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  • Writer's pictureFoWB

Second Quarter Newsletter, April 1 - June 30, 2021

A New Season On The Landscape

Last season, due to the pandemic, interpreters at Ellwood greeted visitors outside the house and assisted them with various questions or directions. It was a definite adjustment and we learned a lot along the way. Visitors seemed to appreciate having us there, even though the house was closed to the public, and we enjoyed being outside for the most part. (Some of those super hot days were a little rough!)

Hauling all of the supplies in and out of the house every day was somewhat tedious and the wonderful rangers surprised us with a very nice wagon for this season. It will definitely make it much easier to set up and take down each day! Thank You so much, FSNMP Rangers! We truly do appreciate it!

Our interpreters are excited to return to another Season on the Landscape, although we also hope that the pandemic will end soon and that visitors will once again be allowed to go inside the house. We will continue to strive to make our visitors experience safe, welcome, and memorable.

Mike Pierce, Bob Epp, and Joanne Pino are ready to greet visitors on the landscape. This shade canopy bit the dust, but, rest assured, we have more!


Park Day Cancelled Once Again

We had hoped to be able to host Park Day again the first Saturday in April, but due to current restrictions relating to the pandemic, we will not be able to do it this year. Hopefully we can resume our normal activities next year! In the meantime, quite a few of our volunteers pick up trash in the various parks when they are out and about on the trails.


Baseball and the Wilderness: Ancestral Connections

by Daniel Sheron, FoWB Volunteer

Ken Burns has produced many documentaries on Americana, arguably the most famous among his many works are his series on "The Civil War' and "Baseball." In a very small way, these topics come together on the Wilderness Battlefield.

While many Major League Baseball players, both past and present, can trace family linage to Civil War veterans, to many the most interesting are those players active between 1870 and 1920 who had a Civil War ancestor; essentially it is these players who as children could have sat upon dad's I granddad's knee and listened first hand as he regaled the family with stories of his Civil War actions. As luck would have it, at least one such player exists whose father was not only a Civil War veteran, but was also present at The Battle of the Wilderness

Sam Crawford (1880-1968) was a Hall-of-Fame outfielder who played primarily for the Detroit Tigers between the years of 1899-1917.

He still ranks first in career triples with 309 and for his time was considered a powerful hard-hitting batter (he twice led the American League in Home Runs). His teammate during many of his years with the Tigers was Hall-of-Farner Ty Cobb, a man Crawford tolerated but by no means called friend. For those unfamiliar with his reputation, Cobb was a tightly-wound SOB who took offense at the slightest insult and often his first action in response to said insults was to start pummeling his insulter with his fists.

A story regarding Crawford that brings a smile to many a face is related to an incident that occurred in Cobb's first full year in the majors, 1906. The Tiger's starting outfield that year consisted of Sam Crawford in right field, Ty Cobb in center field, and Matty Mcintyre in left field. As was typical of the time, rookies were often hazed by team veterans as part of indoctrination to the team. Cobb was no exception as during 1906 he often found himself "squeezed" out of time in the batting cage, shunned during road-trip meals, and the target of practical jokes.

Early in the 1906 season, as a practical joke, veteran Mcintyre sawed two of Cobb's bats in half. Instead of laughing off the joke, Cobb and Mcintyre came to blows which then further developed to neither player speaking to each other, on or off the field. From Cobb's perspective, a proud Southerner, It did not help the situation that Mcintyre, born in Connecticut, was just another "damn Yankee" (teammates of Cobb often commented that Cobb "continued to fight the Civil War'' throughout his playing career). This silent standoff presented practical problems for the Tiger's manager Hughie "Eh-Yah" Jennings as fly balls hit to left-center field between Cobb and Mcintyre would often drop in for hits unnecessarily as neither Cobb nor Mcintyre would "call for the ball" in order to take charge of the play. Jennings tried a multitude of remedies in order to rectify the situation, but to his chagrin, none succeeded and the balls continued to drop in for hits.

Ultimately Jennings stumbled upon a solution, one of the most elegant solutions in all of baseball history. Jennings simply moved Crawford to center field and moved Cobb to right field. As previously noted, Crawford was no friend of Cobb, but at least he would communicate with him. The solution worked wonderfully as the Tigers, with the Mcintyre­ Crawford-Cobb outfield, would go on to win the American League pennant in 1907, 1908, and 1909. And Cobb, in-spite of having a weak arm, would play right field, a position where a strong arm is desirable, for the rest of his career. It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

And now onto our Civil War I Wilderness connection...Sam Crawford's father was Stephen Crawford (1842-1904). He enlisted in the Union Arm on 23 August 1862 and was mustered in as a Private on 10 October 1862 into Co. "A" 13 VT Infantry (a 9-month regiment}. He fought at Gettysburg (taking part in the repulse of Pickett's Charge} and was mustered out on 21 July 1863 at Brattleboro VT. He then reenlisted and on 1 January 1864 he was mustered into the 3rd VT Light Artillery serving until being mustered out on 15 June 1865.

During the Battle of the Wilderness, the 3rd VT Light Artillery was part of the IX Corps I 4th Division serving under General Edward Ferrero. The 3rd VT did not see action during the battle of the Wilderness but instead guarded the wagons of the Army of the Potomac. Thus the unit would have been positioned near Brandy Station early in the battle then moved along with the trains as they proceeded south, the unit's job being to fend off Mosby and his pesky Rangers and other Confederate units poised to harass the trains.

Of note later in the war, the 3rd VT Light Artillery was the unit that fired the signal round that commenced the Union assault at Petersburg on 2 April 1865 (the assault that broke the Confederate lines that eventually led to Appomattox 7 days later}.

Coming full circle, by 1880 Stephen had taken his Civil War pension and moved to Nebraska, married Iowan Ellen Blanchard, and was employed as a grocer (one of several commercial ventures attempted by the elder Crawford}. Sam was born into this setting on 18 April 1880 in Wahoo Nebraska. Due to his birthplace, Sam was known as "Wahoo" Sam Crawford throughout his playing days, a name, which due to his love for his hometown, he cherished.

And without too much effort one can picture "little Sam" sitting on Stephen's knee at home in Wahoo, carefully listening to stories of Stephen's exploits during the Civil War.


Hold the Date!

by Bob Epp, FoWB Volunteer

The Ladies Memorial Association (LMA} has received a shipment of 60 replacement markers and needs help with their installation. They have chosen the weekend of April 24-25 as their work days.

The LMA has initiated a program of replacing cemetery markers for the hundreds of old broken, dilapidate and erroneous markers that were placed in the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery over 150 years ago. Citizens and other organizations have joined the effort to purchase and install the markers, to include the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB}.

FoWB is using the opportunity to purchase 2-4 markers in each edition of purchases. The current lot of 60 new markers includes 2 markers that will be placed on the graves of soldiers who died on the Wilderness Battlefield in 1864. Those soldiers are Private James W. Bridges, Co A. 47th AL Infantry Regiment and Private Thomas W. Henry, Co K. 2nd TX Infantry Regiment. Both men were originally buried on the Widow Tapp field.

The installation of the latest set of markers will take place April 24th and 25th and FoWB members are encouraged to join in the placement. The crews will meet at the Confederate Cemetery (1100 Washington Ave, Fredericksburg, VA) at 9:30 AM on Saturday. The placing of markers will continue until the crews tire, and will continue on Sunday as needed. Contact Bob Epp for more information. 704-475-6233 or rober

For more information on the Confederate Cemetery, visit website


Confederate Doctors in Find-a-Grave!

by Bob Epp, FoWB Volunteer

One of the great research tools for family and military researchers is Ancestry's Find-a-Grave database. This free online collection of cemetery burial information includes many famous and not-so-famous personalities. Each record contains a variety of information that pertains to the buried individual to include a bio for each (where available). Photos and important public records can be attached to each person's record. Once registered with the database, a user can make additions to his ancestor's or person of interest's record.

Dr. Frederick T. Hambrick and Ms. Jodi L Koeste have taken the resource one step further. Dr. Hambricht is a board member of the Military Medical Museum in Frederick, Maryland. Ms Koeste is an Archivist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. They have extracted the information that relates to Confederate Doctors and created a sub-set database. The database can be accessed at

This database is a treasure trove of information for Civil War researchers. Many of the records include the military dates and places of where each Doctor served, the military unit they were assigned to and the engagement that the unit participated in. As an example, the record for Dr. Marion Traylor, assiRned to the 5th LA Infantry Regiment, includes a reference to a speech given in the early 2ot Century where it was stated that the Doctor was killed May 4, 1964 on the battlefront at Chancellorsville.

The FoWB Research Committee has taken the database one step further. The 1,100 or so records in the Confederate Doctors database have been reviewed and those that contain information that show that the Doctor may have been in service on the battlefield during either the Wilderness or Chancellorsville engagements have been converted to a printed paper binder. For access and or information regarding the binder, please contact Bob Epp, acting chairman of the Research Committee, at 704-475-6233 or rober

Please note that we currently are not aware of a Find A Grave database for Union doctors but we will let you know if we find one!


Chatham 250 Challenge

by Beth Stenstrom, FoWB Volunteer

FoWB members L to R: Lynn MacDonald, Carol Hyland, Diane Smith, Beth Stenstrom, Kelli Slunt, Jeff Slunt, and Don Shockey. Carol and Beth are also 

board members of Friends of Chatham. Jeff is an NPS volunteer at Chatham. Lynn, Diane, Beth and Don are interpreters at Ellwood and Lynn, Beth, Jeff and Don are FoWB board members

Chatham 250 Challenge

We have the absolute best volunteers! Many of our volunteers not only volunteer in other park locations, and with other groups as well, but we also enjoy staying in shape. Especially during the pandemic restrictions, we wanted to get outside and get some exercise.

Chatham Manor was built between the years 1769 and 1771 by William Fitzhugh, and was owned by J Horace and Betty Lacy during the Civil War. The Lacys were owners of both Chatham and Ellwood during this time. Chatham Manor is 250 years old this year and to commemorate this beautiful historic home and garden the Friends of Chatham (FoC) hosted a virtual walk/bike/run!

They called it the Chatham 250 Challenge (C250C) and participants signed up to walk, hike, or bike 250 miles. Participants had the option to purchase a blue C250C shirt and we wore them while walking on trails all over the country. FoC provided a beautiful finisher medal as well. Their goals were to not only to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the house, but to bring awareness of the property so other people might come and enjoy it's beauty while promoting physical fitness at the same time.

Today, Chatham Manor is the headquarters of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. The house is currently closed to the public due to the pandemic, but the grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. For more information on Chatham Manor and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, please visit the park's website:

For more information on the Friends of Chatham, please visit their website:


Second Quarter April 1 - June 30 2021
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