Alexander Gardner view
Wet plate, albumen photograph, 3 x 2 1/4, on 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 card mount. No imprint. Sharp image showing numerous army tents with the village of Culpeper clearly visible in the background. Light age toning to the mount. Pencil ID on the reverse, "Culpeper, Va., Nov. '63." Very fine. This view is Plate 48 published in the famous, Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book Of The Civil War.
The village of Culpeper is situated on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about seventy five miles from Washington. Sheltered by the Blue Ridge Mountains, 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 during Union General John Pope's retreat from the Rapidan, when many of its buildings were destroyed, and nearly all stripped of their contents. Both Union and Confederate 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 on the Rappahannock, and at Brandy Station; at Chancellorsville, at Bristoe, and Groveton, have throbbed through its streets. Cedar Mountain, blazing with conflict, looked down upon it, and General Ulysses S. Grant during the Wilderness campaign, 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. Source: Gardner's Sketch Book