War Between the States

Wet plate, albumen photograph, 3 x 2 1/4, on 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 card mount. No backmark. Sharp image showing numerous tents with the village of Culpeper clearly seen in the background. Very fine. Uncommon Alexander Gardner view.

The village of Culpeper is situated on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about seventy five miles from Washington. Sheltered by the Blue Ridge, the surrounding country was very productive, and after the establishment of railroad communication, the place rapidly grew in size and importance. Its first serious injuries were received in General Pope's retreat from the Rapidan, when many of its buildings were destroyed, and nearly all stripped of their contents. Both armies alternately occupied it, and cavalry repeatedly fought about it, till the village, once the pride of its district, became a ruin, and the fruitful fields an area of desolation. Reviews, with all their "pomp and circumstance," made brilliant days for its memories, and weeks are numbered in the sorrowful periods when the requiem for the dead sounded continually over the new made graves. History weaves a garment about it more glorious than romance. The pulsations of battle at Bull Run, and Rappahannock, and Brandy Station; at Chancellorsville, Bristoe, and Groveton, have throbbed through its streets. Cedar Mountain, blazing with conflict, looked down upon it, and Grant in the Wilderness, shook its spires with the roar of his guns. The altars of its churches are stained with heroic blood; all along its highways slumber those whose names can never pass away, and in the vacant camp grounds cluster recollections fast blending into traditions, that shall grow dearer as they grow old.

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