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  • Writer's pictureFoWB

Fourth Quarter Newsletter, October 1 - December 31, 2020

Annual Meeting

Saturday, November 7, 2020 Wilderness Baptist Church 11:00 AM

The Wilderness Baptist Church has reconfigured their parish hall to accommodate social distancing so we will have our Annual Meeting there again this year. We will only be having the Business Meeting from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM and will not have any food or speakers this year, due to COVID 19 restrictions. An email invitation has been sent to members with more details and RSVP instructions.


Happy 25th Anniversary!

Did you know that FoWB has been in existence for 25 years? Many thanks to Tom Van Winkle for helping to get us started! Look how far we have come since Tom and Chief

Historian John Hennessy sat down over a plate of chocolate chip cookies and founded this wonderful organization!

Tom was the first president of FoWB and we have had quite a few excellent presidents throughout the years. The organization has grown significantly, and we have been able to assist the FSNMP with numerous projects and events.

Tom Van Winkle shared the history of how FoWB got started at our annual meeting last year.

So have a cookie and give a cheer. Here's to the next 25 years!


An Amazing Partnership

by Beth Stenstrom, FoWB volunteer

FSNMP Superintendent Kirsten Talken - Spaulding

Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is very fortunate in that we get to partner with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park to help steward Ellwood and the Wilderness Battlefield property. The property is owned by the National Park Service, and we work closely with the rangers to ensure that we are doing everything we can to assist them and execute our programs in the image they FSNMP Superintendent Kirsten Talken - Spaulding would like us to portray.

There are actually seven different sites within the park, including the Wilderness Battlefield, the Chancellorsville Battlefield, the Fredericksburg Battlefield, The Spotsylvania Courthouse Battlefield, Chatham, the Jackson Death Site, and the Battle at Salem Church. That's a lot of ground to cover (8,000 acres, in fact!) and the park is grateful to the energetic volunteers who assist them in sharing these sites and stories with visitors from around the world.

It is a true working partnership between the two organizations, where our board members meet regularly with key park administrators to stay current on what is going on and to be sure everyone is on the same page regarding National Park Service policies and procedures. During a normal year, our FoWB volunteers provide enough volunteer hours to cover four full time ranger positions, and we are the reason the park has been able to open Ellwood to visitors.

During the "Season on the Landscape", our volunteers have stepped up to man outside tables to interpret at Ellwood, with social distancing measures in place to protect ourselves and our visitors. Our volunteers also provide manpower at various Living History events, and have helped make events like Park Day a big success. Several of our volunteers have spent numerous hours researching various topics and we have been able to introduce some interesting material to the rangers. FSNMP rangers have provided guidance, materials, excellent speakers for our dinners and annual meetings, and they have been supportive every step of the way. They give our interpreters excellent training every year and they quickly come to our aid any time there is something amiss, such as a visitor who refuses to comply with park rules or by providing an "Ellwood Mouse Kit" to try to resolve the issue of mice inside the house.

We are truly fortunate to have such a good working relationship between FoWB and FSNMP. We appreciate everything the park has done for our organization, and I know the park appreciates everything we have done to assist them. After all, that's what partners do.


Interns at Ellwood

Every summer, the FSNMP hosts a group of interns, which are always a lot of fun. For the past several years, FoWB has helped sponsor one intern each year who focuses primarily on the Battle of the Wilderness and assists us in various ways. Each one has been wonderful and we have really enjoyed them and appreciate everything they have done for us.

This year, we were delighted to sponsor Meghan Schill, who is a PhD candidate, working on a Doctorate in American History at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is originally from Clarion, PA, and earned her Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian Literature from Durham University. For the past four years, she has received a Besse Fellowship for her work as Associate Editor for the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, an online public history project.

Currently, she is working on her dissertation on Catholic nuns who served as nurses during the American Civil War. With this work, she hopes to bring to light the contributions of these women, provide a more factual picture of the dynamics between Civil War hospital workers, and add to our understanding of women's changing roles in the nineteenth century public sphere. After graduation, she would love to begin a career with the National Park Service.

As the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield intern, Meghan has been working on the organization of medical personnel for the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. She is also drafting an archeological proposal for an examination of former graves on the Ellwood property.

In addition to spending time in convent archives, Meghan enjoys baking, baseball, and Civil War reenacting.

She would like to express her gratitude to the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield for sponsoring her internship and allowing her to have a wonderful and productive summer!


Upcoming Events:


Annual Meeting: Saturday, November 7


Please watch for upcoming events on our website and our Facebook page. Unfortunately, due to COVID - 19 restrictions, all of our Living History events had to be cancelled this year, but hopefully we will be able to resume them again next year. You can find us on Facebook at:


Friends of Wilderness Battlefield

Don't forget to Like Us if you haven't already


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