spring semester.


I am extremely proud of the fact that we awarded two Mitchell Ritter scholarships to Susannah Mason from Culpeper County High School and Hunter Lutz from Eastern View High School this year [editor’s note: pictured with BSF President Howard Lambert]. They are headed to Georgetown University and University of Virginia respectively this fall. The idea and the initial donation to support the scholarships came from Brandy Station Foundation member Preston Fray. He and his mother Mary C. Fray are original members of the Foundation. Mr. Fray wanted to donate to a scholarship fund in the name of B. and Paige Mitchell, along with Paige’s aunt Nancy and Sidney Ritter.




We have made significant progress over the last several months, but our work is far from being done. During the July Brandy Station board meeting, I shared with members of the board my priorities for the remainder of 2023. This list included making much needed repairs to the Graffiti House, revisiting the interior displays and taking steps to further protect the graffiti, increasing the number of members and volunteers, show appreciation to our volunteers and exploring the possibility of creating a Brandy Station Historic District. My top priority is making much needed repairs to the Graffiti House. Over the summer, we invited several contractors to make onsite visits to the Graffiti House and provide feedback on the exterior of the building. The Building and Grounds Committee solicited proposals from each of the contractors. We anticipate awarding a contract in the coming days to make much needed repairsto the exterior of the Graffiti House. In closing, I would like to thank each and every member of the board for their many hours of dedicated service to the Brandy Station Foundation. Thanks to our ever increasing list of volunteers, who freely give their time and effort toward making the experience of our visitors truly an experience to remember. It would not be possible to fully share our story without them. And finally, but not least, thanks to you the members of the Brandy Station Foundation for your ongoing support of the organization through your donations and year-round support.


Howard Lambert

President, Brandy Station Foundation


Upcoming Events

September 17, 2023, 2 PM: Bob Gilbert: “The Signal Corps During the Civil War” During the Civil War, a new signal technology was used by both Union and Confederate armies. Flags or torches were used to communicate across the battlefield and beyond. Sunday Lecture series at the Graffiti House at 19484 Brandy Road in Brandy Station.



October 14, 2023, 5 PM: “Spirits of the Graffiti House” at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road in Brandy Station. Paranormal Culpeper Paranormal will display their paranormal investigation equipment and share their findings from various locations. Tours of graffiti in the upstairs room of the Graffiti House


December 9, 2023, 1-4 PM— Holiday Open House at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road in Brandy Station, with holiday music by the Wilderness Run Players and refreshments. Please save the date!!!!

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