Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table


Voice of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table Newsletter

April 2018, Volume 15, Issue 4


Speaker:                 Joseph Rose

Topic:                    “Grant Under Fire  - An Expose' of Generalship and Character in the Civil War

When:                    Monday, April 9, 2018

Location:               Brock’s Riverside Grill

Times:                    Social Begins 6:00 pm, Dinner 6:45 pm, Meeting Begins 7:30 p.m.



Abstract on Joseph Rose, our Scheduled Speaker for April 9, 2018


Joseph A. Rose is our featured speaker in March.  He is the author of the meticulously researched Grant Under Fire: An Expose of Generalship and Character in the American Civil War.  Fellow author and Civil War scholar Gordon Rhea describes the book as "an engaging critical assessment of Grant's generalship that is destined to provoke lively debate...One might disagree with Roses's conclusions but his careful scholarship demands that they receive serious consideration."  Mr. Rose maintains an informative website and blog at www.grantunderfire.com.


Following background is from the "Author's Bio" section at www.grantunderfire.com:


"Joseph A. Rose grew up reading the World Book Encyclopedia, Jane's Fighting Ships 1938, the West Point Atlas of American Wars, and other non-fiction.  During a career in healthcare management, he took a cross-country trip and visited battlefields of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  Nothing was out of the ordinary, until discussions and debates starting on a Yahoo Group, the Civil War Western Theater Discussion Board, demonstrated how history, especially in Ulysses S. Grant's case, can be terribly miswritten."


Mr. Rose will speak about various aspects of Grant's generalship, to include his relationship with fellow Union officers.  He has advised that the first chapter, bibliography and index of his book are available on the aforementioned website.  He suggested that our members review the material and "get some really tough questions ready for my presentation.":



 “Burying the Dead -- J. Horace Lacy and the

Founding of the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery

by Carolyn Elstner

A Review of the March 2018 Program by Greg Mertz


Carolyn Elstner frequently spent time at Ellwood, the home of her grandparents.  Ellwood was more than her family’s home, however.  It was also a historic structure on the Wilderness Battlefield and was the residence of J. Horace Lacy during the Civil War.  Realizing that she ate and walked and slept in the same building as an earlier family enabled Carolyn to make a connection and become a kindred spirit with the Lacys.  Though Ellwood left her family’s ownership when the house and farm was sold and donated to the National Park Service, her bond with the structure was renewed when the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield was founded.  Carolyn became the chair of the organization’s Ellwood Committee, coordinating and training the team of volunteers who interpreted the house.   She also became the Vice President of the friends and played a key role in the fundraising and building restoration efforts.

Though she is no longer directly involved with the interpretation and preservation of the Lacy house, that does not mean that she is no longer involved with the Lacy family.  Carolyn is currently the President of the Ladies Memorial Association that oversees the management of the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.  Horace Lacy and his wife Betty were the driving force in the establishment of the cemetery.  So once again, someone who regularly walked the halls of Ellwood is in charge of the burial ground.

Ellwood became the Lacy home through the family of the lady of the house.  Ellwood was built by William Jones, where he lived with his wife Betty for some fifty years.  At the age of 77, William Jones remarried, taking the 16-year old Lucinda Gordon as his second bride.  Eleven months later, they had a daughter who was named for William’s first wife – Betty.  The younger Betty would be the future Mrs. Lacy.  J. Horace Lacy was also the offspring of parents of a substantial age difference.  His father, Presbyterian minister William Sterling Lacy was nineteen years older than his wife. 

J. Horace and Betty Lacy began raising their family at Ellwood, but purchased Chatham four years before the outbreak of the Civil War and made that home their primary residence, staying at Ellwood only in the summers.  The Civil War had a direct impact on Ellwood and the extended Lacy family.  During the May 1-3, 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, the Confederates set up a field hospital near Ellwood.  The most famous patient treated at the hospital was Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, whose right arm had been amputated.  Horace’s brother, Beverly Tucker Lacy, was Jackson’s chaplain, and found the arm wrapped in something outside of the general’s tent.  The Rev. Lacy took the arm to his brother’s family cemetery for burial.

Though all of the Confederate wounded capable of being transported were sent to evacuation hospitals almost immediately after the end of the battle, those who could not survive the trip stayed behind.  Ellwood became a recovery hospital for the next several months.

Fifteen Confederate soldiers, who probably all died from wounds suffered during the Battle of Chancellorsville, were buried at Ellwood.  James Keith Boswell, an engineer on Jackson’s staff, who was killed about the same time that Jackson was shot, was buried in the Jones-Lacy cemetery next to Jackson’s arm.  Major Joshua Stover and his half-brother Corporal Nathan Stover were also buried in the Ellwood family cemetery.  Some 300 yards west of the house, Horace wrote of the location, and identity, if known, of the graves of several other soldiers.   Three different cherry trees were among the landmarks Horace mentioned in his descriptions.

One year later, war returned to Ellwood for the May 5-6, 1864 Battle of the Wilderness.  Since the armies shifted to Spotsylvania Court House just one day after the fight in the Wilderness concluded, the dead did not receive proper burial.  Remains of soldiers were still scattered throughout the Wilderness at the close of the war.  In 1865, the Union army sent a team to go on a skeleton hunt to gather up the remains of Union soldiers.  The body of John W. Patterson was found in a ravine north of the Lacy house.  The bones of incomplete skeletons were placed together in one coffin – reportedly the remains of ten people to a box.  Bodies were temporarily buried in two Wilderness Battlefield cemeteries – one along the Orange Turnpike in Saunders Field and one along the Orange Plank Road near where Longstreet had been wounded. 

In 1866, after their brief interment in the Wilderness cemeteries, the soldiers were taken to the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.  The last Union veteran to be buried in the national cemetery was Evander Willis, who managed Ellwood for his son for more than twenty years.

While the federal government cared for the proper burial of Union soldiers, it fell to the private efforts of various Ladies Memorial Associations to take an interest in creating a suitable cemetery for the Confederate dead.  Though there were once twenty Ladies Memorial Associations in the state of Virginia, today only two are active – one in Petersburg and the one caring for some 3,500 soldier’s graves here in Fredericksburg.  They held their first meeting on the anniversary of “Stonewall” Jackson’s death – May 10, 1866.  Horace apparently gave a long-winded speech at this inaugural gathering.

Horace Lacy led the team that searched the Wilderness Battlefield – much of which was on his property.  Lacy was able to identify 37 Texan soldiers by name and placed a boulder near the original site of their graves.  In 1903, Lacy’s son-in-law and former staff officer of “Stonewall” Jackson, James Power Smith, placed a Lee-to-the-Rear stone near the Lacy boulder. 

Horace helped to procure donations for the cemetery.  He went to Louisiana, where he had a plantation named Boscobel, and raised $10,000.  Lacy obtained another $2,000 from the citizens of Baltimore.  Horace purchased a parcel from what had been the Kenmore estate for $1200.  The cemetery tract, adjacent to the Fredericksburg City Cemetery, was dedicated in 1870.   The Confederate soldiers, including the fifteen buried near the Ellwood home, had a fitting final resting place. The graves of known soldiers were at first marked with wooden posts. 

In addition to establishing the burial site for Confederate soldiers, the association sold lots east and north of the soldiers’ section.  The association constructed a wall around the cemetery and an entrance gate.  The wooden markers were replaced by grave stones made of Georgia marble in 1887.  A monument was erected in 1891 over the mound in the center of the soldier’s cemetery, containing the remains of 2184 unknown.  Horace and Betty Lacy were among those acquiring burial plots and were laid to rest in the cemetery they had worked tirelessly to create.



Ongoing Reminder

Please contact Bob Jones to order your dinner in advance or to confirm your dinner reservation.  Please call Bob Jones @ 540-399-1702 or send him your e-mail at cwrtdinner@yahoo.com




Executive Committee Bios

Each month this newsletter will feature a short biography of one of our Executive Committee members. This month we feature Ben Keller


Born 70 years ago in Bedford, Indiana, graduated High School in Indianapolis, served in the US Navy achieving rank of Aviation Fire Control Technician Petty Officer 2nd Class by discharge in 1971, graduated with Engineering degree from Purdue University in 1974, received MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1983. Worked for several companies, notably Rockwell, Bendix, and Black and Decker. Retired to Fredericksburg area in 2014, joined the RVCWRT, loving every minute. Married to trophy spouse Beverly in 1970, three children, four grandchildren and a 93 year old father-in-law.



Help Your Roundtable With a Smile!!

By Ben Keller, Assistant Treasurer


If you buy anything from Amazon, using their Smiles program directly helps the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table fund its scholarship, Intern, preservation, and educational programs, AT NO COST TO YOU!!! The AmazonSmile foundation sends .5% of your purchases (not including fees for taxes, gift-wrapping, etc.) directly to us each month. Just type Smiles.Amazon in to your electronic gizmo, find the 'Your Account' link at the top of any page, select the RVCWRT as your charity, then buy something. The donation to us is automatic after that.

If this is too difficult for you to do, an alternative is to type 'www.rvcwrt.org' in your device, bringing you to our website, then click the button at the top of the page 'Our Amazon Link' and go to Amazon this way. We get a little less money, and it's delayed a few months, but it still costs you nothing.

Thank you!



The 2018 RVCWRT Bus Tour


On Saturday, May 19th, the RVCWRT will conduct our 2018 Bus Tour to Fort Monroe.  We will start with a guided tour of the Casemate Museum; followed by lunch at the historic Chamberlin Hotel overlooking the water; then a behind-he-scenes tour of Fort Monroe.  The cost of the tour is $80 for members and their guests; $100 for non-members.  More detailed information will be available soon on the web site and in the next newsletter.




The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

By Bob Jones

  As a courtesy, the RVCWRT provides as a regular feature each month, the ongoing scheduled speakers for the CWRTF’s 2018 Program Year.  The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month (except for one meeting held on the third Wednesday of June 2018).  Dinner Meetings are held at the UMW’s Jepson Center located at 1119 Hanover Street, Fredericksburg, VA, dinner cost is $32.00 per person.  Advance reservations should be made by telephoning 540-361-2105. 


CWRTF’s Scheduled Speakers for the 2018 Program Year

April 25

Bruce Venter

“Kill Jeff Davis and the Dahlgren – Kilpatrick Raid”

May 23

Rob Orrison/Bill Backus

“War on the Potomac”

June 20

Ryan Quint, NPS

“The Battle of Portland Harbor”




Brandy Station Foundation Membership Annual Meeting and Dinner


The Brandy Station Foundation (operator of the Graffiti House) will hold their annual membership meeting and dinner  on Friday, April 20 at the Brandy Station Fire Hall , 19601 Church Road, Brandy Station at 6:00 PM. Dinner is $25.00 per person, and there will be a cash bar available. The membership will vote on the slate of officers for 2018 and other important matters at the short meeting which will precede the dinner. If you would like to be a member, and would like to vote at this meeting, your 2018 membership dues must be paid by the date of the dinner.  For membership information, go to http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/membership/application.

If you intend to be at the meeting and dinner, you must make your reservation no later than April 12 by emailing Eugene Hankinson at eugenehankinson@aol.com or call him at 540-439-0874.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Daniel Beattie, who will speak about Wade Hampton, Confederate General who fought at Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, among others. Dr. Beattie holds MA and PhD degrees in History from Duke University. He served for many years on the Boards of Trustees of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, the Civil War Preservation Trust, and the Brandy Station Foundation.

You can read more about the dinner and about Dr. Beattie by accessing the Brandy Station Foundation newsletter at http://www.brandystationfoundation.com and Newsletter and then the Current Newsletter buttons on the left side of the site.



The Pelham Monument at the Graffiti House

This photograph of John Pelham was taken shortly after he resigned from West Point in April 1861. His uniform is that worn by cadets when traveling away from the Academy. (Library of Congress)



Major John Pelham, JEB Stuart’s horse artillery commander, was a very talented and brave officer. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, Robert E. Lee observed Pelham – far outnumbered – fighting his guns. Much impressed, Lee dubbed the major “the Gallant Pelham.” John Pelham was mortally wounded in a cavalry charge at the Battle of Kelly’s Ford on March 17, 1863, and he died that evening in Culpeper. His remains lay in state in Richmond before they were returned to his home state of Alabama for burial. The Confederate government posthumously promoted Pelham to lieutenant colonel.


Pelham Monument in Elkwood taken from U.S. Highway 29


On October 29, 1927, John Douglas dedicated a monument to the memory of Pelham on his property in Elkwood, two miles east of Brandy Station. Over the years, development encroached on the monument. Highway 29 was built and then widened, and the land on which the monument sat – farmland in 1927 – was rezoned for industrial use. In 2012, a large refueling station was built adjacent to the monument site. That construction prompted the Brandy Station Foundation to arrange the movement of the monument to the Graffiti House grounds.

With the cooperation of the Birmingham, Alabama and Culpeper, Virginia Chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the support of local businesses, the move was made in May 2013.

Today the monument, graced with the flag of Alabama, is a popular attraction for visitors. Many take time to read the inscriptions on the obelisk and reflect on the courage and dedication of Stuart’s you artillerist.



This article is from The Graffiti House Voices from the Past Interpretive Guide published by the Brandy Station Foundation. © April 2016, Brandy Station. Used with the permission of the Brandy Station Foundation.



Who we are?

            The Drum and Bugle Newsletter is published monthly, by the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table, Post Office Box 7632, Fredericksburg, VA 22404.  Each month, The Drum and Bugle newsletter is also placed on our web-site, www.RVCWRT.org.  Yearly membership dues are $35.00 for an individual, $45.00 for families, and only $7.50 for students.   Membership is open to anyone interested in the study of the Civil War and the ongoing preservation of Civil War sites. 


The RVCWRT Executive Committee:


President/Dinner Meeting:

Bob Jones


Ryan Quint 

Vice President:

John Sapanara

Member at Large:

Robin Donato


Melanie Jordan

Member at Large:

John Griffiths


Bob Pfile

Member at Large:

Barbara Stafford

Assistant Treasurer:

Ben Keller

Media & Events Coordinator

Paul Stier


Meeting Scribe:

Greg Mertz

Past President:

Marc Thompson

Membership Chair:

Paul Stier

Newsletter Editor & Webmaster

Dan Augustine




Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

P.O. Box 7632

Fredericksburg, Va. 22404