Categories
Historic America

Northern Virginia Campaign – Battle of Cedar Mountain

Fought between Union and Confederate forces 160 years ago on August 9, 1862, the Battle of Cedar Mountain (aka Slaughter’s Mountain) was a brief but bloody affair in Culpeper County, Virginia. The battle touched off the Northern Virginia Campaign, widely considered to be Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s most successful military campaign. 

The Northern Virginia Campaign culminated in the Second Battle of Bull Run, in which an entire Union army was nearly destroyed. This paved the way for Lee’s invasion of Maryland and the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in American history. The campaign resulted in over 25,000 total casualties.

In June 1862, President Abraham Lincoln pulled Union Maj. Gen. John Pope from the Western Theater to consolidate scattered Union forces across northern Virginia, to buy time for Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to bring his defeated army back to Washington, DC. Pope boasted “I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies.”

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Daniel Butterfield

Monument to Maj. Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield (1831-1901) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. A native New Yorker, Daniel Butterfield’s father had founded the company that became American Express. He had no military experience prior to the American Civil War, but rose from the rank of captain to major general, and even won the Medal of Honor in 1862.

Butterfield was a talented organizer. He wrote an Army field manual, introduced the use of patches to distinguish between Union Army corps, and is credited with composing the bugle call “Taps”. He later transferred to the Western Theater. After the war, he served as Assistant Treasurer of the United States, but was forced to resign for taking part in a scheme to manipulate gold prices.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Hugh Judson Kilpatrick

Monument to Maj. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (1836-1881) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. H. Judson Kilpatrick was a controversial cavalry commander in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War, earning the nickname “Kill-Cavalry” for his aggressive style. Kilpatrick was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from West Point in 1861. He came to prominence during the Gettysburg Campaign and was later transferred to the Western Theater owing to his controversial behavior. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said of him:

“I know that Kilpatrick is a hell of a damned fool, but I want just that sort of man to command my cavalry on this expedition.”

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Mysterious America Photography

Fort Fisher’s Sentinel

Fort Fisher was built by Confederate forces during the American Civil War to protect Wilmington, North Carolina. It fell on January 15, 1865 after hours of brutal fighting. Since then, visitors to the fort’s ruins have reported numerous strange encounters, including sightings of a mysterious sentinel, as well as its commander, Col. William Lamb. Others report hearing disembodied footsteps, phantom screams, and gunshots. In 1961, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places five years later.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: William Mahone

Maj. Gen. William Mahone (1826-1895), born in Southampton County, Virginia, fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and was later a U.S. Senator from 1881 to 1887. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and was a railroad engineer before the war. During the war, he rose from colonel of a regiment to division commander and was present with General Robert E. Lee at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the war, he was elected Mayor of Petersburg and became a leader in the Readjuster Party, a bi-racial coalition against the wealthy planter class in Virginia. He is buried in Blandford Cemetery, 319 South Crater Road in Petersburg, Virginia.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Andrew Alexander

Monument to Brig. Gen. Andrew Jonathan Alexander (1833-1887) in Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York. Alexander was a staff officer and Union cavalry commander during the American Civil War, rising from the rank of captain to brevet brigadier general. He was born in Kentucky, but his mother emancipated their slaves. He fought in several battles, including Fredericksburg, Aldie, Upperville, and Atlanta on his horse named “Black Sluggard”. After the war, he continued his military service and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Erasmus D. Keyes

Monument to Maj. Gen. Erasmus Darwin Keyes (1810–1895) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. New Englander Erasmus D. Keyes led a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run, then the Union Army of the Potomac’s IV Corps during the Peninsula Campaign. Despite having a regular Army background, his lackluster performance led to reassignment and eventual removal from command. He resigned his commission in May 1864. Later in life, he became a successful businessman in San Francisco.