The Grand Review

Brandy Station


September, 2017




President: William Truitt Vice President: Don Carlson Treasurer: Gary Wilson Secretary: Erich Fritz

Board of Directors: Barry Atchison, Jane Brookins, Helen Geisler, Eugene F. Hankinson, Paula Johnson, Howard Lambert, Kimberly Lillard, Roger Mello, Peggy Misch, Dan Orr, John Orr, Denise Smith, Jim Woehr, Paula Woehr

Dr. Margaret Rowe at her Civil War medicine display

at the 2016 Graffiti House Heritage Day


Second Annual Graffiti House Heritage Day, Saturday, September 16th

On September 16, 2017, the Graffiti House in Brandy Station will come alive with echoes and glimpses of history during the Second Annual Graffiti House Heritage Day. This day of remembrance will commemorate Brandy Station's historic past in Culpeper County. Located at 19484 Brandy Road in Brandy Station, admission to the event is a suggested $5.00 donation with children under 12 admitted free during this event to remember the unique history of Brandy Station.


The Graffiti House was constructed in 1858 on a large plantation owned by James Barbour who lived in a house known as Beauregard (across what is now Route 29). James’ brother John was the President of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and laid railroad tracks in front of the house to connect Alexandria to Orange and the depot was nearby. After the Battle of First Manassas was fought in 1861, wounded Confederates were brought through Brandy Station where houses in and around the area were used to help house the recovering soldiers. It is likely this was the first time the Graffiti House was used as a hospital.  On June 9, 1863, the Graffiti House stood witness to the largest cavalry battle swirling around Fleetwood Hill. The injured Confederate soldiers were brought to the Graffiti House and later it was used by the Federals during the winter encampment of 1863 – 1864. The soldiers on both sides used charcoal from the fireplace and pencils to sign their names, draw pictures, and make comments allowing our guests to “hear the walls talk.”


Young and old alike are encouraged to come out to learn and enjoy this event day filled with living historians, tours, period entertainment, a 1:30 PM period dance, hands-on demonstrations, newly planted Civil War herb garden, displays, encampments and Speaker’s Program from 11:00 until 4:00. An educational and enjoyable Children's Program is being planned with games and activities. 


The Brandy Station Foundation is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural and historic resources of the Brandy Station area in Culpeper County, Virginia. For information, please go All interested local heritage and civic organizations wishing to participate with a heritage display or information table may contact Event Coordinator Paula Johnson at 540-341-7019 or Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to join the Heritage Day Committee and Foundation to aid our historic legacy preservation.





What’s Next for the Graffiti House  by Don Carlson, Brandy Station Foundation Vice President


Now that virtually all the graffiti has been revealed, according to Conservator Chris Mills; and the mortgage on the house has been paid off, the Board has begun to consider the extensive list of improvements outlined in the "Architectural Report for the Historic Graffiti House," done in 2008.  These two improvements are now the priority: Graffiti House foundation work, and, a heating and cooling system for the Graffiti House.


A recent inspection shows that significant work needs to be done on the foundation of the house.  Some work was done in 2009 that allowed larger groups of visitors and helped the building survive the earthquake of a few summers ago plus the vibrations from the railroad and route 29.  Yet, major work is required to keep the walls containing the graffiti stable for the foreseeable future.


The house is heated by wall mounted propane heaters and a couple of electric baseboard heaters.  Cooling is done by window air conditioners.  Just as in 1858 when it was built, there is no wall insulation, and the doors and windows are far from airtight.  The house has needed to be closed to visitors when temperatures exceed both hot and cold limits.


The Board has received estimates for foundation work, and for installation of heat pumps that are well below those included in the 2008 report, but are nearly twice the amount we have on hand for building preservation.  Therefore, all additional gifts to the Foundation will be used for these two projects.  If you are thinking of a donation either now or end of year to the Brandy Station Foundation, please keep these needs in mind.


The Brandy Station Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group and relies on tax-deductible donations to meet its goals. Please make checks out to: Brandy Station Foundation and mail to:


Brandy Station Foundation

P.O. Box 165

Brandy Station, VA 22714-0165


Credit card donations can also be processed; please email our Foundation treasurer, Gary Wilson, for details:


Graffiti House in AAA World article

A big article in the July/Aug 2017 AAA World is titled Culpeper County: Crossroads of the Civil War by Theresa Gawlas Medoff. Enjoy! The link is:{8A14545A-D6A4-4336-B2A6-4A79917D8CC0}



President’s Corner

The Brandy Station Foundation continues to be highly involved with the Culpeper Community and has recently participated in Culpeper Fest, sponsored by the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce. This was a great opportunity to mingle with area businesses and residents to share what each has to offer the community.

In addition, the BSF participated in the August 11th Fox 5 DC News Broadcast live from Downtown Culpeper on Davis Street. Denise Smith and Erich Fritz  (pictured) were there at 6 AM to set up the booth and tent to beautifully showcase the Brandy Station Foundation and the Graffiti House. This opportunity enhanced Culpeper's new theme of "Rich History, Modern Charm" and was very well attended and received.

Also, I  attended the 47th annual Business, Industry, and Education Day in Culpeper representing the Brandy Station Cedar Mountain State Park Alliance. Delegates Mark Weibert and Nick Freitas were there as well and seemed very supportive of the state park initiative.


Finally, I would like to invite each and every one of you to our second annual Heritage Day Event on September 16, 2017 from 11 AM - 4 PM. Paula Johnson has done a magnificent job organizing a great day of period speakers, festivities, music, fun and food.  I look forward to seeing you there.


Have a very happy fall season,

William Truitt, President Brandy Station Foundation 757-371-6451


Spirited Night at the Graffiit House


Join us on Saturday October 21, 2017 from 5pm to 9pm for the annual Spirited Night at the Graffiti House! We will be hosting Culpeper Paranormal, who will share their investigation results and will give demonstrations on the equipment used by paranormal groups. Ghostly stories will be told by the bonfire and in the rooms where the soldiers left their names.  Tricks and Treats will be offered along with pumpkins and face painting. This is a free event and family friendly. A raffle will be held for an evening paranormal investigation.  Tickets will be $1.00 each. 




Brandy Station Foundation supports preservation of Fleetwood Church

 Brandy Station Foundation president William Truitt presented Steve Pollet, with a check for $250 on Sunday, July 9 on behalf of the Foundation. Steve owns the Fleetwood Church building that is on Brandy Road near the Graffiti House. Steve will be using the money to purchase a sump pump to keep water out from under the church and to make repairs to the steeple. Steve can be reached at 571-265-1757 and welcomes your support.




2017 Sunday Seminar Series at the Graffiti House


Sunday, September 24, 2017 Harry Smeltzer, who writes the blog "Bull Runnings" will present the genealogy of Judson Kilpatrick.  While the talk begins and ends with the Civil War, the speaker does want to stress that it's widespread - including descendants Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper.

The Brandy Station Foundation Sunday lecture series run on one Sunday of each month from April through September and begin at 2:00 PM. Everyone is welcome, the lectures are free (although donations are welcome), and free refreshments are provided by BSF board members and friends.

On July 30, Eugene Schmiel presented his lecture: ”The life of Jacob Dolson Cox, Ohio Citizen-General" by Eugene D. (Gene) Schmiel.  Mr. Schmiel has a Ph.D. degree in History from The Ohio State University. The wrenching events of the Civil War transformed not only the United States, but also the men unexpectedly called to lead fellow citizens in this first modern example of “total war.”  Jacob Dolson Cox of Ohio was among those who rose to the challenge and he is recognized as one of the Union's best “citizen generals.”  He did so well that General Sherman offered him a brigadier generalship in the regular army at war's end. Mr. Schmiel is a retired U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer and his book, "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press. Pictured is BSF President William Truitt with Mr. Schmiel by the Hall of Honor in the Graffiti House.


Sunday, August 27, 2017  "I Am A Good Old Rebel" by  Robert Houghtalen. Warrenton's W.H.F. Payne will be the subject of his talk.  Mr. Houghtalen is a graduate of Hanover College (Indiana) with a B.A. in History/Education. He also has a Graduate Certification in U.S. Civil War History from American Military University. He has worked as a secondary school history teacher in the past. He currently works at Conner Prairie Living History Museum in Noblesville, Indiana. 



Paula Johnson at the Historically Fairfax fair


Brandy Station Foundation participates in Historically Fairfax Fair


On Saturday, June 17th, Fairfax County, Virginia had a fair to mark their 275th anniversary called  Historically Fairfax at the Fairfax County Courthouse. The BSF was invited to participate and BSF Board members Denise Smith and Paula Johnson manned the information table.  Many people came over to just say hello and let us know they enjoyed going to the Graffiti House. Others just wanted to know more about us and our location to come for a visit. Historic Blenheim in Fairfax is on the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail along with the Graffiti House. To learn more , please visit and look for the tab about the Northern Virginia Graffiti Trail.


Historic Greenwood Property for Sale in Culpeper






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The Brandy Station Foundation is a 501(c)-3 non-profit group dedicated to preserving the natural and historic resources of the Brandy Station area of Culpeper County, Virginia.  It relies on tax-deductible donations to meet its goals. More information at: