Plate 48. Culpepper, Virginia

Plate 48. Culpepper, Virginia

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
The village of Culpepper [sic] 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 its 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.
Another year, and peace will have hidden the scars that now so sadly mar its beauty. Nature cannot be wholly defrauded of her blossoms, or prevented from drawing her mantle over the deserts that mankind may make. Already Culpeper has commenced a new adornment, and must soon resume her station, Queen of the fairest plains of Virginia. Imbued with new incentives, her returning people are snaking [sic] pleasant places of their homes, and launching into the enterprises of a brighter dawn, promise for themselves a future prosperity that shall prove more than compensation for troubles past.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Culpeper
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 9 1/16 in; 17.145 cm x 23.07158 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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