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Civil War sites in Orange and Spotsylvania get grants to help tell their stories
A $50,000 grant will help develop an interpretive plan for the Mine Run Battlefield.
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Date published: 7/8/2008
The Montpelier Foundation will receive $35,000 to continue an archeological survey and cultural resource management study on the grounds of the home of President James Madison in Orange.
The work done as a result of a $25,000 grant awarded in 2003 by the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program has already resulted in the location of seven ma-jor regimental camps on the property. This latest grant will fund the surveying for support camps.
According to Montpelier's Director of Archeology Matt Reeves, in the win-ter of 1863-64, three brigades under the command of Confederate General Cadmus Wilcox were encamped on the grounds of Montpelier. Troops were deployed from the area into the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.
And the Civil War Preservation Trust received a $50,000 battlefield protection grant to develop an interpretive plan for the Mine Run Bat-tlefield, which the park ser-vice describes as the "first major offensive of the Un-ion Army of the Potomac after the Gettysburg Campaign."
However, Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, has called the Mine Run fighting "the biggest battle in the Civil War that never was."
The battle in eastern Orange lasted a few days in late 1863, but the Union Army of the Potomac so outnumbered the Confederate forces that they withdrew.
"It could have been a huge battle," said Smith. "One of the bravest things done was to withdraw. The men could have been slaughtered."
The grant will be used to explore options for trails and signs and the protection of battlefield resources.
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville battlefields will get some new exhibits, thanks to a private grant from a Chicago-based pre-servation foundation.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military park received $10,600 grant from the Tawani Foundation, in cooperation with the Civil War Preservation Trust, for exhibits at the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville visitor centers.
Part of the money will be used for two "traveling trunks" containing replicas of Civil War-era clothing, and items used during the period. Those will be used in school classrooms and in the visitor centers.
And the money will cover the reproduction of a painting of the Chancellor house by artist Frederick A. Chapman. The house was set on fire by artillery shelling.
The grant was given in honor of George P. McClelland, an infantry sergeant in the 155th Pennsylvania Regiment, whose unit fought in Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, at Chancellorsville in May 1863 and at the Wilderness in May 1864.
Staff reporter Rusty Dennen
Robin Knepper: 540/972-5701