Tag Archives: wilderness

Wild Roots Music Festival

Wild Roots Music Festival at Wilderness Presidential Resort in Spotsylvania, VA!

Wilderness Presidential Resort located at 9220 Plank Rd in Spotsylvania Virginia 22553 is hosting the Wild Roots Music Festival on Saturday, September 21st from 12pm – 8pm.

Licata Group is proud to be a sponsor of this festival that will consist of 4 live Americana bands, several food trucks, a beer garden and many local artists.

Live Music will be performed by: Karen Jonas, Whiskey Revival, Cabin Creek and the Hive Robbers. The craft beer garden will feature local downtown Fredericksburg Brewery: Spencer Devon Brewing.

This is a rain or shine event with tickets for sale at $20 each, tickets prices do not include the beer garden. Purchase tickets here. Grab your friends and family and prepare for a relaxing Saturday enjoying some good music with delicious food!

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.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 11: the Unfinished Railroad in the Battle of the Wilderness

Chapter 10 described the history of the “unfinished railroad.”  This article tells how it was used during one of the Civil War’s battles.

Exhibit 14 General Wadsworth Monument

May 6, 1864 was a day of changing fortunes as the Union fought the Confederates along Orange Plank Rd.  It began with a 5 AM attack by the Union II Corps, reinforced by divisions from V and VI Corps, under command of General Hancock.  The attack drove General A.P. Hill’s III Corps from its positions.  They fled west towards Parker’s Store.  The 7 AM arrival of General Longstreet’s I Corps stemmed the rout.  Longstreet’s counter attack at Tapp Field drove the Federals back toward their starting positions to the east.  By 10 AM the two armies were at a standstill facing each other astride Orange Plank in the vicinity of the monument to Union General James Wadsworth.

Exhibit 15: Unfinished Railroad Cut

General Lee sent his Chief Engineer, General Smith, to see if there was a way to break the stalemate.  Smith and his party walked east along the unfinished railroad, which lay south of the Union’s flank. Both armies were aware of the unfinished railroad about ¼ mile south of and parallel to Orange Plank.  In the chaos of battle, neither army had thought about using it as an attack route, or about defending it against such an attack, until Smith’s reconnaissance.  Smith found the railroad grade undefended.  He returned and reported his findings to Longstreet. 

Longstreet sent four brigades to attack the Union flank under the command of his aide Lt. Col. Sorrel.  Sorrel arranged the men along the railroad grade and, when all men were in position, began the attack shortly after 11 AM.  It burst upon the Union flank in total surprise.  In addition, as soon as the fighting started on the flank, Longstreet’s remaining troops attacked the Union’s front.

McAlister’s brigade on the Union flank was first to feel the Confederate onslaught.  It was quickly routed.  Soon all eight Union brigades south of Orange plank had collapsed like dominos.  Union General Wadsworth, in command of Union forces north of Orange Plank, heroically attempted to organize a defense on the north side of the road.  It was to no avail leaving him mortally wounded.  By 12:30 PM, all Union positions had been overrun with the defenders withdrawing east to Brock Road or north to the Lacy House (Ellwood Manor).

The Confederate’s success quickly turned to failure.  While riding to the front to direct a continued advance, General Longstreet was accidentally shot by soldiers of the 12th Virginia of Mahone’s Brigade. While he survived, it wasn’t until four hours later that the Confederates were able to reorganize and resume the attack.  By then the Union had strengthened its defenses along Brock Road.  The renewed attack failed.  In addition to the short term loss, it would be months before Longstreet recovered sufficiently to resume command.

Author: John Bell

Date: July 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 10: The Unfinished Railroad

Continue to Chapter 12: Beef on the Hoof

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.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 10: The “Unfinished Railroad”

The term “unfinished railroad” refers to the roadbed without track that existed during the Civil War.  This article will give a brief description of its history. Another article will discuss its use specifically during the Civil War period.

Exhibit 12 Standard Gauge (left) vs. Narrow Gauge

The “unfinished railroad” had a role in the Civil War, but later it was two different working railroads run on the same roadbed. Although incorporated in 1853 no track had been laid as the Civil War began. Running between Orange and Fredericksburg, it existed under several names and configurations existing operationally from 1877 until 1984. The first line was narrow gauge, best known as the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont Railroad (PF&P). It provided passenger and freight service for almost fifty years. The second venture was standard gauge. It also hauled freight and passengers under the name of the Virginia Central Railway between 1927 to1937 and freight within Fredericksburg until 1984.

Incorporated in 1853, the Fredericksburg and Gordonsville Railroad Company’s (FGRRC’s) “purpose was to build a railroad between Fredericksburg and Gordonsville or Orange Court House in order to connect with the rail lines already running to Gordonsville.” The company failed by November 1857.  Road grading from Fredericksburg on 18 miles of the project had taken place by the time of the Civil War but no track had been laid, thus the “unfinished railroad” term. The project was resurrected in 1871. Some progress was made by the new company, however, after many delays, the State took possession of the railroad in December of 1873. It restored the property to the original owner, the FGRRC. In March 1876 the railroad was again reorganized and the name changed to the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont (PF&P), best known to locals as the “Poor Folks, and Preachers” due to its clientele. The first train to Orange arrived on February 26th, 1877.

PF&P showed a profit for many years. 1910 proved a banner year with 18,000 passengers and $56,000 in freight revenue. The high point for number of employees was 63 in 1920 but the decline was coming. The automobile and the truck “offered portal to portal service and substantial reductions in labor costs.” Furthermore the line could not interchange freight with mainline connections. In 1925 the line was sold and reorganized as the Orange and Fredericksburg Railroad but that was quickly sold to Langhorne Williams, a Richmond banker. The new name was the Virginia Central and the first upgrade was to install standard gauge track in 1926.


Exhibit 13 PF&P Engine and Tender

The line generally operated at a loss until it petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1937 to abandon the 37 miles between Orange and West Fredericksburg. It would continue to operate one mile of track in Fredericksburg as a switching operation for 15 industrial customers.  The Williams family continued to operate that line until 1967 when it was transferred to the city. The line was quickly recognized as a white elephant and although several schemes promised a profit, in March of 1984 the ICC approved final abandonment

Three excellent sources of reading are “Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Historical Society, Inc.” Volume 5, Issue 4, Fall 2009, “The Virginia Central Railway,” Ames Williams, pages 18-28, Remembering: A History of Orange County, Frank S. Walker Jr., pages 252-256 and “Tracks Through Time; A Railfan Tour of Orange County, Virginia”, Frank S. Walker Jr., page 20, a pamphlet available at the Orange County Visitor Center.

Author: Bob Lookabill
Date: July 2018

Read Previous Chapter 9: Robinson’s Tavern

Continue to 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.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 6: Relive the Battle of the Wilderness

Next month marks the 154th anniversary of one of the largest and most significant battles in America’s Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness.  Conducted around, and sometimes on, our community’s grounds during the first week of May 1864, the battle is often considered the beginning of the end of the Confederacy.   This year, during the weekend of May 5 and 6, the National Park Service (NPS), in conjunction with local living history re-enactor organizations and the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, will offer to the public, free of charge, a full range of events and demonstrations commemorating this momentous battle. 

This event will be held on the grounds of Ellwood Manor, a restored plantation home located on Route 20, approximately a half mile from intersection of Route 20 and Route 3.   Participating in the weekend’s activities will be Confederate and Union infantry and cavalry re-enactors as well as individuals depicting key battle commanders such as Generals Ulysses Grant, George Meade, and Gouverneur Warren.   Each participating organization will set up a campsite near Ellwood that will allow you to view several demonstrations of camp life, including stepping into the life of a soldier or learning about the medical realities of war in the mid-19th century.

Exhibit 6 Ellwood Event Layout

Anyone who wants to learn more about this hallowed land where we live should not miss this event.  The activities will be held on the grounds of Ellwood each day on May 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; some will be ongoing and others scheduled at specific times, usually on the hour. 

There will be multiple infantry and cavalry battle demonstrations between the Confederate and Union re-enactors each day.  At 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days, the NPS will conduct live fire artillery demonstrations.  At 4 p.m. on Saturday, all of the infantry, cavalry, and artillery units will conduct a combined battle demonstration.  You don’t want to miss these!  Just prior to the midday firing demonstrations each day, you will be able to witness a major confrontation among Generals Grant, Meade, and Warren just as it may have occurred on May 5, 1863.  There will be opportunities to talk to each of the participants and plenty of photo ops in front of the manor house as well as with all re-enactors and horses.

Regardless of what you know about the Wilderness Battle or the Civil War writ large, you will leave Ellwood with a better understanding of and new perspectives about the events that occurred on this hallowed ground and how they affected the final outcome of the war less than a year later. 

For more information about this Living History event, you can visit the local NPS website (www.nps.gov.frsp) or the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield website (www.fowb.org).  They will provide you with additional details about the events and participants, as well as the timeline for specific activities and demonstrations.   Mark your calendars – this weekend is a must see!

Author:  Dick Rankin
Date:  April 2018

Previous Chapter 5: An Oral History (Continued)

Continue to Chapter 7: Jackson’s Flank Attack & Wounding

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.

History In Our Backyard: Chapter 2 The Wilderness – The Early Years

Initially, this series on History in Our Backyard described how the Wilderness became the Wilderness.  Now we will delve into the early inhabitants who came to what would become known as “The Wilderness.” All things Wilderness were synonymous with Alexander Spotswood, the colony’s Royal Lt Governor in the early 1700s. He initiated the economic progress of the region through his efforts to establish Germanna fort and an iron industry. One source states that “there, thirty miles from the last outlying farms, the Germans set to work, clearing a site on the riverbank and building a fortified town.” The same source references the fort being supplied by pack-trains of mules and horses.


Exhibit 2 Germanna Fort

Those same pack-trains were instrumental in his 1716 venture into the mountains to the west. His band of adventure-seeking explorers departed from the Germanna fort accompanied by animals laden with supplies including a healthy supply of spirits. He later awarded each participant with a golden horseshoe pin thereby identifying them as the “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe” for eternity.

At the time of Spotswood’s term as Lt Governor of Virginia in 1722, he had firmly established his presence in the area. Through a somewhat devious plan he had accumulated over 80,000 acres of land. Records show that he never sold a single acre of the land, choosing instead to lease lots, mostly in 50 acre parcels, a few in parcels of up to 500 acres.

English law at that time dictated that settlers construct a home and plant an orchard on their leased property within three years. They also had to clear and plant a minimum one-acre garden and/or cropland. Initially, many chose to plant tobacco. The Colony was cash-strapped in those days and tobacco became the medium of exchange in most commercial transactions.

A 1724 inventory of Spotswood’s properties shows that he owned his fort, his large home, dozens of farm animals and the basis of the iron works, namely the Tubal site, about 12 miles east of his residence. At Germanna, he established the first County seat of Spotsylvania and held court in his home. The presence of the court quickly brought its own society; travelers arrived routinely for appearances before the justices.

County courts developed “Order Books” in those days. Both the Spotsylvania and later Orange (after 1734) books contain references to orders issued to Spotswood, primarily dictating that he organize work crews to maintain the road to Germanna and the bridge over Wilderness Run, located near the present day intersection of State Route 3 and US 20. Local residents provided the labor for the crews, usually their slaves. Spotswood did maintain the ferry that operated over the Rapid Anne River, today’s Rapidan. He also maintained his own road from Germanna to the Tubal Iron Works.

Eventually, small enterprises sprang up in the area. Those that were not located at the Court complex would be found along the Germanna Road. Retail stores, grain mills, saw mills, post offices, wagon makers and leatherworks businesses all found their place. Physicians took up residence in the area and church spires began to become part of the local scenery. By 1725 there were 7 plantations alone in the area surrounding the Tubal Iron Works site. The new Wilderness society was beginning to take shape.

Author:  Bob Epp

Date:  September 2017

Read Previous Chapter 1: How the Wilderness Became the Wilderness

Continue to Chapter 3: Plantation Life in 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.

History in Our Backyard: Chapter 1: How the Wilderness Became the Wilderness

Early May 1864 witnessed the first time that Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant – the two giants of the Civil War – met in battle in an area known then and forever more as the Wilderness.  The area had been known as the Wilderness for more than one hundred years before the Civil War but it was this bloody battle that would put the Wilderness on the map and in the history books forever.  What made these seventy square miles different from the rest of early Virginia?  How did the Wilderness become the Wilderness?  To answer these questions, we must go back to the early 1700’s when Virginia was still a British colony and Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood envisioned starting an iron smelting industry in this area.

Spotswood arrived in Hampton Roads in June, 1710, after being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Virginia Colony.  Iron ore was known to exist in the area that would become the Wilderness even before Spotswood arrived in Virginia.  The British Government at that time restricted manufacturing to the home islands and looked to the colonies to produce and export raw materials back to England while importing finished goods manufactured from those raw materials.  Despite the lack of permission from the British Government to smelt iron in the colonies, Spotswood initiated the iron smelting operation in Virginia anyway. His initiative was in fact the first attempt at moving away from an agricultural to an industrial based economy in Virginia and actually in any of the colonies.  

There are three elements in that land that are critical to the smelting of iron ore:  the ground must contain iron ore; there must be large forests for fuel, and water for power must be available.  All of these features were abundant in what was to become the Wilderness and Spotswood began acquiring land in this area shortly after his arrival in Virginia. Within just a couple years he controlled over 80,000 acres in present day Orange and Spotsylvania Counties. 

But there was still one feature missing before Spotswood could turn his dream into reality and that was the presence of experienced manpower that could conduct the smelting operations.  So he arranged for the emigration of German iron workers to Virginia; the first emigrants began arriving here in April, 1713.  They were the original settlers of the Germanna community, located on the south bank of the Rapidan River near today’s State Route 3 and Germanna Community College.  By 1715 Spotswood had established the Tubal Furnace below the confluence of the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers and was smelting iron.  By 1750 there would be at least six blast furnaces smelting the area’s iron ore.

The smelting process required a fire hot enough to reach the iron ore’s melting point, 2,190 to 2,810 degrees Fahrenheit, and it had to be burning continuously for weeks at a time.  The amount of fuel for smelting the iron was enormous – nearly two acres of hardwood per ton of smelted iron – and some furnaces could burn as much as seven hundred acres of timber per year.  To obtain the fuel required clear cutting vast segments of the virgin forest in the area.  The second growth forest that sprang up afterward consisted of smaller, scrubbier trees which allowed the growth of ground covering vegetation.  The vines, briars, honeysuckle, poison ivy and other lower growing vegetation created an almost impenetrable wall of vegetation and resulted in the area, by at least 1750, becoming known as “The Wilderness.”  


Exhibit 1 The Wilderness Virginia

It was this second growth forest that was in place during the Civil War.  Although the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville was fought in and around the Wilderness, it was really the first encounter of Lee and Grant in May 1864 – right in our backyard – that the iconic name of “The Wilderness” became forever etched in Civil War and American history.

Author:  Don Shockey

Date:  August 2017

Read Previous: History in Our Backyard: Introduction

Continue to Chapter 2: The Wilderness- The Early Years

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.

history

History in Our Backyard: Introduction

 History in our Backyard, a product of the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB), was created by FoWB’s Special Programs and Education Outreach Committees.  It consists of a series of articles designed to share the history of the Wilderness region with the residents who live in and around this hallowed ground.  The articles focus on either a particular event or a historical period that brings to life the area’s rich and vibrant history dating from the earliest settlers to the present day.  These brief glimpses into the Wilderness’ history are intended to encourage residents of all ages living in and around Spotsylvania and Orange Counties to learn and appreciate the significant impact that this area has had on our local and national history.

For years the Battle of the Wilderness has been under-appreciated by most Americans. Experience tells us that local residents have a limited knowledge of the 1864 battle’s impact, as the first battle in the Overland Campaign and the first face-to-face encounter between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.  Further, many residents are unaware that the history of the Wilderness in general is both a microcosm of Virginia history  even predating the birth of our Nation  and a story of agricultural and general economic development in a rural setting.

History in our Backyard is also designed to capture our FoWB members’ wealth of knowledge about various aspects of the Wilderness.  We encourage our volunteers to share with others a particular moment, event, or period in Wilderness history about which they are knowledgeable.  These are not intended to be scholarly works of history but rather tidbits of information about the land for the people who share that land today.  We hope our neighbors will become more engaged with their surroundings by having their neighbors – our volunteers – share their insights into the region through this brief picture. 

Our initial concept was to make these short pictures into history available to local communities’ newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and websites.  But History in our Backyard is growing beyond our initial expectations.  We anticipated no more than a handful of articles a year but that number is increasing and we are reaching more local communities and at least one county-wide medium.  Possibly the most significant expansion will be this compilation of all the articles, as they get published elsewhere, residing on our webpage. 

We welcome your comments and suggestions for improving our product and for future subjects.  We would even welcome your participation as an author of an article on a topic that is of interest to you and would add to the knowledge of our readership.

This article was written by Friends of Wilderness Battlefield.
Continue to Chapter 1: How the Wilderness Became 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.