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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

Third Quarter Newsletter, July 1 - September 30, 2022

Come Visit Us at Ellwvood!

by Dave Byers, Acting Branch Manager for Interpretation

The National Park Service and volunteers with the Friends of Wilderness

Battlefield (FoWB) opened the doors of Ellwood Manor to visitors on weekends on Saturday, May 14, and then daily on June 6. The house is currently open every day through the summer season, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check for updates on opening hours and days.

The site is staffed by FoWB volunteers and National Park Service rangers whenever the house is open. Visitors can take a tour through the first floor of the house, and explore exhibits on Ellwood, the nearby Civil War battles, and care of the wounded. Staff will be on the grounds to answer questions and explain the significance of Ellwood to the battles that took place nearby. Staff will also offer short programs to explain the Battle of the Wilderness and provide visitors with an orientation to General Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign. Tours and programs are offered periodically throughout the day as visitors arrive.

The grounds of Ellwood Manor are open daily year-round from sunrise to sunset. The gate to drive up to the parking area near the house is open when the house is open. When the gate is closed, visitors may park in the space next to, but not blocking, the gate and walk the grounds.

Ellwood Manor was a slave plantation built around 1790. At the outbreak of the Civil War it was owned by Betty & J. Horace Lacy, the family that owned Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg. Ellwood was a Confederate field hospital after the Battle of Chancellorsville and a United States Army headquarters during the Battle of the Wilderness. For more on Ellwood's story, visit

The Friends of Wilderness Battlefield partner with the National Park Service in maintaining Ellwood's grounds, aiding in restoring and maintaining the house and other structures, and helping to interpret the site's history. For more on the Friends, visit

Ellwood Manor is located in the Wilderness Battlefield at 3638o Constitution Hwy, Locust Grove, VA 22508.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park encompasses the sites of four major battles spanning eighteen crucial months of the Civil War. The battles caused more than 100,000 casualties, while the constant presence of armies left Fredericksburg and the surrounding agricultural landscape devastated and ended bondage for thousands of enslaved people in the region.


Dinner/Speaker Event

May 7, 2022

The Cove at Fawn Lake Country Club

Featuring John Hennessy

by Suzanne Baxter, FoWB Education Chair

"War to Utter Submission"

Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and the Transformation of a Nation

62 guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and a spellbinding presentation by recently retired Chief Historian John Hennessy at The Cove at Fawn Lake on Saturday, May 7. John's presentation explained how this unusual landscape came to embody what the Civil War had become, the immense stakes, and the profound sense of moment the nation felt as the armies fought their way through Spotsylvania County in May 1864.

There was a mini Silent Auction, where guests bid on a choice of four beautifully handcrafted bowls made by FoWB volunteer Ron Bishop, and a beautiful framed Mort Kuntzler print titled "Candlelight and Roses", donated by Forrest and Cathy Akers. At the end of the presentation, FoWB President Bob Lookabill presented John with a Certificate of Appreciation and some special gifts, in honor of his retirement and also to show our heartfelt appreciation for all he has done for us over the years. We are delighted to continue to spend time with him and work with him in various aspects.


FoWB Scholarship

by Bob Lookabill, FoWB President

On May the 10th, at Orange County High School Senior Night, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield awarded their first ever academic scholarship to Thomas Wiles of Orange County, Virginia. The $1,500 award was offered to students of Orange County High School who planned to further their education in the general field of history. That would include historic preservation, archaeology, teaching, or any other related occupation.

Since this was our initial attempt at offering a scholarship we decided to restrict the application process to the local school system. Our scholarship committee will look at broadening the field of applicants next year. There may be other tweaks to the procedure now that we have successfully awarded our initial grant.

Thomas is one of four children and was educated in the Orange County Public School system. He participated in student government, was a member of the National Honor Society and has an interest in rescue archaeology. He will attend Longwood College in the fall. FoWB wishes Thomas every success in his future studies. Photo is of Thomas Wiles, Scholarship recipient, and FoWB President Bob Lookabill. Photo taken by Jeff Poole.


We Love Special Tours

by Beth Stenstrom, FoWB Vice President

We enjoyed a special treat on Wednesday, June 15, with Historian and author Gordon Rhea bringing a bus load of history enthusiasts as part of a four day Overland Campaign Tour!

Gordon was working with David Woodbury, with Woodbury Historical Tours, out of Richmond! Executive Director, Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, Terry Rensel, joined FoWB President Bob Lookabill and FoWB Vice President Beth Stenstrom to give them a warm welcome and assist with whatever they might need during their stop at Ellwood!

A lovely box lunch was delivered by Stevenson Ridge and the group enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch in the shade!


Volunteer Interpreter Training

by Beth Stenstrom, FoWB Vice President

Once again, the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park provided our amazing volunteer interpreters with the training required for us to do our job interpreting at Ellwood. Training was held at the Freedom Court Training Facility, where Acting Branch Manager for Interpretation Dave Byers, Supervisory Park Ranger for Interpretation Becca Toy, Park Ranger for Interpretation Pete Maugle, Chief Ranger for Visitor and Resource Protection Seth Macey, and Park Rangers for Visitor and Resource Protection Brennen McAuley and Owen Murnane brought everyone up to date on current events in the park.

One major change this year will be that there will be a Ranger on site when we are there. The park has decided to make Ellwood a Visitation Center instead of the Shelter at Saunders Field. This should increase visitation to the site and we will be busy!


FoWB Summer Interns for 2022

by Becca Toy, Supervisory Park Ranger for Interpretation

Friends of Wilderness Battlefield welcomes their two National Park Service summer interns for 2022: Skylar (Sky) Czerwinski and Samuel (Sam) M. Walgren. Sky and Sam are sponsored by Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and this is the first year they have sponsored two interns. They were chosen from many applicants to work at the Park this summer to support Park services throughout the area and particularly the Wilderness Battlefield. The summer positions are highly sought after and considered a major plus for entering the Park Service as a career.

Sky and Sam arrived on 23 May and have been involved in classroom and battlefield tours and training ever since. Their picture was taken at the Saunders Field shelter as part of their Wilderness Battlefield tour.


Third Quarter July 1 - Sept 30 2022
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