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History in Our Backyard Chapter 12: Beef on the Hoof

Both Napoleon and Frederick the Great have been credited with the saying “An army marches on its stomach.”  Provisioning an army, especially one that numbered over 125,000 – the size of the Army of the Potomac at the beginning of General U.S. Grant’s Overland Campaign in May 1864 – would prove to be a monumental logistical challenge.

Fresh beef – 1¼ pounds daily according to the US War Department Army Regulations – was an important component of the Federal Civil War soldier’s ration.  The most practical way to furnish beef to campaigning soldiers was to have herds of cattle march with the army.

Exhibit 16 Cattle Crossing the Rapidan River

So how much beef was needed?  An estimate given by Lt. Colonel C. W. Tolles in 1864 stated “A bullock will furnish about 450 rations, so that an army of 100,000 men needs over two hundred beef cattle for its supply.”  Based on 450 rations per head of beef, an army of 125,000 men consumed 278 head of beef daily.

At least 6,000 head crossed the Rapidan River with the Army of the Potomac in early May of 1864.  These 6,000 documented head produced approximately 2.7 million rations, enough to supply an army of 125,000 for 21½ days.

The 6,000 head were gathered from holding pens in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C.  How did 6,000 head of cattle get to the Army of the Potomac for the Overland Campaign?

An excerpt from Feeding a Great Army ” in the United States Service Magazine in February 1880 by Brevet Brigadier General Thomas Wilson tells how:

“…to carry out my orders of supply, it would be necessary to have sent up to the front from Alexandria, some 50 miles distant, about 6,000 head of beef cattle, with the forage, corn in the ear, and hay necessary to subsist them until the march began, and this feat had to be accomplished between one Friday morning and the next Tuesday night; or, in other words… an average of 1,200 head of beef cattle had to be sent daily by me for five days, with the necessary forage for their maintenance.

The existing capacity of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in cattle cars was, at this time, for only 300 head daily…

The sudden call and the subsequent remarkable feat of shipping 6,000 cattle over this road of a single track, in the time required and with its limited resources was accomplished by the authorities seizing all the flat cars within reach and placing fences around them…  In this manner, 1,800 head were sent up in one day of twenty-four hours.  At one time during the shipment an endless train of cattle cars was in transit, most of the railroad sidings being filled with them…  We received all the cattle asked for before the time needed.

Three hundred men were kept constantly employed in unloading the cattle cars on their arrival at the front, so that the emptied cars might be sent back without delay.”

The herds and animals that we see today in the rural parts of Spotsylvania and Orange Counties are insignificant when compared to those that travelled with General Grant.  The Army of the Potomac had more than 50,000 horses and mules and at least 6,000 head of beef.  Big armies meant big numbers.

Author: Rod Lackey
Date: July 2018

Read Previous Chapter 11: the Unfinished Railroad in the Battle of the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Live in Historical Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, Virginia!

By: Todd Long

Why live in the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County area?  It has history.  It has class.  It has culture.  Many people new to the area will find that this part of Virginia offers much in the way of things to do.  As I stated, the Fredericksburg region boasts of many historic sites that hold a place in our nation’s history, from its early founding, struggles for independence, and growing pains that led to the Civil War.   

The Fredericksburg area is the site of where more than 100,000 Americans lost their lives in our nation’s struggle that culminated in the Civil War.  The area, simply put, is hallowed ground.  But there is also a hallowed beauty to it.  Go visit the Fredericksburg Battlefield, where in 1862, General Robert E. Lee defeated the Union Army of The Potomac.  Down the road from the Fredericksburg Battlefield is the Chancellorsville Battlefield, a site considered to be Lee’s most brilliant victory, where he defeated an army almost three times the size of his own army.  Then nearby are the battlefields of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, where Lee faced off against Union General Ulysses S. Grant, a man who would go on to become our nation’s 18th President.  If you’re not a big history nerd, but are more of a fitness junkie, these battlefields offer many hiking trails and the roadways on these battlefields, which are run by the National Park Service, are great places for biking.  The Park Service also puts on many living history events and Fit History walking tours during the spring and summer months. 

Historic Downtown Fredericksburg is definitely worth going to see as it has many buildings that date to the Civil War and earlier.  In the historic district there are many shops that offer a wide variety to visitors; restaurants, antique shops, specialty foods, clothing, jewelry, home furnishings and much more.  Located in downtown Fredericksburg is Kenmore, the home of Fielding Lewis, an American Patriot who gave and sacrificed much during our country’s struggle for independence, not to mention, the brother-in-law of George Washington, having married Washington’s sister Betty.  Since we are speaking of George Washington, across the river from Fredericksburg is the site of Ferry Farm, where young George spent his childhood.  It is a living history site which recently has underwent archaeological work to locate the foundations of his boyhood home and has been rebuilt to what it probably looked like.  Also located in downtown are the Mary Washington House, Rising Sun Tavern, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop and St. James’ House, all operated by the Washington Heritage Museums.  Also near downtown, for the nature fanatics, is Alum Spring Park, a 34-acre park that hosts many natural features including sandstone cliffs and a swimming hole.  If you are looking for a nice romantic getaway with your significant other, look no further.  The downtown area also offers two nice B&B’s, the Kenmore Inn and the Richard Johnston Inn.  Both Inn’s are historic homes, offer wonderful accommodations, excellent food, and show classic Virginia hospitality. 

Aside from all the history and historic sites that Fredericksburg offers, there is also much in the way of class and culture.  The downtown area also features art shops, the James Monroe Memorial Library, Fredericksburg Area Museum, and Belmont, the home of Gari Melcher, one America’s prominent portraitists and Impressionist painters.  Fredericksburg also offers several craft beer and alehouses including Harry’s Alehouse on Route 3 and Sedona Taphouse and Capital Ale House in downtown Fredericksburg.  The food at these locations are excellent.  Not far from downtown, for those who have a taste for wine, there are a few local wineries which include Bacchus Winery, Hartwood Winery, and Eden Try Winery.  If you have a flare for French cuisine, located downtown is La Petite Auberge, a French restaurant that has been serving the area since 1981.  If you enjoy theater, located nearby is the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, a local dinner theater which has been putting on main-stage musicals, broad way shows, and dramatic productions for over 20 years.  The shows are always fun and entertaining and the food and service is always top notch.  With all that Fredericksburg has to offer, it is no wonder that the area is continuously growing. 

Spotsylvania neighbors Orange County, where Lake of the Woods is located. Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

eyes

Virginia Living from the Eyes of 25

I love the diversity of Virginia, especially Fredericksburg/Orange county areas; I find it surprising when people say it’s “boring”. Here at Lake of the Woods we are so close to so many other different local areas: including Culpeper, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania. There’s plenty to do – some things are even free. Explore downtown Culpeper or Fredericksburg, on a warm sunny day; adventure out of the house for a little bit during the cold Christmas season too! Just dress warm, of course – but don’t let it hold you back from a beautiful brisk night out on the town. The immediate counties and towns by Lake of the Woods are full of beautiful holiday decorations and lights – and it doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy them (other than a little bit of gas, if they’re not within your walking distance).
In addition to the historic downtown areas, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and even Orange all have many battlefield sites; did you know there’s a pyramid in Fredericksburg? I sure didn’t until one of my best friend’s took me there and now, I can’t help but mention it whenever someone suggests there’s nothing here to do. There are so many different battlefields spread throughout the area, if you feel like adventuring outside and learning some history, you will have many options! So check out: Meade’s Pyramid to start, Wilderness Battlefield, and the Spotsylvania Battlefield to name a few. With some detailed research you can certainly plan a day trip or even a whole weekend, if you’re really feeling adventurous!
Right in Orange, Virginia (less than a 40 minute drive from Lake of the Woods) is the Inn at Willow Grove, if you fancy a nice meal while you’re out. The grounds are beautiful and right down the road is James Madison’s Montpelier and Museum; if you’re looking for a ‘boozier’ adventure, try taking a wine trail tour. There are multiple wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries between Fredericksburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. Check out the popular wineries and breweries in Orange and if you visit – let us know what you think! 
If you’re up for spending a little bit of money and going on a drive, there are a couple drive-thru movie theaters I would highly recommend! Check out my reviews here. And they’re less than 2 hours away from Lake of the Woods.
There’s also the classic bowling or dinner and a movie! Most notably in Fredericksburg and Culpeper. Fredericksburg holds a unique establishment in which, they have bowling, pool tables, a restaurant and a movie theater all in one – there’s certainly no room for boredom there. Both Fredericksburg and Culpeper are only about a 30-minute drive from Lake of the Woods. The drive is beautiful especially in the fall, when the trees alongside Route 3 are starting to change.
It’s always nice to window shop around the local Spotsylvania mall, or antique shop in downtown Culpeper, Orange or Fredericksburg. In the warmer days it’s even more enjoyable to visit the local parks and downtown shops, especially if you have a fur-friend to bring along! Many local area businesses are dog-friendly (especially in downtown Fredericksburg) it only takes a quick moment to look them up before you bring Fido to make sure he/she will be allowed inside. 
One place Fido is always welcome: the Shenandoah National Park! They have many hiking trails and lodging available for you and your companion(s) among the mountains. The best part is that it’s only a 45-minute drive from Culpeper and from Fredericksburg, less than a 2-hour drive. It’s certainly an adventurous way to spend the day with your best pal(s). 
From the historical cities and battlefields, to the drive-in theater, bowling alley or trip to the mountains, there is always something to do. What are some of your favorite places to visit in Virginia? We’d love to hear about them!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.
To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.