Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kemper's Grave

Kemper's Grave, marker F-17 in Orange County, VAOrange County, VA
Marker No. F-17

Marker Text: A mile south is the grave of James Lawson Kemper, who led his brigade of Virginia troops in Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, and fell desperately wounded. He became a major-general in 1864. Kemper was governor of Virginia, 1874-1878.

Location: On Route 15, north of Orange, near Rapidan River bridge, near Orange/Madison County line. Marker is grouped with marker Z-12 (Madison/Orange County). Erected by the Virginia Conservation Commission in 1948.

  My last post was about the residence of Confederate General James L. Kemper in Madison, VA who commanded a brigade of Gen. George E. Pickett's division during Pickett's Charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Kemper though seriously wounded survived his wounds.

  After 1882, Kemper moved to this area of Orange County, VA, just across the county line from Madison County, VA.  By 1858 Kemper was a brigadier general in the Virginia Militia. He also served three terms as a Virginia legislator, rising to become the Speaker of the House of Delegates at the start of the Civil War and the chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, where he was a strong advocate of state military preparedness.

Kemper's Grave, marker F-17 along U.S. Route 15 in Orange County, VA

Photo taken looking south on Route 15.  Road in the background on the right is the road leading to Kemper’s grave, but is on private property.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  After the start of the Civil War, Kemper served as a brigadier general in the Provisional Army of Virginia, and then a colonel in the Confederate States Army, commanding the 7th Virginia Infantry starting in May 1862. His regiment was assigned to A.P. Hill's brigade in James Longstreet's division of the Army of the Potomac from June 1861 to March 1862. He saw his first action at the First Battle of Bull Run or First Manassas.

James L. Kemper Residence

James L. Kemper Residence, marker JE-3 in Madison, VAMadison County, VA
Marker No. JE-3

Marker Text: This Greek Revival-style house was built about 1852 for state senator Thomas N. Welch. In 1868 James Lawson Kemper (1823-1895) purchased it from his mother-in-law, Mrs. Belfield Cave. Kemper, an attorney, represented Madison County in the House of Delegates (1853-1863), served as speaker (1861-1863), led a brigade in the Civil War, was wounded in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, and served as governor of Virginia (1874-1878). In 1882 he moved from Madison to Walnut Hills in Orange County.

Location: On Business Route 29 and Route 231, northern end of Madison near Ruth Road in the driveway for the residence. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1991.

  Considering my interest in American history and many visits to Gettysburg, I enjoyed watching the movie made several years ago called, “Gettysburg.” With any movie attempting to cover a massive event, like the Battle of Gettysburg, the producers have to be selective concerning the specific events and individuals of the battle they cover. Of course, the movie covered the people and activities surrounding the third day of the battle, particularly Pickett's Charge. When it came to Pickett's Charge the movie concentrated on specific military officers from both sides. The movie focused on three specific officers who participated in Pickett's Charge and one of those officers was Confederate General James Lawson Kemper. When I was traveling through Madison, VA in 2009 and saw this marker I knew this name and why.

James L. Kemper Residence, JE-3 in front of Kemper's residence in Madison, VA

Photo taken in front of the residence, home is in the background. Click any photo to enlarge.

  During the American Civil War both sides had many officers who were not professional military officers. James Lawson Kemper was the youngest of the brigade commanders, and the only non-professional military officer, in the division that led Pickett's Charge, in which he was wounded and captured.

  James Kemper was a lawyer by profession and he was born in Mountain Prospect, Madison County, Virginia in 1823. He was the brother of F. T. Kemper (the founder of Kemper Military School). His grandfather had served on the staff of George Washington during the American Revolution, but he himself had virtually no military training.

  Kemper received his training and education as a lawyer at Washington College (now Washington and Lee College) in Lexington, VA graduating in 1842. After the start of the Mexican-American War, he enlisted and became a captain and assistant quartermaster in the 1st Virginia Infantry, but he joined the service in 1847, too late to see any combat action.

  By 1858 Kemper was a brigadier general in the Virginia Militia. He also served three terms as a Virginia legislator, rising to become the Speaker of the House of Delegates and the chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, where he was a strong advocate of state military preparedness.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gettysburg Campaign

Gettysburg Campaign about First Day of Battle outside of Gettysburg, PAAdams County, PA

Marker Text: The Battle of Gettysburg began here the morning of July 1, 1863, when Union cavalry scouts under Gen. Buford met Gen. Hill's army advancing from the west. Arrival of Gen. Ewell's army that afternoon drove Union troops to south of the town.

Location: On U.S. Route 30 at the western approach to Gettysburg. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1947.

Gettysburg Campaign about First Day of Battle along U.S. Route 30

View of the marker looking west toward Cashtown.  Confederate troops appeared along this road.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  As you approach Gettysburg from the west. On U.S. Route 30 from Chambersburg and Cashtown you enter Gettysburg on northwest side of town, you come to the statue of Brig. Gen. John Buford where the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg began. Today, the field where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought is covered by hundreds of markers, monuments, and memorials to the men from both sides that fought here between July 1-3, 1863.

Gettysburg Campaign about First Day of Battle, Buford Statue across the road.

Statue of Buford located across road from the marker, looking west on U.S. Route 30.

  Like, this state historical marker, it is only one of a few state historical markers located in and near the battlefield telling the visitor of the events related to the battle. I have photographed many Battle of Gettysburg monuments, but someone could spend several weeks photographing all the monuments and several years writing a blog telling the stories of this battle alone.

  On June 30, 1863, Union Cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John Buford entered Gettysburg, PA. Buford realized that the high ground south of the town would be key in any battle fought in the area. He recognized that any combat involving his cavalry division would be a delaying action at best. Buford ordered his men to dismount and posted his troopers on the low ridges north and northwest of this location with the goal of buying time for the army to come up and occupy the heights.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gettysburg Campaign

Gettysburg Campaign marker at the Cashtown Inn, Adams County, PAAdams County, PA

Marker Text: Crossing South Mountain from Chambersburg, Gen. Hill's Corps of Lee's army assembled here on June 29-30, 1863. On July 1, his advance guard moved up from near Marsh Creek and met Union troops west of Gettysburg.

Location: On old Route 30 (Chambersburg Road) just west of SR 3011, north of Cashtown about eight miles west of Gettysburg, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1947.

  When I was a kid and my parents first took me to Gettysburg, I remember passing the Cashtown Inn on the way to Gettysburg. At the time I was unaware that Confederate General Robert E. Lee had stopped here with his army as they traveled toward Gettysburg. At the same time, Lee was unaware that his army would soon be engaged in one of the bloodiest battles and a turning point in the Civil War.

Gettysburg Campaign marker next to the Cashtown Inn, on Chambersburg Road old Route 30.

Marker is west of the Cashtown Inn and photo taken looking east toward Gettysburg.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  On June 29, 1863 the residents of this small community about 8 miles west of Gettysburg probably thought the whole Rebel army had arrived in their town when the soldiers of Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's Third Corps suddenly descended from the eastern ridgeline. To Cashtown Innkeeper Jacob Mickley, who witnessed the spectacle, it appeared as if “the entire force under Lee...passed within twenty feet of my barroom.”

  Including a brief occupation by Confederate cavalry under Jeb Stuart in October 1862, this was the second time in less than a year that the Rebels had invaded Cashtown* (*Cashtown Inn gave its name to the peaceful crossroads village where the inn was built circa 1797. The name Cashtown was derived from the business practices of the first innkeeper, Peter Marck, who had insisted on cash payments for the goods he sold and the highway tolls he collected.)

Cashtown Inn in Adams County, PA

Cashtown Inn, Civil War Trails marker is on the left of the Inn and a photo of the marker and text is below.

  During the Gettysburg Campaign, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had surged across southern Pennsylvania at will until June 28. Until June 28, 1863, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had met little resistance to their entering Pennsylvania, then later that day, scouts informed Lee that the Union army was north of the Potomac River and coming his way. Quickly Lee ordered his scattered army to concentrate at Cashtown, which stood strategically on his supply line back to Virginia. Within hours, legions of lean Rebel soldiers descended from Cashtown Gap.

Confederate Conference

Confederate Conference marker at town square Chambersburg, PAFranklin County, PA

Marker Text: On June 26, 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee and staff entered this square. After conferring with Gen. A.P. Hill near the middle of the "Diamond," Lee turned eastward and made headquarters at the edge of town.

Location: On the Southwest quadrant of public square in Chambersburg, PA in front of the Presbyterian Church. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1953.

  As Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army arrived in Pennsylvania they entered the town of Chambersburg, PA which was a logical destination when traveling north through the Shenandoah Valley. The first Confederate troops to arrive was Confederate General Albert G. Jenkins' cavalry brigade who entered Chambersburg on June 15th. They only stayed briefly expecting the appearance of new Union troops. Jenkins' cavalry returned to Chambersburg on June 24, after the arrival of the infantry division of Robert Rodes and the following day Edward Johnson's brigades also passed through Chambersburg and encamped near Rodes' veterans.

Confederate Conference marker at town square Chambersburg, PA Franklin Co. Courthouse in background

Marker is in front of the Presbyterian Church and the town square is in the background.  Road leading east to Gettysburg is in the background to the right of the courthouse.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  On Friday, June 26, General Richard S. Ewell's two divisions north of town broke camp and headed north up the Cumberland Valley toward Carlisle. About eight o'clock on the morning of June 26, Harry Heth's Division of Lee's Third Corps marched into Chambersburg, turned east in this square, then headed out the Gettysburg road as far as Fayetteville, where the men made camp.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gettysburg Campaign

GettsburgCampaignFranklinCoPAFranklin County, PA

Marker Text: Here on June 22, 1863, the First N.Y. Cavalry attacked the Southern advance force of cavalry under Gen. A.G. Jenkins. Here died the first Union soldier killed in action in Pennsylvania. Corporal William H. Rihl of Philadelphia, serving in a Pennsylvania unit assigned to the New York regiment.

Location: On U.S. Route 11, just North of Greencastle, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1964.

  The main Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania began on the morning of June 22, 1863 when Richard S. Ewell's Second Corps of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia vacated their camps in Maryland and headed north across the Mason-Dixon Line. On that day, Confederate Brigadier General Albert G. Jenkins' cavalry brigade again was the advance force that crossed the state border into Pennsylvania. Jenkins' men had earlier on June 15 had entered Pennsylvania to conduct scouting duties.


Photo taken looking north on Route 11 toward Chambersburg.  Monument to Rihl across the road.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The Confederate troops rode into the undefended town of Greencastle early that morning, then halted to await the slower advance of General Robert E. Rodes' foot soldiers. Some time that morning, one of Jenkins' patrols encountered D. K. Appenzellar, a young Pennsylvanian who was on his way to Chambersburg to enroll in the militia. When asked by Jenkins' men whether he knew of any Yankee military movements in the area, Appenzellar lied. He said that while in Chambersburg the day before he had learned that the Army of the Potomac's first popular commander, General George B. McClellan, had been placed in charge of the state's defenses and was marching south from Harrisburg with 40,000 men.

Cavalry Battles

Cavalry Battles, Marker B-22 Loudoun County, VALoudoun County, VA
Marker No. B-22

Marker Text: In June 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia through gaps in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and into the Shenandoah Valley to invade the North. Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's cavalry corps screened the army from Federal observation. The Union cavalry commander, Brig. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, attempted to break through Stuart's screen, and fought three sharp engagements along this road. They included the Battles of Aldie (17 June), Middleburg (19 June), and Upperville (21 June). Stuart fell back westward under Pleasonton's pressure but kept the Federal cavalry east of the gaps.

Location: On Route 50 (John Mosby Highway), 2.59 miles west of Route 15 (James Monroe Highway), just east of Champe Ford Lane. Group with three other markers, B-30 (Stuart and Bayard); B-33 (A Revolutionary War Hero); B-32 (Gettysburg Campaign). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1998.

Cavalry Battles, Marker B-22 located on the far left in the photo

Marker is on the far left of the photo.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  This marker is a companion marker at the same location to my last post called Gettysburg Campaign, Marker B-32. This marker speaks specifically to the three cavalry battles which occurred along current day U.S. Route 50. In Upperville, where the third and largest of the three cavalry battles. Along Route 50, there are several Civil War markers telling about the locations of the battles. In Upperville, a visitor today can still get a view of the battle area from the Civil War marker, I photographed below and the marker text tells the story of Upperville.

  The photo of the background behind this marker in Upperville gives you a view of where the battle would have occurred in 1863.

Cavalry Battles, Marker B-22 located on the far left in the photoUpperville
Drama at
Vineyard Hill

Gettysburg Campaign

Marker Text: This site, known during the war as Vineyard Hill, commands a clear view of the road, stone walls, and fields in front of you where 10,000 cavalry and infantry clashed in the Battle of Upperville on June 21, 1863. It was the fifth day of attack and counterattack along present-day U.S. Route 50 and in the towns of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. Union Gen. Alfred E. Pleasonton pushed west towards the Blue Ridge Mountains while Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart fought to delay the Northerners long enough to conceal Gen. Robert E. Lee’s march through the Shenandoah Valley toward Pennsylvania.

  The Battle of Upperville was the largest of these engagements, and the most dramatic aspects of that encounter took place at Vineyard Hill. From here Stuart fought to prevent the Federals from seizing the village of Upperville behind you and the critical intersection at Ashby’s Gap Turnpike (Route 50) and Trappe Road, to allow his embattled forces to reach the safety of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Ashby’s Gap.

View of the Upperville battlefield behind the Civil War Trail marker

View behind the Civil War Trails marker is a view of Upperville looking east toward Washington, D.C. Route 50 is the road in the background.

  Here Stuart directed two of his brigades as they resisted the advance of three Federal brigades. The fighting near here was desperate and often hand-to-hand, the men wielding sabers and pistols. As Stuart’s line gave way on the left, he rode among his troopers restoring order and fighting “with the men like a common soldier.” Charge and countercharge carried the men and horses back and forth across these fields under the deadly fire of artillery.

  Less than a mile to your left, and visible to the men on the high ground around Vineyard Hill, four other brigades clashed, leading one Federal participant to conclude, “the panorama was one of the finest and most animating ever beheld.” Once the Confederates extracted themselves there and reached Ashby’s Gap Turnpike, Stuart ordered the last of his men to retire from Vineyard Hill.  (End of text)

  J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalrymen did their job, holding the Union troops long enough for Lee to move his Army across the Potomac into Maryland undetected, only to collide with the Union Army two weeks later at Gettysburg.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Gettysburg Campaign

Gettysburg Campaign, Marker B-32 Loudoun County, VALoudoun County, VA
Marker No. B-32

Marker Text: In June 1863, as Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia through Blue Ridge gaps to the Shenandoah Valley, Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's cavalry screened the army from Federal observation. The Union cavalry chief, Brig. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, dispatched Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg to penetrate Stuart's screen. On 17 June, Gregg ordered Col. Alfred A. N. Duffié to reconnoiter from Aldie to Middleburg. Duffié drove off Confederate pickets there, alerting Stuart. Duffié withdrew south of Middleburg, but Brig. Gen. Beverly H. Robertson's brigade surrounded and almost wiped out Duffié's command before it escaped the next morning.

Location: On Route 50 (John Mosby Highway), 2.59 miles west of Route 15 (James Monroe Highway), just east of Champe Ford Lane. Group with three other markers, B-30 (Stuart and Bayard); B-22 (Cavalry Battles); B-33 (A Revolutionary War Hero). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1998.

Gettysburg Campaign, Marker B-32 Second marker from the right

Today’s marker is the second from the right. Click any photo to enlarge.

  After 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, we might not think that Confederate General Robert E. Lee did not set out to have a battle at Gettysburg, PA. He only wanted to invade the north and take the war to the north. Gettysburg was simply the place where the two armies finally met up with one another. General Lee's moving his army into the north was no easy task, particularly when you want to move a large military force mostly undetected without having the Union Army discovering his objective.

  Lee moving his army from east of the Shenandoah Valley near Chancellorsville through Chester Gap and other neighboring gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains and north within the Shenandoah Valley through Winchester and into Maryland was a good choice. The Blue Ridge mountains provided a natural barrier to hid the movement of an army. Despite this natural mountain barrier some military movements by his cavalry was necessary and moving the Union troops out of the Shenandoah Valley at Winchester needed to take place.

Gettysburg Campaign, Marker B-32 along U.S. Route 50

Photo taken looking west along U.S. Route 59 on the right. There is a roadside pull-off to read the four markers. 

  So the Second Battle of Winchester on June 13-15, 1863 was necessary. Also protecting the movement of the troops from the prying eyes of the Union Army from the east along today's U.S. Route 50. Many major and minor battles and military engagements occurred during the Civil War along and near U.S. Route 50 between Washington, D.C. and Winchester, VA. Travel this route today and you will encounter hundreds of historical markers, historical signs, monuments, and memorials speaking about the military engagements along this road.

  To escape detection while General Lee moved his troops north, Lee positioned his cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart east of the Blue Ridge mostly where current day U.S. Route 50 goes, with orders to shield the infantry’s movements. Anxious to learn Lee’s intentions, Union commanders dispatched several cavalry brigades from Washington, D.C., to find the Confederate Army.

  Stuart had stationed a cavalry brigade at Aldie (near the location of this marker) to prevent Union troops from gaining control of the two roads over the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley: the Little River Turnpike (now Route 50) through Middleburg and Upperville, and the Snickersville Turnpike, which runs northwest out of Aldie. The Union cavalry clashed with Stuart’s cavalry first at Aldie on June 17, 1863 then again at Middleburg and Upperville in the days following.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gettysburg Campaign

Gettysburg Campaign, Marker J-25 Rappahannock County, VARappahannock County, VA
Marker No. J-25

Marker Text:  Ewell's Corps of Lee's army passed here going north, June 11-12, 1863; Hill's Corps, June 19.

Location: On Route 522 (Remount Road), at the county line with Rappahannock and Warren Counties on Rappahannock side between Chester Gap and Huntly. Grouped with the marker Z-173 (Warren/Rappahannock County). Erected by the Commission on Conservation and Development in 1934.

  Hello folks, it has been about six months since I last posted. I have wanted to make posts about the wide range of markers I have related to the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War. During the months of May, June and July there are a multitude of markers which could be posted. The reason for my absence has been due to personal changes in my life. At the beginning of the year, I accepted a call to become the pastor of two congregations in Pennsylvania. My wife and I have been busy with all the tasks related to moving, setting up a new home and beginning in a new church, which has left little time to post on my blog. I have so many markers related to the events leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg that I felt a needed to attempt to post some of these markers.

Gettysburg Campaign, Marker J-25 on U.S. Route 522 south of Front Royal, VA

Photo taken looking north on Route 522 toward Front Royal. Click any photo to enlarge.

  During the past two months, there was the Battle of Chancellorsville where Stonewall Jackson was wounded and later died from this wounds, the official organization of John Mosby's Rangers, the Second Battle of Winchester, just started today, 150 years ago, and northern Virginia and Pennsylvania has many markers related to military movements as Confederate General Lee moves his army into Pennsylvania. If time permits, since I have so many markers related to the events listed above, I will attempt to post as many as I can even if they are not recent anniversary events.

  To get started this marker is related to the movement of Confederate General Ewell's Army over the mountain at Chester Gap going from Rappahannock County into Warren County, Virginia leading into the Shenandoah Valley at Front Royal. After the Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, Lee ordered the Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, under Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, to clear the lower Shenandoah Valley (lower valley is actually the northern part of the valley) of Union opposition. Ewell's Second Corps needed to cross over Chester Gap in order to reach the Shenandoah Valley. Ewell's Second Corp was attempting to protect General Lee's movements north toward Pennsylvania and to move the Union Army out of the Shenandoah Valley which resulted in the Second Battle of Winchester on June 13-14, 1863.

  A week later Confederate General A.P. Hill Corp passed through this gap on their way to Gettysburg. Though a modern two lane highway (U.S. Route 522) now goes through this gap today, it is still a steep drive for a car coming up both side of the mountain. I have always found it fascinating that an army of 10,000 to 15,000 men mainly on foot with all their equipment crossing these mountains on roads no better than the worse dirt roads of today.

  Now, I need to get busy and prepare some other markers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett, Jr.

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett Jr. marker 1528 in Bath County, KY (Click any photo to enlarge)Bath County, KY
Marker Number 1528

Marker Text: This famous Revolutionary War hero, who rode 40 miles to warn Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other legislators of British approach, June 3, 1781, is buried in Bath Co. Jack Jouett of Va. galloped all night from Cuckoo Tavern to Monticello to Charlottesville. Moved to Kentucky, 1782. Represented Mercer County in Va. Assembly, and Mercer and Woodford counties in Ky. Assembly.

Location: In Owingsville, KY on the Bath County Courthouse lawn, near the intersection with U.S. Route 60 and KY Route 36. Grouped with Marker No. 940 (Bath County). Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Transportation in 1975.

  Today's marker is the final marker in my eight marker series about the Ride of Jack Jouett from Cuckoo to Charlottesville, VA. Until I take more photos about Jouett, I know about two more historic markers, which exist in Kentucky.

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett Jr. marker 1528 with U.S. Route 60 in the background.  A year after Jouett's ride to warn the Virginia Legislative in Charlottesville. Jack Jouett in 1782 moved to what is now Kentucky, then it was in Virginia. A Jouett family story says that, on his way to Kentucky, Jack and his companions were moving westward through the Cumberland Gap along Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road when they heard the screams of a woman coming from a lonely cabin. Jouett burst into the house and found a wife being abused by her husband. He attempted to intervene by knocking down the husband, but the wife did not appreciate his involvement and the lady reached for a longhandled frying pan and hit Jouett over the head so forcefully that the bottom of the pan was knocked out and the rim driven down around his neck. Jouett fled the scene and travelled 35 miles before he found a blacksmith to remove the pot.

  Undiscouraged, Jouett settled down in Harrodsburg, Kentucky (then Virginia) in Mercer County and entered politics, serving as a Virginia state legislator. He helped Kentucky break free from Virginia and become a independent state and served four terms in the new legislature from both Mercer and Woodford Counties. Jouett was a prominent citizen of Kentucky. He had friendships with Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. In business, he pioneered livestock breeding in Woodford County and importing fine horses and cattle from England.