CONFEDERATE FOOTSTEPS

 

PAGE FOUR: MAY 13, 2011...PONY MTN. TO RACCOON FORD ROAD

Leaving Pony Mountain just out of Culpeper, we headed south southeast on 522 then on 615, the Rapidan Road. The railroad tracks run just west

of this route from Culpeper to Rapidan Station and the 13th marched down it, camping a mile north of Rapidan on March 18, 1862 on their way south

from Leesburg to Yorktown. On the 19th they marched in a cold, misting rain through Rapidan Station, camping 3 miles southeast of town on a

muddy hillside where they remained several days, during which time it sleeted. On April 5th they marched back to Rapidan, waiting in the rain for

boxcars to Richmond, which didn't come for four days. Again, on August 27, 1962 they marched through Rapidan, coming up from Orange Court

House on their way from Richmond to Sharpsburg. It was on that last march that Jonathon had lined his new shoes with leaves and then Seth got him

some bandaging to wrap around them. This view is off the Rapidan Road, heading south, looking off southeast.

 

 

Showing how close the railroad tracks parallel the road all the way

 

 

Still going south on the Rapidan Road

 

 

Eglantine on the east side of Rapidan Road

 

 

We paused by this field on the east side of Rapidan Road to take a few pictures. The eglantine were here, too.

 

 

If you look closely, you can see there are Canada geese out in the field.

 

 

Another view of the field and some of the geese.

 

 

I went across the road and took this view looking south down the railroad tracks.

 

 

We got into the town of Rapidan, which truly is just a wide place in the road and almost everything there turns out to have been there

during the Civil War. On the west side of the road we stopped by the faded yellow freight depot and were so pleased to note the date on

its sign, meaning the 13th in its four days of waiting for boxcars, would have been all around it.

 

 

Behind the freight depot was a little fenced-off log cabin.

 

 

Looking down the length of the front of the freight depot.

 

 

Directly across the road from the freight depot is this church, Emmanuel Episcopal church, but it wasn't built until the early 1870's so wasn't

here when Jonathon was.

 

 

Looking back across the road at the freight depot.

 

 

And again...from the churchyard.

 

 

The bell by the main door to the freight depot.

 

 

The syrup pitcher was in the car and Carl went to get it for me. After this, I kept it in my camera bag. Here it is atop a post

by the front door.

 

 

And again...

 

 

We walked down to the white house with the flags you can see just south of the freight depot in the picture above the one of the church

because I saw a man working on something around it and I wanted to ask him if the house had also been there during the war. At that

point the white house had been blocking the view of what lay beyond it to the south, which is the passenger depot. The man was Randall

Rhodes and he turned out to be the caretaker of the depot area and when I explained why we were there, he asked if we'd like to see

inside the passenger depot as he had the key. So we walked toward the white passenger depot next and he unlocked the door there on

the right hand of the station.

 

 

Inside is the ticket window that was there during the war. I don't know if Jonathon would have had to have a ticket, but during his four days

here, he probably came inside and would have seen this.

 

 

On the other side of the ticket window was a small room with the original heating stove.

 

 

In this room is also the original safe...and on wheels at that!

 

 

In front of the passenger depot, looking back at the white house between it and the freight depot. The house has been enlarged from its original size

and during the war, it was located where the passenger depot now is. The man who owns them, had their locations switched, though the caretaker

doesn't know just why.

 

 

Behind the house and the depots is a field with angus.

 

 

In front of the passenger depot is an old caboose on a short section of track to show where the track used to run in front of the depots. The grey

structure in front of it is the telegraph house. This was the Orange and Alexandria railroad line.

 

 

Across the Rapidan Road is a gray house that was there during the war. Some cavalry camped behind it. The house has a family

living in it and is supposed to be quite haunted.

 

 

The caboose

 

 

The passenger depot. I imagine the train and all its boxcars would have stopped for some length along here so that so many soldiers could

board for the trip to Richmond. 

 

 

In the front yard of the passenger station was this old stump. I look at old stumps and wonder if maybe they could have been young trees

during the war. Now it has tomatoes planted around it and poison ivy growing up through a yucca.

 

 

A little past the depots and on the same side, you come to the Rapidan Mill, 1834, which was there. The bridge goes over the river.

In the accounts describing their time here, sometimes the men of the 13th call this area Rapidan Mills and sometimes Rapidan Station.

 

 

Not far past the mill and also on the same side is this interesting church in the Carpenter Gothic style. The Waddell Memorial

Presbyterian Church was built in 1874, but Jonathon would have marched back and forth in front of the hill upon which this sits.

It was made with steam-powered scroll saws and I liked the look of it even though he didn't see it.

 

 

 

Looking back toward the mill on the Rapidan River from the entrance to the Presbyterian church.

 

 

Heading back north, this little place is on the east side of the road.

 

 

...as is this, and in the same yard with the little building above this one.

 

 

The syrup pitcher with the mill beyond.

 

 

Heading north on 615, we took the first right, Twins Mountain Road, which led us east along a gravel lane toward what Randall called the 'tits',

according to local usage.

 

 

More directly now toward the one on the right. The Rapidan is off across the field to our right.

 

 

Wheat field looking toward the Rapidan in the trees beyond.

 

 

We were heading to intersect with 522 where it crosses the Rapidan.

 

 

Once across the Rapidan, we followed along Raccoon Ford Road southeast, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Rapidan where

the 13th arrived at Raccoon Ford on June 4, 1863 after a 23 mile march through devastated country from Chancellorsville on

their way from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg. The trees and undergrowth were too thick, but we were driving through the general

area where they camped after marching in temperatures so hot that 18 year old Alex Johnson died when he jumped into the river

at the sudden drastic change in his body temperature. They camped here the night of the 4th and forded the river on the 5th.

 

 

Fields to the side of Raccoon Ford Road

 

 

More fields along the side of Raccoon Ford Road

 

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